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!


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.


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!

Benjamin Eastman

Aloha San Diego!

I had the pleasure of taking a little mini-vacation for the evening last Friday.  The beauty of my “trip” was that I was transported to the islands of the South Pacific without having to drive more than 5 miles!  “How is this possible?” you ask?  Why, it’s possible at the Kona Kai Resort on Shelter Island – where they feature an authentic luau throughout the summer including buffet dinner, Mai Tais, Hula and Fire Dancers!

It’s been years since I was last in Hawaii to experience something like this in person, so I was super excited to have the opportunity to attend right here in my backyard!  Kona Kai has a great beach area on the marina that works perfectly for the luau and the setting is fantastic.  From the roasting pig in the sand, to the Conch Shell announcement, to the fire stick twirling dancers, I really did feel transported back to the islands!

The food was delicious – with entrees including mahi mahi, terriyaki steak and Kalua Pig (from the pig roasting in the ground!).   I was so full from eating the meal that I barely got a chance to touch the dessert table – but the pineapple upside down cake looked especially appealing!  A full bar is available for your drinking pleasure.  Whether you prefer to get tropical or go with your standard vodka tonic, they’ve got you covered.  (You get 2 Mai Tais included with your meal and additional drinks cost extra)

Fire dancer at the Kona Kai luau

The performances are done by the Motu Nehenehe Polynesian Dancers who do a fantastic job.  They’ve got a large group of dancers from all age ranges – the youngest looked to be about 6 years old, and the oldest dancer was probably in her late 60’s!  Dances are performed from many of the South Pacific islands with the MC explaining what the various poses and moves mean.  Luckily I escaped the “come up and dance with us on stage” experience, but not all my table-mates can say the same!  You definitely wouldn’t want to see me up on stage attempting to hula!

There are still a number of dates available to attend Kona’s luau this summer, so don’t miss out!  The program runs on Friday nights starting at 6:00pm through September 2nd.  Cost is $45.00/adult and $19.95 for kids 5-12 (kids under 5 are free) plus tax and service charge.  Since you’re getting both a delicious meal and a show, the cost is obviously well worth it!

** For those of you interested in going this Friday night (July 22nd), I’ve got at 20% off code for you.  Call to make your reservations at (800) 566-2524 and use code 7122 to get the 20% off.


5 to Try This Weekend

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

1. Summer Safari- An African Extravaganza at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park: Running from July 2 to August 21, visitors will be treated to entertainment, activities and animals that embrace the spirit of Africa. Just outside of the village, guests can also see the world’s fastest land animal, a cheetah, run right past them!

2. Ray at Night: One of the coolest ways to spend the weekend is in North Park on July 9. Art, music and culture lovers gather to mix and mingle in the plethora of galleries and businesses from 6:00 to 10:00 pm.

Over-the-Line Tournament

3. 58th Annual World Championship Over-the-Line Tournament: A San Diego original, this boisterous, fast-paced beach softball event is played at Fiesta Island on Mission Bay July 9-10 & 16-17 from 7:30 am to dusk.

4. Kettner Nights: On July 8th, head over to Little Italy to take in an evening walk among the galleries, artists, and artisans from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

La Jolla Concerts by the Sea

5.La Jolla Concerts by the Sea: Every Sunday from July 10 through September 4, visitors can enjoy free concerts from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at Scripps Park, La Jolla Cove. This Sunday’s concert features The Heroes.


Dining Spotlight: Mission Valley/Old Town

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 centrally-located Mission Valley and historic Old Town.

Mission Valley and Old Town are adjacent to each other, but they have two distinct dining communities. Mission Valley is a prime location for family-friendly fare and well-known restaurant chains. When it comes to authentic Mexican food in San Diego, there’s no better place than Old Town. Here are a few of our favorite restaurants in Mission Valley/Old Town:

Sammy's Caprese Pizza

Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza

An upscale casual family-friendly restaurant featuring gourmet pizzas, savory pastas, and tasty tapas.  Heralded as the “Best Gourmet Pizza” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Sammy’s is a local favorite.

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant

Serving handcrafted beer and bold made-from-scratch American cuisine, Gordon Biersch in Mission Valley offers something for the whole family.  Love a cold brewsky?  Gordon Biersch holds tasting events around their seasonal brews.

Outdoor dining at Casa de Reyes

Casa de Reyes

Just steps away from the Fiesta de Reyes stage, be entertained by energetic mariachis or traditional folklorico dancing while you dine at Casa de Reyes.  Watch out for the 58 oz. El Jeffe margarita and the Hot Licks Suicide Verde Pork Burrito, a dish so (spicy) hot that you have to sign a waiver to eat. Both items will knock you off your feet.

Café Coyote

A family restaurant with a festive atmosphere. Strolling Mariachis entertain while tortilla-makers prepare fresh tortillas the traditional way, a mano (by hand). Café Coyote also has an in-house Tequila Ambassador to guide guests through their selection of more than 100 tequilas.

Rockin' Baja's famous seafood bucket

Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina

A Puerto Nuevo-style restaurant known for big buckets of king crab, shrimp, and lobster available in eight different combinations, and all prepared Baja style. Rockin’ Baja features not one, but two Happy Hour menus: Mon. to Fri. from 3:00 to 6:00 pm in the bar, and Late Night from 9:00 pm to close, seven days a week.

We want you to enjoy Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina. Comment below by Monday, June 27, 2011 at 10:00 am and get entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Rockin’ Baja. Tell us, where do you love to dine in Mission Valley/ Old Town?


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.


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.


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

San Diego Padres Party at the Park

1. Friday Parties at the Park: For three Fridays this month (June 3, 10, 24), PETCO Park will host themed pre-game parties before every Friday night Padres home game. This Friday’s party includes a Taste of Downtown. June 10 will be Margarita Park and June 24 is College Night. Festivities begin at 5:00 pm.

Surf Dog Competition

2. 6th Annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition: Watch dozens of dogs take to the waves at this “pupular” tail-wagging event on June 4 at Imperial Beach. The competition includes dogs hanging 10 in the small, large and tandem (dog and owner on the same board) categories.

San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

3. Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon: It’s a 26.2-mile race and block party all in one! The marathon begins in Balboa Park and finishes at SeaWorld San Diego. Live music and cheer squads line the route, while a killer post-race party celebrates everyone’s victory.
4. Art Around Adams: Stroll along Adams Avenue, Normal Heights and Kensington and see more than 100 storefronts transformed into art galleries or performance venues. Local bands will perform from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm Saturday, June 4. A free shuttle will help you get around (with stand-up comedians on board!)

Fiesta del Sol

5. Fiesta del Sol: Head up north to Solana Beach and see this seaside music festival. This two day event includes free live entertainment as well as an arts-and-crafts fair, a kid’s area and food and drink vendors. Begins at 9:00 am Saturday and Sunday.

Benjamin Eastman

Have you been FLUXX’d?!

Making its debut in San Diego just over a year ago, ultimate night spot FLUXX rivals anything you might see in Las Vegas.  In fact, FLUXX was named “Best New Nightclub of the Year” by the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Awards for the entire nation!

The thing that I particularly like about FLUXX is that, like its namesake, it is always in flux!  Every 6-8 weeks the club changes themes, uniforms, design, etc.  The current Fluxxuation is “Fluxx-adelic” (an awesome 60’s theme) running through Memorial Day, but in the past they’ve done such themes as Primal (unleashing the inner animal), Odyssey (space/extraterrestrial themed), Fetish (does that really need an explanation?) and Jet Set (airplane themed).  These guys have a lot of fun and are incredibly creative with their staff uniforms/costumes. They’ve also got dancers performing throughout the night on various stages/platforms/props.  You never really know what you’re going to get on any given night at FLUXX.  (which is why you need to keep coming back for more!)

It's FLUXXadelic, man!

But its not just the decor changes and hot uniforms that makes FLUXX stand out.  They consistantly have some of the top perfomers from around the world performing on their stage.  Past perfomers include Usher, Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Bruno Mars, Method Man and Big Boi.  And for those who enjoy electronic music more, FLUXX’s EDM performances are out of this world with international performers like Above & Beyond, Benny Benassi and Sander Van Doorn!  (This month featured performances by Mark Knight, Crystal Castles, Markus Schulz and Ferry Corsten)

FLUXX's dance floor

Obviously Bottle Service in a club like this will up your “Baller” status, but even if you’re just going to dance till your feet bleed, you WILL have a good time.  I recommend getting there before 10:30 as this is a VERY popular venue and the entrance lines can be long.  (And if you ARE going to get Bottle Service, I’d suggest the treehouse.  Treehouse you ask?  What is that?  You’ll see, my friend…You’ll see!)


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

Sicilian Festa in Little Italy

1. 18th Annual Sicilian Festival: The music, dance, culture and cuisine of Sicily come to the streets of downtown San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood with four performance stages, a parade of costumed dancers, musicians and more, and best of all, it’s free!

2. Old Globe Theatre: Thank Globe its Friday: Kick off the weekend in style with a pre-show bash. Includes hosted wine and martini bar, appetizers and dessert. This Friday you have your choice between August: Osage County or Life of Riley.

3. Wine, Blues and Brews Festival: Head up north to this annual event in Escondido that will feature live blues music on two stages, plus food and drink samples from local businesses.

4. Western Days: Grab your boots and head up to Old Town Temecula as they relive the glory days of the gun-toting Wild-West. The event features a western art show, pony and stagecoach rides, chili cook-off, live music and high-noon shootouts. Or head over to Rustic Ramona as it also embraces its Wild West roots with their annual rodeo.

The Grand Del Mar

5. The Grand Del Mar Club M Wine Tasting: Head over on Friday night for complimentary wine tastings with Wine Director Jesse Rodriguez and Friends. Complimentary tastings will be offered 6:00 to 9:00 pm (while supplies last), along with music and dancing from 7:00 pm to 1:30 am.