~ Sadie took a very old car and three compadres to San Diego - beverage enchantment, and what we will call "adventure," ensued. ~
Let us begin with a friendly reminder to never drive a car built in the year 19-anything across the Mohave desert. With that simple, salient advice firmly in hand, we commence.
Accompanying my sister and her friend to California as a "chaperone" for a youth improv event promised poolside downtime and as many beverages as I could safely consume in 3 days time. I coerced my dear friend Emmy to "co-chaperone" without much resistance, and we departed at the unearthly hour of 3 am in aforementioned elderly car.
*Strategically smeared bug stains added for ambiance.*
There was obviously coffee - selected haphazardly from my home bar stash and liquified in an early-morning stupor. The pleasant chill of mountain air gradually gave way to the steaming glory that is Utah, and at approximately mid-noon-ish, we were made aware that the air conditioner would not be accompanying us for the remainder of the journey. We identified closely with fried eggs upon arrival. A cheap bottle of wine accompanied take-out sushi in the hotel room - adequate compensation for a long day of toasted travel.
~ Day 1 - La Jolla & Little Italy ~
Blissful transcendence is the first sip of coffee after a long, sticky day of travel and a good night's sleep. Bird Rock Coffee in La Jolla delivered two fragrant cappuccinos, open air seating and excellent people watching. Toting necessities in my San Diego Coffee Network 'Drink Local, Drink Often' bag gave us some beach town 'street cred,' and we swelled with mountain pride at the sighting of not one, but two Colorado-made Topo Bags.
Destination Drink (and eat, obviously) was in full swing - lunch and tasting flights at Ballast Point Brewery in Little Italy started the weekend on a high note with patio sunshine and new found favorites - Grapefruit Sculpin and 'Calm Before The Storm' - a cream ale with coffee and vanilla, and deeply thrilling to a coffee obsessed beer lover.
Little Italy meant James Coffee Co., pourovers and a good, long sit in the breezy, collaborative space on India Street. Living in the brew-heaven that is Fort Collins, we're quite proud of our 'uppers & downers' lifestyle - coffee, then beer, then more coffee left us feeling right at home and (naturally) quite ready for cocktails.
These were in ample supply at Juniper and Ivy, just a short stroll down the street. (Don't judge, it was at LEAST 5pm ;) A "Breakfast Negroni," which somehow incorporated coffee, and that fruity thing on ice were sipped alongside a smoked buttermilk biscuit, a plate of sugar snap peas smothered in mint + cotija cheese + a godly dressing, and a good long chat about life.
~ Day 2 - Solana Beach & Encinitas ~
Shameless product placement - those coffee-fruit breakfast buzz cups are the shiz. Go eat one.
We (the chaperones) sent the kids to another day of improvathoning, and took the coaster to Solana Beach for coffee with Ryan and Aubrey from Earnest Eats. The patio at Lofty Coffee's new space is full of lounging dogs, floppy sun hats and iced tea (which was delightful,) and we had a good chat while garnering a pleasant sunburn.
A long wait in the sunshine and another short coaster ride landed us in Encinitas for the afternoon, one of my very favorite places. More coffee from Lofty, Ironsmith Coffee Roasters and Pannikin Coffee and Tea rounded out our afternoon adventures, and we caught the train back to Little Italy in time for dinner at Buon Appetito (and a bottle of Makia Estate Malbec).
Meeting friends in Pacific Beach landed us at Firehouse for cocktails and rooftop fire pit hangs -
top faves included:
El Pepino - El Jimador Tequila Blanco + lime + cucumber + simple syrup + salt cocktail
Captains Blood (pictured) - Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum + lime + simple syrup + Angostura bitters
Photo shoot = the result of several Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stouts, post Firehouse. #WeKnowHowToParty.
~ Day 3 - North Park ~
At Coffee & Tea Collective, the cups applaud you for accomplishing the very basic task of drinking coffee. What else do you need from life, really? Caffeine Crawl Fort Collins tickets went live from the bar of the North Park cafe, fueled by two pourovers, two cappuccinos, and the feng shui provided by several succulents.
(It's fine, Emmy drank half of that, I'm only like 94% caffeine-dependent. It's fine.)
Lunch at Urban Solace was one of the best decisions we made the entire trip ~ the deserts alone made us fan girls for life. Caramel pot de crème, house made lemon poppyseed cheesecake with figs - to say nothing of the herbed goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms...*drools indecently*. I gave the "uppers & downers" thing a (brief) respite and sipped a non-alcoholic 'Cucumber Colt' - muddled cucumber, lime, ginger beer & freshly cracked salt and pepper - one of the best drinks of the trip.
We were still too enamored by the cheesecake to remember coffee mug photography at Young Hickory, but several cups of java fueled a few hours of emails and more people watching at their window bar.
Polite Provisions was next, and if you meander down the hall into Soda & Swine, they will deliver delightful snacks and sliders directly to your cocktail-topped table.
In the spirit of sun tans and drinks with little umbrellas, we began the evening with a Watermelon Dream - London Dry Gin, lemon, raspberries, cucumber, sea salt and bitters - which drank like a dream, meaning we blinked and it had vanished. Turning to stouter options, because we are mountain women who wear boots in Cali and forget to go to the beach, we thoroughly enjoyed an Old Fashioned, a Full Windsor and some luscious thing that was mostly scotch and Vermouth.
We Uber-ed back to our hotel and polished off the remaining Malbec from dinner the night before, while shamelessly watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
The trip wound to a happy close for the (now drowsy) chaperones, and we hit the road early the next morning with bittersweet thoughts of not-yet-open coffee shops. Accompanying the geriatric vehicle eastward was an adventure unto itself, but I'll spare you the thrilling details.
~ ~ ~
San Diego is a mecca of sun-kissed beverage goodness, and exploring it's magic should top your to-do list for drink destination adventures.
We wish we could have visited all the cafes that participated in last year's Caffeine Crawl,
and these bars on our to-drink list (whether we've been there before or not!) -
San Diego Cellars ~ Romeo and Julieta ~ Fairweather ~ Vin De Syrah ~ Wetstone Wine Bar
Hit us up for more great spots to drink and dine if you find yourself in town - we'll be seeing you soon, San Diego. ~
Cheers! ~ Sadie
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