Day 214: A San Diego Food Journey

by ashleighpenrod

This is a repost from a blog I posted yesterday for ShopPerk.

One of the best parts about moving from state to state is that with every new move, you (hopefully) gain some great new friends that you can go visit later. As a former San Diegan, I relish my trips back to break bread and burritos with my high school friends.

Last weekend, I visited a good friend who recently had twin babies (the cutest twin babies ever, in case you’re wondering). While they ate slightly more frequently than we did, we definitely got the better end of the food deal.

Here’s a breakdown of our weekend journey, including places you should be sure to check out when you’re in the San Diego area.


I got in around 8 p.m., and my hosts kicked off the weekend in the best way possible—by greeting me with a giant bowl of Velveeta Shells and Cheese.


Since I left my computer charger plugged in at work, my first order of business on Friday was to go buy a new one. I grabbed some granola at the house, went to a yoga class that very much kicked my butt and hit up the Fashion Valley mall.

California has a variety of excellent fast food places, including one of my all-time favorites: Rubio’s Baja Grill. They’re known for their fish tacos, but I’m always delighted with their super-simple bean and cheese burrito. One bite in to my coveted burrito, the bottom broke out and refried beans went slowly oozing into my lap, but I didn’t even care. It was a delicious lunch.


That’s the burrito. Right before it broke.

For dinner, my friend and I went to Sushi on the Rock in La Jolla. The Baby Conehead sushi rolls were light, crispy and perfectly bite-sized, as opposed to enormously awkward. It was a delightful dinner that was augmented by a gorgeous ocean view and a shared bottle of wine.


We hit up one of our favorite high school hangouts for breakfast—The Living Room. As far as I could tell, not much has changed there in the last decade (aside from their expansion into hookah). She got a giant blueberry muffin while I ate a breakfast sandwich that I’m excited about recreating at home—scrambled eggs, steamed spinach, goat cheese and tomato chutney on an toasted everything bagel.

In honor of living in the past, we went to another of our high school favorites for lunch—Board & Brew. In the old days, Board & Brew was our delicious mid-day beach break. Judging from the number of swimsuit-clad 15-year-olds in line, Torrey Pines High School is still funding the operation. And thank goodness, because it’s amazing. Board & Brew’s avocados taste better than any other avocados, anywhere.


Look at that sandwich.

Dinner was spent at a fun and funky Russian Georgian restaurant I’d never tried before, called Pomegranate. San Diego might be known for Mexican food, but I’d go back just for the Vareniki (potato-cheese dumplings) and garlic-infused salad sampler.


No vacation is complete without brunch, so we mimosa-d and polenta-d at The Cottage, a cute, delicious and extremely busy restaurant in La Jolla. After a pleasant 50-minute wait, a wildly cheerful waiter told us how much he loves Sundays (in fact, he loves ALL days), and how excited he was to provide us with our mid-morning provisions.


The Polenta was delicious, as was the pomegranate-tangerine mimosa.

Since brunch sustained us for most of the day, we waited until dinner to try anything else. Tired, happy and enjoying the warmth of sleepy babies in our arms, we opted for quick and easy Mexican food that we could eat while laughing through The Ricky Gervais Show.

By quick and easy, I don’t mean to imply that we made it. We ordered it from Palomino’s and asked her husband to go pick it up. My only complaint with Palomino’s is that they downright refused to put veggies on a quesadilla. Instead, they gave us veggie-filled burritos and “mild” salsa that was a surprising shock to my Midwestern taste buds. Minnesota mild salsa is a little, um, milder.


By Monday, I could barely move, so I got myself a soy chai and headed back to the land of hummus, beets and organic cereal. But after experiencing a taste of what San Diego has to offer, I’m feeling inspired to try more of the tasty food in my own city.