Crossing the Quince Street Bridge

When I first moved to San Diego five years ago from Charleston, SC, I had no idea what neighborhood I should or would want to live. Since my mom’s old college friend had a condo in Bankers Hill, she let me stay there for a couple of months so I could get settled and explore the area. But I soon learned that I didn’t want to go far—who wouldn’t want to live near Balboa Park, Little Italy, downtown and the airport? It felt so central and urban, quiet and safe. Since I didn’t have any friends yet, I spent a lot of time wandering around the neighborhood to explore. I soon discovered the quickest route from “my” condo to Balboa Park was via the Quince Street Bridge (because of San Diego’s proximity to Mexico, we tend to Hispanic-ize everything to make it sound Spanish, but in this case it’s not “quin-ce” like a 15-year-old’s birthday party, it’s actually a type of fruit tree). Speaking of trees, it was so useful to know that all the nearby streets were in alphabetical order and named for trees, so I knew if I hit Cedar that I was going in the wrong direction. I also knew that Laurel was the main thoroughfare into the park, so as long as I could find Laurel I didn’t need to freak out.

The Quince Street Bridge is for pedestrians crossing over Maple Canyon between Second and Fourth avenues. In 2011, it was closed for several months because a Eucalyptus tree fell over and took a chunk out of it during a storm. Bankers Hill residents love the iconic wooden footbridge that connects them with the park and let’s them see the greenery in Maple Canyon without actually having to access the canyon trail.

After walking across the bridge a few times and getting turned around in the park (i.e. much longer walks than I had anticipated), I worked up an appetite. Since I’d seen Hob Nob Hill featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, I wanted to check out the old-timey California diner that claimed to make a decent biscuit. After living in the South for a number of years, I’m extremely picky about what other regions call “Southern cuisine.” Don’t even get me started on barbecue… So anyway, I was delightfully surprised to find out that Hob Nob does in fact know its way around a biscuit (they even offer honey as a condiment, which in my book is essential). Since the restaurant has been in business for more than 70 years, I guess they’ve had time to perfect the doughy, flaky, buttery recipe.