Lately I’ve been totally into walking tours. What better way to discover a new place and try new things than by actually going there on foot? Last weekend I did a historical walking tour of Downtown Los Angeles, but I remembered that I’ve also done several tours in my own backyard of San Diego.
Bite San Diego offers food tours of several local neighborhoods, including Downtown/Little Italy, North Park, Pacific Beach, Coronado, La Jolla, Encinitas and Liberty Station. You learn about the history of the area, visit five or six restaurants, and walk about two miles total. I’ve been on the Downtown/Little Italy tour (offered Fridays and Saturdays at noon), which is their most popular neighborhood tour. Each tour is capped at 15 people and lasts about four hours long, with up to 20 minutes between each stop. Each restaurant offers small samples (rather than full courses), and the participating restaurants change periodically. On my tour, we visited Berkeley Pizza, Magnolia Tap & Kitchen, Napizza, Royal India and Zymology 21 (yes, two pizza places – but one was dessert pizza).
Read my full article on Bite San Diego here.
But since these tours only offer “bites,” you can still plan for a nice steak dinner afterward (besides, you’ve been walking!). I recently ate dinner at Greystone Steakhouse for the first time, which is one of the few local restaurants that has wagyu beef on its menu. We tried Japanese and Australian wagyu beef and they were both delicious, flavorful and oh-so-tender. Trust me when I say you won’t need steak sauce. The meat is so rich and filling that you only need to order a small cut.
Greystone specializes in exotic meats like boar, buffalo, elk and veal tongue. I took a walk on the wild side with wild boar pasta (rigatoni, mushrooms, fennel, tomatoes, goat cheese), buffalo tenderloin (poached pear, dry fig port reduction, truffle risotto cake), and the roasted elk chop (porcini-rubbed coriander, blackberry cauliflower saffron puree, crispy kale) – the last two being very lean alternatives to beef. The foie gras is a more decadent option that comes with poached pear, port reduction, caramel crystals and black truffle.
For lighter options or appetizers, start with oysters on the half shell or crab cocktail. I loved the big-eye tuna tartare (avocado, salmon roe, ginger ponzu, wakame seaweed, ciabatta crostini) that also paired really nicely with my champagne. All of their produce is organic and sourced from local farms, including my favorite Greystone salad with butter lettuce, cartelized walnuts, pear, bleu cheese, truffle croutons and lemon mustard vinaigrette.
For dessert, try the Tahitian vanilla bean creme brûlée or the molten lava chocolate cake (served on fire!). Save room for one of their 458 wines that a sommelier can help you select. Or try a sampling of wines during happy hour, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. daily.