Ohh helloooo San Diego! To all of the lovelies who follow me on social media, (If you don't yet you can here, here and here) you may have saw that Chris and I took a little weekend getaway to San Diego a few weeks ago! Anddd I think I'm already ready to go back ;-)
Such a fun and exciting story! Chris saw a tweet from America's Best Racing about their Ultimate Surf & Turf Weekend Sweepstakes so he decided to enter, you never know right?! Well, it just so happened HE WON! We are living proof that people really do win those awesome sweepstakes, and oh boy let me tell you how awesome it was!
The people at America's Best Racing were so awesome getting us all set up. There was only about a week before our trip so Chris and I got our requests in at work while they were busy setting up our little dream getaway! They were really great about trying to get us an early flight out of NYC and a late flight out of San Diego so we could have the most time on the west coast, which worked out perfectly!
I think I feel in love with San Diego the second we landed. I've always kind of had this weird obsession with San Diego (even though I'd never been there before) and the second we walked out of the airport and non-humid, perfect California air hit my face that feeling was affirmed.
They really pulled out all the stops for us! We had a driver waiting for us at the airport to take us to our hotel in Del Mar. Our hotel was also right across the street from the racetrack, which was the perfect location for the races on Saturday!
Thanks to our early flight we made it in early enough to have the whole day of exploring! So I freshened up a little and then we hit up the hotel restaurant. We were just looking for a quick little bite but the restaurant had some seriously good food!
We ordered some wings to share and I went with the lettuce wraps which were the perfect combination of sweet and savory.
After we got our grub on we decided to take a nice walk up to some of the shops in Del Mar. We could have cabbed it but hey, we live in New York we don't mind walking! We explored the land a little.. cute little shops, Starbucks with a super happy singing barista and lots of real estate businesses (oh hiii they knew I was coming). After we adventured a little we headed down the hill and towards the beach. Sometimes you get a different vibe for cities when you're on vacation but I have to say everyone in the Del Mar and San Diego area just seemed so happy! You immediately feel the change of pace from New York's hustle and bustle to a more relaxed and low-key vibe. It was really refreshing and after the month I had in August, totally what I needed!
I was totally loving all of the succulents along the streets too. I won't tell you how many pics I took of them.. Hey, we don't have these in New York! ;-)
For the evening, we met up with one of Chris' college friends. He's originally from New York but has lived in San Diego for the last 10 years so it was awesome to check out some of his favorite local spots.
First up on the list.. some Mexican food at En Fuego Cantina! New York does food and it does food right, but the Mexican food category is one that is lacking. I'm not even huge on Mexican food, but growing up in Washington (and growing up with parents that loveee Mexican food) I know when it's good and California does it right. Now what I do love is margaritas and they had some really fun and different options.
After we finished dinner in Del Mar, we headed to downtown San Diego to get a little downtown flavor. I have got to say.. it was hopping! Of course it was a Friday night but there were so many places with live music and just hoards of people walking up and down the streets. Definitely a younger scene for the most part but there were people of all walks wherever we went. Everyone was just so friendly wherever we went too!
Parking was a little tough to find but I was enjoying the scenery too much to mind too much. We bar hopped to a couple of fun places including a rooftop bar before calling it a night.
The next day it was all about the Pacific Classic at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club! We met up with our awesome host from America's Best Racing, José Contreras at the gate and he gave us the lay of the land and took us up to the Turf Club where we had a table looking right over the finish line, umm hiiii awesome!
I've been to a handful of race tracks around the country but it's going to be hard to compete with the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, it's seriously beautiful. From the hills and beautiful houses on the hills off of the horizon of the track to the palm trees and Spanish style architecture.. LOVE!
I mean really.. does it get better than this?
We had such an amazing day at the races and José couldn't have been a better host! We even got to go into the middle of the paddock when the horses were walking around before the race along with some front-row views of some of the races!
We may not have won big with our actual bets... My strategy of betting on all of the grey horses didn't exactly go my way this trip, but hey, I'd say we were pretty big winners already being able to come on this trip!
After a beautiful day at the track with the full VIP treatment every step of the way we still had one experience left for the evening... Dinner! The America's Best Racing had a dinner reservation all set up for us at a local Seafood restaurant, Brigantine. Everything about our trip was so well thought out and everything was so conveniently located, which was so nice!
The restaurant was really pretty and we got a table looking back over the racetrack. We don't get out to seafood often so I was excited about the choice, and after hearing their fish tacos were some of the best, we definitely had to order some!
Two thumbs up to their fish tacos! SO yummy! Following the seafood trend, I ordered their Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi, which was the perfect choice to wrap up the perfect day.
We may have only been in Cali for 3 days, but we were able to pack in a lot! Our last adventure from the America's Best Racing team was another unforgettable experience, surf lessons! I KNOW! They were serious when they said the Ultimate Surf & Turf weekend ;-)
I'd never been surfing before and to be honest, am not sure I ever would if it weren't for this experience so I'm so glad we had the opportunity to try it out! We had lessons with Jenny from the Del Mar Surf School and she was so great! I'm about the least athletic person ever and she was so encouraging and patient working with us (especially with me). I'm happy to say I even got up a few times! YES!
We had our fair share of lots of wipeouts too. Surfing is tough! I always knew it was hard but I have a whole new respect for surfers. Mad props to Jenny for all of her great lessons and not giving up on me!
After surfing we had worked up quite the appetite so we headed up the hill back into downtown Del Mar for some grub.
Chris had noticed this sandwich shop on our walk from earlier in the week and was set on trying it out.
I have to admit, I kind of tried to talk him out of sandwiches and into trying something else.. I mean we can get sandwiches anywhere. For once I'm glad he's stubborn though because Board & Brew's sandwiches were off the hook. Seriously. I may still be dreaming of them and how I can recreate their secret dipping sauce. They were THAT good.
For the rest of our last day, we met up with Chris' friend again and did a little more exploring in San Diego. One of my friends who used to live in San Diego suggested we check out Balboa Park, so we headed on up there.
The park is more than your typical park.. it actually houses all sorts of museums as well as the world-famous San Diego Zoo. It has to be one of the most beautiful places I've ever been too.
Truly breathtaking! I took so many photos of all of the buildings. Just so pretty! After we adventured for a few hours in the park we headed to another neighborhood, Mission Beach. Chris' friend knew about our love for burgers so we decided to head to the neighborhood as a last stop on our trip.
Mission Beach was cool! It had a different vibe than some of the other parts of San Diego and Del Mar that we had been to so I'm glad we checked it out.
Now time for burgers! It was all about Hodad's! There was a little bit of a wait (lots of burger lovers in Mission Beach!)
Such a funky, fun spot! Monster, tasty burgers and awesome onion rings! A+ from the burger lovers! My tip is to stick to the single too. Chris decided he'd go in for the double thinking their burgers weren't going to be that big, and well, they were massive.
And that's a wrap! We really couldn't have had a better more amazing trip. San Diego and Del Mar were absolutely gorgeous and I cannot wait to go back to visit! Orrr... if I could talk Chris into moving there I'd be there in a heart beat. I liked it that much. A HUGE thank you to the whole America's Best Racing team who set up the most amazing trip for us and truly made us feel like VIPs every step of the way. To our America's Best Racing host José for being such a wonderful host for us at the races and catching some of our wipeouts along the beach. To Jenny from the Del Mar Surf School for the awesome surf lesson and making me feel like I'm only a few steps away from being a surfer girl. To Chris' friend Mark for taking us under his wing and being an awesome tour guide along the way and to Nicole who sent over some awesome suggestions for us to check out while we were there! Truly the, Best. Vacation. Ever.