restaurant review

3 Best Burgers in San Diego

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good burger. Growing up, it didn’t matter where we went out to dinner, whether it was fancy or casual, or what the occasion was, I’d get a burger. I wish I was exaggerating but I’m not.

Naturally, living in San Diego has endless options for delicious burgers, and I’m not just talking about In-N-Out Burger.

Best Build-Your-Own Burger

Great Maple, Washington St (Hillcrest)

great maple san diego burger
Photo courtesy of Yelp.

Whether you go for the grass-fed beef or opt for the turkey burger, Great Maple’s burger patties are flavorful and made with the finest ingredients. What do I recommend you add on to your burger? Cheddar, bacon and caramelized onions. Upgrade your fries to the truffle fries (come on now, they’re only $1 more) and you’ve got yourself one hell of a meal.

 

Best Homemade Burger

Dan Diego’s, Morena Blvd (Bay Ho)
Dan Diegos Burger

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Photo courtesy of Yelp.

To be honest, no matter what you choose to order at Dan Diego’s, you will know it’s made with love. This place is undoubtedly our favorite place to go in San Diego, because it’s local, family-owned, and everything is homemade. About the burger though? Let me tell you what it consists of:

  • Ground steak patty
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Corned beef
  • Caramelized onions
  • Bacon
  • Horseradish Sauce

This thing is unreal. Pair this burger with one of their many unique beers on tap (or enjoy with my personal favorite, a “red cider” [half hard cider, half sangria]) and life will be perfect. I do advise that you don’t eat the whole thing and you save some room for dessert. One of the owners makes all of the desserts herself, and the bread pudding is everything you could ever possibly want in a dessert, so plan accordingly and thank me later!

Best Bacon Burger

Slater’s 50-50, Liberty Station (Point Loma)
50-50 Burger

gallery-burgers-01
Photo courtesy of slaters5050.com.

What is the 50-50 burger? It’s half ground beef, half ground bacon. This is an obvious pick for bacon lovers. They even have a burger called the B’ B’ Bacon Burger, which includes bacon american cheese, bacon, bacon island dressing and a bacon pretzel bun. Excessive? Maybe. But if you’re a bacon lover, this is your spot. Pair it with one of their many, many amazing beers on tap and you’ll be a happy camper.

attractions · dog things · friends · photos

This Weekend in Photos: October 10-12 + 17-19

Here’s what my last two weekends have looked like…

Two Saturdays ago, we drove up to Los Angeles for the engagement party of Adam’s friend. It was a lovely evening with great people!

engagement party

On our way back from Maeby’s overnight boarding…

funny dog picture

Last Wednesday, I went to paint night with my friend at Pinot’s Palette in Liberty Station. I’ve only been to one other location in San Diego, and I much preferred this place! They had an assistant who helped us, and a bartender who went around throughout the class to see if we wanted drinks. And I’m a big fan of Liberty Station, where there’s a Stone Brewery, Trader Joe’s and Slater’s 50/50. I will, for sure, be back at this location soon for another paint night.

paint night

I got Maeby a brand new toy. It lasted a total of an hour.

funny dog pictures

Morning glories on an evening walk…

morning glories

Korean BBQ with Adam at our favorite, Mapo.

korean bbq

We got Maeby a Halloween costume. She’s going to be a pirate.

dog pirate costume

And last but not least…

Adam and I spent our Saturday afternoon at the San Diego Zoo. We have annual passes (which weren’t much more than the cost of daily admission), so we got to go in for free! And we avoided the ticket lines, which was great because I’ve never seen the zoo so busy.

tiger

elephants

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I also got some exciting news from work last week…

They’re sending me to our office in the UK for a week! After that, I’m going to take two days to go back to one of my favorite cities in the world: London. I studied abroad there for a semester when I was a junior in college, and I’ve been dying to go back ever since but didn’t know if I’d get the opportunity to go any time soon. I feel so lucky (and honored) that my work thinks my skills are strong enough to go engage in conversations and share my opinions with the higher ups at our company headquarters, and fortunate that I am able to take an extra couple of days to return to London.

Life’s been busy, but it’s been good!

cuddly things · life · photos

What I’ve been up to…

It’s been a couple weeks since I last wrote. Work has been crazy and I’ve been taking it easy recovering from it on the weekends, but I’ve still been loving life in America’s Finest City.

Here’s what I’ve been up to…

Enjoying the items I won in Lauren Lives Healthy‘s birthday giveaway

lauren lives healthy giveaway

Seriously, this giveaway was unreal. I won all of the above, but also received a two-day juice cleanse from Nekter Juice Bar, a cookbook from Oh She Glows, and tablets and a water bottle from Nuun. Some of my favorite new-to-me products from the giveaway so far: Justin’s Dark Chocolate PB Cups (these were gone in the first day), Brownie Coco-Roons (so, so good), and Cacao Nibs.

Enjoying more of Maeby’s PetBox

first petbox

We aren’t even close to being done with everything in this box, and Maeby is still loving it all. (Don’t forget, use promo code MAEBY at checkout for 10% off your first purchase!)

Sunset and drinks in Del Mar…

del mar sunset

…followed by a romantic dinner (and great prices because of SD Restaurant Week) at Kitchen 1540, at L’Auberge Del Mar.

kitchen 1540

I have to say that the first time we went there last fall, we thought it was good, but not the best thing we’ve ever had. This time though, we can honestly say it was one of the best meals ever. And the deal from Restaurant Week was totally worth it.

What else…?

Evening runs…

dog and person running

Sunday morning yoga (it’s free!) with friends in Pacific Beach…

san diego beach yoga

Authentic Mexican tacos from our next door neighbor (who we call our abuelita)…

tacos

Time at the vet…

dog at vet

…and hopefully getting everything resolved. But either way, Maeby clearly doesn’t seem concerned.

Dinner and drinks at Dan Diegos [Yelp] in Bay Ho…

dan diegos drinks

…which is one of Adam’s favorite restaurants and I’ll just say that the Oktoberfest menu did not disappoint. At all.

More running, this time at Harbor Island Park…

harbor island view san diego

…which just reiterated to me how much I love this city.

(Free) Sunday morning yoga in Balboa Park…

balboa park sunday yoga free

…followed by brunch with friends at 100 Wines in Hillcrest.

100 wines hillcrest san diego eggs benedict

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Whew. Okay. I think that’s it for now.

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, but everything has been great. I am still in awe that I live in this amazing city and am building a life here…a really good life. Since moving here, I can honestly say that for the first time in my life, I’m not thinking about the future and wondering where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing next – I’m so happy with how things are at this moment in time, that I feel no need to wonder or daydream. I’m really quite lucky.

Now that you’re all caught up on what I’ve been to, how about you share with me…

What’s new with you? Like…what’s really, actually new? How are you feeling today?

dog things · friends · hiking

This Weekend in Photos: September 5-7

Brenna came to visit this weekend, so I took Friday off…so I had another long weekend, which I can’t complain about (though it will be the last one for awhile!).

We spent our weekend hiking Iron Mountain, paddle boarding in Mission Bay, eating lunch at my favorite park, watching dogs surf and eating delicious food.

Friday

In the morning, we drove out to Poway to hike Iron Mountain. Reviews on Yelp said this place gets busy on the weekends, so we decided to do it on Friday, while most people at work. Yelp also warned that this hike is intermediate, and lacks any real covering/shade, so it can get really hot.

I was excited to do this hike because it’s pretty long, has over 1,200 feet elevation gain, and is dog-friendly! Anything that tires Maeby out makes me happy, and she was excited to explore a new area.

iron mountain san diego

dog hiking iron mountain san diego

top of iron mountain 2

It definitely got very hot out (and Maeby wholeheartedly agreed), so I’d recommend if you’re planning on going out there to go out on a cooler day, or go earlier in the day.

I’d also recommend that even if it is hot, you do this hike, because the views up top were completely worth the ~6 mile roundtrip trek.

top of iron mountain 1

top of iron mountain san diego 1

top of iron mountain 3

top of iron mountain san diego

top of iron mountain san diego photo

(photo courtesy of Brenna)

After our hike, we headed to Clairemont Coffee, where Brenna purchased her first Acai Bowl. No pictures of this, as we got them to go, so they weren’t super photogenic. But, 10/10, would (and will) eat again.

In the evening, we drove out to Pacific Beach to enjoy tacos at Oscar’s Mexican Seafood, and catch the sunset.

oscars mexican seafood tacos san diego

san diego sunset pacific beach

We wrapped up our day with a low-key night in, made possible by Yogurtland.

Saturday

No pictures of paddle boarding, or of lunch. But here’s a picture of Mission Bay Park.

mission bay park

We headed to Mission Bay Sportcenter to rent out paddle boards for an hour. Since we knew it would be busy on a Saturday, we made reservations in advance for noon (to ensure we’d have paddle boards available to us), but we didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to find parking. After driving around for 25 minutes, we finally managed to grab a spot.

Paddle boarding was definitely something I’d do again. We enjoyed it, but the problem we had was the amount of wind we experienced. We ended up getting carried out pretty far into Mission Bay, and though I was able to paddle back to shore where we picked up our boards (after 25 minutes of effort and struggle), Brenna and my other friend had a hard time getting back and had to stop off at a shore that was on the other side of where people would pick up the jet skis or boat rentals. Staff at MBSC weren’t happy about that…but we weren’t the only ones that had this issue. As we waited in line to get out paddles, we heard one woman telling the front desk that her friend had gotten taken out really far into the bay and after trying for a half hour, she had made no progress and was unable to get back to shore. I’d return to MBSC, but would hope that they would be aware of wind conditions and help people out a little more, or at least give some kind of warning and encourage people to be aware of where they were paddling to.

Saturday night, Adam, Brenna and I grabbed dinner at Hinotez, more froyo (why not?), and watched Naked and Afraid. I’d say it was a quality evening.

Sunday

Brenna and I woke up early and drove up to Del Mar Dog Beach for the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon (which I highlighted on Friday).

surf dog surfathon hwac

That’s Brenna’s picture again. It was hard to get photos but we loved watching the dogs surfing, and also enjoyed checking out the vendors. One vendor I was especially impressed with was Dogly, an new app where you take and upload pictures of your dog (and add fun stickers or text), and shelters/rescues of your choice have a chance of receiving donations based on the number of “likes” your photo gets. It’s still a little glitchy (I think the woman said they will be finalizing the app in the coming days), but I definitely plan on downloading it.

After the Surf-A-Thon, we headed back down to my house, where we picked up Adam and drove down to OB to get brunch at Wonderland. Any excuse to eat there is always welcome.

wonderland ob brunch

We made a reservation beforehand, which helped a lot because it was packed since it’s officially football season. I strayed from my usual order of pancakes and went with the eggs and enchiladas, and I have zero regrets. Good food, sangria, and an ocean view? Can’t be beat.

The rest of Sunday was spent taking it easy (it was really, really hot out), a trip up to the beach in North County (once it cooled down)…

san diego beach pacific ocean

san diego beach

…baking some blueberry nut bread for work tomorrow, and a quiet night in.

Brenna left this morning but it was so, so good having her visit.

Now it’s back to reality and a pretty crazy work week…

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How was your weekend?

Did you see dogs surfing? Or sweat excessively due to the summer heat? Spare no details.

 

beaches · dog things · orange county · photos

This Weekend in Photos: August 9-12

With four days in a row, my weekend was a little longer than usual, and there was good reason for that: my mom was in town!

She flew into Los Angeles on Thursday morning, spent Thursday and Friday with my brother (who lives up there), and then on Saturday we met up for the Anaheim Angels vs the Boston Red Sox in Anaheim.

Saturday

angels vs red sox anaheim

The game lasted a ridiculous 19 innings (and boo…the Sox lost), but we stayed 16 innings and headed back to San Diego (with my mom) around 11 pm. We also snuck down to about 3 rows behind the Angels’ dugout in inning 10. It’s the closest I’ve ever been and unfortunately, my phone was dead, but we were so close and it was so exciting.

Sunday

Brunch at my favorite spot: Wonderland in Ocean Beach…

wonderland ocean beach pancakes

With HUGE pancakes and mimosas…

wonderland ocean beach mimosas

A walk down to Dog Beach to show my mom how amazing it is. She loved how happy all the dogs are, and I found some great seashells for her to take home.

dog beach shells

We spent the rest of our afternoon at the San Diego Zoo. More on that coming soon…

Monday

I took my mom to Mission Beach for an hour or so, and then we headed back to her hotel and then my house to get ready for the Padres game.

We met up with Adam in Gaslamp, where we grabbed dinner at Southpaw Social Club (which we will definitely return to and I’ll write a review on soon). A few beers, a selection of appetizers and an entree later, we were ready for the game.

petco park section 303

unnamed

petco park san diego palm trees

It was a really fun and exciting game, and the Padres won! I also ran into my friend who just moved here from the east coast, so that was pretty awesome too.

Tuesday

Took my mom back to Dog Beach (this time with Maeby)…

happy dog dog beach san diego

Stopped at Sunset Cliffs so she got one last ocean view, and then dropped her off at the airport.

Maeby was very sad, and so was I.

sad dog looking out car window

I’m excited to see her again in a couple of months when we go home for Thanksgiving.

 

How was your weekend?

business review · restaurant review · San Diego events

This Weekend in Photos: July 25-27

Friday

I took Friday off just to have a long weekend and let me tell you, that extra day made all the difference.

san diego gaslamp palm trees

I spent the morning running and baking cookies, and then Adam and I headed down to Gaslamp to drop his friend off at Comic Con, people watch, and explore the free things happening in the area.

comic con display in san diego

We loved wandering around the area and seeing people in costumes, and the displays that many of the businesses had around the area were impressive! Everyone got into the Comic-Con spirit, and it was a lot of fun.

olivettis san diego

As we decided to head home and began walking up 3rd Avenue, I stopped and saw samples of ghost chili sea salt and was immediately intrigued. I took a sample and nearly died, and the woman inside the shop came out to talk to me after laughing at me and the face I made.

We found ourselves outside of Olivetti’s Fine Oils and Vinegars, and as we went inside and began walking around the small shop and sampling the vinegars and oils, we were happy we landed upon this gem in Gaslamp. Olivetti’s (330 3rd Avenue, San Diego) is still fairly new, but they’re doing something right. We ended up leaving with a bottle of apricot white balsamic vinegar and another bottle of black truffle olive oil.

If you end up in Gaslamp or near the Convention Center and consider yourself a foodie or love cooking, I definitely recommend you stop in this place. It’s owned by a friendly couple who are still trying to build a business, and I was happy to support them and will definitely be returning in the future.

After we left Gaslamp, we headed to Point Loma to take Adam’s friend to one of our favorite places out here: Slater’s 50/50, but only after stopping in at Stone Brewery while we waited for our table to be ready. We didn’t get to spend much time at Stone (our table was ready sooner than we thought!) but we will definitely be returning soon. Slater’s, as usual, did not disappoint, and their new sriracha thai wings were delicious, as were our usual go-to’s, the deep fried macaroni and cheese balls and the 50/50 burger.

Saturday

north county san diego beach 3

north county san diego beach sand cloud

north county san diego beach

It was absolutely gorgeous out, so I knew immediately I would be going up to my favorite beach in North County. I brought my Sand Cloud with me, and relaxed in the warm sun with the waves crashing nearby.

Later, we headed back downtown to grab dinner with some friends at Mariscos El Pulpo (415 Market Street, San Diego). We picked this place out based on the Yelp reviews alone.

mariscos de pulpo san diego

I really wish this picture was better. We got several tacos among our group (the shrimp on the left and shrimporizo [shrimp and chorizo] on the right), and everyone loved it. Honestly, I don’t think I would’ve picked this place if we had just walked by it, but I should’ve known better. It’s a small, hole-in-the-wall kind of place, and those usually end up being the best. All the food was authentic, flavorful Mexican, and the drinks were delicious as well. We will definitely be returning.

We spent the rest of the night hanging out at Tipsy Crow, but I dipped out a little early because I wanted to drive for Lyft in the morning.

Sunday

Spent a couple hours ‘Lyfting’ in the morning, then headed to a barbecue for our friend’s birthday at Mission Bay Park.

mission bay park

Good food, good company and beautiful weather.

On our way home, we stopped at a local produce stand and then got caught in a short downpour. The perfect way to wrap up this weekend in San Diego…and we definitely needed the rain.

rain in san diego

This weekend was full of all things San Diego – local events, great restaurants and businesses, beautiful weather and beaches, and good times with friends. I am loving this city more and more every single day.

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There’s still time to enter the Sand Cloud giveaway! Get up to four entries and enter by Monday for your chance to win.

Tell me about your weekend! Did you do anything fun?

business review · dog things · Miscellaneous · photos · running

This Weekend in Photos: June 27-29

On a note unrelated to my weekend, let me begin this post by saying that Tuesday morning, my friend Brenna asked me about my availability for her coming to visit. We’d been talking about it here and there but I wasn’t expecting it to happen to soon. She found a great price on tickets from Salt Lake City, and she will be coming in September! I can’t wait to have her here, and I keep brainstorming for all the wonderful things we can do while she’s here.

Also on an unrelated note, can you believe tomorrow is July 1? WHAT IS THIS. Time really does fly.

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Friday Night

Dinner at Mapo Korean BBQ (review coming next week!) with my coworker, Bre, her boyfriend, and Adam.

mapo korean bbq

Saturday

In the morning, we headed downtown to check out an apartment for one of my friends from college who is moving here with her fiance in August. It was a really nice 2 bedroom/2 bathroom and only a few blocks from Petco Park. Ninety-nine percent sure they’ll be moving in there.

Since Maeby got her stitches out and we only made it to the dog park once last week, we decided to take her somewhere special. We ventured out to Dog Beach in Ocean Beach but there was a festival and we literally drove around for almost an hour trying to find parking. Eventually, we got so fed up that we ended up grabbing some fish tacos and burritos at Ortiz’s Taco Shop (3704 Voltaire Street, Point Loma) and heading to Fiesta Island. We ate our two fish tacos in the car (top 3 tacos I’ve ever had, and please do yourself a favor and get the California burrito – you’re welcome) and then got out and walked around Fiesta Island.

fiesta island san diego

fiesta island water

It was an absolutely gorgeous day.

We walked over to the other side of the island where the water was calmer, and Maeby immediately jumped in and began walking around.fiesta island dog swimming

fiesta island dogs

And then for the first time ever, she began swimming on her own! I had my swimsuit on, so I jumped in with her and we began swimming around. It was really nice, especially on such a hot day.

After Fiesta Island, we cleaned Maeby up at Dunk’n Dogs Self Serve Dog Wash (3056 Clairemont Drive, Clairemont), which is definitely our favorite now, even more than OB Dog Wash. The people there were so hands-on, enthusiastic and friendly, and their dog shampoo smelled amazing. Plus, they kept giving Maeby treats, which I’m sure she loved.

We headed home after that and had a low-key night in, watching movies and taking it easy. As frustrating as the situation in OB was earlier in the day, it ended up being a really great day.

Sunday

Took Maeby to our favorite place to run in San Diego, Mission Bay Park.

brooks sneakers dog paws

Maeby was still wiped out from our day at Fiesta Island and it was pretty warm out, even in the morning, so at around 4 miles, she got really tired and just wanted to walk. It was a gorgeous morning and not too crowded, which was definitely nice, considering how busy San Diego weekends have been since summer started.

Sunday afternoon, Adam and I headed to my favorite restaurant in San Diego, Wonderland (5083 Santa Monica Ave, Ocean Beach). Yes, we decided to give OB another shot after the cluster we experienced the day before. For the record, I will use any excuse to go to Wonderland because everything there is so damn good. And it’s right across from the OB Pier, and I am not going to complain about ocean views.

wonderland ocean beach salty dog

An amazing burger (the ground short rib burger – DO IT. please.) for me, the woco moco for Adam, a few cocktails, good company and an ocean view – it doesn’t get much better.

It was such a wonderful weekend, with beautiful weather, good people and great times all in America’s finest city.