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Stories by Joseph O'Brien

Equal parts sun and shade

Liz Miela crafts Encore's Champagne Lemongrass Mojito

Mixers and historians of the dram are both debating: does the Mojito derive its name from the spiced Cuban citrus seasoning known in those parts as mojo, or from the Spanish word mojadito (“a little ...

He succumbed to the study of theology

Membership: 125 Pastor: Mark Menacher Age: 53 Born: Detroit Formation: Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI; Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH; University of Goettingen, (West) Germany; Theological Seminary, Leipzig, (East) Germany; (PhD) University of Manchester, ...

Not saying that secularism is evil, but...

The world misses something important when we turn away from our spiritual journeys.

I experienced the calling myself

Plumbing the mysteries of God at Chula Vista Presbyterian

Membership: 280 Pastor: Robert Davis Age: 50 Born: Dunellen, New Jersey Formation: Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA; Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indiana University-Indianapolis; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena Years Ordained: 13 San Diego Reader: What ...

It’s all a matter of relationship

Love is what we, as humans, were made for.

Membership: 185 Pastor: J.D. McQueen Age: 31 Born: Peoria, Ill. Formation: Eureka College, Eureka, IL; Nashotah House Theological Seminary, Nashotah, WI Years Ordained: 6 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to ...

God among prostitutes, drug addicts, and gang lords

Membership: 160 Pastor: Tim Captain Age: 27 Born: Logansport, IN Formation: Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, OH Years Ordained: 5 years San Diego Reader: What is your favorite topic on which to preach? Pastor Tim Captain: ...

Serious Manhattan

Mia Francesca's take on the classic aims to be richer and more flavorful.

Every so often in life, paperback utility ought to give over to leather-bound editions; the joy of a Swisher Sweet to the experience of a Romeo y Julieta; the usual Manhattan cocktail to nothing less ...

How to get the church back into the world?

Catch a new vision for life or faith.

Membership: 120 Pastor: Brent Ross Age: 40 Born: Albuquerque, NM Formation: Vanderbilt Divinity School, Nashville, TN; Garrett Evangelical Seminary, Evanston, IL Years Ordained: 5 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach? ...

Letting the Lord have his way in us

Membership: 250 Pastor: Brad Lambert Age: 61 Born: Venice, CA Formation: University of Redlands, Redlands; Point Loma Nazarene University; University of California-Fullerton; Calvary Chapel Bible College, Murietta (professor/director) Years Ordained: 23 San Diego Reader: How ...

Strawberry blusters, bourbon finishes

Crafting Altitude’s Kentucky Buck with Jeremy LeBlanc

The 22-story high Altitude Sky Lounge stays grounded in the fundamentals of good cocktails, says head mixologist Jeremy LeBlanc. Southern cousin to the Moscow Mule, the Kentucky Buck is a great example. According to LeBlanc, ...

Jesus has enough fans but not so many followers

Membership: 200 (adults) Denomination: Independent Executive Pastor: Raymond van Pletsen Age: 66 Born: Johannesburg, South Africa Formation: Calvary Bible College, Kansas City, MO; Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX Years Ordained: 34 San Diego Reader: What ...

If you can help me, I’ll give you my life

Membership: 2200 Pastor: Mike MacIntosh Age: 70 Born: Portland, OR Formation: Azusa Pacific University, Azusa; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena Years Ordained: 42 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach? Pastor Mike ...

I didn’t have to accept sickness, and didn’t deserve it

Membership (estimated): 20 at a time Elected Reader: Marsha Pecaut Born: West Covina Formation: California State Polytechnic University of Pomona, California State University of Fresno Years Associated with Society: “Since a child.” San Diego Reader: ...

In a body of light

"To tell the truth, I just live this."

They talk from the heart at Fraternal Spiritualist Church.

Sophisticated simplicity

Fresh grapefruit is the key to Tipsy Crow’s Salty Dog

‘We have signs outside that say, ‘Home of the Salty Dog,’ so people think we’re claiming we invented the Salty Dog,” bartender Daniel Baker says with a laugh. “But I have to tell them that, ...

What is the one thing in life I was created for?

The secret of John and a vampire named Ozzy.

Membership: 700 Affiliation: Association of Related Churches (ARC) Pastor: Aaron Jayne Age: 38 Born: Wichita, KS Formation: Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ; planted Dream Center, Los Angeles Years Ordained: 10 San Diego Reader: What’s your ...

Trunk of bourbon, branches of syrup, roots of Chartreuse

The Seven Grand’s bar manager Brett Winfield wants to give it to you straight. But before he does, you better have a cocktail — or, as he calls it, “a Whiskey Delivery Method.” “We don’t ...

Nothing else makes any sense for me

Pastor James West of Atonement Lutheran Church

Membership: 45 (regular attendance) Pastor: James West Age: 57 Born: Bismarck, ND Formation: Northwestern University, Evansville, IL; Lutheran Seminary, St. Paul, MN Years Ordained: 32 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your ...

The Annette Funicello of cocktails

A perfect companion to SoCal clambakes or a beach blanket in Baja, it also harkens to the warmth and whitewashed villas of the Amalfi Coast. That’s the Roman Pipeline. This Annette Funicello of cocktails, according ...

There is a role that each person is uniquely designed by God to fulfill

It’s not a matter of paying back, says Pastor Brown.

Membership: 2700 Pastor: Craig Brown Age: 46 Born: Long Beach Formation: Biola University, La Mirada; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena Years Ordained: 21 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach? Pastor ...

The Chapel at Grossmont in La Mesa

Pastor Hilton wasn’t meant for work in a lab the size of a closet.

To be absent from the body is to be present to the Lord.

Nine-Ten’s Martinez

Knowing a lot about a lot and enough about the rest, Nine-Ten’s sommelier and food and beverage manager Summer Haines is a wearer of many hats. To help the bar’s hotel — the Grande Colonial ...

Oak Hills Covenant Church

Hell is a choice.

Contact: 1920 Shadowridge Drive, Vista. 760-598-3852; oakhillschurch.tumblr.com Denomination: Evangelical Covenant Church Membership: 100 Pastor: Marilyn Williams Age: 48 Born: Chula Vista Formation: Vanguard University of Southern California, Costa Mesa; Bethel West Seminary, San Diego Years ...

Rumbling Tins Construction’s Old Rye Sage

The fellows from Rumbling Tins Construction brought their pleasant clamor to the Westgate Hotel to offer patrons a trifecta of cocktails as part of a recent tasting soirée. A five-member collaboration of jiggering journeymen, Rumbling ...

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — San Diego Ward

We continue to progress once we die.

Elder: Gary Sabin Seventy Membership: 50,000 Age: 59 Born: Provo, Utah Formation: Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Stanford University, Stanford; “and a lot of on-the-job training.” Years Ordained: one year San Diego Reader: What is ...

Christ the King Lutheran Church

Computer science, meteorology, or God?

Membership: 1200 Pastor: Mark Johnson Age: 46 Born: Minneapolis, MI Formation: Lutheran Bible Institute, Anaheim; Concordia University, Irvine; Lutheran Seminary, St. Paul Years Ordained: 17 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which ...

Johnny's Fire & Berry Old Fashioned

According to bartender Faith Taylor, the Tractor Room offers high-quality cocktails with a low-altitude attitude. “It’s kind of like Manhattan meets Montana,” she says. But if the restaurant tries not to take itself too seriously, ...

Prince of Peace Lutheran

True Christians don’t necessarily belong to a church.

Membership: 60 Pastor: Paul Willweber Age: 45 Born: Mission Hills Formation: Concordia College, Seward, NE; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO Years Ordained: 18 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach? ...

Shiloh Spiritual Center

Roxie Hart grabs the truth wherever she can weave it in.

Contact: 3288 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego 619-640-2020; shilohspiritualcenter.com Membership: 50 Pastor: Reverend Roxie Hart Age: “Young enough to enjoy life and old enough to know I really want to.” Born: Oakland Formation: Holmes Institute, ...

The Commons Bar's Skinny Scorpion

The owner of The Commons Bar, Jake Pescatello, does more than deliver the rent and sign the paychecks of his employees. Starting in his father’s modest East Coast restaurant empire as a dishwasher and busboy, ...

Miguelito’s Rye Manhattan

Uptown Tavern’s bar back Miguel Duran is in the advanced placement class of bartenders-in-training. Observing Uptown’s bartenders at work, he’s come up with his own signature cocktail. When he began creating what’s now known as ...

Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Church

Practical guideposts for embracing the cross daily

Contact: 858-277-2511; holyangelssandiego.com Membership: 60 households Pastor: Father Robert Pipta Age: 46 Born: Anaheim Formation: St. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA Years Ordained: 20 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject ...

Ramona’s First Congregationalist wraps up Operation Christmas Child

Contact: 404 8th St., Ramona, 760-789-3348 fccramona.org Membership: 240 Pastor: David Auten Age: 35 Born: Erie, PA Formation: Yale University, New Haven, CT; University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT; Years Ordained: 6 San Diego Reader: ...

Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Love beyond belief in Vista

Contact: 1600 Buena Vista Drive, Vista, 760-941-4319; vistauu.org Membership: 180 Pastor: Beth Johnson Born: Chicago, Ill. Formation: Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA Years Ordained: 10 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which ...

Congregation Beth El

God’s in the ghettos and slums

Membership: 550 families Pastor: Rabbi Phillip Graubart Age: 52 Denomination: Conservative Born: Long Branch, New Jersey Formation: Jewish Theological Seminary, New York Years Ordained: 23 San Diego Reader: What is your main concern as a ...

Kelvin’s Cool Waters

Kelvin’s bartender Jeremy LaFave is helping to liberate palates burnt out on high-juice, high-fructose content of the typical tropical drink. According to LaFave, Kelvin’s Cool Waters is the inspired concoction of mixologist Charlotte Boffey, which ...

Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association

Love is the bridge to God

Interview with pastor April Leona Cunningham of Escondido’s Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association. She says she predicted the death of Robert and John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Prepkitchen Little Italy's Dutch Hammer

While Southern California’s live oaks and palms show little of the colors that ignite the landscape of such northern neighbors as Washington and Oregon, San Diego bartender Adam Lockridge honors the harvest season by changing ...

El Cajon Foursquare Church

Foursquare’s belief system doesn’t depend on tradition

El Cajon Foursquare Church pastor Dennis Estill “didn’t want to be a minister. I wanted to be a cop.”

St. Didacus Catholic Parish

The thought of celibacy was painful and confusing

Father Michael Sinor of St. Didacus Catholic Parish says he “ran away from the idea of being a priest. I didn’t think I could be celibate.”

San Diego Center for Spiritual Living

As an altar boy, John Poleski’s pastor at the time said, “Watch that Poleski boy — he’s going to be a priest someday!”

Alchemy's Patron's Saint

Already known for a menu informed by a free association of tastes, Alchemy continues to maintain the element of surprise by offering shrubs. No, not the kind arranged, designed, and sold by Monty Python’s medieval ...

The Resolved Church

Die, get a new body, go to heaven...or hell.

As pastor Duane Smets of the Resolved Church in Morena is working on his Sunday sermon, he thinks of it as a date as he gets to know it.

Chaplos' Gaslamp Quarter

If there was any doubt that bartending and cocktail culture is becoming a community effort in San Diego, Chaplos bartender Bek Allen’s new namesake drinks she mixes behind her bar will put them to rest ...

O.B. One Church

OB One Church finds the lost and lights them up like a rocket.

Gang's Singapore Sling

Gin has had a hard row of it in San Diego — that’s according to Jason O’Bryan, one of the top barristers at the Asian fusion Gang Kitchen. “You would think that the starting ingredient ...

Pacific Beach United Methodist

Methodist pastor April Herron found God on a hilltop in Brazil.

We might already be in the kingdom here and now.

Congregation Beth Jacob

What it means to be a good human being

Membership: 150 Rabbi: Avram Bogopulsky Age: 49 Born: Brooklyn, NY Formation: St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, NY; Yeshiva Shaarei Torah, Suffern, NY Years Ordained: 25 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your ...

Polite Provisions' Ocean Side

While Noble Experiment is the worst kept secret among San Diego saloons, its sister ship, Polite Provisions, has a number of secrets yet to be discovered. “Here at Polite Provisions,” says bartender Aaron Zieske, “we’re ...

Calvary Chapel Fallbrook

The toll of large-scale biblically illiterate Christianity.

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