Recently, my wife and I paid a visit to her sister and family in San Diego. I realize that already I sound cool, because I know someone who lives there and visiting people in exotic places sounds like something I can just do.
Unquestionably, San Diego has gravitas. Nobody who hasn’t been there knows anything about it, other than the city has been endowed with Heaven’s climate. Flawless beach weather everyday where you can walk outside naked and feel physically comfortable.
Other than that, what does this place have to offer? To me it was just Anchorman scenes and a bad football franchise that ain’t even there anymore. Well, I learned there’s indeed more to this place than I thought.
Shortly after exiting the airport, we were greeted by the picturesque bay and harbor, filled with sails and yachts, flanked by scores of palm trees, all with the backdrop of downtown high rises. What would’ve made for an incredible poster was indeed the handsome reality of Southern California.
Upon greeting our sister Andrea, her husband Taylor and our new precious nephew, Jackson, it was off to drink beer.
After all, San Diego has one of the greatest craft beer scenes in the world. I think my family there thought all I wanted to do on our trip was visit breweries, which is an excellent assumption, but not entirely true. All I wanted to do was visit breweries with the baby. Enjoy the new nephew on our terms at our fun places; that’s how we Millennials do it.
So on our first day, we headed to Ocean Beach, one of the last remaining surf towns in Southern California. We first visited Belching Beaver, because if you can fit “belch” and “beaver” into your business name, you’ve won. Afterward we walked to Ocean Beach Brewery and enjoyed a dinner of fresh fish as the sunset over the Pacific. Oh, what a horrible time. Then, a friendly fellow who may have been high asked me to smell a flower. I declined, only because the flower was so small I was concerned his fingers would go up my nose, and I didn’t fly 2,500 miles for that.
The following day, I got up for an early run. The Reeves live in North Park (you’re cool if you know where that is), so I didn’t have to go far before I reached Balboa Park, the great city park in San Diego. If only I could run somewhere new and beautiful every day, gosh, I’d probably be in slightly better shape than I am today. Later that morning, I had the pleasure of driving though the city to pick up my other sis-and-law and her fiancé at the airport. People say people in San Diego drive crazily. But people say that for every big city. I think there are just bad drivers everywhere, because hey, we’re all operating metric tons of steel moving at 80 mph. Yes, it’s freaking crazy.
In the afternoon, we had fish tacos by the harbor. Meh… Just kidding, it was terrific. My best taco had octopus. I’m glad we’re putting the octopi to good use. After lunch, I walked off my octopus at Point Luma, a historical site featuring a lighthouse and panoramic views of San Diego and its bay.
The day only got better, as I emptied a gift card to buy lots of So Cali beer and then watch my beloved Wolfpack whoop hiney in prime time, i.e. 5 pm PST. Watching sports on the West Coast is so money. The best part of all of this was doing silent cheers so we wouldn’t wake the baby. Silent cheering and dancing is really fun. It would be great for a whole stadium to do it as a thing, like a blackout or the wave.
The next day we hiked Torrey Pines National Park. More beauty and wonder, and more exercise to mitigate my rapidly expanding octopus/IPA gut. That afternoon, we explored North Park, enjoying great ale and reggae at Rip Current Brewing and an outstanding burrito at Lucho Libre, a hilariously pink joint celebrating Mexican wrestling. Then it was on to the Reeves’ neighborhood brewery (Thorn Street) where we watched the US triumphantly defeat Panama in their World Cup qualifier, with the blessed ignorance of the proceeding nightmare match. Then back home for burgers, fire pit, cigars, blah blah blah best day ever.
Next morning, we went to the harbor-side market and bought a fish—a huge, newly dead 16-pound skipjack tuna to be precise. Then it was onto to Little Italy for their Farmers Market, where we tried poke-stuffed uni. That’s raw tuna inside a sea urchin. Good golly listen to what we humans are doing. Then, just when I didn’t want to have any more fun, we visited Ballast Point Brewing, Liberty Station, and Stone Brewing. Yes, I got to visit my favorite brewery in the world. I sampled four delicious beers beside a coy pond and even bought a corduroy hat. That was a pretty good day.
All in all, it was one of the best weeks of my life, and our time with family and our new nephew was simply splendid. I definitely recommend San Diego, unless you are against fun, beauty, and factually the greatest city in the history of mankind.