January 28, 2005

Kung Food: New Cultural Space To Enrich Body, Mind and Spirit

By Michael Klam

Dinner and dancing? Dinner and a movie? How about dinner and Funk Fusion? Meet local recording artist, Al Howard, of Alfred Howard & the K23 Orchestra: “I personally feel that fusion, whether in music, art, food or culture is a key step in evolution and innovation. Bringing unlikely elements together has lead to many of humanity’s finest expressive achievements.” On February 11, Alfred and his band will perform their own brand of funk rhythms and spoken word as part of Kung Food’s Grand Opening.

Kung Food is the latest manifestation of the growing trend in healthful eating and living that is centered on plant-based food. Kung Food offers a new dining experience… one that combines taste and nutrition with creative performance arts in a welcoming and convenient format. The Kung Food philosophy mirrors the ancient Chinese practice of Kung Fu, which illustrates the equal importance of body, mind, and spirit in attaining overall health.

While Al Howard espouses the virtues of music and its effect on one’s equanimity, Mitch Wallis, co-owner and event coordinator, believes that “truly decadent and satisfying food can nourish and nurture every fiber of one’s being, inside and out... not to mention supporting organic farming practices all over the country, and revitalizing, restoring, and healing our planet’s ecology.” Mr. Wallis believes that Kung Food’s audiences and customers will be “a huge cross section of San Diegans as well as tourists, especially folks visiting Balboa Park and its many attractions.” He continues, “Kung Food appeals to young people concerned about our environment, older folks concerned about their health, families concerned about the chemicals and additives in their children’s food, and just about everyone who simply enjoys good food, regardless of what its made of.”

Kung Food’s opening weekend —Heart Festival, Marketplace and Art Reception— begins on Friday, February 11 with Open Mic Night and featured performance by Alfred Howard & the K23 Orchestra. Howard will also host the open microphone poetry and music portion of the show. Signups start at 7pm. All artists and fans of music and poetry are welcome to perform, or to simply come and enjoy the food and the show. Saturday will feature art by Mark Greenleaf and Jo Blaine, and music by Velvet Crumble, Normal Heights, and Kyle & Shawn. There will be Marketplace fashion and flowers, and jewelry by VainVines. Saturday and Sunday will have Weekend Brunch from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., live music by Josh Hall, and “Bodywork Buffet” massage, Reiki, and more, starting at 10:00 a.m. Visit www.kung-food.com/ for details.

“The ambiance is very warm… it’s like a sunny day… all of the colors are gold, yellows, oranges... with lots or rich wood tones,” says Wallis. “We have 2 large outdoor patios for dining and relaxation and lots of room for private parties. Each month our main dining room features the best work of a local artist, including a reception to meet and speak with the Kung Food artist of the month.”

There will be ongoing live concerts on Saturday nights, and acoustic music on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Music and Poetry Open Mic Night will continue as a series, every Friday. Kung Food seeks quality performers from all over San Diego and Southern California, musicians and artists to feature at ongoing events.

Alfred Howard, Kung Food’s first featured performer, is looking forward to sampling some of the healthy vegan food as well as sharing some words and ideas with other creative people: “I’ve often found that those concerned with what enters their body have a unique and progressive view of our global community. The evening [Friday, February 11] should be a combination of food, words and visual art, emphasizing our connection with the earth.”

Kung Food is located mid-way between Hillcrest and Downtown, 2949 5th Avenue (at Quince). 619.298.7302. www.kung-food.com

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