The Gaslamp District is a HUGE reason why I would not want SDCC to move to another location, even though it kinda desperately needs to. It’s a great area, tons of places to eat (we’ve hardly even made a dent), and it’s really nice (at least until the party element comes out, and then it gets suuuuper skeevy with buttcheek-showing, skintight, strapless dresses and 6″ spiked heels and a bunch of drunken bros). But during the day, it’s nice, especially if you move off of 5th Street which is where most of the crowds and promo-pushers are.
Malvitas and I started our trip off in the traditional manner: fast food breakfast burritos! We always do this for trips. Except this time we went to Taco Bell instead of Del Taco, and I think I like Del Taco’s hash browns more.
However, Del Taco does not have the Cinnabon Delights. Which do not really look like the picture (of course). That cream does not ooze out and instead gets absorbed by all the dough, so what you get is a super sweet, super moist cinnamon donut ball. Still tasty, of course. I haven’t been to Taco Bell for a while, and I see they also got some new sauces, a Verde and a Ranchera (they didn’t have Ranchera, but Malvitas said it exists). I still prefer the traditional Hot.
Since we had such a late start we skipped lunch and had an early dinner instead.
We found this place last year and they had some good-sounding veggie options (Malvitas is vegetarian).
We started with some beer.
We decided this year that Sam Adams is THE convention beer. One of the best beers we ever had was at Anime Expo 2007 (Wow, I didn’t realize it was so long ago, but that was the year it was at Long Beach). Anyway, it was scorching hot, and we were dying, so we went to CPK, and they poured us Sam Adams in a huge tall frosted glass. It was AMAZING. And once again, at SDCC which wasn’t hot that day, but it was quite muggy, it was amazing.
Next we had a cheese plate.
The wheat crackers were veggie flavored and delicious. It was a nice cheese plate, although nothing super outstanding or fancy about it. Solid choice.
Since Mal is veggie, he got a veggie boxty, which came with a potato pancake and a crapton of zucchini, which isn’t his favorite vegetable. He was expecting latkes, and instead it was a giant regular looking pancake wrapped around veggies. He was meh about it.
On the other hand, my shepherd’s pie was delicious.
Ground beef, mashed potato topping, soda bread. Malvitas pointed out that I’m weird since I hate stew but love this. I said it’s because I don’t like stew meat and the way the roasted potatoes come out. Mashed potatoes >>> roasted potatoes.
Since we had such an early dinner, we were able to meet up for a late snack with our friends Terra and Dan while they ate their dinner. We got a tiramisu and some Mediterranean fries (no pics, sorry). I had just a few bites of those, but I also had a cocktail called “Drop It Like It’s Hot.”
Dumb name, delicious drink. I’ve developed a fondness for chile-infused drinks since Fanime this year. This one was vodka, lemon, agave, and serrano.
Our hotel came with free breakfast buffet (or rather, included in the price of our stay). In the interest of saving money and time, we ate breakfast there all three days.
This is basically what my plate looked like all 3 days with the exception of the main dish. The first day it was French toast made of what looked like Wonderbread. The second day was rubbery waffles. The third day (the day this pic was taken) was French toast sticks. I think I liked the original dish the best, although all 3 days were fairly underwhelming. The first day also had super moist scrambled eggs, which as everyone should know, are gross. Scrambled eggs should be dry (imo, and Mal agrees). Luckily the other 2 days had acceptable scrambled eggs. The bacon was also pretty good. Our breakfast was accompanied by what sounded like extremely dramatic and loud film score music which was bizarre. I think they might’ve been from geeky movies and they were trying to make the nerds feel welcome? Anyway, it was weird eating breakfast to what sounded like Batman fight scene music.
The next day, Malvitas wasn’t feeling all that hot from an excess of starchy foods and drinks, so we took a break from drinking and tried to eat more veggies.
Started with a nice green papaya salad. Very refreshing.
He then proceeded to get Pad Thai, which is not at all starch-free, but he said it wasn’t not hugely starchy, plus it had a lot of veggies to balance it out. Whatever. I got something called Katong Thong or Pot of Gold.
It was actually an appetizer dish, but since it was meat, Mal didn’t eat any of it. I totally enjoyed it. Ground chicken, potato, onion and curry with a cucumber chutney and sweet and sour sauce.
For a snack, we had pinkberry, which neither of us had had in ages. I used to eat this stuff all the time. We got regular with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and watermelon. I just ate the strawberries and blueberries with my share of the yogurt.
Since we felt like we had spent a lot on food so far, we asked Terra and Dan if it would be ok to have dinner somewhere cheaper. So we went to Malvitas’s all time favorite place, Chipotle. I think I may have eaten at Chipotle more than any other place in my life.
Standard order: burrito bowl, with chicken, black beans, brown rice, mild and corn salsas, and lettuce. I skip the cheese and guac. The addition of lettuce makes it more salad-like. If Chipotle would start carrying Gardein again, I would totally get that instead of chicken.
(note: there was a better looking picture, earlier, thanks sue-happy people!)
At the con, Malvitas totally bait-and-switched me by implying we were getting nachos for a snack (one of my favorite foods ever is tortilla chips, processed cheese sauce and masses of jalapeños) and instead buying a bitty bag of BBQ Popchips that he ate by himself. I was devastated. We made up for it at lunch though.
First, we got beer, having recovered with our alcohol-free day the day before.
Rock Bottom’s Summer Honey Ale. Very nice. I thought I could taste the honey, but Malvitas wasn’t sure. Anyway, I liked it. It was refreshing.
To make up for the bait and switch:
I tend to prefer the aforementioned processed nacho junk food that I mentioned before over restaurant nachos, but these were really good. It was also a TON. Good thing we didn’t get the pretzels too, which we were thinking about. We wanted to split these so we could get the delicious sounding pie that we saw on the menu.
Our sad pie. This was supposed to be a white chocolate banana cream pie. It was basically a whipped cream mess over unripe bananas. I was very depressed at wasting what could’ve been a divine pie on this travesty. Barely any pudding!! Every one knows the pudding is the best part! Also hardly any crust. Wtf, Rock Bottom.
For dinner, we placed an order for pick up so we could go visit our friend Shaz who was at home with her new baby and not out running around doing nerdy things with us.
San Diego has a delicious burger place where they are famous for their 50/50 meat patty of 1/2 ground beef, 1/2 BACON. They also completely botched up our order by giving us half of our order, half of someone else’s. I guess they are being true to their name? After getting stuck in the people crush exiting a closed exhibit hall (note: never EVER leave SDCC at 7:00), being blocked by a train, sitting at an intersection through three trams at a light that refused to turn green for so long people started just running the red, and getting in a fight with Malvitas (sorry Terra and Dan), we were cross, tired, and hungry. And then they messed up our order. So Malvitas took Terra and Dan to go back and pick up the correct order (which they STILL botched up by forgetting to put sauce on Terra’s burger, but giving us free dessert and extra appetizers as compensation for the 1st botch) while I stayed behind to mellow out with Shaz. I miss her.
I did NOT get their burger of the month, the ‘Merica, which I was severely tempted to, just out of baconphilic curiosity (also to gross out one of my twitter friends). 100% ground bacon patty, bacon island dressing, bacon cheese, sunny side up egg, and bacon slices. I decided it would probably be a bit too much (especially with my daily doses of bacon for breakfast). Instead Shaz’s husband did, and he said it was indeed bacony. (Serious Eats compared it to eating a salt lick) Anyway, I got the Slater’s 50/50, so the ground beef/bacon patty, avocado mash, chipotle mayo, sunny side up egg, and pepper jack cheese. I have become all about the sunny side up egg on burgers. It was freaking delicious. Just the right amount of bacony taste to my burger. A little spicy too, from the mayo. YUM. (It was much better tasting than this drawing implies)
I won’t post pics of Shaz’s human baby, but instead I’ll post pics of her other babies.
Her corgi/pom mix. She’s got the corgi body, but slightly longer legs, and fluffier ears and rear end. She also has a corgi temperament.
Her moody grey tabby who hates everyone except for Shaz and Malvitas and will sometimes tolerate me if he thinks about it. Shaz and Mal were roomies when she got him so he thinks Mal is cool. He loathes Shaz’s husband, and the feeling is mutual.
Finished off our trip to a place we haven’t been to since possibly 2006, and one of the few chain restaurants I really like.
Started off at the bar while we waited for a table.
I forgot the name of this Pilsner. It started with a T. It was ok, not remarkable in any way. What was cool though was this ring of ice around the bar that would keep your beer cold. Totally awesome idea.
When I go to OSF, I am pretty much guaranteed to get the mizithra and browned butter spaghetti. However, in the six years of my absence, they came up with the garlic mizithra, which is the regular dish, with the addition of mushrooms, bacon, and garlic.
AH-MAY-ZING. Although really, I would’ve just loved it with the mushrooms.
What we both like about OSF is that you get a complete meal with your price. Soup or salad (both got salad, except I think they forgot to put the honey in my honey mustard dressing), drink, main dish, dessert (spumoni ice cream). It’s pretty awesome.
And my year of convention coverage is done. There are more cons that I would love to go to, like Otakon in Baltimore at the end of the month, or Dragon Con in Atlanta in September, but since I’m not a zillionaire, alas, no. Hopefully Wondercon will return back down here (even though I kinda wish it would stay north for the NorCal fans) so I can start this over again in March.
Part 1: SDCC 2012: What I Watched is here.
Part 2: SDCC 2012: What I Saw is here.
Part 3: SDCC 2012: What I Saw (Booth edition) is here.
Part 4: SDCC 2012: What I Got is here.