Space Available for Brewmaster's Dinner Tomorrow

We're very excited to feature an all local and fresh menu for this event. Ballast Point and Carlsbad Aqua Farms will have a representatives on hand to answer questions about their methods, and why everything they make tastes so good.

30th Street Week

Our little street went off last nite, what with IndieFest and the South Park Walkabout at the same time. It was great day to ride a bike up and down 30th and see people, shops, bands and fun.

This week, here's a couple things I know of that are coming up at this longitude:

* Citizen Video screens a movie at Whistle Stop at 4pm today
* Wednesday is the North Park Community Association Mixer at Sea Rocket
* Swim Party at Bar Pink on Thursday nite (of course they have great music most nites of the week, I just happen to be Swim Party aware).

I'm sure there's a lot more. What don't I know about?

March Madness at Jaynes!

Whoops I forgot, we don't have any televisions.
Kick it old school at Jaynes with uninterrupted, high definition conversation.
Jayne's Gastropub: Where the elite meet to eat.

Fallbrook Wine Dinner at Sea Rocket

Hello local wine lovers! On Thursday, March 26th at 7pm, Sea Rocket Bistro will be hosting a 5-Course Wine Tasting featuring a selection of different varietals from our friends at Fallbrook Winery. I went up to the winery back in October to check out the grape-crushing process and learn more about the varietals that are grown on the estate as well as the types of wines made there. Now we'll be providing you the opportunity to try five of these wines without having to go up to Fallbrook yourself, each one matched with an appropriately paired item off our menu. Ted Gourvitz and winemaker Duncan Williams will join us to share stories and techniques about the different selections.

This is a tasting, so we'll be doing half pours of all five wines and individual portions of each course. $45 per person covers the cost of all food and drink but does not include tax or gratuity. Please call 619.255.7049 or e-mail to make a reservation. The tasting will be held at the communal table in the front room, so seating is limited.

1st Course: Cardamom Ciabatta Bread and Winchester Gouda Cheese Plate
Wine: 2008 South Coast Rosato Sangiovese Rosé Estate
Fruit: 100% Sangiovese
Tasting Notes: This wine has a unique blend of red tropical fruit flavors and aromas. Barrel fermentation and aging adds a rich texture that is balanced by crisp acidity for a smooth, lingering finish.

2nd Course: Market Fish Ceviche
Wine: 2008 Monterey Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
Fruit: 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
Tasting Notes: This was produced with grapes grown in the Hames Valley of Monterey. The wine has tropical fruit overtone with hints Pear and grapefruit aromas. Aging in a combination oak and stainless barrels helps to enhance the rich body and crisp, clean finish this wine possesses.

3rd Course: Beet Tart with Goat Cheese & Walnuts
Wine: 2005 Central Coast Special Selection Syrah
Fruit: 83% Syrah from the Paso Robles area, 17% Merlot from the Los Olivos area in California’s Central Coast viticultural area.
Tasting Notes: The use of small bins and manual punch-downs during the fermentation process has created a wine with intense black fruit character. 18 months of oak aging resulted in a wine with subtle layers of cocoa, anise and bramble. Wine is drinkable now and will benefit from additional bottle aging.

4th Course: Grilled San Diego Sardines, served with Lompoc Lima Bean Salad
Wine: 2007 Monterey Special Selection Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard
Fruit: 100% Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, Monterey County
Tasting Notes: The wine has a creamy, buttery taste resulting from the perfect combination of lush ripe fruit and oak aging. Cool nights and warm days allowed the fruit to build a natural balance of acid to sugar. This wine is full bodied with a crisp, clean finish.

5th Course: Chocolate Truffle Cake garnished with whipped cream and berry puree
Wine: 2006 South Coast 33° N Bordeaux Blend
Fruit: 100% Estate Grown. 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8% Cabernet FrancTasting Notes: This unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc was produced from a blend of the finest fruit of our 2006 harvest. This wine possesses a deep garnet color with the aromas and flavors of cassis and black fruit. The varietals were blended in such a way to create a smooth and balanced wine that is drinkable now and benefit form additional bottle aging in the tradition of a French Bordeaux.

Apple Command C, Prepare to be Used.

Corkage is a term given to the amount of money a business charges a patron to uncork his or her own bottle of wine, purchased from an outside source. Some restaurants don't charge any, others charge varying prices depending on the establishment, while others allow no corkage at all. There are many perspectives regarding corkage, provided by both the food and beverage industry as well as diners themselves. The subject often is a heated one . The issue itself, as well as any related stories, warrant discussion.

In regards to corkage,

Imagine a person walks into a restaurant with their own piece of meat and doesn't want to pay anything for the chef to prepare it for them, or a person walks into a mechanic shop with a radiator they bought off ebay, expecting the mechanic to install it for free, now imagine a person brings a bottle of his or her own wine into a restaurant with a perfectly good wine list, and expects the staff to open and pour it for them for free. Now imagine its a party of ten people and they bring in five bottles of wine and expect the staff to open five bottles of wine, pour each of them, and polish fifty different glasses, for free. Hence corkage.

Restaurants are businesses, no different from google, apple, ford motors, or nordstrom. They exist to provide a product to society, being food and beverage, and generate income from this product. When corkage is addressed from this standpoint, it seams foolish to even think of bringing your own product to a business that already sells it. Granted there are many times when bringing a personal bottle of wine into a restaurant is an acceptable thing. Many people who are passionate about wine have their own personal collection of quality wine they are either aging or waiting for a special occasion to open up. There is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing a special bottle of wine into a restaurant to open. Most establishments are happy to open quality wines and will even waive their corkage if you order something else from their list. Sometimes it only takes a couple glasses of champagne to start with, a good idea regardless if they waive corkage or not. It is rare that a person who brings in an amazing bottle of wine to celebrate an occasion ever complains of corkage. More often than not it is the person who bought a fifteen dollar bottle of wine from trader joes, or a large party that just took their first trip up to Napa and brings in four different bottles in attempt to impress each other with their new found wine knowledge, that ever complains about corkage. Corkage is not a way to make money for a restaurant. Corkage is a means to allow people the privilege to bring in quality wine on certain occasions and break even. Say a restaurant charges a twenty dollar corkage. If a party brings in two bottles of wine, that's forty dollars in corkage. That party may take up a table that could have otherwise been given to a party that even if they purchased only one bottle of wine, would have generated anywhere from twenty-five dollars or more in profit. Corkage generates a marginal income for restaurants and really only exists in order for them to break even. Lastly, quality restaurants work tirelessly on their list and often hire people that specialize in wine to focus solely on their wine purchasing and serving. If you are a true diner, go out to a restaurant in order to experience what they have to offer, both in regards to the food they have prepared and the wine list they have created. If you feel their list is inadequate, but the food is phenomenal, then possibly bringing your own wine may be warranted. And finally, never bring a bottle of wine to a restaurant that they already have on their list. Its insulting to the restaurant and you look like an idiot.

Please feel free to disagree, but just know, my blog won an American Squirrel Wine Blog Award and yours didn't. Don't believe me, check it out here at Las Flores Squirrels Blog.

Bob Le Flambeur at the Whistle Stop on Sunday

Like crime movies? Like Paris's Montmartre district in the 1950's? Like beer? Then you'll love watching BOB LE FLAMBEUR at the Whistle Stop on Sunday at 4pm.

Citizen Video has been showing movie matinees at the Whistle Stop the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month for almost as long as we've been open. It's fun. It's free. Some say it's even more entertaining than watching football.

Every month we choose a theme (and I have to admit I've been on a Jarmusch kick for a while - showing some of his movies as well as movies/directors that have influenced him). Bob Le Flambeur (by Jean-Pierre Melville) is reported to have been widely influential, on everything from the French New Wave to numerous directors including Jean-Luc Godard, Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood). Jim Jarmusch recommends it as a companion movie to his DOWN BY LAW (which we showed earlier this month). Perhaps BOB LE FLAMBEUR inspired the name for Jarmusch's character Bob (Roberto Begnini) in DOWN BY LAW, but I think you'll be able to find other similarities as well. A thoroughly enjoyable crime genre movie (even if you're not into all that other stuff).

I think I'll finish up my Jarmusch obsession next month by showing his first movie - Stranger Than Paradise - as well as the Finnish movie Ariel by one of Jarmusch's favorite directors, Aki Kaurismäki. Ariel is short so I'll pair it with the Helsinki scene in Night On Earth.

Why Buy Local?

Because locally-based independent businesses do a better job, of course. But also because they put nearly twice as much money back into your pocket as do (inferior, mass-produced) chains. The benefits of building a strong community economy are myriad.

Saturday = North Park

This Saturday is the first major North Park Nights event. A lot of people and businesses in central North Park will be open especially for the night, and many will be hosting art and/or cultural events. Like this one at the Linkery.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with an Irish Angel!

In your quest for the Irish , especially the Blarney ..., let the Irish Angel at Heaven Sent Desserts give you sustenance and comfort! Delicious, delectable and with the hint o' the Irish Cream o' Bailey's, irresistible.

New Roots Farm 100% Fundraiser

Community garden fundraiser coming up at Sea Rocket! See the details after the image below.

You may have read Rebecca Tolin's CityBeat article about the New Roots community garden project. Amy Lint and Ellee Igoe over at the IRC (International Rescue Committee) in City Heights have been learning about the extremely costly and complicated process of creating community gardens in San Diego.

One of the things they decided to do while going through this process was to try to make it easier for people to start more community gardens. They've done this by documenting the process for those that follow, as well as petitioning the city to make it less costly and complicated.

But they need some more money to finish the permitting process and other requirements before the garden can be used. So we're holding a fundraiser to help them out. 100% of the funds they collect at the door go directly to this project. 0% go to Sea Rocket or any other parties, so we really hope you'll come give them some lovin'. Here's what we've got planned:

When: Thursday, March 19th from 6-8pm
What: Appetizers of food from local gardens, farms, and food artisans. Here are some people who have said they will be coming and providing food:
* Phil from Sage Mountain Farm
* Cid from Bella Vado avocado oil farm
* Mitch Hobran, sea urchin diver

Cost: $15 donation to the garden folks. We'll have our full menu and drinks at the bar, so you're welcome to purchase things as well.

If you're a gardener, or just think gardens are a good thing for our communities, then I think you'll have a blast chatting with everyone at this party. Come one, come all and let's show our support for community gardens in San Diego!

Feeling BLAH

We confirmed yesterday that Blind Lady Ale House is actually quite convenient to 30th Street -- only a 12 minute walk (according to Google) from the 2 line's northern terminus at Adams. Not close enough, perhaps, to be considered "on" 30th, but definetely in the greater 30thland metropolitan area.

We also confirmed that their pizzas are completely awesome. Right now, they also have this great starter with greens, local avocado and various citrus. All of which I devoured with gusto.

Don't forget to subscribe to their blog.

Ritual St. Patrick's Weekend: Corned Beef and Cask-age

St. Patrick's Day celebrations generally start with parades on the weekend prior to the Tuesday in question, and San Diego is no exception. The parade and festival takes place on 5th and 6th Streets and in Balboa Park on Saturday afternoon.

Feeling Lucky?

To get you in the mood we are starting our Irish themed menu on Thursday of this week when we'll be tapping into a cask of Lucky's Irish Stout. It's a lighter bodied, lower alcohol brew, so more than likely you'll be able to enjoy more than one ;-) In keeping with Ritual Tavern tradition, the cask beer is brewed locally by one of San Diego's finest brewers, Marty Mendiola from Rock Bottom La Jolla. We'll start our corned beef plates that night; we have Niman Ranch beef brisket brining.

We carry two beers brewed in Cork, Ireland; Murphy's Red and Beamish Stout, so we looked at some menus from pubs serving in Cork. Sure enough, shepherds pie, mussels in white wine, and corned beef are on the menu there. These will of course also available at the Ritual, and when you consider that our lobby and bar are painted green, you'll start to feel some Irish charm.

Crawl 30th all day on St. Patrick's Day!

After all this buildup, what could we possibly say to top all of this? How about an all day St. Patrick's Day 30th Street crawl!! Many of our 30th Street neighbors are already open at Noon, and on Paddy's day, the Ritual and the Linkery will be too.

30th on 17th: Weekdaytime Pub Crawl

It looks like a pub-crawl-friendly environment is shaping up on 30th Street for St. Patrick's Day on Tuesday.

Toronado and Urban Solace always open at 11:30am.
Cantina Mayahuel, Bar Pink, and True North always open at noon.
Linkery and Ritual Tavern will open at noon for St. Patick's Day.

Hamilton's always opens at 3pm on Tuesday, perhaps they'll be opening earlier and I don't know it yet? I'm sure there are other pubby places that are open during the day, that I'm just not thinking of or am not aware of.

SoPaWaBo 28 March

Peyton sends the following heads-up...


SAN DIEGO, CA – (March 5, 2009) – The community of South Park will soon celebrate the official departure of San Diego’s “winter” season with its popular Spring Walkabout on Saturday, March 28 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The quarterly South Park Walkabouts provide thousands of residents, locals, travelers and visitors the opportunity to explore by foot the eclectic neighborhood’s unique retail shops, art galleries, savory restaurants and cafés as well as visit a variety of businesses in the area that specialize in everything from dog-washing to downward dog.

Participating South Park businesses will offer a mix of live music, special food and beverage specials, seasonal crafts and entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, discounts on great gift items and special extended hours. A free Walkabout trolley will also be available to transport visitors back and forth between the three, distinct retail areas of interest along 30th street:

Juniper Street & 30th
Grape Street & 30th
Beech Street & 30th

Established in 1906 in the heart of San Diego between North Park and Golden Hill, South Park is a historic and culturally-diverse neighborhood thoughtfully juxtaposed with picturesque residential streets and beautiful Arts and Crafts showpieces, bungalows and Spanish-style homes. South Park’s lively and rapidly expanding urban business district lines 30th and Fern Streets along a 10-block tree-lined corridorHighlighted business offerings during the Spring Walkabout include:

* Velo Cult – Complimentary Walkabout s’mores
* South Park Bar & Grill – Half-price appetizers, live blues jam session (starts 9:00 pm)
* Clarity Soap & Candles - Bingo games at 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm. Winners receive custom Clarity product gift bag or basket
* Grant’s Marketplace – Complimentary hot chocolate, hot chai lattes and gourmet snacks
(trolley stop)
* So Childish – Special music performers for children 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm provided by the So Childish music teachers
* Studio Maureen and the Next Door Gallery – Live music, signature dip and baguettes; Make a Bottle Cap Collage Pin complimentary craft opportunity
* Citizen Video – Live performance by local band “The Paddle Boat” at 8:00 pm, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and great new sale items by local crafters.
* Thomas Bike Shop – Goodie bags water bottles, energy bars and bike vendor information plus complimentary hot food and beverages
* Rancho Buena Vista Real Estate – Complimentary hot apple cider and cookies
* Junc Boutique – Celebrating one year anniversary in South Park with a group art show featuring local San Diego artists and complimentary food and drink
* South Bark Dog Wash – Complimentary delicious food snacks for people and pets as well as special Walkabout sales
* Nancy Sherman and Sam Keenan (Realtors) – Information booth in front of The Grove with Walkabout maps and trolley routes plus exclusive South Park T-shirts for sale
* Edward Jones Investments – Complimentary cupcakes and gift bags for visitors

For more information on the community of South Park, the Greater Golden Hill Community, area businesses and a downloadable map of the Walkabout route, please visit

About South Park

Situated in the heart of San Diego and bordered by the northern edges of the Historic Golden Hill District, the architecturally distinct and culturally diverse community of South Park has managed to preserve its small neighborhood “feel” while becoming a popular destination for shopping, dining and entertainment. South Park’s tree-lined streets are within short distance from the glamour and bustle of downtown San Diego, and just east of the beautiful attractions of Balboa Park and the world famous San Diego Zoo.

The increasingly popular businesses of South Park reflect the historic Arts and Crafts style homes and charming bungalows of nearby residences. Visitors often note the attractive single-story facades and restored interiors of shops and restaurants and the absence of strip malls and chain stores. Virtually all South Park businesses are locally-owned and owner-managed, adding to the friendly neighborhood atmosphere which attracts daily an energizing diversity of people from all ethnicities and economic backgrounds.

30th By Bike

If, like me, you live and work on the 2 line, there's a good chance you either ride your bike to work or think about doing so. Which makes it perfect that there's a shop on our street that specializes in bicycles for transportation.

I actually had originally thought Velo Cult was purely a high-end fixie/hobbyist place and I was intimidated by it, but then I went there on Sunday and it turns out that "high-end" vibe is just the passion of the owner and team there for stuff that is well-made, and for doing things the right way. That kind of passion is why I love the businesses on this street.

As part of their focus on bikes for commuting, Velo Cult hosts an excellent forum on the topic, at

True Change

I've lived on the 2 line for over a decade, and there's never before been a business that brings a 1,000 people out to the street a day -- which is what True North is doing every Friday and Saturday. That's a lot people, which can be a cause for concern, but it also shows that they're providing a space that a lot of people around here are really looking for, which is great.

This block has changed a lot in the last couple years: Urban Solace, Bar Pink, the Linkery, and True North have all opened up and as a group we're probably now hosting ten times as many people on the weekends as would come a few years back.

I believe that everybody on this block is here with the intention of helping the neighborhood be a great place to live. Of course, things aren't going to go well all the time, and we all need help knowing what's going on and what we can do to improve the moment.

Fortunately, the group of folks who operate these businesses are easy to reach and communicate with. If you ever have any concerns, see any issues with folks leaving our establishment, or just want to say hi, please reach out to us! Here's the info:

* With a 400+ person capacity, True North is the big dog around here now. Manager/partner Eric Lingenfelder is onsite most of the time and can be emailed at

* Matt and Scott at Urban Solace are also around a lot and they're at and, respectively.

* At the Linkery, you can reach me at and Michael at I tend to work principally during hours when we're not open, so email is a very good way to contact me.

* At Bar Pink, all of the owners (there are several) are very affable and approachable. I haven't asked them for permission to post their emails, so I won't, but it's easy to contact them through their website or just go in and see them when it's not busy there.

Thanks for sharing this neighborhood enterprise with all of us!

Sustainable 30th St. LIve Music and Cask

We thought you'd be interested in our newest developments. So let's
get right to it. . .

Trio Gadjo are debuting their guitar talents at the Ritual today,
Thursday, March 5. Playing acoustic guitars and bass, they enchant
restaurant dining rooms and café's with their minimalist gypsy jazz
sounds. They will entertain you while you enjoy our normal food and
beverage service on the first and third Thursdays of the month.

While listening to the Trio, you may be reminded of Django Reinhardt,
who's music is often heard inside the Ritual. Mr. Reinhardt was born
in Belgium, as are many of the ales on our menu, so it seems to suit
our dining room very well.

On cask we have Stone Pale Ale with Hallertau & Saphir hops.
Hallertau is a traditional Bavarian strain of hops imparting mild,
pleasantly spicy flavors. We are also serving two types of oysters on
this Thursday, Luna and Metcalf Bay.

The Union Tribune website featured our Tavern in
the Entertainment Guide section on Wednesday. 'Fresh and Local – San
Diego restaurants think green with sustainable ingredients' highlights
several eateries and menu items built around local and sustainable
raised foods. North Park's own 30th Street is home to three of the
featured restaurants. We're happy to be in the company of the Linkery
and Sea Rocket Bistro.

In two weeks we will host a St. Patrick's Day celebration. Last year
we were mentioned in the Union Tribune as a St. Patrick's destination
and we sold out of corned beef in about 90 minutes, so we will be
brining larger quantities of brisket for you this year.

The last day of the month is our Ballast Point Brewery Dinner. This
will be a four course dinner paired with Ballast Points finest. As is
our practice on these events, we are collaborating closely with the
Brewery in establishing the menu theme and pairings. We'll keep you
updated as the events draw nearer.

Being Sublimely Self Righteous

On Thursday, March 5, I'll be pouring Stone's Sublimely Self Righteous Ale from a fresh cask at Sea Rocket Bistro.  This is a freshly brewed batch of the infamous 11th Anniversary Ale, originally brewed in 2007.  It's a beer after my own heart, both black and bitter. Not everyone will like it. That's the best part of eating and drinking on 30th Street these days - we're not serving food and drink for everyone.  We're not aiming for the middle.  We're serving a wide variety of flavors, many of them strong, pungent, bitter, sour, funky, or otherwise unpalatable to some folks.  We'd be shocked if anybody likes everything we have to offer.  Instead of serving things almost everyone likes, we're trying to serve lots of different things, and hope you'll find a few that will thrill you.  
I don't know why the folks at Stone called this beer Sublimely Self Righteous, but I have a good guess.  On the one hand, I think they're poking fun at themselves, and the rest of us who are passionate about flavor, and our tendency to take ourselves a bit too seriously  sometimes.  On the other hand, the brewery does and should take a lot of pride in their products.  
On 30th Street, you'll find restauranteurs, chefs, servers and bartenders who also take pride in offering craft beer from local brewers, organic produce from nearby farms, naturally raised meats and fresh fish that's never been in an airplane.  Some people think that makes us food snobs, or the food Gestapo.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I don't want to take away your light beer, your pasteurized processed American cheese food product, or your favorite high fructose corn syrup, caramel color and carbonated water concoction.  I want to offer a choice - something different, something other restaurants don't have, something you can't buy in a bottle in Phoenix or Philadelphia.  So at Sea Rocket, the oysters are served with a homemade habanero hot sauce, instead of Tabasco.  We have home made lemonade sweetened with Temecula honey, but we don't have Coca-Cola.  It's nothing against Tabasco or Coke or the people who like them -I like them, too.  We just think that instead of every restaurant offering the same things, it's great when different places offer unique tastes.  We celebrate diversity.
Of course, not everyone sees it as I do, and some will always be offended that the restaurants I choose to work in don't have their favorite, internationally known brand of beer,  soda, condiment, or coffee.  They'll think I'm an elitist, or maybe call me an arrogant bastard.  But I know that I'm actually sublimely self righteous.

Add 2: Alchemy

In case you missed the comments on the last post, Alchemy is offering an awesome "2 Line" promotion: if you ride the bus to Alchemy, they'll take $5 off your tab. That's the price of a day pass, so you can get to Alchemy, and home, for free, on the coolest bus in America.