Searsucker: Upscale American Dining in San Diego

The Gaslamp area of San Diego is one of the top destinations in the city for both food and drinks. While there are a ton of options for great places to eat, for me Searsucker is one of the best for a nice upscale meal in downtown San Diego. The unique menu here and the relaxed atmosphere makes for an excellent night out, but do make sure to note that it can be pricey. Here is all the information.

Details

  • Cost: $20 – $30
  • Location: 611 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Getting There

The restaurant is located on Market St and Fifth Ave. You can valet park or you can find a parking lot or structure around the Gaslamp area.

The Restaurant

Searsucker is right in the middle of Gaslamp in a busy part of the city. The restaurant feels like a nice escape though with its wide open floor plan and high ceilings.

The menu starts with three unique takes on the traditional old-fashioned drink, including a peanut butter and jelly old fashioned with a small Uncrustable like sandwich on the rim and a cream soda old-fashioned.

The menu continues the eclectic style with everything from short ribs and street corn to octopus. I usually just get a few of the small dishes since that allows me to try lots of things on the menu. Here is what my wife and I got last time we were there.

Short ribs – One of the flagship dishes here, the short ribs are very tender and practically melt in your mouth. They are served with creamy horseradish, whipped potatoes which add a great flavor to the rich meat. The dish is topped with fried onions, adding a nice crunch to the meat and potatoes.

Duck Wings – This was my favorite thing I ordered as the wings are full of flavor and had moist, easy to pick apart meat. It had a nice, salty taste, paired with chili oil and finished with a batter the provided a nice fried crunch.

Octopus – I don’t have a picture of this dish so I added a photo of the cheese plate. The grilled octopus was prepared well so that it was soft and not chewy like it often can be. Served with avocado, cucumber, and cilantro, which are things I would have never thought to eat with octopus but which paired great. Another dish I would easily order again.

Corn – Served with chorizo and spices, this corn is fantastic. It’s spicy from the jalapenos but evened out with the mayo flavor from the corn crema, like what you would find in Mexican street corn. Honestly, I would order multiple of this dish as it was excellent.

Brown Butter Pear Crumble – The dish consisted of sizeable spiced ginger streusel pieces on top of the roasted pear middle, flavored with cranberry jam and cream cheese ice cream. Great dish to share if you are in the mood for something sweet and it has a fantastic flavor.

As you can no doubt tell I really like Searsucker. The unique dishes and fun atmosphere is a great find in the heart of Gaslamp for a fancy dinner. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

Searsucker: Upscale American Dining in San Diego

The Gaslamp area of San Diego is one of the top destinations in the city for both food and drinks. While there are a ton of options for great places to eat, for me Searsucker is one of the best for a nice upscale meal in downtown San Diego. The unique menu here and the relaxed atmosphere makes for an excellent night out, but do make sure to note that it can be pricey. Here is all the information.

Details

  • Cost: $20 – $30
  • Location: 611 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Getting There

The restaurant is located on Market St and Fifth Ave. You can valet park or you can find a parking lot or structure around the Gaslamp area.

The Restaurant

Searsucker is right in the middle of Gaslamp in a busy part of the city. The restaurant feels like a nice escape though with its wide open floor plan and high ceilings.

The menu starts with three unique takes on the traditional old-fashioned drink, including a peanut butter and jelly old fashioned with a small Uncrustable like sandwich on the rim and a cream soda old-fashioned.

The menu continues the eclectic style with everything from short ribs and street corn to octopus. I usually just get a few of the small dishes since that allows me to try lots of things on the menu. Here is what my wife and I got last time we were there.

Short ribs – One of the flagship dishes here, the short ribs are very tender and practically melt in your mouth. They are served with creamy horseradish, whipped potatoes which add a great flavor to the rich meat. The dish is topped with fried onions, adding a nice crunch to the meat and potatoes.

Duck Wings – This was my favorite thing I ordered as the wings are full of flavor and had moist, easy to pick apart meat. It had a nice, salty taste, paired with chili oil and finished with a batter the provided a nice fried crunch.

Octopus – I don’t have a picture of this dish so I added a photo of the cheese plate. The grilled octopus was prepared well so that it was soft and not chewy like it often can be. Served with avocado, cucumber, and cilantro, which are things I would have never thought to eat with octopus but which paired great. Another dish I would easily order again.

Corn – Served with chorizo and spices, this corn is fantastic. It’s spicy from the jalapenos but evened out with the mayo flavor from the corn crema, like what you would find in Mexican street corn. Honestly, I would order multiple of this dish as it was excellent.

Brown Butter Pear Crumble – The dish consisted of sizeable spiced ginger streusel pieces on top of the roasted pear middle, flavored with cranberry jam and cream cheese ice cream. Great dish to share if you are in the mood for something sweet and it has a fantastic flavor.

As you can no doubt tell I really like Searsucker. The unique dishes and fun atmosphere is a great find in the heart of Gaslamp for a fancy dinner. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

Petco Park Tour in San Diego

San Diego is a baseball city with a stadium right in the heart of downtown. If you happen to be there when a game is going on, then be sure to grab a ticket as it is electric being in the city during a game. If your not there when the Padre’s are playing, it is still a lot of fun to take the tour of the historic stadium and see many of the areas you wouldn’t normally get to see on game day. Here is all the information so you can check it out yourself.

Details

  • Cost: $17 for adults, $12 for kids
  • Tours offered on most days, you can buy tickets here
  • Location: 100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

Getting There

Petco Park is located right in the heart of Downtown San Diego. You can drive there or access it via public transit. The best parking structure for the tour is on 7th and K St, and it is only a dollar an hour, making it a great spot to park if you want to explore downtown San Diego after as well.

The Tour

After checking in for the tour, you can head to the company store and look around until it starts.

The tour is about an hour and a half long with lots of stops all around the stadium.

Our guide was great as he knew a ton about the park’s history and the Padres. I learned a lot on the tour and enjoyed it even though I am not a baseball fan.

The tour started with the half of fame on the outskirts of the stadium. Less then half the teams in baseball have a hall of fame, so it was fun to check out.

From there we headed inside to the stadium itself and took a tour of the private suites first.

There were pretty epic, and I would love to watch a game in one.

From there we walked around the old Western Metal Supply Co. building that makes up the left field line and was built in 1909. Our guide said it is the oldest thing in baseball (not stadium) as this building precedes Fenway Park by three years.

The tour continued into the impressive bar space with pool tables and other games. Outside of that was a section called “The Rail” where you can watch a game from while sitting in barstool like chairs.

After that, we headed to the press box which had a great view of the field. Unfortunately, the field was dirt from a motocross event the previous day, but it was still cool to see.

Next, we went down to the locker rooms and then into the dugout. The dugout was a fun part of the tour, and if you are a fan, I imagine this being pretty awesome.

After about an hour and a half, the tour was over, and we were back to where we started. Even though I am not a baseball fan, it was still a great place to explore and a fun tour to go on in the city. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

Petco Park Tour in San Diego

San Diego is a baseball city with a stadium right in the heart of downtown. If you happen to be there when a game is going on, then be sure to grab a ticket as it is electric being in the city during a game. If your not there when the Padre’s are playing, it is still a lot of fun to take the tour of the historic stadium and see many of the areas you wouldn’t normally get to see on game day. Here is all the information so you can check it out yourself.

Details

  • Cost: $17 for adults, $12 for kids
  • Tours offered on most days, you can buy tickets here
  • Location: 100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

Getting There

Petco Park is located right in the heart of Downtown San Diego. You can drive there or access it via public transit. The best parking structure for the tour is on 7th and K St, and it is only a dollar an hour, making it a great spot to park if you want to explore downtown San Diego after as well.

The Tour

After checking in for the tour, you can head to the company store and look around until it starts.

The tour is about an hour and a half long with lots of stops all around the stadium.

Our guide was great as he knew a ton about the park’s history and the Padres. I learned a lot on the tour and enjoyed it even though I am not a baseball fan.

The tour started with the half of fame on the outskirts of the stadium. Less then half the teams in baseball have a hall of fame, so it was fun to check out.

From there we headed inside to the stadium itself and took a tour of the private suites first.

There were pretty epic, and I would love to watch a game in one.

From there we walked around the old Western Metal Supply Co. building that makes up the left field line and was built in 1909. Our guide said it is the oldest thing in baseball (not stadium) as this building precedes Fenway Park by three years.

The tour continued into the impressive bar space with pool tables and other games. Outside of that was a section called “The Rail” where you can watch a game from while sitting in barstool like chairs.

After that, we headed to the press box which had a great view of the field. Unfortunately, the field was dirt from a motocross event the previous day, but it was still cool to see.

Next, we went down to the locker rooms and then into the dugout. The dugout was a fun part of the tour, and if you are a fan, I imagine this being pretty awesome.

After about an hour and a half, the tour was over, and we were back to where we started. Even though I am not a baseball fan, it was still a great place to explore and a fun tour to go on in the city. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park

The San Diego Zoo is known worldwide and often voted one of the best zoos you can visit. With over 3,000 animals and almost 100 acres of land, this zoo is massive, and it’s a great place to explore with the whole family. While it can be expensive, I have always found the price to be worth it, especially if you can dedicate a half day to walking around and seeing all of the fun animals. Here are the details.

Details

  • Cost: As of 2018, $55 for adults and $44 for children
  • Least busy day to go: Tuesday
  • Location: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

Getting There

From Downtown San Diego, You will want to head north on 11th Ave which becomes the 163 North. Merge onto Richmond St then turn right on Upas and right again on Park Blvd. You will see signs for the zoo on your right and parking is free in the large lot.

The Zoo

If possible, I always recommend going on a weekday as it’s way less busy. The last time I went, one of the workers told me that Tuesday is the best day of the week to go, so if you can go that day then do it. After getting your tickets and going past the turnstiles, you will be greeted by a few dozen pink flamingos, which are the first animals you see.

This map will show you all of the animals and exhibits that you can visit around the park. I usually opt to take the sky tram all the way to the back then make my way back from there on one of the many paths. You need a good day to see everything though.

Here are some of my favorite animals to see at the San Diego Zoo.

Polar Bears

As one of the animals I will probably never see in the wild; I have always been fascinated by polar bears. The polar bear exhibit here is fantastic and I have often seen them swimming in the area that lets you see below the water.

Elephants

Its hard not to be excited when you see one of these massive creatures. They have a large pen that you can walk all around the outside of, and since they are so large, you will see them most of the time you visit the zoo, which is not always the case for other animals. I have even seen them playing and squirting water from their trunks.

Camels

While I have seen these before in Africa, its still fun to see these strange creatures in person.

Giraffes

Such an interesting animal, giraffes are especially fun to see when they are eating as you get to experience their massive necks.

Rhinos

Another one of those animals you don’t get a chance to see in real life, they are genuinely daunting, tank-like animals in person.

This is of course just a very small percentage of the animals on display at the San Diego Zoo. There are pandas, lions, monkeys, etc. all scattered around the park. If you live close, consider getting a pass and you can go multiple times during the year to not feel rushed.

I always love exploring the zoo, and I would like to hear what your favorite animals are in the comments.

San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park

The San Diego Zoo is known worldwide and often voted one of the best zoos you can visit. With over 3,000 animals and almost 100 acres of land, this zoo is massive, and it’s a great place to explore with the whole family. While it can be expensive, I have always found the price to be worth it, especially if you can dedicate a half day to walking around and seeing all of the fun animals. Here are the details.

Details

  • Cost: As of 2018, $55 for adults and $44 for children
  • Least busy day to go: Tuesday
  • Location: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

Getting There

From Downtown San Diego, You will want to head north on 11th Ave which becomes the 163 North. Merge onto Richmond St then turn right on Upas and right again on Park Blvd. You will see signs for the zoo on your right and parking is free in the large lot.

The Zoo

If possible, I always recommend going on a weekday as it’s way less busy. The last time I went, one of the workers told me that Tuesday is the best day of the week to go, so if you can go that day then do it. After getting your tickets and going past the turnstiles, you will be greeted by a few dozen pink flamingos, which are the first animals you see.

This map will show you all of the animals and exhibits that you can visit around the park. I usually opt to take the sky tram all the way to the back then make my way back from there on one of the many paths. You need a good day to see everything though.

Here are some of my favorite animals to see at the San Diego Zoo.

Polar Bears

As one of the animals I will probably never see in the wild; I have always been fascinated by polar bears. The polar bear exhibit here is fantastic and I have often seen them swimming in the area that lets you see below the water.

Elephants

Its hard not to be excited when you see one of these massive creatures. They have a large pen that you can walk all around the outside of, and since they are so large, you will see them most of the time you visit the zoo, which is not always the case for other animals. I have even seen them playing and squirting water from their trunks.

Camels

While I have seen these before in Africa, its still fun to see these strange creatures in person.

Giraffes

Such an interesting animal, giraffes are especially fun to see when they are eating as you get to experience their massive necks.

Rhinos

Another one of those animals you don’t get a chance to see in real life, they are genuinely daunting, tank-like animals in person.

This is of course just a very small percentage of the animals on display at the San Diego Zoo. There are pandas, lions, monkeys, etc. all scattered around the park. If you live close, consider getting a pass and you can go multiple times during the year to not feel rushed.

I always love exploring the zoo, and I would like to hear what your favorite animals are in the comments.

Spruce Street Suspension Bridge: Historic Footbridge in San Diego

 

One of the elements I like about San Diego is how a lot of the historic charm of the city’s past is still on display today. The Spruce Street Suspension Bridge is one of these spots. The bridge was built in simpler times (1912) when a small canyon like this was best crossed via an elevated bridge instead of leveled and zoned for housing. The bridge is always popular with many people walking on it, but that adds to the charm, here is all the information so you can check it out as well.

Details

  • Free
  • Location: Spruce St 1st Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

Getting There

It is all street parking here, but luckily there are two entrances to the bridge, so you should be able to find a place to park.

The bridge is not easy to see from the road, but you will see the stairs that take you down to it.

There is also a plaque with some information on both sides.

The bridge is relatively wide, so you can walk past people on it comfortably. It does sway ever so slightly with the wind and with people walking on it though.

It takes about 5 minutes to walk to the other side, and it is surprisingly long when you see it from an angle.

I spent about 20 minutes here just walking around and taking it all in before heading to my next spot in San Diego. Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

UCSD Stuart Art Collection: Exploring the Giesell library, Fallen Star and more

One of the unique things about the University of California San Diego is that the school is highly invested in the arts an has an extensive outdoor gallery with over 18 pieces that you can explore on campus. I only got to see four pieces when I went because I was pressed for time (you need 2-3 hours to see them all), but I plan to go back again soon to see the rest. Here is all the information so you can check it out.

Details

  • Free
  • Park in the visitor’s area of the Gilman Parking Structure
  • Fallen Star is only open Tuesday and Thursday from 11 AM – 2 PM
  • Location: 3100 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093

Getting There

From the 5 Freeway, you will want to get off on La Jolla Village Drive and head west. You will turn right on Gilman Dr and take it around the bend until you see a large parking structure. Make sure to only park in the spaces designated for visitors. Once you park, you can look at this map to see which art piece you want to see and where it is at on the campus. Since it is only open for a few hours, I headed to Fallen Star first.

Fallen Star

Fallen Star is an art installation on the top floor of the engineering building, and it looks like a house that is teetering on the edge.

Heading up to the 7th floor, you will see the house hanging there, complete with a beautiful garden that you walk through to get to the home.

The house is on a slant so when you are inside it messes with your mind.

Only six people can come in at a time, so there may be a wait when you get there but just be patient. After exploring the area, you can head back down and see the next piece.

The Bear

The bear is located two buildings down from Fallen Star, and it was one of my favorites.

Basically, it is a giant stone bear in the middle of the quad. Not much more to say about it other then that it’s fun to see and it’s big.

Snake Path

From here I headed up to the library which is where the next piece is, the snake path. This small walkway takes you up to where the library is, and it is designed to look like a snake the entire way, culminating with a snakehead when you get to the top of the hill.

Giesel Library

While this is not part of the Stuart Collection, this library is something you must check out when you are on campus. It was named after Theodor Seuss Geisel, who is also known as Dr. Seuss. There is even a statue of The Cat and the Hat and Mr. Geisel drawing on the west side of the library.

If you go in, you can go to the 7th floor and get a great view of Fallen Star from a far away angle like the above shot before heading on.

Trees

The last piece I went to during this trip was called trees, and it is located in the forest in front of the library. This piece is a tree that looks much like the others in the area, but that has a speaker and talks. There are 6 hours of pre-recorded speeches that the tree goes through, when I went it was a speech by former President Obama.

As you can no doubt see, the Stuart Collection at UCSD is a great place to spend a few hours, and this is just a few of the exhibits. If you are in the area, especially on a Tuesday or Thursday, then be sure to add it to your list.

UCSD Stuart Art Collection: Exploring the Giesell library, Fallen Star and more

One of the unique things about the University of California San Diego is that the school is highly invested in the arts an has an extensive outdoor gallery with over 18 pieces that you can explore on campus. I only got to see four pieces when I went because I was pressed for time (you need 2-3 hours to see them all), but I plan to go back again soon to see the rest. Here is all the information so you can check it out.

Details

  • Free
  • Park in the visitor’s area of the Gilman Parking Structure
  • Fallen Star is only open Tuesday and Thursday from 11 AM – 2 PM
  • Location: 3100 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093

Getting There

From the 5 Freeway, you will want to get off on La Jolla Village Drive and head west. You will turn right on Gilman Dr and take it around the bend until you see a large parking structure. Make sure to only park in the spaces designated for visitors. Once you park, you can look at this map to see which art piece you want to see and where it is at on the campus. Since it is only open for a few hours, I headed to Fallen Star first.

Fallen Star

Fallen Star is an art installation on the top floor of the engineering building, and it looks like a house that is teetering on the edge.

Heading up to the 7th floor, you will see the house hanging there, complete with a beautiful garden that you walk through to get to the home.

The house is on a slant so when you are inside it messes with your mind.

Only six people can come in at a time, so there may be a wait when you get there but just be patient. After exploring the area, you can head back down and see the next piece.

The Bear

The bear is located two buildings down from Fallen Star, and it was one of my favorites.

Basically, it is a giant stone bear in the middle of the quad. Not much more to say about it other then that it’s fun to see and it’s big.

Snake Path

From here I headed up to the library which is where the next piece is, the snake path. This small walkway takes you up to where the library is, and it is designed to look like a snake the entire way, culminating with a snakehead when you get to the top of the hill.

Giesel Library

While this is not part of the Stuart Collection, this library is something you must check out when you are on campus. It was named after Theodor Seuss Geisel, who is also known as Dr. Seuss. There is even a statue of The Cat and the Hat and Mr. Geisel drawing on the west side of the library.

If you go in, you can go to the 7th floor and get a great view of Fallen Star from a far away angle like the above shot before heading on.

Trees

The last piece I went to during this trip was called trees, and it is located in the forest in front of the library. This piece is a tree that looks much like the others in the area, but that has a speaker and talks. There are 6 hours of pre-recorded speeches that the tree goes through, when I went it was a speech by former President Obama.

As you can no doubt see, the Stuart Collection at UCSD is a great place to spend a few hours, and this is just a few of the exhibits. If you are in the area, especially on a Tuesday or Thursday, then be sure to add it to your list.

Maritime Museum of San Diego: Exploring Old Ships in San Diego Bay

Located in the bay, right near downtown San Diego, the San Diego Maritime Museum is one of my favorite places to explore in the city. This museum comprises 8 – 10 different boats that you can board and traverse, much like the Maritime Historical Park in San Francisco. The boats range from a submarine and ferry to an old pirate looking ship and here is all the information if you want to check it out.

Details

  • Cost: $18 for adults, $8 for children
  • Hours: 9 AM – 8 PM most days
  • Location:  1492 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

Getting There

From the 5 South, you will get off on Front Street and then turn right on Ash St. Take this till it ends at the water and there are a bunch of parking spots that you can utilize near the museum ($2 an hour).

The Museum

After paying for your ticket, you can enter the central area with most of the boats or head over to the Star of India, which is the old sailing ship that most people have seen. I recommend heading over there first.

Star of India

The Star of India is the world’s oldest active sailing ship, and it began sailing in 1863.

The ship has a pretty amazing history, which you can learn more about when you are there, but it has sailed around the world 21 times, and it was once even trapped in ice in Alaska.

This ship is fun to explore with a full museum on the bottom deck.

I was in a rush, so I only got to spend about 20 minutes on this boat, but I plan to come back and explore it more as it was awesome and there is a lot to see and interact with.

After exiting the boat, you will have to re-enter by the main museum to see the rest of the ships.

The ships here range from old ships like the Star of India to submarines like the B-39 Soviet Sub.

The B-39 Soviet Sub was my favorite to explore.

You can enter this submarine, but you must be OK with small spaces as there are four small entryways you have to get through when inside the boat.

It’s fantastic to walk through and see how detailed everything is though.

I can’t imagine actually being on a boat like this, I would go stir crazy, but I enjoyed seeing and exploring it in a setting like this.

The other boats are more of the same, but it’s still a ton of fun to board and explore each one.

After seeing all of the boats, head into the ferry boat which is the main museum and has a few exhibits.

The best of these is the engine room, where you can walk down into in the bowels of the boat.

It really shows how massive these engines are and it is cool to see up close.

Also, don’t forget to head to the second story and see the dining hall area with tables and booths.

Then head up to the top where you can see the wheel and get a high up view of all the ships you explored today.

If you are like me, then the $18 spent on a ticket here will be well worth it. All of the unique boats are a ton of fun to explore, and it is an excellent attraction for the whole family in San Diego. Let me know what you think in the comments.