Earlier this year, Pacifica Del Mar (1555 Camino Del Mar) underwent a major expansion; when the dust settled, there appeared a wall of 150 international vodkas, reaching to the ceiling of the restaurantâs Ocean Bar. Offering strawberry balsamic martinis and the âWarsaw Muleâ (like the ginger-beer âMoscowâ cocktail, but with Polish vodka), Ocean Bar is especially worth the journey on Wednesdays, when all vodkas and gins are $6. Thatâs also Oyster Night, with deals on Carlsbad âLunaâ Oysters, served with cucumber mignonette and wasabi cocktail sauce. pacificadelmar.com/ocean-bar
There's something to be said about a restaurant that can cook up a tasty pork-three-ways sandwich, but also pull off a delicious vegan plate that even an ardent carnivore finds tasty. That spot would be Carnitas Snack Shack, which opened earlier this month at 2632 University Ave. in North Park. Named after co-owners Sara Stroud and Chef Hanis Cavin's adorable miniature (vegan) pig, Carnitas is open every day but Tuesday from noon until midnight and has a cozy covered patio where you can enjoy your meal. carnitassnackshack.com
The weather outside has actually been a bit frightful, at least by San Diego standards, making it feel like a real Christmas. So why not head over to the Del Mar Fairgrounds and get into the spirit by checking out the Holiday of Lights drive-thru animated light show. There are more than 400 sparkling light displays along Candy Cane Lane that totally kick your neighborâs lawn Santaâs ass. Bring a hot cup of cocoa and let the Scrooge melt out of you. The shows begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (closed Mondays) through Sunday, Jan. 1. $14-$19 per car, depending on the number of passenders. holidayoflights.com
Josh Kenyon and Colby Nichols = Jolby, a kick-ass design team based in Portland. While you missed the official opening reception, you can still make an appointment at Subtext Gallery (2479 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy) to see Shapes & Smiles, their solo show featuring stuff that makes them happy. Simple enough, right? Expect bright, punchy designs that might make you grin ("A Shelf of Memories" is to the left). Uptight fine-art snobs aren't invited. The show's up through Jan. 16. Click here to watch a video preview. You can also scope out some of Jolby's cool prints on their Etsy siteâas well as their illustrated kids book, The King's 6th Finger.