Food Hotels North America Travel

San Diego

This past weekend we headed down to San Diego for a good friend’s wedding and it was a great little mini break – plus the weather was in the 80’s and 90’s. Here are some photos from our trip.

This was my first time staying in downtown San Diego and at the last minute we decided to book the US Grant. It’s a very grand old building and when we drove it it reminded me of the Fairmont in San Francisco.

The interior was equally grand.

We quickly settled in and checked into our room which was a Landmark Suite. The suite was a nice size (it reminded me of a small suite I was in years ago at Le Bristol) but probably not big enough for a third person to crash in if needed.

There were some charming little details – I thought the art above the bed was very cool!

I had requested the highest floor possible and even though we were fairly high (8 out of 10 levels) already, there was another man grumbling at the desk when were checking in who was a little grouchy about not being on the 9th floor. He was apparently a regular and used to always getting upgraded. “Something must be going on,” he said.

The next morning we all found out what that something was – Michelle Obama was staying at the hotel and had taken over the top few floors. She left that morning and like a typical gawker I had to rush outside to try and see her motorcade! The cars all whizzed by super fast but I was able to get this picture of the highway patrol waiting for her motorcade to come out.

The rooms and hotel itself were very nice…but the best part of the US Grant was definitely the food. For me to really love a hotel for food, it has to not only be good but also reasonably priced (relative to other room service prices). US Grant definitely met both criteria. Every morning we’d head down to The Grant Grill for breakfast, which was absolutely amazing!

Our favorite place to take breakfast was in this little nook, very private and quiet.

Every meal started off with a plate of these little muffins complimentary – one was raspberry and the other rhubarb.

Our standard breakfast order each morning was orange juice, a plate of fruit, a sweet item, and a savory. Here the sweet item was waffles with cherry apricot compote, and an amazing Eggs Benedict that we ordered every morning. It came on cheddar biscuits and hash browns that had truffle oil drizzled on them. Fantastic!

Another delicious item: banana bread french toast.

We also tried room service one day and called down for help. I mentioned to the man who answered that I loved grilled cheese, and he recommended a special grilled cheese sandwich they had on the bar menu, with ham and fresh tomato. Like all the other food we had at the hotel, it was delicious.

Even though we could have probably eaten at the hotel every meal, we of course wanted to go out and try a bunch of places. We had a few favorites that we discovered – the first was a delicious Afghan restaurant in downtown called Chopahn, I would highly recommend it.

Our first morning in San Diego  I also got to meet up with one of my favorite bloggers, the adorable and super stylish Kelly from Alterations Needed. I always love meeting other bloggers and Kelly was definitely no exception! She gave us so many great recommendations for downtown where our hotel was – unfortunately we were short on time and couldn’t see them all.

The one venue we were able to check out based on Kelly’s recommendation was Vin de Syrah – a very cool bar/pub that had an awesome “Alice in Wonderland” theme going on. To get to the bar we had to walk downstairs, where for a while we were unable to find the door, we thought it was through one of these graffiti’d doors.

We struggled for a while looking at all the walls, until we finally spotted the handle hidden in a mossy grass wall.

It looks obvious here with the flash and everything, but it was night okay? Or maybe we’re just daft.

Once inside of course there had been a camera outside broadcasting us trying to get in the entire time to the patrons inside. The decor was very charming – huge oversized chairs, cards on the ceiling, and more. You can see a little glimpse here.

It was very fun and I’d recommend this place highly for a drink.

On our last full day in San Diego we drove up to Point Loma – a hilly drive which featured gorgeous views of the ocean. It reminded me of Big Sur. My husband wanted to go and visit the Fort Rosecrans military cemetery there. It was my first time and I thought it was beautiful, the green grass overlooking the ocean.

Some time ago, my husband served as in the military and while he was deployed overseas, two of his friends and teammates were killed. He wanted to visit both of their graves and so I walked with him to them. All around their individual markers, there were items and mementos  from all the other people who had recently visited. There was bent grass, small stones and insignia, and even a Laffy Taffy left around their marker sites.

I thought for a while about whether or not to include this part of our trip on this site. I know that most of the time I write about very light, ordinary things. And even though this was a special thing, to visit Rosecrans, the feelings that I and in particular my husband left with – sadness, admiration, happiness, anger, thoughtfulness and more – were all of what we eventually feel and experience in every day, week, year. It was a significant memory but not necessarily one that was only rooted in sadness. So, I hope you don’t mind that I included this here. As we were driving away my husband was a little quiet and then said, “It’s like visiting old friends.”

That night was our last one in San Diego and I was happy to spend it with one of my long time friends, who was getting married. She is one of the most independent, strong and capable women I know so it was wonderful seeing her celebrate her new life. Her wedding was also overlooking the ocean so we took some time outside and enjoyed the view over the water.

Thank you for reading about our trip, and thank you to San Diego for all the wonderful memories.

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  • silkpathdiary
    November 2, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Thank you for sharing these special memories of your time in SD. I love your travel posts and this is no exception. I think it’s wonderful to include the memories of your visit to the military cemetary. My hubby is also an ex military officer and lost many friends and comrades in different deployments. He always told me they all shared an extreme closeness because they depended on each other for their lives moment to moment, day to day, so their bond was always much deeper and stronger.

    • Katherine
      November 2, 2012 at 7:48 am

      Hi silkpathdiary, thank you for your kind comment and sharing your husband’s experiences. I am so glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 How long was he stationed for? It sounds like you two went through quite a bit!

      • silkpathdiary
        November 5, 2012 at 8:04 am

        He spent the first half of his life in the military and the 2nd out – with me – which is just as well because I am just not cut out to be a military wife! At the start he always planned to wait until he was out to marry and have a family because he knew how much his poor mother worried about him at the time. Our son has always shown an interest in a military life and I have to be honest, I’m hoping he will grow out of it! There is a long tradition though in the family so we will have to see when the time comes.

        • Katherine
          November 5, 2012 at 10:45 am

          Yes I agree with you on the military wife – I don’t think I am cut out either. Honestly my husband has always said that if we had children he wouldn’t be the biggest fan of them entering the military either.

  • Nancy
    November 2, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I was there in SD this past weekend too (halloween wknd–yikes! at the hard rock no less (so crowded and loud–terrible but Nobu was amazing-best san diego uni ever). Anyways, I found a great luxury resale store on 6th St. in downtown called Authentic Luxury Goods http://www.authenticluxurygoods.com/

    • Katherine
      November 2, 2012 at 8:54 am

      Hi Nancy, yes the Halloween crowds were crazy! Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to check out that shop next time we’re down there 🙂

  • Irene
    November 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Thanks for the lovely post. My husband and I will defintiely need to chec out Vin de Syrah the next time we’re down. Looks so whimsical 🙂

  • Jen Cairel
    November 2, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Looks like a wonderful trip! I grew up in San Diego & it’s been several years since I’ve been back so these pics were fabulous for me! I’ve spent many an afternoon at Rosecrans too (both of my grandfathers had long military histories) and I absolutely love it there. One of my favorite places in SD – so full of beauty, sadness, history, & love. Good find on that bar too – looks like a fun place!

    • Katherine
      November 2, 2012 at 10:37 am

      Thanks Jen! I love San Diego and you are right that Rosecrans is absolutely beautiful and a lovely place to just spend an afternoon. The historical element is so rich and fascinating.

  • Kelly @ Alterations Needed
    November 2, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Yay! You made it to Vin de Syrah! Now I really have to go. LOL. It was so nice to finally meet you! Glad you guys had a nice time in SD. =D

  • Amy
    November 2, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for sharing this trip and story with us, Katherine. San Diego has a very special place in my heart – as a kid, my family and I would take weekend trips there, and as my sister and I grew older, we’d go down together and hang out with our respective best friends. I remember during my senior year of high school, I’d drive down on the weekends. My favorite memory was that drive down Pacific Coast Highway and blasting out the Dave Matthews Band.

    Thank you for reminding me how lovely this city is, and for sharing the story of your visit to the memorial site.

  • erica
    November 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    ah, your post brings back memories! i stayed at the US grant back in june, it was a nice hotel, i absolutely loved the decor. but i’ve got to ask…did you notice the plaza hotel behind the us grant? our room faced that direction and that “hotel” provided quite the people-watching entertainment ;p

    • Katherine
      November 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      OMG no! Was it a “love” conducive hotel? I am like you, I would have been very entertained watching all of that!

  • Marlene @ chocolatecookiesandcandies
    November 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Katherine, your husband was a Navy SEAL? I’ve read about the extraordinary feat of courage, strength, stamina and perseverance just to qualify as a SEAL. I’m surrounded by military museums here and there’s also a military base near the town center as well. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to be in situations where you’re under attack and having to fight for your life. It’s a shame that few soldiers are given the recognition nor help that they deserve. Kudos to your hubby and his friends.

    • Katherine
      November 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

      Hi Marlene yup he was – thanks for your thoughtful comment! He loves military museums and I’m sure if we are ever in your neck of the woods he will want to check them out!

  • Rachel
    November 2, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Next time stay at Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe- RSF is a lovely area and is much more enjoyable than the Gaslamp. The Grant is a decent hotel, not one that I would make a special trip for.

    • Katherine
      November 3, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Thanks Rachel – I will add that to our list – we had to stay in downtown due to wedding, friends nearby for it, etc 🙂 I agree though that given a free vacation in that area it wouldn’t be the first choice!

  • Traveler
    November 2, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Next time you’re in San Diego, try Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe– I grew up in San Diego (RSF) and much prefer RVR to the Grant or any other hotel in the San Diego are. Funny story, I actually saw George Harrison of the Beatles there about 12 years ago! I have never really been that impressed with the Grant (we have always stayed in a Signature Suite), but to each their own!

    • Katherine
      November 3, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Traveler, and how cool that you saw GH! We were there due to wedding/friends staying nearby but next time we will def. look at other options further out. Have you stayed at the Grand? What’s your opinion?

  • Ammu
    November 2, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    What a lovely post – full of beauty and sadness. You write so well.
    I am so sorry for your husband’s loss – your words and photographs are a stirring tribute to his brave friends. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Katherine
      November 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

      Thanks Ammu for your kind and thoughtful comment.

  • New Petite
    November 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Love your travel posts!

  • Girlie Blogger
    November 3, 2012 at 2:01 am

    San Diego was a fun visit for us. Your pictures are gorgeous.

  • latkesanddimsum
    November 3, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Beautiful post. What a lovely hotel you chose.

    For your husband – please pass on a big, heartfelt “thank you” for serving in the armed forces. Those brave men and women have my deepest admiration and appreciation.

    • Katherine
      November 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

      Thank you Latkes 🙂

  • miss sophie
    November 3, 2012 at 6:47 am

    gorgeous travel photos! i ‘m a big fan of historic hotels with interesting architecture. when i was in SF the weather was gorgeous as well – we walked around the mission and hung out in the park and ate such good food with wonderful friends! can’t wait till my next visit 🙂

    • Katherine
      November 3, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Yes you had great weather! Let me know next time you are in SF, glad you got to try some of our great food places!

  • Lilli
    November 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Fantastic photos! it must be a gorgeous place! I’ve pinned some photos! kisses! xo

  • Phoebe
    November 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    The hotel you stayed at is gorgeous and the food looks amazing. But more importantly, it looks like you guys had a memorable and meaningful trip.
    Your photos and and story is so poignant and meaningful and I’m so sorry for the loss he suffered. Thank you for sharing you and your husband’s visit to Rosecrans with us. xoxo, Phoebe

    • Katherine
      November 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      Hi Phoebe, thank you for your kind words 🙂

  • lisa
    November 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    awww i love this post kat!! everything from the gorgeous hotel.. to the AMAZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZING amazing food.. omgosh i love loveee grilled cheese sammies too! and that banana bread french toast looks just decadent!!

    thank you for sharing your visit to the military ceremony with us.. not many ppl know this because the Hubs prefer I keep his “work world” out of my “blogging world” but the reason we’re in germany is because he’s an officer w/ the army right now. this post was really touching because i think sometimes on a day to day basis we go about living our lives and ourblog posts are generally light & airy and we tend to forget about the men and woman that put their lives on the line so that we can live a free and happy life. it really made me smile when your husband said he was visiting with old friends :)! thank you for the post kat!

    • Katherine
      November 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks so much for your sweet reply Lisa. I thought perhaps that was the case about your hubby but never wanted to pry 🙂 It’s amazing that he is in Germany though, I heard that is a nice international post, are you both enjoying it? How long is he there for? Thank you to him and you both for supporting and putting your lives towards service.

  • Anouka
    November 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Amazing photos! I wish I could just slip away for a weekend in San Diego.

    LUXESSED

  • Trang
    November 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I’m glad that you felt comfortable to share this trip with us. How impressive that your husband was a seal!

    • Katherine
      November 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Aw thank you – I’m very proud of him!