Candice

Trick or Treating in San Diego, the Grown-Up Version

Smashing Pumpkin Martini

As little ghosts and goblins come out to play and traipse from house to house in their sugar-fueled quest on October 31, it’s hard for the grown-ups not to feel just a little bit envious. Just because we’ve grown older doesn’t mean we have outgrown our sweet tooths (well, some of us, anyway)!

If you’re looking for a little sweet indulgence this Halloween, fear not – San Diego offers some diabolically delicious holiday treats sure to delight those too old for trick or treating.

Drink-or-Treat

Smashing Pumpkin Martini

For pumpkin with a punch, try the Smashing Pumpkin Martini at the Grant Grill.

No trick here: Halloween cocktails have seized San Diego. This Halloween, adults can do some drink-or-treating around downtown by hopping between hot spots offering spooktacular cocktails.

At Whisky Girl, ghouls and guests can choose from the Wolfman, a chocolate martini with vanilla vodka, the Frankenstein with Malibu, melon, blue Curacao, pineapple juice and whipped cream, and the Dracula served with a single shot of rumplemintz, a splash of cream and grenadine.

At the Grant Grill in the US Grant Hotel, the Smashing Pumpkin martini is a delicious mix of pumpkin and star anise infused rum, Grand Marnier, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, saffron syrup, cardamom bitters and fresh meyer lemon.

If you’re not too squeamish, try the Femur Shot at Searsucker, a concoction of coconut, lime and vodka served in steer femur bones and designed to be sucked out, bone marrow style.

Crazy for Candy

Truffles

Eclipse Chocolat truffles – a perfect addition to any grown-up trick-or-treat bag. Photo courtesy of Roger Tsen.

If liquid treats just won’t cut it and only the real thing will do, die-hard candy loving adults won’t be disappointed this Halloween.

Chocolate aficionados should head straight to Eclipse Chocolat in North Park. Exotic flavor combinations are offered daily, but seasonal specials include the Pumpkin Muscavado truffle and Spiced Pumpkin cupcake, a decadent chocolate cake filled with pumpkin butter and topped in a dark chocolate ganache and grains of paradise (said to taste like a mix between pepper, ginger and cardamom).

If waiting for Halloween to roll around each year is simply too long to wait to get your candy fix, at Alchemy of the Hearth in San Marcos, candy lovers can learn to make sweet treats at home with classes that teach the secrets to creating toffees, caramels, lollipops and even candy apples.

How will you indulge your sweet tooth this Halloween?

Alison

Kids Celebrate October in San Diego with Freebies

Free Kid Fun During October

October is a great month for families to visit San Diego County museums and attractions – because at many of them, kids under 12 get in free all month-long. About two dozen museums and attractions are participating. It’s a great opportunity for families to learn about art, history or science in a fun and interactive environment. Up to two children get in free with each paying adult. The freebie is for general admission and doesn’t apply to field trips or special events and exhibitions. Make sure to print the require coupon!

Find out which museums are participating…

Aki

Restaurant Week Picks: Explore North County’s California Cuisine

The birthplace of California Cuisine may be attributed to Berkeley, but San Diego chefs are pushing the envelope of culinary innovation, fusing the freshest local ingredients with unexpected influences, and creating dishes that are as unique as the destination itself. Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to take in some of the freshest and most inventive flavors that San Diego has to offer.

Take in sweeping views of La Jolla Cove at George's California Modern.

George’s California Modern

If you look up “California” or “seasonal” cuisine, there should be a photo of Trey Foshee. For over a decade, the award-winning chef of George’s California Modern has been reinventing California Cuisine season after season, creating dishes that you just can’t find anywhere else. Using ingredients that are only at the peak of season, the menu changes as offerings at local markets do.

From the Restaurant Week menu, I would recommend starting with the Chino Farms Tomato Salad. What is likely the highest honor for a tomato, perfectly vine ripe picks from Chino Farms are presented with fresh basil and artfully prepared eggplant romanesco. For the main course, go with the Local White Seabass served with artichokes, baby leeks, fennel, pan con tomato, all finished in black olive oil and preserved lemon, this dish will have you savoring the last bit of San Diego’s summer. End with the Souffle Cheesecake that’ll make you want to lick the plate (but please don’t). The combination of rich cream cheese ice cream with the deep flavor of matcha streusel, all balanced with the sprite fragrance of yuzu curd and sweet Chino Farms strawberries, this fresh take on the classic soufflé will make your taste buds soar.

Nestled atop Del Mar Plaza, the views from FLAVOR perfectly compliment their inspired cuisine.

Nestled atop Del Mar Plaza, FLAVOR offers enchanting views that match their inspired cuisine.

FLAVOR Del Mar

This is the perfect occasion to try Del Mar’s hottest new restaurant. Nestled atop Del Mar Plaza with a pitch perfect ocean view, dining at FLAVOR is a full sensory experience. Acclaimed chef Jason Maitland offers a youthful and inspired approach to California Cuisine, creating a simple, yet unique blend of flavors and fragrances that are as fresh as the Pacific breeze.

Kick off your meal with the Tiger Prawn Ceviche, done up FLAVOR style with a confetti of cherry tomatoes, capers, cucumber, feta cheese. For the main course, try the Slow Cooked Scottish King Salmon, served with an immaculate ginger-soy sauce that perfectly complements the sweet and tender salmon. For dessert, go for the sweet and creamy Corn Panna Cotta, served with crème Anglaise, macadamia nut brittle, and white peach sorbet.

333 Pacific's Surf-n-Turf offerings come with a classic California sunset.

333 Pacific

Before acquiring my deep knowledge of California Cuisine (last week when I got this assignment), my impression of it was the classic Surf-n-Turf: succulent seafood and savory steaks, complemented with the finest California wines, enjoyed over sweeping ocean views in a pair of flip-flops. It turns out I wasn’t too far off. If you’re looking for the best Surf-n-Turf experience, seek no further than Cohn Restaurant Group’s inspired pier-front establishment in Oceanside, 333 Pacific.

After a walk on the Oceanside pier, warm up with the Sweet Potato Bisque with peppar vodka cream that’ll have you glowing like the sunset view from their patio. For the main course, go for 12-ounce Boneless Ribeye, an immaculate cut grilled to perfection, served with fried leeks and horseradish mashed potatoes. If you’re in the mood for a fresh catch from the surf, try the Pecan Encrusted Sea Bass with edamame bean succotash and roasted fingerling potatoes. And for dessert, what could be more classic than a Cinnamon Apple Tart, à la mode?

San Diego Restaurant Week ends Friday, September 23, so get out there treat your senses to San Diego’s best California Cuisine!

Suzzanne

Get Your Culture on During National Museum Day

Lux Art Institute Encinitas

Saturday, September 24 is National Museum Day, an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors for Free to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. You must register on the Smithsonian magazine website in order to receive the Museum Day ticket.

There are 14 museums participating in San Diego County including the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad.

It’s a great opportunity to visit a museum you’ve never been to, or visit your favorite.  I’ll be trying the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas…where will you go?

Below is a list of participating museums and be sure to bring your Museum Day ticket with you for your free admission.

Courtney

Child’s Play: Plans for LEGOLAND Hotel Unveiled

Who's gonna clean up that mess? More than 28,000 thousand multi-colored DUPLO® bricks were poured out of a big front loader in celebration of the LEGOLAND Hotel announcement.

LEGOLAND California announced yesterday that plans for a three-story LEGOLAND Hotel are underway. Slated to open Summer 2013 on the site of the current LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad, the LEGOLAND Hotel will be the first of its kind in North America.

Children invited from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Carlsbad wore pajamas to the press conference to get in the “hotel mood” and squealed with delight as the bricks came pouring down on to the bed.

Like LEGOLAND California and the SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium, the hotel will be designed for families with young children and will feature rooms and suites themed after the most popular LEGOLAND areas. The 250-room LEGO-themed hotel will feature brightly colored LEGO décor, a pool, and restaurant.

Bruna

High Fidelity Summer at MCASD, La Jolla

The Museum of Contemporary Art takes a breath this summer with the exhibition High Fidelity: Selections from the 1960s and 1970s and you can, too, through September 5. Presenting mostly formalist selections from the museum’s permanent collection, the survey’s consistency emits minimal distortion, contrasted with the intensity of its predecessors Mexico: Expected/Unexpected and Here Not There: San Diego Art Now. 

Centered on the time, the show is as much about a reconfiguration of space. The galleries seem airier with their two-dimensional focus. Even selected work by Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Robert Cornell Modification, Rabbit), is framed, not shadowboxed, and Martin’s Untitled progressively disappears in patches in characteristic Martin fashion. Time’s passage, or timelessness, becomes most apparent, however, peering at the horizon through Robert Irwin’s punctured window, 1°2°3°4°, 10 years since its last installation.

Robert Irwin, 1⁰2⁰3⁰4⁰, 1997, Apertures cut into existing windows, collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Museum purchase in honor of Ruth Gribin with funds from the Ruth and Murray Gribin and Ansley I. Graham Trust, Los Angeles. © Robert Irwin. Artists rights society (ARS), New York. Photo: Becky Cohen

High Fidelity portrays the era as a thoughtful one, with a definite counterpoint to abstract expressionism. John Altoon, Robert Irwin, and John McLaughlin explore surface tension, positive and negative space, and limits or edge of painting, while Sol Lewitt, Alfred Jensen, and Donald Judd employ systems to determine their compositions. In the company of their art, the work of Vija Celmins, Bruce Connor, Edward Keinholz and John Baldessari, defined as “grittier and more informal,” become almost polite.

Phenomenal Previews

Previews of the must-see fall exhibition Phenomenal: California Light, Space and Surface will be available at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Kettner location until its official opening at both venues on September 25. Irwin’s work returns for this show, with the perceptual experiments of Larry Bell, Mary Corse, Bruce Nauman, James Turrell, and Doug Wheeler. Phenomenal is part of “Pacific Standard Time”, a major region-wide initiative funded and spearheaded by the Getty Foundation; more than 50 cultural institutions across Southern California will tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene.

James Turrell, Stuck Red and Stuck Blue, 1970, Construction materials and fluorescent lights wall: 180 x 168 in. (457.2 x 426.7 cm); aperture: 90 x 26 in.© James Turrell. Photo by Philipp Scholz Rittermann.Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Museum Purchase, Elizabeth W. Russell Foundation Funds.