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Feb 24, 2011 - “Best Customer Service” in the 2010 People's Choice awards. Photo by Jonathan ..... 34932 Calle del S

Trustees Punt on San Juan Hills Stadium

Local Athletes Ink College Deals

CARe Show Sets Records




F E B R U A RY 1 1 –24 , 2 0 1 1 VOLUME 9, ISSUE 3

Best of San Juan

Residents cast their ballots for the people and places that make Capistrano special S P E C I A L 1 2 - PAG E I N S E R T Don DeNault and his son Michael inside the family’s hardware store on Del Obispo Street. Anytime you walk into DeNault’s, someone offers to help, which is why the store won “Best Customer Service” in the 2010 People’s Choice awards. Photo by Jonathan Volzke




SAN CLEMENTE An image of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin popped up near the bowling alley and Miramar theater Saturday morning. A group holding a rally against the Playa Del Norte project happened upon the scene with black spray paint reading, “Yes on A,” and blue paint crossing it over. Written on the side was the phrase, “No on crony capitalism.” Both sides of the Measure A debate have condemned the graffiti. The image, actually a six- to eight-foot sticker, was removed within hours of the first calls. An employee of the city’s graffiti removal contractor not only had to remove the sticker but also paint over the scarred portions of the wall. Though the Stalin sticker was the first related to Measure A, the culprit has struck before with images of Frankenstein and monsters. The word “Talega” appears on the works.



DANA POINT Two of the three medical marijuana dispensaries red-tagged and closed on January 24 for municipal/building code violations appealed the city’s actions at a six-hour hearing on February 4. The hearing was presided over by retired Orange County Judge Jim Smith at Council Chambers. Smith was approved to hear the case in a special meeting of the City Council held earlier the same day. The council had previously agreed that the appeals should be heard by an impartial third party in order to avoid the appearance of bias against the dispensaries. The council offered Holistic Health and Beach Cities Collective a hand in choosing the judge but they declined. Council then asked that one be assigned randomly by JAMS arbitration and mediation service. Smith’s decision whether the businesses will be allowed to reopen is expected some time this week.

San Juan Capistrano’s Top 5 Hottest Topics

What’s Up With... 1

…Smooth Puss Out?

THE LATEST: Adios, Smooth Puss. The San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association, the all-volunteer group that puts on the Swallows Day Parade and related activities, has ended a decades-long tradition of selling “Smooth Puss” buttons to help keep folks out of the Hoos’gow. Fiesta President Steve Weekes announced in January the board of directors was considering doing away with the “Smooth Puss” tradition because the title offended some people who felt it had become slang for a woman’s private parts. Others who supported keeping the name contend the president is just being a sour puss. The parade is a 53-year tradition in Capistrano, although it’s unclear just how far back the “Smooth Puss” buttons go. The buttons were sold as bail to get folks out of the roving jail that Fiesta members take around town the day before the parade. Weekes announced meeting that “Hoos’gow” buttons would now be sold instead of those labeling the wearer a “Smooth Puss.” WHAT’S NEXT: The Fiesta Association meets on Wednesday weekly up until parade day, which is March 26 this year. The group meets at 7 p.m. at the Nydegger Building. New members or potential members are encouraged to attend. But on Wednesday, February 16, Fiesta hosts “Taste of San Juan” with local restaurants at El Adobe Restaurant from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $20. FIND OUT MORE: See —Jonathan Volzke


…City Council on Public Records?

THE LATEST: The city will try and track

staff time and cost of fulfilling public records requests in an attempt to determine if spending as much as $250,000 for a computer system to put more information online is a good investment. The city is already looking at 5 percent across-the-board cuts in departments, largely related to the cost of a bond to pay half the $6.3 million settlement in the Scalzo development lawsuit. The money will also go to replenish reserves that paid the other half. City Clerk Maria Morris said her department spends $1,000 to $3,000 a month in staff time responding to requests related to legal matters, city contracts and from the public looking at everything from city salaries to records about property the city owns. The true cost to the city is higher than that, because the requests are sent to other departments, too. Public law states most records are public. WHAT’S NEXT: Staff will attempt to quantify the costs. Under the law, those requesting information can be charged for copying costs—20 cents a page in Capistrano—but not for other expenses. FIND OUT MORE: See a list of a who asked for what information at The Capistrano Insider Blog at —JV


…CUSD Budget Woes?

THE LATEST: Even after $90 million in cuts over the past three years, the Capistrano Unified School District will need to trim at least $8.4 million more from its 2011-2012 budget, administrators said Tuesday. And that’s in the “best case” scenario. Already the pressure is building to support Governor Jerry Brown’s push to extend state taxes. If that fails, CUSD will likely need to cut $350 per student. Projected enrollment for the next year

is 50,523, Superintendent for Business and Support Services Ron Lebs told trustees. The worst-case scenario could see $25 million in cuts, Lebs said. In addition to the state budget’s woes, the district must grapple with a potential $2.8 million increase in mental-health costs for educating students who require special situations, $700,000 for new charter schools and other issues.

Whispering Hills developer over final parcel maps and other issues fell through, preventing them from going forward.

WHAT’S NEXT: Trustees will get another update and discuss potential cuts at their March 8 meeting.

FIND OUT MORE: See the Beyond the Blackboard blog at —JV

FIND OUT MORE: See the Beyond the Blackboard blog at —JV


…Stadium at San Juan Hills?

THE LATEST: It doesn’t look the Stallions will play a true home football game in 2011, either. Although open for four years, the stadium at San Juan Hills High School remains only partially finished. The turf is down, the track is in place, there’s even a snack bar. But the bleachers on the home side are non-existing, the victim of a complicated dispute between the school district and the land’s previous owner. As a result, the Stallion varsity football team played home games at Tesoro High School. More than convenience and school spirit are at stake, too: The home team keeps gate revenues, so the lagging attendance at “home” games at Tesoro cost the Stallion athletic program money, too. Capistrano Unified School District trustees on Tuesday considered whether to seek bids on completion of the stadium. The project would cost $1.5 million. But a potential settlement in the lawsuit between the school district and

WHAT’S NEXT: The lawsuit would have to settle within weeks for a bid to go out and construction finish in time for the 2011 football season. In the meantime, trustees next month are expected to consider bids to build a swimming pool at San Juan Hills. Water-sport teams now play at Tesoro.


…Youth of the Year?

THE LATEST: Michael Velasco, honored as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley Youth of the Year, has been selected to compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the California Youth of the Year title and a $1,000 scholarship from the Reader’s Digest Foundation. Velasco, 17, has been a member of the club since 2008 and has volunteered more than 400 hours of club and community service. Velasco has served as the recorder for the club’s “Keystone” leadership program and is currently the program’s vice president. He is also active in the Street Smartz program, which works to deter kids from drugs and alcohol. At San Juan Hills High, he serves on the school’s Associated Student Body and as senior class president. WHAT’S NEXT: If Velasco wins at the state competition, he will compete for the title of the Pacific Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 scholarship. The five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., to compete for National Youth of the Year. FIND OUT MORE: See —JV

February 11–24, 2011 • The Capistrano Dispatch • Page 3

Eye on SJC

Mission Unveils Plans for New Gift Shop, Gate By Jonathan Volzke The Capistrano Dispatch


ission San Juan Capistrano plans a new gift shop and office area across from Starbucks Coffee on Ortega Highway, replacing the front gate area and creating what Executive Director Mechelle LawrenceAdams calls a “sense of arrival.” The project aims to accomplish several things, Lawrence-Adams told about 60 people gathered for a Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting earlier this month: Make the visitor entrance more efficient, create a larger gift shop and free up the historic La Sala now used for souvenir sales. The project is being designed by a team that includes Capistrano architect Ed Lohrbach and is expected to be completed in 2013. The Mission must raise between $1 and $2 million for the work. Other members of the team include Capistrano residents Mike Imlay, a landscape architect, and Mission Preservation Project Manager Sam U’Ren. The plans are still being reviewed by the Design Review Commission, and require further approvals. So far, renderings show a single-story building with a finish similar to the Mission walls and a red tile roof. A trellis covered with red bougainvillea faces Ortega in the photos, which also include what Lawrence-Adams called “husband benches” facing the street. Columns will be glad in rocks similar to those used to build the Great Stone Church. Views of that monument will not

be obscured, Lawrence-Adams said. Renderings show the building replaces a large tree on the Mission grounds that hides the historic church from the Ortega-Camino Cap intersection. Visitors will be able to enter the gift shop to buy more upscale offerings than what’s now offered, Lawrence-Adams told the crowd, adding the Mission earlier retained a retail expert who specializes in museum gift shops. La Sala will be used as a museum when the gift shop is moved. The existing gate house will be torn down—the structure is not historic—and a larger arched entrance that Lawrence-Adams said is true to the Mission’s roots will be built. A separate group entrance will be created with more of a waiting area, so visitors aren’t so close to the street. But when it’s finished, Lawrence-Adams said she envisions a town tradition of the Mission gates being thrown up each morning and the American flag being raised with such precision that residents driving by could set their watches by the mini-ceremony. The new entrance will include double doors, which Lawrence-Adams said—in a typical Capistrano touch—she expects to someday ride a horse through. The doors will also line up with the centerpiece fountain in the entry courtyard, creating a more impressive entrance, Lawrence-Adams said. She said the team is aware of the Mission’s importance now, and the importance of the building they’re creating. “This building will ultimately be historic,” she said. CD

Juggernaut, a 13-foot sculpture at the Ecology Center on Alipaz, is coming down Saturday after a permit dispute with the city. Photo by Jonathan Volzke

Water Sculpture Flushed By Jonathan Volzke The Capistrano Dispatch


13-foot sculpture made from 365 water jugs outside of the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano will come down, after the city notified the nonprofit environmental education group that the big blue display needed a permit. Evan Marks, founder of the Ecology Center, said he believes he told city officials he planned to keep “Juggernaut,” or “Juggy” for short, up for a year as part of an exhibit on reducing individual water use that opened in August. But city officials told him they understood Juggy was going to be a temporary visitor to the Alipaz Street center. The Ecology Center, which leases the historic Congdon House from the city, could have appealed the order through commissions and the City Council, or paid $750 to start the permit process but decided instead to retire Juggy.

La Pata Transfer Station Plan Spurs Concern By Jonathan Volzke The Capistrano Dispatch

he city and school district are keeping an eye on waste-hauler CR&R’s plans to build a trash transfer station on the east side of Avenida La Pata, between San Juan Hills High School and Ortega Highway. The plan, under county jurisdiction, calls for a 70,000-square-foot enclosed building on 5.6 acres. CR&R trucks that pick up residential and business trash would dump materials destined for recycling there for transfer into larger trucks that would haul it to Stanton. But Dean Ruffridge, senior vice president of CR&R, told the City Council on February 1 that the project will have little impact on traffic or residents near the end of San Juan Creek Road, who are closest to the project. CR&R already operates a similar facility on Rancho Mission Viejo


PROPOSED CONDITION Renderings of the proposed gift shop and Mission entry gate. Mission officials said the plans have already changed slightly from these images. Courtesy Mission San Juan

The $13,000 sculpture will come down at a 2 p.m. party Saturday, February 12. The 365 water jugs would have held 1,800 gallons of water, which is what the average Southern Californian uses in day, Marks said. “We made the decision to take him down today out of respect to the city,” Marks said. “It’s an obsessive figure and a piece of public art that we thought would engage people in a discussion about their water footprint.” The event will include cold drinks and pizza made in the center’s cob oven. Juggy is the second figure to fall into the Capistrano’s code-enforcement sights recently: In December, the city cited the owner of for his display of an inflatable Santa Claus in front of his Camino Capistrano shop. The Ecology Center is at 32701 Alipaz Street, the corner of Alipaz and Camino del Avion. For more information, see CD

land out the Ortega. It must be moved to make way for the RMV development. The new station would be built when grading starts for the La Pata extension into San Clemente, he said. Ruffridge showed the council computer-generated photographs of residents’ views before and after the project that seemed to show little impact, but Ian Smith, a resident of one of the housing tracts studied, said the photographs did not depict residents’ second-floor views. “Hell no, not in my backyard,” Smith told the council. Council members seemed surprised, too. “Did the city know about this when we bought the riding park?” asked Councilman Larry Kramer, who previously sat on the Open Space Committee. “I had this vision of nothing but green spaces from there on out. I guess this is a new vision for me.” CD

February 11–24, 2011 • The Capistrano Dispatch • Page 7

Eye on SJC

SJC Sheriff’s Blotter C o m p i l e d b y J O N AT H A N V O L Z K E All information below is obtained from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Web site ( and reflects data available from calls placed from the field by the responding officer(s). An arrest doesn’t represent guilt. The items below are just a sampling of the entries listed on the OCSD Web site.

Monday, February 7 TRAFFIC HAZARD Camino Capistrano/Avenida Aeropuerto (8:41 p.m.) A mattress and other debris was in the lanes. ILLEGAL PEDDLING El Horno Street, 31300 Block (7:52 p.m.) Two teens were going door-to-door trying to sell papers and just asking for money. DISTURBANCE Camino Capistrano, 34100 Block (7:33 p.m.) Two men were arguing about DVD player. The caller was worried it would become physical. KEEP THE PEACE Rancho Viejo Road, 31100 Block (6:22 p.m.) A woman who was told she was going to be fired the next day wanted to pick up her property, but the owner did not want to give it to her. TRAFFIC ACCIDENT Ortega Highway/Rancho Viejo Road (4:48 p.m.) A small SUV and a gold Honda hit head-on. WELFARE CHECK Calle Chueca, 30700 Block (1:05 p.m.) A caller spotted a green Astrovan outside with a child and an infant inside. They were left alone for 30 minutes. CITIZEN ASSIST Valle Road, 32800 Block (11:37 a.m.) A woman told her ex-husband she was taking their child to Mexico and would never been seen again.

resident’s front door. He then walked down the street. He was wearing shorts and a college sweatshirt. DISTURBANCE Morningstar Lane, 27600 Block (9:21 p.m.) A woman reported a neighbor attacked her son and then tried to attack her when she intervened. DISTURBANCE Via Inez Road, 25600 Block (8:11 p.m.) A man reported his roommate was in an argument with his girlfriend. It was so loud it woke him up and he was afraid it was going to get violent. SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES Cedar Grove Court, 26200 Block (2:46 p.m.) A resident reported a man who used to rent a room may have tried to get in with a crowbar and other tools. ANNOYING PHONE CALL Camino Santo Domingo, 27800 Block (12 p.m.) A man reported his ex-girlfriend has called several times, even after he asked her to stop. SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES Paseo Tamara, 27500 Block (9:06 a.m.) A resident spotted a suspicious vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle used in earlier burglaries. VANDALISM Ortega Highway/Sundance Drive (7:57 p.m.) Graffiti was found near the community pool. Other graffiti was found last Sunday. SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES Terrapin Court, 33000 Block (5:32 p.m.) A caller reported someone was pounding on the front door, demanding to get in. He was described as thin, but muscular, and missing a shoe. SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES Avenida Aeropuerto, 26000 Block (12:29 a.m.) A woman reported she heard loud noises in the area the last couple of nights, but she couldn’t describe the noise.

Saturday, February 5

ASSIST OUTSIDE AGENCY San Juan Creek Road/La Novia Avenue (8:18 a.m.) A boy fell off his bicycle. Fire units were called.

DRUNK DRIVING Camino Capistrano/Doheny Park Road (11:36 p.m.) A caller reported a blue van driving on the wrong side of the road. A 77-year-old woman was arrested. She listed herself as a “store owner” in her booking papers.

OPEN DOOR Charro Drive, 25400 Block (2:03 a.m.) A resident came home and found the front door open. A motion light was on and the dog would not respond.

DISTURBANCE Paseo Carmel, 26400 Block (10:44 p.m.) Four people were in a fight with a large group of people standing around them.

Sunday, February 6

SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE Avenida Aeropuerto/Camino Capistrano (9:59 p.m.) A motor home was parked on Aeropuerto, and the caller thought the occupant was selling meth.

DRUNK IN PUBLIC Paseo Terraza, 31700 Block (9:17 p.m.) A drunk man tried to break through a

Page 8 • The Capistrano Dispatch • February 11–24, 2011

PETTY THEFT Calle Perfecto, 32800 Block (8:53 p.m.) Somebody was stealing wood from a business.

PETTY THEFT Plaza Drive, 31800 Block (4:42 p.m.) A man tried to take a bottle of wine and run. He got away, but not with the wine.

DISTURBANCE Alipaz Street, 32300 Block (7:57 p.m.) Two roommates got into a fight, and paramedics were called. A 41-year-old man, who said was unemployed, was taken into custody.

DISTURBANCE Camino Capistrano, 31400 Block (12:51 p.m.) A school official wanted deputies on hand for a ceremony in case members of rival gangs attended.

CITIZEN ASSIST Paseo Terraza, 31900 Block (6:54 p.m.) A woman who was supposed to stay in a group recovery home for five weeks left after 11 days. DISTURBANCE Golden Ridge, 30400 Block (4:14 p.m.) Four people were riding motorcycles on the trails. PETTY THEFT El Camino Real, 31400 Block (12:38 p.m.) A woman left her car unlocked. Her purse was stolen. SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES Rancho Viejo Road, 31700 Block (11:57 a.m.) A caller watched a man push the window of a parked car down and reach inside to take something from the center console, then push the window back up. The man wore a jacket that said “Security” on the back. WELFARE CHECK Ortega Highway, 27100 Block (9:32 a.m.) A woman complained the manager of a local business was going to kidnap her. ASSIST OUTSIDE AGENCY Calle Ricardo, 25800 Block (7:34 a.m.) A woman called hysterical because a 52year-old man was not breathing. She was given CPR instructions over the phone while firefighters rushed to the home. INVESTIGATE PERSON DOWN Camino Capistrano, 32100 Block (5:53 a.m.) A female transient was sleeping beside a building. She had no clothing.

DISTURBANCE Del Obispo Street, 32300 Block (12:35 p.m.) A subject was in an argument with a shop owner, possibly because he was told he couldn’t skateboard in the plaza. SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES Camino Capistrano/Del Obispo Street (1:53 a.m.) A caller complained a train was broken down at the Depot and Amtrak would not let passengers off.

Thursday, February 3 DISTURBANCE Los Rios Street, 31300 Block (10:56 p.m.) A woman called for deputies, then put the phone down and continued an argument with a man. Past calls from the home concerned child custody with her exhusband. DISTURBANCE La Zanja Street, 26500 Block (10:46 p.m.) A woman complained her daughter came home drunk and tried to hit her. The girl was 13. ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON Del Obispo Street/Camino Capistrano (9:05 p.m.) A man reported he got into an argument with another man over a parking spot at the grocery store. When the other man left in his white mini-van, the vehicle hit the man’s leg. COURT ORDER VIOLATION Alipaz Street, 32700 Block (8:59 p.m.) A man reported his ex-girlfriend, against whom he has a restraining order, came over and hit him in the head with a bottle. He was bleeding. Deputies found her vehicle unoccupied in an alley, then found her. A 36-year-old woman was arrested. She refused to give her occupation.

DISPUTE Imperial Drive, 30000 Block (12:31 a.m.) A caller reported loud screaming and spotted several cars outside.

ASSIST OUTSIDE AGENCY Doheny Park Road, 33900 Block (7:14 p.m.) A counterfeit bill was passed at a warehouse store.

Friday, February 4

KEEP THE PEACE Via San Vicente, 31100 Block (1:04 p.m.) A woman reported her ex was refusing to return a child.

RECKLESS DRIVING Via Hacienda/Via Limon (5:05 p.m.) A silver car was racing through the neighborhood. It’s an ongoing problem. The car was a Kia. CITIZEN ASSIST Ortega Highway, 27100 Block (4:52 p.m.) A caller called again for deputies, over the same issue. As the dispatcher says in the log “when you call and ask for a deputy…we send a deputy.” The caller was a woman who felt she was being unfairly told to leave a local hotel.

CITIZEN ASSIST Ortega Highway, 27100 Block (11:54 a.m.) A woman reported she fell at a local motel. When she called the front desk for help, they put her on hold for three minutes while talking about golf. DISTURBANCE Corte Montecito, 27200 Block (11:15 a.m.) A woman complained her neighbor came over and threatened to kill her dog.




34932 Calle del Sol, Suite B, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624 phone 949.388.7700 fax 949.388.9977


Jonathan Volzke, 949.388.7700, x108 [email protected] ADVERTISING PRINT AND ONLINE

Sergio Sanchez, 949.388.7700, x104 [email protected] Buddy Purel, 949.234.1284 [email protected] DISTRIBUTION RACKS, DRIVEWAYS, SUBSCRIPTIONS

Andrea Swayne, 949.388.7700, x113 [email protected] BILLING Alyssa Garrett, 949.388.7700, x100 [email protected]

The Capistrano Dispatch, Vol. 9, Issue 3. The Dispatch (www.thecapistranodispatch ) is published twice monthly by Picket Fence Media, publishers of the DP Times ( and the SC Times ( Copyright: No articles, illustrations, photographs, or other editorial matter or advertisements herein may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts, art, photos or negatives. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.

PICKET FENCE MEDIA CEO > Norb Garrett EDITORIAL Group Editor, Editor, The Dispatch > Jonathan Volzke City Editor, DP Times > Andrea Swayne City Editor, SC Times > Stacie N. Galang ART/DESIGN Senior Designer > Jasmine Smith Graphic Designer > Heidi Mefferd

Letters to the Community A PRICE FOR ‘PUBLIC’ —Dave Solt, San Juan Capistrano Democracy requires transparency. Without it, there can be no democracy, so I am supportive of the Freedom of Information Act. A small group of residents is making freedom of information requests that I view as excessive. At the last city council meeting, one individual made a list of requests that will take the city staff —what—30 or more hours to prepare? Perhaps more? This group of individuals is on record demanding smaller government. When government staff members are tied up with excessive requests, they

are unable to do their regular work. It is a filibusterlike-action. The minority, by tying up the wheels of government, is downsizing by default. This freedom to receive information must be protected. But all freedoms that are abused are eventually restricted. It is my opinion that some of the requests being made are beyond excessive; and are in fact punitive. One group member received a traffic citation. It has become the most publicized citation in our town’s history. She is angry and is telling folks the fine was excessive. On November 4, a Freedom of Information request was made asking for complete details on all traffic citations issued in the last 90 days, including

ADVERTISING Associate Publisher > Lauralyn Loynes > Michele Reddick (San Clemente) > Sergio Sanchez (San Juan Capistrano) Sales Associates > Angela Edwards > Buddy Purel OPERATIONS Finance Director > Mike Reed

Business Operations Manager > Alyssa Garrett Distribution Manager > Andrea Swayne INTERNS Kirsten Amavisca Sacher, Madi Swayne SPECIAL THANKS Robert Miller, George Mackin CONTRIBUTORS Tawnee Prazak, Christina Scannapiego, David Zimmerle

ONLINE READER POLLS Make sure to sound off each week on “The Dispatch Poll of the Week” at Then go to our community Message Board and share your opinions. The Dispatch Online Reader Polls are not scientific and do not reflect the opinion of The Dispatch.

but not limited to whether they were paid, how much, where the money went and what the police were doing at the time they were not issuing the citations. This


Capistrano Redevelopment Benefits Our Community


edevelopment has long been an economic engine in large and small cities across America—including San Juan Capistrano. Authorized under California law approved by voters in the 1950s, our redevelopment agency was formed in 1983. Since then, SAM it has created jobs, expanded busiALLEVATO ness opportunities, eliminated blight, provided housing for families in need, improved infrastructure and helped with many other community improvements. By keeping our local property tax dollars at home, redevelopment enables the city to revitalize the deteriorated and blighted areas of our community. All the recent talk about the governor’s plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies has prompted many to wonder what redevelopment has meant to San Juan Capistrano. Immediately, Costco, auto dealers and other projects come to mind that have provided more than 1,500 jobs, millions of dollars in sales and property tax revenues to the city, and an economic boon to the town as a whole. Our Redevelopment Agency has been instrumental in relocating new auto dealers to the blighted, vacated previous dealerships on Camino Capistrano, which will remove the obvious and unsightly blight, bring in new sales tax dollars, and provide for increased property taxes on the improved lots. The city’s historic downtown has benefited from redevelopment through the improvement of existing structures; the Page 10 • The Capistrano Dispatch • February 11–24, 2011

incorporation of historic structures into new and rehabilitated development; beautification through sidewalk and façade improvements; and most recently the opening of the Regency Theatre, which sat vacant for more than a decade. Redevelopment provided the extra support to make this community goal a reality, and our residents and downtown businesses have certainly benefitted from it. The Redevelopment Agency has been actively recruiting hotel development in the community to bring more Transient Occupancy Tax to our coffers and rooms for our visitors. A long-awaited downtown hotel, which was recently approved, could soon become a reality. We’ll also welcome another hotel at the corner of Stonehill and Camino Capistrano. Along with these tremendous projects, our city has seen vast infrastructure improvements such as the Camino Capistrano Bridge widening, Paseo Adelanto Extension; water and sewer upgrades; a parking structure and several parking lots; traffic improvements at Junipero Serra and Rancho Viejo Road that should be finished by spring; and utility undergrounding that is part of the Del Obispo Bridge widening at Trabuco Creek. In part, all of these projects were possible by redevelopment. But redevelopment in San Juan Capistrano isn’t just about economic development and infrastructure. Just as important is the preservation, creation and enhancement of cultural, historical and community assets that are the fabric of our community and represent our great heritage. Many valued historical

treasures such as the Montanez Adobe; Blas Aguilar Adobe; the Capistrano Depot, which houses two restaurants, and even the Los Rios Historic District were once significantly blighted areas. These and other important resources have been preserved and enhanced because of redevelopment. Imagine if we did not have such a valuable resource. A number of facilities used or visited by residents and visitors everyday were once shattered or vacant property. Thanks to redevelopment, our city enjoys amenities such as Historic Town Center Park; Los Rios Park, parking lot and entry plaza; and the Community Theatre. Even the San Juan Capistrano Regional Library, Community Center, Sports Park, farm and community garden were made possible—in a small way—with dollars through redevelopment. Redevelopment has helped with the rehabilitation or construction of more than 200 affordable housing units for families and seniors as well as other programs to assist these families in transitioning from affordable housing to market-rate housing. As you can clearly see, without redevelopment dollars remaining in our community, many of the things that are essential to our residents, businesses and considered the fabric of this historical community would not be possible. Keeping our property tax dollars under local control gives us the means to attract and retain businesses, create jobs and provide revenue for city services as well as facilities that will continue to preserve and enhance this small village that we are proud to call home. Sam Allevato is Mayor of San Juan Capistrano.

SOAPBOX information may be available from the courts, but cannot be given out in the same form as it exists in their records. Staff must go through every citation and redact information such as driver’s license number, resident’s address, etc. The hours needed to do this will be excessive. Is this request a punitive use of the act? I believe it is. As stated, such requests are important to our democracy. However, when the requests are excessive, they are an abuse of my tax dollars. Excessive demands are irresponsible. I am asking all citizens of San Juan Capistrano to be reasonable and only make reasonable freedom of information requests.

Whose Property Rights? —Renee Taylor, San Juan Capistrano When someone buys a home in a residential neighborhood they don’t have an automatic right to rezone it into another use such as a Bed and Breakfast. The same applies to commercial property such as the Distrito/Meadows. The developer has a right to request a rezone, but City Council also has the right to deny the rezone if the project does not offer adequate benefit to the city and its residents. The prior City Council chose to approve the Distrito rezone for their own individual reasons, but ignored the residents’ property rights and the effect it would have on their quality of life. Citizens collected 3,400 signatures to qualify the final decision to be determined by our town’s voters. If the current City Council doesn’t rescind the approval of this project it could cost as much as $80,000 to place this issue on a

special election. Due to the current city’s financial situation and citizen distrust, wouldn’t it make more sense to rescind the prior City Council’s approval of this rezone? This action would accomplish two things: First, it would save the city a lot of money they don’t currently have and secondly, it would send a message that the new City Council has heard the voices of the people instead of just the developer! It would send a message that a new council does represent them and is fiscally responsible. Or they can continue the practices of the past council and continue this very divisive issue. Will it be a new day for San Juan Capistrano or just a new good old boy’s club?

Public Vote Not Necessary —Judy Morgan, San Juan Capistrano The City Council has delayed making a decision whether to spend $85,000 for a special election or to completely rescind their vote on the controversial Distrito/Meadows project and save voter’s money. A referendum was successfully mounted by San Juan residents after the City Council approved a high density development on La Novia and San Juan Creek Road. Nearly double the required number of signatures was collected by residents in a little over three weeks. That should tell the City Council that something is very wrong with their decision. The residents in our special town are sophisticated and smart. They appreciate the unique character we are fighting to preserve. Many residents clearly oppose this project which would have a negative impact on both our quality of

life and the very character of our town. If this was a good project for San Juan Capistrano, why are so many residents prepared to fight this referendum to the bitter end? Why did double the required voters sign the referendum? Why does the developer want to ruin the character of our special town? Why does the City Council want to push a project that is divisive with the residents? Why doesn’t the developer just develop the project somewhere else, where they will want him? With the greater majority of residents against this project, it is likely that even if it got built it will not be successful. The proposed development is only one decision by the City Council of San Juan Capistrano in a long line of misguided and fiscally irresponsible actions. But this development has become the line in the sand for a substantial number of our citizens. Enough. This will not stand. Some council members have worked closely with the developer for years and have pushed this decision through in spite of strenuous and vocal opposition. They obviously think they can force their wishes upon us. They have forgotten who they work for. They work for the citizens of our town and not for the developers. They should listen to the will of the people and rescind this decision at the next session of the City Council. A costly special election is not in our town’s best interest. This project doesn’t belong here. To submit a letter to the editor for possible inclusion in the paper, e-mail us at [email protected] or send it to 34932 Calle del Sol, Suite B, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624. The Capistrano Dispatch reserves the right to edit reader-submitted letters for length and is not responsible for the claims made or the information written by the writers.


Be Careful What You Call the Cat “S

mooth Puss.” Really? That phrase has become a contentious issue? The Swallows Fiesta can make me feel uncomfortable too—for example, men swaggering around PATRICK with unloaded guns, pretending to O’BRIEN be Jack Palance or John Wayne. I hope they’re unloaded. But then I realize it’s all part of a fantasy and silliness and playfulness that goes along with parades and carnivals. Sometimes play can be threatening. But “Smooth Puss?” It reminds me of that very old joke about the psychologist who is showing a patient a series of inkblots on a Rorschach test. Every time the doctor displays another card, the patient identifies it as a part of the female anatomy. Finally, the doctor says to him: “You know, you have a very dirty mind.” The patient responds indignantly: “I don’t know about that. After all, you’re the one showing all the dirty pictures.” “Puss.” Hmm. I wonder what my mother meant when she told my brother and me when we came to breakfast on a Monday morning, a school morning: “Well there’s one sour puss and there’s another, a couple of sour pusses, you two.” Or what did Sister Mary Joseph mean when she told David McCormick, the class cut up: “Wipe that smile off your puss.” My dictionary has several definitions. One of the first is a “spitting cat.” Another is “an affectionate name for a cat or child.” A third is a “a girl or young woman: term of affection.” Another separate definition all by itself: “the mouth” and ”the face.”

Words can be slippery things, particularly English words. The English dictionary is, at a minimum, four times thicker than any other dictionary in Europe, or perhaps the world. But it’s the connotation that gets us into trouble. We all remember that word “connotation,” the feeling a word gives us? Then along comes slang, metaphor. I once tried to explain to an Asian student how “cool” and “hot” in slang were often synonyms. “He plays a hot trumpet.” The response? “Yeah plays cool.” The student’s response? “Confusing.” Many of us remember when the word “bitch” was a no-no. Along came the 50s and 60s and 70s and things were “bitchen” or “ain’t that a bitch?” My British grandfather on my mother’s side (yes, he never became a citizen), always the paragon of English rectitude, once asked a farmer to tone his language down in front of his two grandchildren, as the farmer kept using the word “bitch” as he described his dogs. “That’s one’s a real tough bitch,” he said. Then my grandfather, educated man that he was, realized he was ignorant of the first meaning of that word in the dictionary—“a female dog, fox or wolf.” Puss—misunderstanding of meaning or intentional and offered misunderstanding ? Or are we sometimes just out of tune with the language? Most of us are when another generation comes along. “Twitter?” Isn’t that what birds do? “You’re going to ‘tweet’ me?” Sounds scandalous or perhaps musical. Or am I the patient looking at the inkblots? The Tea Party. Sounds patriotic enough—The Boston Tea Party. Men dressed as Indians throwing over tea into the Boston Harbor to get back at the evil British for raising the taxes on tea. Sounds good. Unfortunately, the common history

is apparently incorrect. The tea was being thrown overboard because the tax had been lowered, thus making American tea more expensive than British tea. Why were they were dressed like Indians? It was by any standard, whether justified or not, an act of vandalism. John Hancock was smuggling in two-thirds of the “black market” tea. “Don’t raise our taxes !” Or was it? “Don’t lower them!” The British had just nullified the Stamp Act, lowering taxes, making British transported tea cheaper than the competition. Ah well, it sounds patriotic enough. I just wonder if the Tea Partiers know it . And do they know that one of their original names was “Tea Bagger?” That phrase is loaded with perverse sexual connotation, suggesting male pole dancers and the like. Commentators were laughing behind their hands and raising their eyebrows at that one. Not terribly patriotic, but it seemed so. I was laughing at the commentators. Were they the patients? Probably so. Puss. It seems about as harmless as “wuss.” My British grandmother (no, she never became a citizen) had several farm cats. I guess what she called them might shock some. She was born and educated in London and played concert piano. Ah well, sometimes we need to dial it back a bit. So this great concern about a man’s clean-shaven face being referred to, as a “puss” seems a bit overdone. It is a festival, Fiesta, after all and if I can walk past guys with pistols on their belts, I think some of us could accept “puss” as it was intended to be—a face. In this case a clean-shaven face. Patrick O’Brien has been a resident of San Juan Capistrano for 40 years and is a former English and Journalism teacher at Cypress College.

February 11–24, 2011 • The Capistrano Dispatch • Page 11

Locals Only

B u s i n e s s D i r e c t o r y The only directory featuring San Juan Capistrano businesses exclusively ALSO


Air Conditioning & HEATING



Kitchen Design


Oasis Air Conditioning & Heating 949.420.1321 Kitchen & Bath Designs 31648 Rancho Viejo Rd., Ste. A, 27231 Ortega Hwy., Unit B

Assisted Living



Attorney 949.248.0260

Auto Repair Star Motors 32959 Calle Perfecto



Charisma Salon & Supply 32301-F Camino Capistrano Curtis Michaels Hair Salon 31882 Del Obispo, Ste. 150,

Electrical Installation & repair for all your needs. Family owned, operated and proudly servicing SJC since 1988. Senior citizen discounts available. Call today for a free estimate.


949.240.1200 949.240.9240

Printing OC 949.388.4888 27134 Paseo Espada #B 203,


San Juan Photo & Digital 949.661.5668 32301 Camino Capistrano,

Reeltime Sight and Sound 949-240-0555 26381 Via De Anza,

WATER CONSERVATION Xeriflo Plumbing Systems 949.276.7000

WATER DAMAGE Jarvis Restoration 949.362.5388 31942 Paseo Sagrado,


949.290.8230 Las Golandrinas Mexican Food 949.240.3440 Bayside Window Cleaning 27124 Paseo Espada #803,

Bryan Krueger Enterprises, Inc. 33208 Paseo De Cerveza, Ste. B


Photo & Digital Lab

SCP Plumbing/ CuraFlo of O.C. 949.493.2426 27126 Paseo Espada STE. 705,



Jarvis Restoration 949.362.5388 31942 Paseo Sagrado,

Beauty Salon




Independence Bank 949.373.1570 Marbella Plaza 31107 Rancho Viejo Rd., Pacific Mercantile Bank 949.487.4200 31601 Avenida Los Cerritos, Ste 100,

Slab leak repair 949.697.9454

A to Z Leak Detection 949.499.4464 Pronto Plumbing (El Plomero) 949.246.3589 31878 Del Obispo Ste. 118-227, SCP Plumbing/ CuraFlo of O.C. 949.493.2426 27126 Paseo Espada STE. 705, DC Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning 949.365.9044

Del Obispo Terrace 949.496.8802 32200 Del Obispo Street,

Law Office of Skinner & Skinner 31461 Rancho Viejo Rd., Ste. 103

Capistrano Health & Life

Women’s Clothing

949.496.4810 949.212.0499 Blu:Echo 31878 Del Obispo (Marshalls Center)


Adelanto Studio Yoga & Life Arts 949.705.7344 Capistrano Valley Christian Schools 949.493.5683 32118 Paseo Adelanto, Ste.9, 32032 Del Obispo Street,

BUSINESS COMPUTER SERVICES Lightning Technology, Inc. 949.488.0029 32963 Calle Perfecto,

CARPET CLEANING Capistrano Beach Steam Clean 949.240.5875

COMPUTER SERVICES San Clemente Computer & Network Services [email protected] 949.276.1581 Tired of Waiting I.T. Services 949.922.7727 [email protected]

ELECTRICIANS Friess Electric 949.248.4222 32332 Camino Capistrano, Suite 102

ELECTRIC CONTRACTORS Four-A Electric 949.240.8844 32432 Alipaz, Ste. C, [email protected] Excel Electric - CA #793860 949.493.7769 32238 Paseo Adelanto E-I,

Experience The Mission Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano Exciting New Audio Tour 949.234.1300 26801 Ortega Highway,

FLORIST Mother Earth Flowers 949.493.4400 32158 Camino Capistrano, Ste. 105

Insurance Capistrano Health & Life


Jeweler Abby’s Fine Jewelry Design 949.493.3632 32382 Del Obispo, Ste. C-3,

LIST YOUR BUSINESS IN “LOCALS ONLY” This handy, cost-friendly, go-to reference tool keeps your business in front of potential customers 24/7.

Get your business listed today. Call Angela Edwards at 949.682.1667 or email [email protected].

Business Directory Classifieds Garage sale listings are FREE! Call 949.388.7700, ext. 103

Submit your ad online at


HELP WANTED NEWSPAPER SALES MANAGER WANTED Experienced newspaper sales veteran with South Orange County (Calif.) sales experience sought to head sales effort for community media group’s print and online sales team. Candidate will have min. 5 years newspaper sales experience, great personality, proven track record in sales and willingness to sell space and run small sales team. Competitive base salary, commission and full benefits. Send cover letter and resume to [email protected]


E-mail your garage sale to classifieds@



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Then you need to be in the Capistrano Dispatch. Call us today!


949.388.7700 ext. 104


February 11–24, 2011 • The Capistrano Dispatch • Page 15



THE LIST A day-by-day guide to what’s happening in and around town the next two weeks.



8 p.m. Entertaining play at Camino Real Playhouse. Tickets $24$30. 31776 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, 949.489.8082,


8 p.m. Reggae concert at The Coach House; Ireside and Jaam Kwest also perform. Tickets $20. 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.496.8930,


7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Celebrate at the St. Regis Resort & Spa with a live DJ, dancing, light fare, cocktails and more. No cover, parking $5. One Monarch Beach Resort, Monarch Beach, 949.234.3200,


10 a.m. Hands-on workshops where experts at Tree of Life Nursery teach you how to put together a successful native container. Cost varies. 33201 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, 949.728.0685,


7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The city of Dana Point teams with CR&R to help you get rid of big, bulky items like computers, appliances, etc., for free. Two locations: Dana Hills High School & Palisades Elementary School. For more info: 949.248.3571,


11 a.m. Special lecture by a history professor at Mission San Juan Capistrano in conjunction with the Lewis & Clark exhibit. RSVP. Admission $2 plus regular admission, $5-$9. 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, 949.234.1317,


7:30 p.m. Camino Real Playhouse presents a night of stand-up comedy on Stage II. Admission $12. 31776 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, 949.489.8082,


6 p.m.-10:30 p.m. An evening of dinner, dancing and entertainment at San Juan Hills Golf Club to benefit the O.C. Performing Arts Center, featuring the music of Tony Carinio plus a silent auction, grab bag and opportunity drawing. Tickets $75 per person. 32120 San Juan Creek Road, San Juan Capistrano, 949.581.9221, Page 16 • The Capistrano Dispatch • February 11–24, 2011



Sure, the parade isn’t until ages of 5 and 12 can bring their pets March, but the Fiesta season of in costume for contests including events gets out of the gates this Cutest, Most Original, Best Team month. Costume (owner and pet), Funniest The Taste of San Juan is from 6 and Most Obedient. Winners will be p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Febfeatured in the 2010 Swallows Day ruary 16 at El Adobe Restaurant, Parade. 31891 Camino Capistrano. The The non-profit Fiesta Association Taste of San Juan brings together relies on volunteers to put on the local restaurants for food, music, Swallows Day Parade and related drinks and fun. Purchase tickets activities. The parade is March 26 at the door, contact chairperson this year. Fiesta Associations are beTaste of San Juan. Courtesy photo Carol Spear at 714.357.7918, or ing held weekly, and new members visit for more information. The are welcome. Taste is a major fundraiser for the Fiesta Association. Those meetings start with a social hour—free food, with And get ready now for the Kids Pet Parade from 1 p.m. beverages available for purchase—at 6 p.m., with business beginto 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 27 at Cook/La Novia Park. ning at 7 p.m. The meetings at the Nydegger Building, 31421 La (Rain date is Sunday, March 7), Children between the Matanza St.

WIN FREE The first three people to email us Dispatch Free Concert Tix in the CONCERT with subject line will receive a pair of free TICKETS! concert tickets from The Coach House to see Savoy Brown on Saturday, March 5. Please include your name and phone number in the email. EMAIL: [email protected]



2 p.m.-4 p.m. The local AAUW branch is holding an informal reception for new and prospective members. Call to RSVP and for location details: 949.443.1718 or 949.388.3845.


3 p.m.-7 p.m. Every Wednesday at El Camino Real and Yorba; 949.493.4700.


10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Ocean Institute celebrates Valentine’s with a special program about ocean animals. Free with paid admission of $4.50-$6.50. 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, 949.496.2274,


1 p.m.-3 p.m. Learn more about the history of The Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy while on a nature walk. Adults $10, kids $5, members free. Call for info and directions, 949.489.9778,


2:30 p.m. Swallow’s Inn. 31786 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.3188,


10 a.m.-9 p.m. El Adobe hosts a dinner for lovebirds. 31891 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.1163, www.eladobedecapistrano. com.

10:15 a.m.-10:45 a.m. explore the Mission grounds with a tour guide. Free with paid admission of $5-$9. 26801 Ortega Hwy., 949.234.1300,


10 a.m.-1 p.m. The Mission presents a class on traditions and culture of basket weaving. Free with paid admission of $5-$9. 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, 949.234.1300,

thursday17 CALIFORNIA MISSIONS RESOURCE STUDIO 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mission San Juan Capistrano presents its new studio with information on all 21 missions for students, teachers and more. Free with paid admission of $5-$9. 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, 949.234.1300,


8 a.m.-11 a.m. Volunteer your time gardening with Goin Native at Los Rios Park today and Feb. 28. Bring gardening tools. 31661 Los Rios St., 949.606.6386.,





4 p.m.-6 p.m. Romantic sunset cruise with chocolates and treats with Dana Wharf. Tickets $29 each; for catamaran cruise add $10. 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949.496.5794, www. 4 p.m.; 6 p.m.; 8:30 p.m. The Vintage Steak House hosts a special Valentine’s dinner with three seatings. $75 each. 26701-B Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano, 949.661.3407,


11 a.m. Children ages 3-6 and caregivers are invited to the library for stories, songs, crafts and fun. No registration required. 31495 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.1752,


7:30 p.m. Swallow’s Inn. 31786 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.3188,

8 p.m. Tribute to the popular rock band Queen at The Coach House; The Dealers and Whiskey Jack also perform. Tickets $15. 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.496.8930, www.


8:30 p.m. Swallow’s Inn. 31786 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.3188,


7:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Live music at The Vintage Steak House. 26701-B Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano, 949.661.3407,


6 p.m.-9 p.m. The solo mariachi guitarist plays at El Adobe every Friday and Saturday night. 31891 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.1163, (Cont. on page 18)


Dispatch Restaurant Spotlight

By Stacie N. Galang

Las Golondrinas

34069 Doheny Park Road, Capistrano Beach, 949.240.9011 BEST KNOWN FOR: Tamales


In a world where fast food rarely means handmade, Las Golondrinas defies the model. All the food at their five local Mexican restaurants is prepared daily from scratch, said General Manager Esteban Galindo. Workers arrive at 5 a.m. to begin preparing the sauces and meats for their meals. Even the eatery’s tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole are prepared on site every day. The flour and corn tortillas are made at their San Juan Capistrano factory and delivered each day. The work doesn’t mean customers must wait for Las Golondrinas’ burritos, flautas, tacos or tamales. The restaurant’s streamlined system of preparation makes service snappy. “People know we don’t skimp,” Galindo said. “Everything is made to order that day.” Las Golondrinas’ tamales are world famous and beef tops the list of menu items that go out the door the most. Every year, especially around the holidays, orders for their seven types of tamales come in from across the country, the general manager said. “Nobody uses a recipe like ours,” he said. Galindo said his father Art Galindo started the business after years of working in restaurants. Art Galindo took his experience to create a restaurant that adhered to his high expectations of fresh ingredients, the younger Galindo said. That attitude gives the restaurant its consistency and keeps customers coming back, Esteban Galindo said. Locals have come to know the restaurant and the family. This year, Art Galindo and his wife Maria Galindo have been named the Grand Marshals of the Swallows Day Parade in San Juan Capistrano.

Las Golondrinas. Photo by Jasmine Smith

PRICE RANGE: $2.50-$7 RESERVATIONS: Not necessary

PAYMENT: Cash and credit card HOURS: 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Daily

ABOUT OUR REVIEWS: In each issue we’ll highlight universally critical points including “Most Popular Dish,” “Best Known For” and “Price Range.” But most importantly, we’re inviting you to participate each week and rate the restaurant based on your experiences. Go to and under “Restaurant Guide” share your thoughts about this week’s restaurant. (Cont. from page 16)

saturday19 DOC HOLLIDAY

8 p.m. Camino Real Playhouse presents a captivating play about the West’s most famous dentist and his journey featuring the great grand nephew of the legendary Wyatt Earp. Tickets $25 for the show only or $40 for a 6:30 p.m. pre-play reception. 31776 El Camino Real San Juan Capistrano, 949.489.8082,


10 a.m. Discover 200 years of San Juan Capistrano architecture on a 90-minute guided walk that includes adobes, Spanish-era dwellings and modern buildings. Meet at Verdugo Street. Occurs every Saturday. $5 donation. 949.489.0736.


10 a.m.-2 p.m. The ARK of San Juan holds a pet adoption at PetCo. 32391 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.388.0034,


7:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Live female musician at The Vintage Steak House. 26701-B Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano, 949.661.3407,


8 p.m. Concert at The Coach House; Hot Minute, d and 24E also perform. Tickets $13 advance, $15 day of show. 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.496.8930,


8 a.m.-5 p.m. Lewis and Clark’s remarkable adventure can be examined and revisited at Mission San Juan Capistrano’s newest museum exhibit through March. Free with admission $5-$9. 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, 949.234.1300,


7 p.m. Camino Real Playhouse and Sarducci’s Capistrano Depot Restaurant team up to present a murder mystery dinner theatre experience at Sarducci’s. Tickets $55 each for play and meal. 26701 Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.9593,


2:30 p.m. Swallow’s Inn. 31786 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.3188,


7 p.m. World-famous guitarist performs at The Coach House. Tickets $29.50. 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.496.8930, Page 18 • The Capistrano Dispatch • February 11–24, 2011


AT THE MOVIES A Lifetime in 127 Hours


6:30 p.m. The fun starts early and goes till late at Swallow’s Inn every Monday. 31786 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.3188, www.

tuesday22 COMPUTER LAB

8:45 a.m. Computer lessons at the library. 31495 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.1752,


7:30 p.m. Coastal Cruise Tuesday at Swallow’s Inn. 31786 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.3188,


11:30 a.m. Stories in Spanish and English at the SJC Library. 1495 El Camino Real, 949.493.1752,


7 p.m.-8 p.m. Educational wine tasting at Vine featuring four wines paired with food; $40 per person. 211 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente, 949.361.9376,

thursday24 SWING SHIFT

8 p.m. Swallow’s Inn. 31786 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.3188,


8 p.m. Hit band does a concert at The Coach House; The Naked Eye and Stonehill also perform. Tickets $20. 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.496.8930,

*For our full calendar, visit the “Event Calendar” at Have an event? Send your listing to [email protected]

James Franco in 127 HOURS. Photo: Chuck Zlotnick

One of the biggest challenges an actor can have is to be the central point of an entire hour-and-a-half film. Last fall, we got neat panic attacks from Ryan Reynolds stuck in a coffin six feet under with only a cell phone to save him in Rodrigo Cortés’ Buried. Two months later, Danny Boyle brought us the same paranoia and suspense with James Franco trapped under a boulder of a canyon in 127 Hours. Based on the shocking true story, a mountain climber named Aron Ralston (played on screen by Franco), goes hiking through a Utah canyon one weekend without telling his family or friends. Only one day into the trip, and he accidentally trips over a rock, resulting in being trapped in an isolated canyon with his hand crushed by a boulder. For the next 94 minutes (or almost six days in Aron’s world) we experience him trying to escape back to society. While trying to conserve water and preserve his sanity, Aron reflects on moments of his life: His childhood with a younger sister (Lizzy Caplan) and intellectual parents (Treat Williams and Kate Burton); a former relationship with a French girl (Clémence Poésy), as well as just fantasizing about being in town again and carrying on with his life. An hour into the film he (and we, the audience) realize the only way to survive is without the hand. British director Boyle has made a reputation of displaying many popular, socially conscious themes in his films over the last two decades: heroin addiction in Scotland (Trainspotting), morals amid the currency switch in the United Kingdom (Millions), poverty and the teens in the slums of Mumbai (Slumdog Millionaire) and now life and death of an American hiker underneath a canyon. Perhaps as an attempt to intrigue young American viewers, Boyle chooses to style the film almost as if it were an MTV video program. With product placement and triple-split screens, the method honestly takes away from the emotion and feel in a few parts of the film. Franco has come quite a long way from comedies such as Freaks and Geeks and Pineapple Express and has shown he can carry a film memorably. It may not be Boyle’s shining hour, but it is Franco’s at the moment. CD —Megan Bianco




COMMUNITY CALENDAR friday 2.11 Coffee Chat 8 a.m. The Capistrano Dispatch hosts a spirited town hall forum on community issues. All are welcome. Camino Real Playhouse, on El Camino Real, just south of Ortega Highway. Occurs every Friday

Utilities Commission Meeting 8 a.m. City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto Cultural Heritage Commission Meeting 5 p.m., City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto Planning Commission Meeting 6:30 p.m., City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto

tuesday 2.15 City Council Meeting 6 p.m., City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto

tuesday 2.22

wednesday 2.09 Transportation Commission Meeting 6 p.m., City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto

friday 2.25 Next regular issue of The Dispatch publishes.

saturday 2.26 Oil Filter Exchange Bring a used oil filter and a flyer from the city’s website, www.sanjuancapistrano. org, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. to A&S Auto Parts for a new oil filter free. A&S is at 31921 Camino Capistrano *Meeting agendas at

CARe Show Rolls to Success The Capistrano Dispatch


he Eighth Annual CARe SHOW and Third Annual Dr. Joe Cortese Motorcycle Poker Run lived up to their billing with record entries, vendors, attendance and funds raised. Organizers The Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano and Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) announced that approximately 500 cars were joined for the first time by some 30 new-car models from area dealers at the February 5 event at Capistrano’s Sports Park. “We are absolutely thrilled with everything,” event Chairman and Rotarian Paul Murai said in a statement. “And best of all, we have taken in a record total

Capistrano Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Cope with a 1937 coupe restored by Boyd Coddington and donated to the sheriff’s “Drug Abuse is Life Abuse” program. Photo by Jonathan Volzke

JC Agajanian, who served as Honorary Chairman, and Ruby Cavanaugh, the “Ruby” of Ruby’s Diner, signed autographs and interacted with fans at the event. Photo by Shirley Land Page 20 • The Capistrano Dispatch • February 11–24, 2011

Left: Lane Langley’s “fin-tastic” red 1961 Cadillac convertible was selected by Mayor Sam Allevato as the Best 1961 model car. Said the Mayor: “The caddy set the standard as to restoration. Great paint job, American-made, owner proudly drives it around Dana Point and San Juan on weekends with his grandkids, still using it on the road. Like San Juan, a real classic.” Right: Langley accepts the prestigious wine box trophy commemorating the City’s 50th Anniversary from San Juan Capistrano Mayor Sam Allevato. Photos by Shirley Land

of around $30,000 to help our charities and animal rescue efforts. In fact we had to turn away vendors and cars.” At least 1,500 people, along with a throng of dogs, strolled among the cars, vendors and displays, entertained by a live band and the flying “furkids” of the Disc Dog Demo Team. Co-chairman Phil Schwartze thanked the volunteers, the participation of JC Agajanian as Honorary Chairman, plus our sponsors and long-time supporter Ruby’s Diners. He also thanked the city and Mayor Sam Allevato, who attended to present an award. Allevato also selected our winner of the Special 50th Anniversary trophy for 1961 model cars in conjunction with San Juan Capistrano’s golden anniversary. The winner was a beautiful red 1961 Cadillac convertible owned by local area resident Lane Langley. Several car clubs participated, with the Chapter Challenger prize going to Pacific Coast Corvette Club

The elegant 1936 Buick Phaeton belonging to Capistrano resident David Powers was named one of 15 “Best in Show.” Photo by Shirley Land

John and Jan Bogikes took home the “Longest Distance” trophy. Their 1956 Ford pick-up is registered in Iowa. Photo by Shirley Land

with 22 of the popular sports cars. Among the participating new-car dealers were: Tuttle Click Capistrano Ford, Capistrano Toyota Scion, South County Lexus, Chevrolet of Irvine, Capistrano Volkswagen, Weseloh Auto Group, Jaguar of Mission Viejo and Land Rover of Mission Viejo. Approximately 170 Poker Run participants celebrated the annual companion ride in memory of Capistrano vet Dr. Joe Cortese, finishing at the show and enjoying lunch from Ruby’s Diner. His widow, Goldie, presented the “Best Hand Winner” prize of $150 to Charles Manderville, who had four jacks. Also, Worst Hand was turned in by Chris Williams, who had an 8-high hand and no pairs but still earned $150. The Chapter Challenger prize went to Orange Coast Harley Owners Group (HOG). For additional information about Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort, call 949.240.1735, or see For information about Rotary, see CD







Round 1 Contest, Volcom Indoor Skatepark Feb. 11, 5 p.m.

CIF Team Championships, Villa Park High School Feb. 12, 11 a.m.

Gauchos vs. Anteaters, Bren Center Feb. 12, 5:30 p.m.

Several area schools will compete at the Orange County Skateboarding League contest at Volcom Indoor Skatepark in Costa Mesa. Info: ocskateboarding-

The San Clemente Tritons now begin their quest for greatness on the mat as the team travels to take on a wide range of opponents.

[email protected]





Capitals vs. Ducks, Honda Center Feb. 16, 7 p.m.

Gauchos vs. Lasers, Irvine Valley College Feb. 16, 5:30 p.m.

UC Irvine’s men’s basketball team hosts UC Santa Barbara on the hard court before heading off for three games on the road.

After playing out four games on the road, the Anaheim Ducks head back to home ice for a key game against Washington.

Saddleback College’s men’s basketball team travels north to take on Irvine Valley College for a regular season finale. Info: www.

Info: www.ucirvinesports.


Five Stallions Receive Athletic Scholarships T

he seniors at San Juan Hills High School are used to blazing new trails. They were the first students when the school opened four years ago, the first to sing the Stallion fight song, the first to compete in athletics. And now, five seniors have become the first to receive athletic scholarships. The school marked the occasion with a February 2 ceremony. From the football squad, Michael Perryman will go to Montana State, Ari UzoOkereke will go to the Air Force Academy and Connor O’Modhrain is headed to Wingate University. From the Stallion golf squad, brothers Eric and Owen Taylor are going to Sacramento State. “It’s a great thing that we’re able to start a lot of traditions, and it means a lot for the community to see that we’re like all the other schools in our district and South Orange County, sending athletes to college on scholarships,” Athletic Director Armando Connor O’Modhrain, Michael Perryman and Ari Uzo-Okereke with their families after signing their letters of intent. Photo by Jonathan Volzke Gonzalez said. —Jonathan Volzke

Six at JSerra Sign Letters of Intent

JSerra athletes headed for bright futures. Photo by Jonathan Volzke


acrae Carden of San Juan Capistrano was one of six JSerra Catholic High Schools to commit to a university on an athletic scholarship on February 2. Carden, a water polo player, will go to USC. Other JSerra signers included Dylan Seedman, a soccer player headed to Loyola Marymount and Juan Gutierrez, a soccer player going to UC Irvine. Women athletes include Chloe Kempf, a water polo player going to Brown, Casey Page 22 • The Capistrano Dispatch • February 11–24, 2011

Macrae Carden and his family. Photo by Jonathan Volzke

Mimms, a swimmer headed to Berkeley and Katherine Delaney, a cross country/track and field runner also going to Berkeley. JSerra is a private Catholic high school at Camino Capistrano and Junipero Serra Road. The school is having an open house for prospective students at 6:30 p.m. on February 16. See for details. —Jonathan Volzke

3 Annual BEST OF SAN JUAN rd

P E O P L E ’ S C H O I C E H O R S E S H O E AWA R D S 2 0 1 0 CO N T E N TS Dining Best Breakfast • 2 Best Lunch • 2 Best Appetizer • 2 Best Dinner • 2 Best Dessert • 2 Best Ambiance • 2 Best Outdoor Patio • 2 Best Cup of Coffee • 3 Best Taco • 3 Best Salsa • 3 Best Pizza • 3

Nightlife Best Nightspot • 4 Best Margarita • 4 Best Bartender • 4 Our Local “Cheers” • 5 Best Spot for a Glass of Wine • 5 Best Wine Selection • 5

Living Best Shopping Plaza • 5 Best Hair Salon/Barbershop • 5 Best Spa or Gym • 5 Best Manicure • 6 Best Car Repair/Service • 6 Best Dry Cleaner • 6 Best Jewelry • 6 Best Clothing • 6 Best Flowers • 6 Best Home Décor • 6 Best Spot for that “Perfect Gift” • 6 Best Vet • 6 Best Art or Framing Shop • 8 Best Nursery • 8 Best Customer Service • 8

Outdoors Best Trail • 8 Best Park for Kids • 8 Best “Illegal” Spot for Dogs • 8 Best Stables • 8 Best Picnic Spot • 8

t’s a pretty exciting time in San Juan Capistrano, in a town that doesn’t always cotton to excitement so much. Regency Theatres re-opened the long-closed movie house on Verdugo Street, Ruby’s has Sky Ranch now and new auto dealerships are opening on Camino Capistrano. At the south end of town, meanwhile, Costco is preparing for its expansion, which will also add gasoline sales to the warehouse store. Sure, some favorite old stores, such as Regalo in Mission Promenade, fell by the wayside in 2010, but all-in-all business is looking up. Merchants around the movie theater say they’ve seen a 30 percent bump in business. And while we saw some changes in this year’s Golden Horseshoe awards, it’s clear that Capistrano residents are out and about more than ever, shopping in town and staying loyal to the places that provide a good product, good service, a good price. Some of the winners were repeat honorees, but new stores that had the right combination of those things were also welcomed with open arms. Residents appreciate good businesses, and we appreciate those of you who voted and who are willing to stop in someplace new because you see a Gold or Silver Horseshoe on the door. Because one thing that hasn’t changed over the years we’ve done our informal survey: The People are still what make Capistrano special.

Congratulations to newcomer Hot Lunch Lady for taking gold in the “Best Lunch” category.

Photo by Jonathan Volzke

History and Heritage Best Historical Spot • 10 Best Capistrano Tradition • 10 Best Place to Spot the Swallows • 10 Best Example of “Preserving the Past to Protect the Future” • 10 Best Reason to Live in San Juan Capistrano • 10

Showing Off Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners • 10 Best Place to Take Children • 10


Golden Horseshoe


Silver Horseshoe


26860 Ortega Hwy., 949.240.2229

Cedar Creek has the “Best Dessert” category locked up, winning it as many years as we’ve held the contest. We’ve recommended the warm Toll House Pie, the bread pudding and the good ol’ hot fudge sundae, but they have fruits, too. Try the lemon tart or the seasonal fruit lush. 31791 Del Obispo St., 949.661.5977

No surprise here, it’s the pie.


Golden Horseshoe

HUMMINGBIRD HOUSE CAFÉ 26711 Verdugo St., 949.443.5090

This one makes perfect sense. Hummingbird House is just across the pedestrian railroad-track crossing into the Historic Los Rios District and is a great place to get lost in time. The front patio offers shade and a great vantage to watch folks come and go, while the back patio is large and airy with a view of Los Rios Park. The ambiance is that of old San Juan itself.

Silver Horseshoe


31791 Los Rios St., 949.240.0200

Another great patio on Los Rios Street. Beautiful shade, beautiful spot.


Golden Horseshoe

MOLLIES FAMOUS CAFÉ 32033 Camino Capistrano, 949.240.9261

A winner every year, we’ve asked residents where they like to eat breakfast. The answer doesn’t change probably because Mollies doesn’t change too much, either. You still get great healthy portions of good food for a good price. The breakfast menu includes everything from steak to country-style gravy and a breakfast sandwich that’s the best in town. Another thing that isn’t changing: Great waitresses and owner Georgia Kelley keeping watch.

Silver Horseshoe

31876 Del Obispo Rd. #1, San Juan Capistrano, 949.488.8023


31115 Rancho Viejo Rd., 949.218.4300

The Hot Lunch Lady is a newcomer to town, but vaulted to top of the favorites list quickly by offering a good variety of lunch options and good prices. The menu includes a lot of wraps—from egg salad to teriyaki chicken lettuce—as well as flatbread pizza. But there’s lunchtime staples, too, such as an angus burger, hot dog sliders and even grilled cheese. And nothing’s over $7.95.

Silver Horseshoe


Golden Horseshoe

HUMMINGBIRD HOUSE CAFE 26711 Verdugo St., 949.443.5090

Another newcomer to town, and another winner. Great food and a great patio in the heart of Los Rios.


31781 Camino Capistrano, 949.661.1167

Sundried was a Silver Horseshoe finisher last time around, Sundried’s unique and varied menu was sure to lead to gold someday. The category is for the appetizer—you’ve got to have the Sundried Tomato soup, of course—but the restaurant has remodeled to create a premiere space in which to enjoy an appetizer, too. If you’ve tried the soup, go for the Crispy Blackened Chicken Spring Rolls, with a cilantro-pesto sauce.


A newcomer to the list, but Bagel Shack has established itself as a great place to sit outside and enjoy surf-named breakfast creations. Our favorite: The BLT.

Golden Horseshoe

Georgia Kelley, Fredy Martinez, Cheryl Fitzgerald, Shannon Rich and Janille Schutz—the crew at Mollies. Photo by Jonathan Volzke

Silver Horseshoe


Golden Horseshoe


26860 Ortega Hwy., 949.240.2229

Another year-in-year out winner. The only thing that changes here is the color of the leaves on the big trees that provide the shade on Cedar Creek’s patio. The large fireplace warms the body on cool nights, while the view of the Great Stone Church across the street warms the soul. The patio is impressive for business, cozy for friends, romantic for a loved one.

Silver Horseshoe

SARDUCCI’S CAPISTRANO DEPOT 26701 Verdugo St., 949.493.9593

We like Cedar Creek in the evening, but we love Sarducci’s patio for lunch.


26860 Ortega Hwy., 949.240.2229

A previous Golden Horseshoe winner, the Zuni Rolls are still a top choice.


Golden Horseshoe


26860 Ortega Hwy., 949.240.2229

Great menu, great food. You can count on Cedar Creek winning the Golden Horseshoe for “Best Dinner” like you can count on the swallows coming back to Capistrano. From the salads—they have eight on the menu—to the rack of lamb, Cedar Creek gets it right, every time. Try the scampi and medallion combination for $30 or prime rib for $29—but whatever you have, save room for dessert.

Silver Horseshoe


31781 Camino Capistrano, 949.661.1167

The bar remodel made the atmosphere better. We’re not sure the food can get any better.

Hot Lunch Lady’s Aaron Meza. Photo by Jonathan Volzke



Golden Horseshoe



Golden Horseshoe

31791 Los Rios St., 949.240.0200


32341 Camino Capistrano, 949.248.1589 27211 Ortega Hwy., 949.661.5801; 32022 Camino Capistrano, 949.661.4809

Hidden House Cafe. Photo by Jonathan Volzke




32082 Camino Capistrano, 949.493. 4941

It’s been quite a year for Ricardo and Rosa Beas. Their business was selected the Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year for his work about town, but Ricardo’s work in the kitchen didn’t slip, either. He got his recipes from his mother, and moving up to gold from silver last year would surely make her proud.

Silver Horseshoe


31721 Camino Capistrano, 949.489.7752

We keep hearing about plans to remodel Pedro’s. They’d better keep the tacos.

Silver Horseshoe


Silver Horseshoe


31654 Rancho Viejo Rd # H, 949.493.6852

Ball Park’s been around longer than the other winners, and experience counts.

Sure, there’s three locations in town, but the coffee is good at all three, and you can’t beat the view across from the Mission.

Golden Horseshoe

32341 Camino Capistrano, 949.429.8888

Another back-to-back winner, ZPizza has a big menu of specialty pizzas. General Manager Courtney Sessler attributes the store’s success to fresh ingredients organically grown. It’s as healthy as pizza can be, and there’s even a gluten-free offering. They focus on flavors and don’t try to drown the pie in a pile of cheese.

Mostly coffee and ice cream, this little gem of a spot serves up a delicious San Juan blend as well as single origin coffee. Although it is sort of hidden, the Hidden House Cafe’s reputation precedes it. And with outdoor and indoor seating, you can also enjoy desserts, pastries, wraps and on weekends, they even serve BBQ.

Silver Horseshoe


Golden Horseshoe


32082 Camino Capistrano, 949.493. 4941

Ricardo’s hosted a salsa challenge in 2010 and saw that gold medal go to El Adobe. It must have been close, because he’s taking the Golden Horseshoe now—with El Adobe taking silver. Ricardo’s salsa is fresh, and they bring it to you with a bowl of warm chips as soon as you sit down. The regular salsa is mild and chunky, but you can ask for the salsa brava if you want a little heat.

Silver Horseshoe


31891 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.1163

Fresh ingredients put together with consistency. It’s good.

31111 Rancho Viejo Rd., 949.240.8100

Large airy dining areas, a great family



Golden Horseshoe


31786 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.3188

Only in San Juan Capistrano would a place be proud of once being named one of the best dive bars in America, but that’s the Swallow’s Inn. A bit honky-tonk, a bit biker bar, a bit museum of Capistrano’s (shady) past, the Swallow’s Inn is a great place to get a drink, or just watch the locals move on through.

Silver Horseshoe

TANNINS RESTAURANT AND WINE BAR 27211 Ortega Highway # C, 949.661.8466

A great upstairs lounge makes Tannin’s a great nightspot.


Golden Horseshoe


32082 Camino Capistrano, 949.493. 4941

We predicted this one. Ricardo’s has been fighting El Adobe for the top spot for “Best Margarita” for years, and finally takes its place on top this year. Ricardo’s doesn’t use a gun for their margaritas, they mix them the way it oughta be done.

Silver Horseshoe


31891 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.1163

Quality tequila and just the right amount of sweet-and-sour make for a winner.


Golden Horseshoe


31786 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.3188

The gang behind the bar at Swallows might not be the kind to listen to you whine about the problems in your life with a sympathetic ear, but they’re the sort who know how to make sure your drink is fresh and an empty beer bottle doesn’t sit in front of you too long. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters?

Silver Horseshoe

Courtney Sessler—General Manager and Andres Reyes, Kitchen Manager at Z Pizza. Photo by Jonathan Volzke


31738 Rancho Viejo Rd., 949.218.0227

Hillary Morris started working at Bad to the Bone four years ago, where people go for the mesquitefired steaks, ice cold beer and…her, according to the voting. 4


Golden Horseshoe


27211 Ortega Highway # C, 949.661.8466

Wine Manager Jesse Clanton can only guesstimate that his stock on hand is between 500 and 600 bottles, but there’s no doubt about the menu: Tannin’s offers 50 varieties of wine by the glass every day. They can sell you a glass, a bottle or even a case to go, too.

Silver Horseshoe


31661 Camino Capistrano # 201, 949.496.5002

Almost quietly, Ciao Pasta has built up a great little happy hour. The wine list is a great foundation.


Golden Horseshoe


31878 Del Obispo St., 949.240.2711

Everybody voted for “Marshall’s Plaza” but we know what they meant. Del Obispo Plaza is a repeat winner of the Golden Horseshoe. Even as owner Gretchen Stroscher Thomson moves forward with plans to build a downtown hotel, she hasn’t let things at the plaza slip. No wonder: She keeps her own offices there.

Silver Horseshoe

Jesse Clanton, Tannin’s Wine Manager can tell you about all 50 varieties of wine he’s got by the glass every day. Photo by Jonathan Volzke


32382 Del Obispo St., 714.542.2388

The tractor plaza because of the farm machinery out front, houses everything from dry cleaners, to a nail salon, framing shop, a restaurant and a market.


Golden Horseshoe


32301 Camino Capistrano #F, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675, 949.240.1200

Charisma has been a staple in the community for 14 years. Their warm and friendly environment makes this salon stand out. Customers can sip coffee or tea while chatting with the friendly stylists. Aside from haircuts, hair coloring and extensions, this salon includes a room full of accessories, appliances and hair, nail and makeup products available for customers to purchase.

Silver Horseshoe


31882 Del Obispo St # 150, 949.240.9240

A friendly salon that’s been in town long enough to build a solid reputation.


Golden Horseshoe


27131 Calle Arroyo, 949.489.9900

Another winner every time we’ve asked. Capistrano’s 24 Hour Fitness may not be the flashiest, but it’s got a healthy mix of machines, free weights and cardio classes. You may not see the ocean like you can in Laguna Niguel’s gym, but you see friends and neighbors there—and misery loves company, right?

Silver Horseshoe


31952 Camino Capistrano, 949.489.7924

Licensed Massage Therapist Michelle Bryant and her crew are celebrating 10 years in town.


Golden Horseshoe



31786 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.3188

Cheers was patterned after the Bull & Finch Pub in Boston, but it would have been an even better show if producers had wandered into Swallow’s first. Cowboys, bikers, judges, hard-working men and women and the unemployed all come together at Swallow’s. And they all get along. A great place to two-step or just watch the world dance on by.

Silver Horseshoe

Golden Horseshoe


31738 Rancho Viejo Rd., 949.218.0227

Silver Horseshoe


Golden Horseshoe



Silver Horseshoe

Regency Capistrano Theatre, 26762 Verdugo St., 949.661.3456

32301 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.6888

Happy Nails is a clean spa with a polite staff.


33033 Camino Capistrano, 949.276.7777

You have to figure if the mechanics work among some of the greatest cars in the world, they’ve got to know what they’re doing. And while the mechanical services are top-notch, there’s no complaints about waiting, either, as you get to wander a showroom filled with immaculate automobiles.

27211 Ortega Highway # C, 949.661.8466

The upstairs bar at Capistrano’s new movie theater. It’s patterned after Rick’s from Casablanca, and it’s very cool.



From the name to the nearly 600 varieties of wine on hand, Tannin’s is all about the wine. The bar has a television, sure, but the wine glasses hanging overhead silently urge you to order something from grapes, rather than a beer.

Silver Horseshoe

31876 Del Obispo St #4, 949.443.0125

For excellent manicures and pedicures this elegant salon delivers. A clean and comfortable atmosphere keeps customers coming back. Each patron is given a leather massage chair to sit in while their nails are being done, offering a relaxing getaway to customers from the busy-ness of the day. The salon also offers waxing, massages, and facials. Come Tuesdays and Wednesdays for $5 off pedicures.

We wandered in one night when the Jeep took an unexpected break. The folks next to us started up a conversation and we saw folks we knew, so we spent the evening catching up with friends and making new ones.

Golden Horseshoe


The staff and clients at Charisma Beauty. Photo by Jonathan Volzke


32959 Calle Perfecto, 949.443.1946

They specialize in BMW and Mercedes, but can work on any luxury car in their spotless shop. 5


Golden Horseshoe


Silver Horseshoe



Ste. C11, 31105 Rancho Viejo Rd., 949.7354

Another perennial winner, Polo’s record on the Golden Horseshoe is as spotless as one of the shirts cleaned at the Marbella Plaza shop. Polo’s open every day, offers free pickup and delivery and makes your dry cleaning one less thing to worry about. 27184 Ortega Highway, 949.248.3405

Always the bridesmaid in this category, but that means solid service, too.

ABBY’S FINE JEWELRY DESIGN 32382 Del Obispo St #C3, 949.493.3632

This local jewelry store has established itself among San Juan’s quaint community for the last six years. The perfect place for wedding rings or a gift for someone special, this family-run shop offers custom made pieces as well as cleaning services and maintenance.

Silver Horseshoe


Silver Horseshoe


31952 Camino Capistrano, 949.661.9780

Like a classic outfit that never goes out of style, Carved Horse keeps winning the Golden Horseshoe in this category. Owner Sharon Applegarth has been in town 20 years and has well established her shop’s reputation as the only place to go for fine ladies’ apparel—for everything from sportswear to evening wear.

32051 Camino Capistrano, 949.496.2338

You have to a hunt a bit, but there’s treasures to be found.



Golden Horseshoe

Golden Horseshoe


31761 Camino Capistrano, 949.493.1322

Last year’s Golden winner, Zia offers a great variety of one-of-a-kind pieces.

Golden Horseshoe


32158 Camino Capistrano #105, 949.493.4400

A 21-year business in town, Mother Earth offers hard-to-find flowers wrapped up in stunning arrangements. The store owners are great corporate citizens, too, donating to charities and supporting various efforts. They also have a shop in Lake Forest, so wherever you need to send flowers, they can get them there.

Silver Horseshoe


31876 Del Obispo, 949.661.1858

A first-time Silver winner last year, we like the tropicals at Panage.

Abby Kahn of Abby’s Fine Jewelry Design enjoys what he does. “We just offer good service and we treat everybody as we’d like to be treated,” he said. Photo by Jonathan Volzke


Golden Horseshoe


31831 Camino Capistrano, 949.388.9600

Whim is another elder on our “Best of Capistrano” list, winning in a couple of categories every year. That’s no surprise, as the owners keep the store like a showroom, inspirational and awe-inspiring. They’re not afraid to change it up, either, so every trip is filled with discovery.

Silver Horseshoe


31770 Camino Capistrano, Suite D, 949.429.1955

New to our list, this Camino Capistrano shop has a great variety.


Golden Horseshoe


31831 Camino Capistrano, 949.388.9600

Whim offers gifts you won’t find anywhere else, which means whatever you give is going to leave a good impression. They’ve got chandeliers made from wine bottles, books and the sort of things that make any room look special. And don’t forget a few doors down, they have “Pink,” too, where everything is just as cool, and yes, pink.

Silver Horseshoe


32382 Del Obispo, Ste. C-3, 949.493.3632

If Abby Kahn doesn’t have the perfect gift in his display case, he can make it.


Golden Horseshoe


27341 Ortega Highway, 949.487.7600

Last year’s Silver winner, Ortega Animal Care takes the Gold this year. The center offers laser surgery, digital radiology, ultrasound, dentistry and has an in-house lab. Maybe it’s our agrarian roots, but we take our pets seriously in San Juan Capistrano, and so does Ortega Animal Care.

Silver Horseshoe Whim Furniture and Interior Design is upscale but not under the radar. Photo by Jonathan Volzke


32391 San Juan Creek Road, 949.493.1147

Dr. Mannix is a longtime favorite whose

won Gold in the past. 6


Golden Horseshoe


32382 Del Obispo St. #C1, 949.493.1950

Ted and Dale Rosenfeldt have stayed open while other art and framing shops have come and gone. They do it because they’re about quality. It might cost you a little bit more, but it shows in the work. That’s why they’ve been in business more than 20 years. It’s also a great place to stop by for a little conversation about what’s going on in town or the world, too.


Golden Horseshoe

PLANT DEPOT 33413 San Juan Creek Road, 949.240.2107

For a business that deals with perennials and annuals, Plant Depot is the perennial winner of our annual awards. They’ve got a wide variety and a staff that knows why your flowers aren’t blooming. And the store, full of garden-related items, is so much fun we wouldn’t be surprised to see it pop up on the “Best Place to Buy a Gift” list, either.

Silver Horseshoe

32382 Del Obispo St., 949.661.6666

A chain store, but with a local feel and

knowledgeable staff.


Golden Horseshoe

DE NAULT’S TRUE VALUE HARDWARE 31862 Del Obispo St., 949.493.1031

We had to wait when we went to take Don DeNault’s picture for winning this category—he was helping a customer in the hardware aisle. We weren’t ignored though; you can’t walk into DeNault’s without at least two employees offering to help. And they don’t just point you to the right aisle, they make sure you get what you need and know what to do with it when you get home, too.

Silver Horseshoe

Scott and Diana Scmitt of San Juan Photo and Digital. Photo by Jonathan Volzke


SAN JUAN PHOTO AND DIGITAL 32301 Camino Capistrano, 949.661.5668

If you’ve been to any event in town, chances are Scott and Diana Schmitt took your photo. The shop can make any of us look like we know what we’re doing with a camera and put all of our precious photos into a cool book, too.


Golden Horseshoe


Paseo Adelanto north of Del Obispo Street

The city’s newest park in the Historic Los Rios District won awards from planners, so it’s no surprise it’s winning the Golden Horseshoe here. The park has it all: swings, picnic tables and a wall that brings Capistrano’s rich history back to life.

Silver Horseshoe


Stonehill Drive east of Del Obispo

Technically in Dana Point, but close enough to take the kids. A climbing wall and more keep the kids busy and ensure they’re ready for a nap when you finally get them home.

Outdoors... BEST TRAIL


SAN JUAN CREEK TRAIL Even with the county closing it off to reinforce the banks, San Juan Creek Trail remains our Golden Horseshoe winner. It’s no wonder: You can start on the east end of town and walk or ride a trail that will take you clear to Doheny without having to worry about traffic. Parts are so serene, you’ll forget your worries anyhow. PATRIOT TRAIL There’s a new flag on the hill. The hike from the top of Camino Las Ramblas can be a little work, but the view of the valley and even Dana Point Harbor make it worthwhile.

Silver Horseshoe

Golden Horseshoe

CASPER’S REGIONAL PARK 33401 Ortega Hwy, 949.923.2210

Casper’s Wilderness Park is an 8,000acre area in the river terraces and sandstone canyons of the western coastal Santa Ana Mountains, just a few miles east of town. You can camp there, but it’s also a great place for a day trip to hike and picnic or just get away without having to go away.

Silver Horseshoe


Paseo Adelanto north of Del Obispo Street

New picnic tables, plenty of shade, views of Capistrano’s ridgelines. Perfect.

BEST “ILLEGAL” SPOT FOR DOGS COOK PARK-LA NOVIA The real winner is Dana Point Harbor, but this is closer to home. The city says it’s going to enforce leash laws, and every now and again someone gets a ticket, but Cook Park-La Novia has wide open spaces and plenty of trees to make it Fido’s favorite playground.

Golden Horseshoe


Golden Horseshoe

Golden Horseshoe

ORTEGA EQUESTRIAN CENTER 27252 Calle Arroya, 949.661.3130

A repeat winner of the Golden Horseshoe, Ortega would probably recycle them if we gave our real horseshoes—they do with the regular ones. Ortega’s a western stable in the old-time sense, but with modern sensibilities. They recycle, participate in community events and even have an equine spa now, too.

Silver Horseshoe


28411 San Juan Creek Rd., 949.489.9034

If we can have an award for “best improved,” Tar Farms would win. If you haven’t been there lately, you haven’t been there.

Los Rios Park’s playground. Photo by Jonathan Volzke


History and Heritage... BEST HISTORICAL SPOT

Golden Horseshoe

MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO 26802 Ortega Hwy., 949.234.1300

The Mission’s been around since 1776 and it’s finally beginning to look like it. And that’s a good thing. The scaffolding that ringed the Great Stone Church is long gone and Executive Director Mechelle Lawrence and her crew are working to make the Mission a living museum. Historically authentic, but a place that is still fun to explore.

Silver Horseshoe

MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO The Mission San Juan Capistrano 26802 Ortega Hwy, 949.234.1300

It might not be like the old days when the swallows were said to darken the skies like clouds, but the little bird that put Capistrano on the map can still be found at its traditional home. Go early in the morning or in the evening, when the swallows like to feed.

Silver Horseshoe


Camino Capistrano north of Junipero Serra

We thought it was our secret place until we parked behind a line of a cars last year. Walk under the bridge a bit and you see more swallows than you can count.

Jack and Cooper Mussoline, from Rancho Santa Margarita, pet the critters. Photo by Jonathan Volzke

Los Rios Street north of Del Obispo Street


March 26 this year will mark the 53rd Annual Swallows Day Parade, and you can bet some 20,000 people will line the streets to see the horses, floats, bands and other entries that make up one of the country’s largest non-motorized parades. For them, it’s an event. For us, a tradition.

Silver Horseshoe

Golden Horseshoe


When the native families were building the Mission, this is where they lived. The history lives on.

Golden Horseshoe



The Mission San Juan Capistrano, 26802 Ortega Hwy., 949.234.1300

Concerts, celebrations, the Mission is a breath-taking setting for all of it.


Golden Horseshoe


26802 Ortega Hwy, 949.234.1300

It’s the oldest building in town, but the Mission just keeps getting better. Executive Director Mechelle Lawrence-Adams has made establishing the Mission as a museum-like place to visit a top priority and the exhibits change, so locals have a reason to visit more often.

Silver Horseshoe

LOS RIOS HISTORICAL DISTRICT Los Rios Street, north of Del Obispo Street

The park has a wonderful wall laying out who helped make Capistrano the town it is today.

BEST REASON TO LIVE IN SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO THE PEOPLE We may fight about developments and pick on our council members, but there’s no doubt that’s because folks who move to Capistrano love Capistrano and feel like it’s their town. And after every argument, we all manage to remember we’re neighbors, and that’s what really makes Capistrano special.

Golden Horseshoe

Silver Horseshoe

SMALL TOWN FEEL Ever go to the grocery store, or anywhere else, without seeing someone you know?


Golden Horseshoe


26802 Ortega Hwy, 949.234.1300

We were ordering something from out-of-state once. When the person asked where we lived, we replied “San Juan Capistrano.” “Oh, like the Mission,” they asked, admitting they always wanted to go there. Everyone does, just look at the out-of-state license plates on the cars parked downtown.

Silver Horseshoe

LOS RIOS HISTORICAL DISTRICT Los Rios Street north of Del Obispo Street

A wonderful stroll, with great restaurants and coffee shops along the way.


Golden Horseshoe

The Mission will always be San Juan Capistrano’s biggest landmark—if not Orange County’s. Mechelle Lawrence-Adams with young visitors. Photo by Jonathan Volzke

ZOOMARS PETTING ZOO 31791 Los Rios Street, 949.831.6550

Even with the Regency movie theater open downtown again, nothing beats seeing children in the bunny pen at Zoomars. Then they can feed a goat, geese or even and emu. The animals might squawk and whinny, but nothing’s louder than the squeals of delight and laughter from the kids. 8

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