December 2022

The Enviroment Issue









While We Were Focusing on Taking the Fear Out of Healthcare...

People Noticed.

Be sure to ask your HR specialist for an insurance plan that covers Palomar Health Medical Group. Most major HMO and PPO insurance plans accepted. It’s Open Enrollment Season

HAPPY HOUR Running a business means loving what you do. Love it even more with a bank that gets it. Let’s connect. Member FDIC

Holiday LET’S


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.









Plays, ballets, holiday fairs and more. There is a lot to do in San Diego to celebrate the holiday season. KPBS has a calendar of events to help you make this time of year memorable. Visit the KPBS winter holidays event calendar. Toast. Taste. Sing. Skate. KPBS has THE LIST of events to celebrate the holidays

KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University.

Holidays at The Del. Celebrate a holiday season that’s “Frosted by the Sea” as The Del transforms into a magical winter wonderland along with the return of beachfront ice skating. Make it a staycation with the Seaside Holiday Package that includes a $150 daily activity credit.


Chances are, you know your blood type, but do you know your money type? We all have one. And understanding your relationship with money is one of the key components to building the retirement you’re dreaming of. Unlike a blood type, you’re not born with a money type, but it probably did develop in childhood. Ask yourself these questions: • Do you avoid conversations about money even with your spouse or partner? • Do you promise yourself that you will spend less and save more but never follow through? • Do you know where your money is going? Even if you check your monthly bank and credit card statements, it is easy to miss fees and subscriptions that you may have on auto-pay. Do you really want or need them? If not, why are you still paying for them? WHAT IS YOUR MONEY TYPE?

Our team is ready to help you discover your money type and guide you toward a healthy and growing relationship with your money. We understand that talking about money can be difficult, but the sooner you have that conversation the sooner you can focus on building for the retirement you’ve always wanted. Let us help. Call 619-640-2622 for a complimentary consultation. Even if retirement is still years away, the decisions you make today can greatly impact your retirement reality. For a copy of our ultimate retirement playbook, visit .

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STUDIO OF THE STREETS 63-year-old Phyllis became unhoused as a result of gambling problems she and her ex-husband shared. He eventually moved to Tucson, and her housing left with him, so she found shelter at Rachel’s, the women’s facility downtown. She started singing at Voices of Our City Choir, thanks to one of her housemates. About singing, she says, “It’s my joy. I’m having a ball.” Learn more about the lifeblood of San Diego's unhoused artists and musicians, photographed by photojournalist Peggy Peattie (p. 54). 54

44 OLD DROUGHT, NEW WINES San Diego’s area wineries, both in the county and in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe, are suffering from the same drought everyone else is. What will it take for the region’s wine industries to adapt and survive? Wine journalist Jason Wilson investigates. Features


50 CONSIDER THE WHALE A meditation on whales: our

This year, we stayed local and put together a mix of items that feel very San Diego, whether due to their backstories, their nod to our SoCal lifestyles, or just because they’re cool sh*t that we want ourselves.

collective fascination with them, the perils they face, their place in our ecosystem, and what they can teach us about ourselves.

10 DECEMBER 2022


“When I started doing chemistry, I did it the way I fished—for the excitement, the discovery, the adventure, for going after the most elusive catch imaginable in uncharted seas.” — K. BARRY SHARPLESS, PhD Winner, 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry A scientist goes fishing

From fundamental science to drug discovery and development, we apply our talents and passion toward advancing human health around the globe. Learn more about Professor Sharpless and our other life-changing researchers at

What if scientists could initiate chemical reactions with the ease and reliability of buckling a seat belt? How far and fast could scientific discovery advance if these reactions were 99.9% perfect: dependable, quick and irreversible? With the invention of click chemistry, K. Barry Sharpless and his laboratory team at Scripps Research moved science into the fast lane.

And earned him a second Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Today, click chemistry’s simplicity and dependability under virtually

any condition helps scientists generate an endless variety of potential medicines and create new materials with useful properties.

That’s a nice catch!


In Every Issue 16 CONTENT CHIEF’S NOTE Chief Content Officer Troy Johnson grapples with the term "sustainability" and the myriad of questions it brings up, the issues of our changing environment due to climate change, and what role magazines play in figuring it all out. 118 CALENDAR ‘Tis the season for light shows! Holiday festivities abound, including a light walk at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, Balboa Park’s December Nights, the San Diego Parade of Lights, and more. 120 SACRED SPACES PhD student Dani Mchaskell, who studies algae, shows us around her office, the E.B. Scripps Memorial Pier. Food & Drink 21 MAIN DISH El Cajon is home to a flourishing scene of Middle Eastern restaurants and take-out joints; there’s also excellent new Vietnamese and garden-fresh California-style options, too.

22 BEER The San Diego Brewcycling Collaborative aims to redirect craft beer’s trash into recycled treasure. 24 REVIEW The Plot in Oceanside is a working model for what plant-based restaurants can be: delicious and dedicated to reducing food waste. Troy Johnson reviews. Arts & Culture 31 ARTS ICA San Diego’s “Limitless Growth, Limitless World” examines the true economic, social, political, and environmental costs of growth and consumption through art. 32 MUSIC With the opening of Longplay HiFi in Sherman Heights, which follows other notable openings earlier this year, we take the temperature of the city’s fast-evolving HiFi listening club scene.

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DECEMBER 2022 12


Alexander McQueen · Audemars Piguet · Balenciaga · Bottega Veneta · Breitling · Brunello Cucinelli · Buccellati Cartier · Celine · Chanel · Chloé · Christian Louboutin · Dior · Dolce&Gabbana · Fendi · Givenchy · Gucci · Harry Winston Hermès · Isabel Marant · Lanvin · Loewe · Louis Vuitton · Marni · Max Mara · Moncler · Moynat · Oscar de la Renta Prada · Roger Dubuis · Roger Vivier · Saint Laurent · Salvatore Ferragamo · Stella McCartney · Thom Browne Tiffany & Co. · Tod’s · Tudor · Vacheron Constantin · Valentino · Van Cleef & Arpels · Versace · Zegna · Zimmermann Saks Fifth Avenue · Bloomingdale’s · Nordstrom · Macy’s

partial listing

Valet Parking · Personal Shopper Program · Gift Cards · Concierge Services

San Diego FWY (405) at Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA SOUTHCOASTPLAZA.COM 800.782.8888 @SouthCoastPlaza #SCPx55


Living & Style 37 TRENDING This month’s list is all about green picks: deadstock yoga clothes, antimicrobial pencils, rain barrels, and modular furniture. 38 DESIGN Container homes have been touted in design circles as a possible solution for the environmental and cost-related challenges of building quick housing and infrastructure. Is it true, or is it really just an aesthetic preference? Escapes 108 WEEKENDER An itinerant travel writer sets out on a train journey throughout California hoping to answer some big life questions, as well as get around without the use of planes or cars. 113 PIT STOP Take a peek into one of California’s most exclusive—and environmentally sustainable—resorts, Big Sur’s Post Ranch Inn. Special Sections 61 CHARITABLE SD Our yearly guide detailing San Diego’s nonprofit landscape.

38 44


ON THE COVER A humpback whale spyhops off the coast of San Diego. Photo by Domenic Biagini, owner of Gone Whale Watching SD. See more on Instagram @dolphindronedom. Story on p.50.


DECEMBER 2022 14



The Warm, Dry Elephant in the Room Content Chief’s Note


’m old enough to remember people throwing trash out car windows on the 163. My young imagination was pretty wild, but I recall fast food wrappers flying from Datsuns and Camaros in the 1980s,

takeout on behalf of the world, we’re gonna need you to forego that phase,” doesn’t land particularly well. And the inequality lands closer to home in our own neighborhoods. Our lower income communities often bear the brunt of environmental degradation, as do people of color. Much as we try to reduce sustainability to a few tangible markers (plastic straws, composting, regenerative agriculture), it’s a far more complex topic that goes beyond the environment and includes racial bias and socioeconomic inequality. And any real solutions will require coordinated efforts by all segments of society, including government, industry, and individual people, too. Our goal of this issue of SDM isn’t to solve it. It’s also not our goal to feign piety or greenwash ourselves or anyone else. Zero people or entities featured in this magazine are perfect, far from it. The only way to be perfectly sustainable is to be gone. Our goal is simply to be part of the discussion about environmental impacts and document some of the creative ways San Diegans are reducing, off-setting, and innovating ways to address the increasingly warm, dry elephant in the room. All of this, of course, brings us to this rich irony: we’re bringing you an entire issue dedicated to sustainability— and we’re bringing it to you printed on dead trees, delivered by trucks. We stood on this pile of contradictions and imperfections and asked what we could do about it. We’ve started in two ways: We joined a program called PrintReleaf that measures all the paper we use and then works with global certified reforestation projects to replace every page by planting new trees. We also joined, donating one percent of our company’s time to volunteering. It’s not a silver bullet. We gave up on those, just like we gave up on throwing smokes out of our Camaros.

like trans fat-laden cherry blossoms fluttering in the interstate trade winds. It was a tiny fireworks show every time a live cigarette butt was flung into the wild at 55mph, clementine embers bouncing down the highway as if the driver thought wildfires only happened elsewhere and Pall Malls were seeds. We’ve come a long way, and not nearly far enough. It’s a race we’ll never stop running. Just the speed requirements will vary. When Claire and I took on San Diego Magazine , we identified our core beliefs. Sustainability is a big one. Growing up in this city, my basal memories are stitched into the beaches and rocks and chaparral. I remember loping days at Mission Beach—a cost-free activity for all, save for the gas and snacks. I also remember the beach closures—a very personal attack as an 8-year-old, and an early introduction to environmental impact. As SoCal kids, we seem to know from birth that water is our precious and dwindling lifeblood. I remember playing in the feral, undeveloped bush and desert of northeast San Diego County. And I remember my parents later cramming into my tiny Golden Hill apartment, fleeing yet another raging fire in that same dusty bush. Claire and I had to ask: How do we carry on the cultural legacy of a magazine and media company while also contributing meaningfully to a more sustainable future? The first obligation as media is to join the conversation. Of course, the word “sustainability” is the polite part of the iceberg, hiding a submerged polarizing mass of creative data interpretations and raging disagreements. We’re not here to start an ideological cage match over the net-positive effect of tote bags. We’re merely entering this discussion from the basic belief that most of us would agree it’s better to have less of a negative impact on the environment. As urgently necessary as sustainability work feels in our science bones, it’s also an entitled pursuit. It’s easy to sit in one of the most developed countries in the world, enjoying an embarrassment of creature comforts and a lion’s share of global wealth, and suggest “all of us” should reduce our impact. Telling countries that are just emerging, “look, we already did single-use plastic sushi


TROY JOHNSON Chief Content Officer

16 DECEMBER 2022



Remember when most of us were vaguely left-leaning or sorta right-leaning but met in the middle in pursuit of a reasonably respectful and navigable society? Glory days. It’s like someone put America in a centrifuge - the great polarization. Why and how and when? And what do our prehistoric lizard genes have to do with it? Ezra Klein is one of the country’s most accomplished explainers. He takes brain-hurting topics and breaks them down into chewable thought gummies.

“Why We’re Polarized” is his new gummy.



Chief Content Officer

Chief Executive Officer



Chief Operations Officer / Director of Sales and Marketing Operations Coordinator


Executive Editor


Managing Editor



Digital Editor


Marketing Project Manager Events and Sponsorships Manager


Custom Content Editor


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Social Media Manager


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Art Director




Production Manager Senior National Advertising Executive Integrated Account Directors Senior Partnership Manager Sales and Marketing Coodinator Accounting Manager


Junior Designer Contributing Editor, CharitableSD


Contributing Designer, CharitableSD






HR Consultant


Contributing Writers

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POSTMASTER Please send address changes to: San Diego Magazine, PO Box 460266 Escondido, CA 92046-9800 SUBSCRIPTIONS 888-350-0963 This magazine is printed on paper from sustainable source mills that support all credible forest-certification programs. Please recycle this magazine. SDMAG.COM OWNERS Claire and Troy Johnson FOUNDERS AND PUBLISHERS Gloria and Ed Self SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE LLC PARTNER Jim Fitzpatrick


SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE (ISSN 0734-6727), December 2022, Vol. 74, No. 12. 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 U.S., $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 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

DECEMBER 2022 18


Join us for both time-honored and new holiday-themed traditions this winter season. Rediscover the magic with several opportunities for kids and kids-at-heart to interact with Santa as he drops by to spread holiday cheer. Roast marshmallows over the fire with seasonally inspired s’mores boards. However you celebrate, La Costa has plenty of merry moments in store.

2100 COSTA DEL MAR ROAD, CARLSBAD, CA 92009 • (760) 438-9111 • OMNILACOSTA.COM

Food & Drink MAIN DISH

The days are sweeter with baklava tacos from Al Sultan Baklava.

Feast County

Middle Eastern cuisines are flourishing in El Cajon



ften the first city that comes to mind when we think East County, El Cajon has developed into one of our region’s more complex communities. On the one

hand, “The Big Box” is characterized by classic cars cruising its Main Street every Wednesday night, and by its pride in hometown sports heroes, including auto racing icon Jimmie Johnson, and Padres ace Joe Musgrove. On the other, thanks to a three-decade influx of Middle Eastern immigration, its box-shaped valley has earned a newer nickname: “Little Baghdad.” An estimated 30 percent of its 105,000 residents hail from abroad, led by Chaldean and Arab Iraqis, followed by more recent thousands fleeing wars in Syria and Afghanistan. Their contributions have transformed the suburban valley into San Diego’s epicenter for Middle Eastern cuisine. Not every El Cajon restaurant hails from this tradition, but thanks in large part to those that do, there’s never been a better time to eat here. 1 TEKKA @ ALI BABA —For going on 20 years, this Arabian Nights-inspired family restaurant has introduced Iraqi fare ranging from lamb shank quzi to lamb offal pacha. But Ali Baba’s standouts are also its most accessible dishes: beef, chicken, and sumptuous lamb kababs, which are long strips of seasoned ground meat. The charcoal-grilled skewers featuring hunks of meat go by the name tekka. 2 MASGOOF @ NAHRAIN FISH & CHICKEN GRILL —Despite the name, this modest eatery wins its fans by roasting fish and fowl in a clay tandoor oven, in particular the Iraqi whole fish preparation, masgoof. In the style of San Diego’s beloved fish markets, customers may peruse a glass counter filled with fish and decide which will wind up on their plates. Popular choices include red snapper and striped bass, but it’s worth remembering the word Nahrain translates to “two rivers.”

El Cajon’s stylish baklava bakery Sultan Baklava, Al Sultan sits farther east, just off Jamacha Road. This Turkish dessert specialist offers little to look at beyond bare walls, meaning all eyes are on its rich phyllo-dough pastries, decadently soaked in honey and simple syrup, stuffed with ground nuts, and perhaps drizzled with chocolate. 6 PHỞ @ GRANDPA TÁO KITCHEN —Another of El Cajon’s refugee populations recently scored a win with this new restaurant devoted to Vietnamese fare, alongside a limited assortment of sushi. But reason number one to pay attention is the shop’s phở menu. Whether based in chicken or beef stock, they’re made fragrant thanks to long hours steeped with clove, onions, and star anise—and the best noodles east of the 15.

For freshwater fish traditionally associated with the Tigris and Euphrates, choose carp. 3 MAKKLIYAH @ MAL AL SHAM: THE TASTE OF DAMASCUS — This Syrian kitchen is dominated by a pair of shawerma rotisseries, and skewered meats on the menu likewise reinforce the link between Arab and Mediterranean cuisines. For something more distinctly Syrian, look to the kibbeh makkliyah: fried dumplings stuffed with seasoned ground beef and crushed walnuts. Better yet, if you have 30 minutes to spare, wait on the grilled version: kibbeh mashweeyeh. 4 SALAD @ CRAFTED GREENS — It’s not al halal in El Cajon. This scratch kitchen on Jamacha Road embraces modern terms such as grass-fed, organic, free- range, and sustainable. That said, the keys to Crafted Greens’ success are its myriad salads, flatbreads and hot sandwiches loaded with house-made dressings and vibrant produce sourced from California farms. 5 BAKLAVA TACO @ AL SULTAN BAKLAVA —Not to be confused with downtown

Listen Up! For more Main Dish, tune in to Happy Half Hour, our food and drink podcast, every week: .


Food & Drink DRINK

The San Diego Brewcycling Collaborative aims to redirect craft beer’s trash into recycled treasure Waste Not, Drink Up



Not only are thousands of pounds of recyclable materials not getting recycled, but most breweries don’t realize they could save money and save the Earth. When breweries collect large quantities of PakTechs and used grain bags for Brewcycling pickup, they can reduce their trash output while gaining sustainability credibility. Fio Rossel Borkert, another Brewcycler, estimates Thorn Brewing Company’s initial savings at $200-$300 per month on trash collection simply by combining recyclable waste for Brewcycling to properly dispose of. It all goes towards the “Triple Bottom Line,” as explained by Quick. “If there’s a bottom line of profit, then there’s a triple bottom line of Planet, Profit, and People,” she says. “You have to have that balance.” In a little over a year, the Brewcycling Collaborative diverted over 100,000 pounds of material from landfills via 40 drop-off points all over the county (check with your fav local brewery or bar to see if they have one). Additional initiatives like PakTechs to Pavement grind collected PakTechs into asphalt, reducing the need for fossil fuels. Borkert says with additional funding, they hope to establish permanent collection sites in north, central, and south San Diego county to expand the program and streamline collection efforts. Plus, she points out, prioritizing sustainability won’t always be optional for businesses. “In the next one or two years, legislation for recycling for businesses, producers, and manufacturers are going to change,” she warns. Consumers can help accelerate Brewcycling’s goals by asking their favorite breweries what sustainability and recycling measures they currently implement, as well as bringing their used PakTechs from home to local drop-off points. Finally, Borkert asks everyone to simply shift their own mentality to be aware of this issue. “[People say] ‘I’m gonna throw this away,’ But there is no ‘away.’ There’s a landfill or a dump,” she warns.

he craft beer industry is full of trash. We’re talking literal trash—hundreds of thousands of pounds of garbage head to landfills each year, and a big chunk of that are things like plastic, cardboard, and aluminum. In short, stuff that can be recycled. So why isn’t it? Romi Rossel, founding member of the San Diego Brewcycling Collaborative, says that not every recycler has the infrastructure or machinery to accept certain materials. She points to reasons like the cost of purchasing specific processing machines compared to the value of the recycled materials. “Bigger systems, they don’t want to recycle because they don’t generate profit,” she says, naming common brewery items like used grain bags and PakTech holders that tend to jam up standard recycling machines. “So they end up at landfills.” PakTechs are the sturdy snap-on tops for four- and six-packs of beer. They’re marketed as 100 percent recycled plastic rHDPE, or recycled High-Density Polythene, which is a commonly used plastic material whose chemical- and impact- resistance makes it ideal for carrying cans of beer. In theory, they can be recycled and reused. In reality, Rossel points out, that’s not the case. Steve Weihe is a Recycling Specialist II for the County of San Diego’s Department of Public Works, as well as a member of the Brewcycling Collaborative. In 2021, Tom Kiely, general manager at Thorn Brewing Company, accompanied Weihe to waste management company’s EDCO’s processing plant in Escondido to conduct a real-world test of how often PakTechs were properly sorted. “About 50 percent of them were captured correctly,” says Weihe, calling that a “best case scenario” depending on their color. Natalia King Quick, another Recycling Specialist II and Brewcycler, says that while white and lighter-colored PakTechs were occasionally sorted into recycling, black and dark green ones were correctly identified around zero percent of the time. “And the black ones are the cheapest,” she points out, making them the most common.

To find your local Brewcycling drop-off, visit

DECEMBER 2022 22

Food & Drink RESTAURANT REVIEW Plotting the Future The Plot in Oceanside is a working model for what restaurants can be, memorable food and all



he Plot is a restaurant, sure. But sitting here staring at the on-site garden, reading menu items like “lentil caviar” and “kale stem marrow,” and listening to servers describe dishes with the words “pulp” and “spent” and “regenerative”—it feels more like a working model for the future of food. Chef Davin Waite and his wife/partner Jessica Waite launched The Plot in January 2020 (yikes, T

timing). Their goal: to go beyond sustainability and become a regenerative business, not just minimizing impact, but actively rebuilding the loam and air and sky and environment. There’s still much work to do (convincing vendors to reduce packaging, a more robust municipal composting system, etc.). So for now, they and chef de cuisine Ryan Orlando (who trained at Charlie Palmer, Pamplemousse Grille) are sourcing ingredients from mostly regenerative local farms

24 DECEMBER 2022

LEFT Most dishes at The Plot have some element (kimchi, sauce) made of perfectly good food (rinds, stems) that most restaurants discard. ABOVE Jessica and Davin Waite at their small vegetable garden behind the restaurant. RIGHT The Plot is part of the scene in South Oceanside, a thriving, largely local part of town.

(regenerative farms forego fertilizers and pesticides in lieu of tactics like biodiversity and compositing, doing everything they can to build super-soil through natural processes, and sequestering carbon into the soil rather than in our atmosphere), and subsidizing with plants from their on-site garden. The list of The Plot’s Earth-first practices is astounding and requires a biblical scroll, but Jessica Waite says they divert 100 percent of waste from landfills. Nothing ends up in the trash, and much less than 1 percent of food product they bring in-house is discarded (industry standard is 4 to 10 percent). Other measures include: making all meat substitutes in house (avoiding monocrops); leftover rice is sent to local refinery, Kismet, which turns it into rice syrup for salad dressings; tofu whey becomes caramel; pulp from stock is dried into powder for their mac & chorizö; mushroom scraps are dried and smoked to create the desirable “funk” of their house-made cheese; beet scraps become ketchup; to-go boxes are compostable. Plant-based food is gaining steam for a few pretty simple reasons, including: health (overeating steak is more harmful than overeating squash), because Billie



Eilish did it, and because the ecological future of our planet has never been so dicey and eating plants is the most sustainable way to eat (plants require less resources than animals). Plant-based eating has always been a noble idea. Its problem was that it was largely a flavorless jumble of almost-food that treated your mouth the same way 1980s college freshman treated a can of Coors Light, shotgunning the joy out of your pleasure center. Those days are over. Now plant-based food is good to excellent. And there is some excellence at The Plot. Their ceviche replaces raw fish with chayote squash that has been pickled in citrus, with a touch of seaweed added for the sushi mimicking. It’s tart, crunchy, almost an aguachile. A very simple kale salad is excellent due to the dressing, an almost effervescently delicious mix of the rice syrup and orange peels. Cäviar and potato cake is beluga lentil caviar flavored with konbu, but the star is that cashew creme fraiche with pickled onions and preserved lemon. They do sushi rolls, and the one to order is the Chronic—spicy tüna made of chickpeas, cräb of lion’s mane, avocado, and a tofu-based aioli affectionately called “yum yum sauce.” It’s saucy, like starter sushi, but good.

BELOW Cäviar and potato cakes with beluga lentils and cashew creme fraiche. ABOVE The “Garden Party” brunch bloody with chickën nugget garnish.

DECEMBER 2022 26



In the running for the best thing I eat is the cräb cake, made with lion’s mane mushrooms from local company, Mindful Mushrooms—the stringy texture mimicking crabmeat, seasoned with Old Bay, kumbu, and seawater with a Catalina dressing made from brine left over from their beet pastrami. But tops is the roasted cauliflower, made with a faux fish sauce (konbu, mushroom powder, salt, chiles, garlic, ginger, lime, and sweetness). Phenomenal. The Plot goes awry in some dishes that lather the sauce (plant-based cooking often does, to make up for the lack of fat in plants as compared to, say, a ribeye), lean too sweet, or haven’t counter-balanced the mushy texture that is a challenge in plant-based cooking (anyone who ate early veggie burgers know the anti-texture I speak of). A shepherd’s pie filling is made with lentils and wild rice, but the “stew” portion is too deep, too rich, and the demi- glace just adds to it, bullying any flavor nuance from the individual ingredients. The interior of the takoyaki hush puppies are a bit too creamy, almost the same texture as the accompanying yum yum sauce. And the Okinawan sweet potato gnocchi with the sweetness of a carrot puree is too sweet. Chefs and restaurants used to be stewards of local environments, so close to the food they serve (oftentimes grown out back) that they were ambassadors for ecology. Through technology and science and freezer advancements, we got away from that. The Plot is one of many restaurants bringing us back. And there are enough hits here that, even if you ignore the halo they’ve earned, you can just have a very good meal.

TOP Staff enjoys a brief moment of solace before opening for dinner rush. BOTTOM A cräb cake made with lion’s mane mushrooms in a Catalina dressing made of leftover brine from their beet pastrami.

DECEMBER 2022 28

HAVING A PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN SHOULD ALWAYS BE IN ‘ season ’ ‘T is the season where families and friends come together to celebrate the holidays and prepare for the significantly better healthcare compared to others without a primary care physician. The survey also mentioned that patients have better access to resources and a better patient experience.

“They are there to listen to you and help you achieve your goals. Some goals are achieved quickly, and some take time. I recommend building a good relationship with your primary care physician, built on trust, kindness and respect,” she says.

new year. As we all look toward the new year, it is important to keep loved ones safe and healthy, by choosing a primary care physician that will be a part of your medical journey every step of the way. As one of the largest healthcare systems in Southern California, Palomar Health Medical Group has 300 primary care physicians offering world-class care. Whether patients need a yearly checkup, a health screening, or extensive care, Palomar Health Medical Group’s physicians strive to fulfill their mission of providing every patient with extraordinary care and an unparalleled patient experience. According to Dr. Camille Santos, a primary care physician with Palomar Health Medical Group, visiting your primary care physician at least once a year significantly improves one’s health and well-being. She shares a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine (2019), which shows adult patients with a primary care physician received

Dr. Santos shares that understanding symptoms can be quite complex and sometimes scary. Too often, when patients don’t have a primary care physician, they go to the E.R. or Urgent Care multiple times to receive care that can be treated by the primary care doctor. Having a primary care physician can help navigate additional testing and referrals to appropriate specialists when needed and prevent potential delays in diagnosis. “Your primary care physician is your advocate and your ally when it comes to your health.” - Camille Santos, M.D., Primary Care

Choose extraordinary care when it comes to keeping loved ones safe not only during the holiday season, but throughout the entire year. For more information, please visit

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DECEMBER 2022 30

Arts & Culture ARTS

ICA San Diego’s “Limitless Growth, Limitless World” examines the true economic, social, political, and environmental costs of growth and consumption through art Finding the Upper Limits

TOP Carolina Caycedo’s “Aesthetics of Commodity” examines the language of bond and stock certificates, and how it perpetuates colonial legacies. BOTTOM Yaw Owusu’s “A Penny, For What it's Worth” features pennies oxidized using different techniques to draw out different colors. The coins are then arranged in different wall sculptures, like the United States flag. December’s exhibit takes the concepts of currency and capital a step further by examining spaces where commerce occurs. “Tianquiztli: Portraits of the Market,” by cross- border artists Cog•nate Collective, is an anthropological work featuring photos and sketches illuminating the world of street markets and swap meets, particularly those in Southern California and Baja, where they’re from. They view the markets as portals that link people materially even when the border separates them physically or socially. There’s even a little healing time travel involved. “I think the other dimension is how these spaces become spaces of nostalgia, how they become these portals to our past, to childhood, to home as an experience of home elsewhere,” says Misael Diaz, one half of the duo. Tianguis is a word for a street or community market, derived from tianquiztli, which is Nahuatl for “gathering place.” Tianquiztli is also the name of the Pleiades constellation. Diaz and her artistic partner, Amy Sanchez, were inspired by the links between modern Mexican-style markets, their roots in pre-Columbian commerce centers, and the clustered appearance of the constellation, which, “on its own could be considered a celestial marketplace,” Sanchez says. At the very least, its a meeting spot, which the artists argue is as much a central function to markets as buying and selling goods is. This exhibit is their effort to bring these three elements into conversation. For me, it brings up lots of questions, especially around the increasingly sanitized, automated shopping experiences that are becoming devoid of human interaction, reducing such outings to mere commerce. Rarely do we stop to think of what we lose when we focus on just the exchange of goods and services, and that’s just one part of the overall human consumption quandary. Future exhibits in the ICA San Diego series examine environmental degradation and its links to political upheaval, the neo-colonial effects of mass tourism, how corporate marketing has affected our abilities to place accurate values on goods, the oft-ignored labor issues behind agricultural production, and much more.



n September, the Institute of Contemporary Art San Diego (ICA San Diego) launched its 2022-23 exhibition season, titled “Limitless Growth, Limited World,” featuring 11 exhibitions by renowned artists

from around the world that explore human consumption and its impact on our environment and cultures. The works appear at ICA’s “North” location in Encinitas. For me, it scratches an itch: Lately, I’m obsessed with interrogating the concept of growth at all costs in a world with finite resources. Thankfully, I’m not alone in wondering what the hell comes next for humanity. The first two exhibits, which ran in September and October, directly examined money. Los Angeles-based artist Carolina Caycedo examined equity stock and municipal bond certificates from Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, showing how their visuals and language perpetuate colonial legacies. Puerto Rico’s bond crisis has held the island in an economic chokehold for decades. October’s exhibit featured Ghanian artist Yaw Owusu, whose “A Penny, for What it’s Worth” employed various techniques for oxidizing pennies. The different hues of bronze, blue, gold, green, pink, black, and white were arranged into a variety of striking sculptural wall pieces, including the image of the United States flag and the border fence.


Arts & Culture MUSIC


he wooden counter sits low and runs across the middle of the venue, almost like a sushi bar. Under the natural light pouring in from the ceiling window stands the day’s selector,

A look into the city’s fast-evolving hifi listening club scene Listen Closely

working the turntables where records spin and get flipped. Sounds radiate through vintage 1980 Klipsch Heresy speakers seconds later at a level perfect for quiet conversations about the music that fills the air. Owned by Gibrán Huerta, Longplay HiFi is spinning more than vinyl records: It's composing the lyrics to a new song—one that tells the story of a niche music community growing in San Diego. To be clear, this isn’t the first high-fidelity listening club to make noise in town. While it’s hard to pinpoint which establishment started the trend here, we do know Huerta was the first to play with the concept of spinning records and gathering people for it. It started as a traveling, pop-up vinyl event led by Huerta in Tijuana and San Diego under his creative agency Longplay Studio in 2016. While streaming live DJ sets on Twitch and traveling to Japan yearly, Huerta officially named the project “Longplay HiFi” in 2020 and gave it a physical home in Sherman Heights that August.


ABOVE Longplay HiFi founder Gibrán Huerta started with a love of vinyl and plastic crates at his pop-ups. TOP RIGHT Cushy comfort and crystal clear sounds at Convoy Music Bar. BOTTOM RIGHT Coffee and cocktails go with Huerta’s 1000- plus records at Longplay HiFi.

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There, he’d take the few resources he had (plastic crates and IKEA table tops) to play records, pour coffee and sell Tijuana-style burritos during ticketed events after his agency had “lost everything” during the pandemic. “It was like that big switch…where it stopped being this pop-up…to a more serious thing that was actually going to be feeding me now because I didn’t have anything,” Huerta shared. What started as a humble space playing music out of necessity has earned its title as one of the city’s founding hi-fi clubs without realizing it. The newly revamped space features a minimalistic design. Welcoming guests on a first-come, first-served basis, everyone is invited to revel in Huerta’s library of over 1,000 modern and vintage records. Mexican coffee from Flor and Seed is brewed, and those who pay for the club’s yearly membership get access to perks like reservations and private listening events. Since Longplay HiFi’s pop-ups, we’ve seen large hospitality groups also join the scene. Consortium Holdings Projects (Born & Raised) took over Bar Pink in North Park for Part Time Lover in June, serving Japanese high balls with a side of music selected from locals and the 1967 San Diego-based Folk Arts Rare Records retail nook housed inside. In May, Convoy Music Bar also joined the club under Shōwa Hospitality (Himitsu, the Taco Stand chain) by Julian Hakim and Aram Baloyan. With a hidden entrance on Convoy Street, CMB exudes a mysterious and moody aura, whose tunes — which range from jazz to disco — are curated by selectors like Yuichiro Edamatsu and transmitted by custom Kenrick speakers from Japan. “It's a listening and drinking experience,” Hakim describes CMB, “It's a bar that mimics the hi-fi listening bars of Tokyo…where people go relax [and] the sound is something special.” An intimate setting, CMB brings its records and glassware directly from Japan. The bar’s elegance and privacy are a product of its rules (a dress code is enforced, and video recordings are not allowed), as Hakim wants “people to have a good time and give it the respect that it deserves.” Running similar but different spaces, Hakim and Huerta visited listening bars in Tokyo together in 2016, when Shōwa was a client of Longplay Studio, formerly known as Bien Media. After being asked what it’s like to see other listening bars follow after Longplay HiFi, Huerta said he has nothing but respect for them and that it’s good for the city. “I love it…It’s a lot of pressure to be the only one,” Huerta shared, “ We are one of the hifi capitals in the world and…I’m really stoked to see more of them come along.”


THE PERFECT STOCKING STUFFER A Grand Weekend at the 2023 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival








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While it’s true that, environmentally speaking, times are tough for us Earthlings (even here in near-perfect San Diego), every day, there are small ways in which we can vote with our dollars to help ease the burden on our planet. Here are four locally-made products to help get you started. Consciously Curated Living & Style TRENDING

Back from the Dead Upcycling athleisure brand IMBŌDHI is celebrating its fifth year in business by releasing its 10th deadstock fabric collection. The brand, known particularly for its activity-friendly jumpsuits made from ethically- harvested beechwood and eucalyptus-made fabrics, was founded in San Diego and is still partially based here. The sourcing, cutting, sewing, and distribution are all in California, too.

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Super Mod Eco-friendly Unicube bills itself as a tech-forward, “truly sustainable” modular furniture company for both home and commercial use. Using just a few parts and upcycled materials, various types of furniture with a mid-century aesthetic — chairs, tables, sofas, benches, et cetera – can be configured in a myriad of ways while remaining effortlessly stylish.

One Pencil to School Them All

Who’ll Stop The Rain?

Dreamed up and brought to life by a special education teacher at La Costa Canyon High and her former Hasbro executive husband, Essential Pencils were born out of the Covid era. The couple wanted to provide aromatherapy benefits

Rain barrels look exactly as the name implies: big catch- alls designed for capturing, housing, and re-using those increasingly rare water droplets that sometimes fall from the sky. The Solana Center for Environmental Education has a program to get the vessels into San Diegans’ hands and there are a variety of rebates offered through both the city and county for up to two barrels. s



of natural oils in a portable way while allowing children to safely share art supplies. These naturally-scented writing tools are recycled, antimicrobial, and come in graphite and color.


Living & Style DESIGN

Reclaimed metal boxes look cool, maybe that’s all they have to do Contain This



few years ago, in the Before Times, I stayed at a boutique hotel with guest rooms made from shipping containers. The photos online looked cool: Rustic, minimalist, industrial chic. A kind of Restoration

on city-owned land in East Village. Originally conceived by NewSchool architecture students for a master’s thesis, the project revitalized a blighted vacant lot. The open-air space feels like an extension of the streetscape, with strings of lights illuminating an arty gathering area. Painted containers ring the perimeter, housing food, coffee, and beer vendors, with two-high stacks of containers backing a stage in one corner. Local architecture firm RAD LAB, whose founders designed and created Quartyard, has continued using freight containers in its projects. I asked the firm’s co-founder and CEO Philip Auchettl about the appeal of shipping containers from a design perspective. “I think people enjoy them on multiple levels,” the Australian-born Auchettl says. “The basic level is that it is a reclaimed material. There is an abundant amount of these containers in the United States. Secondly there’s the cool factor, and people just like shipping containers from an aesthetic standpoint. We do a number of different commercial projects, but also single-family homes, hotels, or an Airbnb, where people want to take Instagram photos. It's the novelty of staying in a shipping container versus a stucco box. It’s not boring.” RAD LAB also designed a shipping-container accessory dwelling unit (ADU) for Angela and Cris Noble, who operate the unit as a home office and short-term rental in the backyard of their Talmadge home.

Hardware meets The Boxcar Children vibe. They looked cool up close, too, though the weekend I spent in the oblong metal box was a mixed result. The free-standing casitas were hip and unique but clumsy and permeable to outside noise. The housing shortage and affordability crisis have increased pressure on state and local governments to embrace alternative approaches to getting people into homes. Shipping containers as a building material have been having a moment for some time, as a trendy innovation if not necessarily a broad movement. Reusing materials like excess cargo containers is an ecologically-conscious and economically viable strategy. There are millions of unused shipping containers around the world taking up space. One reason for this is that it’s expensive to ship empty containers back to their country of origin. In most cases, it’s cheaper for freight operators to buy new containers. The result is a massive surplus of rectangular metal boxes that could become a home, office, hotel, retail space, or almost anything else. The most prominent local example using freight containers as a construction medium is Quartyard, an event venue and urban park constructed from repurposed shipping containers

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