We stayed in Pacific Beach as many tourists do when visiting San Diego, and enjoyed it very much for our needs. The location is very central to all neighborhoods of the city, many shops (specifically Garnet St.) and restaurants are in walking distance, and the beach is beautiful. Our hotel had parking so there were no worries on that front, and the streets weren’t packed during our February visit to begin with. We didn’t really spend all day lounging around the neighborhood because we were only in the city for 3 days and had lots of exploring to do, however, every morning started with a heavenly acai bowl. Breakfast of the gods! How I wish Albany had an acai joint, it would almost make winter bearable!
Our first breakfast was at the Mad Beet [4508 Cass St. San Diego location may be moving in the near future to a nearby storefront], which opens bright and early at 7am, perfect if you like to take advantage of all sunlight hours. The owner was young and energetic, a great vibe emanating from this space. Our hours were off coming from New York so we had been up since 4am and we were very ready to eat, he welcomed us in when we walked up at 6:55 and was ready to take our order. Awesome music was pumping and acai bowls were pumped out quick. We each got a small standard Acai’Wol Nation for $6.45 which was very filling. It had a generous portion of the acai sorbet with fresh fruit, granola, and honey. They also make great smoothies! Only slight disappointment was that the coffee was keriug made, so skip that but don’t dare miss out on the other good stuff!
The next day we had a bit of later start and decided to try a different acai spot, the Rum Jungle [4150 Mission Blvd, San Diego located in a little plaza] which opens at 8am. When we walked up at just a few minutes after 8, the doors were being unlocked and the young man seemed a bit frazzled by the few people waiting hungrily for acai. He worked hard at taking orders and getting everything set up for the day. This place is definitely larger, it has a lot of indoor seating and a few outdoor tables. We scored one and enjoyed the little sparrows in the plants and some early morning sunshine as we waited for our food. There is a self serve water station and reggae music. I ordered an acai bowl with goji berries, my mom got one with yogurt. The bowls were delicious and packed with the standard essentials, but didn’t have too much goji or yogurt. Coffee and smoothies were great. We ended up back at the Mad Beet for our third and final San Diego acai breakfast because of the enthusiastic owner, great hours, and fresh acai. We tried two special acai bowls, one with melon and one with pitaya, and those were jam packed with the good stuff!
Our day time brought us away from Pacific Beach, but by nightfall we found ourselves back and hungry. Two incredible Mexi-Cali dive restaurants in the area were La Perla Cocina and Oscar’s Mexican Seafood. La Perla Cocina [745 Emerald St, San Diego] is a stone throw from busy Mission Blvd. I can’t stop dreaming about this place, and waking up with drool on my pillow. A California burrito is a must when visiting the city, it consists of: meat, French fries, cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole. This beast of a burrito may be one of the best things I have ever….EVER…. eaten! The tortilla itself was particularly outstanding, meat was tender and flavorful, veggies fresh and plentiful. The cheese and French fries were delicately added, the burrito was anything but greasy. The joint is very clean and the food comes out fast. This was truly a masterpiece and the heaping portion of food was given at an extremely affordable price. Cheap eats, amazingly delicious, supreme dive.
Another San Diego special is, the now widespread, fish taco. To get one of the best in the city, head to Oscar’s Mexican Seafood [703 Turquoise St, San Diego, CA 92109]. Its a little bit past the hustle bustle of the city, so we took a very short drive and easily found a parking spot. We got there right before the place got slammed, lucky us! This is more of a take out place, but that didn’t stop us from eating right inside. There are a few good outdoor seats, but it was a little rowdy (it was also Mardi Gras) and a little chilly, so we stuck to eating inside. There are only three or four stools to sit on inside and there is a thing platform to hold the trays and you face the wall. Good thing because then people can’t see all the sauce dribbling down your cheeks while you are stuffing tacos into your mouth. As you eat the only painting on the wall in front of you is an interesting reinvention of the infamous last supper painting featuring Latin icons, it was great to ponder. We each ordered two tacos, my mom got both smoked fish (which was marlin on this day), and I got one smoked fish and a shrimp. The service was efficient and friendly. As we were waiting a tray of the fish stew samples came out, a healthy serving in cups. The stew was comforting with a salty savory broth, veggies, and great chunks of fish. It wasn’t a strong fish flavor, more reminiscent of mild homemade chicken soup, I was so thankful to have this on a chilly night! This kind gesture made me feel right at home in the little dive. The smoked fish taco was my favorite; the meat was fresh and spicy, lots of avocado and veggies, and a choice of three different sauces to slather them up with. The shrimp taco was also great; I think I just prefer the fish meat in there in general. Two tacos was definitely enough, I could barely finish the second. We also ordered two fresh fruit juices. The flavor of the day was Jamaica, it was a hibiscus juice, deep in color and flavor. This was another extremely affordable option that was highly delicious.