I took a 2.5 day trip to San Diego w/ my girl on Memorial Day Weekend. Here's a summary.
Stayed at Red Lion Hanalei Hotel
It's moderately priced and the rooms are good quality. I was surprised that some of the reviewers labeled the hotel as "poor quality". Our room was clean, roomy, had a coffee/tea brewer, and Bath and Body Works soap and shampoo. We had trouble with our room key at first but they resolved it quickly.
I expected a plain old motel but the lavish lobby, the oasis type vegetation, and the buffet really impressed us. We really enjoyed staying here.
Buffet at Red Lion Hanalei Hotel
The hotel where we stayed served a champagne brunch buffet on Sunday morning. It was $25 per person. The buffet doesn't come close to a Vegas buffet (Bellagio, Wynn, etc). The king crab legs didn't look fresh and the food selection was limited. But I enjoyed the Hawaiian decor and esp. the chocolate fondue fountain.
Plate # 1: waffle+cream+strawberries, smoke-salmon+cream+capers+onion, bacon+sausage, scrambled egg, chocolate-covered strawberries and bananas a la fondue fountain. I took only a bite of each before I moved on to my next plate.
Plate #2: roast lamb, roast beef w/ horseradish, more smoke salmon + condiments
Plate #3: alaskan king crab legs w/ melted butter, shrimp cocktail (unpeeled)
Plate #4: chocolate-covered strawberries and bananas, whipped cream, lady fingers, one more??
Sushi at "On Broadway" in Downtown
We had sushi at a trendy restaurant that transforms into a night club. I enjoyed the place for the drinks and music (both hip hop and techno). The sushi was decent but expect to pay more for lesser quality. The sashimi was served in large chunks as if the chef took a butcher knife and quickly hacked off a few pieces. But the rolls were of higher quality. The godzilla tempura tuna roll gets high ranks for presentation. The spicy garlic lobster roll was also well done. Take a look at the menu for other dishes.
Just beware that this restaurant puts more emphasis on entertainment than food. For example, there was a cirque du soleil act during dinner. Also, they don't serve hot tea, only drinks from the bar.
Sea World was lots of fun. Sea World was also very expensive.
The park had a promotion thru Pepsi where adults get $10 off. You must bring in the Pepsi soda cans which we neglected to do. You can also get another discount w/ AAA membership. Make sure to lookup discounts (e.g. fatwallet.com) before you take the entire family.
Dinner at Gourmet India
810 fourth ave, san diego, ca
We hadn't planned on eating here but as we passed the restaurant, we noticed that all the customers were of Indian descent. If they approve, then the food must be good!
She ordered a Chicken Tikka Masala and cheese naan. I ordered Lamb Tikka Thali and a mango lasse. Every item was delicious and I was blown away. Good Indian food is just so satisfying. The Thali is the way to go because you get a good variety of dishes instead of just a bowl of curry.
I've had a good variety of Indian food in Boston and San Francisco. Good Indian food is much more difficult to find in LA and San Diego and I feel so lucky to have dined at Gourmet India.
Just a note that our waiter highly recommends an Indian restaurant in LA called Electric Karma.
8222 W Third St, los angeles, ca
Lunch at El Prado
I had one good restaurant after another in San Diego and El Prado topped them all. Each restaurant that purports to serve "Spanish tapas" seems to have a different interpretation of each dish and while El Prado isn't the best I've had, it was pretty damn good. Aside from the food, the ambience is just wow. The restaurant is located in Balboa Park and is situated inside of a courtyard. It's one of those restaurants that you wouldn't be able to find unless you were told about it.
This is what we ordered. A pitcher of sangria, skirt steak quesadilla, crab cakes, and calamari in korean spicy sauce. For dessert, we had the tres leches. The food was flavorful and paired well with the sangria and the ambience really made it an enjoyable experience. I'm a bit burned out from all this writing but you can take a look at my pictures of the food.
If you visit for lunch, make sure you explicitly ask to sit in the tapas lounge. There is another side of the restaurant that serves a different style of food. Also, it would be a good idea to make reservations.
I can't wait to do it all over again!