Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas in San Diego!

This is such a great time of the year.  Almost everywhere you go, there's beautiful holiday decor.  As someone on a recent bike tour said to us, "it's hard NOT to get into the spirit." How true. The other day we were in Coronado when we decided to stop in at Hotel Del. If you've never been to the Del during the holidays, do yourself a favor and take the time to visit this beautiful resort.

 Not only is their tree worth seeing, the whole resort is all decked out so it's quite festive. We especially get a kick out of their outdoor ice skating rink that overlooks the ocean.  The other day it was in the high 60's and practically everyone skating had on either shorts or tank tops.  Nice.

La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla is another favorite.  We went to their Christmas Tree Lighting and it was just gorgeous.  Our tip? Sit inside near their large Christmas tree while sipping hot chocolate or better yet, venture outside on the patio for some lunch.  The view is amazing!

Of course, not to be forgotten is the Grand Del Mar which has its own unique flavor.  Talk about grand!

If neighborhoods are more your thing, there's plenty to see.  But Garrison Street in Point Loma is a must and the neighbors know how to do it right!  

Over the years, this particular street has grown in popularity - even tour buses drive by so beware, it can get a little crowded. Our suggestion? Go early and go on an "off night." (not a weekend) But it's  definitely worth  it... especially if you go at sunset. Not only will you see the Christmas lights, you'll get to check out the killer views from above. 

Merry Christmas everyone! 
Happy Travels,
Marc & Darlynne 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What's for Dinner Mom?

As any of our close friends will tell you, we LOVE to eat.  Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. It doesn't matter.  If there's food, we're there.  And as travel writers, the media is always inviting us to check out some new restaurant. We're like two big kids in a candy store. We love it because it's fun and it keeps us "in the know" since our tour clients are constantly asking us for restaurant recommendations.  Just the other day, someone on our Coronado bike tour asked us where they could find good,quality ice cream.  Immediately, our eyes lit up and we blurted out "Moo Time Creamery!"  As my husband Marc likes to say, "their ice cream is the finest in all the land."  Our recommendation? The James Brownie Sundae of course.  Word of warning:  Come hungry and bring an equally hungry friend cause it is HUGE.  To make things even sweeter... go to the Moo Time Creamery at the Hotel Del and eat your ice cream treat on the sundeck while grooving to a live band and staring out at the ocean.  Suhweet!  

So what are some of our other favorite hang outs? Well, we do love our Happy Hours.  Cafe Sevilla in the Gaslamp Quarter has a killer Happy Hour menu every day from 4-7 p.m. but our favorite items include the $1.98 sliders (yup, we said $1.98) and $4.00 Sangria. The braised short rib is another tasty treat.

Funky Garcia (formerly the Sun Cafe) is another favorite haunt. We often go there with our staff after one of our big Downtown Scavenger Hunts.  We don't know what it is about our Hunts but they always leave us hungry and thirsty.  Our favorite items? The Carne Asada Fries and $4 well drinks. And let's not forget about their $1 tacos.

Speaking of $1 items... the Bareback Grille in Downtown San Diego has the ultimate Friday Happy Hour. They serve $1 well drinks from 3-9 p.m. We were there on Friday afternoon with our good friends Ron Donoho and Heather Back. The place was relatively quiet for most of the afternoon and really didn't pick up until after 6pm so we pretty much had the waitress all to ourselves.  Not a bad way to kick off the weekend.

Tomorrow, we're off and that means we'll probably be going out to breakfast.  It'll be a toss up between KONO's in Pacific Beach (we do love their Big Breakfast with Banana Pancakes), the Fig Tree Cafe in North Pacific Beach (their Eggs Benedict and thick French Toast is out of this world!) or who knows, it could be something super simple like a breakfast burrito at Taco Surf.   Either way, it's all good.


Happy Travels everyone,

Marc & Darlynne Menkin
Where You Want To Be Tours, Inc.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Picture is worth a Thousand Words!

As a former TV News Reporter, I love video.  I also love still pictures. When I was reporter, TV News photographers were my favorite people to work with. They're a creative bunch and they always had a wicked sense of humor. Not to mention, a killer appetite which I liked. Ask any one of them where the best taco was... or the best hamburger... and you'd get all sorts of fun answers. Given my appreciation and respect for "pictures," it's no surprise that photography and video play a major role in our tours and team building Scavenger Hunts.  Of course, it's not just me who appreciates fun pictures.  My husband Marc is the real shutter bug - he creates some awesome photo albums for our clients and our entire team gets into it as well. As a matter of fact, some folks on our staff are award winning photographers!

This past week, we were blessed with many wonderful jobs so as you can imagine, there was plenty of picture taking along the way!  Although our specialty is "hidden San Diego," our tours have also become well known for producing awesome photos. As Marc says, we don't like to do the typical boring corporate poses (Ha!)... we like to show people having a really good time!   The end result?  Photos that are downright HILARIOUS.  Obviously, it's all in fun and nothing is embarrassing but wow, we have captured some amazing moments over the years.

For us, it's always a treat when a group (say a corporate group) starts off their team building adventure a little shy and quiet but by the time the 1st task is over... the game is ON and they're totally into taking crazy pictures.  Earlier this week, I had the boss on one of my Scavenger Hunt teams and he was a BLAST. He wasn't afraid to let go and take silly photos and as a result, he put his entire team at ease and they got some great photos.

Our video division Where You Want To be TV, has also been successful capturing some really beautiful video over the years. It really is a gift to be able to experience these moments first hand and then capture it on film.  Whoever came up with the saying "A picture is worth a thousand words,"  knew exactly what they were talking about. Pictures do say it all!

Happy Travels everyone!
Marc & Darlynne Menkin
Where You Want To Be Tours, Inc.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bali Hai, Billy Joel & Hoodoo Love!

As any business owner knows, there is no typical work week. Forget about those Monday through Friday, 9-5 work days. When you run a company like us, anything is game. Sometimes, weekends (especially during the summer) are the busiest times for us.  That's why we don't feel guilty if the mood hits us and we decide to party on a week NIGHT.  Yup, I said week NIGHT.  What can I say?  We're wild and crazy kids.

Last night, was one of those nights.  After putting in a long day at Where You Want To Be Tours,  we headed over to one of our favorite places to eat - Bali Hai Restaurant on Shelter Island.  Jean Walcher who handles the restaurant's publicity invited us to their Media Dinner. Their new Executive Chef, Ben Lieberman,  recently revamped Bali Hai's menu and this was his chance to introduce some of his favorites dishes to the media.  

When we arrived shortly after six, we were immediately greeted by two big Mai Tai's.  If you've never had their Mai Tai... be forewarned, it's not for wimps.  Within minutes, delicious tray-passed appetizers like Coconut Shrimp and Spicy Albacore Sashimi were making its way through the room.  To top it off, it was a beautiful, warm night and a Hawaiian looking guy playing the ukulele serenaded us. What a nice way to kick off the night.   As the night progressed, we sampled Chef Liberman's Crispy Ahi Tuna Tower, Char Siu Pork Tenderloin and his specialty ribs which were out of this world. The ribs were actually given just to us. Earlier that night, we mentioned to Andy (owners Larry & Susie Baumann's son) that we LOVE their ribs. Being the gracious host that he is, he surprised us with a small plate of ribs.  (It's nice having friends in high places)
Dessert was a decadent Chocolate Coconut Creme & micro  And that's not all. At the end of the night, they held a fun writing competition and our table won!!  I'm thinking our line about "dolphins applauding our swagger, and then we spotted the incredibly talented Mick Jagger" was probably what swayed the judges.  

After all the excitement, you would think we'd call it a night.  Not us. Our good friend John Bowe was performing right across the street at Humphrey's so we decided to drop by.  His band "52nd Street" is a Billy Joel tribute band and it's always a fun time whenever we see them play.  July 31st is the next time "52nd Street" will play at Humphrey's but if you can't wait until then, you can also catch John Bowe this Friday, June 29th at the San Diego County Fair. 

Tonight, we're seeing "Hoodoo Love," the current production by Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company. Artistic Director Seema Sueko always puts together fantastic shows and this one has received rave reviews (no surprise there) so we're looking forward to supporting our friend AND having another fun night out on the town! 

Happy Travels everyone!
Marc & Darlynne 

Darlynne & Marc Menkin are travel writers living their dream in sunny San Diego!  They write and produce travel programming for several media outlets including TripFilms, Lonely Planet TV, Downtown News and La Jolla Village News. Check out their work by clicking here.


Friday, June 22, 2012

TGIF - It's time to kick it San Diego!

Oh my goodness.  Is it just us or are the weeks flying by? Guess that's what happens when you're enjoying life, right? Of course living in San Diego, how can you NOT have fun?  We kicked off our weekend fun a little early.  Thursday night, we had a double treat. First, we checked out the El Cordova Hotel in beautiful Coronado.  For those of you who haven't been to this hotel, it's very charming but it's easy to miss. Do yourselves a favor, stop missing it. It's a true hidden gem.  The hotel just finished renovating its upstairs suite and boy, is it sweet! The rates are pretty reasonable and if you got a small group of friends together or maybe your family... that would be even better. It overlooks their courtyard which is very tranquil.
El Cordova is also unique in that it's right smack in the middle of some quaint shops, Miguel's Mexican Restaurant (one of our favorite hangouts!) and a brand new spa called Spa La Mer.  Check it out the next time you're on the island.

After we left Coronado, we headed Downtown to the San Diego Civic Theater to see Wicked.  Believe it or not, it was our first time seeing this show so we were super excited. All our friends kept telling us how much we would love it. They were right - it was amazing. And, very funny. Totally worth seeing!   Wicked runs through July 15th and you can bet tickets will go fast. For theater goers on a budget, you might want to check out the show's lottery rush. Here's how it works - head to the box office two-and-a-half hours prior to the performance and place your name in a lottery drum. Thirty minutes later, the names will be drawn for the limited number of $25 seats.The seats are available for purchase with cash only, and there's a limit of two tickets per person.  Yes, it does require more time but hey, if you're able to get $25 seats... why not?

While last night was a dream day, today was even better.  The weather was gorgeous and we met the nicest people on our Coronado Bike Tour.  They were a family from Philly (our hometown!) and this was their first time in San Diego.  Like all first timers, they were in total awe of Coronado.  We stopped off at the Hotel Del, rode along our favorite neighborhood streets and eventually rode underneath the Coronado Bridge and then onto the Ferry Landing.  Life couldn't be better!

We're looking forward to tomorrow as we get to do another one of our fun public Downtown Scavenger Hunts.  Should be a blast.  We're also gearing up to launch our newest Scavenger Hunt location in...drum roll please... fabulous Hillcrest! Our friends over at the Hillcrest Business Association are sponsoring this event and we can't wait. The event is this Thursday, June 28th starting at 4pm.  It's still not too late to sign up so we hope you can join us, as there will be plenty of fun & surprises. Thanks in advance for helping us spread the word.   Fabulous Hillcrest Scavenger Hunt

Whatever you decide to do this weekend... get out and make it a great one!

Happy Travels,
Marc & Darlynne Menkin
Where You Want To Be Tours, Inc.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Out of town visitors? Try out our cool bike ride!

It's summertime and we all know what that means.  Tourist season!  Yup, the tourists are coming in droves and chances are, some of them are probably staying at your house.  The question is -  how are you going to entertain them? Fortunately, San Diego is filled with so many wonderful things to see and do.  We've got the Zoo, Sea World, our beautiful beaches, hiking trails, plenty of restaurants... the list is endless.  

But what if you've done it all and you need to find something that's different and unique?  
Where You Want To Be Tours to the rescue!  (You saw that coming, didn't you?)  This summer, we're doing all sorts of fun public tours.   Of course, there's our popular Downtown Scavenger Hunts that are held on Saturdays either at 10am or 3pm.  But if you prefer seeing San Diego on wheels, we're now offering public Coronado Bike Rides Fridays and Sundays at 10:30am.  

Of all the bike rides we offer, Coronado is one of our favorite tours.  It's casual, easy and perfect for all fitness levels since there are no steep hills.  We've also designed it so wherever we're at, we're either looking at beautiful views of the ocean, bay or gorgeous beach side homes.   

We've been doing tours for years and the public bike rides are usually a nice mix of locals and tourists. We can always tell who the locals are because they usually have a "I know everything about San Diego" look on their face. But it never fails. Once the tour is over, they're always amazed at how much they didn't know about their home town.  

If you have friends or family in town... or you're just up for a new adventure, give us a call.  As luck would have it, we're offering a sweet deal through Travel Zoo so don't miss out. You've only got 4 more days to take advantage of this awesome deal.  

And one more thing...  expect lots of silly fun and prize giveaways on our tours. Oh yes, Marc and Darlynne DO like to have fun. No boring tours here. 

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!  We'll see you soon.

Happy Travels,
Marc & Darlynne Menkin
Where You Want To Be Tours, Inc.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Go Bananas with our fun ON LINE Scavenger Hunt!

It's no secret that we LOVE Scavenger Hunts.  For nine years, we've been creating these fun filled games for corporate groups, birthday parties, family reunions, fundraisers... the list goes on.  People sometimes ask us if we ever get tired of doing them and the answer is always.... no way!  First of all, every group is different so you truly get a different experience every time. Secondly, this isn't the type of Scavenger Hunt where you're collecting paper clips and rubber bands.  BORING!  Our tasks are fun and we change them quite frequently.  Thirdly, how can anyone get bored doing a Scavenger Hunt in beautiful  San Diego?  As we've mentioned before... we feel pretty blessed to do what we do in a city we love.

A few months ago, we recently redesigned our website.  (Thanks Michael B!)  For anyone who has gone through the pain & agony of re-doing a website, you know how excruciating this can be.  Fortunately, we love our new look and to celebrate, we've decided to kick it off with our "Go Bananas ON LINE Scavenger Hunt!"

It's pretty simple.  All you have to do is log onto Where You Want To Be Tours  and find something on our new website that features real, sliced bananas and email us by June 1, 2012. Please include your name, email address and phone number.

All correct answers will be entered in our contest for a chance to win: 
*2 tickets to the San Diego Zoo, *2 tickets to our public Coronado Biking Adventure,
*2 tickets to our public Downtown Scavenger Hunt.  

Please email your answer to:   No phone calls please!   So far, we've received GREAT response but you still have time, so get your answers in soon.

In the meantime, check out these fun Scavenger Hunt photos as well as this month's issue of
California Meetings & Events Magazine.  The magazine featured our Charity Scavenger Hunts!

Good luck everyone & Happy Travels!

Warmest Aloha,
Marc & Darlynne Menkin
Where You Want To Be Tours, Inc.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gator by the Bay 2012

Every year, San Diego has a cool outdoor music festival called Gator by the Bay.  For years, we've always heard how fun this three day event is and we always want to go but for some reason or another, we can never make it.  That is, until this year.  Thanks to our friend Wendy Lemlin (who is a die hard Zydeco Blues fan) and Marc's insistence that we find a way to go, we finally made it this year!  Despite our hectic work schedule of Scavenger Hunts and bike rides (yes, that's what we do for a living!), we mustered enough energy and checked out the festival Friday night.  It was so much fun that we're headed back today.  

If you're into music, love to dance and enjoy eating crawfish and grub...  you won't want to miss it. Today is the last day and with it being Mother's Day... wouldn't that be a fun way to celebrate Mom?   The festival is near the Sheraton Harbor Island so parking may be a little tricky. Our little secret? Ride your bike to the festival. It's easy, a great way to get exercise and it's free! 

For more information, log onto their website...

Don't forget to put on your dancing shoes!

Happy Travels,
Marc & Darlynne Menkin
Where You Want To Be Tours, Inc.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yo Ho, Yo Ho! A Pirates Life For Me!

This October, Marc & I will be celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary and over the years, I've learned quite a lot about my best friend. First of all, he LOVES Scavenger Hunts. As our good friend Todd once said, "it doesn't matter what the topic of conversation is, Menkin will always bring it back to Scavenger Hunts." Too funny.   He also enjoys riding his bike at the beach, eating pancakes at KONO's and oh yes, anything that's pirate related. That's right, I said pirates. Several weeks ago, we received an invite to check out the new Pirate Ship Adventures and Marc was in heaven.

Docked near the Sheraton Harbor Island, the Treasure Seeker is an 83-foot reproduction of a Spanish galleon.   From the moment guests stepped onto the ship, we knew we were in for one wild ride. The weather was ideal for an excursion of this nature. Bright, blue skies and a warm, inviting sun. We couldn't have asked for a better day.

The ship's colorful cast of characters is highly entertaining and the show is enjoyable. Led by the notorious Captain Murdock and first mate Mr. Sykes, this is a very cool, unique adventure. Not to mention hilarious. At one point, they even got my husband to clean the deck with a mop!  Now that was worth the admission price right there.

Pirate Ship Adventures is a journey that's great for kids AND adults, and with summer just around the corner, it's a perfect family activity. They offer daily voyages and take it from us, you won't be disappointed.  Just make sure you're ready for all the hi-jinks and shenanigans.

For more information. check out

Happy Travels!
Marc & Darlynne Menkin
Where You Want To Be Tours, Inc.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

San Diego... what a great town!

Hey everyone!
I feel like its been ages since we posted our last blog. But with the week we've had, it's no wonder. Since our last blog, we've overseen 5 corporate Scavenger Hunts, 2 corporate bus tours, completed 3 travel writing assignments and took part in our church's job fair.  Wow!  As my Facebook status asked - who needs to work out when you got a little thing called life?

Don't get me wrong.  We are NOT complaining. Actually, it's quite the opposite.  Every time Marc & I land a job, we are grateful. To us, it's truly amazing that we get to do what we do in a town we absolutely love.  And, not only that... we meet the nicest people. But then again, we highly doubt a grumpy person would sign up for a Scavenger Hunt or a bike tour.  The two just don't mix.

Over the years, we've had some pretty cool things happen during our tours & Scavenger Hunts.  Most recently, one of our friends (who happens to be a news anchor at one of the local TV stations) announced that he and his wife were expecting their first child.  He then quickly added "but please don't tweet about it because we haven't broken the good news to our parents!"   The look on his wife's face was precious.  Two weeks ago on one of our Scavenger Hunts, we had the cutest military couple who announced they were getting married the next day.  That's right... we were part of their "Weekend Wedding Getaway."

Of course, our favorite memory happened  a few years back, when our good friend Travis decided to pop the question to his then girlfriend Shannon.  He said he wanted to do it on one of our Scavenger Hunts and it had to be a private deal.  (No public hunt for this duo!)   We called up Shannon and made up a whole story how we were creating a couples Scavenger Hunt and that we needed them to "test it out."  Shannon fell for it and the rest is history.  Imagine her surprise when she found out the prize was a big diamond ring!  Now, that was cool.

We know that none of this would be possible without a strong team backing us up.  We feel so blessed to have so many supportive people in our lives. Our staff is incredibly talented and a bit crazy at times but hey, a little nutty is ok!   If you're ever up for a little fun, come check us out.  We offer public Scavenger Hunts most Saturdays and public bike rides most Fridays and Sundays.  Our website has all the details but in the meantime, take a look at these fun photos from last week.  They were taken at one of our Awards ceremony for a corporate group.  Judging by the photos, it's pretty clear we don't have a shy bunch.  Enjoy!

Hope to see you soon!
Happy Travels,
Darlynne & Marc
Where You Want To Be Tours, Inc.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cool Neighborhood Eatery Opens near Petco Park

If you're like us, you LOVE to eat.  For foodies, San Diego is a great place to live because there are so many cool restaurants to check out.  Take for instance a new place that just opened near Petco Park. It's called Lucky's Lunch Counter and we got to check it out last night.  It's a fun nostalgic neighborhood spot that's reminiscent of the lunch counters in Chicago when Wrigley Field only held 20,000 fans.

For baseball fans, it's a natural hit. (pardon the pun)  Not only is it located right across the street from Petco Park, the ambiance is all about baseball from its huge wall sports murals to the cute menus. We couldn't decide what to order as everything appealed to us. Fortunately, Chef Steven Patrick came to the rescue and made several suggestions including the Hot Pastrami Corned Beef and House made Veggie Burger with fresh golden fried kettle chips.  Yum.

Our next Downtown News Column (It's All Happening!) will feature our visit to Lucky's so be sure to look for it when it hits the stands in early May.  In the meantime, take a look at this cool video we shot at Lucky's with our new friends Richard & Joanne.  They love this restaurant so much, they drove all the way from
L.A. - talk about being a die hard foodie.   Enjoy!

Happy Travels,
Marc & Darlynne
Where You Want To Be Tours, Inc.