Sassy, Sunny, Savory San Diego

A MexItalian Inspired Vacation

With escalating gas prices, driving can be the more affordable mode of transportation. If driving isn’t your style, SD is a short train ride into the Santa Fe Depot from whichever SoCal city you reside in. For non-SoCal locals, there is an airport right here in sunny San Diego.

When in San Diego, a stay at Hotel Republic is recommended since it’s centrally located between the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy. It is part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott. The boutique hotel has an elegant yet beachy vibe with driftwood chandeliers, neutral tones and blue accents. Whether you are there on business or for play – the large bathtubs, amazing eateries and city views make it a great place to unwind. Bonus – it’s pet friendly.

Topside, the hotel’s rooftop lounge, offers Saturday morning yoga, and there’s live entertainment on Sundays. Topside overlooks the city with an ocean breeze, a fire pit and colorful patio décor. Friday night TRADE bar in the lobby has live music and craft cocktails – a perfect pit stop before dinner. Want to spend the night out? A quick walk or ride to Gaslamp Quarter brings you to San Diegan nightlife where there’s no shortage of bars and nightclubs.

Don’t stay out too late Friday night, as the Little Italy Mercato is one of the top happenings in the region on a Saturday. Around 200 vendors line up with an array of produce, handmade products and international cuisines. There are bocce boll courts right next to the Mercato, providing the perfect pit stop for entertainment while you enjoy your cannoli (cannolo for the Sicilians). Little Italy is a short walk from Hotel Republic, but the hotel also provides bikes for guests who would rather have wheels.

If you are all about the brew, Ballast Point in Little Italy offers an amazing selection of craft brews, along with a select few you can only find at this location. Pilsners and ales and lagers, oh my! Beer connoisseurs or indecisive drinkers can order beer flights. Children and dogs are both welcome. Ballast Point offers tours throughout the week as well as their private dining in The Kettle Room.

After those pre-dinner beverages, hop in a Lyft and head to CUCINA Urbana in Bankers Hill. CUCINA Urbana boasts an extensive wine selection. There is literally a wine for everyone…over 21, that is. Parents bring your well-behaved kiddos; they cover the tables with paper allowing them to color and create. The menu is kid-friendly with spaghetti and pizza for those picky eaters. Adults can enjoy the interessante menu with a variety of choices ranging from Chicken Liver Pâté to Spring Pea Toast to Squid Ink Radiator. Indulge your taste buds with Malted Milk Budino or Lemon Semifreddo. You do not want to miss out on dessert here. It is incredible. Be sure to make a reservation because this place gets packed.

Spend Sunday strolling through Balboa Park. The incredible architecture gives you a peak into its Spanish history. There are plenty of free museums for everyone in the family to enjoy, whether you like art or railroads.

While you make your way through Balboa Park make sure you stop by The Prado. The charming restaurant is centrally located in the historic House of Hospitality. The eclectic décor, shimmering lights and world-class cuisine fill the room with a romantic energy. The perfect spot for a date…or wedding reception. The award-winning restaurant can accommodate up to 2,500 guests in its indoor and outdoor meeting space. The menu is best described as California Cuisine with anything from Cilantro Rock Shrimp Chili Relleno to Mushroom & Truffle Risotto. The Prado offers a wide variety of specialty cocktails, margaritas, beer and wine to pair with dinner. Don’t forget dessert, the S’mores Crème Brûlée is incredible.


For SD newbies, La Jolla is a must see. From the breathtaking views to the incredible shopping to the impressive cuisine, there is something for everyone. When in La Jolla, eating at Puesto is a no-brainer. They offer Mexican food with a twist. The open kitchen allows restaurant goers to watch their yummy creations being made. Puesto gives off an urban, artsy vibe with bright murals and brick walls. The unique menu boasts an amazing range of vegetarian options, including Potato Taquitos, Zucchini & Cactus Tacos and Mushroom Tacos. There are plenty of fish and meat options for the land and sea lovers. The Frozen Horchata is a must try. They blend their ingredients into a sweet, icy concoction and garnish it with a cinnamon stick. (Fun fact: $1 from every Horchata is donated to charity) Have you ever tried a Carrot Cake Tamale? It’s delicioso. Puesto’s Executive Pastry Chef Jessica Scott serves up stunning creations – you may recognize her as Food Network’s 2017 Dessert Games winner. After dining, you can walk around the beach and let the kids play in the tide pools while you burn off those delicious calories.

If these delectable activities don’t inspire you to visit San Diego, then come for the beaches. There is no shortage of sand and sea. Adventure seekers can kayak, surf, Jet Ski, flyboard, paddleboard, whale watch, snorkel and enjoy boat tours. Don’t forget your sunscreen!


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A MexItalian Inspired Vacation

By: Caitlin Elizabeth Pieh


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