It was a blast from the past, literally and figuratively. For my 25th birthday, the then-only married couple and myself and now-husband ventured to California, San Diego specifically, to celebrate. The four of us took on a brewery tour with my cousin who is a Cali local and also happens to love craft beers. After this amazing experience, I knew we needed to repeat it!
Over my 30th birthday weekend, I was joined by the same initial couple plus one more, in my youngest brother and his wife. Ryan, both Jordans and I were able to make the drive from Scottsdale, AZ to San Diego, CA on a Friday morning, while Kyle and Aimee met us after a flight in on Friday evening. The beer tasting started early, with a stop at Coronado Brewing Co to meet Derek. Once Kyle and Aimee joined the party, dinner was at Sone Brewery.
What I love about San Diego and celebrating my birthday with an experience is it initiates A LOT of quality time with those I love most. At a large table at Stone, the seven of us (with Derek), were able to just catch up on life. In what seems to be an insanely busy season for each of us, it was life-giving to have uninterrupted time to be together.
Our night cap for Friday evening was a stop for ice cream at Salt + Straw, where they just brought back tastings that night. I wish I could put into words how truly incredible this ice cream was. In all honesty, they didn’t miss a beat and the samples were generous and encouraged! I had the brownie flavor and cookie dough flavor night one and the cowboy coffee with the mint chocolate the second time. No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong.
Saturday brought an early morning stroll with my middle brother to Lofty Coffee. Put it right up there with Salt + Straw. I’m convinced this is a must-see. Our crew loved it so much, we ventured their first thing on all three mornings. You can’t go wrong with the Campfire pour over. Pair it with the Açaí bowl for a healthy start or their sausage and egg sandwich for a healthier feel. Even talking about this now is already making me hungry…
Coffee was followed by brunch (mimosas, please) at Breakfast Republic. You know it’s worth the wait when the line wraps around the building. Next up was an afternoon at the beach. We chose Coronado for this trip but for my 25th birthday, we did La Jolla and loved that as well. With our vitamin D levels a little higher, we stuck it out in Coronado a bit longer to walk the touristy shops and explore.
After a quick stop for a drink near the water, it was time for my birthday celebration. My birthday dinner was the last thing on the docket. Just like we did when I turned 25, we chose Bali Hai for our meal. They’re famous for their Mai Thais here, and with good reason. Additionally, the view is out of this world. If you’re a fan of fresh seafood, go ahead and get the salmon: it’s incredible!
Derek accompanied us to dinner as well, making it possible to get a full family photo – one of my favorite memories of the trip. I felt beyond loved and celebrated with my birthday dinner, and the whole trip in general. As Sunday mornings go, I loved having a coffee back at Lofty Coffee, walking around the Gaslamp District, lunch in La Jolla area for burritos from Ortiz’s and then an afternoon at the breweries! We hit two great ones, here was our route: Harland Brewing Co followed by Modern Times.
Harland was new for us but the atmosphere was light and open. We enjoyed our burritos out on the patio with yummy IPAs. Then at Modern Times, we sat indoors near the bookcase. This one had changed aesthetically since our last visit, but they still had the wonderful Post-It notes wall. (The pic this time was a man in a graphic T-shirt wearing glasses and doing a peace sign). The best part about Sunday night was a repeat visit to Salt + Straw. Monday morning meant it was time to pack and leave, but not before one last visit to Lofty Coffee.
San Diego, we will be back! Hopefully next time sooner than five years. Read below for the highlights on where to go so you can easily consolidate your list and save this post for fast future reference with your upcoming travels.
Where to stay:
Breweries and Local Faves:
If you’re traveling to San Diego soon, I can’t wait to hear about it! Enjoy your time, the amazing weather, and hopefully one or two of these local faves.