The San Diego Zoo and a Lunch at the Hopping Pig

    One of the “must see” spots we wanted to hit was the Zoo.  It was supposed to be one of the nicer zoo’s to see in the U.S. so to not go would just be silly.  The Zoo opened at 9am and we were there right at that time.  This zoo was gigantic.  The entire layout felt as if you were taking a weird paved stroll through a jungle.  It was really impressive.  I found myself able to take some really awesome photos, close up.  I’m not sure if its just a common thing, or maybe we were just lucky, but many of the animals were as close to us as they could possibly be.

These two were rough housing under water while we watched.

Seeing this guy brought some mixed feelings about the zoo.  These things are so human-like, that its hard not to look at them as slaves or prisoners.   They did state several times while walking through the zoo, that these animals end up living way longer than they normally would in the wild, but still…

Talking about the upcoming NFL draft…

This was a site to see….the panda!  With only like 1600 of these things left on this earth, getting to see the Panda was awesome.  This panda was totally relaxed in his tree stump recliner eating some veggies in the sun, living it up.  He was not as sad (or sad looking) as the orangutan.  I could be wrong though…maybe the orangutan wasn’t sad at all.   Maybe he was just as enthused as I’d be with people pointing at me while I tried enjoying lunch…

For 40 bucks a ticket, the San Diego Zoo ended up being worth the trip.  It was a gorgeous day, nice breeze, and great way to spend a few hours.

For lunch we headed back into the city to the Gas Lamp District, an area in the city loaded with shops, places to eat, and pubs.  I had Nicole pick the lunch destination and she surprised me by picking a place that was right up my alley, the “Hopping Pig”.  The Hopping Pig is a little place with an open front, some exposed brick, great taps, nice menu, and cool background music (I believe they played The Smiths the entire time we were there).  Having driven, I only treated myself to one beer, Port Brewery’s Erasure IPA, which was solid.  Nicole ordered the Short Ribs and I ordered the Yellow Tail.

The result of two awesomely prepared dishes! 

   I was pretty happy Nicole found this place, as these are commonly the places I seek out when going out of town.  Similar places to the “Blue Monk” in Buffalo, “Hop Leaf” in Chicago, and now I’ve had the pleasure of relaxing at “The Hopping Pig” in San Diego.  Like Cube says….

San Diego Pretty Sweet….

   I’m terrible at blogging, I fully admit.  I keep forgetting.  But I remembered now!  That’s whats most important right!?  Well, Nicole and I are in San Diego and it’s been awesome.  San Diego is way better than San Fran.  Last year we went to San Fran, it was nice……beautiful scenery, great weather, begging, 20 year old homless, etc…….San Diego?  Great weather, beautiful scenery, great beer, great food.   San Diego wins.   Nicole and I have enjoyed our time here.  I love Buffalo, but man, after this winter, San Diego was like heaven.  Nicole couldn’t even drink…..shes a trooper.  I’m not going to lie.   The main reason I wanted to go to San Diego was to drink amazing beer…and that, I did.  As I type this, I haven’t even gotten to Stone yet!
Let me start with this……the staple of the west coast, is that you cannot get good pizza.  I was proven wrong.  I fully admit.  Chicago and New York are kings for pizza, and from everything I have experienced and from everything I have heard, there is shit for pizza on the West.  I was proven wrong this weekend, and pleasantly impressed!  Woodstock’s Pizza on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach is tasty!  Delicious Pizza and top notch beer.  One thing I noticed while in San Diego….every place you go that is able to serve alcohol, has great beer.   We have come a long way in Buffalo with our craft beer scene, but there are still too many places that have a predominant menu of Bud, Coors, Molson, and Sam Adams.

Lets Get back to Woodstock’s.  I ordered the BBQ chicken pizza with a pint of freaking Union jack from Firestone Walker.

I’m a pizza snob.  One might even call me “a dick”.  Whatever, I’ve worked pizza since legal working age, so I know it.  Woodstock’s is as good as you’re going to get not being from NY or Chicago.

     My stepfather and I went out one night after the ladies were asleep in search of a beer oasis.  We found it at the Taproom.  Let me start by saying, that if you are on the West Coast, you should be constantly searching for Russian River’s Pliny The Elder.  I won’t even go into detail about it….if you are into craft beer….do some research. Needless to say, we were lucky enough to run into a freshly tapped barrel which they get only once a week, and gets kicked in a little more than a day.  It’s easily a top 5 IPA of all time.  I had one of those, along with Russian River’s “Blind Pig” which is an IPA, and then Stone’s Ruination on Cask.   The Ruination on Cask was like liquid gold.  If you don’t appreciate cask beer, then you can’t say you are a fan of beer.  With a cask beer, you taste beer in its purest form. If you think of it as just “flat beer”, than you failed to grab the pebble from the master’s hand.  You fu*king failed to capture a fly in the chop sticks and sure as shit didn’t perform the crane kick from a stoop.  The Ruination Cask was sick, and was the best beer I had while in San Diego (so far, I have yet to reach Stone!).

Are you kidding?

Ruination on Cask

Pliney

This trip has been sweet so far.  I’ll have more updates as they come.  I can’t wait till Stone!

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