Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunny San Diego! (cont.)

The San Diego Zoo!
Day 3 of our trip dawned pleasant and cloudy. We decided it was time to try exploring the neighborhood around our apartment, and that was how we found Hob Nob Hill for breakfast. This place became a favorite of ours, and we returned to it a couple more times during our vacation.

Open for business since 1944, entering the eatery feels like stepping back in time. Elaborate chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and the wait staff are efficient, cheerful and know everything possible about the menu. Prices are alarmingly reasonable, especially considering the quantity and quality of food you get. Over the course of our vacation, we tried many menu items, but I think our favorite for breakfast ended up being the quiche of the day, served with a side of fruit. Fluffy, with a buttery crust, without fail. Someone here knows what they're doing.

After a filling breakfast, it was off to the San Diego Zoo! We'd been looking forward to this particular attraction for months. I don't know exactly what to tell you about it, other than it's just as awesome as everyone says it is. We got there right as the zoo opened. When we entered, we bore right towards the koala exhibit, then took a left through the Outback and Urban Jungle areas. Then, we headed north to see the pandas! (They were so cute!) We watched two snow leopards almost get into a fight in the Northern Frontier, then headed west toward the Lost Forest.

When we got hungry for lunch, we stopped at Treetops Cafe, which offers lovely views while you eat. Fortified, we were up and at 'em again, visiting tigers, chimps, gorillas, and orangutans. We ended up back at the Northern Frontier with polar bears. We took the Skyfari to see the zoo from above, and finished up at the elephant care center with a zoo guide.

The zoo is vast, and it's easily a whole day. There were parts of it, like Discovery Outpost, that we didn't even get to. Just pace yourself, and take breaks when you need to. We were very grateful that the sky was cloudy. That kept our visit cool and comfortable. (And remember, kids are FREE during October!!)

Once we were thoroughly worn out, we headed back to the apartment to rest. At dinner time, Little Italy was again a handy option. This time, we tried Davanti Enoteca. Some of my friends had been to this place on their trips to San Diego, and they recommended it. Delicious! We particularly loved the focaccia di recco, which was slathered with a white cow's milk cheese and drizzled liberally with honey. After such a busy day, we slept very soundly that night!

Cabrillo National Monument, with the Old Point Loma
Lighthouse in the background
The next day, we went back to Hob Nob Hill for a quick breakfast, then headed for Cabrillo National Monument. What a gorgeous place! We spent the morning touring the visitors' center, then admiring the monument and dressing up like conquistadors for goofy photos. Then, we walked up to Old Point Loma Lighthouse to learn about California's seafaring history. Views are amazing up here, and we loved how the lighthouse is staged to look as though it might have during use. (I don't think it's possible to take a bad photo at this place.) We puttered over to the tide pools for a look, but since the tide wouldn't recede until the park was almost closed, we decided to keep moving.

Two fierce conquistadors!
Getting hungry by this time, we set our sights on Point Loma Seafoods, which we'd heard good things about. We got orders of fish and chips with tall glasses of lemonade. Delicious and inexpensive! We saw tons of servicemen and woman at the restaurant, too, all enjoying fresh seafood and a beautiful afternoon.

Headed back into the city, we stopped by Old Town with its State Historic Park to have a look. We peered into the old jail, schoolhouse, a beautiful old manor, a house-turned-restaurant, the old union building (where the newspaper was printed), a REALLY cool old cigar shop (such neat things inside!), the visitors' center and a fun little Wells Fargo exhibit. (Clay was unamused when I started signing the Wells Fargo Wagon song from Music Man. There's absolutely no accounting for taste, I suppose.)

We had already decided to eat nearby, at Fiesta de Reyes, but we weren't hungry yet. What to do? We settled on touring the historic Whaley House, said to be one of the most haunted houses in America. The Whaley House Museum was the first two-story brick house in San Diego. The lower floors contained the county courthouse and Whaley's general store, along with a dining room and kitchen, study, and parlor. Upstairs, you can find San Diego's very first commercial theatre (Tiny, with a raked stage!) and bedrooms. We looked hard for ghosts, but we didn't find any!

By this time, we were getting hungry, so it was off to Fiesta de Reyes for dinner. It's touristy but beautiful. We sat outside under twinkling lights as the brightly costumed waitstaff moved around the space. I had a gorgeous shrimp salad and a margarita, and Clay said his cheese quesadillas really hit the spot!

More adventures to come . . .

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