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?


Free at Last

He's eagerly awaiting your visit to the Zoo

He's eagerly awaiting your visit to the Zoo

Today is October 1, which means for the next 30 days kids and families can enjoy:

Free admission into the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park during Kid Free Days. All children ages 3 – 11 will receive complimentary admission into both parks for the entire month.

Free admission on any one- or two-hour Harbor Cruise of San Diego Bay with Hornblower Cruises & Events. Complimentary tickets will be provided for up to two children, ages 12 and under, per each paying adult for the entire month.

Half-priced admission into four museums in Balboa Park: the Mingei International Museum, the Museum of Man, the Museum of San Diego History and the Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) will offer half-priced admission every Saturday and Sunday morning from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.  Note: this offer is actually valid through May 31, 2010 with some blackout days effective after October 31; please check museums to verify for half-priced admission days.


Tallships Invade The Bay…With A Bang!

Take that ye salty dog!

Take that ye salty dog!

The San Diego Maritime Museum is offering aspiring buccaneers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Throughout September, they’ll be hosting cannon battles on the high seas (of San Diego Bay) as the state’s official tallship, The Californian, defends our harbor from the invading privateer Lynx

The mock battles – with real explosions but, thankfully, no actual danger – will take place over two weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, Sunday, Sept. 20 and Saturday, Sept. 26. 

Visitors can experience these epic battles in several ways. 

Guest Blogger

Come Sail Away

So there’s this thing called sailing.”  Have you heard of it?  Why has no one told me of this sailing stuff before?  It is awesome.  I mean, I’ve been out on the water plenty of times – usually on a short harbor cruise, a ferry, or perhaps a whale watching trip or two – but it wasn’t until I got out on the San Diego Bay aboard a 32-foot sailboat that I truly discovered the beauty of being out on the water.  It is one of the most peaceful activities I can remember doing, and one of the most fun.

Captain Tim sets a course for adventure and romance!

Captain Tim sets a course for adventure and romance!

It’s an escape for your senses; or rather, a return to your senses.  You motor out into the bay, and as soon as the captain cuts the engine, the city just recedes into the distance and becomes another feature on the horizon, leaving only you, the wind, the water and the sky.  Serenity.  If that sounds hokey to you, then I won’t bother to go into how time doesn’t even seem to pass when you’re sailing.  And I’ll definitely refrain from singing the 1980 Christopher Cross song for you (even though he did hit it right on the head with that one).

Having quickly developed a taste for sailing after my first hour on the bay, I chartered a private sailing excursion with Sail San Diego for my wedding anniversary.  $85 a head will get you on board one of their boats for a sunset sail that includes beer, wine and light snacks.  The captains are fun and quite knowledgable about the San Diego Bay.  They’ll usually let you get your hands on the wheel, too.

Plenty of charter companies sail on and beyond our beautiful bay, most originating on Shelter Island and Harbor Island.  And it’s almost never a bad time to sail.  You can pretty much sail year round in San Diego.  (The weather, you know.  I’m told it’s pretty good around here.)  You know, all of this reminds me of a song.

Well it’s not far down to paradise, at least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility
The canvas can do miracles – just you wait and see
Belieeeeeeve me

Whoops, I said I wouldn’t sing, didn’t I?  I lied.

Go sail.

Guest Blogger

San Diego SEAL Tour

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale – a tale of a fun-filled trip.  In other parts of the country, they call it the “Duck Tour.”  San Diego happens to have Navy SEALs as well as harbor seals, so it makes sense that Historic Tours of America (Old Town Trolley Tours) ties in the SEAL theme to this tour, which shows us the sights in and around the San Diego Bay aboard their mini-fleet of “hydra-terras.”  (Do I need to explain that term?  No? Everybody’s with me?  Good.)

This environmentally sound vehicle runs on people!

My group took a 90-minute voyage aboard the amphibious vessel as Captain Jim and first mate Bill showed us the bay – from Seaport Village to Harbor Island, where we went from “terra” to “hydra” as the vehicle plunged straight into the water – always a crowd pleaser.

First mate Bill shared with us the finer points of life on the bay and pointed out signs of the Naval activity that goes on right under our noses every day.  Hidden in plain sight are the Navy’s dolphin training facilities, submarine repair and maintenance docks, and target vessels.  Then there was the rare treat of watching a Navy submarine return to port.  (It’s a Navy-heavy tour once you’re in the bay, but hey, we’re a Navy-heavy town.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I must reveal that the “seals” in the bay are not seals at all, but sea lions!  The SEAL Tour got us close enough to see their little sea lion ears and sea lion flippers.  We’ve been had!  I won’t hold it against the SEAL Tour, though.  If it’s actual seals you want, you can find them on the stretch of beach in La Jolla known as the Children’s Pool.  This leads to the next logical question: Now what did they do with the children?

SEAL Tours board at Seaport Village daily.  More information can be found here.