Restaurant Reviews

Food & Friends in San Diego

September 19, 2016

This is way overdue. Oops. I’m FINALLY getting around to looking at photos from my trip to San Diego last weekend, so it’s time for a recap post! My friends and I really needed to get away for a weekend. It was one of those things where we’ve all been running around like crazy people all summer long and haven’t had a chance to slow down, so we decided we needed one last hurrah before school starts again. San Diego is close, easy, relaxing, and always one of my favorite places to visit, so we figured it would be the perfect quick getaway.

We didn’t do anything that was extremely exciting – which is exactly what we wanted. There were really only two things on the agenda: the spa and eating. Obviously, I planned the whole trip around food. Food is my favorite part of traveling. With the help of Yelp and my friend Kayleigh Bush, I figured out exactly what restaurants I wanted to visit. I’m so happy that my friends are foodies too. I’m also very appreciative of them putting up with me taking so many food pics. Other than food and the spa, we planned on just lounging around. Honestly, that’s all I want in a vacation.

After a traffic-filled drive down to SD, our first stop was Ranchos Cocina in North Park. Ranchos Cocina is an adorable vegetarian Mexican restaurant. It’s got a very old-school, classic vibe. Very homey. Lots of photos of Frida Kahlo, lots of crosses, beautifully embellished tiles… you get the idea.

The menu is HUGE. Like, out of this world. It has pretty much everything you could ever imagine, and the majority of the menu can be made vegan. Mexican food in general is ideal if you’re gluten-free because they usually use corn tortillas, so gluten wasn’t an issue here. The menu was so extensive that it was pretty overwhelming deciding what to get. I was very excited that they serve breakfast all day, so I got the veggie omelette with nopales. It was my first time trying nopales (a.k.a. cactus), and it was DELISH. I was very pleasantly surprised and would definitely have it again. The omelette had cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, green beans, green peppers, and nopales, and I topped it off with avo, obviously.

Nina got the vegan version of the Tocho Morocho (the Works), which came with “carne asada”, lettuce, tomato, cheese, guac, rice, sour cream, and beans. Kailyn got the same thing, but the non-vegan version. Everything came in a bowl with the tortillas on the side, so they could build their own mini burritos.

Overall, we were huge fans of Ranchos Cocina. There’s something on the menu for EVERYONE, it’s inexpensive, and the food was great. If you’re looking for some good Mexican food in SD, check it out!

After Ranchos Cocina, we finally checked into our hotel and explored a bit. There was an adorable grotto area for weddings, so we took over for a few minutes. Always gotta take the photo opps!

Mission Bay is one of my favorite places ever. It always calms me, and the view is beautiful. I like staying near the bay more than the ocean because it’s not as cold, windy, or loud. I’m high maintenance like that. Our hotel was right on the bay’s beach, and there was a perfect little pier attached.

Sailboats, tandem bikes, sandcastles, sunsets… What else can you ask for?

Our hotel room also had a beautiful view of the bay. There’s nothing like patio seating with a gorgeous view. Ideal for lazy girls like us who want to watch the sun go down but don’t want to walk all the way down to the beach… ya feel me?

We ventured into La Jolla that night and walked around while perusing the different shops and restaurants. This place had some INSANE cookies. They’re almost too pretty to eat!

Before dinner we decided to walk down to the ocean for the sunset. Crashing waves, a golden glow in the sky, a subtle breeze…it was everything.

Post-sunset, it was time for DINNER. My fave. We went to Trilogy Sanctuary, which was highly recommended by a number of highly-trusted foodies. I was so excited.

The location was breathtaking. Trilogy is located on the roof of a building, which means the outdoor seating has an AMAZING view. They have a little shop that sells clothes, crystals, and other trinkets. There’s also a huge open area where they have yoga classes and dancing. Next to that is the cafe itself, which has a totally unique, spiritual vibe.

Everything at Trilogy is vegan, gluten-free, and organic. As usual, I was very overwhelmed and didn’t know what to order. It all looked delish.

These are the ginger spring rolls! They’re filled with quinoa, carrots, other veggies, and a ginger, mango mint sauce. They’re also served with a yummy peanut sauce on the side.

It’s generally rare for me to eat something pizza-like, so I went for the sunflower sprout raw pizza. The flatbread is made from the pulp of their juices – how cool is that?! It was topped with pesto, spinach, tomatoes, cashew ricotta, sunflower sprouts, and hemp seeds. Definite winner.

Nina got the Trilogy Cheeze Burger. The burger is made from brown rice, beans, and mushrooms, and it’s topped with “cheese” and onions. She also added some eggplant bacon. I obviously stole a piece, and it was to die for. The sauce on the side was a sundried tomato aioli that went along with the sweet potato wedges. I was obsessed with the aioli and kept stealing it…

DESSERTS. My favorite part. I’m not gonna lie, I picked dinner restaurants based on the desserts. I couldn’t decide what I wanted, so we got everything. Typical. Above is the Transcendent, which was a warm, fudgey brownie topped with coconut ice cream, date caramel sauce, and cacao nibs. The brownie was perfectly sweet and fudgey, and the caramel sauce was on point.

I almost didn’t get it, but I’m so glad I did. ICE CREAM COOKIE SANDWICH. I went with the classic chocolate chip cookies, but they had peanut butter as well. The cookies were honestly some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had, and I thought they paired perfectly with the coconut vanilla ice cream. They were very soft and “fluffy,” if you know what I mean. I’m not sure why, but I’m obsessed with ice cream sandwiches. There’s something about the combo of cold ice cream and a warm baked good that I can’t resist.

This was Indulgence, which is a raw carrot cake. LOVED. It tasted like fall. Lots of cinnamon and spices, and it was topped with a delish lemon vanilla cream. I don’t usually like the “cream” part of desserts, but this was perfect. Not too sweet, not too thick. Balanced out the carrot very well.

Last up – the Lust smoothie. This had almond milk, banana, cacao, date, cashew nuts, maca, vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne, and cacao nibs. It wasn’t as thick as we like our smoothies, and the banana was pretty strong in it – but good if you like a chocolate banana smoothie!

When it got dark, they turned on the fire pits and started playing live music. It was super romantic. If you’re looking for a good date spot, this is it.

After the sugar high, we recorded an episode for Actually Adultish podcast. Speaking of which, if you haven’t listened yet, HOP ON IT! Send in any questions you have or topics you want us to talk about – we love hearing from you!

The next morning, we made a quick Beaming run to grab some smoothies, and then we headed over to the spa. SO RELAXING. There is nothing I love more than a spa day, and we did the whole shebang.

First up, we got “brightening” facials. I love facials, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like they’re all pretty much the same unless you’re getting a medical facial. It definitely relaxed me, though, and I felt like I really was glowing afterward. But it was probably just the oils… 😉

After my facial, it was massage time! I tried a hot stone massage for the first time, and I really liked it. I prefer really strong pressure, so it wasn’t as intense as I like, but it was extremely relaxing. I felt like I was on a different planet. The massage therapist kept asking me how I was doing, and I could barely form words because I was so out of it. She also used essential oils, and I chose the lemongrass scent. All of my senses were totally overwhelmed in the best way possible.

To wrap things up, I got a mani and a pedi. With mint tea, of course. And some more massaging, courtesy of the fancy chair I was sitting in.

Later that day we went to Evolution Fast Food for lunch. This place is so cool. It’s literally healthy fast food. How is this not in Los Angeles? Like, there’s a drive through. It’s really small inside, and they have a bunch of pre-made food that you can grab and buy, or you can order something for them to make. Everything is vegan, and most of it was gluten-free.

They had lots of salads, sandwiches, and baked goods. I was dying for a cupcake or brownie, but didn’t get one. We tried their soft serve, and it was AMAZING. Nina and I agreed we need to go back for more. GET THE VANILLA-CHOCOLATE SWIRL.

I got the raw burger, which came in a cabbage shell. I did not expect to be as obsessed with this as I was. This was by far the best raw burger I’ve ever had, and I loved that it was in a cabbage shell. Usually when burgers are in lettuce wraps, the lettuce is too flimsy and everything falls apart. It’s a mess. The cabbage shell is really firm, so it all holds together the whole time. GENIUS.

I also got this avocado kale salad, which had some peppers, mushrooms, and a lemon tahini dressing. It was super yummy. I can’t turn down anything with avocado…

Nina got the raw tacos. Unfortunately the pic doesn’t show the taco “meat” and other yummy goodness at the bottom, but it was there. I also loved how these weren’t flimsy compared to a lot of other raw tacos I’ve tried. I’ve had better raw tacos, but these were really good.

She also got the chicken salad, which looks like an actual chicken salad. Kinda creepy, but cool.

Extraordinary Desserts was right next door, so we had to go inside and check out the goods. EVERYONE talks about Extraordinary Desserts, so I had to see what the hype was all about. The line was very long and slow so we didn’t get too far inside, but I did manage to snap a pic of these incredible cakes. How gorgeous are they? I would honestly feel guilty eating them and ruining the artwork. (Okay, maybe not that guilty…) There were a ton of other fancy dessert options as well, so if you’re a dessert lover I’d definitely recommend checking this place out.

Later that day we drove down to Pacific Beach and took a long, nice beach walk. PB is one of my favorite beaches ever because I have so many memories there from trips we took growing up and from visiting my sister while she was in college.

We even walked by the old house my dad used to live in while he went to college in SD. It’s a total piece of crap, but extra adorable for that reason.

For dinner we went to Peace Pies, which was the place I was looking forward to the most. It’s definitely a home-style restaurant.

Peace Pies is a hole-in-the-wall vegan place. You order at the counter and they bring your food out to the table. This is NOT a fancy restaurant. Everything is mismatched, and the tables are dining tables from someone’s house. The napkins are paper towels. It was kind of bizarre, but really lovable. You can tell it’s the kinda place for regulars.

They had two people working – and working hard. You can see all of their raw desserts in the glass case at the front, which looked amazing.

Nina got the quesadilla with kale chips, and it was delicious. The quesadilla was made with a raw coconut wrap, and it was filled with a ton of veggies. The kale chips might’ve been the best kale chips we’ve ever tried.

I got the zucchini lasagna. Whenever a gluten-free lasagna is on the menu, I have to have it. I MISS REGULAR LASAGNA. I was obsessed with this! The marinara was thick, creamy, and flavorful, and the cashew cheese complimented it perfectly.

Once again, I couldn’t decide what I wanted for dessert. So I got it all. First up was this chocolate tahini bar. This thing was EPIC. If you like chocolate, you’d love it. Very rich and fudgey.

Next up – apple pie! This was ridiculously yummy. I haven’t had any kind of apple pie since going gluten-free, and I loved it. It was very different from a typical apple pie because the apples were dehydrated, and it wasn’t warm because it was raw. Buuut it still gave me that warm fuzzy feeling inside that only an apple pie can give. There’s something about apples and spices…

This was my favorite thing from Peace Pies. NICE CREAM SANDWICH. I got the Snickerdoodle version, and I loved its texture. The “nice cream” in between the cookies was some kind of cream, not a cold ice cream. The cookies were amazing. Best snickerdoodles I’ve ever had. They were fudgey without being chocolate – does that make sense? I would definitely get this again.

I was still hungry, so I got a Horchata smoothie. Horchata smoothies are another thing I always HAVE to get if it’s on the menu. I love horchata. This thing was INCREDIBLE. The waiter said, “I think this is the best horchata smoothie I’ve ever made.” And he was right. Banana cinnamon goodness. It was really thick and creamy – you know that’s what I love. Not too sweet, but very flavorful. Perfect way to end the night!

After Peace Pies, we headed back and had a little GNI. Watched a movie, got in our pajamas, and passed out. We ended our trip with a bomb brunch the next day at Broken Yolk in PB. It’s very old-school and diner-like. They have a crazy food challenge that I really wanted to try (and totally could’ve done), but there was a lot of gluten and dairy in it, so I didn’t. It’s called the Iron Man/Woman, and it’s a dozen egg omelette filled with mushrooms, onions, and cheese and topped with chili and cheese. That’s paired with two biscuits and a ton of fries. If you can eat it all in an hour, the meal is free, you get a T-shirt, and you get a plaque on the Wall of Fame. Ugh. I WANT TO BE ON THE WALL OF FAME. Shoulda coulda woulda.

The portion sizes at this place were huge in general. I was really into it. The pictures don’t really show it, but these were definitely the biggest omelettes I’ve ever seen. The pancakes were GINORMOUS. That was the short stack, and they were huge. Kailyn got the gluten-free pancakes  topped with blueberries and a side of eggs. I did the “build your own omelette” thing, of course. Lots of veggies, topped with avocado.

Nina got the “The Mom.” LOL. It had avo, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and alfalfa sprouts. Gotta have them sprouts!

So there ya have it! The best eats from the weekend, along with our lazy girl vacation routine. I would go to all of these restaurants again in a heartbeat. Do you know any amazing restaurants in SD? Favorite things to do there?! Please tell! XO

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