Ahhh….the sun beaming through a cloudless sky, a little salsa music in the background, a never ending basket of corn chips, a bottomless bowl of salsa and sealing the deal is a margarita – make that a pitcher, or, two! We went to great lengths to accurately taste test as many chips, salsas and margaritas as possible so we could ensure we provided you with the best information before you head to San Diego.
My favourite chips were at Fiesta des Reyes; hot, not oily and lightly coated with a salty paprika…I drool just remembering their salty crispness. Now I will say that I was equally pleased with the chips at Cafe Coyote also served warm and crispy, not oily and very flavourful. To be honest I didn’t like the chips anywhere else but Darek did love the chips at Azul’s on Coronado Island although their “salsa” was brown and tasted like soya sauce- ick!
Salsa is as individual and unique as the restaurant in which it is served, hands down my fave was Old Town Cafe because it was full of cilantro, this nearly killed Darek as he abhors cilantro in any and all forms. Cafe Coyote also presented us with an admirable salsa but I really like lots of stuff and chunks so I found many of them a little watery. To be honest, you could spend your whole vacation just testing the chips and salsa, because it really so different in every restaurant and cafe you enter. Yet what is a decent dipped chip if there is no tequila to wash it down with? So we felt an obligation to our viewing public to ensure that we tasted, and tasted and tasted margaritas everywhere we went so you wouldn’t been forced to carry that burden on your trip!
Margaritas in Palm Springs come cheap and in one flavour- lime. There is no fancy business, strange connections just plain old blended lime margaritas, so our expectation of San Diego was the same- WOW – were we mistaken. Margaritas are a creative process that involves various tequilas, made in house sweet and sour syrups and there is truly a difference between the breakfast margarita, the lunch margarita and the evening margarita! I have to admit, that tequila absolutely fascinates me and next time we go to San Diego I will definitely go to a tasting house to learn more about the nuances of each, but for now I can only report to you what my pedestrian test buds found delightful and what my wallet found enjoyable.
Expect on average about 6 different types of margaritas on any given menu, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the underground margatini revolution that is afoot! So hands down if you are already three sheets to the wind and hanging out in the Old Town, head to Barra Barra you can’t beat $5 margaritas. They don’t taste very good but they will keep a good night rocking! Best breakfast margarita goes to Cafe Coyote, mixed with orange and pineapple juice there really isn’t a healthier way to start the morning! Cafe Coyote also deserves an honourable mention for the Maximum- a veritable bathtub of frothy blended margarita for a mere $14. For a long afternoon of lounging with a pitcher or two…I suggest Cafe des Reyes easy on the wallet, $19, and sweet on the belly!
I also have to give a shout out to Sangria as we had a number of great pitchers throughout the city and there are a myriad of fantastic wines and we just couldn’t get to all the tasting rooms. Beer drinkers, you must also listen up…San Diego is a serious micro brewery town. There are tours that will take you to the best breweries in the city for a bit of learning and tasting. Darek had a few bottles here and there and was well impressed with the choice.
Hands down San Diego is a great city for organic wine, micro brewed beers and a celebration of tequila!