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VOLUME 16 ISSUE 12

December 2015 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter sdcnn.com

➤➤ NEWS

Columbia • Core/Civic • Cortez Hill • East Village • Gaslamp/Horton Plaza • Little Italy • Marina

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CLIENT

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SAN DIEGO DOWNTOWN NEWS

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1/9/12

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New executive director commits to making Gaslamp a neighborhood again

New high rises on the hill ➤➤ NEWS

Trimble ‘sets up shop’

P. 5 Michael Trimble, the new executive director of the Gaslamp Quarter Association, stands under the historic neighborhood’s gateway arch at Fifth Avenue and L Street. (Photo by Marie Daniels) Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

Place your bets Downtown ➤➤ NEWS

P. 7

Michael Trimble first kicked dirt on the streets of the historic Gaslamp Quarter back in 1985 while dragging cables and painting signs for Rob Hegge, his tennis coach and the producer of Street Scene. Today, Trimble is the new executive director of the Gaslamp Quarter Association, and he will be the first to tell you he has tremendously large shoes to fill. He replaced his longtime friend and colleague Jimmy Parker — the association’s executive director for 11 years — last April.

Trimble has the Gaslamp Quarter in his blood; his father, Gerald Trimble, moved his family from Pasadena to San Diego in 1974 to take over as executive vice president of the Center City Development Corporation. The elder Trimble’s job focused on the development of Horton Plaza, among dozens of other redevelopments in the district throughout the 1970s and early ’80s. Online searches will find him called “a key force” in the neighborhood’s eventual revival. But the younger Trimble has his own roots in the neighborhood, as well. In 1989, after college, Trimble became

head of community and city relations for Street Scene, forging a path that led him to where he is today. Street Scene, the largest food and music festival of its time in all of California, brought people back to a rundown part of Downtown San Diego that time had almost forgotten, taking over empty parking lots and spilling into the streets throughout the Gaslamp Quarter. Trimble’s job was to network with all of the merchants, ensuring everyone was on the same page

P. 18

Local Parisian restaurateurs have a sweet tooth for business

Come for the hugs, stay for the food

Index Opinion…...............……6 Theater....................11 Food & Drink.................17 Politics.....................20 Calendar.............…26 Fashion..................27

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French cafe and bakery Le Parfait Paris recently celebrated its first anniversary in the Gaslamp Quarter. Although business has continued to increase every month since opening, French owners Ludivine Mas and Guillaume Ryon were initially worried that their menu would be lost in translation. “We were scared at first because we were introducing so many new products,” said Mas, chief operating officer of Le Parfait Paris. “The challenge in the beginning was to educate customers on the different pastries. That’s why we added the cheesecake — so there was something familiar on the menu.” Although the Frenchy cheesecake is a lot lighter than traditional New York-style cheesecake, with a buttery crisp on the bottom, they hope reluctant new customers will use it as an

By Chris Young | inewsource Editor’s Note: On Nov. 20, the Downtown San Diego Partnership and Mayor Kevin Faulconer launched the third annual “Make Change Count” drive, to help the homeless find shelter and care to support all the efforts to end homelessness Downtown. The drive focuses on red meter-style “donation stations” located throughout the Downtown area. The article below previously ran online at inewsouce. org on Oct. 27.

A red donation station (Courtesy DSDP)

By Kai Oliver-Kurtin

➤➤ DINING

Meters raise needed funds for San Diego’s homeless

see Trimble, pg 8

Doux!

Grab a seat before it’s gone

Making your change count

(l to r) French ex-pats Guillaume Ryon and Ludivine Mas are partners in both life and cuisine. (Courtesy LeParfait Paris) introduction to the cafe and later return to try other menu items. Le Parfait Paris imports highquality products such as Normandy butter and French chocolate to make its own bread and pastries from scratch. Pastry chef Jean Francois “Jeff” Fays was hired to develop the menu, which features fresh-baked bread, pastries, macaroons and

other desserts, as well as savory selections like quiche, croque sandwiches, paninis and eggs Benedict. They also have a full coffee bar, and serve wine, beer and cocktails. “Le Parfait Paris is very authentic,” Mas said. “We are French, so we try to bring true French products to make a real experience

see Le Parfait, pg 24

The red meters scattered throughout Downtown San Diego that collect donations for the homeless have raised nearly $10,000 since the first of nearly two-dozen stations was installed four years ago. While the total is far from enough money to help the city end its fight against homelessness, the nonprofit organization that operates the donation program says the meters are about more than generating money for homeless services. “They were never meant to be a huge money-raiser,” said Kelly Knight, the homeless outreach coordinator for the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean & Safe program. “They were meant to be an awareness and an education tool.” November marked four years since the Downtown San Diego Partnership installed the first donation meter. Since then, the nonprofit group has erected a total of 21 donation stations throughout Downtown as part of its “Make Change Count” program. The stations, which look like red

see Donations, pg 21


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Sweeping bedroom views at The Park overlook the Downtown landscape. (Courtesy Zephyr)

A changing landscape in Bankers Hill By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Immune until recently from the rapid growth that swept through North Park and Little Italy over the past decade, developers have set their sights on Bankers Hill with two major housing-retail projects in the works, plus another that was completed in June. Broadstone Balboa Park was the first to materialize. It is also one of the few luxury housing projects in the neighborhood that caters only to renters. Located at 3288 Fifth Ave., the six-floor complex boasts 100 apartments in a wide variety of floor plans, plus 14 penthouse units and two refurbished bungalows that originally occupied the lot.The monthly rents range from $2,000 to $6,500, which is in step with the high-dollar value of living in an area long famous for its moneyed residents and architecturally varied houses dating to the late 1800s. Much of Broadstone’s interior was designed by acclaimed San Diegobased craftsman Paul Basile, who chose a Prohibition-era theme to honor the area’s rich history. The lobby, for example, includes a library with wooden book shelves supported by metal train-car wheels. The mail room resembles an old bank vault, and the second-floor clubhouse — rigged with beer taps, a full kitchen and huge steel-framed doors leading to an outdoor Jacuzzi and fireplaces — is aptly named “Club 421.” The number corresponds to the time of day Prohibition officially ended, at 4:21 p.m., on Dec. 5, 1933. The structure — which also features two communal rooftop patios, one with an Evo circular cooktop — marks the fourth Broadstone venture in San Diego. The others are located in Little Italy, Coronado and Kearny Mesa, and with two more in the pipeline for North Park and East Village. According to business manager Jamie Maas, the units in Broadstone Balboa Park are 75 percent occupied. The developers, Alliance Residential and Clarion Partners, will eventually lease out an additional 6,052 square feet of groundlevel space designated for retailers. “We’re looking at all options — salons, bakeries, restaurants and wine bars,” she said.Slated to be the tallest among the emerging crop of new condominium buildings in Bankers Hill is The Park, a 60-unit structure that will rise to 14 floors when it’s completed in spring 2017. “The project is designed to compliment the community,” said Brad Termini, co-CEO for Zephyr, which mapped out the concept for a unique mix of condos and town homes that will each feature impressive terraces and balconies affixed to units measuring no less than 2,300 square feet.

Stylish homes. Fetching parks.

What does it feel like to live in an award-winning home? The six-floor Broadstone Balboa Park is located at 3288 Fifth Ave.

(Courtesy Alliance

Residential and Clarion Partners)

Located adjacent to Balboa Park, at 2850 Sixth Ave., buyers will enjoy such amenities as gourmet kitchens, private wine storage, concierge service and a state-of-theart fitness center. Two retail spaces have been incorporated into the $100 million master plan, which Termini said will afford residents “suburban-style living in a vertical, urban atmosphere.” The units start at $1.4 million, and some have already been presold based on virtual tours provided at the company’s “Discovery Center” at 3104 Fourth Ave. The neighborhood’s growth spurt, which also includes an upcoming seven-story condo structure called Vue on 5th, located at 2665 Fifth Ave., has received warm receptions from two active players in the community. “There’s room in Bankers Hill for all kinds of different architecture,” said Bruce Coons, executive director of Save Our Heritage Organisation, which organizes walking tours of the area the third Sunday of every month. Coons is content that the new developments “are not infringing on the sensitive pockets of the neighborhood,” referring to the smaller streets lined with Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor Revival and other vintage homes. His concern with the added density, however, is whether the neighborhood’s infrastructure can handle the influx of new residents. “We have to be careful with large developments in making sure upgrades have been made to things like electrical wires, sewer systems and roads,” Coons said. Jake Sutton, administrator of Bankers Hill Business Group, believes the Park Laurel condo development, built in 2005 at Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street, ultimately spurred the recent housing projects. “I’ve worked in Bankers Hill for the past 10 years, and these are exciting times,” Sutton said. “I’ve talked to a lot of business owners who feel these latest developments

are positive for our district. More residents and businesses will result in a more vibrant community.” At Vue on 5th, due to open in early summer, the entire ground floor is reserved for retail. This will add potential fuel to the business scene and add to the walkability of the neighborhood. “We’re not sure yet if we’ll use any of it for a restaurant, but we have three commercial spaces, plus underground parking for customers and residents,” said Briar Belair of ColRich, the company that broke ground last year before recently completing the framework on the 40-unit building. ColRich has since begun conducting “hard hat” tours of the structure, which features five two-level penthouse suites starting at $1.8 million as well as two and three-bedroom units starting in the $700,000 range. Built-in refrigerators, freestanding soaking tubs and balconies with stacking door systems are among the choice amenities. Belair said 15 residences in the Vue on 5th have been sold. The sales reps from each project cite a mixed demographic of buyers and renters interested in their properties, noting that about half of them are young and middle-aged professionals from the tech and medical industries. Yet even without these chic habitats sprouting up within this once-quiet zone nestled between Downtown and Hillcrest, Coons said the appeal of living in Bankers Hill isn’t something new. “There’s a strong character to the neighborhood that has attracted residents all along,” he said. “It’s an obvious place to put more density, as long as that character is preserved and respected at the same time.” —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at fsabatini@san.rr.com.v

It feels like the best of everything. It feels beautiful and intuitive. It feels like someone thought equally about what you want and what you need. It feels like Civita, an urban community recognized time and again for designing the most chic, most livable modern homes. And with the new 14-acre park opening next year, Civita offers high-style and open spaces, both inside and out.

APEX

Best Architecture and Interior Design– 2015 ICON Award Single-family Detached Homes 2,092 to 2,229 sq ft Priced from the high $700,000s

LUCENT LOFTS Best Interior Design–2015 ICON Award Best Architecture, Interior Design and Attached Community–2014 ICON Awards Single-level and Penthouse Flats 1,464 to 1,878 sq ft Priced from the mid $700,000s

FRAME & FOCUS

Best Interior Design– 2015 ICON Award Motor Court Homes & Rowhomes 1,306 to 1,985 sq ft Priced from the mid $600,000s

Civita Boulevard off Mission Center Road

civitalife.com

Civita is a master plan development of Quarry Falls, LLC. All information is accurate as of date of publication, but information and pricing is subject to change at any time.


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And away they go … New Downtown lounge first to offer off-track horse betting By Alex Owens In gambling, few things are a sure bet. Phil Balderamos believes he’s found one near the Gaslamp Quarter. Balderamos is the man behind Striders — a luxury sports lounge located at the Harbor Club Towers — the first lounge in the area to allow off-track betting on horse races from racetracks around the world. As managing director of Sportech Venues California, Balderamos has been working for two years to get the luxury lounge going Downtown and he believes it’s going to pay off big with various types of people. “We see Striders appealing to four types of people: people who want to be on the horse races; locals who want a great neighborhood bar; people who want to watch sports — we have more than 150 TVs; and Convention Center visitors [because] we are the closest place for food and drink,” Balderamos said. Striders is the only place north of Tijuana and south of Del Mar where people can bet on the horses, and people will be able to so from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. When Del Mar isn’t running, racing fans will be able to bet on the ponies at Santa Anita, Los Alamitos, Belmont, and even races outside the U.S. “If people don’t like driving that far to Del Mar, this is a good way to enjoy it,” Balderamos said. The project is getting the full support of Del Mar Track officials like Josh Rubinstein, the track’s Chief Operating Officer. “The California horse racing industry could not be more pleased with our newest mini-satellite wagering location at Striders,” Rubinstein said. “Striders will be a great way to keep the fun of horse racing going [when Del Mar isn’t in season.]”

The betting is confined to the second floor of the 8,200-square-foot club, which has a 360-degree view of the area. Balderamos said that every effort is being made to make the experience enjoyable for both seasoned horse racing fans as well as newbies. “We see it as a non-threatening, nice-looking place with a friendly staff,” he said. “Employees will tell people the basics if they are unfamiliar with them.” Being able to place bets makes Striders different from other bars and restaurants in the area, but it’s only one part of the package, Balderamos said. The goal is to make Striders as much of a food and drink destination as it should be for betting. The menu, created by Executive Chef Rodrigo Campos, is seasonal and reinvents classic American dishes. Think mushroom po’boy sandwiches or seared ahi sliders. The cocktail menu includes unique drinks like a Caprese martini, made with vodka, tomato water and a skewer of mozzarella cheese. Of course, it wouldn’t be a San Diego bar without lots of local beer options. Striders plans to feature a wide selection of local craft brews, but the lounge is taking the extra step of having award-winning craft brewer Mike Hess Brewing create its own signature suds, Striders Pale Ale. “Beer is key to locals and visitors,” Balderamos said. “People want to try them and why not? They’re the best.” Striders is located at 100 Harbor Drive, and is open weeknights from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit striders.com. —Alex Owens is a San Diegobased freelance writer. He can be reached at alexowenssd@gmail. com.v

Striders is the only location north of Tijuana and south of Del Mar that offers off-track betting year-round; it has a 150 TVs, a full bar and a full menu. (Courtesy Striders)


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OPINION

San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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123 Camino De La Reina Ste. 202 East San Diego, CA 92108 (619) 519-7775 sdcnn.com Facebook.com/sandiegodowntownnews Twitter: @sddowntownnews

EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960 morgan@sdcnn.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jeff Clemetson, x119 Ken Williams, x102 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Toni G. Atkins Charlene Baldridge Diana Cavagnaro Andy Cohen Christopher Gomez Johnny McDonald Kai Oliver-Kurtin Alex Owens Jake Romero Frank Sabatini Jr. Taylor Schulte Chris Young Joan Wojcik Delle Willett COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118 jen@sdcnn.com

Guest Editorial

Snoopy plates are for everyone By Speaker Toni G. Atkins and Greg Evans He’s a champion ice skater, bowler, and skateboarder; a world famous attorney, astronaut, and arm wrestler; and, most famously, a World War I flying ace. Of course, that’s all when he’s not busy just being the beagle that belongs to that round-headed kid. October marked 65 years (or 455 if you count in dog years) since Snoopy skated, flew, and happy-danced onto the comic pages and into hearts all over the world. That anniversary provides a good opportunity to remind everyone about California’s new Snoopy license plate. The Snoopy Plate was created following legislation in 2013. Proceeds from the sales go to the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to help museums make capital improvements to their facilities, which helps keep their doors open to the public. The new license plate shows Snoopy doing his famous happy dance, and we are grateful to Jean Schulz, the widow of “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz, for donating the image. The bottom of the license plate reads “museums are for everyone.” As an art lover himself (he favored Van Gogh and Andrew Wyeth), Snoopy is the perfect beagle to lend his support to our museums. To get the Snoopy plates into production, we need a minimum of 7,500 to be ordered. Right now, we still need about 900 orders. Once the plates are in production and people begin to see them on the state’s streets and highways, we expect orders to soar about as high as a well-maintained Sopwith Camel. To help spread interest in the Snoopy Plate, more than 80 California museums are joining together and offering free or discounted admissions — worth a

total of more than $1,000 — to anyone who becomes a “Beagle Backer,” someone who orders an initial plate and helps us reach the 7,500 mark. These one-time admissions will be good for up to a year after the goal is reached.

San Diego-area organizations participating in the Beagle Backer program include the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Photographic Art, the Mingei International Museum, and the Japanese Friendship Garden. With football season underway, the California Museum in

Sacramento is also hosting a special exhibit, “Pigskin Peanuts,” featuring the gang hitting the gridiron — including Snoopy (as both the fiendish Mad Punter and Woodstock’s long-suffering coach) and Charlie Brown trying every Autumn to kick that football. The museum also has plenty of information on hand on how to get a Snoopy Plate.

Snoopy plates start at $50 for a sequential license plate, but you can also buy a personalized plate for $98. There’s even a gift certificate option at Snoopyplate.com, so you can surprise loved ones who are Snoopy fans, museum supporters, or both. This is prime Snoopy time.

In addition to the 65th anniversary in October, we also waited once again for the Great Pumpkin to rise on Halloween night. This month, a new “Peanuts” movie is helping create even more fans. And for the holidays, Snoopy made his 39th appearance in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and December will be the 50th anniversary of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” What better time to order a Snoopy Plate and help ensure that California museums can continue to reach future generations? We encourage everyone — whether or not you are a world famous champion — to become a Beagle Backer and order a Snoopy Plate for your car. It honors one of the greatest characters in the comics and it helps a good cause. And who knows? It may even put you in the mood for a happy dance. —Toni Atkins is the Speaker of the California Assembly and the author of the bill creating the Snoopy License Plate. Greg Evans is the award-winning creator of the comic strip Luann, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.v

Poll of the

Month Last Poll Results:

This Month’s Question:

Will you participate in Black Friday?

Do you make new year's resolutions?

3% Yes, I do every year 8% Maybe, if I see something I need 89% No, REI has a better idea

Yes, always and with great success Sometimes, but rarely follow through No, what's the point?

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ART DIRECTOR Vincent Meehan (619) 961-1961 vincent@sdcnn.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Todd Kammer, x115

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OPINIONS/LETTERS: San Diego Downtown News encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email either to morgan@sdcnn.com and include your phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and accuracy. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or staff. SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS: Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to morgan@sdcnn.com. For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email. DISTRIBUTION: San Diego Downtown News is distributed free on the first Friday of every month. COPYRIGHT 2015. All rights reserved.


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Adieu

Centennial a ‘quiet’ success Exploring Balboa Park Johnny McDonald Editor’s Note: This is Johnny McDonald’s last Exploring Balboa Park column, as he informed this editor of his impending departure early this past summer and kept his word, much to her chagrin. We at San Diego Downtown News thank him for sharing what our city’s Crowned Jewel has to offer our readers and for his many other contributions over the years. We wish him health, happiness and good fortune in his future endeavors. We also hope he’ll pop by to contribute here and there, so watch this space. By contrast, the traditional joyous, musical and entertaining December Nights have brought a close to a relatively quiet Balboa Park Centennial celebration. The holiday spirit brought out over 300,000 visitors. “I think over the year, the Centennial has been a quiet success,” said Carol Chang, president of the Balboa Park Conservancy. “We know expectations were for it to be a spectacular event that would attract worldwide attention. The dollars were not there to do what was intended. “Still, it was a wonderful time for our citizens to really enjoy the park.” Unsaid was the city’s $3 million investment in Balboa Park Centennial Inc. to generate a World’s Fair-style spectacle. However, after several months the company failed to obtain sponsorships and disbanded, using up two thirds of the bankroll. Chang remarked that the Conservancy was created to take the park into the next century and make it a “fabulous destination.” “It needs more embellishment or enhancement, if you will, to make it shine as the jewel it is,” she said. “We need to look carefully at our water supply. That is major for a park of its nature. But in a

COMMUNITY VOICES / NEWS drought, it becomes very tricky.” She said it is important to spend more time with those buildings not managed by cultural institutions like the Balboa Park Club and the Botanical Building. This includes design contracts and fundraising. “Bring it back to being historically correct,” she stressed. “We will work with the Committee of 100, Friends of Balboa Park, and the Park and Recreation Department to share their views,” Chang said. “The Committee is working on a cultural landscape plan while members of the Friends sit in with our projects committee,” she said. “They’re in the mix to make sure we don’t do anything crazy.” Next up is a year-long Centennial at the San Diego Zoo and Chang said the Conservancy would like to be a part of that. “There is a friendship pathway connecting the park and zoo” she reminded. “After all, they’re part of the park, too. “The zoo has announced special displays in its Centennial Plaza with two new film experiences and a new show at the Wegeforth Bowl. On May 14, they’re taking the celebration to Balboa Park for a spectacular centennial event that everyone, they say, can roar about. It’s time to party. Elsewhere in the Park … there will be a Holiday Market at Mingei International Museum, Dec. 10, 5 – 8 p.m ... Ales & Rails and Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at the Model Railroad Museum, Dec. 11, 7 – 9 p.m. ... The Art of Music: Art After Hours at the Museum of Art, Dec. 11, 5 – 8 p.m. ... Yo’ Mama’s Got Drama at the Balboa Park Club & Ballroom on Dec. 11, 7 p.m. … “The Polar Express” at the Model Railroad Museum, Dec. 12, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. … after the new year, the 41st annual Small Image Show at Spanish Village Art Center’s Gallery 21 is open to all San Diego artists and runs from Jan. 25 to Feb. 28. The purpose is to provide a unique challenge for the artist by utilizing a small image concept in the widest range of visual expression. Artwork must measure no more than 10 inches in any direction, including frame, base and display. —After an award-winning, 38-year sports-writing career with the San Diego Union and authoring three books, Johnny McDonald now considers writing a hobby. You can reach him at johnny23@cox.net.v

’Tis the season

… to give to the less fortunate and many San Diegans wish to give as much as they can. In order to help those who wish to help others this holiday season, San Diego Downtown News has compiled a list of food and toy drives going around the county.

Food Drives The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank 2015 Holiday Food Drive This food drive can be supported in a variety of ways through Dec. 22: • Attend an event: On Friday, Dec. 4, Star 94.1 “Star Night” Holiday Concert at San Diego Civic Theatre — bit.ly/1HL86jI will benefit the Food Bank. • Donate a pre-filled bag of food: When shopping at Vons supermarket stores throughout the holiday season you can pay for a $7 pre-filled bag of food at checkout and then place it in the red food drive barrels at the front of the store. Every San Diego County Vons location is participating. • Online: Every donation counts. For $1, the Food Bank can provide five

meals to families in need. Donate in your own name or as a holiday gift for a loved one and they will receive a letter of acknowledgement from the Food Bank. Donate at tinyurl.com/nglhknd. • Virtual food drive: Online options include paying for food items you wish to donate using a debit or credit card. Visit the virtual food drive page at tinyurl.com/jh68ue7. • Host a food drive: Schools, businesses, civic groups and faithbased organizations can host their own food drive on behalf of the Food Bank. Register your food drive at tinyurl.com/hovuorc. • Shopping: Local businesses have chosen to donate based on shoppers’ purchases and one participant is Jer’s Chocolates. $5 from the sale of each holiday gift box this season will go to the Food Bank. Purchase

see Drives, pg 24

San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

7

The long goodbye

Mission Valley steakhouse to close its doors after more than 50 years By Frank Sabatini Jr. Mary Machado is facing one her most difficult work shifts as a waitress next month. After working 23 years at Albie’s Beef Inn — the iconic Mission Valley restaurant famous for its prime rib, potent cocktails and paintings of topless women —Machado will complete her Wednesday-evening routine for the last time on Dec. 23, when Albie’s closes for business after a 53-year run. “That’s the night of the week I always count the money, deposit it, and turn off the lights. It’s going to be tough,” she said while choking up, adding that the restaurant is where a co-worker introduced her to a regular customer 10 years ago who would become her husband. Albie’s and its sister establishment, Adam’s Steak ‘N Eggs, which will also close, reside in front of the Travelodge. The hotel and restaurants were recently purchased by San Diego Historic Properties CEO Cathy Herrick in preparation for a multimilliondollar makeover to the hotel. Herrick has already chosen a restaurant tenant to replace Albie’s, although she said via email that the new tenant asked her not to reveal its identity until January. Albie’s owner Ted Samouris said it wasn’t financially possible for him to enter into a lease agreement with Herrick. He purchased the restaurants in 1988 from real estate developer Al Stadmiller, who opened the establishments in 1962. “She [Herrick] was asking for triple of what I’m paying, and wanted me to pay the insurance and property tax on top of that,” he said. “She never came off of her numbers.” Herrick confirmed that her proposal was firm. “I would have preferred that Ted stay but he did not believe he could afford the rent that others have no problem paying,” she explained in another email. “He currently pays less than $1 a foot, which is the lease rate of 30 years ago in Mission Valley. I offered him $2 a foot for the first year, going to $3 a foot the second year.” Samouris said he intends to look for a different location with the goal of recreating Albie’s retro dark-paneled atmosphere, which he says will include the bar lounge’s collection of 20 portraits of topless women, supposedly stewardesses from Pacific Southwest Airlines when it was in operation. He refers to the softly lit paintings as “the nudies” or “the girls,” which have remained a curious draw to customers ever since Stadmiller commissioned a local artist to create them. The artist, now deceased, left behind no clues within the restaurant about any connection to the flight attendants. But in a recent discussion of the artwork in the 919 Gang, a daily newsletter published by former San Diego Union-Tribune employees, Michael Kinsman writes that Lawrence Garrison of La Mesa was the artist. He reported that the art-

Ted Samouris hopes to move Albie's Beef Inn, along with its nude paintings, to a new location soo ( (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Mary Machado is not looking forward to her final day (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.) work revolved around one woman, a young model who lived next door to Garrison in the early 1960s, and said the artist would sometimes use other faces in her depictions. Machado says of the paintings: “If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me about them, I would have retired long ago. Another prized embellishment is one Samouris installed in the late 1980s, a taxidermy marlin stretching across the brick fireplace in the rear dining room, where the wait staff has served thousands of steak and chicken Parmesan dinners from metal pushcarts over the decades. “My wife, Sophia, caught that on our honeymoon. I never took her fishing since,” he quipped. When news broke recently of Albie’s upcoming closure, both loyal and fleeting customers took to Facebook and other social media to express their love of the restaurant. In addition, a petition titled “Save Historic Albie’s Beef Inn!” on Change. org was launched by musician and graphic designer Demetrius Antuna. “It was one of the first places I visited when I moved here in 1996 from New Jersey,” Antuna said. “Some friends brought me there to see what they called ‘cool local culture.’ I loved the ambiance and the paintings, and my wife and I have done birthday and anniversary parties there a couple times a year.” The petition has exceeded 2,600 signatures, although Antuna said he will close it down by the end of November, realizing that his effort is now moot since Herrick has signed a new tenant. “But I will still export the signatures to her anyway,” adding that the petition “has definitely made a difference for Ted’s last remaining

months in support of him finding a new home.” Local chef and caterer Andrew Spurgin calls Albie’s “a warm sweater with no pretense — like walking back into 1965.” He was first introduced to the restaurant in 1974, when his parents brought him there to celebrate his 16th birthday. “It was a fancy place to go at the time. And I’ve been returning ever since for the prime rib and those whole carrots cooked in sugar water. I usually visit with my clique on open-mic nights, and I always order a Gibson with extra onions,” he said, recalling an evening when an older gentleman brought in a coronet and “kicked it out of the water. You never knew what you were going to see there.” Spurgin plans on returning in the coming month for a tribute visit he’s organizing with several fellow chefs. “The place has an emotional attachment for a lot of people,” he said. Aside from Albie’s well-attended New Year’s Eve parties and celebrity sightings over the years, which have included the likes of daredevil Evel Knievel, musician Mel Torme, actor Ray Romano, and numerous athletes and politicians, one incident in particular remains etched in the staff’s memory books as the most outrageous. “We heard a loud crash,” Machado recalled. “A car had driven into the hotel’s swimming pool right behind the dining room. The driver accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake. He wasn’t hurt, but the pool water was littered with baseball notes and statistics he kept inside the vehicle.” Machado said she will dearly miss the family feel of working at Albie’s. “Our customers know us, and we know them. We’re all a little sad,” she said. Samouris is pondering what type of customer-appreciation events he’ll organize prior to closing. “I don’t want to do anything special on the last night because it will be mayhem anyway,” he says, noting that his two sons, Nick and Theo, have contributed to the success of Albie’s by working sporadically as hosts and busboys. “My wife has been helping out lately too. You tell people you’re closing and you get real busy.” —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at fsabatini@san.rr.com.v


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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

NEWS

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FROM PAGE 1

TRIMBLE and the event was a success. As a result of those tight connections, in 1994 he was elected to the Gaslamp Quarter Association’s board of directors, and a year later, he left Hegge and joined American Express aS a sales executive. This new role, which included the Gaslamp Quarter in his territory, allowed him to strengthen his ties even more and keep his position on the board. He worked with the association and its members on joint marketing and advertising, which benefited AmEx through expanded charging volumes and boosting the local businesses. “I really wanted to make sure I had the ability to help them grow, help with sponsorships and drive initiatives,” Trimble said. For the next 18 years Trimble remained on the board, heading up volunteer committees and serving as volunteer director, while simultaneously climbing the corporate ladder. But after a global reorganization and downsizing in 2013 left him unemployed, Trimble took some time off to recharge and reassess his options. “No one likes to be uprooted like that, but it was a blessing in disguise,” Trimble said. “I think it was time that I could maybe try something else. So I did some bicycle riding and some bicycle touring, stuff like that. I took some time off to figure out what I wanted to do, and at that time I found out Jimmy was retiring.” His sudden career change forced him to resign from his cherished board of directors. Having been an active participant in the Gaslamp Quarter Association for more than two decades, the thought of sitting

in the executive director chair seemed like the perfect fit. “I spent a lot of time knowing what the association was all about, knowing what they wanted to do, knowing the mission,” he said. “I watched it develop through many different executive directors.” He applied for the job — a selection process that took 18 months to complete. In the end, it was not only Trimble’s history with Gaslamp, but his close, long-term ties with all the merchants, and his acute knowledge of all the people, politics and players, that eventually landed him the job. He was pleased to honor his predecessor at the recent Lamplighter Awards with a special recognition. “Jimmy loved the Gaslamp,” Trimble said. “He was very passionate and worked very hard. He served this community well for 11 years.” Trimble’s first official event as executive director was a day of service — the Gaslamp neighborhood cleanup day. A group including Trimble, Councilmember Todd Gloria, Downtown San Diego Partnership CEO Kris Michell, and over 250 volunteers, took to the 16 and a half

(l to r) Trimble, Councilmember Todd Gloria, Downtown Partnership CEO Kris Mishell, and Andrew Bernal during a recent community clean-up event (Courtesy Gaslamp Quarter Association); (inset) Trimble enjoys the outdoors and is bringing that energy to the Gaslamp Quarter (Courtesy Michael Trimble) square blocks that make up the historic district to put a spit shine on the neighborhood. “That was something that people and businesses were excited about,” he said. “They want a sense of neighborhood, a sense of community.” His next event was called Night Plaza, a four-hour, seven-day public event that was spread out across the summer. They blocked off Island Avenue between Fourth and Fifth avenues and created a pop-up music and arts festival on nights that were not impacted by Comic Con or when the Padres being in town. “We turned it into a park,” Trimble said. “We had Bryant Park style seating, benches, we brought in jazz bands, we had flamenco dancers, we even taught dance classes — and it was all free. Basically we just created this place for people to

just come and be.” His goals for the future are to do just that — give back to the community in such a way that it will bring people back to the Gaslamp from other areas around the county and keep the Gaslamp residents in the neighborhood, and get them involved, too. “I want people to know that the Gaslamp Quarter door is always open,” he said. “If you have concerns or ideas and want to get involved, this is the place to start. We want this office to be a resource to the community. We are here with the knowledge and the ability to help all kinds of businesses and want to help our businesses and members to be successful, which means things like events that don’t compete with my members and offering additional services, so people know they have a resource here at the association.” Concerns like permitting issues or trash problems, and just the overall issues that can arise in the dayto-day business of doing business in the Gaslamp Quarter are things Trimble wants he and his staff of three to tackle on a regular basis for their association members. “Sure, we produce events, but we’re also marketing and business advocacy,” he said. “That is our job as a business improvement district, to help improve business in the Gaslamp for all our merchants.” In 2016, they have plans to make the Gaslamp Quarter more walkable, create a universal valet service, and to eliminate parking issues as much as possible. “We never want people to say, ‘It’s too difficult to get to Gaslamp. You can’t park in Gaslamp.’ We’re trying to change that impression,” Trimble said. One of their bigger initiatives is a year-long pilot program that will convert street parking along Fifth

Avenue to a 3-minute active loading zone on the weekends from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Trimble said the initiative will increase the flow of traffic, improve mobility, and the plan has already received positive feedback from first responders. “All these initiatives are also to encourage businesses to come down and ‘set up shop’ in the Gaslamp and help make the existing businesses more successful,” he said. With a lifelong history in the neighborhood, Trimble wants to make the Gaslamp Quarter a place everyone wants to come to, for meals, shopping and as he said, “to just be.” In his personal life, Trimble is a self-described “adrenalin junkie” and makes time every day to train for his latest obsession: an upcoming half Ironman next June in Boulder, Colorado. He affectionately calls his time running, biking or at the gym “sweat therapy,” and his healthy living philosophy will definitely impact the many upcoming positive changes he plans for the neighborhood. “There’s a lot of competition out there; East Village, North Park, South Park, Little Italy, Bankers Hill … people have a lot of choices,” he said. “With a lot of choices, you have to keep it fresh and remind people why they loved the Gaslamp at some time in their life and maybe they have forgotten. “Now it’s time to think of the Gaslamp in a new way and come back and experience what we have to offer.” Want to get involved? Attend a board meeting on the third Wednesday of every month at 3:30 p.m. and check out their new revamped website at gaslamp.org —Reach Morgan M. Hurley at morgan@sdcnn.com.v


FEATURE

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The Queensland Public House, on Columbia Street in Little Italy, has been transformed into a magical gingerbread house this season to raise money for nonprofit New Alternatives. (Photo by Lucia Viti)

Transforming for a cause Little Italy restaurant converts to a gingerbread house By Lucia Viti Queenstown Public House, a New Zealand-inspired restaurant and bar in Little Italy, will transform its quaint cottage edifice into a bona fide gingerbread house adorned with icing, gumdrops, M&Ms and candy canes for the Christmas season. The captivating dreamland conversion coincides with several local businesses that have partnered with the Little Italy Association’s toy drive to benefit New Alternatives, a transitional housing program that assists foster and probation youth. “New Alternatives partnered with the Little Italy Association five years ago to donate Christmas gifts to our children, who otherwise may not receive a single item,” said Teresa Theriault, program director for the Family Visitation Center at New Alternatives. “Local business participation has grown from four boxes in its initial year to today’s count of 23. We’re thrilled to know that businesses like Queenstown Public House support our efforts to ensure that every single child within our program receives a gift.” Theriault said Queenstown Public House contacted her to take the toy drive one step further by decorating the edifice as gingerbread house. “We’re thrilled that Queenstown Public House will do something as special as to perfectly mimic a gingerbread house,” she said. “Queenstown Public House is whimsical, quirky and the perfect venue for a gingerbread house,” said Queenstown Public House co-owner Darren Roach, who lives in Hillcrest. “Queenstown Public House isn’t just about food, it’s about enjoying a sense of family, comfort and unity with the commu-

nity. And what better way to do so than through a feel-good, entertaining holiday event.” Kelly Moses, Queenstown’s media manager who is a Bankers Hill resident, described the upcoming transformation as fun-filled enchantment. “Queenstown Public House will become a gingerbread house complete with frosting (white lights); gum drops (Styrofoam shapes covered in glitter lights); M&Ms (Styrofoam shapes wrapped in colored lights) and large-sized candy canes,” she said. “We’re excited to transform our little brown house into a season of fun.” The interior will also be converted into a picturesque Christmas wonderland. “The inside is already eccentric with grass ceilings and sheep hanging upside down,” Roach said. “So we’ll dress the sheep in holiday scarves, hang decorations from the ceiling and line the inside windows with whip-cream icing. We’ll top off the decoration by filling the jasmine and citrus trees on our outdoor dog-friendly patio with even more Christmas cheer. Queenstown Public House will be the destination hot spot this holiday season.” Queenstown Public House won’t just stop at embellishing its walls into a gingerbread palace. Customers are invited to craft a tabletop gingerbread house during its firstever “Build Your Own Gingerbread House” contest in exchange for a New Alternatives gift donation. The all-materials-included contest (a gingerbread kit complete with real gingerbread, icing, candy canes, gum-drops and M&Ms) will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Craftspeople will be split into two groups — child work-a-bees will dine and craft between 3 and 7 p.m. while the older, taller kids-at-heart will craft between 7 and 10 p.m. Awards include Legoland tickets and a Queenstown Public House gift basket. Child diners will also be treated to a gingerbread man cookie kit for the entire month of December. Also participating in the toy

drive is Blick Art Materials. The 100-year-old family-owned art supply store described their participation as a perfect fit for the community. “Blick Art Materials offers 60,000 art supplies and gift items perfect for everyone,” said Greg Pita, Blick’s general manager. “What better way to give back to the community than to offer children an item that may lead them to become a future artist. We educate customers on the legitimacy of New Alternatives, its initiates and the gifts given to children who may otherwise not have any. We’re an art supplies store that offers something for everyone so it all makes sense.” New Alternatives provides “culturally-oriented” and “familyfocused” services to children who are victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment. The nonprofit corporation founded in 1978 is contracted by San Diego County for court-ordered visitation with children placed in foster care due to improper parenting. “New Alternatives offers a variety of programs that serve at-risk youth,” Theriault said. “My program works with children facing court-ordered visits with one or both parents because they’ve been placed in foster care. My staff transports a child or children – often there are multiple siblings – to a San Diego center to visit with their parent/s. We role model what parenting looks like during the visitation because often times the parent/s are substance abusers or fall into case-related categories of severe neglect, sexual and physical abuse.” “We cannot thank the Little Italy Association, Queenstown Public House and all of the participating businesses for their participation in this wonderful event,” Theriault said. “Such tremendous support is also appreciated by the families and children going through this very difficult time. You can always count smiles on the children’s faces. A special gift makes a child’s day a special one.” —Contact Lucia Viti at luciaviti@roadrunner.com.v

The building housing Queenstown Public House was built in 1905. Three years ago, current co-owners P.J. Lamont and Matt Baker (who also own Raglin Public House in Ocean Beach and Bare Back Grill in Pacific Beach), along with Hillcrest resident Darren Roach, transformed the former state representative house into a New Zealand-inspired eatery. “We kept the charm while adding character,” Roach said. “Our Kiwi fare is filled with our foodie standouts — rack of lamb; lamb skewers; our award-winning lamb burger topped with beet root, mint and blue cheese; veggie and vegan entrees; New Zealand salmon and our Blazin’ ahi; fish and chips; and our infamous Fergburger known as Sheila’s Cracked.” Inspired by New Zealand’s own Queenstown’s Fergburger, Sheila’s Cracked is a grass-fed beef burger stacked with pineapple, pickled beets, a fried egg, melted Edam cheese, aioli, tomato chutney and vegetable roughage — lettuce, tomato, and red onion on a toasted focaccia bun. Also popular is Queenstown’s “Mainstay of the Month” sandwich for the Christmas season, a sandwich heaped with turkey, jalapeno cranberry relish stuffing, brie cheese sourdough bread and a side of gravy.v

San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Allure Restaurant

825 Fourth Ave. San Diego CA 92101 619-236-0800 | Alluresd.com Allure is a family-owned and operated restaurant that strives to be a restaurant that San Diego can be proud of. Executive Chef Melissa Nakouzi and her husband Carl, the general manager, are both San Diego natives that have a passion for quality food and service and believe San Diego should be mentioned in the pantheon of impressive culinary cities along with the likes of New York and Los Angeles. The couple opened Allure Restaurant to the public in March of 2014. Making nearly everything from scratch, they pride themselves on their flavors. Serving seasonal New American cuisine, there’s a taste on the menu for just about everyone. Perfect for birthday parties or meetings with a private upstairs mezzanine, Allure is a refined and elegant space that is also ideal for a romantic evening. Allure served as the host site of Carl and Melissa’s wedding and now with the couple expecting a baby boy this January, they are very excited to see their family grow along with their restaurant.


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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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THEATER

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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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The Old Globe’s fine Christmas tradition Theater Review Charlene Baldridge The official Nov. 15 tree-lighting ceremony had not taken place yet, but the gigantic Whoville Christmas tree outside The Old Globe on Nov. 12 was magnificently lit, likely to please all the children on their way inside to see the opening of the Globe’s 18th annual production of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Here, where the Timothy Mason/ Mel Marvin musical was originally conceived and directed by Artistic Director Emeritus Jack O’Brien, it is OK to say the word “Christmas,” because, as they declare in the show’s second song, “Whos like Christmas!” When the show starts, theatergoers young and old are introduced to Whoville (that’s where the Whos live) by Old Max (Steve Gunderson, who’s appeared in the show more than a dozen times). Packing a suitcase, Old Max is delighted when his young self (Blake Segal) appears. He wants to see the “old place” where he leaves for good. The “old place” includes Whoville below and the cave high on Mt. Crumpit, where Max lived with the recluse green Grinch and was forced to participate in his mean, green master’s scheme to prevent Christmas from happening this year and any other. The show’s most delightful musical numbers (“This Time of Year,” “I Hate Christmas,” “One of a Kind,” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”) are performed by Young Max, Old Max and/or the Grinch.

It’s likely you’ll go home singing them, along with Cindy Lou Who’s “Santa for a Day” and the Whos’ original carol, “Fah Who Doraze.” Grinch is played for the first time by Broadway and film star (“The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3”) J. Bernard Calloway, who portrayed club owner Delray Jones in the Broadway production of “Memphis.” The first African-American Grinch, Calloway sings the part exceptionally well, and due to his NFL size is a perfect foil for diminutive Cindy-Lou (portrayed opening night by 8-year-old Mikee Castillo), who ultimately charms and transforms the Grinch, bringing about the show’s happy ending. Veteran Taylor Coleman portrays Cindy-Lou in alternate performances. When O’Brien conceived the production, he came up with the idea of having the youngest residents of Whoville played by alternating teams of youngsters. This allows them to perform without being overtaxed and gives more kids an opportunity to perform and grow. Some return to the production for years, graduating from little Whos to Who teens. Noted San Diego musical theater actor/director James Vásquez stages the work. John Deluca created the original choreography, later enhanced by Bob Richard. Another charming creation was the distinctive Who costumes conceived by Associate Artist Robert Morgan. These Whos are not ordinary Whomans, but have insect or bug-like carapaces with swollen midsections. Their hairdos are ever fascinating as are the shoes. John Lee Beatty is the scenic designer, Pat Collins, the lighting designer, and

J. Bernard Calloway (center) — the first African-American Grinch — flanked by the Mayor of Whoville and Old Max (Photo by Jim Cox)

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Book and lyrics by Timothy Mason Music by Mel Marvin Directed by James Vásquez The Old Globe Through Dec. 26 theoldglobe.org 619-23-GLOBE Paul Peterson, the sound designer. Music Director Elan McMahan conducts the nine-piece union “Whochestra,” which plays Anita Ruth’s orchestrations. The production is performed without interval and lasts about one hour, 20 minutes. It is interesting to note that in addition to Gunderson the show repeatedly attracts numerous Southern California Equity artists as grownup Who family members, for instance, Robert J. Townsend (Papa Who), Bets Malone (Mama Who), Geno Carr (Grandpa Who),

Nancy Snow Carr (Grandma Who), plus Jacob Caltrider, David Kirk Grant, Kyrsten Hafso-Koppman, Clay Stefanki, Jill Townsend and Kelsey Venter as Whoville’s other grownup Whos. As for the youth, they are formidably talented and well-trained. Whether or not you are attached to little ones, you deserve to see the

Old Globe’s heart-warming annual holiday treat. There’s just something about it. Maybe that something is Christmas. —Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at charlenebaldridge.com or reach her at charb81@gmail.com.v


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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

The original Coliseum eventually became a furniture warehouse for Jerome’s but has sat empty for years. (Photo by Joan Wojcik)

The Coliseum: a local boxing landmark By Joan Wojcik East Village is steeped in San Diego history. Each of the many old buildings in East Village has a unique story to tell. One such building is the Coliseum Athletic Club. Many drive by the Coliseum without giving it a second glance or realizing its importance to the history of San Diego’s bygone days of boxing. The Coliseum appears indistinct from the many old buildings located in East Village but this building has a very illustrious past. The Coliseum is located on the southwest corner of E and 15th streets. The only difference between the other worn out warehouses in the neighborhood is its domed roof. In the height of the Coliseum’s glory, from the 1920s until the 1930s, the domed roof would be filled with shouts from the many sports fans that enjoyed watching the boxing. The domed, square-shaped building was often smoked-filled with an audience of over 3,500 boxing fans who sat on cheap fold-down seats in a stadium-style setting with the boxing ring in the middle of the floor. Hollywood celebrities would often be in attendance for the boxing events and the Coliseum even had a visit from the infamous Al Capone. The Coliseum was noted for

Boxing matches were a huge draw in the Coliseum’s hey day (Courtesy SDCNG) giving many well-known boxers their initial debut into their boxing careers. One such notable boxer was James J. Braddock, whose life story was portrayed in the recent movie, “The Cinderella Man.” Braddock boxed Dynamite Jackson at the Coliseum on Sept. 30, 1932, and won. He went on to become the World Heavyweight Champion when he won the match against Max Baer. Other greats, such as Jimmy McLarnin, Tommy Loughran, Henry Armstrong, Ceferino Garcia, Archie Moore, and Ken Norton were

headliners at the Coliseum. Both Moore and Norton would eventually call San Diego their home. Moore, also known as Old Mongoose, had a lot of history tied to San Diego and the Coliseum. He started his professional boxing career in 1935 and boxed all but one bout that year at the San Diego Coliseum. His boxing career spanned the eras of Joe Louis, Rocky Marciana and Muhammad Ali, having fought all three legends. Moore lived in San Diego from the 1960s until his death in 1998 but is remembered as starting his boxing profession at the San Diego Coliseum. During the 1950s and ’60s, the Coliseum started losing its luster. Crowds began to dwindle and the Coliseum Athletic Club officially closed its doors Aug. 1, 1974. The property was eventually taken over by Jerome’s Furniture but has now sat empty for years. Today, all that is left of the rich

see Coliseum, pg 15 PUZZLE SOLUTION FROM PG. 17


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COLISEUM history of the Coliseum Athletic Club are four walls. The cheap seats, the boxer’s dressing rooms, the boxing ring, and the shouting are only memories of the once wellknown boxing story of East Village. According to Sam Patella, a lifelong friend of Jerry Navarra of Jerome’s Furniture, the only items salvaged from the inside the Coliseum were the luxury front row seats that were once occupied by the VIPs in the audience. Jerry Navarra is currently storing these chairs and hopes the chairs will be spotlighted in any future plans for the Coliseum. What does the future hold for such a historical building? The Coliseum will be included in the five-block community plan called Makers Quarter (see makersquarter.com). As this five-block community plan evolves into a dense, urban mixed-use neighborhood, the Coliseum will become the focal point of a community gathering space. “We are looking forward to the Coliseum once again being an exciting amenity and gathering space for the neighborhood,” stated urban planner, Stacey Pennington. Patella believes the rebirth of the Coliseum will be soon. What venue will occupy this landmark site is yet to be determined but it will be exciting to look forward to the rebirth of the Coliseum in East Village. — Joan Wojcik is the president of the East Village Residents Group. Learn more about the EVRG at or contact joan eastvillageresidentsgroup@yahoo.com or visit evrgsd.org.v

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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

HOLIDAY GUIDE

Anthony’s Fish Grotto 9530 Murray Drive La Mesa, CA 91942 619-463-0368 gofishanthonys.com There’s nothing in East County like Anthony’s Fish Grotto in La Mesa. It’s the perfect place for family gatherings or a company holiday party, featuring both fantastic indoor and outdoor dining options. The entire restaurant overlooks a shimmering spring-fed pond replete with seasonal ducks and geese. The restaurant and pond are festively lit and cheerfully decorated for the holidays, which creates a fun, celebratory vibe! Call and ask for Shireen to make arrangements. Anthony’s gift cards have been a treasured Stocking Stuffer or Chanukah present for generations. Never returned, never unused, and always appreciated! Purchase $100 in gift cards and get a $15 gift card for yourself. Cooking at home for the holidays? Anthony’s retail fish market has some great menu ideas, from lobster tails, to king crab, to fresh swordfish, and more. Take our crab cake mix home to stuff your own mushrooms, or our garlic butter and large shrimp to top your holiday prime roast or filet mignon.

Christ United Presbyterian Church of San Diego 3025 Fir St. San Diego, CA 92102 619-239-2346 christunitedsd.org info@cupcsd.org Christ United Presbyterian Church of San Diego, California, is a culturally aware liturgical Christian church bringing the good news about Jesus Christ to South Park, San Diego, and the world. All

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are welcome. Christ United Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA). We were established in 1981 when an invitation was extended to two churches — Brooklyn Heights Presbyterian and Golden Hill Presbyterian, to merge, and each church accepted. We strive to serve the spiritual needs of the individual and the community with liturgical worship (Saturday night during Advent and Lenten Seasons, and Sunday morning), Bible discussion, fellowship, and community service. We have mission partnerships with Presbyterian Urban Ministry, the San Diego Rescue Mission and Uplift San Diego. We invite all to consider Christ United Presbyterian Church as a place to live out their relationship with God and to be transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12.2).

Fiesta de Reyes Corner of Juan and Wallace Streets Old Town San Diego State Historic Park 619-297-3100 FiestaDeReyes.com Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will be decked out in historic holiday finery this year and showcase gingerbread house displays throughout the park as well as a tree-lighting ceremony with caroling starting at 5 p.m. every Saturday in the month of December. The caroling around the display of nine Christmas trees will be followed each Saturday evening with a bonfire in the plaza complete with free s’mores and hot chocolate, readings and more singing. The annual Holiday in the Park Merchant Open House will be held Dec. 12, from noon – 9 p.m. Crafts for children and special holiday treats will be in the museums, stores and restaurants in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during the day with an eve-

ning bonfire and extended shopping hours until 9 p.m. There is free parking available in the Caltrans parking lot on Taylor Street in Old Town after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. For more information about any of these events, visit our website or give us a call.

NTC Liberty Station Ntclibertystation.com/ WinterisWayCool “Winter is Way Cool” at Liberty Station. During the holiday season, the Arts District at Liberty Station comes alive with opportunities to celebrate creatively! Organizers have ensured that winter will be way cool this year with a wide range of activities, festivities, shopping, dining … and ice skating! The Arts District at Liberty Station is San Diego’s largest Arts & Cultural District located in historic buildings at the former Naval Training Center in the new Liberty Station neighborhood of Point Loma. Skate: Fantasy on Ice comes to the Arts District at historic Liberty Station! Open through Jan. 3. Create: Get hands-on with the arts for the holidays with ornaments and wreath making classes, dance and music performances, outdoor movies and holiday crafts for kids. Celebrate: Shop for your holiday gifts with a creative twist direct from the artists. Browse unique galleries and shops. Handmade goods, artwork and gift certificates make the perfect gift. Celebrate the “Way Cool” holidays at Friday Night Liberty Dec. 4 — a FREE monthly art-filled open house. Named 2015 Best Free Artist Event. Use #WinterisWayCool and #SkatingSelfies when you share on social media with your friends.

The Old Globe 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park San Diego, CA 92101 619-234-5623 TheOldGlobe.org “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” at the Old Globe is a wonderful, whimsical musical based upon the classic Dr. Seuss book. Back for its 18th incredible year, the family favorite features the songs “This Time of Year,” “Santa for a Day,” and “Fah Who Doraze”! Celebrate the holidays as the Old Globe Theatre is once again transformed into the snow-covered Whoville, right down to the last can of Who-hash. For information or tickets visit the website or call the box office.

HOLIDAY GUIDE

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The Gentlemen’s Tux Club 999 F St. San Diego, 92101 619-239-8901 Tuxclub.com Greetings of both peace and goodwill. No longer just for the rich and famous, The Gentlemen’s Tux Club rents and sells tuxedos to individuals, weddings and groups. We have been conducting business here in Downtown San Diego for over 20 years. Our clients range from Hollywood actors, civic and entrepreneurial leaders, to the young man attending his first formal dance. Our company has been “the place to go” for those who appreciate expert advice in formalwear, measured and tailored just for you. With over 3,000 tuxedos in stock, we can fit just about anyone who walks through our door in just a few minutes. People often tell us they are amazed at our quality products, professional service and very reasonable prices. Please see us for your next formal event or wedding and experience first-hand why wedding coordinators, event planners and destination management companies from all over the county bring their clients to work with us. Martindale Travel & Tours 427 Ninth Ave. San Diego, CA 92101 206-399-2138 martindaletravelandtours.com Do you like to travel? While on vacation do you elevate meal planning to an art form seeking the best your destination offers? Consider a themed vacation focusing on food and beverage.

With well-earned vacation days a limited commodity, planning a culinary style vacation appears to be daunting. To design a vacation for full value, taking full opportunity of your chosen destination, consider engaging me to plan your next vacation. More than a planner, I am a professional travel advisor. Much like a personal shopper I can provide one-stop shopping handling air arrangements, rental cars, side trips, resort and hotel stays plus guarantee the best rates and offer inside information not always available. Sure you can spend hours researching online information of destinations, locations, sights and must-sees, but imagine missing the Tuscan food market by one day or finding the Sake distillery closed when you arrive. Whether you select to delve into the local cuisine of Spain or Morocco by land or cruise the California coast with a noted winemaker, your travel takes on an experiential dimension as you visit wineries, taste with wine makers, local experts and chefs. Imagine

getting the local culinary perspective from native sommeliers, cookbook authors and other experts in ports of call cooking schools, pubs and restaurants. I can also unravel the complex details of packing smartly, booking the best excursions and social media tools you can use to share travel plans with the traveling group and those at home. Explore how my 30 years of sea and land experience can be put to work for you planning that next food and wine exploration. Come cruise with us on our Coastal California cruise to Santa Barbara and Ensenada on Jan. 18 with Fred Brander, celebrated winemaker from Santa Ynez. The cruise includes private wine tastings on board, private shore excursions in Santa Barbara and Ensenada and more. Come join us on this or other food and wine trips planned for 2016. Contact me to see how your travel dreams can become reality.v

San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

HOLIDAY GUIDE

Anthony’s Fish Grotto 9530 Murray Drive La Mesa, CA 91942 619-463-0368 gofishanthonys.com There’s nothing in East County like Anthony’s Fish Grotto in La Mesa. It’s the perfect place for family gatherings or a company holiday party, featuring both fantastic indoor and outdoor dining options. The entire restaurant overlooks a shimmering spring-fed pond replete with seasonal ducks and geese. The restaurant and pond are festively lit and cheerfully decorated for the holidays, which creates a fun, celebratory vibe! Call and ask for Shireen to make arrangements. Anthony’s gift cards have been a treasured Stocking Stuffer or Chanukah present for generations. Never returned, never unused, and always appreciated! Purchase $100 in gift cards and get a $15 gift card for yourself. Cooking at home for the holidays? Anthony’s retail fish market has some great menu ideas, from lobster tails, to king crab, to fresh swordfish, and more. Take our crab cake mix home to stuff your own mushrooms, or our garlic butter and large shrimp to top your holiday prime roast or filet mignon.

Christ United Presbyterian Church of San Diego 3025 Fir St. San Diego, CA 92102 619-239-2346 christunitedsd.org info@cupcsd.org Christ United Presbyterian Church of San Diego, California, is a culturally aware liturgical Christian church bringing the good news about Jesus Christ to South Park, San Diego, and the world. All

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are welcome. Christ United Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA). We were established in 1981 when an invitation was extended to two churches — Brooklyn Heights Presbyterian and Golden Hill Presbyterian, to merge, and each church accepted. We strive to serve the spiritual needs of the individual and the community with liturgical worship (Saturday night during Advent and Lenten Seasons, and Sunday morning), Bible discussion, fellowship, and community service. We have mission partnerships with Presbyterian Urban Ministry, the San Diego Rescue Mission and Uplift San Diego. We invite all to consider Christ United Presbyterian Church as a place to live out their relationship with God and to be transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12.2).

Fiesta de Reyes Corner of Juan and Wallace Streets Old Town San Diego State Historic Park 619-297-3100 FiestaDeReyes.com Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will be decked out in historic holiday finery this year and showcase gingerbread house displays throughout the park as well as a tree-lighting ceremony with caroling starting at 5 p.m. every Saturday in the month of December. The caroling around the display of nine Christmas trees will be followed each Saturday evening with a bonfire in the plaza complete with free s’mores and hot chocolate, readings and more singing. The annual Holiday in the Park Merchant Open House will be held Dec. 12, from noon – 9 p.m. Crafts for children and special holiday treats will be in the museums, stores and restaurants in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during the day with an eve-

ning bonfire and extended shopping hours until 9 p.m. There is free parking available in the Caltrans parking lot on Taylor Street in Old Town after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. For more information about any of these events, visit our website or give us a call.

NTC Liberty Station Ntclibertystation.com/ WinterisWayCool “Winter is Way Cool” at Liberty Station. During the holiday season, the Arts District at Liberty Station comes alive with opportunities to celebrate creatively! Organizers have ensured that winter will be way cool this year with a wide range of activities, festivities, shopping, dining … and ice skating! The Arts District at Liberty Station is San Diego’s largest Arts & Cultural District located in historic buildings at the former Naval Training Center in the new Liberty Station neighborhood of Point Loma. Skate: Fantasy on Ice comes to the Arts District at historic Liberty Station! Open through Jan. 3. Create: Get hands-on with the arts for the holidays with ornaments and wreath making classes, dance and music performances, outdoor movies and holiday crafts for kids. Celebrate: Shop for your holiday gifts with a creative twist direct from the artists. Browse unique galleries and shops. Handmade goods, artwork and gift certificates make the perfect gift. Celebrate the “Way Cool” holidays at Friday Night Liberty Dec. 4 — a FREE monthly art-filled open house. Named 2015 Best Free Artist Event. Use #WinterisWayCool and #SkatingSelfies when you share on social media with your friends.

The Old Globe 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park San Diego, CA 92101 619-234-5623 TheOldGlobe.org “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” at the Old Globe is a wonderful, whimsical musical based upon the classic Dr. Seuss book. Back for its 18th incredible year, the family favorite features the songs “This Time of Year,” “Santa for a Day,” and “Fah Who Doraze”! Celebrate the holidays as the Old Globe Theatre is once again transformed into the snow-covered Whoville, right down to the last can of Who-hash. For information or tickets visit the website or call the box office.

HOLIDAY GUIDE

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The Gentlemen’s Tux Club 999 F St. San Diego, 92101 619-239-8901 Tuxclub.com Greetings of both peace and goodwill. No longer just for the rich and famous, The Gentlemen’s Tux Club rents and sells tuxedos to individuals, weddings and groups. We have been conducting business here in Downtown San Diego for over 20 years. Our clients range from Hollywood actors, civic and entrepreneurial leaders, to the young man attending his first formal dance. Our company has been “the place to go” for those who appreciate expert advice in formalwear, measured and tailored just for you. With over 3,000 tuxedos in stock, we can fit just about anyone who walks through our door in just a few minutes. People often tell us they are amazed at our quality products, professional service and very reasonable prices. Please see us for your next formal event or wedding and experience first-hand why wedding coordinators, event planners and destination management companies from all over the county bring their clients to work with us. Martindale Travel & Tours 427 Ninth Ave. San Diego, CA 92101 206-399-2138 martindaletravelandtours.com Do you like to travel? While on vacation do you elevate meal planning to an art form seeking the best your destination offers? Consider a themed vacation focusing on food and beverage.

With well-earned vacation days a limited commodity, planning a culinary style vacation appears to be daunting. To design a vacation for full value, taking full opportunity of your chosen destination, consider engaging me to plan your next vacation. More than a planner, I am a professional travel advisor. Much like a personal shopper I can provide one-stop shopping handling air arrangements, rental cars, side trips, resort and hotel stays plus guarantee the best rates and offer inside information not always available. Sure you can spend hours researching online information of destinations, locations, sights and must-sees, but imagine missing the Tuscan food market by one day or finding the Sake distillery closed when you arrive. Whether you select to delve into the local cuisine of Spain or Morocco by land or cruise the California coast with a noted winemaker, your travel takes on an experiential dimension as you visit wineries, taste with wine makers, local experts and chefs. Imagine

getting the local culinary perspective from native sommeliers, cookbook authors and other experts in ports of call cooking schools, pubs and restaurants. I can also unravel the complex details of packing smartly, booking the best excursions and social media tools you can use to share travel plans with the traveling group and those at home. Explore how my 30 years of sea and land experience can be put to work for you planning that next food and wine exploration. Come cruise with us on our Coastal California cruise to Santa Barbara and Ensenada on Jan. 18 with Fred Brander, celebrated winemaker from Santa Ynez. The cruise includes private wine tastings on board, private shore excursions in Santa Barbara and Ensenada and more. Come join us on this or other food and wine trips planned for 2016. Contact me to see how your travel dreams can become reality.v

San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

Join in our season’s holiday cheer Little Italy News Christopher Gomez Come out and deck the halls this holiday season in Little Italy as the neighborhood lights up the night at its annual Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village on Saturday, Dec. 5, on West Fir between India Street and Kettner Boulevard, from 4 – 8 p.m. Families, friends, neighbors and visitors are invited to celebrate the season during this beloved Little Italy tradition and see our one-ofa-kind Christmas tree — a 25-foot tower of over 1,100 lush poinsettias and 2,000 LED lights in the center of Piazza Basilone. The Christmas tree will be lit throughout the whole holiday season for the community and San Diego to enjoy. The Little Italy Association has called in a few favors at the North Pole, and Santa Claus himself will be taking complimentary photos with the neighborhood kids and families at this year’s celebration. Santa will make his grand entrance on Little Italy’s own Fire Engine 3 at 4 p.m. As you meander through the Christmas Village and enjoy the holiday music and seasonal vendors, be sure to be back at the corner of India and West Fir streets as the whole community joins together for the Italian countdown and watch the Little Italy Christmas Tree be lit at 5:30 p.m. Attendees will be able to do some holiday shopping at Little Italy Mercato’s seasonal vendors’ booths throughout the Christmas Village — perfect merchandise for holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. Parents can even take their little ones to the kids area, which will be located next to Santa’s Living Room, for fun crafts with Washington Elementary STEAM Magnet School and ArtReach. There will be live entertainment, snacks, holiday beverages and more for all to enjoy! This will be one magical night in Little Italy for all to attend. Rumor has it that there’s a sign of snow in the forecast for San Diego’s Little Italy that evening. But, you’ll

Little Italy’s one-of-a-kind Poinsettia Christmas tree — shown all lit up at night and bright red during the day — in the middle of Piazza Basilone. (Courtesy LIA) have to be there to believe it — it’s just another piece of Christmas magic from Little Italy, San Diego. If you’d like to join community members and business owners to support the Little Italy Association efforts to build its special Christmas tree this holiday season, you can by donating towards the poinsettias for just $10. Please contact 619-233-3898 if you’re interested. To stay connected with us during the holiday season, check out what’s going on in our neighborhood by following us on Instagram and Twitter @LittleItalySD and Facebook/San Diego Little Italy. —Christopher Gomez has been Little Italy’s district manager since 2000. Reach him at chris@littleitalysd.com.v


LITTLE ITALY / DINING

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An inside source at Blush Ice Bar East + West Kitchen in the Gaslamp Quarter told San Diego Downtown News that six kitchen staffers quit their jobs the evening of Nov. 23 because of grievances they harbored toward the ownership. The reported exodus follows the abrupt departure earlier this month of former executive chef Daniel Barron, who said, “The kitchen was going in a different direction than the restaurant, which was heading more toward a nightclub/sports bar.” Barron was replaced by Jimmy Tessier, who previously helmed the kitchen at Local Habit in Hillcrest until it suddenly closed in October. Blush’s chef de cuisine, Ami Cisneros, was among the recent employees to leave the four-month-old restaurant. She posted news of her departure on Facebook the following day, stating, “I gave up so much to be part of this team,” while crediting Barron for “helping me grow immensely.” When asked by phone about the employee walkouts, which allegedly included line and wok cooks, Blush coowner Russ Fukushima immediately handed over our call to his marketing manager, Marie Daniels, who said she knew nothing about the matter. Daniels later sent an email stating, “Yes, they had a runner depart yesterday and one other kitchen staff. He [Fukushima] sees this as normal business operations and sees no need to comment on it any further.” 555 Market St., 619-501-9158.

San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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Café 222’s “hangover breakfast” is half price for well-dressed customers on New Year’s Day. (Courtesy of Wicked Creative) Saunter into Café 222 in the Marina District on New Year’s Day (between 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.) still wearing your party dress or tuxedo from the previous night’s outing, and the eatery’s oversized “hangover breakfast” is half price. The meal, which will otherwise cost $15.95, includes a malted waffle topped with a pair of pancakes, eggs, sausage links and turkey bacon strips. 222 Island Ave., 619-236-9902. Born and trained in France, and a past instructor at the San Diego Culinary Institute, Samuel Geffroy brings his culinary prowess to the table as the new executive chef at Blue Point Coastal Cuisine in the Gaslamp Quarter. Having worked in several prestigious kitchens throughout Europe, the talented toque also ran the kitchen for eight years at the former Tapenade Restaurant in La Jolla. His new menu items at Blue Point include yellow fin-octopus “duo” with Swiss chard fondant; wild Chilean sea bass with cilantro jasmine rice; and seared day boat scallops accompanied by ricotta gnocchi and red bell pepper sauce. 565 Fifth Ave., 619-233-6623.

Patrons of Jsix can opt to put themselves at the mercy of chef Christian Graves on any night of the week as he prepares on request five-course meals containing dishes you won’t find on the regular menu. The random dinners, which cost $65 per person, rely The Nolen is Downtown’s newest rooftop patio. (Courtesy of Bay Bird Inc.) on whatever ingredients Graves has in the kitchen that day. 616 J St., 619-531-8744. The newly constructed Courtyard by Marriott Gaslamp/Convention Center hotel has opened a Chef Aron Schwartz of Marina Kitchen Restaurooftop bar called The Nolen, named after landscape rant & Bar snagged the “Chef of the Fest” title at architect John Nolen, who assisted San Diego in its city this year’s San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival planning throughout the early 1900s. Perched on the 14th floor, and designed by San Diego- grand tasting, held late last month at Embarcadero Marina Park North. His winning dish was baconbased Bluemotif Architecture, the 2,500-square-foot wrapped pork tenderloin with aji chili vinaigrette, space features plush seating, fireplaces and graffiti-style which beat out entrees made by four other finalists. artwork highlighting San Diego landmarks. The cocktail Schwartz and his fellow competitors shared a purse list pays homage to vintage favorites such as Boulevardiers, Old Fashioneds, Scofflaws and more. Noshes include of more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. 333 W. Harbor Drive, 619-699-8222. salads and flatbreads. 453 Sixth Ave., 619-237-0678.

Downtown’s Sudoku Puzzle DIRECTIONS: Enter digits from 1 to 9 into the blank spaces. Every row must contain one of each digit. So must every column, as must every 3x3 square.

Sudoku Solution Answer Key, page 12

A new state law has distiller Michael Skubic excited about the New Year. (Courtesy of Old Harbor Distilling Co.) Michael Skubic of Old Harbor Distilling Co. in the East Village is ecstatic over the recent passage of the California Craft Distillers Act of 2015, which goes into effect Jan. 1. The new law lifts restrictions on state distillers, allowing them to conduct private tastings and events, and sell up to three bottles of spirits per consumer, per day. As a result, Skubic is putting the finishing touches on a bar inside his facility, and said it will be ready by the first of the year. “We’ll now be much more like a brew pub rather than just a production facility,” he said. “The new bar will make it more comfortable to hang out here, and we’ll be able to do cocktails.” Old Harbor’s product line currently features gin and Navy-strength rum, which are carried by nearly 150 bars, restaurants and liquor stores in San Diego County. Among the Downtown-area establishments where you can find them are Gaslamp Tavern, Rare Form, Juniper & Ivy, and Ironside Fish & Oyster. Tours of Old Harbor Distilling Co. are conducted by reservation only at 5 and 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 270 17th St., 619-630-7048. —Frank Sabatini Jr can be reached at fsabatini@san.rr.com.v


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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

Greek gusto

DINING

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Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. Hang an exclamation mark over Athens Market Taverna, where magnificent Greek meals correspond to high doses of hospitality within a historic building that used to be the Senator Hotel. Located on the peaceful west side of Horton Plaza, seemingly a world apart from Downtown’s bustling restaurant scene, firsttime customers can potentially encounter a convivial hug by owner Mary Pappas. Repeat visitors definitely will. Pappas is a consummate host who does what so many restaurant owners fail to do: She mingles habitually with guests and loves sharing stories about her dynamic life. It’s as though she’s throwing a sleepover in her own house while armed with some of the best dolmades, pastitsio and moussaka you’ll find in San Diego. She speaks often of her father, who ran a restaurant in Greece before handing down many of the classic recipes you’ll find here, despite the fact none of them exist on paper. “We never write anything down, even though my father was a very fussy chef,” she said. The “recipes” are instead based on heart, soul and technique, as proven with a starter of ridiculously delicious grape leaves (dolmades) stuffed with ground sirloin and rice. The surprise element was a sensational egg-lemon sauce draping

Owner Mary Pappas behind the main dining room bar; slow roasted lemon chicken; the Horiatiki Village “original Greek” salad; dolmathes with egg-lemon sauce (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Athens Market Taverna

109 West F St. 619-234-1955 athensmarkettaverna.com Dinner prices: Starters, soups and salads, $4 to $14; entrees, $17 to $27 them, a mouthwatering addition I’ve never encountered in other versions of the dish. Among Pappas’ most engaging tales is how she bought the business from her aunt 41 years ago, when Athens operated primarily as a produce and grocery market fronting a small dining room at 414 E St.

Several years after arriving to San Diego from Greece on a student visa, Pappas won a car in a raffle held at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church on Park Boulevard. But she immediately cashed it in to buy out her aunt with the intention of making enough profits to attend law school. “It turned out that once I was in the business, I decided this was my calling. Now, all these years later, here I am,” she said with the passion of new restaurant owner. Pappas soon phased out the market while building up the restaurant. She moved to her current location in 1985 because of redevelopment to the former building. Gregarious and animated, she knows practically everyone who walks through the door, and visa versa, from politicians and judges to business owners and fellow Downtown residents. Even young children delight over her presence, as we witnessed the night of our visit. In earlier years she befriended the late Elizabeth Montgomery, who dropped in nightly for a meal while her husband, Robert Foxworth, performed in “Antony and Cleopatra” at the Old Globe Theatre. “She loved everything on the menu,” Pappas recalled. Bob Hope was also a patron, as was Telly Savalas, whose photograph is displayed in an antique

hutch inside the restaurant’s larger dining room, showing Pappas sitting playfully on his lap. Cocktails, beer and wine — the latter including a few obscure Greek labels — set the stage for Athens’ white-linen fare. Arches, pillars and glass chandeliers flow elegantly throughout two dining rooms, one of which features a sizable central bar. Hanging on some of the walls are framed newspaper and magazine articles, several

decades’ worth applauding the restaurant’s cuisine, if not the vivacious Pappas herself. For this reviewer and his companion, the cuisine was like “food for the gods,” a description I’m stealing from a 1990 Gourmet Magazine article about the restaurant, because it still fits. After the outstanding grape

leaves, we tried mini servings of the menu’s three soups — herby lentil, lemony avgolemono, and white bean with veggies, which Pappas and her longtime chef, Chuy, made by accident a few years ago when they added too much water to a lima bean stew recipe. The result is most comforting. “My dad always said that if the soups in a restaurant are tasty, then most of the dishes will be too,” Pappas said. Indeed, everything that followed continued wowing us. Imported kefalograviera cheese is used for the saganaki, a favorite Greek appetizer that’s set aflame in brandy at the table, and then doused with generous spurts of fresh lemon. Tangy and buttery, Pappas showed us how to eat it the right way. Instead of lopping the melted cheese directly on top of the accompanying bread pieces, it’s better to scoop out the innards, almost down to the crust, and then spoon the cheese into the resulting pockets for a less doughy and more manageable outcome. We passed on the grilled baby octopus, a relative newcomer to the menu that ranks as a top seller. The classic dishes hailing from papa Pappas interested us the most, such as the fresh spanakopita

see Athens Market, pg 19


COMMUNITY VOICES / NEWS

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Holiday shopping? Give the gift of financial stability Financial News Taylor Schulte With Black Friday behind us and Christmas fast approaching, many will be gearing up for travel, spending time with loved ones, and of course, checking off those holiday shopping lists. And while you may be dazzled by this year’s “Hottest Tech Gifts” or “Must Have Toys,” consider giving gifts that will keep on giving long after the holidays, especially when it comes to kids and young adults. When I was 12 years old, my grandfather gave me what I thought was the worst Christmas gift ever — shares of a publicly-traded stock. Typically, he would give us a cash gift, so this was new and unexpected. He showed me how to look up the stock in the newspaper and track the price. Along with the gift, he taught me about long-term investing, dividends, and other valuable investing lessons. The stock went up and down with varying economic events, but we never sold. The stock happened to perform well, and when I turned 22, the worst Christmas gift ever became the down payment for my first home. While there are seemingly endless gift options this holiday season, consider one of the non-traditional presents below to help put your loved ones on the path to success: SparkGift. A great alternative to cash (or clothes that kids grow out of), SparkGift offers a simple way to gift shares of stock or mutual fund hassle-free. The site lets you buy fractional shares from individual stocks to shares in a variety of exchange-traded funds and you can spend anywhere from $20 to $2,000. This concept can serve as a great way teach kids about investing or saving. And, if the recipient holds on to it for a long time period, that gift can keep on giving. Banking Basics. With most schools on break, December could be a great time to teach kids and young adults about money. Whether it’s a traditional piggy bank or a bank account, it’s important to start the savings conversation sooner than later. Helping a child establish their first account — a foundation of financial education — creates an opportunity to teach about savings, fees and interest. Rather than just opening an account at your current bank, ask your kids to help you research finding the right bank. Understanding the basics and developing good habits early on can be very beneficial to their financial future. Start a 529. Known as a qualified tuition plan, a 529 is a savings plan designed to cover future education costs at qualified colleges across the U.S. It offers great tax benefits and an option to make a one-time contribution or set up continuous payments. Opening or contributing to the plan for the holidays is yet another opportunity to discuss the ins and outs of finances with your loved ones. Also, consider asking relatives to contribute to the plan as part of their gift — with minimum contributions starting as low as $50, family members can partake in setting up kids and young adults for a lifetime of success. —Taylor Schulte, CFP, is the founder of Define Financial in Downtown San Diego. Schulte specializes in providing independent, objective, financial advice to individuals, families and businesses. He can be reached at 619-577-4002 or taylor@definefinancial.com.v

ATTORNEYS

ATTORNEYS

San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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San Diego top chef heads for greener pastures By Frank Sabatini Jr. He worked in numerous local kitchens, co-owned three restaurants, learned a little Spanish along the way, and recently gained national exposure for his “borderless” approach to cooking. Now at the top of his game, Chad White has bid a fond adieu to the city that ignited his career over the past 10 years. Fans of White were shocked when news broke last month that he had suddenly closed Comun Kitchen & Tavern, a sleek East Village haunt that rode the trend of elevated Mexican food since opening in mid-2014. It was White’s third independent venture after launching Craft Pizza Company in Westfield UTC, and the La Justina gastro bar in Tijuana. He’ll remain a minor partner to both. Comun’s closing, however, coincided with White revealing he competed against 16 other West Coast chefs in season 13 of Bravo’s “Top Chef” television series, which began airing Dec. 2 after filming in undisclosed cities. At the same time, he started packing for a move to his native hometown of Spokane, Washington, where he is resettling with plans to open a restaurant there. San Diego Downtown News caught up with the 33-year-old chef shortly before his well-attended send-off party at Carnitas Snack Shack in North Park. He shared with us his career motivations, fondest San Diego memories, and how he ended up on one of America’s most popular cooking shows. San Diego Downtown News (SDDN): What prompted you to leave San Diego? Chad White (CW): I’ve spent just about 15 years here and I’m now at the point in my career where I’m comfortable going back to my roots and helping the culinary scene grow in Spokane. I’m not leaving out of frustration, but it’s good for me to step out of my comfort zone and try a new market. SDDN: Why did you close Comun? CW: Comun was a risk because of the hype of the East Village, which isn’t quite there yet. There are still a lot of condos that haven’t been leased or purchased, and we just watched two restaurants close around us (Table No. 10 and Toast Enoteca). Comun’s failure wasn’t because of a lack of effort by any means. SDDN: How did you land the gig on “Top Chef”? CW: They found me. It was out of the blue. My name was supposedly brought up a couple of times and somebody within their organization contacted me. SDDN: Did you immediately agree to participate in the show? CW: I had to think about it for a little while because I thought “do I really need ‘Top Chef’ to help my career after already making one for myself?” SDDN: Since you obviously can’t tell us who won, what other details can you share about the experience? CW: None right now, except that there were only a few competitors in this season under 30 years old. The show used to have mostly younger, amateur contestants. Now you’re looking at more accomplished chefs competing.

FROM PAGE 18

ATHENSMARKET constructed with ultra-delicate filo pastry, plus the Horiatiki Village salad, considered the “original Greek salad” using fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese and kalamata olives. Its authenticity is achieved here with a near-invisible dressing of olive oil and oregano. From the entrée list, the pastitsio (Greek-style lasagna) flaunted a superb pudding-like layer of béchamel sauce set atop ground sirloin and tube pasta. We tasted allspice, clove and nutmeg in what was the best preparation of the dish I’ve ever encountered. The mint and garlic beef meatballs were also divine, and ditto for the slow-roasted lemon chicken, a half bird yielding moist tender meat beneath crackly, flavorful skin. It’s served in thin tomato

ATTORNEYS

COMPUTER REPAIR

(top) Chad White built his illustrious career in San Diego. (Photo by Jim Sullivan); (bottom) White recently closed his East Village Común Kitchen and Tavern. (File photo) SDDN: What are some of your favorite memories of living and working in San Diego? CW: It’s been about all the relationships I’ve built with other chefs and people in the local food community. Some of them have really taken me under their wings. I’ve also enjoyed splitting my time between San Diego and Tijuana while living here, and I plan to still keep my apartment in TJ since I’ll be coming back down here making quarterly checks on La Justina. SDDN: Where do you see the San Diego dining scene headed? CW: It’s getting better and better each year, and it’s important that it continues to grow. You have chefs here who are really excited to do unique things. For me, having friends in Mexico helped changed my style of cooking. I became fearless, just like other chefs are doing. — Frank Sabatini Jr can be reached at fsabatini@san.rr.com.v jus with rice and tender green beans. Except for the savory beef sirloin tips (stifatho), which tasted more Midwest-American than exotic-Greek, the food hit our palates with variant, soothing flavors that run much deeper compared to meals you’ll find in casual Greek diners. Even the baklava and custard we had for dessert carried a little something extra in terms of spices and lemon hiding in the honey. “Greek food is the best of Italian, Turkish and French cooking combined,” said Pappas, before hugging the next group of incoming diners accustomed to the lovable, social experience she creates, in what I’d agree is one of San Diego’s most illustrious restaurants. —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at fsabatini@san.rr.com.v

LAWYER

MOVING


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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

Notes from Toni Speaker of the Assembly Toni G. Atkins From Dec. 5 through Dec. 11, Paris, France is hosting the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP 21. Nearly 50,000 heads of state, climate leaders, policy experts, and others from all over the world are expected to attend. The last time a major international climate conference was held was in 2009 in Copenhagen, but it did not result in a major climate agreement. The purpose of this conference is to reach a new, legally binding international agreement limiting the rise of greenhouse-gas emissions. Specifically, the conference will call for all countries to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. If global warming exceeds 2 degrees Celsius, we can expect more climate extremes, such as severe drought (something Californians know all too well) and intense temperatures globally. It’s important that all nations decrease their climate footprint, use more renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gases. Climate change is one of the greatest dangers the world faces, so that’s why it’s so critical that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are leading the U.S. contingent, to show the world that we are committed to reducing our climate impact. Most heads of state at the conference are national leaders, but because of California’s vanguard position on climate — which sets strong renewable-energy goals — our delegation was invited to attend. Governor Jerry Brown, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and I are leading the California delegation to COP 21. While many of the international participants are working on the global-warming agreement, one of my priorities will be getting a better understanding of climate change at the local level, particularly its impact on San Diego’s military bases. Climate change increases global instability — leading to more hunger, poverty, and conflict — and creates more severe weather events that threaten military installations, affect training exercises, strain equipment, and endanger supply lines. But one of the biggest threats to the military is sea-level rise. The Scripps Institute of Oceanography has found that during the next 35 years, San Diego will be prone to major flooding and massive storms. If we don’t act quickly, sea level in our region could be 5 to 24 inches higher by 2050. Implementing effective climate-change policies at the state and local levels is a vital part of the equation. I am proud to have been invited to help represent California, and our national security concerns will be among my areas of focus. We’ve all seen post-apocalyptic films with themes about how our lack of action ruins the environment and imperils our future. We all must come together, from international leaders to local farmers, in order to keep those dystopian stories where they belong: Hollywood. As we move forward in addressing climate change, I hope San Diegans will be an important part of shaping what we do and underscoring the urgency of how soon we need to do it.

Supporting Becky’s House. The holidays are a festive time, but for anyone who is suffering or struggling to make ends meet, they can be a serious and painful challenge. That’s why I’m happy to join Assembly members Shirley Weber and Lorena Gonzalez on Dec. 16 to host our Holiday Gift-raiser to benefit Becky’s House, a housing program for survivors of domestic violence, and Bridges Teen Recovery, a part of Vista Hill Recovery that aids at-risk youth. Each year, we choose worthy charities and invite friends, constituents and supporters to bring in gifts that will be delivered to our partner for the holidays. Past giftraiser beneficiaries include Operation Homefront and Promises2Kids. Becky’s House offers one year of transitional housing to help those who have suffered domestic abuse get back on their feet. The YWCA supports the program, which includes life skills training. Bridges Teen Recovery offers drug and alcohol screening, anger management classes and other intervention programs for young people who are experiencing addiction or mental health issues. For those wishing to give a gift to Becky’s House or Bridges, here is a wish list: * New comforters, blankets and bed linens (twin only); bath towels; pots and pans, silverware and kitchen utensils; blenders, fans, vacuum cleaners and clocks; double and single baby strollers; new children’s toys, and unused coloring books and developmental/ learning toys. * Popular items for girls include those with a “Frozen” theme, Barbies and art supplies. Boys favor balls, Marvel action figures and Legos. * Diapers and wipes; general personal care products and toiletries (hair products, body soap, razors, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, and other items); gift cards; and tickets to movies, sporting events and theme parks. We would be thrilled if you could join us as we step up to support Becky’s House and Bridges Teen Recovery. The gift-raiser will take place from 5 - 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16 in the Eshleman Auditorium in the State Building, 1350 Front St., San Diego. A friend to check in. YANA stands for You Are Not Alone — a great message for those who find themselves without friends or family to check on them. The YANA program, offered by San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency, gives residents the opportunity to sign up to have a senior volunteer check in on them, free of charge. Residents qualify if they live alone and are seniors or disabled. They may be able to take care of themselves day-to-day, but want the security of knowing someone is available to help should there be an emergency. To sign up, call your local neighborhood police division or San Diego County Sheriff station and ask for the senior volunteer office. Here are contacts in my district: San Diego Police Central division, 619-744-9500; Mid-City, 619516-3000; Northern, 858-552-1700, and Western, 619-692-4800. San Diego County Sheriff: Imperial Beach, 619-518-8885, and North Coastal Station, 619-993-2859. The County RSVP office also can help, at 858-505-6399. —Toni G. Atkins is the Speaker of the California State Assembly. For more information, visit her website, asmdc.org/speaker or follow her on Twitter, @toniatkins.v

POLITICS

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Atrocities abroad ... and at home Congressional Watch Andy Cohen Welcome to the final San Diego Congressional Watch of 2015! November was another eventful month in Congress, with one vote in particular gaining national notoriety — or infamy, depending on your perspective. On Friday night, Nov. 13, at least six Islamic extremists unleashed a series of terror attacks on Paris, France, leaving 130 people dead and several hundred more wounded. The terrorist organization the Islamic State group, operating out of Syria, claimed responsibility for the atrocities, just weeks after claiming responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner over Egypt. The Paris terror strikes raised a myriad of questions about the open border policy throughout the European Union. Although most of the assailants were identified as French citizens, authorities believe the ring leader, identified as Salah Abdelsalam, planned the operation in his native Belgium, where he was able to freely cross the border into France. The entire country of France was subsequently put on lockdown, with French President Francois Hollande ordering the borders closed in the wake of the attacks. Back in the United States, tensions began rising, with many pols sitting, waiting for the other shoe to drop, biding their time until the inevitable attack on U.S. soil came. It didn’t. But that didn’t stop American politicians from becoming hysterical. A mere six days after the Paris atrocities, on Nov. 19, Congress passed the American SAFE (Security Against Foreign Enemies) Act of 2015, just two days after it was introduced, with no debate and no amendments allowed. The American SAFE Act of 2015, a bill written and introduced by Congressional Republicans, expands background checks against Iraqi and Syrian refugees seeking to escape the violent civil war and the horrors of the Islamic State’s militants in their own countries, making us “safer.” Let’s set aside the fact that

Rep. Susan Davis, D-53 2700 Adams Ave. #102 San Diego, CA 92116 Local: 619-280-5353 Washington: 202-225-2040 house.gov/susandavis Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-50 1611 N. Magnolia Ave. #310 El Cajon, CA 92019 619-448-5201 202-225-5672 hunter.house.gov Rep. Darrell Issa, R-49 1800 Thibodo Road #310 Vista, CA 92081 760-599-5000 202-225-3906 issa.house.gov Rep. Scott Peters, D-52 4350 Executive Dr. #105 San Diego, CA 92122 858-455-5550 202-225-0508 scottpeters.house.gov Rep. Juan Vargas, D-51 333 F St. #A Chula Vista, CA 91910 619-422-5963 202-225-8045 vargas.house.gov

refugees seeking asylum in the United States already face some of the most stringent background checks in the world, with the process taking 18-24 months before they are allowed to set foot on American soil. Also set aside the fact that none of the Paris attackers were from Syria. Broken down into its most base design, what this bill does is to close America’s doors to all Syrian (and Iraqi) refugees, shrouding all who seek safe harbor under a cloud of terrorist suspicion. Critics have drawn comparisons to the turning away of the St. Louis, a passenger ship that sailed from Hamburg, Germany, full of Jewish refugees in 1939 off the coast of Florida, and the

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internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. We’ll apparently never learn. The SAFE Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 289-137. All but two Republicans who voted on the bill voted in favor, including Darrell Issa (R-49) and Duncan Hunter (R-50). Susan Davis (D-53) and Juan Vargas (D-51) voted against the bill. The surprise vote came from Scott Peters (D-52), who joined 46 other Democrats to vote in favor of the bill. “President Obama has explained how the United States’ process for screening refugees is the most thorough and advanced in the world. Our process [already] incorporates biometric checks, medical screenings, and stringent investigations with international intelligence agencies to ensure that every individual we allow to enter is not a threat to national security,” Peters said in a press release, justifying his vote. “However, the administration has not made the case to me that today’s bill will shut down or unduly delay our existing process.” The bill, according to NPR, would require the director of the FBI, the secretary of Homeland Security, and the director of National Intelligence to each personally sign off on each and every refugee from Iraq and Syria, personally affirming that he or she was not a threat. That required personal touch virtually guarantees additional delays beyond the two years refugees currently experience. And oh, by the way, the FBI and Homeland Security already conduct independent background checks on all refugees before they are admitted to the United States. In other news … Darrell Issa threw his support for the Republican nomination for president behind Marco Rubio, the firstterm senator from Florida. “Marco Rubio really is an exciting candidate, and I’m pleased to be able to endorse him and work for him for the presidency,” Issa said in an interview on “Fox and Friends.” “[Rubio] has been fighting for a lot of the things I believe in, and look, he’s not afraid to engage on the hottest subjects,” Issa said. Issa is still the richest man in Congress, with a reported net worth of over $247 million, $150 million more than the next richest member of Congress, down from a reported $357 million last year. Not to worry, though: The decline likely has more to do with the way the data was reported than any actual financial losses. Duncan Hunter has thrown his support for the Republican nomination for president to Mike Huckabee, the former pastor and Arkansas governor. Disturbed by the lack of living veterans of the Iraq war who have received the Medal of Honor, Hunter last month penned a letter to President Obama inquiring on the matter. While 13 Medals of Honor have been awarded to veterans of the Afghanistan conflict, only four have been awarded to Iraq war veterans, all posthumously. According to Hunter, the process for awarding the Medal of Honor has become “overly politicized.” “The fact that there’s not a single living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the war in Iraq is a mystery,” Hunter said. —Andy Cohen is a local freelance writer. Reach him at ac76@ sbcglobal.net.v


NEWS

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(l to r) Kris Michell, CEO of Downtown San Diego Partnership and Sam Attisha, VP of business development and public affairs of Cox Communications at the third annual Make Change Count drive launch. (Courtesy DSDP) FROM PAGE 1

DONATIONS parking meters and are located on private property, accept coin and credit card payments. According to figures provided by Downtown Partnership, meter donations have gradually increased each year. In fiscal year 2012, the meters collected less than $1,000. In the last fiscal year, they generated more than $4,000. Most of the money raised through the donation meters — roughly $6,500 — has gone toward a program called Work Your Way Home, which helps reunite homeless people with their family members. The rest of the money has been used to pay for credit card transaction fees associated with the donations and new donation meters. Knight said the Work Your Way Home program helps identify family members who are able and willing to take in homeless relatives or loved ones struggling in San Diego. Once the connection is established, she said the program pays for their ticket home. “In exchange, we ask them to do a little work,” Knight said. “That feature of the program is so important because it isn’t just moving folks out of the city and not caring about them,” said Dolores Diaz, executive director of the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless. “It is a compassionate way to reunify folks with some dignity.”

San Diego is one of several cities across the country that has installed donation meters for the homeless. Some programs have been more successful than others. Supporters of the donation meters tout them as a way for people to contribute to organizations that know how to effectively care for the homeless. But some critics argue that the meters are mainly used as a way to discourage panhandling and push the homeless out of Downtown business districts. “The whole idea is, don’t give money to poor people because if you do they’ll hang around,” said Paul Boden, executive director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, a San Francisco-based organization that advocates for the homeless. Boden said it’s upsetting that organizations in San Diego and other cities have spent so much time and resources installing donation meters. He said they haven’t generated much money and aren’t addressing the root causes of homelessness. However, Knight said the Downtown Partnership is encouraged by the success of its program. In fact, she said the nonprofit has plans to install 10 more meters Downtown in the near future. The annual drive also helps boost support of the program. For donation station/red meter locations see the sidebar below. 
— Chris Young is a reporter at inewsource, an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit focused on investigative, data-driven journalism. Contact him at chris.young@inewsource.org. v

“Make Change Count” donation station locations Donations deposited into the Make Change Count donation stations are collected as the meters fill up and turned over to the Downtown San Diego Partnership Foundation, a 501(c)3 which supports the Ending Homelessness Campaign. The funds help pay for homeless efforts including: hygiene kits; the work your way home program; and for items that assist with preparing for job interviews. l SW of Harbor Boulevard and Park Boulevard l Hilton bayside — Park Boulevard & Gull Street l Rear of Convention Center near Marina Park Way l Marina Walkway at the rear of Marriott Marquis and Marina l SE of Harbor Boulevard and First Street l Market Place behind the Hyatt San Diego l NE of Kettner Boulevard and Broadway l NE of Front Street and Broadway l SW of First Street and Broadway by the Chase Bank l N-side of Broadway Circle next to Panera Bread l Broadway Circle by the Balboa Theatre ticket entrance l SW courtyard entrance to Horton Plaza near First Avenue and G Street l E-side of Fifth Avenue between Broadway and C Street l SW of Fifth Avenue and B Street next to Wells Fargo l W-side of Park between Broadway and C Street l SE of Sixth Avenue and F Street next to Quality Social l NE of Sixth Avenue and G Street next to Buca di Beppo l E-side of Sixth Avenue, mid block, between J and K streets l NE of Park Boulevard and J Street l S-side of Island Avenue, mid block, between Fourth and Fifth avenues l E-side of Fourth Avenue, mid block, between Island Avenue and J Street

Are you interested in installing a donation station on your property? Call the Clean & Safe office at 619-234-8900 for more information.

San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

GASLAMP QUARTER

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The Fritz Building Gaslamp Landmarks Jake Romero

The three-story brick and steel building that occupies 756-760 Fifth Ave. is known as the Fritz Building. Louis Fritz was the founder of the famed Golden Lion Tavern, a popular eatery and saloon established in 1907. This structure, built in 1908 at a cost of $30,000, is of the Renaissance Revival style, a 19th-century style drawing inspiration from a wide range of Italian classical influences. This building bears the initials of its builder on ornate decorative cast filigrees on the left and right sides of its facade. The Fritz Building was initially erected under the supervision of architect C.H. Edmond Blachmann. It is a simple structure with several notable features. Rising 50 feet, the lines of the structure coincide with the adjoining Loring and Company Building to the north. Support of the floors was achieved by an economical yet ingenious method that utilized steel beams and columns encased in concrete. This construction method proved to be durable while maximizing space and greatly reducing cost. The first floor was fitted for restaurant use with a large plate-glass front with spacious vestibule wainscoted with fine, well-matched onyx and dark Tennessee marble base. The main room was quite grand with a coved ceiling and dentilled cornice supported by pilasters forming panels decorated with hunting scenes. Unfortunately, none of

The Fritz Building (1908) by Edmond Blachmann, at 756 – 760 Fifth Ave. (Courtesy GQHF)

these interior details have survived to present day. Upon opening in 1909, one of the first tenants was the Denver Bachelor Apartments operated under the management of Alice S. Poole. Mrs. Poole’s apartments provided fine, first class accommodations for gentlemen. Furnishings were elegant and comfortable. Lavatories were the very best and fitted with instantaneous heaters. No children or ladies were admitted under any circumstances, nor cooking of any kind permitted. In later years, the building housed the Minneapolis Hotel and Restaurant, a business known for catering to the prostitutes and their patrons in the Stingaree District. Throughout the years, this building has housed numerous restaurants. At the time of this writing, the first floor is unoccupied. —Jake Romero is the director of operations of the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation, located at 410 Island Ave., Downtown, in the historic Davis-Horton House. For more information visit gaslampfoundation.org.v


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GASLAMP QUARTER

San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

FEATURE / HOLIDAY DRIVES

FROM PAGE 1

LEPARFAIT when you come here. Our goal is to have people eat here and feel like they’re traveling back to France for a little bit.” Mas studied culinary arts and restaurant management in Paris, where she worked for friends at various restaurants, but many of the recipes at Le Parfait Paris were her grandmother’s originals. “If we had this cafe in Paris, we would do it the exact same way,” said Ryon, the company’s CEO. The couple’s journey to Le Parfait was anything but routine. Ryon was born in Paris but grew up in Africa along the Ivory Coast and Congo, but eventually made his way to the South of France. In search of the American dream, Ryon came to the U.S. to play college football, and eventually ended up playing at San Diego Mesa College and the University of San Diego (USD). Mas, a native Parisian, followed Ryon soon after to better her English and learn more about restaurant operations. She went on to complete a degree at San Diego State in hospitality and tourism management. Ryon later graduated from USD where he studied finance and real estate, but it was while working for a financial institution doing portfolio management that Ryon began thinking about opening a cafe. While doing investment analysis of profitable business ventures, he came across La Boulange bakery in San Francisco that was sold to Starbucks for $100 million in 2013. “The numbers were incredible, and I thought … I could do this,”

FROM PAGE 7

DRIVES

them here: jers.com/prod_detail_ list/27. Visit sandiegofoodbank.org/ holiday for more information and updated event information. Feeding America San Diego holiday campaign A few ideas of how to support Feeding America San Diego (FASD) include: • Donate: Six meals can be provided for every $1 donated. You can make a one-time gift or monthly donation online. • Volunteer: FASD relies on volunteers to help sort and distribute products to partners and clients. Sign up to volunteer on your own or with a group at the distribution center (9455 Waples St., Sorrento Valley). • Organize a food drive with your company or at your office. Visit feedingamericasd.org/ events-campaigns/holiday-campaign for more information and to contribute.

Toy Drives Salvation Army Toy Drive • Salvation Army centers throughout San Diego will be collecting toys via their Angel Giving Trees, which contain “angel” tags that correspond to a child in need. The paper “angel” will have the child’s first name, age and sex. Shoppers can select an angel, buy gift(s) accordingly and return them to the angel tree. See locations at bit.ly/1PqOWaO. • All 27 Massage Envy Spa locations throughout San Diego will be collecting toys for the Salvation Army through Dec. 16. • Businesses, schools, churches, service groups, and others can sign up for

Pastry chef Jean François Fays is behind the menu, which includes breads, pastries, desserts and savory options like quiche, salads, panninis and egg dishes. (Photos courtesy La Parfait Paris) Ryon said. “I started studying baking but knew I wasn’t going to be good. So I called the expert in food — my wife — and she said we must have a good baker.” So they began conducting interviews via Skype, when they found Fays, who is also from the South of France. The couple now lives Downtown, just a few blocks from Le Parfait Paris, but their production facility is in Mission Valley. Their employees begin baking at midnight so that products are fresh when they’re delivered Downtown before 6 a.m. The cafe’s best-selling items are macaroons, almond croissants, the parfait signature dessert, Frenchy

an Angel Giving Tree at bit.ly/1ksxt5c. The Giving Tree Through Dec. 18 The Headquarters at Seaport (849 W. Harbor Drive, Downtown) will have its beautiful Giving Tree on display in the central courtyard. Community members are invited to drop off gifts for children up to 18 years of age and monetary donations for the USO San Diego at the Giving Tree or at Geppetto’s Toys (located at The Headquarters). Visit bit.ly/1MTjo6T for more information. Toys for Tots The Marines and sailors of the 4th Tank Battalion and 4th Medical Battalion at the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center are asking for support of their annual campaign. They request that all toys be dropped off at their headquarters, located at 9955 Pomerado Rd., San Diego, 92131, east of MCAS Miramar. For more information, email them at sandiego.toys4tots@gmail.com.

Other drives Supporting Becky’s House. Join Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and Assembly members Shirley Weber and Lorena Gonzalez when they host their “Holiday Gift-raiser” to benefit Becky’s House, from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16 in the Eshleman Auditorium in the State Building, 1350 Front St., San Diego. Becky’s House is a housing program for survivors of domestic violence, and Bridges Teen Recovery, a part of Vista Hill Recovery, which supports at-risk youth. Items needed: * New (twin only) comforters, blankets and bed linens; bath towels; pots and pans, silverware and kitchen utensils; blenders, fans, vacuum cleaners and clocks; double and

cheesecake, bavarois dessert, the L’Alsacien breakfast sandwich and eggs Benedict. For the holidays, they’ve created three new desserts: an almond cookie with raspberry filling, covered in dark chocolate mousse; a butter cream custard with fresh fruit and a cookie bottom; and a milk chocolate mousse with chocolate cake and hazelnuts. All of the decorative items plated with their desserts are edible, including sugar buttons and pearls. Le Parfait Paris purchases all of its produce from local farmers markets and will soon have a booth at the Liberty Public Market in Liberty Station. The new location

single baby strollers; new children’s toys, and unused coloring books and developmental/learning toys. * Popular items for girls include those with a “Frozen” theme, Barbies and art supplies. Boys favor balls, Marvel action figures and Legos. * Other necessities include diapers and wipes; general personal care products and toiletries; gift cards; and tickets to movies, sporting events and theme parks. La Mesa Chamber senior project The La Mesa Chamber adopts 22 seniors each year during the holiday season and creates large gift baskets for them, which are delivered with a hot turkey dinner, complete with trimmings, by La Mesa RSVP members. This year’s delivery date is Friday, Dec. 18. Items will be collected through Friday, Dec. 11. Items suggested: 22 canned soups; 22 canned vegetables; 22 canned fruits; 22 packets of crackers; 22 packets of pasta or macaroni and cheese; 22 pens and pads of paper; 18 slipper socks for women, 4 pairs of men’s socks; gift cards in any denomination to Target, Walmart or any grocery store; other items you think would make these seniors smile are welcome. Please deliver donations to the La Mesa Chamber office: 8080 La Mesa Blvd., Suite 202. Contact Mary England with questions at 619-251-7730 or maryengland@lamesachamber.com. The Salvation Army Kroc Center Toy ‘n’ Joy workshop The Kroc Center (6845 University Ave., Rolando) has adopted 600 families to benefit this year and will be collecting donations through Dec. 16. Kroc Center shuts down its skate park for the whole month and transforms it into a toy store for preselected low-income parents to come

will offer the same menu as their flagship store Downtown. Eventually, the owners would like to expand the business to other cities outside of San Diego. Every year or two, Mas and Ryon travel back to France, but during the recent terrorist attacks in Paris when they were thousands of miles away in San Diego, Mas immediately called her family to make sure they were safe, and Ryon talked with his friends who work near the scene of where some of the attacks took place — forced to shelter in place until 4 a.m. Then the couple spent the rest of the afternoon glued to their TV for updates on what happened and how

and “shop” for Christmas presents in a dignified way. Each family also receives a food box and a gift card to a grocery store to ensure they can prepare a holiday meal. New toys should be appropriate for ages 0 – 12; there is a particular need for gifts for ages 0 – 2 and 10 – 12. Food and grocery store gift cards can also be donated at select locations. Current donation locations: • Allied Plaza (7777 Alvarado Road, La Mesa) – toys. • Cabrillo Credit Union (10075 Carroll Canyon Road, Scripps Ranch) – toys and food. • Carrillo’s Auto Body (4680 Old Cliffs Road, Allied Gardens) – toys and food • Kaiser Permanente (4647 Zion Ave., Grantville) – toys • Rockin’ Jump (8190 Miralani Drive, Miramar) – toys • Pacific Sotheby’s (8310 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa) – toys • Thrive Public School (4260 54th St., Mid-City) – toys and food • US Bank (9918 Hibert St. Scripps Ranch) – toys • Toy and food donations may also be made at any Kroc Center venue For up-to-date information visit sd.kroccenter.org/give.html. 13th annual Casa de Amparo holiday drive Individuals, groups and companies are invited to donate to this drive in a variety of ways. The donations support over 1,000 Casa Kids during the holiday season. Learn more about Casa de Amparo at casadeamparo.org. Ways to give: • Sponsor an individual Casa Kid’s wish list: You will receive the name, gender and a brief wish list for a Casa Kid ages newborn – 25 years old. • Donate a gift from the general wish list: These gifts will support Casa Kids during the holidays and throughout the year.

www.sdcnn.com many people were injured. “The worst thing was being here,” Ryon said. “I felt so helpless. There are so many things we could do if we were there — donate blood, help with the wounded, etc. No one has guns in France, so they don’t recognize the sound and don’t know how to react.” Mas said the Facebook Safety Check feature was especially helpful while checking on the status of friends and family. “I was happily surprised by how much support we got from the San Diego community because people know we’re French,” Mas said. They hope the community will continue to support them in the future, as they organize wine tasting events, pastry and wine pairings, and a cooking class at their Mission Valley facility. They’re also planning to update the lunch menu and expand their catering business. They currently do some wholesale business to shops outside of the Downtown area. Le Parfait Paris launched a new happy hour menu that features discounted beer and wine, as well as a daily pastry item. Happy hour is available Monday through Friday from 3 – 8 p.m. Right now their busiest time is when the after-dinner crowd comes by for dessert and drinks, with many customers ordering dessert to take home. “Getting your dessert in France is always really important,” Mas said. “That’s what we’d like to bring here.” Le Parfait Paris is located at 555 G St. For more information, visit leparfaitparis.com. —Kai Oliver-Kurtin is a local freelance writer. She enjoys covering events, restaurant news, culture and entertainment. Contact her at kai. sdnews@gmail.com.v

• Sponsor a Casa Kid’s room: Choose from several rooms that help Casa Kids at various stages. • Give a cash gift: These can be mailed or donated online at: bit. ly/1kB17VW. The Casa de Amparo donation center is located at 200 E. Barham St., San Marcos. Donation dates and times are as follows: Dec. 9 – 11 from 4 – 6 p.m.; Dec. 14 – 17 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. For wish lists and more information contact Tania Paniagua at 760566-3559 or tpaniagua@casadeamparo.org. ‘Stuff a Stocking’ for San Diego seniors St. Paul’s Senior Services will be collecting items through Dec. 18 for low-income seniors this holiday season. Suggested items for donations include: • Food: dried food, canned food and soft food items • Toiletries: toilet paper, shampoo, soaps and razor • Linens: pillows, sheets and blankets • Household items: cleaners and trash bags • Clothing: bags, purses and undergarments • Other items: stamps, envelopes, journals and notebooks Donations can be dropped off at the lobby of St. Paul’s Senior Services (328 Maple St., Bankers Hill) and at St. Paul’s Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) locations: PACE Downtown: 111 Elm St. PACE Chula Vista: 630 L St. St. Paul’s Plaza: 1420 E. Palomar St. For more information go to stpaulseniors.org or call 619-239-6900. Happy holidays from everyone at San Diego Downtown News. —Compiled by Jen Van Tieghem. She can be reached at jen@sdcnn.com.v


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COMMUNITY VOICES

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Creating playgrounds that change lives Art on the Land Delle Willett If kids designed playgrounds they would include things to climb, things to balance on, spaces to run, jump, skip, roll and spin, to throw and catch, hide and seek. Trails, trike tracks, forts, swings, slides, mud, water, sand, shady spots and sunny spots, and hideaways where they can feel alone but still have visual contact with other kids. Ditto for landscape architects, who actually do design playgrounds, most often part of a public park or space. It’s the “helicopter parents” (those who hover), the threat of lawsuits, insurance coverage, and maintenance issues that spoil all the fun. According to Tim Smith, of Wynn-Smith Landscape Architecture and immediate past-president of the American Society of Landscape Architects, San Diego, there’s a growing concern these days about how children are growing up, how well they communicate with each other and with adults, how they solve problems, and even why bullying has grown to new levels of tearing down the spirit of kids who don’t fit in. Landscape architects are playing significant roles in creating play spaces that dramatically improve these problems and more. “With a push to getting nature back into children’s lives, landscape architects are introducing natural play elements into playgrounds with ‘loose parts,’ allowing kids the opportunity to create their own play environment instead of the play equipment dictating how children are to play,” Smith said. The focus on nature in a play environment has been proven to have tremendously positive effects on children, giving them a greater sense of confidence and yet more respect for each other. “From all of my reading about this subject, it is clear to me that we, as a society, are losing our ability to communicate, to solve social problems, to be compassionate, and most importantly, how to think,” Smith continued. “I believe this is in large part because of the reduced time spent in nature and how children are playing today.” Landscape architect Ilisa Goldman, founder of Rooted in Place Landscape Architecture and Consulting, focuses much of her practice on the design of play and learning environments, such as schools and child-development centers. Her designs aim to create a sense of journey and exploration for the children who use them. Places where kids can dig, build and create are important features in her designs. By

pairing water with sand or dirt play and rocks, kids are encouraged to make their own custom creations. One of the big challenges she and other landscape architects face when they color outside the lines is insurance coverage. Standard play equipment is typically covered by insurance and must adhere to a strict set of rules and standards, but when landscape architects branch out and include things like stumps, logs, plants, and big rocks, people don’t know how to insure this type of environment; they fear a liability lawsuit. “Play can be risky, but that’s how children learn their balance, sharing and working together,” Goldman said. “I think taking these chances and opportunities away from these kids in order to protect them, we are actually doing a disservice. “There’s got to be a balance when it comes to preventing kids from getting hurt. I’ve fallen off things, gotten hit with things; it’s all part of the learning experience of growing up,” she said. Where current safety standards are meant to reduce the risk of serious or life-threatening injuries, this fear of liability causes the elimination of most risk on our playgrounds despite the evidence that risk is essential for healthy human development. Goldman, who was on the Spurlock-Poirier design team for the new Fault Line Park, thinks a lot of play spaces look like prisons. “At so many parks and schools there’s no landscaping around the play structures,” she said. “[The children] are placed in the middle of a wide open space surrounded by pored-in-place surfacing or sand and there’s no opportunities to take nature materials and incorporate them into play.” Everything is based on maintenance, she laments. Cities and school districts question the use of trees: Who’s going to water and trim them and clean up under them? If volunteers are doing the work, then won’t they be taking away from union employees? It’s interesting, Goldman said, the things that get picked apart as unsafe. “Take out a shade tree for safety so kids don’t climb them and instead expose kids to UV radiation but making them play on hot asphalt and artificial turf,” she said. Goldman believes that schools and municipalities really need to step up and provide better play areas. She said children have this “huge disconnect” today with symptoms ranging from added stress, child obesity rates, and attention disorders, and she feels these issues have a lot to do with the “disconnect from the natural world” — and a lack of “unstructured free play” which just isn’t available to

Fault Line Park (top) and the Waterfront Park at the County Administration Center (bottom) both press the boundaries of standard playground equipment; (inset) A girl plays with sand at Rooted in Place’s Barrio Logan Child Development Center (Photos by Delle Willett)

children anymore. On the other hand, Goldman thinks the playground manufacturers are catching on to this need for more customized playgrounds and higher play-value; but with little funding for maintenance, natural elements such as trees and shrubs are usually eliminated from projects. Fake logs and molded rocks, however, are making appearances on many playgrounds in lieu of the real thing. “Playground equipment manufacturers are being motivated by competition and pressure from landscape architects and other clients to develop new more creative and challenging play equipment that engages children more holistically,” said landscape architect Jeff Justus, principal, Schmidt Design Group, and project manager for Downtown’s Waterfront Park playground. “Manufacturers are making playground equipment with more motion and textures, more natural play, and more inclusivity,” he said. And it’s being integrated with the whole design of the space. It takes more thought for kids to utilize this new equipment, experimenting with their body movement,

testing their balance and muscle strength, helping kids understand their bodies and how they work. Some clients aren’t willing to push the boundaries while others are willing to push the creativity of the playgrounds, two of which are located Downtown. The Waterfront Park, located at the County Administration building Downtown along Harbor Drive, has a huge variety of activities with play structures that have never been installed in San Diego before: spinners, things to climb, balance challenges and grassy mounds, perfect spots for parents to watch their kids playing, and a huge water fountain popular with all ages. The park’s landscape architects were Schmidt Design Group, San Diego. Another is the new Fault Line Park, at the corner of 14 Street and Island Avenue in East Village. It has individualized play areas for children 2 through 5 and 5 through 12 years, with swings, spinners, chinning bars, and climbing structures. Its creative play elements include sand, rock, and water-play areas, and it also includes trike paths and grassy mounds. The landscape architects were SpurlockPoirier, San Diego.

REALTOR SHOWCASE

Other more traditional playgrounds in the Downtown area include: Park at the Park, an extension of Petco Park, and includes grassy mounds and shade trees, also with landscape architects Spurlock-Poirier, San Diego. Pepper Grove Park on Park Boulevard in Balboa Park, which is a big area with grass, shade trees and picnic tables. Landscape architects were Delorenzo International, Landscape Architecture and Planning, San Diego. Tweet Street Park in Cortez Hill is an .08-acre, linear neighborhood park with shade trees, seating and a doggy-duty area. Landscape architects were Estrada Land Planning, San Diego. Balboa Park on Sixth Avenue of course has a big play area with grassy room to run, shade trees and picnic tables. Landscape architects are unknown to this writer. —Delle Willett has been a marketing and public relations professional for over 30 years, with an emphasis on conservation of the environment. She can be reached at dellewillett@ gmail.com.v


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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

DOWNTOWN CALENDAR

CALENDAR will be nightly entertainment, food, coffee and other treats, plus familyfriendly activities. 5 – 9 p.m. Visit sdbgarden.org.

TUESDAY – DEC. 8

FRIDAY – DEC. 4

Chrysler Test Drive Tour: Take a test drive of the 2015 model Chrysler 200 and/or Chrysler 300 and receive a $10 gift card and more. Runs through Sunday, Dec. 6. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Horton Plaza, 324 Horton Plaza, Downtown. Cortez walkabout: Join DSDP’s Clean & Safe program at 10 a.m. Meet-up at Tenth Avenue and Beech Street (NW corner). For more info, call 619-234-8900, visit downtownsandiego.org or sign up for their newsletter. ‘City Moves’: San Diego City College’s dance department presents this collection of dances that “reflect how we negotiate the world around us.” $10 at the door. 8 p.m. Additional performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5. City College Saville Theatre, 14th and C streets, Downtown. Visit sdcity.edu/ campuslife/dance. Balboa Park December Nights: For the 38th consecutive year, this two-day festival kicks off with participating museums opening their doors free of charge. 350,000 visitors are expected to partake in the food, music and entertainment of the weekend. 3 – 11 p.m. (noon – 11 p.m on Saturday, Dec. 5). Visit balboapark.org/decembernights. Festival of Trees: In conjunction with December Nights, St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral will light its campus — adjacent to Balboa Park — and open its doors for tours. There will be performances by local choral groups, musicians, a charity bake sale, craft market and more. Various organizations will display information and giveaway items with a tree decorated to reflect their mission. 2728 Sixth Ave. Visit stpaulcathedral.org. Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park: The ballpark will be transformed for 12 nights in December with lighting displays, Polar Express trains, live reindeer and more. Guests can also take a photo with Santa Claus near a 40-foot Christmas tree. $20 adults, $10 children (under 3 free). 4:30 – 9:30 p.m. Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., East Village. Visit tinyurl.com/ntg4f69. Coronado Christmas Parade: Event by the Greyhound Adoption Center with dogs wearing special coats adorned with holiday lights and fur trim. Meet at police station patio on Seventh Street and Orange Avenue at 5 p.m. Parade at 7 p.m. down Orange Avenue to Hotel Del and back. Visit on.fb.me/1NmdKu2.

SATURDAY – DEC. 5

San Diego Jeep Club convoy for Toys for Tots: Decorated jeeps will convoy from Fiesta Island to the USS Midway Museum to kick off the Midway’s “Party on the Pier Toy Drive” which supports the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive. Jeep owners will meet at 7:30 a.m. and are asked to bring a new unwrapped toy. 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Visit facebook. com/jeepclubsd. ‘Stretch Yourself’ yoga classes: A free yoga class at outdoor locations throughout Downtown. 9 a.m. Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway. Visit downtownsandiego.org. Makers Arcade Holiday Fair: Enjoy shopping with 95 makers, live music, free make and take crafts, food trucks, cocktails and more. First 100 people in line get a swag bag of handcrafted goods. $5 at door. 11

a.m. – 5 p.m. Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, 1000 N. Harbor Drive. Visit makersarcade.com. Vinavanti Wines Grand Opening: The urban winery will celebrate the opening of their new Hillcrest location with an all-day party. A portion of wine proceeds from the day will be donated to the San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project to support Wild Willow Farm. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. 1477 University Ave., Hillcrest. Visit facebook.com/vinavanti. 52nd annual North Park Toyland Parade and Festival: This legendary parade returns with fun for the whole family. 11 a.m – 3 p.m. University Avenue, North Park. Visit toylandparade.com. Balboa Park December Nights: The 38th annual festival continues with participating museums opening their doors free of charge. 350,000 visitors are expected to partake in the food, music and entertainment of the weekend. Noon – 11 p.m. Visit balboapark.org/ decembernights.

Menorah lighting: A public Chanukah celebration with menorah lighting, music, latkes, chocolate gelt, donuts and children’s activities. 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at The Headquarters outdoor courtyard. 789 W. Harbor Drive, Marina District. Visit theheadquarters.com.

WEDNESDAY – DEC. 9

‘Holiday Cookies — Great for Giving’ baking class: Handson class to make holiday favorites including some best sellers and traditionals like Spritz and roll out cookies. $75. 6 – 8:30 p.m. Bake Sale, 815 F St., Downtown. Visit bakesalesd.com.

THURSDAY – DEC. 10

East Village Community Holiday Tree Lighting: This event kicks off a two-day holiday market hosted by Quartyard and will feature treats from local food trucks and venues (to be purchased), a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday music and more. 5 – 7 p.m. Quartyard, 1102 Market St., East Village. Visit eastvillagesandiego.com.

SUNDAY – DEC. 6 – FIRST NIGHT OF HANUKKAH

Kidz Bop concert: Kid’s artist Kidz Bop make a stop on their holiday tour for a family friendly show. Doors at noon, show at 1 p.m. House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave., Downtown. Visit kidzbop.com/tour. 58th annual La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival: Over 25,000 people are expected to visit downtown La Jolla for this community tradition. Parade Follows Girard Avenue from Kline Street to Prospect Street and then follows Prospect south. Parade 1:30 – 3 p.m.; festival 2 – 5 p.m. Visit ljparade.com. ‘History for the Holidays’: A local history lecture featuring San Diego author and historian Jack Innis – author of “San Diego Legends.” Free (includes museum admission, cider and cookies from noon – 2 p.m.) 2 – 3 p.m. Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House, 410 Island Ave. Visit gaslampfoundation.org.

MONDAY – DEC. 7

Garden of Lights: The San Diego Botanic Garden will be transformed with over 125,00 sparkling lights each evening through Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 24 and 25). There

SUNDAY – DEC. 13

The 8th annual Gaslamp Pet Parade: Downtown Ace Hardware and Market Street Veterinary Clinic present this year’s parade where pets will compete for festive prizes in fun categories. Goodie bags with samples, toys, coupons and more. Parade entry is $15 in advance, $20 day of. $5 discount for those that donate pet supplies to VCA Market Street or Doozydog Club for San Diego Human Society’s PAWS program. Free public pet expo 1 – 5 p.m., parade at 3 p.m. MLK Promenade Park, 401 K St. Gaslamp Quarter. Visit gaslamp.org. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights: A special tradition of the boating community sponsored by Port of San Diego featuring decorated boats. This year’s theme is “Christmas Around the World.” 5:30 p.m. (Additional procession on Dec. 20). Visit sdparadeoflights.org.

FRIDAY – DEC. 11

Core Walkabout: Join DSDP’s Clean & Safe program at 10 a.m. Meet-up at Third Avenue and C Street (NW corner). For more info, call 619-234-8900, visitdowntownsandiego.org, or sign up for their newsletter. ‘The Nutcracker’: San Diego Civic Youth Ballets performances of this holiday favorite start today. Through Dec. 20. 7 p.m. Casa del Prado Theater, 1600 Village Place, Balboa Park. Visit sdcyb.org.

SATURDAY – DEC. 12

Little Italy tree lighting and holiday shopping: The Little Italy Association presents their 16th annual tree lighting. Attendees can do some holiday shopping with Mercato Farmers Market vendors throughout the “Christmas Village.” 4 – 8 p.m., Santa arrives at 4:30 p.m. on a Little Italy Fire Engine, tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. Visit facebook.com/LittleItalyMercato.

www.sdcnn.com

Free workshop: Downtown San Diego Partnership and The Home Depot are teaming up for monthly free workshops. This month “Tree lot: tips on how to decorate a tree and outdoor yard art.” 10 a.m. – noon. Gaslamp Square, Fifth Avenue and L Street. Visit bit.ly/1N0dXnx. East Village community clean up: DSDP’s Clean & Safe program will provide trash bags and supplies for this neighborhood clean up. The District will donate sandwiches to volunteers. 10 a.m. – noon. Meet at Urbana East Village Rental Flats lobby, 450 Tenth Ave. Visit eastvillagecommunitycleanup.eventbrite. com. March and Rally for Climate Justice: As world leaders meet in Paris to negotiate a new global climate treaty, locals will come together to call for “bold climate solutions that create local jobs, strengthen community power and transition us to 100 percent clean energy by 2035.” Noon – 3 p.m. Balboa Park, Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street. Visit facebook.com/SanDiego350. The 2nd annual Toast of Downtown: Featuring nibbles and sips from several Gaslamp and East Village businesses including Le Parfait Paris, Rustic Root, Whiskey Girl and more. Attendees can sample while visiting local businesses, perfect for holiday shoppers. 1 – 5 p.m. Visit toastofdowntown.com. Holiday art show: An artist reception with hosted wine, hors d’oeuvres, new artwork by several artists and jewelry plus live jazz. More details to come. 7 – 9 p.m. Adelman Fine Art, 1980 Kettner Blvd. #40, Little Italy. Visit adelmanfineart.com. ‘Jingle’ holiday concert: 160 members of San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus will perform renditions of holiday favorites, along with special guests and a sing-along. 8 p.m. (Additional performance on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.) Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Downtown. Visit sdgmc.org.

MONDAY – DEC. 14 – LAST NIGHT OF HANUKKAH

Jungle Bells: For three weeks the San Diego Zoo will host holiday activities and offer holiday-themed animal experiences and entertainment with a nightly tree lighting ceremony. The zoo is open 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. with most Jungle Bells activities between 4 – 8 p.m. Visit sandiegozoo.org. RoboUniverse: This two-day conference and exhibition makes its West Coast debut starting today. Conference sessions will look at robots in manufacturing, business, STEM education, healthcare, agriculture and more featuring top companies in robotics. San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Drive, Downtown. Visit robouniverse.com/san-diego/2015.

TUESDAY – DEC. 15

‘The Nutcracker’: The California Ballet’s adaptation of this holiday favorite features a huge cast with children ages 4 – 14. Dec. 12 – 20. San Diego Civic Theatre, Third Avenue and B Street, Downtown. Visit sandiego-theater.com.

FRIDAY – DEC. 18

Columbia Walkabout: Join DSDP’s Clean & Safe program at 10 a.m. Meetup at Pacific Highway and Ash Street (SE corner). For more info, call 619-234-8900, visitdowntownsandiego.org, or sign up for their newsletter. San Diego Gulls: Our local hockey team will offer a $2 beer special tonight (two hours before game until one hour after puck drop). Opponent: San Jose Barracudas. 7:05 p.m. Valley View Casino Center, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., Midway. Tickets at 619-359-4730 and sandiegogulls.com.

SATURDAY – DEC. 19

Fitbit Local fitness session: Part of a free workout program hosted by local fitness experts. Today’s session will include an oceanview run/ walk and yoga with Sheri Matthews. 9 a.m. Law Street Beach, Pacific Beach. Visit fitbit.com/local-events. Cannon battle reenactments: Guests can participate in these reenactments between tall ships Hawaiian Chieftain and the Lady Washington by raising sails, heaving lines and more or opt to relax and watch the action. Weekends through Jan. 3. Tickets $47 – $91 and include same-day admission to the Maritime Museum. 2 – 5 p.m. Ships depart from the Maritime Museum of San Diego on the Embarcadero, 1492 N. Harbor Drive. Visit sdmaritime.org. Mrs. Claus Holiday Show: A holiday sing- and dance-along featuring Mrs. Claus on ukulele, surprise guest puppets and more. 2:30 – 3:15 p.m. Neil Morgan Auditorium, Central Library, Visit sandiego.gov/ public-library.

SUNDAY – DEC. 20

‘Holiday Pops’ featuring Cirque Musica: The second of four concerts by the San Diego Symphony as part of its “Family Festival” designed for children 5 – 12 years old. This edition will feature holiday music, carols, audience singalongs and the acrobatic troupe Cirque Musica. 2 p.m. Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., Downtown. Visit sandiegosymphony.org. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights: A special tradition of the boating community sponsored by Port of San Diego featuring decorated boats. This year’s theme is “Christmas Around the World.” 5:30 p.m. (Additional procession on Dec. 13). Visit sdparadeoflights.org.

WEDNESDAY – DEC. 16

Poetry night: Alchemy Poetry Series hosted by local poets Seretta Martin and Fred Longworth. Featured poets: Karen Keyon and Ish Von Hendrick. Features an open mic segment. Third Wednesdays. 7 p.m. Upstart Crow Bookstore and Coffeehouse, 835C W. Harbor Drive, Seaport Village. Visit upstartcrowtrading.com.

MONDAY – DEC. 21

Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March: Marching bands and spirit squads from the competing teams of the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl will have a battle of the bands in the Gaslamp Quarter, performing holiday favorites and fight anthems as they parade along Fifth Avenue from E to K streets. Visit sandiegobowlgames.com/ gaslamp-march.

TUESDAY – DEC. 22 THURSDAY – DEC. 17

Downtown at Sundown: Event on the third Thursday of every month with local businesses Stone Brewing, Flight Path Wine Bar, SDSU Downtown Gallery and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) welcoming visitors to the Core-Columbia neighborhood. Drink and appetizer specials, music, performing arts, art tours and more. 5 – 8 p.m. MCASD is located at 1100 and 1001 Kettner Blvd. Visit mcasd.org.

‘Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas!’: Performances continue of this musical based on the beloved children’s book. Closes Dec. 26. 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Shiley Stage, Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. Tickets start $96. Visit theoldglobe.org or call 619-234-5623.

WEDNESDAY – DEC. 23

Poinsettia Bowl: This special NCAA bowl game sponsored by San Diego County Credit Union will be

see Calendar, pg 27


CALENDAR / FASHION

www.sdcnn.com FROM PAGE 26

CALENDAR played at Qualcomm Stadium at 1:30 p.m. 9449 Friars Road, Mission Valley. Visit sandiegobowlgames.com.

THURSDAY – DEC. 24 – CHRISTMAS EVE

‘Exile on Kettner Blvd’: A music scene tradition with local musicians performing a Rolling Stones-themed show. 9 p.m. Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., Middletown. Visit casbahmusic.com.

FRIDAY – DEC. 25 – CHRISTMAS DAY

Christmas cruises: A unique way to spend the holiday. Hornblower offers a champagne brunch cruise boarding at 11 a.m. ($62.95 per person) and a dinner buffet cruise boarding at 3:30 p.m. ($91.95 per person). Cruises depart from Grape Street Pier, 1800 N. Harbor Drive. Visit hornblower.com.

SATURDAY – DEC. 26

‘Rent’: California Youth Conservatory will stage a special engagement of the hit musical “Rent” at Lyceum Theatre through Jan. 10. Opening night features a complimentary champagne and dessert reception. Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown. Visit cyctheatre.com.

SUNDAY – DEC. 27

‘Bubbles, Cheese and Chocolate’: A special class by Venissimo Cheese teaching the best cheeses and chocolates to pair with sparkling wines. $60. Venissimo Cheese at The Headquarters Seaport, 789 W. Harbor Drive, Marina District. Visit venissimo.com.

MONDAY – DEC. 28

Poinsettia display: The 29th annual Poinsettia festival will fill the Botanical Building in Balboa Park through Jan. 8. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 1549 El Prado. Visit balboapark.org.

TUESDAY – DEC. 29

Painting and Vino: Local professional artists instruct attendees on painting a masterpiece. Tonight, a couple’s event, “Tree of Love.” 6 – 9 p.m. 21+. $45, all supplies included, registration is required. Bring your own wine / $15 corkage. 98 Bottles, 2400 Kettner Blvd., Suite 110. For more info, visit paintingandvino.com.

WEDNESDAY – DEC. 30

21st annual Bumble Bee Seafoods 5K Run/Walk: Race follows a waterfront course from Harbor Drive and Ash Street behind the San Diego Convention Center through Embarcadero Park North and finishes near Tuna Harbor Park. Post race party at the park featuring food, music and more. Starts at 9:45 a.m. Visit sandiegobowlgames.com/5k-run. Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade: America’s largest balloon parade will hit Downtown San Diego with marching bands, floats, drill teams a procession of enormous balloons and more. Grandstand seats will be at the intersection of Harbor Drive and Ash Street. 10 a.m. Visit sandiegobowlgames.com/parade. Holiday Bowl: Following the day’s events the actual bowl game will hit Qualcomm Stadium at 7:30 p.m. 9449 Friars Road, Mission Valley. Visit sandiegobowlgames.com.

THURSDAY – DEC. 31 – NEW YEAR’S EVE

San Diego International Car Show: This year’s auto show will feature over 400 2015 model-year vehicles, ride and drives, expanded exotics salon and more. Through Jan. 3. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Drive, Downtown. Visit sdautoshow.com. For live music listings Downtown, visit Facebook.com/ DowntownSanDiegoLive.

San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

27

WEEKLY RECURRING EVENTS TUESDAY

Residents Free Tuesdays in Balboa Park: Participating museums change the first four Tuesdays of the month. Free for San Diego city and county residents with ID, active military and dependents. Hours vary by museum. Visit balboapark.org/ visit/Tuesdays. Coronado Certified Farmers Market: 2:30 – 6 p.m. First and B streets at Coronado Ferry Landing. Visit welcometocoronado.com. Trivia: Bring a team or play alone. 7 – 9 p.m. 98 Bottles, 2400 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy. Visit 98bottlessd.com.

WEDNESDAY

Comedy Open Mic: Up-andcoming comics test their skills while patrons enjoy drink and appetizer specials and no cover. 8 p.m. American Comedy Company, 818 B Sixth Ave., Gaslamp. Visit americancomedyco.com.

THURSDAY

Horton Square Certified Market: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (March – Oct.) 225 Broadway near Broadway Circle, Downtown. Visit sdfarmbureau.org. Trivia Night: Bring a team or play alone. 7 – 9 p.m. 98 Bottles, 2400 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy. Visit 98bottlessd.com.

FRIDAY

Take a bite out of Downtown: Hosted by food tour service Bite San Diego, join fellow foodies and winos for a historical walking tour sampling some of Downtown’s finest restaurants. 21+. Noon. Tickets are $45. Tours also on Saturday. Visit bitesandiego.com/ index.php. Sights and Sips Sunset Cruise: Two-hour Hornblower cruise held on Friday and Saturday nights through October featuring live music, light hors d’oeuvres and dessert; boarding cocktail included with other drinks and specials available. $31.76 per person plus fees. Boards at 5:30, cruise from 6 – 8 p.m. Departs from Navy Pier, 970 N. Harbor Drive, Downtown. Through Oct. 31. Visit hornblower.com.

SATURDAY

Little Italy Mercato: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Over 100 booths at Date and Indiastreets.Visitlittleitalysd.com/mercato. The Gaslamp Architectural Walking Tour: Stops on this tour include architecturally significant structures from the 1800s including Old City Hall, the Keating Building, William Heath Davis House Museum and more. 11 a.m. 410 Island Ave., Gaslamp.Visitgaslampquarter.org.

SUNDAY

Rooftop Flow: Dynamic yoga class by Yoga One. Hotel Solamar, 435 Sixth Ave., Downtown. 9 – 10 a.m. Visit yogaonesandiego. com. Walk-in eReader and device assistance: Free and open to the public. Bring your Android and iOS devices for hands-on learning. 2 – 4 p.m. Room 222, San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit sandiegolibrary.org. Outdoor organ concert: The San Diego Organ Society presents a free organ concert. With over 4,500 pipes, this organ is one of the largest organs in the world with wonderful sound, playing classic and popular hits by Downtown News contributor Carol Williams. Enjoy free parking, lots of seating. Balboa Park’s Organ Pavilion. 2 p.m. Visit balboapark.org. —Complied by Jen Van Tieghem. Send items for inclusion to editor Morgan M. Hurley at morgan@ sdcnn.com.v

Men’s fashions from Travis Matthew on the runway in support of the Greater San Diego Chapter of ChildHelp (Photo by Diana Cavagnaro)

Fashion Files Diana Cavagnaro

Holiday Fantasia

The Greater San Diego Chapter of Childhelp presented the 29th annual holiday Fantasia on Nov. 21. This entertaining day of boutique shopping and fashion was held at the exquisite Estancia Hotel and was a perfect way to start the holiday season. Some of the fun treasures came from Bubbles Boutique, Naty Silver Jewelry, Chic Mommy, and D Forsythe. Bubbles Boutique in the Gaslamp Quarter has also opened Bubbles Too in Little Italy and carries great gift ideas for the holidays. Naty Silver Jewelry is handpicked from Peru. Chic Mommy has luxury candles that smell amazing, along with other gift ideas. D Forsythe has jewelry from Dolores’ designs, local jewelers, and one-of-a-kind jewelry from international artists. Proceeds from the event go to Childhelp. CEO and co-founder Sara O’Meara and president and co-founder Yvonne Fedderson established this national nonprofit in 1959 to help abused, neglected and at-risk children. Rhea Tobin and Jeri Hein were the co-chairs for this incredible event and the Childhelp celebrity ambassador Jen Lilley welcomed the audience. Lilley currently has a lead role in NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” and has made a commitment to Childhelp. This commitment and devotion has helped to change the lives of children everywhere. Pierre Charmasson was the professional auctioneer for the event. This former news, sports and weathercaster took the stage for a live auction using his phenomenal voice talents. Some of the items were a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean or Mexico and four club level seats to the San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos game, Sunday, Dec. 6. Gretchen Bergman of Gretchen Productions choreographed the fashion show. Bergman is known for her fascinating shows that intertwine dance, theater and fashion. The first scene highlighted models coming down the runway wearing red and black holiday fashions from Macy’s. Another segment from Macy’s was knockout little black dresses that were accessorized with long strings of pearls. Next on the catwalk was gorgeous attire from the upscale boutique, Gerhard, and adorable children delighted the audience as they modeled fashions from Gap Kids. One of the standouts from Maggie B was a leopard blouse

(above) Pierre Charmasson (auctioneer) and Jen Lilley (Childhelp Celebrity Ambassador) on the catwalk; (below) the finale featuring Mia Bella Fashions and “Little Black Dresses” from Macy’s (Photos by Diana Cavagnaro) with a black leather skirt. TRE showed casual chic on the runway, Ted Baker highlighted festive black or red fashions for the upcoming season, and Travis Matthew excited the crowd with the latest men’s fashions. The finale lit up the stage with a segment called Holiday Fantasia. These elegant fashions from Mia Bella Couture brought to a close this marvelous holiday fashion show. Childhelp National operates a 24-hour hotline at 1-800-4-ACHILD. For more information about this wonderful organization, which focuses on advocacy, prevention, treatment, and community outreach visit ChildHelp.org.

Upcoming events

Dec. 12 | Glamour on Goldfinch — a holiday trunk show featuring designers from Fashion Week San Diego 2015 for a shopping extravaganza at The Patio, located on 4020 Goldfinch St. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Partial proceeds from cocktail sales will go back to the Rancho Coastal Humane Society. For reservations call 619-501-5090. —Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned couture milliner based in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at DianaCavagnaro.com.v


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San Diego Downtown News | December 2015

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