After a very busy and stressful week in Los Angeles for work, on Saturday morning (Nov. 7) I hopped on the train to San Diego for a few days of fun! As you probably know, my good friend Catrina moved from New York to San Diego a little more than a year ago, and I’ve been dying to visit her ever since. I figured this trip out west was the perfect opportunity!
I had heard from some friends that Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner train from LA to San Diego was the best way to get down the coast, and boy were they right! The train only cost about $40 and I was treated to some seriously gorgeous views of the ocean along the way. I also saw lots of surfers tearing it up!
I’m also not sure if this is just a west coast thing or what, but the train’s conductor was really silly and would sing all the stops aloud over the microphone. He also sang about how much he loves California, and everyone would clap and cheer when he was done. People were also pretty rowdy on the train – they would talk and laugh with one another with abandon – and it totally added to the fun train atmosphere. It was definitely a great way to travel!
Catrina was waiting for me at the train station when we pulled in around 11:30 am, and after quickly dropping off my bags in her apartment we headed down to the pool! It was sunny, 82 degrees, and glorious.
Please note we are definitely not naked in this picture, just both wearing strapless bikini tops. 😉 I also want to apologize for the plethora of snap chat screenshots that I’m using in this post – when you’re having so much fun it’s hard to remember to take a real picture!
After the pool, we walked over to the Fish Shop right by Catrina’s apartment in Pacific Beach. We each got a mahi-mahi taco complete with mago salsa, and we also shared an order of mahi-mahi/shrimp ceviche.
Everything was delicious and so fresh! I loved seeing the fresh fish at the counter where you order; it made me feel really good about the quality of fish I was about to eat.
After lunch, we drove over to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for a hike! After parking our car, we walked across the beach to get to get to the start of the hike.
From there we followed a winding path and some gradual steps to hike our way up the cliffs. It wasn’t too challenging of a hike – the incline was pretty gradual – but it was still a fairly good workout and it made for some breathtaking views of the Pacific!
I especially liked checking out some of the cool geological features, like this crumbling mountainside and the striped rocks in the next photo.
Can you see the stripes?
I honestly have no idea how much ground we covered, but we were out hiking for a couple of hours. It was such a gorgeous day, and Catrina and I had so much fun catching up along the way. What a perfect afternoon!
After our hike, Catrina took me down to the beach near her apartment to watch the sunset.
It was a beautiful, clear evening, and I was definitely in my happy place. California is so pretty!!
After showering up and relaxing for a bit (with wine!), we headed to dinner at Isabel’s Cantina, a Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant. I really wanted to try a tamale (I’d never had one before but had always wanted one) so I ordered a green chile chicken bowl with a sweet corn tamale.
It was delicious! The tamale definitely lived up to my expectations! 🙂
After dinner, Catrina and I headed over to a bar called Backyard where we met up with a couple of her friends.
After Backyard we headed to a bar called The Local and then finished up our night at another bar called Open Bar (I think – hopefully I’m getting all these names right). All of the bars were so much fun and they had some great music for dancing! The last bar played Killing me Softly at the very end of the night, and we all had a blast singing the words out loud in the crowded bar.
It was such a fun night of bar hopping and dancing, and we had an absolute blast. 🙂
Catrina and I both took off from work on Monday, which left us plenty of time for a Sunday Funday! We started off at a restaurant called Tavern for breakfast, and upon arriving I hit up the bloody mary bar for a spicy bloody mary with bacon. 🙂 Yum!
For breakfast, Catrina recommended the breakfast bun which is a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich with garlic aoli on a pretzel bun.
It was absolutely fantastic, and I didn’t mind the extra calories since this was a vacation and all. 🙂
After my bloody mary I ordered a Moscow mule – one of my new favorite drinks – and was once again in my happy place. There were no windows in the restaurant, and the sunshine and good company had me feeling great.
After brunch, Catrina and I met up with a few more of her friends (this time from CrossFit), and we spent the day watching football and hanging out in some more beautiful Pacific Beach bars.
My absolute favorite bar of the day had to be Shore Club, a spot right on the beach with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Seriously!! That’s the ocean!
Later in the day a group of us headed back over to Local, where we watched the sunset from a roof deck. San Diego is just too pretty.
It was another super fun day of bar hopping in Pacific Beach, and luckily we savored our drinks fairly slowly so things didn’t get too out of hand. 😉 We finished up the evening with dinner at Duck Dive and ice cream sandwiches from the Baked Bear (true story) before calling it a night.
I promise part 2 of my San Diego recap is a lot less boozy and a lot more healthy, but hey – it’s vacation!
Question of the day: Have you ever seen someone surfing in real life? I hadn’t until the train ride – it was incredible!