The small empire that is Whisknladle Hospitality started with a serendipitous meeting of French Laundry vet Ryan Johnston and aspiring restaurateur—and undaunted cooking-school dropout—Arturo Kassel. Their vision? Gourmet comfort food, with none of the guilty excess that term might imply. Just about every ingredient at Whisknladle, down to buttermilk dressings and canadian bacon, would be prepared from scratch, filling a menu that would change with the finest gradations of the seasons. "We want to find that balance of making our guests comfortable and pulling one foot out of their comfort zone," Johnston recently told San Diego Magazine—which means the french toast might exude lemon and lavender and the fried chicken might nest on purslane.
In a 2008 review, the Union-Tribune described "delightful, soul-satisfying" dishes such as "juicy, perfectly roasted chicken" at "one of the most exciting restaurants in San Diego." The crowds agreed. So Johnston and Kassel decided to expand the experience, inspired, as their website says, "by our desire to eat Whisknladle-quality food on a regular basis while sticking to our restaurant-employee budgets." Prepkitchen is a little simpler and more casual, but dishes such as porter-braised short rib and biscuits with chorizo gravy prove the new venture takes the same care as the original when it comes to sourcing ingredients and clearly labeling sugar and salt containers.
With a verdant variety of shrubs, trees, roses, and vines, the friendly plantologists will help you wade through the veritable ocean of foliage. Beginning green-thumbers can take advantage of a jumbo planting kit, including ample plant food, vitamin B1, and planting compost—everything a person needs to lure an unsuspecting plant into captivity ($15.97 for the regular kit; $29.97 for the jumbo kit). Advanced yard-enhancements abound in the form of trees and shrubs, such as a selection of 5-gallon citrus trees, good for accenting a living space and forming a focal point for the worship of the Lemon Pledge gods ($34.99). Armstrong can also help organic gardeners reach full-flavored nirvana with a bevy of 3-inch plant varieties ($2.99; selections vary by season and location).
A quaint, seaside spa, Spa Namara houses five poolside pamper rooms where visitors find full-body relaxation and face-saving facials. First, a dexterous flesh fixer will review your skin and design a treatment for your prized frontispiece. As gentle ocean breezes fill the warm room with salty scents, the aesthetician applies the facial to exfoliate and hydrate thirsty skin cells. When overworked muscles threaten to strike, patrons can ask a trained muscle-kneader to prepare a custom massage suited to their sinews and sore spots. Working with soft to moderate pressure, the therapist pinpoints problem areas, leaving muscles relaxed and loose enough to finally break the ice with the circulatory system. As a bonus, Namara's clients can also go stand around for a while in the pool courtyard's calming oasis.
San Diego Self Storage oversees an ample and affordable arsenal of storage units and a network of neighborhood facilities. Storage rates and available unit sizes and types vary by location; however, you may be able to stow faulty bedknobs and broomsticks in a 10'x10' climate-controlled unit ($119–$189/month) or a 5'x5' lower-interior unit ($44-$79/month). Stuff storers can also hide away truffles from Lagotto Romagnolos in a 10'x20' exterior unit ($199–$319/month).
For more than 25 years, the experts at Elite Interiors have helped guests select the perfect shutters, shades, and sheers to adorn windows. They help guests find the window dressings to suit their aesthetic and lighting needs, with Hunter Douglas sheers that soften natural light while providing privacy, Graber, Skandia, and Progressive shutters, and automated shades that block out light without unsightly cords.
For the fifth year in a row, the Del Mar Mud Run is setting up shop at the historic Del Mar Fairgrounds. A sell-out event in each of its first four runs, the event has gained notoriety for its national TV spots and attendance by reality-TV stars. This year's race will keep everyone on their muddy toes, though, as a brand-new course will introduce different obstacles and a possible redefinition of true north. Participants can sign up as individuals or a team; either way, they can hit up a post-race foam fest with hot showers and a dance party.