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California

  • Tahoe may have all the glory when it comes to California skiing, but an easy 5-6 hour drive from Los Angeles and San Diego lies Mammoth Mountain, one of the hottest ski destinations in the west and it is just perfect for an awesome guys weekend.

    If you don't feel like driving and the possibility of putting chains on - there are fast cheap flights from LAX and SAN that go right to Mammoth via Alaska Air including 6 and 10-pack deals starting at only $480 from Las Vegas, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

  • San Diego is an awesome town that is sometimes forgotten about or dismissed as simply a surf town, but what I have discovered over the past year is that there is an incredible amount of awesome things to do here beyond the beach including touring some of the almost 100 craft breweries, exploring vineyards in nearby Temecula and Romona, as well as visiting the Zoo, touring historic military ships and some of the best burgers and tacos in the country.

  • The Gaslamp District is the destination to go for nightlife in San Diego. It's the place to be seen and it's no surprise that it is home to some of the most popular restaurants in the city. Last night I had the pleasure of dining at Acqua Al 2 for an opportunity to taste my way through it's delicious cuisine direct from Florence Italy.

    Many Italian restaurants trace their inspiration back to Italian roots and Acqua Al 2 is no different - except that they actually have a location in Florence itself. Many years ago, owner and Executive Chef, Martin Gonzalez went to Italy to learn Italian and better understand the customs and way of life. To do so, he enrolled in cooking classes at the prestigious Instituto Culinario Apicius where he was award the title of "Best Student". 

  • Josefas Cocina Mexicana is a brand new addition to La Jolla from the same folks that brought us Iberico. As part of it's opening, I was invited to stop by for a lunch to check it out and share my thoughts.

    For the past year, I have been moaning that the San Diego restaurant scene sucks - and so a few PR teams ganged up on me to convince me that I just had bad luck in picking places. While I still stand beside my earlier comments, I am starting to discover that while San Diego doesn't celebrate - or demand - a certain high level of sophistication from its restaurants compared to the prices charged,... there are some fantastic gems. 

  • I love big over the top burgers, rock and roll, craft beer, and honoring those who serve to keep our country the best in the entire world! When a place manages to combine all of those into one tasty (if not extremely messy!) package I love to share the news of it with you guys.

  • The folks at Islands Restaurants invited me out for a happy hour last night to watch the Chiefs and Patriots game... no, I wasn't up north... I was in warm sunny San Diego and we do football happy hours different down here.

    For those of you outside of Southwest US (California, Nevada, Arizona), Islands is a casual American style restaurant / sports pub similar to Fridays or Applebees but with an awesome Hawaiian theme, great burgers, tiki cocktails, and frankly super gracious staff.

  • El Agave - it's the plant that when processed makes such delicious products such as agave syrup and tequila. In this case though, it is the name of one of San Diego's finest Mexican restaurants. For those of you who think "Mexican" is just tacos and burritos you are missing out on the fact that Mexico cuisines is as diverse as any other with influences from Europe as well as indigenous cooking techniques and plants.

    I have seen El Agave several times as it is located above one of my favorite liquor stores in Old Town San Diego. However I didn't know much about it until the PR folks contacted me recently and invited Heather and I to check it out.

  • A scene from Top Gun was filmed here, their bartender loves to create artisanal tequila cocktails and to top it off, San Diego Magazine's readers just named their chef, Accursio Lota, as "Best Chef" in San Diego - so who was I to say no when they approached us recently and invited us to stop by for dinner!

    Honestly, I am not typically a fan of Italian because I usually associate it with kitschy bottles chianti, heavy but tasteless spaghetti sauce covered pasta and pictures of the pope or mobsters on the walls. Over the past couple years though I am starting to warm up to it. What I discovered at San Diego's Solare Ristorante was a delightful interpretation of classic Italian but merged with the essence of the Southern California farm-to-table movement.

  • Last month, Heather and I set forth to escape the summer heat in San Diego and head north to Carmel-by-the-Sea, located just south of San Francisco. Our host on this trip was the absolutely beautiful Carmel Country Inn, a bed and breakfast that offered us a 2 bedroom suite.

  • You've been to beer fests and wine festivals but there aren't that many spirits festivals that are open to the public unfortunately. If you are a fan of spirits and craft cocktails it seems that you're passion is best explored at a bar buying expensive cocktails and new liquors only to find out that you made an expensive mistake and are forced to either finish or let it go to waste.

    The San Diego Spirits Festival on the other hand offers new as well as seasoned fans a chance to explore spirits brand new to the market as well as celebrate with friends over tasters of familiar friends like Don Julio, Stoli, and Woodford Reserve. 

  • There's no shortage of awesome beer festivals in San Diego and since we have some of the most talented brewers in the world it is never boring to see the same cast of characters week after week.

    However, it is always exciting to see something different and that's exactly what Sierra Nevada delivered with their Beer Camp Across America tour this summer.

  • A trip to a salon might seem like a strange idea for a guys weekend activity but that's just what we did recently at the newly opened 18/8 Fine Men's Salon in North County San Diego and it was a blast! If the idea of doing something to make yourself look and feel good seems like something more for the girls than the guys, you should think again.

    Years ago, the concept of the "metrosexual" was talked about, but today it's just something that a lot of guys enjoy without worrying about labels. As such, entrepreneurs are starting to create specific locations that cater to guys with an environment that is for the average guy. While there are GREAT places like Grooming Lounge in DC and SIR Spa in Chicago, I haven't found a mass-market product with locations across the country that was designed to pamper guys with not just a great haircut, shave, or facial but a chance to relax before hand while sipping a beer and watching the game. 

  • Baseball season is finally here and so it's time to welcome the boys of summer back home from their spring training camps in Arizona and Florida.

    To make things even better, the San Diego CVB is offering a contest where you can win air fare, hotel and tickets to a Padres game! Check out some photos from our visit to Petco Park on Sunday...

     

  • an interview with San Diego Tourism about Social Media @ManTrippingThis is the first of an ongoing series talking about social media and the travel industry. I find it fascinating that there is a whole industry devoted to semi-professional travel blogging today, yet almost no one ever asks "what are they looking for". On the other side, the PR people at the travel brands are almost afraid to ask us for specifics out of concern that it may cause a bad reaction or interfere with the individual telling the story.

    To help shed some light on this challenge I set out to interview a series of 10 travel brands that work with bloggers to learn more about what they are looking for when working with bloggers as well as social media in general.

     

     

  • California is an amazing state with astonishing natural beauty that is sometimes overshadowed by the urban centers of San Francisco, LA, and San Diego. To experience the true majesty of California though you need to pack up the car and go exploring! 

    The following are a few of our favorite natural places that you MUST visit...

  • Seasons 52 Logo and CocktailSan Diego has a new Seasons 52 and we were invited last week to do a preview of the new location in The Headquarters (located right between the Gas Lamp and Sea Port Village). In addition to a seven course tasting menu we were also treated to a preview of their plans for Thanksgiving and some of the new "winter menu" items that will be rolling out nationally over the next few weeks.

    For those of you who are not familiar with the Seasons 52, the concept is a fresh grill and wine bar featuring over 100 wines, including 52+ that are available by the glass. Additionally, their other claim to fame is that no menu item is more than 475 calories - something that we were assured is true, despite the fact that our dinner was rich in flavor.

  • There's more to cruising than the big three - (Carnival, Royal, and NCL) and I have been wanting to try Princess for quite a while, but never had the opportunity. Last month, we took a quick weekend escape out of Los Angeles on the Golden Princess and finally got to experience what it means to "Escape Completely".

    The Golden Princess is a grand class ship, measuring 109,000 gross tons and carrying 2,600 passengers (double occupancy) plus 1,100 crew members.

    Princess launched Golden in 2001, but retrofitted the ship in 2009.

  • header-image-logoIt's almost halloween but that doesn't mean that horror season is almost over. In fact, one of the coolest and freakiest events I have ever come across is still a few months away!

    The Great Horror Campout is held every year in the Los Angeles State Historic Park and it certainly takes "camping" to a completely new level!

  • beer-festival-headerWant a chance to win one of two prize packages - 2 tickets to the California Beer Festival on Sept. 7 in San Dimas?

    Keep reading for more information on how to win...

  • Big Bear is more than just a winter escape in Southern California! Check out the Snow Summit Adventure Park, introducing Ziplining and Mountain Bike Park. Snow Summit Adventure Park Introduces Ziplining and Mountain Bike Park

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