What do “giant meatballs”, “Victorian charm” and a “swinging padre” all have in common?
If you guessed that these are all things that make San Diego one of my favorite cities to visit every year you were right !!!
What’s amazing though, is how much new stuff there is to do every time I come back to San Diego.
I’m not talking about just new stores or restaurants, I’m talking about full scale attractions and entire neighborhoods to see.
I've lost track how many times I have visited San Diego.
And you know what?
I have never had a chance to explore the "Gaslamp Quarter."
In fact, I have driven and even walked through it not knowing I was even in it.
Well, this trip I got lucky.
The AARP “Ideas@50+” event was held at the Convention Center.
We stayed at the Sofia Hotel which is located just at the North edge of this fascinating area.
So, by default, we drove through it, biked through it and even spent time walking through it.
So what is the Gaslamp Quarter?
The Gaslamp Quarter National Historic District is the heart of Downtown San Diego.
It is a 16 block neighborhood best known for stunning examples of Victorian architecture as well as being a fabulous entertainment destination.
There are more than 100 diverse restaurants, nightclubs, lounges and live music venues.
Add on another 70 studios, boutiques, galleries and gift shops and you have a destination that takes, at least, a couple of days to explore.
If you plan on staying in the area, there are more than 20 hotels directly adjacent to the neighborhood.
I’ll be honest, Doc and I just barely touched the surface of what there is to see in this unique community.
Most of the time I spent staring up at the astonishing architecture of the stunning storefronts.
In the daytime, the neighborhood is awash in a mix of tourists in brightly colored, knee high shorts and New Balance shoes and snappy looking local businessmen darting in and out of the ornate doorways of the restored properties.
However, at night, especially on the weekends, the streets become a sea of hipster local “GQ and “Cosmo” wannabees trying to impress each other with their bohemian style, bad habits and apparently how much alcohol they can ingest.
Doc and I are avid people watchers so we found both crowds fascinating and highly entertaining.
We had just spent the morning at the AARP event and decided to walk for a while to see the sights and find a unique place to appease our appetites.
Restaurants of all calibers lined the streets and many were very crowded.
Being that we were dressed in our bike riding “casual mode” we quickly ruled out any place with stiff white tablecloths and matching napkins.
It was definitely a "burger and beer" kind of afternoon.
We knew we had found our dining destination as we strolled up to a place called “Dick’s Last Resort”
You have to visit "Dick’s" to really experience "Dick’s."
They call themselves “The Shame of the Gaslamp Quarter.”
The gal at the front station informed me they had a space or two at the bar inside, even as I looked over the relatively empty patio area.
But, since it was relatively warm outside, we felt the inside seating would suit us better.
If you have never been to Dick’s, then I highly recommend that you park your humility and good manners at the curb and put on your best display of sarcasm and bad humor.
The whole gimmick of Dick's is that they treat you poorly on purpose.
The waiters are ill mannered and will dish it out to you during your entire meal.
Their goal is to offend and entertain.
It can be very humorous if you come here with the right attitude.
Since I exude deep levels of cynicism and sarcasm, I found myself right at home with the behavior of the staff.
In fact, I may have pissed one of them off by being a little too abrasive.
Our waiter, Trevor, was odd to say the least in his pink t shirt and tennis shoes.
You really couldn't tell if he was acting or not.
At the very least we found him humorous and affable.
It took a long time to get our beers considering we sat at a table right next to the bar.
But they were cold and we were in no hurry.
The burgers arrived relatively quick and were unexpectedly big and juicy.
They came with fries that were actually crispy and nicely seasoned.
We ordered another round of beers.
They were swiftly delivered to our table and they were cold too.
What the hell was going on here?
A big, tasty burger, crunchy French fires and really cold beer is not what I expected from a place like Dick’s.
Sure, it was bar food just like an Applebee's or Red Robin and maybe it was a little over priced but I have to give the joint two thumbs up.
Hey, maybe we caught them on a good day, but if I am ever in the Gaslamp Quarter again and hungry for some standard bar fare then I will definitely return to be abused by the dicks at Dick’s.
Why don’t you stop by again tomorrow and I’ll let you know what happened.
Or maybe I’ll be a dick and not tell you anything.
It's easy to tell them about it.
Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.
The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!
Thanks for joining me..........................................................