July 31, 2011

Eating Out at BlogHer ’11

The BlogHer 2011 conference is coming to San Diego.  When I attended this conference in Chicago two years ago, it was evident that people wanted to know where to eat and where to drink.  Well, since this is my hometown, I thought I’d write a little guide to some good food nearby.  And when you think of San Diego food you should think of Seafood and Mexican food.   That’s where I’m going to focus on.  But if you have any questions, hit me up and I’ll try and help.


The Oceanaire Seafood Room This is an upscale restaurant that has locations throughout the U.S.   The food is good and fresh and has a very robust menu with plenty of options ranging from oysters to lobster.  In fact, the specials vary due to the availability of fresh fish.  A complete wine menu is available and you can even call head to reserve a private group (which I know some enterprising BlogHer women would take advantage of!).

Address: 400 J Street
Walking time from hotel: 10 minutes.
Price: $$$  (Entrees range from $22 – $42)

Escape Fish Bar
This recently opened restaurant is small with a limited menu but the food is excellent.  The seafood is fresh and the sides are creative.  You can sit on the sidewalk cafe or inside.  Limited but good beer and wine selection.  Not great for a big group but perfect for a handful of friends looking for good seafood.  Try the Pumpkin Seed Slaw.

738 5th Avenue
Walking time from hotel: 10-15 minutes.
Price: $$  (Entrees range from $8 – $15)

Point Loma Seafoods If I was going to bring anyone from out of town to taste local seafood, this would be it.  Ambiance is out the window as this is more of a fish market than a restaurant.  However, they serve delicious seafood plates and sandwiches (I love the scallop sandwhich) for a great price.  You get your food on paper plates or wrapped in paper and you take your food to eat outdoors overlooking the marina.  The food is great but beware the seagulls!

Address: 2805 Emerson St
Walking time from hotel: Too far to walk quickly – 10-15 minutes by cab.
Price: $  (Entrees range from $8 – $12)


Since San Diego sits on the border of the Mexico, it’s only natural to steer you towards to good Mexican food.  Unfortunately, the really good food is usually a greasy hole in the wall and  not a sit down dinner in downtown San Diego.  However, I’ve thrown a couple downtown joints for convenience sake but you might have to travel to get some of the best stuff.

Las Cuatro Milpas This is a true hole-in-the-wall. It’s in the heart Barrio Logan, just south of downtown and the heart of the Mexican community. The food is authentic and delicious and cheap! Las Cuatro Milpas closes at 3:00 p.m. so it’s definitely a lunch location.

Address: 1875 Logan Ave (1.5 miles from the conference center)
Walking Time from Hotel: 15-20 (But this is towards the industrial part of San Diego and might be better to take a cab or the trolley)
Price: $

El Indio This restaurant was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  It’s a short cab-ride from downtown.  The food is good but the ambiance is straight diner/dive.  There is a nice outdoor eating area down the street and another across the street, so this is a “nice day” kind of place to eat.

Address: 3695 India Street
Walking time from hotel: Too far to walk quickly – 7-10 minutes by cab.
Price: $  (Entrees range from $8 – $10)

El Vitral I have not eaten here but I have visited the restaurant and it’s beautiful.  One wall creates a boundary for the park within Petco Park, home of the Padres.  The decor is beautiful and I hear the food is ok.  Yelp says the service can be s0-so but the real attraction for this restaurant is the Tequila bar.  Want a place to sample every tequila under the sun?  This is your place.

Address: 815 J Street
Walking time from hotel: 10-15 minutes
Price: $$  (Entrees range from $10 – $12)

Old Town I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Old Town.  There are several Mexican restaurants in Old Town San Diego which is a short cab ride from downtown.  There are a few restaurants along San Diego Avenue and Casa Guadalajara in the Bazaar Del Mundo which is a fun place to go with a small group.

Address: 4133 Taylor Street (Bazaar Del Mundo)
Walking Time from Hotel: Too far. 10 minute cab ride.
Price: $$


There are a couple of places that come to mind when it comes to indulging the sweet tooth. There’s Extraordinary Desserts and Ghiradelli Chocolate shop. I have pigged out in both.

Extraordinary Desserts This is one of the best dessert shops in San Diego. About a 15-20 minute walk from the hotel, it is totally worth it. They also have light food that is very stylish to go along with the out-of-this-world desserts. Go. You won’t be disappointed.

Address: 1430 Union Street
Walking Time from Hotel: 15-20 minutes.  Little over a mile.
Price: $$

Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop  This is for the pure chocoholics out there (you know who you are). Milk shakes, sundaes, and lots of chocolate.  Lots. Tons.

Address: 643 5th Ave
Walking Time from Hotel: 10 minutes
Price: $$

Other Places Nearby

Hard Rock Cafe The Hard Rock is minutes from the hotel, right across the street from the convention center.  With it’s roof top bar and two interior bars, there’s a lot to drink do.

Gaslamp Quarter Info The Gaslamp Quarter is the area surrounding the convention center.  This link will provide you with all the information of other restaurants, bars and wine bars.  Have fun!

July 24, 2011

The big 4 Oh man, I’m old.

The past 10 years have been fairly good to me.  I’ve gone from newlywed to veteran husband.  I’ve moved to a new town, began a new career, bought a couple of cars, bought a house and… had three beautiful kids.

Of course, I’ve aged 10 years, lost a bit more hair (okay, a lot more hair) and the hair I have left has gone from jet-black to earl-gray.  No doubt about it, I’m getting older.

This past decade – my 30′s – was the decade I figured a lot out.  I figured out who I am and what’s important to me.  I’ve established a career that I enjoy and that I’ve performed fairly well in.  I’ve experienced unprecedented joy and incredible pain and I’ve come out stronger.  I found out I love being a father, learning about leadership and writing about my kids. And, of course, I found out that loving your wife is truly a gift.

In my 20′s, I didn’t know much but got by with enthusiasm and brains.  In my 30′s, I gained experience and perspective.  Now, on the first day of my 40′s, I’m actually excited for the coming decade.  This will be the decade that I make a difference.  Swee’Pea and TheMonk will be well into their teen years by the time I turn 50.  m&m will be entering the tween years.  I’ll be 20 years into my career and have another 10 years to convince my wife she really did make a good decision when marrying me.

So, bring it on, 40′s.  I’m ready.  My 30′s made sure of that.

July 10, 2011

New Beginnings

Swee’Pea and TheMonk are almost one month into their sixth year. I look at them and I marvel at how much they have grown, at how mature they look, at how much they know about the world around them. I am struck by their level of understanding complex issues and how their social skills are blossoming before my eyes. This time of their life is truly an amazing time.

And yet it’s also the exact same age that I lost my father almost 34 years ago.

It is a painful reminder of what my own father missed. It’s also a reminder for me that every day is a gift and that no amount of crankiness or messy rooms or dirty fingerprints on walls will matter more than the time I get to spend with my children. Almost 34 years later and I have very few memories of my father. If something were to happen to me today, even though I have tried my hardest to leave an indelible impression on the my children, I fear that they won’t remember me. They won’t remember holding my hand on the first day of school. They won’t remember snuggles in the quiet early mornings. They won’t remember how my lips felt on their cheeks or how my arms felt wrapped around them in a powerful hug full of love. They won’t remember tickle monsters or butterfly kisses or anything more but faint images of my face and a sense of who their father might have been. Just like how I remember my own father.

So I am once again reminding myself that every day is a gift. It’s an opportunity to impart wisdom, teach valuable skills, mold values and share love. It’s an opportunity to dance in the streets and share laughs and giggles and hugs and kisses. Today is another day to tell them how much I love them and help them become confident and caring adults. It’s another day to be thankful for what I have – beautiful children, a loving wife, a career that I love – and that realizing that far too many people lose out on what I have at this moment. I am lucky indeed.

And for the first time, I have another baby to help mold and, like my brother who was only a year old when our father died, she would have no memory of me if something were to happen. And because I know that ultimately I don’t have control over when it’s my time to go, I contine to write this blog for her. As Swee’Pea and TheMonk get older, they will form their own memories but m&m (baby’s blog name) would not have that luxury. This blog is a testament to the love I have for my children and I write in it as a way to show them how much I love being their daddy. My hope is that someday I can share these stories with them and we’ll laugh about how crazy their Daddy was. But I also know it’s a way of recording my thoughts and hopes for my kids to know me in a way I never knew my father.

Six years old. It’s a lifetime. 3 weeks is too. 40 years seems like a lifetime but I know that each day adds to the gift that I have been given and I’m going use each day to the best dad, the best husband, the best person I can be.

Each day is a new beginning. Seize it.


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