Friday, December 7, 2012

A Day In San Diego

"Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means 'a whale's vagina.'"

I started with the Wheat. Very tasty.

Next up we tried the Smoke Screen Smoked Lager. Good, and quite smoky.

The guy mixed one of the beers - I think it was the lager - with Bloody Mary mix. Not for me.

I decided to try the Habanero Sculpin. Wow. It stung the lips, it was so spicy. "I don't know how you can drink that and drink anything else after," Zach said. And he was correct, I did not want to try any other beers. So we left after a short time.

Well, that's an easy call.

The setting for Karl Strauss is very pretty, perched next to a Japanese garden and pond.

Zach had the Amber (I think); I had the Wheat Hefeweizen.

At the legendary Pizza Port, we sat out on the sidewalk. I drank the Shark Bite Red Ale.

Right across from the ocean, we stopped in to the bar at Las Olas.

I love happy hours that start when the restaurant opens.

This was some of the best restaurant salsa I have ever had. Just fantastic. I ate three ramekins of it. I asked the bartender if it was house-made and popular and was not at all surprised when the answer to both was "yes."

I don't always drink beer, but when I do...

I decided to get a fish taco, since it was on the happy hour menu... although I probably would have tried one anyway. One of the things I miss most in Brooklyn in the easy availability of good fish tacos. And this one was great. The fish was big and juicy, covered in a very crispy batter. My only complaint is that it was covered in avocado sauce... which I realize would not be a complaint for most people. I wiped it off the fish, but it was covering the tortilla, so I just ate most of the fish by itself, with a bit of slaw on it.

I had some kind of a German pilsner at the Encintitas Ale House, but damn if I can remember which. My photos inside the place did not turn out very good. Let's just move on.

Down in the Gaslamp Quarter, there are three Irish pubs within one block of each other. We started at Dublin Square, where the Guinness was great.

I've always said that the best Guinness I have had in California is at Finn McCool's in Santa Monica. But these pints at The Field were even better. They were just perfect. I visited The Field eight years ago, and I came away with a negative impression - it was too crowded, service was lousy, and the whole thing felt like a Disney-fied version of an Irish pub. But this trip, in the mid-afternoon, was just great.

If there is one thing I love more than eating and drinking, it's American history. So we took a break in the afternoon to visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The idea for the lighthouse seemed great: 450 feet above the ocean, it was bound to be seen for dozens of miles out at sea. However, it turned out to be too high - the light would often be obscured by clouds and fog. In the late 19th century, they stopped using it and built another lighthouse down on the shore. But you can still visit this one, and it was fun.

There was also an exhibit on the military defense of Point Loma during World World II. As concerns grew about vulnerability to attack from Japanese battleships, the military pushed to install 16-inch guns, firing the above shells. Wanna take a guess how much each shell weighs? 2300 pounds.

Two fresh tortillas? One dollar. Where should we eat them? Oh, there's a bar right here.

Remember the beginning of Almost Famous where they're walking around San Diego on a sunny 80-degree day with Christmas music playing? That's what it felt like being in this, decorated with Christmas lights on a perfect day.

Still, Pacifico on tap? No complaints here.

We had an hour to kill, so we ducked into the Old Town Saloon just down the street, after we finished our tortillas. I had another Dos Equis, nice and cold.

When I'd planed the trip for last Christmas, Zach had suggested we try the High Dive on a Tuesday night, when they offer $1 pulled pork sliders. Since this occasion was also a Tuesday, I said that sounded great. I had a Green Flash Blonde Ale and we split four pulled pork sliders. They weren't great, but they were good, and you can't really complain about the price. It was the perfect last stop of the day.

Watching Ronin on Zach's 100-inch TV.

Have a great weekend.


ben wideman said...

Sigh... you're killing me, Justin.

Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA is my favorite beer. And Pizza Port may be my favorite brewpub - certainly the best local chain brewpub - of all time.

Thanks for the memories.

JustinM said...

More than once I've thought of taking a picture of City Hall for you when it's been 72 degrees. But that seems less an homage and more ... mean.

Michelle said...

Now THAT looks like a fun day.

ania said...

I was waiting for the 'Gotcha' - but it never came. Wow. All in one day.

mindful mule said...

I need to head south more often! I'm just so accustomed to heading North…

JustinM said...

I've found it's always a good idea to do what John Hiatt says.

Anonymous said...

ronin as in the de niro movie? 100 inch tv wow

JustinM said...

Yep. Never figured out why that movie isn't more popular: De Niro and Jean Reno, David Mamet dialogue, and some of the best action sequences/car chases you will ever see.

Banana Wonder said...

So jealous!