2008's Top Albums

 1.  Jon Foreman “Spring - EP”
Switchfoot lead singer Jon Foreman branched out to release solo EPs based on the seasons.  From the first listen “Spring” placed a smile on my face.  The inspirational song “Baptize My Mind” sounds like......well....springtime.  Foreman’s melodic paraphrase of The Lord’s Prayer (“Your Love is Strong”) struck me powerfully.  (I played the song 53 times during 2008.)

2.  Brooke Fraser “Albertine”
Brooke caught my attention when I heard “Hosanna” from a couple worship CDs.  She peaked my interest after I read of her rapid success in her native New Zealand.  “Albertine” impressed me with it’s fresh sound.  The undeniable conviction in her lyrics leaves me wanting more.  I even sponsored a child through World Vision after reading her story.

3.  Coldplay “Viva La Vida”
I had lost my excitement for Coldplay.  I joined their bandwagon early when I heard “Yellow” and “Shiver” on KROQ years ago.  But by the “X&Y” album I grew tired of their routine formula.  Then came legendary producer Brian Eno.  Together they created something visionary.  The depth of sonic layers in this album will envelop me for years to come.  The thick ear-candy and haunting “post-songs” infuse new life in the pop/rock genre.

4.  Copeland “You Are My Sunshine”
These guys have my loyalty.  Their bold melody lines linger in my mind days after a listen.  “You Are My Sunshine” ensures their maturation with well produced adventures and satisfying minimalist tunes like “The Suitcase Song”.  Thick vocoder use and a Billie-Holiday-esque background vocalist top off the albums gratification.

5.  Lovedrug “The Suckerpunch Show”
Lovedrug’s new CD takes Christian music places I did not think possible.  The no-holds-barred song “Everyone Needs a Halo” ruffles feathers in new ways.  And “Blood Like” exhibits delightful authenticity.  If you want something to talk about just pick this CD up.

Pass The Burrito

Living in Southern California has perks. The beach, mountains and desert are all a short drive away (provided it is not rush hour). The regions large population provides many opportunities for entertainment, employment and life in general.

Great mexican food restaurants demonstrate a more unsung virtue of Southern California life. And the city in which I work, Chino, contains three of California's best Mexican restaurants.

First there's Que Pasa (or Que Heck Yeah as I call it) located by Harkins Theater. This restaurant has the ideal blend of authentic Mexican flavor with American tastes. Their fresh tortillas out-taste all others and their meat marinades define delicious. Top that with $4.99 lunch deals and how can you go wrong? I even split the hearty portions up into two meals.  It's no wonder the employees know me.

If you want a Mexican restaurant with a more authentic taste give El Rey's, near Riverside Dr. and Ramona a shot. It might not look like much from the outside but that adds to the realism. El Rey's is authentic Mexican food meets California health standards.  They had me when I saw their meat spindle just like the taco stands in TJ.  The cheese reminds me of meals south of the border.

Lastly if you prefer a nice sit-down atmosphere with great taste then Los Portales has you covered. With great service and $7.25 lunch deals this place ensures a good time.  The carne asada quesadilla with a cherry coke hits the spot too.

Chino California deserves notoriety for more than it's cow population.  Chino also hosts extremely tasteful Mexican restaurants.  Quite possibly the best burrito of your life may be eaten in Chino California.