San Diego is dubbed as the America’s Finest City; beautiful weather, stunning beaches, rich history and culture, warm people, and of course, a bustling food scene.
I had the chance to have a taste of their spectacular food scene during my stay in this beautiful city through the Booze, Brothel, and Bites Food Tour. The food tour was composed of 4 stops through the streets of San Diego Gaslamp Quarter.
We met with our tour guide, Amanda, under the Gas Lamp sign. She asked us beforehand if anyone would be uncomfortable with a bit R-rated kind of discussion. This is because we got the Booze, Brothels, and Bites tour which from the name itself could have some juicy topics.
We learned about how San Diego, the red light district of California, evolved from an ill reputed city to one of the most vibrant city it is today. We also learned about the proliferation of prostitution in this area and how women lived during the old times.
It was no different from most of the food tours I had; a little bit of walking, a little bit of history, and a lot of food.
Our first stop was at a Greek-inspired luxe restaurant bar called Meze Greek Fusion. They are named as the Best Greek Restaurant in San Diego in 2015 and the Best Mediterranean Restaurant on the same year.
The ambiance was luxurious and the food lives up to the hype. We had their Greek Quesadilla and Sangria for our drinks. They served us with a rather good portion, as for the taste, it was really tasty, authentic, and very good.
I expected our stops to be maybe quite related to the history of San Diego, but I didn’t see the connection with this stop. Nonetheless, the food was great. I would highly recommend this restaurant for anyone who would ask me for a great place to try in San Diego.
2nd stop: Monkey King, 467 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA
The next stop is at an Asian Restaurant that traces its history way back in the 1800’s. The place started as an illegal lottery house ran by the most influential man in San Diego’s Chinatown. Monkey King was the place where San Diego’s elite and powerful figures would go dine, drink, and gamble.
Fast forward to the 21st century, Monkey King is still on its original place and serving delicious food minus the gambling and illegal activities. The interior was nice and it just really feels nice when you see something that has a rich history.
They served us with their Bao infused with Korean Bulgogi. Audrey loved this so much that when there was extra, she quickly asked for it and I can’t blame her because it was really good.
Our 3rd stop is a very interesting place. It is an Irish Pub with everything inside, from the tables to the décors, were shipped piece-by-piece from Ireland. But aside from that, they also boast their place as having the Longest Happy Hour in San Diego and the single longest running single-owner business.
They serve Irish dishes and a large selection of beer and drinks selection. They also have free live music every Friday night. We had their Shepherd Pie paired with some Guiness beer. The Shepherd pie was really good and the beer complemented it well.
4th stop: CrunchTime Popcorn and Ice Cream, 611 K St, San Diego, CA
The last stop was at a snack place that serves mainly popcorn and ice cream. I didn’t see the relationship of this one with the theme of the food tour, however I was grateful to have some sweets after all the delicious food we had.
Overall, the food tour was great, I learned a lot about San Diego’s history and discovered great restaurants and bars in the area. Amanda was very attentive the whole despite our group being a little bigger than most food tours I had. She made sure that we all hear her bits of information to the point that she would come to our tables one-by-one.
Perhaps, it would be easier if we were quite a bit smaller group. But at least we had the chance to meet more people and make new friends. We definitely had a good time.
Tours are available from Wednesday to Saturdays for $56 to $60 per head with no hidden costs or fees.
How to Book
You can book tickets via their website
Photos Taken by Patricia Lim
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