New State Alert: California Girls Pt. 1

I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.

For my 26th birthday in April, I wanted to go somewhere I had never been before.  A couple of places were on the list, Pheonix and Denver (outside of its airport) were on the list, but California won out. Where to in California?  I don't know what exactly was going on in my head, but I felt it was too cliche for Los Angeles to be my first California city, and San Francisco was just too damn cold for me, but ahh..San Diego looked appealing.  Its proximity to the beach, Mexico, while still having an urban center won me and my work BFF Jessica over, so off we went!  Did I know a soul in San Diego? No, of course not, but that did not stop me from going Island Hopping, and it wasn't going to stop us now. We booked a ticket with United for a Thursday evening - earlyyy Sunday morning adventure.

Day 0- Thursday evening

After landing around 7:30pm and breezing by baggage claim on our way to be picked up, the first thing Jessica and I noticed was how amazingly clean the San Diego Airport was.  They were playing music outside, and our Uber picked us up at lovely Station R (I should have taken a photo).  It gave me a good impression that the city of San Diego would have the same standards as its airport.  Prior to takeoff, Jessica and I agreed that we would rather stay in an AirBnB home than a hotel, and had two places ready for the weekend.  We would only be in our Thursday night private room for one night, but it was in Little Italy, making its location superb. After getting settled, we decided to eat Italian at Buon Appetito since we were in Little Italy..duh! We walked over and I fell in love.  It reminded me of being back in my home state of New Jersey with all of the Italian shops and pizza one could imagine.  One thing that immediately struck us though, was the lack of black people.  It got so bad, throughout the weekend we made a game of counting the black people we saw in San Diego.  #JesusFixIt Thankfully, our service was still great at the restaurant.  I noticed a sign on the door that stated, due to the drought, you would have to ask for water, and honey, you better drink it.  In hindsight, that explained why I thought I was looking at a land of raisins as we were descending into the city.  Don't get me wrong, the area is beautiful, but its surrounding scenery is noticeably thirsty.

I ordered the Linguine allo Scoglio (shrimp, scallops, and linguini) and it was divine.  Both the pasta and seafood tasted fresh and the cabernet on the side did not hurt.  By the time we wrapped up, the restaurant was closing, and it was a bit chilly for the Texas Twins (64 degrees, please do not laugh), so we retired to our AirBnB room.  After a day of teaching and traveling, falling asleep around 10:30pm was an amazing idea.

Day 1- Friday

Little Italy, Coronado Island, and Gaslamp District

We spent the morning figuring out when we could check into our second AirBnB home in Hillcrest, and prayerfully, our host was flexible enough to let us check in at 11:30am instead of 3:00pm (Bless you, Ruby).  We made the decision to grab some coffee before checking out, as the early birds were still on Texas time.  We strolled to Caffe Italia where I was served a latte in a glass.  I had never seen that take place before, but it still tasted great.  Even better was that we saw two fellow black women and we could increase our count (we were so serious about this). On our way back to pick up our luggage, we found our way into an art supply store.  I might have ran inside because I’m obsessed with purple pens (teacher problems) and cute notebooks, and this store had everything I loved. In fact, we were having so much fun, we walked up the hill to get our luggage, returned to the art store, and had our Uber pick us up from the art store!  Please do not judge me and put me on SnapChat like somebody I know. Wink wink.

When we arrived to our second AirBnB home in Hillcrest, we were in heaven.  It was such a cute home with a fresh scent and nice interior design.  I also had the fun time of playing with the Apple TV until I could get Law and Order SVU to play (my favorite).  After a couple episodes, we determined that we were past due breakfast / lunch and needed to make amove. Sidebar: Jess and I are both very relaxed, go with the flow travelers and are perfectly content somewhere sipping wine with no itinerary in hand. After scouring through Yelp, we decided to head to Leroy’s Kitchen and Lounge on Coronado Island. I don’t know if you can tell from the burger, but it was DELICIOUS. The “bacon jam” they created hit the spot and I finally got to taste the truffle fries Jessica had been eyeing.  Simply amazing.  I had no idea I was that hungry until I wolfed down the entire plate.  Much to my surprise, our server brought out a surprise birthday dessert at the end of our meal!  Jessica promised she had nothing to do with it, which made me appreciate this man doing this out of the kindness of his heart.  Best of all? The staff did not sing (thank you, Jesus)!

After lunch, we ventured off to the beach, because as everybody knows, “the beach is my happy place”, and since I was not planning on jumping into the cold Pacific water, I at least wanted to see it. The Universe must have heard my internal prayers, because the clouds went away just at the right time, for us to capture our glimpse of the water with the sun shining down on us.  It was great.  I see why surfers reign heavy in California.  I don’t see how the water’s temperature did not bother them.

We walked back to the “downtown” area of Coronado and walked past a sushi place, Bistro D'Asia advertising Happy Hour.  Our favorite time of the day!  Their deals were on the spot and the saketini they created…how one could drink more than two, I have no clue!  The staff was efficient and friendly.  We even spotted a few more sisters (no brothers) and kept track in our head (I believe we were somewhere around 10 or 11).  After struggling to finish our drinks, we agreed upon taking the one mile trek to the ferries in order to get back to downtown San Diego. Shortly after leaving the restaurant, I received another surprise via email, that happy hour was at one of my AAdvantage dining spots and I earned points for partaking in happy hour.  There might have been a slight twerk involved when I received the email.

While walking to the ferry we were able to see the beauty of Coronado Island including the fiercely purple jacaranda trees. Everything was so pristine!  It was easy to see why people fell in love with California so quickly (I was under a daze until I saw the gas prices). When we arrived at the dock, we had a mini photoshoot in front of the skyline prior to making our way back into the downtown area.  From there, we got into our Uber and headed back home to Hillcrest.

That night we committed to going out in the Gaslamp District (downtown).  For some reason, I felt the need to change my sandals into my heeled shoes, and thank goodness I did, because the place we thought was a lounge was a full-fledged CLUB!! That could have been messy. We were at F6ix and it was pretty decent.  The DJ played a wealthy selection of old school rap with videos attached, along with the current music.  This club was the first and only place we saw a high concentration of young blacks during our visit to San Diego.  Maybe it was a bad night, because this amazon was towering over a good percentage of the males but it did not stop me from having a good time! If I had to rate the club for its Friday night, I’d give it a 3 out of 5.  As was the tradition, at the end of the festivities, we requested a ride from the neighborhood Uber and slept the night away.

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Have you ever been to California? What's your favorite city and where should I stop by on my next visit? Let me know!

Peace and Blessings,

Courtney