My Hometown: Welcome to San Diego, With Chef Brian Malarkey - Full-Time Travel

My Hometown: Welcome to San Diego, With Chef Brian Malarkey

My Hometown: Welcome to San Diego, With chef Brian Malarkey

In FTT’s series My Hometown, notable travelers divulge local places they couldn’t live without.

By Esme Benjamin

This month, Brian Malarkey, former Top Chef finalist and creator of Chefs Life (a line of uniquely delicious cooking oils), shares his go-tos for San Diego, where he co-owns and operates several restaurants, including Herb & Wood, Herb & Sea, Herb & Ranch, and Animae.  

From the go-to local surf spot and best yoga studio to the sexiest date night restaurant and the ultimate ice cream scoop, this is insider intel you’ll want to bookmark for your next trip to sunny San Diego.

Brian Malarkey at Herb & Wood | by Matt Furman

My hometown is special because it's got beautiful weather and people, and we’re right on the ocean. It’s paradise! I live where other people vacation, it really doesn't get any better than this. 

The coolest neighborhood in my hometown is Point Loma, where I reside. We have easy access to the ocean, the airport and historic Little Italy. 

When you're in my hometown, you absolutely need to get a Negroni at J & Tony’s Discount Warehouse and order the Roasted Oysters & Bone Marrow at my restaurant Herb & Wood.

Point Loma Lighthouse | Manuel Weber

When friends visit my hometown, I always take them to Ocean Beach, to blow their minds and let them experience a coastal town frozen in the 70s. 

If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous, check out surfing at Sunset Cliffs, but don’t tell any locals I said that. Wink wink. 

Without question, the most romantic date night spot in my hometown is Animae. It’s the most beautiful, sexy, dynamic place to dine, even if I say so myself. Also, Cesarina in Point Loma. It’s a beautiful little Italian restaurant with phenomenal food that’ll make you feel like you’re really in Italy.

Animae | By Dustin Bailey

I spend far too much money at Surf Ride, a surf shop in Solana beach

When you're in the mood for some "me time" head straight to Indie Yoga in Ocean Beach. 

My secret obsession is trying all the new and exotic flavors from Salt & Straw ice cream parlor in Little Italy.

Sunset Cliffs | By Bobby Stevenson

Something only locals know about my hometown is that we have the best foods in the Convoy District, a neighborhood known for its Pan-Asian cuisine. 

Don't end a trip to my hometown without getting on the water. You can hop on a tour boat, rent a boat for an afternoon, paddle board, surf or swim, but don’t come to San Diego without getting in the water. Regardless of the time of year, you have to jump in the ocean!

Surfing in San Diego | By Frank McKenna

FTT's San Diego Recommendations 

STAY at Scripps Inn, an easy breezy guest house in surfer's haven La Jolla.

EAT the five course, family-style Mediterranean Feast at Callie.

DRINK at Realm Of The 52 Remedies, a speakeasy bar hidden at the back of The Apothecary (a store full of Chinese medicines and tonics), which itself is hidden through Common Theory Public House. It's a Russian doll of bars. 


"This sculpture is called "Transmission" by artist Daniel Popper. Its a reminder that we are all rooted in love, unity and the divine. She stands a towering 28 feet tall and is located on Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree. The land is private property, so you can see it from the viewing platform off of Sunfair Road. And take it from me, it's best viewed at sunset."

Reel: @johnofah

There's more to Greece than the white and blue buildings and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. If you're planning a visit, check out these places below!

📍Kokkinopilos. Preveza
📍Verliga Dragon lake, Thessaly
📍Ithaca island, lonian Sea
📍Aoos springs lake, Epirus
📍Lake Prespes, Macedonia
📍Balda di Stringa waterfalls, Epirus
📍Meteora, Thessaly
📍Pelion, Thessaly
📍Lake Zorika, Epirus
📍Mt Lakmos
📍Crete island, Aegean Sea
📍Gistova Dragon lake, Macedonia

Reel: @farawayfarers

Swim or kayak through the limestone cliffs of the Twin Lagoon, a must-visit destination for those traveling to Coron, Palawan, Philippines. It is called "twin" lagoon because it consists of two lagoons separated by a limestone cliff, with one lagoon on top of the other. The water in the inner lagoon is warm and clear, with a stunning turquoise color that makes it popular for swimming and snorkeling.

Reel: @travelifejournal

Take a dip in a series of seven saltwater lagoons located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The Lagoons of Baltinache are known for their beautiful turquoise waters and unique geological formations. The high concentration of minerals in the water gives it a unique buoyancy that makes swimming in the lagoons a unique experience.

Reel: @everchanginghorizon

Watching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakalā National Park is one of the most memorable experiences you could have. Haleakalā is a Hawaiian name that means “House of the Sun” and is an awesome place to watch the clear night sky and stars fade away as the sun lights up the sky and the earth.

Reel: @girlchill_sunset

Just 1 hour from Shanghai by train, Cherry Blossom Valley is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The valley is named after the thousands of cherry blossom trees that cover the area and create a stunning display of pink and white flowers. The trees were originally planted in the 1980s by a group of Japanese experts who were invited to China to help with reforestation efforts. The best time to visit is typically in late March or early April. Get there early to beat the crowds!

Reel: @cyncynti

New Zealand is unbelievable. See it for yourself:

1. Fiordland National Park
2. A classic backcountry hut trip
3. Blue Pools walk
4. Hooker Lake
5. Milford Sound
6. Lake Pukaki

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

Surrounded by lush greenery, towering karst mountains, and the river flowing through, the Detian Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the close relationship between China and Vietnam. It is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest cross-border waterfall in the world.

Reel: @sophoebelous

Escape to a serene and peaceful oasis away from the bustling city of Marrakech at Le Jardin Secret—a beautiful and historic garden where visitors can escape the noise and chaos and enjoy the beauty of nature. The garden was originally built in the 16th century and is home to many different species of plants, including exotic flowers, citrus trees, and palm trees.

Reel: @hypermiggzz

For a magical moment and bucket list travel experience, visit the end point of the annual monarch butterfly migration. Starting in August, the monarchs travel 2,800 miles south from Canada, making a temporary home amid the towering trees of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where the two most popular sanctuaries to view them are el Rosario in the state of Michoacan and Piedra Herrada in Estado de México. Standing in silence while thousands of delicate wings beat in unison is something you'll never forget.

Reel: @juliiathompson

There's just something beautiful about snow covered landscapes like this popular attraction in southwestern Utah. Known for its unique geology, @brycecanyonnps_gov consists of a series of natural amphitheaters, called "hoodoos," formed by erosion of the rock layers.

Photo: @nathanleeallen

As we experience a couple more weeks of winter, we can't help but dream of tropical destinations like Hawaii. The warm water, sunny skies, and consistent waves make it an ideal destination for surfers. Hawaii has a vibrant surf culture and community and is also a beautiful place to explore outside of the water, with lush green mountains, stunning beaches, and unique cultural experiences.

Reel: @christopherballadarez

1. @sequoiakingsnps, California
2. @canyonlandsnps, Utah
3. @olympic_nps, Washington
4. @whitesandsnps, New Mexico
5. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
6. Knik Glacier, Alaska

Reel: @nathanleeallen