It seems that there’s always a new competitor out there in the field seeing to claim ownership of the best burger title, and this month a new competitor is throwing their hat into the competition here in San Diego. Smashburger, a chain of premium burger joints, has opened their doors of their very first store in San Diego county. Their first location is located in downtown La Jolla, home to some fine restaurants and premium shopping experiences. Perfect for a place offering superior quality burgers.
I’ve actually been to Smashburger twice now. The first visit was with a couple of friends. I met them there after I got done with work. They had driven up from San Diego and I was heading South from work. The restaurant itself wasn’t jam packed with people yet, but the parking in La Jolla was a challenge. The only unfortunate side about La Jolla is that parking and getting around there are not the most enjoyable experiences. So until Smashburger opens some more locations, the La Jolla location is just going to be an occasional visit depending on how willing I am to put up with frustrating parking.
The second visit I went with another friend who was out of town at the time I went with the first two friends and while we were there my friend had a suggestion for their manager and he came out and talked with us for a few minutes. Apparently the success of the new La Jolla location has been far exceeding expectations so they’ve been readily welcomed into San Diego. At peak meal periods they’re struggling to meet the demand and that’s always a good sign.
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I was introduced to Aunt Gussie’s Sugar Free Cookies when I was in New York in September. There was a huge display of them at the Whole Foods Market on 7th Avenue. I decided to buy a package of the cookies and I opted for the Spelt Sugar Free Chocolate Chip ones and found them to be quite good. Spelt is a wheat alternative that’s high in fiber and allows nutrients to be absorbed more quickly than traditional wheat.
Before heading home from New York, I looked up Aunt Gussie’s website and used the store locater option to see if there were any stores in the San Diego area that carried the cookies. According to the website, both Whole Foods Markets in San Diego carry them, so I figured it would be easy to find some more at home. Not quite the case, I visited both San Diego locations, I spent an hour at the Hillcrest location trying to find the cookies, no luck at all. The La Jolla location carried a couple of varieties, but not ones I wanted, certainly no match for the large section of them the New York location had, no doubt due to the fact the company is based in New Jersey, so it’s pretty much local to New York.
I ended up finding them at my local Jimbo’s Naturally. The local 4S Ranch location in Rancho Bernardo had two spots on the shelf for them, one was sold out which I’m guessing was the sugar free chocolate chip cookies and the other was the sugar free biscotti style cookies. I didn’t but those. I was told the Escondido location definitely had the sugar free chocolate chip cookies and I had to stop in Escondido today so I stopped by there. Sure enough they had the Sugar Free chocolate chip cookies, except these were the Sugar Free Chocolate Chip cookies with Almonds. Not exactly what I wanted, but I’m okay with Almonds so I bought a package. Very good!!
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On March 11th, I caught “The Broadway Tour” of Jonathan Larson’s Epic masterpiece, RENT, hit San Diego’s Civic Theatre. I went with my friend Louie Taylor. Part of the main reason I wanted to go see RENT was because the main draw of the tour is that it has been billed as featuring original cast members, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal who would be reprising their roles as Mark and Roger respectively. An unadvertised bonus is that another original cast member, Gwen Stewart, is also reprising her role in the tour as one of the ensemble players as a variety of characters and featured solo vocalist during “Seasons Of Love.”
As the first tour since RENT closed on Broadway in September 2008, it seems all the more poignant to see such a high profile tour with Original cast members Rapp and Pascal on board. They’re no strangers to coming back to the roles that made them Broadway stars as they both were part of the original workshop shows, transferred the show to Broadway and then later to London, then recreated their roles in the film version of RENT in 2005, and then for a limited engagement in Summer 2007 returned to Broadway according to BroadwayWorld.com. These roles have been a part of their lives off and on for the last 15 years. In the interview in the Playbill handed out at the performance Adam Pascal suspects “when we’re done with this tour, I have a strong suspicion that this will be it for me and RENT. At some point I am going to be too old to do the part.”
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Last night I took the opportunity to check out the new stage version of Xanadu that is currently playing at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. Technically I have a ticket for the show next week, but I got an offer in my e-mail to see the show earlier through Goldstar and at bargain price, so why not take a chance and go.
The seat I ended up with was an on-stage seat. Basically how the set is structured is that it looks a little like a Ancient Greek amphitheatre with a main performance area at the front of the stage and some tiered seating towards the back of the stage where additional audience members get seated and fill out the presence on stage. Sections of the on stage seating are left empty so that the cast members can sit and be part of the background and jump back into the show when appropriately timed. Additionally some props for them are stashed in the seating for use during the show as well.
Unlike regular seats, we had to be given a briefing on what we were expected to do which is basically have fun and stay seated until the orchestra plays its final note. There would be no chances for a bathroom break and if we had to leave, we could but would not be able to return to the stage seats. And we would not be issued our copies of the playbill until after the show. The show runs about ninety minutes so no problem there. We were also issued a glow stick and instructed that we would be told by the cast when it is time to break the glow stick to activate it and wave it around.
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