Africa and Beyond gallery in La Jolla
Africa and Beyond gallery in La Jolla (courtesy photo)

My family has always been really big on embracing other cultures. In fact, my mom is the most international person I know, having traveled and lived in more countries than I can recall. My childhood home was always filled with artwork and mementos from my parents’ travels, as well as music that my teenage friends would call “weird.” My dad was an amazing cook, and often made ethnic cuisine for us growing up—we didn’t have spaghetti for dinner, we had Thai curry and Japanese sushi. My sister and I ate nori while playing in our (really epic) treehouse—not potato chips. It made for a delicious and extremely interesting, eclectic childhood.

Now as an adult, one of my favorite things about living in San Diego is its cultural diversity. Our proximity to Mexico obviously has a large influence on our culture, but there are so many other factors and ethnic groups that shape our melting pot of a city. You may not think Africa has a presence in San Diego, but the owners of African art gallery Africa and Beyond in La Jolla would show you otherwise. Africa and Beyond sells rare ceremonial and everyday utilitarian objects that are accompanied by background information on their history and function. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, Ian Allen travels to Africa every year with his wife Julie to handpick new merchandise for the gallery.

In the same building as the gallery, The Hake Kitchen & Bar serves seafood with mediterranean flavors from Spain, the South of France and the Italian coast. The owners are part of a popular restaurant group based in Mexico City, and immediately make you feel like familia when you arrive. I like to go for happy hour and get a few small plates and wine, but they’re quickly becoming known for their cocktail program. My menu favorites are the avocado “fries” with sriracha aioli, shaved ribeye, tuna chicharron, tuna tiradito, Rosarito shrimp tacos, and ahi “tacos.” If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, try the safe harbour, spice embargo or black rose.

Ahi "tacos" and the black rose cocktail at The Hake
Ahi “tacos” and the black rose cocktail at The Hake