Archive for September, 2012

Dig This Jive’s Happy Hour Picks for September 2012

| September 27, 2012

The September edition of DTJ-notable happy hours in San Diego highlights sushi in La Jolla, Japanese fusion food in the Gaslamp Quarter, tapas in Little Italy, oysters in South Park, and sweet eats in North Park. For more happy hour food photos, check out Dig This Jive’s Happy Hour album on Facebook.

Happy-Hour-San-Diego-September-2012

Monday: 20% off Popcorn Lobster Roll from 4:00-8:00 p.m. at Sushi Mori. My Tokyo trip two years ago taught me that traditional sushi is composed of a piece of sashimi laying on a small hand-shaped wad of rice. While divine, breaks in this tradition spur equally yummy conclusions, such as the Popcorn Lobster Roll at Sushi Mori in La Jolla. Its center features spicy tuna, cucumber, and avocado; the outside includes crunchy tempura flakes and overflows with deep-fried popcorn pieces of baby lobster. It’s then dressed with a spicy mayo sauce and an eel sauce, and topped with paper-thin shreds of bonito fish flakes that seem to wave at you as you figure out how to attack the dish. Normally priced at $11.50, this 10-piece more-than-filling treat is only $9.20 during Sushi Mori’s weekday happy hour which guarantees 20% off the prices of their food from 4:00-8:00 p.m. every weekday.

Tuesday: Half-off all starters from 5:00-7:00 p.m. every weekday at Gaijin Sake and Noodle House. This San Diego restaurant known for sharing the joy of Japanese noodles with Downtown revelers just installed its happy hour on August 1. And it’s a real buy. Whether you choose to devour the delicate furikake-flavored yellowtail poke or experience the surprising rock-sugar crunch that compliments the succulent flavors and texture of the beef “tongue & cheek” bao bao, you’re in for a unique taste tour only Gaijin can muster. There are currently 20 starters in Gaijin’s line-up. With weekday happy hour prices ranging from $2 to $5.50, it almost feels like a dare to eat through the full starter menu. A Heathcliff Huxtable challenge. I accept!

Wednesday: $3.75 tapas starting at 4:00 p.m. at the bar and lounge of Prepkitchen Little Italy. As with Prepkitchen Del Mar and Prepkitchen La Jolla, the tapas served at the new Little Italy location vary day to day. Of the ones I’ve tried, I recommend the following should they be available when you go: squid risotto, yellowtail ceviche, patatas bravas, and bacon-wrapped dates. Drink it all down with a $5 glass of white or red sangria and you’ll be as right as rain. Just remember one detail: This deal is only available if you’re seated at the bar or at the communal tall-top tables in the lounge.

Thursday: $1 oysters on the half shell from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Alchemy. This South Park staple known to provide dining options for every kind of eater–omnivores, carnivores, pescetarians, vegetarians, vegans–offers a deal on bivalves every day but Saturday and Sunday. (See that? That was my alternative way of alluding to a weekday special without using “weekday.”) In fact, the price of each dish listed on Alchemy’s Street Food Special menu is discounted 50% during the two hours that mark the day’s transition into evening. Everything I’ve ever eaten at Alchemy feels honest and these oysters are no exception. They’re briny and sweet, you can order as many as you want, and their preparation is no nonsense. Horseradish, black pepper, lemon, and lavender-colored sea salt are offered on the palette the oysters are served on, but how you eat each oyster is up to you. TNMT’s got nothing on these morsels that hail from Carlsbad Aquafarm. Oyster power!

Friday: Select dessert and drink combos for $5 and $8 from 3:00-6:30 p.m. at Heaven Sent Desserts. There was a time when this North Park hub of sweet eats called their happy hour “Afternoon Delight.” Sadly, someone decided to change its name. In my mind, I imagine Starland Vocal Band’s song was played and a connection was made in the middle of a snicker. And now the happy hour is called “Daily Delight.” However the story might go, this dessert deal is one of many reasons to skip work early on a Friday. For $5, you get to pick one of two or three select desserts and order one drink–either a regular coffee, one of Heaven Sent’s loose leaf teas, or an Italian soda. For $8, you get to pick two of the select desserts and two drinks. Desserts for the happy hour have ranged from Heaven Sent’s cakes, to their parfaits, to their tortes, tarts, bars and other decadent pastries. It’s a bargain sure to make some sparks ignite and maybe put a few sky rockets in flight.

(Photo caption, left to right: Popcorn Lobster Roll from Sushi Mori, photo by Christine Pasalo; Yellowtail Poke from Gaijin Sake and Noodle House, photo by Christine Pasalo; Prepkitchen tapas, photo from Prepkitchen Little Italy’s Facebook album; oysters on the half shell at Alchemy, photo by Christine Pasalo; cupcakes at Heaven Sent, photo by Yelper Nick C.)

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“Allegiance – A New American Musical” earns my allegiance

| September 20, 2012

Allegiance-musical-DiRoccoA lot has already been said about the production of “Allegiance – A New American Musical,” a show that’s premiering at The Old Globe in San Diego and has its sights set on Broadway. We know it’s been four years in the making, evolving through workshop after workshop. We can learn about each principal actor–Lea Salonga, George Takei, Telly Leung, Paolo Montalban–and the roles that led them to this collaboration. We know the story is set during a time in American history many never knew about yet generations of Japanese-Americans will never forget.

What hasn’t yet been discussed at length is how the play makes one feel, the kind of impression it leaves. This is where I’d like to offer my thoughts since I was lucky enough to see the musical this past Sunday.

I first learned about the relocation and internment of Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans by the United States during World War II while in college. (College!) Shocking and unjust as the internment was, it never became more than a piece of information I felt smarter for knowing.

What “Allegiance” does with its story, characters, music, casting, and set design is to place me in the midst of the confusion, frustration, helplessness, and betrayal these citizens (and would-be citizens) felt. From Sam Kimura (the young Sam played by Telly Leung and the older Sam played by George Takei) trying to understand why his family won’t embrace abject assimilation; to Kei Kimura (played by Lea Salonga) aching to remind Sam, her brother, that family matters most; to Sam’s and Kei’s father, Tatsuo Kimura (played by Paul Nakauchi), who can’t believe his adopted country would become so tyrannical as to ask him to renounce his cultural identity. It’s a cauldron of emotions I couldn’t help but connect with.

But, it isn’t all heavy. Just as in any kind of struggle, there are moments of light: first loves, humor, hope. In the case of “Allegiance,” much of the levity is triggered by Ojii-san, Sam’s and Kei’s paternal grandfather (also played by George Takei). Ojii-san tempers the tension with his wizened perspective on life, a resilience that elevates him above what’s actually happening around him. My favorite Ojii-san scene is when he cheers up Kei, who is wondering if she’ll ever have time for her own dreams, by reminding her of a song he taught her when she was young, “Ishi Kara Ishi.” He draws on the memory to help Kei feel empowered. And it works, leading us to the strongest solo performance in the show–Lea Salonga singing “Higher,” a ballad in which Kei realizes the only person grounding her dreams is herself.

Allegiance-Salonga-DiRoccoIn these ways, “Allegiance” humanized this blight in my nation’s history. It was no longer a factoid. It became real.

I thank everyone involved in the production for offering audience members like me such a gift. The set is poetic in its minimalism (and encouraging for the fact that much of it is made from reclaimed and salvaged material). The lighting and projection design is inspired, especially during and after the ensemble performance of “Tojaku-Ya,” a number that boldfaces the tragedy of the Hiroshima bombing to haunting effect. The story is beautifully sung, particularly by Lea Salonga, a musical actress I’ve admired since I was 16 when I listened to the Broadway recording of “Miss Saigon” over and over in my room and on car trips anywhere. Seeing Ms. Salonga sing live was something I’d never hoped for because I’d never believed I would get the chance to see someone so renown perform on stage. And then, I did. Her voice fills the theater and the honesty she injects into each song left me teary-eyed the entire performance.

Though currently best known as Sulu in the original “Star Trek” series and that uber-witty socially-conscious actor on Facebook and Twitter, George Takei told the L.A. Times that “Allegiance” is his “legacy project” and that he hopes to be remembered for his work in the musical as much as for his role in “Star Trek.” I may just be some 33-year-old in San Diego with a blog that her friends read, but I’d like to assure Mr. Takei that he will. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find “George Takei” and “Allegiance – A New American Musical” already synonymous.

Tickets for “Allegiance,” which runs until Sunday, October 21, start at $39. To see a preview of the show, click here.

(Photos by Henry DiRocco for The Old Globe (2012)).

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A Note to My Kid: a resource for LGBTQ support

| September 19, 2012

A-Note-To-My-Kid“I want you to walk head held high with pride,” writes a grandmother from Newark, Ohio, to her gay granddaughter, Ali.

“Look what I’ve learned from what I thought was a burden, a disadvantage,” writes Robyn, a lesbian woman from Dublin, Ireland, to her future child. “Empathy and compassion for all human beings are lessons of great worth. They’re powerful. They’re timeless. They’re priceless.”

These are just two examples that show how the website for the grass roots online movement known as A Note to My Kid isn’t a space for politics. It isn’t a space for debate or for the waste of energy known as judgement. Its purpose is evident in the XOs that make up the website wallpaper.

A Note to My Kid is a beacon of unconditional love and acceptance.

Co-founded by Patrick Wallace, Michael Volpatt, and Mike Curry in May 2011, A Note to My Kid gives the LGBTQ community, their parents, family and friends the opportunity to share their love, appreciation, and acceptance with one another on a platform that can be seen by others. In this way, the site also extends support to other LGBTQ members, reminding them that there are many who value who they are as they are.

Would you like to express your unconditional love for an LGBTQ family member or friend? Would you like to show your appreciation for your parents, family, and friends who love you for who you are? Then simply write a note, make a video, or submit a captioned photo to patrick@anotetomykid.com and it will be posted on the website.

I dedicate this post to Anne, DJ, Ryan, Chris, Mike, Frank, Tom, Bob, Megan, Carla, Otto, and Sean. You bring me light.

(Logo from A Note to My Kid’s Facebook page.)

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San Diego Entrepreneur Day and me

| September 18, 2012

Before there are jobs, there are entrepreneurs: people who branch out on their own to start up small businesses around ideas they feel address needs in their community, their city, their state, their nation, the world. The reality of risk and the promise of initial debt don’t sway them from acting, but propel them. Short-term thinking is not a character trait. Positive thinking? They have so much of it that they infect you with it.

It bodes well to be around them.

San Diego Entrepreneur Day 2012This Saturday, September 22, East Village San Diego will be the spot for the (hopefully) first annual San Diego Entrepreneur Day. The event is free and open to the public, and it will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on J Street between 6th Avenue and 10th Avenue. It’s a day where you can learn all about entrepreneurship, from how to pitch to angel investors, to how to launch and grow a startup, to how to draw in new customers and turn them into loyal ones.

Outside of the business acumen, there are opportunities to catch a fashion show, check out art by local artists, and taste craft beers ($5/glass). There’s even a chance to win prizes so long as you register for the event.

I’m attending San Diego Entrepreneur Day as a volunteer to help the event staff make sure everything goes as planned without too many hitches. I decided to volunteer not only because I believe in the mission of the day, but because a freelance writer can’t find new employment opportunities by hiding behind her words. It’s time I become more of an entrepreneur and advance my business by putting the social back into “social networking.” I’m going to meet people face-to-face. I’m going to learn about their current ventures. And, hopefully, I’m going to stumble on the chance to hand them one of my cards.

Christine-Pasalo-business-cards
Designed by me, Christine Pasalo, and printed via MOO.

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