San Diego, California

This past week I was feeling restless, so I packed a small suitcase, grabbed the dog, and headed South to San Diego. After much searching and comparing online, I ended up at Hotel Indigo in the Gaslamp Quarter. My main reason behind choosing this hotel is because they are so dog-friendly. Many hotels claim to be dog-friendly, but will charge a deposit, a daily fee, and usually impose a bunch of rules on the owner (no dogs in the restaurants, no leaving the dog alone in the room, etc.). This is more dog-tolerant than dog-friendly.

Two hours later I pulled up to the valet, handed him my keys, and was on my way to check in. The hotel is 12 stories, and I ended up on the 8th floor, with a decent view of Petco Park. In addition, I was placed in a handicapped-accessible (ADA) room – more square footage for me. I arrived rather late, so after making sure Crissy had food and water, I changed, and headed out to grab some food.

After walking around for a bit, I found all the bars had stopped serving food. After asking around at a few local bars, everyone seemed to have the same place in mind as a recommendation – a local restaurant two blocks away called Bubs. The security guard who checked my ID confirmed they were the only place for several blocks still open for food. I was instructed to grab a seat anywhere I liked, so I walked to the back, grabbed a booth, and checked out the menu. After looking at the menu, I realized I arrived on “Wing Wednesday” – 50¢ wings. Cecily was my server, a petite, pixie-ish girl with killer tattoos and an even prettier face. I asked her what her recommendations were for beer, and she recommended a local brewery called Acoustic Ales. I ordered their Honey Nut Brown Ale (6.25%), and wow, was it amazing! Their website describes the beer as such: “Honey roasted peanut and fresh coffee aromas arise from the glass of this deliciously balanced brown ale. Dark chocolate, hints of vanilla and nutty undertones are evident mid-palate, while roasted coffee beans round out the finish.”

Of course, I ordered wings, 5 Buffalo, and 5 Archie. Their “Archie” sauce is pretty much a house specialty – a combination of their buffalo sauce and honey mustard. The wings were delicious and very filling. I also ordered a basket of fries, and were happy to see they were using crinkle-cut fries – something you don’t see too often in restaurants anymore. My second beer was also from a San Diego Brewery, Ballast Point. On tap, Bubs had their Sculpin IPA. This was no ordinary IPA however. Ballast Point hops the beer at five separate stages, resulting in a gold-medal winning IPA, with hints of “apricot, peach, mango, and lemon flavors” while still packing a bit of a bite. All you need to know is it’s a great beer!

Thursday morning I slept in most of the day, watched TV, and ate junk food. My bed was so large and comfortable and had so many pillows, I never wanted to leave – save for a few trips to the 9th floor rooftop terrace to walk Crissy. Friday morning I checked out, and was greeted with an amazing surprise – my entire stay at the Hotel Indigo had been comped by management because I had not been given the room I had booked, and due to an unfortunate incident with the fire alarms Thursday morning. Needless to say, I was quite happy!

To celebrate, I headed to the best breakfast/lunch/brunch spot in San Diego – The Mission Restaurant. Founded in 1997 by San Diego restaurateurs Fay Nakanishi, Deborah Helm and Thomas Fitzpatrick, The Mission specializes in simple, healthy, tasty food with a “whimsical edge” and a focus on artful presentation at an affordable price. The menu includes everything from classic pancakes and sandwiches to modern Chino-Latino cuisine, sure to satisfy everyone’s appetite. For me, as always, I chose the Roast Beef Hash & Eggs: Grilled Meyer’s Ranch Natural beef, horseradish cream (yum!), rosemary potatoes, grilled rosemary bread and scrambled eggs. Add two slices of smoked applewood bacon, a cup of coffee, and a glass of champagne, and well, you have a breakfast fit for a king.

All in all, a wonderful few days away from home – filled with nothing but rest, relaxation, and eating (and a few ill-timed fire alarms).