Posted by Nicole
This past April, when I was still at the University of San Diego, Lauren came to visit me so we could embark on a foodie’s journey through San Diego.
(Not from that day, but you get the idea…)
Through Groupon, Lauren purchased a special for a 2-person pass to participate in the So Diego Tour’s “Brothels, Bites and Booze” tour. (Prices are originally $45 per person, for the 2.5 hour tour.) The tour consists of a tour of “New Town” and the Gaslamp Quarter, during which attendees are taught about the architecture of the historic buildings and the stories of the Stingaree District scandals.
The Gaslamp Quarter was originally filled with more than 120 brothels, but it has grown into a place of nightlife and fine dining. The Quarter contains 100+ unique restaurants and bars.
Because of the great food in the Gaslamp Quarter, the tour paired some food stops with the “learning” parts of the tour. We stopped at five restaurants to taste special menu items and get a better “taste” of the city.
The first stop was at Krust Pizzeria (820 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101) — “A favorite amongst the locals! Taste gourmet pizza made from real chefs who hand-toss the dough in front of your eyes and create their own special recipes. We promise this is some of the best pizza you’ll ever taste!”
The pizzeria offers pizza by the slice or pie, fresh salads, soups, sandwiches, and hearty pasta.
We both opted for the Veggie Slice: mushrooms, onions, artichokes, olives, and tomatoes (I think…) We removed the olives and added lots of crushed red pepper… just the way we like it!
Next, we stopped at Tequila 100 (756 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101) — “Savor the flavors of Mexico City at this authentic restaurant. Taste a surprise specialty, while sipping on a margarita sample. Learn a couple of Spanish words from our servers as you wait for your food!”
The mini-meal started off with some spiked horchata.
Two Horchatas: one non-alcoholic and one vodka-fied.
I got a Veggie Taco, filled with grilled vegetables and topped with white onion and cilantro.
Lauren got the Al Pastor Taco, and covered it with fresh onion, cilantro, and mango.
The third stop was at Rock Bottom Brewery (401 G Street, San Diego, CA 92101) — “Known for their hand-crafted, local beers. We will meet the Brewmaster as he walks us through the tastes and brewing process of his one-of-a-kind beers.”
Lauren tasted a few small glasses of beer and I stood by and watched. It was a party.
Our tummies were getting full, but we were more than ready for the next stop at Royal India (329 Market Street, San Diego, CA 92101) — “Voted as San Diego’s #1 Indian Food restaurant, we will sample authentic favorites in a beautifully decorated dining room. Learn the basics of Indian cuisine as your buds explode with flavor!”
We were each given one plate to fill up at the buffet.
My plate had a bit of everything– I wish I could have gone back for seconds!
Lauren’s plate was sufficiently filled as well. The spices our dishes were spot on, and I would love to re-visit Royal India in the future!
We were about ready to burst from fullness, but the last stop of the tour guaranteed something to satisfy our sweet tooths. Enter, CrunchTime Popcorn (611 K Street Suite C, San Diego, CA 92101) — “As one of the only places to serve home-made ice cream using all-natural and REAL ingredients, it’s no wonder why this spot is so popular amongst the locals. Taste from their array of ice creams AND flavored popcorn!”
CrunchTime serves various popcorns, homemade ice cream flavors, and specialty hot dogs. We each got to choose an ice cream to pair with a piece of homemade shortbread cookie.
I got a scoop of the Black Cherry and a shortbread cookie.
Lauren got a scoop of Coffee and a shortbread cookie.
To be honest, the owner of CrunchTime seemed like she didn’t want to be offering her desserts to us. Compared to the staff at the other restaurants, she seemed like she woke up on the wrong side of the bed… if you know what I’m saying.
In addition to all of the great food, we learned a LOT about the culture of downtown San Diego. Starting with stories from the end of the 19th century and building up to the current cultural aspects of the city, Lauren and I were full of food and knowledge by the conclusion of the tour.
Thanks again for letting me get a Taste of San Diego, Lauren :)
Q4U: Indian food or Mexican food?