Far and away the most popular dessert item on Juniper and Ivy’s menu, The Yodel is a sexy, decadent cylinder of dark chocolate filled with chocolate pudding, hazelnut brittle, chocolate pearls and chocolate cake atop coffee crumbles and strawberries. Warm milk chocolate ganache is dramatically poured over, melting the shell so that the treasures hidden inside tumble out. As beloved as the chocolate version is, Executive Chef Anthony Wells has boldly introduced exhilarating seasonal tweaks. Last fall he debuted an apple cider edition, featuring apple pudding, Dulcey chocolate, matcha roll and an apple cider caramel sauce, followed by a springtime version that’s a marriage of strawberry shortcake and red velvet, and this summer’s inspiration, frozen watermelon pudding in a white chocolate/pistachio shell on a bed of malt crunch and a warm raspberry ganache drizzle.
Have a Dirty Flat Top at The Friendly
The Friendly is a low-key, unpretentious pizza joint that serves up a burger that’s become something of a cult favorite with industry folks. Standard-issue white, squishy buns, liberally buttered and toasted golden brown, two patties, grilled and smashed with gusto while they sizzle, two slices of good old American cheese, a smear of garlic aioli and some sweet caramelized onions. There’s no condiments and no substitutions - and yet somehow, these utilitarian ingredients taste simply delectable together, gooey melted cheese, crusty, juicy meat and the crunch of the buttery bun reminiscent of the burgers you loved as a kid, all for a measly $5. Order a slice of pizza for $3.50 more while you’re at it - the pizza comes out lightening fast and you’ll have just enough time to enjoy it before your burger is ready.
Free - $$
We got so used to the constant mess and construction on Date Street that it’s hard to believe Little Italy’s Piazza della Famiglia has been open for more than a year. It’s Instagram-beautiful everywhere you look, from the three-tiered fountain near Columbia Street to the stunning views of the San Diego Bay. Get your caffeine fix, sandwiches, and lighter fare at Frost Me Cafe and Bakery, or visit the Little Italy Food Hall for pizza, pasta, tacos and the like, then grab a craft cocktail or beer from the market bar and a table in the central plaza for an al fresco meal. There’s also a calendar of events ranging from morning yoga to nearly nightly musical entertainment, as well as two farmers' markets a week: the popular Little Italy Mercato from 8am-2pm on Saturdays, and the Little Italy Wednesday Market from 9am-2pm each week. Hit them up on weekdays from 11am-3pm for $10 lunch specials or 3pm-6pm (3pm-7pm at the bar) for happy hour specials.
Kayak to a concert at Humphrey’s
Pricey tickets and sold out venues? Not a problem! Humphrey’s By The Bay has shows until early November, and you can hear them for free (with a pretty decent view of the stage if it’s high tide) from the comfort of your kayak, paddleboard, or raft. There’s an easy-access launch point at the end of Bessemer Street in Point Loma, and a leisurely half-mile, fifteen-minute paddle to Humphrey’s sheltered location in the northeast corner of La Playa Cove. Head out early for the best view, settle back with your favorite munchies and beverages, and enjoy a uniquely San Diegan concert experience. There are no restroom facilities available, though, so plan accordingly.
Karmic tip: Bessemer Street is a quiet residential area, so don’t block driveways or park on the landscaping. After the concert, try to be as quiet as possible when packing your gear up.