Open Wide: Taste of Coronado Dishes Out the Best Bites on the Island!

It’s that time of year again! The kids are well into their school routines, there’s a lovely chill in the air and the Coronado party season is upon us! Nothing kicks off the festivities like a Taste of Coronado, one of my favorite events of the year. I caught up with Jessica Settle Cunningham from Coronado Junior Women’s Club to get the scoop on this year’s “Taste.”

“This is a favorite local event of the year,” says Jessica. “It can be a date night, a family night, a girls night, you name it. All are welcome to join in the fun!”

It’s all happening on Wednesday, October 10th from 5-9pm. Put on by the ladies of the Coronado Junior Women’s Club, a portion of this year’s event proceeds will benefit the Monarch School, a K-12 school designed to educate homeless youth; and Walk on Water, a national nonprofit that provides surf therapy to kids with disabilities.

So what exactly is “Taste of Coronado,” you ask? In short, it’s a chance to savor bites, sips, nibbles and samples from 30 restaurants and businesses in town. From crowd favorites like the Brigantine, Nicky Rottens, Stake, and McPs, from the Ferry Landing all the way to the other end of town, your $45 tasting card ($50 the day of) gets you more food and drink than you can shake a coconut crunchy shrimp at.

For guests 21 and over, be prepared to sip on champagne, beer and wine from participating businesses!

“This event really brings the community together, while experiencing the amazing local eateries and businesses AND giving back,” says Jessica.

Best part? If you’re too tired to walk (or you want to get from the Ferry Landing to uptown in a jiffy) you can hop on the complimentary trolley. It makes stops along the “Taste” route all night long, and is a great setting for an impromptu dance party (of course while you remain safely in your seats, ahem.)

New to this year’s lineup are El Roys Tequila Bar & Kitchen, Fonda Don Diego, the new Mexican Village, and Gelato Paradiso. In addition, Clayton’s Bakery & Bistro (they are opening in the former digs of Firefly on Orange) is joining in on the fun.


I’m dying to try dishes like Clayton’s Signature Monte Cristo with a side of fried pickles (yes, please!) and the Nicky Rottens mini Thai chicken lettuce cups. I’m also hoping the Brig serves up their mango ahi poke…after all, they won the “Crowd Favorite” award for 2017!

Some of my other favorite stops from last year include tasty and tender meat slices from Stake, a playful round of beer pong at Village Pizza Bayside, and even a shoulder massages at Coronado Bliss Salon.

Sadly missing from the lineup this year is Il Fornaio–which was often a crowd favorite. I hope they come back next year!

Also new this year, according to Jessica, one lucky winner who votes for their favorite stop will be selected on Friday, October 12th to win TWO FREE TICKETS to the 2019 events…just for voting!

Thinking about hoping on board the Taste train? Then don’t hesitate…buy your ticket now because every year this event sells out! Buy your ticket here and get more info on where to grab your tasting card.

Not sure? Check out my blog post and pictures from last year’s event.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for “Taste” news and updates!

It Takes a Village (a Mexican Village, that is)

The year is 1985. I’m 8 years old. It’s summertime, and we are back in Coronado visiting my grandparents. (Every year we fly the entire family out from our hometown in Texas…including the dog, a large Airdale Terrier.)

I’ve spent all day at the beach with my parents. Boogie boarding, climbing over rocks in search of crabs, building sand castles, laying in the sand, listening to Madonna and Tears for Fears on my walkman.

Now, the question.

Where should we go for dinner? 

My dad always had the same answer.  “Well…if you’re asking me, I say…let’s go to the Mexican Village!”

My mom didn’t like it much, but she always went along with the plan. To be honest, I don’t remember a lot about the Mexican Village, other than I got to drink a Coke at dinner, and my dad really, really liked it.

Apparently there’s a lot of history tied up in the Mexican Village.  According to SanDiegoVille, “Seemingly most known for its salad dressing, Mexican Village restaurant first opened as a small cafe at 120 Orange Avenue in the original Coronado Firehouse building in 1943. It was operated by numerous owners before eventually closing in 2009. During its tenure, Mexican Village became a landmark Coronado dining room that eventually seated hundreds, serving notable guests over the years including Liberace and Ronald Reagan.” Cool!

I can’t wait to tell my Dad the Mexican Village is back!

Located at 126 Orange Ave, in the former digs of Spicy House and the Firehouse, it’s just a short walk from our home at the Ferry Landing.

Apparently the new operation has no affiliation with its previous owners, and was brought to life through the efforts of a few different players.  (For more info on this, check out the Coronado Times article here.)

After watching everyone’s Instagram feeds blow up with pictures of temptingly gooey queso fondido, lovingly-crafted margaritas and plucky chopped Caesar salad, I decided it was time for us to give it a try.

Mexican Village food porn on Instagram.

I brought my husband and my girls for a visit last Sunday, and we left full, relaxed, and pleased.

First things first…the decor is bright, bold, and energizing. All the kids LOVE the zebra just inside the entrance, (don’t forget the sombrero for the photo opp.)

The new Mexican Village flaunts some fun and frisky wall art by local street artist Alex Malone and lots of playful, South-of-the-Border accents (think Day of the Dead pillows and cactus decor.)

Your kids won’t get bored here (there’s lots to see) and I can say this because my girls are notoriously temperamental–much like the banditos you see decorating the bar here. (The poor family sitting next to us had to endure the wrath of my seven-year-old when she was told she may NOT order a Shirley Temple.)

The menu is robust and tempting. Featuring Acapulco-influenced Mexican cuisine, the apps range from Mexican pizza, tiger shrimp ceviche, roasted ear of corn, and of course, the queso fondido (which we ordered.)

It came out perfectly melted with oaxaca cheese, jalepanos and chorizo, with tasty homemade corn tortillas. Muy bueno!

My husband loved his Black Cadillac Margarita and I enjoyed my Raspberry Jalapeño Paloma. Next time I want to try the Spicy Sancho Margarita or the Seared Pineapple Margarita.

We weren’t super hungry so we split the Mexican Village Citrus Caesar Salad with chicken on top and it was pretty fabulous. We ordered extra dressing and it was the bomb!

My girls each ordered a kids meal…one with a bean and cheese burrito, one with quesadillas (kids meals will cost you a reasonable $7.) Both came with a decent side of rice and beans. The girls gave me a big thumbs up when we asked them how their food was. (Again, this happens NEVER.)  My girls also reported “glitter in the sink” during their trips to the bathroom. This is a major bonus so I need to check this out next time we go.

As you can see, we didn’t order that much food, but what we got, we really liked!  For your enjoyment, here are a few more quick food pics from my friend, the lovely Renatinha de Oliveria.

How good does this look? I’m excited to visit again, and I can’t WAIT to bring my dad!

Watch out Mexican Village, Papa Howard is coming for you. And he’s hungry.

I Tried It: Crown Town Deli!

It’s not every day a new eatery opens up on our enchanted isle! When I heard a new deli was opening at the Ferry Landing, I had to give it a try.

The Crown Town Deli took the space over from the cigar shop, and you can tell they worked hard to make it clean, open and inviting. Smiles abound upon entering, and you can’t help but feel you were just MEANT to wander in.

Crown Town Deli serves up some savory and satisfying sandwiches, ready-made salads, some tasty breakfast items, and even a kids grilled cheese and PB&J. The best part? Kombucha on tap! Yeah, I said it, you can serve yourself some zingy, foamy, freshly poured Kombucha from a TAP. Yasssss!

The deli serves four kinds of Synergy Organic Kombucha: Vanilla Oak, Trilogy, Gingerade, and Pink Lady Basil. I tried the Pink Lady Basil, and it was everything you want in a Kombucha… rejuvenating and refreshing with a hint of sweetness.

They also serve Red Hat Coffee Cold Brew and Nitro on tap. Loving it!

But let’s get to the important part: the sandwiches! You can’t have an amazing deli without legit sandwiches. (As a former patron of EZ-Js Sandwiches in Pacific Beach in the 90s, I do consider myself a sandwich connoisseur.)

I’m not going to beat around the Boar’s Head. (That’s the brand of fresh meats and cheese they serve up.) My sandwich rocked my world!

I like it hot, so I ordered the Spicy Cabrillo Chipotle Sandwich. It’s served warmed with chicken, bacon, melted jack and cheddar cheese and spicy chipotle sauce on a toasted Torta. The sandwich was the size of a newborn, which made me really happy because then I could save some for my husband. It was probably the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in a while, and I feel like I eat awesome food on the regular. If you like sandwiches and you love spice, do yourself a favor and order this bad boy. (My husband did indeed try it later and he called it “the bomb.”)

They have no less than 15 different kinds of sandwiches to choose from (the most popular being the Coronado Clubhouse with turkey, bacon, avocado, swiss cheese and sprouts.)  And of course, you can build your own.

Conclusion: this little deli is an amazing addition to our happy little island, and I can’t wait to go back!



San Diego Restaurant Week: Island Style!

Lemongrass lobster infusion? Octopus with bacon? Sweet potato bread pudding with cream cheese? Do I have your attention?


Because San Diego restaurant week is ALMOST upon us! (It runs Sunday Jan 21 through Sunday Jan 28.) That means it’s time to dine at some of Coronado’s finest restaurants for a fraction of the price. And don’t miss out…it’s never too soon to start making resos for your favorite spots! Here they are, complete with menus.

1. Ocean 1500 at the Hotel del Coronado. Dinner $50. More info and reservations. 

2. Il Fornaio at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Lunch, $20. Dinner, $40. More info and reservations. 

3. Leroy’s Kitchen & Lounge. Lunch, $15. Dinner, $30. More info and reservations. 

4. Maretalia. Lunch, $15. Dinner, $30. Link to reservations and more info. 


5. Peohe’s at the Ferry Landing. Dinner, $30. Link to more info and reservations. 

6. Primavera. Dinner, $40. Link to more info and reservations. 

7. Stake Chophouse and Bar. Dinner, $50. Link to resos and more info.

Thanks for reading! And please check out the San Diego Restaurant Week website for a complete list of participating restaurants in San Diego County!

I Tried It: West Pac Noodle Bar

What do you do when you wake up New Year’s Day with a hangover headache and two misbehaving spirited children on your hands? You say a prayer, drink some water and head to the new noodle bar for some ramen and beer.

Lucky for you, the new noodle place is West Pac Noodle Bar. It’s already packed to the gills with chopstick-wielding diners and beer-sipping day drinkers, even though it just opened to the public a mere hour ago. More than 24 taps pour local craft beers including the Modern Times Fruitlands Passion Fruit & Guava (just the ticket!)

The energy is vibrant, steamy and fun. It’s loud enough to drown out your children, but not so crazy that you can’t have a conversation. The décor pops: thoughtful and edgy with lots of Asian flair. A trip to the bathroom reveals some surprising cat art (well Hello, Kitty!) and some street-style graffiti.

Onto the food. (Obviously, we have a theme here: “West Pac” references a naval deployment to Western Pacific waters. This includes travels to Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Hawaii. So the full menu will be sort of a “Best Of” Western Pacific cuisine.)

The soft-opening, limited lunch menu is small but packed with tasty offerings including pho, ramen, and…my favorite…poke! I was delighted to see some gluten-free options like the Skinny Noodles. You can also order your poke over mixed greens instead of rice for a no-carb option. (I see myself taking advantage of this as I prepare for a trip to Miami next month. But this was not the time to deprave myself of carbs.)

This is a casual, walk-up eatery so you order at the counter. We got the Ramen with chicken, the skinny noodles, and a spicy ahi poke prepared Volcano-style (that’s with wakame, pickled ginger, jalapeno, sweet onion and nori.) All dishes came out hot and tasty, and they even let my youngest order a side of rice for $1.

The ramen was comforting and yummy, (love the soft boiled egg!) and the skinny noodles were tasty and veggie-packed.

The ramen with chicken.
Skinny noodles

But I’m really a sucker for the poke. I love the volcano-style prep (you had me at jalapeno) and the nori was a nice touch. I can see myself coming back and getting that again in the very near future.

Poke over rice, volcano-style.

And I definitely want to try out the happy hour menu, which will reportedly feature $1 dumplings (how can you resist?) as well as $5 drafts and sake specials. (Happy hour coming soon, set to run 3-6pm.) I also see myself trying my hand at a sake cocktail, preferably with passion fruit and guava.

The consensus? Tasty offerings, fast service and a fun, playful vibe. West Pac Noodle kicks up the Coronado dining scene a notch with a novel, adventurous approach.

Also, there is something ridiculously fun about watching your kids eat noodles with chopsticks.

Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!