Photo: Travis Payne [Getty Images]
After attending San Diego Comic-Con for the first time, I was surprised to realize that one of the best parts about the trip had nothing to do with the convention at all. Discovering the food in SD in and around the downtown area became like finding delicious haystacks in a city full of…haystacks. Below I picked eight of the best eateries I came across during my stay that anyone visiting absolutely needs to check out.
Located in the Gaslamp District, the Analog Bar was home to the annual SDCC Supernatural fan event Wayward Cocktails and was the perfect venue for a fun, intimate gathering (and I can attest they make a mean Whiskey Sour). Even better was when one of the servers assured me that I could hang out with my laptop – yep, I was working during the party because there’s no rest for the wicked – all night but that I should expect the tables to disappear and restaurant/bar to turn into something of a nightclub, which is how Analog rolls until two a.m. in the morning.
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My Cali buddy introduced me to my first breakfast in San Diego before Comic-Con at an AM eatery called Snooze. While she went for the breakfast tacos, I was forced to try avocado (still 50/50 on that) and mixed it with a delicious scrambled eggs dish flavored with cheese and sausage that also came with toast, jam, and a portion of hash browns. We decided to split the French Toast Neat, and, really, the photo speaks for itself.
A great bonus for pet owners is that the restaurant is super dog friendly, particularly for those open to sitting outside. So, if you take your furry babies with you everywhere this is a nice place to grab breakfast for the whole crew.
If pizza is your comfort food and New York-style pies hit the spot, Pizzeria Luigi is the place to be. I’m a pretty picky eater so I went with the safe selection: two slices of classic cheese pizza. However, there are flavors and toppings for everyone’s taste buds, including the usual toppings or Luigi classics like the Michelangelo, Leonardo, or the Mona Lisa that was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The pizzeria also has the perfect kickback vibe with a pool table, foosball table, TV’s, music, and optional outdoor seating. Complete with laidback employees and a chill atmosphere, this pizzeria is a must visit.
My friend who accompanied me on my food journey during Comic-Con was determined that I had the best authentic tacos around. Tacos El Gordo is an O.G. family owned and operated company that prides itself on quality authentic Tijuana tacos. The place was packed with people and lines when we arrived, and for good reason. The ingredients are made from scratch and the food is fresh, from the tortillas to the nearby the slab of meat being carved for their popular Adobada (or Adovada) dish. I fell in love with their carne asada tacos and the cilantro of my dreams that day. The fries and drinks were on point, too.
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Short and sweet: if you’re craving dessert, head over to Little Italy to grab some handmade ice cream at Salt & Straw. The popular ice cream chain offers a variety of unique flavors and samples. I went with two scoops, the Chocolate Gooey Brownie on bottom with the Salted, Malted, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough scoop on top and was pretty depressed that the city I live in only has a Dairy Queen to compete with. I tried a bite of my friend’s Thorn Brewing Boysenberry Shandy and immediately regretted not getting a third scoop.
Near the end of my stay in San Diego when I was particularly hot, exhausted, and sweaty from walking around the convention center and the humidity (I’m not built for this weather, guys), I wandered into Skybound Coffee to cool off. With their treats on display, I decided to take a seat and indulge. The tartberry smoothie hit the spot, and their new chocolate mousse cake was smooth and rich but not too sweet to enjoy. What makes the place extra special, though, is the energetic and helpful employees who are as eager to serve you as you are to hang out on their comfy padded benches.
Tired in my hotel room one night, I decided to let GrubHub deliver me a meal from a nearby restaurant called Stacked. I was intrigued by the fully customizable options and decided to order the stacked macaroni and cheese with blackened chicken, a salad customized by yours truly, fries, and a little chocolate brownie because I’m on vacation and the thousands of steps I walked during my week in San Diego certainly helped me burn off any additional calories. I was too exhausted to remember to grab a photo to show off the mouthwatering food, but trust me when I tell you it was worth the delivery fee.
I saved the best for last with San Diego’s Breakfast Republic which takes the top spot in my food heart for personality and taste. If you’re looking for the most delicious breakfast options accompanied by lattes, mimosas, or beer, this is where you want to eat. Being greeted by a Christopher Walken photo at the entrance that says “No Reservations, Walkens Only” is a good sign that you’ve come to the right place.
I ordered the American dish which comes with eggs, choice of sausage links or bacon, house potatoes, and your choice of bread. I went with the English muffin, and my friend and I split the churro pancakes which again had me crying over going home knowing that I only had IHOP or Denny’s to choose from.
Along with their A+ food, Breakfast Republic’s sense of humor and dedication to brand was more than enough to make me fall in love with the place, and the atmosphere deserves as much recognition as the food. I mean, how can you not love a breakfast joint with a rooster in its logo and their Wi-Fi password listed on their menu as RunCockRun?