People who aren't familiar with San Diego County usually associate it with Sea World, the zoo, ASR, beaches, and Comic Con. But they mistakingly overlook the rich fucks in La Jolla, conservative old people, rednecks in the East County, and military transplants. It's not all terrible, though—South County has some of the best Mexican food in the whole state (probably given its proximity to Mexico), and if you want, you can even cruise over the border in about 30 minutes to get Mexican in Tijuana. There's really good surfing, too. Oh, and we might have forgotten to tell you, but Southern California is a really religious area. Go figure.
Aero Bar - All the dive bars in San Diego are more or less the same, except for the clientele. Maybe. San Diego isn't that big. Everyone claims that their favorite dive has the best jukebox, the best bartenders who make the strongest drinks, and the most awesome pool table, Buck Hunter cabinet, or smoking patio. So basically, take your pick. Aero has really nice bartenders, for what it's worth.
3365 India St., San Diego, 619-297-7211.
Bar Pink - Also known as the Pink, the Pink Elephant, and the Pink Pachyderm. All you need to know is that John Reis opened this place, and he's got the best musical taste in the world so you know the bands who play here do not suck, and the girls are all cute because they secretly want to suck Reis's dick.
3829 30th St. (between North Park Way & University Ave.), San Diego, 619-564-7194.
Cherry Bomb - Hey, guess what, another San Diego bar with the best jukebox in town! No, really! It does what none of the others do: play music that you like and you pick! There's a slightly goth feel to the place, which means the chicks are a little… yeah, you got it. Trouble. Or fat. Cherry Bomb's doubles will knock a grown man on his ass, and people are always doing coke or fucking in the bathroom.
2237 1st Ave., San Diego, 619-544-1173.
Hensley's Flying Elephant Pub & Grill - Run by Matt Hensley, former pro skater and the accordion player for Flogging Molly, and his wife, this is the only place in Carlsbad that can stay open later than the stupid 11 PM curfew. Live music is on the Irish/rockabilly/punk tip, with bands like Filthy Thieving Bastards featuring some guy from the Pogues. And don't get pissy if your drink doesn't come to you right away, cool guy. Just eat your fries with curry sauce and be happy someone's taken the time to make Carlsbad decent.
850 Tamarack Ave., Carlsbad, 760-434-2660.
Aqui es Texcoco Photo: Oliver Flores
Aqui es Texcoco - Fantastic. Another Mexican spot in a minimall. But un momento, por favor. Straight from Tijuana, this spot leans a little more toward the exotic—lamb's head (and various other parts, like brain and tongue), papaloquelite to put in your barbacoa taco, and huitlacoche quesadillas. Oh, you want to know what huitlacoche is? It's a fungus that grows on ears of corn, also known as corn smut. If you're a pussy, just think of it like the mold in blue cheese.
1043 Broadway, Ste. 108, Chula Vista, 619-427-4045.
Bronx Pizza - The sign outside has a picture of a slice wearing boxing gloves. How hot is that? And he's tasty, as big as your head, and served by loudmouthed guys who make us miss real pizza in the real Bronx. Come to think of it, this pizza makes us miss New York pizza… but people love this place.
111 Washington St. (between 1st Ave. & 3rd Ave.), San Diego, 619-291-3341.
Nijiya - Asian food, in its unprepared form, can scare the shit out of you. Just go to 99 Ranch Market and you'll see what we mean. Big tanks of live seafood, pork blood… and, Jesus Christ, the smell. If that terrifies you like it does us, then opt for a trip to Nijiya for sushi-grade fish, sweet stuff like mochi and cream puffs, and lots of crazy weird Japanese products like carbonated- strawberry-cream popsicles.
3860 Convoy St., Ste. 109 (between Aero Dr. & Kearny Mesa Rd.), San Diego, 858-268-3821.
Pokez Mexican Restaurant - Um, a potato tofu vegan burrito served to us by some big tattooed dude calling us "Hon"? Supersketchy parking lot, total skate scene, and music so loud you can't hear your own shitty conversation? Yes, please!
947 E St., San Diego, 619-702-7160.
Tacos el Gordo - Blah blah blah best tacos ever blah blah carne asada adobado blah cook nods at you when it's your turn blah bla—wait, what? Carne asada FRIES? Adobado FRIES? Get out the way, ese.
3265 Palm Ave., San Diego, 619-424-7427.
Belmont Park - It's no Santa Cruz Beach boardwalk, but it's one of the closest you're going to get here. When you ride the Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster, you feel like there's a possibility of flying off the tracks and right onto Mission Boulevard. There are $2 beers, it's right on the beach, and it'd be great if David and his gang of vampires rolled up on their bikes and chomped the shit out of all the annoying 15-year-olds and guitar-playing hippies.
3146 Mission Blvd., San Diego, 858-488-1549.
Belmont Park Photo: Oliver Flores
Coronado beach - Haha, you look like such a tourist with your doughy white legs and blistering shoulder sunburn! But that's cool, man. It's all good. Listen, instead of sitting here in the sun like an asshole, why don't you check out the cliffs over there? Or wait until nighttime and do some bonfiring? That way you won't scare the locals. Me? Nah, I'm from Minnesota.
Lefty's Barbershop - This is a man's world. Old-school cuts and straight-razor shaves for 16 bucks, mounted deer heads, and dudes reading Hot Rod magazine. There's even one of those red-and-white barber poles. In true San Diego form, the dudes surf and skate, have their own Jones soda, and could kick your ass. But they'd rather give you a sharp haircut and invite you to an anniversary party instead.
620 8th Ave., San Diego, 619-238-4301.
Oceanside Swap Meet - Quien es mas macho, Santa Fe Springs or Oceanside swap meet? Señor, I do not know! At Santa Fe Springs you can smoke in the back of their head shop, but here at Oceanside, you can get your picture taken with exotic birds (wink wink). It's only 75 cents to get in.
3480 Mission Ave., Oceanside, 760-966-3160.
The Rubber Rose - Ladies, did you have any idea that you needed some sort of an under-the-bed restraint system or a coned-shaped vibrator the size of Big Bear Mountain that shakes the house like a 5.5 quake? Thanks to the Rubber Rose, which is more like a classy burlesque show run by hot women who have no idea straight ladies are lusting after them, you can satisfy some sexual needs you didn't even know you had, and not feel skanky in the process.
3812 Ray St. (between North Park Way & University Ave.), San Diego, 619-296-7673.
San Diego Zoo - Jesus Christ, cute overload! Motherfucking pandas! Swamp monkeys! Meerkats! Gorillas throwing shit! Crazy little pigs! Hippos that could rip off your head with one chomp! God, this zoo rules.
2920 Zoo Dr., San Diego, 619- 231-1515.
Trophy Motorcycle Shop - Isaac and Tim seem like really good people, you know? Well, most bikers are, especially if it's your dad on his Triumph America with the Harley exhaust. He probably already knows about Trophy, too, since they fix up his machine real nice, and he can drink some coffee with the boys while he waits for his tires to be replaced.
4952 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, 619-286-1800.