Local Wally's Guide to San Diego

Local Wally's Guide to San Diego

Where to Eat in San Diego Gaslamp? Osetra Fishouse for the Freshest Seafood in Town!

Local WallyComment

Looking for San Diego's Finest Seafood (and a fun seafood restaurant at that)?  Osetra Fishouse in Gaslamp is it!

Address: 904 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: (619) 239-1800

Menu: osetrafishhouse.com

Osetra Fishhouse in the historic Gaslamp District offers fresh seafood caught daily as part of a varied menu that also offers handmade pastas, unique cuts of meat (think Wagyu beef), and a raw bar, featuring the restaurant's namesake caviar, fresh Blue Point oysters, mussels and clams, and live Maine lobster. They are proud to offer several signature gluten-free items on the menu, as well as vegetarian dishes and a dessert menu featuring handmade desserts like flourless chocolate cake and New York-style cheesecake, along with grappas, ports, and other dessert wines to accompany them.

Osetra also boasts a full-service bar managed by master mixologist Marcelo, who can craft you an incredible personalized drink at just the mention of your favorite flavor. Or, choose from the extensive list of signature mules and cocktails, local craft beer, top-shelf spirits (including the exclusive Louis XIII cognac), and over 3,000 bottles of wine. Many of these bottles are stored in the restaurant's wine cellar, which was the underground vault for the First National Bank that used to occupy Osetra's building in the early 1900s, but several hundred are stored in the restaurant's 3-story wine tower - the only one in California. Better yet, flying wine angels will scale the tower, retrieve the perfect bottle for you, and have it delivered straight to your table.

Osetra offers several private dining areas for catered events, from business meetings to wedding rehearsal dinners to birthday parties. Choose the Atlantic Room or Pacific Room for intimate gatherings, or reserve the cocktail lounge or even the entire beautiful venue to impress your party.

Great Live Music at Little Italy Venue (+ Ultimate Spot for a VIP Experience)

press releasesLocal WallyComment

Music Box is a fantastic place to watch live music in San Diego; it was established in 2015, so (lucky for the insiders) it’s still a hidden gem. You’ll find it in the Little Italy neighborhood, near the downtown Gaslamp District. The vibe? Chic. Classy. Yet down-to-Earth. It’s a spacious venue that offers a variety of types of music too. You’ll find everything from rock and EDM to bluegrass, reggae and hip hop. So you can go one night for crazy rock and roll. Attend another for smooth jazz. Also, and very importantly, there’s delicious appetizers and hand-crafted cocktails that are high-quality - not your average concert beverages!

There is another awesome service here too: Music Box can be rented for almost any type of private event in San Diego. Corporate events, holiday parties, birthday celebrations, product launches, wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners - even ComicCon parties and events. Because this 3-level site has a variety of customizable options for booking an event, such as reserving a VIP box, an outdoor patio or even the entire 3rd level, the Music Box team can work with each person or business to create the right vibe and type of event that everyone will enjoy. Whether you want to host a birthday party for friends and family or are a company seeking party space (it can host 700 patrons comfortably), Music Box is happy to work with your needs.

Our top recommendation: Have a VIP experience for a birthday or bachelor/bachelorette party. Here’s how it works: Choose to combine a celebration, like a birthday, with a show already playing. (Simply check out the list of upcoming shows at Music Box to find the concert you want to attend!) That way - when you book your private area, you and your guests get the perk of having your own space.

It’s the ultimate VIP experience in San Diego

About Music Box

Music Box offers the highest of quality in live music and private event space, providing state-of-the-art sound, food, drinks, and experience. Music Box promotes sociability and functionality with a 700 capacity venue that spans 3 levels comfortably.  This includes unique lounge areas, VIP and opera box seating as well as an outdoor patio. Music Box is also home to an upscale dining experience which features locally-sourced, gourmet food and drink. Check out upcoming shows or book a private or sponsored event now at www.musicboxsd.com.

Golden Coast Mead Opens in Oceanside: Help the Bee's, Drink More Mead!

press releasesLocal WallyComment

Golden Coast Mead (based in Oceanside) was born in 2010 out of the passion of Southern California native, Frank Golbeck. Frank was first exposed to the magic of mead as a young kid on his grandfather’s apple orchard. He watched a room full of adults transform into a laughing, gregarious bunch, and he knew there was something special about this potion made from honey. Luckily, he made a career of it, and now shares his knowledge and passion for mead with the world.

Mead is the oldest form of alcohol, simply brewed by fermenting honey. Mead is sunshine and flowers in drinkable form and the only fermented beverage that doesn't need monoculture to be produced at scale. The result is a delicious, naturally gluten-free beverage with over 200,000 pollinations in every glass. With good mead, we can change the way bees are kept in America.

Mead is actually the oldest alcoholic drink on the planet, and is just now beginning to make a strong comeback. Golden Coast Mead crafts a distinctive style of mead: San Diego Style Mead. It is brewed with top quality California honey, and Palomar Mountain spring water, making it a truly local product. Because it is naturally effervescent, it is served cold and has a light, refreshing, and balanced flavor profile. There is no pasteurization, force carbonation, added sulfites, or filtration; this mead is a modern interpretation of ancient practices. The result is a delicious, gluten-free beverage with over 200,000 pollinations in every glass.

As an invested member of the community, Golden Coast Mead donates at least one percent of its gross revenue to Dr. Nieh’s Entomology Lab at UCSD, researching the health and preservation of the honeybees, as part of One Percent for the Planet, an organization and movement that encourages corporate philanthropy for the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.

For more information on Golden Coast Mead, please visit goldencoastmead.com or the company’s social media sites: Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/GoldenCoastMead), Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/goldencoastmead), and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/goldencoastmead).

The Golden Coast Mead tasting room is located at 4089 Oceanside Blvd, Ste H, Oceanside, CA 92056, and is open Wednesday-Friday 2pm-8'ish, Saturday 1pm-8'ish, and Sunday 12pm-5'ish.


eventsLocal WallyComment

The Moment Has Arrived – Tickets Now On Sale For Southern California’s Most Anticipated Culinary Classic, November 11 -18, 2018

San Diego, CA – The San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival® launches ticket sales for its 15th annual culinary classic held November 11 -1 8, 2018, and announces an impressive lineup of new events and celebrity chefs. Featuring over 40 citywide tasting experiences, Southern California’s largest food and wine festival will welcome 10,000 eager epicurean enthusiasts to America’s Finest City.

I go EVERY year without fail because this is absolutely the best food event in San Diego.  With over 90 booths of gourmet foods from some of San Diego's best restaurants and food companies there's something for every foodie.  And I'm not talking small bites of pasta, I'm talking about the good stuff - beautifully plated small bites and wine, beer, and spirits to wash it all down.  Add to that the normally gorgeous San Diego weather this time of year and it's an absolute winner.  Check out this impressive list of restaurants participating this year. 

san diego wine + food fest

Here's how it works - During the week there are tons of events, from Excursions to sample the best of Baja wines and cuisine to Wine Education classes and dining events.  You can see all of the events here.  On Saturday, Nov 17th, 2018, the Grand Tasting Event happens where food booths take over the Embarcadero area near Seaport Village.  The VIP tickets get you in an hour early for four full hours of eating, drinking, dancing, and San Diego style people watching.  Standard admission opens an hour later but if you can swing it the early tickets are the way to go as the crowds are much thinner the first hour.

This year there's a special priced four pack for $485 - that's a good deal!  And remember, the event is all you can eat, all you can drink, all the gourmet food you can handle!  Look, you have to trust me on this one - GO!  I've gone to a lot of food and wine festivals and nothing compares to the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival!

Photos to Tempt You!


Del Mar Prepares For Fall Season of Thoroughbred Racing November 11 – December 4

events, press releasesLocal WallyComment

‘Bing Crosby Season’ returns to the seaside oval for 15 days of sport along with free concerts and events November 11 – December 4

DEL MAR, Calif. – The iconic racetrack is gearing up for its fall meet, the ‘Bing Crosby Season’, set to kick-off Friday, November 11. The fall season, now heading into its third year, is all about bringing back the old-school cool, journeying back to the era and style of the track’s founder who started it all, Hollywood legend Bing Crosby.

Over the course of the four-week meet, Del Mar will come alive once more with signature seasonal events and a pair of free concerts, first with Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals on Saturday, November 12 and then another popular Reggae Fest featuring Iration on Saturday, November 19.

Opening Day of Bing Crosby Season is also Veterans Day and is a day to celebrate and also one to remember. In collaboration with the American Legion, the afternoon’s Veterans Day Salute will feature patriotic activities including the unfurling of one of the largest U.S. flags in the country – the famous Holiday Bowl flag; parachute jumpers; a Stars and Stripes fashion contest; a ride-in by several veteran motorcycle clubs, and award winning Cali Comfort Bar-B-Q. There will also be a special post-race concert by rising country star Coffey Anderson, along with other military bands and musical guests.

Then on Saturday, November 19 the track welcomes college students to its annual College Day where all students get in free with valid college I.D. and can enjoy live music by DJs, activities, football and more on the third floor of the Clubhouse. On tap the following Saturday, November 26 is Del Mar’s Craft Fall Beer and Cider Festival offering more than 100 local seasonal brews and ciders to taste. Also on that Saturday, Del Mar will host a Fall Food Truck Festival with more than 30 food trucks from San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County bringing their best mobile delights.

Additionally, Del Mar will be open on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24 with a special racing card and an early 11 a.m. post time. Catching a few races while the turkey cooks is the perfect way to create a new holiday tradition with friends and family. Or, leave the cooking up to Del Mar and reserve a Thanksgiving package that comes with admission, Turf Club table, and a mouth-watering brunch menu or turkey dinner with all the trimmings to chose from. Also on Thanksgiving morning, bring the entire family out to stretch their legs around the track before the big meal during Del Mar’s One Mile Family Fun Run at 8 a.m. Runners will complete a one-mile loop on the dirt track and may even find themselves running alongside a jockey or two. A host of family-friendly activities will be available after the race, along with a puppy run and puppy adoption event put on by the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Saturday, December 3 is Fleece Blanket Giveaway Day. Guests that afternoon will receive a soft, fleece blanket to cozy up with.

Every Saturday throughout the fall season early morning risers can take in amazing track views and enjoy a fresh breakfast during the morning workouts at Daybreak at Del Mar, from 8 -10 a.m.  Former jockey-turned-owner Jeff Bloom will host an interactive Q&A session during the workouts providing insight and fun facts about everything horseracing.

Then every Sunday brunch lovers have something to celebrate with Taste of the Turf Club. Guests’ can purchase a brunch package that includes bottomless mimosas, a rotating menu by popular San Diego chef Brian Malarkey and a Turf Club table for the race day.

Racing during the ‘Bing Crosby Season’ will take place Thursday through Sunday. Post time will be 12:30 p.m. The one exception will be Thanksgiving Day, with first post shifted to 11 a.m. Admission at ALL gates will be $6 ($3 for Diamond Club members). All concerts are 18 and up.

For more information, call 858-755-1141 or visit www.delmarracing.com. You can follow Del Mar on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat @DelMarRacing or like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/DelMarRaces.

Bing Crosby Season is Back at Del Mar
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club kicks off its fall season on Veterans Day, Friday, November 11

DEL MAR, Calif. — The iconic racetrack is gearing up for its fall meet, the ‘Bing Crosby
Season,’ now heading into its third year. It’s all about bringing back the old-school cool,
journeying back to the era and style of the track’s founder who started it all, Hollywood
legend Bing Crosby. The 15-day session will bring world-class racing the seaside track
is historically known for, along with signature seasonal events including a pair of free
concerts, festivals, Thanksgiving day events and eclectic outdoor dining options.

• Opening Day & Veterans Salute – Friday, November 11, Opening Day of Bing
Crosby Season is also Veterans Day, and guests are invited to celebrate the
holiday by joining the seaside track as they team up with a nearby American
Legion Post, Encinitas’ American Legion San Dieguito Post 416, for a
special Veterans Day Salute and fundraising event that will have stars and
stripes written all over it to hail those who have served in U.S. military branches.
The day’s patriotic activities will include the unfurling of one of the largest U.S.
flags in the country – the famous Holiday Bowl flag; parachute jumpers; a ride-in
by several veteran motorcycle clubs, and an award winning Cali Comfort Bar-BQ.
There will also be a special post-race concert by rising country star Coffey
Anderson, along with other military bands and musical guests.

A Stars & Stripes Fashion Contest with more than $3,000 in prizes, including a
fabulous stay at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, will take place as part of the
Opening Day festivities. Everyone is invited to dress up in their most festive and
fashionable attire by donning red, white and blue or going for best pin-up or
celebrity look. The fashion contest will take place between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
in the Plaza de Mexico.

• Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals – Saturday, November 12, Ben Harper &
The Innocent Criminals will kick off Del Mar’s fall concert series by taking the
stage after the last race, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Sit back, relax and enjoy the
eclectic mix of blues, folk, soul, reggae and rock music. Longtime fans are
ecstatic to see live hits from their newest album, Call It What It Is, which was
released earlier this year after an eight-year gap from their previous record. Mimi
Zulu will open.

• Taste of the Turf Club – Sunday, November 13, and every Sunday throughout
the fall season, one of San Diego's most celebrated chefs, Brian Malarkey will
bring his talents trackside for Taste of the Turf Club, which includes a rotating
three-course menu, Turf Club table and bottomless Chandon mimosas.
Reservations and dress code required.

• Free & Fun Sundays – Sunday, November 13, and every Sunday at Del Mar, is
Free and Fun. Receive FREE Stretch Run admission, FREE program and FREE
seat along with HALF PRICE Beer (domestic drafts), Bloody Marys, mimosas
and Champagne splits. Reserve a table with your own personal TV at First Turn
restaurant to watch your favorite Sunday Pro Football games or check them out
at 17 Hands Pub or the Paddock Tavern.

The Bing Crosby Season runs November 11 – December 4, racing Thursday – Sunday
with post time for the first race at 12:30 p.m. On Thanksgiving Day the first post is
shifted to 11 a.m. For more information, call 858-755-1141 or visit
www.delmarracing.com. You can follow the Del Mar on Twitter and Instagram
@DelMarRacing or become a fan on Facebook/DelMarRaces.

Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella) Opens San Diego Opera’s Mainstage Season on October 22, 2016

Local WallyComment
Cinderella at the San Diego Opera Oct 22, 2016

San Diego Opera is proud to present Rossini’s La Cenerentola, his opera based on the beloved fairy tale Cinderella that has entertained generations and inspired different versions throughout history from Charles Perrault, The Brothers Grimm, to Walt Disney. La Cenerentola (Cinderella) opens the maintage season at the San Diego Civic Theatre on Saturday, October 22, 2016 for four performances. Additional performances are October 25 and 28 at 7 PM, and October 30 at 2 PM.

For Ticket Info Go Here:  http://www.sdopera.org/

Making important company debuts are American mezzo-soprano Lauren McNeese as Angelina/Cinderella and American tenor David Portillo as Prince Don Ramiro. Returning to the Company after last having been heard as Garcias in Don Quixote in 2014 is American soprano Susannah Biller as Clorinda, Cinderella’s older sister. She is joined by returning Egyptian bass Ashraf Sewailam, last heard as Leporello in 2015’s Don Giovanni, as the philosopher Alidoro. Mexican baritone José Adán Pérez makes his debut as Dandini, the valet to Prince Ramiro and American mezzo soprano Alissa Anderson sings Thisbe, Cindererlla’s younger sister. American conductor Gary Wedow makes his Company debut on the podium and Australian stage director Lindy Hume makes her house debut staging the action.     

Rossini’s version of Cinderella tells the story of an innocent girl, abused by her family, who winds up marrying a handsome prince but faces real dangers along the way. Some things are different from the popular Disney version of the story; Don Magnifico is a wicked stepfather, replacing the wicked stepmother; Alidoro, the philosopher and prince’s tutor, replaces the fairy godmother; and Cinderella’s slipper is replaced by a bracelet. La Cenerentola (Cinderella) will delight audiences from all generations with its arias and ensembles, and stunningly beautiful music from the composer of The Barber of Seville.   

This production of La Cenerentola (Cinderella) is rented from Leipzig Opera and was originally built for Opera Queensland. The set and costume designer is Dan Potro and has been updated to Edwardian England. Matt Marshall is the lighting designer. The opera will be performed in Italian with English translations above the stage. This is the second time La Cenerentola (Cinderella) has been performed by the Company with the other performances occurring in 1996.

La Cenerentola (Cinderella) will have a radio broadcast on Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 8 PM on KPBS radio, 89.5 FM (97.7 FM Calexico) and online at www.kpbs.org

Seals on the Beach are Back in San Diego! What's New at Casa Beach in La Jolla

press releasesLocal WallyComment

The cooling weather is creating comfortable conditions on the shore of Casa Beach for our harbor seal colony to enjoy! Every day, more and more seals are being seen at the rookery, and numbers are expected to keep climbing as pupping season (December 15 - May 15) approaches.

Are you planning a trip to the beach? Click here to check out our seal statistics page and find out how many seals are likely to be on the beach during your visit. In addition to predicting seal activity on the beach, you will also notice that after gaining the legal protections of 2014 and 2015, the Casa Beach harbor seal colony is thriving!

When visiting Casa Beach, please remember:

  • There will be a guideline rope on the beach for the safest public viewing of the seals, until December 15 - May 15, when the beach will be closed for pupping season
  • If you see a sick or injured seal, please call Sea World Marine Mammal Rescue at (800)541-7325
  • If you see someone abusing or harassing the seals, please call NOAA's Law Enforcement at (800) 853-1964
  • Enjoy your time at the beach, and if you can, please count the number of seals you see and email them to sealcounts@sealconservancy.org. Maybe make it a fun game for the kids!
Seals doing what comes naturally in San Diego

Fun Seal Fact of the Day!

Seals share a common ancestor with dogs and bears and have upper and lower arms and legs concealed within their skin. Only their hands and feet extend outside the body envelope.

How You Can Help

Donate - Any little bit will help!
While the Seal Conservancy does receive precious support from volunteer staff, there is an abundant need for professional services when gaining and defending legal protections on the beach. We are proud to say that contributions from our passionate supporters have powered the success at Casa Beach!

Volunteer - On the beach or from home! There is lots of work to be done, from counting seals to organizing events. Please email info@sealconservancy.org for information.

Visit the beach - Show the City of San Diego how much you appreciate the safety of the seals and come enjoy the scene! Our City has fought long and hard for the protections at the beach. Let's thank them by continuing to safely enjoy the seals. Tell all of your friends, and bring your out-of-town family, to the gem at Casa Beach.

While you're there, please help the Seal Conservancy to protect the Casa Beach seal colony! All it takes is an email! Simply count the number of seals you see on the beach during your visit, and include this count, the time you counted them, and the date in an email to sealcounts@sealconservancy.org. You can also fill out our Seal Count form at http://sealconservancy.org/seal-counts/.

San Diego's Award-Winning Golden Door Resort Launches New Farm Stand

press releasesLocal WallyComment
San Diego's Award-Winning Golden Door Resort Launches New Farm Stand

314 Deer Springs Road, San Marcos CA 92069

Farm Stand Hours:  Wednesday through Friday: 10:30am to 3pm, Saturday: 9:30am to 3pm

Golden Door, awarded the “World’s Best Destination Spa” by Travel + Leisure magazine, and located just a few miles north of San Diego, is opening a Farm Stand on October 15th, 2016.

Open four days a week year-round, the Golden Door Farm Stand will sell organic produce such as herbs, kale, figs, melons, carrots, citrus, beets, eggplant, pomegranates and more from the resort’s gardens, as well as marmalades and preserves from its artisanal foods line.

“Golden Door’s magical gardens are treasured for the abundance of organic produce they provide our guests. We are overjoyed to share their bounty with the local community, while continuing our mission to donate all of the proceeds to charity,” says COO/GM Kathy Van Ness.

This is a chance for the community to enjoy delicious, locally grown produce, and be a part of the Golden Door mission—100% of proceeds from all Farm Stand purchases will be donated to help children of abuse.

Fresh veggies at Golden Door Farm Stand San Marcos

About Golden Door

The Golden Door experience empowers each guest to achieve a healthy mind, body and spirit. Guests relax, restore, and refresh on a journey focused on personalized fitness, spa and nutrition programs, thoughtfully designed to meet the specific goals and needs of each individual. Located in a serene valley a few miles north of San Diego and south of Los Angeles, the Golden Door is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the tranquility of our unique spot on earth. The resort is nestled in 600 acres of nature to hike, run or simply explore at your own pace. With more than 30 miles of hiking and walking trails, mountains to climb, vistas to discover, and a bamboo forest that gives voice to the wind, guests are surrounded by breathtaking beauty that nurtures the soul. Golden Door resort donates 100% of profits to further charitable causes that match the mission and objectives of the property. www.goldendoor.com

Estancia Resort: Photos from 4th Annual Wine & Whiskey BBQ

eventsLocal WallyComment

Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa is a gem of a resort, looking a bit like an upscale California ranch. Tucked away in La Jolla near UCSD, Estancia has a lot to offer for both tourists and locals such as the 4th Annual Wine and Whiskey BBQ, one of the best food and drink events in San Diego. But we'll get to that in a moment after I show you around the resort a bit.

Yes, Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa is a great place, a wonderful stay-cation for locals and excellent pick for visitors. It's elegant but not stuffy, upscale without being pretentious, it's California casual.


Annual Wine & Whiskey BBQ photos

The problem with a lot of food festivals are the massive crowds but I love that Estancia La Jolla didn't over sell the tickets and pack them in. You want another drink, you get one. You want more food, no problem. And both food and drink were plentiful and delicious, from the lovely wines from Trintas Cellars, a Napa winery they own that has its own tasting room onsite, to the creative cocktails done up in craft cocktail style with big block ice cubes to the excellent BBQ shrimp, brisket, chicken, pulled pork, and enough beans and cornbread to make a cowboy happy. Dessert bar equally impressive - so full!

But I promised you photos so here you go. But before I go just remember this event for next year, it's really one of the best in San Diego!

DON'T MISS! 4th Annual Wine & Whiskey BBQ at La Jolla's Estancia Hotel and Spa Oct. 7th, 2016

eventsLocal WallyComment

4th Annual Wine & Whisky BBQ at Estancia La Jolla

WHEN:  Friday, Oct 7th, from 6 to 9PM


WHERE:  Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
9700 North Torrey Pines Road
San Diego, CA 92037

WHAT:  The flavors of the deep South and northern California converge for the ultimate West coast BBQ bash at Estancia La Jolla. A nod to the property’s horse ranch heritage, this southern-style feast under the stars features a menu of barbecued brisket, pulled pork mac & cheese, warm cobblers and other comfort food favorites washed down with unlimited whiskey, bourbon and Napa Valley wine tastings.

Let Trinitas Cellars’ proprietor Garret Busch personally lead you through a flight of his winery’s best blends, then taste a trio of both single barrel whiskeys and Woodford bourbon with Jack Daniel’s brand ambassador Eric Tecosky as live blues music and bonfire sparks float on the night air.

WALLY SAYS: A cool local event that should be great fun for locals and visitors alike. Estancia Hotel has a SoCal "rancho" feel but with an upscale twist.  I suspect an event with whiskey, bourbon, wine and BBQ will be a bit hit with those who know the scene so put on your party clothes and get out there for a fun evening with great food and drink!