Guest Blogger

Carols and Barrels – A Holiday Beer and Wine Festival

Carols and Barrels

Carols and Barrels

Carols and Barrels, Buddy the Elf’s beer, wine and food festival of choice, is taking over the Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier on Saturday, December 3 for a holiday-themed afternoon of unlimited craft beer and wine samples, as well as small bite offerings from area restaurants. Additionally, there will be an ugly sweater contest, a special appearance by Buddy the Elf, photo opportunities with Santa, caroling, elves, reindeer games and more.

Carols and Barrels Tickets

Tickets are available for $45 for general admission, $75 for VIP and $35 for designated drivers.

General Admission

General admission tickets include: entrance from 2:00 to 5:30 PM, souvenir tasting cup for you to sippity, sip, sip from, unlimited beer and wine samples, holiday treats and small plates from local restaurants along with carols, elves and holiday cheer.

VIP Admission

VIP admission tickets include: entrance from 1:00 to 5:30 PM, one hour early entry to the fest, unlimited beer and wine samples, holiday treats and small plates from local restaurants, a souvenir pint or wine glass and private VIP restrooms.

[su_button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#df7627″ color=”#ffffff” size=”7″ wide=”yes” center=”yes” icon=”icon: ticket” text_shadow=”1px 1px 1px #ff6345″]Get Your Carols and Barrels Tickets Now[/su_button]

Who Will Be There to Pour For All to Hear

Over 60 breweries, wineries and restaurants will be on-site to sample their holiday goodies. 

Participating breweries include:

Participating wineries include:

  • Coyote Oaks Vineyards
  • Casi Cielo Winery
  • Twin Oaks Valley Winery
  • Granite Lion Cellars
  • Turiya Wines
  • Martellotto
  • Sweetzer Cellars
  • Barefoot Wines
  • Quigley Fine Wines
  • South Coast Winery
  • Wilson Creek Winery
  • Ascension Cellars
  • San Antonio Winery

Participating restaurants include:

  • Aqui Es Texcoco
  • Gators Back Porch BBQ
  • Big Front Door
  • Dang Brothers Pizza
  • Senor Grubby’s
  • Primos Public Corner
  • City Tacos
  • Tostadas
  • The Cake Pop Shop
  • McGregors
  • Dirty Birds
  • Dog Haus
  • Gringas Tacos & Catering
  • Mitch’s Seafood
  • Gaslamp Popcorn
  • Food Should Taste Good

Who Carols and Barrels Help

Carols and Barrels benefits Cancer for College, which provides hope and inspiration to cancer survivors by granting college scholarships. Since its inception, the charity has granted nearly $2 million in scholarships to more than one thousand cancer survivors from around the country.

[su_button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#df7627″ color=”#ffffff” size=”7″ wide=”yes” center=”yes” icon=”icon: ticket” text_shadow=”1px 1px 1px #ff6345″]Goodness Gumdrops – Get Your Tickets Now[/su_button]

Guest Blogger

10 San Diego Restaurant Week Picks Throughout the County

San Diego’s cuisine reflects its history and culture – rich, diverse & colorful. Eat your way through the county with these 10 San Diego Restaurant Week picks.


A lil Sunday fun day🍾😋

A post shared by M A C E (@_macydyann_) on

Let your tastebuds have a field day with a fusion of American, Mexican and Italian flavors, blended together for a unique culinary experience in the heart of Pacific Beach. Sip on an array of handcrafted mimosas, savor mouthwatering tapas and chill at this cool hangout.

Where: 967 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Crushed

La Gran Terraza


Located on the University of San Diego’s picturesque campus, this farm-to-table bistro is a hit with locals and visitors alike. From the cozy fireplace to sweeping views of Tecolote Canyon and Mission Bay, La Gran Terraza is more than just a good place to eat, it’s a dining experience.

Where: 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110
> FInd out more about La Gran Terraza

Galaxy Taco

We ate out @galaxytacosd.

A post shared by DaveAndAndyEatOut (@daveandandyeatout) on

Cali-Baja cuisine is to San Diego what palm trees are to the beach and you can experience it at Galaxy Taco. It may sound like a typical taco shop but it tastes like a gourmet experience that will transport your taste buds to a colorful, savory galaxy far, far away. The fish tacos are a not-to-be-missed fan-favorite and when it comes to their specialty tequila menu, trust us, it’s out of this world.

Where: 2259 Avenida De La Playa, San Diego, CA 92037
> Find out more about Galaxy Taco

Mess Hall

Mess Hall - San Diego Restaurant Week

Photo courtesy of Robert Benson

A former military base transformed into a trendy town square celebrating the city’s history, make your way to Point Loma’s Liberty Station to discover the Mess Hall. This epic food hall will continuously surprise and delight your taste buds as the menu changes daily.

Where: 2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Mess Hall

Market Restaurant + Bar

It must be the weekend #cheflife #marketdelmar #market #delmar

A post shared by Market Restaurant & Bar (@marketdelmar) on

This Del Mar hot spot has made a name for itself boasting impeccable service and some of the freshest and finest fish, meats and produce. Start with the Blue Cheese Soufflé & Cinnamon Poached Pears, you won’t be disappointed.

Where: 3702 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014
> Find out more about Market Restaurant + Bar

Vintana Wine + Dine

Located in an unsuspecting location of Lexus Escondido, this hot rod of a restaurant offers a tasty menu curated by local favorite Chef Deborah Scott and gorgeous patio views of North County’s rolling hills.

Where: 1205 Auto Park Way, Escondido, CA 92029
> Find out more about Vintana

Rustic Root

Rustic Root

Photo courtesy of Davis Ink.

Plant yourself in the middle of the Gaslamp to discover a hip new hangout and the only rooftop dining space in the area. Surrounded by chic decorations including saucer pans, indulge in a creative menu from scrambled skillets to the RR Burger, featuring a bacon jam.

Where: 535 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Rustic Root

The Smoking Goat

A french feast awaits at The Smoking Goat in Uptown featuring sustainable and organic ingredients, boutique beverage offerings and a friendly neighborhood vibe. An optional three-course meal allows you to sample the menu and of course, there is no shortage of curated cheeses.

Where: 3408 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about The Smoking Goat


Dinner with a view 👌🏼

A post shared by Elizabeth Stagg (@elizabethstagg) on

It’s a San Diego truth, dinner and drinks taste better with an ocean view. One of the best places to find one is Peohe’s. Located right on the water’s edge on Coronado Island, this tropical treasure boasts a Pacific Rim inspired menu and a rockin’ sushi bar. Enjoy your meal al fresco, perfect for both a romantic rendezvous or a fun night out with family.

Where: 1201 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118
> Find out more about Peohe’s

BO-Beau Kitchen + Garden

Combining bohemian chic with an industrial vibe does not seem like an easy task, but Bo-Beau Kitchen + Garden has pulled it off beautifully. Located in the heart of La Mesa, be sure to grab a craft cocktail at the oversized handcrafted bar, and then treat yourself to the best Brussels sprouts this side of Belgium.

Where: 8384 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
> Find out more about Bo-Beau Kitchen + Garden

San Diego Restaurant Week Details

When: September 25 – October 2, 2016
Cost: $10-$50
> Find out more about San Diego Restaurant Week

Ann Wycoff

 – The Hawaiian staple is trending in San Diego

Photo courtesy of The Lanai.

Poke photo courtesy of The Lanai.

Poke, which means to slice or cut, is a simple Hawaiian dish, traditionally made with chunks of raw tuna, seaweed and salt. But the everyday Hawaiian staple has evolved, with new incarnations popping up all over San Diego. The popularity of poke (pronounced poh-keh) can also be seen with the success of the I Love Poke San Diego event launched seven years ago by Nino “Neens” Camilo. “This event was created as our way of doing a backyard barbecue Hawaiian-style at the Bali Hai right on the water.  We’ve become one big family; chefs participate in this festival because it’s fun and there’s a good vibe,” explains Nino.

Always fresh, poke can be sold-by-the scoop at deli counters or found as an upscale appetizer at highbrow restaurants. According to Neens, different cultures have influenced on the dish. “Californians added the avocados; Asians the wonton chips, wasabi, soy sauce and more. In Hawaii, poke always comes with rice – serving it without rice is the equivalent of serving an American hot dog without the bun,” adds Nino.

Poke’s “new skool” is a diverse landscape with poke-inspired raw fish dishes with added ingredients that go beyond the traditional. Discover these top places around San Diego to get your aloha on and enjoy poke.

The Lanai

Head to this little Garden of Eden in Leucadia for authentic Hawaiian eats on a sunny patio with picnic tables. Chef Doug Moric delivers beautiful poke – we recommend the house with raw ahi with soy, sesame oil, sweet onion, scallions, togarashi, and Hawaiian salt or go Californian and add chunks of avo.

Where: 1114 N. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92204
> Find out more about The Lanai


This National City family restaurant is known for its Filipino and Mexican specialties and Hawaiian-style poke.  Zariltos takes pride in their daily poke platters, offering good variety – think spicy garlic, ahi limu (seaweed), shoyu, ahi fuikake, ahi kimchi, salmon, tako and seared albacore. Not to mention Zarlitos took first place at the I Love Poke Festival in 2015.

Where: 505 E. 8th St, National City, CA 91950
> Find out more about Zarlitos

Fish 101

This local’s favorite in Encinitas, known for its sustainably caught fresh fish, dishes up sashimi grade albacore tuna poke appetizer with sesame, shoyu, sweet onion, wakame, and wonton chips, or try their poke bowl with rice, seaweed salads, fresh greens and cucumbers, perfect with a Ballast Point Pale Ale.

Where: 1468 N. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
> Find out more about Fish 101


This fast-casual, build-your-own poke bowl concept comes from visionary Japanese chef Junya Watanabe. Diners move through series of stations selecting their own base (white or brown rice, or kale salad), vegetables, fresh fish, housemade toppings and sauces. You may also want to try their innovative sushi burritos.

Where: 4646 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
> Find out more about Pokirrito

Fishbone Kitchen

Grab a seat at the raw bar of this cool fish shop in Liberty Public Market food hall where you can enjoy lovely ahi poke presented in a martini glass.

Where: 2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Fishbone Kitchen

Chris’ Ono Grinds

This Hawaiian plate lunch eatery has poke made from sashimi-grade ahi tossed in Chris’ ono kine sauce. There’s also a delicious bowl with ahi, macadamia nuts, diced veggies all over rice, and drizzled with wasabi aioli.

Where: 4506 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Chris’ Ono Grinds

Bali Hai

Shelter Island’s Polynesian palace and iconic tiki temple since 1954 is another tropical outpost for poke. Dig into the house special, the Island Poke Bowl with ahi over rice and mac salad or savor their top-selling pupu – poke with avocado cream cheese, seaweed, masago (roe) and wontons.

Where: 2230 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Bali Hai

The Patio on Goldfinch

The striking Mission Hills eatery with its living green plant walls, fireplaces, gorgeous bar, and open-air patio serves up poke-style ahi tacos with soy-sambal marinated sashimi-grade ahi, Napa cabbage, crispy wontons, and cucumber salad. Delish.

Where: 4020 Goldfinch St, San Diego, CA 92103
> Find out more about The Patio on Goldfinch

Duke’s La Jolla

Named for the Olympic swimmer, movie star and man who brought surfing to the U.S. Duke’s just opened in La Jolla where you can sit on the swanky deck overlooking the Pacific and enjoy a little aloha. Order up the fresh poke tucked into crispy tacos with shoyu, maui onions, avocado, and wasabi crème fraiche with a Mai Tai, of course.

Where: 1216 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
> Find out more about Duke’s La Jolla


The friendly restaurant at Cape Rey Resort in Carlsbad has a new chef, Teri McIllwain, and one of her menu hits is her take on poke. Head out to the fire pits and savor the Capeside Poke, a mélange of high-grade ahi, rainbow quinoa, Thai chili aioli, marinated seaweed, cucumber, lime and ponzu with wonton chips, perfect for a sunset snack by the sea.

Where: 1 Ponto Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92011
> Find out more about Chandler’s

Local Farmers Markets

From Hillcrest and Little Italy to Scripps Ranch, Encinitas and Oceanside, several companies are selling delicious poke to take home or eat while strolling the farmers market. Look for the San Diego Poke Company, It’s Raw Poke, and Iln Lyf Food.

Make Your Own Poke

If you want to make poke for yourself, Catalina Offshore Products reigns as the place for fresh fish. Talk to San Diego’s finest fish monger Tommy Gomes and he’ll lead you in the right direction.

Where: 5202 Lovelock St, San Diego, CA 92110
> Find out more about Catalina Offshore Products

Coming Soon

Good Time Poke

Keep an eye out for this new, casual daytime eatery in Pacific Beach that will front a tiki-themed speakeasy, The Grass Skirt, a hub for rum-inspired cocktails and nighttime fun. Opening Fall 2016.

Where: 910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Good Time Poke


This build-your-own poke concept, created by the owners of Love Boat Sushi, comes to Carlsbad in Summer 2016. The grab-and-go eatery will offer seven different types of fish with one special catch of the day and a variety of bases, sides, sauces and toppings.

Where: 2958 Madison St, Carlsbad, CA 92008
> Find out more about Pokeway


This island-spirited celebration of Hawaiian culture and cuisine takes place in at Bali Hai on Shelter Island. It features Pokeland where 20 creative chefs compete for the “Best Poke” crown, and Foodland, a sampling zone with Hawaiian and Asian-inspired foods. Poke-making demos and live music add to the fun. Don’t miss this mecca for poke! And this year’s festival benefits the Ronald McDonald House.

> Find out more about I LOVE POKE SAN DIEGO

Ann Wycoff

Tiki Takes Off in San Diego

Cat Eye Club Tiki Drinks
Cat Eye Club Tiki Drinks

Tiki Drinks! Photo courtesy of Cat Eye Club

Exotic rum punches and smoking volcano bowls. Flower leis and fruit garnishes. Kitschy décor and flaming torches. Palm trees and palapa huts. Handcarved idols and Hula girls. Kool kats and kittens. The rummy Mai Tai stands as the anchor cocktail of tiki’s “hep retro” culture, but there’s also Zombies, Grogs, PainKillers and Scorpion Bowls, just to name a few.

San Diego’s tiki roots go way back to the 1950s with tiki evidence found in the architecture, art, bar scene, menus and more. And a new influx of tiki-style watering holes and eateries have recently opened their doors in San Diego celebrating this exotic lifestyle with its boozy beverages and Polynesian-inspired eats.

Old Favorites

Bali Hai Restaurant

A naval town and gateway to the Pacific, San Diego has long embraced all things tiki. Bali Hai, on Shelter Island, set the tiki tone in 1954 as a Polynesian paradise, replete with hardcarved sculptures, Polynesian artifacts, tapa cloths, and Mr. Bali Hai ceramic mugs cradling potent, rum-infused Mai Tais. Their Pacific Rim-style menu spotlights beautiful fresh fish, poke, Hamachi, papaya and shrimp salad, and more.

Where: 2230 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Bali Hai Restaurant

Crowne Plaza San Diego

Crowne Plaza San Diego (formerly the Hanalei Hotel) in Mission Valley is another mid-50s Mecca for tiki as it hosts the annual Tiki Oasis Convention each summer (August 18-21), drawing the country’s largest gathering of tikiphiles for pool parties and tropical fun.

Where: 2270 Hotel Circle N, San Diego, CA 92108
> Find out more about Crown Plaza San Diego

The Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

This Mission Bay resort boasts island-inspired architecture, tropical gardens, koi ponds and a tiki torch-lit outdoor bar called Moray’s, a winsome spot for a Mai Tai and some sushi. The resort also hosts summertime luaus – Polynesian feasts with music, hula and torch dancers.

Where: 3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Kona Kai Resort & Spa

Kona Kai Resort & Spa inspires more tiki-style fun with its thatched-roof tiki bar and poolside cabanas for mojitos and Mai Tais. Belly up the bar for a Perfect Storm – Black Magic rum, ginger beer and lime – which pairs nicely with chef’s seafood poke, plump with tuna, salmon, and shrimp in sesame ginger ponzu with taro chips.

Where: 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
> Find out more about Kona Kai Resort & Spa

San Diego’s New Wave of Tiki

Cat Eye Club

While myriad bars and lounges are slinging tiki-style cocktails all over town, the Cat Eye Club offers up one of the best local tiki experiences in San Diego. Set in the East Village, a neon green tiki sign welcomes guests into the low-lit swanky lounge-think retro 50s-style, mod, pop culture tiki with its Mondrian glass wall, tiki carvings, fern wallpaper, lava lamps, and swimming fish on a flat screen.

A gorgeous hand-drawn menu helps imbibers navigate the map of fun libations with everything from Mai Tais on tap to artful group drinks like Goonies Gone Wild that arrive in treasure chests with billowing dry ice smoke and kitschy garnishes like golden coins and candy. Their cat-with-giant-eyes ceramic mugs are stylish, fruits garnishes outrageous and drinks super potent with various rums. 

As owner and dedicated tikiphile Frank Miller likes to say, “Tiki is an aloha state of mind. It’s vacation or an exotic escape from reality.” Cat Eye Club’s tropical tiki vibe is furthered enhanced by live music, karaoke weekly and island-inspired nibbles like tasty salmon poke with toasted quinoa and sesame seeds. Their must-try machetes–elongated quesadillas (housemade corn tortillas stuffed with kalua pork, manchego, and pineapple habanero salsa) – are delish.

Where: 370 7th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about the Cat Eye Club


South Park’s revved-up vegan restaurant Kindred hosts “Permanent Vacation” Thursdays, a pop-up, tiki takeover with tropical elixirs and eats. Expect a rotating menu of nuclear rum drinks with fresh juices from bar whiz David Kinsey and Polynesian bites like orange miso-glazed seitin with grilled pineapple and a mango sweet potato aioli dipping sauce. Orchids and mid-century Exotica music add to the ambiance.

Where: 1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102
> Find out more about Kindred

The Nolen

The new high-design rooftop spot, The Nolen, has a tiki menu with five colorful refreshers like their Painkiller on draft with pineapple, orange, rum, coconut and freshly grated nutmeg. Or order up an off-menu Junglebird from their spirit savant, bar lead Andrew Larson. He will create a little fire element to the rum and Campari drink by igniting cinnamon. Bar grub like carnitas-jalepeno-salva-verde flatbreads or chili-glazed meatballs over Idaho potato frites soak up the rum.

Where: 453 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about The Nolen

The Grass Skirt

The owners of Little Italy’s social hub, Kettner Exchange, also have tiki on the brain. The Grass Skirt, their Polynesian-styled speakeasy, will descended upon Pacific Beach with a daytime poke eatery out front.

Where: 910 Grand Ave #101, San Diego, CA 92109

False Idol

Undergoing a redesign, Craft & Commerce in Little Italy will be home to False Idol, a high-design tiki bar featuring classic drinks nodding to old school tiki haunts like Trader Vics and others, curated by rum-meister Martin Cate. Their Coronado Luau Special features aged pot still rum with VSOP Armagnac, Grand Marnier, orgeat, fresh orange and lemon juice, a recipe originally created at the Luau Room at Hotel del Coronado, circa 1940s. Chef JoJo Ruiz will dish out a protein-hearty menu centered around Craft & Commerce’s new custom wood-fired grill.

Where: 675 W Beech St, San Diego, CA 92101

It’s no wonder tiki is alive and well in sunny seaside San Diego – who doesn’t love good food, potent rum drinks in funny mugs, and uplifting music in a tropical ambiance. Exploring San Diego’s tiki culture and scene reveals that it’s not just a trend or lifestyle, it’s a state of mind.

Ann Wycoff

Local Favorites in San Diego’s East Village


Downtown San Diego keeps evolving and expanding as different parts of city find their identities and offer exceptional experiences. In recent years, the East Village has truly transformed into a dynamic part of town with a mélange of new restaurants, coffee houses, cafes and bars fueling the scene. From fast casual

to fancy, here’s a guide to local favorites in the East Village.

A Day of Dining in East Village

Copa Vida

Start the day with a single origin espresso or exotic tea, along with an order of chorizo egg hash with jalapeno cilantro sauce. Lunch means turkey melts, Mediterranean couscous salads, and Croquet Monsieurs. The airy bright modern space also offers barista classes in coffee brewing, latte art and tea education.

Where: 905 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Copa Vida

Lucky Lunch Counter

For breakfast all-day or a low-fi lunch, retro diner Lucky Lunch Counter is home to a seriously good pastrami sandwich, ballpark hot dogs (nodding to the baseball-themed interior) and build-your-own salads.

Where: 338 7th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Lucky Lunch Counter

Rare Form & Fairweather

The Petco Park-adjacent deli and bar, Rare Form, serves up grilled cheese on rustic sourdough, seasonal sausages, and Cuban sandwiches, along with innovative craft cocktails like their herbaceous Basil G&T. After dining, trot upstairs to their gorgeous tropical bar overlooking Petco Park, Fairweather, for a rum grog or planter’s punch.

Where: 793 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Rare Form & Fairweather

Padres Game Day Eats

Bub’s at the Ballpark

A bustling hub for Padres’ fans that serves food late! Bub’s boasts the best chicken wings in the city – recommended with their Carolina Gold (barbecue with honey) or mango habanero sauces. There’s also corn dogs, sliders, tater tots, indoor basketball hoops, beer galore, game day specials and flat screens at every turn.

Where: 715 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Bub’s at the Ballpark


Before heading over to Petco, stop by Quartyard,an Urban Park constructed from repurposed shipping containers, for pre-game eats from food trucks and Sausage & Meat, craft beer, cocktails, and backyard games.

Where: 1102 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Quartyard

The Blind Burro

The Blind Burro, another high energy, bar-centric spot, spins out Baja-style coastal cuisine, cervezas and fine tequila. Try the salsa flights, rib-eye carne asada tacos, Mexican white shrimp and scallop ceviche, and their sweet potato-chorizo taquitos, paired with a Burro margarita with muddled jalapeno.

Where: 639 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about The Blind Burro


For traditional Mexican, Salazar’s has been a family owned institution in the East Village since 1972. Think cheap beers, pollo asada burritos and shredded beef tacos.

Where: 1502 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Salazar’s

Hive Sushi Lounge

College kids flock to the Hive Sushi Lounge (1409 C St.), a cheap and cheerful haunt open nightly.

Where: 1409 C St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Hive Sushi Lounge


Another East Village anchor, Basic, is a lively lounge-y warehouse packed with locals enjoying thin-crusted pizzas, craft brews, cocktails, billiards and good music into the wee hours of night.

Where: 410 10th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Basic

On the Edge of East Village

Monkey Paw Brewing Company

On the outer edge of the East Village, Monkey Paw is a casual brew pub with gold medal beers spilling from the taps and is known for their Philly cheesesteaks, waffle fries and old-school jukebox.

Where: 805 16th St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Monkey Paw Brewing Company

Stella Public House & Halcyon

An artisanal farm-to-pizza concept coupled with 20+ craft beers and an open-air chill vibe makes Stella Public House another East

Village favorite. Not to mention it shares the space with Halcyon, a hipster coffee spot and bar that serves up breakfast, paninis, and coffee-based cocktails. Stella sports communal tables, wood-fired pizzas, and small plates like lamb meatballs, beet towers and speck-wrapped asparagus. Both spots overlook the greenery and public art of Fault Line Park.

Where: 1429 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Stella Public House
> Find out more about Halcyon

A Bit More Upscale Dining

Water Grill

A mecca for seafood with a rockin’ raw bar, succulent shellfish platters, fresh line-caught fish and sophisticated wines.

Where: 615 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Water Grill

Bottega Americano

Bottega Americano also charms as a vibrant urban food hall with a whirlwind of visuals-chefs throw pizza dough and pull pies from the wood-fired ovens, ribbons of rainbow colored pasta hang on display, oysters beckon from the raw bar, salumi hangs from above, picture perfect pastries tantalize from the bakery, gourmets goods fill the market place, diners share plates at communal tables and mixologists sling scintillating sippers behind the bar. Floor-to-ceiling, black-and-white images fill the walls with 1950s glam shots from Italy. It’s a scene with gorgeous décor and truly reflects the best of the best in the East Village.

Where: 1195 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Bottega Americano


From Motown to Trap Music – What’s Your Specialty?

From Motown to Trap Music, San Diego bars offer some great specialty nights each week.

If you’re looking for a night out with a fun theme or genre specific, here are four favorites in San Diego!

Motown Monday at Bar Pink

Motown Monday at Bar Pink

Bar Pink, located in the center of North Park, offers a great night of Motown music and old dance tracks. The bar is dark and the décor is reminiscent of the drunken elephant dream sequence in Dumbo, so you really can’t go wrong. Pink plastic bubbles adorn the bar area and black booths line one wall. Play pool or dance to the likes of Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5 and Diana Ross. Songs are both originals and DJ edits of the classics so your feet will be moving and grooving all night long. Heads Up: This is a cash only bar.

Where: 3829 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about Bar Pink

Trapped at The Office

Trapped at The Office

If you are a fan of bass heavy Trap music, UK Bass or Dub Step then this is the spot for you!  Every Tuesday resident DJ’s with special guests bring Trapped to The Office Bar in North Park. A small dance floor gets packed with fans of hard-hitting 808 drums and hi hat sounds.This night is unlike any other as it is hosted in a moderately sized bar rather than at a festival or large club, which provides a more intimate and engulfing experience. The bass fills the bar so be prepared to feel the music and bob your head to the beats.

Where: 3926 20th St, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about The Office Bar

Hickies & Dryhumps at El Camino

Hickies & Dryhumps at El Camino

A long time favorite of the San Diego locals every first and third Friday of the month, Hickies and Dryhumps, is a 90s only night at El Camino bar & restaurant in Little Italy. This night was aptly named for perhaps some of the behaviors of those who grew up in that era, but I won’t name names! This specialty night originated at another venue and has moved to three different locations because of its popularity. Social media reminds you every afternoon before the event to arrive early and always for good reason. The entry line will regularly be as long as the entire block! Hits from the 90s create a very nostalgic vibe for many of the guests. Everything from N’Sync to Snoop Dogg will be played with a slow jam or two to create the true 90s vibe. Be prepared to sing along. One of the pieces of this bar is the roulette and blackjack. You can either live roll the dice and try your luck, and do it at the Austrian site online roulette

Where: 2400 India St, San Diego, Ca 92101
> Find out more about El Camino

80s vs 90s Music at Whistle Stop Bar

80s vs 90s Specialty Music Night at Whistle Stop Bar

If you prefer a mix of decades, 80s vs 90s at Whistle Stop offers just that. Resident DJ’s Gabe Vega and Saul Q play the best from those decades and create a massively fun night out. Whistle Stop Bar is also cash only so come prepared.

Where: 2236 Fern St, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about Whistle Stop Bar

> San Diego Nightlife – The Hottest Party on the West Coast

Brent Bernasconi

Downtown After Sundown in the Gaslamp Quarter

DJs Schoeny and DJ Ayla Simone show why downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is a true West Coast icon of awesome vibes: 16 walkable blocks with 180 restaurants, 50 bars and 10 nightclubs.

DJ Schoney Plans Your Night in the Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter

Start off with dinner almost anywhere in the Gaslamp Quarter. You’re guaranteed to find a restaurant that will satiate your appetite. After you’ve fueled up for the night ahead, start out slow at a lounge like SideBar around 8:30 or 9:00 PM. Relax for an hour or so before heading out to one of the smaller bars with live bands and/or DJs like Bootlegger or Florent. Now that you’re amped up for the night, dance into the early hours of the morning at one of the Gaslamp Quarters premiere clubs like OmniaFLUXX, or Parq.

More Hotspots to Check Out

  • Vin de Syrah features weekly wine tastings and specialty craft cocktails
  • Quartyard is a year-round outdoor hotspot hosting everything from indie bands to world-class DJs
  • Cake takes it’s inspiration from the 17th century Baroque style yet features the latest in technology including a one-of-a-kind 30-foot 4K LCD screen.
  • The perfect ending to any night is a slice at Ciro’s Pizza

Ultimate Night Downtown

Need to get it all in in one night? Local DJs Schoeny and Ayla Simone have come up with the definitive list of all the spots you should hit to get the most out of your sundown shenanigans. This list will guide a reader from happy hour to dinner, then maybe a craft cocktail lounge, a rooftop bar and finally a pulsing nightclub. Oh yeah, and there’s always time for a burrito after the bars.

> Experience the Ultimate Night Downtown

> Meet More of San Diego’s Guides to the Good Stuff

Brent Bernasconi

Petco Park: A Taste of San Diego

Superfan Matt Schulte along with San Diego Padres legend Trevor Hoffman recently journeyed through the tasty side of Petco Park. The whole fan experience, including the eatery options, is different in San Diego.

Below are a few of the local options you can experience both inside and outside of Petco Park.

Pizza Port: A Local Legend

In 1987, Pizza Port opened in Solana Beach and quickly became the place for classic and creative pizzas in the sleepy beachside town. In 1992, Pizza Port took a big leap forward by adding a brewery to their operations and have been brewing award-winning craft beers
ever since!

Today, beers like Swami’s IPA and Chronic Amber Ale are found almost everywhere. However, if you’re catching a game at Petco Park, make sure to order the park exclusive Walk Off Wheat to complement that Artichoke & Garlic Pizza you’re about to chow down on.

Locations Outside the Park:

  • Pizza Port Carlsbad – 571 Carlsbad Village, Carlsbad, CA 92008
  • Pizza Port Ocean Beach – 1956 Bacon St., Ocean Beach, CA 92107
  • Pizza Port Solana Beach – 135 N. Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075
  • Pizza Port Bressi Ranch – 2730 Gateway Road, Carlsbad, CA 92009

Phil’s BBQ: A Messy Masterpiece

Since opening up it’s first location in Mission Hills in 1998, Phil’s BBQ, regularly Voted Best BBQ in San Diego, have served up more than 1 million gallons of it’s signature BBQ sauce smothered over mouth-watering meats. It’s by this author’s estimation that more than half of that BBQ sauce has been served inside of the popular Broham pulled pork sandwich. Though the Ribs & Chickless probably makes up the rest!

Locations Outside the Park:

  • Point Loma – 3750 Sports Arena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92110
  • San Marcos – 579 Grand Avenue, San Marcos, CA 92078
  • Santee – 9816 Mission Gorge Rd., Santee, CA 92071

Seaside Market: Deliciously Addictive

Named #1 Gourmet Grocery Store in San Diego, Seaside Market is famous for it’s Tri-Tip sandwich, affectionately known as “Cardiff Crack”.

Location Outside the Park:

  • 2087 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007

Hodad’s: Two hands Needed

Grilling up San Diego’s Favorite Burger since 1969, Hodad’s is a local and lengendary institution. When dining at the Ocean Beach hotspot (or the newer downtown location), make sure to follow the recommendation stated above – Two Hands Needed at all times. These burgers are massive! If you’re feeling adventurous, order the Guido Burger dedicated to fan and Hodaddy Guy Fieri. And if calories don’t matter for the day, follow up that burger with a classic milkshake so large, Hodad’s serves it up in the milkshake glass and the metal malt cup!

Locations Outside the Park:

  • Ocean Beach – 5010 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach CA 92107
  • Downtown – 945 Broadway, San Diego CA 92101

Rimel’s Rotisserie: Naturally Awesome

Rimel’s followed the farm-to-table movement 20+ years before it became cool! They’re so local, the San Diego restaurant’s signature Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos use local, fresh caught fish from it’s own Ranch & Fish Co grilled over local oak.

Locations Outside the Park:

  • Cardiff-by-the-Sea – 2005 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007
  • Del Mar – 12955 El Camino Real Suite G-2, San Diego, Ca 92130
  • La Jolla – 1030 Torrey Pines Road, Suite E, La Jolla, CA 92037

[su_note note_color=”#FDDEA6″]

2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Week & Game

2016 Major League baseball All-Star Week & Game at Petco Park

The 2016 All-Star Game will mark the third time that the Padres will serve as hosts of the Midsummer Classic, with Petco Park joining Jack Murphy Stadium (previously known as San Diego Stadium) as a host of the festivities. The All-Star week’s events will include the All-Star FanFest, All-Star Sunday, Soul Pose MLB All-Star Yoga, The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K and more!

When: July 8-12, 2016
> Find out more about the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Week & Game


Even More Local Restaurants and Breweries in Petco Park

The Patio in Left Field

Stone Brewing Company

Anthony’s Fish Grotto

The Draft by Ballast Point

  • Home Brew Mart – 5401 Linda Vista Road, Suite 406, San Diego, CA 92110
  • Little Italy – 2215 India St., San Diego, CA 92101
  • Scripps Ranch – 10051 Old Grove Rd., San Diego, CA 92131
  • Miramar – 9045 Carroll Way, San Diego, CA 92121

Baked Bear

  • Pacific Beach – 4516 Mission Blvd., Suite C, San Diego, CA 92109
  • Carmel Valley – 5950 Village Center Loop Rd., San Diego, CA 92130
  • Carmel Mountain – 11640 Carmel Mountain Rd., Suite 120, San Diego, CA 92128
  • La Costa – 1610 Via Campanile, Suite 142, Carlsbad, CA 92009

Lucha Libre Taco Shop

  • Mission Hills – 1810 W. Washington St., San Diego, CA 92103
  • North Park – 3016 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

Ryan Bros. Coffee

  • Headquarters – 1894 Main St., San Diego, CA 92113
  • San Marcos – 133 N. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., San Marcos, CA 92069
  • San Diego Airport – Terminal 1 & 2, San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego Guides to the Good Stuff

Map of Petco Park’s Local Options

Jeff Terich

4 of San Diego’s Best Dives for Live Music

Bar Pink - One of the 4 Best Dives for Live Music

Bar Pink - One of the 4 Best Dives for Live Music

You can always tell the character of a city by the strength of its dive bars. And if those dive bars also happen to put on some great live shows, then all the better. In San Diego, there are a lot of open-air venues, historic theaters, renowned rock clubs and big stadiums. But a little off the beaten path are some of its most charming, inexpensive and fun places to see shows. Here are four small venues with live music that everyone should visit in San Diego.

Tower Bar


A post shared by Chelle (@thesameadvice) on

The Tower Bar is a piece of San Diego history. Originally opened as a soda fountain in 1932, the Euclid Tower has gone through several different incarnations, later becoming a cocktail lounge and eventually turning into the rock club that it is today. Identifiable by the art deco style pylon that juts out the top of the building (hence, the “tower”), it has a lot more charm than your typical dive, but it’s still a mostly D.I.Y. punk bar where guitar slingers make beautiful noise throughout the week. Inexpensive drinks and a steady rotation of live rock bands make this a San Diego staple.

Where: 4757 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92105
> Find out more about Tower Bar

Til-Two Club

Just a little north of the Tower Bar in City Heights is the Til-Two Club, which lived a past life as the Beauty Bar. Since that club closed, the open-air stage area has been covered with a roof, which means cigarette smoke is no longer an issue. The calendar of events is just as impressive, however, featuring a diverse range of artists that span from psychedelia to funk to metal and ska.

Where: 4746 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92115
> Find out more about Til-Two Club

Brick by Brick

#Enforcer from Sweden closing out the night #BrickByBrick #SDMETAL #HeavyMetal

A post shared by SDMETAL (@sdmetaldotcom) on

Brick by Brick isn’t necessarily a secret; it’s been putting on live shows by local and touring acts for a couple decades. But it’s situated in an unassuming corner in Linda Vista, on what’s an otherwise quiet street in San Diego. Inside, however, the place is boisterous and active. Recently purchased and reopened by members of local metal band Wovenwar, Brick by Brick has become a local haven for metalheads, though it’s the site of many noteworthy shows in any genres. It’s also a much more spacious club than it seems from the outside, so no matter how loud it gets, there’s still plenty of breathing room.

Where: 1130 Buenos Ave., San Diego, CA 92110
> Find out more about Brick by Brick

Bar Pink

Known just as much for its colorful décor and delicious tiki drinks (the Sneaky Tiki lives up to its name, so pace yourself) as it is for its live music, North Park’s Bar Pink is a low-key venue that just happens to be the source of a lot of really amazing shows. When Rocket from the Crypt reunited in 2012, they played an unannounced preview show here (the band’s John Reis is a co-owner). And last year, Jimmy Eat World’s Jim Adkins played a solo acoustic set to a packed house. Not that every night is so high profile. In fact, Bar Pink mostly features local bands, and without a cover charge at that. It’s the comfy neighborhood bar that just happens to feature some great music.

Where: 3829 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about Bar Pink

> Explore San Diego’s Live Music Scene

Brent Bernasconi

8 San Diego Restaurants to Try in 2016 and James Beard Semifinalists

Bracero - Award Winning Restaurant in San Diego

Bracero - James Beard Foundation Semifinalist

Locals have known this for a while, but the world is taking notice that San Diego’s amazing culinary scene is booming! Award-winning chefs are choosing San Diego to open their restaurants and serve up dishes highlighting every type of cuisine, including Cali-Baja, a culinary style unique to San Diego.

With so much culinary talent in the region, it’s no surprise that San Diego is showing up on national lists highlighting the country’s best food experiences.

San Diego’s James Beard Award Semifinalists

After receiving about 20,000 submissions, the James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee, composed of critics, writers, and editors, went to work and produced the list of semifinalists.

For 2016, the judges have honored San Diego with four nominations!

  • Best Chef: West – William Bradley, Addison at the Grand Del Mar
    Where: 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, San Diego, CA 92130
  • Outstanding Wine Program – Addison at the Grand Del Mar
  • Outstanding Bar ProgramPolite Provisions
    Where: 4696 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92116
  • Best New RestaurantBracero – Cocina de Raíz
    Where: 1490 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

Yelp’s Top Places to Eat

Love it or hate it, Yelp’s massive amount of data (reviews, stars, check-ins, etc.) helped it curate the review site’s annual list of Top 100 Places to Eat in 2016, and San Diego venues claimed 8 spots on this impressive list!

Here are the eight places in San Diego county that you need to try before December 31st!

  1. Tacos El Gordo
    Where: 689 H St, Chula Vista, CA 91910
  2. T Deli
    Where: 1469 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
  3. Oscar’s Mexican Seafood
    North Pacific Beach – 703 Turquoise Street, San Diego, CA 92109
    Pacific Beach – 746 Emerald Street, San Diego, CA 92109
    Hillcrest – 646 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103
  4. Sushi Ota
    Where: 4529 Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
  5. Coop’s West Texas Barbeque
    Where: 2625 Lemon Grove Ave., Lemon Grove, CA. 91945
  6. Beach Break Cafe
    Where: 1802 South Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054
  7. Phil’s BBQ
    Point Loma – 3750 Sports Arena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92110
    San Marcos – 579 Grand Avenue, San Marcos, CA 92078
    Santee – 9816 Mission Gorge Rd., Santee, CA 92071
  8. Yoshino Japanese Deli
    Where: 2913 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008