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Head to Park Chalet Coastal Beer Garden for alfresco dining this Indian summer in SF

Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos by Kevin Kelleher

Summer is here in SF and I’ve been searching for the best parks, green spaces, patios and rooftops to get some sun while exploring the City’s offerings. I’ve been so used to non-stop perfect weather since living in San Diego so whenever the thermometer hits above 75 degrees in SF, I take advantage. I recently visited Park Chalet Coastal Beer Garden for drinks and dinner in the sun. You definitely need to make the trek out to Ocean Beach if you want a seafood-centric meal by the water.

Beer lovers will absolutely love this place, which is butted up right against Golden Gate Park, because the restaurant brews their own beer right next door at sister restaurant, Beach Chalet. Check out the Chalet Ale menu for brews like a Riptide Red, Presidio IPA or High Tide Hefeweizen. For a fruity twist, opt for a Shandy with fresh lemonade and a V.F.W. Golden Ale, or a Radler with grapefruit juice and Hef. Oh, and the beer garden’s lawn is dog friendly making this place even cooler for the summer months.

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Park Chalet got a bit of a sprucing up lately with new additions to the refinished bar. The dining room has skylights, massive windows, retractable glass doors and the patio seating is great for parties of all sizes.

Pacific Clam Chowder at the Park Chalet
Pacific Clam Chowder at the Park Chalet
Seafood Ceviche at the Park Chalet
Seafood Ceviche at the Park Chalet

The restaurant has a new Executive Chef, Ian Hockenberger, and he’s got a few seafood and brew-inspired items. We started out with a couple cocktails, clam chowder and ceviche. The chowder was smoky and creamy and the ceviche had a mixture of calamari, cod and shrimp. The ceviche is no joke and is the perfect way to start your meal.

Fisherman's Catch at the Park Chalet
Fisherman’s Catch at the Park Chalet

In keeping with the beer and seafood theme, we opted for the bountiful Fisherman’s Catch. The seafood boil was enormous and delicious and had piles of snow crab, mussels, clams, prawns, sweet corn, sausage and red potatoes. I highly recommend sharing this dish with your peeps. Other menu items include a Seared Ahi Sandwich, Bacon Crab Melt, Fried Seafood Platter, and all kinds of pizza.

If you’re headed to Ocean Beach for a bonfire, strolling through the west end of Golden Gate Park for its windmills and Dutch tulip garden, or are just looking for an outdoor setting for an Indian summertime meal, check out Park Chalet. For more information, www.parkchalet.com.

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4th Annual Rhythm & Brews Music & Craft Beer Festival: Bringing Music, Craft Beer and Good Causes Together

by Andrea Verdin

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend in San Diego County, look no further: the fourth annual Rhythm & Brews Music & Craft Beer Festival which will take place this Saturday, April 25th from 12-4PM in the Historic Downtown Vista Village.

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This event has been a big hit in North County since its beginning. This year, more than 60 breweries will be a part of the festival. In addition to local favorites like Ballast Point, Belching Beaver, Green Flash, and more, visiting breweries from Colorado, Illinois and Hawaii are slated to participate.

This means thirsty attendees can enjoy tastings of more than 100 craft brews. Beer enthusiasts will also enjoy live music, spanning from blues to folk to funk on two stages and outstanding local fare will be available for purchase.

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In addition to the SDBG, this year’s event will benefit  Fight ALD, a non-profit organization founded by a Vista, CA couple who tragically lost their young son to the deadly genetic disorder.

This event is sure to please, so head on over! If you see one of the Wander Crew there, be sure to take a pic with us.

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For more information on the  Rhythm & Brews Music & Craft Beer Festival, check out their website. For more information on Fight ALD, visit their website.

TWC handmade light up Ouija Board

Wander Editor Prepares to Torture Her Pals with Destination America’s “Ghost Asylum”

Written by Andrea Verdin

The majority of the Wander team is a bit… chicken. They don’t like being scared, nor do they like the idea of hauntings, ghosts and ghouls. Naturally, I drag them to haunted events every fall. We’ve been to the Queen Mary’s haunted events, and i’ve made them walk halls of supposedly spirit-filled buildings. They never find it as funny as I do. Then I heard about Destination America’s all-new series Ghost Asylum.

TWC Team outside the haunted asylum in Hayswood
TWC Team outside the haunted asylum in Hayswood

This is a show that’s dedicated to investigating abandoned insane asylums and going through dangerous and downright terrifying scenarios. When I took a sneak peak at this show, I knew what I’d make my team watch during the next meeting. Who wouldn’t want to watch a fearless crew is on a quest to hunt down chain-rattling ghosts and scary apparitions by any means possible, even if that requires luring themselves as the decoy?

Ghost Asylum follows the most passionate paranormal team in America, the Tennessee Wraith Chasers (TWC), as they examine some of America’s most frightening asylums, sanitariums and mental hospitals. Their goal isn’t just to conjure spirits and collect evidence but they are on a mission to physically capture restless souls. It makes for a good scare, don’t you think?

TWC hunts the most lethal stories; clinics where murdered nurses still roam the halls, hospitals that drive anyone who enters to utter insanity and rehabilitation centers with earth shattering cries coming from the windows. Staffed with experts in every aspect of paranormal investigation these wraith chasers are not your average Ghostbusters but an elite team of ghost whisperers who mesh methodology and skill with old-fashioned common sense and a taste for adventure in order to debunk, disprove or validate each case.

TWC handmade light up Ouija Board
TWC handmade light up Ouija Board

But don’t think that this means the boys will traipse about without honoring ancient grounds. “Respect, detect, collect” – that’s TWC’s motto and the core process they follow in each episode.

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To start things off, TWC founder Chris Smith, leads his team to Old War Memorial Hospital in Scottsville, Kentucky. Throughout its years of operation, this institution transformed from a place of healing to a holding cell for the mentally disturbed. Between the ER and the mental ward, it has been the site of countless deaths and could be bursting with lost souls. Locals believe that a doctor lost his mind while in residence at the hospital and, after his death, his spirit returned for a permanent shift in the exam rooms he loved so much. Now, TWC ventures beyond the waiting room to track down the doctor’s spirit and finally discharge him for good.

Ghost Asylum premieres tomorrow, Sunday, September 7 at 10/9c on Destination America. For a sneak peek of Ghost Asylum, check out Destination America’s website here.

 

Hello Kitty Con is coming!

Comic-Con 2014, Hello Kitty Con, and Stalker Con – A How-To Guide to Get Your Geek On

Summer is in full swing, and for hard core pop culture fanatics, that means one thing: the Cons are coming.

That’s right, Comic-Con 2014 is coming up in a few weeks, and the Wander staff is raring to go. Between checking out the main gallery, which will be chock-full of shops, art, and of course, comics, and hitting up all of our favorite panels, there’s always plenty to do at the Con.

As we mentioned last year, you can always enjoy outside events in Downtown San Diego that are affiliated with Comic-Con, so even if you don’t have tickets, you can be a part of the fun.

Let’s be honest, thought. Not everyone is going to fly down to San Diego to a sold out Comic-Con in order to just hang out at a restaurant, seething with envy as you overhear the next table over talk about their favorite exhibits.

For you folks, we have dug up some different, fun, exciting Conventions coming up that you’re bound to have fun at. Remember, these two examples are just a tiny fraction of what conventions are happening this year, so feel free to let us know what conventions you’ll be attending. Maybe we’ll see you there!

1. Hello Kitty Con

Hello Kitty Con is coming!
Hello Kitty Con is coming!

That’s right, Hello Kitty has her own convention.

Sanrio fangirls and fanboys can shout with glee as their favorite Kitty comes to life, bringing her pals with her to Los Angeles from October 30 to November 2, just in time for her 40th anniversary.

Taking place at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles, Hello Kitty Con will give fans a full lineup of activations including the Hello Kitty Super Supermarket featuring a curated selection of vendors offering convention exclusives, products and experiences; a Hello Kitty retrospective and vintage shop selling rare collectibles from the past; integrated workshops, lectures and panel discussions; a tattoo shop; arcade; art installations; photo opportunities and more.

Attendees will also be treated to sneak peeks into upcoming projects and partnerships and can find limited edition convention-only products and global exclusives at the official Hello Kitty Con 2014 pop-up shop.

As if Hello Kitty lovers need more swag.
As if Hello Kitty lovers need more swag.

The exhibition will also explore fans’ emotional connection to the brand and Hello Kitty’s influence on bridging Japanese and American cultures in the U.S. Christine Yano, author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific, and longtime Hello Kitty fan, will curate the retrospective component of the exhibition. Jamie Rivadeneira, founder and owner of pop culture-inspired boutique JapanLA, will curate the art component.

Hello Kitty Con 2014 will coincide with Hello Kitty’s official birthday on November 1st, and will run from October 30th – November 2nd at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. A limited number of tickets are available now for purchase at Sanrio’s website.

 

2. Walker Stalker Con 2014

On the complete opposite spectrum of fandom fun, zombie and horror fans can enjoy guts and gore at Walker Stalker Con, which will be held in various parts of the country at various dates.

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New York, Atlanta and Chicago are just a few of the spots where fans can meet up and share an opportunity to be part of a greater community of zombie lovers.

As every good convention should have, there will be several stars in attendance at the various conventions, with Josh McDermitt, Brighton Sharpino, Howard Sherman, Kyra Schon, Terry Alexander and Lori Cardille making appearances. Even David Morrissey, known for his portrayal of The Walking Dead’s The Governor, will be in attendance at the New York Stalker Con, with Steven Yeun attending the Chicago Con.

It’s not uncommon for fans to dress up like their favorite zombie hunters, nor is it unheard of for hordes of zombies to roam the streets after the convention’s events, giving pause to even the bravest of men.

For more information on where Walker Stalker Cons will be held this year, go to www.walkerstalkercon.com.

So even if you’re only hanging outside of Comic-Con 2014 with throngs of cosplayers, you can have a heckuva time finding other conventions to fit your fancy.