View of downtown San Diego from Coronado Bay View Park as taken from my iPhone
I visited my friend in San Diego in 2013 and loved it. I returned in 2016. I visited more awesome spots in the city that I missed three years ago. I also focused more on hikes this time and went on some great ones. Of course, I allocated some time to find some more great eats. San Diego has plenty of awesome brunch spots. Obviously, the Mexican food is also phenomenal. In addition, I sought out San Diego’s best specialty coffee shops. Below are my recommendations.
Coronado is an island, resort city across the bay from downtown San Diego and reached via the Coronado Bay Bridge. It has the best beach in San Diego and offers plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy. It is definitely worth a trip.
- Hotel Del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118)
Hotel Del is a beautiful hotel right on Coronado Beach. While there are plenty of choices to eat around the hotel, it features a $93 ($29 for 6-12 and free for kids under 5) Sunday Brunch buffet in its Crown Room. The room is big and elegant. It also serves as a premium location for a wedding reception. There are plenty of food options that include standard breakfast items, seafood, meats, and plenty of dessert. I started with breakfast foods: eggs benedict, custom omelette from a station, egg soufflé, smoked salmon. They were all very good. Of course, the breakfast pastries (e.g. waffles) are a trap at buffets. I advise never filling up on carbs at a premium buffet since they are inexpensive. I did try a piece of the walnut and banana French Toast. They were shaped like mini muffins and excellent. If you enjoy seafood, definitely fill up on it to get your money’s worth. Unfortunately for me, I do not enjoy shell fish (e.g. Alaskan Crab legs). I ate the salmon and grouper. They were solid but not amazing. An entrée that stood out was the seafood paella that was featured when I went to the brunch. The meats were also top notch. The prime rib, leg of lamb, and short ribs all stood out. Specifically, the leg of lamb was the first time I have been impressed by a leg of lamb in an all you can eat spot. Finally, the dessert was the highlight of this buffet for me. It had a ton of options with many different types of cakes, including gluten free. It featured a fondue bar, which included doughnuts. Although the doughnuts did not blow me away, I have never seen a make your own doughnut bar before so I enjoyed the novelty of it. Two other desserts that stood out are the macaroons and the red velvet cake. In terms of the red velvet cake, it was extremely moist and may have been the best I have ever tried.
Is this buffet worth $93? The Crown Room is a beautiful venue. The presentation of the food is excellent. In terms of the quality of the food, it is very good but I am not blown away overall. Brazilian Steakhouses are all you can eat premium meats for $60. Because of the variety, especially in terms of the dessert; I can buy the food itself being worth $50-$60. The brunch price also includes cocktails like Bloody Mary, Mimosa, and Bellini. I do not drink so I did not utilize this part of the brunch. If you ever watch the show “Restaurant Startup” on CNBC, Joe Bastianich provides great insight that a premium priced restaurant is also selling an experience. From this perspective, this Sunday Brunch fails. I rarely care about service at a restaurant. I just want really good food. However, I am obliged to comment about it when it is the most expensive buffet I have tried. As such, I have to note the service is average. I needed to wait and ask my server to refill my drink. If it is a $45 buffet, I am fine with it. When it is double the price, I expect the experience to be outstanding too. Nevertheless, I am glad I tried it once.
- Nado Gelato by Bottega Italiana (1017 C Ave, Coronado, CA 92118)
In my experience, gelato has only lived up to its legend twice. Nado Gelato was one of those times [the other time was in Miami]. I could not pick between chocolate hazelnut and mocha. I asked to try a small spoonful of both. Each flavor was incredibly smooth and rich. The other flavors, including the sorbets, looked awesome too. On a side note, the shop keeps its glass so clean that I could not snap a good picture of the gelato and sorbets because the glass is like a mirror and reflects the outside of the shop. Back to the gelato flavors, I gave the edge to the chocolate hazelnut.
- Coronado Bay View Park (413 First St., Coronado, Ca. 92118)
While you are in Coronado, definitely stop by Coronado Bay View Park for a few minutes. It has the best view of the downtown San Diego skyline.
4. Moo Time Creamery (1025 Orange Avenue Coronado, CA 92118)
It is an old school ice cream shop that is a blast from the past. The shop has a cool retro feel to it. The ice cream is very good but I would not say it is amazing. I ordered pistachio ice cream within a boardwalk waffle, basically an ice cream sandwich with waffles. The waffles are decent. Although the ice cream sandwich is good, I would say it is more of a fun experience than must eat.
5. Coronado Ferry
If you are staying downtime, there is a quick 15 minute boat ride to Coronado for $4.75 each way. San Diego is a great city to sail so I would definitely recommend taking the ferry to Coronado.
- Sunset Cliffs
The cliffs are on the southwestern side of the Point Loma peninsula. There is a 3.7 mile trail that runs along the top of the cliffs and the ocean. The trail is good for running or walking. The cliffs drop drastically to the ocean. The views are spectacular. As the name suggests, it is an ideal spot to watch the sunset. Even on a cloudy day, the glow of dusk reflects beautifully off the cliffs. There is street parking along the cliff. It gets crowded before sunset and clears out shortly afterwards. Nevertheless, I did not have a difficult time finding parking.
In 2013, I did some hiking in Torrey Pines. It is a great spot close to the city. If you venture 1-3 hours away from San Diego, there are more diverse, amazing hikes.
- Joshua Tree National Park
The park is named for the Joshua Trees among in its fauna. It is a desert with a spectacular diversity of natural views. It is approximately a 3 hour drive to the park from San Diego or Los Angeles. My friend and I entered through the south gate and went directly to the Cottonwood Visitor Center. If you are entering the park via the south entrance and driving down Cottonwood Spring Road, you can take a right just before the Visitor Center to get to the Cottonwood Spring. It is where the Lost Palms Oasis hike begins. It is an awesome 7.2 miles round trip hike through the desert. At the end of the trail, you can go down a small canyon to Victory Palms and the oasis where there are some large palms. It requires a little scrambling down some rocks. It is not dangerous but definitely stay on the path down. Besides the descent down to the oasis, the trail is relatively flat. However, it is very easy to get lost and there are not always signs to point you in the correct direction. In general, you will go straight. Taking a sharp turn or veering diagonal when there is no sign is a good indicator you are going the wrong way. My friend and I got lost twice on our return trip. However, we quickly realized it and turned back. We recognized that a good way, to identify we are on the main path, is to look for a lot of foot prints on the ground. Everything looks the same in the desert. If it is also very hot, I can definitely empathize with someone getting disoriented and completely losing a sense of direction. Obviously, it can be a dangerous situation. I would not do this hike alone.
A beginning part of the trail also connects to the path to Mastodon Peak. On our way back from the Victory Palms, it was close to sunset and we decided to take the 0.4 mile detour up to the peak. The very top of peak requires climbing some boulders. It is not very dangerous but I would not recommend it if you are very afraid of heights. Of course, do not be reckless. The top of the peak is an amazing spot for sunset. However, the view just below it is great too if you do not want to climb a little to the top. The entire hike, including the detour to Mastodon Peak, took us approximately 3 ½ hours.
We went to Joshua Tree at the end of March. It is an ideal time to visit since it is not too hot and the wildflowers are blooming. There are fields of wildflowers throughout the hike. I would also suggest hiking in the morning or after 3 PM when the sun is not as strong. Obviously, bring plenty of water. We also got a late start to our day. As such, we did not actually get to see any Joshua Trees. They are in the north part of the park. It is about an hour drive from the south end of the park to the north end, Twentynine palms. Although we did not have the time to explore it, I would definitely recommend spending a couple hours driving around the north end of the park. There are plenty of trails to hike in Joshua Tree. I definitely enjoyed and recommend the Lost Palms Oasis hike as well as the detour to Mastodon Peak.
- Three Sisters Waterfalls Trail (14850 Boulder Creek Road, Julian, CA 92036)
The Three Sisters Waterfalls hike is on an unofficial trail in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. It is an amazing hike with gorgeous views of a valley on the way to an awesome payoff, three waterfalls [hence the name]. The beginning of the path is about an hour and 40 minute drive from San Diego. It is on Boulder Creek Road which is very curvy. You can find the trailhead on Google Maps but cell phone reception will cut in and out on the road. Regardless, you will notice it when you see it. The entrance is at a sharp turn. There is also a big sign and likely other cars parked on the side of the road. The hike is definitely challenging. The path goes down into a valley. There is a segment that gets very steep. Fortunately, sets of rope are set up to aid in the hike down as well as the hike back up on the return trip. I am not the biggest fan of heights. However, I never felt afraid or in danger on the ropes. They are there so you do not slide down and for some support on the steep climb back up [although some hikers can go back up without them]. It is not like there are big drops where you can fall off. Later on, there is a small rock wall and another rope to go down the side of it. Nevertheless, it is not very high so there is no real danger. Near the end of the trail, there are a lot of rocks and boulders that you need to climb and go around to get to the waterfalls. There are also multiple paths along the rocks. It is easy to veer off the wrong way, especially on the way back. As such, there is a little trial and error. The payoff of the falls is worth the effort. There are two more sets of ropes on the right to get to the top of all three falls. Even without going up the ropes, there is a great spot to relax and enjoy the falls and valley.
The hike is a little under 4 miles roundtrip. I do not recommend it for first time hikers. I definitely recommend hiking shoes. Of course, bring plenty of water. My Camelbak came in handy. The hike took us 3 ½ hours. We took our time and spent time to enjoy the falls. For an experienced hiker who wants to complete the hike as fast as possible, it would probably take two hours.
- Potato Chip Rock (14644 Lake Poway Road Poway, CA 92064)
Lake Poway Park is a great spot and only a 40 minute drive from San Diego. The park is beautiful. There is a trail that goes around the lake if you want to walk or run. There are a lot of trails that go up Mt. Woodson. In order to get to the top of the mountain, follow the Mt. Woodson Trail. At the top, there is the Potato Chip Rock. As the name suggest, the rock looks like a potato chip. It is a popular spot for pictures. As such, there is always a line to strike a pose for a photo. I did not have the inclination to wait in line for one. You can continue to the top but the best views are near Potato Chip Rock. The views at the summit are obscured by cell phone towers. On the other hand, it is one hike where you will not have to worry about cell phone reception. It is not an overly difficult hike because there are not extreme elevation changes. However, it is a legitimate hike and excellent workout because it is still uphill on a mountain and 7.5 miles round trip. Of course, it can get very hot so bring water. The views as you ascend up the mountain and at the top are well worth the effort.
- Brunch/ Breakfast
1. Werewolf American Pub (627 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101)
Werewolf is an awesome pub in downtown San Diego. I came here for the pork belly eggs benedict. The dish is three stacks of egg benedicts on top of pork belly with hash browns on the bottom. Is it the best eggs benedict? No. Is it the best pork belly? No. Is it the best hash browns? No. Nevertheless, each piece of the dish is very good. When you combine them all together, the ensemble becomes magic. Of course, the pork belly is the best part. It is very thick and has a nice char complimented by an excellent sauce. It is my favorite breakfast dish in San Diego.
- The Cottage La Jolla (7702 Fay Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037)
As the name implies, the restaurant has a cottage theme. It offers a charming, pretty, and modern feel with an option for outside sitting. More importantly, the food is excellent. The presentation is top notch. I tried the Stuffed French Toast which features brioche bread, strawberry compote, and mascarpone cheese. Definitely take the add-on of strawberries and bananas on top. The fruit is very fresh. As I would expect from brioche bread, the toast is very fluffy. Of course, it is very sweet. I have three specialty French toasts dishes I have tried in Baltimore, Los Angeles, and New Orleans I rank above all others. However, I see them as a separate category. The Stuffed French Toast at The Cottage is more in line with conventional French Toast dishes. Within this classification, the dish is as good as any. Although I only tried this dish at The Cottage, the other entrees I saw ordered throughout the restaurant looked amazing too.
As expected, there is a long line for Brunch, even on weekdays. I decided not to wait the first time I tried to eat here. I went back another day at 1:30 PM and was sat right away.
- Snooze an A.M. eatery (3940 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92103)
Snooze is a brunch spot in the neighborhood of Hillcrest. I ordered the Bella! Bella! Benny. It includes thin slices of prosciutto, Taleggio cheese, and poached eggs on toasted ciabatta, topped with cream cheese hollandaise, balsamic glaze and arugula. The eggs were cooked perfectly. The prosciutto is awesome. The cheese and balsamic glaze really compliment the flavors of the egg and prosciutto. It also comes with awesome hash browns. My only issue with the dish was that the ciabatta bread was rock hard. Snooze is also known for its pancakes. I ordered a chocolate chip pancake per recommendations on Yelp. However, the Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes are the way to go. I tried my friend’s order of it much later in the day and they were still amazing and much better than the chocolate chip pancakes. We had to still wait an hour to sit even though it was 10:30 AM on a Tuesday. Expect lines on the weekend to be long.
- Harry’s Coffee Shop (7545 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037)
Harry’s is a good choice if you want a simple breakfast in a spot with an old fashioned feel. I ordered the BW Benny, which includes eggs, bacon, and ham on top of a waffle. Individually, each piece of the dish is good. Together, it becomes something terrific. The hash browns are also very good. I almost never comment about the service, but it was suspect when I went. We were seated then waited for a while before someone even came to ask us for our drink order. When we tried to tell him we were ready to order, he just ran away. Our waitress finally arrived a few minutes later when I mentioned to my friend “There are times service is so bad that you do not tip”. However, the restaurant was buzzing and they were really busy so I will give them a break. Nevertheless, you cannot just sit your customers and not even acknowledge them for a while. The food was still worth it.
5. Promiscuous Fork (3801 Ingraham St, San Diego, CA 92109)
First, it has a fantastic name. Second, it has excellent food. I ordered the Kailua Pork Quesadillas. Kailua pork is a popular dish in Hawaii. It is very juicy and tender. I love it. The Promiscuous Fork does justice to the delicious Hawaiian dish. My friend ordered the pork fried rice which includes srirracha, hoisin, fried egg, and green onion. He has been craving the dish ever since we returned to New York. It is very good. Moreover, the price is pretty moderate.
6. The Menu Restaurant (3784 Ingraham Street San Diego, CA 92109)
Its website describes it perfect: “he Menu has been a Pacific Beach landmark for over 35 years. It opened in 1976 and we have retained its original warm and casual environment. We love the old feel of the place and so do our customers.” It is a great spot for a simple but good breakfast: pancakes, eggs, etc. I ordered one of the specials, granola-crusted French toast. It was good but not incredible. The granola crust could have used a little more crunch.
7. Bayside Landing (3780 Ingraham St, San Diego, CA 92109)
It is a good spot for brunch in Pacific Beach. I had the Southwest Breakfast Burrito which has scrambled eggs, tater tots, roasted poblanos, grilled onions, avocado, cilantro, cotija and cheddar cheese. I added sausage for $2. I also ordered an extra side of tater tots. They are very good. On the other hand, service can be slow so it is not a great option if you are on a strict schedule.
5. Acai Bowls
I developed a love affair with acai bowls since I tried one in Miami. They are great when you want something cold to start your day in a warm weather location, such as San Diego. They are also quick if you do not want to spend the time to sit down for breakfast.
1. Rum Jungle Café (4150 Mission Blvd #153, San Diego, CA 92109)
Without a doubt, Rum Jungle has the best acai bowl I have tried in San Diego. The acai is perfect: cold, rich, and smooth. The toppings (e.g. fruit) is fresh. The honey, which is critical in a great acai bowl, is excellent. The presentation is very good. I have ordered the “Pacific Beach” and the Aloha. The Pacific Beach has a great combination of fruit: bananas, peaches, strawberries, and blueberries. The Aloha is the signature acai bowl at Rum Jungle. They make the bowl inside a carved out pineapple.
2. Amazona Acai Café (841 Turquoise St, San Diego, CA 92109)
Amazona does not have the best acai bowl I have ever tried but it is very good. I ordered the Urbano which includes granola, banana, strawberry, blueberry, and honey. All the ingredients are fresh. The presentation is not bad but you can only see the granola on top when you get it. I usually see either a clear cup to see all the ingredients in the bowl or a fruit arrangement on top. However, it is just aesthetics. It still tastes very good. The café also has guarana. It is my most favorite soda. It tastes like a ginger ale fused with cherry. The café also has a parking lot for customers so it is one of the few places you do not have to look for street parking.
3. The Mad Beet (933 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109)
The Mad Beet is a great spot to grab a juice or smoothie after a workout. You will see a lot of customers in their gym clothes. It also has a decent acai bowl. I ordered the Acaiwol Nation which includes granola, honey, strawberry, blueberry, and banana. The fruit and granola is fresh. My only criticism is that the acai comes frozen like a sorbet. In my opinion, it needs to be blended so it is more like a yogurt. However, you can just walk outside for a bit and eat the bowl at the beach. The acai will melt during the walk.
1. Casa de Reyes Restaurant (2754 Calhoun St, San Diego, CA 92110)
Fiesta de Reyes is located in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. There are plenty of shops and food. There is also live entertainment. It is an excellent place to visit. Casa de Reyes has awesome Mexican food. You can get a lot of food at a reasonable price. I went for the Combination de Reyes. You can either pick a combination of two or three. Choosing three is only $15.49, an extra $2, so I went in that direction to try more food. I ordered the stewed pollo soft taco, avocado pork crispy taco, and Puerco de salsa verde enchilada. They also come with rice and beans. Everything is excellent. There is also complimentary chips that are homemade. They are awesome.
- Pacific Beach Fish Shop (1775 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109)
This shop is great for fresh seafood. I came here for fish tacos. I tried the popular TKO (mahi mahi), which is marinated with Fish Shop seasoning and includes shredded cabbage, mixed cheese, and house white sauce with a tropical salsa. Everything in it is great. The tropical salsa, which includes mango, is great. In addition, you can make your own fish dish by picking your fish, marinade, and style (e.g. taco, sandwich, etc.). I went with sea bass with chipotle glaze in a taco. Both the fish I tried is as fresh as it gets and the marinades are awesome. In addition, the clam chowder with andouille sausage is solid.
- South beach bar and grille (5059 Newport Ave Ste 104 San Diego, CA 92107)
South beach bar and grille is on Ocean Beach on the northwest corner of Point Loma peninsula. It is a good spot to eat near Sunset Cliffs. The fish tacos here are excellent. I ordered the Mahi (marinated), wahoo, and baja fish (pollock). The Mahi (marinated) is the best fish taco I ate in San Diego. The marinade is perfect. The wahoo is a thicker, tougher fish and taste a little bit like chicken. I was not a fan. The baja fish is fried. Anything fried always tastes good. Of course, it may not be the best for you. There is also outdoor seating on the second floor of the bar and grille. It offers a great view of the beach and the nearby Ocean beach pier.
- La Playa Taco Shop (3973 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109)
This shop is a hole in the wall in Pacific Beach. The fish tacos [fried] and carne asada fries are great. The portion sizes are big. The dishes are smothered with a ton of cheese and sauce. It is definitely not a spot for you if you are looking to eat healthy.
7. Other Food
1.Herb & Wood (2210 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101)
I probably ate my best meal in San Diego at Herb & Wood. The dishes are some of the most creative concoctions I have ever seen. Of course, they also taste incredible. The bone marrow pizza has the bone right in it. The bronzino entrée I had was wrapped in Iberico ham. Both dishes are a couple of the most unique in terms of presentation and taste I have ever seen and eaten. The bronzino was incredible. We also ordered the crispy potatoes and the off menu special baked rolls. The rolls are a very popular item. It is pricey but awesome for fine dining.
2. George’s at the Cove (1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037)
George’s is an amazing place to eat dinner in La Jolla, which is my favorite spot in San Diego. The restaurant sets on top of a high cliff. I definitely recommend sitting up on the terrace at sunset. It provides an amazing, elevated view of the ocean as the sun sets below it. In addition, the food is awesome. The fish taco appetizers and sea bass entrée were excellent. It is not cheap but it is worth the money if you are looking for a very nice dinner in San Diego.
3. Crunch Time Popcorn & Kim’s Creamery (611 K St C, San Diego, CA 92101)
I was walking around in downtown San Diego waiting for my friend who was watching the Padres game. While I was waiting, I was craving ice cream around the ballpark and found Crunch Time. It features homemade ice cream. I had no expectations and was completely blown away. It is arguably the best ice cream I have ever eaten. The ice cream is so ridiculously smooth and rich. I also ordered it within an ice cream sandwich: Chippy Chip Chip. The chocolate chips are big and chunky. The presentation and taste are immaculate. Their popcorn is great too.
4. Cannonball (Belmont Park, 3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109)
It is an awesome spot to eat dinner around sunset on an open air rooftop [as long as you do not have the sun directly in your eyes]. It has a great view of Pacific Beach. The sushi is excellent. The fish is very fresh. I would not be surprised if the fish is caught in the morning. We ordered a number of sushi rolls and they were all great. Their best roll is the lobster roll which includes spicy lobster, yamagobo, avocado, jalapeno rings, and eel sauce. I do not even like lobster and enjoyed it. I also loved the Cali’ Dreamin which has spicy tuna, yellowtail, cucumber, yamagobo, seared tuna, citrus soy.
5. World Famous (711 Pacific Beach Dr, San Diego, CA 92109)
It is a solid restaurant right on Pacific Beach with patio seating that offers an awesome ocean view. The stuffed mushrooms are a good appetizer. I also ordered a clam chowder that was really good. For my entrée, I went with fish. The fish was very smooth and tender. It included cucumbers and potatoes, which were great. The sauce was excellent. I also tried a little bit of one of the pasta entrees my friend ordered. It was awesome and I would definitely recommend ordering one. The bread is also baked fresh and tastes like it. Of course, it useful for dipping into soup or sauces.
6. Rocky’s Crown Pub (3786 Ingraham St, San Diego, CA 92109)
Rocky’s is a cash only, sports bar so is over 21 only. The only food on its menu is burgers [1/3 or ½ pound] and fries. The ½ pound burger is $6.50. It is another 50 cents for cheese. The fries are $3 and enough to share between two people. The burger is awesome and the fries are very good. In terms of cheap burgers in San Diego, I like Rocky’s burger even more than In-N-Out and I love In-N-Out.
7. Grab & Go Subs (2102 India St, San Diego, CA 92101)
It is a great spot to grab an excellent sub. As the name implies, it is fast. The meat and the toppings are very fresh. Although the bread is not one of the best I have had, it is baked fresh every day and good. This location is right by the airport so it is a good option to “Grab & Go”.
8. Chocolat Cremerie (509 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101)
It is a great spot in downtown San Diego to get gelato. I had a scoop or Nutella and a second scoop of hazelnut. I loved both of them.
8. The Shout! House (655 4th Ave, San Diego CA 92101)
It is a unique bar that I would definitely recommend if you are going out in the Gaslamp District. It is known for the dueling pianos as two pianists play and sing tunes. The patrons can write in request for them to play for a tip. However, the pianists may throw the request to the side if they do not like the suggestion [or do not know how to play it]. Nevertheless, The Shout! Is a great time if you are going out in San Diego.
9. Petco Park (81 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217)
It is one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country. It very modern since it opened in 2004. It is a great park to watch a ballgame. The Yankees were in town so I took advantage of the situation to check out Petco. Even if you do not go inside to watch a game, it is definitely worth walking around if you are downtown. If there is no game, there is a small park area where you can walk into and look into the ballpark.
1. Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (5627 La Jolla Blvd, San Diego, CA)
The Bird Rock in La Jolla is my favorite coffee shop in San Diego. The coffee is top notch. In addition, it is a beautiful spot and shop to sit back, relax, and read a book or do some work. I also tried the location in Little Italy (2295 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101). It is another excellent location with very good coffee. Nevertheless, I liked the Bird Rock in La Jolla slightly more.
- James Coffee Co (2355 India St, San Diego, CA 92101)
James is in “The Space” in Little Italy. “The Space” is a building that houses a number of boutique shops. It has the feel of an aircraft hangar. In addition, it is right below the path of the landing airplanes. As such, you will hear and see airplanes above you. I tried James twice. I went Sunday afternoon just before 5 PM. The barista completely screwed up the latte art. Sometimes, you will run into the B squad baristas in off hours on the weekends at a coffee shop. In addition, I have noticed that baristas have more trouble with almond milk. As a result, I am going to just order a latte with regular milk when I try a new place from now on. Nevertheless, the latte tasted acceptable. I returned to James on a Tuesday at 11 AM before my flight home and I had a much better experience. The barista actually apologized for messing up the latte art but assured me it would taste great. It looked fine to me and tasted awesome. I appreciate a perfectionist who has pride in his work and does not like it when he does not pass his best work along. He is definitely on James’s A squad.
- Copa Vida (905 J St, San Diego, CA 92101)
I tried the original Pasadena location when I visited my friend in Los Angeles. This location is in downtown San Diego right outside of the baseball stadium, Petco Park. It is a spacious, beautiful shop with plenty of seating. I had as good of a latte at Copa Vida as I had anywhere in San Diego. It was arguably the best. I put Bird Rock and James ahead on my list of coffee shops in San Diego to try because they are unique to San Diego. In terms of just quality, Copa Vida is second to none.
For Part 1 from 2013, please see http://rookerville.com/2013/09/09/hitchhikers-guide-san-diego/