Thursday, December 2, 2010
It's the holidays, so everyone can begin drinking, eating, and going to the theater. We'll talk holiday cocktails, plays, and a few new restaurants.
It's the holidays, so everyone can begin drinking, eating, and going to the theater. We'll talk holiday cocktails, plays, and a few new restaurants.
Keli Dailey writes about dining and nightlife for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Jim Hebert is the theater critic at the San Diego Union-Tribune.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and You're listening to These Days on KPBS. Creative ways to toast in the holidays, and some traditional fair at local theatres. Of we're talking about plays and food on this weekend preview. Just a little December nights thrown in for good measure of I'd like to welcome my gets, Keli Dailey writes about dining and night life for the San Diego Union Tribune. Keli, welcome back.
KELI DAILEY: Thanks Maureen.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Jim Hebert is a theatre critic for at the San Diego Union Tribune. Good morning.
JIM HEBERT: Thanks Maureen.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, let's start out even though it's a little bit early in the day, with cocktails. The trend for fancy cocktails has been around for a while issue the holidays just presents one more perfect opportunity.
KELI DAILEY: That's right, the holidays are about parties, and cheerful decorations, and elegant dresses, and getting boozy.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That is true, although always have a designated driver with these holiday cocktails. What kinds of ingredients are being used for holiday cocktails? Are we kind of like mint and peppermint and stuff like that.
KELI DAILEY: You know, I think Maureen, a huge shipment of liqueurs most have come in for the holiday season, because everybody's doing these sweet, alcoholic drinks with, like raspberry liqueur and Godiva White chocolate liqueur, and pepper mint liqueur, all these super sweet, kind of like Christmas cookie kind of flavors.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yeah. Oh, yeah. That's what makes a holiday cocktail. Tell us about some of the most unusual or impressive that you've seen.
KELI DAILEY: I like when I see something around the rim. A garnish around the rim. I'm noticing a lot of people are putting, like, Graham cracker crust around their rims. Vanilla bean infused sugar. I was at flavor Del Mar recently and they've got this pumpkin spice infused syrup and rum drink, with Kahlua, and of course I [CHECK AUDIO] it's like a food pairing. It's almost like having cookies and milk. Of it tasted like egg nog.
JIM HEBERT: It's just like grandma used to make.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to go to your grandma's house. Now, are these drinks more expensive than the nonholiday ones or are they about the same.
KELI DAILEY: You know, they're considered specialty cocktails. Which we have year-round in San Diego. They're all about $11. You think about some of the work that goes into them, if you go to noble experiment, these guys are grating fresh cinnamon, and they're using boutique experience at Great Grill. And I've gotta talk about this one crazy cocktail at Great Grill. Jeff Josenhans is the bartender there, and he's all about firepower, this guy. He uses Douglas firs from the San Bernardino mountains and he infuses wheat gin with these trees to come up with a Douglas Collins which is like a take on a Tom Collins, gin and lemon, and a carbonated soda. Of it's really delicious, and I love this sophisticated kind of classic drink. Which is my preference rather than having a cookie liquid in a cup.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That just sounds wonderful. And I imagine the way these drinks look really bring home the fact that they're so special.
KELI DAILEY: They've gotta be decorated with rosemary sprigs, and even BJ downtown does like minicaramels around the rim of its drink. What is that called? It's a caramel appletini. So it's just a great way to go wild and be indulgent l;ike the holidays you're supposed to do.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That's fabulous. The holiday season is well underway and our local bars and eateries and bartenders all over San Diego are dressing up thirds requirement cocktail. So now is the time to find your speciality. Now, Jim, we usually don't talk about the productions in New York on our weekend preview, but one of them we just have to. It's one you wrote about, Spiderman, turn off the dark. It's in previews on Broadway. But it's been notorious so far. What happened on the first night?
JIM HEBERT: Right. I think New Yorkers are getting kind of tipsy on Spiderman bashing. The show, so previews began to Sunday. And everybody knew that this show was -- it's a hugely ambitious musical pause it's got flying effects that have never been done before of it's just got amazing -- just the physical production is really ground breaking. But they had some problems, even before previews started, they had issues with getting safety permissions for these flying effects, and actually one of actors broke both wrists flying into the stage. Which I don't think was supposed to happen.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I don't think they planned that. At least they didn't tell them.
JIM HEBERT: Right. So the first night, the show actually was stopped about five times from what I understand. And in one of those pauses, are the main actor who -- reef Carney, who plays Spiderman, actually was stuck suspended above the audience. He was just sort of left there hanging. With stage hands trying to reach up and grab his feet.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It sounds like a nightmare high school production. [CHECK AUDIO].
JIM HEBERT: Yeah, actually the ever by a longshot.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So what's the take on what's gone wrong?
JIM HEBERT: Well, you know, part of it is there's just so much scrutiny on this show. You have to remember that it doesn't actually hope until January 11th. And that's when it it is supposed to be reviewed. That is when major media organizations will do their reviews and every show at least locally has some kind of previews where they can work out the kinks. The thing that's happening now is audience members are in there with mobile devices, they're Tweeting they're posting on blogs later. And there's just so much more exposure that it kind of hasn't give the show the chance to work out these kinks, which, admittedly are worse than you see in most cases.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Rather spectacular. But in this production of Spiderman, though, there at least is one local actor who's getting some, I guess you could say good advanced notices. Tell us about that.
JIM HEBERT: Yeah, Patrick page who is an old globe theatre associate artist, he's been in I think about five shows there. Of the last one was called I do, I do. And it was about a year ago. He started out with his wife, page Davis, so they got the page and page thing going on.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right.
JIM HEBERT: She's a TV personality, an actress. Of and he was great in Cyrano de Begerac, as part of the Shakespeare festival. And he was actually going to be here for last year's Shakespeare fest and at the last minute he pulled out because of an unnamed big project, which turned out to be Spiderman.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And who does he play in this production?
RICKY YOUNG: He plays the glean goblin, which is kind of spider man's arch nemesis, I just posted a story today on the UT website which has a photo of him in costume, and it's this really sinister looking green of it's like the grinch, you know, gone really bad. And he's this really brilliant scientist. He starts out as a brilliant scientist named nornan oz born who becomes the green goblin and fights Spiderman and flies around the theatre.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So what does Patrick page have to say about this notorious opening night and these previews so far?
JIM HEBERT: Yeah, well, I talked to him actually write before the first prepreview. Of and he said that they were kind of living in this little bubble. He was aware of all the media speculation. But he actually was saying that as he put it, was the happiest little company on Broadway. He said that they were all feeling good about the show. Of course, as I say, this was before the first preview. So, you know, I'm sure they weren't happy about the kind of flack that it got. But they're going along, so --
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do you think spiderman, turn off the dark will ever come to San Diego?
JIM HEBERT: I don't know, I mean, it -- people are speculating whether it's even going to make it up in New York.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right, right.
RIGHT1: So it's hard to say. You know, part of the issue, it's normally a big musical like this will be tried out of town first, and it happens here in San Diego a lot. We've seen a lot -- you know, jersey boys started here, Memphis started here. But with a production of this complexity, I'm not even sure whether a theatre here could accommodate it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yeah, it was huge.
JIM HEBERT: It's possible that they could do it at the Pacific theatre. But I think that's a long way down the road. We'll see if it lasts the withering gaze of New Yorkers.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well, San Diego actor Patrick page plays the green goblin in the new Broadway show which officially opens in January, Spiderman, turn off the dark. A new restaurant, now, Keli, flavor Del Mar.
KELI DAILEY: Yeah, it's a new place, in the Del Mar plaza, that is all about seasonal ingredients of it's really California modern cuisine, really pushing the fresh use of ingredients of and it's got a chef from artero, we probably remember Jason mate lan from there, and yeah, it's a nice little sophisticated spot.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What are some of the interesting items on this menu.
KELI DAILEY: Well, I really like the way he, like, does a balancing act with flavors, like he'll do crab and avocado with grapefruit. Or he'll do, like, pork loin with sweet potato and ham croquettes. Or raw scallops with key lime and jalapeno. It's really about, like, finding how everybody can support each other on the plate. Everybody. Because I give food --
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You personalize your food. Of.
KELI DAILEY: Yes.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Wow.
KELI DAILEY: He also encourages experimentation at the table, which is really interesting. When you start the meal, there are these flavored salts that show up. And you're encouraged to use the lime salt or the which I poet lesalt. Or the bacon black pepper salt. My wait are [CHECK AUDIO] grilled meats with various sauces, like, they just really want you to, it seems, do your own seasoning and have fun.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, what is this new restaurant flavor Del Mar, what does it look like? And how expensive is it.
KELI DAILEY: Well, it's in the former episode, if you guys remember that in Del Mar plaza. And it really -- it looks like really sophisticated classy kind of joint. You walk in and there's the lounge area, and it's kind of clubby in there. There's guys in sports jackets. And there was a 15-minute wait on a aren't Monday. And the foodies in this town, we all depend on a place when it first opens so I'd like to see if that's going to maintain for a while. Then you walk over an out door bridge into the dining area. Which is -- they did a great job designing this space because you can find little intimates location and cozy little spots in there, a lot for restaurants that just do like a big barn, and it's really noisy, but here they've got topiary and a fire place, and it was beautifully designed and low lit. Which is great for Del Mar giving you that kind of coastal feel. And we ate ourselves silly, also of it's a really interesting menu of it's not extremely expansive. There's seafood, but I really love what Matelan does with pork. There's Kurobuta, pork line, pork belly, there's sausages fresh made. We had a good time.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And the press point?
KELI DAILEY: You know, it's an interesting mix. There are vegetarian dishes for $18. There's like egg plant with roasted pollenta cake. You can get a dry aged rib, aged bone in if rib eye for $48, but most entrees are around 20, $26.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay, so the new restaurant flavor Del Mar is now open in Del Mar. And we get now to the holiday offerings here in San Diego, starting out with plaid tidings, Jim. A special edition of flavor plaid. Of so give us an idea of plaid tidings.
JIM HEBERT: Yeah, right. All about the plaid. So forever plaid kind of got its start at the globe about 20 years ago of that's the show about these four guys, the singing group, who are on their way to their career making gig. And then got in a car crash with a bus carrying a bunch of school girls who are going to see the Beatles. So there's some symbolism there. The new era of rock and roll.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right, they're sort of this '50s harmony group and they just get killed basically by these Beatles fans. But they come back.
JIM HEBERT: Yeah, they come back. So they're in heaven, and they, you know, they come back for one last gig. And that was the original forever plaid show which really took off after it had its production at the globe in I think 1990 or 91. So storing Ross who's the guy, the main creator of this show, came up with plaid tidings, which, I guess, it's kind of a sequel of it's a variation on the theme where the guys come can back again. I think Rosemary Clooney from white Christmas calls them on a cellphone in heaven or something. You know, there's some call they get that brings them back to earth to do these Christmas tunes.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And is it all Christmas carols?
JIM HEBERT: It is, but a lot of it is -- it's Christmas songs that are sort of twisted around and given new arrangements and give, I think there are something like 40 songs but they're sometimes turned into medleys. And there's a song called psychoChristmas, which is a bunch of different Christmas carols that are kind of turned into this weird mishmash of -- because it's a scene where the guys are not sure why they're back from heaven or who they are or what they're doing there. So it kind of brings this dissonant sound to it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Is this fun for the holidays?
JIM HEBERT: Yeah, it's -- I actually haven't seen this edition of it. But it opens tonight. So I'm going to see it tonight.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay.
JIM HEBERT: And yeah, it's supposed to be fun for the whole family. These guys are kind of squares.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So you don't have to be nervous.
JIM HEBERT: Right.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Plaid tidings plays at the old globe tonight through December 26th. . And another new restaurant. Kind of more than a restaurant. Kind of a club. Eden in Hillcrest. Tell us about it. The.
KELI DAILEY: Well, this is Chile Co caterings Scott Wagner's new place. And he's joined [CHECK AUDIO] Larante that take over the old universal that James used to have in Hillcrest. And the night club part hasn't opened quite the why. So now they're just doing their lunch and dinner and brunches and right now they've got the old courtyard that's near universal. And it's right outside. Of and there's a restaurant. And it's a really ambitious place. Looking at the menu, there's every style of cooking that chef Wagner must have done as a caterer. I promise you, it's like Thai and Vietnam ease, and Jamaican and Mediterranean. And even deconstructed nachos. It's everything to even. And I really like his American stylings, though, he's got a hamburger with onion ring tucked inside. It's really delicious. He did pretty good pho also, made with chicken, the Vietnamese soup, he did a --
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: A lot of time with that. I like -- I read that the interior is quite modern. What is it like.
KELI DAILEY: You know, it's -- it's got -- it looks like a big dining room, like a private dining room, and it looks like it might be adjacent to a mine dining room, but it's more -- anyone who went to the wine reap for the San Diego wine and food festival, they were there, because that's [CHECK AUDIO] [CHECK AUDIO].
JIM HEBERT: That one as well, so that one's already open, and I think Signet opens this weekend. And Versionary Theater is doing Santa Claus's coming out. So they usually do some kind of twist on the holidays.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Not exactly traditional. A community actors' theatre is performing handle's Messiah. Tell us about this group.
JIM HEBERT: It's a theatre group that's been around for a long time in southeastern San Diego, and they do a pretty good slate of shows for around three years. Will and they have been doing the Messiah for at least five years, I'm not exactly sure how long. But it's the handle story of the birth of Christ, and a lot of music, and it's supposed to have a lot of good texture to it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me ask you though, one last thing about these holiday favorites. North coast rep is not doing its Christmas carol.
JIM HEBERT: Yeah, you know, the weird thing is, there is no scrooge this year. If you're searching for Scrooge, he's he's not out there. As recently as two years ago, there were four Christmas carols during the holidays, four variations on the Dickens tale. And New Village Arts did a quick workshop version of it a few weeks ago, but north coast rep had a really good version it did three years in a row. So they decided -- I don't know if they decided it had run its course, but I think they're just giving it a little hiatus, so they're doing what I'm calling kind of the stocking stuffer collection of so shows. The first one is this weekend, and it's how do you spell Chanukah. Did I --
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yeah, very good.
JIM HEBERT: And then coming up after that is mistletoe music and mayhem. These are all comedies, obviously.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Sure.
JIM HEBERT: And then they've got an unscripted carol, which is an improve show. And the last one is a sister's Christmas catechism, which features a pretty severe looking nun. So that's your Graham cracker crust of holiday shows.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Exactly. To have with your cocktail. Local productions of holiday favorites will be showing around San Diego through December. Let's talk about -- December nights in Balboa park is this weekend. The chop suey truck. What is that.
KELI DAILEY: Well, it's a giant gastrotruck, Maureen, and it's painted bright yellow with the San Diego skyline, and it's got a samurai pig wielding a meat cleaver.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You can't miscellaneous it.
KELI DAILEY: You can't miss it. And it's part of San Diego's food truck craze has just struck us. It's big in other cities, Austin is huge and New York of course and LA too. But right now we're doing gourmet good on mobile food units. And you can find one December Nights, and try this new one.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And is there a cheaper way to eat at December nights though except this truck.
KELI DAILEY: Well, you know, this truck is offering things for around $5, and you should bring cash, I should say that. It's doing things like Carney Asadda tacos and barbecued pork wings. Now, pigs don't have wings, I just wanted to point that out to you guys.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well, Buffalos don't either.
KELI DAILEY: Touche, Maureen. They're really little riblets. She's behind indigo grill and island prime and sea level lounge. You can also eat the at -- [CHECK AUDIO] 32 nations represented, there'll be paella and Irish stew and back lava. I was told by the Balboa Park Ranger to remind everyone to take shuttle services there. The city college county administration building and down by Petco, you can take the shuttle there. Because, like, 200000 people will crush into Balboa Park for free stuff and cheap food.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And we just have time for a mention of the color purple at the Civic Theatre this weekend. Jim, you've seen it. What do you think?
JIM HEBERT: It was a good show, it was here two years ago on tour. Of this is a different tour that is it a nun union tour, meaning, you know, the act ares are younger, less experienced more likely. But a lot of times those productions end up being [CHECK AUDIO].
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, people love the movie. Will they like this musical?
JIM HEBERT: I think so, you know, it's -- it actually follows the book.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The book.
JIM HEBERT: The original Alice walker book a little more closely. And it's a little bit more, I guess, hard hitting in some ways than the movie. But the music really blends well with it. There's something like 20 musical numbers, and it's pretty rousing stuff. And a lot of kinds of sounds from R&B to gospel. So it really worked pretty well.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I have to tell everybody that the color purple will be playing at the civic theatre [CHECK AUDIO].
JIM HEBERT: Thank you Maureen.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Keli daily, you made us all hungry.
KELI DAILEY: Yeah, let's get some cocktails.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thirsty, thirsty. [CHECK AUDIO] Pat Finn and Natalie Walsh, production manager, Kurt Kohnen, [CHECK AUDIO]. Of I hope you'll enjoy the rest of the week, and thank you for listening to These Days on KPBS.