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San Diego Restaurant Week 2014: Top 2 Picks

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San Diego Fine Dining

San Diego, CA is graced with restaurants devoted to mouthwatering food and culinary innovation. Just in time for San Diego’s Restaurant Week, which runs through September 26, here are three top picks deemed “must eats” when vacationing at a San Diego hotel near the Gaslamp Quarter . These establishments are even more worth the wait during San Diego Restaurant Week due to discounted multi-course menu options.  From old world Italian infused with a 21st century approach, classic American barbecue, and experimental cuisine, your palate will surely be satiated after a few bites at one of the following famous eateries.

Cucina Urbana | Lunch: $20-27 | Dinner: $30-44
Set in the Banker’s Hill area, this experimental Italian kitchen doubles as a wine shop. Cucina Urbana uses locally grown ingredients and produce and their chefs have a passion for organic, environmentally sustainable items. From their Cucina burger or Jidori chicken to gourmet pizzas and stuffed squash blossoms, Cucina Urbana has it all.

And don’t forget about dessert! Restaurant Week dinner guests can choose from a chocolate espresso budino, a cheese sampler or fig semifreddo!

Market Restaurant & Bar | Dinner: $40 + $25 for optional wine pairings

No list of top San Diego restaurants is complete without mentioning Market Restaurant + Bar. The restaurant, located in Del Mar, focuses on high class coastal cuisine, using local seafood, produce and meats. Everything from sushi to mesquite grilled chicken crosses their kitchen. The atmosphere is casual, but the staff is superior. An added bonus is that their special SDRW menu is being offered through October 5th due to high demand.

When you dine in for dinner during restaurant week, you won’t be disappointed by the vast array of options on their impressive menu. For appetizers guests can choose from such items as the Gingered Carrot Soup & Maine Lobster, Cirspy Skin Duck Leg Confit, or the Yellowtail Tartare. For the entrée, fill up on their roasted jidori chicken with sage-parmesan meatballs or try their spice-rubbed beef tenderloin with roasted chili-garlic whipped potatoes. Vegetarian? Fear not! They’re also serving a Farmer’s Market Vegetable Tasting with four different items.

When it comes time for treats, you’ll have the tough choice of choosing between their S’Mores Bar, Citrus Panna Cotta, or Garrotxa Spanish Goat’s Milk Cheese with cinnamon-raisin toast.

SDRW Hotels

Is your mouth watering yet? Because ours it! To take full advantage of the over 200 restaurant options during this fun-filled foodie event, be sure to book a room at a centrally located hotel such as the San Diego Pacific Inn located in Little Italy.

For information on our exclusive discounts and vacation packages, call (619) 232-6391 or click on the “Reservations” tab above.

Tips for Frugal Shoppers in San Diego

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Shopping in San Diego

Traveling to San Diego, California, is a great getaway from winter climates. Aside from its heavenly weather, San Diego is also a great place to do some bargain hunting while on vacation. While brand-name boutiques and designer labels certainly abound, so do many eclectic thrift shops, bargain brands and affordable retailers. With a little research, which the staff at the Downtown San Diego Pacific Inn has already done for you, you can save major moolah on your mini San Diego shopping spree. Here are our tips on where and how to save when splurging in San Diego.

Downtown San Diego is a bargain hunter’s dream. The downtown area’s Gaslamp District includes a wide variety of restaurants and bars, but there are also some local worthwhile shops where travelers can score some rare finds and great deals. Some of the best bargains in downtown San Diego might be found at:

  • Bubbles Boutique
  • Buffalo Exchange
  • Eden Boutique
  • MS Vintage Clothing Boutique

Another way to save is by using mobile apps or scouring the internet for online coupons and savings, of course by using the free Wi-Fi available in your Gaslamp Quarter hotel room. Frugal shoppers want to be sure to check for coupons or special discounts and sales available through these local publications and websites:

  • San Diego Reader
  • San Diego Magazine
  • Local Deals (San Diego)
  • San Diego City Beat
  • Groupon San Diego
  • Living Social San Diego

Budget travelers could also gain some knowledge from the locals working at their San Diego hotel. The front desk staff at the Pacific Inn hotel is more than happy to direct guests to the best places for deals on clothing, or other items of interest like vintage jewelry and art. Let Pacific Inn Hotel in Little Italy save you money during your vacation so that you have more for shopping! Call us today at (619) 232-6391 and be sure to ask about our available discounts!

San Diego’s Top 5 Craft Beers

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Best Draft Beer in San Diego

Everyone loves a good beer and what better place to get it than San Diego- America’s Craft Beer Capital? The big craft beer boom hit San Diego in 2011 when, according to The National University System Institute for Policy Research, the number of craft breweries in the county more than doubled. Brewery tourism is something that attracts thousands of people to San Diego every month. If you’re interested in a beer tasting adventure, book your cheap San Diego hotel and head out to local brew pubs in search of the famous beers listed below. Tip: Visit taphunter.com or download their free smartphone app to find out exactly where you can find these beers.

Cigar City Ramblin’ Rye – AleSmith Brewing Company
This is a rye brown ale that receives fantastic ratings from guests all over. With a rich rye spice flavor and a toasty taste and a rich and creamy texture, this delightful beverage goes down smooth. Most visitors compare this beer to a Roggenbier as well as a rye.

10 Commandments – The Lost Abbey
With a dark and sweeter taste, this Belgian Strong Dark Ale is a favorite among beer aficionados world-wide. It has a full-bodied feel with a hint of carbonation, adding to the fruity taste.

19/10 O’Brien’s Anniversary IPA – Alpine Beer Company
An IPA that has an outstanding rating everywhere, the rich golden craft beer keeps guests coming back to this brewery over and over. It has a citrusy smell, reminiscent of oranges, with just a tad of bitterness to add with the sweetness of the citrus. It is subtly carbonated and easy to drink.

AleSmith Speedway Stout Vietnamese Coffee – AleSmith Brewing Company
One of the highest rated American Doubles and Imperial Stouts in the San Diego area, this brew is a mix of imperial stout and Vietnamese coffee. It is a favorite amongst the locals, having a mocha flavor and heavier feel. The high alcohol content is said to sneak up on you, so drink with caution.

Chez Monus – Alpine Beer Company
Tons of San Diego locals flock to this brewery just to get their hands on this American Wild Ale. It has an apricot taste and smell with slight carbonation. A dry finish ends a fantastic sour brew.

Now that you have a list of some of the best craft beers in San Diego, you know exactly what to do- get out there and try them all! When beer tasting, it’s best to start with small samples so that you can experience a wide variety of beers at each location.

For the most bang for your buck, head to San Diego during San Diego Beer Week taking place November 7-16th. Enjoy beer-themed events, special workshops, meet-and-greets, and limited edition brews and tasting events. Head to sdbw.org for more information and don’t forget to book your San Diego Beer Week hotel in Downtown San Diego.

Click here or call the Downtown San Diego Pacific Inn at (619) 232-6391 for information on exclusive hotel discounts and availability.

 

San Diego, California: Your Mini-Guide to a Stress-Free Vacation

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Stress Free in SD

Perhaps you’re thinking of visiting sunny San Diego, California, in the near future. Without a doubt, this city is a great destination for all types of travelers. Balboa Park and LEGOLAND offer endless family fun, Pacific Beach offers endless nightlife options, and over 70 miles of coastline offer perfect places for relaxing. No matter what your goal is, I think we can all agree that vacations are intended to shed stress, not take on more of it. Here are some suggestions from a popular downtown hotel in San Diego on how to avoid common vacation debacles, hopefully saving you from a headache or two.

Getting Lost in San Diego County

For visitors, the city of San Diego often seems like a maze. That’s nothing compared to the county, which encompasses over 25 cities. Cities are connected by a handful of freeways that see tens of thousands of motorists each day. Therefore, navigating throughout San Diego County often proves difficult for tourists. Know your route ahead of time and avoid rush hour traffic from 3 PM to 5 PM on major freeways.

Stay Safe from the Sun

Fortunately, visitors rarely deal with rain in San Diego. The sun shines bright throughout most of the year, even in fall and winter months. However, summer temperatures and periods of abnormal heat might cause the mercury to rise to 90 degrees or more. Visitors should wear plenty of sunscreen, drink more water, and always wear sunglasses to shield eyes from dangerous UV rays.

Hit the Main Tourist Spots

Tourists often avoid doing the “touristy” activities in a given city. Don’t make this mistake in San Diego. Families can visit key attractions including the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld while sports fans can catch a home game at Petco Park or Qualcomm Stadium, rooting for the Padres and Chargers respectively.

Less Stress, More Rest

Careful planning ensures that your visit to San Diego runs smoothly. Visitors should book discount airfare and an affordable hotel near the San Diego airport well in advance to get the best rates. From there, vacationers can rely on a rental vehicle or public transportation to get around. The Pacific Inn in Little Italy is a great spot for a stress-free San Diego getaway. We offer a Best Rate Guarantee, free in-room Wi-Fi, pillow top beds, and we’re located within 6 miles of San Diego’s biggest attractions.

For more information or to book your room over the phone, call the San Diego Pacific Inn today at (619) 232-6391.

 

Understanding TSA PreCheck at the San Diego Airport

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New TSA PreCheck at SAN

Anyone who is flying through the San Diego international Airport, should be aware that there is a new service offered called the TSA PreCheck. This service allows travelers to proceed through airport security without the usual hassles that the average traveler faces. For instance, those who participate in TSA PreCheck won’t have to remove their laptop, liquids, belt, coat or shoes in order to make it to their gate.

Why Consider TSA PreCheck?

If you’re looking for expedited travel during an upcoming trip to San Diego, doing things like booking a hotel near the San Diego airport, arranging for transportation ahead of time, and looking into city-specific programs like PreCheck can all make your arrival and departure into America’s Finest City go as smoothly as possible.

How Do I Sign Up?

Some frequent fliers will have access to the TSA PreCheck for free if their airlines cover the cost of the service in return for their business. United and Delta frequent fliers have reported free access to TSA PreCheck. American Express Platinum Card holders receive a $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck so the service comes at essentially no cost for them as well.

For those who don’t qualify for free access, the PreCheck will cost $100. Those interested must sign up with Global Entry, the U.S. Customs’ partner program. Once thoroughly vetted and screened, you will receive a card which you can show to your airport carrier to receive the PreCheck screening badge on your boarding pass.

TSA also offers the service for $85 but international travelers will want to pay the extra $15 to avoid the enormous lines that they commonly encounter when re-entering the United States. They’ll also have access to convenient automated kiosks as well.

Only 60 other airports in the United States offer the TSA PreCheck service so anyone flying through San Diego should take advantage of this unique opportunity to save hours of unnecessary time waiting in line at airport security during busy holiday travel months.

Take the first step towards convenient and efficient travels by making a reservation at the San Diego Pacific Inn. Not only are we located a mere 2 miles from the airport, but we’re also currently offering an advance booking discount. Call (619) 232-6391 for more information or to book your room over the phone today.

What to do in Little Italy San Diego

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San Diego's Little Italy Attractions

Little Italy in San Diego is a small neighborhood packed full of art, culture, shopping, dining and nightlife destinations. There’s no shortage of things to do, rather, many visitors have a hard time narrowing down their list of top hot-spots. That’s why the downtown San Diego Pacific Inn has put together these tried and true recommendations.

Dining 

One of the best places to go is Mimmo’s Italian Village, which can be found on India Street. They’re well-known for their frutti di mare with seasonal shellfish, carbonara and fettuccine Bolognese, and you can even reserve a table in the wine cellar for special occasions.

Another great restaurant on India is the Trattoria Fantastica. This Sicilian-style restaurant specializes in wood-fired pizzas, but they’re also known for their incredible Gamberi Al Limone, which is jumbo shrimp in a lemon sauce.

Shopping

One of the best places to find antiques is India Street Antiques, which is located on the north end of Little Italy. This shop specializes in European antiques such as Belgian and English pottery, traditional cabinets, and beautiful antique furniture at affordable prices.

If you love fine art, then Meyer Fine Art Gallery on Kettner Boulevard has plenty of pieces on sale from artists such as Clay Walker, Luis Solari and Armando Romero. There are also special exhibits that can be seen throughout the year.

Nightlife

One of the hottest bars in the area is 98 Bottles, which is next to the Meyer Gallery on Kettner. This bar has some of the best craft beers brewed in San Diego, and you’ll also find one of the area’s biggest selections of sake. There’s also plenty of live entertainment every weekend.

Another great place is Princess Pub & Grille if you’re looking for a relaxed sports pub atmosphere. They serve up delicious bar food, cheap drinks and have a fun clientele, good for mixing and mingling.

If you’re not one for planning, you can’t go wrong simply enjoying a leisurely walk down Kettner and India, wandering into appealing cafes, restaurants, shops and bars.  However, parking can be sparse on busy weekend days, so be sure to book a room at one of the affordable hotels near Little Italy. The Pacific Inn is located on the outskirts of Little Italy, within a couple blocks of the city’s main highlights. Call (619) 232-6391 to reserve your room today and don’t forget to ask about our available discounts.

What’s New at the San Diego Zoo

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San Diego Zoo news & attractions

The San Diego Zoo hosts over four million visitors each year. As one of the most well-known zoos in the world, the San Diego Zoo must keep pace with new research, practices and cultural interests. The zoo’s dedication to proving the best experiences possible for both the visitors and the animal residents results in regular improvements and additions throughout the park. Below is a glimpse of what’s new for The San Diego Zoo.

Early Morning with Pandas
This special, paid tour allows guests to enjoy a “two-hour adventure” through the zoo before the park opens for the day. The shuttle cart tour through the zoo includes visits with some of the resident animals, educational discussions and a stop at the giant panda viewing area to watch Xiao Liwu, Bai Yun and Gao Gao have breakfast. The tour runs from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM and costs $80. Because of the early call time, we recommend you stay at a San Diego hotel close to the Zoo for ease of access in the morning.

Tiger Trail
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park recently opened a new 5.2 acre habitat for their six Sumatran tigers. The new habitat features three open yards, climbing rocks, swimming ponds, trees for scratching and long grasses for catnip. Thanks to the new exhibit, visitors can enjoy close-up views with nothing more than a sheet of glass separating them from the tigers.

Zoo Babies
2014 has brought a plethora of new babies to the San Diego Zoo. This year, the zoo has celebrated the births of a gorilla, an okapi, an elephant, a black rhino, a giraffe and rare visayan warty pigs, to name a few. Visitors of the zoo are always excited to catch a peek of these young ones at play.

Koalafornia
Opened in 2013, the new Australian Outback area nicknamed “Koalafornia”, doubled the habitat space for the park’s koalas. The space includes more outdoor enclosures and other Australian wildlife such as wombats, wallabies and kookaburras.

There’s never a bad time to plan a visit to the San Diego Zoo! If you’re still looking for a nearby hotel, consider the San Diego Pacific Inn. We are currently selling discounted Zoo admission passes from our front desk. And if you purchase your admission through us, you’ll also receive an additional 15% off on your hotel stay! Click on the “reservations” tab above to take advantage of this money-saving offer today.

Eat, Drink, And Be Merry At The Annual Reader’s Feast!

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San Diego Foodie Event

The Reader, San Diego’s popular entertainment and food publication, is hosting their third annual “Reader’s Feast” tasting extravaganza on Friday, September 5 at the Broadway Pier Port Pavilion conveniently located near affordable Downtown San Diego hotels. The sponsor this year is The Inslider, the purveyor of yummy sliders found in their specially marked food trucks all around the San Diego area. To ensure you have the best time possible at this year’s foodie event, check out our list of tips.

Buy Your Tickets Before You Arrive
The festival begins at 6 PM and the food and drink party doesn’t stop until 9 PM. Your special online purchase price of $30 gets you samples from this year’s participating vendors. The $40 VIP ticket grants you early access to the event as well as two full-pour drinks and gift bag. If you wait to buy your ticket at the gate on the day of the event, both tickets double in price to $60 and $80.

It’s A Gourmet Tasting Extravaganza
The festival is a food lover’s delight. More than forty restaurants, breweries, food trucks, and wineries fill up the pavilion for this once-a-year event. You’ll be able to treat your gastronomical cravings while enjoying a scenic sunset over San Diego Bay.

The Best Of San Diego’s Eateries and Local Wineries and Breweries
Fill up on fresh sushi from Ra Sushi and pizza baked hot from a wood burning stove. Whether it’s fresh guacamole from Rubio’s or contemporary American eats from House of Blues, wash it all down with the hundreds of beers on tap, wine from Falkner Wineries or one of the craft ales and spirits from Twisted Manzanita.

Drink Responsibly
You can drink and party responsibly by ordering car service from Uber. When you schedule your ride, key in the promotional code READERFEAST, and you get a free round trip ticket. An even more affordable option is reserving a Downtown San Diego hotel near the bay within walking distance of the venue.

Proceeds Support Local Non-Profit
A portion of ticket sales will go to Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a charity organization that pays for disadvantaged children and teens with physical defects to undergo reconstructive surgery.

Help a good cause while also helping yourself to some of San Diego’s most delicious creations all in one place. Enjoy this 21+ event without the added stress of transportation or parking by booking a nearby hotel room at the San Diego Pacific Inn and Suites. Our affordable downtown hotel is located a leisurely 0.7 miles from the Port Pavilion Pier. Call (619) 232-6391 to ask about our discounts or to book your room over the phone today.

Top Italian Restaurants in Little Italy San Diego

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san-diego-italian-food

Little Italy is considered one of the main rising gems of San Diego, California due to the plethora of quaint neighborhood cafes and trendy eateries. If you’re vacating in San Diego and staying in one of the area’s Little Italy hotels, it can be hard to choose from the diverse selection of appetizing restaurant options. Locals tend to opt for the authentic Italian restaurants before grabbing a scoop of gelato at one of the local coffee shops. Here are a few of the notable and authentic Italian restaurants in Little Italy:BencottoFrom the summer sauce on tagliatelle to the squid ink pasta menu items, there are several handcrafted options that include plenty of spices and a versatile menu that models Northern Italian cuisine. The pasta is made on-site with fresh choices, making this a popular restaurant in Little Italy. Guests also enjoy the modern and trendy decor while being served by a friendly staff. Although the restaurant is high-end, it’s a welcoming establishment that feels like home.

Buon Appetito

Buon Appetito dishes up hearty servings that include farfalle con pollo affumicato and linguini boscomare. For gourmet Italian food that is made by five-star chefs on-site this restaurant can’t be beat. Guests can enjoy dining in a relaxed and cozy environment that isn’t stuffy. Be sure you don’t leave before trying the hazelnut gelato or tiramisu for dessert.

Mimmo’s Italian Village

Considered a staple in Little Italy, Mimmo’s offers unique menu items that are decadent and flavorful in their design. The pear salad is perfect in the summer season while the grilled cheese feta is a hit among local foodies. The restaurant offers a quiet and cozy atmosphere with a front patio that is reminiscent of an old Italian village.

For quality Italian food, there’s no other place to go than San Diego’s Little Italy. This charming neighborhood also serves as a great “home base” due to it’s convenient location next to the San Diego Bay and the lively Gaslamp Quarter. For a popular, affordable and comfortable Little Italy hotel option, book your stay at the Pacific Inn. Call us today at (619) 232-6391 to see how much money we can save you on your upcoming vacation.

Greater San Diego’s Unique Wineries

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san-diego-wineries

There’s no need to venture all the way to Temecula in order to taste some of California’s finest wines. San Diego County is home to several award-winning wineries, many most likely within a few minutes driving distance from your affordable San Diego hotel. The warm Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing grapes and with both large wineries and small family-owned establishments, there is plenty to see and taste. Some are set along the stunning coast while others are hidden within the rolling hills of the north. Even more are tucked into the mountains of the east, and one little gem has made its debut in downtown’s Little Italy. Here are some of our favorites that we’ve deemed well worth the short drive.

Carruth Cellars- Winery on Cedros
Carruth Cellars operates the Winery on the Cedros, an urban winery and tasting room located just blocks from the ocean in Solana Beach. This coastal winery acquires its grapes from various vineyards in Northern California and then completes the wine making process at their beach location. An added bonus is that this fun and event-filled winery is located just 20 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Bernardo Winery
Bernardo Winery is the oldest winery in San Diego. Founded in 1889 on what was originally a Spanish Land Grant, the Bernardo Winery has stood the test of time, even surviving the difficult years of Prohibition. Today, the winery still operates out of the original buildings which are now over 125 years old. The old world, rustic ambiance and the little-village shops, art galleries and restaurant truly allow wine lovers to step back into time and fully enjoy their wine tasting and shopping experience. Located in Rancho Bernardo, an entire day can be spent touring the winery, sampling different varietals in the tasting room, and perusing the village. Take part in the Annual Bernardo Winery Grapestomp which occurs every mid-September and includes a traditional Italian buffet, live music, and of course, grape stomping. Or stop by on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy a glass of wine and live musical entertainment on the Tasting Room Patio.

Hacienda de las Rosas Winery
Hacienda de las Rosas Winery makes its home in the town of Ramona, just 45 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. Ramona is nicknamed “The Valley of the Sun” as it is nestled in both the Santa Maria and San Vicente Valleys at the base of the foothills to the Laguna Mountains. Hacienda de las Rosas blends two of Spain’s finest passions together: Spanish wine and horses. Doubling as both a winery and a Peruvian Paso Horse Ranch makes a visit to this vineyard truly unique. The atmosphere of the mission-style winery perfectly complements the fine Spanish reds that Hacienda specializes in. A tour of the winery includes picturesque views of the beautiful Ramona scenery as well as views of the majestic Peruvian Paso show horses. The wines are all named after one of the horses and can be sampled in the tasting room.

Menghini Winery
Menghini Winery makes its home in the foothills of Volcan Mountain near the historic town of Julian, which sits about 65 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. Unlike many other areas of Southern California, the location of the Menghini Winery in the Cuyamaca Mountains provides a climate that includes four diverse seasons. Enjoying a glass of wine amidst the changing colors of autumn or sampling wines in the tasting room while watching snow flurries hit the windowpanes can make a visit truly unique when compared to other area wineries. Take a little extra time and venture past the numerous apple orchards into the nearby town of Julian. With roots that date back to the 1870s gold rush, this little town embraces its history and exudes unending charm, from storefronts housed in original buildings to the boasting of their famous apple pie.

San Diego Cellars
San Diego’s Little Italy district is one of downtown’s most thriving neighborhoods. Filled to the brim with Italian restaurants, quaint sidewalk cafés, art galleries, boutiques and plenty of pubs to keep the nightlife hopping, it carries an ambiance unlike any other area of the city. San Diego Cellars has now moved into the neighborhood as the city’s first urban winery. Offering wine tastings, a dining menu, indoor and patio seating, live entertainment, and even beer, SD Cellars is ready to make their footprint in San Diego. With a nod to the local brewery methods, they offer wine on tap, which is way to allow for wines to be featured in a rotation so as to keep things changing and enabling newer wines to be introduced more frequently. Wine lovers will enjoy their refillable one-liter bottles called the “CRUzers.” Grapes are sourced from several California vineyards, including many in the San Diego area.

All vacationing “winos” should take time to taste the county’s top varietals during their travels. Each of these wineries is unique in its own right, offering decadents wines, a fun atmosphere and a great day trip option when staying in one of San Diego’s Little Italy hotels such as Pacific Inn & Suites. If you’re still looking to book a room for your upcoming trip, contact Pacific Inn at 1-800-571-2933!

 

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