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Weekend Preview: Blind Lady Ale House And Saffron Have Events


This week on Weekend Preview: Thai food, beer tasting, a little art and a little bit of cinema. Joining us is Performance Magazine editor Maya Kroth.

TOM FUDGE (Host): You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. I’m Tom Fudge. Easter weekend is coming up but before you start searching for eggs and choosing your Easter bonnet, we have some recommendations for ways to fill your weekend itinerary. Joining us with her recommendations is Maya Kroth and Maya Kroth is the editor of Where San Diego and Performance (sic) magazines. Maya, thanks for coming in.

MAYA KROTH (Editor, Where San Diego, and Performances Magazines): Thanks for having me.

FUDGE: Maya, this Saturday, the restaurant Saffron will host its very first Street Food Market. What’s a Street Food Market?

KROTH: This is something I didn’t know but apparently in Thailand there’s a, pardon me, there’s a tradition called ‘Talad Nut,’ which is basically a local market that sells a variety of things, clothing and whatnot, but also a lot of street food. And so starting this Saturday, Saffron in Mission Hills will be transforming its outdoor patio into sort of a mini-authentic Thai street market with an outdoor kitchen and they’re going to be cooking up some dishes to order. And they say that the food is going to be kind of not the traditional Thai that you might expect, being an American. They’re promising kind of a more authentic Thai experience with dishes that we might not be familiar with.

FUDGE: And dishes that they might not normally serve at their restaurant?

KROTH: Exactly.

FUDGE: I see. Tell us a little bit more about that restaurant, what is remarkable about it.

KROTH: Well, it opened as Saffron Grilled Chicken on India Street in Mission Hills about 33 years ago, and it was one of San Diego’s first Thai restaurants. And about 10, 15 years ago, they opened a Noodle and Saté bar next door, and ever since it’s just been kind of a local favorite, partially because, you know, in addition to being pretty tasty Thai food, it’s also pretty affordable as well.

FUDGE: Well…

KROTH: And the chef grew up in Thailand so a lot of these recipes are from her childhood and then she also recently went back and founded an organic cooking academy, so the recipes are kind of a mix of those.

FUDGE: And what is a typical Thai dish? If you had to name one, what would it be?

KROTH: That they’re serving this weekend or just in general? I mean…

FUDGE: Just in general.

KROTH: …I think Americans are very familiar with, you know, Pad Thai and Tomm Yam Soup and things like that. But what they’re going to be serving this weekend is going to deviate a little bit from that.

FUDGE: Okay, and do you have a fav – do you eat at Saffron?

KROTH: I do. I love Saffron.

FUDGE: Do you have a favorite – do you have a favorite dish then?

KROTH: I love the Drunken Noodles. Those are my favorite.

FUDGE: Okay, and what would be a dish for the daring? Well, maybe that’s what we’ll find out this weekend.

KROTH: Yeah, I think even if you’re a big fan of Thai food, you’re probably going to find things here that you haven’t seen before. Some – They’re not really publicizing the menu a whole lot because they want to capture that street food feeling of just sort of wandering around and smelling something and saying, what is that? I have to try that. I don’t even know what’s in it but I know that I need to have it. But some of the things that they’re going to be doing, there’s a Savory Thai Crepe that’s filled with shrimp or chicken, bean sprouts, baked tofu and pickled cabbage with a cucumber relish. And then something that looked interesting to me was a Thai coconut macaroon, which is typically, you know, a sweet preparation but they’re doing it more of a savory style.

FUDGE: Well, Saffron’s first ever Weekend Street Market happens this Saturday from 11:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Mission Hills. And this, in fact, will occur on the first Saturday of each month so they’re trying to start a new tradition here, I guess. Well, moving on, Thursday night—and I guess that’s tonight—the Blind Lady Ale House will propose a challenge to beer aficionados. What can you tell us about this?

KROTH: It’s called the Big Bland Beer Tasting Challenge, and it’s a blind beer tasting at the Blind Lady Ale House. Try saying that six times fast.

FUDGE: I guess it’s appropriate for a restaurant of that name.

KROTH: So competitors are going to be sampling six different so-called bland beers in an attempt to correctly identify each one by name. And for $7.20, you get six little five ounce tasters and if you correctly identify all six beers, you have a chance to win a prize.

FUDGE: Why is it called the Big Bland Beer Tasting Challenge? Are they serving bland beer?

KROTH: Well, I think it’s – this is a craft beer bar, and a lot of the people who are running it and who are regulars there are aficionados of craft beers and probably not fans of those mass-produced domestic beers that seem to be so ubiquitous everywhere. So I think the founding assumption is that you can’t really tell any of those beers apart. So there – it’s a little bit of a cheeky sort of challenge. But there’s – We don’t really know which beers exactly they’re going to be including. They listed seven on their website, and they said six are going to be in the challenge and one will not. I can tell you what those are if you’d like to know.

FUDGE: Well, sure. What about them?

KROTH: Okay, do you think you can tell these apart? Coors Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Tecate, Bud Light…

FUDGE: No, I could not tell those first three apart, I’m sure.

KROTH: …Miller High Life, Keystone Light, MGD. It’s going to be a challenge.

FUDGE: Oh, so they are kind of serving bland beer, aren’t they?

KROTH: Exactly.

FUDGE: I see. Okay. So that’s the idea. Tell us a little bit more about Blind Lady Ale House, which I must add, happens to be just about four blocks from my house and so I see people coming in and out. It seems to be a popular place.

KROTH: Yeah, you haven’t been there?

FUDGE: I have – I’m embarrassed to say I’ve not been there even though they’ve been open for one or two years.

KROTH: Yeah, pretty soon, I bet, once you go there, they’ll start charging you rent, not long after because people just seem to kind of flock there and then it becomes their regular spot. It’s really popular, you know, with the craft beer crowd, with bicycle aficionados, for some reason, with people that live Uptown and people that just like a good pizza.

FUDGE: And it’s kid friendly, I think.

KROTH: It is.

FUDGE: Which is good. You can’t say that of all bars. Well, the Big Bland Beer Tasting Challenge will happen at the Blind Lady Ale House this Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to midnight. I’m Tom Fudge and this is the Weekend Preview. I’m talking with Maya Kroth who is editor of Where San Diego, and Performance (sic) magazines. We’re talking about what’s coming up this weekend. And a group called—moving on here—a group called Set & Drift will host a liquidation sale at the Bakery in Barrio Logan. A liquidation sale at a bakery. What are they liquidating?

KROTH: Well, it’s neither a liquidation sale, really, nor a bakery. But they’re liquid – it’s a kind of a tongue-in-cheek name because it’s really an art show that they’re having, and that liquidation sale is typically not the kind of thing you would use to describe art, more like a maybe furniture store or something. Everything must go. But they’re liquidating, quote, unquote, some of the recent paintings and art pieces by one of their collaborators, Keikichi Honna, who’s moving back to his native Japan.

FUDGE: And tell us a little bit more about this artist, Keikichi Honna, and why we might be excited about him.

KROTH: Well, it’s kind of a fitting title for this show because this artist uses a lot of sarcasm in his work so it kind of fits nicely there. And he calls his style ‘pop zen’ and he’s sort of fascinated with the way language works or sometimes does not work. And he’s inspired a lot by pop culture and there’s a lot of wordplay in his work and then in another sort of branch of his work he’s also really fascinated with old antique tools.

FUDGE: Sorry, he’s a painter?

KROTH: He is – works – I think he’s a sculptor and kind of works in many different media.

FUDGE: Well, what is the live-inable fort? Is that a piece of…

KROTH: That’s…

FUDGE: …his art?

KROTH: No, that’s actually from one of his frequent collaborators, who is a local musician and artist named Wes Bruce. And Wes, last fall at UCSD, made a similar project, a live-inable fort that he constructed out of collected scrapwood. And in the UCSD case, he furnished it with stuff that he claims to have found in an abandoned home belonging to a Swiss-German man named Otto.

FUDGE: Okay, and did you tell us what Set & Drift is? This is the group that’s sponsoring this.

KROTH: Yeah, it’s a little husband and wife design collective that collaborates with a lot of artists and musicians and arts groups around town. And in the last year or so, they’ve really started to put together some of the most interesting art happenings in San Diego.

FUDGE: And apparently there’s going to be a band performing there, Vision of a Dying World?

KROTH: Vision of a Dying World. Yes, they’re a great local band. They’ve been nominated several times for San Diego Music Awards. Kind of a little folksy, sort of lazy, alternative rock.

FUDGE: So, finally, if we go to this event, can you get a drink?

KROTH: You can get a drink. You can get some beer and some wine and maybe even some snacks if you’re lucky.

FUDGE: Well, Set & Drift’s Liquidation Sale happens—so-called—happens this Saturday from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. at The Bakery in Barrio Logan. You’re listening to These Days. This is the Weekend Preview. We’re previewing some things that are going to be happening this Easter weekend if – once you get done going to church. Maya, Cinema Under the Stars has started up again. Remind listeners where this is and what they can expect from an evening there.

KROTH: This is actually one of the most popular summer movie series in San Diego, and it’s a summer series but it’s already started so I guess summer is here. What it is, is alfresco movie screenings held on a patio adjacent to a hair salon, of all things, in Mission Hills.

FUDGE: And they usually show classic movies, is that – can we expect that to be the case this year as well?

KROTH: They do. They will have their traditional line-up of kind of a mix of classic films from all eras but they’re starting with – they’re kicking it off with what looks to be kind of an Oscar series or something. So if you missed some of your Oscar films from 2009, you’ll be able to catch some of the nominated films in the next couple of weekends.

FUDGE: So that’s what they’re going to be showing is…

KROTH: Just in the beginning.

FUDGE: Just in the beginning.

KROTH: Yeah.

FUDGE: How long has this been going on?

KROTH: This – you know, I don’t know the exact date it started but it’s an institution in San Diego, for sure.

FUDGE: Well, is there anything that you’re particularly looking forward to?

KROTH: I love that they resurrect all these old film noirs so – or films noir. So “Double Indemnity” is coming up later this summer and “To Have and Have Not,” two of my favorites.

FUDGE: Okay, well, Cinema Under the Stars takes place on Goldfinch in Mission Hills and this weekend they are screening – they’re screening “Sherlock Holmes.”

KROTH: Yes. The new “Sherlock Holmes.”

FUDGE: The new “Sherlock…

KROTH: With Robert Downey.

FUDGE: The new “Sherlock Holmes” with Robert Downey. Well, how are you going to be spending your Easter? Is there anything else that you can think of that we should mention?

KROTH: This isn’t enough for you, man? I’ve already – I’m going to be eating Thai food and we’re going to movies. There’s a lot going on in town this weekend. I’m really excited about “Sherlock Holmes.” I haven’t seen it and everybody says it’s great.

FUDGE: Let me raise one more subject that we were going to talk about. Unfortunately, this is sold out. It’s – It involves Zirk Ubu. Can you tell us about that again?

KROTH: Yes, you know, I – this’ll be more of like a preview for things to look forward to because, as you mentioned, it is sold out. But there is going to be sort of a dinner, circus, theatre performance thing in an undisclosed location in Barrio Logan. And the name is Zirk Ubu. It’s sort of this alternative circus troupe that has sprouted up in San Diego. They’re really interesting. You know, everybody has their own stage name. There’s Asbestos the Clown, and Miss Mango and sort of a, you know, alterna-circus with an old-timey esthetic to them. So this weekend they’re having a big private party that pairs a circus performance with a catered dinner.

FUDGE: But we don’t know where it’s taking place.

KROTH: We don’t know. Really, it’s a very mysterious event. We don’t know a lot about it. We can’t even go. But, you know, this might be someone that you want to have on your radar in case you want to be aware of future such events.

FUDGE: Do they do aerials? Do they do trapeze acts? That kind of thing? Is it an old-fashioned circus or a new-fashioned circus?

KROTH: It’s sort of a new-fangled circus with an old-timey esthetic to them. I don’t know what exactly their set-up is going to be for this event. I’ve seen them perform. You know, they’re kind of all over town, so I’ve seen them perform at parties with just a small, you know, maybe six performers in an eight-foot square area and they’ve done, you know, amazing things even with a small space. They do, you know, traditional circus skills like juggling and stilt-walking and things like that. But, you know, they also do some more performance art kind of things.

FUDGE: Okay, so it’s this weekend at an undisclosed location but don’t worry about finding it because they’re sold out anyway.

KROTH: Right.

FUDGE: Zirk Ubu. And thanks very much to Maya Kroth. Maya is the editor of Where San Diego, and Performances magazine. She joined us for the Weekend Preview. Thank you very much.

KROTH: Thank you.

FUDGE: And if you want to listen to a segment you heard on These Days or download a podcast of our show, please go to our website, These Days is produced by Hank Crook, Angela Carone, Megan Burke, Pat Finn, and senior producer Natalie Walsh. Production Manager is Kurt Kohnen, with technical assistance from Tim Felten. Our production assistants are Jordan Wicht, Rachel Ferguson and Renee Villasenor. The These Days theme was composed and performed by Gilbert Costellanos and his band. I’m Tom Fudge, filling in for Maureen Cavanaugh. Enjoy the rest of the week. You’ve been listening to These Days on KPBS.

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