Barrio Star

2706 5th Ave., San Diego   »  Neighborhood: Banker’s Hill
(619) 501-7827   »  Facebook.com/BarrioStarSD

by Mikey Beats

In this edition of Beats & Eats I picked the spot to grind, so I jumped in my soccer mom minivan and drove up Banker’s Hill to Isabel Cruz’s Barrio Star where I met up with one of San Diego’s up-and-coming dance music producers DJ Schoeny.

You may not know Isabel Cruz by name but you may know her by taste. She originally set up shop in Mission Beach at a spot called The Mission and later moved on to create one of my personal favorite eateries in Pacific Beach, Isabel’s Cantina. If you have never had her rosemary bread or rosemary potatoes, track them down and devour these carb-filled delights.

When I found out she had a place I hadn’t eaten at yet, I had to get at it. When I arrived at the spot, the wonderfully helpful and sweet Danica introduced me to some new Isabel deliciousness that couldn’t disappoint.

Mikey: When did you open?

Danica: Do you remember that earthquake that happened back on Easter Sunday years ago? We opened up two days after that in April of 2009. I had an interview with Isabel and then that earthquake hit.

Mikey: So the interview was off the Richter scale, right?

(The sound of crickets came out of nowhere after my attempt at humor and Danica walked off to put in an order for us.)

Mikey: Well now, Mr. Schoeny, I definitely met you the first year you came to San Diego at a long since closed bar called Fleetwood. The main reason I wanted to interview you is because I’m a fan of your production and it has become increasingly better over the years. I see you grind harder than most in this city and it’s quite impressive. You started as an open format DJ and have since started producing, correct?

Schoeny: Yeah. I am still an open format DJ when I play out because I like to go through so many genres when I DJ and play anything I can get away with it.

Mikey: I’ve heard you rock the shit out of Hanson’s “Mmm Bop.”

Schoeny: Oh yeah, ha-ha. I think every song has its place to be played at a certain time, everywhere. You’ll have some people laugh and hate on it, but most people love it.

Mikey: You’re right. Tell me a little about yourself as a producer and your styles you like to produce.

Schoeny: In the studio I work on everything, man. I’ve done trap remixes, electro, regular house, rock remixes, anything and almost everything, basically whatever I’m into at the moment.

(A roasted jalapeño blackberry margarita and blood orange margarita are dropped off on the table accompanied by cucumbers that are sliced and served with cumin vinaigrette, cilantro lime sauce, some chili and cilantro. I immediately pop about four of those in my mouth and am impressed by the refreshing flavors. I take a sip of the blood orange margarita and the tanginess triggers a saliva tsunami in my mouth. I take another swig, then a gulp and it’s gone. I wasn’t thirsty, I just couldn’t help myself but guzzle it all down, it was that good.)

Mikey: I’m very aware of your latest project with a good buddy of ours, Cheyenne Giles, called All Gold. Tell me about the project.

Schoeny: We’ve been working together for about 6-7 months. Right now, 80 percent of our time is in the studio making original tracks. Basically we produce anything that makes people dance.

Mikey: You guys performed at arguably Southern California’s best pool party, which is Dive at the Harrah’s Rincon presented by the Five Group.

Schoeny: Yeah, we played with Flosstradamus and Borgeous for two shows. Those were great! The third time we headlined Dive and that was such a great party. The crowd was definitely in the right mindset for an All Gold set.

Mikey: Where can people find All Gold and your own tracks?

Schoeny: All our social media handles are @AllGoldOfficial and our website is www.AllGoldOfficial.com. Mine is www.DJSchoeny.com.

(The wonderfully awesome Danica walks up behind the servers who drop off a couple plates.)

Danica: This is our Guadalajara grilled corn that we grill over a flame, rolled in our roasted jalapeño butter and sprinkled with chili, cotija cheese and cilantro. I also started you with two different soups. One is our red chicken pozole that is spiced up with chili and comes with chunks of hominy, carrots, onions, celery while topped off with red cabbage, cilantro and lime sauce. The other is our roasted red chili guajillo tortilla soup mixed with chipotle corn, salsa, cilantro lime sauce, tortilla chips and topped with cotija cheese. Enjoy!

(We both reach for the corn first and go through the motions reminiscent of an old manual type writer with kernels flying everywhere.)

Schoeny: I’ve never eaten corn this fast.

Mikey: My goodness, this is seriously explosive. You can taste the jalapeño in the butter and that cotija cheese is magnificent.

Schoeny: This is my best interview ever because usually when I do interviews, I’m hungry or my mind is elsewhere. Right now, I am in the zone with this food. Ask me anything, I am yours.

Mikey: Ha-ha, noted. I am now getting my pozole on. (Speaking with my mouth full of hominy.) The hominy in the pozole is friggin’ perfect. Sometimes it is too hard or too soft, but this is absolutely perfect. The red cabbage gives it a good crunch too.

Schoeny: Nothing is overpowering. Everything compliments the other. (Schoeny is also speaking with mouth full.) The chicken tortilla soup is outstanding. The roasted red chili guajillo really stands out … the taste and the flavor … mmm.

Mikey: Back to the beats …What is the difference between an EDM DJ and an EDM producer? No, this isn’t a DJ joke.

Schoeny: An EDM DJ is someone who plays someone else’s tracks our their own in a club, bar or festival. An EDM producer actually makes the music and may not be a DJ at all. Those words have been cheapened in the last six years because when most people think of a producer, they think of EDM guys like Avicii or David Guetta on stage pushing buttons and playing the air piano. There is much more that goes into their music than air hearts. The last track I worked on, I had a pianist come in who played under a vocalist. I did everything else with the electronics and the synths and drums. Everyone does their piece under my direction and it’s my job to bring it together. That is producing.

Mikey: There are some DJs who can’t produce and some producers who can’t DJ. I don’t think most those DJ producers at the big festivals are even DJing, just using pre-recorded mixes or just hitting the sync button to auto mix everything.

(The friendly and chipper Danica comes back with the main entrees.)

Danica: Here we have the Brazil Bowl with jasmine coconut rice, black beans, steamed greens, a mango salsa and topped with chicken that is sautéed in our house made teriyaki sauce. It is served with our coconut chili sauce on the side. You might want to give it a little pour over and it’ll make it amazing.

We press all our tortillas to order, so the tacos are very special to us and I gave you guys a mixed taco plate to sample the steak and the fish. The sirloin steak is topped with jack cheese, our avocado sauce, cilantro sauce and pico de gallo. The fish taco is seabass today and resting on a bed of our Thai slaw that has the fish right on top, a little avocado sauce, chipotle aioli and our pico de gallo. It’s served with our jasmine coconut rice that is topped with black beans and topped with jack cheese, chipotle cream and our chipotle corn salsa. It all comes with our Amalia sauce, named after the person who created it. She cooks at Isabel’s Cantina in Pacific Beach and that is our hot taco sauce. Pour it over your taco for a little zing.

(We both jump into the Brazil Bowl first with the speed of hungry pumas.)

Mikey: The thing I love about Isabel’s Brazil Bowl here is that it comes with black beans which is spot on with what they use in Brazil. What we are missing though is the fried plantains that I have had on the Brazil Bowl at her Cantina in PB but don’t think that is a bad thing, this is fantastic without the plantains. This is an entree erection for sure!

Schoeny: Amen.

Mikey: I am going to wash this down with my first taste of the spicy blackberry jalapeño margarita.

Schoeny: Don’t be scared.

(I place my lips on the margarita and start making out with it like we were long lost lovers until the freaky drink kicked me in my throat like I made the wrong move on a first date!)

Mikey: Holy shit! I wasn’t expecting that! Ooo, but it’s spicy and stiff. Two of these and someone is getting laid.

Danica: It makes you feel alive inside …

Mikey: …and will probably burn when it comes through out the frontside.

(We both move on to the tacos.)

Schoeny: Unbelievable.

Mikey: This are perfect. I want to talk about these tortillas. They make the corn tortillas in house. Without a doubt, it is the best pressed corn tortilla I’ve had in a very long time. They beat anything in Old Town. It’s not hard to make your own corn tortillas in house, but it is hard to make it really tasty. These are fluffy and absolutely delicious. Those tortillas are outstanding. Everything we have had gets an A+. I love Isabel!

(We sort of break from the interview and I start yapping with Chris and Steve from the mag; they usually sit in on the interviews. We all start arguing over some bet about how many Grammys Goldie from the Belly Up had been involved with. The loser of the bet had to pound a Trumer Pilsner filled pint glass. Well, we all lost and we all pounded a beer together with Steve coming in first, me second and Chris left behind sipping on it like he’s watching a football game. Times like these make these interviews super fun! I burp and wrap up the interview.)

Mikey: Is this the best interview you’ve ever done in your life?

Schoeny: Oh, for sure. I’m so focused right now. I’m gonna hit up all my other friends to see if I have any other interviews today because I’m so focused.