3 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do at La Jolla Cove

San Diego, California is a pretty incredible place to explore, and the little seaside community of La Jolla (though small), is no different! From hidden walking paths to secret swings and tucked-away sea caves on the Pacific Ocean, there is no shortage of ways to adventure your way through the Village. You could spend hours or even a few days exploring everything La Jolla Cove has to offer.

Most people already know all about the seals, sea lions, leopard sharks, sea caves, and the great shopping, but there are a few other awesome activities that are available at the Cove! To give you a taste of something a little different and a bit more off the beaten path, we’re sharing three of our favorite “hidden” gems in La Jolla Cove.

Dine in a seaside historic cottage

One of the oldest historic cottages in the Village also happens to be a La Jolla restaurant! Brockton Villa, on Coast Blvd. right above the beach and down the way from Prospect Street, has been a local treasure for decades and is most famous for its mouthwatering Coast Toast (slices of extra-rich French Toast with just a hint of orange). The first beach cottages in La Jolla were established around 1894, and the one which houses Brockton Villa was built as a weekend retreat by Dr. Joseph Rodes, a San Diego physician, who purchased the prime oceanfront site for a mere $165.

When he passed away in 1896, it was taken over by two sisters, Olivia Mudgett and Nellie Mills, who rented out the beach cottage and named it after their New England heritage in Brockton, Massachusetts. Fast forward to 1968, when Pannikin Copper, Coffee, and Cookery opened at 1296 Prospect, specializing in freshly roasted coffee beans and copper cookware; Pannikin’s first coffee-roasting plant was located in a garage near the La Jolla Cave Store just up the street from Brockton Villa!

Pannikin founder Bob Sinclair would go on to obtain the lease to the Brockton Villa property in 1991, in order to renovate and adapt it for use as a restaurant. Today, the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has a gorgeous veranda where diners can enjoy beautiful Pacific ocean views along with their meal – not to mention watch the seals play on the beach!

Explore a small cave by the water

Many know about the seven sea caves (including Sunny Jim), but there is also another small sea cave that you can explore by foot — and it just happens to be at La Jolla Cove’s sandy beach! Just to the left of the staircase that leads down to the sand at La Jolla Cove, you’ll see a small sea cave and a tunnel next to it that you can access and walk through at low tide. It’s quite rocky and can be precarious at high tide (even at low tide), so practice caution when exploring and wear shoes with good grip. Most days, it’s easy to walk through and come out the other side, where you can continue exploring! Keep an eye out for abalone shells – they tend to pop up at this beach in particular. Do remember to keep your distance from any seals and sea lions you might see down at the Cove, as they love this stretch of beach!

Rent a golf cart

Explore La Jolla Cove CA in style! Most people know you can rent Segways, bikes, and kayaks, but did you know you can also rent golf carts? La Jolla Golf Cartsprovides four, six, and eight-seat vehicles for all of you and your families’ golf cart needs! This is a great way to see the Cove in style. Take one out for a spin for an hour or the entire day; you can even schedule a guided tour of the Village, Torrey Pines area, and the beautiful La Jolla coastline if you want something a bit more structured. You can stop at all the local attractions (including the sea lions, sea cave, and of course, the ocean) on your own time and make a day of it.

They are located at 888 Prospect Street, just above La Jolla Cove and directly across from La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites. Prices start at $59/hour for a 4-seater and $79/hour for a 6-seater.

Wildlife You Might See on Your Torrey Pines Hike

Torrey Pines State Reserve, nestled in between Del Mar and La Jolla, is well known for its beachside network of trails and walking paths. There are six different trailsto explore throughout the Reserve, and one (the aptly named Beach Trail) takes hikers directly down to the beach, where they finish off the hike with a nice stroll.

There is plenty to see within the Reserve itself, however; in the spring, colorful wildflowers dot the hills, and you’re likely to see at least one or two creatures during your hike as well as the rare Torrey Pine tree itself. Here is some of the most interesting wildlife you might spot on your next Torrey Pines hike!

Coyotes, Mule Deer, & Other Mammals

California Ground Squirrel and Cottontail Rabbits are the most common mammals that visitors see at the Reserve — both are relatively tolerant of humans and relatively active during the day. The larger black-tail jackrabbit can be seen in the more open areas near the lagoon and in the flatlands. Most of the other animals are nocturnal and will be seen in the early morning or late afternoon as they begin or end their nocturnal movements. Skunks, raccoons, opossums, weasels, pocket gophers, gray fox, and coyotes have also been spotted; so it’s always good to keep an eye out!

The mule deer is more secretive and is rarely seen by visitors. Do keep an eye out for gray fox and raccoon tracks, as these are the most common in the Reserve.

Plants & Blooming Cactus

If you’re a plant lover, Torrey Pines has you covered! The wide variety of native plants are some of the most unique and interesting things to observe at the Reserve. Because it’s such a protected area, the plant life has had the opportunity to grow wild; springtime makes for a beautiful landscape, especially with the abundant wildflowers and colorful cacti. Here are the types of plant communities you’ll see:

  • Torrey Pine Woodland: the Torrey Pine is the most restricted and rarest pine in North America and is probably the remnant of an ancient coastal forest.
  • Chaparral: California’s most extensive and characteristic plant community thrives here.
  • Coastal Sage Scrub: plants like  California Sagebrush, California Buckwheat, Black Sage, Deerweed Bush, Lemonadeberry,  Coastal Prickly Pear, and Bladderpod.
  • Coastal Strand: a different plant community, with plants like Sand Verbena, Beach Primrose, and Sea Rocket.
  • Salt Marsh: think low-lying grasses! This type of plant community is a great natural wildlife habitat.

Most notable as you walk through the Reserve are the different cacti (prickly pear is the most common), which occasionally sport beautiful blooms. Keep an eye out for these on your hike!

Birds

Of all the wildlife you might see on your Torrey Pines hike, you’re most likely to see a bird; fluttering in and out of the scrub brush and landing on tree branches overhead. Here are some of the more common species that people report seeing:

Red-tailed Hawk: Wingspread is about four feet, and it soars in a circular pattern; round white tail with a reddish tinge; light-colored breast, broadband of streaking across belly; nest is a platform of sticks in trees.

California Quail: Small, plump, grayish birds with short black plume growing forward from the crown.

Anna’s Hummingbird: Red crown, red throat; only hummingbird found in California in mid-winter.

Scrub Jay: No crest on the head; head, wings, and tail are blue; back is pale brownish; often flies down slopes in long shallow curves.

Wrentit: Long rounded, slightly cocked tail and streaked brownish breast, with a white eye; nest is a compact cup in a low bush.

 

Mourning Dove: Pointed tail bordered with large white spots; brown, slim-shaped body; nest is a flimsy twig platform in a tree, shrub, or on the ground.

Common Raven: Larger than a crow, the raven has a wedge-shaped tail and is not inclined to fly in flocks like crows. These birds are commonly seen soaring on the updrafts along the beach cliffs and in the canyons of Torrey Pines. They are acrobats and sometimes perform barrel rolls!

Osprey: The Osprey measures about two feet in length and has a wingspan of nearly six feet. It may log more than 160,000 migration miles during its 15-to-20-year lifetime. The name osprey may derive from the Latin for “bone-breaker”— ossifragus.

Red-Shouldered Hawk: This hawk has strong black and white bands on its tail, and rusty undersides. In flight, a translucent “window” can be seen at the base of the primary feathers on the wing.

Peregrine Falcon

This year, the Reserve has four fledgling peregrines on site! They are the result of a successful mating between two peregrine falcons that have been nesting in the cliffs for years.

Fun facts: the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal in the world – when in a dive, it can reach over 200 mph! Slow and clumsy birds in flight, namely ducks or pigeons, are their favorite prey. When hunting, the peregrine dives, creating a fist with its talon.

 

 

3 Beachfront La Jolla Shores Hotels to Book for Your Next Vacation

Looking for a quintessential Southern California experience? Look no further than the beach! Seaside B&Bs and quaint cottages are La Jolla’s specialty, and while there are some great hotels in the Village (Redwood Hollow Cottages, Pantai Inn), the more relaxed vibe of La Jolla Shores comes with its own set of incredible lodgings.

Here are our picks for a beachfront stay at La Jolla Shores!

La Jolla Shores Hotel

Tucked away on a quiet street directly on the ocean, La Jolla Shores Hotel’s hacienda-style rooms and vibe create a welcoming, friendly atmosphere that is perfect for a weekend beach getaway. The Hotel was built starting in 1967 by the Kellogg family (of La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and The Marine Room fame) and officially opened in 1970. Guest rooms feature unparalleled views of the Pacific coastline, and most rooms offer a balcony and full kitchenette. The property is just steps away from the sand and conveniently located next to Kellogg Park; complete with a playground and plenty of room for active little ones.

The Shores Restaurant and The Marine Room are your two main dining options here; both are world-renowned for their incredible cuisine. Enjoy the open-air patio and more laid-back feel of the Shores Restaurant or enjoy an upscale fine dining experience on the water at the French-inspired Marine Room, where you’ll get to see waves crashing up against the windows while you eat. Pro-tip: the High Tide Dinner and Breakfasts are e a one-of-a-kind experience at the Marine Room! Do try and book one if it happens to coincide with your stay.

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Originally opened in 1927 (as the La Jolla Beach & Yacht Club), the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is one of the most historic hotels in La Jolla and definitely has a resort feel. Complete with one, two, and three-bedroom suites; outdoor pool; private beach with full food and beverage service plus barbecues and umbrellas; 12 championship tennis courts; a nine-hole golf course; children’s playground; a spa, and tons of other amenities, this is the perfect place for an extended vacation with the entire family. You’ll still have access to The Shores Restaurant and the Marine Room, as well as Club Dining, which is the resort’s exclusive members/guests-only restaurant.

Explore the rest of La Jolla Shores during your stay, which is just a few minutes’ walk out your door. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, and activities in the neighborhood; including, of course, water activities like kayaking and paddle boarding!

Hotel La Jolla

If casual chic is your thing, you’ll love this boutique hotel! Located a few blocks away from The Shores, Hotel La Jolla is a bit further from the hustle-and-bustle of downtown La Jolla Shores; but most suites still have a beautiful ocean view! The spot boasts an outdoor pool lounge, a fitness center, outdoor pool, and complimentary bikes for exploring the city. The rest of La Jolla is at your fingertips; the Village is just a few minutes’ drive (or bike ride) and you’re still close to everything the Shores has to offer. Their onsite restaurant, CUSP, is located on the 11th floor and boasts killer ocean views – a perfect spot for enjoying a drink and watching the sunset.

As the hotel is now owned by Hilton as part of their CURIO Collection, the resort has gotten an upgrade in recent years and all of the rooms are refurbished; complete with balconies and water views. That coupled with a lush outdoor area surrounded by palm trees and foliage lend this cute spot a tropical, laid-back vibe; you’ll forget that you’re just minutes away from a bustling city! It’s the perfect destination for a couples’ weekend getaway or fun family trip.

 

 

Find Local Produce, Art & Crafts Every Sunday at La Jolla Farmer’s Market

The La Jolla Open Aire Farmer’s Market happens each Sunday from 9am-1pm, rain or shine, at the corner of Girard Street and Genter Avenue (parking lot of the La Jolla Elementary School). Spend just a few hours here, and you’ll find more than 150 local vendors offering fresh, locally grown produce; international food; and unique handcrafted crafts and gifts.

There are usually musicians playing on the grass, and some Sundays are Family Fun Days – which is great if you are looking for activities with kids in tow. Here’s what to look for and a few tips for shopping at the La Jolla Farmer’s Market!

A Little Background

The market was started by former La Jolla Elementary School mom and La Jolla community supporter, Sherry Ahern. In 1996, Sherry had two children enrolled at LJES and was on the Friends of La Jolla Elementary, Inc. Board, the school’s non profit education foundation. The original motivation for the market was to help fund a library — at the time, it consisted only of a small collection of books in the back of the auditorium.

With help and support from San Diego Unified School District, local community groups, the Friends Board and Board President at the time Sarah Agler, the vision became a reality two years later. The first market was held on October 25, 1998 with 14 farmers and one artisan! Now, it’s a vibrant weekly community gathering, featuring more than 140 vendors.

Fresh Produce & Local Food

The food vendors are too many to name! One of the great things about this particular market is that some extremely popular eateries (usually too crowded to try on the weekend) have a booth here – making it ten times easier to grab a bite.

The market carries local organic and conventional produce, eggs, breads, cheese, grass-fed beef, seafood, almonds, jams, smoothies, olive oils, guacamole, hummus, baked goods including a variety of gluten-free options, chocolate, kettle corn, and coffee. The international food court features cuisine from the Mediterranean, France, Germany, Latin America, Mexico, Italy, Japan, Korea, and China.

Some of our favorite spots include:

  • The Donut Bar
  • Crepes Up
  • SoCal Lemonade
  • Small Goods (delicious cheese!)
  • Belindas Cocina (known for her outstanding Mexican food, Belinda serves up delicious dishes and flavors that change weekly!)
  • Cravory Cookies
  • Tango (empanadas are their specialty!)
  • Baba Foods (go for the hummus)
  • Egyptian Delights
  • Green Door Catering

At the center of the market are the Certified Farmers Market vendors, or the CFM. Many of the growers operate small family farms in San Diego County, and most of them have already developed a reputation for quality and high-value specialty crops. Here, you’ll find various fresh produce such as tomatoes, peppers, corn, avocados, strawberries, and more.

Local farms at the market include:

  • Living Earth Ranch
  • Carlsbad Strawberry Company
  • JR Organics
  • Tom King Farms
  • Futterman Farm

Don’t forget to check out the fresh flowers – they are always gorgeous! This is a great place to pick up some flowers for the table at home (and they aren’t too expensive).If you’re a cactus lover, keep an eye out for the succulents tent; there is always a great variety, and plenty of smaller options that you can carry home easily! Some of the cheapest ones start at just a few dollars each.

Artisans & Crafts

One of the things that makes this market so unique is the incredible variety of local boutiques, artisans, artwork, and multitude of arts and crafts available to look at and to purchase.

You’ll find everything from jewelry to small gifts, unique little knick-knacks, and wood-carved tableware; there is usually some artwork out and available to look at, as well. Other items include French linens, handmade T-shirts, hats, clothes, and scented, all-natural handmade soap. If you’re looking for a unique gift or something a little different for your own home, this is definitely the place! Many items that you see one Sunday may not be there the next, so the selection is really quite different each week.

For a Good Cause

All proceeds from the Farmer’s Market benefit La Jolla Elementary (LJES), a public school. The proceeds fund various initiatives enjoyed by all children at LJES, including school improvements and programs such as art, music, library, technology and additional classroom teachers to lower class sizes.

 

Blacks Beach: A Photographer’s Wonderland

Blacks Beach is one of the most picturesque (if not most difficult to get to) beach in La Jolla; with jagged cliffs, a long stretch of white sand, and colorful paragliders dotting the sky, there really isn’t any other place like it. Long known for its impressive surf break and most famous for allowing nudity, Blacks Beach has been a cultish local favorite for decades. The pathways down – there are several – are tricky, steep, and not for the faint of heart; the indelible Ho Chi Minh Trail is especially known for its treacherous and muddy terrain. On top of all that, it’s an awesome place to catch the sunset.

While the northern part of Blacks Beach is clothing optional, the southern part of it is utilized by surfers and swimmers; and makes for some great amateur photography!

The Views:

The Sunsets:

The Surfers

The Trails:

There’s nothing quite like the sand-colored cliffs at Blacks Beach.

The Paragliders:

Paragliders can almost always be seen flying high above the cliffs at Blacks Beach. They come directly south from the Torrey Pines Gliderport, and the color contrast really makes for some beautiful photos!

The Cliffs

The Mushroom House

Fun Fact: The elusive and famed “Mushroom House” is located on the southern portion of Blacks Beach! Built in 1968, it was originally called the Pavilion and could be accessed from the cliffs above via a nearly vertical tramway running almost 300 feet down the cliff. It was used as a guest house and was designed by architect Dal Nagle to withstand naturally occurring rock slides, earthquakes, and waves. It offers an 180-degree view from Torrey Pines State Park to La Jolla.

Although Blacks Beach is one of the most photogenic, there are plenty of other gorgeous La Jolla beaches! What’s your favorite La Jolla Beach in California? Share with us on Facebook!

 

 

Boo! 5 Halloween Celebrations in La Jolla & San Diego

Halloween in La Jolla has arrived! From the spooky Haunted Aquarium to the annual Pillage the Village in downtown La Jolla, plus other events nearby in San Diego County, we’ve got you covered on all the best spots to start celebrating. All of these Halloween happenings are family-friendly and make for a great afternoon out with the family! For more information on other events happening in La Jolla, head to our Events page. 

Pillage the Village

Downtown La Jolla
Tuesday October 31st, 3pm-6pm

It’s almost time for the 7th annual Pillage the Village! Every year, trick-or-treaters in La Jolla walk around the Village in costume and treat the locals to a little Halloween fun. Participating merchants and businesses will have orange and black balloons visible, so you know where you’ll be able to get some goodies. A good starting point is Girard and Prospect. Work your way around downtown La Jolla until you’ve trick-or-treated everywhere!

Haunted Aquarium: Sea Monster Mash

Birch Aquarium at Scripps
October 20 & 21, 6pm-9pm

Halloween at Birch Aquarium is a great experience for the whole family. Enjoy close encounters with Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists and search the galleries for unusual underwater creatures rarely seen at Birch Aquarium. Your kids will discover a sea of glowing sea creatures, get sticky with slime, and enjoy spooky stories, all while enjoying live music.

Activities:

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography Scientists showcasing their latest research
  • Make your own seaweed slime (and take it home!)
  • Frankensquid: Get up close and personal with a huge Humboldt Squid and learn what makes it unique
  • Experience a tiny 3-D microscope, developed by Scripps Oceanography scientists.
  • Check out spooky species, including skeleton shrimp and sea spiders
  • Costume contest – complete with a prize giveaway
  • Witness creatures that create their own light and glow in the deep, dark ocean.
  • Story time with a spooky shipwreck tale
  • Creepy crafts for all ages
  • Live music brought to you by Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters
halloween in la jolla

BOOmont Park

Belmont Park
Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October

Head to Belmont Park as the beachfront amusement park transforms into “Boomont” Park on weekends in October! Get into the spirit of the season with a game of Zombie laser tag, ride the roller coaster, choose from tons of different crafts, stroll the pumpkin patch, trick-or-treat, and join in the costume contest at this Halloween-themed extravaganza.

Hallo-wine & Spirits Party

Hotel Del Coronado
October 28th, 7pm

The landmark Hotel Del Coronado (that’s rumored to be haunted) is throwing a rip-roaring bash that welcomes trick-or-treaters ages 4-12. You and your date will rock out like Max Dennison’s parents while your minis are treated to a special costume  party of their own that includes dinner and trick-or-treating. This event is a bit of a splurge, but it will make for a memorable event that can only take place on the island.

Balboa Park Halloween

Balboa Park
October 28, 11am-4pm

If you have younger kids who aren’t quite ready to take on Balboa Park’s Haunted Trail (which is happening throughout the whole month!), take the family to Halloween Family Day instead. More than 24 museums will have a bunch of themed activities, craft projects for kids, costume parades, and other spooky surprises. Participating museums will be offering free admission to children 12 and under (accompanied by a paying adult).

 

 

Kids are FREE for October Only: Sea World, Belmont Park, and 100+ More San Diego Attractions

If you have little ones, October is an awesome month for everyone – enjoy Kids Free San Diego all through October! During the month-long celebration your kids will get free admission to attractions, meals on the house, and tons of other great perks throughout the city. With over 100 different offers and warm fall weather (without the summer crowds), this is a great opportunity to get out there and see some new San Diego sights.

Kids Free Admission

Note: exact ages included in the promotion may vary for each attraction; check website for details before you go.

  • La Jolla Historical Society
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • Belmont Park (play and ride for free)
  • Empress Hotel (free Kids’ Welcome Gift, $25 value)
  • Bike & Kayak Tours of La Jolla (ride for free)
  • Balboa Park Museums:
    • San Diego Automotive Museum
    • Air & Space Museum
    • Museum of Photographic Arts
    • San Diego History Center
    • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
    • San Diego Museum of Man
    • Timken Museum of Art
    • Mingei International Museum
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • San Diego SEAL Tours (ride free)
  • San Diego Fly Rides (ride free)

Kids Eat Free:

  • The Shores Restaurant (La Jolla Shores Hotel)
  • Sheraton La Jolla
  • Embassy Suites San Diego/La Jolla
  • Torreyana Grille (Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines)
  • Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

SeaWorld Specials

  • Free single-day admission kids ages 3-9
  • Eat for free at breakfast and at Dine with Orcas
  • Free Dolphin & Beluga interaction programs

San Diego Zoo Specials

Children ages 11 and younger free admission (when accompanied by an adult with a valid form of entry). There are special activities happening both on weekdays and weekends throughout the month, as well; you can upgrade your day with a 1-Day Pass Child Upgrade for only $12 – which includes the Guided Bus Tour, Kangaroo Bus, and Skyfari Aerial Tram.

HalGLOWeen on October 27, 28, and 29: The Zoo will stay open until 8pm, so families can listen to DJs, enjoy bubble fun and special entertainment, and give the glowing “Boolahoops” a try. Dr. Zoolittle has a special “creepy” show, and there is plenty of other festive family fun in store. HalGLOWeen entertainment runs from 6pm-9pm. For more information head to their website.

There are tons of other spots throughout San Diego that are offering special deals and activities in October, so be sure to keep checking the website for updated information!

 

 

Discover La Jolla on Foot With These Walking Tours

From kayaking and snorkeling to seal-watching and dining at world-class restaurants, there is definitely no shortage of things to do in La Jolla. Unfortunately, it can be hard to see everything in one or even two days; which is when guided and self-guided La Jolla walking tours come in handy!

Walking tours are a great way to get to know La Jolla – you can really experience everything up-close-and-personal and the best part is that most are free! Here are some of our favorite walking tours in La Jolla, California.

La Jolla Self-Guided Tours

Explore the Village

This hour-long tour of La Jolla focuses on cultural landmarks and offers a great perspective on the wide variety of architectural styles in the Village. You’ll get the chance to see everything from beach cottages to newer European architectural styles that characterized the 1920s; as well as a few more modern buildings.

There are 17 stops on this self-guided tour, and it’s the perfect option for first-time La Jolla visitors and anyone who just wants an overview of downtown La Jolla. You’ll stop by the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, La Jolla Rec Center, two of the Village’s most famous hotels, and more! Check out the map before you go.

Midcentury Modern Architecture

The 1950s and 1960s brought about an innovation in La Jolla’s architecture, and a group of modernist architects emerged to spearhead new, influential, and enduring ideas in building design throughout the Village. This self-guided tourhighlights residential, commercial, and academic buildings designed in the modern style and reflecting influences ranging from the Bauhaus to Frank Lloyd Wright. There are even a few “Case Study” homes built by famed architects Killingsworth, Brady, & Smith, which are remarkable testaments to the industry’s golden age of Midcentury Modern.

Historic Beach Cottages

The La Jolla Historical Society has a great map for this historic beach cottage self-guided tour. You can go at your own pace, and see all of them or just a few – either way, this is a great tour for history buffs! In its earliest days, La Jolla was a village made up of small cottages that lined the streets and were tucked away into the canyons along the cliffs. Craftsman-style beach cottages, with basic design and simple wood construction, were the major architecture style of the late-19th century and early-20th century and La Jolla was no exception.

The beach cottage tour has 28 stops, and should about an hour or two depending on how long you spend at each location. The tour includes more well-known gems such as Brockton Villa and the Redwood Hollow Cottages, as well as lesser-known historic spots like the Little Blue House and the Florence Palmer Cottages. Print out the full map and plan your trip before you go!

La Jolla Guided Tours:

Walking Food Tour

BITE San Diego guides you through some of La Jolla’s tastiest cuisine on this 4.5-hour guided walking tour, covering a 1.5-mile route with 5+ restaurant stops. From Hawaiian-inspired treats (sweet & savory) to apple pancakes, fish tacos with a sea view, Kobe beef sliders, organic superfoods & smoothies, AND the largest tasting selection of CA made olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The tour kicks off at La Jolla Cove (head here for directions to the Cove) and stops at BEAMING Cafe, Public House La Jolla, and We Olive & Wine Bar; to name a few! Tours happen every Saturday and Sunday at 12:30pm; tickets are $47.

La Jolla Cove + Downtown

This one-stop-shop tour covers all your bases! The 90-minute walk will take you from the coast to residential neighborhoods and everything in between, including major shopping districts and dining spots. The tour kicks off next to La Jolla Cove then meanders its way over to Prospect and Girard; later, you’ll get to explore Sunny Jim Cave and venture to a few lesser-known spots in the Village

[image courtesy of Birch Aquarium]

Scripps Pier Full Moon Walks

A warm night lit by a full moon is the perfect time to explore one of La Jolla’s most incredible landmarks. The Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, normally closed to the public, is still used for research purposes and important marine life observation. The Birch Aquarium offers free public tours of the Pier on certain evenings, where you’ll get to discover its 100-year history of pier-based data on an exclusive moonlit tour. Collect plankton, learn about bioluminescent organisms, and explore current research while engaging in hands-on activities. Tours only happen a few times a month; they also offer daytime tours. Check the full schedule for fall on the Aquarium’s website.

Salk Institute

The one-hour Architecture Tours at the Salk Institute happen Monday-Friday at noon and are led by trained and knowledgeable docents. Learn about the history of the Institute and what makes its architecture so unique, as well as more about the man behind its design, Louis Kahn; one of the great master builders of the twentieth century. According to some, Salk asked Kahn to design a research facility “to which he could invite Picasso,” which resulted in the stunning edifice it is today. Tours are $15 and you must pre-register online beforehand.

 

Jose’s in La Jolla: Tacos, Tequila, & Ocean Views

Jose’s Courtroom has been a longtime local favorite since the restaurant/bar opened its doors in 1956. Authentic, hearty Mexican cuisine with a modern twist – and of course, great margaritas – have truly turned this spot into a La Jolla gem. And they are definitely known for their tacos! We got the exclusive recipe for their delicious shrimp tacos and cabbage salad, which is made in-house every day, along with a peek back into the history of what has made Jose’s so special among other La Jolla restaurants.

Jose’s Through the Years

Walk through the doors at Jose’s and look for something that many passersby don’t immediately notice: the restaurant/bar’s long history spelled (or drawn, rather) out in the mural overlooking the bar; 23 men are pictured; every time one of those men dies, the rest gather at the bar after the funeral. The death of longtime real estate salesman Charles Tischoff was the first to begin this unique tradition.

Jose’s is actually the fourth or fifth successor to the space on Herschel Street, which originally was occupied by Cecil’s (for owner Cecil Smith), which followed La Valencia’s lead in 1933 and obtained La Jolla’s second liquor license ever! For most customers, however, the restaurant is – and always will be – The Court Room, and its history lives in the minds of former owners; most notably, Bill Fallis. He commissioned an artist to paint the aforementioned mural in 1959; they were his “best customers and the  leaders of the town.” They were all customers of the Court Room at 7919 Herschel.

“Recession Spaghetti” & One-Cent Postcards

Years later, Fallis took over. His initial advertising budget was 50 one-cent postcards (those were the days!). They had a “five-cent spaghetti ‘recession dinner’” and never took reservations. While customers dined on spaghetti, a waitress would casually walk by carrying trays of lobster and steak, meant to entice the diner to upgrade their meal. Back then, though, even the steak and lobster only cost $1.95!

The Courtroom moved to Prospect St in 1973, replacing a restaurant called O’Bryan’s. Before then, it was The Schnitzelbank restaurant, which offered German food and imported and domestic beers. The head cook’s name was Jose Arreola – which is how the name Jose’s Court Room was brought to life.

Shrimp Tacos Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Uncooked shrimp (2 oz) sautéed and marinated with a special seasoning (salt, chili flakes, garlic, pepper, paprika) cooked using soybean oil
  • Chopped green and red bell peppers (2 tbsp or 1 oz)
  • Chopped onions (1 tbsp or 0.5 oz)
  • House-made Repollo cabbage salad (4 tbsp or 2 oz)
  • Chipotle pesto sauce (1 tbsp or 0.5 oz)
  • Corn or flour tortillas

Steps:

  1. Sautee the shrimp marinated with the special seasoning using soybean oil
  2. Add fresh bell pepper and onions
  3. Sautee for about 5 minutes, then place on top of some freshly cooked corn or flour tortillas
  4. Make a cabbage salad (repollo) and chipotle pesto as garnishes (see below)

Cabbage Salad (Repollo) Recipe

Mix and marinate the following ingredients:

  • Cabbage salad
  • Rainbow carrots
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Celery seeds

Chipotle Pesto: Store-bought chipotle seasoning and mixed with a House ranch dressing. Both can be purchased at your nearest grocery store.

Jose’s Courtroom is located at 1037 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037. Head over for a taco or two – and maybe a margarita!

 

9 New Restaurants at Westfield UTC You Have To Try!

This year, Westfield UTC in La Jolla has gone through some major renovations and updates – from the brand new Nordstrom to a slew of new, upscale, and trendy restaurants, this spot has definitely become more than just a shopping mall! Most of the new eateries will be opening this fall (October or November).

Here is your guide to all the newest additions to the UTC restaurant La Jolla scene, including another branch of one of San Diego’s favorite breakfast spots, a trendy new South African steakhouse, and a popular upscale Mexican restaurant from Orange County.

Shake Shack

Expected November 2017

Everyone’s favorite burger and shake “fine-casual” burger chain is expected to touch down in San Diego later this year on Level 2 of a new, three-level retail building at Westfield UTC. The 3,000 square foot indoor/outdoor eatery will be constructed using mostly reclaimed materials. In addition to the regular menu, there will also be frozen custard concretes (think a McFlurry) featuring mix-ins from local food purveyors. Shake Shack is mostly known for its 100% all-natural, antibiotic, and hormone-free Angus beef burgers, griddled-crisp flat-top dogs, cage-free chicken sandwiches, fresh-made frozen custard, and crinkle cut fries.

Great Maple

Expected November 2017

Great Maple will bring its high-quality modern American fare in a mid-century modern atmosphere to Westfield UTC, serving patrons on a large outdoor patio (great for people-watching!). The restaurant has been extremely popular in Hillcrest since 2013; this location will be its fourth. Brunch is as popular as the maple bacon donuts that are served at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

True Food Kitchen

Expected early fall 2017

The healthy eatery, with a menu guided by holistic health guru Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options in a chic setting. The newest outpost at UTC (and San Diego’s second location, the first of which is at Fashion Valley) will have an indoor/outdoor bar; two outdoor covered patios; and a scratch bar featuring fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, seasonal cocktails, and beer/wine.

Arbor

Expected late fall 2017

A sister restaurant to Little Italy’s stylish, Kiwi-centric Queenstown Public House and North Park’s Dunedin, Arbor will offer shareable plates, organic sandwiches, burgers, wine and craft beer for lunch and dinner. Expect a menu centered around organic beef burgers and (of course!) a devotion to San Diego craft beer.

Javier’s Finest Foods of Mexico

Expected October 2017

First founded in Laguna Beach in 1995 by Javier Sosa, Javier’s specializes in upscale, regional Mexican cuisine made using sustainable ingredients and is known for its large selection of tequila. Javier’s has another new site in the works for Century City, as well as existing eateries in Irvine, Newport Beach, Las Vegas and Los Cabos, Mexico. The La Jolla branch will be similar in design and menu to the Newport outpost.

The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar

Expected late fall 2017

With locations in Orange County’s Tustin and Newport Beach, The Winery offers contemporary California cuisine and an expansive wine list with more than 650 selections. The 8,000 square foot Westfield UTC branch will be close to the new Nordstrom, and in addition to the main restaurant, The Winery will also feature a 1,000 square foot wine bar with a separate kitchen in the center of the mall, which will offer a sharable bites menu, wine flights, and grab-and-go options.

Smokeyard BBQ & Chophouse

Expected October 2017

This South African-influenced steakhouse offers a casual ambiance and a menu with dishes that span a variety of influences, including crispy rock shrimp, vegetable samosas, St. Louis spare ribs, and an array of steaks and sides; casual touches like BBQ Potato Chips and pulled pork sandwiches give it a unique spin. The restaurant also has a location in Mammoth Lakes.

Raised by Wolves

Expected late 2017

Arsalun Tafazoli’s Consortium Holdings Projects company has its sights set on La Jolla for this fall. Having recently opened its newest project, Born & Raised (located in the Gaslamp), Raised by Wolves is set to be their next hot spot. Though little is known at this point about Raised By Wolves, it is rumored to be a speakeasy-style cocktail bar with the flare you’d find at other CH Projects locations like Noble Experiment, El Dorado, and Polite Provisions.

Din Tai Fung

Expected early fall 2017

With over 120 locations around the world, this wildly popular Taiwanese restaurant will likely have San Diegans lining up to get a taste of their famed xiaolongbao steamed soup dumplings. Din Tai Fung was named one of the top ten restaurants in the world by The New York Times in 1993, and the restaurant’s first Hong Kong branch was awarded a Michelin star in 2009.