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Running for Fun, Fitness…and a Great Cause!
4/22/2014 4:55:44 PM
 
Would you like to be part of something that’s fun, good for you…and good for others? Then join me Saturday morning, June 7 for a stimulating stroll or fast-paced run along the Embarcadero at the 2nd annual “Run For Independence.”  It’s a 5 or 10-K (take your pick!) for an awesome organization called “TMI.” As you enjoy a great workout along San Diego’s gorgeous waterfront, you’ll also be supporting something big!
 
In this case, TMI doesn’t stand for “too much information!” In fact, we want to spread the word about what may just be the most important non-profit you’ve never heard of!
 
Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been giving people with disabilities the chance to live happy, fulfilling lives in our community for more than 30 years. I’ve been blessed to see first-hand the changed lives made possible because of the people and programs associated with TMI. 
 
Because of TMI, my entire perception of people with disabilities has changed.  There’s a type of discrimination that exists… I believe rooted in fear… of someone who’s “different….” someone who looks different, speaks differently, walks differently…or maybe can’t walk at all.
 
Because of TMI, I no longer fear or avoid what I don’t understand. I love to engage the delightful young man who bags my groceries at Vons. He’s always cheerful, efficient and clearly loves his job. Anthony also happens to have a developmental disability and that makes him “different.”  So what!
 
TMI’s mission is to provide what Anthony and all people with disabilities want to enjoy…a job, a home…full inclusion in society.  For years, TMI has been looking beyond the differences and seeing the person made by the same Creator…with the same hopes, dreams, desires and aspirations as the rest of us.
 
I’ve spent time with the CEO David Piazza and the TMI team and seen their pure passion for people living with disabilities. They’ve been doing what I believe is God’s work in our community for decades…under the radar with virtually no recognition.
 
It’s time to shine the light on TMI.  Would you think about joining me and hundreds of others in support of the proven programs of TMI as they continue to make dreams come true for people with disabilities?
 
They’re not so “different,” really. Just like you and me, people with disabilities need nothing less than love, acceptance and the opportunity to reach their full potential.
 
Click on this link for a brief look at the fun you’ll have if you join us.   
 
 
Don’t miss this year’s fun. See you June 7!
 
To register, go to: http://www.tmi-inc.org
The National Presidential Prayer Breakfast serves up some food for the soul
By Carol LeBeau
3/18/2014 10:41:46 AM


–FULL BIO
 

“The Bucket List,” one of my all-time favorite movies was an enormous hit at the box office despite its seemingly maudlin theme. The 2007 comedy-drama film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman followed two terminally ill men on a road trip with a wish list of things to do before they "kick the bucket."

But the film clearly hit a collective nerve. Alternately hilarious and touching, the film’s mega-stars took on the issue of their inevitable mortality by making the most of what time they had left.

Only 53 at the time, but motivated by the movie’s powerful message, I found myself working on my own bucket list as I left the theater.  In the seven years since, I’ve swum the 2.4-mile Ironman course off Kona, Hawaii, snorkeled along the Great Barrier Reef and visited Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall.

 


Above: Carol LeBeau with friends Hattie Kaufman and Maggie Watkins at National Prayer Breakfast

Now, newly 60, I checked one more dream off my bucket list last month after attending the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. The annual event steeped in history is held the first Thursday in February which also coincides with February “sweeps,” the all-important ratings period in television news. So for 35 years, this former news anchor waited…for retirement…and for the chance to get one of the hottest tickets in the nation’s capitol.

Months ago, I accepted an invitation to speak at a media dinner in Washington the night before the breakfast.  The event organizer apologized profusely for not being able to pay me.  “We can, however, provide you with a ticket to the Presidential Prayer Breakfast.”

In the early morning of February 6, I picked up my precious ticket at registration and made my way through security and into the biggest ballroom I have ever seen! Steeped in history, every president since Dwight Eisenhower has joined the gathering featuring prayer, Scripture reading and rare bipartisan unity in Washington.

On the expansive dais, President Barack Obama, Michele Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden joined senators and congressmen from both sides of the aisle…for a time of prayer to Almighty God for strength and guidance in leading our country.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) read from the Hebrew Book of Ecclesiastes. Bethany Hamilton, the young, Christian surfer who lost her left arm to a shark, read the Good Samaritan passage from the Gospel of Luke and keynote speaker, Rajiv Shah, the USAID Administrator encouraged the room of 3,500 guests and foreign dignitaries to continue the fight against extreme poverty around the world.

As the President tied a bow around the morning with a heartfelt message about the need for bipartisanship and the importance of religious freedom worldwide, I couldn’t help but pray the moment of peace and harmony in that ballroom would last a little longer.

I believe someday, with God’s help, it will last forever.


“America was founded by people who believed that God was their rock of safety.  I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side.”  - Ronald Reagan

Saying Good-bye to a Good Friend – San Diego Mourns the Passing, but Celebrates the Life of Loren Nancarrow.
By Carol LeBeau
2/12/2014 12:03:18 PM


–FULL BIO
 

Loren Nancarrow is gone. It’s still hard to believe. After bravely battling brain cancer, my friend and former TV colleague passed away last month at the age of 60.  

We’ll never know, this side of eternity, why Loren was taken from his family, friends and thousands of fans in the prime of life. It’s just not fair. But from the moment Loren received his grim diagnosis, he decided not to waste a moment pondering “why me?” 

“The doctors tell me I have between one and three years to live,” Loren wrote in his blog shortly after his diagnosis. “So, boo-hoo, poor me.”   

Then, with grace, class and his signature sense of humor, Loren showed the rest of us how to live to the max and die with dignity…living each day with a grateful heart and a hopeful spirit. 

Loren only got 10 more months but he filled his final days with fun, family and a sense of purpose – using his health challenges and high profile to help others with cancer and inspire thousands through his touching blogs.

Nowhere was that inspiration more evident than at Loren’s celebration of life service at Cardiff Beach. More than a thousand of us laughed, cried and comforted one another as paddlers formed a circle beyond the breakers and floated flowers in Loren’s honor. Many believe it was Loren himself who ordered the spectacular sunset that signaled his final goodbye.

As the crowd dispersed, my media pals and I remained on the darkening beach. The memorial was over, but we weren’t ready to leave. That’s when Jody Hammond, former News 8 reporter and friend to Loren got an idea. She invited any of us who could to an impromptu gathering at her home to talk about and toast our TV colleague. 

For hours, 15 of us…all Loren’s co-workers over the years reminisced about our dear friend. We represented several local TV stations…Jim Laslavic from 7/39, Liz Purcell from News 8, photojournalist Mike Ineman, producer Janine Nakama and yours truly were part of the 10 News contingent. 

But that night – standing around Jody’s kitchen island we may as well have been from the same station. No matter where he had worked, or with whom, Loren was loved. Through laughter and tears, we shared countless touching and hilarious remembrances about the guy who transformed his home into a “ranch,” from which he would report on every fruit, vegetable, herb and critter know to man…a guy completely unafraid to dig deep into a heap of compost or a heap of political controversy …the guy who insisted on calling me “Clara Bow,” despite years of protestations.

When the night ended, Loren was still gone, but thanks to Jody’s warmth and hospitality, we’d been given the gift of a little more time together to mourn and celebrate our friend providing closure for the gaping hole in our collective hearts.

Please keep Loren’s remarkable family in your thoughts and prayers.  Those of us who knew and loved Loren have lost a friend…but Susie, Hannah, Graham and Britta have lost their husband, dad and hero.

May God richly bless them and give them comfort in their grief.

Taking on the Trails at Torrey Pines
By Carol LeBeau
2/3/2014 2:36:22 PM


–FULL BIO
 
It was Janine’s idea. My friend and high-energy walking buddy suggested that we shake up our routine a bit. Sure, Mission Bay, Coronado, Lake Miramar and Batiquitos Lagoon are great venues for our monthly “talk and treks.” But how about a change? 
 
Janine’s plan was to bump it up a notch in the New Year – move from the flats to something a bit more challenging. So last week we headed for the hills (or at least the cliffs!) at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.  
 
Two hours later – sweaty, spent, with quadriceps on fire, we hobbled back to our cars congratulating one another with “high-fives,” for conquering the sometimes steep and winding trails overlooking Torrey Pines State Beach. Then came the, “I should have had a V-8” moment. Why, we wondered, had we never considered one of the most spectacular places to walk, jog or hike in southern California for our monthly walking workout?
 
I’m afraid I’d lumped Torrey Pines in with other local attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, Cabrillo Monument, USS Midway Museum and Belmont Park as destinations meant only for out-of-town guests. Come to think of it, the last time I trekked Torrey Pines, it was with my nephews from Iowa five years ago.  “Auntie Carol” spent several days visiting the attractions I typically enjoyed only as tour guide.
 
Well, no more! We live in paradise and I intend to start taking advantage of it with or without out-of-town guests! 
 
Did you know Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is located within San Diego city limits, 
yet remains one of the wildest stretches of land on our Southern California coast? The 2,000 awesome acres of land are as they were before San Diego was developed…including the chaparral plant community, the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, miles of unspoiled beaches and a lagoon vital to migrating seabirds.
 
Travelers and locals (like Janine and me!) take a break at the stunning overlooks, walk peaceful trails or exercise in a clean, beautiful environment. There’s a trail for everyone or you can combine several to intensify your workout.  Here’s a trail list to get you started: 
 
Guy Fleming Trail - 0.7 mile loop. Easiest, relatively level, forested, nature markers. Diverse scenery, ocean vistas, sandstone formations, spring wildflowers, drinking water, parking.
 
Perry Grove Trail - 0.5 mile loop. Secluded, not too difficult, but steep entry/exit (100 steps) Drought and Bark Beetle infestation have devastated this grove, but it is recovering. Whitaker native plant garden at trailhead.
 
Razor Point Trail - 0.7 mile to point.  Dramatic views of gorge, badlands, spring wildflowers, fewer but more picturesque trees.  Trail splits from Beach Trail 200 yards below restroom trailhead and follows the Canyon of the Swifts toward the bluffs.
 
Broken Hill Trail - Access to beach via north fork 1.2 Miles (my fave!) Longest trail…chaparral, few trees, scenic overlook of the “broken” hill. (Combine this trail with Razor Point Beach Trails for a 3-mile loop.)
 
Beach Trail - ¾ mile to Flat Rock and beach. Popular beach access. Least scenic trail, few trees, steep. (If you plan to hike down and then walk back to the lower parking area along the beach, remember to check the tides or you may find yourself swimming back to your car!)
 
If you’d like to join Janine and me as we enjoy the tourist attraction right here at home, go to www.torreypine.org where you’ll find maps and much more about one of San Diego’s natural wonders.
 
See you on the trails!
Destination…Lindbergh Field! Exciting Airport Expansion Makes Flying Fun!
By Carol LeBeau
12/17/2013 3:40:12 PM


–FULL BIO
 

I’m not a great traveler.  Friends make it look easy, but for me, it’s a struggle.  I don’t mean to whine, but planning and packing are a pain.  I hate turbulence and I miss my bed!  

But the worst part is the airport.   It’s just so chaotic!  Hustling to get bags checked…frantically navigating the crowds, security lines and crowded bathrooms only to finally arrive at the gate just in time for the battle to board!

Well, no more!  The newly expanded Terminal 2 at Lindbergh Field is actually making traveling in and out of San Diego fun!  In fact, I may just get there early for my next trip…relax and enjoy the amenities of the new, state-of-the-art expansion that’s put a fresh face on our aging airport.

The additions to the gorgeous, new 445,000-square-foot terminal include 10 new gates, a dual-level roadway for arriving and departing passengers (reminds me of the “Jetsons!”) fabulous new eating and shopping options and lots of space!

Thella Bowens, president and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, says the expansion takes Lindbergh Field to “a new level.”
 
I think that’s an understatement.

The gates are furnished with outlet-equipped seating, free water-bottle refilling stations and clean, contemporary terrazzo flooring.  There’s new artwork to enjoy, six new gates, comfortable, new seating and other amenities…including the airport’s first post-security animal relief area complete with fire hydrant!

The terrazzo flooring makes the trip to baggage claim like a walk on the beach.  Lay in geometric bands in shades of ocean blue, gray, green and sand, it’s also integrated with a matrix of marbles, shells and glass. You can almost feel the sand between your toes!

The heart of the terminal aptly called “Sunset Cove,” a dining area that provides a stunning, panoramic view of the airport.  The lighting is breathtaking.  Called “The Journey,” art lights sparkle throughout the corridor.  A stunning Swarovski crystal fixture is the “Cove’s” centerpiece.

Returning from a recent trip, it was hard to believe I was in an airport let alone Lindbergh Field!  

And then there’s the food! Restaurants in Sunset Cove include Saffron, Bubbles Seafood Wine Bar, Seaside Stack Shack, Qdoba, Red Mango and Tommy V’s Pizzeria.   San Diego favorites Stone Brewing Company and Phil’s BBQ are also there just to make you feel at home.

Finally, be sure to allow yourself some time for a little shopping.  You can browse the books at Warwick’s, check out the cool stuff at Brookstone or sample a new shade of lipstick at Clinique.  While husband, Tom, was distracted at the PGA Tour Shop, I was trolling Brighton Collectibles for a gift and we still made it to our flight on time!

Years in the making, the beautiful build-out is finally complete.  I think you’ll find it was well worth the wait.

By the way, the expansion project…dubbed “The Green Build,” by airport officials is not only beautiful, it’s receiving much-deserved accolades and awards for energy efficiency.  

Bravo Airport Authority!  (I can’t wait for my next trip.)

Paris and Normandy: The Trip of a Lifetime
By Carol LeBeau
11/5/2013 3:37:32 PM


–FULL BIO
 

Our “trip of a lifetime” was supposed to happen nearly two years ago. Plans for our first-ever trip to Paris and Normandy were set.  Counting down the days, Tom and I were excited and ready to go.  Then came my cancer diagnosis and everything came to a screeching halt.  

Four surgeries and a clean bill of health later, we decided to give it another try.  As we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport, I thanked God for a second chance to see the historic sites of Normandy, Paris and the Chateaux of France.

We’ve been home a few weeks now, but my head is still spinning as I continue to process all we saw and experienced in that beautiful country.   

With the aide of our gifted tour guide, we travelled to France’s Loire Valley, known for its architectural heritage and world-famous castles.  The largest castle, Chateau Chambord, also served as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIV and he clearly spared no expense. It was a show-stopper.

We travelled by bus to see one of the most impressive sights in all of France, Mont-Saint Michel.  Absolutely stunning, the 14th century abbey sits on an island, perched atop a rocky pinnacle overlooking the sea.  A surreal sight from a distance, it is truly one of the architectural wonders of the world.

As we made our way toward Paris, we visited the exquisite Versailles Palace with its impressive (and over-the top glitzy!) Hall of Mirrors.  Magnifique!

Next stop…the enchanting sights of romantic Paris, the “City of Light.”  Mouth agape for days I could barely take it all in –Champs Elysees Boulevard, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.  Breathtaking!  Our trip to the Louvre, the world’s largest museum, put us literally face-to-face with DaVinci’s Mona Lisa.  (I swear she was looking right at me!)  

Enjoying crepes and cappuccinos, we people-watched for hours at colorful sidewalk cafes and took a romantic cruise down the river Seine.  

But the highlight of our French adventure actually took place outside the hustle and bustle of Paris in Normandy...home of the historic D-Day sites.  It’s also the site of our trip’s biggest disappointment, as the American Cemetery was closed to tourists due to the U.S. government shutdown.

Putting that aside, we were moved to tears as our guide took us through the British Commonwealth cemetery where so many of our friends and allies…also D-Day casualties have been laid to rest.

But for this military family, tears became sobs as we stood and reflected…in a cold, blustery driving rainstorm along Omaha and Utah Beaches…the same conditions under which thousands of young American men braved both the angry sea and the determined enemy to take the German fortifications…ultimately liberating France from Hitler’s occupation.

Never have I been prouder of our military men and women or more grateful for the freedoms I enjoy as an American.  It was a thrilling experience.

Truly, the trip of a lifetime!

Urban Pi - Home of the Marvelous Mango Tart!
By Carol LeBeau
10/31/2013 2:56:01 PM


–FULL BIO
 

I love San Diego’s coastal North County – the beautiful beaches, shopping along Cedros, the horse races…Legoland.  There’s so much to see and do.

But there’s one coastal attraction that brings me back time and again.  It’s the magnificent Mango Tart at “Urban Pi” in Del Mar.  If you’ve never had this amazing taste experience, you probably think I’ve “lost the bubble.”  But for the rest of you – those who have experienced this heavenly confection… your mouths are already watering.

Urban Pi, the new fast-casual restaurant in the Albertson’s shopping center on Via de la Valle (just east of I-5) serves up custom-made thin-crust pizzas, salads and sandwiches.  Everything is fresh and delicious. But the dessert menu is to die for especially their signature Mango Tart.  

The dazzling display of mango slices atop a yummy, light cream filling and crisp, pastry crust (a super-secret recipe!) is arranged in a pie made to look like a flower in bloom.  It’s not only a work of art to the eye.  It’s delicious beyond description.

But decadent it’s not.  Light on the sugar, the tasty tart gets most of its sweetness straight from plenty of perfectly ripened wedges of fresh mango.  Order an entire tart and bring it home with you.  I love the “ooo’s” and “ahhs” I get when I serve it for a special event.

And don’t forget the health benefits.  

Whether you get your mango from Urban Pi’s “pie…” or from your local market, we all should be eating more mangoes!  The world-famous fruit may taste like candy, but it’s also one of the richest sources of vitamins A and C and minerals including potassium, calcium and phosphorus.  Mango is also full of fiber and a one-cup serving has only 100 calories.

An added bonus…mango may also help improve glucose levels.  In a recent study, obese participants who ate the equivalent of 2/3 cup of the tropical treat (roughly 65 calories) daily for 12 weeks significantly lowered their blood sugar possibly due to the fruit’s fiber, which can slow sugar absorption.

So, go ahead and munch on a mango.  Eat it fresh, dried, in nectar or juice (give “Good Belly” brand a try) or make a date and take the 5 to Del Mar and taste the amazing mango tart at Urban Pi.   www.urbanpi.com

Let me know how you like it.


*Note: Many of you “locals” recall the Mango Tart was originally found at “Pasta Pronto,” which recently closed its doors.  “Urban Pi” moved into the same space, changed the menu, updated the décor, but thankfully, retained some of Pasta Pronto’s favorites including the famous tart.

My Piercing Adventure at “Enigma”
By Carol LeBeau
9/23/2013 12:27:38 PM


–FULL BIO
 

Guess what? I just got a couple of new piercings. 

Darn! I wish I’d had a camera rolling when I gave my conservative, button-down, former Navy pilot husband the news.  As he clutched his chest and gasped for air, I quickly assured him I wasn’t about to take a walk on the wild side…and I’m too old to be having a mid-life crisis!

I’ll bet Tom’s blood pressure dropped 20 points as I pointed to the tiny hoops in my ear lobes.  As he scanned my face for any other evidence of metal, I told him about my experience that day.

I actually got my ears pierced the first time in the mid-70s.  My very un-professional piercing was performed by my bright, but not very steady college roommate.   Though I survived the ice cube and needle ordeal, I’ve lived some 40 years with one hole lower than the other.  Time and the weight of heavy earrings (remember the hub caps we wore in the 80’s?!) finally took its toll on the little hole in my left ear. It finally tore through the bottom of my lobe.

So, after a simple plastic surgical procedure to sew up both holes and two months of healing, I was ready for my new piercings. But where? The mall? The doctor’s office?  And then it hit me…how about one of those piercing places?  That’s all they do, right? Pierce body parts?

So I went online and read the glowing reviews from folks who’d received positive piercings at “Enigma Professional Piercing Studios.”  (enigmapiercing.com) I figured it couldn’t hurt to learn more.

The voice at the other end of the phone sounded like a corporate CEO.  Polite, professional and helpful, Angie De Leon deftly answered all my questions assuring me a nearly 60-year-old woman who needed her ears pierced was more than welcome at Enigma.

Right next door to a tattoo parlor in North Park, I tentatively walked through the wildly painted piercing studio entrance half expecting a scary ex-con to greet me.  Shame on me!  I’m now appalled at my pathetic pre-conceived notion of piercing places.  My experience at Enigma was more pleasant and professional than most businesses I deal with.

After filling out the proper forms to be registered with the state health department, (the industry is highly regulated) Angie helped me choose a tiny pair of earrings made of a medical-grade metal alloy.  “For an initial piercing,” Angie explained, “we recommend the highest-grade jewelry to avoid infection and hasten healing.”

Covered nearly head to toe with tattoos and piercings, Angie may be a walking advertisement for her industry.  But don’t let her appearance fool you.  With professional precision, Angie placed my earrings in an autoclave to be sterilized for seven minutes then escorted me to a squeaky-clean treatment room and explained the piercing process.   Then, before I knew it, with virtually no pain, I walked out with two pierced ear lobes, a copy of strict after-care instructions and a friendly handshake from the charming and colorful, Angie.

The best part?  Walking into the small lobby as a couple of young Marines stood waiting their turn.  “Mam, yes Mam,” the polite young men said as I excused myself to walk by.  The expression on their faces as a woman who could be their mother walked out of a piercing salon? Priceless.

I’ll bet they’re still debating what exactly the old gal got pierced. Tee-hee.

Hot Dogs - My Guilty Pleasure!
By Carol LeBeau
8/8/2013 1:36:24 PM


–FULL BIO
 
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tired of counting carbs, calories and fat grams. I’m as concerned about my health as the next guy, but once in awhile, I’d rather not know if what I’m eating has enough protein, antioxidants or dietary fiber. Frankly, when it comes to food, many of us have gotten just a little uptight. Sometimes, I just want to relax and enjoy something that tastes good!

I don’t know about you, but my guilty pleasures include hot sourdough bread with butter, dark chocolate-covered cranberries and homemade vanilla milkshakes topped with whipped cream.

And I absolutely love hot dogs. But not just any dog will do. It wasn’t easy finding a great hot dog in the San Diego area. But it was worth the effort. Tom and I finally found the most fabulous franks at a friendly Coronado eatery called Delux Gourmet Hot Dogs.

Now, when a hot dog craving hits, Tom and I head to Coronado’s Orange Avenue for what can only be described as “heaven on a bun!” By the way, growing up in West Virginia, where hot dogs (with chili, mustard and coleslaw) are practically the state food, my Tom is an expert on what makes a decent dog.

Delux Gourmet Hot Dogs was opened last year by hot dog lovers…for hot dog lovers. They serve only Chicago’s Vienna Brand all beef hot dogs. They steam, then griddle the dogs to a slight char, then serve ‘em up in a home style, soft, steamed buns.

You can pick your own toppings or choose from a menu filled with creative combos from the “Coney Island,” “Windy City” and “New Yorker” to the “Top Dog” (with blue cheese crumbles, crispy onions, BBQ sauce, mustard and tomatoes) to the pastrami-stuffed “Reuben Dog” and the adventuresome “Tokyo,” topped with teriyaki glaze, Japanese mayo, grilled onions, sesame seeds and dried seaweed chips.

We made our most recent trek to “Delux” with our neighbors, Dave and Linda and their two boys, Nate and Drew – a fun way to spend a summer evening (and not worry about cooking!) Nate ordered the “All American.” Drew went for the “Slider Dogs,” two, tiny versions of their all-beef hot dogs on tiny buns with French fries.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the French fries! They’re amazing! Thin, crisp…seasoned to perfection…absolutely addictive! I also recommend their fresh lemonade but if you want to go back in time, give the “Orange Avenue Whip” a try –
that frothy, frozen vanilla-orange delight we all remember.

And if you still have room, you gotta try (I advise sharing!) one of their exclusive “Beachy Cream” ice cream sandwiches in five different flavor combinations.
I understand hot dos and ice cream come under the heading of special occasion food…not something we should indulge in every day. But even the health experts say it’s ok to splurge once in awhile.

So find something special to celebrate and take the family out for hot dogs to die for. Remember, when it comes to nutrition, it’s not what you do some of the time but what you do most of the time that mattes to your overall health.

You can always get back to obsessing about antioxidants tomorrow! ?

www.deluxdogs.com
 

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

Tom Ham's Lighthouse - Renovated, Re-opened and Better than Ever
By Carol LeBeau
7/29/2013 12:33:43 AM


–FULL BIO
 

How’d you like to turn your next boring business lunch into a mini-vacation? Then do what my friend, Paula and I did recently – head to Harbor Island and go over those financial reports at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse restaurant.

Tom Ham's RestauarantWhat’s the big deal? Most San Diegans know Tom Ham’s has been around for decades. True, but if you haven’t yet heard, this is the all-new Tom Ham’s! The iconic San Diego eatery has recently re-opened after a five-month renovation and it’s incredible!

I first experienced the famous lighthouse restaurant in 1981 as a guest speaker for an event that met in the “California Room.” New to San Diego, I recall the view from the banquet facility was so beautiful; it was difficult to concentrate on my speech.

I’ve enjoyed that view countless times since the 80’s. But in recent years, it’s been hard not to notice the popular meeting place becoming more and more run down. The old, wooden podium I stood behind more than 30 years ago was still there …worn, chipped and faded. And the poor podium wasn’t alone. The aging carpeting, furniture – everything had fallen into disrepair.

Well, no more! The redesign of the waterfront eatery and event site is complete and it’s fabulous!

Owners Andy and Grant Baumann, Tom Ham’s grandsons, kept most of their grandfather’s memorabilia, blending it with a new design that includes contemporary furniture, a bright and airy layout and expanded views of San Diego bay from every table.

My “business” lunch with Paula was more like a day at the beach as business took a backseat to the drop-dead gorgeous views from our table of downtown San Diego and Coronado.

Nibbling tasty salmon and shrimp atop baby kale salads with Fuji apples, Marcona almonds and honey-lemon dressing…two hours just melted away on our combination business lunch/stay-cation! (On my next visit, I can’t wait to try the fig and burrata salad with watercress, toasted pistachio and balsamic!)

And for all you “foodies” out there, the all-new Tom Ham’s menu overhaul by new executive chef, Lance Repp, focuses on seafood including a large raw bar selection, market fish and creative takes on paella and bouillabaisse – two dishes featured when the restaurant first opened 40 years ago.

So take a little vacation, without leaving town! Tom Ham’s Lighthouse on Harbor Island is back and it’s better than ever.

“Everything Old is New Again!
--Peter Allen

(Oh! One more thing! Be sure to check out the cool, keg room behind the glass on the first floor. With 32 taps at the bar, at Tom Ham’s, there’s a special brew for every taste!)

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.