Archive | May, 2010

Sole Luna Cafe

Posted on 13 May 2010 by John Rippo

Welcome to Sole Luna Cafe, Little Italy

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Sam’s Coffee Cart, UCSD

Posted on 13 May 2010 by John Rippo

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Cutters Point Coffee House, College Area

Posted on 13 May 2010 by John Rippo

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Filter Coffee House, North Park

Posted on 13 May 2010 by John Rippo

Quick video tour of Filter Coffee House, North Park

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Lestat’s, Normal Heights

Posted on 13 May 2010 by John Rippo

A video tour of Lestat’s coffee house, Normal Heights

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Caffe Calabria Exposes Hidden SD Wineries

Posted on 13 May 2010 by John Rippo

by John A. Rippo

—California’s wine history began in San Diego. The Spanish friars who came here in 1769 planted the first vines near the Mission and some of their hardy transplants are still around today. Though the local wine industry has grown considerably in recent years, many of the local wineries are not well known, even though their output is sometimes exemplary. At a recent gathering at North Park’s Caffé Calabria last month, CEO Arne Holt tried to shed some light on some of San Diego’s vintners.

The event showcased the efforts of the San Diego Vintner’s Association, a trade group that since 1994, has worked to improve the wine business and influence the direction of the San Diego County wine industry. The event, headed by Gloriosa Vineyards’ John Brunetto, presented 20 wineries from around the county. Most of these are small operations with miniscule outputs per year, though the quaility of the wines overall were very good. It seems that the coffee roaster outed a secret that had been kept too long; San Diego’s micro wine makers know what they’re doing.

Several offerings stood out among them; Jenkins Winery offered an apple port that was unique and uncommon, to say the least. The small winery located in Julian produces less than fifty cases per year of the port and 2009 marks the seventh year of their output. In addition to the apple port, they offer a Dolcezza, a dry apple wine as well as a rosé made from Syrah grapes. Another was a fine Montepulciano from Witch Creek Winery in Carlsbad. Twin Oaks from San Marcos offered a one of a kind blend of Syrah and Viognier grape called a Syrenade; this left a particularly memorable finish.

The wineries included in the exhibition usually produce less than two hundred cases of their offerings per year and some of them offer far fewer than that. Most of the wineries on exhibition at Caffé Calabria are less than ten years old and some of them are located in places not usually thought of as wine country. Gloriosa Vineyards is located in Campo—and John Brunetto praises the conditions there as perfect for wine making. Mahogany Mountain and Lenora are in Ramona at an elevation not usually associated with California vintages. The heights do nothing to detract from their wines; Lenora’s Barbera and Mahogany Mountain’s Zinfandel were proof of that. Warner Springs, Julian, Alpine, Carlsbad and San Marcos all host vineyards—most of these are less than one hundred acres in size.

Typical for San Diego, there are some excellent creators of some of life’s better things that are too little known and under-appreciated within the larger community, and it’s no less ironic that a coffee roaster would showcase these quality wine makers and help them find a market. Caffé Calabria’s Arne Holt has expressed similar hopes to bring local beer breweries a better following in the future, too. ESPRESSO wishes all such makers of the better things in life well and prosperity in 2010 and urges the coffee connoisseurs of the region to sample what’s growing virtually under their noses and to engage local producers first when thinking of what to enjoy.

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’67′s Summer of Love Has an SD Connection

Posted on 13 May 2010 by John Rippo

If you can remember “Incense, Peppermints”, you’re way older than 30—the age that the Hippies used to say was the cut-off date for people you could trust. A 30-year old in 1967’s Summer of Love would be 72 now. No telling how trustworthy that would be, either.

The music from that time has made a comeback with the help of Gary Raycheck, a local producer working with Ben Vereen and others to showcase the music that defined the late-’60′s eAra. Bands like the Strawberry Alarm Clock produced the sounds associated with the era of free love and turning on, tuning in and dropping out. The bands on the CD are the musicians of a movement that coalesced in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district— and scared the hell out of the Squares who had bought the American Dream and secretly feared anyone who may have buyer’s remorse. Now, forty years later, the music on the CD sounds quaint and kind of old fashioned, much like what Yankee Doodle Dandy sounds like to a post-Cold War generation. Yet this is the music that moved millions to do a quintessentially American thing—head west, dump the wage-slavery of nine-to-fiving for the Man, and take a new shot at life by re-inventing themselves and their world.  They were the inheritors of the spirit that moved their ancestors to cross an ocean in search of America, and to settle the West and stake the Gold Rush. They inherited the words of Thoreau, Mark Twain and O. Henry to live life on their own terms for better or worse. They were an anomalous American generation that respected poetry. And they had the input of people like Timothy Leary who urged all and sundry to consider better living through chemistry.

The Hippies were begat by the Beats, who were called “Beatniks” by Squares who couldn’t understand the times or keep their mouths shut. “Hipsters” were the folk who played the folk songs in the coffeehouses of the Haight, or L.A. or even here in the days before the the SDPD closed them down in  an hysterical bid to stop progress. “Hippies” were the young hipsters; the little brother and little sister wannabes whom the old guard grudged acceptance at first. But as time went on, the name stuck and those who rebelled against their low-numbered draft cards and Uncle Sam’s one-way excursion to Vietnam with the last stop at Arlington were the ones to radically change the social foundation of the society that raised them. The world hasn’t been the same since—thank God.
The times were ripe for changing, too. The Cold War fearmongering and anti-communist witch hunts had choked freedom too long; the great number of youth who went to college found in education a previously unknown intellectual freedom and the promise of opportunity and millions of them wanted to do more than shoehorn themselves into gray flannel suits and commute from Levittowns to windowless offices. Women had the Pill, which allowed them to choose when or if pregnancy would happen and the recent Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act opened up new avenues that hippies’ mothers never had. The rising tide of feminism altered the Old Boy’s network permanently and all the assumptions that went unquestioned before were reassessed by the young, the restless and very often, the stoned.
The echoes of that era are still with us and the cultural counterattack by the Squares of the rightwing have moved much of the tide back to where it once was when culture was more straitlaced and less free. The “post 9-11 world” shibboleth that gave license to the Man to re-impose a direction the ’60′s turned us from is back on track and if people think they are somehow more secure, they can’t help but notice they’re less free to be themselves. A new generation is learning that security trumps freedom and that their elders were just a bunch of crackpots who did too many drugs and mean nothing.

But the music in this CD is a time capsule of when millions caused a revolution just by not showing up to the fate society had in store for them and doing something different instead. It’s 108 minutes of Jesse Colin Young, Peter & Gordon, Buddy Miles, Earl Thomas and others, with a nod to Otis Redding. Come hear the music play and see what it inspired over 40 years ago. Check Adams Entertainment dot com.

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