San Diego: Point Loma’s Seafood, Mai-Tai’s and Craft Brews

It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that United Airlines kept screwing us over, issuing us vouchers, botching the voucher flight, issuing us more vouchers, dropping the ball on that voucher fight, and so on and so forth. This seemingly endless supply of forgive-me coupons took us to Seattle, Portland, and LA (eight-hour delay), until finally culminating in a sojourn to San Diego, our last choice of cheap, nearby, destinations.

An atrociously early flight time gave us a full first day in SD with nothing on the agenda but doing what we do best; wander, eat, drink…wander, eat, drink. Our condo was located in Ocean Beach, known by the cool kids as “OB;” about a half hour drive from San Diego’s downtown. Our first food destination was a walkable locale, Point Loma Seafood’s in, you guessed, it, Point Loma.


Point Loma Seafood’s began as a family owned fish market back in 1963. Soon, they began smoking and processing fish, and by the 70’s they had expanded to offer hot, prepared foods as well. Today, the Christianson family is still at the helm, offering a seriously awe-inspiring array of fresh fish and shellfish


Alongside some pretty drool worthy prepared foods. There is no seating inside the store, but there are plenty of outdoor tables with a view of the harbor and nearby bars to which one can retreat with PL’s vittles


The menu is a comprehensive list of all things topped by, mixed with, or made entirely out of seafood; chowders, tacos, grilled stuff, salads, sandwiches, sushi, seafood cocktails, and of course, a variety of fried accompaniments. They retail their own house smoked fish, while also offering a filleting and/or smoking service to sport fisherman who have just come in with a catch.

There are prepackaged pints of pickled things, dips, tuna salad and dressings:


We made a purchase and darted across the street to the Club Marina, the epitome of a dive


to consume our treats and delight in some morning cocktails concocted by Brad, a laid back, friendly, Hawaiian shirt wearing bartender.


This round of treats from PL included tuna salad, smoked cod collar, smoked salmon, pickled herring, guacamole, salsa, tortilla chips, and a house-made sourdough baguette, that the good folks at the shop threw in for free.


The tuna salad was among the best I’ve ever had if not THE best ever, a mass of meaty fish hunks, with a sort of dry complexion (compared to most), flecked with bits of raw red onion and celery. The tortilla chips were equally good, seemingly made on site, thick, crisp, with the slightest greasy sheen, finished  with seasoned salt. The combo; tortilla chips loaded with tuna salad? Well, My mouth just literally started watering from the memory.


The guac and salsa were perfectly reasonable versions of each, but the tuna was so good they went virtually untouched. The smoked cod collar and salmon were satisfying as expected; sweet, flaky, smoky and dense.

The Club Marina provides all of the base comforts needed to make a dive cozy; TV’s, a jukebox, salty patrons, and a cluttered alcove with a pool table shoved into it, where, a couple of rounds commenced. As for the drink offerings, it’s certainly not a cocktail joint, but Brad made us a nice round of bloody’s and the bottled beer list included craft suds from local Stone brewery.


Soon enough, us girls made a run back across the street to Point Loma Seafood’s to retrieve a round of lobsters rolls and fried Ipswich clam sandwiches


While the lobster roll was certainly fresh and was not overwhelmed with mayo, it was a bit underseasoned and outflavored by the Ipswich, which was loaded with salty fried clams and a tangy slaw.

We made some buddies at Club Marina who insisted we accompany them for Mai Tai’s at the nearby Bali Hai on Shelter Island, about a five-ten minute walk.


The Bali Hai was what I expected all of San Diego to be-schticky, cheesy, soulless, enormous, and chain like, tiki-themed in the most awful and slick way; naturally, their big draw is a king crab and prime rib Sunday buffet. Thanks no thanks.


However, there was an outdoor seating area to which we retreated, with a spectacular view of the harbor


And the Mai Tai’s were as lethal as promised, so it was not a total loss.


Next up, Modern Times Brewery, to what is apparently referred to by the proprietors as their “Lomaland Fermetorium”


MT is a fairly new operation, opened in 2013 by an ex-Stone brewer and the rest of his team, housed in a playfully designed Point Loma warehouse. That’s a post-it note mural. No joke.

Modern Times

The tasting room offers around 12 beers on tap, available in half and full pints, at a cost of about $3 and $6 respectively


As well as a $10 taster


For take home purposes, they sell growlers, cans, bottles, merch, bags of ground coffee (or perhaps it was beans) and a small selection of packaged snacks which I suppose can also be consumed on site


The crowd at Modern Times was suuuppper bro’d out, but I think the crowd in San Diego is just super bro’d out; it was akin to being at a frat party minus the beer bong, misogyny, vomiting and jello-shots; that’s certainly not exclusive to Modern Times, it was just our first run in with such a crowd because the harbor from which we came boasted an older, more…rugged demographic. However, there was this guy: Muscles.


Parked outside, the New Orleans Food Truck, ready to indulge every bro’s bottomless drunchie pit


From which we grabbed a satisfying little specimen cup of fried shrimp with a tangy mayo based dip


A meaty, rich, gumbo, loaded with shredded chicken and coins of Andouille ($5/cup $8/bowl)


And an etoufee, which everyone but me felt was too skanky and fishy tasting. Of the three the gumbo was hands down the favorite, for all of us.


A couple of tasters later (and some down time with a novel for Mikey…? I see you back there)


We made one final visit to the truck, for a simple sandwich, billed on the menu as a roast beef and turkey Poboy, served with their fruit studded “Mardi Gras Slaw.” It was fine. Well, we devoured it, but other factors were at play.


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