Last weekend, FH and I were invited to join in a Bite San Diego tour of Hillcrest. Bite San Diego is a food walking tour company which offers tours in various parts of San Diego. We participated in the Hillcrest one, since Hillcrest has so many hidden food gems we haven’t yet gotten to try.

Our tour included stops at six different restaurants. Walking tour groups are limited to 15 people, which creates a nice environment to get to meet people who share at least one common interest with you: food.

Our tour guide, Dani, was very cheerful, friendly and energetic. She did a great job keeping the group together and checking up on everyone throughout the tour to make sure everyone was still happy. Everyone introduced themselves at the beginning, with a little bit of background as to their favorite food and where they were from. I was surprised to learn that so many people were from San Diego, but there were also people who were just visiting, including a couple from Britain.

Our tour was a mix of food and background into Hillcrest’s history and sites. First we passed through part of Balboa park. I was surprised to learn that Balboa Park is actually the largest urban cultural park in the US spanning 1200 acres.

After some history, we were off to our first eating spot.

Jimmy Carter’s Mexican Cafe

We learned a little about the restaurant history, including that the owner, Jimmy Carter, was born and raised in Hillcrest.

The tour website states that the food are bite portions and so we aren’t expected to get too full from the tour experience, so the entire group was surprised when we were presented with so many bites at Jimmy Carter. I think the amount of food varies for the different tours though because one person mentioned that he had been on the La Jolla tour and while their had been a good amount of bites, it was nowhere near the amount we were given on the Hillcrest tour.

First we were given some chips and four different kinds of salsa to eat them with.

Beef quesadilla, Tostada

Calamari tacos

The highlight of this spot, and also of the tour, was definitely the calamari tacos. Everyone seemed to be in agreement that this was one of the best bites of the tour. The calamari was lightly battered. There was also a creamy cilantro japaleno sauce to accompany the taco, which I definitely recommend adding.

How good does this look?

Mocha is my favorite espresso beverage to order at a coffee shop. So I decided to turn it into a mug cake. I even decorated it with whipped cream and chocolate sauce so it looks just like the drink.

I love the fact that it’s a coffee flavored cake cooked in a coffee mug.

I’ve never been to Magnolia Bakery but I’ve heard about their famous vanilla cupcakes.

There’s some so satisfying about a simple vanilla cupcake. Simple, fluffy, without all the fuss.

Vanilla cupcakes sometimes seem to be the wallflower of cupcakes, but I love them.