Travel Lai Way

Next stop: San Diego, CA

This was a very spontaneous trip on my older sister’s part, but nevertheless an exciting trip! It was short but sweet! Just a two-day sister trip, to get refreshed, eat some yummy food, and just enjoy the weather. We packed a lot into two days, but if you have longer to spend in San Diego, you could probably spread our itinerary out to 3 or 4 days.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @_rachel_lai to see real-time travel adventures and new food spots!

Day 1:

Left our house around 10 am after running around getting everything packed into my older sister’s car and we were off for San Diego! We were meeting my older sister’s church family for lunch (which basically sparked this entire trip since they were coming down from the very tippy top North of California) at one of my favorite BBQ places! Phil’s BBQ! If you are in San Diego, or nearby…go there! But first, we stopped for coffee and a snack at the Succulent Cafe in Carlsbad, CA. Seriously the cutest cafe ever! And if you are a lover of succulents and good coffee then coming here is a must! The entire cafe is decorated with all kinds of succulents and plants, and you can even buy one if you so wish. The outdoor seating is just the cutest and I love how there are little corners everywhere so you can get cozy with your drink and chat. I ordered a Lavender flavored latte with almond milk and it was delicious! My sisters got a cold Salted Caramel Mocha, Salted Caramel flavored latte, and a cinnamon bun to share. And after a short photo session (I mean seriously…how could you not? It was just beautiful there) and we were back on the road to BBQ!


After less than an hour (we were so lucky with traffic) we arrived at Phil’s BBQ ready to eat to our heart’s content! A short wait in line to order at the counter and the workers were so nice to put together a huge table for us to all eat at! Of course with my love of meat, we ordered the 5 bone beef rib dinner with french fries and cold slaw, and an order of their colossal onion rings! Seriously just the best!


Then we hopped back in the car and drove to Fashion Valley, a HUGE outdoor shopping center! Seriously there were so many stores there, you could probably stay there all day if you had time. But we set a time limit on ourselves to make sure we got to Coronado Island to have dinner and see the sunset. After a quick 3 hours of shopping, we drove over the beautiful bridge to Coronado Island, picked up some sushi at Sushi Deli 1 and found ourselves on the beach. If you are craving sushi, Sushi Deli is a pretty inexpensive place to go, we ordered a dragon and rainbow roll. It was such a nice way to end our busy day. Just the beach, my sisters, and sushi. And we got there just in time to take pictures at golden hour and see the sunset.


On the way back to our hotel, we decided to finish our dinner, since those 2 sushi rolls on the beach were not enough. So we stopped by California Burritos on a recommendation from one of my sister’s friend. We ordered, of course, the California burrito and a large Horchata drink. Oh My Gosh….the Horchata drink was sooooo good! The California burrito was pretty standard but still delicious, stuffed with french fries and tons of meat, not to mention it was the size of my forearm…but the Horchata there was just so good after a night at the beach.

Eating our burrito back in our hotel room
Driving back to the hotel and these archways were just so pretty, I had to take a picture through the window

Day 2:

Woke up around 8 am and got ready for the day, we had to check out by 12 pm, but of course, we wanted to leave earlier so we could get brunch. But because there are 3 of us and only one bathroom, I woke up at my normal time and got ready first while my sisters were still sleeping. We had brunch at this cute spot called The Cottage and even though there was a huge group/line of people waiting to get a table, we put our name down before we even got there! Thanks to this little application called “No wait” which lets to put your name on the list before you even get there, and it even tells you how many parties are in front of you, so you know how long you can wander around before coming to the restaurant or before leaving your house. When we left the hotel, there were about 10 parties in front of us, but by the time we got there and found parking…there were only 2 in front of us, so we got seated in no time! We ordered brioche stuffed french toast with strawberries and bananas and a smoked salmon hash! The workers here are super friendly and nice, they split our order on separate plates to make it easier for us to share. If you don’t mind the wait or can get your name down early, this a great place to eat at in La Jolla, San Diego.


We walked around to see the small stores after brunch and finally ended up at the La Jolla Cove. Growing up, my family spent a lot of time at the beach, so coming back to the water was so relaxing. I love just sitting on my towel, looking out into the water and just having some me-time. We found a cliff and just sat there and did a little daydreaming before heading down to the water. But unfortunately, it’s been years since my skin has had real sun exposure for a long time, so we didn’t last too long in the sun. Thankfully the water was at a good temperature and we got to play in the water for a while.


Before going back home, we stopped by the Carlsbad Outlets and finished the shopping we didn’t get to really do at Fashion Valley. Once we saw that traffic died down a little, we got back on the freeway and headed home again. But, not before stopping for dinner at Mitsuwa (what I call Japanese Food Court Heaven!). I loved how there were so many places to choose from! We ordered takoyaki, spicy miso ramen combo with pork rice, katsu curry plate, and for dessert green tea and vanilla soft-serve ice cream and a twisted sugar donut. *insert yummy food dance* After being in the car for a while, getting out and stretching your legs with some delicious food is always a good thing.


Another great trip with my sisters! Whenever I go on trips like this, I am just so thankful for having siblings that like to spend time with me and travel. Since we are all getting older, going on trips together helps strengthen our bond between us, especially since we are so far apart in age. Can’t wait for our next adventure together!

Every day, Lai day!

1 thought on “Next stop: San Diego, CA”

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