We just got back from our family vacation to San Diego a week ago. I wanted to do a few recap posts to share our trip with all of you. I’m planning to do 3 posts about our stay in San Diego and then 1 post about our day trip to Disneyland/California Adventure in Los Angelos. Luckily, Southwest had direct flights to and from San Diego, but unfortunately we had to leave fairly late and return late. I am all for morning flights, but since we wanted direct flights we did not get as many options. We ran into this same issue when we flew to Myrtle Beach last summer. However, with all the flight delays and cancellations that I’ve heard about on the news, I was just glad that our flights were on time and didn’t get cancelled!! Whew! Here is a photo of Autumn and I on the flight. She is all into Lululemon tanks and shorts these days.
We stayed at the InterContinental Hotel in San Diego and we were really pleased with the view of the bay. This hotel was in a prime area with the bay right outside our door and Little Italy was just a walk away. It is only 10 minutes away from the airport. We had picked this hotel because it is fairly new, had a Starbucks right outside it and a pool. But, I would not bother with a pool at all in San Diego. Our pool was heated and it was still very cold, especially if you plan to swim later in the day. I say skip the pool in San Diego! Ha, ha! Lesson learned. Or, just sit outside and enjoy a cocktail by the pool. About midweek our hotel was hosting a conference, so we had quite a few conference people in and around the hotel. It was nice to see a little bit of pre-Covid normal! There is a few restaurants inside this hotel and we only ate at The Vistal for breakfast our last day. I’ll share more of that in a separate blog post.
The first night we arrived into San Diego in the evening and I got a really nice photo of “The Kissing Statue” outside the USS Midway. This 25-foot installation recreates the famous embrace between a sailor and a nurse celebrating the end of World War II in New York’s Times Square in 1945.
I wanted to keep our first night fairly laid back since we spent most of the day traveling and we had a time change of about 2 hours to get used to. We ate at The Fish Market, which had really good reviews on Trip Advisor. It was right next to the USS Midway and only a 5-10 minute walk from our hotel. We enjoyed their hot sourdough rolls and crab cakes to get started. Both were delicious!
San Diego offers a lot of healthier food options and a lot of vegetarian menus! I am a HUGE fan of scallops (they’re my favorite meal!) and they were delicious on the bed of fregola. We finished dinner with some of their key lime pie. Yum!
This was my first time in California and ohh it is so beautiful there. This is the walkway right outside our hotel. I love all of the palm trees, their shadows, the blue sky within the urban setting.
Our first day we did a Premier Brunch Cruise through Viator. This was such a great way to start our trip! It was only a 10 minute stroll from our hotel, so we got to walk around and see a lot of street vendors and unfortunately… homeless people! The Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon was also happening this morning and we saw where it was set up and a lot of people walking around with their medals. I’m a runner, so that was fun for me to see! I highly recommend this 2 hour cruise, it was so fun!
They took our photo before boarding the ship. Since it is SO hard to get photos of the teens these days, I am usually a sucker and buy these photos… it is the only way I can get a family photo sometimes! Ha, ha! I thought this photo of all of us turned out so well.
At boarding, we were handed a big glass of champagne. I kind of lost track of how many glasses of champagne I had… they just kept filling my glass! Oops! The champagne is complimentary, but they had a full bar where you could purchase wine and cocktails. They included a pitcher of OJ on our table if we wanted to make our champagne into a mimosa. The teens were excited to get sparkling cider!
The buffet on this ship was impressive! I feel like buffets are far and few these days after Covid and I miss them! They had a great selection of fruits, salads, breakfast meats and pastries, carved meats such as turkey and roast beef and more. They had a dessert spread and also came around with trays with other types of desserts that weren’t on the dessert table, such as hot chocolate chip cookies, macaroons, little cups of puddings, etc. It was a feast. I ate a lot. LOL.
One of the highlights of this cruise was going on the top deck, sipping champagne and then going under the Coronado bridge. This bridge was so long and it connects San Diego with Coronado Island. We REALLY wanted to get over to Coronado Island during our trip to see the hotel. The hotel is supposed to be haunted and is open to the public to walk through. There are white sand beaches, a cute coffee place there, etc., but we didn’t have enough time. Perhaps if we ever come back to San Diego, we’ll stay onsite at Coronado next time!
The teens enjoyed themselves on the boat. They even played outdoor Jenga together. Shocker!
After the boat cruise, we went back to the hotel for a few hours. Brian and Nathan went to get hats, because Brian got A LOT of sun on the boat. It is weird, San Diego can be so chilly and cool early morning and evening, but it can get quite hot midday! In the evening, we had another tour set up… which involved more food!! Eek!! We had a Little Italy Walking Food Tour through Viator and it was 3.5 hours of history, food and drinks. This tour may have been a bit of a stretch for two teens, BUT we really wanted to do it. Nathan really enjoyed it, Autumn struggled through and I think she enjoyed parts of it.
Our first stop on the food tour was at Davanti Enoteca, which is an modern Italian eatery and wine bar. If you look behind me in this window, you’ll see an olive tree. It looks real, but it used to be on a set to a movie (they didn’t say which movie) and this restaurant now owns it on their outdoor patio.
We had a few really good dishes here, such as polenta and brisket ragu (the brisket was SO tender!), focaccia di recco (Ligurian flatbread, soft cow’s milk cheese and honeycomb) and fried roman artichokes (not pictured).
Our next stop was at Nonna Little Italy Restaurant. Nonna means grandma in Italian. At this restaurant they pay homage to every grandma and their unwavering passion for family and food. They share Busalacchi traditions that have been passed down. I loved how they brought nature inside the restuarant on the walls.
We had A LOT of dishes at this restaurant. The photo on the left is their Arancini, which is filled with saffron rice, beef ragu and mozzarella. The photo on the right is their Imbottiti, which is eggplant wrapped around bucatini pasta with pesto, ricotta cheese topped with tomatoes. We had a few other dishes, but I was starting to get so full and we were talking to a couple next to us that I didn’t take photos. I promise it was all very tasty!
We had some history on our walking tour. This yellow house on India Street was really neat to see. It was built in 1949 by Tony and Rose Bernardino and has been passed through three generations of daughters to its current residents, Nick and Joanna Pecoraro. Nick is nicknamed the mayor or even Godfather of Little Italy. He’s known for his unique style, charm, and countless hours spent sitting on his front porch watching passers-by. The local Godfather has lived in his gilded, yellow house for 51 years. He inherited it from his father-in-law who was one of the original fishermen in the neighborhood.
We got to enjoy dessert at a few places at the end of our tour. The first place we went to was Filippi’s Pizza Grotto Italian Market and we enjoyed an Italian flag cookie. It is usually in just the colors of the Italian flag, but for some reason had orange in it this time. Then we went to Solunto, an Italian Restaurant and Bakery and enjoyed a scoop of gelato.
That’s a wrap up of our first two nights in San Diego. I’m going to try and share a recap post once a week. This will be my only post this week. I’m still trying to get caught up and the summer has been so busy that I wasn’t able to get a second post set up for this week. I hope to be back to my regular posting schedule next week!