Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trolley Dances & the New Downtown Library kick off the weekend!

If you're looking for something fun to do, head Downtown. The weather will be nice and there's plenty of fun stuff happening!  

This weekend, two great events kick off - the New Library Opens in The East Village and our favorite Jean Isaacs' Trolley Dances Event will also make the scene. The super creative outdoor Trolley Dances takes place the next 2 weekends -  Sept 28th & 29th and Oct 5th and 6th.

Trolley Dances is one of those events we look forward to. Every year, it's held in a different location but when it's in OR near downtown, we really enjoy it, as we love the whole urban scene. Each year, Jean Isaacs and the Metropolitan Transit System choose a different stretch of the trolley line. Isaacs and guest choreographers create six brief dances to take place at OR near stops along that line. 

Our tip? Show up at the starting point for a tour. You buy your ticket and receive a badge that gives you a day pass on the trolley.  A tour guide leads your group to each performance site, taking you on and off the trolley for the trips in between. When your group arrives at a performance site, the dance begins. The performances make good use of the existing environment. Sometimes, the dancers will perform near unique public artworks or unusual buildings. One time, the performers danced in a swimming pool. (and they were fully clothed - it was awesome!)  The entire tour, including travel time, seeing the performances and returning to Downtown takes about two to 
two-and-a-half hours. 

This year's stops will include the new San Diego Central Library and the newly opened Monarch School for students impacted by homelessness. 

The adventure starts at the Northgate Market Plaza on 1950 Main Street, San Diego, Ca. 92113.  For more information, visit  
You won't be disappointed!

Happy travels everyone,

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

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fogo de Chão - A dining experience that's out of this world!

It's no secret that being a travel writer has many perks. Every week, there's always something going on whether it's attending a swanky new hotel opening, checking out an amusement park or riding the waves on the latest speed boat thrill ride.Yes, it's a tough job but someone's got to do it.

Just a few days ago, we got to check out a new Brazilian restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Fogo de Chão on 6th Avenue was so much more than we expected.  As a matter of fact, we never experienced anything like it.  One word of warning: Arrive hungry.  If you're not a big eater, Fogo de Chão probably isn't for you.

Our journey started the moment we set foot inside the restaurant. The last time we were inside this building, it was Borders Bookstore - a place we visited often since we like to read. As we stepped inside, friendly looking waiters greeted us with champagne.  After we checked in, we were escorted to the bar where we quickly found ourselves sipping on their signature Brazilian caipirinha... a cool, refreshing drink perfect for a warm summer evening. It was the Grand Opening night so the place was crowded but the mood was happy and festive. Our waiter Reza Toliati asked if we had ever been to their restaurant and when we said no, he took us under his wing.  He explained how Fogo de Chão features continuous tableside service of fifteen signature cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken.  He also encouraged us to visit their gourmet salad and sides bar which had everything from rare and exotic vegetables to imported cheeses and fresh fruit.  Sidebar - if you're not a meat eater, you can easily fill up on their salad bar. It's quite extensive and it's good.

He then explained the importance of a small green and red-sided chip that was sitting on our table.  Reza said the chip was crucial because that's how guests control their service. He said if the green side was facing up, the Gaucho chefs would keep coming to your table with their skewers of sizzling meats.  If the red side was facing up, they knew to stop serving.  If at any point, you decided to resume service, all you had to do was flip the chip back to green.  It all sounded pretty simple but when the service actually began, it was a whole other game.  First of all, we were amazed how quickly the Gaucho chefs reacted.  The moment you flipped your chip to the green side, they were all over your table. At one point, we had two chefs circling our table, with their delicious looking skewers of meat. Talk about getting the full on royal service. 

As we sampled each meat, we couldn't decide which one was our favorite. From the tender filets to the pork loin and robust pork sausages, they were all outstanding.  The meals were complemented by traditional Brazilian side dishes like garlic mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas and their specialty cheese bread.  Tip: You'll be tempted to fill up on the bread - yes, it's THAT good but don't overdo it.

Fogo de Chão is also known for its killer desserts. Some of the dessert choices include South American Flan, Turtle Cheesecake and Molten Chocolate Cake.  We absolutely LOVE dessert but believe it or not, we didn't try any. Not that we didn't want to... we were too full from the delicious dinner.  But our friends gave the dessert menu a big thumbs up so we'll be back.  You can count on it.

Happy Travels everyone,

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Join us for a Couples' Scavenger Hunt on August 24th

When we  first came up with the idea to launch our new Couples Scavenger Hunt, we had no idea where our journey would take us. As most of you know, we've been creating team building Scavenger Hunts for corporate groups for ten years now, and they're always so much fun. Over the years, we constantly saw how it did wonders for promoting positive employee relationships and it got us thinking - why wouldn't this formula work for couples? So, we talked to our good friend Scott Milnes who's a relationship coach and ta-da... our new Urban Challenge Scavenger Hunt for couples was born!

Since then, we've held three Couples themed Scavenger Hunts - the first one in Balboa Park, 
the second in La Jolla and the third in Encinitas. The couples who came out were a good mix - some had been married for more than 20 years while others had only been dating for less than a year. But they all had one thing in common - they wanted to have fun and they were filled with lots of good, positive energy so it made for a GREAT date night!

Our next big Couples themed Scavenger Hunt will be held Saturday, August 24th from 1pm to 4pm and our team is looking forward to it, for two reasons. 

First of all, we just created a BRAND NEW CLUE SHEET so we're super excited to unleash it. Also, this next one will be held in the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village so the tasks will take teams to some amazing spots like roof top lounges with gorgeous views, cool restaurants, hip hotels and plenty of secret San Diego spots! 

And don't worry, you won't be asked to do anything embarrassing or uncomfortable and yes, anyone can do it as we've carefully designed it to fit all fitness levels. Just like our private and public Scavenger Hunts, this new version is a ton of FUN but there is a twist. The tasks are designed specifically for couples!  When the hunt is over, we'll do our usual fun Awards Ceremony (complete with prizes) but participating couples will also receive a bonus take away - thanks to relationship coach Scott Milnes who will do a fun wrap up and offer some interesting insight on dating & marriage.

The August 24th Couples event is expected to fill up quickly. It's getting lots of attention as it's one of the fun activities being featured on a cool Details Matter App that's sending 30 parents on 30 different dates. Check us out - we're number #18 on the La Jolla Mom's blog. How cool is that? 

A special thanks to our friends at The Commons Bar on 4th and E -They are offering special Happy Hour pricing at our Awards Show. We hope you'll join us for a day of fun and ADVENTURE! And if you have any "couple" friends, bring them too.  Teams are made up of 8 people so you can make up your own team OR join others and make some new friends.  Your choice!

To buy tickets ONLINE, click HERE.
Enter Discount Code "HiddenSanDiego" to get the special $29 per person rate.

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

Monday, April 22, 2013

Looking for a FUN Date Night? Try our NEW Couples Scavenger Hunt!

People always ask us what we love the most about our jobs. That's a tough question because there's so many things we absolutely adore about our company.  It's fun, creative and yes, we get to do it together!  But one thing we really like is our freedom to create and execute some really cool adventures.

Take for instance our latest creation with relationship expert Scott Milnes.  The idea of creating our  "Relationship Building Urban Challenge/Scavenger Hunt" came to us after our sales team noticed a flux of calls coming in - all from bridal parties requesting  "Marriage themed Scavenger Hunts."  At first, we didn't think much about it but later a light bulb went off and we realized "hey, there's something to this!" 

Then one day, we were talking to Scott about his relationship coaching business and how he enjoys helping couples, when the idea struck about teaming up and creating a fun "Couples Scavenger Hunt."  For ten years, we've been creating these fabulous Urban Challenge Scavenger Hunt competitions as a corporate team building event. Over and over, we saw how it did wonders for promoting positive employee relationships. Why wouldn't it work for couples, whether they're married, engaged or in a serious relationship?    So, starting next month, we'll be offering our new Relationship Building Urban Challenge/Scavenger Hunt!  

Just like our private and public Scavenger Hunts, this new version will also be a ton of FUN but there's a twist. The tasks are designed specifically for couples!  When the hunt is over, we'll do our usual fun Awards Ceremony (complete with prizes) but participating couples will also receive a bonus take away - thanks to relationship coach Scott Milnes who will do a fun wrap up and offer some interesting insight on marriage.

If you've been searching for a fun date night, we'd love for you to join us!  We're currently offering three dates - all in very cool locations - and all are expected to fill up quickly. 

The dates are:

Saturday, May 18th    4:15pm - 7:15pm    (Balboa Park)
Saturday, June 22nd   4:15pm - 7:15pm    (La Jolla)
Saturday, July 13th     4:15pm - 7:15pm    (Encinitas)

As anyone will tell you, we're always excited whenever we get to do a Scavenger Hunt. But we're especially looking forward to this one because it's all about couples and celebrating relationships. On a personal note, this October will mark our 23rd wedding anniversary. Over the years, we've learned a lot of lessons about marriage but for us, we find that laughter and having FUN is a key ingredient to having a great relationship.

We hope you'll join us for a day of fun and ADVENTURE! And if you have any "couple" friends, bring them too.

For more information, check out this link:  Couples Scavenger Hunt

Mention our Off the Beaten Path blog and you'll get a special discounted price!

Happy travels everyone,

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

Friday, April 12, 2013

Incorporating the Great Outdoors into your next meeting!

It's part of a growing trend we've noticed over the last year.  Instead of holding business meetings inside,  more companies are ditching conference rooms and heading outdoors. Some companies even take it one step further and look for ways to incorporate "movement" into their meetings.  The other day we were at a hotel, getting ready to meet with one of our clients when someone at the next table mentioned how their sales team conducts their once a month business meeting while taking a hike along the beach. As funny as that may sound, studies show that active employees who spend time outdoors are happier and more productive than those who sit inside all day.

As a tour company who promotes the great outdoors, we love this trend!  And now that the warmer months are here, why not incorporate a relaxing beach walk (or easy bike ride) into your next board meeting?  We do this with our own staff and find that some of our best ideas often come when we're outside, enjoying San Diego's awesome weather.

We've also created fun activities for groups who wanted to incorporate some type of exercise into their meeting. Keep in mind the activity doesn't have to be physically demanding. It can be a casual hike in the canyons or a super easy bike ride with regular stops every few minutes so employees can take notes if need be. The idea is to get employees out of the office and outside where they can enjoy our fantastic weather. 
If you can make that happen, you'll increase your team's productivity and probably put a smile on their faces!

Want more information on how you can incorporte movement into your next meeting?  Check out our website by clicking here.  You may also email us at

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

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Time Fun - in San Diego!

Now that Spring is here, we are lovin life!  The days are longer and you can definitely feel a shift in everyone's mood.  Take for instance this past weekend.  We ran another one of our fun Downtown public Scavenger Hunts on Saturday and it was beautiful. I tend to get cold so I'm always wearing some sort of jacket but not this time.  It was in the high 60's... maybe even low 70's and the sun was strong.

Marc's "pretty in pink" team was everything you could want in a team. They were competitive, full of energy and just a blast to hang out with.  My team was just as fun. The team was made up of 3 couples and although they didn't know each other at first, they all  hit it off and became fast friends. That's probably one of the greatest things about our job.  We get to see friendships form right in front of us. It's very cool.

After the hunt wrapped, we had the rest of the night to ourselves so we decided to head to South Park's Walkabout.  Since the night was warm, it was the perfect activity.  If you've never been to this event, check it out.  It's worth it!  South Park is an eclectic neighborhood, filled with funky coffeehouses, unique shops and restaurants. All the businesses stay open for this event and many offer free desserts, appetizers and wine.  It's a wonderful way to check out the neighborhood! I even ran into a former Channel 8 friend I hadn't seen in years. Talk about a small world.

Sunday was just as fun.  After we finished our work day, there was still plenty of time to enjoy the day so we drove over to Point Loma's Rock Church. We've been going to the Rock for over three years and it always amazes us.  From the awesome Christian Rock Choir to its countless volunteers and "Do Something" campaign, it's truly inspiring.  Following Church, we grabbed lunch at Panera Bread (love their Fuji Apple Chicken Salad) and then headed to Seaport Village for the "Busker Festival."  

If you're like us and appreciate the art of street performing, you'll enjoy this event.  Every year, Seaport Village features a handful of street performers and over the course of 2 days, they perform and the public gets to vote on who they feel is the "best of the best."  It's always a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors and be entertained, all for free!  Afterwards, we ended the day at El Indio (a very POPULAR Mexican restaurant) and chowed down on a tasty Fish Burrito.  As we talked about the great weekend we had, we were sad to see it end but then we looked up and caught a glimpse of the weather forecast for the week ahead - nice, dry and in the 60's all week.  Considering that some parts of the country are still experiencing winter snow storms, we'll take the 60 degree weather.

Make it a great week - wherever you are!

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

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Introducing our NEW Encinitas Scavenger Hunt!

Over the years, we've created a number of fun North County tours. One of our favorite adventures is our Coast Highway 101 bike tour.  Now that is FUN. Since it's a customized tour that we often do for large groups, it changes every time but whenever we do it, we can't help but thank God and wonder how did we get so lucky. The views of the ocean are breath taking and riding through the eclectic neighborhoods is always a treat. 

Remember when you were a kid and your favorite thing to do was ride your bike all day with your best friend?  Well that's exactly how we feel whenever we're on one of these bike tours. On a recent bike adventure, our group was having so much fun, they suggested we create an Encinitas Scavenger Hunt. "If you create it, we will definitely come back," they told us. Then out of the blue, another group made the same suggestion. That's when we thought "Hmm, maybe there's something to this" so we put on our creative thinking caps and Walla, there you have it - a brand new Downtown Encinitas Scavenger Hunt! 

The end result? It's a BLAST!  Downtown Encinitas is full of quirky, colorful art galleries and unique shops... not to mention wonderful, award winning restaurants.  It's a perfect playground for our Scavenger Hunt. We also love the fact that it's just steps away from the beach so it's a good mix of beautiful ocean views and one-of-a-kind shops and eateries.

As many people know, we offer public Downtown San Diego Scavenger Hunts on most Saturdays and on selected Sundays, we offer public Pacific Beach and La Jolla Scavenger Hunts.  But for all you North County fans, keep your eyes open because we will be offering our Encinitas Scavenger Hunt to the public this Spring!  Of course if you can't wait that long and would rather do it as a private event, give us a call. We're game!

For a complete rundown on ALL our Scavenger Hunt locations and tours, check out our website at

In the meantime, keep on having fun!

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