Candice

Hats, Horses and High Rollers: Opening Day at the Del Mar Races

Opening Day hats on display at the Del Mar Racetrack
Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

…and they’re off!

Seventy-five years have passed since Bing Crosby and his friends opened up the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, but the glamour and prestige of Opening Day hasn’t faded with age. Every year, locals and visitors alike flock to the seaside racetrack to soak up the first day of racing action, not to mention gawk at all the elaborate hats on display, and this year’s Opening Day was no exception.

Opening Day hats on display at the Del Mar Racetrack

Those looking to visit the Del Mar races this season can embark on the journey car-free; just hop on the North County Transit District’s COASTER commuter train. Ride the train to Solana Beach, then hop on one of the free shuttles that take you directly to the track’s front gate. The best part is the view – it sure beats staring at the cars stuck in traffic!

Ride the Coaster train to the Del Mar Racetrack

No need for a designated driver when you take the Coaster to the racetrack, and the view is outstanding.

While the races are the main event, Opening Day is one heck of a party with plenty of smiling faces under those elaborate hats. It’s best to make a day of it, so dress up, grab a few of your friends and a Del Margarita and settle in for afternoon.

Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

Even after Opening Day has come and gone, the action at the track is just warming up. All season long, the Del Mar racetrack is home to events that appeal to visitors of all ages, like the Gourmet Food Truck Festival on July 28, where more than 50 trucks come to the track to offer a wide range of delicious, fun and funky dining options. Parents can bring the kids out for Family Fun Day on July 22, and dog lovers can cheer on the fastest runners on four legs…four very short legs! The Wienerschnitzel Wiener Dog Nationals take place at the track on Sept. 3. And of course, Fridays are all about music at the track, with Del Mar’s Summer Concert Series. After the races end, race-goers can enjoy free live music from a lineup of performers including Wavves, Dashboard Confessional, Ben Harper and more. Check out the full lineup for information on performances schedules.

Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

Opening Day 2012 broke attendance records, with more than 47,000 people attending

If you’re planning on attending Opening Day next year, or any of the other days this season that feature concerts or special events, be sure to plan on arriving early and give yourself extra travel time.

Candice

Foodie Friday: San Diego County Fair Food Edition

Deep-fried Trix Cereal - San Diego County Fair
The 2012 San Diego County Fair is Out of this World

This Years Food Options are Out of the World!

It”s an annual culinary tradition like no other. Hungry participants wonder, “What unusual creation will they cook up this time? How will these food daredevils top themselves this year?” No, it”s not an episode of Iron Chef, and it”s definitely not the James Beard awards…it”s the San Diego County Fair.

Before you head to the San Diego County Fair, Discover Out of This World Deals and Savings!

Carnival games and live music are part of the fun, but food is a major draw for many visitors to the annual event, as vendors compete with each other to see who can create the most outlandish concoctions. This year”s fair theme is “Out of This World,” and that just might be how you would describe many of the menu offerings. Here”s a little sampling of what you can expect to feast on.

Put Bacon On It

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Legs - San Diego County Faironline casino width=”520″ height=”346″ />

Bacon-wrapped jumbo turkey legs go for a spin at the San Diego County Fair

The most talked about offerings usually include just about anything wrapped in bacon or deep-fried, and this year is no exception. In the bacon-wrapped category, you”ll find everything from bacon blanketed hot dogs to “Porky Poppers,” bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeños. But if size is what you”re after, then a bacon-wrapped turkey leg just might be what you”re looking for.

Breakfast…Deep-Fried

Deep-Fried Trix Cereal - San Diego County Fair

Deep-fried cereal, Trix variety

Last year, fried Kool Aid had the nation all atwitter. This year, the buzz is over deep-fried cereal – you have your choice of Trix or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. You”ll also find “Pie Fries” (deep-fried pie crust strips with strawberry preserves on the side), a “Chili Asteroid” (chili and cheese, deep-fried in a hush-puppy batter), and – continuing with the fried drink mix experiment – deep-fried Tang.

Deep-fried Trix Cereal - San Diego County Fair

Will deep-fried Trix be any good? There's only one way to find out.

Fresh Lobster

Lobster at the San Diego County Fair

The Fresh Lobster is Delicious

Another new offering in the San Diego County Fair”s dining selection is…lobster?! Yes, you read that right! In their fair debut, The Lobster Shack is serving up steamed Maine lobster tails.

With so many options, what will you try at this year”s fair?

Maren

Win Tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM in San Diego!

The Southern California exclusive showing of Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM is coming to the Del Mar Fairgrounds from April 26 to May 13, 2012 and we want to send you and a friend! TOTEM guides you on a fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind with death-defying acrobatics, grace and laughter. It is the circus, after all!

The Crystal Man, doing his thing.

But the Crystal Man is no laughing matter. Elton John might love to get his hands on the velvet costume made up of 4,500 glittering mobile mosaics (as would I!), but not if it requires climbing down from the ceiling on a wire with any sort of confidence and grace. That is just hard. Magic crystal suit or not.

4,500 glitter mosaics! Wow. You want to know some more fun facts about TOTEM? I bet you do! It’s Monday after all! Officially* the best day ever to learn about Cirque du Soleil:

  • There are 18 countries represented by the 53 cast members of TOTEM: Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, The People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, Spain, Ukraine, The United Kingdom and the United States of America. Like a United Nations for Extremely Flexible Risk Takers.

The Circle of Life, TOTEM style.

  • TOTEM represents the circle of life both on and off stage. 23 children are on tour between the ages of 6 months to 17 years old. Currently, the youngest tour member is 6 months and the eldest is 61!
  • The site takes 8 days to set up but only 3 to take it down. Thanks, gravity.
  • 65 trailers transport 1,200 tons of equipment but not one, single elephant.

This is me and my bike club. We do this every Saturday. No biggie.

  • Cirque du Soleil was founded in 1894, with only 73 employees. Today they employ 5,000 people worldwide, including more than 1,300 artists. Artists as talented as my bike club, pictured above.

*Not at all official.

Want to see the Crystal Man in all his 4,500 glittering mobile mosaic splendor? We are giving away 2 tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM on May 9, 2012 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Just leave a comment on this blog post by 10:00 am P.S.T. on Thursday April 19, 2012 for a chance to win. What’s your favorite Cirque du Soleil act?

Suzzanne

Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM Coming To San Diego

Cirque du Soleil's TOTEM
Cirque du Soleil's TOTEM

Cirque du Soleil's TOTEM

The Cirque is coming to town! Returning to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, April 25-May 13, 2012 is Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM. This will be the last stop for TOTEM in the west before it moves over to Boston in June. TOTEM traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations.

Inspired by many founding myths, TOTEM illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species. Somewhere between science and legend TOTEM explores the ties that bind Man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.

Don’t miss this great show. Tickets are on sale now…

Make a night of it by dining at one of these nearby restaurants.

Burlap's Dining Room

Burlap's Dining Room

Burlap

Described in Executive Chef Brian Malarkey’s playful tone as “Asian Cowboy” cuisine, Searsucker’s sister restaurant Burlap offers a hybrid of meat, seafood and bold sides with Asian influences. Burlap embraces the relaxed North County San Diego vibe while injecting Chef Malarkey’s playful touch on the coastal destination.

Brigantine

Brigantine

Brigantine

Across from the Fairgrounds is a North County staple, the Brigantine. Take a drink of your favorite beer and sit back to enjoy the fresh seafood, including their lively oyster bars and award-winning fish tacos and swordfish.

FLAVOR Del Mar

FLAVOR Del Mar

FLAVOR Del Mar

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.

Tell us in the comments below, where is your favorite place for a night out in Del Mar?

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend

San Diego Asian Film Festival

1. San Diego Asian Film Festival: From October 20-28, International film fanatics will have the opportunity to partake in one of the largest exhibitions of Asian international and Asian American cinema in North America. Along with narrative features, the Festival also showcases documentaries, short films and animation.

Harvest Festival

2. Harvest Festival: The 39th Annual Harvest Festival is kicking off of at the Del Mar Fairgrounds October 21 and running through the 23rd. The festival features more than 300 artists and craftspeople showcasing unique American handmade works, including Halloween and Christmas decor, handmade wearable art, photography, garden decorations, hand-turned wood, ceramics, jewelry, children’s toys and more!

La Jolla Gallery Wine Walk and Taste

3. La Jolla Gallery, Wine Walk and Taste: On Thursday, October 20th, experience an evening of breathtaking coastal views, exquisite art, fresh cuisine and savory wines as you stroll through the beautiful La Jolla Village and visit over 15 of La Jolla’s most prominent galleries showcasing internationally celebrated art, while enjoying various samples of crisp white and bold red wines at each gallery. As you stroll along the streets of downtown La Jolla you will satisfy your appetite with tastings of flavorful cuisine from over 20 of La Jolla Village’s finest restaurants. Tickets to the La Jolla Gallery, Wine Walk & Taste are $40 in advance and $45 on the day of the event.

Broadway San Diego: Hair

4. Hair: From October 18-23, Broadway San Diego brings the Tony-winning musical Hair to the Civic Theatre. This exuberant musical about a group of young Americans searching for peace and love in a turbulent time has struck a resonant chord with audiences young and old. HAIR features an extraordinary cast and dozens of unforgettable songs, including “Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Good Morning, Starshine” and “Easy To Be Hard.”

Borrego Springs

5. Borrego Days Desert Festival: The 46th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival is a three-day local tradition that is just abounding with colorful attractions, family fun and exciting events. This free festival takes place on Friday, October 21 and continues through Sunday, October 22. Activities include a parade, local artists, food court, mini-carnival, games, rides and much more. A fun way to enjoy the picturesque desert landscape!