The newly constructed Waterfront Park opened in front of the County Administration Building about two years ago. Costing nearly $50 million to build, the park includes 12 acres along the bay, interactive fountains with 30+ jets using recycled water, a playground, bocce courts, public art, gardens and lawn space. Waterfront Park is often rented out for public and private events such as concerts, festivals and weddings. As San Diego’s largest urban park, the large green space is a welcomed sight among the surrounding buildings and parking lots in the marina district. I especially like walking by the park to see a bunch of kids run through the arcs of water that shoot up from jets and land in the shallow fountains. Nothing quite says summer like squeals of excitement and a splash of water.
Nearby at the new Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayside in Little Italy, Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen opened in July with Top Chef alum Giselle Wellman at the helm. The decor is absolutely stunning, with gold and turquoise accents, clean lines and lots of natural light throughout. On the coastal-inspired menu, you’ll find several tasty seafood options, like the jumbo lump crab cakes and smoked trout rillettes. Start off with a cured meat and artisanal cheese board, which could be a meal by itself.
But since I appreciate simple things done really well, one of my favorite menu items at Pacific Standard is the homemade brioche bread served with ricotta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. I could eat it as an appetizer, breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert… there’s no occasion that would not benefit from the flaky, buttery bread and the creamy, saltiness of the cheese. I guess that makes me one basic b*tch.
For a proper dinner entree, I love the steak frites that comes with a flat iron steak, thick house-cut fries and an herb butter for dipping. The salmon is also a popular selection that’s paired with glazed lentils, carrots, pickled red onions, and a lemon parsley gremolata.
Pacific Standard has a great cocktail and wine list, but if you’re feeling especially boozy, opt for one of the punch bowls with a rum or pisco brandy base (perfect for a group brunch).
With a sweet cocktail, you’ll want a more savory dessert, and the fig tart is just that. The pine nut crust has a goat cheese filling, topped with honey and black figs. Not as heavy or as dense as a cheesecake, the tart has a lightness that’s a nice alternative to a glazed sugar bomb.