Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend

1. Meet an Astronaut: On Friday, August 26, the San Diego Air & Space Museum is offering a special opportunity to meet Al Worden, command module pilot for the Apollo 15 mission to the moon in 1971. Worden will give a talk relating his fascinating moon-travel experiences, and sign copies of his new book Falling To Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut’s Journey to the Moon.

2. Ride the Bridge-Bike the Bay: On Sunday, August 28th, take advantage of a rare opportunity to ride over the iconic San Diego-Coronado Bridge. This popular, noncompetitive 25-mile ride along Bayshore Bikeway passes through the cities of Coronado, San Diego, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and National City. Registration is required.

3. Julian Star Fest: Professionals and amateur enthusiasts explore the world of astonomy during this four-day festival from August 25-28. The festival takes place at Julian’s Menghini Winery and will include exhibition areas, guest speakers and an astronomy equipment swap meet.

4. Sleeping Beauty Wakes, La Jolla Playhouse: Extended through this weekend is the popular Sleeping Beauty Wakes. The story follows the characters after a father brings his sleeping daughter in to a sleep disorder clinic, staff and patients mysteriously find themselves sharing the same dream. With beguiling characters, hypnotic lyrics, and a rocking score from GrooveLily, this musical about a father, a daughter and an unlikely suitor dives into the magical space between dreaming and waking.

5. Orfila Grape Stomp: When their fruit is harvested in late August, Orfila Vineyards and Winery in Escondido hosts this fun-filled event so guests can help stomp the grapes and enjoy great food, live music and tractor rides through the vineyards.

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend

1. Gourmet Food Truck Festival: Pack your appetite Saturday, August 20 as Del Mar Horse Races hosts the largest Food Truck Festival. Guests will have the opportunity to sample a treasure trove of delicious and eclectic foods from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm served by Southern California”s top food truck chefs. The festival will take place in the concert area and is free with track admission.

Photo courtesy of UT

  1. 35th Annual World Body Surfing Championships: International and U.S. body surfers compete at the Oceanside Pier and Beach August 20 and 21 starting at 6:30 am. Over 300 body surfers will compete and will be judged in how well they perform in their 15 minute heats. There will also be booths from sponsors such as Bud Light, Muscle Milk, and Rockstar.

3. Stone Brewing Anniversary Party: Help Stone Brewing celebrate its 15th Anniversary with fresh kegs, online casino 10 tastings and over 40 guest breweries. Thousands of people are expected to attend and will be held on the California State University, San Marcos campus on August 20.

4. San Diego Polo Club Match: Experience Polo in a whole new way by tailgating. Pack up your car with food, snacks, chairs and sit back and enjoy a polo match. First match starts at 1:00 pm with the featured match starting at 3:00 pm. Don”t forget to partake in the divot stomp at 3:45 pm. This Sunday”s match is the Fernando Gutierrez Memorial Cup Final.

5. San Diego Padres: Ok so we”re not in the penant race, but a Padres game is always fun and this Saturday, following the game Dierks Bently will be performing and Sunday kids will receive Padres backpacks…just in time for school!

Suzzanne

5 to Try for the Weekend

1. Pro Junior Surf Contest: Oceanside, CA will host the only 6-star pro junior surf contest in North America on Saturday, August 13. Sixteen of the best 20-year-old-and-under female surfers in the world will be competing for first place and one of the industry’s largest prize purses. The contest starts at 11:15 am at the Oceanside Pier and will feature a series of head-to-head heats with the finals scheduled for 2:15 pm. Admission is free.

BrewFest Encinitas

2. BrewFest Encinitas: Stone Brewing Co., Ballast Point, Pizza Port and others will gather at Mira Costa College’s San Elijo Campus August 13th from 4 – 7:00 pm for BrewFest Encinitas. The event will also feature gourmet food trucks and music entertainment will be on hand for this unique evening.

3. Hillcrest CityFest : The neighborhood celebration includes roughly 250 arts and crafts vendors, live music, games, a beer garden and more. The event attracts more than 150,000 revelers from noon to 9:00 pm Sunday, August 14.

Ferragosto

4. Ferragosto: Ferragosto, a night when everyone is Italian, returns to San Diego’s Little Italy. On August 13th, for one night only, experience the thrill and extravagance of the Venetian Masquerade! Held in Amici Park, the evening event includes dining from San Diego’s premier restaurants, dancing under the stars, a costume contest, and other fun and entertainment.


5. SummerFest 2011: La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest is a nationally-recognized chamber music festival featuring over 70 world-class artists and ensembles performing concerts from August 3 – 26, 2011. The festival also offers a number of free Community Engagement Activities, including Coaching Workshops, Open Rehearsals and Encounters. Take advantage of these free activities and expand your appreciation for classical music!

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Hot New Dining in Coronado

Coronado is making waves in the local dining scene this summer with the opening of four fabulous new restaurants. The Hotel del Coronado also gets into the gastronomic act with the debut of a new culinary team at 1500 Ocean. From urban eclectic cuisine and gourmet burgers to savory sushi and classic English pub fare, there’s something to tickle just about everyone’s taste buds. Let’s dine around the island, in five easy courses:

1.  Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge (1015 Orange Ave., next door to Mootime Creamery), brings urban chic to the Crown City with its hip industrial look and a fresh flavorful menu of locally-sourced sustainable food created by Executive Chef Mel Ford. Standouts include the Diver Scallop Sliders, Duroc Bone in Pork Chop with maple bourbon glaze and ginger pears, and refreshing Watermelon Salad with arugula, dry goat cheese, almonds and balsamic reduction. In a word: yum!

Saiko Sushi - as fresh as it gets!

2.  Saiko Sushi (116 Orange Avenue near the Coronado Ferry Landing) is a progressive Japanese restaurant and sushi bar featuring modern Asian-styled food, sustainably-sourced fish, seasonal produce and micro-brewed sake. There’s a great family-friendly atmosphere with patio seating to enjoy amazing views of downtown San Diego.

The (English) Tavern.

3.  Blimey, is that an English tavern across the street from McP’s Irish Pub? Yep! Aptly named, The Tavern (1310 Orange Avenue) boasts a vintage industrial look designed with weathered materials from yesteryear, including salvaged high school basketball court planks – a slam dunk for the flooring and bar top! Casual and welcoming, enjoy a pint while noshing on chicken sliders, fish sandwiches, mac & cheese with breadcrumb topping and more.

4.  The island is abuzz about Nicky Rottens Bar & Burger Joint, opening in two weeks at the corner of 1st Street and Orange Ave. Burgers are primo here, hand-pressed and made from Grade A corn-fed Midwestern beef, using fresh organic vegetables and house-made sauces that bring out the freshest, most robust tastes possible. I’ll update everyone on the vibe and design after the grand opening.

1500 Ocean's new Chef Aaron Martinez & Wine Director Joe Weaver.

5.  The Del’s 1500 Ocean welcomes Chef de Cuisine Aaron Martinez who developed his passion for food at restaurants in Belgium and Spain, and most recently at Addison at the Grand Del Mar. He believes in fresh, local ingredients and uses the hotel’s onsite herb garden to create coastal-inspired dishes. Also new is Wine Director Joe Weaver who cultivated his passion for wine while traveling in Europe; he currently holds a Court of Master Sommeliers Level 2 Certification.

Sweet San Diego Chocolatier!

For dessert I MUST mention Sweet San Diego Chocolatier which just opened at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Chocolate-dipped strawberries, Rocky Road apples and peanut/peacan sticks are just a few of their sweet sensational creations.

All this talk of chocolate, fine wine and food is making me hungry…

Bon appétit from Coronado!

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Camping in San Diego’s East County

Hiking at Cuyamaca's Paso Picacho campground.

Ready to go wild! Pack the tent, sleeping bag and all the s’mores fixins for a camping adventure in East County, San Diego’s massive “backyard” which stretches from the rolling foothills and mountains of Cleveland National Forest to the magnificent Anza-Borrego Desert.

I’ve gone camping throughout East County over the years and there’s nothing like the crisp mountain air and relaxing sound of nature to put you in vacation mode.

Following are Five Campgrounds to Try:

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park,  located south of San Diego’s historic mountain town of Julian, offers 110 miles of hiking trails, most open to horseback riders. Nearby Lake Cuyamaca offers boating and fishing. The park’s highest viewpoint is Cuyamaca Peak (6,512 feet) with panoramic views of Mexico, mountain ranges and the desert floor below. The park is home to lots of wildlife, including mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, an occasional mountain lion and more than 150 species of birds. Picturesque camping sites abound, nestled among meadows, oak and pine woodlands, creeks and the Sweetwater River headwaters.

Stonewall Peak.

  1. First on our list to try is Cuyamaca Rancho State Park’s Paso Picacho campground, which has some beautiful pristine meadows and two great mountain hikes, including a 2 mile trek up Stonewall Peak (elevation 5,700 feet), and 3.5 mile trek up Cuyamaca Peak. It might not exactly be “glamping,” but the park’s 12’ x 12’ cabins are pretty nice by camping standards, featuring full-size bunk beds (bring your own bedding), wood stove, picnic table, BBQ and fire ring. Each holds up to 4 people.

    Green Valley's refreshing Sweetwater River.

  2. Cuyamaca’s Green Valley campgroundis pretty as a postcard, situated on the Sweetwater River. There’s an easy hiking trail along the river with clear (and chilly!) pools and waterfalls to explore and swim. The perfect way to beat the heat!

    Lovely Laguna Meadow.

  3. Also located in the Cleveland National Forest, the pine-studded Laguna Mountains (approx. 6,000 feet) offer some great hiking, mountain biking and fishing for campers. There are seven major campgrounds. With 104 sites, each with a table and fire ring, Laguna Campground is the second-largest, located near the Sunset and Big Laguna trails which encircle the bucolic Laguna Meadow – a must see!

    Anza-Borrego Desert beauty.

  4. Just over the mountains, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a campers’ paradise where you’re sure to spot roadrunners, bighorn sheep (called “borrego” in Spanish), lizards and yes, even snakes (keep your hands and feet out of rock crevices!). As California’s largest state park it’s difficult to choose just one campground out of the 12, but my pick would be Borrego Palm Canyonwhere – as the name suggests – a lush palm oasis awaits hikers. Note:  Be sure to bring plenty of water for desert camping, as temps are 100+!

    Santee Lakes Cabins.

  5. If you want a cozy home away from home, the swanky new Santee Lakes Cabins provide a fun camping getaway for the entire family. There are 10 cabins to choose from; seven on the water’s edge and three that actually float ON the lake. How cool is that! Each cabin is furnished, decked out with full utilities, including AC, TV, and WiFi, and includes a kitchenette, master bedroom, living room, restroom with shower, porch and BBQ. If roughing it is not quite your thing, Santee Lakes is the place for you.

See you on the trails!

 

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Summer Events in Coronado

Bay views from Coronado Island Marriott Resort.

Discover San Diego’s Neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on Coronado.

Things are heating up this summer in Coronado, just a bridge away from downtown San Diego. Visitors with swim towels, beach umbrellas and boogie boards are finding their happy place on the island’s 28 miles of beaches on sparkling San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

In addition to fun under the sun, following are Five Summer Events to Try on San Diego’s enchanted island:

Picnic at Promenade Concerts in the Park.

1.  Sure, there’s the soothing sound of palm trees swaying in the breeze, but visitors can also hear the sweet sound of live music in Coronado. A beloved local tradition is the Promenade Concert in the Park Series, which takes place every Sunday at 6:00 pm, through mid-September, in Spreckels Park. A perfect activity for families and picnickers; admission is free.

Bayside concerts at Coronado Ferry Landing.

2.  Also music to your ears: the Summer Concert Series at Coronado Ferry Landing which takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 – 5:00 pm, through September 5, at the Coronado Ferry Landing shops on scenic San Diego Bay. Featured musicians include the Crown Island Jazz Band, Coronado Big Band and Teagan Taylor Trio. Continue reading

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Star-spangled Fun in Coronado!

Coronado 4th of July parade (credit: Coronado Visitor Center)

Let your patriotic colors fly this 4th of July – and all weekend long – in Coronado, just across the bridge from downtown San Diego.

Coronado’s Independence Day bash is the most popular in San Diego County. The prominent Navy presence on the island is a big reason why. There’s NAS North Island, aircraft carriers like the famous USS Carl Vinson which just returned from the Middle East, and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado where the elite Navy SEALs train. (Did you know: Coronado traces its rich military roots back to 1911 when the first navy plane flew from its shores)

A jam-packed day of July 4th fun includes a 5K/15K run/walk, rough-water swim at North Beach and a two-hour parade down Orange Avenue, Coronado’s quintessential “main street USA,” complete with military bands, floats and Navy aircraft. It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life with families of locals and visitors alike lining the route donned in red, white & blue and waving flags. There’s also “Art-in-the-Park” and a music concert in Spreckels Park, and at night, catch the spectacular fireworks display over Glorietta Bay.

Before, during and after the festivities, following are Five Fun Places to Try along Orange Avenue:

The Music Man at Lamb's Players Theatre.

  1. Guaranteed to have audiences humming “76 Trombones” all weekend long, the musical classic “The Music Man” takes center stage at the Lamb’s Players Theatre on July 2-3. Great way to launch into the 4th and set the celebratory mood.
  2. Catch a movie at the all-new Village Theatre, a polished cinematic gem at 820 Orange Ave. The dazzling Art Deco design and 3-D color murals are eye-candy for the kids – adults too! Bargain matinee shows before 6pm are only $8.50. Current flick: Pixar’s “Cars 2.”
  3. Sample handmade candies like “Coronado Crunch” (white or milk chocolate with peanut butter, marshmallows and rice krispies, drizzled in more chocolate!). at Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory at 1126 Orange Ave. Other tempting sweets: caramel, fudge, turtles and several varieties of caramel apples.

    Elvis (and a cow!) greet ice cream fans at Moo Time.

  4. Another sweet place to “chill” is MooTime Creamery at 1025 Orange Ave., famous for their fresh made-to-order ice cream creations and hand rolled waffle cones with totally cool flavors like girl scout mint, apple pie and “silly vanilly.” There’s a Moo Time at the Hotel del Coronado too!

    One of Artist Navarro Montllor's amazing seascapes!

  5. Take home a slice of paradise at the Art & Frames by Wood Gallery at 936 Orange Ave. Their just launched exhibit of fantastic seascape paintings by world-renowned artist Navarro Montllor are so realistic you can almost hear the waves crashing through the frames!

Have a fantastic 4th of July weekend!

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend

La Jolla Festival of the Arts

1. La Jolla Festival of the Arts: Held on the University of California, San Diego campus in La Jolla June 18-19, the event includes award-winning artists, gourmet cuisine, contemporary music and entertainment.

Taste of Gaslamp

2. Taste of Gaslamp: Sample dishes from over 25 venues Saturday and Sunday June 18-19th from 1:00 – 4:00 pm on the streets of the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Attendees will also receive a take home copy of the Taste of Gaslamp recipe book featuring recipes from participating Gaslamp Quarter restaurants.

Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival

3. Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival: The 4th annual event held at the Spanish Village in Balboa Park Friday, June 17 from 6:30 to 10:00 pm. Stroll around the park and sample some of San Diego’s finest cheese, chocolate and wine while listening to music under the stars.

4. Switchfoot Bro-Am: Local Grammy winners Switchfoot put on their annual surf contest/concert/street fair Saturday June 18. The surf contest runs from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm and the concert kicks off from noon to 5:00 pm.

5. Spreckles Organ Pavilion Sunday Concerts: Attend a free concert every Sunday afternoon and Monday evenings from June 20 through August at this stately outdoor venue. An array of musical groups will play at the pavilion located in Balboa Park. It’s a great time to pack a picnic and enjoy one of San Diego’s most unique venues.

Courtney

5 to Try: Summer Events in La Jolla

Discover San Diego’s Neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on beautiful La Jolla.

Poster for the 25th Annual La Jolla Festival of the Arts

1. 25th Annual La Jolla Festival of the Arts – The La Jolla Festival of the Arts, one of the top-rated art shows in the state, is taking place June 18 and 19 on the USCD east campus.  Showcasing nearly 200 award-winning local and national artists, live music, classic cars, celebrity chef food demonstrations, and a live street chalking exhibition, this event is not to be missed.

Fireworks at La Jolla Cove

2. July 4th in La Jolla – The La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation’s Fourth of July festivities kick off around 5:00 pm with a summer concert at Ellen Browning Scripps Park.  Then at 9:00 pm, the fireworks blast off from La Jolla Cove.  The best spots for watching the display are: Ellen Browning Scripps Park, La Jolla Shores, and Kellogg Park.

SummerFest returns to La Jolla this August

3. SummerFest 2011The La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest kicks off on August 3 with SummerFest Under the Stars, a free concert at La Jolla Cove.  Running through August 26, SummerFest will feature more than 70 world-class performances.

James Turrell, Stuck Red and Stuck Blue, 1970, construction materials and fluorescent lights. Copyright James Turrell. Photo by Philipp Scholz Rittermann. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Museum Purchase, Elizabeth W. Russell Foundation Funds.

4. Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface – On September 25, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will open its most ambitious exhibition to date.  Phenomenal will be on view at both the La Jolla and downtown San Diego locations through January 22, 2012.

Boundless Energy at Scripps Aquarium Opening July 9

5. Boundless EnergyBirch Aquarium at Scripps’ newest exhibit, Boundless Energy, opens July 9. An outdoor, interactive exhibit exploring how we can use natural forces to power our lives, Boundless Energy features highly educational, interactive elements that encourage learning through play.

We want to send you to Birch Aquarium this summer.  Comment below by Thursday, June 16th at 10:00 am and get entered to win a family four-pack of tickets to Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Magical Masterpieces of “San Diego’s Gaudi”

Ever wanted to know what it would be like to walk through the wondrous world of a Dr. Seuss book, with all of its quirky colorful shapes and landscapes? Well now you can at the Open House of the James Hubbell House and Studios in the East County community of Santa Ysabel (near Julian) on Father’s Day, June 19.

If you’re not familiar with Hubbell and his art or architectural creations, he is considered a “national treasure” known for his organic structures steeped in nature. The San Diego Union-Tribune even called Hubbell House & Studios one of the “Masterpieces in Our Midst.”

In addition to eight fantastical structures at his 40-acre artists complex, Hubbell has a few other stunning sculptural works sprinkled throughout San Diego County.

Following are five fun ones to try:

  1. Big/Main Studio at the Hubble House. Notice it’s resemblance to whale bones!

    Big Studio at Hubbell House and Studios.

  2. Boy’s House at Hubble House and Studios. This one is especially playful with its pools of colorful glass and mosaic tile flowing throughout.

    Boy's House, Hubbel House and Studios.

  3. Volcan Mountain Preserve entrance gate and sculpture in Julian. There’s something kind of sci-fi about this piece, like a space portal into nature!

    Beam me up, to Volcan Mountain!

  4. Sea Passage fountain and sculpture on Glorietta Bay in Coronado. This piece is very San Diego and fits perfectly with the beachy island vibe of Coronado.

    Hang 10 at Coronado's Sea Passage!

  5. Pacific Portal sculpture on Shelter Island, San Diego Bay. I collect seashells, and if I could I’d pocket this one! OK never mind, it’s kind of ginormous.

    Giant Pacific Portal seashell-like sculpture.

Oh, and for you history buffs, Hubbell did a life-size clay sculpture of Father Junipero Serra in front of Mission San Diego de Alcala – California’s first mission – in Mission Valley. Talk about prolific!

I’m checking out the Hubbell House & Studios open house on my way back from a weekend staycation in Borrego Springs – can’t wait! I’ll be sure to take lots of photos and share them with you later this month.