August 23rd, 2006: Travels With Joe, Part Two
Every year around late July, I get this feeling of elation that can only be associated with the San Diego Comic Con. But it has nothing to do with the show... it has to do with the food. I've probably mentioned these places in every SDCC wrapup I've ever done but frankly, they deserve it. Here's where the PIRATE COVE crew dines whenever we descend upon the Gaslamp District of San Diego... and they're ALL within walking distance of the Convention Center.
Every day for lunch, we eat at the Tin Fish. It's visable from the Convention Center, across from Hall H. It's located just across the train tracks, between the baseball stadium and the entrance to the Gaslamp District. Look for the fountain. And the long line of customers. Their specialty is their fish & chips but for me, nothing beats one of their Po Boy sandwiches, whether it be calamari, clam, shrimp, or fish (I haven't tried the oyster sandwich yet, tho.) And just when I thought their food couldn't get any better, they switched to a softer wheat roll for these sandwiches this year (they used to be served on a hard french roll) and I applaud the change. Some of the items on the menu may seem a bit expensive, but when you compare them to the $8 slices of pizza and $5 bottles of water you'd find in the Convention Center, you'll opt to spend the extra buck and get some quality eats instead.
Super Secret Tin Fish Hint: The line outside the Tin Fish can be daunting. It's sometimes a 1/2 hour wait just to place your order. You could be spending that half hour in the Convention Center, right? Then don't wait. Call them. Place your order over the phone and pick it up at the bar 15 minutes later.
For dinner, there are two places we always seem to end up at: Dick's Last Resort and Joe's Crab Shack.
Dick's Last Resort is a blast. Not just because of the down-home steak & potatoes style food they serve, but because of the atmosphere. When a server comes to your table, her basic attitude will be one of "I've had a hellish day and I don't want to wait on you." They tend to throw down a huge stack of napkins at random, toss the menu to you from 10 feet away, sit on your lap when taking the table's order, berate the men for ordering "wussy drinks," and one time, a waitress threw a tray at Randy because he had the nerve to talk back to her. You can also expect to get into napkin fights with people at the other tables, just don't throw anything else 'cause there's security guards on duty.
They'll let anyone in before 9PM so if you've got someone in your group under the age of 18, get there early. Warning: they usually have a live band playing and more often than not, they play REALLY LOUD. If you've got a problem with having to yell your conversations across he table, this might not be the place for you. But personally, I don't mind it because I'm usually busy knawing on one of Dick's huge & hearty chicken-fried steaks. Made from a REAL steak (not one of those hamburger-like substances you'd get at Denny's) and covered with a country gravy that smacks of jalapeno, this is a certified heart attack on a plate. And since we all gotta die someday, we might as well enjoy the ride. Have a few beers. You can ride the shuttle back to the hotel.
Joe's Crab Shack is located behind the Convention Center, on the Marina. That's me in the tie-dye shirt, leading the charge. They're more of a family-friendly version of Dick's Last Resort with a focus on seafood. Again, the prices can be a bit steep, but you get what you pay for. My personal favorite is the barbecued dungeoness crab. Prepare to get messy. I once tried their crabcake sandwich and wasn't too impressed. It was rather small and I couldn't taste the crab. Stick with the real hard-shelled goodness and you'll walk away happy. Besides barbecued, you can also have your crabs steamed or garlic-flavored.
Next time on The Captain's Table: Joe will show you how you can help support PIRATE COVE's advertising drive AND find some other great webcomics in the process! Then we'll get back to the 'Travels With Joe' series and talk about a restaurant you won't have to go to San Diego to dine at!