Over the course of a weekend, I learned that there's so much to love about San Diego, and I had only discovered the tip of the iceberg. Between the vibrant restaurants and glistening beaches, the energy in this maritime metropolis is addicting and exciting.
Every weekend I make it a point to go to brunch, whether I'm vacationing or not. Courtney, Chris and I went to Crushed, a mid-morning destination for the residents and tourists of Pacific Beach alike. We treated ourselves to mimosa flights that featured flavors like rosemary, elderflower and pear. To prevent myself from drowning in champagne, I ordered the El Benedicto Eggs Benedict, which included grilled carne asada, pico de gallo and green tomatillo sauce perched upon poached eggs and focaccia bread. Our meal was decidedly decadent and worth every beautiful bite.
San Diego has a long-standing history with the U.S. Navy, serving as home to one of the largest naval bases in the country. The City of San Diego gained ownership of the former Naval Training Center in 2000, repurposing the site into a center for craftsmanship, cuisine, history, and arts now known as Liberty Station. To date, Liberty Station boasts 140 galleries, museums, artists, nonprofits, boutiques, restaurants and cafes within 45 newly renovated buildings. With architectural subtleties and colorful installations, it was easy to appreciate this town square's honorable history. What we loved most about Liberty Station was walking through Liberty Public Market, the city's only 7-day a week public market that showcased local foods, beer, wine, produce and other artisanal goods.
Moniker General is one of the boutiques located within Liberty Station and it was without a doubt my favorite spot at the communal stomping grounds. The concept retail and community space curates lifestyle and home goods, custom furniture and delicious coffee all into one elegant store. Offering everything from cortados to lavender lattes, Moniker General serves a variety of craft coffee inside a modern, airy atmosphere.
In addition to dining at Crushed, we brunched at Breakfast Republic later on in the extended weekend (although I could have gone to two brunches in one day if I'm really being honest). Unpretentious and innovative, Breakfast Republic serves tasty takes on American classics. After much deliberation, I chose the Mr. Presely, a peanut butter stuffed french toast topped with banana fosters and bacon. One bite was all I needed to confirm I had made the best decision of the entire vacation.
Beyond the shopping and the dining, San Diego is home to parks, arts and recreation that's impossible to ignore. We strolled through Balboa Park, making sure to enter the Botanical Building and admire the intricate architecture named after the Spanish maritime explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa. The best views of the San Diego area rest atop Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial. Seeing the expanse of ocean on one side and the gleaming cityscape on the other was simply breathtaking. It was in that moment that I realized I would definitely make the plans to visit San Diego again soon.