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San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Normal Heights

Pedestrian-friendly Adams Avenue is know for its cool lineup of indie boutiques and hip eateries


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Normal Heights This Month:

Pop-up event with Berlin Skin, January 13 at Maven

Burlesque Boogie Nights, January 25 at Sycamore Den

Blackmarket Bakery

What started as a farmers’ market gig has blossomed into a full-blown bakery with locations in San Diego, Costa Mesa, and Santa Ana. Locally, you can order from a menu of “eggywiches,” avocado toast, lunch sandwiches, and of course, baked goods. They support their neighbors, like Dark Horse Coffee Roasters and Mariposa, which supplies the ice cream for Blackmarket’s cookie sundaes. blackmarketbakerysd

 

Hawthorn Coffee

A father-son duo opened this amiable café in late 2015, serving gourmet toasts, pastries, and a menu of coffee, espresso drinks, and matcha blends. Their new weekday happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to close, with $2 pastries and $2 iced and filter coffees. hawthorncoffee

 

Photo by Lori Sokolowski

Sycamore Den

The design is a retro-cool tribute to a California modern tract home, with ’70s-inspired details. Cocktails incorporate ingredients like mezcal and house-made limoncello, and the menu has helpful and humorous tasting notes for each tipple. (For the Forbidden Root with ginger, turmeric, and aquavit: “bright, invigorating, cheers to your health.”) They also host trivia on Tuesdays. sycamoreden

 

Et Voilà!

The bistro is French through and through—from Riviera-raised owner Ludo Mifsud to chef Vincent Viale (ex-Tapenade), who was born in Provence, plus French menu standards like steak au poivre and homemade foie gras terrine. Leaf eaters need not shy away; they have a special vegetarian menu as well. etvoilabistro

 

Photo by Sam Wells

Tajima

Now that it’s seasonally appropriate to dig into ramen, we suggest slurping through Tajima’s namesake bowl, made with pork bone broth and marinated pork belly. Don’t want to pig out? Their vegan ramen with spinach noodles is excellent, too. tajimarestaurants

 

Maven

Otherwise hard-to-find indie brands line the shelves inside this chic boutique. Think Laura Lombardi jewelry, Charlotte Stone shoes, and clothing by Loup. mavensd

 

Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga

While some studios are exclusively heated or not, Pilgrimage has a variety of classes. There’s a hot flow, gentle yoga, donation-based meditation, and rope wall yoga, which helps yogis get deeper into poses. pilgrimageyoga

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