Written by RudysDad on 29 Jan, 2003
The hub of our vacations in the area is the Del Mar Plaza, which is a three-tiered shopping venue that has indoor parking and beautiful views of the ocean from the plaza level. There are several wonderful places to dine in the Del Mar Plaza…Read More
The hub of our vacations in the area is the Del Mar Plaza, which is a three-tiered shopping venue that has indoor parking and beautiful views of the ocean from the plaza level. There are several wonderful places to dine in the Del Mar Plaza with four excellent restaurants and morning coffee with an ocean view at Pacifica Breeze Café on the Market Level or coffee with a garden view at Esmerelda’s Book Store. Both have outdoor seating, although the Pacifica Breeze offers both breakfast fare and heaters when it’s a bit too cool in the morning.
On our trip down from John Wayne airport in Orange County, we stopped at "The Brigantine" restaurant in Solana Beach, just north of Del Mar. It’s across the Pacific Coast Highway and has the Del Mar Racetrack on the east side and "Dog Beach" on the west side (that’s a beach dedicated to the socialization of canines and their owners). We ate on a lovely garden patio and had Sunday champagne brunch. We’d not eaten at the Brigantine before and we enjoyed the lovely setting, good service, and excellent food.
This trip, we ate lunch twice at the "Pacifica Del Mar" on the Plaza Level. We also ate lunch at "Epazote" (also on the Plaza Level), which serves southwestern fare with a Mediterranean/Californian flair. Both have outdoor seating with great views of the ocean and optional heater assistance. We’ve never been disappointed at either place. When at home, we fuel our bodies with efficiency and health in mind. When vacationing, we have dining experiences with ambience, taste, originality, and service as high priorities.
We followed our botanical trip with lunch in a new restaurant in Del Mar (new to us, that is) called "Sbicca." Nothing to look at from street-side, it features a rooftop dining section that looks down on the ocean. It has those heaters that all outdoor restaurants have (they look somewhat like palm trees with hoods that send the heat down to those seated below. It was warm enough, that day, that we didn’t need a heater and we enjoyed a lovely meal – one of our best, I think. I had pepper-seared ahi (I love raw fish – well, almost raw, anyway) and Lucy had salmon. They were both on salads - the healthy salads that Californians seem to love, as do we.
"Jake’s" is another favorite of ours in Del Mar. It’s right on the beach and has a surf-side indoor patio where you can eat and watch the surfers. We’d first eaten at this chain on Kauai, Hawaii at "Duke’s Canoe Club" and "Keoki’s Paradise" on the Garden Isle. We learned that Jake’s was of the same chain and new we’d at least love the dessert, Hula Pie, which we’d had at the former two establishments. As it turned out, we loved all their food and their service was good, too.
We have had breakfast at "The Posiedon" Restaurant next door to Jake’s but, although the porch has great views of the ocean, the menu isn’t anywhere a match for Jake’s.
Rounding out our dining review in Del Mar, we have eaten at "Il Fornaio" on the Plaza Level of the Del Mar Plaza. It’s upscale Italian and served an excellent lunch with the usual gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean.
We usually go to La Jolla for meals on several occasions, but this trip we only went once. We wanted to check out a place in downtown La Jolla called "The Cottage." It was courtyard seating outside an old cottage in which the kitchens reside. The courtyard had nice flowers, trees, and vines that helped to mute the passing automobile and pedestrian traffic.
This trip was memorable in one other regard. When we heard that large surf was expected due to the Santa Ana winds, we decided to have lunch in the area of the best surf: Cardiff-By-The-Sea in Encinitas, just north of Solana Beach and Del Mar. We picked "Charlie’s By The Sea" because it seemed to be right by the spot where the most surfers were doing their thing. We got to the restaurant in time go get the pick of the "surf-side" seats. The seating was in front of huge windows, on the other sides of which were gigantic boulders serving as breakwaters. The surf was pounding the boulders and would occasionally reach the windows. There was a lifeguard on a large jet-ski who was helping surfers away from the rocks if they became too tired to paddle back against the giant waves. We watched some wonderful surfing, the best we’ve seen since Hawaii. We heard from the waitresses that one surfer had been knocked unconscious earlier and, thus, the need for the lifeguard on the jet-ski.
Written by travelprone on 22 May, 2002
During the rest of the year,Del Mar is quiet and its village-like atmosphere can be appreciated without the hustle and bustle that characterizes the town during the summer fair and race times. Its main street, Camino Del Mar, has many small shops-non-chain bookstores like…Read More
During the rest of the year,Del Mar is quiet and its village-like atmosphere can be appreciated without the hustle and bustle that characterizes the town during the summer fair and race times. Its main street, Camino Del Mar, has many small shops-non-chain bookstores like Earthsong and Esmeralda's Books and Coffee, the latter of which, unfortunately, just moved to the one mall, the parking garage of which is inadequate to handle summer crowds,small
gift shops,and small businesses like Skysurfer Balloon Company at 1221 Camino Del Mar (858-481-6800) where you can arrange a hot air balloon flight an average of about 310 days a year. From our kitchen we can see these balloons wafting towards ritzy Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe in greater numbers during the summer, but this is a popular activity at other times when the weather is not windy or rainy, or at holiday times throughout the year. Many of the companies only fly out of Temecula rather than Del Mar; as the North County continues to grow, land from which to launch the balloons becomes more expensive. Soon, I suspect, these companies will all move to Temecula and beyond.
The Del Mar Plaza at Camino Del Mar and 15th Street is the main shopping center in coastal Del Mar. This very upscale, low-key center fits the town fathers' idea of what is appropriate commerce for this affluent, ecologically concerned and conservative community. In my opinion, based upon my recent visit, during the lull between the fair's closing and the opening of the race track session, parking space for this mall is inadequate even to handle the "lull" crowd. Several pricey galleries and women's and men's apparel shops,as well as several restaurants like Epazote's, are on site,as well as a newly opened Harvest Ranch Market, a small,independent gourmet chain grocery with other stores in La Jolla and Olivenhain.
The week day I visited, around 11 a.m.,the parking spaces were about 3/4s full and it appeared most of this traffic was at the restaurants, not the pricey shops. However, all on-street parking for blocks around this plaza had been taken also. Del Mar is in danger of becoming an enclave that very few people will be able to access in the summer. Unfortunately, for all practical purposes, public transport in Del Mar does not exist.I overheard a mall employee telling another that, once the race track opened, she would have to arise at 4 a.m. each morn so she'd get to the mall before 8 a.m. Recently, the powers-that-be agreed to ban alcohol on Del Mar beaches and there are very strict local ordinances relating to fires, dogs (only designated beaches), where activities like volleyball may be played(specially designated areas on the beach)- all of which reflect a conservative-preservative communal attitude.
So strong is this resolve to keep Del Mar village-like that Del Mar, after being a rail terminus for many years, turned down Amtrak's proposal to continue to use the Del Mar station, and a new station was built and opened in adjacent Solana Beach instead, much to very sleepy Solana Beach's economic benefit. Del Mar's decision is understandable and recognized the growing problems of congestion during its eventful summers,but its economic survival seems to have suffered from that decision. Or, perhaps, it prefers to become more and more an "exclusive" destination. To use the Camino Del Mar Plaza parking lot costs $2.00 an hour,or you can purchase goods or services and have your parking stub validated by the establishment.
Written by travelprone on 09 Jun, 2002
In the Sunday, June 8, 2003 edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune, there's a 58 page official program for the fair; the theme this year is "Commotion by the Ocean"; Opening hours will be 10 am daily;closed Mondays. Closings throughout the week are…Read More
In the Sunday, June 8, 2003 edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune, there's a 58 page official program for the fair; the theme this year is "Commotion by the Ocean"; Opening hours will be 10 am daily;closed Mondays. Closings throughout the week are at midnight. This useful program contains a day-by-day-schedule for planning ease, gives specifics regarding special values, senior interests, one day contests, and a complete slate of Grandstand performers.
Most useful is the "Frugal Fairgoer Tips" advice to park free at the Del Mar Horsepark and take a free shuttle into the Fairgrounds (saving $6 and a lot of hassle, believe me.) Show a Coaster or North County Transit bus ticket and get $1 off Fair admission and admission to the Elvis exhibit. AND, save your Fair ticket and get 2-for-1 admission to the Del Mar Track meet any day except opening day.
Thursdays are special senior days and will highlight music of the 60's, with a special appearance of Bo Diddley with the movie star Dennis Quaid and the Sharks at 7:30pm, on Thursday, July 3rd.
This is a must-have booklet if you go to the Fair. Each year, this program is available, usually in the Sunday edition of the San Diego Tribune the week before the fair's opening; it is an INDISPENSIBLE, must-have guide, for extensive planning is needed to assure a pleasant attendance at the Fair. Check out www.sdfair.com for an extensive coverage of events from June 13-July 6, 2003.