California / Dining / Domestic Travel / Orange County / San Diego / Shopping

Mini-Roadtrip: LA to San Diego

This post should be titled “how to get from LA to San Diego in only 6 hours.” – lol.  It should only take like 1.5-2 hours, but the joy is in the journey, right?  The itinerary involves lots of shopping and eating, making stops every 45 minutes or so.  Let’s start with the map:

We begin our journey at 11:30am.  After 30 whole minutes of driving, we make our first stop in Orange:

STOP 1 was for lunch in Orange, CA.  Anepalco’s Cafe is an affordable lunch spot that is both efficient and tasty.  It serves up French/Mexican cuisine.

Service and Ambiance.  This being a mini roadtrip (but a roadtrip none the less), I needed a place that would have no wait and be quick.  Although Anepalco’s is pretty small (around 8 tables), my party of four didn’t have to wait at all and it was lunch time!  The ambiance is nothing fancy or special, but it’s cute (orange walls, flowers on the table, colorful chalkboard menu).  Service was pleasant.

Food.  Their signature dish is the Chilaquile, which is described as a tower of Tortilla Chips, Red Sauce, Scrambled eggs, Cotija Cheese, Sour Cream, Avocado Mousse, Pico de Gallo.  It’s a pretty fantastic and a substantial entree – filling and absolutely delicious.  There are so many textures and flavors!  I would definitely come back to eat this.  Admittedly, it’s a bit heavy if it’s going to be your first meal of the day, but I had no problems.

We also got a Cuban Chicken Sandwich.  I chose Red Pepper Soup as my side, which was creamy, but not thick. I really enjoyed the soup, but these two sandwiches were nothing special. Definitely made with high quality ingredients, but I wouldn’t drive more than 5 miles to eat the sandwiches; the Chilaquiles, on the other hand, I would make a much more significant drive for.

My boyfriend ordered French Press Coffee; this place seems to boast excellent coffee, and this french press was indeed excellent. It was also cheap (I think around $3) and came in a french press, which allowed my boyfriend to drink 3-4 mugs of coffee for this price. It was very smooth and nice, but I’m no coffee connoisseur, so I can’t say much more.

Tip.  FYI, this is a lunch and breakfast only spot.  Not open for dinner.

Anepalcos Cafe
Mexican French
Yelp / Menu (no prices)
415 South Main Street
Orange, CA 92868
(Next to Children’s Hospital)

Stop 2 was for after-lunch-dessert (don’t judge!) at a Japanese bakery called Cream Pan, which is only 10 minutes from Anepalco’s (how can you resist?).  We were also headed camping, so we picked up a few extras for later.

Goods.  This place was generally affordable (because bakeries are always affordable), but rather expensive by Asian bakery standards.  Korean bakeries in my hometown typically charge like $0.80 per item, but the strawberry croissants at Cream Pan are $2.50 each!  That being said, the strawberry croissant is one of the best pastries I’ve ever had.  It’s got like a billion thin buttery layers of pastry, dusted in powdered sugar, which envelope a sweet light custard and strawberry slices.  My mother is notoriously picky with her sweets and even she loved these.

Tip.  I read on yelp that this place runs out of all the good stuff by 1pm, so if you’re making a drive for these strawberry croissants, call ahead to place an order, or show up before noon.

Ambiance.  This is more of a grab and go type of place.  It has almost no seating, so it’s not a cafe where you sit and chat. Otherwise it’s clean and I have no complaints.

Cream Pan
602 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780

Stop 3 is the Rainbow Sandals outlet store in San Clemente.

This outlet carries overstock and factory defects, but there is a LOT of selection for adults (all colors, sizes, etc.) and many pairs I looked at had no visible defects.   Kid’s selection is a bit slimmer.  In any case, here’s the price list:

  • $33 single layer adult size
  • $36 double layer adult size
  • $22 single layer kid size

I’m a cheapass with little feet, so I chose the kids size 5, single layer.  Love ’em!

Tip.  It’s only open on weekdays, and it closes at 4:30pm, so check the date and time before you go.
Rainbow Sandals, Inc.
Unadvertised Rainbow Sandals Outlet
326 Calle de Los Molinos
San Clemente, CA 92672

Stop 4 was to do some shopping at Carlsbad Premium Outlet.  This is a pretty standard outdoor outlet mall. I didn’t buy anything this time. We stopped by Banana Republic, Dooney & Bourke, Coach, Cole Haan, Michael Kors, etc. Nothing stood out as particularly bad or good, but it came at the right time for us to get out and stretch our legs a bit.

Carlsbad Premium Outlet
Outlet Mall
5620 Paseo del Norte
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Stop 5 was to buy some snacks for camping.  We went to a plaza that contained Marukai Market (Japanese Market) and Daiso (Japanese $2 store).  Unfortunately, Daiso is now closed, but there’s still Marukai Market in the same plaza.

Daiso / Marukai
Daiso / Yelp Marukai
8111 Balboa Avenue
San Diego, CA 92111
(Kearny Mesa area)


3 thoughts on “Mini-Roadtrip: LA to San Diego

  1. What a fabulous blog! I’ve been to San Diego once and I *loved* it! Great pictures! 🙂 I have Yelp too, but haven’t gotten around to yelping yet. Oh well….. :/

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