Like you, I'm sure, one of my favorite things to do when visiting any new-to-me city is eat--I love learning about places through their flavors. San Diego, you'll be happy to know, did not disappoint, so today I thought I'd share with you my top three bites of the trip.
Donut Bar. These were the best doughnuts I've ever had, you guys—huge and puffy and yeasty and just the right amount of frosted. We made the smart choice to cut a bunch of them in half or quarters so we could try several kinds at once, and I am not lying when I say that every single one was delicious. My favorites, though, were the classic plain with vanilla bean frosting, the "strawberry split" (a plain doughnut split in half and stuffed with strawberry whipped cream and fresh strawberries—OMG) and the creme brulee. I think it may be time to try making doughnuts in my own kitchen, because I am quickly becoming obsessed.
Carnitas Snack Shack. My mom read about this place in the New York Times travel section—part of the "36 Hours In..." series—and really wanted to try it. We mistakenly thought it was by the beach, and it definitely is not; in fact, it's in a part of town I'm not sure I'd ever be able to tell you how to get to. But honestly, it doesn't matter: The pork tacos—served in a hot tortilla with lots of fresh salsa and guacamole—are delicious; I'm not a big pork eater and I finished my plate. My dad got the steak sandwich, which comes on Texas toast with pepperjack cheese, Serrano peppers and chipotle aioli, and that looked great, too, but I'd go for the tacos. Order at the little street-facing window (and if you're not headed to the airport immediately after, like me—or hey, even if you are—grab a craft beer), then take your number to the sweet hidden seating area behind the shack and enjoy every bite of your food. Yum.
In-N-Out. I had to have In-N-Out when I was in San Diego; like dipping my toes in the ocean, it was absolutely on my "must-do" list. The night after my brother's wedding and reception (which was a lunch), my aunt, uncle, cousins and I decided to go exploring, and ended up at In-N-Out when we got hungry (I got a classic cheeseburger—no onions—and we split fries and a couple shakes). I have to say, it was worth the hype—much tastier and cheaper than Five Guys, which are ubiquitous here in Florida. Next on my list: Shake Shack!
We ate other food on this trip, of course—several times in our hotel's restaurants, which were unremarkable, and then of course at the wedding reception, which was Italian—but these were my standouts. If you're ever in San Diego and try any of them, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
P.S. We also heard amazing things about Mariposa Ice Cream, Searsucker in the Gaslamp Quarter and Snooze in Hillcrest (we tried to have brunch there but there was too long a wait), so those might also be places to add to your eating list if you're visiting SD, too.