Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Monster Jam This Weekend!

It's time for Monster Jam! Yes, it might not be the usual story here at SDDD, but my nephews absolutely LOVE Monster Trucks, so I'm spreading the news! Here's a pic of them from a number of years ago at Monster Jam.

Celebrating 25 years of car-crushing, dirt-flying action, the infamous 2,000 horsepower engines are revving up again and ready to roar full throttle back into SoCal as Monster Jam®, the most adrenaline charged motorsports experience for families on the planet, returns to San Diego for a high-octane weekend event at Petco Park on Saturday, February 18th.

Fans will witness the world’s best monster trucks battle it out in the ultimate event of intense speed, racing, freestyle stunts and demolition with a massive collection of 10,000 lb. metal beasts, including several World Finals champion powerhouses Grave Digger®, Max D™, El Toro Loco®, Metal Mulisha and Bounty Hunter; highlighted by six San Diego debut truck appearances of Soldier Fortune, Raminator, Storm Damage, Hurricane Force, Xtreme Diesel and Hooligan. Plus 2017 marks the most ever female professional drivers assembled in the history of Monster Jam – with three female drivers (including the youngest female driver ever 19-year old Rosalee Ramer) competing for the San Diego champion title!

In addition to the world-class racing and freestyle competition action, fans are welcomed to the stadium to enjoy the festival-like Monster Jam® Pit Party pre-show experience (located in the Lexus Lot) – which gives fans unparalleled access to view their favorite trucks up-close, meet the star drivers for autographs and take photos!

WHERE: Petco Park – 100 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101

WHEN:  Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pit Party open from 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM (Event ticket & Pit Pass required for entry; located in the Lexus Lot)

Event begins at 7:00 PM

Featured Trucks/Drivers: Grave Digger® driven by Charlie Pauken; Metal Mulisha driven by Todd LeDuc; Dragon driven by Scott Liddycoat; Monster Mutt® Dalmatian driven by Candice Jolly; Soldier Fortune driven by Chad Fortune; VP Racing Fuel®’s Mad Scientist driven by Lee O’Donnell; Storm Damage driven by Tim Mente; Hurricane Force driven by Steven Thompson; Big Kahuna driven by Shane England; Raminator driven by Mark Hall; Xtreme Diesel driven by Dave Radzierez; Devastator driven by Mark Schroeder; McGruff driven by Rod Wood; Hooligan driven by Gary Schott Jr. (truck line-up subject to change)

TICKETS: Tickets start at just $15 each!

Pit Passes available to purchase for $10 each – FREE Pit Passes can be picked up at participating 

San Diego County Ford Dealers (while supplies last)

Tickets now on sale - all seats are reserved; Tickets & Pit Passes are available for purchase online at, charge by phone at 619-795-5555 or in-person at the Petco Park Box Office. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

InTents Conference Coming in March!

The first ever InTents Conference is coming to Mission Bay in San Diego March 19-20 to help new and established farmers, artisan food makers, and farmers' market managers find smart new ways to increase their income. The InTents Conference will feature two full days of educational panels, speakers, roundtables and networking opportunities, skills and resources to make small businesses financially sustainable and ready to grow, and help attendees find innovative ways to make their passions equal profits.

The InTents Flavor Party on Monday night, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., will feature chefs and farmers teaming up at tasting stations to bring guests unique farm fresh bites, drinks, live music and surprise entertainment. This tasting event will be open to the public on Monday night for $75 and a portion of the proceeds will go to Kitchens for Good, a San Diego local nonprofit that breaks the cycle of food waste and uses it to feed the hungry. To close Monday evening, the InTents Conference will hold an “Urchin Pond,” with a wink to Shark Tank, where attendees will have the opportunity to pitch a panel with the best Farmer’s Market product and business plan for a chance to receive a startup subsidy package. 

The InTents Conference will help attendees discover new sources of ingredients, packaging, operating supplies, signage, insurance, management services, marketing materials and more. It also provides a great networking opportunity for participants to connect with fellow farmers, managers and entrepreneurs to gain new perspectives.

The InTents Conference will be held at the Marina Village Conference Center in Mission Bay. The event will run from Sunday, March 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to Tuesday, March 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.Registration ranges from $75-$325 for different packages. For more information about the InTents Conference, visit More details about the InTents Conference will be released in the upcoming weeks.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Cellar Door

I'm so excited for this post! After months of vying for a spot, I was able to experience Cellar Door, the best restaurant in San Diego that's not an actual restaurant. Cellar Door is a supper club concept brought to life by Chef Logan and mixologist Gary in their Normal Heights living room. One weekend a month, a few lucky patrons are invited to share a meal with a set of strangers at a long table, with a pre-selected menu. 

A tasting menu is selected and prepared by Logan, with Gary mixing up cocktails and pairing wines and beers with the food. Now, being an introvert myself, sitting in a house full of strangers and sharing a meal and trying to make conversation sounds terrifying -- and it was! However, once the drinks were flowing, and everyone started eating, the conversation flowed and we all found some common ground -- namely, we all really appreciated good food.

 We started the night with one of the most industrious, original items that I've ever consumed. A crudo of hamachi, yuzu hot sauce, chilis, and kumquats, served on a shell! Light and the perfect few bites to start our meal. This dish was paired with an Aperol spritz, which is quickly becoming a favorite in our house. I love the light, refreshing tingle of the prosecco and club soda with the bitter Aperol. The crudo was spicy due to the hot sauce and chilis, so something refreshing was a wise pairing. 

 Arugula is a favorite of mine, but until Sunday evening, I'd never eaten beet greens. Swoon! So bitter and crunchy and just absolutely divine with blood orange wedges, marcona almonds, and the queen of creamy cheeses, burrata. Dressed with a lovely vinaigrette, and pair with their own brewed rose wine, this second course was so much more than just a salad.
 The pickled, roasted beets served with homemade ricotta on top of a slice of sesame baguette was my favorite of the evening. Not to say that any of the food was less than stellar, but getting me to eat and enjoy beets is a superhuman feat, and this dish had me begging for more. Something about the combination of a beet with flavor, fresh cheese, and crusty bread just made it all perfect. 

Another reason for this favorite course? A whiskey drink. Yep, I love refreshing, citrus whiskey drinks, and the pairing for this course was a whiskey lavender lemonade! It was very sweet and tasted just like summer. Definitely something that I'll try to replicate at home this July! 

 Taking a different turn but still keeping in the different foods prepared expertly, the next course was a Japanese street food, the okonomiyaki, a fluffy pancake stuffed with seafood and served with a dark sauce and extra-creamy Japanese mayonnaise. Paired with a saison beer, this course was a delicious, filling food that really updated and glamorized a simple dish. 
If any of these courses would be considered the "main course," (I wouldn't call this experience was more like a tasting menu, like a Japanese kaiseki style meal, with multiple courses all of the same size, and an artistic compartmentalizing of flavors and textures). I was pretty full by the time that the pork loin arrived, but I was determined to try the cumin-rubbed pork served with poblano pepper sauce, roasted brussels sprouts, and smashed and seasoned fingerling potatoes. Again, it was amazing, and paired with another homemade wine, the Cellar Door Barbera. Again, it was all beautifully presented and delicious. 

I could only take one bite of dessert before I asked for a box, but the rum raisin bread pudding was incredible. Made with challah and served with rum raisin ice cream from Mariposa, as only the best bread puddings deserve Mariposa ice cream. I'm usually not much of a raisin person, and my husband detests them, but we both loved this bread pudding! Paired with Dictador rum on the rocks, it was a real wowser of a dessert course. 

All of this was provided for a very reasonable price -- seriously, you'll want to pay more. I really want to return when I can get another reservation! Check it out sometime, definitely worth the wait! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valentine Ideas in San Diego

It's almost time for Valentine's Day, and although we tend to play it low-key and stay in, for loads of people, this is the night to go out and do something fun and romantic. Or, have a friends' day and hang out with your buds! Or, if you think that the whole thing is an overblown waste of time...well, I've included some places with strong cocktails to help you forget the whole thing! 

Sweethearts looking for sharable cocktails this Valentine’s Day need not look any farther than Miss B’s Coconut Club located in Mission Beach. The Havana Good Time, served in a Swan cocktail glass designed for two, has hearts beating. Lovers (or friends) can treat themselves to this refreshing grapefruit and cucumber cordial cocktail. As you may know, Swans typically mate for life – therefore, this is the perfect cocktail to share with your perfect mate.

Mixologist: Rob McShea
Havana Good Time - $30.00
Vodka, Pamplemousse, House Grapefruit/Cucumber Cordial, Kombucha

Is pizza the way to your heart? Pieology Pizzeria, the destination for delicious, artisan-style custom pizzas in endless flavor combinations, is calling on their fans to share why they love pizza to enter the #LoveThyPie contest! Now through February 15, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. PST, participants have the opportunity to win big! In addition to gift card giveaways, guests can score Pieology’s grand prize package, which includes a Pieology Date Night (two pizzas, two fountain drinks and one dessert pizza) every month for a year, and a Spa Weekend Getaway for two, which includes a two-night hotel stay and a massage for you and your valentine.

Entering is easy!
  1. First, take a photo or short video explaining what you love about pizza.
  2. Second, share on and use the share function to share the picture or video to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
  3. Third, build the buzz! Engage with your followers daily, asking them to view, share, like, pin and re-tweet your post to increase your buzz score. Pieology will track activity on all platforms, so the more buzz you create, the better your odds!

On a budget? No problem, I have some inexpensive or free things to share for this Valentines! 
Looking for an interactive and free Valentine’s Day date idea downtown? 4th Avenue’s Werewolf will be hosting their “Love is Sketchy” art show on Monday, February 13th. Local artists will display three of their best sketches, while guests have the opportunity to vote for their favorite artist. The winning artist will win $500 cash and a chance to display their masterpieces in Werewolf! The best part? The art is for purchase… making that Valentine’s Day gift idea a no-brainer.

Grab your lei this February 14th at The Hills in La Mesa. Their island-inspired Valentine’s Day features a cheap dinner with some bright flavor! Guests can take a bite of their plated taco special with swordfish and a tropical salad for just $10.95. Pair that with one of their strawberry margaritas and you’ll feel like you’re on a vacation for two.

Love tacos as much as your date? Head to Harbor Town Pub for their “I love Tacos” Valentine’s Day party. They’ll be offering two delicious tacos and a shot of Hornitos for just $10. Their casual atmosphere makes for the perfect night to unwind and have fun!

Don’t sacrifice your whole paycheck on that bottle of wine this V-Day. Lakeside’s Eastbound Bar & Grill knows love and wine go together, that’s why they are offering ½ priced bottles on February 14th. Nothing is sweeter than a glass of vino paired with a delicious treat and Eastbound will be offering free dessert with every purchase of a bottle of wine.

San Diego’s oldest bar, The Waterfront, has been playing cupid for over 83 years. In addition to being known for the relationships made at this cozy Little Italy bar, The Waterfront is also famous for cheap cocktails for two! Head to Waterfront for $5 wines and draft beers from 3- 6p.m. for some early Valentine’s night celebrating.

Have a fun V-day!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Disney on Ice Wrap Up

 This post will be pretty picture-heavy, as I took so many pics during our night at Disney on Ice!

Last Thursday, we had the great opportunity to see Disney on Ice at Valley View Casino Center. Although the show has moved on, it's still going in other cities.
 I highly recommend this fun show! Featuring Disney favorites Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald...on skates!
 How cute are these characters?

 The Toy Story friends also made a grand appearance! I have to say, the skaters performing these parts were some extremely talented people. Those costumes were amazing, and the ability to perform in something so 

 The sets were detailed and magnificent. It really made the experience immersive.

 And Ariel and other Little Mermaid friends were there!

The grand finale: FROZEN! Of course, the audience was crazy for this piece! I think that the entire stadium was singing along for "Let it Go."

The tour is still going! Dates and tickets available here

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Miss B's Coconut Club

Sunny days are coming back to San Diego after a couple of weeks of cold...well, sort of cold, weather. What does warm weather mean in San Diego? Well, lots of things: wandering around Balboa Park and seeing the beautiful gardens and sights, trips to the Zoo, checking out all of the wonderful hiking trails, and of course, the beach.  The BEACH! Yes, it seems crazy to think about a beach in February, but here we are. 

There are lots of good places to eat at the beach, with classics like pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, stuff that you eat and forget. However, if you are looking for a memorable experience with great, innovative food and drinks, Miss B's Coconut Club might be just the ticket.  Modeled with a stylish, Caribbean theme, the food and drink are authentic takes on Caribbean cuisines, with dishes like the Cubano sandwich, jerk chicken, and of course, beans and rice.

A rum drink is imperative to enjoying Caribbean food (not really, but they sure are good!). Miss B's does it right with fun tiki glasses and umbrellas to set the mood. The night that we visited happened to be pretty cold and bleah, but sitting in the warm atmosphere, with the tiki feel and a rum drink felt like a vacation! I played it safe and tried the signature Coconut Club, which was an excellent choice and a real refresher. 

Our other drink was the We Don't Practice Santeria, a little Sublime reference, and that's just what the drink was: sublime. Lots of flavor and a slightly sour bite from passion fruit and lime. 

Jerk meat is everything with Caribbean food. Not wanting to miss one of the highlights, we started with the jumbo jerk shrimp appetizer. It was honestly a hard choice, as each appetizer sounds so good, and I'll definitely have to return and try out some of the other munchies. 

Not a food for the faint of heart, the spicy shrimp was just very tasty, and honestly, just more flavorful than hot "spicy." The flavor paired so well with the cocktails -- rum and shrimp are honestly just made for each other. The jerk dishes are a staple of the entire menu, so if shrimp isn't your thing, the jerk chicken would be a great alternative. 

Since we had the jerk shrimp, I thought I'd do something a bit different as an entree. Again, everything looked promising, but we settled on a classic Cubano sandwich served with seasoned fries and the Bistecca (steak) sandwich served with plantain chips. The Cubano was not your average Cubano sandwich. Of course, it had all the essentials: ham, pulled pork, mustard, and pickles, but the pork had a special asado seasoning, the ham smoked, all pulled together with gruyere cheese and garlic aioli. The extra special ingredients really made the sandwich a standout! 

The Bistecca sandwich was, well, it was fabulous. Get out your stretchy pants, because this bad boy is citrus marinated steak, fried (!) queso fresco, crispy onions, and garlic aioli, topped with greens and served on those wonderful Cuban rolls. I had mine with plantain chips, to keep it light, you know. All joking aside, this sandwich was divine, and so, so filling. I love plantains, pretty much any way that they are prepared, and these chips were light and salty, a perfect potato chip substitute, but so much better and more special. 

Meanwhile, my daughter had "the best grilled cheese in the world," and I have to say, it's true. Sweet, thick bread combine with melting yellow cheese and seasoned fries was pure perfection. It was a somewhat grown-up taste, but she loved it! Alert! Cute baby hand in the picture!

We finished off with another fun rum drink: the Papaya King, a combination of rum, walnuts, citrus, honey, and papaya, served in the coolest tiki glass! 

Check out this authentic little taste of the Caribbean down in Mission Beach! It's a colorful, inviting experience for locals and vacationers alike! 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

ArtReach Benefit Concert in February!

Hard to believe that it's almost February, but here we are! Getting the year in full swing, Sue Palmer and her Motel Swing Orchestra and The Shenanigans will be performing on Sunday, February 26 at 2:30 p.m. at The Music Box in Little Italy in support of ArtReach, a local nonprofit aiming to provide students at elementary schools throughout San Diego County with free or very low-cost visual arts education.

With the belief that art should be an integral part of every child’s education regardless of socioeconomic status, ArtReach has connected over 10,000 K-6 students to sequential, skill-building lessons since 2008. ArtReach strives to bring equity to classrooms that would otherwise have no resources for visual arts education and to help youngsters practice creative problem solving while making original art in a variety of media. Grants, individual donors and events like this one directly impact the number of students ArtReach can work with each year.

Guests may choose from General or VIP Seating: $25/General Admission, $60/VIP Reserved Seats, $300/VIP Reserved Table for Six.  All reserved seating includes one drink ticket/person and a swag bag.

Tickets are available for purchase at

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Florent Debuts New Menu Items at San Diego Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week might be over for now, but I'm looking forward to it returning in September. With so many great choices in our fair city and surrounding areas, it's quite difficult to make a choice as to what restaurant should be the one to try on this amazing week. Personally, I always enjoy trying somewhere new, as the three-course menu usually is a good sampling of everything that the restaurant offers. I've discovered many favorites by trying them at Restaurant Week. 

This time, we visited Florent  in the beautiful Gaslamp District. Something about going downtown and seeing all of the gorgeous, tall buildings just makes me feel so chic. I love the energy and the bustle, but being in San Diego, you also get the friendly, coastal vibe that makes our city so wonderful.

Florent has a beautiful front area. Like many restaurants downtown, there is a patio with outdoor (heated) dining. We're very lucky in San Diego to have the pleasure of outside dining almost every month of the year. 

The interior is just as beautiful, with a kind of speakeasy, retro feel, hearkening to the building's beginnings as a city hall. 

During Restaurant Week, Florent was offering $20 bottles of wine, so we decided to indulge. A nice pinot grigio always goes down easy, and matches well with most food.  We don't often get an entire bottle, but during a special meal, why not?
For Restaurant Week, Florent decided to use the event to launch some delicious new menu items, like their General Tso's pork belly. Pork belly has been popping up everywhere in the last few years, and I, for one, am ecstatic! This juicy cut was covered in the famous sauce and topped with light greens. A great way to start the meal. 
Poke is another item that is quickly gaining popularity, and Florent's spin is a winner! Served with Maui onions and cucumbers, and scooped up with homemade potato chips, it's irresistible! 
Of course, my daughter had to have a grilled cheese sandwich! It was good, and she was so hungry, she ate the entire thing! Score one for Florent!
The main courses were very good, featuring a lamb schnitzel. Schnitzel is a breaded and fried meat, served with a sauce, and usually over spƤtzle, which is sort of like German gnocchi. The meal was rich and filling; definitely something to warm you up on these cold, rainy evenings that we've been having in San Diego. 
I love anything that comes from the sea, so when I saw sea scallops on the menu, I knew that I had to try them! Seared and served over a saffron risotto, this meal was to die for. Asparagus just rounded it out, and made it even more special. I always feel like asparagus is a special occasion vegetable, anyone else? 
Everything about these scallops was divine, with a perfect texture, and the risotto was a flawless accompaniment. 
I thought that we were finished with dinner, but after finding out that we were from Baltimore, the chef insisted that we try the crabcake! As a Baltimore native, he felt it was imperative to have a proper crabcake on the menu, with all backfin, no filler, lightly seasoned with Old Bay and other traditional seasonings, then lightly fried. This was legit, and my husband especially is very serious about his crabcakes. 
Dessert held more Baltimore goodness with the Baltimore Bomb pie! Why is it a Baltimore bomb, you ask? Because it's made of Berger cookies! If you've never had them...well, you need to order some, or better yet, get down to Florent and have this pie! They are true nirvana on their own, but this pie was a true example of using one thing and making it even better! 
Our other dessert was the apple crisp with ice cream, which was just how I like crisp -- with loads of cinnamon and oatmeal! I really loved this crisp, with the contrast of the warm filling and crust, with the cold, creamy ice cream. 

These new items will appear on the menu going forward, so if you missed out on Restaurant Week, don't worry! They'll be available regularly! 

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