Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Green Drinks Happy Hour at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park Dec 11

It's becoming a bit of a theme, but this month's Green Drinks has an African motif as well. Rachel Hiner and SunStrides have set up for Happy Hour at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park to be our hosts Thursday, December 11.

We'll have appetizers, drinks, a raffle and an auction, all to benefit Sun Strides volunteer projects in Arusha, Tanzania, Africa.

So get ready to eat, (green) drink and be merry!

WHAT: Every month, people all over the world working, studying or just interested in the environment are meeting up at informal gatherings known as Green Drinks – it’s a chance to mix with other like-minded folks, to network, share info, enjoy an ice cold drink and make new friends.

WHO: Anyone interested in and/or working on improving the environment, thinking green, and who would like to network and socialize.

WHY: Fun, contacts, alcohol, info, gossip, inspiration, business and pleasure.

WHEN: Thursday, December 11th from 6 to 10pm

WHERE: Sea Rocket Bistro
3382 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Grams play Humphrey's Backstage

The Grams are back. After taking some time to heal and grow, fellow musician Clay Colton joined them this past weekend at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. They were so well received, they were booked this Tuesday night at Humphrey's Backstage. Humphrey's on UrbanspoonTheir set time is scheduled from 9 to 10pm after the Chuck Cannon Songwriter Showcase (beginning at 7pm). Cover is $5. For a taste of brilliant, local live music, don't miss this show. The seared blue crab cake appetizer is a winner if you're looking for a bite. They use Maryland lump crab. You'll think you're back east!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hope Animal Network Meet-up

Hope Animal Network's first "Tiger Team" meet-up is scheduled for Saturday, November 15th at 5 pm at La Mision in Old Town. La Mision is located at 2415 San Diego Avenue.

This in-person meet-up was formed to assist and direct the efforts of the newly formed Hope Animal Network.

The basic premise is that if we can leverage a multi-pronged effort to significantly grow the numbers and use of this online community, we can then focus on the very real opportunity to generate revenue for organizations and initiatives that advance animal welfare in Mexico. Easy, right?

Although this is an in-person event, we will convene a parallel "online tiger team" so geographically dispersed individuals can also participate. Please contact Shawn Santos at shawn at shawnsantos dot com for more info.

Collaborate with animal welfare professionals, organizations, charities, volunteers and like-minded individuals to advance the welfare of animals in Mexico. The condition of cats and dogs in Mexico is nothing short of desperate. Together, we can start to make a difference.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Green Drinks Happy Hour tomorrow

With the state of the nation being what it is, with so many unemployed and so many concerned about our environment, I was excited to learn about a local but global group. Tomorrow I will attend my first Green Drinks Happy Hour. It is an international group with a presence in many U.S. cities, and everyone involved is supposed to be a champion of the Green Movement. The Happy Hour is scheduled at Starlite Lounge on India St from 5:30 to 9pm. There will be drink specials, whose proceeds will be donated to Creative Seeds. They are expecting to expand to San Diego soon, to help the boys of The Eluxolweni Boys Home in Port St. Johns, South Africa.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dress For Success benefit October 25, 2008

There is a great event coming up thrown by some event planner friends of mine. The event, "Boardroom Babes & Boys", on Saturday afternoon, October 25th at 1pm at The Palm Restaurant benefits Dress For Success. There is a bachelor/bachelorette auction for the charity.

The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Tickets are $50 in advance and $75 at the door. For more info see the flyer above or click: Dress For Success or Buy Me Love Benefits to purchase your tickets.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rookie maneuvers are not acceptable

We decided to hit Mary Jane's Coffee Shop at the Hard Rock Hotel last night while some friends were in town. We barely made it in time to order off the Happy Hour menu (ends at 7 pm), but Jenn was accommodating. We started with a plate of $5 wings of the "wild" variety and some chips and guac. The wings were served with celery and carrot sticks and bleu cheese dressing instead of ranch. I think this was the first time no one ordered a side of ranch for their wings, in the history of sharing chicken wings. So I had to share all the bleu cheese. But they were tasty and actually filled me up a bit. You know I slogged down most of the guac too though. Alyssa and I split the meatloaf. It was served with fluffy mashed potatoes and peas that were the largest I've ever seen. They were sweet and buttery. The meatloaf was served with a smoky, almost barbequey sauce (I don't care if that is not a real word, it describes it perfectly). And the meatloaf, was cold. I didn't ask if my friend's portion was properly heated, although now I'm thinking I should have because I couldn't finish it. It was disappointing, 'cause it tasted good and I would have finished it. So I pretended like I ate too many wings and too much guacamole.
Husband had a burger with bleu cheese that was really good. I took a bite and felt it was almost worth the $13 price tag. If only Rocky's Crown Pub Rocky's Crown Pub on Urbanspoonserved their burgers with bleu cheese ... ah, a girl can dream, can't she?!
I did steal a French fry off husband's plate the moment it was placed on the table, but it had a sadly common theme: cold. Disappointing again, because I thought they were good too.
We were about the fourth table in the place, so I can see how sometimes its harder to keep everything perfect when there's less to do, but I expected more. Still, good friends and good conversation was the point of the evening and it was a great time.
After dinner, we headed upstairs via the newly opened Pinkberry! I guess I was full after all ... I walked right through it with a wave and a smile (I know they were expecting me after all!). We got a round at Moonstone Lounge and sat by one of the fire pits for more intriguing conversation. The boys talked about video games and slipping on other people's puke while us girls discussed the finer points of living healthily and happily. So much healthy talk that I didn't even finish my beer! Well, I did put it next to the fire pit like a rookie, so it was warmer than my meatloaf.
We've eaten at Mary Jane's before. On a November morning last fall when the Chargers thought it would be acceptable to not beat the Ravens and after a jovial night of celebrating what we liked to call our "third honeymoon". Some friends met us for breakfast. And between the French toast and pancakes we tried all of the different kinds of syrups: Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworth, Aunt Jemima and Eggo syrup. That's what they want you to do, or at least know that they serve your favorite, if you've already tried them all at home. So, that's why we thought we would try Mary Jane's again for dinner. I think I'll go back, maybe when it's packed and there's a line outside though. Mary Jane's Coffee Shop is open till 3 am on the weekends and breakfast is served all day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blue Fin Tuna is a rare and beautiful thing

Our dear friends went fishing on Thursday and caught a Blue Fin Tuna off the San Diego coast! The best part is, we were invited over for Sashimi night on Sunday. You know how I like to say that Culinary School is everywhere, you just need to know where to study? Well, I got to study fish filleting at its finest. Doug brilliantly walked me through not only the 19 pound tuna, but I observed quietly while he sliced the yellowtail too. I was so enthralled I couldn't speak at first. Have you ever heard of me not speaking?!

We all donned our pair of chopsticks, and popped yellowtail sashimi and poke as the appetizer, along with grilled yellowtail collar. I was excited for the belly, or toro, my favorite tuna cut. And it was everything I hoped it would be. Beautifully marbled and extra yummy. A few pieces of the tuna was seared with black sesame seeds for the two pregnant ladies. Man, I felt for them. But no raw fish for the pregos, means more for me! :-)

Monday, June 30, 2008

More lamb chops, please!

We were invited to join friends at Solare,Solare on Urbanspoon a new restaurant in the revamped Liberty Station Saturday evening. I was kind of hoping they meant Volare because Mom just ate there the other day and reminded me how wonderful it still was. Anyway, we ate on these lovely oversize teak couches in the bar that reminded me a bit of an Asian living room. David, our server was very well-versed on their wine list. I sipped Italo Cescon Pinot Grigio and husband tried the Barbera d’Asti “Vespa” upon David's suggestion. We each enjoyed a slice of their cheese pizza and loved their cold cuts and cheese plate. The gherkens were sweet and adorable (as every gherken should be). Nicoletta and I went crazy for the shaved prosciutto and brie. I would've appreciated a couple of olives, of course.

The lamb chop appetizer was attacked by all of us attempting to get one more bite. We should've simply ordered another. It was cooked perfectly medium-rare and was exceptionally juicy. The horseradish potatoes underneath were music to my mouth.

Before we left, we were introduced to Mark who explained the chef's table. Yes, I said chef's table. The more of these we get in San Diego, the happier I will be! Husband and I are planning an evening very soon when we will be coddled by Mark and the rest of the staff at Solare. Mark already gave me permission to ask as many questions as I want. Yippee! As I like to say, Culinary School is everywhere, you just have to know where to study.

We want to go back not only for the chef's table, but because I'm always excited by a new restaurant. They also have a private dining room for about two-dozen people and a table to fit up to four people inside their wine room (otherwise known as: very romantic dinner). There are plenty of nooks for a fun night out with your loved-one or your entire family. Once I've gotten another opportunity to sample more dishes, you will be the first to know about my favorites.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gmail Tip of the Day

I love Gmail and I'm sure you do too. But the signature that always ends up at the bottom of my replies drives me nuts. I found out how to fix it! Go to Settings on the top right. Then click Labs on the far right. Enable the sixth option down called Signature Tweaks and it removes the two dashes and places it at the top of your replies!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I think I'm upset, but I might just be confused

Lacotse intolerant. That's what we thought I was. Now I'm not so sure. I've been doing a bit of research about this affliction. It is supposedly natural and happens to most Spanish and Asian decedents. Many elderly people stop producing the lactase enzyme as well. That's the definition of lactose intolerance. We stop producing lactase, which breaks down lactose. Simple chemistry. Unless you don't produce lactase and you love dairy products. Then it sucks. It can hurt. It can smell bad. It can ruin your day.
All this research has only confused me further. I'm going to reference "them" and "me", like how "they" say that cheddar cheese has no lactose in it. Then what has been happening to me after I eat it? "They" also have mentioned seeing my doctor and getting "tested" for lactose intolerance. There is a test? I hope I get an "A", or a "negative" ... I guess. What if I don't?
So, I guess it's time to make a call to my doc. "Excuse me Dr. Falquier, but can you please test me for lactose intolerance?" Yeah, I can just see her face. "Test you for what?"
Cause I can eat cheddar cheese with no problems now. Sort of. Sometimes something happens. Aw man, I'm a bit upset. The simple brilliance of taking a lactase pill when I want to join my friends in a slice of pizza now seems stupid. What have I been wasting my money on (those lactose pills are not cheap!)?
So, the quest continues. Am I lactose intolerant? Or am I suffering from something else? I had a pretty bad bout with colitis when I was 21. Maybe that should be revisited. Or?
I can eat the wondrous tastiness of Red Mango Frozen Yogurt (I know you all think I'm a Pinkberry devotee, but a girl can only wait so long). Red Mango Frozen Yogurt on UrbanspoonI can eat it without any pills and without any issues. They (Red Mango) claim they pump live active cultures into their yogurt. I had heard previous warnings about live cultures in "frozen" things. The cold temperatures supposedly puts the cultures to sleep and therefore do not do their duty of eating the lactose for me. What? I know … right?
Me thinks this is getting ridiculous. And not ridiculous in a good way. I need to take a Nutrition class. Again. The one at Mesa College in 1992 is clearly not gonna handle it for me.
So even though I'm kinda mad, I'm just confused and need more education. Don't we all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cancer Survival at its Best

At 22 years old, on September 2, 2006, Jon Lester's team, the Boston Red Sox had to announce that he had a rare form of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Yesterday, Jon Lester threw a no-hitter. Today, he took a congratulatory call live on ESPN from testicular cancer survivor Lance Armstrong. What does tomorrow hold? We all hope it includes cures for the hundreds of types of cancers. Until then, if you have, or know someone with cancer, may I recommend this blog: Rituals of Healing.
Congratulations to all cancer survivors. May there be many, many more survivors.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Have a beautiful Earth (Day)

I have had a few people say things to me lately like, "You probably could teach me about the best way to ... recycle/buy organic/understand fair trade/insulate my home using recycled materials/compost/etc." Funny, but, I don't know how to do all of those things without doing, at the very least, a tad of research.
And so I've been doing research. And a lot more research than a tad. Answering those questions, heck, even scraping the surface of the idea of living a green life should be second nature to me. But the truth is: it is not.
However I am learning. I make it part of every day to learn a new way to save water and electricity, make my footprint smaller, consume less, reuse more. It's true that I spend a lot of time on the internet, yet it is chock full of crucial information to assist us in helping to learn about promoting a healthy, sustainable planet. Each of us can lend a hand. Some of us are better at one part than other parts. I am trying to fill the role of learning the basics a little bit better and then passing it along, when asked.
I registered as a volunteer for the Earth Day Network. Too late to be of use to them this year on Earth Day, but I signed up none the less. And I will be of use, that is the point. It's not too late, yet. We can all help save the planet for future generations. But we all must try, even a little.
What part will you be good with?

Have a beautiful Earth (Day).

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mmmmm, appetizers

I was able to create Caprese salad bites this weekend for the first time. They were quite easy and very tasty. A chef friend of mine turned me onto Specialty Produce (thanks Sara! You are Great!). We found the most lovely heirloom cherry tomatoes that came in at least eight different shades of red, yellow and white. One small melon-ball scoop of lactose-free mozzarella cheese surrounded by torn pieces of fresh basil, topped with a 'mater and Pop! Heaven on a stick (I tried it with the tomato on first and topped with the mozzarella, but the cheese didn't like sitting at the tip of the stick very well). Once we arrived at our destination I drizzled a bit of olive oil and sprinkled salt and freshly ground black pepper over them and served to the masses. Well, there were about a dozen people at Saturday's wine tasting. All I can say is that the plate on which they were served was empty by the time I went back to get seconds.

We also discovered a new way to play with stinky cheese! Blue Cheese crumbles with olive oil, garlic, onion, parsley, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, S&P. Oh yeah baby! I think we will add basil to it when we try our own batch. Special thanks to Tanya's Mom for this spread. It works on anything ... toasts, corn chips, crackers or even sliced apples or pears. But it should definitely be left in a separate dish for the guest to put it on what he or she likes. The high amount of oil creates for soggy crackers if left together too long. And I'm sure you can imagine my breath that night or, the next morning ...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I love Pink and I love Berries.

Pinkberry. Tangy and cold. On a beautiful 82 degree day in Southern California, it's no wonder I've been excited to try this tasty treat. They have done nothing but dangle themselves in front of me. Gaslamp Quarter: Opening Spring 2008. Palm Desert: Opening Spring 2008. Well, ya know what? There's an open Pinkberry in Temecula. Yeah it's 60 miles from my house. But I'm half way there when I visit Husband at work! So after taking him a picnic lunch, I continued north on my pretend pilgrimage to Pinkberry (I wasn't exactly sure if I can consider myself a Pinkberry worshiper yet).
I found it in a strip mall on the north side of Winchester near a Trader Joe's. Okay, works for me. Wait! I could actually see a Pinkberry sign on a store that was OPEN FOR BUSINESS! It was time for my first Pinkberry. There were a few people in line in front of me. I had to wait a little longer. But I was in line inside! The Alessi items for sale on the wall were brightly lit but would not distract me from my mission. And then there was Ben. Ben, my first Professional Pinkberry Swirler created my virgin taste for me this afternoon.
I now know the answer to that burning question about my potential for Pinkberry devotion: possibly. I will patiently wait for the San Diego Hard Rock Hotel's Pinkberry to open to be sure. I only tried one yogurt with one topping. Green Tea with Yogurt Chips. I sat down on a pink melamine chair to taste my first spoonful. The previously soft yogurt chips made crispy by the frozenness of the light green yogurt were just like the ones I ate as a child. The color contrast was soothing. The natural pebble floor made me feel like I was outside, while the barely audible house music made me feel like I was down the street from a thumping nightclub. I liked the entire experience. I think the 80+ weather helped. But I want to try all the flavors. There's still original and coffee. And all the vivid diced fruits looked like they wanted to jump into the bowls of “swirly goodness.” But at least I have actually tried Pinkberry. Now maybe Husband won't think I'm a freak for anticipating its opening like a rock star coming in concert. Or maybe I will never live down driving to Temecula before the local store opened.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

BBQ worth a 60 mile drive?

The Bailey Barbeque at the corner of Main and A Streets in Julian, CA might just be the BBQ worth a leisurely 60 mile drive. President's Day provided the perfect opportunity to take a look at the eastern area of our beautiful county. We arrived around lunchtime too. Funny how that works out. Being tempted by the Monday Lunch Special of a half sandwich and a cup of soup was easy. Black bean with sausage soup was coming my way before I could even decide which type of sandwich to order. I went with beef, which wasn't as tender as the pork, but was still tasty! The bread these sandwiches come on is amazingly soft and delicious. If you are in the mood to do some sight-seeing in your own backyard, head to Julian ... and don't pack a lunch! The folks at Bailey Barbecue are ready to serve you some warm, fresh, home-style biscuits with your meal.
And when you are simply craving a tamale, Tacos El Panson, Tacos El Panson on Urbanspoona place right on El Cajon Blvd just east of Fairmont that makes great ones. Next time I'm going to try their gorditas. I used to think the gordita was a quasi-food invented by the Taco Bell Chihuahua. Apparently I'm not a very good Mexican. My Grandmother would tell you I'm Spanish anyway. I love beans, I love avocados and I love tamales. And I can't wait to try the gorditas at Tacos El Panson! I saw one being made and that's all it took. They make two fresh corn tortillas, melt cheese under them and then scoop a giant spoon full of carne onto the bottom one. This is then topped with any of the sauces you would like. I will get it all: cilantro, onions, salsa and of course guacamole. Then it is covered with the other melted cheese corn tortilla. All for $2ish. I would venture to say it would kick a Flatbread Sammie's ass. I'm sure I will let you know. I love Food Fights. Aaaaand a new blog section is born ... The Food Fight. Coming soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Desert to Mountains in under a week

Driving out to Rancho Las Palmas last Tuesday was beautiful. Especially since I didn't have to drive. Just so you know, I never drive, unless I'm alone. So as I am being driven out to the desert between snow-capped mountains, I realize (again) just how lucky we are to live in the amazing region of Southern California. The Palm Springs Energy people have added larger windmills to generate more renewable power since the last time I was out to Palm Springs in the early '90s (yeah!). Arriving at the resort of Rancho Las Palmas really blew me away. It's La Costa but drier. There are poppies planted all over the property (pictured right). Which is nice, because they are the state flower and I rarely see them. It inspired me to plant some at home. My friend Shannon has a few planted. We'll see. I'll post pictures of mine if they ever bloom. Anyhow, it was 72 degrees and lovely for four days. Lots of reading time and sunshine.

Friday we packed our things and took the 247 to the 18, also known to San Diegans as the "back way up the mountain" to Big Bear Lake. When we arrived at Happinest Manor there was much frolicking in the snow. As the rest of our friends arrived we had a full-blown Friday night shindig. The hot tub was roaring (thanks to Bobby, the repairman) and the drinks were flowing. We broke out Loaded Questions, best game ever.

Saturday, everyone but us got up and went to the mountain to fly down it on their chosen form of transport. Hubby and I walked around the village and visited what seemed like 10 candy shops amongst other tourist traps. Then we drove around the mountain area for a bit and found the quaintest place for lunch: Grizzly's Big Belly Deli. Yeah, we just HAD to stop there. I had the most marvelous tuna melt on rye ever grilled and the TAB was darn wonderful as well. I noticed a picture of the owner on the wall. He was wearing a baseball cap from Ray Kroc's birthday Padres game back in the '80s. He was clearly from San Diego. Sure enough, Jaime owns the deli as well as another restaurant he's been running on the mountain for 16 years. It's obvious too. We chatted with Jaime while he wiped down some recently emptied tables and before you knew it he was back behind the counter making sure folks got their sandwiches with just the right toppings. We didn't have a chance to say goodbye since he was taking good care of a large group that had just wandered in. But we think we'll see Jaime again someday soon. You should visit too. If you're heading to Bear for the day, stop by before you get to the resort and grab lunch to go. It's on the left a bit up Moonridge Road. Much better than resort food, and it's less expensive.

Sunday we said goodbye to Happinest Manor and all its rooms. We sent the snow bunnies on their way and headed out of town. The front side. Man, now I know why people take the "long way down the backside" home. Six hours later, we were back in San Diego. I am not allowed to complain about the drive, all I had to do was be car sick. No worries. The sunset was beautiful. But it's all about the 247 from the desert. Totally worth it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Give a Gift from the Heart, for the Heart

I always seem to have long weekends. What seems to be making them long is our social schedule. Apparently I need to add something "good" to every weekend. Lo and behold, a good cause appeared in my In Box today. Our friends Paula and Steve Cook, along with another family have started a run/walk to benefit Rady Children's Hospital Heart Institute, where their son Jake (pictured, right) received open heart surgery at the age of two. Max and Jake's Big Race will be held on Sunday, February 10, 2008 at Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego. A 5K run/walk begins at 8 am (a bit too early for me on the first Sunday with no football for the rest of the winter, spring and summer), and there is a 1 mile run/walk starting at 9 am (much more realistic for me!). Adult cost is $25 and $20 respectively. It seems like such a small cost to help so many. So I begin my spring training a bit early this year. Usually I wait until pitchers and catchers report. Heart defects don't discriminate. We can all dream for a cure, or we can help the scientists discover cures.