5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try This Week

Trying out new bars and restaurants is one of our favorite things to do, and happy hour is sometimes the easiest way to check out a place. If you’ve been looking for a new spot to try in the city, or simply want some inexpensive  sips and bites, here are five San Diego spots to try
this week:

1. THE CRACK SHACK – LITTLE ITALY

This entirely outdoor restaurant is the perfect spot for a sunny afternoon cocktail. The Crack Shack’s menu is based around chicken + eggs (as the name suggests), serving gourmet chicken sandwiches alongside self-service homemade sauce bar. The lively atmosphere, complete with a bocce ball court and plenty of seating, makes this spot a fun afternoon hangout. Happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 3-6pm, with $3 off cocktails and $2 off beer + wine.

2. FairweatheR – East Village

When the sun is out, piña coladas are in order. Head to this rooftop oasis above Rare Form and grab a tiki drink for only $7 during happy hour, starting at 5pm Monday through Friday.  If the glassware and pink umbrellas aren’t enough, the rooftop view of Petco Park should help, too.

3. Isola Pizza – Little Italy

Isola has long been one of our favorite happy hours in the city. Ever since studying abroad in Italy, Elliot and I have been on the hunt for authentic Italian pizzas. Not only does this spot have one of our favorite margarita pizzas to date, it’s only $5 during their everyday happy hour from 3-6pm.  Add a glass of wine or Prosecco for another $5, and dinner is complete.

4. SODA & SWINE – LIBERTY STATION

The Liberty Station Soda & Swine location has a vibe  reminiscent of a vintage soda parlor with funky twists – including a glass-topped foosball bar table, Spanish tile walls, and cherry red bar stools. The restaurant is specifically known for it’s meatball menu, which can be ordered with a variety of sauces on sliders, subs, or pasta (all of which are incredible). Happy hour is Monday – Friday from 3-7, with $5 beers, wines and select cocktails. A half order of “Dirty Fries” are only $5, too, and definitely hit the spot.

5. Puesto – Downtown

While Puesto is one of my all time favorite taco spots in San Diego, it gets even better at happy hour. The art-covered walls, colorful chairs, and cacti clusters create an artsy Mexican vibe within the historic Headquarters building. Happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 3-5, when their “Puesto Perfect” margaritas are only $6, and speciality tacos are $3.50 a piece.

Matcha Made in Heaven

If you’re looking for a new spin on a St. Patrick’s Day cocktail, this emerald whiskey concoction is for you! The drink gets it’s green hue from Japanese matcha powder, which is actually just green tea that has been ground down. The powder has a higher concentration of antioxidants than regular green tea, which brings some healthiness to happy hour! The slight bitterness of the matcha with the sweet honey and lemon compliments the whiskey, making this the ultimate St. Patty’s beverage. Enjoy!

Matcha Made in Heaven

4 oz. Irish whiskey

1 oz. Honey

2 oz. Lemon juice

1/4 tsp. Matcha powder

Extra large ice cubes

Club soda

Pour whiskey, honey, lemon juice and matcha powder into a shaker. Shake well for at least thirty seconds in order to incorporate the matcha power into the liquid. Pour cocktail mixture into two glasses with large ice cubes and top with club soda

 

San Diego Neighborhood Guide: North Park

 

This week, I’m kicking off a series of San Diego guides by bringing your my favorite spots to see in North Park. This neighborhood is by far one of my favorites in the city – the trendy shops, cool cafes, and incredible beer scene make it a super fun weekend spot (a.k.a we’re there at some point almost every weekend). Centered around 30th and University just a few minutes north of downtown, this up and coming area is definitely a must-see if you’re visiting San Diego.

The Favorites

Pigment

Whether or not you live in San Diego, you’ve probably heard of this gem of a store. Filled with colorful stationary, gifts, treats, cocktail accessories, and a succulent potting station Pigment is a dream destination.  It pretty much brings me happy tears every time I walk in (or maybe the tears are from wanting to buy every single thing in sight). Plus, they have an ombré pink wall outside. So, basically this spot is heaven.

Communal Coffee/Native Poppy

What’s better than coffee + flowers? This darling combo shop unites two amazing concepts in one place. You can order a rose latte and avocado toast, and then peruse the curated gift shop and Native Poppy’s custom flower mart while you wait. The Communal Lounge in the back, now open for events, even comes complete with a pink door. Be forewarned, holding coffee while trying to take pictures of every cute corner can be difficult, so make sure to snag a table first 😉

Holsem

Marble countertops. White walls. Espresso. Wine + beer. What more do you need from a coffee shop? Holsem is located just a stone’s throw away from Pigment, and is the perfect pick-me-up after a day of exploring. Whether you try out one of their creative latte concoctions or sit down for a glass of wine with a charcuterie board, this place doesn’t disappoint.

One Door North

This restaurant brings camping chic to 30th Street. Reserve a canvas tent to dine in or grab a cozy table near the window and be prepared to feel like you’ve gone on your own little outdoor adventure. The menu is nature inspired as well, which means lots of fresh produce, a “picnic” charcuterie board, and s’mores for dessert. Stop by during the week for their happy hour to snag some inexpensive sips and snacks, too.

HOLY MATCHA

This pink + tropical café is what Instagram dreams are made of. The newest addition to University Street, Holy Matcha is already a huge hit in the neighborhood. Ceremonial matcha comes in pink ceramic bowls, while avocado toast and vegan donuts round out the menu. Definitely a must-visit!

HAMMOND’S ICE CREAM

San Diego may not have quite the same hip ice cream scene as LA, but Hammond’s is definitely giving our city something to be proud of. The retro-meets-modern decor along with the delectable flavors from Hawaii makes this spot a great treat. Did I mention they have mini ice cream cone flights?!

Artelexia

This gift/art shop is another one of my favorites in North Park. Artelexia is a vibrant store inspired by Mexico, and curated beautifully. It’s filled with handmade glassware, tapestries, flower crowns and countless piñatas, plus you can snag a tasty popsicle from their Viva Pops freezer!

Tribute Pizza

Leave it to North Park to have one of the coolest pizzerias in the city. Located within the old U.S. Post Office, this restaurant is known for making pizzas inspired by favorites from around the world. Any spot that serves fresh pizza and rosé by the glass is great in my book, and the bright modern space puts it over the top.

The Breweries

It would be hard to write a list of North Park recs without at least mentioning the killer craft beer scene the neighborhood has going on. The area has over ten breweries/tasting rooms, which makes for a fun Saturday crawl. Some of our favorites include North Park Beer Co., Thorn Street, Mike Hess, and Modern Times. Most are pup friendly, too!

Other notable spots:

Underbelly (Hip patio spot for yummy ramen)

Young Hickory (Coffee + beer shop)

Coin-Op Game Room (Dive bar filled with retro arcade games)

Urban Solace (Southern comfort food with a cozy aesthetic)

Bottlecraft (Shop carrying bottled beers from around the world)

 

Lemon Basil Mojitos

After what seems like weeks and weeks of endless rain, the sun has returned to San Diego and it’s starting to feel like summer! Okay, I know it’s only the middle of March, but I’m already getting excited for longer days and warm afternoons by the pool. Since the weather is giving me all the summer feels, it seemed like the right time to mix up some mojitos, one of my favorite warm weather cocktails. And when my momma gave me a bag full of sweet Meyer lemons this week, I knew I had to find a way to use them! This alternative mojito recipe uses basil instead of mint, which gives the cocktail a fresh spin when mixed with the sweet lemons. Don’t worry if you don’t have any Meyer lemons around,  regular lemons work too (you just might want to toss in another sugar cube to balance out the tartness). This lemon basil pairing can also be used to make a yummy day time water infusion, too. Hope you enjoy!

Lemon Basil Mojitos (makes 2)

3 oz. Lemon juice

3 oz. White rum

10 Basil leaves

2 Sugar cubes

Sparkling water

Ice cubes

Place a sugar cube and  half of the basil in each glass. Muddle well until the basil leaves have broken down with the sugar. Add rum and lemon juice, stir to combine. Fill glass with ice and top with sparkling water.

Note: For a stronger basil flavor, place the basil/lemon/rum mixture in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.

Honeymoon Part II: London Travel Guide


Exploring London might be one of my favorite things to do, ever. There’s so much to see in the beautiful city, which means we always spend most of our time walking instead of riding the tube (who wants to be underground when there’s so much to see?!). Between the architecture, open park spaces, and the local food + pub scene, London always captures my heart.

If you’re planning on traveling to London anytime soon, here are a few of my favorite must-see spots:

Seven Dials: In this adorable village within Covent Garden, seven historic streets come together to create a network of shops, cafes, and bars. By far my favorite spot in London, plus the surrounding Covent Garden area and nearby Theatre district are just as fun to explore.

Sky Garden: As cool as it sounds, the Sky Garden is an urban oasis located within the top three floors of a skyscraper in London. The space is filled with live trees, plants and flowers, and provides 360 degree views of the city. Admission is free, and reservations can also be made for the swanky restaurants and bars up there, too.

Fortnum and Mason: The place of my dreams, Fortnum and Mason is a high end department store selling picnic hampers, confections, tea, ice cream, and countless other British necessities. Plus they sell frozen champagne popsicles…

La Bodega Negra: If you’re in the mood for Mexican food abroad (we were craving it by the end of the honeymoon), this spot in Soho is a must visit. The ambiance is great and the tacos + margs are pretty swell, too.

Shoreditch: After some recommendations from our hotel, we  spent a bit of time in this East End neighborhood. This part of the city is young, hip, and full of trendy bars and restaurants (basically London’s version of San Diego’s North Park times ten). Old Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane are an obvious must see while there, and we even managed to find a craft brew bar. There are countless other spots in this neighborhood worth mentioning, so I would just recommend making a trip over to the East Side and wandering around for yourself!

Hyde Park: It’s hard to miss this huge green park sitting in the middle of the city, and it’s definitely worth a visit or two. A walk through the open space provides the perfect break from the bustle of the city. The swans and peonies growing in the park make it kind of feel like you’re in a fairytale, too.

Sketch: To read everything you need to know about this pastel dream of a restaurant, visit my previous post here.

Borough Market: One of London’s most infamous markets, Borough is always worth a visit on the South Bank to shop and try local eats . The small streets surrounding the market are wonderful as well and have quaint shops like Neal Yard’s Dairy.

Portobello Star: If you’re a G&T fan, this bar and home of Portobello Road Gin should be on your list. The Notting Hill spot serves the classic London cocktail  in a stemmed wine glass complete with fresh juniper berries and citrus. You can also make reservations and attend the Ginstitute on property, where you can learn to distill your own gin to take home.

Portobello Market: If you’re visiting on the weekend, the outdoor antique market on Portobello Road is always a fun stop.  My favorite part are the fruit stands within the market that serve fresh smoothies out of real pineapples, which you can sip while admiring all of the colorful Notting Hill homes.

Bill’s in Soho: We ate brunch here on our last morning in London, and they had the best avocado toast ever. Enough said.

The Churchill Arms: While London has an endless list of pubs, this one sets itself apart as the first one in London to serve Thai food. Built in 1790, the Notting Hill spot has the traditional vibe of a standard pub, but with the extra perk of ordering pad thai with your beer.

So there you have it! I could keep going on forever about the amazing pubs, gorgeous theatres, idyllic English breakfasts….. so I think the list needs to stop there. But there will be more to add soon because… surprise! We’re going back! That’s right, we’ve decided to make a trip to Paris for our one year wedding anniversary, which means we conveniently get to stop in London again (we definitely planned that). If you have any other recs for local spots to visit in either of the cities, I would love to hear!