When it comes to hometowns, I'm luckier than most. I was born and raised in San Diego, California. It's the sort of place where people come to vacation. Growing up, it seemed pretty normal to me. It took me years to realize that the rest of the United States wasn't like California.
The city has changed quite a lot in recent years. It's a lot more interesting, overall—more liberal, more cultural, more cosmopolitan. When I was a kid, San Diego seemed to be in a massive civic denial that it was on the border of another country--basically the attitude was, "Let's pretend we're Iowa, except with better weather by an ocean!" I have the sense that, overall, there's more acceptance and embrace of this being in part a Mexican city, inextricably bound to Tijuana across the border and to Mexico as a whole. It's possible this is me being a utopian optimist, but I hope I'm right.
I've been exploring the neighborhood where I lived when I was in high school, where my parents still live. It's...interesting. As you head south, it's a pretty spread out, designed more for cars than for people, with a broad street paralleling the freeway called Morena Blvd.
A lot of nuts and bolts sort of businesses, building supply stores, paint, tile, woodwork. I took a walk, and took a few photos.. This was the first place that caught my eye, in a "really, WTF is this?" kind of way:
"Not in association with Local 325"
These are the kinds of businesses you find along the way:
But there are some interesting things going on in some of these formerly industrial spaces...
Not sure what was going on here, but it looked interesting
This was totally cool
There were a number of "hard-core," "Old-school" gyms, including a Russian kettle-ball academy:
And, I guess it wouldn't be America if there weren't one of these:
Oh, man. If you like good beer at all, this is pretty much heaven. San Diego brewers do a lot of interesting, off-beat and downright delicious beers. One consequence of this is that you have to work pretty hard to go to a San Diego restaurant or venue that does not have delicious, fresh, local beer available.
Also in the neighborhood -- awesome bar specializing in Ballast Point brews
Also, you can get Filippi's by the slice. Baseball, Filippi's, great craft beer...Heaven!
It's amazing how many people here take beer very seriously. At the baseball game, I had a couple discussions about Sculpin IPA (available on draft!). People are into this.
And what's interesting is that as the craft beer scene has grown and developed, the whole localvore/food scene has as well. I mean, there's an honest-to-gawd gastropub on Morena Blvd:
Which really makes a lot of sense to me. You see people making all this wonderful craft beer, and it's not very much of a step to start appreciating food more as well, maybe even to get local with with it. Maybe think more about the quality of what you're eating, and where it comes from, how it's produced. What that all means. Maybe you start questioning whether it's such a good idea to eat mass-produced meat dosed with antibiotics and chemicals, pesticide-ladened vegetables, processed food full of sugar and GMOs. And how that has the potential to lead to all kinds of really interesting movements with political ramifications.
In other words, good beer will save the world!
Lisa -- Sunday...