Road Trip: Taste of San Diego Walking Tour

What you see here is what awaits you on a walking food tour of downtown San Diego. SD was my college town. Back then, the only reason to go downtown was… uh, well, there was no reason. The closest I may have gotten was my stint working in a Mexican restaurant in Old Towne, but I lost that job quickly (not destined to bus dishes there, my attitude needed adjusting). Time to return. Food tour, anyone?

Bread on MarketOver the decades, I attended oodles of food trade shows at the convention center in SD. But too slammed to get out and nose around. My sister Gretchen has lived in a nearby beach town since we were roomies in college. She grew a family there, her brood took one 5-year respite in Eugene, OR, and returned. SD is appealing. And downtown has caught up.

Today, downtown appears to be a great place to live, not just visit. Wrench yourself away from the Gaslight District and fairly dead Horton Plaza, wander a few blocks toward the new baseball stadium. Suddenly, the touristy feel evaporates and city hip emerges.

Valentine's Lofts. Bistros. Sidewalk dining. Parks with locals and their happy dogs. Sit on grass and watch the ball game on a jumbo screen. Bakeries. Cheese shops. Handsome men (let’s see if you read this far). Apparently the area has a name, “East Village.” Downtown San Diego has a “village?” News to me.

Larry and I took a food tour, of course. A Taste of San Diego had a three hour walking + eating adventure which was actually about 90% eating and 10% walking.  Segway tours zipped by — if you haven’t done one, definitely try (ours was Long Beach, A BLAST.).

Our tour was run by Annette Legaspi, a food enthusiast, passionate tour guide and third-generation San Diegan. She LOVES San Diego, you can really tell. Annette helped us cheese shopget to know Bread on Market artisan bakery, Valentine’s Mexican Food in the old San Diego tradition, the best falafel you will ever taste at The Kebab Shop, a very village-y Venissimo Cheese shop, Asian modern mix at J-Wok and killer desserts at posh, but comfortable J-Six (hottie chef Christian Graves walked us through our king-sized sample personally. Both were yummy – chef and dessert. Larry was sitting right there with me, so no need to comment on my shameful flirting).

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Annette Legaspi October 4, 2010 at 11:53 am

Hi Patti,
Thanks for the great story. I have lauched my newest walking tour A Taste of Mission Hills. This another great area of San Diego that guests to SD would just not find. We also offer a wine tasting pairing on the Mission Hills tour.
Thanks Again & hope you can come down & try another one of tours!

2 Worth The Whisk August 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Shelley, it was the dessert sampled at J-Six, a layer of dark cookie, then two kinds of mousses with PRETZELS in there – the things that look like nuts were crushed pretzels.

3 shelleyorama August 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm

What is the dessert pictured in the first photo?

4 sippitysup August 19, 2010 at 7:57 am

I am happy to see this. I spent quite some time in SD quite some years ago, and I remember being disappointed constantly with the food. It seems all that has changed! GREG

5 A Canadian Foodie August 17, 2010 at 9:54 pm

I love foodie tours. Whenever we travel, I always book one if there is a company with a good reputation giving them. They have often been a highlight of our trip. You really get a window into the culture of a community when you do a foodie tour. Thanks for sharing!

6 Worth The Whisk August 17, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Kelly, THANKS for the insight on your RSS feed. Technology continues to keep us on our toes, doesn’t it?

7 Kelly August 17, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I love the sound of that walking tour. I’ve been to SD for a few conferences myself but I will admit I don’t feel like I’ve really explored much at all. I always try to see a few good restaurants whenever I travel, but admit SD is one of those places I haven’t had much time to explore. Should I travel there for another conference I’ll definitely need some of your recommendations.

As a side note, I’m not sure if you have/had my blog in your RSS reader, but if so you may need to update the feed. I didn’t realize when I switched over to feedburner that my old subscribers would no longer be updated so just wanted to send out the FYI. I have the link to the new feed at the top of my blog. Shows you how little I know about technology. 🙂

8 Julie @ Willow Bird Baking August 17, 2010 at 10:22 am

I visited San Diego once and it was so, so beautiful (I’m in NC). Great food, too 🙂

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