First, let me think all the SD Hounds that posted reviews about restaurants there, you definitely made my trip memorable in the food realm. I just got back from running the Rock and Roll Marathon and I had great experiences at all the restaurants I ate at pre- and post-race.
Uncle Bill's Pancake House (Manhattan Beach, CA): While not technically SD I wanted to try this place after flying into LAX to meet with some friends before getting the car and driving to SD. It was pretty steady business at 1100 am but P and I managed to snag an outside table overlooking the ocean. I had the blueberry buckwheat pancakes which were cooked perfectly and normal sized (e.g. not the size of a hubcap). They were served right off the grill and didn't have that horrible hard pancake top. My friend got the chili and cheese omelette (ortega chili and jack cheese) which was very good, the flavors blended well together. In addition, the pancakes on the side were also cooked just right. Overall: B+/A-
Chilango's (San Diego, CA): Excellent food! I ordered off of the specials menu like others had suggested and that was a great idea. I don't recall the exact name of the dish but it was pescado enchiladas in a black bean sauce. There was plenty of fish in the dish and the onions and queso fresco on top balanced out the perfectly spiced black bean sauce. The rice on the side was delicious and P's beans were very flavorful (almost like Portuguese beans). P ordered from the regular menu but it was a pork loin dish with another excellent sauce on top, a green sauce. The house salsa was very flavorful and tasted strongly of chipotle. It started with a nice sweet taste and the heat slowly built without being overpowering. They really know how to season food for maximal taste. Overall: A- (some service snafus, very minor and the apology made up for those).
Cafe 222 (San Diego, CA): My carbing up for the race continued at breakfast the next morning. We got here at the right time because it was only a 5 minute wait for a table. Pretty good coffee and I like that they served the fruit bowl right after ordering it (melons, apple, and banana). I got the granola waffle which was only okay, not enough granola, almost like a regular buttermilk waffle. In addition, there was a snafu in the kitchen which resulted in my side of eggs and P's entree being served a good 5-7 minutes before my waffle came out. The server was apologetic but it was kind of annoying. P ordered a scramble with a bunch of veggies and potatoes on the side. The toast was served with a small container of standard jelly, nothing compared to the stuff at Cafe on Park (more on that later). Overall: B
Con Pane (San Diego, CA): Good sandwiches and great bread! I ordered the roast turkey sandwich on artisan multi-grain bread with stone-ground mustard and brie cheese. The brie gave the sandwich an excellent taste but my only complaint is the use of standard turkey from the big round block. I guess my expectations are too high when I want pulled, roast turkey breast on my sandwich; but oh well. P ordered a roast beef sandwich with gruyere on artisan white bread which was also good. Overall B.
Cafe on Park (San Diego, CA): What can I say, running a marathon made me crave those hubcap sized pancakes and this place more than fit the bill. I ordered the blueberry and buttermilk pancake which was HUGE!!!! and tasted excellent. My order also came with scrambled eggs and bacon (all cooked perfectly). P had the corn beef hash, potatoes, and toast. The corn beef was very lean, deli sliced, perfectly seasoned, and cooked to perfection. It was combined with the potatoes, cheese, bell peppers and onions. The toast was one thick slice of whole wheat which we put the jam from the table on. I don't know everything that went into making the jam but it was excellent. Good coffee too and the fruit plate was more than filling. I wound up taking half the pancake with me and eating it on the way to the airport. It was even good cold. Prompt service all the way around but I agree with other posters about the indifferent service. The food was delivered hot, and that is always the number one thing in my book but I am usually put off when the bill comes with the plate. Overall: A.
CA Pizza Kitchen Express (LAX Southwest Terminal): What can I say, after the marathon I was hungry again and this was the most appealing thing in the terminal. The pizza and service were better than I've ever received in the restaurant, sad. The beer helped too. Overall: B
Overall: Can't wait to go back to SD. Are there any other place I have to try when I am there again based on where I ate previously. I saw Hodad's after going to watch the sunset and am pretty sure that will be on my list.