Excellent Seafood and Sushi
Located in the Embassy Suites San Diego Bay hotel in Gaslamp, this undiscovered beauty needs to be tried! Because we were staying in the hotel, we came down for dinner our first night, and were hooked, pardon the pun! We ate at the sushi bar, located in the cocktail lounge, but you can also order from the regular menu, and they just bring it across the hall from the restaurant.
If you're staying at the hotel, you can even get sushi through room service. Not being a big sushi fan, I ordered the Calamari appetizer, and have never seen such a huge plate of the tasty treats! We barely ate half, and aside from 1 piece of sushi, and a bowl of miso soup, that was more than enough!
That night my husband had a couple of different types of sushi, all of which he enjoyed. He also had their clam chowder another night, and enjoyed it so much, he ordered it again for lunch the next 2 days! We had travelled to SD a couple of days prior to a conference, so once it started and I came home, he was on his own for a couple of days. He loved that chowder so much, he ended up there each day for lunch!!
Seaport Village is a very pretty place to shop. It's a collection of more than 65 shops, with everything from The Magnet Store, where everything was 4 for $10, to the Wyland Gallery, where you won't find any price tags.
Located near the Gaslamp District, across from the Embassy Suites San Diego Bay hotel, its a great central location. As we were staying at the Embassy Suites, I visited twice. The second time was early in the morning while my husband attended his conference, and I went armed with a caramel coffee concoction, my video camera, and my digital. I couldn't have been happier! When I arrived the shops hadn't opened yet, so I wandered around, enjoying the quiet and solitude, and took lots of photos. By the time the stores opened, I was ready for some bargains, and found several things to bring home.
There is a take out food area, as well as several nice restaurants overlooking San Diego Bay. They also have different musicians, magicians, and other items of interest.
Another interesting attraction is a fully restored Looff Carousel, originally built in 1895 in Fairbank Texas. After 9 or 10 subsequent homes, it was moved to San Diego in 2004, where kids of all ages can ride. You name it, you'll find it at Seaport. Even if you don't you will definitely enjoy just walking around, taking in the Village atmosphere. Depends if you're in the Magnet store, or the Wyland Gallery!!
Extremely Well Located
We stayed here with our two children for a family vacation the week of July 4. We were very pleased with the location. The hotel is 10-15 minutes away from Petco Park, SeaWorld, Mission Bay and the Zoo, and convenient to Legoland and the Wild Animal Park. Also, there's a 24 Hour Fitness Center at the mall across the street (which also had a Macy's and Nordstroms), and family restaurants abound in the area. Our room was clean and spacious; our kids loved the koi ponds. The indoor pool was on the smallish side, though the kids loved it! The hotel had a workout room with cardio equipment only. Over the weekend and through the July 4 holiday, the hotel was extremely crowded, meaning that there were long, long waits for elevators, daunting lines for breakfast, and lots of kids in the pool. On the plus side: We thought that the staff was friendly and helpful; and the hardworking breakfast staff kept the lines and food moving. The breakfasts were fine, and the fresh fruit plentiful. We avoided the daily parking charge by finding street parking nearby. The wireless Internet (though a charge applied) was easy to access and worked fine. This is a solid choice for a family trip, and we would stay here again.
Our San Diego Adventure
"A Getaway for Mom & Dad"
Well, we did it! We actually did it!! We went away for a long weekend, and left the 2 kids behind! Believe me, this was not an easy thing to do, as we have only ever been away from them for 24 hours before. But with lots of help from VT friends to get over the guilt, and the constant re-assurance that they would be fine, we made our escape.
San Diego is a fabulous city, with lots of things to do. As we had less than 4 days, we tried to fit in as much as we could, and left the sleeping until we got home!
The weather in San Diego is fabulous! While there (in October), we heard that it hadn't rained in 178 days, but everything was so green and lush. This was probably because each morning, there were clouds and fog over the ocean, but they usually burned off by around 10am. By the water it was breezy, and you sometimes needed a light jacket, but get a block away and it was great - not too hot or humid.
We found the people extremely friendy, with lots of wishes of 'enjoy your stay' along the way. It was also nice to turn on the car radio, and hear spanish on every other pre-set! Being huge fans of the Southwest, and Mexico, this to be a bonus we hadn't considered.
"Embassy Suites, San Diego Bay"
San Diego is certainly a great place to spend some time together. We stayed at the Embassy Suites, San Diego Bay, which is in the Gaslamp District, right across the street from the Bay. When we booked, we requested a bay-view room. On our arrival, we discovered our request has been accommodated, and when we got to our room, we could not believe the view!! The room faced Southwest, so we could see all the ships in the bay, Coronado Island, and the huge bridge leading over to it. Right across the street is Seaport Village, a great place to spend a few hours wandering through the shops. The hotel itself is very nice. It's built in a square, with an indoor courtyard, featuring fountains and pools with turtles and koi swimming around. Each afternoon, from 5:30 til 7, they offered a cocktail reception, with free drinks and snacks in the courtyard. The complimentary, cooked to order breakfast was also offered here and was delicious.
"Just driving around"
Being right downtown, you could either walk, or take the trolley just about anywhere. But, as we only had a couple of days, and because my husband likes nothing more than to get behind the wheel, and just drive, we rented a car at the airport when we arrived.
So in between driving out of the city and walking within, we got a pretty good feel for San Diego, in a short period of time. Even though I'm a compulsive map-reader when we travel, I still found the city very easy to get around, and nothing seemed to be more than a 20 minute drive away. So hubby drove, and I alternated between the camcorder and the still, and we were both in our glory!
San Diego - Just the 2 of us for 4 Days
"Day 1 - Getting our feet wet in San Diego"
Like most men, Hubby loves to drive, and couldn’t imagine being anywhere, let alone someplace undiscovered, carless for more than 1 day. So we arrived around noon on Thurday, picked up our pre-arranged rental car and started out. As we were too early, and not quite ready, to check in to our Hotel, we drove around for a while, getting a feel for the city. Not knowing where we were going, and realizing we were now going through an industrial area, we decided we had gone far enough and turned right, to turn around. We didn’t realize we had turned into a Military base, one of many in the San Diego area, and were looking directly at 2 armed soldiers and a sign saying no cameras or video recorders. Of course, being a tourist, I had both sitting right on my lap! We explained that we were tourists, recently arrived, and were just looking for a half-decent Mexican place for lunch. They looked at each other, laughed, suggested Santana’s and gave us excellent directions about 20 minutes back the way we had come. After picking up our meal at Santana’s efficient drive through, we drove around looking for a park to eat. Well, we couldn’t find one, got lost again and, you guessed it, ended up in another Military base! They suggested a nearby park, but because it was more than 3 street turns to remember, we couldn’t find it. Starving by this time, we simply pulled down a side street and parked. We couldn’t have found a nicer spot if we had tried. It was a dead-end, overlooking the yachts in the Bay, with beautiful historical homes on either side of the street. We had wonderful Spanish music playing on the radio, were eating a delicious meal, and for the first time in 10 years, it was just the 2 of us on vacation – a memory never to be forgotten!
We spent the rest of our first afternoon driving through Point Loma, up to Pacific and Mission Beaches where we had to dip our feet into the Pacific, and finally, to
"Embassy Suites, San Diego Bay"
I would recommend the Embassy Suites, San Diego Bay hotel to anybody looking for a great get-away. When we booked, we requested a bay-view room on a higher floor, and we received what we asked for - what a gorgeous view!! All kinds of boats from Kayaks to tugs to cruise ships and naval vessels. We also had a view of Seaport Village, which is a great place to shop. Made to order breakfast was served daily and was very good. They also offered free cocktails and snacks (popcorn, chips, etc.) each afternoon, starting at 5:30. Both these events were served in the lobby, which is a courtyard with fountains, koi and turtles - very beautiful. The hotel is a 5 minute walk to Gaslamp and the Trolley, a 15 minute walk to the Conference centre, and 10 minute drive to the Airport. My husband loved the great sushi and fresh Clam Chowder in the Pacific Fish Company Restaurant located in the hotel.
Once we got checked in and settled, we set out again, this time on foot. We wandered through Seaport village, and North along the boardwalk checking out the various fishing boats anchored there. We arrived at Midway, the decommissioned aircraft carrier, but we were too late for the tour, which ended at 4pm. So, we took our time, here and there, eventually back to the hotel in time for cocktails.
"Driving up the Coast"
On Friday, we were still on Toronto time, so we both woke up early. Refreshed and anxious to see it all, we had breakfast in the courtyard, and were on the road early. We drove north on Highway 5 and turned west towards the Pacific at the University. Unfortunately, once we got closer to the ocean, it turned very foggy. We drove through La Jolla and Del Mar, not being able to see more than 20 feet away, which was a bit disappointing. We carried on up the coast, in and out of the fog, stopping at various Beaches along the way. In Encinitas, we stopped at Swami’s Café for a snack, which we ordered to go. After a 30 minute wait (they forgot to let us know it was ready…) we were on the road again, and stopped at another beach to eat. At each beach we stopped at, fog or not, we saw surfers trying to catch the perfect wave, and spent a lot of time taking pictures and video to show our kids.
"Through the Hills"
We continued North to Carlsbad, and turned inland on Highway towards the San Diego Wild Animal Park and Ramona. We turned off at a couple of sideroads, and ended up on a beautiful road which ran up the side of the valley. We got out of the car at the top to check out the view, and could not believe how hot it was!! It had to be at least 100! By the water, in the fog, it was cool to comfortable, so we weren’t prepared for the heat which collected inland in the valley. On the way, we drove past lemon, lime, orange and avocado groves, as well as several vinyards. On 1 particular road, we passed the most beautiful homes, nestled into the hills, each with a view one could not believe. Oh to have the big bucks!! We eventually found our way home, relaxed, and enjoyed a wonderful supper at the Pacific Fish Company in the hotel.
"Horton Plaza and Joey Pearson"
Saturday morning was spent wandering through Horton Plaza and it’s many fun shops. We got there early, so while we were waiting for the stores to open, we did some window shopping, and ended up at the street level photographing fountains and other points of interest. I could see Hubby looking over at some commotion going on at the NBC building. We walked over, and he started videotaping a young guy belting out a tune like an old timer. One of the production folks quickly came over, and we assumed he was going to tell us to turn off the camera.
Instead, he handed us a free CD by Joey Pearson, the young phenomenon we had been listening to. Afterwards, we asked Joey to autograph the CD, and he also obliged us with a couple of photos. What a nice young man – watch for him, he’s going to be big!! My kids love his CD, and can’t believe he’s only 12!
"Old Town, San Diego"
Once we had our fill of Horton Plaza, we headed up to Old Town for lunch. We spent some time looking through the old buildings which had been recontructed, and left to look as they would have back in the 1700s. We had lunch on the patio at Casa de Bandini, which was fabulous. We were serenaded by 2 gentlemen playing Spanish guitar, while we had yet another wonderful Mexican meal. Dusty and tired, we went back to the hotel and spent the evening looking over the pictures and video we had taken during the day.
"On my own, for a couple of hours"
Sunday morning, reality struck for Hubby, so after breakfast, he was off to the conference, the main reason for our visit. I grabbed a coffee, and armed with both cameras, headed off to Seaport Village, again. While there, I had one of those moments, which can’t be explained, but you know it when you experience it. The coffee was wonderful, I was having a fabulous time with my husband, I was on my own in the San Diego sunshine with my camera, and all was right in the world
"Our last day"
We tagged up around 11am, and went for another drive – south this time. We headed inland, and drove south on 85, almost missed the ‘last USA exit’ sign, and would have ended up in Tijuana, due to a momentary attention lapse by the navigator (me!). Fortunately, we made our exit, and headed back north on Highway 5, cutting west on Highway 75. Hunger was calling again, so we ended up in Imperial Beach, intending to grab a bite to eat. What we found was the most fabulous beach we had seen during our visit. Imperial Beach is the classic Southern California beach, with a long pier stretching out into the Pacific, complete with Surfers, Kite surfers and even seals out towards the end. We spent a lot of time with the cameras, then decided it really was time to eat. We were looking for something with a nice patio, but everything was very busy so we kept driving up to Coronado Island where we ended up at Miracle Mile, a great deli on the main street. After a late lunch, we drove back across the huge bridge which we could see from our room, and finally, on our last day, made it to the Midway aircraft carrier, just before the 4pm deadline!
Sadly, after this, it was time to return to the hotel to pack my bags for my 7am flight.
I will miss San Diego, and the wonderful long weekend my husband and I spent there. I know 'second honeymoon' sounds very cheesy, but it was almost as magical as our first!!