San DiegoOne more benefit to house-swapping is the insider information provided by the host family.  This host family listed nearby grocery stores (accompanied by discount cards), restaurants with mini-reviews, and best of all, phone numbers of friends willing to show them around.

Grocery Stores on El Camino Real: (in order from south to north!)

Ralphs, Trader Joes, Albertsons, Vons, Stater Brothers.  I will leave the discount cards for Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons.  In the Ralph’s shopping center is also a Longs Drug store.  At the bottom of Birmingham is a great little market called Seaside Market – a terrific butcher and a good place for prepared foods for quick dinners or beach picnics.

In the Stater Brothers shopping area (about 3 miles down El Camino Real on the left side opposite the Home Depot), you will find Target, Einstein Brothers Bagels, and many other stores.  Down from there is a new shopping mall called The Forum – many very nice shops, a book store, Jimbo’s natural market, and Coldstone ice cream! 

Our favorite restaurants in Old Encinitas and Cardiff on the 101 Coast Highway include Cicciotti’s, Trattoria Il Truli, Pino’s, Meritage, Vigilucci’s, El Callejon, and in Encinitas, try Sage Grill, Firefly, and Islands (good hamburgers and fries!).  Oggi’s is our favorite pizza, VG’s Bakery has the best doughnuts, and a yummy breakfast is at Pipes ? don’t let the long line scare you away.  Our friends B and M (0000) will always meet you at Pipes and they have a nice 16 year old daughter as well.   For huge portions or big parties, try Buca de Beppo at the Forum.  There’s a good wine bar at the Forum, too!  Our friends, B and D (0000), will always be happy to join you there, and they have a lovely 17 year old daughter S Will says the best burritos are at Rico’s (El Camino Real) or Raul’s on the 101… plenty of teenagers at both!

If you go south on the 101 Coast Highway, you will find some wonderful restaurants ? the Beach House, Chart House and Charlie’s… all great at sunset!  Further south in Del Mar is Sbicca, Epazote, and L’Auberge for a fancy French dinner!  Call our friends, R and C (0000), if you want company or tour guides in Del Mar – R is on the board of the Historical Society and they can point out lots of fun and interesting places.  .

The horse races in Del Mar are always exciting.  Post time is 14:00, except for Fridays, when it’s 16:00.  There are no races on Tuesdays.   If you want to go in a little style, call D (0000),  it’s fun to watch a race or two from their box.  She also has 2 sons, 16 and 14.  If you meet her outside of the track and ride in with them, she has valet privileges and gets right in!

According to Will, the best beaches are Moonlight (end of Encinitas Blvd) for hanging out and Swami’s (Cardiff) for surfing.  South Cardiff is also a nice beach, and not really that crowded with lots of parking. Tim across the street loves a good beach gathering and organizes them nearly every week – often at South Cardiff.  Two Surfboards, a boogie board, a skimboard and coolers are in the garage, and don’t worry about sand in the car!  Will’s skateboard and helmet are also in the garage.

We’ll also leave you some brochures from different attractions in and around San Diego County and the entertainment book.  Sometimes you can get a good deal on admissions and some bargains at restaurants.  Feel free to use as many as you want. In the kitchen drawer, just to the right of the sink, are some local coupon books that you can use, too.