The COVID-19 pandemic and political climate can be overwhelming. With the holiday season approaching, we’re hoping to find some solace with comfort food and sweet treats. Here are a few local eateries that we think should be your go-to spots for a sweet taste of comfort.
Babycakes: 3795 Fourth Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-990-2282, BabyCakesSanDiego.com
With flavors ranging from the signature Babycake, Black Bottom, Blood Orange, Carrot, Chocoholic, Tres Leche, and Pistachio, there are also vegan and gluten-free options (it’s best to order those 48 hours in advance). For the holiday season, they have Carmel Apple and Pumpkin (minus the “spice,” don’t be basic). Babycakes never disappoints curing your sweet tooth with their delicious desserts. You can pick up at the store or use one of the many food delivery services (UberEats, Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash).
Pop Pie Co.: 4404 Park Blvd. in University Heights, 619-501-4440, PopPieCo.Com
Pop Pie Co. is Southern California’s go-to fast casual restaurant/artisanal bakery for all things encased in crust. Locally owned, the shop showcases the signature all-butter crust by Executive Chef Gan Suebsarakham, with a rotating menu of sweet and savory pies made in-house daily. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu features a variety of pies from pie slices to hand pies to classic meat and vegetarian pies. We recommend the Steak and Ale pie for your main course and the Honey Bourbon Pecan Pie for dessert. They both provide much flavor and comfort!
The Candy Depot: 3955 Fifth Ave. #110 in Hillcrest, 619-683-2334, CandyDepotUSA.com
Talk about a kid in a candy store! WOW! The “Candy Pushers” (Melissa and Shannon) will cure your sugar cravings with their large assortment of homemade fudge including this season’s Bacon Maple Fudge (made with Snooze Splurge, the bacon from Snooze restaurant across the street) and Caramel Walnut Turtles. They, of course, have huge variety of tasty nostalgic candies that are fun and a great gift idea. These gals are as sweet as the candy they push! Be sure to stop by and check them out.
Japanese authentic ramen “Tokyo style” is the way they describe themselves. They make their own ramen noodles and in-house soups daily and have plenty of options including vegetarian and gluten-free options. They never disappoint!
Extraordinary Banana Pudding: 8257 El Paso St. in La Mesa, 619-642-6274, ExtraordinaryBananaPudding.com
Banana, cheesecake, chocolate, coconut, French vanilla, lemon, pistachio, red velvet and even a banana pudding taco! They suggest calling ahead for large or special orders. Happy hour daily from 4-6 p.m. with $2 off any size.
Freshii Hillcrest: 1255B University Ave. in Hillcrest, 858-564-3447, Freshii.com
Freshii’s new tortilla soup is a healthy take on the classic Mexican dish. The dish starts with a base of spicy chicken tortilla broth, which is then loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients such as brown rice, black beans, kale, corn, cilantro, and avocado, topped with gluten-free tortilla chips for that extra crunch. Freshii’s menu is full of fun and healthy choices that are tasty and guilt free!
La Vecindad: 3827 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-501-2885
Not your average taco shop. La Vecindad is a casual hangout for a variety of delicious Mexican food and cocktails amidst colorful decor and picnic table seating. Serving much needed pozole on Sundays and they make the best Micheladas in town!
All five locations within “MO’s Universe” give you different specialties and plenty of choices. We should also mention that MO’s Universe was the leader in reopening after the initial “pandemic shutdown” earlier this year. They worked very hard to reopen their locations safely and adhere to all the latest guidelines. Kudos to everyone at Urban MO’s for setting an excellent example for other establishments to follow. You have the option of safely dining in, or ordering take out. Here we go;
Baja Betty’s: 1421 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-289-8510, BajaBettysSD.com
There are plenty of choices on their menu. They serve kick-ass margaritas and their Taco Tuesday menu is a great deal priced from $2.50 to $6.50.
Gossip Grill: 1220 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-260-8023, GossipGrill.com
They’ve got a fun and friendly atmosphere and a menu with a large selection. You will be tempted by their Three Cheese Truffle Mac and their Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos.
Hillcrest Brewing Company: 1458 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-269-4323, HillcrestBrewingCompany.com
Aside from their own HBC Beers, they carry plenty of locally brewed “guest beers” as well. They’ve also got a fine selection of appetizers, salads and delicious pizzas.
insideOUT: 1642 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-888-8623, InsideOutSD.com
If you’re planning on dining in, you might want to iron your shirt, as their website says “insideOUT is a sexy, chic and refined destination for those who want to enjoy fine dining, craft cocktails and relax safely in an urban oasis.” We couldn’t agree more! Whether you go for the House Made Fettuccini Pasta or the Australian Hotstone (filet mignon), pairing it with the perfect wine or cocktail won’t be a problem as they only serve the best of both. Reservations can be made on their website or through OpenTable.
Urban MO’s: 308 University Ave. in Hillcrest, 619-491-0400, UrbanMos.com
The same friendly and fun atmosphere as always with a huge menu and weekday specials including the infamous Tuesday night all-you-can-eat spaghetti for $6.50. They are also a great place for breakfast and weekend brunches. Even with the “social distant playground rules,” Urban MO’s always provides a good and safe time!