Living the Dream

This is how you get what you want…

Top Ten Fast Food Mexican Food Restaurants in San Diego July 28, 2008

San Diego is home to some of the best “fast” Mexican food on this side of the border. Or at least that is our opinion. While attending college in San Diego we visited Mexican food joints at all hours of the day. Although some of these places are far from five star, they are as ”authentic” as Mexican food in California gets! **The below restaurants are not for the calorie conscious.. You have been warned!! **

(All of these restaurants have their own appeal – so they are not in any particular order.. try them all! )

1. SOMBREROS – With over 15 locations in San Diego, Sombreros is the king of late night food runs. Although I don’t eat meat, the CALIFORNIA burrito (carne asada, french fries, cheese, salsa) is a San Diego favorite. This place has some of the best Hot Carrots in San Diego!!! Most of the locations are open until late, and some of them are open 24 hours (Mission Gorge, El Cajon, Lakeside). (www.sombreromex.com)

2. ROBERTOS – This is another college student favorite. Friends would rave about the CARNE ASADA FRIES from Robertos. They have a pretty good Veggie Burrito too. This is another Mexican food chain that has multiple locations throughout San Diego – my favorite location is in Del Mar, where you can see the ocean! (www.robertos.us)

3. RAMIROS- Now don’t let the look of this restaurant fool you. Although Ramiros lacks a proper dining room, and / or restaurant setting, they have amazing breakfast burritos. My personal favorite is the breakfast burrito with potato, egg, and cheese..served all day!! This 24 hour drive thru Pacific Beach favorite is a very popular late night, post-partying dining option. Located a block away from the ocean, this is another place where you can just stop by, pick up some great food and relax on the beach.

4. SANTANAS- Another great option with multiple locations!! The great thing about Santanas is that all locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So there is no second guessing on whether or not you are going to get great Mexican food. The only second guessing is going to be on what to order. This menu has a wide variety of options with great custom burritos! You’ll never get bored with the food here. (www.santanas.com)

5. BAHIA DON BRAVO- Although there are a few locations for this restaurant, my favorite location is in Bird Rock, La Jolla. Talk about the perfect afternoon in San Diego. Bahia Don Bravo has an actual dining room, but that’s not the best part. If you are able to score a seat on the patio- it’s the best. On a good day, you can get a clear view of the beautiful ocean. This place is a bit nicer than the other joints on the list. My absolute favorite here is the potato burrito, and the potato taco. San Diego is famous for the California Burrito but the Potato Burrito here is to die for. Another recommendation would be Burrito Especial with your choice of meat. 5504 La Jolla Blvd <- My favorite location ūüôā

6. EL COTIXAN – Gennesse Location- Every UC San Diego student has been here on a late night food run. This place is always packed because of the great food. For some reason, the Gennesse location seems to have the best ”cook” and taste. Don’t be fooled by the appearance and location. Nestled right next to a gas station, this is an unlikely dining haven. Open 24 hours, they have monster burritos and the San Diego favorite Carne Asada Fries. These fries are topped with carne asada, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. Who knows if this is brain food, but it sure hits the spot for numerous students, and those with late night cravings. My personal favorite is the Burrito Supreme – add potatoes or rice. Although they don’t have a salsa bar, they have a great red hot sauce.

7. LOS PANCHOS- Another San Diego staple, Los Panchos has been a San Diego favorite for years. With multiple locations, you can alway dive into a great Pollo Asada Burrito or Rolled Tacos. Their hot carrots are decent, and their salsa is pretty good. Los Panchos is one of those places where you can find what you are looking for.

8 EL INDIO MEXICAN RESTAURANT – Located right off the 5 freeway before you enter Downtown San Diego- El Indio has been a San Diego favorite for years! They were just featured on the Food Network TV show “Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives” with Guy Fieri…so you know they mean business! This restaurant is a bit different from the rest on the list because this isn’t a little drive thru joint. El Indio is believed to be the birthplace of the ”taquito”. This may sound crazy because I know they have a large menu but they have an awesome bean and cheese burrito!!! Make sure you check out the San Diego burrito and the little taquito! (www.el-indio.com)

9. COTIJAS- Located in the friendly neighborhood of Rancho Penasquitos this taco shop gives the big name chains a run for their money. Although they are not open 24 hours, they have a drive thru and great deals! My absolute favorite is the veggie burrito. They have large portions, and great salsa. Another popular item on this menu is the fish taco. Unlike the tiny fish tacos you get at ”fast food’ restaurants, these will really fill you up. A good choice if you are ever driving on the 56 or the 15 freeway!

10. TACOS EL GORDO – Last but not least, this Chula Vista staple is as authentic as it gets. Tacos El Gordo has a store in Tijuana so you know this is no joke. I’ve heard that the tacos are just like the street tacos in Mexico. Some items to try are the Asada Tacos -( guacamole, grilled chilies, green onions on the side). Complete with a squeeze of lime and salsa. A Tacos El Gordo FAVORITE is the Adobada Tacos (although I have never had one, all my friends won’t stop telling me how great they are). These tacos come with marinated pork, cilantro, onions, salsa, and a special creamy avocado sauce. Sounds pretty authentic to me.

I guess it’s pretty safe to say that San Diego has some great Mexican Taco Shops- so next time you are in town make sure you stop by. If you are in the mood for a sit down restaurant, make sure you check out the Old Town area of San Diego. Coyote Cafe and Old Town Mexican Cafe are great San Diego favorites.

Buen Apetito!

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Top 10 Breakfast and Brunch Joints in San Diego October 9, 2007

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Brunching is one of The Dream Team’s favorite leisure activities. We were lucky to have resided in San Diego, home to a¬†plethora of excellent brunch spots. Here we’ve compiled ranked a list of San Diego’s best brunches- bon appetit!

10. World Famous (Pacific Beach) http://www.worldfamous.signonsandiego.com/

When the beach is the backyard, it’s easy to relax and enjoy a lazy morning¬†at World Famous. Inside, the seafaring decor contributes to World famous’ charm. If you’re a seafood lover you’ll dig the fresh catch at this¬†place, but we prefer the banana macadamia pancakes!

9. Pacifica Breeze Cafe (Del Mar) http://www.pacificadelmar.com/breeze-cafe.php

In the upscale Del Mar Plaza, this cafe is a perfect ladies brunching spot. Seating is mostly outside, allowing you to take full advantage of the beautiful ocean view. The staff is super friendly. 

8. Hash House A-Go-Go (Hillcrest) http://hashhouseagogo.com/gallery/gallery2_6.html

It’s San Diego’s classic brunch spot located¬†in the heart of Hillcrest. Don’t miss it!

7. Pannikin (Encinitas) http://www.yelp.com/biz/N2CMkBLbeiipGcEPOf04bA

Situated on historic highway 101 just north of the fantastic shops in Encinitas town, Pannikin makes its home in a huge yellow farmhouse. It’s a cozy, neighborhood atmosphere, perfect for breakfast or even just coffee and yummy pastries¬†after a morning of shopping. Also check out their store off to the right of the restaurant where you can find old-fashioned candy and other novelties.

6. Pipes (Cardiff)  http://pipescafe.com/Home.htm 

With a slogan like “No shirt, no shoes, no problem”, you might not be surprised to find that this place¬†is a laaaaaid back surfer spot. Sitting right off the 101 highway in Cardiff, Pipes offers an ocean view and serves up a variety of delicious breakfast burritos, egg scrambles, sandwiches, and burgers.

5. Naked Cafe (Solana Beach)  http://www.thenakedcafe.com/

The tropical¬†atmosphere and ocean view are¬†main draws to¬†Naked. In addition, the menu (which parallels that of Mission Cafe, #1 on our list) is to die for. We haven’t found food as good as good as this. It’s mostly healthy fare, bringing Asian and Mexican flavors to the menu in a unique, zesty way. The menu includes¬†low-carb and high-protein sections for those of you who are training. They also manage to add style and¬†flare to breakfast classics- pancakes, french toast, granola… augmented by unexpected flavors and¬†an eye on presentation. Their daily specials are always a good bet!¬†

4. The Broken Yolk (Pacific Beach) http://www.sdro.com/brokenyolk/index.htm

Countless hungover Sunday mornings have been spent here! Serving up a wide selection of large omelettes in addition to decent salads, sandwiches, wraps,¬†pancakes, and french toast, Broken Yolk¬†is a little less posh and more diner-y than the rest on this list. Unhealthy, you might think, but grease¬†might be just what your¬†tummy¬†needs after a night of booze! Order it “dry” if you’re not in the mood for grease. Be prepared to wait 30-45 minutes on the weekends during brunch hours. Get a table on the roof. The service here is excellent. Their slogan is¬†“We’ve got huevos”; this PB classic is not to be missed!!

3. Extraordinary Desserts (Downtown SD- Little Italy)   http://www.extraordinarydesserts.com/index.htm

You won’t be able to score pancakes here, but who says you can’t have dessert for brunch? In addition to boasting a posh menu of dips, cheeses, breads, paninis, and salads, Extraordinary Desserts truly lives up to its name with¬†byfar the best desserts we’ve ever tasted. They bake stunningly beautiful new cakes daily, which¬†you can¬†view in the display case in the front,¬†as well as home-made ice cream and sorbet. And the presentation is tasteful and immaculate, complete with orchids. Mammy’s fave menu item is the unparalleled brownie ice cream sundae…indulge yourself!

2. The Cottage (Downtown La Jolla)  http://www.cottagelajolla.com/breakfast_menu.html 

Nestled in downtown LJ, The Cottage is physically a cottage- a charming house that makes you feel welcome and, well, at home. Be prepared for a 30-45 minute wait if you show up during brunch hours on the weekends. Also be prepared for coffee and pastry samples as you wait- the Cottage takes care of their patrons! We recommend the banana or blueberry oatmeal pancakes!

1. Mission Coffee Cup (Downtown La Jolla)  http://www.yelp.com/biz/cO8kdQUXCIn8iyWqvPAqQw

Ohhhh Coffee Cup how we love you! This place is EXCEPTIONAL. In downtown La Jolla not far from the spectacular views of the cove with its playful seals, Coffee Cup is one of four “Mission” eateries in the San Diego area. We love the Cup for its fun servers and location, and of course the FOOD! The menu is largely the same as that at Naked Cafe (#5 on our list), with uniquely enhanced breakfast favorites, delicious salads and sandwiches, eggs, and scrumptious Tex-Mex fare.

 

How to get what you want in SAN DIEGO September 20, 2007

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Welcome to San Diego. Often known as “America’s Finest City,” this place has something to offer everyone. As the second largest city in California, and the eighth largest city in the United States, people from all over come to this ‘fine’ city.

Whether it’s for business, or for leisure, you are bound to find an endless selection of fun activities. The Dream Team knows from personal experience (we completed our undergraduate studies in San Diego)… This place has it all and the weather is usually ideal- sunny and warm.

One of the beauties of this city is that you can satisfy all your cravings: food, shopping, outdoor activities, meeting people, relaxing, gambling, and of course going out.

The Mammys have compiled several ”recommended ” lists to help you plan your San Diego trip.

-THIS IS HOW YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT IN SAN DIEGO –

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*Bars / Clubs*

One of the ‘big city’ perks is that you can always find a fun place to go to. But one of the ‘big city’ downfalls is … too many places, where does one go?

The following places show you the diverse settings in SD. From sports bars, beach bars in Pacific Beach to the posh clubs in Downtown San Diego…. Get it here.

*J Bar- (Downtown San Diego) – Hip, Trendy rooftop bar in the Gaslamp District. Great for group settings, grabbing a drink after work, hanging out with the girls. Perfect setting to debut your cute new top and jeans.

*Tower 23- (Pacific Beach) – Not your average beach bar. If you want a prime location to watch the sunset – this is the place. Great outdoor patio. A posh spot in one of the ”casual” areas of San Diego. More of a lounge so if you want have your dancing shoes on …. Skip over to Johnny Vs down the street.

*Stingaree- (Downtown San Diego) – Now this is what San Diegans call a ”club” – Vegas Style. The hip spot has 2 levels of dancing, and a rooftop level of chill music… ALWAYS PACKED. If you want to meet the San Diegans who ”live in the fast lane” you will meet them here. Lots of downtown locals… and DJ AM’s San Diego home. This is where you want to go ”all out”- new dress and all.

*Air Conditioned- (North Park) – Discover your creative side at this ARTSY bar/ lounge in North Park. Lounge on the side with the artists, musicians of San Diego or hop onto the dance floor. If you like to experiment with fashion – or push the envelope – Air Conditioned is the place to check out.

*Envy @ Ivy – (Downtown San Diego)- The hottest spot in San Diego. Envy has stepped it up- giving some of the big clubs a run for their money. Envy at the Ivy hotel is a lounge, bar, rooftop bar, club all rolled into one. The line usually starts forming before doors have opened. If you want to be ”seen” in San Diego, or if you want to see the ”it ” people of San Diego, you are bound to run into them here. Get your lip gloss on, your girlfriends ready to go (early), and put on those dancing shoes- because Envy is a place you won’t want to miss out on.

*Yogis- (Cardiff by the Sea)- The ultimate beach bar. Newly remodeled and ready for business. This is the place to meet and mingle with the beach loving, surfer with goals. It’s a great way to end your week without having to get all dolled up. A great chill spot to watch the sunset, and grab a drink. Think of it as a beach / sports bar with a fun loving crowd.

Other DANCE clubs: On Broadway, Belo, Sin

Other BEACH bars: **watch out for the younger college crowds** Tavern, Typhoon Saloon, Beachcomber, Sandbar, and PB Bar and Grill

Posh Beach Bars/ Lounges: Firehouse, Jacks, Jimmy Os, En Fuego, Bar West

*KEEP IN MIND*- This isn’t Las Vegas- Most of the clubs/ bars have last call by 1245 am … They stop letting people in around 12am….

So make sure you plan accordingly!

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*Outdoor Activities*

Take advantage of the location …. Check out the BEACH. If you aren’t a beach person, or if you are in SD when the laying out isn’t an option check out the following.

*Torrey Pines Trails- Take a hike…. and go see the true beauty of San Diego. Located on the top of a cliff, next to the world renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, this State Park has much to offer. Whether you walk the paths or venture down to the coast, the views are absolutely breath taking. So take a minute and when you feel like clearing your head, or just getting a little exercise, say ‘Hi’ to mother nature and visit the treasure just north of La Jolla.

*Cowles Mountain- Want a bird’s eye view of the whole county of San Diego? Do what the locals do…. and hike Cowles mountain at the Mission Trails Regional Park. With various paths to choose from – you will never be bored. Once you hit the peak you’ll discover a whole new San Diego. On clear days you can even see Coronado. Challenge it solo, take a friend or a significant other (perhaps with a bottle of wine and blanket)… It’s a great alternative to hanging out at the beach.

*Balboa Park- If you have the slightest interest in history, art, museums, nature…. check it out. It’s great just to walk around the gardens, checking out the local art shows etc. Or, if you want to see an art exhibit – check in to one of the museums. Step away from everyday life and take a minute to learn and appreciate all that’s around you.

*Mission Bay/ Crown Point- Enjoy the beach, get a jet ski, rent some bikes and ride down the beach, or just go to relax. The options are endless at Mission Bay/ Crown Point. During the summer months you can watch the fireworks at Sea World. Bonfires are also allowed so after a day at the beach, cuddle up in front of a bonfire.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN SAN DIEGO: San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wild Animal Park, Sea World, Legoland

Other activities: Del Mar Hot Air Balloon Rides, The La Jolla Cliffs, Shark Breeding at the La Jolla Shores (late August)

Nice Driving Destinations: Coronado, Julian

*Keep in mind* – There are various hiking trails in San Diego. The above are just some of our favorites.

*Coffee Shops // Places to get Work Done*

For those of us who are addicted to coffee, or for those of us who just need a place to get some work done (with wireless internet access)- here is the list. Look around and you’ll see that San Diego has more than enough Starbucks to satisfy your internet and coffee cravings. However, if you are in the mood for something ”homey” or something a little less hectic, take a trip to one of the following.

*Living Room- (Various Locations throughout San Diego)- Imagine a cozy, comfy living room. With mis-matched chairs and tables, this place is where you can do work, or relax. Grab a large cup of coffee, and maybe even a treat and take a seat. Most people there are to get work done or to study. It’s a great cozy atmosphere.

*Java Depot-(Solana Beach) – Getting work done by the beach- How ideal. Java Depot is located on Pacific Coast Highway, and offers free wireless internet. They have great sandwiches as well as coffee. The great part about this place is that after you are done working, you are only a few footsteps away from the beach.

*Cafe 976-(Pacific Beach)- A large porch wraps around this coffee house in Pacific Beach. With a wide variety of coffee to choose from you can spend a whole day here. Usually packed with college students, but a great place to stop in and send out a few emails.

*Brickyard Coffee and Tea-(Downtown San Diego) – Located close to the Marina District, this cute coffee house has food and drinks for those relaxing mornings. If you are in the fast paced area of Downtown San Diego, stop on in and take a break.

*Keep in mind*- San Diego Whole Foods Markets and Panera Restaurants offer free wireless internet for everyone too.

There you have it … the guide to getting around San Diego and getting what you want out of this Fine City. Want to know anything else? Ask and you will get it!

Enjoy!