Best of San Diego

BEST COFFEE
1. Lestat’s Coffee House
3343 Adams Ave., Normal Heights
2. Pannikin Coffee & Tea
7467 Girard Ave., La Jolla
3. Filter Coffee House
1295 University Ave., Hillcrest
4. Purple Café
4338 Cass St., Pacific Beach
5. The Living Room
1010 Prospect St., La Jolla

Coffee shops open 24-hours present a curious paradox: They’re perfect for the undergrad who needs to cram way past Geisel’s closing time, but they’re also perfect for another crowd: vagrants. This is precisely what makes hotspots like Lestat’s Coffee House and Filter Coffee House so appealing. The coffee at these caffeine-havens can win over drunks and laptop zombies alike, but the edge goes to Lestat’s in this matchup, where you can find amusing art work, hot baristas playing post-punk and an all-ages music venue (Lestat’s West) next door.

A short bus ride from campus can take you to one of the best brunch and coffee spots around — Pannikin Coffee & Tea. On the weekends it can be hard to find a seat in the tiny shop, but the freshly-brewed coffee and chill atmosphere makes for a fantastic afternoon of studying — or destroying your opponent on the giant chess set in the back.

In addition to coffee, the Purple Café has live music on the weekends and the Living Room has a hookah lounge, totally owning Starbucks in terms of entertainment — and taste.

— Arielle Sallai
Managing Editor

BEST CALIFORNIA BURRITOS
1. Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop
1810 West Washington St.,
Mission Hills
2. Vallarta Express Mexican Eatery
4277 Genesee Ave., Clairemont Mesa
3. Don Carlos Taco Shop
737 Pearl St., La Jolla
4. Rigoberto’s Taco Shop
6990 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla
5. Cotixan Mexican Food
4370 Genesee Ave., Clairemont

In the battle against obesity, San Diego has clearly chosen the (winning) side of artery-clogging, heart-pounding excess with its uniquely local creation, the California burrito. Vallarta, Don Carlos, Rigoberto’s and Cotixan may boast a delightfully “authentic” sketchy atmosphere and relatively low prices, but by and large, their burrito quality stays the same. A different salsa here, more crisp fries there — each burrito packs a homespun punch that keeps students arguing for days about their favorites.
But the best may well be Lucha Libre. The shop is the furthest from campus, but its over-the-top decor and Surf’n Turf take on the SoCal classic gives the California burrito a seafood spin that is unmatched by the other options on the list. Oh, and they use fresh avocados. Win.

— Margaret Yau
Managing Editor

BEST THRIFT SHOPS
1. Cerebral Palsy United
1454 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
2. Goodwill
1430 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
3. Buffalo Exchange
1007 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
4. Thrift Trader
1135 Garnet Ave, Pacific Beach
3939 Iowa St., North Park
5. Penny Pincher
4508 Cass St., Pacific Beach

Thrifting enthusiasts, rejoice — Pacific Beach is just for you. Second-hand shoppers and bargain hunters alike can feel the rush of finding a perfect deal and hit up all the right thrifting spots by staying in one neighborhood. Pacific Beach has a plethora of places available, all within near vicinity of each other. Spend an afternoon dedicated to searching the crowded racks of Cerebral Palsy United and Goodwill (both are charities), or if you’re willing to spend a little more money, Buffalo Exchange has an extra trendy selection of second-hand clothes. The rest of the list is also great for picking up knick-knacks, electronics and even books on a tight budget, leaving more money for what really matters — booze.

— Mina Nilchian
Focus Editor

BEST PLACES TO EXPAND YOUR MIND
1. Balboa Park
1549 El Prado, Downtown
2. Torrey Pines State Reserve
12600 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla
3. Museum of Contemporary Art: La Jolla
700 Prospect St., La Jolla
4. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
4002 Wallace St., Old Town
5. Mt. Soledad
6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive,
La Jolla

While San Diego may not have a reputation for its fertile creativity, it does offer a few choice opportunities to broaden your horizons — especially with a recreational or medicinal aid. If you’re stripped for cash, Mt. Soledad is the perfect place to catch an incredible sunset, or simply reenact the “whale’s vagina” scene from “Anchorman” a few dozen times.
Old Town takes you back in time to a strange pre-Civil War world of fudge and saltwater taffy, while the Museum of Contemporary Art’s seaside La Jolla location (also free if you’re under 26) houses a consistently fascinating body of some of modern art’s most provocative work. For the soul searcher, the miles of hiking trails and natural tide pools at Torrey Pines provide some of the most gorgeous sights in the city. But only Balboa Park has it all: fantastic museums, massive awe-inspiring architecture and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Still not sold? Three words: Japanese Friendship Garden.

— Ren Ebel
Hiatus Editor

BEST (CLOSE) ESCAPES
1. Julian
Main St., Julian
2. Barona Resort & Casino
1932 Wildcat Canyon Rd., Lakeside
3. Oceanside Pier
1540 N. Harbor Drive, Oceanside
4. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
13652 Highway 79, Julian
5. Coronado Beach
1500 Orange Ave., Coronado

It’s time to leave campus and the judging confines of La Jolla proper. Pack up your car, grab a map (or, you know, your iPhone) and just leave. For some, driving an hour and 15 minutes to sample the best pie in Southern California is a crazy waste of time. For others, it’s perfectly logical. If you fall into the second category, take a scenic day trip to Julian to bask in its small town charm — and its apple pie. If gambling is more your style, head over to Barona Resort & Casino, where the overwhelming allure of endless slot machines and blackjack tables will pull you in and never let go. Or if water is more your style, spend a day in Oceanside, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park or Coronado.

— Margaret Yau
Managing Editor

BEST PLACES FOR CHOCOLATE
1. Extraordinary Desserts
1430 Union St., Little Italy
2929 5th Ave., Banker’s Hill
2. Sprinkles Cupcakes
8855 Villa La Jolla Drive, La Jolla
3. Elizabethan Desserts
155 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas
4. Babycakes
3766 5th Ave., Hillcrest
5. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop
643 5th Ave., Downtown

The mocha cupcake at Sprinkles may be an excellent treat in itself, venture outside of La Jolla to try one of San Diego’s many dessert destinations.
Take an afternoon drive north to Encinitas and visit Elizabethan Desserts, a quaint retro-style bakery tucked in Quail Gardens, carrying American cakes, cookies and cupcakes. Be sure to try Rasmary’s Baby — a cupcake with raspberry buttercream hand dipped in dark chocolate and topped off with raspberries.
Extraordinary Desserts is a required stop for any chocolate enthusiast. The Little Italy location features an expanded menu of savory items, beer and wine, while the original Balboa Park spot dishes up the same famous desserts (featured on The Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate”) without the extras and in a more intimate setting (candles and all), perfect for enjoying cake and coffee with a hot date or a group of friends.
For those who get sweet-tooth drunchies, Babycakes in Hillcrest — a bar that serves desserts with extra sweet cocktails — is the perfect remedy. Or stop by Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop after bar-hopping in the Gaslamp — and try to fool the workers into thinking you didn’t already get a free sample.

— Nicole Chan
Associate News Editor

BEST FROYO SHO
PS
1. Rockie’s Frozen Yogurt
7612 Linda Vista Road, Clairemont
2. Yogurt Mill
935 Broadway, El Cajon
3. Yogurt on the Rocks
1886 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
4. Yogurtland
855 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
5. Penguin Yogurt Factory
9621 Mission Gorge Road, Santee

The small, cozy and family-owned Rockie’s Frozen Yogurt will win you over with its fresh red velvet yogurt. The froyo is smooth and flavorful — without the duck face-inducing tart of most froyo places. With the largest variety of fresh-tasting and sugar-free yogurt — ranging from basic strawberry to mocha chip and the more adult butter rum — it’s no wonder that Rockie’s is a popular, locally acclaimed favorite for traditional frozen yogurt.
Yogurt Mill is another local spot worthy of the hype, with its delicious, generously served proportions. Seriously, stack a 2-liter yogurt monster for only $6.50 — Go big or go home.
As for the rest: Definitely try Yogurt on the Rocks’ unique Pacific Beach Berry flavor, topped with coconut lychee. Chain Yogurtland is a great, affordable choice for fans of tart and icy froyo. And Penguin Yogurt Factory sells 100 percent fat-free froyo that’s melt-in-your-mouth soft — plus 42+ unique toppings that include four different flavors of mochi and ten dessert syrups.

— Emily Pham
Copy Editor

BEST THEATRES
1. Old Globe Theatre
1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park
2. La Jolla Playhouse
2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla
3. Spreckels Theatre
121 Broadway, Downtown
4. Cygnet Theatre
4040 Twiggs St., Old Town
5. Lyceum Theatre
79 Horton Plaza, Downtown

The Lyceum, Cygnet and Old Globe are all smaller venues offering older (read: not as comfortable) seats and sets, and occasionally, parking obstacles. Although a spot in any of these theatres guarantees an intimate, almost eye-to-eye view with the actors, the setups definitely lack the scrolls, balconies and historical architecture of the more expensive Spreckels Theatre.
To compensate, two of these venues offer show discounts. The Cygnet offers half-off prices if you decide to return for another showing of the same performance (perfect for gifting tickets), and the Old Globe — located near beautiful Balboa Park — has $20 tickets for attendees who are under 30 (just show your ID at the box office).
Closer to home, a main draw of the La Jolla Playhouse is its convenient location right next to Revelle College. In addition to boasting four theatres that can accommodate both larger and smaller productions, and easy parking for the off-campus crowd, it offers a “pay what you can” program. For one Saturday matinee of each play, 100 tickets — two maximum per person — are on sale for $1 minimum.

— Angela Chen
Editor In Chief

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$210
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$210
$500
Contributed
Our Goal