In most places, summer is a season. In San Diego, it's a state of mind. With year-round sunshine (ish), what differentiates summer here from the rest of the year are a couple of 90+ degree days and how vigorously pursue the good life.
So take a break from dozing in the hammock to check out these must-try bites and sips of the summer.
Summer Must: Wine
You want laid back? You can't get any more chill than wine in can. These take-anywhere tipples rival anything in a bottle - no need to lower your standards just because it's summer. Look for Alloy Wine Works Everyday Rosé at Krisp, Underwood's bubbles, rosé, pinot noir and pinot gris at Trader Joe's and BevMo and Pam's UN-Oaked Chardonnay at Whole Foods.
Summer Must: Dish
The seasonal soft-shell crab is fleeting like a summer sunset - you wait for it to come, it's spectacular when it's here and then, poof, it's gone. Water Grill, in the Gaslamp, serves two succulent jumbo Chesapeake blue crabs, pan sautéed with brown butter and ginger and served with a cool cucumber and watermelon salad. Get them before they fade into the sunset.
615 J St., Gaslamp. 619.717-6992 or watergrill.com
Summer Must: Street fest
Most "Taste Of" events are happy to highlight the best eating and drinking their neighborhood has to offer. Taste of Adams Avenue features nearly 50 places - of every cuisine imaginable - on a stretch than runs through three hoods: Kensington, Normal Heights and University Heights. Show offs!
June 25, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $35. 619.282.7329 or tasteofadams.com.
Summer Must: "It" restaurant
Summer is about bringing the heat and Red O is the hottest new restaurant in town. The upscale Mexican dining spot serves sizzlingly sumptuous fare and cocktails, nowhere more caliente than by a fire pit on the patio. Keep it spicy with shrimp ceviche with serrano and Tapatío hot sauce and the signature Alacran margarita kicked up with serrano syrup and sliced serranos.
4340 La Jolla Village Dr., San Diego. 858.291.8630 or redorestaurant.com.
Summer Must: Cocktail
If there's anything that can get us up from our beach chair it's a garden party, or more accurately the Garden Party cocktail served up at the elegant You & Yours Distilling Co. in the East Village. Y&Y's fabulously floral Sunday Gin is blended with Mixwell Dandelion Tonic (!), rose petal cordial and flower petals. Let the other coast catch fireflies in a jar; we'd rather capture summer in a glass.
1495 G St., East Village. 619.955.8755 or youandyours.com.
Summer Must: Classic with a twist
Call them weenies, franks or tube steaks, top them with chili, cheese, sauerkraut or mustard, hot dogs are the perfect summer all-American handwich. And since nothing is more American than blanketing something in bacon, the folks at Carnitas' Snack Shack are doing just that. During July, you can indulge in a smoked bacon-wrapped pork hot dog, with carnitas, pico de gallo and chipotle aioli. We salute you.
North Park: 2632 University Ave., 619.294.7675; Downtown: 1004 N. Harbor Dr., 619.696.7675. carnitassnackshack.com