Welk Resorts: It’s Not Your Grandad’s
Resorts is not the Welk Resort of your grandad’s day! For one
thing, although there are many timeshare members of the resort (and
many of them are young marrieds), most of the facility is open to the
For example the ultra-luxurious Villas, which have things like 600–1,400
square foot rooms with a big Jacuzzi tub, balconies and patios, is open
to the public, and at nightly rates that are competitive with any hotels
in the area. What that means is that you don’t have to reserve
a week or bloc of nights. You can stay for a one night getaway if that’s
That’s one of the best kept secrets of the region, and one that
Welk’s wants to blow open the lid on!
When you stay at Welk’s you get access to the two 18-hole golf
courses (including one that has been rated as the “most challenging
executive golf course in San Diego”), five recreation centers,
eight pools, two water slides and an interactive splash zone.
There are daily activities throughout the week for all ages. There is
also a full service day spa that offers facials and massage seven days
a week. You don’t have to be a guest to use these services, although
guests get a discount.
The Welk Resorts Theatre has departed from its traditional long-run
plays and is throwing six new variety shows into the mix, beginning
with the new Big Band events held every Monday night, which began on
Josh Carr, director of the theater, took a few moments from his busy
week to talk about what’s going on at the theater.
“We’re very excited about the Big Band nights,” he
said. The dance event will be held in the theater lobby. For those who
have been to Welk’s before, that’s the room where they have
the giant champagne glass and all of the Lawrence Welk memorabilia.
It costs $20 per person.
Other variety shows that will be offered include magic shows, a ventriloquist
and the ever-popular Alley Cats for the holidays.
The variety shows will appeal to thrifty people by offering a half-priced
ticket if a full-priced ticket is purchased.
“We’re trying to recognize the economy with our prices,”
says Carr, “and reaching out to all demographics. We’re
testing the waters to see what works and what doesn’t.”
That doesn’t so much mean discounted tickets as “value-added,”
so that you get more for your dollar.
The first show of the new year will be The Fantasticks, one of the most
beloved musicals ever, which will play Feb. 10–April 3. The Welk
theater seats 332, so every show is an intimate experience.
These will be followed in subsequent weeks by one-woman shows with Debbie
Reynolds, Vicki Lawrence and Debbie Boone, as well as a first at Welk’s:
a series of Bob Eubanks game shows where participants have the chance
to win $100,000! The legendary host Eubanks will bring 12 of these special
game shows, including favorites such as The Match Game and Let’s
Make a Deal, exclusively to Welk’s.
Welk’s recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of its Farmers
Market and Beer Garden that happens every Monday, 1–5 p.m., adjacent
to the resort’s Downtown Plaza.
It has expanded to over 70 vendors, which offer seasonal, locally-grown
fruits and vegetables, organic cooking sauces, homemade jams and
preserves, specialty cooking oils, spices and more. It is the only Certified
Organic Farmers Market held on Monday in the area.
Some vendors offer handmade jewelry and crafts. The Beer Garden offers
a selection of beer and wine so you can cool off after shopping.
Festival Under the Lights
Welk’s recently introduced the Festival Under the Lights on Tuesdays,
6–8:30 p.m., in the Downtown Plaza, adjacent to the theater, for
resort guests and owners.
A live DJ plays a variety of music for all ages, from Big Band to the
new sounds of today. There is a dance floor for those who aren’t
There is a create your own pasta station, chicken and vegetable skewers
and other menu items that include yummy desserts, plus wine and beer.
The Market Place—located in the Downtown Plaza—now carries
over 30 different wines from across the world. The Market Place has
also expanded its spirits selection and added specialty items, such
Starbucks coffees and teas.
The Canyon Grille Restaurant and Bar at the Welk Resorts San Diego recently
introduced the new menus, bringing back some old favorites and adding
new ones. Lounge specials offer a special appetizer and drink each day
of the week, at a special price, from 3–6 p.m.
* * *
Welk Resorts is located at 8860 Lawrence Welk Dr., Escondido. For information,
call 760-749-3000 or visit their Web site at www.welksandiego.com.
Is In The Air!
February—the hallmark month of love, romance, flowers, jewelry,
teddy bears, hearts… and wedding proposals. It is estimated that
of the more than two million couples that get married each year, approximately
10% of them become engaged on Valentine’s Day. This not only means
a lot of wedding proposals this month, but a lot of phone calls for
Once thought to be something strictly for the elite society, wedding
planners have become a very common, affordable and essential component
of today’s weddings, regardless of the couple’s budget.
In fact, most planners offer various service levels and packages (such
as the day of and month prior), to fit within your budget. Whether you
hire a planner the moment you are engaged, or simply for the day of
your event, you will be surprised at just how much work they end up
“We are the first to arrive, the last to leave and we handle everything
in between,” said Hien Tran, Principal Consultant for Artful Affairs,
a local wedding and event planning company. “We negotiate contracts
before the wedding, make sure everything is in place the day of the
wedding and keep things moving during the wedding.”
Tran has coordinated and planned both large and small weddings and said
her goal is the same for all—to piece the hundreds of tiny puzzle
pieces together for a beautiful picture the day of the wedding.
“Every couple deserves to have a memorable, fun and stress-free
wedding,” Tran says. “So much time is spent planning this
amazing day, and so much money has been invested in making it happen.
By their wedding day, the couple has done so much work—all they
should have to do on their wedding day is sit back and absorb being
surrounded with the love of their family and friends.”
Budget Patrol to Guest Control
A wedding planner can wear many different hats. They serve as a liaison
keeping vendors on time, as an accountant keeping the budget in line,
as a counselor keeping emotions in check, and much, much more. One of
the biggest reasons to have a planner is to orchestrate the many people
involved in the wedding, and make sure things happen on schedule.
“We are a central point of contact for all parties at all times,”
Tran said. “We dial everyone in from the photographer to the venue’s
manager. We assume accountability so the couple doesn’t have to
worry about anything and can simply enjoy the moment.”
Piece of mind is priceless when it comes to your wedding day. The best
weddings are the ones that have fires to put out, but nobody ever feels
the heat because the wedding planner has extinguished each fire long
before anyone even knew one was burning. Ever been to a wedding where
the band was late or the cake didn’t arrive? What about the flower
girl throwing a tantrum about holding the ring bearer’s hand?
Or Uncle Jim getting a little too tipsy? A wedding planner takes it
upon his- or herself to avert such crises so the couple and their guests
don’t have to.
“My training and experience have prepared me to handle any unforeseen
circumstances,” Tran said. “I stand behind my couples to
support them, stand in for them when representation is needed, and stand
in front of them to deflect conflict and resolve issues.”
Other than the bride and groom, some of the most important people at
a wedding are the vendors. From the DJ and the florist, to the photographer
and the printer, the best way to ensure a stress-free wedding day is
to know you have contracted dependable companies. Couples are often
inexperienced when it comes to finding the right business and asking
the right questions. Fortunately, a wedding planner has already taken
the steps to filter through to find the best ones.
“A good planner is going to have an army of vendors to go to,”
claims Tran. “It’s important for a planner to have good
relationships with a range of vendors because each couple is different
and is going to want different things. For example, one couple might
want to go with modern floral arrangements while another might want
to go more romantic. I have four or five different florists with different
specialties to accommodate my client’s wishes, and I trust each
The same goes for the entertainment. While some couples want a live
band, others prefer a DJ or a master of ceremonies to hype up the crowd.
There are thousands of musicians and entertainers in San Diego County—it’s
nice to have some direction and guidance to find the right one.
“I’m always confident with my vendors,” Tran said.
“My referral list is based on people that I’ve worked with.
I’ve seen their quality of products and services and know they
Tran also has a list of vendors who can accommodate cross-cultural weddings,
something Artful Affairs specializes in.
“It’s difficult when you are joining two cultures that each
have very distinct ceremonial traditions and expectations,” explained
Tran. “There has to be a balance between the two, especially when
the younger generations don’t want to upset the older generations.”
Tran helps couples meld their cultures together by determining which
traditions are important and which elements the couples wish to have
included in their celebration.
“The main thing for the engaged couple to remember is not to try
so hard to please everyone else,” Tran expressed. “This
day is about them, what they value and what they see happening. Couples
always put so much pressure on themselves to meet some expectation or
another. They lose their focus because they are trying so hard to make
their wedding about their friends and family, when really all anyone
wants to do is celebrate and share their special day with them.”
Artful Affairs is a full-service wedding and event planning company
and is currently booking events for 2011 and 2012. For more information
call Hien Tran at 858-357-4868 or visit www.artfulaffairssd.com.
You can also email email@example.com.
& A with Artful Affairs
What's your favorite part of being involved in other people's weddings?
My favorite part is hearing each client's love story… how they
met, how their relationship developed, the proposal, the decision to
get married and the vision of their upcoming wedding day.
What's the most rewarding part of being a planner?
Having the bride, groom, wedding party and guests say it’s one
of the best weddings they have ever been to.
What other types of events do you enjoy planning?
Anniversary parties are always awesome because couples are taking the
time to value and honor each other. I also like helping to plan proposals
as they are just as unique and personal as the couple.
What are couples most surprised about?
The costs always surprise my clients. It’s daunting to see how
expensive certain things are. Logistics are another surprise. There
are tons of little things to address.
What’s your best advice for a newly-engaged couple?
My best advice to a couple is the constant reminder that their wedding
day is about them—their love, their vision—it’s a
celebration. Oh, and to hire a wedding planner!
Professor Pennypickle’s Workshop
When you step inside the magical Pennypickle’s Workshop in Temecula’s
Old Town, you are entering the “home” of an intriguing figure
who is like Santa Claus, in that few people have ever actually seen
him, although some have heard him talking on the telephone. Note: he
kind of sounds European.
Because your are in his home the look of the place is unique.
Unlike Santa, however, we don’t actually know what Phineas Pennypickle
looks like! If children want to see him or want to know what he is doing
now they will be told, “He’s upstairs working,” or
“He’s time-traveling.” Or up to some other wild and
We do know what his home looks like. And what a home it is!
Pennypickle’s Workshop was the first themed children’s museum
in the United States. It was the winner of the 2009 and 2010 Nickelodeon's
Parents' Picks Award for “Best Museum” and “Best Kids'
The professor’s rambling house was built over a six-month period
last year from a design by Thinkwell Design of Burbank and constructed
by Mad Systems, based in Orange.
“This is his home and you are his guest,” says Robin Gilliland,
the museum services manager. “We very much want to promote that
Pat Comerchero, the museum’s founder and president, adds, “We
eat, drink and breathe Professor Pennypickle!” That goes for the
volunteers and the paid staff of the museum.
The professor is “Tom Sawyer meets Back to the Future. He is part
Einstein/Doc Brown, Leonardo De Vinci with Capt. Nemo thrown in.”
His friends include Houdini, Benjamin Franklin and Nikola Tesla. And
all of the things in his “house” are designed to provoke
the interest of children in science. His sidekick and assistant is Beaker,
a field mouse, who you can see representations of. You can hear his
thoughts but not his voice (he is a mouse, after all).
His library houses his time machine. From his library you can duck into
a fireplace and emerge in a dark maze suffused with black light which
causes everything to glow, including glow-in-the-dark soap bubbles.
From there you can enter the professor’s bedroom, which is filled
with fun inventions instead of a bed because the professor really doesn’t
have time to sleep.
All of the rooms have sort of a retro, even steampunk look to them.
You’ll see a computer screen married to an antique typewriter
from the 1920s. You’ll see old radios and innumerable contraptions
that you might have trouble putting a name to.
In one room there’s the professor’s peanut butter and jelly
sandwich making machine.
The flight room used to be the professor’s foyer until he crashed
his hot air balloon through the ceiling. Now the balloon’s gondola
dominates the room and invites children of all ages to climb aboard!
Adults will probably have almost as much fun as their children exploring
the professor’s house, which has various layers of sophistication,
so that all ages can appreciate it.
Not providing a face to the name to Pennypickle allows the children
who visit the museum to conjure up their own representation out of their
imagination. “It’s up to them to choose what the professor
looks like,” says Gilliland. “When you read a children’s
book you create your own face for the characters.”
The workshop is a place where children are allowed to indulge their
desire to touch intriguing things.
“We want them to touch,” says Gilliland. “The term
‘museum’ is actually a misnomer. An exploration is a better
Throughout the workshop you will find things that have a large penny
and a pickle attached to them. These are things that the professor especially
wants the children to play with.
“We don’t want kids coming in and thinking that something
is expected of them,” says Mrs. Comerchero.
When they put their heads together to think up “exhibits”
at the Science Adventures that are held every Friday from 5:30–7:30
p.m., they ask themselves what kids would like. “What is something
that they can’t do at home? What have we not explored yet?”
Things that are of enduring popularity for visitors are CSI (crime scene
investigation) and dinosaurs.
To tap into children’s love of a mystery the museum periodically
puts together “crime scene” mystery nights. There are always
scavenger hunts going on in the professor’s house, that range
from simple to hard for adults to figure out.
As she says that a group of kids go by with plates piled high with Ivory
soap that has expanded by being heated in the microwave. Most soap won’t
do that. Ivory does because of its purity and because it has lots of
air in it.
Look for seasonally-themed activities throughout the year. For example,
in October the professor’s house is transformed into a haunted
On the last day of the year there’s Pennypickle's special New
Year's Eve at Noon party.
You can also do birthday parties. School field trips are welcomed frequently
from all over the region. Scout troops are also frequent visitors.
People who have visited many times before always find something new
The city-owned Temecula Children’s Museum, established in 2004,
formerly called the Imagination Workshop, changed its name to Pennypickle’s
Workshop last year.
Although it is city-owned it is kept alive by the generosity of people
who believe in its mission. The professor’s home IS expensive
You can make donations by visiting their Web site at www.pennypickles.org.
Pennypickle’s Workshop (and gift shop!) is located at 42081 Main
St., Old Town Temecula.
Contact the museum at 951-308-6376, by fax at 951-695-0636, or e- mail:
Session I—10 a.m.–noon
Session II—12:30–2:30 p.m.
Session III—3–5 p.m.
Science Adventures—5:30–7:30 p.m. (Fridays only)
Session I—12:30–2:30 p.m.
Session II—3–5 p.m.
Admission price is $4.50 per person (except for special events, which
are held for fund-raising purposes and are usually $5 per person). Group
rates are $3.50 per person.
Jefferson Parker Has Written Another Gripping Novel Set Along The Border
Jefferson Parker prefers to write about places that he knows.
When he first broke onto the literary scene 26 years ago with the critically
acclaimed thriller Laguna Heat, Parker was living near the beach town
of Laguna. Another of his books of the period, Little Saigon, was set
in that Vietnamese enclave in Westminster. Today he is a New York Times
bestselling author who has written 18 crime novels.
You can meet him at an event that will be hosted in February by the
local chapter of PEO (Philanthropic, Educational Organization).
A casual, yet gracious host, who insisted that I call him “Jeff”
when he escorted me into his comfortable library/office in Fallbrook,
he admitted that all of his works have a strong sense of place.
His most recent, The Border Lords, is set along the no man’s land
border country of San Diego County. It is the fourth novel featuring
as its hero Charlie Hood, a Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputy and a
member of a federal ATF (alcohol, tobacco and firearms) task force.
The previous novel, Iron River, set up the violent world of drug cartels
(the “lords” of the title) that the stalwart Hood must move
in. Parker calls his series “The Border Quartet.”
The book was released in January. Parker and his new book will be the
featured guests for a luncheon hosted by PEO Chapter AZ Saturday, Feb.
12 at Vista Valley Country Club.
The Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego will bring his latest book
and some of his past books to the luncheon. The author will be happy
to sign books that are purchased that day.
In another interview Parker has described his protagonist this way:
“I like Charlie because he’s a good, reliable witness to
events, and he always tries to do the right thing. And thus far in the
series, he’s constantly over-matched, which is different than
being hapless. I love an underdog.”
In The Border Lords an American agent trying to stem the flow of illegal
workers “goes native,” i.e., becomes a criminal himself.
Hood is sent in to deal with him. It is, says Parker, a retelling of
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (a film variation of which some readers
may recall as Apocalypse Now). The story is a non-stop unfolding of
catastrophe, “going from bad to worse to worse,” says Parker.
Parker gets a lot of his material for this series from interviewing
ATF agents. “They are often willing to talk about their jobs as
soon as they know that I’m not out to crucify them,” he
Parker, who is not at all the type of person that he writes about (“I
was a meek English major and I never considered law enforcement as a
career.”) says, “I respect them immensely for the job that
they do but I wouldn’t want to be one of them. I’m glad
that they are doing it and not me!”
He also feels empathy for the people of Mexico and loves the country.
“I feel close to Mexico both physically and spiritually. When
I sit here as a North County resident I feel bad for those people.”
Researching his books, Parker likes to unearth historical details to
weave into the story. So far he has not written an historical novel,
but he sometimes “shoehorns” historical details into his
books—violating one of the rules of thrillers, he points out.
Recently he used the story of Charles Hatfield, “the rainmaker”
blamed for the catastrophic 1916 flood of San Diego County, who apparently
had a secret lab in Bonsall at one time. He has a clip file about Hatfield,
and as he was writing one of his novels he kept turning to the Hatfield
His clip file includes a collection of things that interest him, sometimes
things that he has collected for years.
“People enjoy the settings of novels in places where they live,”
he observes. Of course, Parker is very popular all over the country,
not just in San Diego and is highly regarded in the field. He is one
of three writers to be awarded the Edgar Award for Best Novel more than
once. He has won it three times.
He moved to Fallbrook ten years ago with his wife, Rita, and their two
children, now aged 12 and 19. He has written about Fallbrook in his
novels, portraying it as bucolic place for a hero to recuperate.
Parker is a disciplined writer who gets up every weekday around 6:30
or 7 a.m. and writes for a couple of hours with the goal of producing
He usually has lunch with his wife before working until 5 p.m.
“If I didn’t get the five pages done I try to make up for
it the next day,” he says. “It’s a game to keep the
He likes to stop in the middle of a sentence so he can start immediately
when he returns to it the next day.
He works off of a general but not specific outline. “I’ve
written detailed outlines and had them be helpful and detailed outlines
that turned out to be disasters,” he recalls.
When Parker gives talks like he will do on Feb. 12 audiences are usually
interested in his biography and want to know why he is a writer. Most
audiences want to hear him talk about himself. And find out things like
what the “T” stands for. “It’s just ‘T’,”
he says. It doesn’t stand for anything.
* * *
PEO is a philanthropic educational organization which was founded in
1869 and is dedicated to supporting women’s educational goals.
Many grants are given both locally, as well as nationally and internationally,
to deserving women.
Vista Valley Country Club will serve an Asian chicken salad. The cost
of the lunch will be $35. Doors will open at 11 a.m. and lunch will
be served at 11:30 a.m.
If there are dietary concerns please notify them at the time of your
Reservations can be made by calling Jane Franz at 760-732-0718 or Judy
Ambrose at 760-630-2733. Send checks made out to PEO Chapter AZ, c/o
Jane Franz, 5789 Lake Vista Dr., Bonsall, CA 92003.
Local Candy Store With Nostalgic Charm
Maribel Moran has a job that makes her feel like she’s a kid in
a candy store.
That’s because she gets to go to work every day at Swirlz Candy
& Party Emporium in Fallbrook, a store she started with her husband,
Richard, in the spring of 2008.
“Whenever my husband and I would go on a trip, we would visit
these small towns and we would always find the candy store,” she
says. “We loved seeing the retro candy and the old toys. My husband
is a collector; everything from Gumby to Star Wars. We think that every
small town should have a candy store.”
That dream gradually became a reality, as the Morans went from rewarding
their children’s good behavior with candy from the local 7-Eleven
to creating a local candy store that offers the nostalgic charm of America’s
“We have seventy-six different kinds of chocolate bars, some that
are the same as they were in the early nineteen hundreds,” Moran
says. “We also have all the basics, like Pop Rocks, button candy,
and all kinds of retro candy, as well as old-fashioned tin toys.”
At the beginning, Swirlz Emporium existed largely to fulfill the confectionary
requests of the Fallbrook locals, by way of a box out front where requests
could be left. Nearly three years later, the Morans will still track
down whatever will satisfy your sweet tooth.
“If they still make it, we’ll get it,” Maribel says.
“We still have our box out front, and we still go out and find
some stuff we’ve never even heard of. But we really want to have
what everyone remembers, not just what we remember.”
Swirlz carries a number of items from across the globe, including candy
from England and a variety of Ramune soda, a popular Japanese drink
that is sealed with a marble.
But the Morans also want Swirlz Emporium to be a place for local confections
as well, and some of the more popular local items include an avocado
fudge and chai tea from Fallbrook, as well as some of the McCalls Toffee
made in Murrieta. Maribel also makes tin gift baskets filled with toys
Swirlz Candy & Party Emporium is located at 213 North Main St. in
Fallbrook. The Swirlz Emporium Web site at www.swirlzcandy.com
has an extensive list of treats and toys that will help sweeten up your
“Not many people get to say that they love their work,”
Maribel says. “But I sure do.”
Night Only To See A Play Based On Victor Hugo’s The Man Who
Hugo is a good author to adapt to the stage. Just ask the producers
of Les Miserables, one of the most successful musicals in theatrical
history, seen by millions.
A young local playwright, Alicia Nyblade, has adapted one of this 19th
century novelist’s lesser known novels, The Man Who Laughs. It
will be presented on Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Patio Playhouse in Escondido.
Nyblade, 22, attends UC Riverside, where she is majoring in creative
writing and theater. This is her first play.
The Man Who Laughs will be presented one night only as reader’s
theater, which means that instead of being staged with people in costume
and fully realized sets, it will be read to the audience by a cast of
about ten actors.
Since it is a “play in process,” the audience will be invited
to remain after the reading to meet with the author and cast to discuss
the play in an open forum.
You may not have heard of Hugo’s The Man Who Laughs, but it is
a good bet that you would recognize the main character’s face.
Or you would think that you did.
It is a face of man who has had a hideous grin carved into his face.
And it is a face that most people—or at least those who are up
on pop culture—would look at and say, “Oh yeah! That’s
the Joker from Batman!”
Bob Kane, who created the comic book hero Batman, was a fan of Hugo’s
book, and of the silent film produced from it in 1928. He lifted the
image of the man with the perpetual grin and created one of the most
enduring villains of all time.
The man that image is based on, Gwynplaine, is a man who is hideous
and repulsive to everyone who sees him, except for the blind girl he
rescues from certain death in a snowstorm as an infant—who loves
Like many romantic and melodramatic novels of the time, including Les
Miserables, but also Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre
Dame, this story is filled with pathos plus the theme of a disfigured
protagonist who is beautiful on the inside. Born to the British nobility,
Gwynplaine is ordered disfigured by King James II to punish his father,
a rebellious baron.
Nyblade took great pains to make the script faithful to the novel. “I
know that if someone adapted something of mine for the stage that I
would want it to be faithful,” she says. “I was introduced
to the story by a friend of mine. We both are fans of Victor Hugo.”
They are also both fans of Phantom of the Opera. Her friend told her,
“If you like Phantom you will like this story.”
As Nyblade describes it, “I read the book and was drawn to the
story. I could relate to the two main characters.”
Besides the disfigured Gwynplaine, there is Dea, the blind girl who
“I relate to Dea because I am visually impaired. Dea was found
as an infant in a snowstorm. I was born three months premature and given
less than a one percent chance of survival. I’ve always had that
fighter survivor spirit,” says Nyblade. “Dea is passive
but if she is pushed too far she will go after it!”
She took about a year to write the play. She hopes to do a full-stage
production some day, based on feedback from the audience.
“I see this as having the same kind of audience as Phantom and
Hunchback. There are also elements of The Dark Knight (a movie about
Batman that featured the Joker as a very intense villain) as well. Gwynplaine
looks like the Joker, but he wouldn’t hurt a fly except someone
who comes near Dea,” she says.
The play takes place in many different locations, including the House
of Lords in London, and has the potential to require sumptuous sets
But her vision is a minimalist set and props that suggest locations.
“The silent film of the novel was made in the German expressionist
style of the period,” she says. One very well known film of that
period and style is The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which starred Conrad
Veidt, who also played Gwynplaine, whose look later inspired the Joker.
Nyblade has been with the Patio Playhouse for a couple of years, and
appeared in another original play, The Snow Queen, in the title role.
She was also in her high school drama club and played Puck in A Midsummer
“This story has something for everyone. A love story. A theme
that appearances aren’t always what they seem, which is emphasized
even more because Dea is blind.”
There is also a social and political twist. Hugo was a great champion
of the downtrodden—at least in his novels. When Gwynplaine, the
son of a nobleman, has a smile carved into his visage at the king’s
command, it’s hard not to get the point Hugo was making about
the aristocracy. Aristocrats are shown as gluttons and Gwynplaine is
shown as wanting to help the downtrodden.
“There is also the theme of a ragtag nobleman who has a noble
heart,” says the author.
This play is for mature audiences, and not appropriate for children
* * *
The Man Who Laughs will be performed Feb. 5, at 8 p.m. at the Patio
Playhouse in Escondido, 201 E. Grand Ave., Suite 1D.
Admission for all seats is $10. Call the box office at 760-746-6669
or visit ticketleap.com. You can email the theater at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit their Web site patioplayhouse.org.
Makes Trendy List In 2011
Not that it ever went away, but it does appear that wallpaper has made
its way back onto the home décor trendy list.
According to Denise Sherr, color and design consultant at Carpet Club
in Escondido, designers have never really stopped using wallpaper; it
just kind of left the spotlight when new ideas like decorative paint
techniques came about.
“It’s kind of similar to how drapery treatments went away
when blinds and shades were first introduced,” Sherr said. “Now
we are finding that people want fabric again for their window coverings.
With fun and fresh new styles, wallpaper can add instant glamour and
elegance to a room. From trendy and edgy patterns, to woven graphics
and vinyl, to subtle colors and textures, people are opening up to the
possibilities of wallpaper.
“The interesting thing about wallpaper is that it does things
that just can’t be done with different colors of paint anymore,”
says Denise Sherr, “Even faux paint can’t create the same
look and feel that wallpaper does. You’d have to hire a really
good artist to paint some of the things wallpaper can do these days.
There are designs out there with real texture in the wallpaper, like
crushed Abalone shells and crushed glass beads. People yearn for this
kind of real texture and it just cannot be duplicated with paint.”
As with any type of home decorating, you can spend a little to a lot
depending on your wants and needs. The most expensive wallpaper in the
world has been said to be purchased by a Russian billionaire who decorated
his walls with sculpted leather and suede. The estimated cost to wallpaper
the mansion was $2.71 million, or right around $8,000 a square foot.
Thankfully, for the rest of us, a good quality roll of wallpaper can
be bought for $24.99, and a standard roll covers approximately 36 square
feet. Sherr said prices range anywhere from $20–$200 plus, but
there are deals out there, and she can work miracles to fit within a
budget. And if you can’t afford to do a whole room, you can always
consider cutting down on your wall space.
“Covering a whole room is usually most effective,” Sherr
remarked. “However, even wallpapering a single accent wall can
add a sense of personality, depth and character to a room.”
Today’s wallpaper is not just aesthetically appealing, but it’s
also very advanced when it comes to removing and cleaning. Gone are
the days of endless and frustrating paper stripping.
“If the walls are prepared and sealed properly, all future redecorating
projects are painless,” claimed Sherr. “And all wallpaper
is washable making it very hygienical. That’s one of the main
reasons we always see wallpaper in medical offices and hotels.”
Another secret about wallpaper is that it can help hide flaws in walls
that paint can’t necessarily do. Sherr said wallpaper is the perfect
fix to camouflage glaring scratches or small holes in walls and it can
also make corners look much smoother.
While the perfect wallpaper can almost hide anything, finding the perfect
wallpaper may not be easy. Good collections of wallpaper samples are
“Wallpaper books aren’t just anywhere,” Sherr said.
“You can’t just walk out and find samples of it anymore,
and the Internet and catalogs limit you when it comes to feeling the
texture and embossment of a certain design. We have a full-library of
wallpaper books with patterns that we’ve hand-selected and we
provide a comfortable setting so you can browse through and actually
feel the fabric and feel the texture before you choose your wallpaper.”
For more information on wallpaper design, and for any other home design
questions such as flooring and window treatments, contact Carpet Club’s
Denise Sherr at 760-580-2595, or feel free to stop by Carpet Club’s
showroom located at 518 West Washington Avenue, Escondido.
Thanks to the dedication and hard work of a few dedicated people, kids
in Fallbrook have a new skatepark.
Fallbrook Skatepark Inc. (FSI) has been working for nearly a decade
to bring some kind of skate facility to the area, and this winter, the
first step of that plan was realized.
In November, the Boys & Girls Clubs of North County voted to allow
FSI to build a wooden skatepark at the Fallbrook branch located on Ivy
Street. The site, formerly used as a basketball court, is now home to
a quarter pipe, along with various ramps, boxes and platforms for area
skaters to use.
FSI organizers hope the temporary park will lead to a more permanent,
concrete skatepark somewhere in town in the future. The group is already
accepting sponsorships and is planning a fund-raiser that will start
to cover the costs of making a new, permanent skatepark in Fallbrook
Early estimates for the park were around $18,000, but the final budget
ended up at $28,000 before the park could open. The increase was due
to the addition of another park monitor position to cover Saturdays
and school holidays, when the park is expected to be busiest, as well
as a portable bathroom, security deposit and telephone.
The park was allowed to open in November on a 90-day trial basis that
would be extended if the operation of the park continues to be successful.
The park is open from 3–5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during
the school year and 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and summer
weekdays. It is closed Sundays.
The park is open to skaters ages 6–18 at a cost of $30 for a yearly
membership or for $1 per day. The fees are in place to cover the costs
of insurance and on-site monitors who help make the park a safe place
for kids to skate. To meet insurance requirements, all skaters must
fill out a waiver form. Skaters under the age of 18 must have an accompanying
parent or guardian fill out the waiver. All skaters are required to
For more information about the park, e-mail FSI at email@example.com,
call 760-473-4659 or visit the group’s Web site at www.fallbrookskateparkinc.org.
Grill: Healthy Mexican Fare That Is Traditionally Untraditional
On the day that I dropped in to the Cenote Grill with a friend to have
lunch, three quarters of the small parking lot was being resurfaced
and you had to find a place on the street.
Nevertheless, on a weekday, with challenging parking, the Cenote Grill
And in spite of—or perhaps because of—being located in an
out-of-the-way part of Escondido (the corner of El Norte Parkway &
Country Club Lane), it’s always busy, but especially for dinner.
That tells you something about loyal customers. When I ordered one of
the specials on the blackboard, I found out why.
I ordered the chicken enchilada with molé sauce, white rice and
black beans. It was an explosion of flavors on the tongue, with none
of the lingering fatty taste that you sometimes get with Mexican food.
That’s because the owner, Russ Taylor, created all of the recipes
himself to reflect a healthier lifestyle.
I interviewed Taylor while he was sweating over the grill. “Mexican
food is typically uninspired,” he says. “My take was to
be creative. I use a lot of very traditional Mexican spices/chiles,
but I also use a wide variety of Asian flavors and spices. I like to
say I am traditionally untraditional.”
Everything that is served in the Cenote Grill is Taylor’s creation.
His recipes are also very health-conscious. A lot of his sauces are
vegetarian. The molé sauce (a mixture of chocolate and chile
that is unique to every cook) is a very healthy take. “Our beans
have no fat. The red sauce has very little fat,” he says.
A very popular dish is the chile relleño burrito. Here’s
how the menu describes it: “served in a flour tortilla with a
whole roasted poblano chile, hominy, choice of charbroiled carne asada,
pollo asado or braised pork carnitas, whole black or pinto beans, fresh
salsa, sour cream and assorted cheeses.”
Taylor adds, “I like the roasted poblano. It is heartier and the
flavor is deeper, but not too spicy.”
Taylor grew up in the restaurant business, starting as a busboy and
did everything there was to do, including host, server and bartender.
His career went off in another direction—into criminal justice
and he was also a pharmaceutical representative—but he didn’t
have an outlet for his creativity.
At some point he and his wife said, “The time is right!”
That time was in June of 2004. It didn’t take long for the restaurant
to come to the attention of critics and public alike. In 2006 it won
Best Mexican Restaurant 2006, in the AOL CityGuide San Diego.
“We have a very loyal following,” says Taylor. “We’re
a very busy restaurant most of the time, but more so at dinner.”
I decided to ask about the name of the restaurant. What exactly is a
A cenote a sinkhole created by the underground rivers in the Yucatan.
They were important to ancient Mayan cities because they served the
function of large underground cisterns.
“The Mayans built huge pyramids centered around the cenotes,”
says Taylor. “My wife and I honeymooned down there in Cancun and
I thought it would be a humorous name for the restaurant.”
It is also interesting for another reason, in that restaurants are often
money pits for their owners. So calling a restaurant a “sinkhole”
has a certain ironic charm.
Taylor likes the out-of-the-way location of the grill. “I live
in the area. That’s part of the reason I put it there. I live
close by in Emerald Heights.”
It’s the only restaurant for a couple of miles, which makes it
the local gathering place, a true community restaurant.
“I didn’t want to be in a strip mall and I knew that if
you have good food people will come to you.”
* * *
Cenote Grill is located at 1896 W. El Norte Parkway, Escondido. Call
them at 760-740-9911 or check out their Web site: http://cenotegrill.com.
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 4 p.m.–9
p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 4 p.m.–8 p.m. Closed Monday.
Keyways Winery Do Cupid’s Work
Vineyard & Winery in Temecula offers two ways to wine and dine your
sweetheart for Valentine’s: one is an elegant sit down dinner
with all the luxury you could imagine; the second is a little less formal,
but just as romantic.
Terri Delhamer, owner of Keyways and general manager Mimi Harlan, recently
talked about how they came up with the Cupid’s Walk, a Romantic
Winery Tour, which will be held on Monday, Feb. 14, 3–4 p.m. and
“This is something brand new that we came up with this year,”
said Delhamer. “We thought it would be nice to offer a little
romantic event and venue for couples who didn’t want to have a
sit down dinner but wanted to have a nice experience. That was the idea.
It’s a little more casual and a little easier on the pocket book.”
Of course, you are welcome to enjoy both events!
“We wanted to give more than a wine tasting, almost a little tour
of the facilities,” she said.
During the Cupid’s Walk you will take a progressive walk around
the grounds while sipping fabulous wines and learning a little bit about
The tour begins at the gazebo with a pour of the crisp 2010 Estate Viognier.
From there you visit the processing area where winemaker David Raffaele
will describe the various steps of “crushing.” You’ll
sample the just-bottled Proprietor’s Reserve 2010, a Chardonnay
that is not yet released for sale.
The next stop is the Production Room, where you will learn the difference
between oak and the stainless fermentation process while taking part
in the Cupid-Kissed Barrel Tasting.
Then it’s off to the vineyards where you will learn that although
the vines are dormant this time of year, plenty is going on!
“Right now we are nurturing the soil. We will go through that
process. It is unusual to see the vines in the dormant stage but there
is a lot to learn,” said Delhamer.
There among the vines guests will be served the 2008 Territage, a classy
red Meritage blend—like a Bordeaux—named after the owner—who
is the only female winery owner in Temecula. The Territage is all Temecula
grapes, and really a delightful treat.
After guests learn about the soil, grapes, and vines, they will taste
a wine dedicated to the Valentine’s season, the 2009 Traditions.
This will bring them to the Vineyard Pavilion, where they will be among
the first to taste the not-yet-released Late Harvest Estate Roussanne
The afternoon will end up in the tasting room with Valentine’s
Chocolate Fondue, a hands-on, dip-your-own strawberry experience.
Romantic music will be provided by the Two Daves, playing guitar and
piano in the Fireside Room.
* * *
For something more elegant, try That’s Amore! a four-course Romantic
Valentine’s Dinner And World Class Entertainment on Saturday,
Feb. 12, 6:30–9:30 p.m. Cost is $99.
“We always have a unique and unusual party for Valentine’s
Day,” Delhamer told us.
“One year we had a food, wine and perfume pairing. A couple of
years ago we had a Phantom of the Opera theme. Last year it was a Casablanca
theme with dancers, actors and music from that era.”
This year they are trying to outdo themselves with a very special entertainment.
“We are being secretive about what the entertainment will include,
except that it will be world class. These entertainers have entertained
for Fortune Five Hundred companies and heads of state! It will be a
lot of fun, an interactive evening,” said Delhamer.
The event, staged in the Vineyard Pavilion, will be four courses.
The first course is the “Caprese Stack” with layers of heirloom
tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, tender sweet basil drizzled with a balsamic
reduction and olive oil, served with the Keyways 2010 Riesling.
The second course will be “Crespelle for two,” crepes filled
with arugula, grilled scampi and wild forest mushrooms topped with flatleaf
parsley-pinenut sauce and hickory-smoked chicken breast and five cheese
crepe paired with Keyways 2009 Traditions.
The third course will be blue cheese encrusted beef tenderloin served
atop creamy Parmesan polenta roasted pepper and grilled tomato sofrito
accompanied by Cupid’s Vegetable Bundle paired with the Keyways
The dessert course will be tiramisu classico, snuggled into a Keyways
logo glass drizzled with coffee-Kahlua sauce topped with chocolate shavings
and paired with Keyways NV Dessert Sherry.
The NV Sherry is a special treat. “We did a very limited bottling
of that,” she told us. “We don’t even have it on our
main tasting menu. It’s a delightful little sherry that is very
creamy and has some nice caramel flavors and aromas. A nice way to top
off the evening.”
It is also the first sherry that Keyways has produced.
“The important thing is that you ‘own’ your table
for the evening,” said Delhamer. “When you come in the table
is yours. There’s no rush. No pressure to get up and exit.”
Terri Delhamer will be your hostess for the evening.
To make reservations call 951-302-7888.
P.O.B. 1529, Valley Center, CA 92082
Tel. 760.749.1112 Fax 760.749.1688
Copyright © 2011,
The Boulevard Magazine. All rights reserved. This content may not be
archived, retransmitted, saved in a database, or used for any commercial
purpose without the express written permission of The Boulevard Magazine.