Monday, July 21, 2014

San Francisco: Free Dining Deals for the Work Week

Free-waffles-from-b.Street Waffles-in-San-Francisco. Chief-Waffle-Officer-Gerald-Luna.
Gerald Luna, Chief Waffle Officer at b.Street Waffles
Looking for dining deals in San Francisco? Need a pick-me-up during the Monday through Friday grind? Here are five tasty offers - one for each day of the work week. Best of all, they won’t cost you a dime because they’re free. Of course, gratuities are always appreciated. Choose your day(s), and then click on the links for more information. Offers may change without notice.
Monday: Free Bagels from Sour Flour (Mission District)
The folks at Sour Flour not only bake bread, but they teach you how to make it. Fee-based workshops are offered on sourdough bread-making as well as how to make bagels. Not interested in getting a culinary education? That’s okay – you can still stop by on Mondays for a free bagel. Where: La Victoria Bakery, 24th St. & Alabama Street, San Francisco. When: Every Monday starting at 8am, while supplies last.
Tuesday: Free Wine & A Movie at Top of the Mark (Nob Hill)
Sample some wine and enjoy a free screening of popular films each Tuesday night at this classic lounge atop the historic Mark Hopkins Hotel. Arrive early to soak in the spectacular 360-degree views of the city. Where: Top of the Mark at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, 999 California Street, San Francisco. When: Tuesdays through August 26, 2014. Wine tasting at 5:30pm. Movie starts at 7:30pm.
July 22, 2014 – The Blind Side (2009)
July 29, 2014 – Pretty Woman (1990)
August 5, 2014 – Bull Durham (1988)
August 12, 2014 – My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
August 19, 2014 – Field of Dreams (1989)
August 26, 2014 – When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Wednesday: Free Belgian Waffle from b.Street Waffles (Financial District)
These aren’t waffles plucked from the frozen food aisle of the grocery store. No siree, Bob! These are freshly-made, gourmet, Belgian-style street waffles with sumptuous flavors baked right in. A different flavor is featured each month such as Apple-Cinnamon, Pumpkin, and Snickerdoodle. Where: Capital One 360 Café, 101 Post Street, San Francisco. When: First Wednesday of each month; 9am - 11am (or while supplies last).
Thursday: Doggy Yappy Hour at K9 Scrub Hub (Noe Valley)
Doesn’t your doggy deserve some chow, too? Grab your four-legged friend and head over to the K9 Scrub Hub’s weekly social hour. Indulge in free refreshments and treats – both the human and canine kind – and mingle with plenty of other dog-friendly folks. Where: 1734 Church Street, San Francisco. When: Every Thursday 6pm – 7pm.
Friday: Alisha's Home Cookin' Happy Hour at The Riptide (Sunset District)
Self-proclaimed as the “Bay Area's best little honky-tonk by the beach,” The Riptide has been around since 1941 and serves up potent drinks in a friendly, rustic atmosphere. Happy Hour occurs weeknights from 4-7pm and features drink specials and free eats. Stop by on Fridays to taste comfort food favorites like chicken pot pie, tater tot casserole and chili con carne – all free. Where: 3639 Taraval Street, San Francisco.: Every Friday 4pm – 7pm, or until it’s gone.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Los Angeles: Hello Kitty Con 2014 – A Purrfect Celebration

Hello Kitty, the adorable feline first introduced to the world in 1974, turns 40 this year. Its maker, Sanrio, is planning a major celebration to mark the occasion. It’s the first ever Hello Kitty Convention, aptly named Hello Kitty Con. It will be held in Los Angeles October 30 – November 2, 2014 and will include classes and workshops, lectures and panel discussions, and additional Hello Kitty themed activities. Vintage Hello Kitty products will be on display and shoppers will be able to purchase one-of-a-kind items exclusive to the convention. Fans will be able to meet and snap photos with Hello Kitty and enjoy refreshments from some of the trendiest food trucks in Los Angeles. Seems like a purrfect way to spend the day.
More Information: Hello Kitty Con 2014
Where: The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA
Date/Time: October 30 – November 2, 2014, 10am – 7pm daily
Tickets: Adults $30/day, Children (Age 6-12 years) $20/day. Children 5 years and under are free. (Limit 4 free children per paying adult). Note: All children under 13 must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Coronado: Coastal Living Showhouse 2014 – Peek Inside

Coastal Living Showhouse 2014 in Coronado (Rendering by Dorian Lytle)
Just across the bridge from San Diego is the quaint island community of Coronado. Its pristine, white sand beaches have been voted the best in America and its tree-lined neighborhoods whisper of utopia. It’s no surprise, then, that Coastal Living Magazine has chosen Coronado to be the site of its 2014 Showhouse, a coastal home intended to spotlight the best in construction, design and décor.
Situated on Coronado’s Sunset Park, the 4,500 square-foot home features five bedrooms and has stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The home was designed and built by Coronado-based Flagg Coastal Homes. The interior design was handled by Burnham Design of Los Angeles and the landscape architect is San Diego-based Topia Land. Two items worth noting: Of the nearly 30 previous homes Coastal Living has selected to showcase, this is the very first one on the West Coast. Additionally, whereas developers typically sell the showhouse after it’s been on display, this house will not go on the market. Instead, its owners, who’ve participated in design decisions, will take up residence in the multi-million dollar home.
This beautiful showhouse will be featured in the October issue of Coastal Living Magazine. The public is invited to tour the home starting July 16, 2014. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation (the Navy SEALS are based in Coronado).
More Information: Coastal Living Showhouse 2014
Location: 100 Ocean Blvd., Coronado, CA 92118
Dates: July 16 - September 28, 2014
Times: Wednesdays through Sundays, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Tickets: $25 per person

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Baker: World’s Tallest Thermometer Heats up Again

World's Tallest Thermometer in 2005, Baker, CA (photo:M.Matchity)
If you’ve driven between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, undoubtedly you’ve spotted the enormous thermometer rising above a cluster of gas stations and fast-food outlets in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The iconic structure located in Baker, is, in fact, the World’s Tallest Thermometer. It’s been non-operational for a few years, but that all changes today. The thermometer will once again illuminate the triple-digit temperatures of summer, much to the delight of inquisitive travelers!
The 134-foot tall thermometer was the brainchild of Willis Heron, a local businessman. He wanted to commemorate a heat record set on July 10, 1913 when the temperature soared to 134 degrees in Death Valley. So in 1991, the 13-story structure was built, capable of displaying a maximum temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit, the same as the record. It was an instant tourist attraction for obvious reasons. Over the years the tower changed ownership, fell into disrepair and in 2012 the lights of the thermometer were permanently darkened due to high electric bills. In March 2014, members of the Heron family regained ownership of the structure and have been working feverously to restore it at to a tune of about $150,000.
The lights of the giant thermometer will be turned on this afternoon to celebrate the 101st anniversary of the hottest day on earth; however, an official “grand opening” is set later this year in October.
The World’s Tallest Thermometer is located at 72157 Baker Blvd. in Baker, California. It’s visible from Interstate 15 and can be reached via Exit 246. Visitors can purchase souvenirs from an adjacent gift shop.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lassen Volcanic National Park: RentMyTent Camping Ease

Lassen Volcanic National Park
Are you a first-time camper wanting to experience the outdoors but don’t want to buy camping gear until you’re certain you’ll like it? Or maybe you love camping, but dread hauling, setting up and taking down your own tent. Listen up, then. The new RentMyTent program at Lassen Volcanic National Park is just for you.  Starting today, visitors to the park can rent a clean 17’ x 9’ Coleman “Adventure” tent for four, set up and ready to be enjoyed upon arrival. No need to take it down when you leave – that will be done for you, too. The cost is $67 per night (plus the standard $18 per night campsite fee) and also includes two deluxe cots, two steel deck camper chairs, and a battery operated lantern. Just bring your own sleeping bags and cooking gear. You don’t want to lug those items either? You can rent them for an additional cost.
The RentMyTent program has a two-night minimum and reservations must be made at least four days prior to arrival. To start the process, reserve a tent site in Loops A or C of the Manzanita Lake Campground in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Once completed, call 530-335-7557 or email California Parks Co. to reserve your RentMyTent package.
Lassen Volcanic National Park covers 106,000 acres of spectacular scenery and has over 150 miles of hiking trails. It’s the only place in the world where you’ll find all four types of volcanoes in one place. The focal point of the park is Lassen Peak (10,457 feet), the largest plug dome volcano in the world.  Nearest major airports include Sacramento (165 miles away) and Reno, Nevada (180 miles away).
More Information: Lassen Volcanic National Park
Mailing Address: PO Box 100, Mineral, CA 96063
Phone (Visitor Center): 530-595-4480, 9am-5pm daily
Park operates year-round, 24 hours per day

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Yosemite: Range of Light Film Festival

El Capitan and Merced River inYosemite Valley. Range of Light Film Festival Feb. 27 - Mar. 2, 2014
El Capitan in Yosemite National Park
One hundred and fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln recognized the beauty of the Yosemite Valley and vowed to keep it in its natural state, free from development. He signed the Yosemite Land Grant, ensuring that 39,000 acres of the Yosemite Valley and nearby Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias would be set aside for “public use, resort and recreation.” That act is believed to have given birth to the idea of the national park system.

To commemorate this milestone in the park’s history, Yosemite National Park is hosting the Range of Light Film Festival, a “mid-winter celebration of film, music, storytelling, conservation, art and adventure.” It takes place February 27 to March 2, 2014 at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center’s theater and auditorium. The theme of the event is "150 Years of Yosemite."

More than a dozen films, ranging from shorts to feature-length movies, will be screened, including “El Capitan,’” a digitally remastered, award-winning film from 1968 that’s recognized as one of the best climbing films of its kind. Also of note is a new documentary directed and narrated by Ken Burns called “Yosemite: A Gathering of Spirit,” about the Yosemite Land Grant signed by Lincoln. In addition to the screenings, there will also be artist and filmmaker panels, and live musical performances.
More Information: Range of Light Film Festival
Yosemite Valley Auditorium, 9035 Village Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Phone: 209-372-0200
Dates: February 27 – March 2, 2014
Tickets: $10 to $30**
Lodging Discounts: 10%-15% with promo code ROLFF. Call 801-559-5057.
**Thursday night's screening of 100 years of Yosemite on Film and Yosemite: Fate of Heaven is a free event, open to the public.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Anaheim: SoCal Residents Save at Disney Parks

Discounts for Southern California residents at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure
Disney offers discounts to SoCal Residents
Disney discount tickets are back for SoCal residents! After a year’s absence, Disney has brought back its popular multi-day discount ticket packages to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for folks living in the Southern California region. You must reside in ZIP codes 90000-93599 (or Northern Baja California ZIP codes 21000-22999) to take advantage of the savings; proof of residency is required for purchase and admission. Here’s a breakdown of the ticket packages:
$129: 2-day ticket with your choice of one park per day
$164: 2-day Park Hopper ticket
$159: 3-day ticket with your choice of one park per day
$194: 3-day Park Hopper ticket
Each of the 3-day ticket packages also includes one Magic Morning early admission to Disneyland.
Tickets must be purchased by May 30, 2014 and are valid through June 6, 2014 (blackout dates apply March 31 to April 20, 2014). You may purchase up to 5 tickets per person per day with valid ID. For additional information or to purchase SoCal Resident Tickets, visit the Disney Parks website.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

San Francisco & Los Angeles: Edwardian Ball & World’s Faire

Edwardian Ball - an elegant and whimsical celebration of art, music, theatre, fashion, technology, circus, and the beloved creations of the late, great author Edward Gorey
Are you in a party mood, but tired of the same hum-drum get-togethers? You may want to check out the Edwardian Ball & World’s Faire, an eclectic event that’s anything but mundane. This annual bash celebrates the life and works of writer Edward Gorey, known for his illustrated books, but that’s only the beginning. The party is a mish-mash of music, dance, theater, art, fashion, gaming, and circus, where party-goers are encouraged to dress in costume – and that they do! It’s kind of like Dickens meets Goth meets Roaring 20’s, with a little top-hat and lace thrown in for elegance.
Edwardian Ball & World's Faire San Francisco and Los Angeles
The Edwardian World’s Fair takes place on Friday, January 17 in San Francisco and is less formal and a little more rambunctious than the Edwardian Ball which occurs on Saturday, January 18 in San Francisco and also Saturday, February 8 in Los Angeles. 
Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94109
Date/Time: Friday & Saturday, January 17 & 18, 2014, 8:00pm
Tickets: $40-$50 General Admission; $80-$95 VIP (All prices increase $5 at the door)
Phone: 415-673-5716
Parking: Validated flat rate of $14 at Holiday Inn Garage, located at 1500 Van Ness. Limited street parking. Closest BART station is Civic Center.
The Fonda Theatre, 6126 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Date/Time: Saturday, February 8, 2014, 8:00pm
Tickets: $45 General Admission, $75 VIP
Phone: 323-464-0808
Parking: Several parking lots are located next to and near the theater. Prices vary.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Coronado: Hotel del Coronado - Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea at historic Hotel del Coronado. Holiday music, skating overlooking Pacific Ocean.
Skating by the Sea at Hotel del Coronado
Spend a day on a Southern California beach ice skating – yes, ice skating! The historic Hotel del Coronado has transformed its expansive Windsor Lawn into an oceanfront ice rink for the holidays. You can skate under the warm San Diego sun with a view of the Pacific Ocean and later enjoy holiday music and a warm drink while viewing a crimson sunset. You’d be hard pressed to find a more stunning location for this outdoor skate zone, so grab your blades and join in on the fun. Skating by the Sea is in its ninth year and runs until January 5, 20014.
More Information: Skating by the Sea  
Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, CA 92118
Phone: 619-435-6611
Date/Time: Daily through January 5, 2014; 11am-1pm, 1:30-3:30pm, 4-6pm and 7-9pm.
Cost: $23 per adult, $18 per child (ages 10 and under) for 2-hour session. Skate rental included or $5 discount if you wear your own ice skates.
A portion of the skating proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego.