In support of her high-decibel new album, Rihanna kicks off her hotly anticipated LOUD tour with emphatic gusto and a sizzling roster of special guests. Like an art show at a sundae bar, the LOUD tour floods the senses, enchanting audiences with lavishly designed sets, myriad costume changes, move-busting dancers, and Rihanna's songbook of Grammy magnets. Crooner Cee Lo Green augments the songful offerings with his own vocal talents, and Roc Nation rapper and rhythm scientist J. Cole further helps resuscitate ear drums traumatized by the outside world's blaring car horns and shrill howler monkeys.
At Wine A Bit Coronado, meals and drinks go down in sips and nibbles. The owners wanted an environment in which people could feel free to unwind while trying new wines and interesting pairings at their own pace. To that end, they collected a wine list from around the world, along with a robust selection of house wines made especially for them. They hold casual tastings in a comfy back room every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening, pouring samples of up to seven wines for guests to try. These events tend to coincide with the presence of a musician, who offers up tunes to please the ears as visitors train their palates and sample appetizers such as artisan flatbreads and brie-and-apple stacks drizzled with agave nectar. Also onsite are more than 20 craft beers made by local brewers.
The Cask Room's vast wine menu rotates each week like a stately Morris dance or a motley safety dance, and might feature the bold tannins of a 2006 Monte da Cal from Alentejano, Portugal ($9 for a glass); a 2007 Rancho Sisquoc River Red fermented and bottled in Santa Barbara, California ($10 a glass); or a 2007 Clautiere Roussanne from the Paso Robles, California ($11 a glass). Passionate wine professionals will guide you through the latest liquid lineup and suggest pairings from a mealtime menu populated by toasted paninis and petite tapas that hearken back to an age when cuisine strived to woo the stomach’s heart without resorting to cyber-stalking. The Sonoma melts together grilled portobello mushrooms with roasted red peppers, goat cheese, roast garlic, thyme, and caramelized onion ($10), while small plates present dishes such as stuffed dates stuffed with goat cheese and baked in a layer of prosciutto ($9) and gorgonzola crostini topped with agave nectar ($8).
True connoisseurs can taste the character of a city in its beer, especially those cities constructed mostly from hops and barley. Sample the sudsy side of San Diego with today's Groupon: for $89, you get a luxury brewery tour for two from Brew Hop (a $190 value).
While trekking across New Zealand, Matt Baker and PJ Lamont stumbled upon a burger shack in Queenstown and immediately became addicted to the eatery’s organic, grass-fed beef patties. According to a profile in Beach & Bay Press, the duo often dined there more than once a day and eventually convinced the chef to both part with his recipes and train them how to make them. Upon returning home, the pair recruited PJ’s brother Martin for their budding endeavor: a gourmet burger place that would rely entirely on organic, grass-fed beef from New Zealand. After finding the right spot for their gastropub, the three put their own sweat into renovating it; PJ carved the wooden menu himself without using a woodpecker even once.
That menu quickly garnered its fair share of media buzz and awards by combining beef patties, ground fresh daily, with unique ingredients such as pesto aioli, grilled pineapple, and beetroot. Organic, local vegetables make up the condiments and the house tomato chutney, New Zealand’s hardier version of ketchup. But Bare Back Grill does more than burgers, satisfying appetites with natural chicken and lamb, tempura tofu, and seared ahi tuna coupled with a wide selection of beers and wines. Guests can gulp down Kiwi Steinlagers or sip Australian and New Zealand wines while lounging at either Bare Back location.
Dublin Square Irish Pub & Grill doesn't just look like a piece of Ireland?it actually is a piece of Ireland. Before getting shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to its home in the Gaslamp Quarter, the pub was manufactured on the island by O'Sullivan Interiors. What's more, it's based on an authentic pub whose roots stretch back to the early 1700s. Guests can experience this homage by sidling up to the Irish oak bar, or toasting themselves next to the cast-iron fireplace in the Victorian Lounge.
Of course, the food and drink are likewise Irish-inspired: beer-battered fish and chips, Guinness-braised beef, and an Irish lamb stew loaded with potatoes, onions, carrots, and fresh Colorado lamb. On certain nights, the pub buzzes with trivia competitions, karaoke performances, and sets from live bands.