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Jolene Eats in San Diego

Welcome to the sister blog to my San Diego adventure blog!

Friday, May 7

After our epic frolic in The Flower Fields, we were quite parched. On the way down to San Diego, we stopped at Better Buzz Coffee in Encinitas.

The menu options were really interesting, but because of the heat I decided on a mint infused iced coffee: espresso, muddled mint, raw natural cane sugar, heavy cream & ice. The mint was a little more subtle than I normally prefer (think Philz Coffee), but it was the refreshing treat I needed after being in the sun for so long.

We finished our coffee break, arrived in San Diego, and freshened up in our hotel before walking over to the infamous Bali Hai Restaurant.

Why infamous, you ask? Well, the reaction we received from several people was, "Good luck" or, "I'm so sorry." For you Mai Tai lovers out there, Bali Hai boasts an extremely strong Mai Tai - limit of 2 per guest, so many might leave the restaurant.... Bali high.

The walk was only a few minutes from our hotel, and we enjoyed the scenery on the way there - palm trees, boats and the beautiful ocean.

Bali Hai is not just about the food and drinks - what really sets this spot apart is its location and its views. The restaurant is right on the edge of Shelter Island, giving some of the best views of San Diego.

I'd made a reservation for 5PM. When we arrived, I overheard someone ask about seating and apparently the outdoor tables are for reservations, meaning if you make a reservation, you have a better chance at getting an ocean view table.

Even though we did not sit at a table right at the edge (like the table above), being on the patio was still beautiful and a wonderful experience.

We started our meal with drinks (and I got some oysters to start). Mariah and Stefani made the wise decision not to have Mai Tais, but they shared a "Blue Mystique" for 2.

My only disappointment of the night was the oysters. They were tiny and the accoutrements were not served on the side - they were already added. Unfortunately for me, that included something spicy, which I generally do not care for. The presentation was lovely, but I did not really enjoy these.

Thankfully, our main courses were nothing to complain about. Stefani ordered one of the specials, Mariah ordered the Korean fried chicken with a side of macaroni salad, and I ordered the "Ali'i Tasting," which featured several different appetizers - two each of the coconut shrimp, bali hai tuna poke, spinach lumpia, beef skewers, bali hai bbq ribs.

The food was much better than what some of the Yelp reviews had let on. I believe that Bali Hai Restaurant is the kind of place that can be hit or miss. My oysters were a miss, but my choice for dinner was wonderful, minus the unexpected spiciness. The lumpia and tuna poke were both spicy (and if I am not mistaken, the pork ribs were too). They were still delicious and my weak tongue battled through the spice to keep enjoying my meal!

At the end of our meal, Stefani was presented with a little birthday dessert. We weren't really sure what it was, but it seemed like a very light cheesecake. It was good and the perfect portion size for us to split.

Overall, our dining experience was very good and I would gladly go back to Bali Hai Restaurant. The views, drinks, and food were the perfection combination, especially if you are on vacation and are looking for a real getaway. Because of its location away from downtown San Diego, it felt even more exotic.

Saturday, May 8

Normally, vacation for me means leisure, sleeping in, and slower mornings. Well, that wasn't the case for us but our early morning wakeup call paid off.

We left our beautiful hotel by 7:30AM and made our way into the city for breakfast at Morning Glory.

Situated in the popular neighborhood of Little Italy, Morning Glory is a trendy millennial's dream - plenty of pink, quirky decor, and a really interesting menu, gimmicks included. The restaurant opens at 8AM, but guests line up well before then to secure a coveted table.

TIP: Allow extra time for parking, as it can be tricky in this area, especially since there is a farmers market that takes place on weekends.

We finally made it up the stairs after the restaurant had opened and had an additional 30-minute wait. We took advantage of the time to walk around Little Italy and make a mental note to come back and explore it.

Once I received my text, we excitedly made our way back up the stairs and were shown to our table. Morning Glory is high-energy, loud, and pretty busy! If this doesn't sound like your vibe, I do not suggest eating here.

Morning Glory has a very extensive menu! Even though I'd reviewed it prior to our trip, I still had trouble deciding on what to get. We bought ourselves a little more time by starting with drinks: Mariah ordered the Glitter Spritz, Stefani ordered the Pimms Cup and a honey cinnamon latte, and for me, I got a cortado and the classic hot chocolate (Valrhona Guanaja 70%, cocoa powder, cream).

My cortado was the perfect pick-me-up since we'd had such an early morning, but my real excitement came from the hot chocolate. It was perfectly creamy and chocolatey without being too bitter or too rich.

For breakfast, we all shared a German pancake, Stefani ordered an eggs benedict, Mariah got her favorite steak and eggs, and I had to get a little fancy and order the Oeufs Royale (soft scrambled eggs with Royal California sturgeon caviar, cheese sauce and buttered brioche), with a side of very thick bacon.

My eggs were so amazing! I could have done with less cheese sauce, but the entire dish was delicious and way more filling than I'd anticipated. The brioche was thick and soft, and the perfect vehicle for the soft, rich eggs. The caviar provided the perfect pop of saltiness.

The bacon was absolutely glorious. That's it. That's all I have to say.

I was pleasantly surprised by the food and drinks. Morning Glory is so kitschy and interesting that it could get away with having sub-par food and still do well. I mean, let's be real - Southern Californians would definitely still flock to a place that has a champagne vending machine. Oh, and did I mention the bathroom? Take a peek in the photos below.

We left Morning Glory full and satisfied. The food was good, but the experience was also unique and fun. The atmosphere is very energetic, and the staff match that energy. If you are into breakfast and unique experiences, I suggest dropping by Morning Glory!

Overall, we ate pretty well on this little girls trip. We had some really great food and fun, meal-related experiences.

Until next time,

Happy wandering!


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