July 2023

Venturing Out and stepping into Jacumba Hot Springs' newest old hotel




and stepping into Jacumba Hot Springs’ newest old hotel Venturing Out

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Summer is the perfect time for a much-deserved cool escape to La Quinta Resort. You’ll find countless soothing ways to chill out and relax away from the hustle of the everyday. Take a dip in one of our 41 perfectly chilled pools, sip frozen beverages, enjoy icy cool appetizers and entrées, and immerse yourself in a signature spa special at the award-winning Spa La Quinta. Plan now for the refreshing summer break you’ve been longing for.



Grand Canyon National Park









46 ON THE FOOD LINES Military families are struggling to eat due to San Diego’s high cost of living.


60 MEALS FROM THE MOTHERLAND Photographer and regular SDM contributor James Tran travels to Vietnam for the first time, documenting the origins of the food he grew up with as a first-generation kid in SoCal.

Four writers road trip to destinations near and far. In Monterey, there’s fish in the water and on the plate. In Sonoma County, glamping among the redwoods. In Las Vegas, wellness is growing. And in the Coachella Valley, the American Dream hides in the desert.


JULY 2023

DISCOVER ELEMENTAL LUXURY BY THE SEA OF CORTEZ COME HOME TO A SENSE OF BELONGING A place wrapped in rugged mountains, untouched beaches and crystal blue waters awaits discovery as your new address. 45 minutes from the Los Cabos airport and miles from the ordinary, Costa Palmas is a master-planned resort community set by Baja’s East Cape, on the swimmable Sea of Cortez. Homeowners will be part of a Beach and Yacht Club, Golf Club, Aventura and more—enjoying a lifestyle elevated by Baja’s first luxury marina and enhanced by a sense of belonging.




Four Seasons Resort and Residences Los Cabos at Costa PalmasTM are not owned, developed or sold by Four Seasons Hotels Limited or its affiliates (Four Seasons). The developer, Desarrolladora la Ribera, S. de R.L. de C.V., uses the Four Seasons trademarks and trade names under a license from Four Seasons Hotels Limited. The marks “FOUR SEASONS,” “FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS,” any combination thereof and the Tree Design are registered trademarks of Four Seasons Hotels Limited in Canada and U.S.A. and of Four Seasons Hotels (Barbados) Ltd. elsewhere. Renderings and maps represent an artist’s conception and may differ from the finished product. This is not an offering for sale in any jurisdiction where the project is not registered. E.&O.E. WARNING: The California Bureau of Real Estate has not examined this offering, including, but not limited to, the condition of title, the status of blanket liens on the project (if any), arrangements to assure project completion, escrow practices, control over project management, racially discriminatory practices (if any), terms, conditions, and price of the offer, control over annual assessments (if any), or the availability of water, services, utilities, or improvements. It may be advisable for you to consult an attorney or other knowledgeable professional who is familiar with real estate and development law in the country where this subdivision is situated.


In Every Issue 14 EDITOR’S NOTE Executive Editor Mateo Hoke considers what travel can teach us. 18 LOCAL STOKES A tribute to the late, great Tina Turner; an "Odd" new winery; and a Barbie dreamhouse at SDCC. 20 COVERING 75 Acclaimed artist Panca updates a 1965 SDM cover that reflects shifting views on Baja. 82 CALENDAR A busy month for San Diegans with the Fourth of July, SD Pride celebrations, San Diego Comic- Con International, and Opening Day at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. 88 SACRED SPACES We stop by the Hillcrest Youth Center, a love letter and survival guide for the next generation of LGBTQ San Diegans. Food & Drink 22 HOT PLATES SDM staff shouts out our favorite food finds this month: an inventive take on charcuterie boards, cheese pupusas almost as good as your mom's, munchies that hit the spot, sweet shakes, savory croissants, and more. 24 RANTS Troy Johnson bemoans the casualization of dining and has trouble reading a menu. Arts & Culture 30 ARTS The hub of the Tijuana art scene lies in an unassuming gallery run by twin sisters.

18 30


JULY 2023

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Living & Style 38 DESIGN A hospitality team revitalizes a long-shuttered hotel in Jacumba Hot Springs. 44 TASTEMAKER Kiersten “Kiki” Rich—known online as “The Blonde Abroad”—tells us her travel must-haves. Escapes 74 WEEKENDER Spend a weekend nurturing your inner artist at Santa Fe's numerous museums, restaurants, trails, and more. 78 ARRIVING NOW Glam it up in Punta Mita, get outside in Utah, and experience true luxury in Tokyo. 80 PIT STOP Awe-inspiring views on a trip to the opulent 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay. Special Sections 33 PRIVATE SCHOOL GUIDE 67 TRAVEL GUIDE: OUR FAVORITE ROADTRIPS, GETAWAYS, AND LOCAL STAYS

38 74

ON THE COVER The revamped Jacumba Hot Springs Hotel opens this month, and SDM has an exclusive look. See the story on page 38. Photo by Johanna Siring.

12 JULY 2023



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Editor’s Note

Here’s to the Travelers

The view from Mateo’s truck, driving the loneliest road in America.


elcome aboard our summer travel issue. We’re happy to have you along for the ride as we celebrate the human urge to venture out into the unknown. This is a fun issue to tuck into your carry-on and read in the air.

minted hospitality group of creative designers. It’s a cool, visually engaging piece we thought might inspire our readers to pack their bags. But there’s much more to the story now. Because when the various people working to get the hotel open found themselves on the front lines of the border crisis, they stepped up to collect and deliver supplies to the people in the camps. Jeff Osborne is part of the group behind the hotel project. “We just started organizing,” he told me. “Buying blankets, food, water. Our office became our crisis headquarters. Everyone in the local community was dropping off whatever we needed. We had over 3,000 individually packaged survival kits by the end.” Talk about hospitality. “I think we brought a lot of relief to people who were in some really awful conditions,” Osborne said. It takes true courage to travel penniless across continents in search of safety or a better life, or simply because you don’t have anywhere else to go. It’s not a type of traveling I've ever had to do, and as someone who’s spent a lot of time on the road, I respect it tremendously. So while celebrating our wanderlust in this issue, I also want to celebrate the travelers who were camped in the desert and the lessons we can learn from their determination. Travel, after all, is a great teacher, even if we’re not the ones on the move.

Truthfully, I don’t enjoy getting on planes. But I love getting off of them to explore new places. See, I came into this world wanting to experience as much of it as I possibly can. There's a fire burning in my belly that refuses to calm until I’ve learned how to say “howdy” in every dialect of every language, lit a candle in every temple, and stepped in every river. Twice. Until I’ve tasted every dish in every back alley and home kitchen in every city, small town, and village and hiked every mountain and breathed in every vista and contemplated every remaining glacier. Sounds like a compulsion, I know. But really it’s a hunger to learn. It’s why I became a reporter, to better understand this world and the people in it. Travel, I’ve found, is a great teacher. Immersing ourselves in unfamiliar places often means being pushed out of our comfort zones, which is where important lessons can be learned. Ever been sweating and lost in a city in which you don’t speak or read the language, and still found your way? Traveling builds a unique kind of confidence. But it’s important to remember that while travel can be a valuable learning experience, it’s also a great privilege. Traveling means different things to different people. Many have to wander to survive. As we go to press, the humanitarian crisis at the SD-Mexico border is simmering after hitting a boiling point. In May, more than 1,000 people seeking asylum landed in various makeshift migrant camps in the desert outside Jacumba Hot Springs while waiting to be processed by US Border Patrol. Families with children in the cold desert at night, without blankets, food, or water, and no shelter in the heat of the day. Some of them had traveled for weeks. On page 38, you’ll find our exclusive cover story about a newly revamped hotel in Jacumba Hot Springs, slated to reopen its doors this month after being acquired by a newly

MATEO HOKE Executive Editor

14 JULY 2023



What’s in a name? Is it genetic lineage and birth rite, or is it an arbitrary moniker that we simply choose to revere and slap onto a credit card? This month’s pick is a study in family identity, belonging, and the Ireland of the 1940s up to now. In his New York Times bestselling 2017 novel The Heart’s Invisible Furies , author John Boyne tells the tale of Cyril Avery, an adopted son who feels like a stranger in his own family. Boyne tells the tale of what it really means to have a chosen family by way of Cyril’s friendship with the alluring Julian Woodbead. Spanning a lifetime, Cyril finds in due course who he actually is. So, maybe Shakespeare’s Juliet was right all along. A rose is still a rose. To alias or not alias, perhaps that’s the question. To join our book club, visit sdmag.com/bookclub. Then visit one of the participating local, indie bookstores to buy a copy of The Heart’s Invisible Furies . Email a photo of your receipt to books @ sdmag.com. We’ll randomly select one winner each month who will get $300 to any one of CH Projects Establishments (Neighborhood, Born and Raised, Craft & Commerce, Ironside).

No one ever died thinking, “I should’ve read less.”



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SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE (ISSN 0734-6727), July 2023, Vol. 75, No. 7. SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE is published 12 times a year (monthly) by San Diego Magazine LLC, 1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800, San Diego, CA, 92101. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: One year, $18; two years, $28; three years, $40. Subscriptions outside CA are $3 additional per year; outside the US, $80 additional per year. Back issues are $10 per issue and can be purchased at sandiegomagazine.com, if available. For change of address or customer service, write SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEPT., PO Box 460266 Escondido, CA 92046-9800 or email sandiegomagazine@pcspublink.com. Periodical postage paid at San Diego, CA, and additional mailing offices. San Diego Magazine is a registered trademark of San Diego Magazine LLC. Copyright © 2011 by San Diego Magazine LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. POSTMASTER: PLEASE SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE, PO Box 460266 Escondido, CA 92046-9800

JULY 2023 16

Laidback Luxury

Meets Beachfront


Golden Cabo San Lucas sunsets, cool sea breezes, warm hospitality, and unique coastal experiences await you at the new and exciting Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa.



Tina’s Curtain Call The world lost an icon when the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner, passed away on May 24. The trailblazing singer, actress, and author’s life is celebrated in the new musical, TINA–The Tina Turner Musical , which runs July 25–30 at the San Diego Civic Theatre. From her humble beginnings in Brownsville, TN, to her tumultuous relationship with Ike Turner and a triumphant comeback that cemented her reputation as one of the greatest musical acts of our time, Tina was simply the best. broadwaysd.com

July’s hottest picks include a timely Tina Turner musical, an “Odd” new winery, and a Comic-Con pop-up where you can live out your Barbie dreams Local Stokes




Pickleball’s In Your Court The pickleball craze shows no signs of slowing down, and, for a limited time, you can hit the courts at Westfield UTC . Open through July, the mall's three regulation-size pickleball courts (located above True Food Kitchen) are available on a first-come, first-serve basis—no pun intended. Bring your own gear and show off your skills during regular daylight hours. Use of the courts is complimentary. westfield.com/utc


Nothing “Oddish” About It As co-founders of Lost Cause Meadery, Billy and Suzanna Betz know their way around a fermenter. Recently, the duo opened another drinking establishment: Oddish Wine in Bay Park. Specializing in minimal intervention wines made with Southern California grapes, Oddish also offers an array of ciders, spritzes, vermouth, and amari (gotta catch 'em all). Nestled next to Lost Cause, Oddish is located at The Gärten, a multi-vendor space that also includes Pizza Cassette and Deft Brewing. oddishwine.com


Come On, Barbie, Let’s Go Party Bring your retro, Barbiecore dreams to life at the Malibu Dream Lounge pop-up during San Diego Comic-Con (July 19–21). To get in on the plastic action—held beneath Parq nightclub—reserve entry into any of XLE Productions’ Comic-Con parties (they all take place at Parq). During the day, reservation-holders can visit the lounge and enjoy themed cocktails (non-alcoholic sips are also available), photo ops, and immersive experiences. After dark, VIP guests can dance the night away to the sounds of DJ Atomic Blonde and get dolled up with glitter and cosmetics from viral TikTok sensation Designer Dust Co. Prices vary. XLEproductions.com

18 JULY 2023

Working to make a difference in San Diego is one sure measure of success.

At PNC, we take pride in our longstanding commit to the community. From assisting customers with life’s big purchases to supporting healthy retirements to helping small business grow, we’ve been empowering our clients achieve their financial goals for more than 170 years.

As a Main Street bank at our very core, we’re guided by the opportunity to help our customers and communities thrive. That’s why we innovate to help make banking easier, more convenient and more accessible. It’s why we take a one-to-one approach to service and support that’s centered on each customer’s unique goals and needs. And it’s why we’re committed to investing our time and resources into helping to make San Diego a great place to call home.


Marcy Mackless Market Managing Director, Private Bank marcy.mackless@pnc.com Xiomara Arroyo Market Manager, Organizational Financial Wellness xiomara.arroyo@pnc.com

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Stephan Coleman Market Managing Director, Institutional Asset Management stephan.coleman@pnc.com

Steve Bernstein San Diego Region Retail Lead steve.bernstein@pnc.com

Rick Martinez Commercial Banking Group Manager rick.martinez@pnc.com

Brian Love San Diego Mortgage Lead brian.love@pnc.com

©2022 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved. CORP SPON PDF 0422-0121-2041501

Covering 75


he cover of San Diego Magazine ’s February 1965 issue pointed readers towards the pristine, “unplundered” beaches in Baja, boasting of potential undiscovered gems

can find Nirvana in the cool breezes of that more southerly Pacific as well as a trove of cast- off treasures.” Nearly 60 years later, San Diegans’ relationship with Baja has grown more complex, but we’re as enchanted by the peninsula as ever. In celebration of SDM ’s 75 th birthday this

to be found by “intrepid” visitors. “On this beach,” reads the cover description, “a ‘mystique’ is made possible by the fortuitous lack of too many people and intrepid campers

20 JULY 2023

JULY 2023 / $6.95


year, we’re asking contemporary artists we love to recreate classic covers. This month’s cover is a modern depiction of Baja from celebrated binational artist Panca. In her illustration, a solo female traveler races in a convertible towards Baja’s newest hot spot—the wine country of Valle de Guadalupe— seemingly without a care in the world, windswept hair and all.

“The Valle has developed big time. You can go to the Valle and you’ll run into somebody from San Diego. Before, it was kind of hush-hush,” Panca says. “I think, like everything, it can get burned. But I also think there’s a lot going on and it’s very much worthy of [exploring] and preserving at the same time. There has to be a balance of acknowledging this beautiful area, but .... not just using it up until it’s gone.” — JI


Food & Drink HOT PLATES


BLACKMARKET BAKERY TOMATO PROVOLONE CROISSANT There are sweet people and there are savory people, and while it’s rare to

find something they both will agree on, I would challenge anyone to find fault with the Tomato Provolone Croissant at Blackmarket Bakery. Each bite is flaky and buttery, with sweet tomatoes and melted provolone cheese folded into a warm, delicate pastry. Blackmarket Bakery just opened its second San Diego location in East Village. –JI

Get Some SDM staff shouts out our favorite food finds this month

LITTLE DUTCHIE OXTAIL Oxtail is the super bone, the tastiest cut. It’s the one that makes soups across all cultures taste indescribably good, thanks to all the collagen, which turns into silky, rich umami when cooked slow and cooked right. Don’t often see it


he SD food scene gets better by the minute, and our staff is out there, day after day, heroically tasting as much good stuff as we can. Each month we're compiling a hit list of some our favorite dishes and drinks we think our readers might want to put their mouths on. Go get some. T



at a food truck, though, nor do you taste it as good as Jamaican-Caribbean-African food truck Little Dutchie’s—swimming in a near-jerk sauce. –TJ


ARLO SEAFOOD CHARCUTERIE BOARD Chef Josh Mouzakes is really cooking at Arlo, making dishes where you can see the creative idea but it doesn’t taste like an “idea.” Just tastes pretty damn great. Like this secret-menu charcuterie board—all the usual turf treats, flipped on their head with surf.

SOLARE RAVIOLI DI RICOTTA E SPINACI Solare is not-so-quietly one of the most consistently good Italian restaurants in the city. Owner Randy Smerik is an Italian wine obsessive, so his list is gold with silky Barolos and rarer varietals from the boot. But this simple ravioli—made in-house; filled with spinach, Grana Padano (like an upgraded Parm-Reg), and ricotta; topped with butter-sage sauce— will make you a better you. –TJ

Tastes like summer. –AR 2 The “oh, damn” parts are smoked mussels and clams, smoked salmon dip made with salmon belly and Dijon, and shrimp transformed into paprika- spiked chorizo. –TJ 22 JULY 2023


DAO FU MI XAO TOFU Behind a nondescript Normal Heights storefront hides housemade tofu so good it could crack the most ardent plant protein naysayer. Bookended by a complimentary salad (with more tofu!) and free ice cream, your stir fry arrives on a plate resembling Paul Bunyan’s frisbee and sets you back less than 15 bucks. –AR

STRAWBERRY SHACK STRAWBERRY SHACK SHAKE I was the kid who’d eat around the strawberry flavor in a slab of Neopolitan. Recently, though, I’m a convert to berry ice cream, thanks partly to this Carlsbad stand’s shake. The shack forgoes chemically artificial fruit, instead blending frozen vanilla custard with fresh local strawberries.


CIVICO 1845 PACCHERI AL RAGU CALABRESE This may get me canceled, but personally, I don’t love Italian food. All those carbs, and the napping that must take place after… But the

SEA TAVERN SURF & TURF “DOUBLE DOUBLE” A shout out to In-N-Out Burger, the Surf & Turf “Double Double” is so much more. A Waygu-blend burger, a giant crab croquette, and a crispy hunk of pan-fried mozzarella come topped with an onion jam that seals the deal on this tasty DD. –DM




Ragu Calabrese at Civico may have won me over. Made with a garganelli pasta, slow-braised pork ragu, Calabrian sausage, pork shoulder, pancetta, and meatballs, all topped with pecorino cheese—it’s a meat lover’s (and now my) dream. –CN

12 EL SALVADOREÑO CHEESE PUPUSAS No one makes pupusas like the women in my family. On my quest to find the most authentic ones in SD, I stumbled upon El Salvadoreño. There’s a delicate balance of masa and cheese (plus the right One of the more stunning vegan dishes in the city. Part of the vegetarian tasting menu at Ambrogio by Acquarello—a concept from Ambrogio15 owners and Michelin-star Italian chefs Silvio Salmoiraghi and Choi Cheolhyeok (of Acquarello in Venice). It takes an inherently carnivore dish— tournedos rossini (filet mignon with foie gras)—and flips it, using veggie stock, eggplant, and daikon radish in a miso broth. Plant-based magic tricks. –TJ


THE HANDMADE CHEF MEAL PREP CO. MOTHER EARTH BUDDHA BOWL This new, entirely gluten-free eatery offers quick, healthy meals downtown that are packed with flavor. The Buddha



PHUONG TRANG OVEN-ROASTED CATFISH Phuong Trang is the Vietnamese

icon. Decades ago, most non-Vietnamese San Diegans discovered pho here. But the real magic is this traditional catfish, cooked whole and caramelized in a clay pot—salty, tender, slightly sweet, eaten with herbs and dipped in fish sauce.

bowl comes with an ancient grain blend, red chile–glazed sweet potatoes, charred onion, portobello mushrooms, kale pesto, arugula, and red pepper miso sauce, plus a protein of your choice. –NM

Has that deep umami of the best rotisserie chickens. –TJ



At first glance, you may snub the newly opened second outpost of Havana Grill in Mission Valley based on location. But the skirt steak with rice, beans, and fried plantains is

GARIBALDI SHEET MUSIC BREAD When InterContinental Hotel first

so perfectly flavored that you almost forget you’re staring out at a parking lot. Forget

combo of cheeses) along with salty-tangy curtido that makes for a great pupusa and these bad boys get pretty damn authentic. –NM

opened, they invested in a powerhouse duo of chefs with strong local-food ethos (Paul McCabe, Amy DiBiase). Now they have another formidable pair in drinks talent Jeff Josenhans and new exec chef Ricardo Herederia (formerly of Alchemy in South Park). Sit on their patio, stare at the bay, and try this sheet music bread (diaphanously thin, crispy flatbread with whipped sheep’s milk ricotta, preserved lemon puree, and white sturgeon caviar). –TJ 15

your passport—Cuba is now just a strip mall away. –NM


Munchies be damned. Mad Munch on Newport Avenue is a friend to glassy-eyed OB stoners and… others, too. With a menu of both meaty and veg cheezers, and fried sides like cheddar bombz and Old Bay–seasoned curly fries, Mad Munch quenches cravings. A recent special, the Carolina Caviar comes with homemade pimento cheese, tomatoes, Colby Jack, and cheddar on sourdough bread. Not mad at that. –MH



Food & Drink RANTS

24 JULY 2023

I Can’t Read Your Menu Please excuse me while I yell at clouds and the tiny font on the menu in your dark restaurant



feel so romantic, and I can’t read your menu. The candles on your tables have really put my wife and me in the mood. The mood for love, yes. But also for Lasik.

I have large pores, but thanks to your restaurant’s magical twilight, no one can see the aerated lawn that is my face. I’m no Chris Hemsworth. I’d need different lights and parents for that. But your eternally lusty dusk is hiding the major, top-line features that scream, “HE’S NO CHRIS HEMSWORTH.” Does that word here say marinara or Marina? I used to know a Marina. She wasn’t kind. I do not want to eat her pasta, or one named after her. Is the font on your menu 4.7 points? I’d recognize a good 4.7 font anywhere. I get it. Big lettering is gaudy and cheap. Big font is basically the Truck Nutz of menus, used by restaurants whose business model is to deep-fry everything and serve Long Islands in paint buckets. You’re not that place. You serve scallops. Scallops are refined, small-font food. Scallops are so refined that you shouldn’t even put them on the menu, just occasionally have a chef lean out of the kitchen door and whisper their presence. At least I think they’re scallops. Does this say scallops? Facebook’s privacy policy also had a small font. So did this Ponzi scheme I just signed up for. In retrospect, I probably should’ve read both of those. Does this say gluten or Putin? I don’t have cataracts. But somewhere around age 40, my eyes went from regular, good eyes to the kind of eyes that feel like they’re low on battery and need to be plugged in. So maybe this is me. But unless you can make my eyes better eyes, why don’t we just, for now, make a menu that’s easier to read? And maybe get a light. Not a big one. Perhaps one of those small reading lamps you clamp to books so you don’t wake up your spouse while reading in bed. Your spouse is already dealing with enough, on account of you not being Chris Hemsworth. Anyway. Thank you. I’ll take the peers and arubula fleshbread.


Food & Drink RANTS

Demi-Glace on My Sweatpants What happens when every restaurant in the US stops asking us to maybe dress up a little?



he man in the tuxedo is staring at me. He is polished, emotionless. I am a fraud, and both he and I know it. It won’t be long before he escorts me by my shirt collar to the parking lot, where I’ll be forced to hand-wash the quality autos of the true dignitaries in this dining room. My suit is a decade removed from current fashions, and one or two sizes too large. Diners speak in hushed, secretive tones, as if someone’s grandma has passed. My hands and arms—parts of me that I usually spend zero conscious thought on—seem conspicuous, out of place, awkward. I fold them in front of me on the table, but that makes me think of Jesus and the things I’ve done to disappoint him. So I put them in my lap and clear my throat. No good reason for the throat-clearing, really. I just wanted to make noise and be part of the conversation without actually talking. Because talking would reveal that I don’t have the conversational skills required in a well-carpeted place like this. All this before bread arrives. Tuxedo man approaches, pulls out what appears to be a barber’s shaving blade or high-quality prison shank, and removes the crumbs from my place at the table. Shame has entered the chat. I just really want a pizza. Or ramen. Or a ramen pizza. Something cheap and easy, eaten on soft furniture or in a park. That’s my first memory of dining at Mister A’s on my stepmom’s birthday in 1980. I was seven. Dad took us, and the whole thing felt like a kind of church service. Now, decades later, I still love using my jeans as napkins while scarfing tacos. But I learned to love Mister A’s. To respect it for holding me—wrinkled, uncombed, flip-floppish me—to a more ambitious standard for a night out. Today, Michelin-star chefs are used to serving schleps in flops. Dressing up for dinner has been

Fear the day when one looks around Mister A’s and sees not starched blazers but a sea of graphic tees.


JULY 2023

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Food & Drink RANTS

Doesn’t a view like this kinda make you want to put on cufflinks?

cast as somehow pretentious, flaunting, fripperous social peacockery. Grande cuisine is dead. Bring on the artisanal pizza and negronis, served in a former auto shop (authentic oil-change stains!) with underarm hair poking out from the tank tops of patrons everywhere. It’s partly due to the casualization of America, which has been happening for decades. It’s been quite a while since we twirled our parasols in the public park. Casual Fridays grew into Casual Decades. And San Diego is especially laidback. Never to be confused with Milan, our beach-vacation fashion sense is soft cotton–centric. We’re pretty proud to dress like dharma bums. The hyper-casualization of American restaurants really took off in 2008, when the economy took a nosedive from a tall, over-leveraged building. In the aftermath of any rough economic patch, it feels a little gauche to dress up just to dine in a public space. So formal, quiet restaurants were shuttered and informal, loud joints replaced them. People began eating duck confit in athleisure wear. Mister A’s, while still holding us to certain standards, has loosened the dress code. Addison is unstarching. At Callie (2023 pick for Best Restaurant from both me and SDM readers), chef Travis Swikard wears a baseball cap, and you can do the same. These restaurants are merely accommodating the way people want to eat. They’re listening to the times. And I’m part of the demand. Nine times out of 10, I’d rather eat somewhere with good music and communal tables, a place that gives zero damns about what I wear. Food tastes better in t-shirts. But I still want those restaurants

that ask me to be more. A few eateries that say, “Iron something, Troy. Google ‘windsor knot’ for the 30th time. Just maybe try .” The great thing about this extreme informalism is what it’s doing to San Diego’s casual dining scene. Since they’re not dropping wads of cabbage on designer furniture and light fixtures, great chefs are able to save money for what matters—namely, food. If we’re okay eating in a modern box whose interior decor approach is “Well, we painted,” that lowers the barrier of entry for young, cash-strapped, talented restaurateurs. You can do quality without spending a gazillion—and now customers realize that, too. But if all we end up with is super-casual eateries that look like minimalist cafeterias or mess halls at hunting lodges, we’re being centrifuged into the unremarkable middle. We’ll become a people who never try to dress outside of themselves. What seemed like a fresh movement in the dining scene—roasted bone marrow and canard in an abandoned parking lot!—starts to feel unspecial. Getting dressed up to go out to a formal dinner isn’t like the hand-cranked automobile. It’s not a dinosaur late for its date with extinction. It’s a model that asks for the diner to reach into their closet and be an active part of a remarkable night out, become a piece of the show themselves. I’d love to see tiny neighborhood bistros that strongly encourage me to iron a shirt. Don a mandatory wig. Something . Or we could all just eat elk medallions loudly in our sweatpants.


JULY 2023


SANTA BARBARA STUNNING That’s more than beautiful, it’s There are landmarks. Then there are architectural icons that offer panoramic views of a red-tiled town nestled between majestic mountains and the sparkling Pacific.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse - tiles for miles


All contents ©2023 Visit Santa Barbara. All rights reserved.

Arts & Culture ART

Modus Contemporáneous

One cross-border gallery captures the state of Tijuana’s art scene



t takes 18 minutes, a taxi ride, and ten bucks to find myself tucked away in a neighborhood off the bustling, pharmacy-laden corners of the city center of Tijuana. My destination: 206 Arte Contemporáneo, the unassuming hub of the city’s arts scene. I enter its disarming residential façade and traverse a humble stairway towards work that feels uniquely at home in a border town gallery. 206 is run by twin sisters Mónica and Melisa Arreola. This creative duo supports the greater Tijuana and Baja Norte art community through their mediums—architecture for both, as well as photography and music, respectively. Mónica showed her stoic and overcast photos of the buildings of Valle San Pedro, an abandoned town outside Tijuana, as part of the 2022 Whitney Biennial, while Melisa is the frontwoman for the band Cuarto Paisaje, a dreamy patchwork of indie rock and languid electronic effects. Their performances seem equal parts rock show and sonic installation. In 2012, the Arreolas nabbed a space on the main drag of Avenida de Revolucion, which was still rebuilding after the 2008 reign of terror from narcos left many buildings on the strip abandoned. Two years ago, as rents soared downtown, they moved the arts institution to this new, light-filled space with views of the city.

30 JULY 2023

“Today, there’s a unique opportunity to have an independent space that is not in downtown,” Mónica says. The move, perhaps inadvertently, brought a more plugged-in and intentional audience. There’s no stumbling onto this spot after a margarita at Caesar’s. The current exhibition, which runs through July, is BRAKE AND TAKE OFF, prototypes for failure . It features the work of Omar Khâlid, a former student at the Autonomous University of Baja California. Of the works that the Arreolas host in the gallery, about “90 percent come from university [alumni],” Mónica says. Khâlid is soft-spoken but assured as we chat through his interpreter, Guillermo Estrada. Estrada is a fellow artist in the Arreolas’ orbit who moonlights as Memo Navajas in his band, Rancho Shampoo & The Indian Dub Orchestra. “The idea of the work is the alien aesthetic,” Estrada explains, or “martiana” in Spanish. Looking around the gallery, you’re met with small, unframed vignettes of rust-hued extraterrestrial life forms and their broken- down airships. A prototype lies in the center of the space, untouched and unusable. Khâlid also created an alien script that adorns the walls, draped on canvas in a carven, stela-like style. The script translates to nothing, so the Martians keep their secrets, or viewers invent their own.

A selection of pieces from Omar Khâlid's BRAKE AND TAKE OFF, prototypes for failure at 206 Arte Contemporáneo in Tijuana.



Private School Guide SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE’S It’s only natural to want the very best for your children— the best health care, the best childcare, and the best education. Education is one of the most empowering gifts you can give a child, and where you send your child to school matters. A private school education can help you give your child the best start possible. Data shows that private school students perform better than their public-school counterparts on standardized tests and college-entry exams, plus smaller class sizes allow for extra attention from instructors. Perhaps even more important is safety. According to the online resource Private School Review, private schools’ rigid discipline codes are a major factor in discouraging violence, and a study published in the Journal of School Choice found that private schools are more likely than public schools to have safer learning environments. The right school can help prepare your child for a lifetime of success. With more than 300 private schools in San Diego County, there is an abundance of educational opportunities to explore. San Diego Magazine ’s Private School Guide will help you narrow down the options and find the best fit for your child.




Mater Dei Catholic We are Mater Dei Catholic, San Diego’s only multicultural TK through 12th grade Catholic school. Our 60+ year legacy of excellence in academics, extra-curricular activities, athletics, and Christian service, assures an unrivaled Catholic education at an incomparable value. We are home to the acclaimed Science Academy, thriving digital entrepreneurship courses, a comprehensive visual and performing arts department, and an unrivaled team of student-athletes that have garnered continuous state championships, including the only back-to-back football state championships in California high school history. San Diego’s best and brightest students choose Mater Dei Catholic for our record of consistently sending graduates to the country’s top 20 universities. Those alumni are now improving this world with the same level of dedication and care as they did when they were students at Mater Dei Catholic. Since our days as Marian High School, the first coed Catholic high school in San Diego, we’ve inspired students to love, know, and serve God both on and off campus. In 2007, we opened our state-of-the-art 50-acre facility as Mater Dei Catholic High School in Otay Ranch, Chula Vista. We further expanded and opened Mater Dei Catholic Elementary, the first and only Catholic dual-language immersion program in San Diego, to create a complete academic pathway for families.

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beginning July 3rd GENDER Coed DETAILS Catholic

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La Jolla Country Day School LJCDS is an independent school serving age 3 through Grade 12 on a single campus. Consistently ranked among the best private schools in San Diego and California, LJCDS is committed to inspiring greatness for a better world. Our extraordinary educators foster four critical attributes—a work ethic, strong moral character, a commitment to challenge the status quo, and an appreciation that we belong to something greater than ourselves. With access to resources and mentors in a student-centered learning community, our students become the best version of themselves—intellectually, socially and emotionally.

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St. Paul’s Lutheran School St. Paul’s Lutheran School has provided families with exceptional Christian education for more than 75 years. Our school (K-8) is fully accredited by the Western Association of School and Colleges and blessed with highly successful alumni at schools and colleges throughout the country. Your child’s experience will include small class sizes, accomplished teachers, and challenging curriculum, along with music, art, outdoor education, extracurricular activities, and community service projects. St. Paul’s Preschool serves children ages 2-5 with both a faith-based and play- based curriculum. Also accredited by the National Lutheran Schools Association, representing the largest Protestant school system in the nation, our early childhood education features wonderfully relational teachers, spacious classrooms, and a new playground space. There are a variety of scheduling options, as well as military and multi-child discounts. Contact us to schedule a tour or enroll your child today at stpaulspb.com. More Honorable, More Prepared, More Loved #WorthMore

ENROLLMENT 200+ GRADES Preschool and K-8 TUITION $500- $8,650 DEADLINE None GENDER Coed DETAILS Lutheran

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