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The Best and Worst of San Diego


(page 9 of 11)

Best Faux Indian Village

Kumeyaay Homesite, Quail Botanical Gardens. A favorite with children, this Indian settlement on the south side of the gardens replicates the way the original inhabitants of what is now San Diego County once lived. The homesite includes one of the Kumeyaay’s trademark woven-dome homes, acorn-grinding stones and an open-air kitchen. 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, 760-436-3036.

Best View from the Top

The view while gliding back to earth after jumping from a DeHaviland Twin Otter at 13,500 feet is heart-pounding serenity. Skydive San Diego offers patrons an adrenaline rush—and a view that stretches from Tijuana to downtown San Diego. A tandem dive, with an instructor, is $174. The view is free. 13531 Otay Lakes Road, Jamul, 619-216-8416.

Best Margarita

Frozen or on the rocks. Add a twist of lime and a salt-rimmed glass, and you have a blissful Happy Hour. Casa de Bandini, in the heart of Old Town, serves up a Margarita so fulsome you could almost take a dip in it. But it’s best for drinking. On the outdoor patio. While mariachis orchestrate each sip. 2754 Calhoun Street, 619-297-8211.

Best Bingo with a Twist

This is not your grandmother’s bingo. Unless, perhaps, your grandma is your grandpa. Lips is a restaurant-bar that features drag-queen divas doing music and comedy. But on Wednesday nights, around 8:30, the bingo balls start to roll. Leave your sensitivities at home, or these bingo “ladies” will tear you apart. 2770 Fifth Avenue, 619-295-7900.

Best Web Site for the Clueless To Bookmark

Need a qualified electrician, handyman or chimney sweep—now? How about a private investigator, debt negotiator or professional organizer? San Diego Referrals (www.sdreferrals.com) has some 70 trusted and time-tested businesses to help you out. The group meets weekly and ensures members meet high service standards. Saves you, the consumer, a lot of walking through those advertiser-slick pages.

Best Neighborhood Hardware Store

Home-improvement mega-stores are mega-headaches for some do-it-yourselfers, and Ace Hardware in Hillcrest is a great alternative. A funky uptown store with old-fashioned down-home service; all the basics plus lots of designer extras. The staff is super knowledgeable. It’s at 1007 University Avenue and open every day; 619-291-5988.

Best New Political Voice

New weekly newspaper City Beat has a long way to go to reach the girth and recognition level of the predominant alternative weekly, the San Diego Weekly Reader. But check out the sophomorically sublime way City Beat referred to San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy as “Mayor 10Goals” and then switched to “Mayor Flippy-Floppy.” Let the political campaigns roll.

Best Politician’s Web Site

It’s not cookie cutter like those of other San Diego City Council members. District 3 constituents of Toni Atkins don’t have to be bored by dull grids and same-as-the-next graphics when doing on-line research on their council rep. Whee! It’s almost as much fun as e-Bay, and less confusing than Amazon.com. Go to genesis.sannet.gov/infospc/templates/cd3/index.jsp.

Perkiest Mayor

The nod for the region’s most sprightly mayor goes to Escondido’s Lori Holt Pfeiler. The diminutive second-termer makes $19,400 in the post, but the money hasn’t spoiled her sense of humor. If an evil party host forces you to pick one politician to share a dinner table with, outsmart that host and pick perky Pfeiler.

Worst Thing Padres Could Do at New Petco Park #5

Hire the Chargers’ marketing and public relations staffs.

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