Donovan’s Steakhouse


Follow SD Metro Magazine

Delicious Pinterest RSS
Advertise on SD Metro Magazine

Latest Tweets

Cash Not Required

Cash Not Required

 BizX up and running in San Diego

Businesses and nonprofits who buy and sell from one another without cash

Trade was the original form of commerce, usurped by the sleeker, more modern, and more controllable currency. The primary argument for this reinvention was simple: currency made commerce efficient, while trade, or barter, was clunky and slow. And although trade has persisted since these early roots, it does so largely as a circumstance of luck. If the sun, moon, and stars align a trade is possible and both sides of the transaction are happy.

This aside, for centuries economic consumption has been largely binary —transaction via public currency, or nothing at all. BizX represents a third option. Trade and currency combined.

The BizX mobile app brings the community to life, enabling members to find one another, and transfer BizX dollars wirelessly. As the San Diego community develops, the mobile app will become central to the utilization of the network.

The BizX mobile app brings the community to life, enabling members to find one another, and transfer BizX dollars wirelessly. As the San Diego community develops, the mobile app will become central to the utilization of the network.

It’s official now. BizX is up and running in San Diego. In June the Seattle-based technology company welcomed San Diego as their fourth market (BizX communities are also thriving in San Francisco and Dubai), and did so with gusto — a party at the San Diego Museum of Man replete with business owners, community leaders, and influencers.

BizX is a mobile app and website-based community of thousands of local businesses and nonprofits who buy and sell from one another without cash, using a tool called the BizX dollar. Among their roughly 5,000 members are bold-faced names such as Dell Technologies, iHeart Radio, and the San Francisco 49ers, but the heartbeat of the BizX community is the local business owner.

Members of the BizX San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle teams gather for the San Diego community launch event.

Members of the BizX San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle teams gather for the San Diego community launch event.

BizX launched in the San Diego market with more than 100 inaugural members, including Broadcasting Companies of the Americas, YogaSmoga, Habitat for Humanity, La Jolla Sports Club, Tony Robbins, and the San Diego Film Festival. Through the BizX community, these members earn new customers that they wouldn’t have otherwise, and are able to eliminate cash expenses. To date, BizX members have conducted over $800 million in cashless transactions via the network’s mobile and digital platforms, resulting in $400 million in new business and roughly the same in cash saved. So the launch party was, of course, paid for with BizX dollars.

“The BizX community makes it possible for local business owners to get the things that they need, by leveraging what they have. By agreeing to accept BizX dollars as payment from other members for goods and services, BizX members earn new and incremental revenue. This revenue is spent back within the network for things that business needs. Our purpose is to improve the lives and businesses of our members and we’re thrilled to be here in this wonderful city,” says Bob Bagga, CEO of BizX.

Here’s the scoop:

Smart businesses of all sizes, with expenses necessary to keep their business operational and capacity to spare, engage in barter whenever possible. Bartering what you have in supply for what you need is a high value equation — both sides getting a customer they wouldn’t have otherwise and obtaining goods or services without spending cash. But barter is challenging, and relies on multiple coincidences colliding to complete a transaction. Namely, both sides having what each other want, in the right amount, at the right time. Additional impediments to barter: How do you account for the transaction? And what if your trading partner doesn’t make good on their end of the bargain?

For BizX, this relationship between what business owners want to do (barter), vs what they’re able to do (get lucky every now and again) represented a unique market gap and opportunity for innovation.

BizX Chief Growth Officer Daniel Kosh talks with a collection of local business owners and community leaders at the BizX San Diego launch event.

BizX Chief Growth Officer Daniel Kosh talks with a collection of local business owners and community leaders at the BizX San Diego launch event.

Here’s how it works:

BizX members accept BizX dollars, a currency only existent within their private community, as form of payment for goods and services provided to other members. BizX members have two revenue streams — USD as their primary income, and BizX dollars as their supplementary income — and choose to spend their BizX dollars first. Because spending the BizX dollar is economically favorable to spending the U.S. dollar, BizX members receive new customers via the network. And because BizX dollar spending replaces USD spending, BizX members are able to make real improvements to their cash flow. Through participation in this powerful community economy, BizX members are able to put their checkbooks and credit cards away and earn millions in new customers and cash saved — simply by leveraging one another.

“BizX is the ultimate pay-it-forward economy, each member equal parts buyer and seller. We believe that when you bring local business owners together, magic happens. We host the BizX network to inspire collaboration, and we supply the BizX currency as a tool to help these businesses unlock their potential.  Butthe magic, that all happens between the members,” says BizX’s Chief Growth Officer, Daniel Kosh.

Accounting is simple and BizX sales are recorded as revenue right alongside the business’ current income stream. And BizX purchases are deductible just like any cash expense. The IRS recognizes BizX as a third party record keeper and BizX keeps track of all accounts and issues 1099’s annually.

BizX plans to generate an incremental $12 million in economic activity for small and medium sized businesses in the San Diego region, and is putting their money where their mouth is. Central to this ambition is a unique cash-free Line of Credit process, which makes capital available to the business owner at no interest, and to be paid back with future sales from other BizX members.

Mike Cully, CEO of the North County Economic Development Council in San Diego, believes the local economy will thrive with BizX. “BizX brings a whole new dimension of doing business to the area, and it can only enhance our growing economy as more and more businesses realize the potential of this significant market,” says Cully.

The company expects that the San Diego community will be its fastest growing to date, fueled by upgraded technology and frequent community events, bringing together local business owners from all arenas for one common purpose: Growth.



June cover 2017

June cover 2017

The Region’s Hidden Gem

Driving the Future

Driving the Future

Only in North San Diego

Fallen Star

At first glance, this outdoor art piece reminds many people of the house from the movie Up, while others say it resembles Dorothy’s house when it landed in Oz. Come and visit the Fallen Star just once and you will understand why the students at UC San Diego claim this as a symbol of their journey to campus. Artist Do Ho Suh wanted to show the public what is it like to walk into an unfamiliar environment and make it your home away from home. Upon the first step into the beautifully decorated room, your center of balance is put off far enough that it takes a moment to get your sea legs. Yet, if you give this artwork one chance, you begin to feel comfortable and welcomed as you reacclimate to the odd angle

Cardiff Kook Community

If you were to make a list of attributes that set San Diego apart from anywhere else in the world, it would not be complete without including the Cardiff Kook. This statue was erected just outside the San Elijo State Beach Campground by Matthew Antichevich in 2007. While some adored its beauty, others critiqued its representation of a San Diego surfer. Love or hate, the Carlsbad community has called it their own. The way that they show their love is by adorning the statue with costumes, signs, or props.

Tony Gwynn Memorial – Poway

The City of Poway honored long-time resident and baseball legend, Tony Gwynn, with a memorial statue and Plaza at Lake Poway. His devotion to the San Diego Padres baseball team showed in his 8 batting titles, 15 trips to the All-Star game, and five Gold Glove awards. However, to the people of Poway, he was more than a superstar athlete. He was an ideal parent, grandparent, friend, and community contributor.

Lazy River in Harrah’s Resort

Being the wonderful person you are is a full-time job, and often it can become a hard one. You deserve to take a step back from your daily worries and relax on Harrah’s Resort Lazy River. Feel all the tension and stress peel off you as you float down 400 feet of a gentle river, making you feel as if you found your paradise as you drift off into a sweet siesta. Among the two waterfalls, a hot tub, nine cabanas, and four daybeds, you are bound to find something that makes you feel relaxed and refreshed.

Potato Chip Rock

One of San Diego’s most iconic images is Potato Chip Rock – the landmark that is a thin sliver protruding out of a rocky ledge at the end of a 4-mile hike on Mount Woodson in Poway. Though it may appear delicate, it has held up for decades’ worth of memorable group photos.

Sunny Jim’s Cave

As one of the only sea caves that is accessible by land, Sunny Jim’s Cave provides an extraordinary view of the nearby shores. This man-made cave was built during America’s Prohibition Era and now serves as a historical landmark, conveniently set adjacent to a picturesque overlook of the ocean. Start your adventure off in The Cave Store and learn the intriguing history behind the name “Sunny Jim.”

San Diego Mormon Temple

This is perhaps San Diego’s most stunning structure. This 72,000-square-foot temple is one of the most beautiful human-made buildings that San Diego has to offer. Its white, pristine architecture, heavenly glow, and impressive presence demand that you come and see it at least once. The

Cottage on 102 Pacific Street, Oceanside

This place is for all the Top Gun fans out there. Those who have watched the movie likely remember the iconic scene in which Maverick rode up the hill on his motorcycle and parked in front of Charlie’s house. Charlie’s seaside cottage is placed before a golden sunset sky. It turns out that the cottage’s setting was just as beautiful in reality as it was on camera.

Elfin Forest

Elfin Forest is one of San Diego County’s most precious natural resources, and it earns this name in more ways than one. While wandering through this forest you might want to immerse yourself into their 11 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian use.

Deer Park Monastery

Deer Park Monastery was created by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author and peace activist. It currently serves as a mindfulness practice center and monastic training center where people from all walks of life can come to quiet the mind, reflect deeply, and enjoy the wonders of life within and around themselves. Through practices of sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful eating, deep relaxation meditation, and shared togetherness, Deer Park has nourished the lives of thousands of people.

Swim with the Otters

Swim with otters – the name says it all! Nurtured by Nature is a nonprofit organization founded by Kevin and Wendy Yates as a thank you to the community that helped them adjust their lives after their homes were burned down in a fire. Now, this program uses the funds collected from adventures with animals – such as swimming with otters – to help children with life-threatening illnesses. Guests get to pet and feed a wide variety of animals during their visits, such as sloths, porcupines, armadillos, kangaroos, and horses.

Surf the Earth at Maderas

Add a whole new twist to your day out on the links by riding from tee to tee on a Golfboard! Golfboards speed up the pace of play and have changed the game of golf in San Diego. Imagine being able to go directly to your ball after hitting a tee shot without having to ride along in the cart while your playing partner chases down a shanked ball. The idea behind Golfboards is to bring the player closer to the surface while providing a completely different golf experience.

Admire the Animals from a Bird’s Eye View

Just in case being a world-class zoological entity wasn’t already enough, San Diego Zoo Safari Park has literally gone above and beyond to offer their visitors a premier experience. The Safari Park now offers the Flightline Safari, a high-flying zipline that allows you to soar over their largest enclosure and observe the rhinos, giraffes, and much more from a whole new perspective.

A Giant Kelp Forest

Perched on a bluff in La Jolla and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Birch Aquarium features 60 habitats from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of the Western Pacific. Exhibits highlight the work of Scripps Oceanography scientists and Birch Aquarium conservation initiatives.

(Provided by Visit Escondido)

(Provided by Visit Escondido)

North San Diego Wineries

By Karyssa Newsome

Who says you have to go to Napa Valley just to have a memorable wine experience? There are tons of wineries in San Diego that offer refreshing experiences, and North County has some of the best. Save yourself the trek up to Northern California and indulge in the wine culture that North San Diego has to offer.

(Provided by Bernardo Winery)

(Provided by Bernardo Winery)

For an enchanting wine experience, consider visiting the Coyote Oaks Vineyards located in Escondido. This winery gets its interesting name from the local coyote that frequently visits the location and the sprawling array of ancient oak trees that surrounds the vineyard. With ten different grape varieties grown on site and a list of award-winning house wines, Coyote Oaks is sure to send your taste buds on a memorable adventure. Here, you can also sign up for one of their wine clubs, the 2 Legs Club and 4 Legs Club which both offer discounted wine prices, access to exclusive wines, and priority invitation to special events. Sipping wine among the 300 year-old oak trees and beautiful vineyard, Coyote Oaks offers a unique atmosphere that will definitely leave you feeling captivated.

Koi Zen Cellars also offers relaxing setting for wine tasting and basking in the wine culture that North San Diego has to offer. Located in Carmel Mountain Ranch, this urban winery has many notable highlights including their hand crafted artisan wines, wine blending classes, and their event venue. Koi Zen Cellars boasts wines made from grapes shipped from the best vineyards that Sonoma, Paseo Robles, Santa Barbara, Lodi and Napa have to offer. Though the grapes are not grown on site, they are crushed, aged and bottled right here in San Diego. With a motto of “Sip Back and Relax!” Koi Zen Cellars offers a great wine tasting experience.

The amazing wine scene doesn’t just end with these establishments. North San Diego has tons of wineries and vineyards to satisfy your palate. Some more popular options include the Hungry Hawk Vineyard and Winery that offers wine tasting experiences and tours, and the Belle Marie Winery which offers picnics grounds and at least 30 different wines. There are many more establishments like these, which means there is always something new and refreshing to try out in San Diego’s wine scene.

 (Provided by Koi Zen Cellars)

(Provided by Koi Zen Cellars)

Sip Back and Relax – The Art of Wine Sipping

By Darius F Miller, Winemaker, Koi Zen Cellars

Many people grab a glass of wine and just chuck it back in mid-sentence while being highly distracted; instead, let’s learn how to focus on the moment (very Zen-ish) and understand everything that is about to happen as we learn the art of wine sipping.

Strong flavors on the palate will alter the experience, so get rid of the gum, breath mint, pungent cheese or greasy dried meat flavors by using simple carbs such as crusty bread, water crackers, or saltines. Avoid fats, sugars, and proteins when evaluating a new wine. Next, get in the moment and embrace what is about to happen. Take about a tablespoon of wine into your mouth and swish it around. Allow the wine to coat the inside of the mouth from top to bottom and front to back. Inhale slightly though the mouth to allow the esters to enter your retro nasal cavity – let it linger in your mouth and then swallow after a few seconds. This is called the Attack, and after you swallow it begins the Finish. A lot is happening simultaneously, so let’s start to break it down into pieces.

First, think about the feeling inside of your mouth – temperature, texture, silkiness, viscosity, intensity. Then, ask yourself: where is it landing on the palate – front, back, sides, on top, under your tongue? Within a few seconds the tannins will kick. Tannins cause your mouth to dry out, and pucker up.

Also, the acids will begin to ignite within a few seconds, which adds brightness to the wine; if the wine is highly acidic, then you begin to salivate, whereas less acidic wines will have a creamy texture. Very low acidic wines will taste flat or flabby. Your tongue will also pick up any salt. Additionally, the sweet receptors in your tongue will fire off if there is residual sugar on the wine.

Your smell receptors will fire off with hints of berry, fruit, floral, earth, mineral, or alcohol, all depending upon the wine. The level of ripeness will be detectable: is the fruit under-ripe, ripe, over-ripe, cooked, jammy, stewed, dehydrated or rotten? All of this is happening within a few seconds, even before you swallow and start the Finish.

If you want to learn more, stop by Koi Zen Cellars Craft Winery in Carmel Mountain Ranch and ask for Darius the Winemaker. Uncork, Sip Back, and Relax!

Craft Breweries

By Fletcher Damon, Devanshi Marthur, and Tanya Schroeder

Few things complement a warm San Diego day as perfectly as a pint of cold, locally brewed, craft beer. Now dubbed the Craft Beer Capital of America, San Diego is bursting at the seams with new, exciting breweries that all bring their own unique flavor to the table. The vast majority of these establishments are popping up in North San Diego, making it the perfect destination for a new daytime adventure followed by an afternoon or evening of local brews.

A comprehensive list of all the great breweries in North San Diego might require a magazine of its own, but here are a few of our favorite places to grab a cold one.

(Provided by Second Chance Brewery)

(Provided by Second Chance Brewery)

Second Chance Beer Company

Second Chance tells an always-progressing story about, well, second chances. The entire tap room is outfitted with furniture and decorations that the founders of the bar saved throughout their life – working toward the day when they could begin a new career and open their own independent brewery. Even better, the emphasis on revived opportunities is not just internal. The brewery’s staff is determined to open new doors for many others throughout the community as well.

AleSmith Brewing Company

Nothing pairs better with baseball than a cold beer, and this winning combo makes AleSmith a favored San Diego destination for locals and visitors alike. Any sports bar can hang store-bought jerseys and old newspaper clippings upon their walls, but AleSmith takes its collection of memorabilia to the next level. The brewery hosts its very own Tony Gwynn Museum, where a wide variety of items from Mr. Padre’s life are displayed for you to admire. Soaking in our local legend’s museum while sipping an AleSmith brew is the ideal way to celebrate the best that San Diego has to offer.

Stone Brewing

Perhaps the most widely known name on the list, Stone Brewery has been listed in the Inc. 500’s “5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies” eleven times, and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. After decades of sharing their bold, flavorful, and largely hop-centric beers, this group has created a distinct reputation for themselves. Stone is now synonymous with their unique brews, unwavering commitment to sustainability and philanthropy, and love for the art of brewing.

SR76 Beerworks

Though the brewery is fairly new, SR76 has an element that is about as original San Diegan as you can get. It is the first brewery in Southern California owned by a Native American Indian tribe – specifically, the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, who have resided in North San Diego for hundreds of years. The name SR76 refers to a highway in North County that originally was the trail used by the Tribe to migrate to and from the coast. SR76 Beerworks strives to showcase an aspect of the region’s history and agriculture in each of their brews.

Wild Wonders

By Fletcher Damon

If you have ever composed a “bucket list,” there is a good chance that you were inspired to include a safari adventure that would allow you to witness some of the world’s most fascinating animals. It is also very likely that you assumed this undertaking would require an expedition on the plains of Africa, costing you thousands of dollars.

Amazingly, there is an up close and personal animal encounter available right here in our own backyard – no passport, no airline hassle, and no second mortgage required!

Wild Wonders Inc. is a wildlife rescue organization that offers an interactive experience like no other. Nestled in the foothills of Bonsall, California, it is one of North San Diego’s best-kept secrets, and an ideal place for an unforgettable family outing.

A visit to Wild Wonders takes you far beyond the traditional zoo experience of viewing animals from the edge of an enclosure. Instead, you get the benefit of a guided tour led by a professional biologist or animal trainer, who work with the animals on a daily basis and know every imaginable detail about them! They will enthusiastically teach you everything that you would want to know about each unique creature and answer any questions from the group.

Best of all, you get the incredible opportunity to pet, hold, and feed many of the animals on the tour! It is hard to find an animal encounter any more hands-on than this one. Wild Wonders has the rare ability to offer an experience that is more engaging and interactive than traditional zoos. You will have the chance come face-to-face with everything from tiny Fennec foxes to large Burmese Pythons, and take plenty of pictures to commemorate the occasion!

For those looking to take their weekend outing to the next level, Wild Wonders offers some special options that would be nearly impossible to find anywhere else. One of the enhanced choices is known as “Breakfast with the Beasts”, where you are served breakfast right next to the cheetah habitat! If that’s not a memorable meal, we sure don’t know what is. Once you are finished with this close-up dining experience, a standard tour of the reserve and all its other wildlife is included.

So, if you are looking for an unforgettable weekend experience without breaking the bank, consider booking a visit to Wild Wonders in Bonsall, California.

Bernardo Mountain (Aaron Chang -

Bernardo Mountain (Aaron Chang –

Challenge Yourself on the Coast to Crest Trail

By Delle Willett and Allison Keltner

Once completed, the Coast to Crest Trail will be the backbone of the San Dieguito River Park. Currently, you can hike along 45 miles of the planned 70-mile trail, which journeys from Del Mar (the coast) to the summit of Volcan Mountain (the crest), north of Julian. The completed segments offer a unique opportunity to either encounter nature right in your own backyard or to journey into more rural, backcountry regions in San Diego County.

Starting this summer, the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy is partnering with REI to challenge hikers and outdoors enthusiasts to get to know the Coast to Crest Trail. The free Coast to Crest Trail Challenge consists of five hikes throughout the River Park.

Each hike has a designated “selfie spot” for challengers to document their progress. Everyone who completes the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge by submitting their photos for verification will receive a certificate of completion, a Conservancy logo decal and a 20 percent off coupon for REI. Hikers are encouraged to use the hashtag #C2CChallenge when sharing their photos.

The hikes are:

The San Dieguito Lagoon is a great spot for observing endangered and migratory birds. Take your selfie at the Grand Ave. Overlook Bridge at the end of the recently-expanded River Path Del Mar.

Del Dios Gorge has some of the richest biological diversity in the River Park and striking archaeological significance. Take your selfie at the Rattlesnake Viewpoint, so named because native rocks were used to create a rattlesnake-shaped seating area.

Bernardo Mountain, rising 1,100 feet over Lake Hodges, is full of coastal sage scrub and prickly pear cacti, providing habitat for the California gnatcatcher and coastal cactus wren. Take your selfie at the summit, which offers breathtaking panoramic views where golden eagles once nested.

Clevenger Canyon South offers some strenuous but rewarding hiking. You have two options here: take the east fork to a set of wire-mesh chairs bolted to a boulder or the west fork to the “End of Trail” sign. Either spot counts as your selfie for this hike.

Volcan Mountain serves as the eastern terminus of the Coast to Crest Trail and the headwaters for the San Dieguito River. The summit features sweeping views of Earthquake Valley and the Salton Sea to the east, and on a clear day, all the way to the ocean to the west. Take your selfie next to the viewing scope at the summit.

Hikers may complete the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge on their own (or with friends), or with the Conservancy on guided hikes throughout the year. Visit for more details on the Challenge and other recreational activities throughout the River Park.

Potato Chip Rock

Potato Chip Rock

Hike Potato Chip Rock

By Karyssa Newsome

If you live in San Diego, you’ve probably heard something about Potato Chip Rock from one person or another, but, if the name doesn’t ring a bell, there’s still time to learn about it.

No, Potato Chip Rock is not some crispy, salty bliss land filled with savory snacks—despite how awesome that would be; it is a hiking experience unique to North San Diego. One of the most popular hiking destinations in all San Diego, Potato Chip Rock has garnered attention from hikers of all ages and skill levels. The Mount Woodson hiking trail, situated on the east side of Lake Poway, is a challenging trip to say the least, eight miles roundtrip, with an estimated hiking time of three to four hours on average, but it still garners flocks of motivated hikers daily.

The top of the mountain offers a lovely view and an incredibly unique photo opportunity that inspires many people to brave the laborious journey. Simply put, it’s the photo that everyone has to have, balanced on the wafer thin chip of rock and boulder, with the scenic view pressed behind you.

The Potato Chip Rock hike has many motivating factors that will easily have you eager to go. For the hiking enthusiast, this trip is a no brainer. Just being out in the environment is enough to get you giddy, but, if you want to make a fun outing out of it with your friends or family, you may need to do a little convincing, supposing some people aren’t as motivated to hike.

For athletic enthusiasts and the health conscious, Mount Woodson is a great trail. Not only does the inclined hike offer a great workout, but it is one that is fun, and has a rewarding payoff at the end.

Nearly everyone has that one friend or family member who is never away from their phone or social media for more than a millisecond. If you want to get them out of the house, simply bait them the unique photo opportunity offered at the end of the hike; it’s enough to get even the least motivated millennial off the computer and out into the great outdoors. Who can resist such a cool photo opportunity, right?

Whether you decide to hike on your own or with a larger group of people, Mount Woodson offers an exhilarating experience for anyone who decides to go.


Explore! Experience! Enjoy!

By Katherine Zimmer

The San Diego weather is gorgeous, the weekend is near, and you find yourself with no plans – a rare situation indeed. You breathe a deep sigh and decide that you’re in the mood for something different. You want to get outside, yes! You want to experience some amazing food and drink, yes! You want to see something spectacular, yes! And it all needs to be kid friendly, yay!

Escondido may mean “hidden” in Spanish, but the word is getting out that there’s a lot going on. Imagine spending this rare, carefree day off doing all of things you want to do in one unique area.

Let’s start with the “getting outside” part of your wish list. What better way to unplug and decompress than an early morning hike on picturesque trails in the peaceful hills above Escondido. Daley Ranch offers a variety of paths to find your Zen. Lace up those sneakers and start your day appreciating this fresh, untouched world with the morning light streaming through the trees. Connect up with a naturalist-guided hike or roam the trails with friends and family. Daley Ranch has trails for beginners to advanced hikers and is family-friendly… a great way to get some exercise while experiencing the natural beauty of Southern California. You can even grab your mountain bike or saddle up your horse to enjoy this expansive public land.

 San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Photo courtesy of Visit Escondido)

If you’d like a more exotic animal-populated hike, I enthusiastically recommend my happy place – yep, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park! Located just a short six miles from downtown Escondido, this amazing animal sanctuary provides all levels of the safari experience. Oh, you say you went there five years ago? Well, if you haven’t been there in the last six months, you’re missing a lot. New babies are born all the time and fantastic exhibits and shows come and go. I’m currently in love with Lucas, the baby fruit bat and adorable Leslie, the newest member of the always magnificent and entertaining Gorilla Forest family. Spend a couple of hours wandering around aimlessly enjoying the wildlife or plan ahead for one of many thrilling safari tours and make a day of it.

Next up… culinary delights are plentiful all around Escondido. Enjoy spectacular views and Chef Deborah Scott’s delicious dishes at Vintana Wine + Dine located at the top of The Centre at Lexus. This super unique venue includes an art gallery, shopping, live music and Vintana’s beautiful dining room and bar.

Escondido’s historic downtown district transports you back to a simpler time when you would stroll a small town main street with towering Eucalyptus trees, shop for antiques and chat with the locals. Add over twenty wonderful eateries, several diverse art galleries and museums (including dinosaurs and live critters) and you’ve got your wish for a unique afternoon.

If you happen to be spending your much-needed down time on a Friday from April to September, you’ll have the added bonus of experiencing Cruisin’ Grand Escondido. The 18-year tradition of one of California’s favorite classic car events will move you reminisce with big smiles. After you marvel at blocks of magnificently restored cars, find a seat at one of many patio restaurants and enjoy a cold craft brew or local wine and people watch.

What can you see that makes you say “WOW?” How about immersing yourself in the middle of the whimsical vision of a world-renowned artist inspired by California’s mythic, historic, and cultural roots. Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project created by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. Its location is even mysterious, tucked away within a 12-acre natural habitat in the Iris Sankey Arboretum in Kit Carson Park. You’ll enter the gates and pass through the giant mosaic snake wall and find yourself in a dizzying maze of black and white tiles and mirrors.

Don’t be surprised if that big smile appears on your face again as you look up and suddenly see Queen Califia over 25-feet high standing on the back of a five-legged eagle surrounded by her eight totems covered with symbols and forms freely drawn from Native American, Pre-Columbian, and Mexican art as well as the Niki’s own fantastic imagery. Have a seat and take it all in or take a selfie that doesn’t need an app to make it look like you’re in a fantasy-land! Little ones absolutely adore this place and the photo possibilities are endless.

Ready for dinner and a concert? Let’s continue our mission to stay outdoors as long as possible by relaxing in the beautiful gardens at the “home tap” of Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens. If you have time to take the brewery tour, it’s a great way to learn more about what makes craft beer special. Then order up your favorite IPA or expand your palate with a flight of something new and pair it with some seasonally fresh and superbly delicious foodie love.

Finally, end your day of altered staycation by experiencing visual or performing arts at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, the cultural hub of North San Diego County. Their diverse show season is always packed with a variety of performances from internationally famous musicians and comedy shows to free community interactive events. The campus museum combines large-scale trend-forward exhibits with inspired student art.

( Provided by Harrah’s Resort Southern California)

( Provided by Harrah’s Resort Southern California)

The Thrill of a Winning Experience in North San Diego

When it comes to casinos and gaming, there’s nothing like a winning experience. North San Diego offers so many opportunities to do so, with a gaming industry that is unmatched. Home to many incredible casinos including Casino Pauma, Harrah’s Resort Southern California, Pala Casino Spa & Resort, and Valley View Casino & Hotel, enjoy the thrill of playing at North San Diego’s best casino destinations.

Casino Pauma

With a come-as-you-are style and friendly atmosphere, Casino Pauma offers more than 35,000 square feet of the latest slots and table games, three delicious dining options and exciting nightlife and entertainment. Their around-the-clock gaming floor features 1,050 slot machines and 23 table games, including blackjack, roulette, Ultimate Texas Hold Em, Pauma 3 Card and Live Poker. They also offer an organic buffet, with a pasta station and prime rib nightly.

Harrah’s Resort Southern California

With three pools and a lazy river, Harrah’s offers SoCal’s only swim-up bar. The casino features over 1,000 luxury rooms, eight restaurants and a full-service spa and fitness center. Putting itself on the map as “Funner, California,” Harrah’s resort is home to more than 4,000 slot machines, and is set to expand with more hotel rooms. They also offer live entertainment, craft beer at their own brewery, wine and spirits and handcrafted cocktails.

Pala Casino Spa & Resort

A Las Vegas-style casino, Pala Casino Spa & Resort features 2,000 slot machines, 13-table poker rooms, a 507-room hotel, full-service spa and salon, fitness center, swimming pool with private cabanas, 11 restaurants and more. With live entertainment daily, the 2,000-seat Pala Events Center offers many opportunities to experience great events, featuring an intimate Cave Lounge where many food and wine experiences are held for guests to enjoy.

Valley View Casino & Hotel

Valley View Casino & Hotel, Southern California’s premier gaming destination, combines the thrill of San Diego’s only Certified Loose slots and all your favorite table games with beautifully appointed rooms in their luxury boutique hotel, six outstanding restaurants and unparalleled guest service. The casino features 2,000 slot machines, exciting table games including blackjack, roulette, pai gow poker and more, a separate non-smoking casino, as well as the most rewarding Players Club around, which is always free to join. Exceptional dining options at Valley View Casino & Hotel include the iconic Maine Lobster Buffet, the award-winning Black&Blue Steakhouse and Lounge and BLD’s Café.

North San Diego Farmers’ Markets

By Karyssa Newsome

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Farm fresh ingredients can be difficult to come by! While nearly every grocery store in the county provides produce to San Diegans, it can be disheartening to not have the privilege of knowing exactly where your fruits and vegetables come from. Luckily, in San Diego, farmers’ markets are widespread and abundant. The farm fresh culture and locally-grown scenes are thriving and plentiful in North San Diego especially, where dozens of markets take place every day of the week.

Some of the more popular markets in North San Diego include Scripps Ranch Farmers’ Market (Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) and the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers’ Market (Sundays, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m). Weekend markets are very popular and can get crowded at times, but North San Diego also has many markets that are open during the week days as well, perfect if you need to pick up a few groceries after work. A few of those include the Mira Mesa Farmers’ Market (Tuesdays, 2:30-7p.m.), Escondido (Tuesdays, 2:30- 6:30 p.m.), Carlsbad (Wednesdays, 1– 5 p.m.), San Marcos (Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m.), and Oceanside (Thursdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 5–9 p.m.).



Maderas Golf Club

Maderas Golf Club

North San Diego Golf

By Kruti Gandhi

To complement its shining blue ocean, San Diego also offers miles of green grass on its many world-class golf courses. With a perfect climate and a great coastline, the city boasts more than 90 golf courses, most of which are in North San Diego. The golf courses in San Diego are sprawled along the seaside, deserts, and valleys. North County promises some of the most scenic and challenging layouts that will leave any golf fanatic satisfied.

When you ask anyone about the golf courses in San Diego, most of them would suggest the renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, which is well-known for its breathtaking beauty and for being the site of the 2008 U.S. Open. This is the perfect place to tee off if you want to immerse yourself in the fantastic cliff and coastline views. Torrey Pines is split into two courses, North and South, but both are equally engaging and spectacular. Native San Diegan or tourist, this course is definitely worth visiting if you are looking for a oceanfront tee off.

But the beauty of SoCal does not stop at the oceanic blue Pacific coast; there are many other courses in San Diego that are just a stunning despite lacking a coastline view. You might not be on the ocean while at Maderas Golf Club, but the course has no shortage of water. The five waterfalls and three lakes complement the nice mix of long and short holes in a chaparral surrounding. It is one of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses in San Diego with narrow fairways and carriers.

Fantastic views are a feature upon which all San Diego golf courses pride themselves. Sprawling grounds, gorgeous landscaping, and old world charm make Bernardo Heights Country Club an unforgettable golf course. The practice facilities are excellent, including a grass driving range, two separate putting greens, and bunker and chipping practice areas. Playing a round of golf takes no more than three to four hours and that leaves everyone with plenty of time to enjoy the newly renovated clubhouse for a meal and a drink.

The Del Mar Country Club also offers an exciting experience with a Joseph Lee-designed golf course. The course is naturally beautiful with green terrains and breathtaking vistas. Native flora and fauna, as well as beautiful bodies of water including streams, waterfalls, and lakes surround the property. Del Mar Country Club is known for its championship course that is equally as mesmerizing as it is challenging. The course has five tee settings to ensure your experience is unique and adventurous for any level of play.

Rancho Bernardo Inn recently renovated its 18-hole Championship Golf Course, the same course that hosted both LPGA and PGA events. While it is one of the oldest golf courses in San Diego, with a history of over 50 years, your golf experience is guaranteed to be fresh and invigorating. The Rancho Bernardo Inn golf course invites golfers of all levels to come and experience a challenging and rewarding golf session.

Welk Resort is another of North County’s golf attractions with options to play either their Oaks Course or the Fountains Course. The 18-hole golf courses were designed by David Rainville and have been in play since 1964. Both of the courses are scenic with natural beauty all around and have been ranked as one of the “best places to play golf” by Golf Digest.

(California Center for the Arts Escondido)

(California Center for the Arts Escondido)

Immerse in the Culture of North San Diego

By Karyssa Newsome

The city of San Diego is unique because it offers a little bit of everything for everyone. Whether you’re looking to go on a breathtaking adventure, grab an unforgettable meal, or escape to a relaxing rendezvous, there is something to meet your tastes. But San Diego isn’t just sandy beaches and water sports; North San Diego offers an engaging cultural scene that is sure to pique your interests one way or another.

So next time you want to go out, instead of heading straight to the shopping centers or the sea shores, maybe consider immersing yourself in the bustling cultural scene offered in North San Diego. There is a plethora of visual and performing arts experiences waiting to be had! Whether you fancy art, theatre, music, or just an enriching experience outside of the norms, there are plenty of options offered.

For all the thespians, theater-lovers, and dramatically inclined souls, North San Diego has many theatres and performing arts institutes to meet your needs. The La Jolla Playhouse, located on the campus of UC San Diego, is a place to visit if you’re looking for a thrilling theatre experience. Whether you’re interested in seeing a drama, comedy, one man show, or whatever else your heart desires, the La Jolla Playhouse will surely provide. This not-for-profit institution prides itself in presenting “the new and the next” when it comes to the American theater scene. With 38 Tony Awards and 28 productions that have gone on to Broadway, the La Jolla Playhouse is the place to go if you’re looking for an enriching, cultural evening of fun.

In addition, you may want to check out the Scripps Ranch Theatre. Not only are they an award-winning establishment, but they are a successful theatre in general, growing in size with each new season. Similar to the La Jolla Playhouse, the Scripps Ranch Theatre is also known for developing new and interesting productions, written by local artists. A perk of the Scripps Ranch Theatre is the affordability of the ticket prices, which makes it more accessible for any large group of friends or family you want to invite.

If theatre isn’t your cup of tea, but you’re still in the mood for an intellectual experience, North San Diego’s cultural scene offers many more experiences. For the more artistically disposed, there are tons of artsy spaces to check out. Distinction Gallery in Escondido is an excellent place to visit if you are in the mood to consume art. The venue exhibits an array of different artists from around the globe. Although primarily a gallery for oil and acrylic paintings they occasionally exhibit other forms of art. In addition to an engaging art exhibit The Distinction Gallery also offers art studio space for rent, an in-house frame shop, and an escape room. It’s a great place to check out if you are a lover of art.

If you’d rather be creating art than critiquing it, then Painting With a Twist is where you want to go. A great outing for you and your friends, Painting With a Twist provides just that—a fun and unique artistic experience. Here you can have a fun time with your friends creating art and indulging in a glass of wine or a beer. All the art supplies are provided and with step-by-step instruction from other enthusiastic artists even the artistically inept can take home a masterpiece at the end of the evening.

If you’re aren’t quite sure what you’re in the mood for, but you still want to immerse yourself in the cultural scene that North San Diego offers, then you might want to check out the California Center for the Arts located in Escondido. With the goal of bringing people together to experience the wonders of visual and performing arts alike, this establishment offers a little bit of everything for you to enjoy. Facilities include a concert hall, a theatre, an art museum, and art and dance studios. With the California Center for the Arts you won’t have to pick one art over the other—it’s all there for you under one venue.

Get “Locked” Up

By Melissa Walker

Are you bored of doing the same thing every weekend? Are you looking for an adventure that not only encourages you to silence your cell phone, but actually requires you lock it up? If so, then escape rooms might be for you.

Imagine being “locked” into a room with your closest friends or co-workers. Upon first entering you might be amazed, frightened, or confused. These are all normal reactions considering you just entered a “locked” room for an hour of entertainment. Each room has a different theme, such as Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery, or Science.

The goal? To find clues to help your group solve a series of puzzles in order to beat the clock and escape before the buzzer. The average escape adventure is 60 minutes, but duration varies based upon your choice of rooms.

Escape rooms aren’t new, but their popularity has surged in the U.S. in recent years. In addition to 25+ rooms to visit in San Diego County there are over 2,000 across the United States. Recently Disney, HBO, and even cruise ship lines have started up their own escape rooms, often as temporary pop-up locations.

Tempting Taste Buds North San Diego Style

By Fletcher Damon

Foodies understand the importance of eating lavishly, especially when on vacation. Good meals are equally, if not more important, than any other activities you do while on getaways.

San Diego’s culinary community understands this passion and has raised its standards accordingly. The city is well known for tempting its visitors’ taste buds with gourmet meals that leave them always wanting to come back for more.

North County in particular is an incredible hotspot for an endless variety of delicious food and drinks. Being right at the nexus of the southern border and the Pacific Rim, San Diego is blessed with authentic cuisines from a multitude of regions and cultures.

One of the county’s best-known offerings is its delicious Mexican food, which is craved by visitors and locals alike. Many people arriving to San Diego will tell you that their first stop is always at their favorite taco shop, of which there is an abundance.

If Pan-Asian food is your preferred option, North San Diego has a range of top-notch options for you as well. Whether you are looking for sushi, ramen, curry, or any other option from the Eastern hemisphere, North County has a restaurant that can satisfy your taste buds.

And, of course, being adjacent to miles of beautiful coastline, North San Diego has plentiful seafood choices. If that suits your palate, the region offers everything from a quick to-go order of fish and chips to a gourmet dinner of seared salmon and fresh lobster.

Join us on a food-filled adventure inside the restaurants of San Diego and learn what makes this city a foodie’s mecca for travelers from all around the world.


A toast to you

A toast to you

Share Your Favorite North San Diego Moments:





Safari Park cubs

Safari Park cubs

On the links

On the links


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest Issue

Click here to view the PDF version of our magazine.

Subscribe to Daily Business Report

Advertise on SD Metro Magazine

Voice Your Opinion

We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: