San Diego, Part 1

This past week Kev and I were lucky enough to spend a few days in gorgeous, beautiful, perpetually sunny San Diego, California. Kev has a contact at Sony, and they flew him and a couple guys out there to play and test a new video game on their 3D TVs for three days straight. I, of course, tagged alone for the ride. :) The guys were serious about their testing, Kev would go in at about 9 o’clock in the morning and would not get back to the room until well after midnight! The first day I heard from him twice. A text in the middle of the day saying, “I’m having fun! How about you?” and then later that night, around 11 pm, another text saying, “I’m ready to come back, but I don’t want to be the first to leave.” He finally came in around 1 am and said, “I was still the first to leave!” :)

San Diego

Since I had a few days to myself while Kev was at Sony, I called up my sweet friend Lori, a San Diego blogger I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know in San Francisco. Lori’s cute site is, a phenomenal collection of over 2,500 recipes for entertaining, healthy eating, crock pot meals and more. She also has a blog called where she reveals the recipes of dishes found on the covers of cookbooks and magazines. Love that idea! :)

San Diego

On my first day in San Diego, I met up with Lori and another San Diego blogger I’d met in San Francisco, the fabulous Kathy from, for breakfast at Hash House a Go Go. This was such a fun spot! A reader, Ada from Life as a Chef’s Wife, dedicated a “must see and do in San Diego” post for me describing Hash House a Go Go as a definite must-eat.

San Diego

Check out these gigantic plates! I am kicking myself now for not getting a picture of us three girls together, holding our plates up. I simply did not convey how colossally large they were in this photo! Here’s Kathy’s sage fried chicken scramble, crispy potatoes & biscuit, with my french toast in the background. Loved their french toast! The San Diego girls got a big kick out of the biscuit, although down here in the south I grew up having biscuits for breakfast every morning. What would they have done if we’d been served grits? ;)

San Diego

After breakfast, Lori and I headed to North Park, a lovely, hip little neighborhood in San Diego, and found some fun boutiques to wander around and do some girly shopping. But we both practically squealed with delight when we stumbled upon a delicious-looking bakery, Heaven Sent Desserts.

We took a peek inside and the next thing you know..

San Diego

We’d ended up with quite a few desserts to taste-test!

San Diego

First up we have Tiramisu. Oh mama mia, that pastry cream on top was outta this world incredible!

San Diego

How fun was the outer, decorative shell. It was a delicious, thin layer of chocolate you could eat. Just look at all the lovely Tiramisu layers here.

San Diego

Next we have the Red Velvet cake.. Lori’s favorite! Had to try this one. :)

San Diego

Oh heaven help me, get a load of this Midnight Madness cake. A chocolate rice crispy crust, layers of milk chocolate mouse, devils food cake, and dark chocolate mousse, with dark chocolate ganache topping. Loved. every. bite.

San Diego

This cake was truly heaven sent.

San Diego

Also got this banana & chocolate cupcake for Kev. Peanut Butter + Banana + Chocolate + Any combination thereof = Kev’s Weakness.  He had this waiting on him when he got in at 1 am the first night.

San Diego

Next we stopped by fun cupcake shop Kathy told us about that specializes in square cupcakes. It’s called Cupcakes Squared, how perfect! In addition to having uniquely square cupcakes, we also sampled their adventurous flavors like Passion Fruit, Coconut Lime, Chocolate Walnut, and… get ready… vanilla!

San Diego

Afterward Lori and I went for a drive around San Diego, looking at all the gorgeous homes and scenery, and we ended up right here at beautiful Sunset Cliffs.

San Diego

What a gorgeous spot, the waves were crashing like crazy along the cliffs.

San Diego

I could not believe we were the only ones here on such a beautiful afternoon!

San Diego

San Diego

The darling owner at Cupcakes Squared told us about a wonderful Cuban bakery, Azúcar, in Ocean Beach, where we were headed for dinner, so we made a quick stop and ended up with a delightful afternoon snack. In the back we have one of my favorites of the day, an almond cake soaked in five different milks, topped with a dulce de leche glaze and sugar crusted almonds. Oh good gravy, those sugar crusted almonds were wonderful! Had to try a sweet shot of Cuban espresso (delicious!), and we couldn’t resist the dark chocolate sea salt caramel or the chocolate chunk cookie. :)

San Diego

It was just about sunset and we walked down to the boardwalk at Ocean Beach for a front row seat.

San Diego

Just in time.

San Diego

How quickly the sky changes as the sun sets!

San Diego

Hot pink clouds.

San Diego

Vibrant, fiery colors.

San Diego

Looking to the east, I loved how pink the sky looked just after sunset.

San Diego

Gorgeous sunsets, pink skies, streets lined with palm trees… I wasn’t prepared to fall in love with this city!

San Diego

Right by the Ocean Beach boardwalk, we made a quick stop at the South Beach Bar and Grille. I am a huge fan of fish tacos, dare I say, fish tacos are my life, and this is the place I kept hearing about over and over for knock-your-socks-off fish tacos. Lucky for us, it was Taco Tuesday and all fish tacos were 1/2 price. Hooray! We split a taco platter of Mahi, Wahoo, Grilled Shrimp, Calamari & Baja. Fantastic. Loved them.

San Diego

Couldn’t leave OB without grabbing a burger at Hodad’s! Kinda wishing I’d gotten one of their famous milkshakes now.. It’s topped with three scoops of ice cream, whipped cream and syrup. They would’ve had to roll. me. out!

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83 Responses
  1. Amanda Keeley-Thurman

    We love San Diego too. We visit several times a year. Looks like you guys enjoyed some good eats while in town. Old Town and Seaport Village are a couple of our favorite places to enjoy food and drink in San Diego .

  2. Cynthia Stuckey

    Going to San Diego in 10 days ( with my husband: a business trip for him) and we are going to be alone without our kiddos for an entire week and
    I was just hoping you would have a few San Diego posts! You never disappoint!

  3. Denise Afssa

    OMG these pictures are amazing, breathtaking, perfect. You really have a gift. LOVE the ones of the beach, rocks, sand, water. Wow. Perfect. I’ve been to San Diego many times but have never seen beach like that. And the cupcakes! How are you not 300 pounds! ha ha

  4. Christine

    I live here and have been to many of these places, but I found a couple to try out from your blog posts!

    We just tried Hodad’s a couple of months ago, after hearing so much about it. Sorry to say I hated it. Tasted like frozen burgers on a bad, decrepit bun. I won’t be back.

  5. Kristen

    Hash House A Go Go is so much fun fun! So glad you love my home. DIego has the best weather, churches, shopping and food. It is a great city.

  6. Irene

    With all of the gorgeous pictures you’ve taken while in San Diego, I think I’ve fallen in love with this city myself!! OMG, how gorgeous! They would have had to roll me out of more than a few places too! Thank you for sharing your amazing trip with us and I’m so glad you had fun with your friends!! Way to go!!!

  7. Emily L.

    SD is one of those places you go once and never want to leave :) I love that i’ve lived here for almost 2 years and you were here for 3 days and have found more bakerys than I have ha. In fact. I have never been to one here!! You must be a magnet for them ;)

  8. Valerie

    I think I am craving cupcakes now, they look amazing. BEAUTIFUL scenery pictures, I would love to be be on a beach right now, I am tired of snow and the cold weather.

  9. Casey L.

    I love San Diego but I haven’t been in close to 10 years! My husband and I are crossing our fingers that his next duty station is Camp Pendleton just so we can explore the city together! And all these wonderful places will be put on our to do list while we are there!

  10. Karen Patrick

    My husband and I just got back from SD. Wish I had known about some of these places before we went. We stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn new the stadium and had a wonderful time. Maybe it’s just as well that I didn’t know about these places before we went, or I’d be wearing my stretchy pants instead of skinny jeans.

  11. Life with Kaishon

    What a wonderful trip you had. I LOVE the colors of the sunset. Oh my goodness. How magnificent! The food looks too good to be true. That chocolate cake? Get out of the city! LOVELY! : ) Glad you had a marvelous little adventure mid winter!

  12. Marci

    I am so excited to hear about this Cuban bakery. My husband is Cuban and we always like to find new Cuban restaurants to try traditional dishes… especially desserts!!

    Thanks for the discovery, we will be going there soon!!

  13. marla

    Amanda – get your sweet self back home and practice on figuring out the recipe for the Midnight Madness cake!! That looks INCREDIBLE!!!!! So glad you are having a nice time – love the pics of the sunsets!

  14. ilene david

    Love your site but have to giggle that your ad for The Biggest Loser popped up before my comment. That’s where I’ll end up after I get to visit these fabulous San Diego places. Thanks!

  15. Jen Knox

    Looks like you had a fabulous time! My family used to visit San Diego regularly and it’s my favorite vacation spot! You made me so “homesick” for my favorite city, especially at this time of year when we’re experiencing snow and 8 degree temps in Minneapolis!

    Sun, San Diego and cupcakes….sounds like Heaven to me!

  16. LCSmithSAVED

    Oh my goodness I’m 10 pounds heavier just READING your post, lol! what a beautiful place & a fun day – thx for sharing

  17. Betsy

    Love hearing about your trips and seeing your beautiful pictures and all the yummy food! One question, do you just sample all of this food because you are so tiny. If I ate all those desserts I would never be able to fit into my clothes for the ride home.

  18. Sara Johnson

    Those pictures of the ocean at sunset made me completely jealous I haven’t ever been to the ocean! I guess I am going to have to get the courage up and go!
    Where did you get your purse? I love it! I am looking for a fun new one myself!

  19. Kathy

    How in the world are you not as big as the side of a house with all that you eat! I looked at your pictures and gained 5 pounds. Beautiful pics by the way.

  20. kelly

    my daughter married a guy from san diego this past summer, in san diego. we did their wedding cupcakes from cupcakes squared, they did a fabulous job!! they were yummy and people are still talking about the carrot cake!
    those sunsets are incredible, hope we can go back soon and try those fish tacos!!

  21. Carrie

    Just found your blog this month and have enjoyed following it. Looks like you had a great time in SF. I love the picture of the old movie theatre. And as always I enjoy your pics of all the yummy food you encounter. BTW, it’s my husband’s BD today and I’m going to attempt to make the chocolate cake you’ve posted on your blog. It looks yummy and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.

  22. Janet Thwaits

    The pictures were absolutely beautiful…..I felt like I had been on the
    vacation with you….it was a lovely way to spend my lunch hour. I have always loved San Diego, but haven’t been there for quite a while, so thank you for the “trip”. The sunset was awesome!

  23. Kaylene

    girl, I think a photography tutorial on back-lit scenes is due :) It looks too natural for flash… reflectors, perhaps? I am eagerly awaiting the answers, haha :)

  24. kristi

    You photos are beautiful (as always)! Just had to comment as I started reading about your visit to OB I was hoping you’d mention Hodad’s. I’m in CO and we ALWAYS get a burger & shake at Hodad’s when we’re in Southern Cali. Thanks for another wonderful post!

  25. Kathy - Panini Happy

    It was so much fun to catch up with you and Lori last week! I cannot believe how many other places you were able to visit later in the day – what an absolutely fun day! Can’t wait to read about the cupcake crawl next. :-)

  26. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    SUCH a fun time!! I want to go back and have some more Red Velvet Cake and that yummy stuff at Azucar. Will have to take my husband to Hash House and SPLIT a breakfast! Come back again soon so we can do more exploring! XOXO

  27. Meriel

    Hey Amanda! I’ve been a long time reader! Your posts are always awesome!!! Sounds like you had a fun and fulfilling time here ;-). Just looking at your pictures reaffirms my love for this city. I’ve lived here for most of my life and I don’t plan on leaving. EVER! Hopefully you and Kevin get a chance to come back and spend more time here, there are soooo many places that are MUST sees!

    Anyhow, glad you enjoyed your time here. Can’t wait to see more pictures!

  28. Anja

    I live in San Diego and totally love it. I moved here from Germany 4 years ago and there is no going anywhere after a couple of years in Diego. Thank you for the great vacation report, makes me appreciate my new hometown even more. :)

  29. Donna

    I live in San Diego & it truly is the best city! I never want to move away! Next time you’re in San Diego, you HAVE to try some authentic Mexican food. We have the best Mexican food since we are so close to the border. Cotixan Mexican Food (Genesee Ave) is my favorite spot. Try their Carne Asada Burrito. You’ll want to drink their hot sauce, it’s THAT good! Ãœ

    I’m glad you had a fun trip!

  30. DebZorn

    Good grief, Amanda! I gained 10 pounds just reading this post. The food photos were lovely. The sunset was spectacular. And, you are adorable, as usual. I’m glad you and Kevin had a good time.

  31. Debbie

    Your pictures are amazing! I’m so glad you enjoyed my city! Come back and visit anytime! Living in San Diego is truly living in paradise!

  32. Christy

    Wow, looks like you had a great trip. I always love a chance to go to San Diego. It’s only an hour away from us. Never heard of those restaurants and bakeries though, so I’ll have to look them up and try them out. They look fabulous.

    I would love to know your camera’s Apeture/Shutter Speed/ISO on those shots of the ocean. So cool. (p.s. Thanks for your awesome tutorials on photography – I’m still learning)

  33. Kadee

    Oh man, this post makes me home sick. I visited San Diego on vacation and loved it so much I moved there! I spent 8 years there before my husband (who I met in SD) was transfered to Long Beach for work. My heart will always be in San Diego though.

  34. Heather :) :) :)

    Oh, those photos are gorgeous…my two favorites…the photo of that old vintage theatre. I love VINTAGE anything, even buildings. They have the best style and character. Oh, that sweet Cuban espresso looked very interesting, too!!! I ‘ll have to have one of those someday!!! Have a great week. Thanks for sharing the photos. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  35. suzi

    okay, sister, i have to tell you… i am a HUGE. font. fan. and now, i’m just a huge YOU-fan! love reading your adventures, love your whole entire style, love the dogs, love the whole bit! :)

  36. Marywithgarden

    I think I got a sugar high from reading your post!

    What a great trip you had. Loved seeing the photos and hearing about the different places you tried. I’d love to try those fish tacos. I have developed an affinity;y for fish tacos this year. What could be better than fish tacos on the ocean?

  37. Julia Andrus Williams

    Wow! The Midnight Madness cake looks a-maz-ing! I might need to schedule a trip to San Diego just to taste that cake!

  38. Julie

    So fun to spend a day with a gal-pal in San Diego. Love that place. But really do you eat all that food? Every time you post one of these out of town posts, I can’ help wonder. Does she really eat all of that food? And if so how does she stay looking so good?

    (good for you if you do eat all that food!)

  39. Sweet Bella Roos

    I was in San Deigo this weekend! Well, kind of by accident. Took my 4-yr old to Disneyland but couldnt get a flight to SNA so we ended up going through SAN and driving. Very pretty drive!

  40. Chere

    OMG! These sunsets are unreal. Also the desserts are killing me. I am on the HCG diet at the moment and I could lick the monitor. Ha Ha Ha. Please tell me how you shoot such beautiful pictures. Do you use an auto setting or do you set your own? Please fill us in. They are always great. How do you do the pictures of Howie and Miley? The action shoots are great. Looks like you had a blast in SD. Keep having fun.

  41. Mindy

    I visited San Diego back in 2008 for my Aunt’s wedding. It was great. So beautiful out there and the HASH HOUSE was a great restaurant to eat at. Huge plates of food. Glad you had a great time out there.

  42. Anna Faustini

    Good morning Amanda,
    Thanks for sharing another wonderful day with us! Wish I could have been there, LOL! The pictures are the best. Have a great day and Kevin too! :)

  43. Paulette

    Thank you so much for all those wonderful pics of food and the fabulous sunset. Wish I was there, especially for the desserts. Paulette

  44. Kristen@PrettySweet

    There’s a possibility we might be in San Diego later this year – if so, I’ll be digging up your SD trip posts! All of these places sound so fun! And that tiramisu cupcake looked incredible! And, well, that chocolate cake, too. =)

    Your husband might have the perfect job for a guy. =)

  45. shawn

    Beautiful pictures!!! I never thought I would like to go there. But you have changed my mind. Did I mention how beautiful the pictures are!!!

  46. Laurie Clayton

    San Diego is my favorite part of Southern California. Being a CA native I spent a lot of time there! I heard from my friends the weather was beautiful there last week, lucky girl!

    My daughter and her hubby are stationed in Yuma, AZ and often take the kids to the Zoo or to SeaWorld for fun. I just love the pics she sends me of her and the babies standing in the ocean. So gorgeous!

    You are also VERY lucky to induldge in all that wonderful and beautiful food. I would blow up like a balloon after eating all those sweets!

  47. Jane Crawford

    Thank you so much for this wonderful mini-vacation. The pictures are amazing. Wish I could go there right now. I haven’t been to San Diego since the late 80’s. Thanks again.

  48. Anette Willemine

    Hi, Amanda! I’m so happy I have found your lovely site today! :) (I subscribed for updates right away.)
    As far as I understand you live in up north in Alabama. Then I just wanted to share with you that our eldest son, Carl-Erik (21), lived in North-Alabama as an exchange student for a year. He was then 17 years of age. He had a wonderful year! :) We visited him during his last semester for 10 days. It was so wonderful to be able to share some of the things he was experiencing during his year in Alabama.
    Our eldest daughter, Caroline (20), spent a similar year as an exchange student in Wisconsin two years ago. She also had an amazing year! We also made a trip to Wisconsin two years ago to visit her. Her American host family visited us back in Norway this last summer. We have really extended our family! Caroline’s best American friend with parents did also visit from Wisconsin this last summer It was so great to see them again, after having met them in The US.
    So this was just a little story from Norway. :) I’m looking forward to follow your beautiful site.

    Anette Willemine, Norway

  49. Steph H.

    Hey, you’re in my home town! Oh man did your pix make me homesick. If it weren’t for my getting to visit next week I’d be really green with envy! ;) You hit some great foodie spots and shared some that I did not know about (I’ll definitely be checking out Azucar while I’m out there).

    I’m not sure if you’re still in San Diego, but if you are, be sure to stop at Rubio’s for their famous fish tacos and/or at In ‘n Out for a burger. These are both CA institutions, with Rubio’s having their original location in PB (not much to look at, but where it all started).

    And, for beautiful scenery, swing through Balboa Park and perhaps over the Coronado Island (the Hotel Del is quite famous and a great spot for sunset).

    Safe travels, Steph

  50. Mia

    This is what I’m talking about!! :D I knew you’d deliver tons of gorgeous pictures of food, sun and fun!
    I can’t wait for the other parts :)

  51. Lauren

    Beautiful pictures! As always I LOVE your photography. Looks like you had a wonderful time. Can’t wait to see the other parts of your trip.

  52. Christine

    Oh wow I love that tree-lined street photo, and all those sunset pictures. Looks beautiful. Don’t worry, I held down the cold and nasty AL weather for you:)

  53. Heather (Heather's Dish)

    i love san diego, it’s by far one of my favorite cities to visit in the world! sounds like you guys had a fabulous culinary experience there too :)

  54. Donna Tafuri

    As always your pictures are so beautiful. What I want to know is… Do you actually eat all the food you take pictures of? If yes, how do you how do you stay so slim and if no, how do you not eat it!

  55. Laura

    I’m not far from San Diego – so I will have to try those desserts! Hodad’s I have been too and their milkshakes are to die for! This will give you an excuse to come back! Glad you had a great time!

  56. Krys

    You were right around where I used to live. I was a 5 minute bus ride from North Park. Too funny. :) Your next visit to San Diego, while in Hillcrest stop in to Urban Mo’s. The best burger I’ve ever had, was in that restaurant.

    Also, I don’t remember the name of the place. But right in Seaport village there is a small little restaurant that had an amazing eggplant parm.

    Beautiful pictures! That chocolate cake looks to die for!

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.


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