explorations | san diego pt. 2: south park, north park & breweries

A weekend barely satisfied my San Diego itch. Yet I felt amazed at all my sister & I accomplished over the short period we were together. Day one found us perusing the downtown district, specifically the Gaslamp & Seaport Village, tasting mimosas and huevos rancheros and biding time with coffee in our hands. We also spent an embarrassing amount of time in the little white Chevy rental recharging our phones and dabbling in bizarre conversations. As we do. Day two we gallivanted about the small neighborhoods, sharpening our senses with a stroll down a few sidestreets in search of breakfast, overlooking a dipping valley full of cacti and leafy foliage & its precariously balanced houses atop a bridge, finally settling at a small and packed cafe for massive croissants. South Park and the adjoining North Park encase delightful quarters for travelers of all types, from the souvenir shopper to the bruncher to the ones seeking local artisans to pitch their cash towards. All of this sought and found in ideal weather: crisp, breezy, full-on sunny. With 11 a.m. barely blinking its eyes, we engaged in a brew crawl which took us to three very different breweries, where I discovered that stouts are my thing & nitro pours even more my thing.

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Coffee & Eats:

  1. Cardamom Cafe (full breakfasts or cheese & meat-stuffed croissants. The pecan brioche bun is a sticky dream.)
  2. Rebecca’s: (award-winning scones. Go mid-morning if possible for guaranteed scone tasting action.)
  3. Cafe Madeleine (French-inspired, whipping up mean crepes, Nutella lattes & cafe con miel)

Shop:

  1. Pigment (local & independent artisans, imported goods like Stumptown cold brew)
  2. Simply Local (San Diego-based artists and craftsmen)

Brews:

  1. AleSmith (smaller, homier craft brewery with extremely reasonable pricing. I paid homage to my name with a Belgian Christmas Ale called Noel.)
  2. Ballast Point (we sat in the tasting room, but the facility contains a cozy dining area as well. Reservations for the dining area recommended. The Thai Chili Wahoo is bizarre; the Sextant Oatmeal Stout NITRO wonderful.)
  3. Stone (actually in Escondido, hugely popular, perpetually packed, difficult to find parking – but absolutely worthwhile. Over the Top stout recommended.)

If departing around sundown, stop by San Diego Bay & gaze at the sunset awhile. We took a detour en route to the airport, parking maybe fifteen minutes and observing the lapping water & city skyline.IMG_3538

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