Archive for April, 2012

Blog Plug: J.M. Hirsch’s Lunch Box Blues

| April 26, 2012

LunchBoxBluesWhat it’s about: Lunch Box Blues chronicles one working dad’s effort to pack his son a fun and healthy school lunch every day.

Why I dig it: Because it has inspired me to get creative with my own lunch. Now, on the days I go into an office to work, I take a half hour in the morning to pack myself a healthy lunch that I’m excited to eat. And the fact that the author uses a variety of bento boxes and other handy-dandy containers is just the cherry on top for my inner (and outer) organization freak.

Fun facts:

  • The working dad in question is AP Food Editor J.M. Hirsch.
  • Hirsch has made up three Star Wars-themed sandwiches—the Obi Wan-wich, the Yub Yub, and the Jawa-wich. Don’t panic: there won’t be a Jar Jar anything in the future.
  • The stainless steel bento boxes used are of the Lunchbots line. For info on the other lunch box gear used, click here.
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My Picks: Things to do in San Diego, April 21-22

| April 20, 2012

Record Store Day. Earth Day. You can celebrate both in San Diego this weekend with treks to Mission Hills and Coronado. Plus, you can get full on fine dining in Hillcrest and unplugged music on Adams Avenue. Garnish with a sunny-without-too-much-burn weather forecast and serve.

Things-to-do-San-Diego-April-21-22-2012

Saturday, April 21: Happy Record Store Day!

  • 10:00 a.m. Celebrate Record Store Day at M-Theory! Exclusive releases, including Common’s latest, a Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. EP featuring two new songs, and a Regina Spektor 45 featuring two unreleased tracks she recorded in Russian are just a few of the wiles M-Theory is pulling out to lure you to their event. There will also be a sidewalk sale featuring 50 cent LPs and $1.00 CDs, free swag and skateboards from Sector 9, free pizza from Lefty’s Chicago Pizzaria, and a live and free 5:00 p.m. performance by The Donkeys.
  • 12:00 p.m. Get full in Hillcrest. The 11th annual Taste of Hillcrest takes place until 4:00 p.m. Approach the event with a strategy and you’ll get a quality sample of the over 50 restaurants participating this year. Thankfully, though the event is another year older, the ticket price is the same as it was in 2010: $30 in advance, $35 day of. To buy tickets online and to get a PDF of this year’s event map, visit Fabulous Hillcrest’s event webpage. For an idea of how the tickets for this event work, check out my post on last year’s Taste.
  • 4:50 p.m. Watch tUnE-yArDs perform live at Coachella from the comfort of your couch. I had the honor of seeing Merrill Garbus, aka tUnE-yArDs, perform live at San Diego’s House of Blues this past Wednesday. Her creativity humbles me. If you’ve never seen her perform live, I’d hate for you to miss the opportunity. Seize your chance by tuning in on Channel 2 of Coachella’s live webcast. Garbus will amaze you with her ability to layer sounds and beats on the spot. She will take you in with the sweet ferocity of her voice. She will dumbfound you with the way she sings back-up for herself. LIVE. I dare you not to be struck in awe.*

Sunday, April 22: Happy Earth Day!

  • 12:00 p.m. Celebrate Spring at the Coronado Flower Show. Though Spring likes to swell up my sinuses the way a brown noser pumps up a manager’s ego, I’ll willingly suppress its effect with a dose of Chlor-Trimetron and spend the day under the tents of the Coronado Flower Show, the largest tented flower show in the nation. General admission is only $5; children under 12 are free.
  • 3:00 p.m. An Adams Avenue music festival by any other name DOES smell as sweet. Previously known as the Adams Avenue Roots Festival, the FREE event now known as Adams Avenue Unplugged takes place until 7:00 p.m. on this final day of the weekend. Up to 170 live musical performances ranging from folk, traditional roots music, Appalachian folk songs, bluegrass, Americana, cowboy, Cajun, and rockabilly are scheduled to appear at various venues on the two-mile stretch of Adams between Texas Street in Normal Heights and Kensington. For a list of who’s performing and where they’ll be performing, check out the Adams Avenue Unplugged website.

(Photo caption, from left to right: Record Store Day logo from RecordStoreDay.com; Taste of Hillcrest logo from FabulousHillcrest.com; press photo of Merrill Garbus photographed by Anna Campbell for 4AD; photo of the Coronado Flower Show entrance from Beach Local’s Flickr photostream; Adams Avenue Unplugged poster from NormalHeights.org.)

*CORRECTION: Coachella Weekend 2 will NOT be live streamed per a Pitchfork article posted on April 13. You can, however, see video of tUnE-yArDs performing “Bizness” and “Powa” on Coachella’s YouTube channel. Apologies for the misinformation!

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tUnE-yArDs at San Diego’s House of Blues on April 18

| April 17, 2012

There are bands and musicians whose albums I sample only to find my mind wander. Their tracks are like the outfits of so many cartoon characters: unchanging from scene to scene, episode to episode. What should be their musical mark quickly diminishes into something regrettably mundane.

Merrill_Garbus_tune-yardsAnd then there is Merrill Garbus, aka tUnE-yArDs. Her music is inescapable. For a taste, check out “Bizness,” “Gangsta,” and “My Country” from her latest album, w h o k i l l.

I listen and become bewitched by her voice. It soars between rip-your-shirt-off fury and leotard-and-leggings lyricism, never riding on top of the orchestration but weaving and playing among the other instruments. At times her songs evoke thoughts of a drum circle, of walking along a cobblestone street lost in thought until happening on a festival in a plaza, of listening to old records in a basement, of a contemporary dance show, of a downward spiral, of a break in the clouds, of a quiet day journaling on a patio. Her beats charm me into movement. I jump, thump, rock, sway. I’m all over the place and I don’t care. I am awake.

No doubt, then, that I’m excited that she is performing at San Diego‚Äôs House of Blues this Wednesday, April 18. Tickets for the show, which includes sets by fellow 4AD artist St. Vincent and Keep Shelly in Athens, run $28.50 each after service charge.

Afterwards, she heads back out to Indio for Weekend 2 of Coachella before hitting San Francisco and Oakland. For a full list of her upcoming performances, check out her artist page on 4AD.

She’s so friggin’ glorious. I’m counting the hours.

(Press photo of Merrill Garbus photographed by Anna Campbell for 4AD.)

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Breakfast Buzz: San Diego’s Village 631

| April 13, 2012

PASALO_Village_631-17That, dear readers, is pesto prestidigitation. Where can you find it? In the Brioche breakfast sandwich served at Village 631 in East Village.

The serving size of the sandwich was more than generous for my stomach and my hand. There were times when I resorted to fork-and-bread-knifing it to save myself the trouble of wielding it in for a bite. I won’t lie: it was also to save the underside of my fingernails from pesto and tomato invasion. I’m dainty like that.

Having tried and liked something off of the “Between the Slices” section of Village 631’s breakfast menu, I’m ready to venture. There are three other sections of first-of-the-day eats: “House Favorites” which includes a house-cured gravlax dish, “Scrambles,” “Quiche of the Day,” and “Good For You!” options featuring house made granola and (in one case) acai.

Then there’s their pastries. They sit in a glass dome above the refrigerated grab-and-go section of the front bar. It’s a regular red light district of breakfast goodies: almond croissants puffed to the size of mini footballs and dusted with powdered sugar, chocolate croissants striped in more chocolate. I’d list more but like a little girl who accidentally found her older brother’s stash of dirty magazines, I looked away before it all sunk in.

I’ve read that their coffee and espresso drinks are good and made from 100% organic beans. I’ve also seen photos that show their dine-in versions carry Rosetta finishes. Not one to drink coffee, I can’t offer a personal take. But I do have my eye on their Chai Latte. And I’ll try a sip of their Iced Toddy if you offer it to me.

They also carry bottles of Bundaberg Blood Orange soda! True, it’s not a breakfast drink. Unless you think of it as fizzy orange juice, which I do.

The forecast for this weekend in San Diego currently shows sunshine on Sunday. Might I recommend you give breakfast at Village 631 a shot?

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