36 Hours in San Diego
By Freda Moon
Like its urban rival Los Angeles, San Diego is not so much a city as a loose collection of overlapping (and sometimes colliding) communities bound by arterial, life-giving freeways: it’s a military town in Coronado; a surf town in funky, eclectic Ocean Beach; and a border town in the historic Mexican-American neighborhood of Barrio Logan. If San Diego has a cohesive identity at all, it’s a shared embrace of an easy, breezy Southern California casualness. With its lack of pretension, the city is often seen by outsiders as a kind of Pleasantville — a bland, happy place with an exceptional amount of sunshine. Depending on how deep you look, that may be all you see. But there are, after all, worse things than Spanish tiles, palm trees, tropical blooms, year-round flip-flops, fresh fish tacos and bonfires on the beach.
3. Pork Shop
Opened in 2011 and beloved by locals, Carnitas’ Snack Shack (2632 University Avenue; carnitassnackshack.com) is a glorified taco stand serving pork-centric comfort food — including carnitas tacos with guacamole and salsa fresca ($7), braised Duroc pork belly with a frisée, apple and radish salad ($8), a steak sandwich on jalapeño and Cheddar cheese bread ($9) — from a takeout window in North Park. The squat structure has outdoor tables and heat lamps around back and a giant sculpture of a metal pig adorning its roof.
Congrats also to Viva Pops, Island Prime / C Level, Mariposa Ice Cream, Lestat’s Coffee House, Hamilton’s Tavern, The Kava Lounge, West Coaster San Diego, AleSmith Brewing Company, Societe Brewing Company, Lightning Brewery, Blue Water Seafood Market, the Aero Club, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and Extraordinary Desserts!