Top 5 Pizza Joints in San Diego

What is your go-to pizza?

Do you enjoy that nice, thin slice from New York? How about that deep-dish cheese overload from Chicago? Do you call it Pizza? Za? A wheel? Pie? Whatever you call it, you know that pizza is a crowd FAVORITE! It’s good for parties, the holidays, enjoying a night with friends while having a few beers and watching some football or just a slice for lunch. No matter where you go in San Diego, there is Pizza, but which ones are worth the wait?

We came up with a list of the TOP 5 pizza joints in San Diego (no particular order) that you NEED to try, if you haven’t already. Don’t forget to join us on a Bite tour and check out a few of these places with us.

5. Berkeley Pizza

If you have never got the chance to try “Chicago-style pizza”, this is your calling. Berkeley Pizza features a deep-dish style pizza. As some people might say, it looks like it was made “inside out”. The sauce is located on top while the inside is oozing with cheese. With over 15 different toppings to choose from, Berkeley pizza is rolling with flavor.

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Image Source: Yelp by Dan G.

Their “Signature Pizza”, is one of the restaurant’s favorites. It includes spinach and mushroom, made from a special blend of cheeses, and special spices. Let me tell you, this pizza is absolutely delicious. The best part about Berkeley pizza is they have TWO locations, which are both located on our tour: One in North Park and one in Downtown San Diego. Go enjoy their slice combo specials and don’t forget to check out all of the different craft beers they have on tap!  

4.The SandBox Pizza

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Image Source: Yelp by Leah J

The SandBox is known for making their own creations for pizza. With over 15 different toppings, load that pizza up to your liking, and dig in! The Sandbox says they love tradition but want to include a flare to make the food “dance on your plate”. They have featured “pies” each month and ideas are open to the public. Kick back here with over 10 flat screen TV’s and enjoy anything from a pesto pizza to their “Hawaii 5-0” filled with ham, pineapple and bacon. The Sandbox Pizza is located on our Pacific Beach tour. The SandBox, itself is a great place to be to enjoy local entertainment, pizza and drinks with friends. They were voted “Pizza of the month” in January of 2015 and that is only one of the many awards this restaurant has received for their pizzas.

3. NaPizza

Located on our downtown tour, Napizza is the place to be for that healthy slice of gourmet pizza. NaPizza believes in “healthy and local”, serving up great pizza for those of you who want to keep the extra calories off. The pizza’s here can, also, be created gluten-free or vegan. The best part of this pizza has to be the dough, which takes 72 hours to to evolve. Napizza makes fresh, hand-pressed artisan pies.

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Image Source: Yelp by Courtney O.

Don’t forget to try their “Happy Belly” combos which vary from different slices of pizza, soups, salads and beers. [Pictured above is the Happy Belly Beer combo…two slices and a beer!] This restaurant is considered a “farm-to-table”, because all of the ingredients are local and fresh. Napizza is absolutely astonishing and because of their great success, they have just opened a new spot in Hillcrest. Check out their menu for all of the facts about this local establishment. If you live nearby, great! Delivery is free to all of their neighbors.

2.URBN Coal Fired Pizza

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Image Source: Yelp by: Aizel A.

The name says it all, this place is hip, it’s urban, and it’s vigorous, lively and full of fun. URBN calls their pizza’s, “craft pizzas”, because they are made special for their customers they have everything from fresh clam pizza to mashed potato pizza. Try their different pizza bases, also, which are made fresh from scratch, either red or white, scattered with different cheeses. With over 20 different toppings you cannot go wrong here. Spice up your usual pizza style with something new. Create a base, try some different toppings and enjoy! URBN Coal Fired Pizza is a good friend of ours, we partner with them for private events and tours in the North Park area. Don’t forget to check out their exquisite selection of craft cocktails and craft beer. URBN is the ‘new’ place to be.

1. Bronx Pizza

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Image Source: Yelp by Dulce R

The name says it all! Bronx pizza is a little piece of home for all you New Yorkers who are sick and tired of looking for your pizza back home. They have a Bronx attitude, with those same faces that have been working their for generations. Bronx pizza is the local place where everyone sits together and gets to know each other, just like on the East Coast. Bronx pizza is a simple place with a small menu of pizza and calzone, CASH ONLY. They don’t offer ham, chicken, pineapple, jalapenos, or Canadian bacon because, well, that’s not what New York does. All the pies are the same size…18 inches, 8 slices a pie, feeding 3-4 people. Try their $6 special which includes two slices and a drink, it doesn’t get better than that! If you want a real East Coast experience, this is the place to be, and their Yelp reviews say it all!

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Restaurant Spotlight: Savory Spice Shop

Are you looking to, literally, spice up your life? We know a place! Savory Spice Shop in Encinitas has everything you are looking for to enjoy some new blends for the holiday season, or just your everyday meals. From specialty salts to smoking hot herbs, there is an array of choices here. Buy one, buy them all, but it does not stop there.

Jason & Stephanie Birn are the owners of this hot establishment. Savory Spice Shop has over 400 spices and handcrafted seasonings for unbelievable prices. They are packed by the jar or you can pick and choose by the ounce. They create a fun environment to all those who are looking to experience more variety in their cooking. Whether it’s trying a new marinade on your meat, testing out some new salts in your pasta dish or an extra hot kick in your bowl of chili, you can find it here. They, also, offer specialty food and cooking projects if you are looking for a good holiday gift that anyone who loves cooking would enjoy.

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Image Source: Yelp by Savory Spice Shop

Do you consider yourself a frequent “spice-er”? If so, then you need to check out Spice Club. If not, this is the perfect opportunity to step up your cooking style! Spice Club introduces you to brand new flavors and exclusive recipes you’ve, probably, never heard of before. We know all you foodies out there would not want to miss out on this awesome opportunity to mix things up a bit. You can become a “Spice tester” for 6-months, a “Spice explorer” for 12-months or a 12-month “Spice lover”, with extra perks including a special cookbook. Each plan includes a variety of different spices and recipes for you to try throughout the course of the month. It is an excellent way to get to know your way around the kitchen through different flavors. As a kickoff, the first Spice Club shipment will be sent in January 2016. They deliver right to your doorstep and is starting at a price as low as $49.00.This is perfect for anyone who loves, or wants to love spices as much as we do!

Not only do they have spices, herbs, and many more choices but you can, also, go and enjoy the many activities they host throughout the course of the year. Pickling vegetables, cooking classes and hot sauce tastings are just three of the numerous amounts of offerings the Savory Shop offers. Check out their website for more opportunities year-round. If you didn’t know, Savory Spice Shop was voted Best of North County San Diego 2015 for Best Flavor Den offering fresh spices and fun cooking events year-round.

 

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Image Source: Facebook by Savory Spice Shop

Customers are always encouraged to come in, test, smell and experience it all! They have over 40 different gift packs already set to order and more choices than you can imagine. If you can’t, physically, make it out there, DON’T WORRY, the Savory Spice Shop has an exceptional website selling all of the same products in store along with gift sets and kitchenware. On top of that they have spectacular recipe ideas.

It’s the holiday season, so you know what that means? We assume most of you are out looking for gifts for family and friends. This is the perfect place to grab a great deal for gifts or just those holiday meals, in general. Save up to 25% now until December 31st on pre-set kits and make that make that shopping a little bit easier for you. Be sure you are on the lookout for all of those holiday deals because they keep popping up! Don’t forget to sign up for their Savory Rewards loyalty club and receive a free blend on your birthday!

Located in Encinitas, the Savory Spice Shop is part of our Walking Encinitas Food Tour! Looking for something to do during the week? Whether it’s a night out with your friends, mom, dad or significant other, Savory Spice Shop Encinitas offers classes with chef demonstrations. These highlight culinary pairings and give you the chance to make some extra special dishes. Happy Holidays!

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Image Source: Instagram by Savory Spice Shop

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7 Things to do in San Diego this December!

Here come the holidays sneaking up on us, once again! It’s that time of the year for celebrating Christmas traditions and San Diego is the perfect place to do it. Here at Bite San Diego, we put together a list of our Top 7 favorite things to do this December. Each one is family friendly and something you don’t want to miss out on. Don’t forget to add Bite San Diego to the list and join us on one of our food tours in December! Learn some history, enjoy food and drink, celebrate the holiday season and most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Ice Rink at Hotel Del Coronado

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Image Source: Yelp by Laura C

Have you ever been “Skating by the Sea”? If not, you have to experience it this year at Hotel Del Coronado. From now up until January 1st, 2016 Hotel del Coronado will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland. The Del’s iconic Victorian Building, festooned with thousands of lights, provides a magical environment as holiday music plays and guests enjoy music, smores and hot chocolate. This year is the 11th anniversary of the event and you can come celebrate by renting a pair of skates and zipping around on the ice rink. The cost is 25$ and a part of this money benefits the Wish Kids through Make-A-Wish San Diego.

Tree Lighting in Little Italy

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Image Source: San Diego Tourism Authority

On December 5 from 4:00PM-8:00PM, come “deck the halls” in Little Italy as the neighborhood lights up during the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Fir Street. This is the 15th anniversary of the event and each year, it gets better and better! It will be the closest you can get to the North Pole this winter. Go and enjoy the traditional Little Italy Christmas Tree, a 25-foot tower of over 1,000 poinsettas and don’t forget to snap a picture with Santa Claus! There will also be vendors for gifts, food and drink.

December Nights in Balboa Park

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Image Source: San Diego FreePress

As we all know Christmas is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, and what other way to celebrate than joining friends and family for the 38th year of Balboa Park’s Winter Nights on December 4th and 5th. Starting at 3:00PM on Friday December 4th, the Balboa Park Museums open their doors, for no cost, and San Diego begins their largest free multicultural experience with food and music from all over the world. There is shopping, food, dances, singing, crafts, games, a giant-sized coloring book and a new community mural on display. There is absolutely no better way to kick off this holiday season.

Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park

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Image Source: Yelp by Julienne A.

Join us for the 12 Nights in December as Jerome’s Furniture hosts Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park, for the second year in a row. This year is bigger and better than last! Walk through magical light displays, catch a ride on the Polar Express, take a picture with Santa Claus or sing a song around a 40-foot tree. Adult tickets are 20$ each, children are $10 each and children under the age of 3 are free! Check out their website to book a date!

SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-Off

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Image Source: Yelp by Don V.

You do not want to miss out on the 6th year of this “spicy” event. Chili, beer and shopping, what more can you ask for? On December 6th, from 11:00 AM-5:00 PM, there will be 40 local restaurants competing in an all out chili cook-off. There will be craft beer, wine, vendors, live bands and food vendors. For those of you with kids, don’t worry; they can enjoy bouncy houses, crafts, prizes, games and more! The event, itself, is free, but you can pay 20$ for a handmade ceramic tasting bowl and enjoy some chili from the competing restaurants. If you want to save 5$ you can BYOB (Bring your own bowl) and get 5 tastings for 15$.

Coronado Christmas Parade

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“Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus”, right down 1st street at the Coronado Ferry Landing! Join us at 3:20PM on December 4th with carolers and fun in the snow at the snow mountain! Watch the holiday parade, get some treats, go shopping and bring the kids to enjoy this fun event. At 7:00 PM make your way to the Rotary Plaza (next to the Visitor Center at 1100 Orange Ave) where the Christmas Tree will be lit and the holiday season will, officially, begin! The community band will also be there!

 San Diego Santa Run 5K and 1 Mile Race

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Image Source: Facebook by SD Santa Run

Are you looking to burn off all of those holiday calories? On December 12, experience this holiday experience unlike any other one in San Diego. The Santa Run, in Pacific Beach, consists of a 5K fun run and a 1-mile run. The coolest part is, during the one-mile race, you can run as “Santa’s little helper” with your dog, as “Santa’s elves” with your kids or in the “Speedy Santa Wave” as a competitor to see how fast you can run one mile. Wear your ugliest Christmas sweater and engage in a tradition you won’t forget. After the event, hang around and watch the annual Pacific Beach Holiday Parade! Each person who signs up will receive a “Sunny Santa Suit”, a pair of sunglasses, a Santa hat and one drink ticket for after the race.

 

 

 

 

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Group tours in San Diego for Team Building and Bonding

When you have a group of people to keep entertained, what can you do with them? How about bringing your group to take a bite out of San Diego with us? A food tour around some of our city’s best food districts is a great bonding experience. Wedding parties or workplace groups, whatever you have to plan, come and plan it with Bite San Diego. We can make your day exciting, stress-free, and at the end, everyone will have had an experience to remember.

A culinary paradise

San Diego is quickly becoming known all over the country and the world as a culinary paradise. It is an easy guarantee that everyone in your group loves food, and our walking tours will not disappoint. We have great restaurants all over the city and each of our walking tours stop in at least five of them. At the restaurant, you will be able to sample some of their best dishes while learning a little about the history of the restaurant and the type of cuisine that it specializes in. It’s a lot of food, but it’s not, if you know what we mean. You get a small portion at each restaurant, so you won’t be too full to keep on going through the rest of the restaurant on the itinerary—but you will be satisfied by the end of it.

Private groups

Our tours are fun for an afternoon getaway with you and your friends, but we can also arrange private tours for your bigger group. If you are organizing something for a group of wedding guests, or maybe a big birthday party or a team building exercise in San Diego, we can build something for you that is just right. The best part of it is that there is almost no planning. You just have to let Bite San Diego know about the details and we will take care of the rest.

Where do we go?

Group tours in San Diego for Team Building and Bonding

There are a variety of different tours on our list of itineraries. You can choose the Little Italy district, which takes your group through some of the ethnic restaurants in the downtown district; the Coronado tour takes you around candy shops, and ice cream shops as well as Mexican and Pacific restaurants. One of the oldest districts in the city, the North Park tour will have a lot of fun, historical facts to share. On each of the tours, you will walk a distance of only one or two kilometers (0.6-1.2 miles) in total—just enough to get your appetite ready for the next stop.

Bonding experience

As a bonding or team building experience, these tours are perfect. They last about 3 – 4 hours, and are completely relaxed. They let people mingle and get to know different people on the tour because there is so much moving around. You can walk with one person, and then sit beside another one at another restaurant.

Here at Bite San Diego, we an inexpensive, convenient way to manage your group event. Call us today, and let us help you create a memorable day that everyone in your group will enjoy.

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A Food Tour and Fun Things to Do in San Diego

If you’ve come to San Diego for a short break, but have some time to spare—what should you do? What about a different scenario, when you have planned out an entire entertainment trip through California, but forgot to do your research on American’s finest city, San Diego—where should you go? Yes, there are the beaches, sports events, the bright sunshine, and the zoo—all definitely, worthy of your attention—but there is something often overlooked. While our Californian gem has plenty to offer, one part of the fun scene that should definitely be on your list is the food. It is not just great, it is San Diego great.

This could make for a long day…

One way to go about taking in the spectacular food scene of San Diego would be just wandering around and visiting cafes and restaurants at random. This could be a good method to prospect the city for the general feel of what it is like, but most probably, you will not get a deep appreciation of why people say ‘food’ when you ask them about their San Diego experience.

Besides, how would you know where to go and which places would make a good mix? How natural would it feel to go in, try just one item on the menu, and move on? Who would tell you about the neighborhoods and the stories behind the particular foodie routes? How easy would it be to take pictures, get behind the scenes of the best venues, meet the chef and the owners, and find out more about what makes their dishes ‘click’? To put it briefly, it is probably not so easy, we are guessing.

On the other hand, you could opt for a great day of fun instead

If aimlessly wandering around and popping into food venues at random doesn’t sound like the best plan for you, we have the solution: try one of our famous food tours in San Diego. We are the first to admit that taking in the whole San Diego food scene in one or two days is practically impossible. Instead of attempting that, why not choose from one of our diverse tours—Little Italy, Old Town, Coronado or La Jolla—and see where that takes you? Bite San Diego’s walking tours offer something outside of the same old list of fun things to do in San Diego.

A Food Tour And Fun Things To Do In San Diego

The memories you will gather from taking in the great weather, the people, and the venues and, last but not least, the food, of course, will last for a long time, and it will have you coming back for more. Over the years, we at Bite San Diego have received only positive feedback on how it feels to be on one of our tours as opposed to trying to do the guesswork and haphazardly try foods here and there. Our guides are knowledgeable, funny, and friendly (and they don’t walk too fast). Let them guide you to the best of the best food, scenery and entertainment in San Diego. You won’t regret it.

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El Cajon Boulevard History Pt.2

By the early 1960’s, El Cajon Boulevard was a booming hot spot for commercial businesses, which is credited mostly to the automobile. Interestingly the automobile was also a focal point for one of the first youth riots here in the 1960’s.  We Want a Drag Strip

The El Cajon Boulevard Riot otherwise known as the Drag Strip Riot was the first of many major uproars during this time. On August 20, 1960 during an organized protest over the closing of a popular drag racing spot, the riot began. More than 3,000 teenagers and adults lined the intersection of El Cajon Boulevard and Cherokee Street and shut down nearly 3 more blocks where they began holding impromptu drag races. As police arrived to break up the riot they were met with glass bottles and rocks from teens and adults alike. This event marked one of the first acts of defiance on El Cajon Boulevard and proved its prominence within the era.

JFK-El Cajon BlvdOne cannot forget the momentous arrival of President John F. Kennedy in San Diego on June 6, 1963. During his visit, the President’s motorcade drove along El Cajon Boulevard as thousands of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse. Shortly after the president made his way to San Diego State University where he gave the commencement speech to the graduating class. Interestingly, many people compare this visit with one where he met his demise in Dallas a short time later. Similar circumstances like the placement of the motorcade and the relaxed demeanor of the secret service were all too common in the two visits. As well, the President was riding in the same limousine and sitting in the same spot as he did in Dallas bringing an eerie feel to what was to come.JFK-El Cajon Black&White

From the mid ‘60’s to the mid ‘70’s, El Cajon Boulevard was slowly transitioned away from Highway 80 as development began on  Interstate 8. It was until 1989 that El Cajon Boulevard would soon experience a rebirthing. Architecture, design, and neon signs were highly popular among local businesses in the 1940’s and 1950’s as they lit up the Boulevard on any given night. The introduction of the gateway sign in 1989 aimed at increasing the “traffic” that El Cajon Boulevard was once known for and reinvigorating an otherwise desolate stretch of roadway. Thanks to the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement District, the sign (along with hundreds of ornamental street lights and miles of landscape) has helped to restore El Cajon Boulevard to the roaring times it was once known for.

Spanning over 100 years, much of the growth and development along El Cajon Boulevard can be attributed to the automobile and the need to establish services to accommodate it.

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El Cajon Boulevard History Pt.1

El Cajon Blvd-1908 Horse and WagonEl Cajon Boulevard has a rich history filled with automobiles, food, landmarks, and historic events. Originally named El Cajon Avenue, the famous roadway started as a dirt road and was home to the first small business district in San Diego.Emma Schnug House In 1873, the oldest house in East San Diego, the home of Albert Hille and Emma Schnug was moved to El Cajon Avenue. The Victorian style home was originally built in National City but later relocated to the present day location at 3705 El Cajon Boulevard. In 1912, Highway 80 (the first transcontinental highway) was joined with El Cajon Avenue and spanned from San Diego to Georgia. It wasn’t until 1937 when the city voted that El Cajon Avenue officially change to El Cajon Boulevard because of its significance for travelers. As the transition from Avenue to Boulevard went underway, the street was widened by 100 feet and decorative street lighting was installed.

By the late 1940’s El Cajon Boulevard had over 450 businesses lining the historic route. The addition of numerous gas stations, repair shops, and hotels in the 1950’s shaped the fast-paced culture in the area, which reflected the particular type of people who passed through – businessmen and travelers.

Oscars El Cajon BlvdOscar’s Drive-In, the first Jack In The Box, was opened on El Cajon Boulevard in 1951. It opened as a classic car-hop style dining experience and eventually became the first drive-thru restaurant to focus on using a two-way intercom to order food. The new development of fast food franchises mirrored the changes happening in society, as more people began driving automobiles and began eating out with their families.

By the mid 1950’s, El Cajon Boulevard was a modernized metropolis of dining, automobiles, and businesses which all helped to pave the way for this small urban area.

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San Diego Lafayette Hotel and Imig’s Kitchen And Bar

The San Diego Lafayette Hotel, formerly named the Imig Manor after owner Larry Imig, was originally opened on July 6, 1946 and was built at a cost of $2 million dollars. It was officially known as the playground of the movie stars which catered specifically to celebrity clientele, and Bob Hope is known as one of the first and most frequent guests here. Hotelier and San Diego Chargers owner Conrad Hilton purchased the hotel sometime in the mid 1950’s and removed all remnants of Imig from the hotel. Later in 2004 Hampstead Lafayette purchased the hotel and with the help of the San Diego Redevelopment Agency and the State of California, a $6 million renovation was completed in 2011.

Imig’s Kitchen & Bar, located in the north end of the lobby, started out with small plates and simple entrees and is anything but that today. With an updated menu that caters to just about any food lover; American cuisine met with a relaxed and inviting ambiance gives this modern restaurant a comfortable feel with a whole lot of class.

The newly updated menu represents the true tastes of mid-century American cooking with a unique ingredients and pairings.

breakfast sandwichBreakfast items like the always delicious Pork Belly Eggs Benedict with a side of grits and fruit are already a perennial favorite among patrons. Morning goers also opt for traditional dishes like Belgian Waffles or a Breakfast Sandwich to satisfy that hearty breakfast hankering. The dinner menu is nothing short of spectacular either with hearty dishes like the pot roast or the “4-hour beer braised pork shoulder.” Some prefer to go a little more “outside the box” with the Ox Tail (pictured to the right)ox tail and Leeks Ravioli with a homemade white sauce. And you couldn’t possibly eat all this delectable food without pairing a fine glass of wine or a craft cocktail either. Home to everything from an Old Fashioned to an Apple Pie Mule to homemade Absinthe, you can be sure that whatever you drink you won’t find much anywhere else.old fashion

Be sure to check out Imig’s Kitchen & Bar and all the other fabulous restaurants on the Bite San Diego El Cajon Boulevard tour!

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Restaurant Spotlight: Lips

Most locals are quite aware but if you haven’t heard of Lips, one of the stops on the Bite San Diego El Cajon Boulevard tour, then you are in for a very special treat unlike any other! With the tagline, “We are as serious as our 6-inch heels” you better believe this place is anything but your neighborhood hangout.

This famous drag restaurant-bar and cabaret show is loved by both men and women not only for the entertainment but for the delicious food you enjoy with it. Serving up breakfast, brunch, and of course dinner, there is always something “de-lips-cious” to choose from! For the morning crowd the plating possibilities all revolve around 3 things: unlimited bloody mary’s, mimosas, and champagne with your purchase. For the serious eaters, Chicken Parmesan or even a Chicken Ceasar Salad are anything but average choices.chicken ceasar

If you’re looking for a full tummy to accompany one of the best shows in San Diego then browse their full night menu with tons of choices to decide from, vegetarians included! Most go for the Mushroom Ravioli topped with a creamy pesto sauce (don’t let the picture fool you, they are mouthwatering).mushroom raviloi

 

Other favorites like the Baked Ziti give you the comfort of good food in an unconventional environment. What better way to top off your than with one of their many desserts like the “Super Brownie Stack.” Compiled of 3 brownies, yes 3, each topped with vanilla ice cream and covered in whip cream and caramelized walnuts.brownie stack

Make sure you catch Lips and all the other great stops on the Bite San Diego El Cajon Boulevard tour!

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Spotlight: Pizzeria Luigi

So how much do you love Pizza? Find out more about Pizzeria Luigi, the newest stop on Bite San Diego’s North Park food tour!

Established in 2004, Pizzeria Luigi has been crafting authentic New York style pizza pies for San Diego area locals. Featured on the hit TV show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Pizzeria Luigi is frequented by many, including celebrities, San Diego locals, and pizza enthusiasts for their delicious an authentic Italian selections.

Whether you’re a fan of the traditional pie toppings, or  prefer a more refined taste like fresh ricotta cheese with a savory penne sauce, you can be sure to indulge in your deepest pizza pleasures.                                                                                                                                                              They also have an assortment of baked items, pastas, and sandwiches for those who aren’t as pizza crazy as the rest of us.

Be sure to check out Pizzeria Luigi’s and all the other delicious stops on the Bite San Diego’s North Park food tour!

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