To celebrate our first wedding anniversary, Rory and I took a weekend trip down to La Jolla, just north of downtown San Diego. La Jolla, an affluent beach community that’s home to UC San Diego, is just a couple hours’ drive from Los Angeles, so it’s easy to either make a day trip or weekend out of a visit there.
We stayed at the Grande Colonial hotel, which is close to shops and restaurants and a short walk to the ocean. The hotel has a beachy colonial feel per its moniker, and includes a pool, a nice lobby area, and restaurant and bar Nine-Ten. Our room provided a good amount of space, with a king-size bed, sitting area and walk-in closet. I was a bit disappointed with the bathroom, which had very little counter space (actually, there wasn’t a counter at all but a small shelf) and was otherwise pretty basic. For the $200+ we paid for the night, a definite splurge for us, I would have expected a little more, but I guess that’s what you get with a building that was built in 1913.
Before we headed off to dinner, we walked around the village and stopped in at Cups, La Jolla’s fancy cupcakery that uses local, organic ingredients. While I’m pretty much over cupcakes in general, Cups has some really good ones and restored my faith in the cupcake form. We tried four flavors (what? I was on vacation!), and my favorite by far was the Orange Ricotta, which is an orange ricotta torte made with ground almonds and homemade orange sugar topped with orange cream cheese frosting. The Brûlée-J flavor, a vanilla cake filled with custard and topped with caramelized sugar, was my next favorite, but really, all of them were good because the cake is so moist and flavorful. Beware the PB Cup, a chocolate cake topped with peanut butter frosting dipped in a chocolate shell, though — it’s seriously rich. Oh, and many of Cups’ flavors are either dairy-free, gluten-free or vegan, but I couldn’t tell, and that’s a good thing in my book.
After eating our dessert first, we had dinner at Piatti, a cute, reasonably priced Italian restaurant a short drive away from La Jolla’s retail center. I really liked my pappardelle made with saffron, tossed in tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, arugula, lemon, white wine and butter, and topped with shrimp. Rory’s meat lasagna was a bit bland, but by no means was it bad. The balsamic-olive oil dipping sauce that accompanied our bread was punched up with chili flakes and parsley — a nice touch.
After dinner, we stopped at the bar at George’s at the Cove for a drink. I had actually tried to get us a table here for dinner, but since I didn’t have any luck, I wanted to at least stop here for a drink. Unfortunately, my cocktail was rather unremarkable. The California Caipirinha, with Leblon cachaça, Bacardi Limón rum, basil, lemon, lime, ginger ale and cracked pepper, which cost $13 I might add, just didn’t hit the mark.
Fortunately, brunch the next morning was much better. We went to Whisknladle, which may now be my favorite brunch spot, period. I had the Biscuit & Gravy, a huge biscuit topped with cheddar chorizo gravy and a fried egg. It was too much food to finish in one sitting, but it made me happy. Rory had the chilaquiles, which also came topped with a fried egg as well as cotija cheese. There’s also a self-serve table of scones and pastries, payable on the honor system, and free coffee. We sat on the semi-enclosed patio, which was a perfect spot for a leisurely meal.