SoCal Food Tours
A few weeks ago, I received a telephone call from a member of one of my support groups telling me of a tour called “SoCal Food Tour.” She wondered if it would be something that I would be interested in, as well as other members of our group. Although not knowing much about it, I thought it might be fun and told her to sign me up.
Copied directly from the website, this is the description of the “tour.”
“Discover a pedestrian’s paradise with its tree-lined neighborhoods and interesting eateries that will excite any taste bud! While in beautiful Coronado, you will be taken on a three-hour walking adventure starting at the historic Boathouse and Tent City Murals. You will experience life as it was, how Coronado was settled, all the ways Coronado has changed over the years, and, of course, all of the great things that Coronado has to offer today. This popular tour invites you to enjoy being active while tasting local specialties and learning nutritional nuggets along the way. We will venture off the beaten path, stroll the streets and take in some of the picturesque historical neighborhoods. Learn about the history, culture, architecture, and entertainment offerings that makes Coronado so unique.”
Our group of four met, along with two other couples, at the Tent City Murals just across the street from the Hotel del Coronado. Our tour guide, Lois, explained the significance of the murals and pictures and it was a fascinating display. As long as I have lived in San Diego, and having both my mother and my daughter and her family live in Coronado, I had never visited this project. It was developed in the early 1900s and was a part of Coronado until 1939. People that stayed at the Hotel Del during this time paid $4.95 a day. At tent city they could pay $4.95 for the entire week. The pictures are fascinating, and in a lesser way, reminded me of “Camp Curry” in Yosemite.
After viewing “tent city” we traveled, on foot, down Orange Avenue to the Boat House, when we found out another part of history. The building was a “mock” version of the Hotel Del. No one had ever built a place like the Del, and they wanted to see if it could be done. The “Boat House” was originally built on a pier, but later moved to where it stands now. And, if memory serves me correctly, it was called “The Chart House” for years.
In 1885, John Spreckels bought all of Coronado for $110,000. He had it zoned for different buildings, and in one day made the $110,000 back. Not a bad investment!
As we continued down Orange Avenue, we came to the Glorietta Bay Inn. It was also owned by Spreckels, and when he had it built he put steel beams throughout the entire hotel because he lost his home in San Francisco due to the earthquake of 1906 and did not want to run the risk again.
Although we were walking down Orange, we only viewed the Hotel Del from across the street. Lois pointed out the crowns in the dining room talked about the 11 presidents who have stayed there, and told us where the walking trail was if we wanted to continue on that path, etc.
Our first stop for refreshments was at Costa Azul, a nice Mexican restaurant only steps away from the Glorietta Bay Inn. We all had a nice Mexican soup, and chips and salsa were on the table for us. This was included in our package price, so I have no idea what it cost. There were two people on our tour who had allergies, which was taken into consideration when we were served.
We crossed the street and buildings, like the old “Silver Strand” theater, and their histories were pointed out to us. Then we stopped in at the 1134 restaurant. It was truly a fun place, and waiting for us on the second floor was a snack of white pizza, Caesar salad, and a small piece of French bread. This was only the second time I have had white pizza – no tomato sauce – and it was delightful. Again, this was part of the package price of the tour.
Following 1134 we went to Coronado’s “Taste of Oils” for a most bizarre dessert. Vanilla ice cream topped with a lavender and balsamic vinegar mix, with a bit of amaretto and another liquor on top of that. As a real aficionado of ice cream with hot fudge topping, I was not wild about this, but others in the group thought it was very good. If nothing else, it was an interesting taste.
As we continued on our walking tour, we went into the Coronado History Museum and looked at the samplings they had around the rooms. They were doing a special display of the “Kingston Trio” music, and it was fun looking at the posters, clothing, musical instruments, etc. that were available to us.
We ended our tour at “Wine Styles” for a tasting of two different wines (we had our choice of 6). They have wine tasting every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5:30-7:30pm and it includes live music.
All in all, we had a delightful time. It was a different look at Coronado than any of us had had before. I wish that we could have gone into some of the buildings we saw – Glorietta Bay Inn, for example — to see how beautiful the lobby is now that it has been refurbished. We saw several homes that are now historical landmarks, but only from the outside. Lois, our tour guide, was delightful and very knowledgeable, and she was a font of information regarding Coronado. The 1.5 mile walk was on flat ground; the bottle of water donated by Boney’s, and the reusable grocery bag was greatly appreciated.
It truly was a “full-flavored” experience.