Quick Recipes and Easy

A Few Great Hidden San Diego Restaurants, According to a Boston Restaurant Reviewer

So it looks like another weekend of heavy rain in Boston.
This is, what, the 7th or 8th weekend in a row with rain? I
like Boston, but this is ridiculous.

With the rain, my daydreams of San Diego, CA, seem to
keep popping up more and more (call it California
dreaming). The other night, I was listening to a fantastic rock
station from Encinitas on Internet radio. It got me to thinking
about Encinitas, where my cousins used to live before they
went up the coast to La Costa.

One of my favorite restaurants in Encinitas is the 101 Diner.
Located about 4 blocks from my favorite beach in the world
(Moonlight Beach), the 101 Diner has everything, from fantastic
breakfast and lunch entrees to outdoor seating to a friendly,
all-around nice guy of an owner. Nearly as excellent, and just
down the street, is Kim’s Restaurant, which has terrific
Vietnamese food. Better yet, neither of these restaurants is
well-known (if you have looked at the site I founded,
Boston’s Hidden Restaurants, you would know I have a
thing for fantastic restaurants that haven’t been learned).

Heading south toward San Diego, another memorable, but
small-known, restaurant can be found in gorgeous
Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Pipes Cafe is a breakfast spot that is
mainly frequented by surfers and Cardiff residents looking
to show up late to work (word is, Trevor Hoffman, the fantastic
reliever for the San Diego Padres, is also a regular here).
Pipes has fantastic breakfast plates, and the dining
outdoors on the patio is a must.

As you continue down the coast, you come to artsy Solana
Beach, home to Fidel’s, which is honestly well-known, and for
excellent reason; Fidel’s may be the best Mexican restaurant
north of San Diego (though I have my personal favorite,
which I’ll mention in a minute). Fidel’s is tough to find, since
it’s hidden in a neighborhood away from the ocean, but
worth seeking out.

Just before you reach San Diego, you hit La Jolla, a tony
community that seems to have more investment places
than restaurants. I like La Jolla, though, with its spectacular
downtown park above the ocean cliffs, and its narrow,
bent lanes. Just south of the center of La Jolla is a small
restaurant called Bahia Don Bravo. The owners of this
authentic Mexican restaurant have a few branches in San
Diego, but this one is special, since you can order the food
to go and walk a few blocks down a side street to one of the
most spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean that you will
ever see. And there is even a bench where the view is, so
you can eat in relative comfort. Bahia Don Bravo has the type
of Mexican food that you just can’t find in Boston. I always go
there when traveling to San Diego, and always miss it when
I’m back in Boston.

Finally, you reach the wonderful city of San Diego. Where to
go for food? Well, there are too many fantastic places to
mention here. A couple of standouts are Point Loma
Seafood, with its memorable view of the city across the
harbor, and the Coyote Cafe in Ancient Town. But my favorite is
a small hamburger joint in Ocean Beach called Hodad’s,
which is where I had the best cheeseburger I have had
anywhere in the country (and I’ve had a lot of
cheeseburgers!). Juicy, thick, hearty, and smothered in
cheese, the burgers here are impossibly excellent. Hodad’s is
truly incredible.

Well, I guess my daydream of eating my way through San
Diego is about done. As I look out my window and see the
skyline of Boston, I realize that I do live in a fantastic city. I just
wish it wouldn’t rain so much.

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