On August 1, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:For the latest collections from the hottest designers seize your savviest shopping pals and head to Fashion Valley Mall. Located in San Diego’s sun-soaked Mission Valley, this upscale shoppers’ mecca spans 1.7 million square feet and offers more than 200 stores to choose from. Take advantage of valet parking then stroll the breezeways in search of haute couture from famous names like Burberry of London and Hermès of Paris. Don’t forget to grab a bag from Coach and a haute pair of Jimmy Choo shoes while your there.
Have the whole family with you? Gap Kids and Gymboree has your wee ones covered. Meanwhile hip brands like H&M and Holister keep tweens and teens happy. When you’re bags are overflowing settle down at California Pizza Kitchen for a respite and some So Cal-style pie. Afterwards you can head to The Cheesecake Factory for a slice of something sweet. Fashion Valley Mall is located at 7007 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92108. Hours are Monday to Saturday: 10am - 9pm Sunday: 11am - 7pm.
Thanks to a glamorous head-to-toe makeover, the once slightly shabby Westfield UTC in La Jolla is now over-the-top chic. The breezy, open-air mall is also brimming with cool features like luxurious lounge areas scattered throughout the property. Some include cozy chairs clustered around fire pits while others feature plush sofas set under shady cabanas. Perhaps the hippest, however, are the nest-like daybed pods that offer a semi-private place in which to perch.
Anchored by Macy’s and Nordstrom, the mall boasts a wide array of stores that range from high-end merchants like Rolex, Coach and Tiffany & Co. to fun and affordable retailers such as Charlotte Ruse and Forever 21. Specialty stores like Sun Diego Boardshops and Brighton Collectibles are also in the mix, as is Williams Sonoma, and Chuao Chocolatiers where you can sample artisan chocolate bars laced with surprising ingredients like maple bacon.
For luch stop by Tender Greens and savor a gourmet salad made with locally sourced ingredients, or grab a fro yo from Yogen Früz then head to the sunny Palm Plaza for a live music performance (12pm – 2pm Wed – Sun). Other onsite entertainment and activities options include ArcLite Cinemas, the UTC Ice skating rink and a 24 Hour Fitness Super-Sport Club.
4545 La Jolla Village Drive,
San Diego, CA 92122-1212
Monday – Saturday 10am – 9pm
Sunday 11am – 7pm
For serene shopping in a seaside-setting visit Del Mar Plaza in the village of Del Mar. The al fresco marketplace has plenty of gems to uncover. Peruse the inspiring art photography at Michael Seewald Gallery or shop for canvases brushed with ocean-inspired shades of acrylic at the Erik Scholdberg Gallery.
Discover fine additions for your wardrobe at classic clothiers such as Chico’s and Banana Republic, or search for edgier styles like a leather Muubaa biker jacket, or a trendy jumper by LA designer Eva Franco at Peaches en Regalia.
Take a break from browsing with a meal at one of the Plaza’s many ocean-view dining venues. For dim sum and then some choose Del Mar Rendezvous. Enjoy modern Chinese cuisine such as crispy duck wraps or walnut shrimp complemented by sake or a glass of wine.
Del Mar Plaza is located at 1555 Camino Del Mar and is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 9pm, and Sundays from 11am until 6pm.
For a truly unique shopping experience head just a few miles northwest of downtown San Diego to the Ocean Beach Antique District. Located on Newport Avenue, the district spans two pedestrian-friendly blocks and was named “best antique shopping” by San Diego Magazine. The assortment of malls and shops offers an exciting mecca for treasure hunters and collectors alike. It is also a coveted source of vintage décor and unique furnishing for local high-end interior designers.
Visit Vignettes and be transported to Paris of yesteryear. Shop for French sofas and settees clad in faded satin or curvy serpentine dressers awash in peeling pastel paint. Among the shabby chic finds you’ll discover glitzy gilt mirrors and glamorous chandeliers draped with glittering crystals. More than 24 dealers of European antiquities contribute to Vignette’s alluring collection. The inventory is ever changing and is always beautifully staged.
For classic collectables such as old-timey toys, retro estate jewelry and vintage dishes look no further than the Ocean Beach Antique Mall. This is the oldest antique mall in Ocean Beach and is home to an almost overwhelming stock of unique nostalgia. Peruse the assortment and come away with intricate silverware, one-of-a-kind oil paintings, and whimsical hats adorned with rhinestones and feathers. Plan to spend a good chunk of time here, as there is plenty to see.
The district has plenty of parking and is open seven days a week. Plan to spend an entire day exploring this unique bevvy of boutiques, shops and malls. Nearby cafes and coffee shops will keep you fueled for the adventure.
Shoppers in search of high fashion at low prices will be thrilled to discover San Diego’s treasure trove of outlet malls. Top-end designers and leading brand-name stores can be found conveniently clustered together in San Diego’s South Bay and Coastal North County. Fashionistas who shop these stylish centers are rewarded with haute couture at discounts between 25 - 65%.
An excursion to the Carlsbad Premium Outlets in Coastal North County is well worth the drive. The outlet mall, located in the serene seaside town of Carlsbad, offers a lovely al fresco shopping experience complete with lush landscaping, beautiful storefronts and occasional live music. Enjoy the ocean air as you stroll the breezeways seeking steals from designers such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Michael Kors and Elie Tahari.
Las Americas Premium Outlets in San Diego’s South Bay is another gorgeous outdoor outlet mall. Savor budget-savvy shopping sprees surrounded by elegant architecture, statuesque sculptures and beautiful courtyards dotted by bubbling fountains. Visitors will delight in the vast array of discounted fashion from top-end brands such as Banana Republic, BCBG Max Azria and Nautica.
The seaside resort town of La Jolla is arguably one of the best and most pleasant places to shop in San Diego. Often compared to Rodeo Drive, the La Jolla Cove neighborhood is an affluent area that is home to several hip shops and high-end boutiques. Stroll the stylish sidewalks and discover cutting-edge jewelry, one of a kind outfits and lavish labels from designers like Armani and Ralph Lauren. When you tire of hunting for haute fashion cool your well-heeled feet at one of La Jolla’s open-air cafés.
On August 1, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:It’s no surprise that some of San Diego’s tastiest and most festive Mexican restaurants can be found in Old Town, after all the area was designed to showcase San Diego’s Mexican heritage.
For a fiesta-worthy dining experience that pays homage to the area’s namesake visit Old Town Café. With rustic wooden floors and corrugated tin ceilings supported by open beams painted in scream-out-loud colors, it’s the perfect place to party, especially during daily happy hour featuring food and drink specials.
El Fandango is another Old Town favorite. The cool layout features a traditional adobe building flanked by shady armadas covered in blooming bougainvillea. Vibrant hand-painted murals adorn the walls while richly hued terra cotta tiles create a warm dance floor on which to groove to the live musical entertainment featured daily. The palate-pleasing cuisine is authentic, the portions are large and the margaritas are strong and frosty.
Nearby Barra Barra Saloon and Casa de Reyes restaurant offers two exciting experiences to choose from right in the heart of Old Town. Nestled amongst bustling shops in a plaza known as Fiesta de Reyes, the saloon features a wide array of specialty tequilas for adults while kids dine gratis with the purchase of adult entrees. Meanwhile, the restaurant boasts old-fashioned Mexican cuisine served in a garden-like setting as live entertainment lights up the stage.
For more information on dining in Old Town visit: http://www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com
On August 1, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:Blessed with nearly year-round sunshine, San Diego is an ideal destination no matter the season, but each has its own appeal.
Summers in San Diego bring longer, warmer days perfect for spending time on the beach. Water temps rise to the low 70’s while the sun heats the air to the toasty 80’s. The sand can get hot and the coastline quite crowded but it’s still the best time to soak up So Cal’s sizzling rays. It’s also the ideal time to enjoy San Diego resorts. The pools are open with expanded services and amenities and special summertime events are in full swing.
Autumn on the other hand is known as serenity season. Kids go back to school, tourist attractions quiet down and the resorts and beaches feel much more private. While some resorts close their smaller pools and limit poolside services, lower rack rates and greater room availability make it easy to extend your stay. It’s also an ideal time to spend the day hiking San Diego’s amazing canyons. Meanwhile, the cooler nights are perfect for roasting s'mores around San Diego’s plentiful beach bonfire rings.
Winters in San Diego are warm, gentle and highlighted by festive holiday celebrations. The resorts are beautifully lit with twinkle lights, parties are in full swing and special events abound. At the Hotel Del Coronado, families can take part in a truly unique experience when the resort transforms its Windsor Lawn into an spectacular ice rink for skating by the sea. If you plan to be here over Thanksgiving or Christmas be sure to book ahead.
Spring in San Diego brings a phenomenon known as May gray and June gloom to coastal towns. While daytime temperatures remain warm, a heavy marine layer often sits over the beaches. While it usually burns off for a few hours each day it can be tricky to truly enjoy time on the sand. This is a great time to explore San Diego’s interior. Inland resorts enjoy clear sunny days and offer popular outdoor pastimes such as swimming, golf and tennis.
On August 1, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:Jetpacking is perhaps of the wackiest watersports to hit San Diego. It’s also a whole lot of fun. Worn on your back, much like a school kid’s backpack, the super-charged unit pumps 1000 gallons of water per minute and propels flyers to heights of up to 30 feet above the water. The unit's light weight and easy maneuverability allows flyers to deftly loop through the air and dive through the water.
Instructors control the flights of first time flyers, but once newbies get the hang of handling their own controls they're allowed to loop and dive on their own. Flights typically range from 15 -25 minutes each and the price per ride starts at around $150 per. Flyers must be at least 16 years old and weigh a minimum of 90 lbs. San Diegans can try the jetpack out for themselves at Mission Bay Sports Center. The experience is truly one of a kind.
If engaging in adrenaline-fueled water sports is on your San Diego bucket list then be sure to visit Manta Wind and Watersports on Fiesta Island for group or private kiteboarding lessons. The extreme sport is an exciting fusion of surfing and wakeboarding techniques combined with flying a controllable power kite attached by harness.
The kite works with the wind to pull and lift the pilot as they glide across the water and launch off of waves. While it sounds somewhat intimidating, the sport is relatively easy to learn. Sign up for Manta’s "Discover Kiteboarding" package for a 4-hour introductory lesson with a certified instructor and learn the basics such as safety, set up, launch, hover and loop. Once you’ve mastered these techniques on turf you will advance to the surf to practice your skills on the calm waters of Mission Bay.
Getting in or on the water is an absolute must and there are plenty of fun ways to take the plunge. Adventurous types can charge the sets on a their favorite wave weapon along San Diego’s sensational surf breaks. For a similar but easier option try riding the inside whitewater on a boogie board or mellower yet, hit the lagoons and give stand-up paddle boarding a try.
For quests above the waterline charter a sailboat, catch the breezes and cruise San Diego Bay. Other boating options include whale-watching excursions where you can scout for the spout, commune with dolphins and giggle at barking pinnipeds. For something more romantic book a ride on a Venetian-style gondola and glide through the serene waterways of the Coronado cays.
On June 26, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:Although today’s houshold TVs are massive is size, have great sound systems, and even come in HD and 3D varieties, there’s nothing quite like getting out with fellow fanatics to take in March Madness, Super Bowl, or the World Series. Enter an exciting sports bar packed with gigantic screens, a sea of sports-obsessed brethren, and an endless supply of beer and wings and the experience can be just as fun as watching the game live.
Players Sports Bar in San Diego is just such a place. It is arguably the best venue in the city to hang with fellow sportos and catch the latest heart-poundind pro team action. It is also a hot spot for alumni who gather to follow and cheer for their much-loved college teams on 70-plus screens with games piped in by more than 50 satellites. The sprit of camaraderie is fueled by a mind-boggling bevvy of local, domestic, and international beers paired with wings, nachos, pizza, and all the mandatory game day menu items.
Players Sports Club is located at 7061 Clairemont Mesa Blvd in San Diego, CA 92111. They have a second location in the North County city of San Marcos at 328 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd, San Marcos, CA 92078. Visit them at www.playerssportsbar.com for all the latest happenings.
On June 26, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:The Park Hyatt Masters of Food and Wine program is a global series of chic culinary experiences that observe the changing of the seasons by exploring the best of local foods and beverages. I have had the pleasure of participating in several of these celebrations with the Park Hyatt Aviara in the North County seaside resort town of Carlsbad. Each experience is unique, and is always beautifully executed.
Examples of past events include a visit to prominent San Diego craft draft brewery, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, where guests enjoyed hosted beer tastings paired with delicious gourmet bites prepared and introduced by Park Hyatt Aviara’s brilliant Executive Chef Pierre Albaladejo. A detailed behind the scenes brewery tour followed then commenced with an authentic Brazilian-style BBQ expertly prepared over the flames by Chef Albaladejo.
Another notable Masters of Food and Wine event featured rare and exotic tea tastings led by Certified Tea Master Chaz Kroll. Park Hyatt Aviara’s talented Executive Pastry Chef Franck Riffaud paired the delicate blends with his handcrafted gourmet chocolates of varying cacao content. Held in the resort's sophisticated library, the tasting was followed by a traditional English High Tea that included savory selections of finger sandwiches and an assortment of sweet teacakes and pastries prepared by Chef Riffaud.
Masters of Food and Wine events are held quarterly and are synchronized to take place on the same day at all Park Hyatt locations worldwide. For more information of Park Hyatt Avaira and other Park Hyatt Masters of Food and Wine celebrations visit: http://hyatthotels.hyatt.com/corporate/Programs/ParkHyattMFW/en/home.html
On June 25, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:San Diego is flush with exciting summer festivals and choosing which ones to attend can be tricky. While it would be impossible to hit them all, here are a few worth checking out:
The 2013 Summer Shakespearean Festival
The highly acclaimed, Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theatre returns this summer with an alternating repertoire of much-loved classics performed under the stars at their alfresco theatre. This year’s lineup combines the quick and witty Tony-winning farce Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard with Shakespeare’s enchanting and undeniably magical fairy tale A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and his memorable saga The Merchant of Venice. Performances take place Tuesdays through Sundays at 8pm until Labor Day, and on Tuesday Wednesday and Sunday at 7:00 PM, and Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 8:00 PM after Labor Day. For tickets and more information visit http://www.theoldglobe.org
ArtWalk San Diego at NTC Liberty Station
Once know as ArtWalk on the Bay, the newly named ArtWalk San Diego is the county’s biggest art event of the season. Now in it’s 8th year, the annual event takes place at NTC Liberty station, San Diego’s leading arts and cultural district. Once a Naval Training Center, the area is now a hip and happening hub of artist studios, performing arts, museums, and galleries. This year’s fine art festival will be held on Saturday, August 24 and Sunday, August 25 and will feature works by more than a dozen artists, which can be admired and purchased under the shining summer sun. Musical performances, interactive children’s activities, and gourmet food booths will complement the experience. For more information visit: http://www.artwalksandiego.org/ntc/index.htm
Festival of Sail 2013
Hosted by the Maritime Museum, the Festival of Sail is the largest tall ship celebration on the entire west coast and it's one of San Diego’s most popular events. This year’s swarthy affair will take place from Friday August 30 through Monday September 2, 2013 over Labor Day weekend from 9am to 7pm daily. Highlight s of the festival include the opportunity to board and explore the tall ships, a tall ship parade, cannon salutes, and plenty of photo ops with good-natured pirates. A very special 30-minute cruise aboard the tall ship Pilot is also available. The four-day nautical event will include food, art and craft booths and will be held at North Embarcadero. For more information visit: http://www.sdmaritime.org/festival-of-sail/
On June 25, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:Get down and groove this summer at the bayside San Diego Symphonies Ashford University Summer Pops concert series. Each year a stage is constructed at the beautiful Embarcadero Marina Park South where musical performances are enjoyed in an alfresco setting. Grab a general admission ticket and enjoy a cozy spot on the lawn, or upgrade to a grandstand voucher and perch on fold-down style chairs. For the ultimate concert experience snag a cabaret table and be seated in style.
The Summer Pops series kicks off their 10 weeks of concerts in late June and features an exciting lineup of musical acts. Standouts include a star-spangled 4th of July extravaganza lead by principle Pops conductor, Bill Conti who will lead a musical mélange of American hits from Broadway to Main Street. The show will also feature a military salute, and front row seats to the Big Bay Boom fireworks spectacular.
The season continues with performances from musicians like En Vogue, Amy Grant and Michael Bolton as well as cover tributes to bands such as The Bee Gees of Saturday Night Fever fame. Summer Pops concerts are held on Friday and Saturday nights with occasional shows on Thursdays and Sundays. Gates open at 6pm and acts kick off around 7:30 pm unless otherwise noted. This is an outdoor venue by the Bay so be sure to dress in layers and bring something warm for after the sun goes down.
On June 25, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:One of the tastiest places to treat yourself to something sweet is at Cups of La Jolla. The boutique cupcake lounge is positively brimming with beautiful cupcakes baked with the best local, sustainable, and organic ingredients. Their daily batches of fluffy cupcakes come in a wide array of unique flavors like the Better with Bacon, a sweet and savory maple syrup-infused vanilla bean cup frosted with maple buttercream crowned by maple sugar-cured bacon. Another sumptuous selection is the Wine and Cheese cup, which combines smooth cabernet chocolate cake with creamy brie frosting sprinkled with candied walnut confetti.
While you can certainly get your cakes to go it’s far more fun to indulge your sweet tooth right at Cups’ old-fashioned soda bar-style lounge. The cute-as-a-button venue has plenty of charm created with earth-friendly materials like recycled glass countertops and a backlit wall composed of repurposed milk bottles from Straus Family Creamery, California’s first family-owned certified organic dairy. In line with that theme, Cups serves ice cold Straus milk straight from a tap and into reusable Straus milk bottles. For a special pleasure consider trying the Strawberry Milk blended with fresh organic strawberries.
Other delights include house made sodas sweetened with natural juices, cupcake enriched milkshakes and ice cream, organic loose-leaf teas, and grind to order coffee drinks made with beans roasted in North Park by Caffe Calabria. Enjoy your just desserts while bopping to the tunes of the resident Cups DJ and taking advantage of the lounge’s free wi-fi. You can even bring your pooch along to hang with you out on the Pups Patio. Your four-legged friend will enjoy the calming herb garden and you can even treat Fido to special doggie cakes called Cuppies. There’s a lot going on at Cups, so grab a friend, bring your cupcake cravings, and check it out for yourself.
Cups is located at:
7857 Girard Avenue,
La Jolla, California 92037
Mon-Thurs 10am – 7pm
Fri-Sun 10am - 9pm
On June 25, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:I love spending time in the chilled-out North County coastal town of Encinitas, and whether I’m there to surf the breaks or shop the boutiques I like to fuel up for my adventures at Native Foods Café. The fast-casual vegan eatery has a vivacious vibe and an extensive menu of 100% plant-based appetizers, entrees, and desserts made fresh in house daily. They also serve thirst-quenching drinks like lavender lemonade and watermelon fresca for a mere $2.50 each (refills gratis).
The vegan café is a popular place so there is usually a line at the counter, but it moves quickly and gives me some time to contemplate my order. The menu has much to peruse and is conveniently broken up into categories such as starters, salads, chef’s favorites, earth bowls, and handholds, which range in price from $2.95 to $9.95 each. Orders are placed and paid for at the fast and friendly counter, drinks are served right away, and food is delivered tableside within the restaurant or outside on the sunny patio.
Although I haven’t tried everything on the menu yet, I do have a few favorites such as the spicy-sweet Saigon Rolls, which combines braised lemongrass tofu, julienned carrots, pickled daikon, cucumber strips, fresh cilantro, and basil with brown rice and peanut sauce in a healthy whole-wheat wrap. I also favor the hearty Caribbean Jerk Kale Salad made with seasoned tempeh intertwined with chopped mango, avocado, red pepper, and kale in a creamy jalapeño cilantro dressing topped by coconut and scallions.
I generally avoid the temptation of dessert, but when I do indulge I go for the rich layers of whipped peanut butter, homemade banana bread, and chocolate chips nestled together in the Peanut Butter Parfait. The Carrot Cream Cheese Cupcake and Homemade Apple Pie are other great choices, and at only $2.95 per treat it’s hard to resist any of these dairy, cholesterol, and refined sugar-free delights. They are light, delicious, and about as guilt-free as you can get when in comes to sweets.
I love the fuss-free service and the wallet-friendly prices, but perhaps the best thing about Native Foods Café is that the food makes me feel as good as it tastes. I also have to admit that – while I’m an omnivore at heart – I really enjoy the knowledge that no animals are harmed in the making of my meal.
Native Foods Café
127 North El Camino Real
Encinitas, CA 92024
11am- 10pm daily
On June 25, 2013Julia Weiler answered the question:While many San Diego restaurants provide gluten-free options, and in some cases offer separate gluten-free menus, there are very few eateries dedicated to serving nothing but gluten-free fare. 2Good2B Bakery & Café in Encinitas is one example of the latter, and a truly delicious one at that. Proprietors Mike Barbanti and Dianne Benedek are passionate about what they do and have worked tirelessly to perfect their menus. The result is an impressive array of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options along with artisanal breads, beautiful desserts, and gorgeous custom cakes (including wedding cakes) that taste as good as they look.
2Good2B is my favorite spot to dine with my gluten-intolerant friends and family members. As a result, I have personally tried more than a dozen dishes at the café. My best picks for brekkie includes Red Velvet Pancakes with maple syrup (they also have buttermilk banana, which I have yet to sample) and the Breakfast Panini stuffed with fluffy scrambled eggs, melted cheddar and crispy slices of bacon. Lunch and dinner standouts include the simple yet perfect Pizza Margherita, and the Mac & Cheese Gratin topped by toasted rosemary breadcrumbs.
Organic teas and coffees (iced or hot) round out the drinks list, while mini cupcake bites, cookies and pies offer a sweet finish. I usually skip dessert but I often go home with a loaf of sun-dried tomato & roasted garlic bread, or jalapeño & cheddar, both which make a killer grilled cheese sammy. 2Good2B has plenty of other grab-and-go goodies as well as salads and other packaged foods for a meal on the run. They also boast a wide array of sweet and savory party platters, which can be ordered up to 48 hours prior to pickup. Delivery service is also available.
2Good2B Bakery & Café
204 N El Camino Real Suite H
Encinitas, CA 92024
Monday – Saturday 7am-6pm