This is the part of the blog where I share great deals you can score without leaving the island! Let’s get right to it.
1.”Wine and Paint” workshop at Emerald C Gallery. Cozy up at Emerald C for some brush dipping and wine sipping! You’ll create your own canvas masterpiece, and the $40 fee includes supplies, instruction and all the wine you can drink! But don’t forget to RSVP…space fills up fast. Workshops run every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 6-8pm. Cheers to that! Register online and preview the paintings here.
2. The Pumpkin Spice Candle by Our Own Candle Company. Nothing says Fall like pumpkin ANYTHING. I bought this candle a couple of weeks ago and it makes my house smell amazing! Getting ready to Amazon Prime a couple more of these bad boys. Check it out here. Amazon, currently $14.99.
3. “I’m Here for the Boos” Tank. I grabbed this from Target last week to make my $80 “Target minimum” and I love it. My daughters think its super cute, and I dig the witty (and appropriate) pun. Target, $12.99.
4. Happy Hour at Il Fornaio. I love getting cozy in the bar or toasty under the heat lamps in the outdoor patio for this happy hour. How can you beat eating $6 pizzas a stone’s throw from the blue bay? Happy Hour runs Monday-Friday from 3-6pm. 1333 First Street, Coronado. 619-437-4911.
Baby sitter? Booked. Tickets? Bought ‘em a week ago. Game plan? Start at the Ferry Landing and work our way south. (Or is it West? Who cares. There’s food!)
It’s that time of year again! Thanks to the ladies of the Junior Women’s Club, Taste of Coronado is ALMOST upon us! (The event is Wednesday, Oct 11th from 5pm to 9pm.)
We caught up with Jessica Cunningham and Renee Nutter, co-chairs of the event, for the skinny on the big night. Here’s what they had to say.
First off, big news! According to Jessica, there are some brand, spankin’ new stops featured on this year’s “Taste.” This includes the always-exquisite Primavera, (winner of a 2017 “Diner’s Choice” Award from Open Table, grazie!)
We’ll also sample choice bites and nibbles from new hotspot Maretalia (in Vigaluci’s former space) and tempting morsels from the yet-to-be-opened West Pac Noodle Bar (both from Blue Bridge.) And Firefly, home to delicious, artisan pizzas, is buzzing back on the tour!
But wait…do I smell hops? Something else is brewing. “Blue Bridge is going to feature beer pairings at all their stops,” says Renee. Cheers to that!
Speaking of adult beverages.
“The Tavern is doing drinks,” says Renee. “How does this sound for delicious? Lavender lemonade with Green Mark vodka, house-infused lavender syrup and fresh lemon. They’re also doing the Smoke & Honey…Monkey Shoulder scotch, Xicaru Mezcal, fresh lemon and honey comb.”
Can’t wait to try that one! But what about the food? Which dining stops are we looking forward to the most?
“Il Fornaio is always a favorite, the fried chicken at Claytons, and you can’t miss the bonbons at Mootime,” says Jessica. “I can’t wait to see what the Brig is doing. Actually, a lot of the restaurants are coming up with something new this year, and my mouth is watering thinking about it all!”
We really loved the complimentary trolley last year. Will it be back?
“Yes,” says Jessica. “Three trolleys will be consistently flowing, and we’ve made sure that one is ADA complaint.”
And what event is complete without live music? Turns out Midlife Crisis will be playing at McPs so we can dance off all the carbs. Music to our ears!
“Each year Taste of Coronado gets better and better,” says Jessica. “We still have stops that have been with us from the first year—we are on our eighth year now. Each year there are more choices, better options and a great atmosphere that really showcases our beautiful island.”
The best part? Taste of Coronado won’t take a bite out of your wallet. Tickets are only $45 ($50 the day of) and proceeds go to charity. (This year it’s the Junior Achievement of San Diego County.)
Stone Crab and Lacquered Halibut at 1500 Ocean? Or Pappardelle al Short Rib Ragu at Primavera? Decisions, decisions. I’m happy to report that BOTH can be yours if your play your (credit) cards right. These are just two of seven Coronado restaurants opening their doors for San Diego Restaurant Week.
Check out the menus of participating Coronado hotspots below. But make your resos now! (Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)
San Diego Restaurant Week runs September 24th (that’s yesterday!) thru Sunday Oct 1st. Let’s get on it!
It’s not every day that a new restaurant opens in Coronado. When we heard that a new Mexican restaurant was popping up in the old Gustatory space on the 100 block of Orange, we had to check it out!
The name: Fonda Don Diego. The spin: A menu brimming with south-of-the-border delights, featuring savory dishes created by Chef Alejandro Martinez from Chez Loma. The drink selection: Tasty, inventive craft cocktails, and solid beer and wine selections. The space: vibrant and warm, Tijuana street art-style, walls adorned with colorful murals. The prices: super reasonable.
Hmm…sounds enticing, doesn’t it? But would Fonda Don Diego really deliver? Or would it go the way of tenant ghosts Gustatory and Sapori? There was only one way to find out.
My first visit was last week. I came in around noon on a Friday, and the restaurant was already buzzing with chatty, happy locals, eager to talk about their meals. I was excited to see a few people that I knew.
“The chilaquiles are to die for!” said a friend, dining outside.
“I love the cochinita taco,” said someone else, eating indoors with her family.
“I ordered the egg dish with plantains…delicious!”
“The tacos are good…not revolutionary, but good…Yeah, I like them.”
Wow! A lot of warm feedback on the menu, I thought. I can’t wait to order!
But first, I had to check out the space.
The décor of Fonda Don Diego is warm, vibrant, and thoughtful with an urban, contemporary edge. Parts of the restaurant reminded me of Rosarito or Puerto Nuevo…inviting and cozy.
Fantastic, colorful murals adorn the walls. Turns out they are from award-winning Tijuana Street artist Alonso Delgadillo, who goes by the name El Norteno, or “Norte” for short. (He is even cool enough to have been a featured artist at Kaaboo 2017.)
You can’t miss the murals, and you shouldn’t. Here’s what El Norteno has to say about his art:
“Border life is a daily emotional stimulus that drives me to tell stories…Tijuana is aggressive and hospital at the same time; I like being in a city that forces me to reinvent myself again and again.”
I like it.
Okay, okay, enough with the art, and on to the most pressing issue of the hour…cocktails!
Fonda Don Diego advertises $5 mimosas, $5 draft beer and an impressive espresso bar. Don’t be swayed. The cocktail menu is where it’s at! If your server doesn’t offer a cocktail menu (which they didn’t both times we came in) be sure to ask for one.
Resident bartender/mixologist Ramon conjured up the cocktail selection and it is creative and impressive! On my first visit, I ordered the Kombucha Royale, touting “vibrant kombucha, sparkling wine and black walnut bitters.” Kombucha and wine? Yes, please! The kombucha would surely cancel out the negative health effects of the wine!
It’s as tasty as it looks. Refreshing, zingy, and delicious. (A waitress told me that Ramon got really good at making kombucha when he “went away” for a while.) The best part? It’s a reasonable $6.50.
When I brought my husband in a few days later, we couldn’t resist sampling a few more of the cocktail selections. (Only to be fair, and to give readers a good idea of the offerings. Not because we love to drink cocktails.)
For me, Ramon recommended the Guanavana Queen, which has soursop puree, fresh lime juice, Korean vodka, and agave syrup. It came with a sweet and spicy rimmed glass.
What is soursop, you say? So glad you asked. According to Ramon, soursop is a prickly alligator-like fruit that comes from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. It’s supposed to be super healthy, and according to the Internet, it can even fight cancer! (Once again, the benefits of the soursop trump the negative effects of the Korean vodka.)
This drink was the bomb, and it rivaled even the Kombucha Royale. (Between the Kombucha and soursop, this place could save my life!)
I also sampled the 3 layer Sangria which was a delicious with a hint of cinnamon. A perfect fall drink! I could see myself lounging in a flannel shirt and jeans, lazily sipping on my 3 layer Sangria, giggling at a funny comment a friend has made. (Because my friends are smart and witty.) It would be J. Crew kind-of-moment.
My husband ordered a mule, which was light and refreshing, and a Jalepano Margarita which was tasty and not too spicy, but I liked my drinks better. What can I say? I make great choices.
When it comes to the menu, the selections seemed vast! I was there for breakfast/lunch both times (they weren’t open yet for dinner), so I guess it was sort of a brunch menu. Omelets and tacos and enchiladas oh my!
For the fit and fabulous crowd, they also offer “Jars” of parfait-like combos, including Acai with berries, granola and almond milk and chia with dates and maple syrup.
I wasn’t feeling fit or fabulous. I was feeling downright hangry, so I asked for something filling and spicy.
The waitress recommended the Divorciados which I’ve heard is a popular dish in Mexico. It is a tortilla with refried beans, 3 fried eggs, ranchero sauce, and tomatillo sauce. (That’s red AND green sauce, bam!) I asked for a side of extra salsa because I am used to my food not being spicy enough for me.
It was awesome. Just spicy enough, tasty, and perfect. I ate it all and would definitely order it again. I’m actually craving it right now. I didn’t even need my extra side of salsa!
When I came with my husband, he ordered the enchiladas with chicken with swiss cheese. So good! It came with creamy tomatillo sauce, cheese and corn. My husband was really nice and let me eat a lot of this.
On this visit I ordered a quesadilla which sounds boring but was actually totally different because it comes out fried–hot-pocket style. (This is a good thing.) I got the chorizo with potato. It was crispy and yummy…the meat was perfectly spiced. I ordered an extra side of salsa which I did use this time, otherwise it may have been too dry for me. It was really good, but I found myself wishing it was bursting with more cheese.
Oh yeah…did I mention my quesadilla (which was enough for a meal for me) was like, $4?
Which brings me to an important point…the prices are very reasonable here! My husband and I ordered two dishes and four cocktails, and the bill was $47. Don’t believe me? Here’s the bill.
Ramon told me that they were opening for dinner (and happy hour) as of this week, with a completely different menu featuring ribs, carnitas, ceviche and seafood. You can bet we will be back. Stay tuned for the happy hour review! In the meantime, Beinvenido, Fonda Don Diego!
See below for pics of the brunch/lunch menu and cocktail menu. And for more details and descriptions of food offerings at Fonda Don Diego, please see the review from the lovely Coree Cornelius at eCoronado.com.