San Diego, January 2012 Print

Art and Ellen Litman are dear, dear friends of ours and we've traveled with them to many places--and if you don't believe it, just browse around this site.

Anyway, the four of us spent a lovely weekend at the U. S. Grant Hotel in San Diego recently and this post has some information on things to do and see thereabouts.

The U. S. Grant is a wonderful hotel that has been lovingly restored to glory and is now managed by Starwood as part of its Luxury Hotels collection.  That alone made it a great place to stay, but as luck would have it, the hotel had created its own barrel-aged version of the perfect Manhattan for the centennial celebration of the hotel's history.  Being whisky/whiskey lovers, we had to try this Manhattan.  I'm pleased to report that it was probably the best Manhattan I've ever had, and the presentation was without question the best ever.


What you see there is a small glass--much smaller than the current style of martini or manhattan glass--with an elegant beaker behind it containing the balance of the drink, with two huge ice cubes that keep the rest chilled, but not diluted.  The little beaker on the left is more Fee Bros. bitters, which weren't necessary--the drink was fabulous, with great bitters aroma and flavor.

If you like Manhattans (or even if you just like rye whiskey) the recipe is High West Rye (distilled in Park City, Utah), Dolin vermouth rouge, and Fee Bros. bitters.  They're all available at Beverage Warehouse in Marina Del Rey, CA and, I'm sure, in plenty of other places around the USA.

But, I digress.  Before we arrived in downtown San Diego, we stopped for lunch at El Indio, the famous Mexican restaurant in San Diego that has been featured on Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and has been a favorite of ours since we first married.  And that was some time ago.

We drove over to Coronado to have a look around, and affirmed that it's still a beatiful place where anyone with any sense would want to live.  We walked around for a while, had some gelato and enjoyed the afternoon.

After checking in to the U. S. Grant, we rested up and then had a wonderful time having dinner at Dobson's.  It's in the Gaslamp Quarter and only a two-block walk from the U. S. Grant.  Paul Dobson, the owner, spends time with his customers and we enjoyed our time with him, as well as our meal in general.

After breakfast the next day, we spent the rest of the day in Balboa Park visiting several museums, walking around, and generally having a wonderful time.  We started in the Museum of Art, where there were several really nice exhibits;  in typical fashion, I used my iPhone again to capture the donation box.


We had lunch in the Sculpture Court Cafe and I can safely say that you could do MUCH worse than have lunch there every time you're in Balboa Park.

After lunch, we all headed directly for the beaded VW that Sue and Ellen had seen and it was, to put it mildly, spectacular.  This iPhone capture is only part of the story.


More photos of the beaded VW in the slide show below.

Anyway, we went to the Museum Of Photograhic Art and then walked around Balboa Park some more.  It's filled with beautiful buildings built in the 20s and 30s and it's worth a day of your time.

All in all, a beautiful weekend that we all agreed we must repeat.  Photos with my "big boy camera" (as Dewitt Jones would say) below.