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?

Maren

Experience the Thrill of America’s Cup Racing in San Diego

Maren at the helm

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I’ll jibe starboard and leave the boom grinder to the men.” If you understood that, you’re a sailor. If you didn’t, read on. It turns out the list of sailing nomenclature is as extensive as it is useful, if you’re a top-notch sailor about to descend on San Diego Harbor for the third stop of the inaugural America’s Cup World Series. From November 12-20, 2011, be ready to witness a state-of-the-art AC45 wing-sailed catamarans FLY across the water at around 30 knots (read: FAST).

Luckily for those of us who are not world-class sailors, there are numerous vantage points around San Diego Bay, from Harbor Island to Coronado. The heart of the action and festivities will be at America’s Cup Village, dedicated to dry-land fun for the masses, located on Harbor Drive adjacent to the San Diego International Visitor’s Information Center. Bay front hotels are offering deals that equal their spectacular harbor views. And if you enjoy delicious seafood as much as I do, waterfront dining at Anthony’s Fish Grotto is the place to be. I also recommend putting on your Dennis Cooper cap with Next Level Sailing, as I did in this video. A trip around San Diego Bay in the competition-tested America’s Cup yacht, the Stars and Stripes is the perfect place to jibe and grind for yourself!

Brent Bernasconi

America’s Cup World Series is Coming to San Diego

America's Cup World Series in San DiegoThe America’s Cup World Series is coming to San Diego this November. For eight days between November 12-20, AC 45 catamarans will be up close and personal as they race around San Diego’s Big Bay in four exciting events: San Diego America’s Cup Open, America’s Cup 500 Speed Trial, America’s Cup Match Racing Championship and America’s Cup World Series San Diego Championship. Make sure to check SanDiego.org for event information and to find great hotel deals.

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…

Brent Bernasconi

Exploring the Fun at Loews Coronado Resort

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Since Loews Coronado Bay Resort is giving away 20 room nights as part of their 20th anniversary, our Coronado expert Robert gave us his ideas of what he would do if he won the sweepstakes. He also had a chance to drive over the iconic Coronado Bridge to the Crown City and take a peek at some of the great activities including stand-up paddle boarding, beach and kayak tours along the Silver Strand State Beach and gondola cruises that take off from the Loews Marina.

Make sure to enter the “20 Days, Your Way” sweepstakes for a chance to win 20 room nights at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort and you too can enjoy all of these exciting and relaxing activities! Enter now…

Brent Bernasconi

San Diego’s Weather Ranked Number 1 by Travel+Leisure

San Diego's Weather - Perfect All Year Round!

In San Diego, all you need to do is walk outside on most days to notice our phenomenal weather. With over 280 days of pure sunshine, you can see why travelers ranked America’s Finest City number 1 for weather in Travel+Leisure’s America’s Favorite Cities 2011 survey. San Diego was also voted number 1 as the Spring Break destination and number 2 as Summer Family Vacation and 4th of July destinations! With great weather comes great opportunities for travel! Check out a Video San Diego’s Number 1 Weather Ranking from the Today Show

Aki

12th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival

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My recommendation for the upcoming San Diego Asian Film Festival, October 20-28, 2011, has nothing to do with my Japanese heritage, my love for movies or being an ardent festival-goer. Sure, I was the obvious pick to cover this festival, but I am here to tell you that even if I was of Irish descent, watched only 80’s Rom Coms, and was agoraphobic, I would still be recommending this film festival.

Whether you’re an Asian film buff, a foreign film guru or just your run-of-the-mill movie goer, there is something for everyone. Now in its twelfth year, the festival is one of the largest showcases of Pan-Asian cinema in North America, screening over 160 films (feature-length and shorts) from 21 countries in the span of 8 days. From feature to indie films, shorts, animation and documentaries, you’ll be hard pressed not to find something that peaks your interest.

Read more and leave a comment on this post to win tickets to the 2011 SDAFF…

Cindy

Rocky Horror Show Aliens Invade San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre!

Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show

Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show at the Old Globe

The Old Globe Theatre’s version of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show opened in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center (9/15/2011 – 11/6/2011) to an audience of newbies (affectionately known as “virgins”) as well as long-time Rocky Horror Show followers. First timers to this live theatre show not in the know were caught off-guard by patrons dressed in costume and participating as if they part of the troupe, even going so far as to yell lines back at the stage. A cult classic from the early 70’s, Rocky Horror Show patrons are encouraged to participate by purchasing selected props made available by the Old Globe such as a newspaper, flashlight, balloon and playing cards. These props were then used at the same time the actors use them on stage. The acting was entertaining, the story line interesting and the costumes a little risqué making for a really fun adult experience.

Originally started as a theatrical production in June 1973, The Rocky Horror Show enjoyed a long run on London stages before being transformed into the cult movie classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A time-warp experience for sure, this musical that became a cultural phenomenon is definitely worth seeing on stage at least once, and then you’ll want to bring your friends…

Brent Bernasconi

A Restaurant With A View Even An Apollo Astronaut Loves

Just beyond this door is good food with a view...

A friend recently asked me for a recommendation of a great place to dine in San Diego to impress a VIP coming into town. The VIP happened to be Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden, who was in town to sign his autobiography, Falling to Earth, at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. Since I helped edit the book (shameless plug), I was invited to join them.

View of downtown from our table. This picture does not do the view justice.

I knew Al was used to great views (you know, seeing the moon up close and the earth from  about 238,857 miles away) so I suggested C-Level Lounge which has a spectacular view of downtown from Harbor Island. The picture above does not do it any justice but Al loved the skyline along with watching the sailing yachts glide by.

A delicious Buffalo Chicken Salad

C-Level offers a more casual and relaxed dining experience but still has the same high-end quality of food as the attached fine-dining and dinner-only Island Prime Metro Steaks & Seafood. I personally enjoyed a wonderful salad with buffalo chicken (I am a sucker for things claiming to be spicy) and a cold draft beer.

Fish aficionados will enjoy the comprehensive menu of fresh catches of the day including cedar plank roasted salmon with black linguini, cucumber salsa, dill moleta and guallijo-anchovy cream or the fresh caught macadamia crusted grouper with pineapple salsa, lemon-sea salt sea beans and lime-ginger beurre blanc.

Land lubbers can enjoy free range chicken with fingerling potatoes, braised wild greens, lavender butter and banyuls-demi reduction or a mouth-watering 8 or 12 oz cut of filet mignon (which I spoiled myself with last time at C-Level).

Astronaut Al Worden enjoying the view...

So whether you are in the mood for some casual relaxed dining or out on a date, the food and the view of C-Level will always make it a great dining experience.

What is your favorite restaurant in San Diego with a view?

Candice

Arts Month San Diego: Balboa Park Can’t Be Beat

The country’s largest urban cultural park, Balboa Park, has been one of my favorite San Diego spots since childhood. I can remember taking class field trips to the many museums, my 8-year-old self awestruck by their enormous grandeur. As an adult, I still love visiting Balboa Park. No matter how many times I wander the park’s vast Spanish Colonial walkways, I always find something new and exciting to explore that awakens my inner 8-year-old spirit.

To celebrate Arts Month San Diego, take your inner child to explore the arts offerings of the nation’s largest cultural park. With 15 major museums and spectacular performing arts venues, art lovers of all walks are sure to find something to marvel at. Here are just a few of the inspired offerings you’ll find this September in Balboa Park:

Legendary designer Zandra Rhodes serves as the honorary chair for this annual exhibition and special event gala at the Timken Museum of Art. Fashion enthusiasts will be bowled over by the extraordinary fashions inspired by 15 artworks from the museum’s collection. Proceeds from tickets to the grand celebration on Saturday, Sept. 24 benefit the Timken’s art education programs, and Art of Fashion programming will continue at the Timken through October.

Outrageous fashions take center stage at both the Timken Museum of Art and The Old Globe

Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show at The Old Globe

Fashion certainly plays an important role in this ground-breaking show that launched a cult phenomenon. The Old Globe’s stage production features all the outrageous music and characters created by Richard O’Brien, who wrote the original book, music, and lyrics for The Rocky Horror Show. Do the time warp back to Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter’s castle as it was meant to be seen – live onstage. The show runs through Nov. 6.

See the Spanish masters at the San Diego Museum of Art

From El Greco to Dalí : Spanish Masters from the Pérez Simón Collection at the San Diego Museum of Art

On view through Nov. 6, this momentous exhibition spanning five centuries showcases 64 masterful pieces from Spain’s most celebrated artists, including Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí. In addition to the big names, visitors will discover works by artists little-known in the U.S., such as the Romantic Manuel Barrón y Carrillo, or the Modernist Romero de Torres.

Innovative photography captivates at the Museum of Photographic Arts

Works from the Bank of America Collection at the Museum of Photographic Arts

From the Spanish masters to masters of photography, Balboa Park’s art museums are some of the best in the country. Be sure not to miss Imagine That! at the Museum of Photographic Arts, now through Oct. 9. Expect to see the unexpected in this exhibition that highlights unique perspectives, unknown realms and phenomena inaccessible to the naked eye and immediate senses.

Enjoy a free concernt at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion

Free Sunday concerts at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion

Donated to the City of San Diego by John D. and Adolph Spreckels in 1914, the Spreckels Organ is one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs, containing 4,530 pipes that range in length from the size of a pencil to 32 feet. Since 1917, San Diego has had a civic organist, who performs free weekly Sunday concerts.

Want to experience all the Balboa Park has to offer for free? Leave a comment on this blog post  to be entered to win two Passport to Balboa Park certificates. Each Passport includes a one-time admission coupon to each of 14 museums, and the coupon booklet is valid for seven consecutive days. A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, Sept. 28, so be sure to post before 10:00 am on Wednesday!