Thursday, February 17, 2011
New restaurants around town and new activities: from daily art assignments to dodgeball. Get ready to have your tastebuds tickled and your interest piqued in today's edition of the weekend preview.
New restaurants around town and new activities: from daily art assignments to dodgeball. Get ready to have your tastebuds tickled and your interest piqued in today's edition of the weekend preview.
Barbarella is the author of the Diary of a Diva column and Your Week page at the San Diego Reader.
Troy Johnson is the senior editor of culinary, art and culture for RIVIERA Magazine.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, you're listening to These Days on KPBS. New restaurants around town, new activities from deli art assignments to dodge ball, get ready to have your taste buds tickled and your interest piqued in today's edition of the weekend preview. I'd like to welcome my guests, Barbarella is the author of diary of a diva column. And YourWeek page at the San Diego Reader. Barbarella, good to see you.
BARBARELLA: Great to see you again, Maureen.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Troy Johnson is the senior editor of culinary art and culture for Riviera magazine. Troy.
JOHNSON: Good morning, my lady.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Oh, I'll give you a kiss on the hand of it's that voice that does it. Wow. Let's let him percolate from time to time, and start with you, Barbarella. Of there's an art show Friday. Tell us about fun a day.
BARBARELLA: This is really exciting be it's actually the first time I've heard about it. But it's actually the seventh annual fun a day project. Throughout January, a bunch of artists who had preregistered every single day worked on the same project, and it could be any media at all. And then in this big group show, they show the work of what they committed to work on.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And so do they show, like, 30 pieces or how does that work? Just -- do they add to it each day or --
BARBARELLA: It depends on the project.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right.
BARBARELLA: So you have -- well, for example, I can talk about the actual projects. There's some photography, there's some multimedia projection, there's painting, music is performance, and so for example, the photography, some photographers took a photograph every day. One artist created a stamp using shipping stickers every day, and paint, and markers. And other people work on the same painting every day. So you might see 30 of something. Or you might just see --
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: A painting done in a month. Yeah. Now, what is the art clash collective? This is put on by the art clash collective.
BARBARELLA: Right, the collective was actually started in Philadelphia. And it basically -- again, the collective, they decided that we wanted everybody to participate. And this project for a collective show in February, and it's all about there being no restriction. They even say bake a cake. Any media is involved. And so they have the 12-inch video performance, and the live performance in Philadelphia, and it caught on throughout all the other cities.
JOHNSON: My cakes kind of look like Salvador Dalí.
BARBARELLA: They do!
JOHNSON: Thank you. And so I also wanted to say, because of this, there's one sculptor, actually, who's blind, and to really -- to use a terrible cliche, it really is thinking outside the box, from any kind of media where they want you to touch the sculpture, the ceramic masks. And interactive -- one artist is actually asking people to finish her work. So every day she worked on ink portraits and projects and she wants the audience coming in, and this is tomorrow night to come in and finish her pieces. So it really is just about bringing art to the community. And getting everybody involved with it. Everything is art.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Tell us, finally, what -- a little bit about this space where this event is being held. Space four art.
BARBARELLA: Yeah, this is a really cool place. It's in the east village, and it's a live work space for artists. They have 30 affordable work studios and five affordable work live studios. And right now, they're full up. You can't even rent, there's a waiting list. They have 40 local artists, designers, crafts people. Some of the best known names you've seen around town. [CHECK] a lounge, a gallery, some of these artists can have their own show there. And among their values, I love this, actually, they state that artists from disparate [CHECK] which kind of comes back to the art clash fun a day, is all about artists inspiring each other. In various media and just kind of getting the views flowing.
BARBARELLA: I like this guy! All right. Okay. Great.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The fun a day art show takes place at space four art on fifteenth street between J and K streets. Well, we've worked up an appetite, at least an appetite for a cooking class, Troy. Chef Su-Mei Yu of [CHECK].
JOHNSON: Cooking classes as you think, I hear them, and I go, oh, right, I'm gonna go there and learn how to make some kind of chicken Alfredo. Great great. But this one, Su-Mei Yu is one of the most respected chefs in town. And for this, most cooking classes are kind of like school lunches of mom picks all the [CHECK] here you're gonna go shop for everything with Su-Mei Yu. And she has worked her way through the Asian ethnic markets. [CHECK].
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Because sometimes, if you're new to Asian markets, they can be intimidating.
JOHNSON: It's crazy. Unless you speak mandarin or Japanese, it basically taunts how xenophobic you are, and how uncultured you are. It really is. You don't speak mandarin? Sucker.
BARBARELLA: What do you have against tentacles?
JOHNSON: I know, what do you have against tentacles. But they're some of the most real places they make Albertson's and Ralph's look like some of the most processed, horrible places on earth. I know, I hope they're not advertisers.
BARBARELLA: I know.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: One thing Su-Mei Yu says is don't bother showing up if you don't know how to cook.
JOHNSON: Definitely, Su-Mei Yu is a master, if your idea of cooking is turning on the microwave, or taking off the crust of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, don't show up. She's expecting you to dismantle a chicken when you get there. But you don't have to be like a cordon blue drop out or a CIA grad, you just have to have a basic knowledge of cooking.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right. Exactly. You have to be familiar with what goes on in the kitchen, and know how to use a knife and things like that. So I understand classes are gonna be based on enrollment. So if these classes do get enough people, how much are they gonna cost.
JOHNSON: They cost $95 per person. And I would say normal looks that's a steep amount. But this is a nationally published Thai cook book art. One of the legends of San Diego cuisine. [CHECK] lived here in San Diego, he went down and had her chicken almost every success day. And she cooks really healthy Thai food too. Which Thai food can be using a lot of oils and it can get a little fatty. She makes a really healthy version of Thai, which really fits into our SoCal lifestyle.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: [CHECK] that's at saffron restaurant next month. To sign up, you can call the restaurant or you can sign up on their website. Dodge ball, Barbarella.
BARBARELLA: I know, since I don't cook anything that takes over three minutes in the microwave. This is -- dodge ball is something I could talk about. It's actually dodge brawl of the dodge brawl tournament. This is the 5th annual one at in cahoots in mission valley, and it benefits the YMCA. They have all kinds of things. Drink discounts, and any team can sign up if you have 4 to 5 people.
JOHNSON: I've done this.
BARBARELLA: You have?
JOHNSON: And I got the tar beaten out of me.
BARBARELLA: Okay. That's awesome. The balls, they look soft, but -- I'm just gonna stop there. But if you throw it hard enough, it request hurt you.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It sounds painful right off the bat. Drinks and dodge ball?
BARBARELLA: Each team, you're guaranteed four games, so if you don't do well that first time, have a few more drinks, and go back because you'll get older I think as the drinks --
JOHNSON: Right, exactly.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You're gonna be working up an appetite. So what about the food at this event.
BARBARELLA: It's at in cahoot, so they have a menu there. But it's far food and fun snacks. Because they're a benefit, there will be food for free for everybody to nosh on. Like you'll have time.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Are [CHECK] and dress up and --
BARBARELLA: Not only will they dress up. They are encouraged to dress up. There's a costume contest.
BARBARELLA: When you went, did you tress dress up Troy?
JOHNSON: We did not dress up. But it was the man who won the $25,000 for are being the world's dodge ball champion, and he pelted me so hard --
BARBARELLA: Good to upon. See, like that, like I told you, they're not messing around. It looks soft. But it's not. [CHECK] since it's 4 to 5, you could dress as the cast of your favorite show, and they want you to be really creative because the costumes are as much a part of the fun as for the people participate.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So how much does this cost to sign up for pain?
BARBARELLA: For pain and fun and possibly prizes. There will be prizes for the winners of costume and the team. It's a hundred dollars to compete. And you can -- I'm sure a lot of you driving I'm gonna give you the in be that you call to register. But I don't recommend you write it down now while you're driving. You request get the information on the read are website. It's [CHECK] they're the ones organizing it, so that's who you'd contact.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The dodge brawl tournament takes place Saturday at in cahoots, in mission valley.
JOHNSON: Notice the 66 pre46.
BARBARELLA: They're not messing around. [CHECK].
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yume-ya? Is that how you say it?
JOHNSON: I was told they were opening it, but they're actually opening in March.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Oh, okay.
JOHNSON: So it's gonna be about 3 to 4 weeks when they open. It's the [CHECK] in Leucadia. I mean, so well loved by gourmand, they only have about ten seats, 12 seats in Leucadia, and they're filled up every single night. And they're finally opening up their second location. It's gonna be where the Ramses was [CHECK].
BARBARELLA: Japanese tapas, isn't that yakitori?
JOHNSON: Yakitori, basically.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yakitori. Now, you said gourmands, too, what do you mean by that?
JOHNSON: Gourmands are basically people who love people. The defense between gourmets who can actually cook and make food, and gourmands who just love food and eat a lot of it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I see, the cooks and the eaters.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So what's on the menu here?
JOHNSON: The owners of the restaurant moved six years ago, and they do their own house made noodles, which is amazing. They hand make ooh Dan [CHECK] carpaccio, dumplings, you can get a premium sake sampler too. They specialize in sake. One of the biggest sake selections in San Diego. [CHECK] but you basically get, like, six premium sakes for a pretty good price.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, this is tapas, but can you make a meal out of this?
JOHNSON: You can definitely make a meal out of it. And nothing's usually over $8 on the menu. Of [CHECK] that Americans love because we hate the size of our belts and we always want to make them bigger, yes, it will take you some money to get that full. And that's why Japanese tend to look like triathletes and we look like haystacks in clothing. Yeah.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Gotcha. So how much is an average meal?
JOHNSON: The average meal there, I mean, it's gonna run you a good, you know, probably 30 to $40 a person. Then if you're getting sake, a little bit more because there's -- small plates are really just a few bites, and they're about $8.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay. So Yume-ya, a Japanese restaurant is going to open a second location in Hillcrest. We learn now that that's going to happen in March. Speaking of --
BARBARELLA: Speaking of health food.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Superior doughnuts.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Not exactly a restaurant, though. Tell us about it, Barbarella.
BARBARELLA: No, this was a Broadway show now coming to San Diego, put on by the San Diego rep. What it's about, you know, and I just went to see it so I can talk about it of it's about a jaded just 3569 middle aimed white man holding onto a run down antiquated doughnut shop that he inherited from his father. And a black teen with all the optimism and energy of the young. It's about friendship as these two men come together in their life path.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And the central character played by Robert fox worth; is that right.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And is it a comedy or is it a drama?
BARBARELLA: It's a dramedy. They bill it as a comedy, and there are definitely laughs and the writing is very clever. But there are some really poignant moments, and there are some sort of hit you in the stomach moments that I wasn't expecting. But that resonated well. They came out well.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, this is -- just finished a run on Broadway.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What is -- what's the San Diego production like?
BARBARELLA: San Diego production, well, first of all, I was really impressed by the set design. It was so thorough, and the San Diego -- the rep has done a great job with this. Of I mean, even the stools, there's duct tape, no detail was overlooked of even the air conditioning vent had the dirt around it. I was happy I got into the theatre early, I spent a good 15 minutes just staring at the set, and finding things with my husband, oh, look at that! So that was amazing, the acting is just unparalleled. It was -- I'm not a big -- I'm not a theatre reviewer by any means but I go to many shows. And we were really sucked in. Of it's a small theatre which was really intimate and nice. [CHECK] and the San Diego rep, I'm not sure what they did on Broadway. But there are a lot of surround events that are all free. They're bringing in the story, the play is set in Chicago so there will be a band playing Chicago music one night before the show. Dull which he doughnuts is coming out and giving -- oh, and one woman -- had bought the little doughnuts and snuck them in and was eating them [CHECK] I'm like, I really smell doughnuts and then I look over, and this woman is just noshing and making me jealous, and eating them all. And they have lectures, because there's a police officer in the ensemble cast. So one night they bring in a police officer to talk about things. [CHECK].
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And just finally, the playwright of this is Tracy let's, she's a Pulitzer prize winner. Is that a Tracy he or she?
JOHNSON: Actually a he.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Sorry, sorry.
BARBARELLA: No, that's okay. Don't apologize to me. You should apologize to Tracy. I'm sure this person has been getting that all his life. [CHECK] Pulitzer prize for drama, and that same here, he won the Tony award for best play for August Osage county. About you what many people don't know is he's always an actor, he's been in Seinfeld, Drew Cary, the Home Improvement show. And when he went to being a playwright, [CHECK].
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So I should know he's a guy.
BARBARELLA: No, actually, I didn't, and [CHECK] I realized it was a man. Unless you see a picture and a birth certificate or even so -- okay. Thank you for stopping me.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: San Diego repertory's production of superior doughnuts, it opened February 5th, and it runs through March 6th, it's at the Lyceum theatre. [CHECK] burlap, tell us about it.
JOHNSON: Security just arrived outside of the KPBS studio. No, the -- no, burlap is a second place for seersucker. A phenomenal place downtown. San Diego needed a place like this. In class action between X top chef contestant, Brian malarkey, and the owner of [CHECK] night club. But seersucker downtown is really just a well designed open space with good food. In fact I reviewed the restaurant a couple months ago for Riviera. And the food was good. [CHECK] and it is running on all cylinders. It's fantastic. This is their expansion up in North County, and God knows Del Mar needs some real restaurants. It's a repository for [CHECK] if the legendary Kirosawa, if he had his own restaurant, this would probably be it. I just got a look at the new menu, they've got a raw menu, like hamachi, beef tartar, uni, and they've got meat on a stick.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I thought you were kidding. You're not kidding. This is Asian cow boy.
JOHNSON: No, this is Asian cow boy. This is what they want to do. [CHECK] it's a massive, massive menu. Just got a to know of small plates. And.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And is it opening soon?
JOHNSON: It's gonna be opening this summer. It's in the Del Mar high lands mall. It's undergoing a major $20 million renovation. [CHECK] condition we two San Diego apes that will make it a really creative -- they're gonna have coy ponds, they're gonna have a really great interior by Thomas Skoons. [CHECK] he did Tao out in Vegas.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: [CHECK] one rough man. War wicks' book stores hosting a debut author party. Who's gonna be there?
BARBARELLA: Brad tailor who -- this is his debut novel, and from what I hear about the character, they're gonna be sequel novels he lives in south Carolina now, coming to San Diego to war wick's to sign and speak about his book.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I see. So do you know anything about the book.
BARBARELLA: Of course I do. Yeah. It's about a character named Pike Logan, and as it explains at the beginning of the book, [CHECK] called task force, whose existence is, quote, as essential as it is illegal. He was the star member of the team until a personal tragedy changed his outlook on the world, and it's kind of Jason born, think about this, and then action ensues. And I actually read an excerpt, I can't wait to read the whole thing. But it seems to have more humor and humanity than other books have come across in this genre.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, I'm wondering, this is billed as an author debut party. [CHECK].
BARBARELLA: I believe that war wicks, and I'd have to check this, I believe which that war wicks just once a month celebrates a debut author. [CHECK] forces, and though he claims he is not pike Logan, he says he has served with many who are just like the character. So he draws from real experiences, very classified things. He was a member of the ranger battalion, which is the elite team, the special forces. [CHECK] I'm not the killer man, I'm not the killer man's son, but I'll do the killing until the killer man comes. And he lived by this [CHECK].
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Intense night. Brett tailor will be speaking at war wick's book store in La Jolla, next Wednesday night. And now new chef at Blue Point, Troy. Blue Point's restaurant has a new chef. Tell us about this chef switch.
JOHNSON: Daniel barren, this kid is really, really good. Cohen restaurant grape, [CHECK] it's been known for mediocrity over the [CHECK] and I think they've kind of realized that, and they hired this chef who's a molecular gastronomy whiz. Basically science food. [CHECK] because they basically ruin their food. But this guy plays with liquid nitrogen gen, it twists the composition of food, the texture of food, the shapes of food that you would normally know. It looks like Sci-fi food, it looks fantastic. And he's doing it so well. [CHECK] it basically means you were nominated for an Oscar of it's a big deal.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So his reputation is really rising?
JOHNSON: His reputation is rising. He's -- the dishes that I had when I was there, two weeks ago, were fantastic. He did a dancing bloody Mary to start out the night. It didn't have any alcohol in it, but it was compressed watermelon tomato water, and basically it was bubbling from a little bit of science that he uses in the kitchen of but it was cold, it was bubbling ask it was just the most greatest dish. And then he did a hiramasa sashimi dressed with cotton candy. Root beer cotton candy around hiramasa sushi.
BARBARELLA: It's not comfort food.
JOHNSON: No, although I'll tell you when I saw that sit down on the plate, I said this guy got way too excited with this plate. [CHECK] and I ate it and it was fantastic. Perfect balance of places. He used a sweet sauce on the fish that matched the kind of root beer cotton candy. [CHECK].
JOHNSON: They're really stepping up their game, and I think they're trying -- and I think they realized that maybe they got passed by other really good should haves in town. And I think they're trying to make a good effort. They just gutted their restaurant, the bungalow in Ocean Beach, and they made Bobo, and they've got a young chef in there, Catherine. [CHECK] It's a dealership, and do a restaurant in a high end auto dealership. [CHECK].
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Tasty seafood at the blue point restaurant downtown. And I want to thank Troy Johnson and Barbarella, thank you so much.
JOHNSON: Thank you so much.
BARBARELLA: It's always fun. Don't touch me. No , I'm just kidding.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: They love each other. I'm mar maneuver. I hope you enjoy the rest of the week am you have been listening to These Days on KPBS.