Wine, Wednesdays and WoW

Posted: March 6th, 2015 | Columnists, Featured, It's All Happening | No Comments

Darlynne and Marc Menkin | It’s All Happening

It’s hard to believe but it’s been 24-plus years since we left the East Coast and moved to San Diego. During that time, we’ve never once said to ourselves “we’re bored.” Far from it, as we’re always uncovering cool things to see and do.

Take for instance the last time we were Downtown. We had just wrapped up one of our fun Urban Challenge Scavenger Hunts and didn’t feel like going home yet, so we headed to the Marina Kitchen at the Marriott Marquis near Seaport Village. We heard about their “Wine Wednesdays” event that happens from 6 – 7 p.m. on select Wednesdays. It was a warm, summer-like evening, so it was the perfect way to end our long day. We were with four other people giving it a nice, intimate feel, which allowed us to really interact with Josh Orr, the sommelier and his sidekick Amanda.

D Downtown WWweb

(l to r) Josh Orr and some shiny happy wine people (Photo by Marc Menkin)

“I like when it’s 12 or less people,” Josh said. “We can do the event in the cellar and have great conversations. I get a kick out of interacting with people.” He added that when they have more than 18 people, they will sometimes do the tastings out on the patio, which has great views of the bay and Coronado. Josh had a nice, laid-back style and his passion and knowledge for wines really came through in his storytelling.

The wine tastings were excellent and they complemented the food nicely. We had Marina Kitchen’s signature homemade bread, featuring a special olive oil and tomato spread that literally exploded with flavor in our mouths. They also served samples of their fish and pork specialties, both mainstays at the restaurant. In addition to the food and wine pairing class, Marina Kitchen also offers a blind tasting. That’s when the identity of the wine is unknown to the taster, allowing for an unbiased evaluation. The cost for the food and wine combo is $40 per person, $20 for the regular tastings.

In addition to wine and culinary adventures, immersion theater is something else we truly enjoy. We recently checked out La Jolla Playhouse’s “The Grift” — part of their Without Walls (WoW) Festival — playing at the Lafayette Hotel in Uptown and it was quite a treat. It’s a unique way to immerse yourself into a mystery. If you’ve never experienced this form of theater, it’s a fun, interactive performance that allows the audience to be part of the show. In “The Grift,” small groups of 10 or so people visit different rooms of the Lafayette Hotel and at each stop, you have to solve a clue in order to move on. The moving show accommodates 50 audience members and requires some walking and climbing stairs.

It starts out with five groups and several people in each group are given colored armbands with a key attached. You aren’t told how these keys will be used. It’s all very mysterious but fun. One of the rooms even features food and drinks, which is a nice touch. “The Grift” runs through March 22 and tickets are $40. For more information, visit

And finally, if you’re into music like we are, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park is offering some great concerts. The next show is March 27 and will showcase blues artist Earl Thomas.

“Earl Thomas has been selling out shows in San Diego since the 1990s,” said Nathan Young, promotions manager for the science center. “He sings a style of blues and soul music that we don’t often get to hear in San Diego.”

Other upcoming concerts are Eve Selis and Berkley Hart on April 17 and Steve Poltz on May 22.

We want to hear from you — DecoBikes are the new bike-share program installed Downtown. Take a creative photo with you and a friend with a DecoBike. Do something fun like a popping a wheelie! The best picture will win two tickets to a Downtown Urban Challenge/Scavenger Hunt and two tickets for a biking adventure to secret spots in Coronado!

—Darlynne and Marc Menkin are co-owners of Where You Want To Be Tours. Several of their teambuilding adventures are Downtown and on Coronado Island and their niche is Hidden San Diego. Visit and for more information.

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