Machel's Ranch

Ten fun things to do in 2009 in Rancho Santa Fe!

Happy New Year! I hope that this Christmas season was a joyous one, even though the economy is soft. I hope that you had enough courage to still be thankful for all of your many blessings, given the financial difficulties we are constantly bombarded with by the media and in the marketplace. I hope that you still found time to say some encouraging words to your fellow neighbors and didn’t predict doom and gloom for 2009.
On that note, I thought I would give you some fun tips on what to do in the New Year in Rancho Santa Fe. So often, we think it is necessary to go outside of our hometown to take a vacation, when really there are some fabulous fun things to do just down the street. Here are my recommendations for 2009:
1. Go to The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe and eat a glorious lunch with your family. This beautiful hotel is the core of downtown, and is full of history and character. Try their salads and kids menu. Enjoy a perfect day, while your children enjoy exercise instead of video games on a Saturday afternoon.
2. Sign up for the San Dieguito Half Marathon in Rancho Santa Fe at 8 a.m. Feb. 8 at location San Dieguito Park. The cost is only $30, which is less expensive than others in the San Diego area. You also have the option of running a 5K if you don’t feel like committing to the full 13.1 miles. For more information, visit
3. Enjoy a breakfast scone and fine coffee at Café Positano, owned by Tim Cusac. He recently opened his second shop in Del Rayo Shopping Center. Now Fairbanks residents can run down the street for the best cup of coffee in town. And, if you live in the covenant, Tim’s place is located right on Paseo Delicas.
4. Enjoy the rest of football season locally at Que Pasa Mexican Grill. They have wide screen LCDs and the most delicious chips and hot cheese sauce, which are complementary with your order. Fun atmosphere and excellent service. You’ve got about six weeks left for this recommendation if you are a sports fanatic; if not, apply this to any time of the year.
5. Go to Bistro Night at Mille Fleurs. This is one of my favorite hot spots in town. You might not believe it, but let me be the first to tell you can order a lamb burger with French fries Wednesday nights and at lunch time! Later on in the bar lounge, enjoy fine tunes while the piano player sings. Trust me, this will help you get over the hump during the middle of your busy week.
6. Attend Shangri Pa event this coming summer June 6. I went last year to the Hollywoof event and it was a smashing evening. Check your calendars, reserve the date and call Renee Resko for more details at (858) 756-4117, ext. 347.  This event raises money to help save the lives of animals all over the world.
7. Go to the Rancho Santa Fe Art Guild events. They have lovely mixers almost monthly, in which local artist’s showcase their talent to the community. You still have time to check out their latest exhibit, “Holiday Reflections.” For more information, visit
8. Take a nature walk with one of your loved ones around the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Course. Enjoy a one-hour relaxing walk outside under the eucalyptus trees. This doesn’t cost a dime and you’ll feel rejuvenated and refreshed. Park over by Roger Rowe Elementary to find these nature trails. The spring time is would be my choice for this outing adventure.
9. Attend Rancho Days in September. There is an event each night of the week. My absolute favorite, of course, is The Historical Society’s Chili Cook-off night, which usually happens on a Friday that week. Don’t worry: there will be plenty of information in town outlining all of these events so you won’t miss out!
10. Attend the after parties on Opening Day in downtown Rancho Santa Fe. Forget the Plaza in Del Mar. Every Restaurant is booked with the “who’s who” in town. Enjoy the horses and head back to the Ranch to enjoy the best party day in San Diego just down the street from your house.
Around town
On Dec. 13, Willis Allen hosted a toy drive to sponsor the Military Outreach Ministry organization. Almost 100 toys were collected, while families enjoyed caroling and Christmas dreams were whispered into Santa’s ears. Bob Snell, one of Rancho Santa Fe’s most talented photographers, was on hand to capture the perfect moments with family and friends. He was kind enough to share one of his pictures with me for my column. To see more from this day, visit Debi Holder, Sherry Shriver and Sian Welch from Willis Allen were on hand to help make this a perfect winter holiday event.
On Dec. 18, I ran into a fun crowd toasting to the holidays in downtown Rancho Santa Fe. Karian Forsyth was on hand to tell how much she coveted her title as “Best feet in Rancho Santa Fe.” Melissa Williams, Janice Jaraicie and Julien Hug were also celebrating Christmas cheer on a fun Thursday night at Mille Fleurs. Think “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart here. What could make the holidays more special except the love from your good friends and family?
On Dec. 21, I stopped in to one of my favorite book stores — Book Tales — just down the road in downtown Encinitas. When you can find the time, visit this quaint book shop. With everyone conserving their extra dollars, readers can still pick up your most coveted authors at a price that isn’t covering the overhead on the huge book stores chains. They also have a wonderful selection of children books. Take a break from technology and remember some of the simplest pleasures lie inside the covers of a book. Try Book Tales.
On Dec. 22, I went to Frogs Gym in Solana Beach for my quick workout after my busy day. Remember when the PAC gym opened in Carmel Valley? Well Frogs has maintained its loyal members, while attracting new ones, too. If you are just into working out and not the scene at a gym, this is the best place to join. There is also a spin room and aerobic work-out area. Sign up for yoga classes or run on the treadmills upstairs. But whatever you do in 2009, don’t be lazy. Try Frogs to boost your New Year’s resolution in losing those extra holiday pounds. Aaron Barry is one of the desk supervisors. He let me snap a quick photo of him for my column. Thank Aaron for always being so polite! For more information, call (858) 792-4008.
For New Year’s Eve, try the Marine Room in La Jolla. Sacha Boutros is performing here — one of the best places in San Diego to ring in the New Year. Located right on the beach in La Jolla, this romantic spot would be a wonderful choice, if you haven’t booked a reservation for this special evening.  As one of our local singers, go hear Sacha sing on New Year’s Eve! Call (866) 644-2351 for more details.
Save the Date
Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon is coming up Jan. 25. If you aren’t running the race, go support the thousand of inspirational runners that fly in from all over the country. The race mainly takes place on most of Highway 101 in downtown Carlsbad. It’s early, so don’t go out Friday night so you can take time to support this fabulous event coming up at the end of January.