A College Student's Ultimate Guide To San Diego's Best Restaurants

A College Student's Ultimate Guide To San Diego's Best Restaurants

Ballin' on a budget.
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San Diego might be known for our endless array of Authentic Mexican food, but I've ventured far beyond street tacos & tequila to find some of the city's greatest gems.


1. Breakfast Republic

Pancake Flights & French Toast Samplers? Uh yes, I'll have one of each, please. Aside from their endless variation of sweet flavors, you can find any savory meal to pair with as well. My Favorite: French Toast Sampler w/ S'mores, Mr. Presley, & Brioche

2. Hash House A Go Go

Oh My Gosh. All I have to say is you better be hungry. The flavors and portions don't run small at this house. My Favorite: The Big O Sage Fried Chicken & Waffle Tower

3. Richard Walker's Pancake House

San Diegans love their pancakes, so be prepared for a line out the door upon your arrival. Looking for the best pancakes in town? Ask Richard. My Favorite: World Famous Baked apple pie pancake

4. The Cottage

This perfect little picket-fenced restaurant will make you never want to leave. Located in beautiful La Jolla, the menu is packed with an array of sweet & salty treats that are sure to satisfy your cravings. My Favorite: California Benedict + Stuffed French Toast (Pro-tip: ask your server if you can have half of both to get the best of both worlds!)

5. Snooze

I challenge you to go here without ordering one of everything off the menu. This retro brunch spot will blow your mind. My Favorite: Cinnamon Roll Pancake

6. Kono's Cafe

This popular breakfast joint sits right on the boardwalk of Pacific Beach. This classic spot serves traditional American Breaks but something about it just feels like home. My Favorite: Big Breakfast #1

7. Rustic Root

On top of their phenomenal menu, the vibe and decor of this restaurant will amaze you. Located in the heart of Gaslamp, it's the perfect spot for your Saturday night (or Sunday morning). Did I mention there is a rooftop bar?! My Favorite: Firecracker Shrimp + Sticky Pork Belly

8. Lucha Libre

Looking for the best tacos or burrito you've had yet? Stop by this glammed out taco shop for the real San Diego experience. My Favorite: Queso Taco/ Surf & Turf Taco

9. Blenders

SDSU student might argue it's the best hangover spot in San Diego. If you're looking for the best smoothie & sandwich combo, this is your spot. My Favorite: Acai Bowl & Build-Your-Own Sandwich

10. Fruittitude

This fresh & fit cafe holds what I believe to be one of the best Acai bowls in San Diego. Located in La Jolla, it's a perfect beach snack. My Favorite: Peanut Butter Acai Bowl

11. City Tacos

This hole-in-the-wall taco shop has everything you'd want and more! Their spin on tacos will blow your mind, plus tacos are $3 on Taco Tuesday! My Favorite: The Camaron Taco

12. Banbu Sushi

Endless specialty rolls & a great patio for relaxing. If you want the freshest, tastiest sushi by the Pacific, this is your place. My Favorite: Double Pleasure Roll

13. Puesto

Another restaurant that's vibe brings life to the table. Did I mention you can get guacamole with bacon in it?! My Favorite: Filet Mignon Taco

14. Rubicon Deli

Take every sandwich you've ever dreamed of and squish them all together. That's rubicon for you. My Favorite: Rich Boy

15. Cody's

The menu is smaller but each item is made with perfection. The view of the ocean will leave you there all day long. My Favorite: Veggie Hash

16. Fig Tree Cafe

Looking for fresh? This cute hillcrest cafe is sure to please you. The menu is practically endless with delicious options for even the worst picky eater. My Favorite: Breakfast Sushi + Acai Antioxidant Shot

17. Crushed

The food is to die for but the drinks are worth living for. Choose from a beer or mimosa flight to spice up your happy hour. My Favorite: The SoCal

18. Don Chido

Right next door to Rustic Root sits the coolest, modern Mexican restaurant you've ever seen. With a menu full of street tacos & salsa choices, you along with your margarita are definitely here to stay. My Favorite: Carne Asada Street Tacos (Pro-Tip: Get the mini churros for dessert, you'll thank me later).


19. Island Prime

If you're looking for the best ocean view in San Diego, this is your place. Literally, you're sitting on top of the pacific. You might have to save up to dine at 5-star restaurant on a college budget, but the food is more than worth it. My Favorite: Seared Ahi Stack + '1855 Filet Mignon w/ side of wild mushrooms

20. Crack Shack

Another restaurant that will charm you with their cool atmosphere is this fried chicken joint. Don't scroll just yet, this place will change the way you look at fried chicken forever. If that's not your style, their soft serve will change your life. My favorite: Horchata Soft Serve w/ Brownie Bites & Candied Bacon

21. Donut Bar

It's practically a given that you can't go to San Diego without stopping by Donut Bar. The famous donut shop has some of the most decadent filled donuts you won't even have time to feel guilty about it. My favorite: All of them.


Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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So, Yeah, Never Buy $12 Dollar Vodka From A Stranger In An Alley

Oh, don't mind my friends and I, we just bought a bottle of vodka for 12 dollars from a stranger...in an alley...at midnight.

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After I broke up with my boyfriend, it was like life just got a bit easier.

I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted, and there wasn't anyone to answer to but myself. I loved it. I went out more, experienced life for what it was rather than sitting in my boring dorm and crying. Things were hard, yes, but life goes on. That was one big lesson I had to learn within the next few months on my own.

OK...so one thing you should know about my friends and I are that we are probably the STUPIDEST people on the planet.

I mean c'mon, we're a bunch of nerdy, top 10 percent, auto admission dorks experiencing things we had never thought of experiencing before.

So yes, the answer is yes, we really did buy a bottle of vodka from a strange woman out of an alley...but hear me out...there's a good explanation for it.

It all started when, of course, I was sad over my breakup.

My friend, Dick, who we originally would go out with, wasn't in Austin. Dick was always the person to get us alcohol whenever we would go out. He has a fake, so it just makes sense that without him, there is no alcohol. Well, since he wasn't here, we just assumed that we weren't going to go out, but things soon changed, and thinking about it, I'm more than positive they weren't for the better.

My friend, we'll call him Cesar, who is a transfer student here at UT, had never been out to the infamous 6th street EVER since he got here. Cesar is brilliant. He's actually very funny, witty, and always knows what to say and when to say it. His honesty is refreshing, especially when you need it the most. Mallory and I did go to Highschool with Cesar. He graduated a year before us and started his education at the local community college, where he then transferred into UT Austin the same year we became first-year students.

Now, since Dick wasn't here, and it was a Friday night with no exams the next week, we knew we had to do something.

So we called Cesar and asked if he wanted to go out with us. There's an 18 plus club on 6th street called Cielo, where they play nothing but Latin hip hop; stuff like Bad Bunny, J Balvin, music like that. We had been before, but of course never with Cesar, and never EVER, sober. This was going to be our first time ever going sober, which I guess, was weird, and somewhat saddening. We explained to Cesar how we didn't have alcohol so we obviously couldn't drink, but he was determined to find something. Cesar at the time was 19, and us being 18, which is definitely not the legal age for drinking, and none of us had a fake, so buying it ourselves was a definite no. We improvised, we had to think on our feet, which led to the very many bad decisions about to happen.

Cesar had recently been added to a few very interesting group chats, which he then added us too. These group chats were 1. Very, VERY large (I'm talking 1200 plus people), and 2. Very illegal. If you needed anything, and I mean ANYTHING, this was the place to go. you had people selling different things from IDs to...well I'll just leave it at that. This was also the place to go when you wanted to know more about local parties happening. It was definitely a very interesting thing to be added too. This was Cesar's first and only option to get what he wanted. He originally wanted to get a "special" brownie, but he wasn't able to. His next option was to try and get alcohol. There wasn't anyone selling any that night, but then again the night was still very young.

Cesar eventually picked both Mallory and me up from our dorm and we headed to sixth street sober, mainly because we had no other choice, but that was soon to change. We made it to sixth, parked, and started walking. I had brought my camera along to take some cute pics, which we did, but then Cesar had gotten an odd message in one of the group chats. A young woman was selling an opened, drunken, bottle of vodka. She originally was selling it for 15 dollars, but that's not the point. Cesar immediately claimed the bottle, and we got in the car and decided to meet her in a very suspicious alley in west campus

The drive took us about 7 minutes, and in the span of 7 minutes we had come to the conclusion that we had probably made a big mistake, but did we care? Apparently not, because we still picked up the bottle. The only thing was...we only had 12 dollars together in cash. Cesar was the one that was driving while Mallory was in passenger and the one with the cash so she was the one that got out the car and made the exchange. We pulled up to the location and Cesar parked the car. Mallory got out, and the exchange took about 3 minutes max. She comes back excited because of 1. THERE"S ALCOHOL, and 2. she was able to pull through with only 12 bucks. The bottle was pretty big and pretty full. The only amount that seemed to had been taken out of it was that equivalent to a red solo cup. So we had a good amount to share. Boy oh boy, when I took the first drink I was shocked. I've had vodka before, but this was different. It tasted like orange juice, which was a good and bad thing. I took a couple of big drinks, then Cesar, then Mallory. We found ourselves, accidentally I may add, finishing the whole bottle between the three of us. We didn't think anything of it, that is until it started to hit.

It hit Cesar first, mainly because he drank the most, and then it hit me. Mallory didn't start to feel anything until we got inside the club.

After we got inside the club, things get a little hazy, so bear with me. We got in free because of ladies night (hehe), and Mallory and I just started having the time of our lives, we danced the night away! I remember this as clear as day. Mallory and I had just got to the dance floor when a very cute guy around our age caught her attention. She quickly turned to look at me, and uttered the words, "I want him. I want to dance with him." while also pointing in his direction. Me being as drunk as I was, is what justifies my very bold decisions about to happen. After Mallory showed me who she wanted, I made it my mission to make it happen. I grabbed her hand and began to dance while also moving in the direction of the guy.

I honestly didn't have to do much to bring them together because once I got her close enough, he did the rest of the work, wrapping his hands around her waist and pulling her in.

After, we all just continued to dance for a good minute, until one of his friends had asked me to dance. Now, when Mallory noticed her guy, I had noticed one of his friends. He was wearing a cute washed out denim jacket and had the most adorable glasses. However, the one that had asked me wasn't him, but me being the bold drunk that I seem to be, simply looked the guy dead in the eye and said, "No I want him" while pointing at the friend with the glasses. As soon as I turned to look in his direction, we made eye contact and he waved me in. I walked over and I was his for the rest of the night. It was honestly one of the most memorable nights I've ever had at Cielo. We had so much fun, that we lost Cesar. All the clubs and bars on the sixth close at 2 am, so time went by quick. We walked out and Cesar appeared out of nowhere. Cesar was desperately trying to get us to leave, so after a few exchanges of snaps, and phone numbers (which we ended up never using), we finally followed Cesar away from Cielo.

Now, the only person moderately sober was...none of us.

We continued to walk to the car, but that was a very horrible decision. We ended up losing Cesar, which left Mallory and I waking around tirelessly on sixth for about 20 minutes trying to find him. Okay...If you haven't learned anything from the many mistakes made so far, here's something...Never...EVER...DRUNK DIAL anyone. In fact, if you know that you are going to be drunk, let someone know (who is sober) where you're going to be, and turn your phone off.

We made the questionable decision to call who I like to label as my "UT dad." His name is Daniel and he's an amazing overachiever.

We graduated from the same high school, which is why he took me under his wing when I accepted my admissions. He, of course, answered my call and Mallory and I were frantically explaining our night to him, and how we were in many ways scared. He assured us that everything was going to be okay and that he would help us find Cesar. After panicking on the phone for about 15 minutes, Cesar pops up out of the blue. AND WHEN I SAY HE APPEARED OUT OF NOWHERE, I MEAN IT! It was crazy how randomly he just happened to be there again.

We sat in a parking lot for a second trying to figure out what we were going to do.

We were all drunk, we had driven, and it was reaching 3 am. He explained to us how he had drunk called his friend earlier while he was looking for us, and that she may be able to come to get us. So he calls her and she agrees to come to our rescue! We walk back to the car acting a fool, goofing around, and having the time of our lives, even after all we had been through, we still were able to laugh. Now that I think of it, it was probably because we were all so drunk. We get to the car and Cesar's friend pulls up with her girlfriend and she gets in the driver seat and she begins to take us home. We begin the praise her as she drives, saying how much we love her, and how much we love her girlfriend for coming for us. In all honesty, they really did come through that night.

As we got closer to Cesar's apartment, the sicker I had begun to feel.

It was like with every breath I was taking was going into my body slow and the scent of the vodka would be what I would then exhale. I remember being hyped and then my mood instantly changed. I felt it coming...slowly then all at once. I grabbed the nearest thing I could, which happened to be a paper whole food bag and began to vomit it all up. I couldn't stop. It was like a big relief and horrible dream all in one. The pain in my stomach was drifting away but I started to feel disgusting. I knew at that moment it was probably not a good idea to drink a 12 dollar bottle. Mallory was sitting next to me holding my hair when all of a sudden...Yes...Yes, she did. SHE STARTED THROWING UP TOO. We were both throwing it all up together. Me because I'm the most lightweight person I know, and Mallory because of her sensitive stomach when it comes to seeing others throw up.

We parked and Cesar helped us out the car.

I remember continuously apologizing to him for the mess we made. He, of course, told us to not worry about it until tomorrow, for us to stay the night and then go home in the morning. Mallory worked in the morning and we didn't have her car, but we looked at each other and said fuck it. So we went up to his apartment, where I continued my actions in the bathroom, draped over the toilet. Cesar gave us some of his clothes, and Mallory and I crashed on his bed and slept until about 8:45 am since Mallory had to work at 10 am the next day.

We woke up OK, not too hungover.

Cesar lent us his car for the day to 1. He had no choice, and 2. I needed to clean the mess that decided to leak through the paper Whole Foods bag we decided to leave in the back of the car. I remember getting to my room the next morning around 9:15 am, dressed in Cesar's oversized t-shirt and shoes, and just sitting at my desk for about 5 minutes contemplating what had just happened within the past 12 hours. We started the night staying in, then we decided to go out, where we then made the horrible decision to buy a 12 dollar bottle of vodka, and the rest, the rest isn't worth repeating.

That isn't the only thing I had contemplated, however. I sat in awe of my life now. Not only was that such an insane memory, but it was a memory I made with a close friend in COLLEGE.

I had realized I was really out here, making decisions as such, and just living the life of a college student. It was so much fun, it was college! I loved everything about it from the horrible decisions, to the vomiting, the fact that I was blessed to go through it was so thrilling. I had realized how much of a blessing my life was, and how I should take advantage of my youth by creating memories like we had this night. Mallory and I talk about this night often, along with many other crazy memories, and in a way, being able to look back at it and say we actually did that, is so stupid awesome! There are many lessons to learn from my many horrible decisions that were made this night, but if you would ask me now if I regret any of them I would say no.

This experience was one of the beginning memories that started the entire album and believe me, I cannot wait to fill this album with more.

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