Welcome to sunny San Diego! Or maybe just 65 degree weather, slight cloud cover and chilly breezes all day, or the "May Gray" time of the year. You can also find these seven dishes and drinks to try on the West Coast.

The weather was one of the many unexpected parts I had the opportunity to experience on my first trip to the beautiful West Coast city this spring. This month, my cousin became one of the few and the proud, a United States Marine. This achievement was, of course, the main point of the whole trip.

lemonade, tea, ice
Samantha Albers

However, another important part to me was getting to try different places to eat along the beaches and in Old Town San Diego with my family. From this trip, I put together a list (in no particular ranking order) of seven dishes and drinks to try on the West Coast.

1. Fish Tacos

chicken, fish
Samantha Albers

I would first like to point out that the fish tacos in San Diego are actually legit and not a myth, so brace yourselves. I quickly realized that the sign under the menu that read "The Best Fish Taco in San Diego" is not a joke either and shouldn't ever be taken lightly — these are amazing.

So what better way to get a couple of fish tacos than from a place right off the boardwalk on the beach called Tacos El Gordo, which in English means "the fat taco."

2. Toasted Health Nut

sweet, milk, ice, cocktail, juice, pineapple
Samantha Albers

Along with beachside finds, it was interesting to go to a new restaurant on the boardwalk called the PB Shore Club. Walking in, I didn't know what to expect, and looking at the menu, I didn't know what to try. 

I found myself winging it and ordered a drink called the Toasted Health Nut. The healthiest item on the menu (besides water) is now definitely a new personal favorite of mine. I give this one a thumbs up on this list of seven dishes and drinks to try on the West Coast.

Garnished with a pineapple slice, it includes Malibu Coconut Rum, pineapple juice and coconut water. Perfect for a day on the beach!

3. Reuben

Samantha Albers

Moving down the boardwalk on Ocean Beach to the Baja Beach Café, I found myself wanting to try a Reuben sandwich in The Golden State.

This definitely made it as one of the seven dishes and drinks to try on the West Coast. Also, don't forget the steak fries!

4. Chicken Burger

Samantha Albers

Aside from the interesting and new foods, if you ever find yourself in San Diego looking for something familiar and what I consider to be comfort food, venture on to Hodad's. This place not only has a great atmosphere and crowd, but definitely means business when it comes to burgers.

5. Double Bacon Cheeseburger with Extra Bacon and Extra Cheese

lettuce, beef, bacon, cheese
Samantha Albers

Although I'd like to admit it, I was not brave enough to order this item off the menu at Hodad's.

My cousin, the recent Marine Corps graduate, wanted his first meal off base to be a big ol' burger. I think I had to take a double-take at him when I heard his order of this burger with extra bacon and extra cheese.

I thought I had seen it all when it came to food, but I was clearly wrong when it came to this monster of a burger. (Yes, the bottom bun is under the tomato on this thing.)

6. Old Town Margarita

lemonade, tequila, lime, ice, alcohol, juice, cocktail
Samantha Albers

When my family and I were walking around Old Town in San Diego, we noticed that a majority of the restaurants and bars served Mexican cuisine. Luckily, that meant they served homemade margaritas that are authentic to the city.

One of the best margaritas I've had was at the outdoor dining experience we had in a place called The Living Room, which also served breakfast and coffee drinks. 

I realized that this drink is a fan favorite and has every right to make this list (if a beverage can have rights).

7. Chicken Tacos

pork, chili, slaw, chicken, tacos
Samantha Albers

While at The Living Room, I decided to try a dish that I hadn't ever tried before - because why not, right? Because the tacos were practically screaming my name on the menu, I went ahead and ordered the chicken tacos not really thinking anything of it.

For full disclosure: I will tell you that I am always up for a little spice on my food, but if you are not a fan at all of even a little bit of heat, I wouldn't recommend that you order these. They pack a punch. Although they were a tad spicy, they are still definitely some of the best tacos I ate on this trip (besides the fish tacos, of course).

To say the least, watching my cousin graduate from the USMC boot camp and trying new foods and drinks that I wouldn't ever try before made this trip nothing short of amazing for me. 

If you're ever up for being adventurous in San Diego, this list and many other menu options will definitely make you want to keep going back — or never come home!