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In some ways, Old Town is a weird, quasi-Mexican Disneyland soaked in overpriced and underpowered margaritas. We go around it at all costs, leaving the curios historicity to the tourists. But Old Town doesn’t totally suck! Harney Sushi is OK and 25Forty Bistro can be rad. Bentowich is a worthy lunch spot. If you want to get into fancy tequila, El Agave holds it down.

And now I want to add the San Diego House (2767 San Diego Avenue, 619-683-2416) to the list of “worthwhile places in Old Town.” At least, worthwhile to anyone who likes flavored coffee.

Now, I’m as much of a pour-over dork as any other hipster doofus paying $5 for a cup of drip coffee, but I also love the blueberry coffee that they serve at 7/11 in the mornings. It’s so good, in its way. Some people hate the stuff. To them, making coffee taste like vanilla and hazelnuts is an abomination. Others dig on some sweet, flavored java, and they will be happy to know that the San Diego House purveys a wide selection of flavored coffees and an astonishing rainbow of loose leaf teas.


Again, if you just want your single-origin Ethiopian chemex, stay away. But if you’re excited by coffee and tea flavors you never knew existed, then that’s another story.

Unfortunately, San Diego House is at the most inaccessible part of Old Town, in the center of the “no cars here” part where the workers dress all old-timey. You either walk in or ride a bike, so there’s no pulling up on the curb and grabbing a bag of beans on the way home. That’s disadvantageous, but still workable. Since the baristas manage a decent (though not impeccable) shot of espresso, it’s worth moseying in, getting a coffee for there, and perusing the wares.

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