Magnolia Tap & Kitchen Handcrafted Cocktail Night

Magnolia Menu

Last week, I went to the new Magnolia Tap & Kitchen (where the old Bareback Grill used to be). I found out that there used to be a Magnolia Saloon on the corner of 6th and E in the “saloon” days of San Diego, hence the present day name Magnolia Tap & Kitchen. The restaurant is a blast from the past with some modern touches. I enjoyed the magnolia flower decor hanging from the ceiling and engraved on their bathroom mirrors to compliment their namesake. I also enjoyed the old books greeting you as you enter  the establishment with exposed brick walls in the dining area with a fireplace facade. The bartenders were continuously muddling and burning orange peels into their hand crafted cocktails while I was there. I could tell that they work on each drink. There has to be 4-6 ingredients per cocktail. The food is pretty basic right now, which is comprised of mostly of really good wings, sandwiches and salads. I did talk with the head chef Michael and they do plan to introduce some comfort food and more entrees in the future such as duck tacos and meatloaf.

Old TribuneThey still call their restrooms W/C (water closets) and note the papers dating back from the late 1800s hanging on their walls leading up to the W/C and in the closets themselves. This is really a great laid back place to hang out.

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Magnolia Tap and Kitchen
624 E Street
San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 255-0925


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Posted in Food, Restaurants, San Diego

Dishcrawl San Diego – Crawling an Edible North Park

SONY DSCI had a chance to experience Dishcrawl, an event that gets a group of 20-30 people together to experience a group of restaurants within walking distance of each other. This time the event took place in North Park. A few days prior I got an email on where to meet but other than that there were no other restaurants that were disclosed. Yes, I am curious, yet I am the type of person that wants to know where I am going.  What the heck, I can do this, i’ll think of this as an adventure. I guess this is where some fun comes in, the mysterious culinary tour. If that doesn’t get you intrigued, I don’t know what will. The actual Dishcrawl lasted about 3 hours. We were invited to come a bit early to meet up with everyone and to have a glass of wine. The first stop was the patio at Alexanders on 30th.

Alexander's on 30th Patio

Alexanders on 30th is known for their all white interior and their Italian food. Pizzas, pastas and salads. They have great happy hour specials and on occasion they play movies outside. This place has a good vibe. I know I’ll be back.

Sea Rocket Event Posters

The second stop was Sea Rocket Bistro known for their farm-to-table vegetables and sustainable seafood.  I had a sampling of vegetarian fare there (I don’t eat fish), but it was really good. I had seitan tacos for the first time. There are several Sea Rocket specials and events listed on their website such as happy hour specials, drink abouts and cooking classes. There are some unique craft beers on their menu. 

West Coast Tavern

The third stop was West Coast Tavern in the heart of North Park. This is one of the staple bar and grills here in town. They served us a sampling of flat breads and five spiced chicken wings. They are also known for their specialty drinks.

20130511-141018.jpgThe fourth and final stop was a new dessert/coffee restaurant on the block, Swoon Dessert Bar. Just like the name, you will swoon over the menu items and want to try them all. I was impressed by the simple modern decor and the fact that they have macaroons. We all got to taste this trio of sweets. The chefs were hard at work putting this dish together when we arrived and Lindsay of Dishcrawl, a self-proclaimed Swoon fan, couldn’t stop raving about them, it was pretty infectious. I think I could of started a Swoon fan club right then and there.

Me, Lindsay (Dishcrawlsd) and Downtown RobThe great thing about Dishcrawl is that one of the managers and owners will come out and briefly talk about what makes their restaurant special. Some will talk about the origin of a dish, their restaurant concept, the history of the chefs, and what makes them unique. You get the story, ask questions and are able to sample some of their dishes, you may have not other-wised ordered. I recommend that everyone experiences a Dishcrawl. If you like food, people and good atmosphere you will not be disappointed.

Read about the dishes we experienced more in-depth on the Dishcrawl blog.

The next Dishcrawl San Diego is slated for June 4th in Little Italy. Get your tickets before they sell out.

Disclosure: I was invited as a media guest for Dishcrawl.
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Happy Earth Day!

It’s Earth Day. A day to remember to reuse and recycle. There are lots of great companies in San Diego that practice what they preach. One is ecoATM, a local start-up that buys used phones. Look for their Kiosks in local malls. There is one located in Grossmont Center‘s Food Court which has a built in phone chargers. This is how EcoATM has been making an impact (full One Million Phones infographic). Let’s make everyday Earth Day. How are you making an impact this Earth day?

One Million Phones ecoATM

Brought to you by ecoATM.
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2013 Busker Festival is coming March 23 and March 24

Busker doing splits with fire

image credit i.d.e.a

Every year I tell myself I will go to the Busker Festival at Seaport Village. What is a busker you may ask? A busker is a public street performer that does something ordinary to something weird and wacky, they love to perform and they take gratuities; for many performers this is their main form of income. This festival brings in the best from all over the country.  Now that it is coming again, if I blog about it I will most likely go… the Spring Busker Festival is Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24, 2013 from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m at Seaport Village. The celebration brings colorful street performers from jugglers on unicycles to stilt walkers, contortionists and acrobalancers. People of all ages are welcome to the daytime festivities. They will be also be doing a Buskers After Dark on Saturday, March 23 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m in which there will be a DJ and acts best suited for an audience 18+.  For $1 beers and food specials for Buskers After Dark there is a place to RSVP otherwise just show up. For me this may be up my alley since I have recently got addicted to the show Freakshow on AMC. Are you going to the Busker Festival? Leave a comment and I may see you there.

 

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Posted in art, Entertainment, San Diego, Special Events

Date Night – Vine Cottage and The San Diego Repertory Theatre

To those parents out there, I feel for you. Especially those with the young ones that can’t stay home by themselves. Date nights come rarely, not because I can’t find babysitting, it is because I don’t force my husband to go out with me.  The key is to force your significant other to go out with you. Create a plan and execute. My plan of action was a couple of tickets to the current show “A Hammer, A Bell and A Song To Sing” at the San Diego REP and dinner at the neighborhood nicer restaurant, The Vine Cottage. Here is the low-down:

The Restaurant

The Vine Cottage is very quaint little restaurant. It is a little gem in La Mesa. Their food is delicious and they have a great beer and wine selection. We had the corn chowder with crabmeat, a Baby Iceberg Wedge Salad w/ Maytag Dressing (split mine with the vinagrette) and I had the Creekstone Farms Sliced Flank Steak and he had the The Vine Cottage Grass-Fed Beef Burger. Everything is seasonal, all-natural, organic, locally-sourced, and sustainably produced ingredients whenever possible, which makes it very cool for being in the not “hip” part of San Diego (i.e. North Park) plus they have a great wine and beer selection. In the future, I hope to catch more of their happy hours, you can’t go wrong with half off salads and pizzas. My favorite focal point was watching Anthony Bourdain on the framed television sets, one located above the bar and one little one as you walked in seen below, the televisions are Pinterestable. 

The Theatre

For the next leg of our date, we headed down to Horton Plaza to attend the show. “A Hammer, A Bell and A Song To Sing”,  but first we took a detour to the Ben and Jerry’s and the Cinnabon at the food court. Yep, dessert and a little window shopping, Christmas can never come too early for retailers. The shows are very unique and are usually originals. “A Hammer, A Bell and A Song To Sing” is the story on the songs that came from the American Revolution, the Civil Rights Movement to the Occupy Protests, essentially it was a folk song musical. I thoroughly enjoyed the interactive portions of the show. The cast of 4 are a talented bunch; each actor played multiple instruments, acted, and sang, which are not easy to do for a hour and a half non-stop. Last season, I attended The Great American Trailer Park Musical  which was not like the “A Hammer, A Bell, And A Song to Sing” at all but that is what makes these shows great, you never know what will be on stage next. Just like their mission, the REP  makes good theatre, there is always something intimate and provocative about their shows. I look forward to catching more shows in the 2013 season. “A Hammer, A Bell and A Song To Sing” ends on December 2.

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Vine Cottage Restaurant
6062 Lake Murray Blvd
Ste 101A
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 465-0198

San Diego REPertory Theatre
79 Horton Plaza
San Diego, CA 92101
Tickets online, at the box office or by phone at (619) 544-1000

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Posted in Culinary, Entertainment, Restaurants, San Diego

Seaworld Suites at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay

I am lucky to live in such a diverse city where you can be in the mountains or the beach in a matter of minutes. I am biased to the beach but ironically, I live near the highest mountain in the city. Last weekend, my sister was in town with her six year old daughter (my niece). I stayed at the Hyatt last summer,  and thought that another stay at Hyatt Mission Bay would be a good way to show them this wonderful city (my secret dream is to live in a nice hotel).  This Mission Bay location and this Hyatt is such a beautiful property and a perfect place for “getting away.” I recently found out they had these new SeaWorld Suites perfect for adults with children. This is absolutely perfect for a family doesn’t want to share a regular hotel room.

The suites are essentially two adjoining hotel rooms, one room with a kitchenette and one room with the standard bathroom. The kitchenette is perfect for preparing microwavable items or just putting together plates from room service or restaurant take-out.

The kitchenette has a sink, microwave and mini-fridge, not the kind of kitchen to prepare gourmet meals but it does the trick.  The kids room with a bunk bed has a kitchen (board room-like) table that will seat six comfortably. Each room has it’s own flat screen television, which is ideal since the kids like cartoons and my sister and I wanted to watch the Food Network.

The kids room has the appropriate “fish” decor and even a cute little bean bag.  There are 4 of these specialty suites in this hotel. My daughter and niece absolutely loved the set up, they played “restaurant” in the kitchen which kept them busy and happy.

On and off the property there are lots of activities. We had time to use the Hyatt’s firepits to make s’mores. The activity guide provided to us during our stay was handy to see what off-site theme parks were open and how to get tickets. Also, was info. on the hours and what each on-site restaurant, store and spa offered .

The highlight of my hotel trip is that I got some “me” time.  My treatment of choice was the one hour massage at the Blue Marble Spa. If you go, must dos are the eucalyptus steam room before and after your treatment and the waiting area,  where there are flavored waters, light snacks and a huge variety of coffee and teas. Local tip:  I later found out that if I just wanted to go to the spa as a local, I would be able to get pool privliages as well. I have a feeling that I will be returning to the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay very soon.

If you decide to stay at the Hyatt Regency between October 26- October 28th. The Hyatt plans to have Halloween activities at their pool and water slide area. They will feature:

  • Waterslides enveloped in eerie fog, enhanced with scary music, ghostly sounds and spooky lighting
  • Pumpkin painting and trick-or-treat bag decorating
  • Spider-webbed pool cabanas and creepy cocktails for adults
  • Nighttime trick-or-treating around the property followed by family movie at the pool.

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay is located on 1441 Quivira Road  San Diego, CA 92109, (619) 224-1234

Disclosure: The Hyatt comp’d my one-night stay. Meals and extras were not. Pictures and opinions are my own.
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Eating Healthy and Organically at the Red Marlin

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I got to try the new menu created by Alice Waters exclusively for the Red Marlin at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay.  This menu compliments their “For Kids By Kids” menu and provides children nutritious, fresh and local sourced ingredients. I am more and more looking at the back of boxes of my food and reading the back the ingredients. Eating at places that have these specially designed menus, I can be rest assured that my children are eating healthy at fine dining establishments. The first course was the Romaine Hearts salad. The salad was so fresh and nicely plated with carrot curls. The carrots came from Suzie’s Farm, a local organic farm which is gaining popularity among    the finest restaurants for their fresh produce. The second course was a free-range organic chicken which was grilled and garnished with a tasty pesto sauce. For dessert, was a fresh fruit plate of strawberries and orange slices that was served cleverly in an orange rind cup with orange juice and honey sauce. My daughter loved all of these dishes and she is a picky eater. These plates can be bought together or a’ la carte and the plates will change seasonally. Who said fine dining wasn’t for kids?

Recipe for the Orange and Strawberry Compote in Orange Cup (compliments of Red Marlin)

1 Frozen Valencia Orange Cup

1 Valencia Orange

2 washed and stemmed Strawberries

1 Lemon Verbena Sprig

1 Orange Top

For the Orange Juice Sauce: 1 cup of Valencia Orange Juice and 1 tsp Honey. Preparation: For the Sauce: Whisk the honey into fresh squeezed Valencia orange juice. Refrigerate for 2 days. Sweeten with honey to taste. For the compote: Cut, scoop and freeze orange cups. Trim bottom as needed to stabilize for plating. Peel and segment the Valencia orange. Cut strawberries into wedges. Plate the oranges and strawberries in sauce and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Place frozen orange cup in bowl. Fill with compote and sauce. Garnish with lemon verbena sprig and slice of orange on top.

Red Marlin Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay
Reservations: 619-221-4868

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Posted in Food, Healthy Living, Restaurants, San Diego

Healthy Eats at True Food Kitchen

Last week, I had a chance to go to the soft opening of True Food Kitchen at the Fashion Valley Mall. I am not to eat strange named food like kale, edamame and drink strawberry and rhubarb soda but I did. Interestingly enough, the food was good and light. I didn’t feel like I was going to go into a food coma when I left or feel any guilt (like sometimes you do when you go out for a burger and fries). The open kitchen feeling was refreshing. The staff seemed proud to be a part of something good. I missed out in trying Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato salad, to my surprise the recipe is on their website. I guess I could either make it or go back to the restaurant. I think I may go back to True Food Kitchen for this one.

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Edamame Dumplings – They were fresh and delicious

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Steak Tacos – Fresh and had a spicy bite to them

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Pic with Dr. Andrew Weil himself. It was a treat to get to try out this restaurant with friends. I will be back.

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Rubio’s celebration of World Oceans Day

I am always on the search for activities that can be fun and rewarding. I thought I would share this event with everyone and share my love of Rubio’s in the process (Currently thinking of the Rubio’s chopped salad).

Rubio’s has been always involved with the community and environmental responsibility. I will be in attendance for this event on Saturday, June 9th from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm at the South Cardiff State Beach – Seaside Reef for the Rubio’s beach party and clean up.

Rubio’s will have food, music and fun for everyone and activities for the whole family. The founder Ralph Rubio will also be there joining in on the celebration. Hope to see you there!

-Rubio’s Taco Truck
-Free 30 minute surf lessons
-Beach cleanup
-Bocce ball tournaments
-Sand castle building contests
-Face painting
-Badminton
-Giveaways & prizes like Spy Sunglasses, concert tickets & Rubio’s swag

Rubio’s has made World Ocean’s day a month long initiative. To learn more about how you can Stand Up for the Ocean with Rubio’s in honor of World Oceans Day, see the World Ocean Day activities and contests Rubio’s has put together for the month.  (Friday, June 8th you can even get a reusable bag at their restaurants – see link for details).

My theory is why not have fun and help the community at the same time. How do you incorporate helping out while having fun?

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Posted in Free, Green Living, Healthy Living, San Diego, Special Events

An evolutionary show – TOTEM

Photo Credit: Daniel Auclair

Last night, I had the opportunity to go to TOTEM, a travelling show that is put on by the folks at Cirque du Soleil.  The show is at the San Diego County Fairgrounds (Del Mar Fairgrounds) until  May 27th. The brainchild of the big production Vegas shows such as Viva Elvis and KÁ and O. TOTEM is full of texture and provides lots of stimulation to the senses. As always, all the Cirque du Soleil shows have the comic relief segments and costumes that dazzle.  Unlike the regular circus, I enjoy going to Cirque de Soleil productions, every show is uniquely different down to the theme, costuming and creative look and feel. The common thread in all these shows is all the amazing talent; the people who show their passion in their performance. I definitely recommend this show, not only is it astonishing to see the performers do superhuman feats, the staging and technology of this production is a makes for an extraordinary experience.

*Disclosure I was provided a pair of tickets for this opening night. Thoughts are my own.

About the show (production notes)
The word “totem” contains the idea of the order of species. We carry in our bodies the potential of all species, all the way to our desire to fly—like the thunderbird at the top of the totem pole. 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.

The cast of TOTEM comprises 52 performing artists from 19 countries.

For  Tickets:
Get 25% off price level 1, 2 or 3 tickets on select performances, and treat mom to an unforgettable experience. TOTEM is now performing for a limited time at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Click here to take advantage of this generous offer:

http://tinyurl.com/SecretsSDTOTEMMD

In order to receive this special offer you will need to be a Cirque Club member–registration is fast and free, and Cirque Club members receive advance access to the best seats under the Grand Chapiteau, ticket upgrades, partner promotions and insider information on the world of Cirque du Soleil!

Applicable on select performances on Price level 1, 2 & 3 only. Prices shown during the purchasing process already reflect this offer and will appear as a 25% discount on each ticket. Maximum of 19 tickets per purchase. All tickets subject to regular service and delivery charges. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Not applicable to previous purchases. All sales final, no refunds nor exchanges. Offer expires May 14, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. Offer applicable on TOTEM in San Diego, CA.



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