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December 2014 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Holiday Holiday Gift Guide page 21 Columbia • Core/Civic • Cortez Hill • East Village • Gaslamp/Horton Plaza • Little Italy • Marina





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➤➤ DINING P. 7

Give, get and go (l to r) Lynn Congemi, USO San Diego’s chairman of the board with Megan Madrigal, marketing director for The Headquarters, in front of the Giving Tree, where donations for needy military families will be accepted through Dec. 24. (Photo by John Cocozza Photography)

Twenty-five ways to get into the holiday spirit this month

➤➤ NEWS P. 10

Looky loos

➤➤ FEATURE P. 32

Holiday-themed market adds color to Barrio Logan’s art scene Hutton Marshall | Contributing Editor

They didn’t think he could

Indigo girl

Made in San Diego

Christmas! transforms the theatre into Whoville through Dec. 27. Popular with youth audiences, this whimsical musical is based on its beloved namesake children’s book.

’Tis the season for holiday parties, ice skating, sparkly lights, gingerbread houses, holiday performances and, of course, giving to others. Here are 25 different festivities or venues — all within the greater Downtown area — to help you share in “the most wonderful time of the year.”

To celebrate the season on the high seas, Hornblower Cruises offers holiday lunch, dinner and champagne brunch buffets (including Christmas Eve and Day) while cruising around the San Diego Bay. Through the end of the year, enjoy traditional holiday food and music set against the backdrop of the Downtown skyline and city lights. Boarding locations along North Harbor Drive.

To benefit USO San Diego, The Headquarters at Seaport District (789 W. Harbor Drive) is celebrating the holidays with a 25-foot “giving tree” to support active-duty military and their families. Gifts and monetary donations can be dropped off until Christmas Eve for children up to age 18.

Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice at Horton Plaza (225 Broadway Circle) brings ice-skating to the shopping center through Jan. 4. Proceeds benefit Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. On Dec. 13, KPBS is hosting family day at the rink featuring entertainment, family activities and a discounted admission fee.

By Kai Oliver-Kurtin

Back for another season at The Old Globe (1363 Old Globe Way), Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole

see Giveget go, page 30

On a recent, rainy evening on Barrio Logan’s Main Street, a brightly colored warehouse was churning out a product the area is rapidly becoming known for: art. The warehouse space is UNION, which houses 32 artists working in a variety of media. The building, one in a series of industrial spaces in Barrio Logan’s commercial district, was built in 1942 to produce various necessities for the war. Today, its small art studios produce anything from woodwork to handmade jewelry. That evening, many of its artists were working late preparing the space for its biggest event to date, the San Diego Made Holiday Market, a two-day event happening Dec. 6 and 7. UNION, created in 2012, is just one of several industrial-sized art spaces along Main Street in the southeastern San Diego neighborhood. UNION artists say the area is currently experiencing a cultural and economic renaissance. “There’s kind of this resurgence in the area, a kind of art mecca in Barrio Logan all throughout the area,” UNION artist Brooke Dailey said. Dailey and others in UNION

see SanDiegomade, page 4

A self-made culinary creative Grant Grill’s Sam Burman brings big changes to a historic menu

Food for thought

Index Opinion…..............……8 Briefs…..........………11 Theater…................25 Town Voices.............…26 Fashion…….….….….33

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By Frank Sabatini Jr. When he isn’t gawking over purple Brussels sprouts and other distinctive organics at Chino Farms, or plucking fresh lavender and Swiss chard from The US Grant’s rooftop garden, Ohio transplant Sam Burman is mapping out nightly menus for the hotel’s Grant Grill, which he joined as chef de cuisine earlier this year. Since opening in 1951, the stately restaurant has maintained a tome-like menu of American and European dishes that evolved with modest experimentation over the past decade. Burman, however, who last served as corporate chef for Whisknladle Hospitality, has radically pared down the menu and revised the bill of fare in the face of fleeting seasonal bounties that define his cooking. While Grant Grill’s famous mock turtle soup and classic Caesar salad remain untouchable, Burman is enticing Downtown diners with a fresh slate of both contemporar y and timeless meals tailored for the winter season and beyond.

Having just finalized his prix fixe holiday menus (think hay-smoked beef loin, duck two ways and crispy salmon belly with kale sprouts), the chef revealed to San Diego Downtown News where he earned his chops, plus recipe secrets behind a couple of his top-selling dishes, an opinion about the local restaurant scene and more. San Diego Downtown News [SDDN] What originally brought you to San Diego? Sam Burman [S.B.] After working as chef de partie at TRU in Chicago, I took a job here as executive chef at Quality Social Downtown. One of the first things I did was go to Chino Farms with my wife. That kind of sold me on San Diego. I was blown away by the flavor and freshness of the strawberries. To have a year-round growing season as a chef is like a free luxury. [SDDN] When did you feel the calling to become a professional chef? [S.B.] I started cooking in Columbus, Ohio with my mother at about 6 years old. We’d do a lot of holiday cookies and then progressed to beef Wellington and seasonal salads using produce we’d buy from outlying farms. At the age of 14, I began working at restaurants as a busboy, always watching what the guys were making in the kitchen. Then, when I was 17, I took a trip to New York City

Grant Grill’s Chef de Cuisine Sam Burman (Courtesy J Public Relations)

with my best friend, whose brother worked at Park Café. He took us around to some other New York restaurants and that’s when I started getting serious.

see Chef, page 17


San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


Around the world in ___ days Local sailing enthusiast embarks on the greatest journey of his life By Dave Fidlin For most of the next year, San Diegan Ryan Levinson will live out of a 38-foot-long sailboat, rather than a 1,900-square-foot home. The life-changing scenario is just the latest adventure for the 42-year-old athlete, who was diagnosed with a rare condition, fascioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, or FSHD, in 1996. Muscle deterioration is the primary symptom for persons with FSHD. When Levinson first received the diagnosis, doctors urged him to ditch athletic activities — a tall order for a person who has been active from the get-go. Levinson’s lengthy list of competitive events at the time included sailing. In the nearly two decades since that fateful day, Levinson has

comforts they know within San Diego, Ryan and Nicole will be roughing it. But Ryan was quick to point out there are several accommodations that will make the course a little less choppy. Naoma comes equipped with an autopilot control, a high-tech radar system, long-distance radios and a watermaker machine that will convert ocean water into drinking water. When asked about the timeline for the adventure, Levinson shied away from laying out a firm itinerary. “Our clock will be dictated by nature,” he said. The journey is sure to be marked with immense uncertainty — then again, the same could be said of Levinson’s everyday life. He readily affirmed there is no set agenda for the excursion.

Ryan Levinson with wife Nicole on their sailboat, Naoma, off the coast of San Diego. (Courtesy Taura Lynn Photography)

slowed down — but not stopped — as FSHD has progressed. While he can no longer hold up his arms, perform push-ups or situps or stand on his toes, Levinson adamantly said he still has a spirit of adventure that will not surrender to a medical diagnosis. “Muscular dystrophy is something I might have,” Levinson said. “But it doesn’t define who I am.” With this attitude in mind, Levinson and Nicole, his wife of seven years, are about to embark on the greatest adventure of their lives. The couple, who met a year before Levinson’s diagnosis, attended the same cultural geography class at San Diego State University. Fittingly, geography is the focal point of the upcoming adventure. The couple plan to sail around the world in early December on their sailboat, Naoma. They will depart the San Diegan shores, heading southerly around Mexico and the Sea of Cortez before crossing the ocean to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. Far removed from the creature

“There are many, many layers of goals,” Levinson said. “But, really, this is much more about being open to the adventure. Once you’re out there, you’ve got to open your mind and go

where the wind blows.” Levinson has been sailing since he was a young boy, but he is still brushing up on his skills as he gears up for his latest journey. He has recently taken courses in navigation, offshore survival and firefighting. Additionally, he attained an emergency medical technician certification. From Levinson’s vantage point, the sailing excursion is an opportunity to draw connections to mental and physical challenges as he seeks a whole new perspective on his life’s purpose and how he can live it to the fullest alongside FSHD, for which there is still no known cure. “This trip is about so much more than just sailing,” he said. “What really draws me in is the complexity of this challenge. It’s all about the big picture.” For her part, Nicole acknowledged that the upcoming excursion is going to be life-altering; but she’s willing to take it on with open arms. “I think people are afraid to let go of their stuff,” she said. “People are afraid to let go of their known comforts that they have now.” Levinson said he has encountered plenty of naysayers as planning for the sailing excursion picked up steam. “I feel I was called to live this way, even if I have [FSHD],” he said. “I’m just not a suit-and-tie, 9-to-5 kind of guy.” While muscular dystrophy may have slowed down his journey of the past nearly two decades, Levinson said he sees a silver lining. The condition may have weakened him physically, but it has strengthened him elsewhere. “I think I’m a little bit stronger, mentally and emotionally, from this,” he said. “Happiness is all about living in the moment. I just want to go where I’m called to go.” Levinson filmed a video to discuss his upcoming trip. View the video at vimeo. com/102988013. He also set up a blog so others may follow his adventure. To follow Levinson’s blog, visit r —Dave Fidlin has been a professional journalist for more than a dozen years. Throughout his career, he has contributed to a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites across the nation. He has a special affinity for San Diego and its people. Contact him at dave.

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014



San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


SANDIEGOMADE credit much of the changing culture in Barrio Logan to increased policing efforts that have made the low-income neighborhood a safer place for both residents and outsiders. Indeed, crime in Barrio Logan fell across the board by more than 25 percent in recent years, according to a report by Voice of San Diego. Still, a safe neighborhood doesn’t make life easy as an artist, especially in an area still developing its cultural identity. Efforts to draw art lovers to the district are crucial. The Barrio Logan Association organizes a monthly art walk that spans several emerging art spaces in the neighborhood. Hun-

dreds now flock to the neighborhood each month to peruse some of the city’s most vibrant artwork. Dailey and business partner Sarah Lowry recall opening their small woodworking studio Cheshire Salvage — a mildly challenging tongue twister — in UNION back in January 2014. Having heard about the popular monthly art crawls, they were eager to throw their work into the mix. They meticulously displayed their work, prepared food for visitors and invited their friends on Facebook. However, on the day of the event, theirs was the only UNION studio open. While other warehouses along Main Street had embraced the monthly surge in shoppers, UNION remained a veritable ghost town. “It was really embarrassing,” Dailey said.

NEWS UNION doesn’t have employees, just its owner, Seth Collins, who ensures the space is maintained. Lowry and Dailey clean the communal space in exchange for a smaller monthly rental fee on their studio. Absent are event marketing staff like those filling more established warehouses in Barrio Logan. So this summer, Dailey, Lowry and two other UNION artists, Kristin Dunnis and Eva Zuzuarregui, formed the volunteer UNION Event Marketing Team (UMET). Through UMET, the women began promoting the space and organizing events, two critical components to draw in art lovers and guest artists. Now, Lowry said, more than 70 percent of UNION’s artists prepare displays when the monthly art walk comes to town. UMET’s quest to bring events to UNION has led to the partnership with an equally exciting art venture, San Diego Made. San Diego Made is an online artist collective promoting the work of artists throughout San Diego County. The idea is to create a space for artists to interact and share their work, and for art lovers to find new artists and art happenings. San Diego Made is the brainchild of Brittany Wiczek, a local artist, web designer and close friend of the women behind UMET. Artists sign up online and create a portfolio visible to the public. So far, UNION artists make up the bulk of San Diego Made profiles, but Wiczek said she plans to cater to artists throughout the county. “It’s also a way for people to learn about the local artists around them and how they can help sup-

(l to r) San Diego Made founder Brittany Wiczek and three members of UMET — Sarah Lowry, Brooke Dailey and Eva Zuzuarregui — prepare gift bags for the Holiday Market guests in a fellow Union artist’s studio. (Photo by Hutton Marshall)

port the arts,” Wiczek said. “It’s a bit reflective of what union is with the whole artist collaboration aspect,” Daily added. “Like if we ever wanted to incorporate leather into our work, we know Brian [Hessler, a UNION artist] does leather goods, so we’ve got a guy.” It wasn’t long before the women collectively decided to bring all that synergy together and collaborate on the San Diego Made Holiday Market. While this is UMET and San Diego Made’s first foray into planning a market on this scale, they’re ambitious, in part because of the swelling artistic community in the neighborhood, but also

because they’re able to model their efforts after other wellestablished markets in the area. Glass Door, for example, holds regular events drawing hundreds to the space. Even among the community of artists housed in UNION, Lowry said there’s a lot of knowledge to pull from. “It’s nice just being surrounded by so many people, because the people that are here every day — that work here full time — you can get a lot of information about how they got to where they are now, and kind of apply that to what you’re doing,” she said. The San Diego Made Holiday Market will coincide with the Barrio Art Crawl for a portion of the day on Saturday, Dec. 6, when the market runs from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and the art walk runs from 4 – 10 p.m. In addition to the resident UNION artists, 15 guest artists from around the county will also set up shop at the event. Live music, food trucks and a holidaythemed cash bar will be on hand as well. The first 25 visitors will receive a handmade gift bag, and a raffle will be held for one largeticket item. For more information about the San Diego Made Holiday Market, visit For more on San Diego Made and its community of artists, visit —Hutton is the editor of San Diego Uptown News and Mission Times Courier, sister papers of San Diego Downtown News. Contact him at

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014



San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


What was formerly The Counter Burger at Sixth and G streets is now Double Standard, a sleekly designed restaurant combining “San Diego Americana cuisine” with popular Italian specialties. Owned by David Mainero, who comes from a family of restaurateurs, the menu features fresh pastas, dry-aged steaks, sustainable seafood, wood-fired pizzas and an assortment of small plates. Beer and wine is available, with a full liquor license coming in the next few months. Among the design features is a large wraparound sidewalk patio complete with grass and lounge furniture. 695 Sixth Ave., 619-269-9676.

Wood-oven roasted yellowtail (Courtesy Double Standard)

A few Downtown chefs grabbed top honors in the annual “chef of the fest” culinary competition at November’s San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. Todd Nash of Bub’s at the Ballpark won second place for his pork collar BLT; John Hong (aka Chef Kappa) of Bang Bang ranked fourth for his tuna tartare tacos while Aron Schwartz of Marina Kitchen came in fifth for his butternut squash soup. Seizing top place was Duvinh Ta from Jake’s Del Mar, who wowed the panel of eight judges with dry-rubbed pork ribs. Next year’s festival will be held from Nov. 15 through 22. For more information, visit The menu at 1500 Ocean in the Hotel Del Coronado was recently augmented by new dishes created by incoming Chef de Cuisine Meredith Manee, who also revamped the Del’s oceanfront herb garden. Look for fresh, crafty creations such as tuna sashimi with coconut crema and chilies, golden-spotted sea bass with chorizo-clam broth and spaghetti squash, and a unique take on surf and turf that pairs veal cheek ravioli with butter-poached lobster. 1500 Orange Ave., 619-522-8490.

1500 Ocean’s Meredith Manee (Courtesy Hotel del Coronado)

see Food, page 7


BLOTTER Famous for house-made Italian meals and decadent European-style desserts, Nunzi’s in Hillcrest has moved Downtown to 1254 Third Ave., a stone’s throw away from the San Diego Civic Theatre. In doing so, owner Nancy Daniele partnered with her mother within the café she operated for the past 11 years. The new, combined venture has been named Nunzi’s @ Al Teatro Panini Grill. “I moved my baking equipment and I’ll be bringing the flavors of Hillcrest to the new location,” said Daniele, adding that she’ll oversee dinners and Sunday brunch while her mom cooks the meals for breakfast and lunch. 619-230-1485. The stylish Flight Path wine bar has launched weekday lunch service as of Dec. 1, affording midday vino drinkers dishes such as house-made soups, sprightly salads and toasted sandwiches that include spinach-artichoke grilled cheese, sausage and peppers and prosciutto and brie. The wine inventory features more than 70 labels from regions around the globe. 1202 Kettner Blvd., Suite 104, 619-709-1202.

Seasonal gingerbread macarons (Courtesy Alternative Strategies)

Tarts, macarons, quiche and other French-bakery delights are in the offing at the Le Parfait Paris, a new Gaslamp District café that will hold its grand opening on Dec. 5. The venture is operated by self-described “French San Diegan” Guillaume Ryon, who bakes the goods at a wholesale bakery he runs in Mission Valley. The menu extends also to coffees, salads and sandwiches. Beer, wine and champagne are coming soon. 555 G St., 619-245-4457. Blue Bridge Hospitality Executive Chef Tim Kolanko has launched “cooking with friends,” a dinner series held at Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge in Coronado that brings in chefs from other San Diego restaurants to collaborate on the menus. Next up is a five-course meal on Dec. 9 with Chef Carmine Lopez of Great Maple in Hillcrest. The cost is $75, which includes wine pairings by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. The series continues through May and spotlights Chefs Amy DiBiase and Kyle Berman of Tidal in Mission Bay on Jan. 13, and Chef Fred Piehl of The Smoking Goat in North Park on Feb. 3. Prices for 2015 dinners have yet to be determined. For a complete schedule, visit 1015 Orange Ave., 619-437-6087. —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


From Indigo to Red-hot

Indigo Grill 1536 India St. (Little Italy) 619-234-6802 Prices: Salads, soups, appetizers, tacos and boards, $9 to $16; entrees, $22 to $32 (clockwise from top left) Salt and pepper shrimp (Photo by Martin Mann); Indigo Grill’s new interior design (Photo by Mike Newton); the potted brownie (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.); Taco trio (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.); anticucho board (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. Chef and restaurateur Deborah Scott is on a roll. Earlier this year she struck a deal with Costco, which began selling her famous pepita-sesame crusted brie at 10 local stores. Then the announcement came of a new restaurant and bar (Coastera) to replace the sunken Reuben E. Lee boat restaurant on Harbor Island, a project she is overseeing in conjunction with Cohn Restaurant Group. More recently, she bestowed a big dose of love to her wellestablished Indigo Grill with a dramatic remodel that plays into new, captivating dishes spanning the Americas and beyond. All this while maintaining with the Cohn Group three other restaurants (Island Prime, C Level and Vintana Wine + Dine) plus two food trucks (Chop Soo-ey and Ms. Patty Melt). Detail-oriented and globally in tune, she effortlessly escapes the pitfalls of mediocrity. Indigo Grill’s aesthetic makeover resembles something of an avant-garde movie set for Spanish cinema. With the help of local designer Philippe Beltran, bold colors and diverse textures combine with whimsical chandeliers,

oversized Argentinean doors and stonework inspired by the ruins of Machu Picchu. At night, the sidewalk patio is aglow with fire features while jacketed fire hoses swag overhead with droplights in a patio that is enclosed. We landed a table near the copper-clad open kitchen and based some of our food choices on the loaded plates we saw coming out of it. Trios of crispyshell tacos filled with uncommon ingredients, for instance, had us gawking for the get-go. Diners choose from four different proteins that are assigned to crafty sauces. The tofu and crimini mushroom taco was drizzled with spicy honey aioli. Briquettes from the kitchen’s Chitwood Grill infused the fillings with an enticing, charred flavor resembling flame-broiled steak. Crispy jalapeno chicken dressed in chili and hoisin sauces tasted as equally original as the third taco on our plate brimming with carnitas. Scott ramps up the pork with copious lime and then finishes it with burnt orange sauce. In the current wave of gourmet tacos, which can perplex the palate to no end, these are the best I’ve come across. The menu is structured with several additional categories, ranging from ceviches and soups and salads to flatbreads, medium-size plates and “grande” entrees. The latter reveals dishes

such as seared opah with corn puree, braised pork shank with chorizo mac and cheese and Scott’s legendary “skirts on fire,” a marinated steak dish that her fans have continued demanding ever since she introduced it two decades ago at the former Kemo Sabe in Hillcrest. Scott also presents new musttry antichucho boards stocked with an array of noshes that include a choice of two well-endowed meat skewers resembling the kind sold from street carts in Peru. Between the slow-cooked pork belly accented with orange zest and fried ginger, and the beef filet earning its zing from vinegar and dark-red aji panca peppers, it was impossible to decide on a favorite. The skewers rested in a trio of flavored hummus and were flanked by housepicked cucumbers and freshly grilled flatbread — the perfect option for twosomes with mild appetites sharing a bottle of wine. The popular Korean dish, bibimbap, also appears on Indigo’s revised menu. Scott put it there because she’s a diehard fan of Asian cuisine and says that it’s widely available in Peru. We couldn’t resist. Here, the servers partially construct the rice-filled hotpots tableside, adding in sesame oil, kimchi, soy sauce and a raw egg as the rice crackles and pops within the 500-degree stone bowl.





A ramekin of chicken stock is left behind for deglazing any ingredients that stick to the sides. Scott’s luxurious spins for the dish come in the form of duck fat and Chinese sausage strewn throughout. Another newcomer with Asian flair is salt & pepper shrimp served with their heads and tails. The shells are dusted in seasoned cornstarch and fried to a pliable thinness so that you can eat them whole; much like you’d consume soft shell crab. The booze list features everything from fruity, herby cocktails and obscure craft beers to wines boasting Latin roots. Depending where you sit, Indigo Grill’s new design can feel like either a restaurant or lounge. For dessert, we turned to one of Scott’s longtime standbys, the potted brownie that receives a delicious soaking of peanut butter ice cream as it melts down. As with her nut-crusted brie, Indian pudding and butternut squash soup that have also carried over, Scott quips, “I would have gotten shot if I took those things off the menu.” —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






240 Fifth Ave., 92101 • 619.338.8111 •


San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


Editorial Make these holidays count By Anette Asher


’Tis the season of giving, all year long By Julie Darling The worst Christmas of my life was the best thing that ever happened to me. Ten years ago, the week before Christmas, my friends with whom I had spent the last handful of holidays informed me that only real family was invited that year. Then my mother, after an argument, told me not to come home as well. I was pretty devastated; I cried for a minute, dusted myself off and decided to make a plan. Then a friend told me about a guy who was serving lunch on the streets on Christmas Day. I’d never done that and made the call. He had 11 turkeys and nowhere to go and no one to cook them. I said, “Well guess what? I’m a chef and have a

“Looking back today, I realize how awesome my life has become, all because of volunteering and giving back.” catering company [Just Call Us Catering]” ... and so it began. This rag-tag group served a Christmas meal outside of Horton Plaza that day. The sting of the Christmas abandonment lasted for about six months. I was in a really bad place, depressed and feeling very much alone. I had always heard that in giving back, you get back, but those were just words back then. I started volunteering to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t have time to think about the sadness. I just kept doing it. It was fun and I was meeting nice people. One day I realized my life had completely changed. I wasn’t sad or depressed anymore. Life wasn’t a struggle. Money wasn’t an issue (mind you I was volunteering). I had a new group of friends from all walks of life. The more I volunteered, the richer and fuller my life became. About a year into my volunteering, Just Call Us Volunteers (JCUV) was born, out of that horrible Christmas that didn’t turn out so horrible after all. When I started JCUV, it was all about feeding people. I cook and express my love through food. Honestly there’s a free meal for everyone in San Diego if they want it. My “mission” morphed into using food as the vehicle to expose this invisible segment of society to our volunteers.  Today, we are a 501(c)3 all-volunteer organization. We proudly have no payroll and almost all of our donations, which come from local companies and individuals, go back to feeding the underserved San Diego community. A small portion we use to pay rent on our kitchen and office space. We may be small but we are mighty and very

proud to be asked to serve alongside the big agencies in San Diego. We serve 200 to 300 people twice a month on Sundays, rotating between Rachel’s Women’s Shelter, The San Diego Center for Children, Neil Good Day Center, The Winter Shelter and Veteran’s Village San Diego. In addition, we coordinate the lunch service and volunteers at Homeless Connect (a homeless resource fair for approximately 1,000 held at Community Concourse each year) and make breakfast for the Women’s Resource Fair for approximately 600 homeless women. We also serve the last meal at Stand Down for 1,400 homeless vets.  Our holiday meals include Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, Valentines Day, St Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day and Fathers Day. We serve about 500 meals on holidays and 200 to 300 on our regular Sundays. We wouldn’t be able to do any of this without our loyal industry partners. Specialty Produce has been donating all our produce for seven years. Sprouts Farmers Markets donate all our proteins throughout the year. The Manchester Hyatt donates all the turkeys for our Thanksgiving dinner. Cupcakes Squared is our sweetest friend for desserts. UPS corporate has generously donated to the cause for the past two years. We also have a loyal following of restaurants and chefs who donate their time so that our meals are assuredly delicious and healthy. To name a few, Tommy Gnomes of Catalina Offshore Products; Hanis Cavin, Carnitas Snack Shack; Alex Carballo, Urbn Brewing; Craig Jimenez, Supernatural Sandwiches; Karen Blair, Hamiltons Tavern/ Small Bar; Daniel Barron X LA Valencia; Dawn Parks, The Wild Thyme Company; Marguerite Grifka, California’s Table; Leah Dibernardo, E.A. T. Marketplace; Ryan Studebaker, MIHO Gastrotruck; Brandon Brooks, Sessions Public; Lhasa Landry, Heart & Trotter; and Logan Mitchell, Cellar Door. Everyone is doing it. Looking back today, I realize how awesome my life has become, all because of volunteering and giving back. As we approach the Christmas holiday and you all get in that giving Christmas spirit, you may find that our volunteer list is full; it is one of the two days of the year we have a 100-person wait list. Don’t fret, however, there are plenty of other days throughout the year to volunteer and believe me, we need you. Don’t be a two-day volunteer. Follow us on or visit our website to sign up. — Julie Darling is the chef and owner of Just Call Us Catering, a boutique catering company in San Diego. She also owns and operates Just Call Us Kitchen Rental, an incubator-kitchen facility that provides entrepreneurs with a choice of 2 healthdepartment-approved production spaces where they can launch their food-related businesses. She also runs the nonprofit, Just Call Us Volunteers.v

The holidays are great for family gatherings and these gatherings are more important than you know for our aging elders. Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory loss can get passed off as, “Oh, he’s just a little forgetful,” to “She great! Her heart is good and she gardens constantly” or worse, “We had no idea there was a problem.” This time of year may be your best chance to see changes in your elder relatives. Here is a story from one of our Glenner Memory Care Center family members, called, “remembering last Christmas.” All the family converged at my sister’s house in San Diego for the holidays. My 80-year-old parents drove in from the desert. We were having a great weekend with doing puzzles and playing games. That was when we realized Dad might have dementia. Within an hour of sitting down to play Yahtzee, we realized my Dad couldn’t quite add the dice or remember the next step. So he excused himself to go watch TV. I checked on him and it seemed like he wasn’t watching TV just looking at it. Oh well, he’s probably tired. Twenty minutes later, I lost the Yahtzee game and we all lost Dad. He couldn’t be found anywhere. We searched the house, ran down the streets, knocked on neighbors’ doors. No sign of him. With eight people in the house how could you lose a family member? What happened? Or better yet, what didn’t happen? None of us were prepared to see the signs of memory loss and the dangers that go with it. Dad was found four blocks away talking with some kids on their bikes. Thank goodness one of the kids was trying to fix the chain on his bike and grandpa offered to help. If they hadn’t stopped to chat, the outcome could have been worse. That is the day we woke up to more than just Christmas. We learned the signs and vulnerabilities of dementia. It’s nothing to ignore, it’s everything to find help and learn of the journey ahead and the resources available to avoid any tragic event. What’s the lesson? Use the upcoming holiday time to gather the family and pay attention to your elders. Know the signs and be prepared to address it. Avoidance and denial only makes things worse; especially for your loved one’s safety and wellbeing, since there are healthy interventions and safe actions you can take today that will improve their wellbeing as well as the family’s. That is why family gatherings during the holidays are more important than you know. Make your time with your elders count this year. The Glenner Memory Care Centers is a 33-year-old nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. We provide adult day programs for individuals struggling with memory loss, like Alzheimer’s. We work with the family members to address care planning and health issues, activities, and guidance in this new journey of dementia. We offer 17 support group meetings each month. They’re free and so is the day care for the time to attend the meetings. You are not alone. Come

see Opinion, page 26

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

PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951 EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Hutton Marshall, x102 Jeremy Ogul, x119 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Will Bowen Charlene Baldridge Diana Cavagnaro David Dixon Erik Dobko Dave Fidlin Dustin Lothspeich Jeff Josenhans Johnny McDonald Darlynne Menkin Marc Menkin Alex Owens Frank Sabatini Jr. Taylor Schulte Dave Schwab Ron Stern Delle Willett

WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118 ART DIRECTOR Vincent Meehan (619) 961-1961 PRODUCTION ARTISTS Arielle Jay, x111 Todd Kammer, x115 SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958 ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Andrew Bagley 619-961-1956 Yana Shayne (619) 961-1963 Karen Davis, x105 Sloan Gomez, x104 Lisa Hamel, x107 Frank Lechner, x121

ACCOUNTING COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 dustinlothspeich@ WEB DESIGNER Kim Espinoza

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San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

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San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

San Diego Port District Update

San Diego competes with Port Hueneme when it comes to automobile shipments (Courtesy the Port of San Diego)

By Johnny McDonald The Port District’s industrial and maritime sector is vastly misunderstood and often overlooked as an important engine to our economy, according to commission chairman Bob Nelson. “Over 90 percent [nationwide] of consumer goods move by sea, a kinda invisible process, unless you’re near the water,” he said. “Your grocery stores are all lined with these goods but it doesn’t occur to people how it all came to our shores. A little out of sight, out of mind.” To better acquaint the public with the importance of these imports, a revealing four-minute video has been prepared by the port’s communications staff. “It [shipping sector] leads to the investment in our maritime capabilities that might be invisible to the public,” he said. “It extends beyond the public and the policy makers in Washington. Until recently, there has been very little attention given to the infrastructure needs of our ports and waterways.” Nelson, a longtime civic leader and public relations executive, then broadened his discussion of other key port activities. “Only real competition we have with Los Angeles [Port] is in the cruise ship area,” he continued. “We are appreciative that

Disney has decided to move its home port to San Diego which has a more Disney-like experience rather than an industrial port like Los Angeles.” As for shipping imports, Nelson said Los Angeles is principally a mega port for large container vessels. “We do compete with Long Beach on big project cargo,” he said. “We also compete with Port Hueneme in regard to automobile shipments.” Nelson was pleased about the recent healthy uptick in the cruise industry. “On the West Coast, the cruises were hit by a trifecta: recession, Mexican cartel crime and new cruise locations in Australia, Asia and the Baltics,” he explained. “Almost all of the cruise companies backed off during the recession period. “Each time we receive a deed from a cruise ship, it creates a million dollar overall economical activity,” he continued. “With a homeport ship like the Disney Wonder, we’re talking about $2 million. That translates into lots of jobs.” He said this year, the Port District revenues will reach $145 million, 60 percent of which comes from hospitality real estate activities. “We have 16 hotels and over 70 restaurants on our tideland,”

he said. “Simultaneously, we can seat 13,000 for lunch.” He also pointed out that the Department of Defense operates 17 of the bay’s 51 shoreline miles. “We work at an operational level with the Navy, supplementing security and helping them in environmental planning,” he said. “They sit in on our environmental advisory committee.” Nelson said the port is looking into new land use projects, dealing with transportation, infrastructure, and for public general use. “Overall planning will take another two years in the study of environmental impacts,” he added. “We’ll be asking the coastal commission for an amendment to its master plan. We told our planning team not to think small.” Elsewhere around the Port: The extended marina in Chula Vista has added over 7,500 boat slips in the harbor and there is talk about building more … Nelson said he traveled to Washington, D.C. and Mexico City to conventions there to resolve any misunderstanding about sportfishing regulations on Baja waters … As a regional economic powerhouse, the port oversees nearly 800 business agreements. In a 2013 report by Economic & Planning Systems, the total economic impact of all business activity within the port’s jurisdiction equals to 57,000 jobs and nearly $7.5 billion in output … The $130 million Lane Field North hotel project under construction at North Harbor Drive at Broadway is a prominent site known as the first home of the San Diego Padres. It will feature 17 floors, 400 hotel rooms, a fitness center and a swimming pool in addition to 27,000-square-feet of retail and restaurant space … A $10 million, 27,000-square-foot restaurant on Harbor Island is expected to be completed this month ... A report released in November described the progress in reducing air emissions from the port’s greenhouse

see Port, page 12

Over 400 different vehicles will be on display at the International Auto Show. (Courtesy NCDA)

International auto show comes to town By Johnny McDonald Highly polished new cars — glistening under bright lights and positioned on carpeted floors — large video screens, and attractive wellinformed lady models will be the sales pitch ingredients for the ‘best of 2015’ at the four-day International Auto Show in San Diego’s Convention Center, opening New Year’s Day. New Car Dealers Association (NCDA) officials estimate that 50 percent of the attendees will be prospective customers. “What I have seen in auto show surveys is that consumers will add a brand over that which they had intended to buy because of what they’ve seen in the show,” said Scott Webb, director of marketing and operations for he NCDA. “Something they hadn’t considered. That’s the competitive spirit of a show where the cars are the stars.” Webb said they used to acquire crates of brochures but the manufacturers found that wasn’t the best way to get feedback from the public. It was time to talk. He said there may be some similarities in exterior design but that interior changes offer advanced electronics like navigation equipment, backup monitors and entertainment systems. Webb came to San Diego after serving 17 years as assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Auto Show. “We’ll eventually see a return to the more fanciful design exercises with peeks at what the automobile might become,” he said. “The life cycle would become shorter and shorter. Cars will need to be redesigned more often. “It’s a matter of scale and scope because the automobile is still complex,” he continued. “The auto show enables manufacturers to obtain

see AutoShow, page 12

Taking a trip to the loo City installs solar-powered 24/7 restrooms Downtown By Dave Schwab

The new San Diego-based Portland Loo awaits its unveiling. (Photo by Dahna Logan)

Portland “loos” are coming to San Diego. The “inaugural flush” of San Diego’s first Portland Loo was performed at a special ribbon-cutting Wednesday, Dec. 3 at the southwest corner of 14th and L streets Downtown. Originated in Portland, Oregon in 2008, the Loo — a British term for restroom — was the brainchild of City Commissioner Randy Leonard. Recognized for their sleek design and efficiency, Portland Loos were created in response to Portland’s rise in homelessness and lack of public restrooms. The Portland Loo is made from heavy stainless steel but is light enough for easy transport. These permanent public flushing restrooms are open year-round, roomy enough to be wheelchair-accessible and can also easily accommodate strollers or a bicycle. Portland Loos have since been exported to other states and Canada, where they received an award as “The

Best Public Restroom in Canada” by the Cintas Corporation. Downtown Portland restrooms, available to the general public at several locations, are cleaned twice daily by a contractor and cost approximately $14,500 a year, per toilet, to maintain. Since 2009, Girls Think Tank (GTT), a San Diego grassroots 501(c) (3) nonprofit committed to advancing basic human dignity for those living on the streets, has been working on providing increased access to 24/7 public restrooms. In June 2010, GTT presented more than 5,000 signatures in support of Portland Loos to the City Council, which unanimously approved funding for the purchase and installation of four identical structures. The same evening as the ribbon cutting ceremony, a “GTT’s First Flush” reception took place at Florent Restaurant in the Gaslamp, to bring awareness to GTT efforts. “Thanks to GTT volunteers and staff from Centre City Development

Corporation [now Civic San Diego] who sought input and consensus from Downtown East Village residents and business groups as to appropriate locations, stakeholders agreed on two of the four initial locations Downtown: Park and Market Street, and 14th and L Street,” said GTT spokeswoman Heather Pollock. Pollock noted the statewide budget crisis originally delayed implementation of the Loo project but support renewed last spring. “But after months of meetings with city officials, the mayor’s office recommended, and the City Council approved, setting aside a portion of the City’s mid-year budget for the purchase and installation of the first two Loos,” Pollock said. “It has been a long and arduous process for San Diego’s homeless advocates to ensure vindication of this ver y fundamental human right.” There are several widely held misconceptions about Portland Loos, said Noor Kazmi, past president of GTT and co-chair of its programs committee.

see PortlandLoo, page 12


DowntownBriefs CITY COLLEGE TO CELEBRATE OPENING OF GREEN BUILDINGS On Thursday, Dec. 11 starting at 10 a.m., San Diego City College will celebrate the opening of two of its newest facilities. The two new structures are a five-story Arts & Humanities building, which offers study in areas such as visual arts, English, English for speakers of other languages, foreign languages, speech and more; and a three-story Business & Technology building, which includes business and small business studies, and business and computer systems. The Arts & Humanities building includes a below-ground 40-car parking garage and a student commons and shares an open outdoor plaza with the Business & Technology building. Both buildings also have classrooms, lecture halls, and space for faculty and support staff. Located Downtown at 1313 Park Blvd., City College is part of the San Diego Community College District, the second largest district in California. The state-of-the-art, dual-building project is scheduled to be certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold for its innovative, environmentally friendly design. A wide, open-air, two-story high stairway now acts as the main campus entry from the East Village side of the campus and leads up one of the buildings. The design team followed Center City Development Corporation (CCDC) guidelines for all landscaping and other treatments, ensuring the campus blended in with the neighborhood and ensured plants and foliage were selected based on drought-tolerant criteria and compatibility with the Downtown climate. The irrigation system will be energy efficient and monitor water usage. Funding for the development was made possible by the passage of Propositions S and N, and Roeslin Nakamura and Terada were the architects. The grand opening will include a ribbon cutting ceremony, light refreshments, tours of the two buildings from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., and remarks from various student and academic leaders from both the college and the district, including the current president of City College, Anthony Beebe. Parking will be available in the Career Technology Center, located on 17th and C streets. For more information, visit ‘HEALTHY FOR THE HOLIDAYS’ INITIATIVE LAUNCHED DOWNTOWN San Diego Downtown Partnership (SDDP) and Scripps Health are expanding their “Healthy Living in the City” program, looking to help people stay healthy and stress-free over the holidays. They will join forces with Downtown retailers to do so. “Scripps has a long-standing commitment to serving the health care needs of our community,” stated Don Stanziano, corporate vice president of marketing and communications for Scripps, in a press release. “We all know how stressful and rushed the holidays can be, and this program is a way to help people take care of themselves while saving some time

and money.” According to leaders at SDDP, the “Healthy for the Holidays” initiative was designed to showcase the neighborhood’s rich retail offerings, as well as provide shoppers a less stressful way of getting their holidayrelated errands done. “This program is about taking the time to do the holiday season right by providing a healthy and fun way to enjoy all that Downtown has to offer,” stated Kris Michell, CEO of SDDP in the same release. Some of the many things offered through the initiative include free yoga before stress-free shopping at The Headquarters, a 30-minute guided walk through Horton Plaza, a 60-minute circuit training throughout The Headquarters, and a free cooking class taught by a Scripps registered dietitian at Jimbo’s … Naturally. Each event also includes valuable gift items, gift cards or coupons. For more information and a complete itinerary, visit

FAULCONER ANNOUNCES RFP FOR YEAR-ROUND SHELTER With a plan that is being called a “major change in how the city shelters the homeless,” on Dec. 2, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, along with Council President Todd Gloria and Councilmember David Alvarez, announced the city’s plans to establish a permanent, year-round shelter to address the hundreds of homeless individuals on the streets of Downtown San Diego. “One of my top priorities as mayor is creating more opportunities for San Diegans and that includes homeless individuals and veterans in need,” stated Faulconer in a press release. “This permanent, year-round shelter continues the City’s move away from just providing a bed for a few months. We’re trying to make a real difference by providing supportive services that help our fellow San Diegans get off the streets for good.” The new shelter, expected to open July 1 of next year, would replace the 350 temporary beds set up in emergency shelters located in Barrio Logan and the Midway District, with 40 percent of the new beds to be set aside for veterans. The city issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the facility, specifying that the shelter would not only be required to provide beds throughout the year, but also support services to help homeless individuals get stabilized and on their way to permanent housing and better lives. The city has approximately $1.6 million in annual funds to put toward the project,

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


which is currently used for the temporary housing. The Housing Commission will oversee the RFP process. Those interested should submit a proposal. To review the RFP, visit and search for project number HIT-15-14, dated Dec. 2, 2014, under public notices.

NEW LIGHTS IN BALBOA PARK KICKED OFF IN TIME FOR CENTENNIAL In partnership with SDG&E and CleanTech San Diego, the City of San Diego has replaced all the outdoor light fixtures throughout Balboa Park and installed new colorful, programmable, energy-efficient lights that will kick off the Centennial and keep Balboa Park lit for years to come. Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Council President Todd Gloria were both on hand to unveil the new lighting Dec. 1, at the fountain in Plaza de Panama. “After 100 years of serving as the crown jewel of our worldclass city, we’re going to show off Balboa Park in a whole new light,” stated Faulconer in a press release in advance of the event. The new red, white and blue LED lights are programmable in 2,700 different colors and will offer many options and color combinations to illuminate the side of the many historic buildings within the park. The lighting will be on display throughout December Nights, Balboa Park’s annual holiday event, held Dec. 5 and 6, which will also officially kick off the Centennial celebration. For more information about December Nights, visit

HOLIDAY SKATING PARTY FOR BIG BROTHERS, BIG SISTERS More than 300 “Bigs” and “Littles” from Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County (BBBS of SDC) are expected to turn out for a holiday skating party under the stars on Monday, Dec. 8, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Horton Plaza ice rink, located at 225 Broadway, Downtown. Aside from lots of fun on the seasonal ice rink, the 12th annual “Big Night on Ice” will also include hot chocolate, food, chocolate overload cakes from Jack in the Box, Mrs. Claus and Jeromey Clary and Nick Hardwick from the San Diego Chargers. The mission of BBBS of SDC is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-on-one relationships that change their lives for the better. For more information visit

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 26


San Diego Downtown News | December 2014



PORTLANDLOO “They aren’t porta-potties,” Kazmi said. “These are actual, flushing toilets, connected to plumbing.” Kazmi pointed to the design of the pre-fabricated Loo as the largest contributing factor to its ongoing success. “The fact that the stainless steel is covered with a graffiti-resistant coating prohibits vandals from defacing it and lessens its aesthetic appeal,” she said. Slits at the bottom of the Loo’s structure make it relatively easy for passersby — and especially

law enforcement — to detect if more than one person occupies the restroom, Kazmi added, thus deterring illicit activity. The Loos are relatively easy and affordable to maintain and “look great in any urban environment,” Kazmi said. Compared to the bulky, houselike, self-cleaning structures in Seattle, San Francisco and Boston — which can also cost up to $1 million a piece — the Loos are relatively inexpensive. She said the notion of offering public restrooms 24/7 for Downtown San Diego was first presented to GTT by homeless

The new 24/7 flush bathrooms are large enough for wheelchairs, bikes or strollers (Photo by Dahna Logan)

individuals in summer 2009. That happened after word had gotten around that David “The Waterman” Ross, a local homeless advocate, was personally funding several porta-potties for the homeless. “Thereafter, several GTT volunteers sur veyed over 200 homeless individuals regarding the urgency of basic needs in San Diego,” Kazmi said. “The over whelming response, even before housing, was the need for more public restrooms, showers and clean drinking water in Downtown.” In spring 2010, Kazmi said GTT convened the Basic Dignity Coalition to organize people, both housed and unhoused, around the issue. “Volunteers drafted a petition, based on the UN Human Rights Charter, demanding more 24/7 restrooms Downtown,” Kazmi said, adding the Coalition’s Research Committee reviewed the best practices throughout the world. “The committee rested on the Portland Loo, a solar-powered, graffiti-resistant, stainless steel flushing toilet because of its aesthetics, design and affordability,” Kazmi said. Kazmi said there’s no reason to believe the Loos won’t work as well in San Diego as they have in Portland. “With the cooperation of residents, homeless individuals, law enforcement, local business and nonprofit organizations, we don’t anticipate any issues,” she said. For more information about the Loos or Girls Think Tank, visit

This year, Port revenues will reach $145 million. (Courtesy the Port of San Diego)



gas emissions — from non-military ocean-going vessels, harbor craft, locomotives, on-road vehicles and cargo handling equipment — were reduced by 42 percent in 2012 compared to the baseline year of 2006. Other harmful air pollutants were also significantly reduced,

including nitrogen oxides by 50 percent, diesel particulate matter by 75 percent, and sulfur dioxide by 94 percent. — After an award winning, 38year sports-writing career with the San Diego Union and authoring three books, Johnny McDonald now considers writing a hobby. You can reach him at

—Dave Schwab came to San Diego 30 years ago with a journalism degree from Michigan State University and has worked and freelanced for numerous dailies, weeklies and other regional publications. He can be reached at dschwabie@journalist.comv

Organizers say 50 percent of attendees are looking for a new vehicle (Courtesy NCDA)



Holiday food and toy drive guide


s the holiday season nears, many of us look for ways to give to our community, as well as our loved ones. Toy drives, food drives and special events give myriad opportunities for San Diegans to contribute to those in need. We’ve assembled a convenient list of some of these charitable events and ongoing drives. Help make everyone’s holidays happy with our gift-giving guide below!

Gift and Toy Drives “Giving Tree” at The Headquarters: For the second year, the USO San Diego is joining with The Headquarters at Seaport District for a three-week drive. The effort launched in November with a lighting of the 25-foot “Giving Tree” which stands in the retail center’s courtyard (789 W. Harbor Drive, Marina District). Donate: The USO is looking for gifts, toys for all ages, gift cards and monetary donations. Benefitting: Military families Visit:

San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Drive: Now in its 24th year this drive’s drop-off locations include eight San Diego SmileCare locations, any Sheriff’s station or substation and the county courthouse through Dec. 5. Donate: New teddy bears and other stuffed animals with tags attached Benefitting: Children undergoing treatment at Rady Children’s Hospital Visit:

Toys for Tots Program: The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve annual program collects toys and distributes them as Christmas Gifts. Drop-off locations are all over San Diego including their headquarters at the Marine Corps Reserve Center (9955 Pomerado Rd., Miramar). Donate: New, unwrapped toys or make a monetary donation online Benefitting: children of lowincome families in San Diego Visit:

see Holiday Drives, page 34

some feedback that adds to the tool chest.” California is the largest car market in the U.S. It’s no surprise that the state also has the largest concentration of automotive design studios compared to any other place in the world. Between San Diego and Thousand Oaks, there are 15 design outposts for carmakers ranging from Audi to Volvo. At these locations, more detailed drawings are executed and

approved by appropriate layers of management. Clay (industrial plasticine) and digital models are developed along with the drawings. The data from these models are then used to create a full sized mockup of the final design. The San Diego International Auto Show will feature over 400 cars and trucks and run Jan. 1 – 4, exhibit hours are 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.) at the San Diego Convention Center, located at 111 W. Harbor Drive, Downtown. For tickets or more information, visit

14th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Celebrate the holidays with Little Italy as the iconic neighborhood lights up the night during the 14th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Saturday, Dec. 6, from 4 – 8 p.m. on W. Fir between India and Kettner streets. Families, friends and visitors are invited to celebrate the season during this beloved neighborhood tradition and see Little Italy’s brand new Christmas Tree — a 25’ tower of gorgeous Poinsettias — located in the center of Piazza Basilone.

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

Spectators will be able to enjoy the community’s festive decorations, live music and entertainment, free cookies, cider and coffee and more! There will also be plenty of seasonal vendors selling holiday gifts and goodies – perfect for stocking stuffers! The Little Italy Association also called in a few favors to the North Pole (it just might be a white Christmas in San Diego), and Santa Claus himself will be making an extra special appearance at M Winehouse, on corner of India and W. Fir streets, to meet and greet with all of the neighborhood kids and kids at heart!


Harbor Breakfast 1502 India St. San Diego, CA 92101 619-450-7926 Harbor Breakfast resides in the circa-1887 building on the sunny corner of India and Beech streets. Renovations have exposed clear redwood framing that would have arrived from the north on the huge rafts of logs used back in the day to transport wood from Oregon. In 2013, architects Robin Brisebois and Ted Smith thought it a good idea to open a diner similar to one that the fishermen and local working class would frequent back in the days. Harbor Breakfast opened their doors to serve some classic American comfort food. The Hangtown Fry, which features fried oysters, scrambled eggs and smoked bacon, was concocted during the Gold Rush in Placerville, California when a cook orchestrated this delectable dish for a miner who had just struck it rich. Pumpkin pancakes, Challah French toast with a three-berry sauce and a cup of Stumptown Coffee is always a palate pleaser. Cooked with coconut oil, the vegetable omelets or grass-fed steak and eggs are fit for a king and queen to start their day.


San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

Sirena Gourmet Latin Seafood 1901 Columbia St. San Diego, CA 92101 619 564-8970   Sirena, a gourmet Latin seafood restaurant, is officially now open in Little Italy, San Diego. Located on the corner of Columbia and Fir streets, Sirena showcases a unique menu featuring locally caught seafood, sustainable and locally grown vegetables, and dishes influenced by South American cuisine and culture. Executive Chef Jaime Chavez has executed a contemporary menu with hints of flair from his Latin American background. From fresh oysters served with pickled vegetables and toasted squid inked black bread, to Chilean-inspired ceviche prepared with red snapper, octopus, scallops, red onion, bell pepper, cilantro, uni leche de tigre and churrasca, to braised scallops set atop a fresh coconut-ginger sauce, mirasol chili oil and a cauliflower puree, Chef Chavez’ dishes highlight ingredients in imaginative ways. Sirena is open from 5 p.m. until close, Tuesday through Saturday evenings. For more information, please visit their website or give them a call.

Spoil Me Rotten 1501 India St., Suite 100 San Diego, CA 92101 619-677-3000 If you are ever fortunate enough to find yourself at the corner of Beech and India streets in Little Italy and wonder what that wonderful aroma could possibly be … walk a few steps past the fountain and into a small but wondrous apparel experience. Spoil Me Rotten Boutique is among the best clothing and accessories boutiques in San Diego. Peruse fashion lines such as Eva Varro, Free People, Splendid, Lisette, Neon Buddha, Pure Knits, Sky, and Kendra Scott, to name a few. Come in and shop for ever ything from weekend wear to weddings, or casual to dressy. The atmosphere at Spoil Me Rotten Boutique is friendly and helpful, as well as being a wonderful source for wearable fashions that make a statement. Additional ser vices offered are complimentar y gift wrapping, gift certificates and personal shopper ser vices. Nelson Photo 1909 India St. San Diego, CA 92101 619-234-6621 |    Nelson Photo is San Diego’s complete camera store and photo lab that lives by the company slogan, “Where cameras, supplies and good ser vice come together.” Combine our experienced sales staff with our products and you will be able to accomplish most anything that involves preser ving your photo memories. We do not take photos, but we will provide you with ever ything you need to take photos and preser ve the great memories of your life. Do you need that photo on a phone saved and printed? We do it. Do you have old photos or movies that need to be digitized? We do it. Do you need film developed? We do it. Do you need those photos of the graduation, wedding, new baby, birthdays and special holidays preser ved? We do it. Do you need photo-themed gifts or a book? We do it! Nelson Photo has been located in the Downtown’s Little Italy district since the 1950s. Our products include cameras — both film and digital — digital video, lenses, filters, microphones, tripods, bags, photo printers, binoculars, books, frames, wedding albums, photo albums, photo paper, darkroom equipment and studio lighting. We also sell used cameras and lenses and we also carr y the largest selection of pro and amateur films in San Diego. Nelson Photo provides onsite photo printing, one-hour ser vices and all the latest digital ser vices, including transferring images to CDs and DVDs. You can upload your digital pictures on our website and have them printed at Nelson Photo for pickup or deliver y. Download the free app, “Lifepics,” and you can order prints directly from your smart phone or tablet.

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014




San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

The GASLAMP Quarter


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Doing it up on New Year’s Eve We’ve rounded up ways to ring in 2015 whether you want to stay Downtown or get away. Whether you prefer to wind down 2014 with a fancy dinner, a festive dance party or live music — we’ve got you covered. 2015 New Year’s Eve Pub Crawl: This unique event will take you throughout the Gaslamp Quarter to celebrate. Deals at various locations will include $4 beers (domestic and select imports), $15 for two premium beers and $15 for two glasses of champagne. Check in from 6 – 10 p.m. at Taste and Thirst (715 Fourth Ave.) where revelers will be given a map of participating locations. Crawl continues until 2 a.m. 715 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp. Entertainment: Varies by venue. Price: $15 for singles, with discounts for multiple tickets purchased together. Visit:


Andaz San Diego: The Gaslamp-based hotel is hosting a bash with party areas on three levels from 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. RoofTop600, Andaz Wine Bar, and a downstairs nightclub will each present a variety of experiences. Andaz Hotel is also offering allinclusive VIP hotel packages. 600 F St., Gaslamp. Entertainment: DJ lineup including DJ Amtrac, DJ Le*Crooked, DJ Beatnick and more. Price: $50+ Visit: Belly Up Tavern: North County’s premier music venue has a night full of live music to ring in the new year. The happy hour show starts at 5:30 p.m. with the main NYE party kicking off at 9:30 p.m. 143 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach. Entertainment: The Candye Kane NYE Happy Hour will feature the legendary songstress with special guest Debbie Davies. The main event concert features Donavon Frankenreiter with opener Tom Curren. Price: $12+ for NYE happy hour; $65+ for NYE party. Visit: Hard Rock Hotel San Diego: This party will take place in five venues on three floors of the hotel from 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. At midnight, a balloon drop will accompany the champagne toast. Room packages available. 207 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp. Entertainment: Over 20 DJs including Adventure Club, Sid Vicious and more. Price: $75+ Visit: Hilton San Diego Bayfront: Once again, Big Night San Diego takes over the waterfront hotel for an NYE gala from 9 p.m. – 2:30 a.m. The all-inclusive event has drinks, buffet-style hors d’oeuvres, entertainment in 12 party areas and more. Hotel rates are discounted for attendees. 1 Park Blvd., Embarcadero South. Entertainment: Live music includes Fishbone, Agua Dulce, and more. DJs include George Acosta, Who and Paulo da Rosa, and more. Price: $115+ (Note: prices

will increase without notice as the event gets closer.) Visit: Humphreys Restaurant and Humphreys Backstage LIVE: This venue offers two celebrations. In Backstage LIVE there will be live music, dancing and a champagne toast at midnight. In the restaurant, festivities include a four-course dinner – with seating at 8, 8:15, 8:30 and 8:45 p.m., live music and a champagne toast. Hotel packages are available for both options. 2241 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island. Entertainment: Latin rock band Viva Santana in Humphreys Backstage LIVE; dance band PopRX in Humphreys Restaurant. Price: $69+ for Backstage LIVE; $129+ for the restaurant. Visit: humphreysrestaurant. com The Lafayette Hotel: The historic Nor th Park hotel will host this 1920s-themed event in a trio of areas on the proper ty: “The City Within a City,” “The Cotton Club,” and the “Speakeasy” — if you can find it. Dubbed “On with the Show” the festivities will include a four-course dinner, live entertainment and more from 7 p.m. – 2 a.m. 2223 El Cajon Blvd., Nor th Park. Enter tainment: Music from Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, Trio Gadjo, Miss Erika Davies, Sarah Cranberr y and more. Additional enter tainment from Circus Mafia, DJ Man Cat and improv comedy shows Price: $50+ Visit: Marriott Gaslamp Quarter: The Marriott’s “Bottoms Up” NYE par ty from 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. includes unlimited food and drinks. The buf fet dinner will feature ever ything from prime rib to sushi at dining stations until 12:30 a.m. Unlimited beverages will include well drinks, domestic beers and free-flowing champagne. The countdown and toast at midnight will take place on the 1st and 22nd floors with par ty favors. 660 K St., Gaslamp. Enter tainment: DJs on dif ferent levels including DJ David Cutler in the lobby, DJ Miss Dust at Altitude on the 22nd floor and more. Price: $165 Visit: Mar tinis Above Four th: This venue of fers two celebration packages. The “East Coast” star ts at 5 p.m. with live enter tainment, five-course dinner and champagne toast. The “West Coast” celebration star ts at 7:30 p.m. with five-course dinner and two live per formances plus a champagne toast at midnight. 3940 Four th Ave. (Second Floor), Hillcrest. Enter tainment: “East Coast” will feature Andy and Nathan from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. and “West Coast” will feature Andy and Nathan from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. and Amy Armstrong and Freddy Allen at 10 p.m. Price: $60 for “East”; $125 for “West” Visit: mar tinisabovefour th. com/nye v



[SDDN] Did you attend culinar y school? [S.B.] No. After my trip to New York I got a job cooking at 55 on the Boulevard in Columbus. I worked there for three years with a really talented chef who beat my ass ever y day. I learned butchering, sauce making and worked ever y station. [SDDN] What was your primar y goal when revising Grant Grill’s menu? [S.B.] We’ve actually changed all of the menus — breakfast, lunch and dinner and aligned them to seasonal changes. The menus before were in books with larger selections. Now we’re doing less items, and very calculated, rather than spreading out the repertoire so widely. For dinner, we no longer have a special tasting menu because that menu changes daily. There’s no guarantee that what you see one night you’ll see the next. [SDDN] Were the changes a team effort? [S.B.] Yes, with Executive Chef Mark Kropczynski and nine cooks and mixologist Jeff Josenhans, we all work together. I’m a big believer in not stifling creativity because you never know where the next great idea will come from. [SDDN] Tell us about some of your top-selling dishes that might stick around for a while? [S.B.] We recently introduced a dr y-aged rib eye for two. The steak was already on the menu, but we would cut the bone out of it and portion it out into separate fillets. Now it’s a steak for two ($98) and weighs in at 20 to 33 ounces. We sear it in cast iron, roast it in the oven and baste it with butter, garlic and rosemar y. Also running into the New Year is ‘flavors of paella’ consisting of puffed rice seasoned with Spanish paprika and piquillo pepper puree. On top is a selection of local mussels, clams and wild shrimp. It’s all tied together with Spanish chorizo, saffron and a little bit of sherr y. In many of the dishes we’re creating, there’s enough for two people. [SDDN] Are there any particular organics currently grabbing your attention at the local farms? [S.B.] Chino Farms have these crazy blue pumpkins that I’ll maybe use for a raw squash salad with pomegranates. Their sweet potatoes are also amazing, which I might use for making dumplings or pasta. Oh, and their purple Brussels sprouts are great, which I’ve been adding to red lentil stew. They have a black pepper taste to them. [SDDN] What is your overall impression of San Diego’s food scene? [S.B.] I feel there are great chefs here. But what I don’t see happening is local restaurant owners investing in their talent. I often see chefs asked to cook things they don’t necessarily want to. [SDDN] What challenges, if any, exist in attracting more San Diegans to the Grant Grill? [S.B.] The goal is to get people into a hotel for dinner. We’re tr ying to do that in a grass-roots

Chef Burman recently introduced the new “rib eye for two” to the Grant Grill’s menu (Courtesy J Public Relations)

way by word of mouth without being pigeonholed as ‘fine dining.’ We’re more representative of an elegant dining experience. Whether you want roast chicken or an elaborate meal, we have it. [SDDN] Where do you hang outside of work? [S.B.] Usually in my backyard barbecuing with my wife and one-year-old son. I have a large pit smoker, so if you see smoke in Hillcrest, it’s probably us.

Grant Grill is located at 326 Broadway, off the main lobby of the US Grant Hotel. For reser vations or more information about December’s prix fixe holiday dinners, call 619-744-2077 or visit —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 staf fer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014



San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

Coronado A premier destination for world-class shopping and dining, Orange Avenue is nestled in the heart of historic Coronado, located just minutes from Downtown San Diego. Enjoy a scenic drive over the famed Coronado Bridge or take the ferry across the bay to access this exclusive seaside community’s many charming shops and restaurants.v

Celtic Corner 916 Orange Ave. Coronado, CA 92118 619-435-1880

Holland’s Bicycles 977 Orange Ave. Coronado, CA 92118 619-435-3153

Bagpiping! Dancing! Book Signing! Join Celtic Corner (Scottish Treasures) for their 16th annual store open house on Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 – 4 p.m. Stop by the store and enjoy entertainment, dancing, and wee bit of Scottish hospitality with the owners. Larr y Samuels will be playing his bagpipes in the morning hours and Kathleen Hartshorne will be entertaining the guests with her harp in the afternoon. Meet author Ed Ries who will be signing the latest release in his series of books Legacy of Honor.  

Holland’s Bicycles has been ser ving the Crown City of Coronado since 1924. Located at the heart of the island at the corner of Orange Avenue and 10th Street, Holland’s is open Monday through Saturday until 7 p.m. and Sunday until 5 p.m. The staff at Holland’s Bicycles likes to think of their shop as the “second happiest place on earth” and makes it a priority to create a friendly environment for ever yone that walks or rides through the front door. Whether it be to simply browse their incredible selection of bicycles and accessories, pick out that perfect gift, or have one of Holland’s expert ser vice technicians bring an old friend back to life, patrons find it difficult to leave the store without a bigger smile on their face than when they came in. Holland’s has the perfect selection of bicycles for ever yone from kids to recreational riders to serious road cyclists and offers exceptional rates on hourly, daily and weekly rentals as well.

Earth, Wind & Sea of Coronado 1303 Orange Ave. Coronado, CA 92118 619-522-9633 Earth, Wind & Sea is located on Orange Avenue, just a block away from the historic Hotel del Coronado. For over 20 years we have been ser ving San Diego as a popular source for unique home and garden décor. Featuring artisans from San Diego, the U.S. and around the world, we carr y a wide variety of products that are sure to be the perfect gift or addition to your home. For the garden we carr y musically tuned chimes, tabletop fountains, garden stakes and small statuar y. Our bamboo fountain kits turns any pot into a fountain — bringing the peaceful sound of flowing water to your home, patio or garden. We also have a beautiful selection of U.S. made candles, lotions and soaps — a great addition to any home. In addition home and garden, we have also gathered a unique selection of reasonably priced jewelr y — focusing on local and U.S. artists and fair trade groups from around the globe. Open daily from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

see Coronado, page 20

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014



San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

Coronado A premier destination for world-class shopping and dining, Orange Avenue is nestled in the heart of historic Coronado, located just minutes from Downtown San Diego. Enjoy a scenic drive over the famed Coronado Bridge or take the ferry across the bay to access this exclusive seaside community’s many charming shops and restaurants.v

Celtic Corner 916 Orange Ave. Coronado, CA 92118 619-435-1880

Holland’s Bicycles 977 Orange Ave. Coronado, CA 92118 619-435-3153

Bagpiping! Dancing! Book Signing! Join Celtic Corner (Scottish Treasures) for their 16th annual store open house on Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 – 4 p.m. Stop by the store and enjoy entertainment, dancing, and wee bit of Scottish hospitality with the owners. Larr y Samuels will be playing his bagpipes in the morning hours and Kathleen Hartshorne will be entertaining the guests with her harp in the afternoon. Meet author Ed Ries who will be signing the latest release in his series of books Legacy of Honor.  

Holland’s Bicycles has been ser ving the Crown City of Coronado since 1924. Located at the heart of the island at the corner of Orange Avenue and 10th Street, Holland’s is open Monday through Saturday until 7 p.m. and Sunday until 5 p.m. The staff at Holland’s Bicycles likes to think of their shop as the “second happiest place on earth” and makes it a priority to create a friendly environment for ever yone that walks or rides through the front door. Whether it be to simply browse their incredible selection of bicycles and accessories, pick out that perfect gift, or have one of Holland’s expert ser vice technicians bring an old friend back to life, patrons find it difficult to leave the store without a bigger smile on their face than when they came in. Holland’s has the perfect selection of bicycles for ever yone from kids to recreational riders to serious road cyclists and offers exceptional rates on hourly, daily and weekly rentals as well.

Earth, Wind & Sea of Coronado 1303 Orange Ave. Coronado, CA 92118 619-522-9633 Earth, Wind & Sea is located on Orange Avenue, just a block away from the historic Hotel del Coronado. For over 20 years we have been ser ving San Diego as a popular source for unique home and garden décor. Featuring artisans from San Diego, the U.S. and around the world, we carr y a wide variety of products that are sure to be the perfect gift or addition to your home. For the garden we carr y musically tuned chimes, tabletop fountains, garden stakes and small statuar y. Our bamboo fountain kits turns any pot into a fountain — bringing the peaceful sound of flowing water to your home, patio or garden. We also have a beautiful selection of U.S. made candles, lotions and soaps — a great addition to any home. In addition home and garden, we have also gathered a unique selection of reasonably priced jewelr y — focusing on local and U.S. artists and fair trade groups from around the globe. Open daily from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

see Coronado, page 20

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014



San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


CORONADO Mistletoe Magic in the Coronado Village! Join the merchants for an evening of late night shopping with in store specials and happy hour at select locations on Dec. 10 from 2 – 8 p.m. Obtain a shopping pass from participating stores starting Dec. 8. Visit with Santa and enjoy Christmas caroling throughout the village from 5 – 8 p.m.  Follow us on Facebook at “Mistletoe Magic Coronado” for additional details and participating shops or email MistletoeMagicCoronado@

WAG’N TAILS 945 Orange Ave. Coronado, CA 92118 619-435-3513

Good things come in small packages — or so we’re told. That definitely holds true for Wag’n Tails in Coronado. A small boutique and doggie self-wash spa filled with all the things your savvy dog and cat desires. The boutique is filled to the brim for your holiday needs, with a vast array of items to pamper any pet, and 90 percent of the products are made in the U.S. There are collars and leashes, fluffy beds, toys filled with fun, dog hoodies and waterproof revisable coats. The beds are made from recycled bottles, helping to sustain the environment. The hoodies and coats are hand made in Connecticut and Oregon. Wag’n Tails offers premium dog and cat food and treats all sourced and made in the U.S. as well as products needed to keep your pets healthy. There are bakery treats decked out in holiday themes for both Chanukah and Christmas — all made of human grade ingredients and sure to please the pickiest pooch. The self-wash dog spa is a clean welcoming environment designed for the comfort of your pet and you. We provide shampoo, towels, grooming tools, ear cleaner and blow dryer use in the basic bath. You can enhance your pets’ bath by adding conditioner for a small upcharge. At the end of the bath, your pet is rewarded with a treat to say “well done.” Wag’n Taills offers discounts for seniors and the military and also carry out service for large orders and free delivery as well. Our friendly educated staff are happy to guide you to the perfect shopping experience, seven days a week. Happy holidays!v

Seaasons Greetings The holiday season in Downtown San Diego is a magical time: Horton Plaza and The Headquarters as well as the many specialty stores throughout Seaport Village and the Gaslamp Quarter make it a shopper’s paradise this time of year; holiday lights and music abound as you make your way around; special holiday-themed events are everywhere you look and ways to give to those less fortunate are in abundance. See our Cover Story for all the holiday events happening in and around Downtown this month; go to page 16 if you are looking for a place to spend New Year’s Eve; find the many organizations facilitating the ways you can donate food and toys this season on page 27; and here, on pages 22 to 24, peruse the various local vendors who wish to make your holidays a little easier and brighter. Happy Holidays from everyone at San Diego Downtown News, and all the best in 2015.

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

Bubbles Boutique 226 Fifth Ave. San Diego CA 92101 619-236-9003 Owner Gayleen Nichols is grateful for all of the San Diego residents who have supported and continue to support local businesses and to all of the wonderful tourists that continue to be loyal and keep visiting us year after year. Bubbles … a Unique Boutique is located in the heart of the historic Gaslamp Quarter. This charming boutique has been offering an eclectic mix of women’s trendy fashion, accessories and one-of-a-kind gifts for over 11 years. Gayleen makes it her personal mission to support emerging local jewelry designers and showcases at least a dozen local artists. American Express dubbed Bubbles Boutique “a gem in the Gaslamp Quarter.” If you are looking for that truly unusual gift for the women in your life or need a bit of sparkle for the holidays, Bubbles Boutique is the perfect boutique to visit.

Creative Futons 3134 University Ave. San Diego, CA 92104 619-528-8443 Leslee Evans had a vision in 1987 when she opened her store, Creative Futons, in North Park along University Avenue. She believed then that apartments would be getting smaller and people will need furniture that is versatile. “Futons offer people great choices.” Evans stated at the time. Then in August of 1999, she said, “With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, alternative choices to home décor are many and futons are perfect furniture.” This statement remains true today. Now 27 years into her dream business, Evans’ Creative Futons and its iconic location in North Park has ser ved people all over San Diego County. Along with several frame sizes and styles to choose from, the store now carries new home

interior items, such as new futon mattress covers, beautiful lamps, gorgeous pillows and a host of other accent pieces. Her commitment to delivering a quality product, customer satisfaction and excellent service are living proof she walks like she talks. Visit them on the web or walk into the store on University Avenue, with hours Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Daas Optique by Alexander Daas 431 J St. San Diego, CA 92101 619-795-8947 Daas Optique (Alexander Daas Eyewear Showroom) is having its anniversar y sale with luxur y eyewear up to 75 percent off. What better way to use up those left over flexible spending account (FSA) dollars? An optical boutique concept by Alexander Daas, a secondgeneration optician, eyewear stylist and eyewear designer, Daas Optique features an exclusive curation of top independent and luxur y eyewear brands. With a uniquely trained staff of

opticians and eyewear stylists, the best selection of eyeglasses and sunglasses, and the most cutting-edge prescription lens technology and lab equipment, you are guaranteed an amazing experience and the best pair of glasses or sunglasses you’ve ever had. Daas Optique’s San Diego location is conveniently located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter on J Street between Fourth and Fifth streets. Open seven days a week, Daas Optique also offers private styling appointments outside of its regular business hours with one of their celebrity stylists / opticians. Look and feel better than you ever have and get #StyledByDaas! There’s a reason so many celebrities do. Don’t forget, the FSA deadline is fast approaching: Dec. 31. Eyewear from Daas Optique is the perfect way to use your flex dollars before you lose them.

see Holidays, page 22



20% OFF!


EXPIRES 12/20/14

401 University Ave. San Diego, CA 92103 619.900.7674


San Diego Downtown News | December 2014



Fiesta de Reyes Juan Street San Diego, CA 92108 619-297-3100 Excellent dining. Unique merchandise. Fine art. And the best margarita in San Diego for only $5! Located in the heart of Old Town San Diego Historic Park, Fiesta de Reyes is a vibrant and exciting dining, shopping and entertainment experience that will delight the whole family. This is the birthplace of San Diego. The original Mexican pueblo was established here in 1821 and Fiesta de Reyes along with Old Town San Diego State Historic Park celebrates the early growth of the pueblo into a thriving city. Here you’ll find shops and restaurants inspired by 19th centur y pueblo life — an ongoing fiesta of live entertainment and a myriad of opportunities for visitors and locals alike. Come taste the essence of life in San Diego during its infancy. Fiesta de Reyes is located inside the northeast corner of Old Town San Diego, on Juan Street between Wallace and Mason, one block from the Old Town Trolley Station.

Francis Family Jewelers 1050 University Ave. Suite 105 San Diego, CA 92103 | 619-297-7300 A dashing young Air Force Colonel, Paul G. Francis, was searching for a diamond engagement ring in a diamond house in London, and his distinctive uniform caught the eye of one of London’s elite diamond sightholders — an exclusive few, they were the direct source from DeBeers, which controlled all productions from the diamond mines in South Africa. The sightholder and Col. Francis became friends, and when the Colonel retired, he had a little money. In 1979, the two went into partnership and opened Francis London Diamonds, in San Diego. Shipments of diamonds were delivered from London, a sale was held for one week, and then the store closed except for two days, to ser vice orders for rings and settings. Bob Francis was working as a professional photographer — mainly for magazines —but when his father retired in 1970,

Bob carried on the business. “We’d just started as a diamond business,” Bob said. “Over time, there came to be a lot of competition and I branched out into just jewelr y.” At the end of this year, Bob Francis is retiring. Francis Family Jewelers will be holding a retirement sale from Nov. 6 through the end of the year, at closeout savings.

Mankind 1295 University Ave. San Diego, CA 92103 619-497-1970 Now in their new location, Mankind is Hillcrest’s upscale shopping experience. It’s a place for the fashionable man that is always on the lookout for new fashions, trending designs and colorful collections that will have people turning heads. They offer: designer jeans; luxur y shirts and Polos; stylish hoodies and T-shirts; sexy under wear; fashionable looks for holiday parties; adult and couples gifts; lifestyle T’s; activewear, clubwear, and cruisewear; extensive swimear collections, year ‘round; bachelorette supplies; and last minute gifts. Mankind features designs from Diesel, Timoteo, Penguin, Andrew Christian, and many others. For you or that special man in your life, shop Mankind in Hillcrest for the holidays. They’re open Sunday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 pm., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight. Find them on Facebook: mankindsd.

The Old Globe 1363 Old Globe Way San Diego, CA 92101 619-234-5623 The internationally acclaimed, Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the most renowned regional theaters in the countr y, and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for over 75 years. The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 plays and musicals on its three stages, including its highly regarded Shakespeare festival. The Globe has become a gathering place for leading theater artists from around the world, such as Tom Stoppard, Daniel Sullivan and Chita Rivera, among many others. Numerous Broadway-bound premieres and revivals, such as “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “The Full Monty” have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly

see Holidays, page 23


HOLIDAYS successful runs in New York and at regional theaters across the countr y. To order tickets, including for Dr. Suess’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!,” call 619-23-GLOBE or email

San Diego Symphony 750 B St. San Diego, CA 92101 619-235-0804 The San Diego Symphony’s enhanced and revitalized Pops series, City Lights, returns for a new season! Principal pops conductor (and Oscar legend) Bill Conti opened City Lights with a Halloween extravaganza of blood-chilling movie music and classic Hollywood film clips that kept attendees on the edge of their seats! Our tremendously popular Holiday Pops programs features “A Celtic Celebration” and the return of popular Irish fiddler Eileen Ivers. The original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys” reunites as “The Midtown Men,” performing the music from that little show that began right here in San Diego and went on to light up the Great White Way! Rat Pack legend Dean Martin and his music receive a loving tribute from his own daughter, Deana Martin, and then the artful “Le Ombré” concludes the City Lights season with an electrifying presentation of light, shadow and music on our stage you won’t soon forget! Buy a “Choose Your Own” series, include some City Lights concerts in your choices and add City Lights specials “Nathan Pacheco: Be My Valentine” with preferred seating! Please join us and bring friends to our thrilling new season at the Jacobs Music Center. It’s hip, classy and cool. With our signature lobby lighting and displays, you’ll enter a sophisticated world of entertainment. Our bars offer drinks (served by Snake Oil Cocktail Company) that you can take back to your seats. The sights and sounds of a night on the town.

see Holidays, page 24

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014



San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


HOLIDAYS Westfield Horton Plaza 324 Horton Plaza San Diego, CA 92101 619-239-8180

Downtown San Diego’s fashionable front door — Westfield

Horton Plaza is more than just a shopping center. Located in the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza is the hub of Downtown San Diego for art, community, entertainment, and shopping. Designed by architect Jon Jerde and built in 1985, the plaza was influenced primarily by old Italian architecture and is distinguished by its open-air concept, bright colors, collection of public art, array of distinguished

shops and nod to the historic Downtown San Diego. There’s something for everyone on your guest list at Westfield Horton Plaza.v


San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


C e h v r New Museum of Man o i l s t s m o as Wh exhibit is hit and myth

The cast of the 17th annual production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, directed by James Vásquez (Photo by Jim Cox)

Theater Review Charlene Baldridge Nothing brings a community together so well as tradition. The same is true of family. This is especially true in the case of the Old Globe’s annual tradition, a musical titled “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Seen opening night Nov. 20, the 17th annual production has become tradition — a perpetual gift to San Diego and San Diegans — just as envisioned by Dr. Seuss’ widow, Audrey Geisel, and then-Globe Artistic Director Jack O’Brien, who conceived and directed the first production here. Those who attended O’Brien’s presentation of the concept will never forget his enthusiasm as he described the Whos, Whoville and John Lee Beatty and Robert Morgan’s original scenic and costume designs. Other than slight tweaks to music and choreography, nothing much has changed. James Vásquez, who has staged it since 2003, currently directs the work. Generations of young San Diegans have seen the show, pointed at the stage, and said, “I

Leshy, a Slavic forest humanoid, who can transform himself into plants and creatures (Courtesy Museum of Man)

By Alex Owens

(l to r) Burke Moses as The Grinch and Jeffrey Schecter as Young Max (Photo by Jim Cox)

star with impressive and numerous hunky credits, makes his debut as the Grinch, providing a musically fine, intentionally gauche green guy, whose conversion from heartless Christmas hater to who-man-being is exceptionally touching. This season’s adult company is chock full of familiar and favorite Southern California singer/actors, some debuting in the show and others returning. For instance, Robert J. Townsend (seen most recently as the father in San Diego Musical Theatre’s “Next to Normal”) makes his debut as Papa Who opposite Bets Malone (her second year as Mama Who). Jill Townsend, Robert’s wife (l to r) Gabriella Dimmick as Cindy-Lou Who, Moses as The and a formidable Grinch, and Schecter as Young Max (Photo by Jim Cox) presence in any company, is among the six want to do that,” and they have, Grown Up Whos. Geno Carr giving rise to legions of singing, and his wife Nancy Snow Carr dancing youth who enrich the loportray Grandpa and Grandma cal scene, then spread out, along Who, and extreme veteran Steve with their younger brothers and Gunderson returns to the show sisters. for his 12th year, this time as “Grinch” utilizes two teams Old Max, the Grinch’s dog. Old of youngsters (Pink and Red), Max returns to Mt. Crumpit to who alternate performances as say farewell before he leaves. He Little Whos, Teen Whos, and relates the story of Young Max name-role Whos. On opening (Jeffrey Schecter) and how he night, 8-year-old Taylor Coleman abetted the Grinch in his attempt portrayed Cindy-Lou Who for to steal Christmas. the second year, alternating with Elan McMahan, resident Gabriella Dimmick, also a repeat music director at Vista’s MoonCindy-Lou. light Stage Productions, conducts Burke Moses, a Broadway

the 8-member Who-Chestra, all represented by the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. With book and lyrics by Timothy Mason and music by Mel Marvin, the show features “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” the vaudeville number “One of a Kind,” and Cindy Lou’s heart-stopping “Santa for a Day,” sung by the little girl who catches the Grinch stealing her family’s Christmas everything and innocently believes him to be St. Nick. By the time the snow falls and the Grinch learns that Christmas cannot be stolen, all the children and adults in the audience are captivated. As a young boy on his way to the parking lot was heard to say, “Mommy, when can we come back?” —Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. Her book “San Diego, Jewel of the California Coast” (Northland Publishing) is currently available in bookstores. She can be reached at

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Through Dec. 27 (no performances Dec. 25) Old Globe Theatre 1363 Old Globe Way Balboa Park Tickets $37 (adults), $24 (17 & under) 619-23-GLOBE 234-5623

From now until the end of 2015, the Museum of Man in Balboa Park is being taken over by monsters. Or should we say “Monsters!,” a new exhibit focusing on the strange mythological creatures that have inspired stories for centuries. The family-friendly exhibit explores how imaginary animals like dragons, vampires and sasquatches have taken on lives of their own thanks to the human imagination. The creatures might be figments of fertile imaginations, but Karen Lacy — the Museum’s collections manager, who created the exhibit along with museum volunteer Melanie Dallas — said monsters have an important place in human development. “The human mind seeks to understand things,” Lacy said. “Mythology is a way of understanding the unknown. For instance, people lose things for no apparent reason. Well, there are creatures that steal things.” People enter the exhibit through the mouth of a tentacled monster. Then they learn about various strange creatures, some famous while others are more from folk culture, and where the myths originated. “Some creatures have a definite origin,” Lacy said. “Others are harder to source.” There is a controversy where dragons started. Many cultures have similar stories about them. “It’s possible someone may have seen dinosaur bones and put a story to it to explain them,” she said. “The myth is a way of understanding the unknown.” It is also a way of processing horrific experiences.

see Monsters!, page 29



San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

2014: A great year for Downtown San Diego Downtown Partnership News Kris Michell The Downtown San Diego Partnership started 2014 with a clear vision and ambitious agenda and then worked day in and day out to deliver real results for the Downtown community. Whether it was effectively addressing homelessness, supporting our growing innovation economy, or keeping our neighborhoods clean, safe and beautiful, all of our efforts were designed to deliver on key goals in “Imagine Downtown,” our 20-year strategic plan for Downtown San Diego. Here is just a brief recap of some of our achievements in 2014: Homelessness: We at the Partnership know that addressing homelessness in a comprehensive and compassionate way is key to creating a thriving Downtown that allows our businesses and neighborhoods to prosper. The Downtown Partnership’s Clean & Safe Homeless Outreach Team has now reunited more than 400 homeless individuals with loved ones back home through the innovative “Work Your Way Home” program — helping more than 200 individuals in 2014 alone. Our team also advocated for and helped managed 25 “triage” beds in conjunction with the San Diego Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team. These beds are a critical first step in assessing a homeless person’s needs and then connecting that individual with the housing and services he or she needs. So far, the program has been incredibly successful, assisting close to 130 individuals

in just the first five months of the program. We also once again partnered with Cox Communications on our “Make Change Count” fundraising drive to raise funds for our homeless programs. In the last year alone, we have been able to raise close to $100,000 to help homeless individuals on the streets in Downtown and into housing. Economic Development: We see Downtown as an increasingly important hub in the region’s innovation economy — one that it is perfectly poised to attract the companies and talent needed to keep San Diego competitive in the global marketplace. As part of our economic development efforts, the Partnership launched a Tech Startup Committee to help craft policies and programs to benefit Downtown’s more than 80 tech companies. We also partnered with Mayor Kevin Faulconer to host a “Downtown Tech Startup Roundtable” to identify ways the City of San Diego can support Downtown’s innovation hub. In addition, Downtown was also able to lure a slate of new companies to Downtown, from startups like to established companies such as Cypress Insurance, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, as well as engineering firm Kleinfelder, Bumble Bee Foods and AECOM. Placemaking/Tactical Urbanism: We understand that to create the Downtown of tomorrow, we need to start today. That is why the Partnership worked hard in 2014 to use the tenets of placemaking, or tactical urbanism, throughout our community to activate our Downtown and start a dialogue with the community about how we can reimagine public space. These efforts included Clean & Safe’s


incredibly popular tree-lighting program that lit up more than 200 trees in six different areas of Downtown as well as our “Sounds of Summer,” a pop-up concert series sponsored by Sycuan and The US Grant Hotel. The Partnership also was proud to work with HP Investors and RAD Lab to help open the new Pocket Park at 13th Avenue and J Street in East Village. Our “Healthy Living in the City,” a Downtown wellness initiative sponsored by Scripps Health, highlighted all that our urban community has to offer with cooking classes at Jimbo’s… Naturally!, lunchtime strolls and yoga sessions in unique locations. In fact, the inaugural yoga class on the USS Midway drew more than 400 attendees on an early July morning. Clean & Safe: And, of course, our Clean & Safe team continued to keep Downtown at its ver y best — even during Comic-Con when more than 130,000 people flocked to our urban community. In 2014, the Clean & Safe team also restored the Children’s Pond, worked to improve C Street with new drought-tolerant landscaping, and expanded beautification efforts by installing hanging baskets and corner planters in Cortez Hill, as well as placing corner planters in the Marina and Columbia districts. The good news is there is even more exciting progress slated for our Downtown in 2015 with everything from the launch of a new parking app in January to an innovative circulator system that will offer free or low-cost rides in and around Downtown to better connect our urban neighborhoods. Of course, the Partnership will continue to focus on what matters most to those in our Downtown: efforts to effectively address homelessness, initiatives to grow our economy and create jobs and continuing to support the civic projects that will help transform our Downtown. I hope you will join us as we continue to work to reimagine and deliver a Downtown like no other. —Kris Michell is the president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, the organization that oversees the Clean & Safe program and also works toward creating a world-class Downtown. For questions or comments, email





OPINION spend the day with us! —Anette Asher is the CEO of Glenner Memory Care Centers, with three locations including Chula Vista, Encinitas and Hillcrest. For services and resources call today 619-543-4700 or visit

Eliminating holiday stress before it arrives By Katherine Austin Banish the battle of baking, entertaining, gift-giving, and getting-it-all-done with San Diego’s secret stress-relieving (and anti-aging) workout regimen. Have you started baking? Buying? Wrapping? The holiday season is upon us, with all its expected stresses, but that doesn’t mean you have to succumb to the pressures. You can get ahead of the stress curve by building in little pockets of steadiness with breathing techniques, yoga postures and meditations, requiring no more than a few minutes throughout the day. The holidays can bring out old family patterns, bitter quarrels and resentments over who does too much (and who doesn’t do enough). Research from the American Psychological Association shows that balancing your holiday obligations with personal time devoted to quick restorative practices can eliminate anxiety and depression. Try these simple self-care techniques and see how protect your sanity. Aromatherapy: Buy a diffuser and organic oils from local natural food stores or online and or buy essential oils such as lavender, which has calming effects. Take a bath: Add Epsom salts and lavender essential oil to your bath and relax. At the end of the day, late at night after you’ve put the turkey in the oven, or whenever you can find yourself a little alone time — make the most of it! Play a song: Whenever and wherever you can, play healing music in the background — from your iPhone, on your Sonos system, or on the radio. Think home, car, office — everywhere you find yourself! Music can shift the energy from stressed and anxious to it’s-all-good. My favorite: spiritual music and music for meditation (easy to find online at iTunes or Shut down: Completely. Two


H R Tactics Strategic Planning, Tactical Training Joe Whitaker operates H.R. Tactics, a full-service human resource consulting firm in Mission Hills, providing a broad range of human resource support, products and solutions for small to midsized companies with fees designed to put affordable human resources in reach. He can be contacted at 804-4551 or e-mail at


302 Washington St., Suite 112 San Diego, CA 92103


hours before bed time, turn off all electronics — and don’t give in to the temptation to turn them back on! A recent New York Times article about Arianna Huffington and Kobe Bryant extolled the virtues of turning everything off and escaping the always-on world we live in. Go to bed: Early. No later than 10 p.m. if you can do it. The energizing hours are in the early morning and you won’t greet them if you’re up all night. Breathe: In yoga, we focus on the breath to get us through hard poses. We need to do so in life, too. Try left nostril breathing or meditation for stress relief (see instructions below). Strike a pose: Do a few quick yoga poses — legs up the wall with a lavender eye pillow for calming your nervous system; modified downward dog in the kitchen by leaning on the counter; an overhead side stretch one arm at a time. (See spinal flex instructions below.) A Mayo Clinic study reveals that any form of exercise — anything from a 7-mile run to three minutes of calming yoga poses or deep breathing — can relieve stress. Endorphins are generated by a walk in nature, an impromptu hike, or a few minutes in meditation. Any physical activity helps you release the stress and worries of all your obligations, clearing your mind and resetting it with optimism rather than panic. Don’t fall into the trap of not having enough time for yourself this holiday season. Spinal flex: Sit in a comfortable position in a chair or on the floor, hands on thighs or shins. Inhale, draw chest forward, exhale, round the spine. Do this with eyes closed for three minutes. Left nostril breathing: The benefits of left nostril breathing are numerous, including sharper, clearer focus of the mind, and a deep, full relaxation or sleep. Yogi Bhajan taught that if a person breathes through the left nostril for 31 minutes a day for 90 days, they will naturally change their metabolism in favor of relaxation and weight loss. Try doing three minutes a day to start. Meditation for stress relief and clearing past emotions (this balances hemispheres of the brain): Fingertips touch, palms apart in front of heart, gaze down tip of nose, inhale five seconds, hold for five seconds, exhale five seconds and repeat for three to 11 minutes. —Katherine Austin owns Karma Yoga San Diego at 1901 Fourth Ave. in the Bankers Hill neighborhood. Learn more at karma-yoga. net or 619-269-1769.v


Exploring Balboa Park Johnny McDonald Supporting an Exposition Could civic leaders again undertake huge investments like Balboa Park’s two major expositions? There are doubters. Richard Amero chronicled the ups and downs in his book “Balboa Park and the 1915 Exposition,” which was edited by Mike Kelly. “I don’t believe San Diego could host an exposition today,” Kelly said. “Our exposition centennial planning fiasco supports Amero’s opinion that he made 11 years ago.” Several years ago, historian Richard Pourade wrote that the city now lacked the necessary cohesiveness. “Then, it was a city of friends who turned two fairs into cooperative dayby-day activities,” Pourade said. “In the last four decades, its a city of laid-back strangers.” He had his finger on the city’s pulse because he was managing editor of the old San Diego Union. There were many challenges to erect the 1915-16 PanamaCalifornia Exposition within a city of around 40,000 residents. Again in 1935 – 36 the California Pacific International Expo was produced in the Depression years. Those past historical accomplishments will be fully recognized with next year’s Centennial celebration. Those expo organizers were a hardy bunch, according to Amero. He wrote that they faced some opposition; New Orleans felt it should be held there, while San Francisco drew Congressional favor to produce its Panama Pacific Expo at the same time. But San Diego’s Chamber of Commerce board of directors pulled it off in 1915 with everlasting perfection and a legacy. San Francisco’s buildings were torn down following the single year fair run. San Diego’s visionaries turned 1,400 acres into the city’s crown

TOWN VOICES / OPINION jewel of beautiful landscape and the preservation of history. The Committee of 100, founded in 1967, was intent upon maintaining the Park’s Spanish Colonial architecture. Four remaining “temporary” plaster and wood buildings were reconstructed with permanent materials. According to Amero, it was July 9, 1909 when Chamber president, G. Aubrey Davidson, founder of the Southern Trust and Commerce Bank, suggested the expo to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal and for San Diego as the first major port. Davidson believed the expo would help bolster an economy still shaky from the Wall Street panic of 1907. In a big move, Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. was elected president of the Chamber and John D. Spreckels first vice president. Grant, son of the former U.S. president, was part owner of The

US Grant Hotel. Spreckels was owner of real estate, hotels, newspapers, banks, utility, water, transit and railroad companies. A.G. Spaulding was then elected second vice president, L.S. McLure third vice president, and Davidson fourth vice president. Amero suggests that the most important appointment was that of real estate developer Col. David “Charlie” Collier as director-gener-

al. He chose City Park and human progress as the theme. At his own expense, Collier lobbied for the exposition before the California Legislature and Congress, and traveled to South America for the same purpose. Spreckels’ subscription of $100,000 spurred donations that would soon bring $1 million. Collier attempted to persuade the House of Representatives to approve a resolution, asking President William Taft to invite Latin American countries. Amero said influential San Franciscans exerted pressure on Congress and President Taft to forestall San Diego’s bid and to back their exposition. “They promised to give their support to Taft in his struggle with the Progressive factions of the Republican Party led by Theodore Roosevelt,” Amero surmised. Department store mogul George W. Marston selected the landscape and appointed architects John C. Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. of Brookline, Massachusetts, to lay out the grounds. New York architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and San Diego architect Irving Gill designed the buildings. “Goodhue’s celebrity status and familiarity with opulent Spanish Baroque relegated the simpler vernacular styles of the American Southwest,” Amero wrote. San Francisco’s Panama–Pacific International Exposition was eventually held between Feb. 20 and Dec. 4 in 1915, constructed on a 635-acre site in the Marina District steps from the San Francisco Bay. The 1915-16 Expo netted $38,000 and the subsequent 1935-36 Fair cleared $44,000.  Elsewhere in the Park: A New Year’s Eve concert is planned, with art and dance shows serving as a prelude at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion from 7 to 9:30 p.m. A processional along El Prado will be led by bagpipers, followed by a variety of musical groups. — After an award winning, 38year sports-writing career with the San Diego Union and authoring three books, Johnny McDonald now considers writing a hobby. You can reach him at

Business Spotlight Inner Balance Institute 1816 Lincoln Ave. San Diego, CA 92103 619-543-9999 Inner Balance Institute will be hosting Share a Lot of Love for the Holidays, a fundraising event to support Make-A-Wish San Diego. The foundation is known for granting the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. The Inner Balance Institute, San Diego’s premier chiropractic and performance center located in Hillcrest, was founded in 1997 with the goal of creating a superior chiropractic experience. For the last eight years, Inner Balance Institute has hosted a holiday fundraiser to benefit different local charities in the San Diego area. Make-A-Wish San Diego has been the beneficiary for the last four years. Inner Balance Institute invites our community to join in efforts to grant the wish of a child in the San Diego area. Donations are being accepted for the event. To participate, please contact the office via phone or

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


Holiday nutritional tips Get Fit Scott Markey I would like to give our readers some tips to get you through this holiday season. As you know, getting through the holiday season and sticking to your diet and training goals can be somewhat daunting with Christmas and New Year’s right around the corner, especially with all of your company and workrelated events, holiday parties, and social functions. Here are a few tips that will help you get through it with success: • Drink plenty of water. Muscle is comprised of 70 percent of it. Also, the more of it you drink, the less water your body will hold on to, and the healthier you will be. • Watch your sugar intake. Limit sodium as well, especially the ladies, as this will cause subcutaneous (water beneath your skin) swelling and blur definition. Also, when your body holds onto water due to water retention it may appear as fat, when in fact it can just be several pounds of water. • Stick with high protein foods (as best you can). The carbohydrates will always be plentiful this time of year, so fill up on proteins first, and you will consume less carbohydrates and fats. • Make the best choices. Training is only 25 percent of the battle; the other 75 percent is nutrition. You can train hard, but without proper nutrition you’re not going to be able to accomplish your goals. • Protein, as I have said

time and time again, is a must for those looking to add quality muscle to their frame, as well as for losing body fat. • Carbohydrates are essential to fuel your muscle cells and your workouts. Carbohydrates allow glycogen stores to be replenished, therefore giving you more energy for your workouts and helping you recover from them as well. • Good Fats! Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are your ally. The use of good fats can increase the absorption of protein. Sources for such EFAs can be found in fresh fish, nuts, and oils (flaxseed, olive, etc,). Olive oil happens to be a favorite of mine, due to its taste. • If your goal is to lose fat and retain your hard-earned muscle, shoot for no more than two pounds a week of weight loss; any more and you may end up burning muscle. Consistency in your diet and workouts is of the utmost importance. Take baby steps, and you will not fail. Tr y to remember ever yone that the holidays come and go. So there is nothing wrong with indulging a little bit. After all, it is the one time of year you can enjoy it. Before you know it, they will be over, and you can get right back to your strict and precise training and dieting regimen. —Scott Markey has over 25 years in the fitness and health industry. He has graced dozens of magazine covers and specializes in physique management, training and nutritional consultation. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at


San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


Dr. John Kitchin publishes Homeless News and runs a food pantry in Tijuana (Photos by Will Bowen)

Homeless for the holidays A profile of one San Diegan on the streets By Will Bowen Editor’s Note: The viewpoints presented in this article are not of the publisher or editors of San Diego Downtown News or any of its associated newspapers. While we in our toasty red Christmas sweaters, surrounded with glee-eyed loved ones, sip brandy by the fireplace, all hung with Christmas stockings and good cheer, literally thousands of homeless people huddle outside in the cold and brace against the wintery winds of the lost American dream. There are even more homeless out there than we might have imagined, here in sun-drenched San Diego — which some people call the “homeless capital of the world.” “There are a lot more homeless out there than just the ones you see,” said Dr. John Kitchin,

a psychologist, who has been homeless in San Diego for the past seven years. “That is because the homeless, out of necessity, are good at hiding.” Kitchin said he estimates that about 10 percent of the region’s total population of 3.1 million — or 310,000 — are homeless, though city officials may claim less. “In comparison,” he said, “New York City and Los Angeles only have 2.5 percent homeless — it is the percentage of homeless that make us the top place for homeless in the world!” What makes San Diego so attractive to the homeless? Some people say it is our good weather that attracts transients and allows people to survive out on the streets year round. “That’s just not true, the real problem is the cost of living here,” Kitchin said. “In com-

parison to most other places, the wages here are low and the cost of housing is high. That puts economic strain on people. In crisis situations, it is easy for people to find themselves without enough money to pay rent or mortgage. That leads to homelessness. Homelessness, pure and simple, means you do not make enough money to pay your rent.” Kitchin has found himself in the position of spokesman for the homeless because he is intelligent, educated, perceptive, articulate, and also homeless. Although he has been living on the streets, he has still been able to maintain a website for the homeless,, and publish a newsletter called “Homeless City News” for several years now. In order to accomplish this, he uses the computers in the Central Library, rents one in Tijuana for 40 cents an hour, or uses the free Internet cell phone that the state now gives anyone receiving food stamps. Kitchin is also a member of a number of local panels and groups, like the monthly Girls Think Tank (GTT), so named because it was started by a group of female lawyers. The panels and tanks are trying to find solutions to the homeless problem. Kitchin could be regarded as a professor of the streets who probably knows more about the homeless situation than anyone else around. He said he grew up a normal kid in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of an office manager father and a seamstress mother. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a doctorate from the now defunct Wisconsin Free University, which was one of the first alternative universities in the land. He said he took classes concurrently for eight to 10 years, seeking — successfully — to stay out of the draft. While still in college, Kitchin organized a patrol and security company, but it got too dangerous for him, so he switched to

running a heating and air conditioning business, that garnered clientele through telemarketing. At some point he was convicted, unjustly he said, of defrauding older adults by selling them services and equipment they did not need. As a result, he lost the company and was forced to leave the state. He then moved to San Diego, where he managed Alpine Air Conditioning and drove a taxi, all the while living in an RV park. Business dwindled and he found himself unable to pay the RV space rental and was soon living in his RV on the street. “Worse came to worse and it wasn’t long before I was ‘in the rotation,’” he said, meaning he and countless others were looking for a place to stay each night — be it a friend’s couch, a campground, or a street corner. “At some point you exhaust your resources and you are forced to hit the sidewalk,” Kitchin lamented. “You can’t really turn to your relatives because you know that pretty soon they are going to get fed up with helping you.” Nowadays Kitchin stays on hillsides, like our wild mule deer, because it is too hard for cops and rangers to roust him there. When he has a little extra cash he goes to Tijuana for the night, where rooms can be rented for $2 per night. He gets around with a monthly pass for the bus and trolley, which only costs $18 a month. He also rents an inexpensive storage space to store bedding supplies, and has a disabled person fast pass to cross the border without long waits. But he isn’t hungry, as one might expect. “Food isn’t a problem for the homeless these days,” he said. “It’s easy to get food. There is plenty of that around. Everyone wants to give you some food. They feel comfortable with that. The real problem is getting socks and underwear that aren’t dirty and tattered and having a roof over your head.” Most people like to blame the homeless for their situation, like there is something wrong with them. We judge. The fact of the matter is that many are only a paycheck or two away from the possibility of homelessness. Kitchin said that being homeless is so stressful that it often leads to alcoholism and drug addiction as a way to cope with the emotional pain, and can eventually lead to a loss of sanity amid thoughts of suicide. “You find yourself out in the rain and saying to yourself, ‘My life is so miserable that I don’t care if I die’ or you are crossing the street and you think, ‘I don’t care if I get hit by a truck — so what?’” Kitchin thinks the answer to the problem is to find shelter for the homeless. “We have more than enough empty spaces at any one time in San Diego to house the homeless,” he said. “By law, 20 percent of redevelopment is supposed to go to homeless,” he continued. “But it doesn’t. When they ‘gentrify’ poorer areas of the city and close down the flophouses, they are supposed to find housing for the homeless that are displaced, but they don’t.” Even though he himself is near destitute, Kitchin runs his own small kitchen and food distribution center in Tijuana, often out of his hotel room there. “Food isn’t a problem here in San Diego but it is for the homeless of Tijuana,” he said. The holidays are an especially tough time for the homeless. “I think to myself, ‘Here it is Thanksgiving or Christmas and I have absolutely nothing!’” he said. “One year all I had was one can of tuna. This year I didn’t have enough for a Thanksgiving for my people in Tijuana and it grieves me.” Many homeless go to Father Joe’s or The Salvation Army for a holiday meal, but Kitchin doesn’t like to. “One year I pigged out going from place to place and I was sick for months —both physically and spiritually,” he said. “I think they put something in the food to drug and stupefy the homeless. Sometimes they harass you or make you feel inferior or feed you too much religion. I prefer to be independent and make my own food.” Kitchin said he believes that there are extraterrestrials living among us and one of their headquarters is beneath the streets of Old Town. He claims to have conversed with them and used their “Stargate” — which is their portal of travel through the universe. Why don’t the aliens, who have superior powers and intelligence, help him in his plight? “They told me that they were going to hold off on helping me because my life as it is was helping to put things into place — it was part of some plan,” he said. There may be some truth in what the “aliens” said. Kitchin seems to possess that rare gift of being able to help others and draw attention to social evils and injustices even in the midst of his own suffering. This is what makes him a remarkable man. “Homelessness is nothing like what people think it is,” he said. “Most of the news media and people in government don’t know what it is like to be homeless. They don’t really understand the problem. If you don’t understand a problem, how can you fix it? “You have to involve more homeless people in the solutionmaking process,” he continued. “You have to stop blaming homeless people for their plight and look at the society that created them. What can we do to fix our society is the real question, because ... homelessness here is 100 percent the fault of the city of San Diego.” Whatever the cause of homelessness, Kitchin said, it will take a concerted effort to make change happen. “Be it the city, or the national economy, or people’s lack of the necessary drive, determination, and true grit to make it in the rigorous environment of this stage of  ‘late capitalism’ — we all need to step up our involvement in trying to work together to find a solution to the problem of homelessness,” he said. “And we need to do so all year round and not just at the holidays.” To learn more about what is being done to help San Diego’s homeless, or to help, visit 211,; the City,; the County sdhcd/homeless; Alpha Project; or San Diego Rescue Mission, —Will Bowen writes about arts and culture. You can reach him at


MONSTERS! Godzilla, for example, who is featured in the exhibit, was created in Japan in the 1950s as a metaphor for the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in 1945. The exhibit takes advantage of many statues and sculptures from museum archives depicting the mythological creatures, along with items loaned from other museums. Lacy pointed out that sharing through families and cultures was also a key part of how

Godzilla (Courtesy Museum of Man)

creatures like the vampire were able to spread around the world. The first stories about the bloodsuckers appeared in Mesopotamia more than 3,000 years before the birth of Christ, but word spread all over the world. “Different groups of people would trade goods, but they also traded stories and beliefs,” Lacy said. “Cross-cultural connections get made, but it also shows something about the way humans think.” It’s possible that some of the creatures described as “mythological” in the exhibit, like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, may one day turn out to be real. That’s not explored in the Monsters! exhibit, but Lacy said science should be open to understanding a culture’s myths as a way of getting information. “Just because the science doesn’t support something doesn’t mean it’s not of value,” she said. “When you’re hearing a story from someone, you have to listen to what they’re saying, and you might have to put it in context with what is already known.” Working on the exhibit was a lot of fun for Lacy and the rest of the staff at the Museum of Man. “I loved learning about all the myths,” she said. “Ever y day, you’d uncover something new.” Though she doesn’t want to play favorites, Lacy admitted that she renewed her love of mermaids. “I didn’t know that mermaids are supposed to have a shell necklace,” she said. “If you take the necklace, the mermaid has to do what you want, but if they got it back, they’d cause a tsunami.” Monsters! is currently open and runs throughout 2015 at the Museum of Man, located at 1350 El Prado in Balboa Park. For more information on Monsters!, visit —Alex Owens is a San Diego-based freelance writer. He can be reached at alexowenssd@ v

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

Creating magic and community


The 30-year-strong Film Forum still a hit at Central Library special evening was the first free mini-concert they’d ever produced, featuring Anna Lee Fleming and Raelee Nikole — two young San Diego singersongwriters — before the film screening of “Begin Again,” which stars Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley. Carol DeLauro said it was extra challenging to plan that evening since she had never before promoted a concert, but her hard work paid off; as did her husband’s, for nearly 120 people showed up for the evening. “Ralph pulls it off like nobody else can, especially with art house movies that a lot of places don’t even show anymore,” said Peter Miesner, the art, music and recreation supervisor of the Central Library. Ruth Turner, a newcomer to the Film Forum, went up to personally thank Ralph and Carol DeLauro for the evening. “The music was wonderful, and the movie was one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Turner told them. That’s the magic that keeps people coming to Film Forum. DeLauro also holds film

by Cynthia Robertson These days, the high cost of movies often prevents people from going out to see them, with people choosing instead to watch DVDs in their homes. Thus, enjoying a movie has become almost an individualistic ritual, completely removed from community. Not so with the Film Forum of San Diego, introduced by Ralph and Carol DeLauro, who began showing movies at the old Central Library 30 years ago. The Film Forum is still a weekly event at the new library, with between 25 and 100 people filling the auditorium every Monday night. Carol DeLauro said that when she and Ralph were first dating back in the early ’80s, they would go to the old library and screen movies for fun in San Diego’s old “Greenwich Village West,” today’s Gaslamp District. At the time, Ralph DeLauro lived in the historic Lincoln Hotel, which is still standing. Since cinema was his passion, he started showing films on the hotel’s rooftop. After about a year, he got the thumbs-up to bring the films to the library. “That jump-started the Central Library screenings,” he said. Everything from comedy to drama and foreign films to romances have entertained the fans that flock to the Central Library. When Film Forum celebrated its 30th anniversary in September, many of the people who have come to know and love DeLauro came to help him celebrate, some bringing food. The fans are faithful to Film Forum, and just as passionate about the media as DeLauro is. “One couple who has come to the film programs at Central Library for many years recently donated money to the library, specifically for the Film Forum series,” Carol DeLauro said. Nicholas Magri first discovered the Film Forum through The San Diego Reader when he was a student at UCSD in 1998. “At that time, I’d look for anything of interest that was free and open to the public,” said Magri, who remembers Roman Polanski’s “Knife in the Water” as particularly poignant. Magri attended the 30-year anniversary celebration. “It was great to see the crowd that showed up and all the praise he received,” Magri said. “I like to think that I would be the one to take over whenever it is he decides to retire. I’d carry the torch; one film lover to another.” Doug Diamond is another longtime devotee of the Film Forum. “There had always been a relatively small but regular following at the old library, but we notice that the word is getting out that the viewing space is really great now, and there are more of the denizens of East Village showing up for a quick and easy bit of great film culture. “And with the free underground parking most of the time, it is easier than ever,” Diamond said.

Carol De Lauro shares a laugh with her husband Ralph, director of the Film Forum series (Photo by Cynthia Robinson)

Michele Addington started attending the Film Forum program three years ago when she moved Downtown. “I am a regular fan of this program,” she said. “The movie selection is very eclectic and opens the mind. I often leave feeling more like a human being than just a machine in this world.” Social media has helped Film Forum become even more of a hit with people, thanks to Carol DeLauro, who has become the venue’s PR person. “Now that I can no longer work as a hairstylist and a teacher because of my arthritis, I have been helping Ralph with the film programs,” she said. DeLauro said she types up the monthly film schedules and

sends them out to people on the mailing list. She also submits the film schedules to the media each month and manages the Film Forum Facebook page. “It has been a challenge, but I find that I enjoy this work,” she said. “Now I am trying my hand at planning special events to enhance the Film Forum programs.” She organized the forum’s anniversary celebration in September, and on another occasion, she contacted a filmmaker in Los Angeles and helped plan a special screening of his film, with a meet and greet before the film and a Q & A session after the film. “Both of those events were a success and a lot of fun,” she said. Film Forum’s most recent

Ana Lee Fleming (Photo by Cynthia Robinson)

screenings at Point Loma Branch Library and the Mission Valley Branch Library. During December, Film Forum will screen “War Comes Home” at the Central Library, a film series curated by Rebecca Romani, a film teacher at San Diego State, Palomar College and US San Diego. Check future film screenings and events at —Cynthia Rober tson is a local freelance writer. She can be reached at c1g2rober tson@


San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


(clockwise from top) The All American Boys Chorus singing at the lighting of USO San Diego’s Giving Tree at The Headquarters on Nov. 28; the Giving Tree in all its glory; ice skating by the beach at the Hotel del Coronado; an entrant in the annual Parade of Lights; Coolio will play at Tin Roof’s holiday party.


GIVEGETGO More than 350,000 people are expected to attend Balboa Park’s December Nights (1549 El Prado), San Diego’s largest free community festival Dec. 5 –6. Enjoy food, music and entertainment from around the world, including Christmas music on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage, and free admission into participating park museums from 5 to 9 p.m. each day. New this year, ride a 200-foot zip line near the San Diego Natural History Museum. The Little Italy Association kicks off the neighborhood’s annual holiday season Dec. 6 with a tree lighting and Christmas Village, held on West Fir Street between India Street and Kettner Boulevard. From 4 to 8 p.m., enjoy free Italian cookies, cider and coffee, and shop for holiday gifts from Little Italy Mercato vendors. Santa Claus will make his arrival at the fire station at 4:30 p.m. For local, handmade gifts, check out the San Diego Made Holiday Market in Barrio Logan Dec. 6 – 7 at Union artists’ studios (2191 Main St.). Featuring products from about 40 local artists and craftsman, the event will also have food trucks, open galleries, holiday drinks and music. The event is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, and the first 25 people to arrive each day will receive a free gift bag. facebook. com/UnionBarrioLogan For the first time, Petco Park (100 Park Blvd.) will transform into a holiday wonderland for 12 nights in December (Dec. 5-7, 1214, 19-24). Admire light displays, ride Polar Express trains, explore Candyland, feed reindeer, and take photos with Santa Claus in front of a 40-foot Christmas tree. Holiday concessions and merchandise available throughout the

ballpark. RA Sushi (474 Broadway) is hosting a toy drive and ugly sweater party Dec. 9 from 7 to 10 p.m. benefitting local nonprofit, It’s All About the Kids, which supports children in San Diego and Baja. Guests can bring a new, unwrapped toy or $15 donation to receive happy hour prices all night, and enter to win prizes in the ugly sweater contest. rasushi. com/san-diego Through the end of the year, head to San Diego Civic Theatre (1100 Third Ave.) for holiday performances including Celtic Woman: Home for Christmas symphony tour (Dec. 10) and The Nutcracker by the California Ballet (Dec. 13 – 21). Balboa Theatre (868 Fourth Ave.) will feature the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Spectacular (Dec. 13 – 14), and jazz concerts Peter White Christmas (Dec. 20) and Dave Koz and Friends Christmas tour (Dec. 23). Live music joint Tin Roof (401 G St.) is having a Throwback Thursday holiday party featuring rapper Coolio on Dec. 11. This 90s-themed party will feature holiday drink specials, raffle prizes and old school radio jams, including Coolio’s 1995 hit, “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Doors open at 7 p.m., 90s attire is strongly encouraged. Home/SanDiego The City Ballet of San Diego will perform The Nutcracker at Spreckels Theatre (121 Broadway) Dec. 12 – 24. Matinee and evening performances feature live music by the City Ballet Orchestra and vocals by Pacific Coast Chorus. To burn off excess holiday calories, register for the Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk for Arthritis in Balboa Park Dec. 13. Participants are known to wear holiday-themed costumes or tie

jingle bells to their laces, but all will help fund research to find a cure for arthritis. Also includes a shorter children’s dash (1K) course with elves. More than 30 local artists and designers will be selling their creations at Handmade Holiday at San Diego Central Library (330 Park Blvd.) Dec. 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature handmade goods, live music, children’s crafts, and a special appearance from the Grinch. sdfocl. org/handmadeholiday Harbor House Restaurant at Seaport Village (831 W. Harbor Drive) is hosting a breakfast with Santa Claus that includes a photo, face painting and a gift for children Dec. 13 –14. Reservations are required. The San Diego Zoo (2920 Zoo Drive) will transform into a winter wonderland for its annual Jungle Bells celebration Dec. 13 – Jan. 4. Ride the twinkle light trolley, admire lighted animal sculptures and trees, and enjoy holiday treats, special music from carolers, entertainment from trampoline acrobats, and photos with Santa Claus. sandiegozoo. org It was Hotel del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave.) that strung the first set of outdoor tree lights back in 1904. The resort is also the first to introduce a beachfront ice-skating rink, now in its 10th season (open through Jan. 4). A Victorian tea service is available daily through the end of the year from noon to 4 p.m., beginning Dec. 13 (except Christmas Day). Lamb’s Players Theatre presents “An American Christmas” nightly Dec. 15 – 27 accompanied by a five-course holiday meal in the ballroom. Through Dec. 21, Sunday brunches in the Crown Room will include photo opportunities with Santa Claus. Children staying as guests at the hotel can request a bedtime tuck-in and story time with one of Santa’s

elves. For those with fur babies, the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade on Dec. 14 takes over the Gaslamp Quarter as pets and their owners parade the streets starting at 3 p.m. Owners are encouraged to dress their pets in holiday attire and costumes, to be judged in various costume categories and honored during the following awards ceremony. The parade begins and ends at Hilton Gaslamp Park at 4th Avenue and K Street (route approximately 0.75 miles), where a pet expo will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. gaslamp. org/pet-parade The Port of San Diego presents its annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights Dec. 14 and 21. More than 100,000 people will line the shores of the bay to view about 80 participating boats, decorated according to this year’s theme, “Children’s Stories on the Big Bay.” Announcers will be located north of the Maritime Museum of San Diego along the Embarcadero, and at the Coronado Ferry Landing, offering a brief history and description of the boats as they pass by. The parade begins at Shelter Island at 5:30 p.m., proceeds past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and finishes at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Rooftop600 at Andaz San Diego (600 F St.) is hosting a Holiday Hope Concert featuring acoustic music by Ron Morabito and Arun on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m., benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County and the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito. A $10 donation is suggested for admission. Enjoy festive Irish holiday songs at the San Diego Symphony Holiday Pops Dec. 19 – 21, featuring Grammy Award-winning Irish fiddle champion Eileen Ivers. Matinee and evening performanc-

es held at Copley Symphony Hall (750 B St.). Billed as “America’s Largest Balloon Parade,” the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade on Dec. 26 is the kickoff event to the 2014 Holiday Bowl game the following day. This family-friendly event features more than 20 gigantic balloons, marching bands, drill teams and floats. Over 100,000 spectators will line the Embarcadero along the parade route, which begins at 3 p.m. on North Harbor Drive near the County Administration Building, and heads south to end near Seaport Village. The Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego (1 Market Place) continues its holiday tradition of building a gingerbread replica of the 1,628-room hotel. On display surrounding the gingerbread hotel towers are dozens of gingerbread houses made by local elementary students. The public can vote on its favorite gingerbread house and the winning class will be treated to a holiday luncheon at the hotel. A check for $1,500 will be presented to the Make-A-Wish foundation in the winning class’ name. The US Grant Hotel (326 Broadway) is offering guests a luxurious 12 Days of Christmas package in December when they book 12 consecutive nights in the presidential suite. This VIP experience gifts couples a new adventure each day, leading them on a journey through pre-arranged San Diego outings, performances, pampering services and private workshops. —Kai Oliver-Kurtin is a local freelance reporter who also works full-time doing social media marketing for the U.S. Navy. She enjoys covering events, restaurant news, culture and entertainment. Contact her at

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014






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San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


Activist Rob Greenfield (in center of circle and at right) with food he retrieved from dumpsters in San Diego at a press conference in Balboa Park. (Courtesy Rob Greenfield)

Dumpster diving to prove a point San Diego activist wants America to stop wasting food By Alex Owens If you’re a dumpster diver, Downtown could either be a food paradise or leave you down in the dumps. So says San Diego-based activist Rob Greenfield, who has spent the last two summers biking across America trying to live as much as he can off the goodies he finds in dumpsters. “I haven’t personally dived in the dumpsters Downtown, but it’s

an area with a lot of people so I’m sure the dumpsters at the restaurants and grocery stores are full of food,” he said. Ironically, the area also has a lot of homeless people who would probably be happy with the food that’s been thrown out. “Problem is, in areas where there are high homeless populations, the grocery stores tend to lock their dumpsters. It’s actually easier to dumpster dive in higher income areas,” Greenfield said.

Greenfield thinks it’s a waste of food and wants to change things with a social media campaign he calls #DonateNotDump. He hopes the campaign will inspire grocery stores to donate their excess food to nonprofits to rather than throw it away. To that end, he held an event called the Food Waste Fiasco at Balboa Park on Nov. 23 where he displayed all the food he collected in three days of dumpster diving in San Diego.

“Businesses that fear potential liability should know they are protected by the Good Samaritan Act,” he said. “Not a single place has ever been sued because of food they donated to a food bank. I’m sure there are lots of food banks Downtown that are willing to come pick up the food.” Grocery stores and restaurants aren’t the only people who may be wasting food that could be used to feed hungry people. “All over San Diego, there are lemon trees, persimmons, and oranges being grown, but not always harvested,” he said. “Why not knock on the door and ask if you can take the fruit for them?”

It’s not just produce that gets tossed away, according to Greenfield, who said it’s common to see unopened boxes of oatmeal, rice or bread in the dumpsters he dives into. “I prefer eating healthy and vegan, but you can eat badly if you want,” he said. “There’s pizza, stillfrozen ice cream and candy.” Thrifty-minded people might think a dumpster dive sounds like a great way to save cash, but Greenfield said that’s not the point. “If there is good food, it should be donated, not thrown away,” he said. “Take apples. I just grab them out of dumpsters. They aren’t bad. The grocery stories cull the apples that aren’t perfect and throw them into the dumpster.” Greenfield takes the apples out as is, not even bothering to wash them off. “I want to conserve water too,” he said. Fruits and vegetables are great, but Greenfield is not one to turn down more adult treats as well. “I found a 12-pack of Samuel Adams once, a sampler bottle of Knob Creek bourbon and a bottle of tequila,” he said. “If there is one bottle in the 12-pack that’s broken, the whole thing gets thrown out. Sometimes you find 5-pound unopened bags of coffee as well.” Greenfield said America is the best place to dumpster dive, but that’s a dubious honor. “Other places around the world throw out less food or at least compost it,” he said. “There are dumpster diving scenes in Germany, France, the Netherlands, but nothing like here.” Greenfield said he has seen improvement of the food waste problem, but there’s more to be done. “I do think we will catch up to Europe in terms of preventing food waste some time in the next year,” he said. “I really want to put every dumpster diver in America out of business. Maybe they wouldn’t eat as much, but all the food banks would be full.” For more information on Greenfield, visit his website, You can also join in his campaign by searching the hashtag #DonateNotDump on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow Greenfield’s ef for ts on Twitter, @ RobJGreenfield. —Alex Owens is a San Diegobased freelance writer. He can be reached at


Fashion Files Diana Cavagnaro Kenneth Barlis Couture collection

The second annual Kenneth Barlis Fashion Show was presented at the Lafayette Hotel on Nov. 7. The theme for the evening was the Mayan culture, with the ancient Mesoamerican civilization as inspiration for the elegant gowns. The models came down the runway in metallic colors of gold, copper, and silver; their gowns embellished with sequins, rhinestones, and feathers. These intricate details added to the runway with a luxurious 2015 spring/summer couture collection. The emcees for the evening

were Robert Santos and Vanessa Van Hyfte from KGTV Channel 10. Barlis also showed off his menswear collection. Added details to the suits made his collection stand alone. Various singers and guitar players entertained the crowd: Katriz Trinidad from “The Voice” U.S., Dave Lamar from “The Voice” Philippines, and Mikaela Rodriquez. Another standout entertainer was Chula Vista resident Jessica Sanchez from “American Idol.” She was nursing a sore throat but was still able to deliver a knockout performance. The night finished up with the bridal collection. Barlis showed his first bridal collection in 2010. Guest models for the finale were Janine Tugunon, Ms. Universe first runner up 2012, and Esmeralda Padilla-Gould, Mrs. Asian Las Vegas 2014, who both showed off

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


the exquisite bridal gowns on the runway. This current 2015 Bridal Collection is called the Cat’s Meow.

Pretty Seven Boutique

Pretty Seven Boutique recently opened in East Village, Downtown. The boutique carries an array of trendy and stylish merchandise at a reasonable price point. Customers come to purchase unique business and professional wear or find a new ensemble for going out on the town. The inside décor is elegant classic with themes of red, black, and white colors. The room is decorated with many fashion icons. Friends Vanessa Angulo and Yolanda Zavala opened this boutique on Sept. 27. Angulo studied merchandise marketing at FIDM. They provide customer service and

see Fashion, page 35

(l to r) Yolanda Zavala and Vanessa Angulo, owners of Pretty Seven Boutique (Photo by Diana Cavagnaro)



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San Diego Downtown News | Nov. 2014


HOLIDAYDRIVES Food Drives Feeding America San Diego Holiday Campaign: The organization is asking for support during the holiday season noting that 1 in 6 people, including 1 in 4 children, struggle with hunger in San Diego County. Donate: One-time and monthly monetary gifts, volunteer at distribution centers, or organize a food drive Benefitting: Children, families and seniors facing hunger throughout the holidays Visit: The Jacobs and Cushman San

Diego Food Bank Holiday Food Drive: Support for this drive comes in a number of ways and events. Donate: A $10 pre-filled bag of food at San Diego Vons locations, monetary donations can be made online on behalf of a loved one or yourself, or you can host a virtual or actual food drive. Benefitting: Individuals and families in need Visit: San Diego Run for the Hungry: This Thanksgiving Day race starts and ends at Westfield Horton Plaza on Broadway Circle. Participants can choose to run or walk in the 5K starting at 8:15 a.m. or the 10K starting at 7:10 a.m. Pets can join for $10. Donate: Proceeds from race

EAST VILLAGE registration will benefit food banks and food mobiles. Nonperishable food items will be collected on the morning of the race also. Benefitting: Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank and Jewish Family Service of San Diego Visit:

Special Events “Make Change Count” Holiday Fundraising Drive: For the second year this fundraising effort asks individuals to make donations of coins (or by credit card) at stations throughout Downtown and online through Donate: Monetary donations of coins or through credit card payments.

EAST Village Benefitting: Downtown Partnership’s Clean and Safe homeless outreach efforts. Visit: clean-safe YWCA of San Diego Special Donation Drive: One of several annual YWCA drives, this year’s recommended drop off date is Thursday, Dec. 11 at their main building (1012 C Street, Downtown). Donate: Gift cards, new toys and gifts for children of all ages, new gifts for women and men, holiday decorations and holiday stockings Benefitting: YWCA clients and families through Becky’s House, Passages and the Cortez Hill Family Center programs Visit: v

Doozydog! Club 634 14th St. Suite 104 San Diego, CA 92101 619-231-4701 | Doozydog! Club is the first club for dogs and their humans offering dog daycare, dog boarding, dog grooming and boutique shop. The hours are perfect for any dog or human, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., daily. The Club is recognized as an irresistible and unique brand that resonates quickly and strongly to dog owners giving them a sense of reassurance that their dog is safe, loved, and cared for by good humans all in a fun and sparkling clean environment. Conveniently located at the corner of 14th and G streets in the East Village, Doozydog! Club is situated at the base of the 13th & Market luxury apartment homes. The sidewalk comes alive with entertainment and vitality as humans pass by and can’t resist the cute pups in the window. The 5,500 square foot Club is perfect for dogs of all shapes and sizes that play nicely and want to hang with the gang. Dogs get away from it all and enjoy a convivial atmosphere at the Club. Dogs socialize and play with their special pack in one of five “play parks”; enjoy daily organic treats and lap up filtered water; unwind in quiet digs at the Sleep & Eat; and get cleaned, fluffed and styled at the stateof-the-art Style Bar. After dogs enjoy the day, they go home clean, happy, fresh and relaxed! v


FASHION exceptional styling for their customers. Some of the brands they carry are Lush Clothing, Naked Zebra, and Collective Concept. Accessories include clutches, necklaces, earrings, and belts. If you would like to be pretty seven days a week, come in to 900 F St., Suite 170. They offer Downtown residents a 10 percent discount and are open Monday through Friday from 12 – 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to – 8 p.m. Every Wednesday evening is happy hour for shopping and networking. The upcoming holiday party for Pretty Seven Boutique will be on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 12 – 6 p.m. All customers can take 24 percent off of one item. Happy shopping!

Upcoming Events Dec. 4 | Fourth FWSD Viva La V — Part of the Fashion Week San Diego series, this event features jewelry designer B.Jash.I at 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. located at the La Valencia Hotel.

San Diego Downtown News | December 2014


For more information visit: Dec. 6 | Gone with the Wind Fabulous — This is a Women’s Empowerment Glam Expo and crafter’s market for the holiday shopping season. Benefits the local Dove Outreach program. 1 – 4 p.m. located at 5945 Pacific Center Blvd., Suite 510. RSVP at – search for women’s empowerment glam expo. Dec. 14 |Wish Upon A Snowflake – This fashion show and toy drive is presented by Lady Lane at Jolt ’n Joe’s Downtown, starting at 6 p.m. The event will showcase independent designers and visual arts. Proceeds will go to local community youth organizations. Admission is $30 or $10 off with a new, unwrapped toy. —Diana Cavagnaro is a nationally recognized hat designer and milliner and for the last 20 years she’s operated her business from Downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter while moonlighting in the fashion department at San Diego Mesa College. She can be reached at

Mrs. Asian Las Vegas 2014 (Esmeralda Padilla-Gould) and another model (at right) show off Kenneth Barlis’ bridal collection.

(Photos by Diana Cavagnaro)

EAST Village


San Diego Downtown News | December 2014

San Diego Downtown News - December 5, 2014  
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