Self-Realization Fellowship Temple
Self-Realization Fellowship Temple

I’ve lived in the Bankers Hill neighborhood since 2010, but I’m still discovering new spots. First Avenue is probably my favorite street in San Diego, and I recently stopped at the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple for the first time after a particularly stressful day. I’ve never actually been inside the temple to worship, but the meditation garden is very serene (much smaller than the Encinitas location that I wrote about last year, and not overlooking the ocean—but still beautiful). While on the grounds, visitors are meant to be quiet as to not disturb others. I find the property very inviting and peaceful—even the entrance, pictured above.

A neighborhood spot that’s been a longtime favorite, Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant has one of the best happy hours in the ‘hood. The restaurant recently got a new chef, Tyler Nollenberger, who has made several updates to the menu. He assured me that my favorite items (The BH Burger, truffled French fries and the butterscotch pudding) weren’t going anywhere any time soon. Whew! I got to try some of his new menu additions recently during brunch, and let’s just say I’m making room for new favorites on my list…

Deviled eggs with the winter's passion drink, watermelon & burrata salad, carnitas and polenta cakes, smoke salmon crepe
Deviled eggs with the winter’s passion drink, watermelon & burrata salad, carnitas and polenta cakes, smoked salmon crepe

Start with the deviled farmers market eggs or the watermelon & burrata salad. The watermelon has serrano peppers to bring a bit of heat to the dish, so you get touches of sweet, salty and spicy in each bite. For entrees, I LOVE the smoked salmon rye crepe with dill whipped goat cheese, hard-boiled egg, red onion and arugula. The braised carnitas & sweet pepper polenta cakes are also a good choice, which comes with a poached egg, jalapeño hollandaise and home fries. One of the best beer cocktails I’ve ever had is called the winter’s passion, containing gin, campari, pineapple syrup, lime juice, mint and lilikoi beer. For those who don’t want beer in their cocktail, try the cortez the killer that mixes gin, chili liqueur, corn milk and lime together for a creamy, southwestern-style beverage. Don’t even think about leaving the restaurant without ordering the butterscotch pudding with creme fraiche, pecan toffee and shortbread cookies. It’s definitely in my top three favorites desserts in San Diego.

Wine-pairing dinner at Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant
Wine-pairing dinner at Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant (beef short ribs course)

Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant has a robust wine list and occasionally collaborates with wineries to create wine-pairing menus. I went to a wine-pairing dinner there a few months ago featuring Tablas Creek Vineyard, and it was incredible. Check online for any upcoming events, and be sure to sit in the patio area to admire the succulent wall.