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Friday, June 12, 2015

I've Moved!


I started Local Wally back in 1996, a time when the internet was so new that building your own website and taking photos of your food was, well, weird!  I've just finished a major update to the site and put the blog right there so I will no longer be adding blog posts to this link.  In other words, go to the new site and bookmark it!

Thank you to my loyal readers!

Local Wally



I started Local Wally back in 1996 at a time when the internet was so new that building your own website and taking photos of your food was quite frankly a bit weird.  I just finished a major update to the site and I hope you like it!  The blog is hosted right on the site so I will no longer be posting on this blog site but I promise good stuff!!

Thanks to my fans,

Local Wally

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's Coming - The 2014 San Diego Bay Wine and Food Fest

You want one of these?  How about two?  OK, stop twisting my arm!

The San Diego Wine and Food Festival is one of the largest in the nation attracting over 10,000 food and wine addicts with 200 purveyors of wine beer and spirits along with over 70 of San Diego's top restaurants handing out food tastings.  This is the Comic-Con for foodies, an essential annual event that has grown men and women counting the days until they can run around the Embaradero to sample the best that San Diego has to offer.

November is the perfect time of year for an event like this. 
Throughout the week there are tons of food-centric activities, from fish taco competitions to fancy dinners with fancy dinners with fancy chefs.  There are oyster events, port pairing events, just about anything you can think of that has to do with good wine and good food.  But the big event, the one you won't want to miss, is the Grand Tasting Event on Saturday, Nov. 22nd.  That's where they take over the area behind Seaport Village, line it with tents and offer up unlimited samples of great San Diego food.

Expect beautiful presentation from the top chefs in San Diego.
As for the food, it's almost like you get to walk into a Top Chef competition where you get taste the best thing the chefs can cook.  Unlike most tasting events where the tastings are sometimes better at Costco, the San Diego Wine and Food Festival has never failed to impress me with the quality ingredients and superb presentations.  Hey look, they're using tweezers to put the micro-sprouts on the plate!  Just like on TV!

I hate it when people write "nom nom nom" so I won't - but you get the idea.
Expect lots of seafood all expertly prepared.  Oh my, that shrimp still has it's head on and that guy just ate it!  That's right, there are no dumb'd down sliders or pasta with marinara sauce there.  When they serve you a slider you'd better be ready for it to be the best slider you've ever tasted.  I mean, look at the picture!  You want that, I want that, let's go get another!

Stop staring at me before I eat you.
By now you should have gotten the message that this is no ordinary food tasting event.  It's the San Diego foodie event of the year, the one you won't want to miss.  Get your tickets now, get there early, and don't you even think about having a snack before you arrive.  Walk the circuit and fill up, kick back in the sunshine and listen to some live music, repeat until they tell you it's time to go.

If you ever wanted to taste the Best that San Diego has to offer, this is the event.  Kick off your holiday season with a gift to yourself and check out the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Fest 2014.

Local Wally

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hotel Thrillist Bombs San Diego With The Party of all Parties

All night I kept saying to myself "Do Not Fall Into the Pool!!"
Last weekend I got invited to a party!   And it wasn't some lame party thrown by my brother-in-law who likes to go to bed at 830, this was the Hotel Thrillist San Diego party held at the Hard Rock Hotel.  With a line that wrapped around the block you knew that this was the hot ticket of the night and once inside the place was kind of crazy and wild.  I'm guessing the open bar featuring Malibu Rum had something to do with it.  Maybe.....

Or was it the food?  There were 11 restaurants/food trucks there serving up some really great stuff as well as some craft beer served up by a few of my favorite local breweries, namely Karl Strauss, Coronado Brewing and Mother Earth Brewing.  Before we get to the food let's take another look at this place.

Great shot probably taken from the police helicopter wondering what all the commotion was about.

I mean, come on!  Only could pull this off.  I like these guys because they really just cut to the chase with showing some of the coolest things in San Diego and when they say they are throwing a party they mean an all-weekend party.  Seriously!

There are a lot of guys in this pool.  Just saying...
The food event was Friday night but the next day there was a pool party for those who just could not get enough.  That's me in that photo above.  Find Wally.  Where?  Where????? 

I think I need to work out more if I'm going to parties like this!  No, that is NOT me on the right.

But back to the Friday night party and, yes, the food.  Here's who was there:

  • Brian’s Malarkey's restaurant, Searsucker, served hamachi tartar with shallot, crème fraiche, chives and jalapeno
  • Salt & Cleaver created an authentic Moroccan lamb merguez with mint, lime and cucumber
  • Puesto dished up a California taco complete with filet mignon, melted cheese, crispy potatoes, homemade guacamole and tomatillo roja salsa
  • Donut Bar created a ‘Big Poppa Tart’ Donut 
  • The Cravory invented ‘wookies,’ their own version of whoopie pie – they served lemon bar, birthday cake and banana pecan pie wookies 
  • Duck Dive served pan seared duck breast with Duck Dive dragon glaze over blueberry risotto and sautéed spinach
  • Slaters 50/50 prepared a Tequila Chorizo Fundido Burger topped with beer battered onion rings, fire roasted green chilies, fresh guacamole and drenched in house-made fundido sauce
  • Casanova Fish Tacos supplied Baja-style shrimp ceviche
  • GreenGo Grilled Cheese prepared a Nogada Grilled Cheese with pork belly, grilled dates, caramelized red onion and their signature Nogada spread 
  • New York on Rye served up delicious rueben wontons<
  • Not So Fast Food Truck made Scarpariello chicken wings served with fresh baby fennel.

OK already, here's a photo.  Just one because it's not fair to show you all this great food if you can't taste it.
This is good, really good.
Oh yeah, this is the Slaters 50/50 looking very civilized in a messy sort of way. First off, if you have not had a Slaters 50/50, which is half hamburger and half bacon meat, it's really something else!  Here's why you don't ever want to try to do this at home.

Try to look cool, don't worry, stay calm, you will not burn down the Hard Rock Hotel.  Probably not.

Ha, I guess there's just a little bit of tasty fat in the 50/50 meat mixture!  The smoke got so dense that people were ducking behind poles but I did not move one inch.  I wanted my burger!  And everything else was equally good.  I went back a few times for the duck breast from Duck Dive and the weird won ton filled the makings of Reuben sandwich inside from New York on Rye was oddly appealing.  And, of course, Seersucker does everything right so can't complain there!

OK, one more photo.  This innocent looking wonton was filled with Reuben sandwich fixings which my  wife thought was weird and I was glad she did because I got to eat her wontons.  It was weird, to be honest, but weird in a good way. 

So go eat, San Diego.  If you are lucky enough to be reading this post today, Sept 26th, you can go to any of these restaurants and order these off-the-menu items.  But if you missed it, don't worry!  Each restaurant here is worthy of your time and worth seeking out.  If their food is anything close to what we had at the Hotel Thrillist San Diego event then you you can't go wrong.

Local Wally 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lookie Loo's Unite at the San Diego Modern Home Tour 2014

AT A GLANCE:  Come tour some of San Diego's coolest and most extravagant modern homes.
WHEN:  Saturday, Sept. 27th
TICKETS and INFO:  San Diego Modern Home Tours

I love driving through San Diego's coolest neighborhoods to check out the houses.  Let's face it, there's no way a guy like me can ever afford one of these homes but it sure is fun to try to imagine how the other half lives.  Ahhh, the views, the style, the elegance, WHY WON'T YOU LET ME IN TO SEE THE INSIDE??? 

Stop it already!  Because now you can visit some of these homes on the San Diego Modern Home Tour.  From Golden Hills to North County the best of the best of the Modern Homes are open to the public to tour and perhaps just dream a little.  Of course, those who love design and architecture will want to go but anyone who has watched HGTV or toured a model home just for fun will love taking the tour.  Got a high school reunion coming up?  Make sure you take a picture of yourself inside one of these incredible homes so you can show off your "fixer upper" to that girl who dumped you.  Who's sorry now? 

The price is a very reasonable $30 for online tickets and the tours are self-drive and self-paced so you don't have to worry about looking like an idiot as you drool over the grandiose of the homes.  To see the lineup of the homes you'll visit go to San Diego Modern Home Tour where you can also buy tickets.  Kids under 12 are free but if it were me I would leave them at home with the TV on and go explore without them.  But that's just me. 

So go do it this Saturday.  Forget about mowing the yard, forget about painting that back room, just get in your car and go visit some homes that aren't furnished by IKEA or can't be towed away.  That's right, go to the San Diego Modern Home Tour and enter into a world of the San Diego rich and famous that has to be seen to be believed.  Ding Dong - Come on in!

Local Wally
San Diego's Original Local Guy

Friday, July 18, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Why Paradise Point Resort is San Diego's Best Place to Stay

San Diego is blessed with a lot of things, including a plethora of great hotels and resorts.  But for my vacation (or stay-cation) dollar, Paradise Point Report on Mission Bay stands out as my top pick.  Here are the Top 10 reasons why your next getaway should be the Paradise Point Resort.  It's my favorite as you will soon see.


Lush landscaping and tropical setting makes this one of San Diego's most beautiful resorts.

No one can blame you if you start hollering "AAA-LO-HAAAA!" at the top of your lungs when you arrive.  If you didn't know better you might think you were in Maui with the mature tropical plantings and meandering walkways.  Palm trees swaying in the breeze, the serenity of the ponds, the sound of birds in the background, you instantly forget that this is on Mission Bay.  Lush and beautiful, it's  simply is one of San Diego's most beautiful resort settings.


An early morning stroll on the beach to start the day.

Hey you - did you really buy your wife a new set of tires for your last anniversary?  I know, they were steel belted radials - but really??  A weekend at Paradise Point Resort is guaranteed to get you out of the doghouse though what happens after that is up to you.  Perfect for honeymooners, anniversaries, special occasions, or anyone just needing to get away, Paradise Point rates higher than a Barry White album on the romantic scale. Bring champagne!



Nothing says vacation more than a tropical drink and you'll find them all over Paradise Point, from the popular Barefoot Bar to poolside.  The Mai Tai's pack the punch but if punch is what you are after then there's nothing better than an ice cold, rum filled frosty glass of Paradise Punch, a drink that so easy to sip that you might never leave.  Tasty, tasty, tasty!


Vintage Barefoot Bar menu still captures the feel of the restaurant.

The story is that The Barefoot Bar was built on top of a bomb shelter back when the original Vacation Village opened in 1963 and the joke was that you could get bombed at the bar but not bombed from the sky.  Ahhh, humor back in the Cold War times, nothing better!  The original Barefoot Bar had sand on the floor but no longer, which is probably OK when you think about it.  Great food, live music, a view of the bay, this place screams VACATION!  Locals, stop in for lunch and take a "play-cation" this weekend and be a tourist in our hometown.  It's super fun and the food is great.  Speaking of which....


Super fresh seafood, this is the ahi poke on a crispy won ton.  Dang it's good!

Just look at that bite - fresh ahi poke with some mango salsa and avocado on top of a crispy won ton wrapper.  CRUNCH!  Ahhhh!  If you could taste what I tasted you would know why I rave about The Barefoot Bar.  Open for both lunch and dinner the menu features plenty of fresh seafood options as well as steaks, chicken and burgers.  It's a creative menu and one that was so good the last time I went that I can't wait to go back and try more dishes.  Next time you're looking for a place to eat and you want something different from the usual suspects in San Diego set your sights on The Barefoot Bar.  It's good, really good!


The large resort pool has lots of energy and a great place to people watch - just don't get caught!

A great resort needs a great pool and Paradise Point's main pool fits the bill.  Kids splashing in the pool and a cocktail waitress to help you ignore the kids splashing, it's the perfect set up for a perfect day.  But if the idea of pumped up music and Summer-sized energy isn't your idea of relaxation then head over to any of the other smaller, more private pools, some with age restrictions that keep the munchkins on the other side of the gate.  Nice!  I mean, nice that there are options.


Watch the boats sail by from your private patio.

This is the view from my room.  I sat in that chair and watched the sailboats go by in the afternoon.  I watched the sun go down.  I watched the bonfires at night.  And in the morning I watched the day slowly unfold, the kayakers taking advantage of the calm, and the beginning of another day in Paradise.  Now imagine you sitting in that chair with your glass of wine and imagine that this is your vacation, not mine.  This is the Paradise Point lifestyle and it doesn't get much better than this.


How nice is this?

I'm not sure which is prettier, the view from the room or the room itself.  Pick a room on the bayside and you'll be stepping outside to a patio that drops right into the sand and the rooms on the interior aren't slouches either, especially if you get one that lines one of the pools or tropical gardens.  What's cool about Paradise Point is that the rooms are bungalows.  No high rise hotel.  No boring corporate compound.  It feels like you are on vacation - hey, you are!  I've stayed at enough boring Marriott's throughout the year on dismal business trips.  When I go on vacation I want something that makes me forget about work and a bungalow on the beach sound just about right.  


Rent a sailboat for an afternoon of gentle sailing on the calm waters.

Located right on the bay, Paradise Point offers plenty of opportunities to get out on the water.  If you've never been to San Diego then here's a quick lesson.  There are two bays in San Diego.  The big one near the airport, Seaport Village and the Convention Center, is called, well, San Diego Bay.  It's the one with the Coronado Bridge going over it and an aircraft carrier docked on it.  It's big, it's windy, and it's great for experienced sailors wanting to push their skills.  Mission Bay, on the other hand, is nice and calm.  That's where Paradise Point Marina is and this is where you can rent a little sailboat and try to remember what you learned back at Summer camp in Junior High.  You can also rent a kayak or jet ski or whatever you want.  Or forgetaboutit and just hop on the water taxi to take a short trip to SeaWorld where you can skip the long lines in front if you purchase your tickets at the resort. 

And if water isn't your thing then rent a bike and cruise around the bay.  I might suggest a little ride over to the Catamaran Hotel on the other side of the bay as a destination (tip:  cocktail bar) and a leisurely ride back then a jump in the pool.  There are so many options that there is no way you'll run out of things to do.


Create lasting memories doing nothing more than relaxing on the beach.

Remember that favorite family vacation you took as a kid?  This is the place to create those happy memories with your family and friends.  A bungalow on the beach, the sand between your toes, the kids laughing while floating on a raft, you've done a good job picking Paradise Point as your vacation spot.  And locals, when the kids are getting restless forget about the long lines at Disneyland or the scorching hot temps of Palm Springs and just stay here. The kids get an adventure, you get a drink and some sunshine, everyone wins!


Get that balance back into your life with a stay at Paradise Point.

Whether this is your big family vacation, a honeymoon destination or just a weekend getaway the end result is the same - a Zen-like happiness that makes you feel great about your experience.  Paradise Point Resort is a hidden gem, a piece of Hawaii that somehow ended up on Mission Bay. There are a lot of places to say in San Diego but only one that is truly paradise!

The original locals guide to San Diego.... since 1996

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Growing Up in Sacramento and the 4th of July

The Fourth of July always brings me back to my days as a kid growing up in Sacramento.  By July the weather would be hot, scorching hot, and the smell of ripe fruit would be in the air.  The 4th should be hot, that’s all there is to it.

The fourth also meant fireworks and Sacramento had more Red Devil stands then than there are Starbucks today, and that’s saying a lot.  Walking across the hot parking lot pavement to the stand I could get a faint hint of gunpowder in the air, a scent lovelier than a candy store to this kid with money his pocket.  Standing on my tip toes I peeked beyond the screen, past the “No Smoking” signs and into a world of glory and excitement.

Vintage Red Devil fireworks flyer
Sparklers, fountains, and the holy grail, the “49’r” combination box.  The 49’r was $49 and included just about everything a kid could dream of, including the triple canister fountains that would spray sparks of red, white and blue.  But that was far out of my price range so I carefully picked the best value for my small change and that meant Piccolo Petes.

A Piccolo Pete cost a quarter and it screamed a blood curdling high pitched wail with some sparks coming off the top but would end in a highly anti-climatic “poof”.  It was my cousin Brandon, who at the time seemed like the kind of kid that perhaps you shouldn't hang out with, who showed me a trick to get even more fun out of a Pete.  Using pliers he crimped the bottom of the tube.  I watched him carefully to learn from the great master.  He lit the fuse and the Piccolo Pete wailed like before but when it got to the end it blew up!  The wooden stand splintered and shot like shrapnel across the driveway.  It was unbelievable but cousin Brandon found a way to make a Piccolo Pete even better!

Today I live near the coast and it’s cool and overcast and I feel somehow cheated.  Fireworks are illegal in my town and with the kids all grown I didn’t make the annual drive to the desert to pick up some sparklers for the backyard.  The 4th without fireworks and 100 degree weather is like
Christmas without presents.

How I long for a Sacramento Summer day.