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Old 04-25-2013, 09:50 AM   #1
tzeitel
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San Diego Mini Trip Report...

more like some photos of a few restaurants and the hotel we visited. I am horrible at trip reports and even doing reviews - I am more of a "loved it, liked it, hated it" and not much into descriptions. But while planning this trip I had so many questions about restaurants (among other things!) that I thought some would enjoy the photos of some funky places in SD

We where in SD 4/16-4/20 - almost did not make it since we live in the mountains and the only way out (Vail Pass) was closed. We got a winter storm the day we were leaving for the airport, it is a 2 hour drive to the Denver airport so we usually stay overnight in Denver. It started snowing in the morning and did not stop until the next day, that would have been appreciated a couple of weeks before but the mountain had closed on the 14th so it was just a nuisance After resigning ourselves to cancelling the trip (and losing the hotel deposit and holding our attraction tickets until who knew when) the pass opened up at 8PM and we could not run to the car fast enough. Seriously, I just threw everything in the car, grabbing stuff as we walked out the door.

This is what Denver looked like the next morning


We made it to the airport after dropping the car at the car park with enough time for a potty break and then we were off! Our flight got in a little before 2PM, we grabbed our bag and headed to the rental car pick up. To catch a rental shuttle you just cross an indoor bridge, go down an escalator and you see all the shuttles. Every rental car co. has a shuttle, there are no rental cars at the airport. I found a good deal ($17 a day) from Thrifty. They share their counter (and it seems like also their cars) with Dollar. All the car rental co. seem to be on Harbor or just off it so they are pretty easy to find (and close to the airport).

We stayed at the Best Western Yacht Harbor http://yachtharborhotel.com/ Found this one on Priceline for $71 a night, not a bid or anything like that - I knew the hotel before I booked. It was in a great location - about 10 minutes from the airport, Sea World and the SD Zoo and w/in 15 minutes of every restaurant we went to. The hotel was big, nice and clean, has a small underground parking (free), free WiFi, fridge and microwave in the rooms and free breakfast. The breakfast was pretty good, they have make your own waffles, pastries, bagels, yogurt, coffee, tea, oj, hard boiled eggs, cereal and fruit. I did not get a picture since it gets busy and it would just show a bunch of people blocking the food Not that t would have been a super interesting photo since it is just a smallish room with some tables.

Some photos of the room -








View from our room-


We had a room on the 4th floor, facing the harbor and the pool - I think most rooms face the same way. The hotel is shaped like a ] so there are a few rooms that face towards the parking lot. I mention this because from our stay (and reviews I had read before booking) I know that the road noise can be a problem. They definitely have to sound proof their balconies. It was not a big deal for us since DH and I are city folk and the sound of traffic is soothing to us (and we miss it in the mountains ). The noise that did bother me was teen girls screaming their little heads off in the pool at 9PM - the pool closes at 10PM.

We c/I and went looking for Slater's 50/50 - I had a list of must try restaurants, I usually print directions for everything but DH convinced me to skip this since his phone has GPS. Wonderful GPS that tried to get us to go into a submarine warfare facility - Point Loma has a big naval base and you could tell

Needless to say we did not find Slater's at this time - but it worked out because we went to Oggi's on one side of Liberty Station (it is less than 3 minutes from the hotel). LS is big, has a bunch of restaurants, a Trader Joe's, Von's and some other shops. But it is split up into a couple of big sections and has apartment buildings in between.
Silly me did not think of taking photos in Oggi's since it looks like a regular sports bar, but here is their link - http://libertystation.oggis.com/
I had the Hang Ten burger (pineapples, cheese and teriyaki sauce), it was pretty good. DD had the kids pizza and DH had the Pot Roast sandwich (photo from their site and it looked just like that) -

Now, DH is a professional chef - he actually worked at some of the best restaurants in WDW for 13 years - and is not easily impressed. Let me tell you his face when he took that first bite was priceless! I was sooooo mad at myself for not taking a photo he did not stop talking about (and comparing everything we ate) this sandwich. He said it was done perfectly - not dry like most places that try to do a pot roast sandwich.

Last edited by tzeitel; 04-29-2013 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:44 AM   #2
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Next morning we tried the breakfast at the hotel. We actually got up pretty early and went down around 7:30AM, good thing or we would not had been able to find a table. When we went down there were maybe 2 tables (out of 10) taken, by the time DD's waffle was done there were no tables left! So, go before 8AM if you want to sit or just grab some food and go to your room - which we did after this one morning

We spent the day at Sea World - actually we got there too early (I forgot to check opening times and we thought it would take longer to get there) so we turned around and went to Target and Ross (we don't have one up here). This was all (there are a bunch of stores, restaurants and In n' Out) on/off Sports Arena Blvd, which you take to go to SW. I found a Kipling crossbody bag at Ross that screams "park bag!" so I had to get it. DD got a headband which she ended up wearing all the time.

SW has a special running that you buy a one day ticket and you get 7 days free. Since DD loves SW we knew we would be there a couple of days so we were taking our time and not rushing at all. There were not very many people and the day was beautiful (70's and sunny), the only thing I could ask for was a good place to eat...which SW does not have. We have been there before, we should know better. I told DH we could leave the park for lunch and come back, but we would miss one of the shows and DD was heading for the pizza place already. Big mistake, that Mama Stella's is just horrible and expensive. DD enjoyed her last pizza of the trip, DH had a pasta & meat sampler - plate, pasta, watery sauce, sausage. I had the lasagna - bleh.
This was the one bad meal we had on the trip so no sense in dwelling on it



There was a lot of construction - a lot! They have some new areas opening up this Summer so it was not very pretty. We also get lost in this park all the time. It does not seem to flow very well, the shows make you go from one end to the other so there is no chance of just walking from land to land (or whatever they call it at SW).

After SW and some pool time we went to Phil's BBQ. http://www.philsbbq.net/ I found this in Trip Advisor, it has amazing reviews and for good reason. When we got there there was a huge line - and it before 6PM! I wanted to ask someone how long it would be for a table but did not see anyone - and the line moved pretty fast. Then we found out it is not a table service, it is more of a counter service. You place your order, get a pager and then you p/u your food and drinks (kinda like the newer cs places at DLR & WDW). There are busers taking plates away but that is it. I got El Toro (deli slice Tri Trip w/BBQ) and DH got a Baby Back dinner (comes with 2 sides) plus a 1 bone beef sampler, DD got the Chick Tickler (chicken chunks with BBQ sauce, onion rings, fries). We also ordered onion rings and fries to share....it was way too much food, portions are really big. Everything was amazing but we could not eat all of the onion rings/fries and we left stuffed!



DH started eating before I could take the photo


After this amazing meal is when I realized I forgot something at home - my camera charger! I had 2 bars left and was so glad we did not take many photos at SW, but now I had to really be careful about how many photos I took. I usually take a bunch since DD looks every which way but at the camera I would turn it on just to take a photo and then put it away. To make matters worse I realized my phone would not charge - it was dead the whole trip.

Last edited by tzeitel; 04-29-2013 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:30 AM   #3
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On our second day we went to the SD Zoo, I had not been there since I was 10 and was pretty excited to see it again since I remember how much I loved it as a kid. I found a coupon for $4 off admission and it seems like they have some promo or other running all the time.



For breakfast we went to Winchell's Donut House http://www.winchells.com/pagep_donuts.html It is a small place with oversized tables and it was full of locals - how do I know it was locals? They were all in military uniforms! Winchell's has great donuts we knew there was a Krispy Kreme around since we saw someone at the hotel with a box, but to me they are too sweet. After our sugar fix we went to see some pandas. We saw 3 of them that day - mom Bai Yun (White Cloud), 3 year old Yun Zi (Son of Cloud)and the new baby Xiao Liwu (Little Gift). The baby was way up in a tree, you can barely see him in the photo - but he is there





If you want to see the pandas and take your time (and some nice photos) go first thing in the morning. We were there at rope drop and before the park opened I asked one of the zoo volunteers the best way to get to the pandas. We went straight to them and had them to ourselves for about 15 minutes.

Best way to get to the pandas - When you go inside the park you are by 2 gorilla busts - this is where the rope drop is. Right across from them is the guided bus tour ticket booth (you do not need to buy a ticket for the guided tour if you get the regular 1 day admission since it is included), to the left of the booth is a path. Take the path (Easy Street - actual name), then take the first path to the right (if you miss it the second path to the right will take you there as well) just follow that down (on the map it shows like you are going up but it is actually down a bunch of steps) past the aviary (you might see some birds but they were asleep when we went by). You follow it until you see Hua Mei Café (on the map it has a big red circle with the #13 on it. It will be right infront of you so you cannot miss it. On that road (Park Way) you take a left, you pass the café and the gift shop and there you are! You first see the exit so walk a little more to the entrance. It took us like 5 minutes to get there. Check the map below (Easy St. is between the red parrot and the flamingos).

Map of zoo - http://sd84.reachlocal.net/zoo/zoo_map

Admission includes the guided tour (sit on the right side of the bus, left side as you walk down the aisle), express bus (on/off bus that takes you around the park) and the Skyfari which goes from the back of the park (near polar bears) to the front (near the kids playground and petting zoo).

Skyfari -





We decided to go out for lunch and come back when it was a little cooler - the morning was nice and cool but it was getting a little hot and the day before (at SW) left us a little on the lobster-red side. The Zoo does seem to have some nice places to eat and we will probably try them when we go back. So we went to another place on my list - Hash House a Go Go.
It is about 8 minutes from the Zoo - I had printed these directions . http://hashhouseagogo.com/

Super cool place, it looks funny next to all of these slick buildings since it is a squat pink house. We walked in at around 1PM and while the restaurant looked full we got a table right away. I got the Kokomo sandwich (meatloaf), DH got the Roast Chicken upside down pot pie and DD got a "simple" cheeseburger - make note of the "simple".







That was another amazing meal. Does it look small? It is not! They do not have appetizers, we asked our server if anyone ever asked for dessert and she says they have one courtesy dessert but she had yet to have anyone order it One last thing - the soy bbq sauce that comes with the Kokomo is the best sauce I have ever had. I ordered extra to dunk my fries in it

After Hash House we went back to the Zoo for a bit, rode the express bus a couple of times (DD loved it) and shopped a little. DD got a stuffed panda and I got a Christmas tree ornament. The prices for their souvenirs are very reasonable - the medium sized panda was $16 and the ornament was $11. After a strawberry slushie for me and a beer for DH we headed out to the hotel for more pool time.

That night we were not super hungry so we stopped at Rubio's (Sport's Arena Blvd again) http://www.rubios.com/
We do not have this chain back home and I am sad - it is very good. More flavor than Qdoba and Chipotle.
Then we went to the Fashion Valley Mall for a bit. Super fancy mall with high end stores and an Old Navy and a Disney Store thrown in for us mere mortals. We do not have malls in the mountains, closest one is a couple of hours away, so this was a bit of a treat.

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Old 04-25-2013, 02:31 PM   #4
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Wow, looks like no rosemary sprig is left unharmed at that place. I'll have to try it.

We drove by Slater's twice before we found it too. It's not visible from the street at all. The good thing about Liberty Station is there's a million other places to try there if you get lost.

I'm glad you got some pool time while everyone back home was snowed in :D
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:57 PM   #5
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Wow, looks like no rosemary sprig is left unharmed at that place. I'll have to try it.

We drove by Slater's twice before we found it too. It's not visible from the street at all. The good thing about Liberty Station is there's a million other places to try there if you get lost.

I'm glad you got some pool time while everyone back home was snowed in :D
I know! That was a rosemary bush - it was huge

Once we found the other part of Liberty Station (the one we found first had Oggie's) we drove around until we found Slater's. Of course I forgot my camera that day but I used DH's phone to take photos.

The report will continue ....
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Old 04-25-2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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This is great! I appreciate your insights!
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Old 04-25-2013, 03:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tzeitel View Post
If you want to see the pandas and take your time (and some nice photos) go first thing in the morning. We were there at rope drop and before the park opened I asked one of the zoo volunteers the best way to get to the pandas. We went straight to them and had them to ourselves for about 15 minutes.
Sounds like a fun day! Which path did they tell you was the best way to get to the pandas?
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Old 04-25-2013, 04:23 PM   #8
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This is great! I appreciate your insights!
Thanks! When I was planning this trip I researched it as much as I could, but still it felt a little abstract. I hope this helps a little

Quote:
Originally Posted by BalooHoo View Post
Sounds like a fun day! Which path did they tell you was the best way to get to the pandas?
When you go inside the park you are by 2 gorilla busts - this is where the rope drop is. Right across from them is the guided bus tour ticket booth (you do not need to buy a ticket for the guided tour if you get the regular 1 day admission since it is included), to the left of the booth is a path. Take the path (Easy Street - actual name), then take the first path to the right (if you miss it the second path to the right will take you there as well) just follow that down (on the map it shows like you are going up but it is actually down a bunch of steps) past the aviary (you might see some birds but they were asleep when we went by). You follow it until you see Hua Mei Café (on the map it has a big red circle with the #13 on it. It will be right infront of you so you cannot miss it. On that road (Park Way) you take a left, you pass the café and the gift shop and there you are! You first see the exit so walk a little more to the entrance. It took us like 5 minutes to get there. Check the map below (Easy St. is between the red parrot and the flamingos)

http://sd84.reachlocal.net/zoo/zoo_map
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Old 04-25-2013, 04:49 PM   #9
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On Friday we decided to just relax and not have much of a plan except we wanted to go back to SW...ok DD wanted to go back. So we walked around and shopped a little before going to In 'n Out for lunch. It was packed - that seemed to be the theme everywhere we went, packed but not a big wait.

After lunch we went to SW for a bit, saw a couple of shows we had missed before - that Pets Rule is cute but people were so rude! From the beginning of the show there were people walking out, then near the end this mass exodus happened. The show was not even over, I thought it was just rude to leave while the performers were still on stage I felt so bad for them! The show is not even long so not sure what was up with people.

We stayed until dinner time (we tend to eat early so it was around 5-ish), back to the hotel for a quick shower and off to Slater's 50/50. https://slaters5050.com/locations/san-diego/ Even though it was early it was already packed. We walked in but by the time we left (around 7:15-30) there was a line out the door and the waiting tents (with a bar) were packed.

I had read about them here on the Dis - they make their burgers 50% beef and 50% BACON! You can order from the menu or make your own, they give you a paper with all of their toppings, sauces, cheeses etc and you put your burger together.

Forgot the app - Vampire Dip (although it was not very garlicky).






DH was very happy - bacon and over 110 beers on tap I was super happy and very full (their burgers are huge) but I had to have dessert ... Nutella milkshake with Pop Rocks! the shakes are like their burgers, you start with a plain vanilla shake and add stuff to it. Of all the great food we had this trip that shake was my favorite - I know not technically food but whatever



Forgot to add - if you sign up for their newsletter you get a coupon for 10% off. It is valid for a couple of weeks after you sign up and you get it right away.

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Old 04-25-2013, 05:20 PM   #10
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I have a friend who supplies Hash House their rosemary. Just bought his second home.

You missed one of San Diego's best places to eat (in Liberty Station) - Tender Greens - super fresh local food. Save it for next time.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:32 PM   #11
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Our flight was not until 4:40PM so we had time to go around some more. We slept in and by the time we went downstairs for breakfast it was packed. So we just grabbed some things and went back up to the room. I had packed the night before so we did not have to rush around like we usually do.

We got in the car and drove down N. Harbor Dr and ended up at Seaport Village http://www.seaportvillage.com/ Super cute touristy place with lots of shops and restaurants.


We walked around (it is actually pretty big) and after a bit stopped for something to drink - DD has a cupcake radar so it was no surprised she found Frosted Robin Cupcakes http://www.frostedrobincupcakes.com/

Even though my camera was supposedly out of battery it still clicked away -







DD had a chocolate cupcake, which she inhaled, and I had a nutella macaroon - which did not last very long either

After more walking we figured we should look for a place to have lunch before returning the car and heading to the airport. We looked around Seaport Village but nothing jumped at us so we went back to my list. Back to Liberty Station! I had read about the Corvette Diner and it sounded fun. It is a 50's diner and had the fun waitresses (like at 50's PT in Hollywood Studios). http://www.cohnrestaurants.com/menu-...orvette-diner/

This place is at the very end of LS. Seriously out of the way, I had to get out of the car to look at the map they have around LS to find it.
Finally find it and we see a bunch of little kids with birthday presents going in - so we figured they were super busy. The place is so big that they were actually not really busy even though there were 2 birthday parties going on. Our seats were in the 60's section and it was dark in our section so the photos are a bit dark.

We started with the Chili Cheez waffle Fries (forgot to take a photo!) I had the The Four Top Philly Cheez Steak - Cheeze Whiz!, DH got the Chicken Fried Steak and DD got the PBJ.





Again, too much food. DH liked his Chix Fried Steak, my sandwich could have used more Cheez (but what on Earth could not use more Cheez?!). It was fine but my least favorite of all the places we tried (not counting the park "food" at SW).

After lunch we returned the car and headed to the airport - again we miscalculated how long it would take us to do this and we got to the airport super early. The airport is tiny (at least the Southwest part) and even with DD being selected for extra screening (they settled with checking her backpack) and DH having to be searched (he had a knee replacement a few years ago and the metal detectors light up like Christmas trees when he goes by) we had hours to kill We had Kindles and I actually found 2 magazines someone left behind - who leaves behind a brand new Vogue and Bazaar? They are $5 each! yep I am frugal (read "cheap") so this was a treat.

So the flight was on time, we got home and were too beat to drive back that same night so we stayed in Denver overnight.

Summary - awesome weather, great food, super, super nice people (except on the roads and then pretty much everyone was insane) and pandas Still had tons of stuff we did not get to do but that just means I have to plan another trip - maybe a longer stay next time!
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I have a friend who supplies Hash House their rosemary. Just bought his second home.

You missed one of San Diego's best places to eat (in Liberty Station) - Tender Greens - super fresh local food. Save it for next time.
He must be doing well - they put rosemary on everything
We missed so much and my list had some places we never made it to, so I just have to plan another (longer) trip.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:59 PM   #13
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I do believe that Slaters 50/50 just made my list to do next month! Thanks!
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:59 PM   #14
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I do believe that Slaters 50/50 just made my list to do next month! Thanks!
Try our local chain - Burger Lounge - much better burgers.

Although Slater's has a might fine tap list for beer...
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:16 AM   #15
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Thanks for the tip!
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