Swiiiing and a . . . HIT!

I have a short list of favorite dining establishments. I know if I want pizza, I go to Luigi’s. If I want a great view, I go to Mister A’s (awesome happy hour, by the way). If I want fish tacos, well, that’s still up for debate. Every weekend, the same question arises: Where should we go out to eat tonight? I read about so many new places, and I add the new spots to my list. But when Friday night rolls around, my husband and I usually hit the same old restaurants. Why? Because we know they are good! I hate trying a new place and thinking “Why didn’t we go to Blind Lady for their frites and a pizza?” However, I really do like trying new places, and sometimes I have to force myself out of the rut.

This past weekend, Franz and I got out of our comfort zone and hit places we’ve been wanting to check out. We went to 6 places, and (SPOILER ALERT) we enjoyed every single spot!

First up to bat was a taco truck that I have heard about FOREVER, Mariscos Nine Seas Seafood. More intriguing was that whenever I passed the parking lot for Gala Foods Grocery store, I always saw hoards of people crowding around the truck. I ordered 2 fried fish tacos, and Franz got 2 fried and 1 grilled. There are a few unlabeled self-serve hot sauces, which I greatly appreciated. And unlabeled hot sauces is about as far as I go in adventure seeking, so that was right up my alley. I love the food truck concept, however I’m not a fan of eating in a parking lot. I like the idea of grabbing one or two of these bad boys for a very small amount of money as a way to start my night. It’s what my husband would call an amuse-bouche. Then again, he could call a rack of lamb the same thing.
Taco TruckTacos

Mariscos Nine Seas Seafood on Urbanspoon

Right across the street is The South Park Abbey. Again, we always drive by it, but we’ve never taken the time to stop. So batter number two? Another hit. We only had the opportunity to have drinks here, but the food that was coming out of the kitchen looked tasty. The wings seemed to be a big hit. What I love about this place is that it is super dog friendly, has a great view of the outside world passing by and they have a happy hour. I had a Delirium Red in Brussels over the Summer, so I wanted to try it Stateside. It came out a little murky compared to the one (or 2 or 3) I had in Brussels, but it tasted good. This is a place my dog would love, so this will be visited again in the near future.

South Park Abbey

The South Park Abbey Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Next up was Thorn St. Brewery which hit it out of the park (http://thornstreetbrew.com/). I love the vibe of small tasting rooms, and this fit the bill. There is an outdoor area in the back of the building, so in case you feel like enjoying the San Diego weather, there is a spot for you. It’s also dog friendly, so of course I love this place. They don’t serve food, but there was a sausage truck right outside the front door, and Pho Realz was a few steps away, and you can bring food in (http://phorealzsd.com/).  Franz and I opted for a taster of the beers.  We’ve seen Thorn St.’s beers here and there, but we never knew just how many they brewed.  I will note that they quickly sold out of many of their beers while we were there, so I suggest getting there a little early.
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It was a tough choice between the two food trucks, but we saw a guy chowing down on a Banh-Mi and that sold us. In addition to the sandwich, we ordered Bun Cha-Cha-Cha which is a delicious cold rice vermicelli dish with BBQ Pork and egg rolls. The Banh-Mi was super spicy, which I love, and it didn’t feel heavy or greasy.

Oh, and that was just Friday! Saturday, we went for a long, and very needed, run in the morning.  That also helped us to prepare ourselves for dinner later at Sea180.  I’ve wanted to check this place out ever since it opened, but Imperial Beach is a little bit of a haul.  We decided to make the journey South, and we were greatly awarded with a spectacular ocean view.   We arrived a little early for our reservation, so we took advantage of the Happy Hour that goes until 5pm everyday and had a glass of wine and a Hamachi Poke appetizer while watching the waves from the bar area.  We felt like we left our home faraway and went on a tropical vacation.

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Fresh and Yummy Hamachi Poke

Korean BBQ Pulled Flatbread

Korean BBQ Pulled Flatbread

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Not a bad view from our table!

Franz is picky with his Bloody Mary, and he loved this one!

Franz is picky with his Bloody Mary, and he loved this one!

Super meaty Osso Bucco!

Super meaty Osso Bucco!

7 Hour Lamb Osso Bucco

7 Hour Lamb Osso Bucco

Special of the Night!

Special of the Night! I was craving steak and mashed potatoes!

Sea 180° Coastal Tavern on Urbanspoon

Sunday was another hot but beautiful day in San Diego, so Franz and I decided to go for a long walk starting at Mission Beach. My real intention was to check out Draft I have family coming into town next month, and I thought this might be the kind of spot they would enjoy.  I was inside this place before it was renovated, and I had no interest in ever going back.  Thank God someone changed this to a place that is deserving of the location.  It is wide open so that it takes full advantage of the ocean front property.  The inside has multiple screens for sports events, and one entire wall was showing video from someone wearing a video camera while skateboarding down the boardwalk.  There are almost 70 beers on tap, and many of them are actually good!  I associate beach bars with Budweiser and Coors, but Draft had many local brews and even a couple of Belgians.   Franz and I split (unheard of for us, just so you know) a Fried Chicken Sandwich.  The bun was fresh and tasty, and we loved the pickled onions and cabbage on it.   The fries were hot and delicious, and I could have easily had a bucket size portion of them!

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Draft on Urbanspoon

It was so nice to get out there and check out some new places, and it was even better that every place was so good. I think we have found a few places that will be added to our “Usual Haunts List”! Have you checked out any new places lately that you would recommend? Let me know! I’d love to hear about them!

I have a lot to fill you guys in on – trips to Amsterdam and Belgium, Cabo, San Francisco, Portland, OR, a big birthday for me, and some really tasty and easy recipes I discovered over the Summer. I can’t wait to share!

Until next time, take care and happy eating!!

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