5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try In July

My monthly guide of San Diego happy hours is back (see here and here for previous guides)! For July, I’m highlighting some favorites in Hillcrest, La Jolla, Mission Hills and South Park. Read below to find out where to get the best fish tacos on happy hour, which place in San Diego is making cocktails with their own fruit wines, and where to stop in South Park with the pup for a glass of wine!

1. Hundred Proof

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try in July | The ELL Blog

This brand new bar concept is located just down the street from the group’s first restaurant Trust (one of my go-to favorites for brunch). With a modern-meets-woodsy vibe, Hundred Proof is a great spot to grab craft cocktails and bites. From 3-7pm during the week, they offer $7 craft cocktails, $6 wines and $5 beers, plus $3 off all food. Their fish tacos were some of the best I’ve ever tried, and they were only $6 for a plate of three! Their marble bar and jackelope wallpaper make it a pretty fun spot to Instagram, too.

2. Fruitcraft

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try in July | The ELL Blog

Recently re-conceptualized from a winery to a fermentery, FruitCraft in Hillcrest is making some of the most interesting cocktails in San Diego. All of their wines and spirits are made from a range of fruits other than grapes, such as pineapples, pomegranates, cranberries, and mangoes. FruitCraft then uses these to mix up a range of unique cocktails, such as their take on a Moscow mule made with pumpkin wine! While they don’t currently offer a traditional daily happy hour, stop by on the weekend for Sangria Saturdays and get discounted red and white sangrias.

3. Bar by Red Door

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try in July | The ELL Blog

Located in Mission Hills, Bar by Red Door is the sister concept to their adjoined farm-to-table restaurant, Red Door. The space is filled with hanging plants, modern seating, and plenty of natural light, with a bar menu written out on an entire wall-length mirror. Happy hour runs daily from 5-7, and includes $8 cocktails, $6 wines and $5 beers. They also offer food on happy hour as well, with farm fresh offerings like caprese lettuce wraps and mixed vegetables.

4. Whisknladle

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try in July | The ELL Blog

Happy hour at this La Jolla gem is everyday from 4-6, making it the perfect spot for a drink near the beach. All libations are $5.55, including select cocktails and house sangria. Small plates are also on happy hour, including a bowl of local mussels and garlic toast. Weekend happy hours are especially hard to come by in La Jolla, so definitely keep Whisknladle in mind if you’re around on a Saturday or Sunday!

5. The Rose Wine Bar

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try in July | The ELL Blog

South Park is full of great local spots for food and drinks, and The Rose Wine Bar is no exception. The bar has a patio perfect for pups, and they offer an extensive wine list for anyone’s palette. During happy hour (Monday – Wednesday from 4:30-6:30 and Thursday-Sunday from 11:30-6:30), glasses of wine and flatbreads are $2 off, and beer & cider are just $5. Corkage is also reduced to $5 during happy hour, too, so you can pick out a bottle in their shop to share!

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One

Oh how I miss this city so much already! Paris in the early summertime is a dream, and I can’t stop obsessing over all of the memories from the trip. We spent 5 days in Paris, and managed to experience more of the city than I could have imagined. I’ve broken the trip into two parts, and am sharing my favorite highlights from the first few days below!

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

Where We Stayed: The Amastan Paris

Since this was only our second time to Paris and we didn’t know the city as well as London, we wanted to stay in a fairly central location. After some research, we found the the darling  Amastan Paris located a few blocks off Champs-Élysées. This boutique hotel had everything we were looking for and more. The rooms were designed in a navy and white color palette with modern wood and gold accents. Our room also had doors that opened to a balcony overlooking the streets, from which you could even see the Eiffel Tower. One of my favorite memories from the five days we spent there was celebrating our anniversary on the balcony with fresh macarons and champagne, and watching the top of the tower sparkle.

While the room was definitely on the small side compared to any of the other places we stayed, the design, location and price made it completely worth it. Downstairs, the Amastan had an interior courtyard bar which was the perfect spot to grab a drink when we arrived. I was obsessed with the communal marble table and the garden patio tucked in the courtyard of the building.  If you’re looking to stay in central Paris with easy access to all of main sights, I would really recommend staying at the Amastan!

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris: Days 1-3

Our first few days in Paris were spent walking around and getting our bearings for the city. We barely used the metro at the beginning of the trip since we wanted to see everything above ground! Because this was a return trip for us, we didn’t feel the need to do some of the main attractions again. So our time was spent wandering, sitting at cafés, and taking in all of Paris’ beauty. Based on my favorite parts of the trip, here are some suggestions for the first few days!

Picnic beneath the Eiffel Tower: Picnicking in Paris during the summertime is a must. We wanted to find a local market to pick up some items, and we stumbled upon the perfect street near the Arc de Triomphe. Markets filled with fresh produce spilled onto the streets, and nearby shops sold bread, cheese, and yummy pre-made French dishes. After picking out some items –French potato salad and rosé were my favs — we headed straight for the tower and ate in the late evening sunshine (the sun doesn’t set till almost 10pm in the summer, so there’s plenty of daylight!)

• Stroll Rue Cler: We loved charming Rue Cler last time we were in Paris, and we loved it even more this time around. The street is full of cute cafés, markets, and flower shops, making it the perfect stop between our hotel and the Eiffel Tower. L’Eclair is one of our favorite spots on the street, where we ate a late night meal of salmon tartare and rosé on our first day there.

• Sip mojitos in the Latin Quarter: When Paris is over 90 degrees and equally as humid, frequent stops for something cold were necessary. We were so happy to find out that mojitos are really popular cocktails at cafés, since they are our favorite summertime sip! Maison Sauvage near Boulevard St. Germain was a perfect spot to grab one, where you can sit beneath fringed umbrellas and people watch in the Latin Quarter.

• Walk Champs-Élysées towards the Tuileries Gardens: Staying steps away from Champs-Élysées meant spending quite a bit of time on the boulevard. While the shops and cafés that line the street are a huge attraction (and the Arc de Triomphe is pretty gorgeous), I felt like the area was a bit too touristy for my taste. However, the grandness of the street is a sight to behold, especially when you walk away from the shops and head down towards Place de la Concorde.  This huge public square filled with gorgeous fountains leads directly to the beautiful Tuileries Gardens. Here you’ll find plenty of outdoor seating, perfectly manicured paths, and even a charming carousel.

• Wander the streets of Montmartre: The winding alleyways through the hills of Montmartre are some of my favorite streets in Paris. The area seems to preserve the idyllic romantic history of Paris, which I adore. While we were there, we grabbed a sidewalk table at Le Saint Jean for lunch, where I had the best fresh chicken salad filled with hard boiled eggs, fresh tomatoes, and beets. We actually found ourselves back in Montmartre on our final day of the trip too, and stopped back at the same café for their live jazz night. There’s something special about sitting at a street side cafe listening to live French music! If you’re in Montmartre, don’t forget to head up to Sacre Cour to see the sweeping view of Paris. Once you’re there, you can find another one of my favorite spots nearby, Grenouilles Paris. This small shop specialized in Parisian beer and amazing sandwiches made on fresh baguettes, and is worth a stop if you’re looking for a quick lunch!

• Walk across Pont Alexander III: This is by far my favorite bridge in Paris. Not only is it featured in one of my all time fav movies Midnight in Paris (go watch it now if you haven’t seen it!), I think it perfectly captures everything that is beautiful and romantic about Paris. The black ornate street lamps, gilded details, and grand statues at each end make it so easy to photograph. Honestly, I almost preferred walking on the bridges on either side of Pont Alexander just so I could look at it!

Coming up in the second portion of the “5 days in Paris” series, I’m sharing where to find the best collection of local restaurants, how to get into one of the most popular Italian restaurants, and where to go for flamingos and rosé on the Seine!

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie

Summer’s finally here, so I figured it’s the perfect time to share some tropical Paris inspiration from our recent visit! I found Polpo Brasserie while researching for our trip to Paris and London, and immediately put it on the top of our list of must-see spots.

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris at Polpo Brasserie

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

While Polpo is not exactly in central Paris (it’s technically in Levallois-Perret), it’s completely worth the trek to the end of the metro line. We actually ended up going twice — the first time we tried, they were closed for a special event — so trust me when I say it’s worth it!

I fell in love the moment we walked in the door. The space is decked with bohemian soft seating, rattan furniture, hanging rope lights, and a plethora of tropical plants. Since the restaurant is on a floating barge docked in the Seine, all of the windows and the patio look directly onto the water. Once we sat at the bar, I couldn’t stop looking around at the entire space. I mean, green and white striped booths mixed with wicker lanterns? Peacock chairs and potted palms? Come onnnn.

Even though I was happy enough just getting to see Polpo in person, trying out their drink menu just about as fun. They make an amazing tropical sangria, which was perfect since it was about 90 degrees out.  Their paloma was excellent too, and their dried grapefruit garnish made me want to add a bowl dried of citrus slices to our bar cart. While we didn’t stay for dinner, we did try their tuna tartare which was sublime.

If you’re planning on being in Paris anytime soon, you reeaally should check this spot out in person – it’s even better in real life. Now that we’re back, I’m trying to figure out how to bring these boho tropical Paris vibes into our apartment and keep reliving it all year!

Mixing up Tequila Cocktails with Shaker & Spoon

It’s no secret that I love trying new cocktail recipes, especially when they involve tequila. But sometimes finding inspiration can be a little difficult; enter Shaker & Spoon, a monthly delivery service that brings the inspo to your door step!

Mixing up Tequila Cocktails with Shaker & Spoon | The ELL Blog

Mixing up Tequila Cocktails with Shaker & Spoon | The ELL Blog

Mixing up Tequila Cocktails with Shaker & Spoon | The ELL Blog

Mixing up Tequila Cocktails with Shaker & Spoon | The ELL Blog

Mixing up Tequila Cocktails with Shaker & Spoon | The ELL Blog

Mixing up Tequila Cocktails with Shaker & Spoon | The ELL Blog

Mixing up Tequila Cocktails with Shaker & Spoon | The ELL Blog

Each month, Shaker & Spoon designs a box around a particular liquor and sends you everything you need to make 3 different recipes (minus the alcohol). I received the “Tequila Blanco” box, which means I got to mix up all of the cocktails with my favorite bar cart tequila – Altos Blanco.  The box came with a Mexican Spice syrup, habañero shrub, tajin seasoning, chili peppers, mole bitters, agave & simple syrup, ginger beer,fresh produce, and three detailed recipe cards. Plus, there are enough ingredients to make four of each cocktail, so you can share them with friends! My favorite recipe from this month’s box was the “Burro Buck,” which combined tequila with the Mexican spice syrup and ginger beer.

For those new to crafting cocktails, Shaker & Spoon also includes a glossary card explaining the methods used in each recipe as well as the specific tools needed. I also love how they include all of the garnishes needed for each of the cocktails, too! If you’re looking to mix up your cocktail routine, or simply want to get some fresh new ideas each month, I’d highly recommend trying out Shaker & Spoon. If you sign up by July 4th, you’ll receive their “Pisco Fever” box which has some yummy tiki flavors that are perfect for summer time!

This post was sponsored by Shaker & Spoon, and all opinions are my own.

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark

As I mentioned in my last post about the Leman Locke hotel, we decided to stay in East London during the first weekend of our recent visit to Europe. I absolutely fell in love with the different neighborhoods on the east side of the city, especially on the south side of the Thames. While we’ve visited Southwark several times before, this was our first time exploring the neighboring Bermondsey district. Between the street markets, breweries and restaurants, I knew I loved it from the start. If you’re visiting London and looking for some local spots to try out, I’ve listed some of my favorites from our time in the southeast bank below!

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

London Travel Guide: Bermondsey & Southwark | The ELL Blog

Borough Market: This has always been a favorite spot of mine, and it now has an even more significant place in my heart due to the events that occurred there while we were visiting London. While the market has been closed since the attack, it’s  actually reopening this week to continue serving the city as it has for the past thousand years. A visit to this market — filled to the brim with produce, cheese, meats, and local food stands — is definitely necessary if you’re in London.

Neal’s Yard Dairy: While this shop originated in Covent Garden, my favorite location to visit is on a side street near Borough Market. The shop is filled floor-to-ceiling with wheels of cheese, and you can sample a variety that are either locally made or imported. We grabbed a wedge of an amazing  local cheddar and a loaf of bread for our train trip to Paris (details of that trip coming soon).

London Grind: This café and cocktail bar is located within an old bank at the end of London Bridge, and  served up the best breakfast we had on the entire trip. Their avocado toast comes topped with poached eggs and red chilis, while their Full English breakfast came with the best roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Aside from the food, their urban design aesthetic is pretty great, too. I fell in love with their neon sign quote on the back wall: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” There are also many other “Grind” locations throughout London, so there is most likely one nearby wherever you are.

Maltby Street Market: Located in Bermondsey beneath strings of lights and flags, this market should be on the top of your list if you’re in London during the weekend. The market runs beneath the train tracks, with local little shops tucked under the arches. Grab a gin cocktail to-go at Little Bird and stroll through the various pop-up stands serving all different types of street foods, from scotch eggs to waffle sandwiches. One of the best things I ate on the entire trip was a creamy French potato and ham dish served out of a gigantic pan near the end of the market (and I’m still trying to figure out how to recreate it!).

Bermondsey Beer Mile: The London craft beer scene reaches an all time high in Bermondsey. The neighborhood has nearly 10 microbreweries along a mile and a half stretch, which has been dubbed the “Bermondsey Beer Mile.” Many of the breweries are in the arches beneath the train tracks and are only open on the weekends. My favorites that we visited were Anspach & Hobday, Hawkes Cidery, and Brew by Numbers. The breweries are definitely on the smaller side and can get really busy, with people spilling out into the streets to enjoy their pints — but we loved getting to see where the locals spend their Saturdays!

Woolpack: Unlike some other pubs in London, the Woolpack has several local beers on draft. Their back patio is worth a visit, and made me miss my pup since it was super dog friendly! They also host pop-up events on their patio with local brewers, so we got to check out Fourpure Brewing Co. while we were there.

Tanner & Co: We stopped here for an afternoon cocktail, and it didn’t disappoint. Their bar menu can be found inside vintage books, while table numbers are painted on enamel cups filled with succulents. The best part is their bright patio complete with colorful market lights and vibrant patio chairs – an ideal place to enjoy a Saturday bloody mary in the sunshine.

More to come from our second weekend in London soon, as well as all things Paris!