Food and other shopping available only in CA?
June 26, 2007 9:58 PM   Subscribe

So I'm going to San Diego because I'm a big ol' geek and I'm finally going to San Diego Comic Con this year, about which I'm super excited. While in San Diego, what food should I eat/buy?

I'm already planning on In-n-out burger and Jack in the Box, buying fresh masa for tamales (impossible to find in NYC), and hitting See's Candies for some yummy chocolates.

Any other suggestions for food to eat, specific San Diego recommendations (food and otherwise), things I might want to pick up in a supermarket, or y'know, anything else that might come to mind :) Again, don't limit yourself to food (although that's obviously on my mind) and I'd love to hear from anyone who's been to SDCC!

Keep in mind I live in New York City, which has a really awesome food scene of its own, so I'm specifically looking for stuff I could only get in CA, or that would be hard to find in NYC or on the East Coast.
posted by Samantha to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Point Loma Seafoods for chowder and fish.

El Pollo Loco for another fast food option you can't get in NYC.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:08 PM on June 26, 2007

Oh, and I got a surprisingly good sandwich on the fantail of the U.S.S. Midway museum, and that's walking distance from the convention center. The museum is cool, too, but I guess NYC has the Intrepid museum, which is similar.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:13 PM on June 26, 2007


End of story.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:16 PM on June 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seriously, 97% of displaced native San Diegans PINE for Roberto's. Burritos elsewhere just don't compare to San Diego taco stands.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:18 PM on June 26, 2007

In-N-Out (specific to California, not just San Diego, but still).


And Rubios, zomg times infinity. (Aside: "Rubios" means "Blondies", which is amusing considering the surfer demographic which is known for its patronage.)
posted by mdonley at 10:38 PM on June 26, 2007

Best answer: Hash House A Go Go is AMAZING. Rosemary biscuits there are the bomb.

There's also a fabulous chocolate confectioner's shop nearby.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:45 PM on June 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you walk 10 minutes west of the convention center, you run smack into two of my favorite things: Anthony's Fish Grotto (a not-too-fancy seafood restaurant) and the Star of India, which is a working 3-masted ship and also the hub of a maritime museum that includes a few other vessels. Last I was there, they had an old Soviet nuke sub you could walk through; that was pretty cool.

Also docked there and part of the museum was the HMS Rose, a ship that was made into a recreation of a c. 1800 British fighting frigate; it was used in the movie "Master and Commander."

I second the suggestion for fish tacos, which is a San Diego thing the way cheese-steak sandwiches are a Philly thing; Rubio's are indeed sui generis. There is also a lot of good Mexican food in San Diego.

Although I am not a tourist when I am in San Diego, I enjoy visiting Balboa Park, Seaport Village (also about 10 minutes from the SDCC), Old Town, the Zoo, and the Wild Animal Park; all of these are super-touristy places but I find them pleasant and diverting. If you do go to Seaport Village don't miss the world-class kite shop there.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:46 PM on June 26, 2007

Gee, thanks Miss Lynnster, now you've got me pining for three rolled tacos with guac! Also, if there's no Roberto's handy, Filiberto's or Adalberto's will do in a pinch.

And if you happen to make your way up the coast a bit, do stop in at The Potato Shack for some of their world famous "man-hole cover size pancakes" as well as, um, potatoes.

After your meal you can walk over to Swami's to check out the waves. Then head across the street to Hansen's Surf Shop to pick up some souvenirs or just watch the skaters on the half-pipe.
posted by shannonm at 10:58 PM on June 26, 2007

Yes, Hash House A Go-Go is the best restaurant in the U.S.

Eat there.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:19 PM on June 26, 2007

If you're not opposed to vegetarian food and a weird cult-like environment (but which is so worth going to for both the damn good food and the weird environment), you HAVE to go to Jyoti-Bihanga on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights. The fake turkey wrap is incredible, and if you're lucky enough to get the beet soup as the soup of the day, it's your lucky day!

But then there's the Mexican food...if there's no Roberto's, Filiberto's, or Adalberto's handy, Royberto's, Aliberto's or Huberto's will do in a pinch.
posted by lil' ears at 11:20 PM on June 26, 2007

DZ Akins
posted by rhizome at 11:21 PM on June 26, 2007

Best answer: Santanas: California Burrito or Carne Asade Fries

Seriously, I live in LA and friends and I will drive down just to eat there and then go home.
posted by ThFullEffect at 11:21 PM on June 26, 2007

Oh, and if you're not familiar with a California burrito, it's a burrito with meat, french fries, guac, avocado, salsa, and no beans. Most of the ____berto's chains also make great breakfast burritos.
posted by junesix at 2:06 AM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: Tom Spurgeon's guide to the Con (*Ahem*) features several recommendations about two-thirds of the way down.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:35 AM on June 27, 2007

Yes to Rubio's! Fish tacos are the main thing I miss about San Diego!
posted by Robert Angelo at 6:15 AM on June 27, 2007

I'm homesick.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:04 AM on June 27, 2007

Wahoos fish tacos are, in my opinion, far superior to Rubio's.
posted by samsarah at 7:35 AM on June 27, 2007

All excellent suggestions. I'd also recommend making a trip to Tijuana. Good for lots of random knicknacks, and be sure to try the taco stands.

If you want a burger, try Hodad's in OB.
posted by Brian James at 8:08 AM on June 27, 2007

Oh, and if you're not familiar with a California burrito, it's a burrito with meat, french fries, guac, avocado, salsa, and no beans. Most of the ____berto's chains also make great breakfast burritos.

It depends on where you go--most places I go to for CA burritos just have carne asada, fries, cheese and pico de gallo; no guac. A carne asada burrito however, is usually just carne asada and guac.

If you want a really interesting fish taco, go to South Beach, a restaurant located in Ocean Beach. I think they've got the same generic batter-fried type taco that everyone else has, but you can also get a grilled fish taco made with different kinds of fish. So you can get a shark or mahi mahi taco if you want. It's located at the western end of Newport Ave.
posted by LionIndex at 8:12 AM on June 27, 2007

Nthing the cheap Mexican food. People usually have their favorites but, like lil' ears says, any cheap hole-in-the-wall will do. Especially after a night of drinking (either that night or the next morning).
posted by natabat at 9:15 AM on June 27, 2007

el zarape and las quatro milpas
posted by booknerd at 10:20 AM on June 27, 2007

Best answer: eat mexican food until you pass out. pokez on 10th and e, a bit of a hike from the convention center, or a short cab ride.

but right before you pass out, also go try the new resturant starlite. its not that far of a drive from the convention center. great drinks and food.

see you at the con!
posted by fillsthepews at 10:25 AM on June 27, 2007

ps if you need more info on things, email's in the profile. ill be working at con this year, been lots of years.
posted by fillsthepews at 10:26 AM on June 27, 2007

Potato Shack is great, and the view from Swami's is excellent, but they're very far from the Convention Center. Hash House A Go Go is indeed fantastic, but for a big, cheap breakfast I like Kono's. You can eat out on their deck next to Crystal Pier or people-watch along the boardwalk.

South Beach, mentioned above, has fish tacos that are vastly superior to Rubios. Plus they have a full bar.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:26 PM on June 27, 2007

N+1st on the Mexican food, especially California burritos and Fish Tacos. El Cotixian is a very good place for the former. I'm in SF Bay Area now, and at least once a month, I get ideas about flash-freezing California and/or carne asada burritos and hauling them up to the bay.

Warning: if you like the Mexican food in SD, it may ruin your ability to eat Mexican food elsewhere, as it'll seem bland and tasteless.

If Anthony's Fish Grotto is the place I'm thinking of, it's really good too.
posted by bsdfish at 5:07 PM on June 27, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the really outstanding recommendations. I can't wait for next month!!
posted by Samantha at 10:46 PM on June 27, 2007

Hash House is fine, but the Tractor Room is better, owned by the same people and always less crowded. If the Hash House is jammed, walk across the street and hit the Tractor. I also like the Big Kitchen in South Park for breakfast. Be sure you say hi to Judy the Beauty.

Mister Tiki Mai Tai Lounge can be strangely fun.

In taco stand Mexican - I love El Cuervo in Hillcrest. Diagonally cross the street from El Cuervo is the Bronx - the only place to get pizza in San Diego.

In the can't avoid it while in California category: In-N-Out and Claim Jumper.
posted by 26.2 at 11:49 PM on June 28, 2007

The Dead Sea Scrolls are in San Diego right now; I went last week and they'll still be there during ComicCon. If you go to one museum exhibition this decade, this should probably be it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:06 AM on July 5, 2007

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