So here it is folks… My giant list of all things food in San Diego! The Captain and I are passionate about food and we pride ourselves on being the people you text when you are looking for a new spot to eat! Note: I should say I am a vegan, so every single restaurant on the list, while it might not be a vegan establishment, does offer vegan options! But I assure you, this is not just a list for veggies!!! In fact, out of the 26 spots listed, only 5 are entirely vegan or plant based! Meat eaters, rejoice! I have been compiling this list for weeks!! I am actually salivating after editing this post… I need some tacos… or noodles… or pizza… or falafel… or sheesh, I don't know, for love of GOD GET ME SOME FOOD! Best Coffee Drinks: Cafe Gratitude
Weird answer, I know, but the coffee beverages at CG are among the most original and delicious I’ve ever tried. Their Mocha!? Shut. Your. Face. Their teas and other libations are equally tasty!!
Best Breakfast: Coffee Cup
Not only is the best breakfast in San Diego, but also my favorite restaurant. The rosemary potatoes will change your life. I order the Papas Loco, no diary, add tofu, with corn tortillas. EVERY. TIME. I ate here the day I went into labor and I’m pretty sure it was the jalapeños that did the trick... We eat here... A LOT. Needless to say, the servers have my order memorized and I love them and I will miss them.
Best Pancakes: Moncai Vegan
These pancakes will change your life. Change it. The Captain stands firm that these are the BEST pancakes he's ever eaten in his life!! HIS ENTIRE LIFE!!! You non-vegans will be like WHAT THE HELL!?! I don't know how it's possible to get such giant, fluffy pancakes with no milk or eggs… I don't know how the chef does it, but he does and it is spectacular.
Best Vegan Breakfast: OB's People Co-op
Not only is this the best value in town, these biscuits and gravy are the things dreams are made of! With an entirely vegetarian market beneath, this small kitchen whips up some tasty and simple food that will leave you satisfied and happy! I wish I lived closer to it because I would eat there daily… seriously, I'd do it.
Best Sushi: Ebisu Sushi Lounge
I love this place. We found this when we first moved out because they had a small, but interesting vegan sushi list, but we quickly became regulars. Their fish is always fresh and prepared in unique ways! The place is rarely packed, but always buzzing and they serve food way past your bed time. [special shout out to Little Tokyo in Carmel Mountain, this place makes me happy. Nothing super special, but it's yummy]
Best Cocktails: WhisknLadle
Fancy and unique cocktails in a fancy and unique setting. Boom.
Best Chinese: Golden City
So after years of looking for a decent Chinese restaurant we stumbled upon Golden City and it is authentic and delish! With a completely separate veggie menu, it was a clear winner for me! Their salted garlic string beans are a thing of beauty!! Note: the portions are MASSIVE and definitely for sharing!
Best Döner: The Kebab Shop
Now, maybe you are thinking, come again!?! But if you have never had a döner you are in for quite a thrill! It's like a Mediterranean burrito and it tastes like heaven! I order the falafel diner, no garlic sauce, add spicy hummus, add fries
or rice depending on my mood. [3/19/18 I've been informed that the rice is loaded with butter. True Vegans, skip the rice!] The wrap is soft, almost like a thin naan bread… It is delicious! There are now locations all over San Diego, so no excuses get thee to The Kebab Shop!
Best Salad: NaPizza
The superfood me salad with tahini dressing is literally a thing of the gods!! Their pizza and [always vegan] soup are both magic, but I don't stray from my favorite salad! With locations in Little Italy, Hillcrest, and 4S you are covered!
Cafe Gratitude makes the list twice. I've eaten at the LA eatery a handful of times and at the recently opened San Diego locale 23,293,090 times. Slight exeggeration. I love love love everything on the menu. It's vegan plant based goodness and I'm gonna miss them like WHOA. And then there's Trilogy, a newer find, located in La Jolla on a rooftop with angels and fairies. OR flying aerobatic yogis. Close enough. The menu is small, but heavenly. I love their buckwheat crepes and the nachos!! OH THE NACHOS!!! Both of these spots are winners, for vegans and non-vegans alike!
Best Thai: Amarin Thai
My buddy Christina took me to this restaurant years ago and I fell... hard. Their Tom Yum Soup is AMAZING. They have an entire separate veggie menu that’s even fish sauce free! And good news North County, Siam Nara in Mira Mesa and Nok in Scripps Ranch are pretty much the same menu from owner Suree! Winning.
So Luigi's was an early find, after watching a San Diego episode of triple D Guy Fieri swore he'd eat it off of a flip flop, we had to try it. To my delight, I found out that they will sub vegan cheese and even make vegan calzones. The calzones are AH-mazing. But even more surprising is their cheese-less salad pizza. This pizza is the bomb. And dude, all of their cheesy pizzas look amazing!! Oh, oh and when I was very pregnant and wanted to get another slice, the so sweet pizza maker gave me a slice on the house. Two thumbs up. A more recent find is San Diego Brewing! This spot has a crazy amount of vegan offerings along side all of your typical pub grub. They have vegan hot wings AND vegan pizza!!! Who knew!? It is the lightest crust and I just can't say enough good things. The marinara is delish and the toppings are fresh. It's so yummy.
Best Italian: Bencotto
Yummy, fresh Italian food in the chicest building. I love this place. Their arrabbiata sauce and zucchini soup really make me happy. A newbie that I’ve only tried twice is Civico1845, but it is really shaping up to be a winner! An entire authentic vegan menu, um dreams coming true.
Best Indian: Delhi Kitchen
This is a hole in the wall if ever there was one, but Delhi Kitchen in Carmel Mountain is a killer find! It's super inexpensive and the family who runs it is so nice!! Their Chana Masala is spicy, full of flavor, and oh-so-good.
Best Ramen: Underbelly
Holy. Giant. Bowls. of. Soup. Batman. This spot is legit. They now have 2 locations, but if you can try out the original in Lil Italy it is totally worth it for the experience. The veggie ramen with truffle oil is lip smacking good!
Best Tacos: Don Carlos Taco Shop
One of the first joints we found when arriving in San Diego. Don Carlos is a hole in the wall if ever there was one! The owner is full of personality and with a tag line like “what would Jesus eat?” this place has to rock! And with multiple vegan options this joint is sure to please. We used to pick up food and bring it to the cliffs and watch the sunset with the rich people! Highly suggest it!!
Best Frozen Yogurt: Paradise Yogurt
Best vegan yogurt ever!!! They always have at least 2 vegan flavors and it constantly rotates. Their toppings are genius and they have the chillest employees. Love this spot.
Best Vegan Junk Food: Veggie Grill
The Buffalo Bomber has comforted me many, many a night... or day... or mid-morning. I ate here, nearly, twice a week when I was pregnant. The whole menu is awesome. And I'm gonna tell you right now, you will be surprised that vegan "chicken" tastes, well, pretty much like chicken!
Best Spot for a Group who can't Decide: True Foods
This is the perfect restaurant for a group of folks who just can't get their shit together. It's deceptively healthy, but will please a variety of palates! You can get a bison burger, a seasonal squash pizza[amazing], or [my favorite] the Mediterranean chopped salad. There's an option for the gluten intolerant, vegan, or meat eater in your group. And on top of all of those reasons, simply put, it's a delish and thoughtful menu!
Best Meal with a View: Cordiano Winery
Our amazing neighbors suggested this spot a few years ago and we have been frequent visitors ever since. It's nestled atop some impressive hills in Escondido, but you feel like you are in another world. The Italian owners are the sweetest and their pizza is out of control yummy! The wine is okay, but what you are really there for is the view! I
could have sat there for hours!
Best Beach Front: Ki's Restaurant at the Beach
I love this spot in Cardiff. It's the utmost in chill dining spots! We love to go for breakfast and I just love all of their healthy options and there is nothing that can beat the view!!
Best Date Night Spot: Alexanders on 30th
Now there isn't much for a vegan to eat, but the few dishes you can have are totally delish and worth it for the wonderful and sexy atmosphere! It just feels… romantic!? The truffle mac n cheese is a favorite among my friends!
Best Brewery: Ballast Point
We’ve been to a few breweries and this is both mine and The Captain’s favorite. It’s not as touristy as Stone, but is on the larger scale. But with a super tasty menu, DELICIOUS beer, and a beautiful locale. It’s a winner.
Torrey Pines | Image Via
As we prepare our family for a big move, there's been a lot of reflecting about all of our time in Cali. This is the first place we’ve been able to settle in and actually live some semblance of a normal life. We love it here and we are sad to leave, but are excited for the next chapter in our lives. I thought it would be fun if I shared my definitive list of ALL things San Diego!!
Best Waxing: La Di Da Sugaring with Kelly
Kicking it off with the good stuff. So the best waxing is, in fact, not waxing, but sugaring. A mixture of sugar, water, and lemon juice applied directly to the skin to remove hair. I could go on for days about how it’s less painful and more sanitary than waxing, but you should just check it out. Owner Kelly Fritz is one of the most magical people I’ve ever met, she just radiates friendliness and can get your who dolled up in record time. I started seeing Emily in the evenings to work around The Captain’s schedule and she’s equally wonderful! These ladies will change your life.
Best Hair Cut: Meghan Noel Salon
I have been seeing Meghan ever since I hit on her in a Robeks. But seriously, I was like, “you have beautiful hair.” She was like, “I’m a hair stylist.” I was like, “give me them digits.” Meanwhile The Captain sits in the car with the dogs confused. I get in the car and he asks, “did you just get that girls phone number?” Perv. The rest is history! With stellar prices and a real knack for hair artistry she’s worth the drive from any part of SD.
Best Facial: Serenity Skin Care
I haven’t been able to make it in for a facial in some time, but when I do Ann Duke is who I call upon!! This lady knows skin! And on top of that, she’s a lovely human being! SSC is run out of her home in Hillcrest and she and her husband, Mario are just as charming as they come! I still swear that her monthly facials are what continues to keep my skin happy and healthy, even years later.
If you are look for awesome black ink work with a focus on mandala and dot work then Charlie is your guy. He’s so chill and an artist through and through. Shannon did The Captain’s back piece which turned out absolutely amazing. He does more traditional style tattoos! Both parlors are super chic and crazy clean.
Best Botox: re:vive salon & spa
Yep, I’ve dabbled with the tox. I know it’s pretty much the opposite of my healthy, natural living... blah blah blah. Everyone has their thing, you eat a steak a week and I keep my forehead forever youthful. So if you are thinking of getting some enhancements, Kathleen at re:vive is totally who you should see! Not only does re:vive offer the best price in San Diego, [10$ a unit] Kathleen is a rn and a trainer for the company, she really listens to what you’re after. They have a Doctor that works in the office and comes and talks to you before you have your botox injected.
Best Dentist: Poway Dental Arts
The nicest dental crew in North County. I love Michelle and all of the staff! Dr. Rich is such a nice guy and is pretty easy on the eyes too!
I have had the most lovely experiences with both of these studios. I did Bar Method for nearly 2 years pre-baby and loved the teachers and the method. After baby, I tried out Dailey Method because of child care, but was happy to find another lovely studio filled with wonderful people and a killer work out. I wish I could’ve been a member longer!
Best Hiking: Torrey Pines
So not the most creative answer, but alas the most beautiful and calming. I love hiking by the beach and this hike makes me happy. I also dig Iron Mountain... if you’re in the mood to hike something called Iron Mountain...
Stay tuned for Part II for all my favorite spots to eat! Yes, ALL OF THEM.
So, you are probably really familiar with the name Kelsey Erin if you frequent the our lil' blog!! She's our photographer extraordinaire here at Blissful Happenings, the pics above are a few of my faves!! We adore her and her desire to take beautiful, natural photos!! She has an awesome new website and facebook page, so you should definitely all check it out!! And if you are in the San Diego area, you probably need to get it on it and hire her! She shoots family, newborn, boudoir, maternity sessions beautifully with a keen eye for capturing special moments!! We love our little hippie photog and so will you!!!!!
photo via Kelsey Erin Photography
I know I mention it quite a bit, but I love my city. San Diego is the best, like EVER!! While visiting our most favoritist farmers market, the Little Italy Mercato,
I found my super hip sister-in-law found the coolest skincare vendor and made my day week month year. What can I say!? Skincare makes me giddy and The Holistic Science Co. is the bomb dot com. I am so obsessed with their products, their ohhhh-so-many products. Natural toothpastes, mouthwash, lotions, sunscreens, and so on and so forth!!! All of the products are handmade in San Diego by the majorly cool Holistic Science team. Seriously, they are so great. They will spend ages talking to you about their products, why they were developed, what's in them, and how to use them. Every product has a 100% satisfaction guarantee which is magical when you have the most unpredictable skin ever. I have been using the Pure SPF-15 Facial Moisturizer and the Ultra Corrective Facial Cream for a few months now and I am just absolutely loving them! Both products are vegan, #winning. My skin has been so moisturized and glowing since I've started using this regime. My acne still flares up now and again, but it's all hormonal around my chin, so I can deal. The Intense Nourishing Cocoa Butter is so great on my crazy dry legs and helps with my booty stretch marks… what? Girl's got some hips!! They sell at the Little Italy and Hillcrest farmers markets and all of their products are available online. You can also check them out on Twitter and Facebook. I totally suggest that you do!!!!