We had the good fortune of connecting with Audrey Wheeler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Audrey, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
With the pandemic, everyone’s life has been flip-turned and it’s hard to stay motivated. Personally, I’ve wanted to throw in the towel with my food blog because sometimes it felt like, “What’s the point?” And in moments like that, it’s most important to remember to keep going and to never give up as cliché as it may sound. When this thought process occurs, I meditate about the different factors that make what I do important. My food adventures showcase diverse foods and the pandemic has made me focus on the smaller businesses that are hurting. These small businesses are the backbone of our community. Each and every business that I’ve had the opportunity to support has its own unique flare that makes it special to San Diego. I’ve had my fair share of takeout meals throughout this quarantine and I try to do my part in helping these businesses thrive (by treating myself and giving a nice tip!) As difficult as it may be to make takeout look pretty, I’m hoping that this food blog helps bring awareness to what is open and delicious!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I like to call my food blog my side hustle, but my professional life revolves around child care! I love the children and have always been involved in early childhood education. I started as a teacher for toddlers and worked my way up to become an assistant director. My center has been open for the entire pandemic which has been the most fulfilling challenge with enhanced cleaning and COVID-19 protocol that has made it a safe haven for students and staff. Many lessons have been learned along the way, but being on my P’s and Q’s about every safety precaution possible helps us all feel confident about coming together to provide care for essential workers and to help children thrive. To some extent, attention to detail is my brand.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Any approach to a day in San Diego will be fulfilling and possibly indulgent. When gatherings were a thing, food and craft beer festivals created so many fun memories. What sounds better than sipping craft beer and grubbing on limitless food samples with great company? Until events were placed on pause, any given weekend in this city was bound to have a food, beer, and/or spirits festival of some sort to share the day with loved ones. An adventure per my suggestions would go as follows: Before my guests arrive for their weekend, I would load up on goodies from Los Pollos Rotisserie and Cuban Bakery in Chula Vista. It’s a trip from where I’m living, but it’s so worth it for their baked goods such as the cheese rolls, guava pastries, and savory items like their Cubano, oxtail, and croquettes. These treats are perfect to share for snacking throughout the weekend and getting ready for the next day. Personally, I start my days off with a cup of coffee. And one of my favorite coffee shops is Mostra Coffee in Carmel Mountain where I’d order a Bibingka Creme Brulee Latte (or a Mo’chata if I’m in the mood for cold brew). Their option for curbside pick-up has made it so convenient to be on the go for the next item on the itinerary: lunch! An OG burger, fries, and a Purple Drank from the Friendly on University Ave is a great pregame for exploring the Spanish Art Village in Balboa Park. Other lunch options in the area if company decides against a delicious burger would include: Sister’s Pizza, Grand Ole BBQ y Asado, Surf & Soul Spot, and Bahn Thai. Want dessert? An’s Dry Cleaning has some of the most unique gelato flavors around. Rosemary and olive oil was a flavor I never knew I needed. If friends are not in the mood for gelato, I would suggest a trip to La Mesa where Extraordinary Banana Pudding resides. When dinner comes around and we’re hungry for more, I’d highly recommend filling up on salmon belly and uni at Sushi Ota in Pacific Beach. Depending on the route, other dinner options of my preference include Costa Brava, Lola 55, and Shank & Bone. On the way, I would suggest taking a drive to Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach for some breathtaking views. If happy hour is more on the itinerary, Miramar is a great next step to this San Diego adventure. I’ve heard this area of San Diego referred to as “Beeramar” because there are so many breweries. Our first stop would be Pure Project followed by Alesmith. (Make sure you know the password for the special room!) If anyone finds themselves in Scripps Ranch, I would highly recommend Harland Beer where flavors reflective of shared culture are prominently displayed in their expansive lineup. It’s a real taste of the homeland when flavor profiles like buko pandan and ube are the main event for special beer releases. I would end the night at Vallarta Express where I’d order “Christian Fries” to share. And first thing in the morning, I’d head over to Hawaiian Fresh Seafood for some of my favorite poke and Hawaiian food in town. My list for San Diego hotspots goes on, but I like to ask my friends “What do you want to eat?” and go from there.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
@AUD.EATS is my food blog on Instagram that I am very proud of. It has come a long way since its first post in May 2018 about El Borrego Restaurant in the San Diego neighborhood of City Heights. My efforts mostly go to local businesses that deserve the love especially during trying times such as these. I’m a San Diego local who comes from Oxnard, CA, so a lot of my hometown flavor has made its way into my palate.