During our most recent visit to San Diego, we stayed with a fellow friend who is a lover of food, like ourselves. Here is a list of the places we went to (all of which were my first time), along with some non-breweries. We decided to stay off beer for the weekend and did hard kombucha, mead, and a sake distillery instead.
The Brewery Alts
Super grammable – this place is equal parts a kombuchery, cidery, meadery, distillery, and winery – so there’s something for everyone and each of us ordered completely different things. I went for the Eau de Vie, which is essentially a clear fruit brandy. My friend got a fruit wine flight, and my husband went for a frose. My favorite were the wines. The Eau de Vie tasted kind of like shochu and was pretty strong. It was an experience, but not my favorite.
Despite the name, Juneshine Ranch isn’t on an open field where dogs are running free (that’s what I pictured when I read “ranch.”) Juneshine essentially took over the old Ballast Point tasting room. There’s an indoor and outdoor area with picnic tables, and we played a couple rounds of Uno with a kombucha flight each.
All the peach forward ones were my favorite, and the Dragonfruit one is always a good one to Instagram.
If you’ve had mead before, you know that it’s very, very sweet. This is why the 3 of us decided to share one flight – and their flights come with 7 tasters so it was more than enough. Art of the Peel was our favorite, it tasted like banana bread. Lemon’s Cello honestly tasted like dish soap, but if you ask them to mix it with their Raspberry Envie, it’s quite good.
Lastly, we went to Setting Sun Sake, which is a very rare find because there aren’t many sake distilleries in the U.S. We went near closing time and got to meet the owner and chat with him for a while, which was cool. I’m actually not the biggest sake fan and don’t know the difference between most, but it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.
The Food Crawl
We went hard on our first meal, which was at a Vietnamese restaurant in one of the many strip malls in SD. We got papaya salad and fried eggrolls, but the star of the show was the large baked catfish. You wrap it into the spring roll wraps and add pickled carrots and cilantro. It was seriously one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had. Because the catfish is baked, not fried, it’s not greasy or heavy. I ate 3 catfish spring rolls and 3 fried eggrolls that night.
For lunch the next day, we went to Thai Village for their avocado curry. It’s a green curry base with coconut, with smooth pieces of avocado added at the end for extra creaminess. Definitely order the fried crab rice as well.
Pomegranate is a Russian-Georgian restaurant in North Park. If you’ve never had Georgian dumplings before, you should get some now. They’re like tiny tortellini but with a meat filling that tastes just like a Chinese wonton. They’re served with sour cream and dill. They’re chewy, savory packets of deliciousness and were definitely my favorite dish of the night. We also got the “Russian lips” which is bread baked with egg and ricotta cheese in the middle. You rip off pieces of hot, freshly baked bread and dip it into the cheese mixture. It’s very heavy but very good.
Lucha Libre: We find it difficult to go to San Diego without getting a California burrito. Lucha Libre is a solid go-to. It’s open late and the decor is pretty wild. We got the Ado-Haba Pina California which has grilled pineapple along with all the other burrito staples.
Holsem Coffee: Before heading back to LA, we stopped by Holsem for their banana bread cold brew. Bonus is they’re dog-friendly, meaning you can even bring the pup inside to put in your order and then enjoy your coffee together on the patio.