Local’s Guide to the Best Fish Tacos in San Diego

Fish tacos and San Diego go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you’re visiting San Diego you must eat fish tacos at least once to do your trip justice and ensure you experience that beachy, laid back essence of SoCal (#vibes). To help make the decision of where to go for the best, I’ve shared my top picks as well as one wild card pick from Ollie. Happy eating (and remember: having them served on corn tortillas is the authentic way to go)!

Where to find the best fish tacos in San Diego: The Fish Shop

The Fish Shop is one of my absolute favorite places to eat in San Diego in general, but it’s their amazing fish tacos that initially pulled me in. With two locations to choose from (Pacific Beach and Encinitas–both are great places to spend a day if you ask me), getting to The Fish Shop might be your most convenient option out of all these recommendations. Ordering here is super fun–you choose the type of fish you want then pick from many different marinades & plate styles. I also really love how the decor embodies that SoCal vibe perfectly. You will definitely leave with a smile on your face!

The Fish Shop Encinitas 

Where to find the best fish tacos in Cardiff: Las Olas

Eating at a restaurant right across the street from the beach will never get old to me. Then give me a pina colada & delicious fish tacos and I might call it heaven. That’s what you’ll get at Las Olas–the vibe (and food) is always on point.

Las Olas Mexican

Where to find the best fish tacos in Del Mar: The Brig

This is our favorite place to get happy hour tacos and enjoy a fancier restaurant at a lower price. We love these fish tacos because they are a classic recipe done right. Local’s tip: spend some time across the street at Del Mar Dog Beach before or after you go. Few things are better than watching happy doggies play in the ocean.

The Brigantine

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Where to find the best fish tacos in La Jolla: Puesto

Go here for more of a foodie/craft taco experience. Puesto is one of those places that puts a lot of thought and effort into each bite. The menu is interesting in the best possible way, the space is really fun, and they serve wines from Mexico’s nearby Valle de Guadalupe. The experience we had eating at Puesto was worth the slightly higher price.

Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen and Bar

Ollie’s Pick for the best fish taco in San Diego: SALUD in Logan Heights

This trendy yet authentic place blew us away. We didn’t come for fish tacos, but Ollie ended up ordering two and falling in love with them. They also serve bottled Coco Cola from Mexico (a.k.a. it’s made with real cane sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup). Local’s tip: Nearby Chicano Park is worth strolling through to admire all the Mexican-American/ Mexican-immigrant street art under the highway.

SALUD

 

You might also like: 3 Unique Spots for Your Next San Diego Brunch

Where to Have a Great Meal in San Francisco

San Francisco might be my favorite place to go out to eat. Each time I visit, I make it a point to try something new and different because I know I won’t be let down. I feel like you can get anything in San Francisco because of how many people from different cultures call it home. I also love the small, homey vibe of the restaurants. In my opinion the coziness makes the whole experience even tastier. Over the past year, I’ve been to San Francisco three times and have had AMAZING dinners each visit. I love how you can feel like you’re in another country without ever leaving the city. If you’re looking for somewhere to sit down for a great meal I highly recommend the following places!

  • Cafe Europa for Ukrainian/Polish
  • B-Star for Burmese fusion
  • Tony’s for Italian
  • Leopold’s for German

I asked my cousin for her recommendations as well (born and raised in SF!):

  • Elephant Sushi on Hyde Street for Japanese
  • Don Pisto’s in North Beach for Mexican
  • Tartine Bakery Devil’s Tooth Bakery
  • Woodhouse Fish Company on Fillmore Street for seafood
  • Bonus restaurant on her radar: Swan Oyster Depot 

San Francisco continues to win over my heart (and stomach) each visit, and I always leave feeling a bit more cultured 🙂

What’s your favorite city in terms of food??

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Just the appetizer @ Tony’s…when the main came out it was gone before I could get a photo.
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Mains @ B-Star

 

The Best Way to Check Sausalito Off Your Bucket List

Since it was my fifth visit to San francisco I figured it was time to expand my explorations of the area, and the one place that kept coming to mind was Sausalito! It kind of feels like another world, very European with its cliffs and bays and sailboats and sunshine. So I didn’t think just driving there would do it justice; it deserved more of an adventure.

We decided to rent bikes and cycle our way there across the Golden Gate Bridge. It probably ended up being close to 7 or 8 miles, but it wasn’t a super challenging ride (except for the couple uphills). Spending an afternoon riding bikes felt so carefree and wonderful, and I had never realized what a great way it is to explore. Even in complete fog, it was epic! I would 100% do it again on a sunny day in the city.

We rented through a company called Blazing Saddles which I was mostly happy with.  Beware: they tried to rip us off ferry tickets, so be cautious before you pay that you haven’t been over charged for anything.

Once on Sausalito we headed straight to Bar Bocce where we ordered shandys, relaxed, and took in the beautiful views. Instead of biking back, I suggest taking the ferry. There’s something so special about seeing a city from the water, and they have a bar on board (cash only) to keep the party going.

If you have a spare day in SF or want to visit Sausalito I highly recommend doing it this way!

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Cycling through the Marina District, SF
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Taking in the city views before crossing the bridge
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Despite not being able to see ANYTHING because of the fog, it was still an epic ride!
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Ollie’s SO annoyed that I’m taking a selfie while cycling
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The most the the Golden Gate Bridge we saw that day
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Drinks @ Bar Bocce
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SAUSALITO you beaut

 

The Top 6 Reasons I Have a Crush on Alpenhorn B&B

I have this really weird thing with going to the same place twice. The part of me that wants to see as much of the world as possible (with the little time we’re given to do so) sees how returning to the same place again and again does not “accomplish” anything. Yet, that’s how I know a place is truly special–if I find myself wanting to come back despite that logic. Alpenhorn Bed & Breakfast is one of the places that has stolen my heart and has managed to get me back a second time without even trying. And I’m sure there will be a third. You might be asking why I love it so much? I broke it all down into my top 6 reasons:

The Gourmet Food Makes My Taste Buds So Happy

Let me start off by saying that breakfast and happy hour are included in your nightly rate 🙂 Cooking is the owner’s passion, and a reason he stepped away from the corporate world was so that he could open this guesthouse and be able to cook for everyone. Eating and drinking goes hand in hand with staying here, and the food is my number one favorite thing about the stay. They are so passionate about everything they serve whether it be appetizers, wine, dinner parties, or breakfast. A few examples to whet your pallet of what we had during our last visit: pork belly, wine from Australia and South Africa, coffee from Africa, homemade scones for breakfast, & all you can eat ribs (3 different kinds!). I could literally go on and on, but every time I come I appreciate how I’m exposed to something new and delicious. Their love of cooking really shows especially when they explain where they sourced everything from and what seasonings they used, etc. They are also extremely accommodating and were able to change things up for guests who needed different options (2 pregnant women were there the same time as us and had some dietary limitations).

The Opportunity to Socialize Is Really Refreshing

If your lifestyle isn’t set up to allow you to constantly make new acquaintances, it’s easy to forget how lovely it can be to chat with new people (like-minded enough to have chosen the same place to stay). It’s the perfect atmosphere to socialize if you want (the aforementioned wine and nibble hour helps), but it’s not forced on you if you’re wanting to express your introverted side instead. We’ve been lucky enough to meet really nice couples on both our stays and have more interesting conversations than we could have had alone.

The Location Is Prime

It’s about a 10 minute walk to The Village (main strip of bars and restaurants), which is really important to us personally so we can hit all our favorite spots without having to drive (if we ever feel like leaving the B&B, which we almost didn’t leave this past visit haha). It’s also a short drive (about 5 minutes) to Snow Summit or to the lake access point.

The Backyard Is An Oasis

The ambience of the tall trees is so beautiful. They have hammocks and swings and chairs set up for all your outdoor relaxation needs (I may or may not have ended up napping on one of them). There was also a bags set out our last visit (set up depending on weather). You can really enjoy the simple pleasure of being out in the mountain air, talking, bird watching, & truly relaxing. It’s a place we make sure to spend time when we are there.

The Cozy Romance Makes It Perfect For Couples

The feel of the backyard, fireplaces and jacuzzi bath tubs in every room, country style decor, and big comfy beds all contribute to an understated romance that makes this bed and breakfast perfect for couples. We celebrated our two year anniversary here in April, and this most recent visit there was a couple celebrating their first anniversary. It’s a special place to celebrate milestones or just to be able to spend quality time with a loved one.

The Owners Are Wonderful People

I have never felt more hosted than when I stay here, and it’s such a great feeling and change of pace from daily life. The owners have really created a perfect atmosphere, and I love getting the chance to talk with them when I’m there and see their dream come alive.

I put together a YouTube video from our most recent stay that you can watch here. There’s footage of our room and the backyard at Alpenhorn as well as some of what we got up to in Big Bear. And here are a few photos from the weekend… but keep an eye on my Instagram. Later in the week I’ll be sharing an epic lake sunset!

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Just for those who are curious, here’s another place I would return to in a heartbeat, despite there being so many new places in the world I want to experience.

Here’s the post I wrote about our very first time in Big Bear.

And here is the link for the wonderful Alpenhorn: www.alpenhorn.com

My Love Letter to Solana Beach

I once heard on a podcast that there is a physical, geographical place in the world where our soul belongs. When in such a place, one will feel extreme contentment and joy just by being there. It really struck a cord with me, and I couldn’t help but believe it true. Since moving to Solana Beach, I feel like it is the place my soul loves. It’s a hard feeling to describe–it’s kind of like against all odds and negative feelings you could have from life being thrown at you, you can’t help but be happy when you’re there.

Every time I wander around Solana Beach, my mind is racing with things I love about it. I wanted to write it all down, so no matter where I am in the world, I can always remember the beauty of this place.

Solana Beach,

I love your beach coves.

I love overlooking the ocean from the cliffs and watching the surfers.

I love the detail put into Fletcher Cove Park–mermaid and ocean art made through pebbles and stones, shells mixed in the concrete, sun mural at the entrance.

I love your succulents.

I love your sunsets and how everyone gathers to watch them.

I love your bars and breweries and winery (Pillbox, Chief’s, Pizza Port, Tidewater, Culture, Beer Works, Carruth Cellars, Saddle Bar)

I love your breakfast spots (Lofty Coffee, Beach Grass Cafe, Claire’s).

I love your music, whether it be live shows at Belly Up, 90s jams at Pillbox, or DJs at Saddle Bar.

I love your million dollar homes–although it would be nice if I could afford one 😉

I love how dog friendly you are.

I love your bike lanes along the 101 where I can always watch people cycling by.

I love your proximity to the rest of North County–the gems of Del Mar, Cardiff, and Encinitas.

I love your design district, shops, and thrift store.

I love the ability to hop on the Coaster.

I love the sound of the waves crashing against your shores.

I love the farmer’s market you put on every Sunday.

I love that Rudy’s Taco Shop belongs to you–home of my favorite breakfast burrito.

I love watching new homes being built and wondering what people do for a living who own here.

I love your lizards, which thankfully haven’t wandered into our apartment yet.

I love being able to buy an acai bowl and eat it at the beach.

I love the pina coladas at Fidel’s.

I love your appreciation for the arts and the fact that you’re home to the North Coast Repertory Theatre.

I love seeing the different shades of blue of the sky and ocean when they meet at the horizon.

I love how you’ve only ever made me feel that life is beautiful.

 

 

 

How We Found Ourselves on Catalina Island

There’s an island off the coast of Los Angeles and we haven’t gone yet?! Once I found out about Catalina Island I was instantly intrigued. Ollie and I would be able to enjoy the perks of island life without taking time off work or breaking the bank (I’m looking at you Hawaii). I knew I’d have to make it happen. I saw an open weekend on our schedules and started looking for accommodation. The hard part was finding somewhere to stay for just one night (most guesthouses on the island require a two night stay over weekends). I felt discouraged. We might not actually be able to make things work as I planned. We didn’t have the vacation time to stay two nights, but I didn’t think it was worth just going for the day either. My dreams of strolling around an island without a care in the world were starting to feel out of reach, but luckily I don’t give up too easily.

I was browsing through more accommodation options and stumbled upon the Hermosa Hotel. They didn’t have online reservations, so I decided to call and check their availability. Once again they told me what I feared–two night minimum required for weekends. The defeat start to set in when the lady on the phone told me she could check if anyone happened to be leaving on Saturday which would free up a one night stay Saturday night. It looked like our island escape was meant to be because there was one room free for Saturday night! I made a fast decision to book it right then and there without asking Ollie.

Things I’m good at: daydreaming about travel, researching options, and booking. Things I need to work on: considering Ollie’s opinion before pulling the trigger. I walked into the living room with a sweet smile on my face. “So I booked us a room on Catalina Island…we’re going July 15.” In my defense I have to take advantage of weekends during the NFL off-season because come Week 1 we can’t do anything. 😉 He seemed a little shocked but quickly accepted our upcoming plans.

On July 15 we woke early to make the hour and a half drive from Solana Beach to Long Beach where we’d be boarding the Catalina Island Express, a one hour ferry. There’s something special about taking a boat to an island; the excitement started to set in. As we drifted away from mainland California, I could already feel the stress of real life being left behind.

We got off the ferry, dropped our bags at the hotel, and headed to Original Jack’s for a hearty breakfast. It was my first glimpse at what I would keep noticing the length of our stay: being on Catalina Island was a bit like stepping back in time. There are a lot of Old Hollywood influences. Ollie was in bar crawl heaven when he saw the number of options  that sprawled out before us. We went to the Marlin Club, Luau Larry’s, The Locker Room, Catalina Island Brew House, Catalina Cantina, and even had drinks on the pier. It was true vacation mode. We ended our first day with an amazing seafood dinner at Bluewater Grill. The lights of the sailboats dancing through the darkness and reflecting off the bay added to our love of that restaurant, and we went to sleep full and content.

The next morning we had breakfast at Pancake Cottage, which is right next to the company we were renting a golf cart from. Catalina Island allows a limited number of cars, and seeing the island via golf cart was apparently the way to go. We drove all around Avalon for 2 hours and took in the gorgeous coastal views. We also saw the Wrigley Mansion (yes- the Cubs and chewing gum Wrigley). It was definitely a highlight of the weekend. We finished out our time relaxing at the bars on Descanso Beach which ended up being my favorite bars of the trip.

On the ferry home we chatted about what we thought of Catalina Island. Ollie had mentioned earlier that it was weird being somewhere where everyone was on vacation. In my opinion I agreed with that statement: the island is very touristy, crowded, and honestly a bit cheesy at times. But despite all that, I think it’s beautiful and a lot of fun. In Ollie’s opinion, he f*cking loved it–it’s the perfect place to go on a laid back bar crawl and enjoy impressive views. Good thing I forced him into going, he ended up liking it more than I did 🙂 Next time we go, we vowed to do something on the water whether that be renting a boat, kayaking, or SUPing. They also have a museum that I was interested in checking out if we ever go back.

Anyways, thanks for reading along and here are the pictures from our time there! I also made a YouTube video you can check out here.

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Boarding the Catalina Island Express in Long Beach, CA
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On board the Catalina Island Express
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Views of Long Beach
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The main street of Avalon, CA
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Admiring the bay
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The Casino
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SoCal succulents
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Beautiful Catalina
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Enjoying a Modelo on the pier
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Happy hour drinks at Catalina Cantina
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Catalina Island Brew House

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Trying new Mexican beers–love.
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Views from the golf cart drive

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Thanks wind for making my hair look stupid.

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Enjoying farewell beers at Descanso Beach

 

Why I Don’t Want to Tell You Where We Stayed in Big Bear

Ollie and I visited Big Bear to celebrate our wedding anniversary in early April. We couldn’t believe it took us almost 2 years of living in Socal to make it up–we had THE BEST time. We left feeling like we found a whole other world (even though it’s only 2.5 hours from San Diego) and daydreamed about whether or not we could ever see ourselves living in the mountains.

Skiing was the main reason we chose to visit Big Bear–something we both had never tried but on our “Make Happen ASAP” list. Our anniversary was the perfect excuse to escape for the weekend, experience something new, and splurge just a little bit on accommodation.

I don’t want to spill the beans on where we stayed because we loved it so much and don’t want word to get out but… if you scroll through this post you’ll see pictures of the property that will give it away 😉 Less than 24 hours into our stay we were already planning a return visit.

What made this bed and breakfast so great? To start, it was really charming and dreamily surrounded by pine trees. There was a jacuzzi tub and homemade bath salts as well as a fireplace, which added up to total relaxation and coziness. The highlight of this place, however, was definitely the food. The owners are a husband-wife power duo. Just to give some background: Johann is a former CEO who left the corporate world to pursue his passions including cooking. We were treated each morning to the tastiest homemade breakfast ever, and the daily happy hour included South African wines and impressive hors d’oeuvres. I could go into a lot more detail about the owners, the food, their future plans for the property, and the conversation, but it’s something you should definitely experience for yourself. Just don’t tell too many people so they don’t jack the prices up 😉

Despite how much we loved our accommodation, we did manage to get out and explore a bit. We had a blast skiing for the first time at Snow Summit. We drank craft beers at Big Bear Lake Brewing Company. We ate at 752 Social and Fire Rock Burgers and Brew. We went on a hike and breathed in fresh mountain air while admiring gorgeous views of the lake. In general, we got a chance to slow down (except when we were speeding down the slopes hehe), relax, and enjoy each others company.

Big Bear, you stole our hearts and we can’t wait to see you again! Here are my favorite photos from the weekend (see more on Instagram: @thedaydreamernextdoor)

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Have you been inspired to visit Big Bear and stay at our “secret” bed and breakfast?

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