Bite San Diego - Downtown / Little Italy
Exploring the city can be fun, especially if it involves food. The Bite San Diego tours are created to spotlight a few eateries as well as teach some history about a particular area of town. Downtown/Little Italy was my choice for a makeup tour (following the La Jolla tour).
A friend and I walked into Royal India a little before noon, where our friendly tour guide Hank was gathering the other people attending the tour.
Hank hails from New York and told us a little about himself and the tour, then ushered us towards the buffet. Can there be a better start than this? I mostly remember how much I enjoyed stuffing every tasty food item right into my mouth. Royal India is worth revisiting in the future!
Upon exiting the restaurant, I noticed this awesome status with a bowl. It held cardamon fennel, which is supposed to help with digestion when you chew on it but boy was the flavor potent!
Our next stop was Berkeley Pizza in the gaslamp. They used to be a popular mobile food place or something similar but now have their own brick and mortar location.
This style of pizza is a deep dish pizza pie. We were offered two different flavors, my favorite being the spinach and mushroom over the pepperoni. The crust is similar to a shortbread or pie crust so its more doughy. I'd like a little more pop to this pizza but it was still good. We chilled here for a while. There's also beer available to purchase with your pizza.
I really love the look of our next stop, Zymology 21. Blame it on me being an nerd or whatever, but everything about this place was so freaking cool.
Jason was the host and he was a hilarious server, if you can't already tell by his chic posing.
My friend purchased one of the mixed drinks while I sipped on a $5 mule. A family from our tour purchased the Test Tube flight, which consists of 5 seasonal "shrubs" or flavors with your choice of liquor. Everyone watched Jason pour something into the container that created wispy white smoke that danced around the drinks. That day's menu included shrubs of blueberry basil, pineapple orange, apple cinnamon, hibiscus sumac, and pear vanilla and liquor choice of vodka, rum, gin, tequila, or whiskey.
The food sampled here was chilaquiles with some spicy salsa! That avocado helped to cool it down but the spice was still quite a mouthful!
Our next stop was Currant American Brasserie, a block away from the historic Spreckles Theater. Drinks were available for purchase at happy hour prices.
On the tables were truffle and parmesan popcorn which was a good snack food. We were still here around 3:15pm or so and I began worrying about how long the tour was overrunning, until I was informed that it was a four hour tour! Oops!
Afterwards, we took a long, long walk to our final stop at Napizza in Little Italy. I was engrossed by the appetizing displays of food upon entering! Can we sample all of that instead?
Here we were served nutella pizza for dessert. The breading was a little hard but the hazelnut spread with a dash of cinnamon and powdered sugar never fails to please!
While walking around, Hank gave us some history on gaslamp and where San Diego came from. I was surprised to learn how it originally was a stinagree area due to hard times! This means a type of redlight district by the way. By the 70's / 80's the gaslamp came out of its down times. We also passed by the oldest building in the gaslamp, now turned into a museum. I love how there's a big dog status outside. You should hear the story about him! Lots of other history bits throughout the tour.
Overall, this tour had a different feel than other tours I've taken. The price only includes food with your tour guide but takes 4 hours (compared to the typical 3 hours) due to "drinking time" with the upsell of alcohol. This one also ends 1.5 miles from the starting point so be prepared to spend more time walking (or uber/lyft) to your car. Still, if you luck out with a really entertaining tour participants, that could possibly be the best 4+ hours of your life. I just wish a little more was included with the price.
Recently they've added new restaurant locations (my tour was in Jan) and the tours show 4.5-5 hours now so seems like they are changing things up a bit... see the official Bite San Diego website for the latest info.
Disclaimer: We were provided tickets for the tour but the opinions are strictly our own.