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:

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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Posted in Entertainment, San Diego, Special Events

Kono’s Surf Club Cafe

Here’s a tip…Get to Kono’s the first thing when they open or after 12 noon. There is always a line but once you order at the one cashier counter everything goes smoothly. Kono’s is truly a great place to eat. The people in front of us ended up walking out of line because of hunger and impatience, which is normal because you have to stand and wait; which is a great excuse to people watch in my opinion. There is a method to this madness-  my recommendation is to tag team it. Have someone wait for a table to open and have someone stand in line to order. The prices are inexpensive, the food is delicious and the portions are generous. What you don’t get is someone waiting on you or nice furniture to sit on.

What you do get is a stellar view on plastic patio furniture (they have a patio that faces the ocean, weirdly located behind a gift shop). My family didn’t like the fact I wanted to go here for Sunday Brunch (Easter Sunday), but after the 45 min. line and getting the food, they were ok with my choice.  My order was the Big Breakfast #2, which is only $6.95 (Bacon included but plucked by the kids).

Kono’s Surf Cafe
704 Garnet Avenue
(619) 483-1669
Walk-ins and Cash only.

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Posted in Restaurants, San Diego

Kobey’s Swap Meet

It has been years since I have been to a swap meet, of course I was curious to see if anything has changed. I am not sure why I went to Kobey’s Swap Meet a few weekends ago,  I don’t even like garage sales, I hate rummaging through crap. The swap meet is the perfect place to find the exact thing that you don’t need. You can find it all, they even had a produce section, the 90’s TV show in the DVD still shrink wrapped. Hmmm, what else?  The drug store rejects, the Tijuana treasures, the koi fish and live birds. You name it, you probably could find it.  I found it amusing and strange. It was like the fair combined with the second hand store. I’ve been watching too much Hoarders and Storage Wars to want to start collecting stuff.  Coincidently, you can meet and take a picture of Dave Hester (from Storage Wars), if you bought one of his so-classy souvenirs. Here is what amused me that day:

Till next time- maybe I will buy that dusty painting that has a Picasso or Warhol hidden in the frame, one can only be so lucky.

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Posted in Random, San Diego, Shopping, Wandering

Want some food? It’s on Convoy Street

Last week, I went out to dinner at two different restaurants on Convoy Street in San Diego. The first one is famous for their dumplings, not necessarily the service but the food was delicious. The place Dumpling Inn, this place in the corner of one of the various strip malls located on the 2 or so mile strip.  There were probably 8-10 tables in this restaurant so if you don’t have a table, you probably have to wait 20 minutes or so. The walls are lined with magazine articles and accolades. I guess they serve jellyfish (they are known for this?). I am sure there are other things on the menu that I would dare not eat. The dish that was recommended to me was Xiao Long bao. This is not to be confused with Cha siu bao, which is what I though the Xiao Long bao initially was.  I guess I would describe this dumpling as a potsticker filling in a steamed doughy ball with a vinegar sauce inside. I wouldn’t say it was the best thing I ate but it sure was ordered at most of the tables around me. The potstickers were bigger than normal chinese restaurants and nicely pan fried.  The kids ordered fried rice, I would probably not order this dish next time; for ten dollars, I am not convinced that fried rice is worth that much.  Dishes that were recommended after I ate (the power of Foursquare) were the noodle dishes and the Xiao Long bao. I was actually pleased with the green beans and pork.

The other restaurant I went to was more of nicer airer place, more of a bistro grill, definitely not a “hole in the wall” type of restaurant. Also, there was happy hour with fancy beer and the wait staff was more pleasant. The place, a Pho/Vietnamese place called Pho Mignon. I ordered the bahn mi (a sandwich) for dinner. This bahn mi had a few fries stuffed inside, with some meat and some pickled daikon, cucumber, jalapeno and cilantro; not a typical bahn mi sandwich but it was good. I also got a raspberry wheat beer called Purple Haze which was a bargain at $3.50.  I definitely will get the pho next time, this is what the place is known for known for and the bowls are huge. I did find out the owners also have a tea business and sell their teas onsite. Next store to this place is a Japanese makeup/video store. I have to say, if you want to feel like you are in a different country, go into one of the various stores and browse, lots of interesting items. I am quite tempted to dye my hair with a Japanese hair dye (only if I can get the courage to do this without any directions). If you have a favorite restaurant on Convoy, I’d like to know.

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Posted in Food, San Diego

Roaming around La Mesa

When you think of San Diego, you think of downtown, the beaches and all the other popular destinations beach, SeaWorld, zoo… just google San Diego- lots of places show up but not La Mesa (at least on the first few pages). The other day, I ventured to La Mesa Village. One of the reasons I went out that way, was to check out the newest Brian Malarkey creation Gingham (Searsucker, Burlap etc…) . I went in the afternoon and they weren’t open for lunch that Saturday afternoon, so I went and browsed up and down the street.

 I eyed a tea kettle I wanted at Aubrey Rose Tea Room, a gnome at Homeland Florist, tried on some clothes at a trendy boutique and a few second hand stores. Things have changed, La Mesa Blvd. used to be a bunch of antique stores and a few places to eat and a hole in the wall bar; not anymore,  like many neighborhood stores the old goes and the new comes in. There are new bars, updates to old and the newest trend in this area, the resale shop and even a wine tasting store. Lots of second-hand clothing places. Almost as many as the antique and furniture resellers, as La Mesa Blvd. is known for their antiques and in the summer the Thursday night car shows. La Mesa Village is great for window shopping and small time people watching. Some of the Blvd. still has the original facades in tact but it still maintains the small town feel.

I went back in the evening with a friend and we ate dinner at Gingham. Greeted by a antique carousel horse in the window, the restaurant has a unique decor, part  hip saloon/part antique modern (Is there such a thing? ). There were a pair of cow skeleton chairs with a sign that says “Keep Gate Closed! Horses and Cattle Grazing.”    The menu was sort of like a riddle, oil boil instead of fried, smoked, not canned…you get the idea. The menu is mostly a la carte, but the creativity shines through and when you get the food. I am no food critic, but it is good and the servers are attentive. I am all for specialty cocktails which I need to return to try (they only had beer and wine that night).  I was thouroughly surprised of the night vibe. There was music at the bars and people of all ages around at 8 pm at night. Not quite the newest hip place in San Diego, but cool nevertheless. So with that said, venture out and enjoy the old school charm of La Mesa Village, you’ll be glad you did.

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Posted in Shopping, Wandering

San Diego Cash Mobs

photo credit: Stuart Miles

Normally, I don’t write about things that I haven’t done before, but this looks fun and gets the community together- a local San Diego Cash Mob.

Cash Mobs are get togethers to spend money at the local level. An organizer usually announces a place and time for people to gather and then lets them know where they will be spending the money. This is usually $20 or so, the more people that join, naturally, the more influx of business that chosen place will take in that day. It is a fun way to meet people and grab a goodie or two that you have may not of had before.  The next San Diego cash mob is slated for Sunday at  4:30 pm, 5th and Robinson in Hillcrest. This looks like a monthly thing. Have you been a part of a cash mob before? Let me know by commenting below.

Posted in Uncategorized

Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza supports Make-A-Wish

Two things I hold dear to my heart…charities and food. Dining for a cause, is a great idea. This is what Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza is doing this holiday season with their “Sofia Pizza.” From now till January 15th, Sammy’s is donating 100% of the proceeds of this pizza to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The pizza was created and inspired by Sofia, a Make-A-Wish foundation kid who recently got her wish of flying her extended family out from Guam to celebrate her birthday and the group of 20 dined at Sammy’s Scripps Ranch for a delicious birthday celebration. I enjoyed this pizza with my own family and we made our own memories. Try dipping cotton candy in fudge. Oh yeah, it’s a splurge but well worth it.

What to order:
Sofia’s Pizza for Wishes – $11.50
All-natural pepperoni, sausage, sautéed mushrooms, red onion and mozzarella with homemade tomato sauce till January 15th.
Cotton Candy – available only at the La Mesa location (It’s one of those menu items you can’t get at other Sammy’s)

Messy Sundae- it is a must
Disclosure: I was treated by Sammy’s to lunch.  I am a regular patron of Sammy’s and donated $20 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to thank them for all they do.

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Posted in Desserts, Food, Restaurants, San Diego

An Unforgettable San Diego RV Itinerary

From time to time I have guest authors….So what do people go in the winter? San Diego of course. They hop in their RVs and go on a road trip. Joe Laing has given some tips to people that want to explore San Diego. In their RV or not these are some good places to explore.  JB

The clocks have turned back, the leaves fallen, and the temperatures dropped — winter will soon be upon us. And with it comes the cold-weather doldrums. So what’s the best way to survive the seasonal blues? How about snuggling up by a fire to dream about rolling into spring with an RV vacation. And with its warm climate and sunny disposition, San Diego makes a great destination. In addition to the big sites — LEGOLAND California, the San Diego Zoo, the Padres at PETCO Park — here are a few favorite places (divvied up by neighborhood) to get your West Coast cruise moving.

Del Mar: This haute spot, which is bisected by the Pacific Coast Highway, offers a nice selection of upscale shopping and oceanfront dining, as well as a handful of parks and beachfront picnic places. But the primary reason to steer your road pony this way is the equine experience. With its sprawling ranches, internationally recognized Del Mar Racetrack (open for the season in July), and San Diego Polo Club, Del Mar has plenty of spots to see world-class thoroughbreds. Best Bet: This spring, saddle up for a free polo lesson at the San Diego Polo School, where you’ll be introduced to the techniques, rules, and strategies of the sport. All equipment is supplied, so just pack a sense of adventure.

La Jolla: A prime daytime destination, colorful La Jolla is known for its breathtaking coastline. In the winter and spring, visitors can stand along the cliffs at La Jolla Cove and experience a poetic moodiness brought on by thundering waves and eerie fog. Continue south along Coast Boulevard, and you may also witness majestic gray whales making their way to Alaska. In addition to such natural wonders, La Jolla is home to the Museum of Contemporary Arts and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Best Bet: On any Sunday, stroll through the La Jolla Open Aire Market at Girard Avenue and Center Street. Here, you can mingle with 100-plus family farmers and local artisans, stock up on fresh produce, listen to live music, and indulge in endless food samples. It’s the perfect place to taste authentic tamales and purchase a souvenir.

Pacific Beach: This section of coast serves up the soft sand, calm waters, and sunny temperatures of many people’s California dreams. Visitors will discover kooky shops, dive bars, restaurants, and nightclubs along the three-mile boardwalk, which is filled with pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, and surfers. The main drags of Grand and Garnet avenues hold a treasure trove of vintage and thrift shops, coffeehouses, and hipster boutiques. For some fresh surfing, head over to Tourmaline Surf Park; a longtime longboarder hangout, this North “PB” waveriding nexus boasts 75-foot cliffs. Best Bet: True to the vintage vibe of Mission Beach (south of PB), the seven-acre Belmont Park features one of only two seaside roller coasters remaining on the Cali coast: the 1925 “Giant Dipper” wooden coaster. Other amusements include a traditional carousel, arcade games, a rock wall, a mirror maze, and high-ropes jungle. The bonus? Everything is priced individually, so you can choose your own adventures.

Mission Bay: For the fun-loving traveler, Mission Bay provides excitement at every corner. This beach hot spot boasts the 4,600-acre aquatic playground Mission Bay Park, which offers miles of beautiful coastline, myriad waterways and inlets to discover, and several opportunities for making a splash (think kite surfing, sailing, kayaking, skiing, and wind surfing). For even more wet and wild adventure, visit SeaWorld San Diego to meet Shamu, get close with polar bears and penguins, and explore the new Turtle Reef. Best Bet: Campland on the Bay makes an excellent home base for a West Coast RV retreat. Situated inside Mission Bay Park on the edge of the lagoon, the popular campground provides a 124-slip marina; a pool; watercraft and bike rentals; a restaurant and market; and nostalgic camp activities like scavenger hunts, campfire sing-alongs, and sandcastle-building contests. With its proximity to the Kendall Frost Wildlife Preserve, you can also venture out on foot to spot egrets, black-crowned night herons, least terns, and endangered clapper rails.

Point Loma: In addition to modern marvels such as multimillion-dollar mansions and luxurious yachts moored in the harbor, this peninsula (where European explorers first discovered San Diego in 1542) serves up lots of history. Sites include the Fort Rosecrans Military Reserve and National Cemetery, the Cabrillo National Monument, and the Old Point Lomo Lighthouse. Best Bet: Cruise out to the end of Cabrillo Memorial Drive, where a breathtaking vista awaits following an easy hike. This point, the most southwesterly spot in the contiguous United States, offers stunning 360-degree views of the immaculate sandy shoreline, the wide Pacific, downtown’s skyline, Coronado Island, and distant Tijuana.

Downtown: This cultural hub nestled between Interstate 5 and the harbor boasts a unique urban rhythm. Navigating the city’s one-mile-square road grid is pretty simple (just beware the ubiquitous one-way street), but as true city dwellers do, getting around on foot is really the way to go. Trek through artsy Little Italy for deep-dish dining options, tune in to the Opera House and Golden Hall music venues, and stroll along the scenic Embarcadero. Best Bet: The historic Gaslamp Quarter abounds with restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and dancing. For a little “tongue travelling,” choose one of the area’s many international dining spots; you’ll find flavors from Brazil, Afghanistan, Persia, Thailand, and more.

About the Guest Post Author: Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. Be sure to check out their new Professional Football (NFL) Tailgating and RV Tailgating to College Football Games pages in preparation for the upcoming seasons.

Posted in Guest Post

I had a V8- Giveaway

Usually when someone says they had a V8, it means they had some tomato juice or an idea, at least that was the saying a long time ago. I recently tried V8 Fusion Smoothies. They have three flavors Mango, Strawberry-Banana and Mixed Berry who would of thought? I am giving away this handy “go glass” glass bottle, a Vera Bradley Tote Bag and 3 full sized bottles of V8 Smoothies. All you need to do is comment below. I will pick the winner by random on Sunday, December 11.

Disclosure: I got the same pack I am giving away. It is good stuff.

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Posted in Random

December Nights in Balboa Park

December Nights (formerly Christmas on the Prado) is coming to Balboa Park this Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3.  Balboa Park even has a mobile app for this special occasion.  Literally thousands of people pack the park to eat, drink and celebrate the holidays. The museum entry will be free from 5:00pm-9:00 pm on both nights. Last year, there were even opportunities to sit on Grinch’s lap. I have a slight suspicion that this year won’t be any different. Don’t miss out on all the activities, listening to the arts organizations perform, crafters doing demonstrations, the international food booths and beer garden. Tip- Get there early for the parking, the tree lighting starts at 5:30pm at the Organ Pavillion. You can even get up to 3 strings of lights exchanged for a string of energy saving LED lights courtesy of SDG&E.  Hope to see you there!

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Posted in Entertainment, Food, Museum, San Diego, Special Events

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