Cool on the Coast: Set your heart on arts, food and community in February

Layla Marino

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2016_COLUMN_MARINOFebruary is a time for lovers, and also a time for fun in coastal North County. With the weather being a bit moody, it’s nice to know that we have lots of options for both cold and warm weather in this beautiful region. Whether it’s plays, politics or outdoor playing, this short month is not short on fun no matter what the weather.

Valentine’s Fun

With its beautiful beaches and sunsets and the world-class dining coastal North County has to offer, this area is truly a lovers’ paradise. Looking for something unconventional? There’s also lots of quirky Valentine’s Day fun to go with the heart-melting views. Valentine’s Day events aren’t just on Feb. 14, either. Sweethearts and families alike can make it Valentine’s Day all month long. Here are just a few of the cool Valentine’s events on the coast:

  • Feb. 11: Valentine’s Mead and Chocolate Pairing, Golden Coast Mead in Oceanside — The ancient warm drink mead, an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey, is making a comeback in recent years. The idea to pair this warm winter drink with artisan chocolates, however, is a North County original. Golden Coast Mead in Oceanside has teamed up with So Rich Chocolates to reintroduce this historically rich drink in a new way, and what better time for warmth and sweetness than Valentine’s Day? For more info on this interesting Valentine’s idea, go to
  • Feb. 12-13: “Boxing Love with Shakespeare’s Women” at Apotheque Lifestyle Spa — A unique collaboration between Apotheque Lifestyle Spa and Theatre Arts West, this play also combines art and theater in a beautiful and uplifting way. For more information and tickets, visit
  • Feb. 13: “My Funny Valentines” Comedy Show at Carlsbad Village Theatre — Want a quirky, comic take on love this Valentine’s Day? The Carlsbad Village Theatre has just that with its eighth annual “My Funny Valentines” comedy show. This year features comedians Trent McClellan and Julie Kim, and hosted by Lamont Ferguson. Love doesn’t have to be so serious. Find out how to enjoy this raucous V-day tradition at
  • Feb. 13-14: Wisdom and Enlightenment: A Valentine’s Day Weekend with Sai Maa — A master of Vedic (pre-Hindu) spirituality, Sai Maa will perform a special enlightenment ceremony that is open to the public. Enhance your love for self and others through Sai Maa’s techniques and presence. Visit for information and to register.
  • Feb. 14: Dead Man’s Party Valentine’s Ball — Dead Man’s Party is by far San Diego’s favorite tribute band. If you’re looking for a fun and funky Valentine’s date, come check out this raucous group as they play all of Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman’s best work from the 1980s and ’90s. This is always one of the best parties of the month at the Belly Up in Solana Beach and almost always sells out, so get your tickets soon. More information below in this column’s “Belly Up” section.
  • Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu at Kitchen 1540 — The award-winning restaurant at L’Auberge Del Mar, Kitchen 1540, will offer a sweet tasting menu for sweethearts. The “Romeo and Juliet” Menu features two options on a four-course prix fixe menu with two options for wine pairings. Swoon over the sunset with this delicious menu. For menu, pricing and reservations, go to
  • Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day at Addison’s Grand Del Mar — Sit down to a decadent nine-course French-inspired dinner for lovers at Addison’s at the Grand Del Mar featuring smoked sturgeon, noisette tart and a coffee and chocolate pairing. If you’re not feeling particularly amorous on Valentine’s Day, this menu will change your tune. For more information, pricing and reservations, go to
  • Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day at Pacific Coast Grill — Pacific Coast Grill believes that variety is the spice of live on Valentine’s Day. With a huge prix fixe menu and many choices for each course, specialty lovers’ cocktails and champagne pairings, there’s something for every palate and every love. For information and reservations, see

The Belly Up in Solana Beach

It’s a February of favorites at San Diego’s premiere rock venue, with the bands San Diegans crave. From jazz to reggae to the best cover bands, this month is bubbling over with musical fun. Here are a few don’t-miss selections. The full calendar for this month is at

  • Feb. 11: Glen Phillips from Toad the Wet Sprocket — Santa Barbara-based Toad the Wet Sprocket are also a San Diego favorite. Glen Phillips is touring to support his new work as he ventures into country music. This special evening will include classics from Toad the Wet Sprocket’s catalog as well as Phillips’ new work. Come see how this local favorite is evolving his sound.
  • Feb. 14: Dead Man’s Party Valentine’s Ball — Dead Man’s Party is by far San Diego’s favorite tribute band. If you’re looking for a fun and funky Valentine’s date, come check out this raucous group as they play all of Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman’s best work from the 1980s and ’90s. This is always one of the best parties of the month at the Belly Up and almost always sells out, so get your tickets soon.
  • Feb. 22: Shooter Jennings — The son of folk country legend Waylon Jennings is continuing his family’s legacy with his own signature added in. As a very diverse artist, Shooter has toured with his father’s band as well as venturing into electronic music with the likes of Giorgio Moroder. This show will be everything but predictable.
  • Feb. 26: Ani DiFranco — This soulful folk singer reached the height of her fame in the late 1990s, but she has never stopped producing since then. This special intimate evening with San Diego’s indie folk favorite will have her telling stories, playing her old material and new hits from her latest album, “Allergic to Water.” This show is already sold out, so here’s hoping you already have your tickets.
  • Feb. 27: An Evening with Nick Carter — Fiery former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter has been active in music since the band’s disintegration, and this “All American Tour” is brought to the Belly Up to support his third solo album of the same name.
  • Feb. 28: Matisyahu — One of San Diego’s favorite reggae artists and in fact one of the best-known in the world, Matisyahu tours almost all the time. He always makes sure to stop in one of his favorite cities at his favorite venue, the Belly Up. If you’ve never seen his moving show, get your tickets before they sell out.

More February fun

Plays and politics dominate February on the North Coast, but with our beautiful landscape, there is still lots of sun and fun to be found. Try these activities when it’s just a bit too cold.

  • Sundays, Feb. 14-21: “Proof” at The Oceanside Theatre Company — David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama comes back to the stage in this heart-rending play directed by Christopher Williams. Genius and madness dance together as a daughter learns the secret that drove her father to the brink. For tickets and information, go to
  • Mondays, Feb. 15-ongoing: African Drum Classes at Dance North County, Encinitas — Learn to play the classic West African drum, the djembe, with master drummer Monette Marino. One of the most fun, lively classes in the county. For more information go to
  • Feb. 16: San Diego Climate Change Address with Supervisor Dave Roberts at Encinitas Library — The county Board of Supervisors has been working on climate change impact reports throughout 2015, and Dave Roberts, 3rd District supervisor, will address his constituents with current findings in Encinitas. Make sure to attend this important symposium to hear how San Diego County and the northern coastal region are measuring up, and what we can do as a community to reduce our impact on the environment. For information, email
  • Feb. 19-20: Junk Bonanza Vintage Market at Del Mar Fairgrounds — Vintage flea markets are popping up all over Southern California, and they are one of the most fun experiences for shrewd decorators and lovers of history. Junk Bonanza Vintage Markets are half flea market half antique expos, all quirky fun. For more information go to
  • Feb. 20: Zero Waste Shopping Class at Ocean Knoll Educational Farm — I Love a Clean San Diego, Healthy Day partners and the city of Encinitas offer this groundbreaking class to help teach adults and kids alike how to reduce waste in all aspects of life. Arts and crafts for kids with serious strategies on how to shop, cook and work to reduce waste for a healthier family and San Diego County. For more information, go to
  • Feb. 27-28: “Seussical” at the Star Theatre — A fun, fantastical ride through the wild world of Dr. Seuss. Watch his lovable characters come to life in this musical review. Tickets and information at

Love is definitely in the air in February, and it takes many forms. Whether you’re a lover of theater, the environment or your one and only, coastal North County in San Diego is the place to find your love. Keep enjoying the beauty everywhere in this wonderful region.

Columnist Layla Marino is a San Diego music and arts writer. Visit Follow her on Twitter at Send questions and comments to

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