In La Jolla, locals refer to this month as “May Gray” because of the looming marine layer that hides the sun. However, when you focus on the vibrant food scene in San Diego, it’s hard to feel gloomy! This month I enjoyed dining in restaurants I haven’t yet visited while exploring new fun activities. With so many incredible food options and endless exciting activities in my backyard, it’s hard to focus on gray skies! Below are the food & fun findings I delved into with vigor and joy, now you too can enjoy these vetted recommendations.

The Whaling Bar (La Jolla)

In 1949 The Whaling Bar emerged as an iconic bar in the Valencia Hotel and remained a popular meeting spot for celebrities and ritzy locals until it shut down for the last decade. It reopened just a couple of months ago and has nailed creating a vibe of sophistication and elegance, drawing an attractive, well-dressed crowd. The menu is as enticing as the dimly lit, swanky interior with a variety of alluring options, all meant to be shared. I love this spot so much that I have eaten here four times since they recently opened. It’s my new favorite neighborhood destination.

pros: creative cocktails, unique menu with outstanding dishes, great service, and an atmosphere that welcomes you to dress your best

cons: none

must order: truffled old fashioned with mezcal, truffle, porcini mushrooms, xocolate bitters; the caviar buckwheat pancakes; the pickled fingerling potatoes; the wild mushroom mille feuille; and definitely do not miss out on “the hamburger” dessert

Cody’s (La Jolla)

I’ve passed by Cody’s hundreds of times since moving to La Jolla almost three years ago and was always too uninterested to make the schlep upstairs. Recently, I dined here for a friend’s birthday and returned a week later for another great breakfast. The restaurant delivers a laid-back, casual space to enjoy great breakfasts with lively music and ocean views.

pros: the kitchen is very flexible with accommodating requests, an upbeat environment, great views, a spacious outdoor patio, and great staff- a server taught us that watercress is one of the healthiest foods on the planet

cons: none

must order: anything you’re in the mood for, they’ll literally customize a dish for you

Pacifica (Del Mar)

This eatery especially stands out because of its open patio overlooking the sea. The restaurant is quite large with an indoor space that boasts a retro feel in contrast to the patio’s more elegant setting. It’s a great brunch spot to meet with friends to share some of their interesting breakfast dishes over great conversation.

pros: pretty patio with an ocean breeze, friendly service, fun brunch cocktails, large menu

cons: it was pretty quiet on a saturday morning

must order: the sugar-spiced salmon hash with two poached eggs, yukon potatoes, asparagus, braised fennel, smoked trout roe, and dill hollandaise

Provisional Kitchen (Downtown)

We loved our dinner at this stylish downtown restaurant inside the chic Pendry Hotel. The menu highlights American cuisine using seasonal ingredients and offers great weeknight specials like “Wine Down Wednesdays” – live music, complimentary cheese plate, and half-off wine bottles.

pros: enjoy a great meal in a beautiful setting, great specials on sundays, wednesdays and thursdays

cons: parking can be a challenge

must order: wagyu skirt steak with smoked tomato puree, smashed potato, pickled onion

Kayaking on the Pacific Ocean

Kayaking in La Jolla Shores with Everyday California is a fun adventure that may seem touristy but must be experienced by locals at least once. The check-in process is efficient and led by charming staff members who are friendly and funny. Our tour guide, Girardo, kept us all laughing throughout the tour as well. We spent ninety minutes out on the water spotting a couple of seals as we made our way along the breathtaking coast. Depending on Mother Nature on some days kayakers can enter the caves. We were unable to although we did hit a couple of thrills when large swells brought us an adrenaline rush. On our return to shore, we were warned about flipping over as we kayak-surfed back to land. Despite the tips on how to avoid this, many did lose control, including myself leaving me drenched in water during my drive home. Tip: bring a towel and a change of layer at the very least. Starting my Sunday morning with this excursion is one of my most memorable and enjoyable La Jolla memories. The serenity from being out in the open ocean is just unbeatable.

Crossing the Border and Exploring Mexico

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to drive into Mexico. It’s been almost three years of living just forty-five minutes from the border and we haven’t taken advantage of our proximity to the country until recently. Rather than exploring places like Valle de Guadalupe, just two hours away, we’ve instead hopped on planes twice over these three years to explore other regions in Mexico. Read about our two night getaway to Valle de Guadalupe during Memorial Day Weekend HERE.

San Diego continues to deliver endless options for food and fun. I have been writing about the food scene here for one year and five months now, never running out of fantastic restaurants to highlight or adventures to embark on. It just takes the willingness to get out and explore “America’s Finest City” to see firsthand that it offers a lot more than mild year-round weather.

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