Sunday, April 03, 2005

Pigging Out In San Diego

I just returned from a business trip in San Diego, California. In addition to hours of boring meetings we had some pretty good food at some nice restaurants. I’ll share some of these with you just in case you find yourself in San Diego, near the Gaslamp Quarter, and are in search of a nice place to eat. The locations mentioned will get you close, and I’ll try to include websites if there is one and I can find it.

Monday night when I got in to town we all went to “Hooters” (4th Ave & Market Street). I guess I don’t need to go into detail about that place, since I’m certain many of you know what it’s like, or have at least heard of the place. The hostess, “Anna”, was nice and was pleasant. A friend of mine just had to take a picture with our waitress and me (I’ll post it here when he sends it to me).

He said he was going to use it as blackmail material, but I tell Anita everything anyway so that was no big threat. The reason I like Hooters, is not for what you all think, but I truly like their burgers, and the atmosphere is always friendly and inviting. To tell you the truth, the gimmick of the waitresses dressed in tight t-shirts and short shorts, is not that big of a deal for me. Once you get past the provincial shock, it’s an enjoyable establishment.

Tuesday for lunch we went to a place called the “Joe’s Crab Shack” (behind the convention center) near where we were staying at the “San Diego Marriot Hotel & Marina”. I had fish & chips and it was a great place with a friendly staff. The atmosphere was very well done and our rather large group seemed to enjoy the restaurant and the good food.

Tuesday night was dinner at an Irish pub called, "Hennessey’s" (4th Ave & G Street). I’m pretty much a burger and fries sort of individual, so once again it was burgers for dinner. Luckily, Tuesday nights was, “buy one burger get one burger free”, so between the six of us we only had to pay for three burgers. Not a bad deal and our waitress, “Danny” did a great job taking care of us.

Wednesday lunch we decided to check out the “Kansas City BBQ” (Market Street). This is where they filmed the “sleazy bar scene” for the movie “Top Gun” according to the sign out front. Apparently the ONLY thing this place has going for it was this 2 minutes of movie fame since both the waitress and the food were horrible. The location was nice, and we sat outside and enjoyed the sun, but let’s face it, we came to eat, not sunbathe.

Wednesday night we jumped into a cab and headed to “Little Italy” where we were told by a local that “Filippi’s Pizza Grotto” (India Street & Fir Street) was a great place to go for Italian food. When we arrived, the surrounding Italian restaurants were fairly empty but Filippi’s had a line out the door and down the sidewalk. We walked around looking for another place to eat because we did not want to wait in line, but eventually we ended up back at Filippi’s and took our place in line. Luckily, the line moved rather quickly and we were inside before we knew it. The waitress was pleasant, and at one point when she said she would rather not do separate tickets for us because they were so busy I told her that was find and she looked at me and said, “I love you”. The folks with me were teasing me so I told them that I think the waitress and I just had a moment. :)

The food arrived quickly and was excellent. I had Lasagna and Ravioli’s with a Meatball. Let’s just say that was way too much food. Some of us left with “to-go” bags but when we got back to the hotel we realized that was silly since we had no place to keep them.

For lunch on Thursday we ate in the “Seaport Village” near the hotel at a place who’s name escapes me at the moment., but it was some “San Diego Burger Company”. It had a nice mix of turkey, ostrich buffalo and of course, beef burgers. They served us quickly and it had a nice lattice-covered eating area, but after one of the guys got pooped on from a sparrow we decided we were done and headed back to the conference.

My final meal in San Diego was Thursday night at a little place known as, “Fred’s Cantina” (5th Ave & Island Street). Unfortunately I could not find a link to this one. This was one of the only nearby Mexican food restaurants that we knew about, so in we went. As with every place we went to, with the exception of the BBQ place, the food was great, and the serving staff was awesome too. Let’s just say that in order to be hired as a waitress for Fred’s you had to look the part of the stereotypical “California Girl”.

So there you have it, San Diego cuisine as seen from the small little area around the San Diego Marriot Hotel & Marina and within a three and a half day time frame. I’m certain that many of the other restaurants around there are excellent as well, there just wasn’t enough time to sample them all. Perhaps another time, and another conference I will have more to report on the hunt for food in San Diego.

I think I will make reviewing restaurants a regular thing here on the site. It’s nice to cruise around and sample different places, and when traveling we try not to do the typical chain fast food places. It seems every business trip we eat in at least one Irish pub, so stay-tuned for more reviews and who knows, one day I may show up in your part of the world.

If you have recommendations for nearby where you live let me know, and if I get there I’ll check them out. In the meantime, maybe someone else can benefit from your review.

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