Linda Vista has deep roots as a shopping community. In 1942, it was home to the first mall-like development in the U.S., and today includes a stretch of Friars Road in San Diego’s retail capital, Mission Valley.
The University of San Diego debuted in 1949, and small-business owners naturally began catering to students’ needs. Experience it firsthand in Linda Vista’s plentiful cheap eats options, especially from 5201 to 5401 Linda Vista Road in the mega strip mall that’s chock full of tasty deals, and home to one of the forefather local brewing companies that drew attention to San Diego as being a world class craft beer destination.
Jumpstart your day with a rush of sugar to the head at Rose Donuts, where blueberry apple fritters are hands-down the item you want to be leaving with. Breakfast sandwiches here are nothing to sneeze at either for under five bucks, and if you can’t decide between a sweet or savory breakfast, fret not, because Rose caters to the indecisive with its combo meal that includes both. Besides the cheap eats, Rose appeals to college kids with its handy, 24-7 business hours.
5401 Linda Vista Road. (619) 294-8856.
Arts and crafts fix
Pimping out your urban abode? Need to make amends with that special someone in your life? Look no further than Wholesale Flowers and Supplies, a discount floral super store, tucked away in a cul-de-sac off Linda Vista Road. It sells fresh flowers — along with decorative items like glass orbs and other terrarium supplies — plus arrangement necessities for D-I-Y gifts or projects. Rest assured that there are professional florists on deck should your crafty plans require consult. But really, it’s a no brainer to put a personal touch on gifts while saving loot this holiday season, so get to it.
5305 Metro St. wholesaleflowersandsupplies.com
J&T; Thai Street Food
Duck is often pricey and disappointing, but not at J&T; Thai Street Food. For $7, the duck noodle soup’s salty-sweet broth has an abundance of flavorful sliced meat at a bargain price. Rice noodles and greens swim among the mix of duck and rich, savory five spice seasoned soup. Wash it down with a Thai tea, the most popular drink (of many) in the house.
5259 Linda Vista Road. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. jtthaistreetfoodsd.com
For a rainbow of nail polish colors with popular brands like OPI, Essie and China Glaze, check out Nails Boulevard where prices range between $4.50 and $5 a bottle. You read right: That’s a 50 percent savings. Since this is a supply store, other products tend to come in bulk; however there are some single and double packages of items like nail files and clippers.
6937 Linda Vista Road. (858) 279-8880.
Catalina Offshore Products
The fish market at Catalina Offshore Products doubles as an education center and purveyor of all things fresh seafood.
You can go into Catalina’s market without a clue of what to cook or how, and leave fully equipped. Even if you want to make your own sushi at home, they have whole kits for that. But if Catalina Offshore is famous for one thing, it’s uni, which they’ve been harvesting in Southern California waters since the 1970s and export throughout the world. In 2012, Bizarre Foods America host Andrew Zimmern and his production made a stop at the seafood emporium, specifically for some swordfish bone marrow.
5202 Lovelock St. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; until 2 p.m. Saturday. catalinaop.com
Ballast Point’s Home Brew Mart
You should be thirsty after all this, in which case, a visit to local institution Ballast Point’s Home Brew Mart is in order. Recognized as a forefather in San Diego’s craft beer industry, what was a “back room” brewery in the ’90s has expanded well beyond its Linda Vista birthplace in recent years to include a spirits distillery, Miramar brewery and Little Italy brewery restaurant. Still, the original is a beacon for craft beer culture with all the supplies and pro advice a home brewer in San Diego could want.
5401 Linda Vista Road, Suite 406. Hours, including the tasting room, are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. homebrewmart.com