• daisy

    As a SD resident and serious foodie I humbly recommend the following:

    Pacific Beach has the best antique shopping ever, as well as fantastic fish tacos at South Beach – the bar right down by the water
    5059 Newport Ave.

    For a more upscale walk try La Jolla Cove – complete with Sea Lions. If viewed from the street side of the walk you can’t tell if they’re looking at you or not.

    Good comfort food can also be found at
    Urban Solace
    3823 30th Street
    San Diego, CA 92104

    Excellent place for an afternoon tea:
    (I can’t recommend the passion fruit cake enough – truly sublime)

    And for the great decor (food is good, not great) I recommend the Starlite to satisfy your design needs:

    And the zoo has the best hippos ever.

  • Lily

    If you end up going to Sea World, the “Dining With Shamu” is worth the money. The food’s better than the other junk they serve in the park, and you sit poolside while trainers walk around answering questions and having Shamu come right up next to guests.

    Also, if you guys like Mexican food, make sure to hit Old Town…look for the restaurant where people are making tortillas right inside the front window.

  • Lesley

    Git your adorability right here folks! Pleeeeeeeease give us a video of these two every week, at least.

    Coco reminds me of a mini Sylvester egging on a big Sylvester ala Bugs Bunny.

    I love how Chuck gives you the side glance as if to say “You ok with me growling at the peon like this?”


    “Do something about this annoying peon RIGHT NOW!”

  • http://dearhearts.org Joey

    I’m with you on the hippos, but the San Deigo Zoo is worth it for BABY PANDA Zhen Zhen alone.

    You can check it out/swoon over her here: http://www.sandiegozoo.org/zoo/ex_panda_station.html

    Have a lovely time! I live in Southern California, and it has been absolutely beautiful out lately. (Lately = past 20 years or so.)

  • Ciara

    SD is my hometown. I love Influx Coffee Shop downtown. 21st and B St. It’s run by a husband and wife that live up above with their daughter Violet. They kind of remind me of you and John….I love The Big Kitchen in South Park for breakfast and the South Bark Dogwash is just a few blocks away. They give blueberry facials to the dogs and they LOVE it. Leta may not like it though. Too many 4-legged beasts. Pokez on 10th and E St. has amazing, authentic Mexican food, family run. I have baby hippo pictures from last time I went to the zoo. They are totally edible.

  • Anonymous

    Pipes in Cardiff by the Sea. Super yummy breakfast burritos.

    Unfortunately my favorite coffee shop, Miracles (which was a stone’s throw from Pipes) was razed a couple of years ago :( boo

    have fun!

  • lindsay

    Most of my favorites have been covered (Bronx Pizza, Old Town Mexican Cafe, South Beach Bar & Grill in OB for fish tacos, carne asada from hole in the wall ending in -erto)

    I will add Rocky’s as the best burger in SD. Located in Pacific Beach, its also one of the best lunch deals in down (cheeseburger, fries and a beer for like $7).

  • http://www.slowmotionrace.com/ Penny Rene

    I think someone else mentioned this, but Encinitas – just 22 miles north of SD is a great place to stay. It’s like Mayberry done by die hard beach lovers. I lived there and if you are looking for a place t stay call my old landlord, John House, at 760-801-9006. He rents out our previous house in week long rentals. It’s right on Neptune Avenue (street parallel to the beach.
    Encinitas beaches are quiet and fucking beautiful. You can stay there and SD is a short drive south. Much easier. And it’s cheaper than La Jolla, which is a majot tourist destination. Here’s some of my own pictures from when I lived there:


  • http://vixensden.wordpress.com Vickie

    Sorry, but I didn’t have time to see if someone already mentioned this but here is my $1.50. I moved to San Diego from Utah 10 ago years and really, truly honestly (no offense to the zoo) The Wild Animal park is much, much better (especially for kids Leta’s age in my opinion)and they have HIPPOS. I live not too far from there and my 16 year old daughter who adores Chuck (and now Coco too) will not let me live if I don’t tell you she would be glad to dog sit (we live on 2.5 acres so I think they will fit). Since we have lived here we have hit every beach (we have had up to 7 dogs at a time) and Cardiff State Beach is the most fun for dogs.

    If you want to take us up on that dog sitting thing just email me. My daughter is in independent study so she is home during the day except Wednesday.

    Have a great time!

  • Rebecca Loesch

    When I played the dog video my cat ran into the room, stood on her hind legs for about 15 seconds, heard them bark, then crouched down – with her hair standing up on her back and tail all poofed out. 5 minutes later she keeps looking at me like I brought an evil beast into our home and resents me for it.

    Thought you’d like to know your dogs are scaring cats, all the way through the Internet. Thanks for the entertainment.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/manyfires Danielle

    I was recently in San Diego for a veterinary conference and followed a friend’s advice on where to go and eat.

    I had the best, the BEST, burrito of my ENTIRE life at Alfonso’s in La Jolla. Oh. My. You know what. Not to mention the shoreline in La Jolla is just gorgeous: http://www.flickr.com/photos/manyfires/1837744290/

    In terms of downtown, Cafe Zucchero offers great Italian and in the Gaslamp District there’s a Ghirardelli chocolate/ice cream place that serves incredible decadent desserts.

    That’s my nickel’s worth. Have fun!

  • Kate

    Wild Animal Park all the way. Although Leta might have a breakdown.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/manyfires Danielle

    Almost forgot – Sunset Cliffs is also an amazing stretch of coast – http://www.flickr.com/photos/manyfires/1914440197/

  • http://misha-pooh.blogspot.com misha

    My dog must have something to say to Coco he howls out loud whenever he hears me. I am sure the neighbors are freaked, but he also never barks unless he is talking to me.

    oh god, I am so glad I gave the very sweet adult dog w/ the puppy whine to my parents. They love her, but you can hear her yipping from the outside of their GIANT house.

    BTW – cute = Coco.

    also, i have in friend in Kansas City who is in need of support but I live in Miami. It is soo cold there and nice and chilly here at 75 LOL. I want to go, but am scared of the cold. Would love to see my husky run free in the snow for the first time.

  • Nicole

    Hi from a SD local! I know someone already mentioned the science museum but I thought I’d add that they also have a huuuge IMAX theater there, if Leta would be interested in that kind of thing.

    Belmont Park:
    Kind of an outdoor amusement park with old time-y rides and an arcade. They also have The Wave House where you can take a stab at surfing on an indoor, man-made, perfect wave. And be sure to ride the roller coaster since it’s the world’s oldest active wooden coaster. If you go to Belmont Park, then you have to go across the street to Luigi’s By the Sea:
    Order a giant slice of pizza with whatever toppings you like. The pizza is bigger than your face, Heather. Bigger than your *face.*

    Also it’s whale watching season here, so you can take a boat out on a cruise of the harbor and look for whales! Some might say it’s boring but if you like whales and being on the water you’ll enjoy it.

    The National Comedy Theater:
    They do improv shows every weekend and it’s all ages so you could bring Leta too! And it’s right next door to El Indio which serves great Mexican food and Shakespeare’s Pub if just you and the hubby go.

    The San Diego Maritime Museum:

    You pay for a hand stamp and get access to a bunch of different ships including the Star of India (Oldest active sailing ship in the world) and a Russian submarine from WWII. I don’t think it gets you into the USS Midway through, which is next door to the Star of India.

    Also, if you go to Sea World, skip out on feeding the dolphins unless you really, really want to. I was just there this summer and the manta ray pool is across the way from the dolphins and we decided to feed them instead. Not only was there no line, but manta rays are friggin awesome.

  • tracy

    legoland! cleanest amusement park I have ever been too and super kid friendly. but also uber geek cool so that adults can dig it too. besides – they have a life sized dora made out of legos.

  • OG san diegan

    I read through the comments and I think you guys have been given a good smattering of the goings on….

    SD zoo is amazing and something to see. I think the hippo exhibit is called “hippo beach” or used to be a few years ago.

    Little Italy is really cute shopping and eats. Take a peek @ Mona Lisa’s Deli. Super yummy cheeses, and imported treats. Really close to little Italy is a Pier 1 clearance center…. excellent bargains!

    Sushi on the rock in La Jolla is good and if you are feeling fancy the Sunday brunch @ the historic La Valencia hotel with incredible views of the ocean. (http://www.lavalencia.com/)

    I would stay away from Laheina’s as it’s a bit gritty surfer burnout to be a family affair… Not that I haven’t personally been there taking tequila shots with the best of them :)

    Great dog parks in SD and many pet friendly restaurants. i thought this web link would be helpful in that dept (http://www.sandiegopet.com/places.html)

    have a great trip

  • elena

    If you like Vietnamese food, this place is awesome. It’s located in a great neighborhood–Hillcrest. The food is delicious, the presentation is beautiful and they will make such a fuss over Leta.
    Saigon On Fifth

    These guys serve amazingly yummy breakfasts:

    At this funky restaurant you can eat really tasty burritos served by a heavily tattooed wait-staff:

    This is a great casual place for breakfast and the setting is beautiful–it’s essentially a house and you eat on the porch. I think dogs are welcome. It’s in Del Mar:
    Stratford Court Cafe

  • Megan

    You should stop by Karen Krasne’s restaurant, Extraordinary Desserts.

    The name says it all.

  • http://sunshineandmikesfamily.blogspot.com Sunshine
  • http://nohipsters.blogspot.com Molly

    Hi Heather: I’m quite sure you’ve gotten these suggestions in the neighborhood of forty thousand times before, but we were in San Diego in April (my stepfather lived there for 30 years, and his children still do.)

    My favorite Mexican food in the city is in Old Town (I know, monstrously touristy, but my parents rented a house nearby and it was within stumbling distance after eleven shots of tequila every night). Any of the places with old ladies in the front window making tortillas by hand are winners. Get the queso fundido with chorizo.

    My son’s favorite thing (he is about a year and a half younger than Leta) was the Wild Animal park. It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it.

    Our favorite thing was driving out across the Coronado Bay Bridge and south, past the Hotel Del Coronado, past the military installations, to some of the big, quiet, empty beaches. Gorgeous.

    Enjoy San Diego, and take lots of pictures. I am a little homesick for the place, even though I have no West Coast sensibility at all and was all “Blah, sunshine! Why is everyone so friendly? Who is that guy in a suit and tie riding a skateboard down the middle of the street?” when we were there.

  • deb

    We have two beagles, mother and son and they carry on like this as well. I even bought another bone and it doesn’t matter, the son still wants the one his mother has. I especially liked how Coco looked up at the camera as if to ask,”Are you okay with this?”

  • deb

    And every time I play the video clip my dogs go crazy. Very satisfying. Thank you.

  • J

    There are the cutest hippos at the SD zoo! We took lots of pictures and video of one of them napping on a rock, underwater. It was hilarious. He’d slooowly start to fall off the rock, wake up for a second, right himself, and then go back to sleep and start the whole thing over again.

  • http://www.blog.sunrunnercreations.com Erika

    Oh my word…my dogs were so intent on watching that video..they couldnt’ figure out where the barking was coming from – hilarious!!! Have a wonderful time in San Diego – one of my favorite places to go. There are lots of fun little shopping areas, the zoo, the wildlife park is always fun, and of course just hanging on the beach is fun…..I’m ready for some sun myself. HUGS

  • Courtney

    Obviously there are quite a few of us San Diegans who read your website.

    I can attest that Balboa Park is a must see.

    I also recommend Wild Animal Park over the Zoo. Both are good but the WAP is unique.

    While you are in Escondido (home of the WAP) I recommend the Stone Brew Bistro and Gardens for lunch or dinner. The place has great beer, excellent slow food, and GORGEOUS gardens. Especially at night it is stunning. Plus it is child friendly.

    And for fun I’d also recommend Temecula Wine Country. Although it might not be the best place to take Leta.

    Other good restaurants include Rei do Gado in Gaslamp if you like Brazilian.

  • CarlosChantana

    I hope I’m not mentioning this twice, but the best brunch you will ever eat is at Hash House a Go-Go. It’s on Fifth Ave. in San Diego. http://www.hashhouseagogo.com/home.html

  • Delena

    Hi! I went to school at UCSD and now live in the SF Bay Area. Here are a few spots I’d recommend:

    1.) Extraordinary Desserts http://www.extraordinarydesserts.com/
    2.) any Roberto’s Taco Shop on Miramar Road (go for the carne asada fries or california burrito… unless you’re a vegetarian or are on a diet)
    3.) Wahoo’s Fish Taco
    4.) Tadashi Sushi for all you can eat sushi in La Jolla
    5.) Coronado Island – to walk around, visit the beach, etc.

    And the zoo is really fun! I don’t remember if there were live hippos, but I remember fake ones that you can sit on.

    Hope that helps and have a great time!

  • Likwud Cyrkle
  • Loretta

    I love Coco, but PLEASE!! put Chuck back on the masthead!

    He’s gonna get a complex!

  • Michelle

    Check out the weather we’re currently having in SD! This was taken yesterday. I myself have taken some time off from NY and can’t believe I’ve been walking around in only a sweater and sometimes just a freakin’ t-shirt!


  • kim

    when i played the video, my dogs brain nearly exploded.

  • Bears.

    I spotted Hash House and Extraordinary Desserts while I skimmed through the million comments, so here’s what’s left: The ultimate burrito. The best burrito. The mother of all burritos, if you will.

    La Posta in Hillcrest. Get the California Burrito. It has french fries in it. You’ll die happy, and with a heart attack in your throat.


  • http://andrewsave.blogspot.com amy

    anthony’s fish grotto on the wharf is a must visit. nice view right on the water and awesome food in a relaxed atmosphere (unless it’s changed in recent years, i haven’t been lucky enough to visit san diego in some time).

    sounds like a great break from winter; i’m writing from minnesota *sound of chattering teeth* so the green monster of jealouy is poking me in the ribs as i speak…have fun!

  • http://www.heylucy.net lucy

    I second The Mission for breakfast (the one in Mission Beach), and Sushi Ota for sushi, it’s the best in town. You’ll want a reservation for Sushi Ota. Dim sum is fun at Jasmine.

    I like the Ocean Beach dog beach, and there’s a great little dog wash right up the street, so the dogs can get all sandy, and then you can clean them up before getting back in the car. Plus Ocean Beach has some great antique malls.

    My sister was just in town, and I played tour guide, so you can read her report and see pictures here for some more ideas.

  • http://www.aliceqfoodie.com Alice Q. Robertson

    Yay, you’re coming to visit! I just started reading your blog and I love it. I think I’m in love with Chuck.

    It looks like you already got some good recommendations or a hundred, but I have my very own San Diego-based food blog, and I’d love for you to check it out – http://www.aliceqfoodie.com. I have a list of places I recommend on the sidebar and I’d be happy to chat if you want to shoot me an email. What to do kind of depends on where you’re staying – the Zoo does have hippos, btw. I also have two dogs, and your Coco/Chuck interactions remind me a LOT of our two dogs when we got our puppy. So much fun.

  • http://www.deliciously.org rebecca

    I’m sure you’ve gotten these suggestions already but I’m much too lazy to scan through 200+ comments to see (no clue how you have the energy to). But I would take a drive up to the top of Mt. Soledad and look at the view from there. It’s really kind of amazing. Says the girl from the midwest who forgot until this moment that you live in a mountainous state and may be used to such things. But really, it’s a nice view.

    Old Town/Bazaar del Mundo is very nice, although I’m not sure if Leta would enjoy it. There’s lots to see but it’s mostly shopping and historic buildings. The same applies to Balboa Park, it’s just gorgeous and there’s a lot of beautiful architecture to look at, as well as interesting museums, but I don’t know how a 4 year old would fare there–it depends on her attention span.

    And of course, the La Jolla Children’s Pool Beach (no idea if it’s dog friendly) with all the seals. And there’s Legoland, which I’ve never been to, but my cousins who live there are big fans of.

    Have fun!

  • Alicia

    My dog was sitting under the desk when I watched this video. It made him bark. It was funny.

  • Beth

    Go to Ocean Beach!!! They have a Dog Beach where the dogs can run free! There are dogs all over Ocean Beach on leashes. You can take them to some of the restaurants and leave them tied up outside. Very dog friendly!

    Hodad’s for Burgers on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach!

    You’ll love the antique stores and little boutiques on Newport Beach in Ocean Beach as well.

    If you want GREAT seafood (mahi mahi tacos, shark taco and lobster tacos – YUM) in a barlike atmosphere where they serve good beer, go to South Beach Bar and Grill. They will let Leta in if you go on a weekday or before 4:00 p.m. It’s right on the water.

    You’re gonna love Ocean Beach. Great place to people watch!

    Have fun and say, “hello” to San Diego for me. I used to live there and loved every minute of it.

  • linda from nj

    Just remember, if the hippo decides to turn it’s back on you–RUN!!!!!!!! Even if there is glass between you and the hippo, it’s not necessarily a sight you want to see…….

  • Anonymous

    dude, you love Jessica the hippo too?

  • http://www.crankreport.org/wordpress Marnie Webb

    The best San Diego dog park, bar none, is the Dog Beach at Coronado: http://entertainment.signonsandiego.com/places/dog-beach-coronado/ Not only do you get the benefit of surf and an off-leash expanse to wear out the dogs, you also have fighter jets flying absurdly low as they come in for a landing at the naval base right next door. It adds to the excitement.

    As for things to do (and I’m sure I’m echoing plenty from above):

    * Balboa Park — good stuff to do, see and shoot. The Museum of Man is surprising fun w/ kids. Just watch out for the archery course….
    * El Indio — http://www.el-indio.com/ — terrific Mex and nicely close to Old Town which can be fun.
    * The Zoo is great, hands down (and I once came across of a wall of mating hippo which is exactly NOT like Christmas in January)

    Have fun!

  • delia

    The Wild Animal Park is much better than the zoo. Sea World is better than the zoo. The beach is better than the zoo. Balboa Park is better than the zoo. Coronado is better than the zoo.

    When I lived in Tucson I would jump in the car at midnight on a Friday, arrive at Pacific Beach at 6am Saturday, and head back to Tucson at midnight on Saturday. It’s insane what you’ll do just to see the ocean once in a while.

    have a safe trip.

  • Crayl

    Just FYI, the Pier 1 clearance center (kinda near Little Italy) that someone mentioned has closed ,which really sucks because it was amazing.

    I read almost all the comments and didn’t see mention of:
    D Z AKINS, N.Y. Jewish style deli/bakery resturant near SDSU off the 8 freeway, fabulous breakfasts fit for a king, and sandwiches the size of your head!

    Also, if you want fresh seafood, and I mean the boat pulls up, the guys walk the fish into the back and they make your lunch fresh, go to Point Loma Seafood, lunch or EARLY dinner , they close kind early.The Calamari sandwich and the clam chowder are family favorites.

    Have fun!

  • http://alldrainsleadtotheocean.blogspot.com Emily

    Bennigan’s – Best eggrolls you’ll ever have.
    Macaroni Grill – Leta will enjoy drawing on the table. I’d assume anyway.
    Joe’s Crab Shack – Yay for singing and alcohol!

    Please please PLEASE get some Mexican food for me. (Chipotle’s is to DIE for!) I miss it! More than I even miss San Diego! These Australians have NO idea what they’re doing with a burrito.

    As far as activities, I think everything in San Diego has already been named.

    SignonSanDiego.com has the best local coupons, directions and reviews and stuff.

  • http://www.trailjournals.com/stephaniegwynne Stephanie

    While watching this video my 1 1/2 year old golden retriever lept up from her nap and stared at the computer. Then after staring it down for a few minutes she stood (on two feet of course) at the computer and barked at it. That was a few minutes ago and she is now running around the house and barking. I wish I had a video of it.

  • http://www.trailjournals.com/stephaniegwynne Stephanie

    Oh yeah, speaking of hippos… when I was about 5 or 6 I went to the St Louis Zoo with my parents and I remember walking through the indoor cave area of the hippos, the place where they could come inside to keep cool. This one hippo started backing up and pushing its butt against the metal gate and luckily my mom had the foresight to pull me away. All I remember is that some sort of wet, grassy spray came out all over. On every one. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would NOT want a hippo for Christmas.

  • Kelly

    Go to La Jolla (where UC San Diego is). You can walk around in the village and do a little shopping (great kids toy store called Gepetto’s on Girard Street. There also used to be a very interesting home furnishings store for kids that I think quite matches your design sensibility — I can’t remember the name…. MOU or something like that. I think it is also on Girard). Go to Girard’s Bakery for great pastries, quiche, and cookies. Also, check out the Brockton Villa restaurant overlooking the cove. Excellent food and atmosphere — kid friendly, but not a chain.

  • http://aws-wendy.blogspot.com/ Wendy

    I thought I was one of two readers in San Diego and now I find out I just among the hoard that loves you guys. Stop by for a bottle of wine and mocking of others anytime! I will be concise, albeit redundant:

    * Mission Cafe – the french toast
    * Rappongi LaJolla – Happy hour food is a feast.
    * Sushi on the Rock La Jolla
    * Breakfast with Shamu (must preorder tickets) so close Shamu breathes on you. May freak out Leta, but good for some excitement.
    * Legoland – kid heaven everything is their size and speed
    * Dog beachs: Coronado, OB and North County and Balboa Park
    * Balboa Park – Tuesday is a free museum day and its beautiful for photography
    * Harbor drive from the USS Midway to the airport – unique sculpture
    * Pt Loma Sea Foods – best shrimp and clam sandwiches ever
    * World Famous – good and kid friendly right on the beach
    * Hash House-A-Go-Go – worth the wait and split a plate
    * Hillcrest – great people and places to shop for unique things
    * Ocean Beach (watch Almost Famous and you’ll recognize it) – Ho Dads, Crave (a Deli), and a farmer’s market on Wednesday afternoons
    * My house – good wine in South Mission beach
    * Bring your passports and Leta’s birth certificate I would be happy to give you an insider’s tour of Rosarito Beach, Tijuana and some of the best fish tacos in the world.
    * Zoo is so much better for Leta’s age than the Wild Animal Park
    * If its still playing, “Triple Espresso” a comedy about coffee and coffee house performers. Campy and very fun.

    Enjoy your stay in our beautiful city. If you run out of things to do, just ask a local – we all have our favorite places.

  • Liz

    You absolutely MUST eat at a restaurant called Hash House A-Go-Go. It has been voted best breakfast in both San Diego and Las Vegas several years in a row. Going there is a true experience. They serve pancakes that are-I kid you not-about one foot across, as well as several other options. My boyfriend and I drive an hour and a half just to eat there, so that’s a testament to its deliciousness. I would recommend making a reservation if possible, as they are extremely crowded on the weekends.