La Jolla restaurant briefs: Piedmont wine dinner at Catania, BrunchCon and George’s Level 2
by MARTIN JONES WESTLIN
Published - 02/24/18 - 07:08 PM | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The bar at George’s Level 2, now out with a cookbook/bar recipes.
The bar at George’s Level 2, now out with a cookbook/bar recipes.
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Catania to repeat Piedmont wine dinner amid popular demand Catania liked it so much the first time that it’s doing it again. The La Jolla eatery, which specializes in coastal Italian fare and wood-fired pizza, will hold its second in a bimonthly series of wine dinners featuring different regions of Italy on Monday, April 30. Amid popular demand, this is a repeat of the restaurant’s Feb. 19 premiere event. That installment featured wines from Piedmont, a northern region famous for Barolo and Barbaresco. The April event will seat 80, doubling the February capacity. The cost is $105 per person, including tax and tip. Sicily and Tuscany are among the regions of focus in the months ahead. Catania is located at 7863 Girard Ave. For more, see cataniasd.com or call 858-551-5105. BrunchCon to feature four La Jolla eateries BrunchCon, a food and drink festival touting all things brunch-worthy, will feature fare from four La Jolla restaurants on Sunday, March 4 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, 1000 North Harbor Drive. Some 30 regional eateries will participate in the Los Angeles-based event, now in its third year. The San Diego date is the event’s first for 2018; other stops include San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Miami, Austin, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The event closes Aug.19. A BrunchCon Market and a so-called Museum of Brunch will feature vendors, goods and products associated with the popular late-morning repast. Lawn games and a disc jockey are set as well. The $45 and $85 tickets include one brunch bite from each of the vendors and admission to the open mimosa and Bloody Mary bars. Attendees must be 21 or older. La Jolla-area participants include the Richard Walker’s Pancake House La Jolla location; Snooze, an A.M. Eatery; La Clochette du Coin; and Farmer & the Seahorse.  For more information, call 619686-8027, or visit brunchcon.com. George’s Level 2 releases cocktail history/recipe book George’s Level2, the cocktail bar arm of La Jolla’s acclaimed George’s at the Cove restaurant, has now tried its hand at publishing, having launched “Neighborhoods of San Diego,” a hardbound book that also functions as the bar’s cocktail list. The book, inspired by those about notable bars in other large cities, was created by Level2 bartender Stephen Kurpinsky, who primarily supplied the images. Managers Sam Peters and Christian Ortiz assisted on the project.   The book is available for purchase from the bar at $25. George’s Level2 is located at 1250 Prospect St. Four La Jolla restaurants make AAA 4-diamond list Four La Jolla restaurants are among 13 San Diego County venues to receive this year’s AAA four- or AAA five-diamond awards for their excellence over the past 12 months, according to a Feb. 21 statement from the Automobile Club of Southern California. La Jolla’s A. R. Valentien (The Lodge at Torrey Pines), Donovan’s Chop & Steak House, George’s at the Cove and The Marine Room made the four-diamond list. Del Mar’s Addison received a five-star rating. Just 0.2 percent of the more than 31,000 AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants are five-diamond-rated restaurants. To qualify for four diamonds, a restaurant must provide creatively prepared, skillfully served fare, often by a wine steward, amid upscale ambiance. The auto club’s full-time inspection staff brings prior hospitality industry experience and applies that experience to give members information that meets their travel desires. For a five-star rating, a restaurant will consistently provide leading-edge cuisine of the finest ingredients, uniquely prepared by an acclaimed chef and served by expert service staff in extraordinary surroundings. “Guests want to learn about cooking techniques, fresh ingredients and trends,” said Patty Marenco, manager of the auto club’s approved accommodations program. “They are looking for a wide-ranging dining experience that includes being entertained. No longer does world-class necessarily mean formal attire and opulent surroundings. And that’s where AAA’s diamond ratings can help guide the discerning diner.” The rating system provides consumers with the broadest coverage of any U.S. rating system, geographically and by the number of properties rated, including the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The county’s four-diamond establishments include San Diego’s Avant, Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop, Mister A’s, Veladora and Grant Grill; Alpine’s The Grove Steakhouse; Carlsbad’s Vivace and Argyle Steakhouse; and Mille Fleurs, in Rancho Santa Fe.. In all, 40 Southern California venues made the four- or five-diamond cut.
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Jbettles
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February 24, 2018
Excited to see some alternate modes of transportation in PB! However, it seems the cart came before the horse with inadequate bike lanes for the big increase in bicycle/scooter usage. Perhaps these companies should be taxed to pay for new bike lanes? Would love to see some safe protected bike lanes around PB. Maybe this is a first start in making that happen.
New owners of Fitness West vow to keep core values
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 02/24/18 - 12:00 PM | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Passing of the guard at Fitness West in PB. From left are Peter and Paul Dufour, Shari Simpson, and Brian Curry. 		 DAVE SCHWAB / BEACH & BAY PRESS
Passing of the guard at Fitness West in PB. From left are Peter and Paul Dufour, Shari Simpson, and Brian Curry. DAVE SCHWAB / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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The new owners of Fitness West vow to retain the old-school approach and charm that has made the gym a fixture in Pacific Beach for more than 30 years. Both longtime members of the fitness center, new co-owners Brian Curry and Shari Simpson recently took over operation of the facility, on the second floor at 1880 Garnet Ave. in Pacific Plaza II Shopping Center. They bought it from Paul and Peter Dufour, who’d run the gym since 1985. “It’s a gym for locals, it’s not corporate and it’s always been family owned,” said Curry, of the profile of the 1,200-member fitness center. “People come here because its more than just a gym: It’s a social thing.” “It took years,” joked previous owner Paul Dufour, about he and his brother selling the club to Simpson-Curry. “Some days I’d just come in here and say, ‘Hey guys, when do you want to sell?,’” said Curry. “It went on for years, no high pressure. I’d had one year of retirement, not working, and then it worked out perfectly. [The Dufours] finally came out and said, ‘We’re ready.’ So on Jan. 1, we did it.” “It was time,” said Paul Dufour of relinquishing ownership.  “This was their baby,” pointed out Simpson. Of their stewardship of the gym, Paul Dufour, said: “We tried to make it comfortable for everyone. Those serious could come in here and get a serious workout. We’d also spend a lot of time with the people just starting out.” About the gym’s trademark collegiality, Simpson commented: “A good example is a Zumba class here. We also have a broad range of all ages, all types. It’s just a really friendly gym. And there’s a strong sense of community within the walls.” “If you ask any member what they like about it, they’ll probably say, ‘We just like the people,’” said Curry. “That’s what it’s about.”  Fitness West has a wide assortment of exercise equipment including elliptical machines, treadmills, stairclimbers, Lifecycles, rowing machines, free weights and a complete collection of Nautilus equipment.  The fitness studio also offers group exercise classes, such as: boot camp cross training, yoga, spinning cycling, core and strength training, Zumba and Pilates. The gym has no long-term contracts, offering month-to-month memberships instead. Personal training is available. Working in the real estate industry for 30 years, Curry said it was time for a change for him too. “The only gym I wanted to buy was this one,” he said. “I wanted it in PB.” Of Fitness West and its drawing power, Simpson predicted continuity is what will keep the gym going. “[The Dufours] had been in business for more than 30 years and they’d seen so many trends come and go,” she said. “It’s a neighborhood gym. We have the basics. We have the standards. We have the community. We keep the classes up to date. We always keep it fresh.” “We’re the same gym, the same brand,” said Curry. “We’re going to be here for a while.” Fitness West Where: Pacific Plaza II 1880 Garnet Ave. Hours: Mondays through Thursdays 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fridays 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sundays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Info: fitnesswestpb.com, 858-272-9378
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Mission Bay water polo player Olivia Martinet – a force for the Bucs this season
by DAVE THOMAS
Published - 02/24/18 - 11:50 AM | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mission Bay water polo player Olivia Martinet
Mission Bay water polo player Olivia Martinet
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As the Mission Bay water polo team (co-City League champions) was battling Point Loma in the CIF Division III semifinals earlier this week, one member of the team in particular had a reason to smile. In soon concluding her scholastic career in the water, senior Olivia Martinet can definitely say it has been worth the time and effort. Martinet, whose later father was a Pacific Beach resident and played men’s water polo at Mesa College, is one of several key members of this year’s Bucs squad. Along with fellow senior Kiley Knight, junior Izanna Hypse, and sophomore goalie Callie McClain, Martinet has been a driving force for Mission Bay. “Olivia is a joy to have on the team,” said head coach John Knight. “She is a very hard worker and never misses practice. She scores goals every game and does a great job playing defense on the set.”  Beach & Bay Press caught up with Martinet for an interview before the Bucs lost in their playoff meeting with the Pointers on Feb. 19. Beach & Bay Press - How did you get interested in water polo? Olivia Martinet - Well I’ve pretty much been a swimmer my whole life thanks to my dad, who was so eager to get me in the water at such a young age. I have always loved the water and was always intrigued by a sport with a ball. One day my dad decided he wanted to take me to watch a game when I was around 8 years old. I had never seen a water polo game before and after watching I was immediately interested and wanted to give it a try. My dad signed me up for club and I fell in love with the sport and have been playing ever since.  BBP: What has the experience been like for you playing at MBHS and under coach Knight? Martinet - Coach John has been my coach the past three years and I can honestly say there has been such an improvement in the aquatics program at Mission Bay since he has taken over. I have known coach Knight my whole life and it has been so awesome to be coached by him because he is someone I am close with, and he was one of my dad’s best friends. He is so passionate about this sport and especially coaching it and has done so much to help me become a great player. I have had such an amazing experience these past three years with him as my coach I feel like I have grown and learned so much as a water polo player as well as a team player.  BBP - How much of an influence did your family have on you both in water polo and life in general? Martinet - My family has had such a huge influence on me in water polo as well as my whole life. I think my dad had planned for me to play polo before I was even born; he is the whole reason that I got so into it in the first place. My dad played water polo in high school and college, and when I started playing, it became something really special that we got to do together and bond over. I think that made me love the sport even more. My family has always been so supportive of me and my career in this sport and done so much to help me pursue it, especially my mom who has always been so involved and no matter what been to all of my games to cheer me on. Playing this sport makes me so happy because I know how much it meant to my dad that I played, and I know he would be so excited to see how far I have come in this sport.  BBP - What has been special about playing with these girls on the team the last few years? Martinet - What has been so special about playing with these girls the past few years is that I have had such a great experience with all of them. We have all gotten so much closer each year and grown so much as a team. I have never been on a team like this one. We all push each other and motivate one another to be better and enjoy the sport. This year especially has been so great, because it is my senior year and we have all come so far and improved so much. I’m excited because we made the CIF playoffs this year and it was the first time I played in CIF since I’ve been at Mission Bay. This group of girls is all so talented and motivated and I can’t wait to hear of all the great things they do next year when I’m gone. BBP - Are you planning on college and even playing water polo at that level? Martinet - As of now my plan is to go to college next year, but I’m not quite sure where yet. Playing water polo in college is not in my plans as of right now but is something that I am definitely interested and open to. I guess I will see what happens. I definitely want to continue playing this sport because I enjoy it so much. Maybe I will play for a school’s club team. I have really enjoyed being a leader for my team and I would maybe even like to coach someday.  BBP - For any young girls in the Mission Bay area interested in water polo, what advice would you have for them in coming out for team tryouts next season? Martinet - For any girls who think they might be interested in playing polo, my advice to them would be to definitely try it out, and to not be discouraged by the difficulty of it at first or the things they have heard about the sport. Water polo is not an easy sport but it is such a fun and exciting game. You might get beat up a little but in the end you have so much fun and fall in love with the sport.  For Martinet, her dad would in fact be quite proud of what she has done in and out of the water. Editor’s note: If you know of a current Mission Bay High athlete who would make a good feature story, contact Dave Thomas at hoopsthomas@yahoo.com.
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McKellar stars in Hallmark film, releases mathematics book
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 02/24/18 - 09:30 AM | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Danica McKellar's new book, "Don't Pick Up This Math Book," was recently released. She also starred in Hallmark's "Very Very Valentine."
Danica McKellar's new book, "Don't Pick Up This Math Book," was recently released. She also starred in Hallmark's "Very Very Valentine."
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La Jolla native, and star of the television series “The Wonder Years,” Danica McKellar, is a New York Times-bestselling author, actress and major proponent of mathematics. Her books, “Goodnight, Numbers,” “Ten Magic Butterflies,” “Bathtime Mathtime,” and her most recent work, “Do Not Open This Math Book,” aim to instill a love of math in both young girls and boys. La Jolla Village News recently caught up with McKellar via email to chat about her acting career, her recent Hallmark film, and, of course, all things math. LJVN: Hi Danica. Please tell us about this new book of yours, "Do Not Open This Math Book,” that just came out. What was it’s purpose?  DM: As in all my math books, my purpose is to turn kids’ attitudes about math at a young age away from a negative and into a positive. Particularly for young girls who for too long have been told that for their future, math is not important; if they are struggling with math, it’s ok to give up. This book obviously is purposed to get them cozy and confident with math at a very young age. LJVN: Where did you draw your inspiration from to write this book?  DM: Growing up, I saw it happening, a double standard for boys and girls. The inspiration coalesced when I was asked to testify before a congressional committee on science and technology in DC as to why there aren’t as many women in science and technology as there are men. Much to the surprise of the congressmen, I told them the division starts in fifth grade, and by the time they enter college it is too late to change them. The cultural damage is done long before. This was a surprise to the congressmen, who then asked me what I might do to change that. From that experience, my inspiration was drawn. LJVN: What would you like to see happen with this book now moving forward?  DM: I’d like to see every mom and dad in the world read it to their kids every night at bedtime. LJVN: Tell us about this Hallmark Channel Valentine’s movie that you’re in.  DM: I love working with the Hallmark people from top to bottom. “Very Very Valentine” is another wholesome Hallmark movie that the whole family can watch and enjoy together. LJVN: It must be an exciting life to be both an author and a working actor. Tell us something about that. You must be really busy.  DM: I am a busy person, but I enjoy every moment of my professional career. I admit “Dancing with the Stars” added a whole new level of busy, but I got it done. Hard work allows me to be productive, and ironically also allows me to do the most important thing- spending a lot of time with my husband, Scott, and my son, Draco. LJVN: We have to admit to being big fans of your work on “The Wonder Years” and apologize if we, like everyone else, ask about it. We know that was a long time ago. DM: You’re forgiven. LJVN: Anyway, how did you break into acting as a child actress?  DM: My mom somehow knew that my sister, Crystal, and I would take to the stage (my father taught us early the joys of being a ham), and took us unceasingly to dance, acting and singing classes, and then to auditions in LA beginning when I was 6 and Crystal was 4. LJVN: You must have been like 6-to 10-years-old early-on during “The Wonder Years.” DM: I was 12 in the pilot episode. LJVN: It’s often a very difficult transition for child stars later in life. Some never seem to make the transition and a soft landing. Seems like you have been able to avoid that. DM: As a math advocate and an author, did being multi-faceted like that help you transition into adulthood. Thanks to the love and support of my family, I never had a problem with that.  I was, however, very gratified that at UCLA I began to be identified for my math instead of for my role in “The Wonder Years.” LJVN: Even the biggest stars have to compete for roles, have ups and downs in their careers, etc. Tell us something about that, please.  DM: Someday I’ll write a book about it. You’ll have to wait until then. LJVN: You have been mostly on TV. Is that easier to navigate than landing a Hollywood movie role? Easier to get a job, etc. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about future endeavors you have planned, in terms of writing or acting or whatever. Thanks so much for your time!  DM: Big screen movies difficult to get? Well, I turned down “Titanic,” “Wonder Woman,” and most roles played by Reese Witherspoon. Seriously, I see my future as more of the same, I love everything about making Hallmark movies and writing math books for kids and teens. But then, who knows what the future may bring?
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