mst3k | plot thinnens

San Diego 2015: Comic-Con or Bust -- Part I


We started the day at the crack of dawn, sarea_okelani having stayed over the night before so as to not have to get up at ungodly hours to drive over. Plan A, which was to hire an Uber to get us to the airport, thankfully went off without a hitch. As did getting through security -- we were directed to the pre-approved line, so no requirements to remove shoes, toiletries, laptops, jackets, etc. (though I got through the metal detector just fine with both a hoodie and a denim jacket, Sarea set off the machine with her hoodie and was made to go through again without it). With plenty of time to waste, we strolled across the concourse in both directions and settled for breakfast at the food court. Breakfast was fish tacos, chowder, and coffee because at the airport, there are no rules.

The flight itself was uneventful, except for the defective latch for my tray table, which allowed the table to fall every time the person in front of me so much as breathed. Upon arrival, we hoofed it over to the courtesy van pick-up area for our hotel shuttle; it showed up right as we did, and when we alit, the driver gave Sarea her bag first, so we were able to check in without any wait. All these incredibly smooth and non-tedious travel experiences made us very suspicious; we waited the whole day for several snafu-laced shoes to drop.

Comic Con ran from Wednesday (Preview Night) through Sunday; we'd arrived on Tuesday afternoon and didn't have tickets for Preview Night or Saturday, so essentially had two and a half days of free time. We filled it with food and massages. Is there any other way?

First stop: Shino Sushi + Kappo. We both got the Chirashi Bowl, well worth the $15 price tag. Sarea also got an order of hamachi belly (surprisingly not that tender, compared to the fish in the chirashi bowl!).

In every vacation we've done together, dessert has played an integral part; this trip was no different. We Ubered to the Hillcrest neighbourhood for gelato at Pappalecco. The girl at the counter was very friendly and had a lovely Italian accent. Sarea got spumoni and Pappalecco flavor (which was hazelnut something or other); I got lemon.

We went to the bank after that, as Sarea had forgotten to bring enough cash with her, and then to Vons to pick up snacks, ziploc bags, sunscreen, and vitamin C (sweaty nerd bodies everywhere in close proximity at the con; don't know what you might catch). A somewhat hot manager directed us to the right aisle; no photo documentation achieved.

Karma Spa next. We'd both signed up for the President package, a 2-hour package with head-to-toe reflexology, full-body massage, and steam room. All this for $80! It was one of those Asian massage places, which is why it was relatively cheap; it was fine, but inconsistent with regard to quality. Though we didn't sign up for it at the initial booking, they put us in a couples room so we were able to vaguely hear what was going on with each other (Sarea heard me giggling when I got my feet massaged), and we got quite different massages, it seemed like. Also, my masseuse spent an inordinately long time kneading at my left leg and then sort of just rubbed oil on my right. It was weird.

Uber back to the hotel. We had an interesting Uber driver, Patrick, who used to do Comic Con a lot. He told us about his old comic collection, which he'd had to sell off in bulk during the recession, containing Batman vol. 1, acquired for $10,000 and sold for the same, and explained rating systems for the conditions of comics. I may have tuned out a wee bit here.

A bit of dithering at the hotel, and then a walk to Little Italy, just a few blocks away. Dinner was at Davanti Enoteca.

We had the focaccia di recco (highly recommended by our server -- focaccia stuffed with soft cow cheese and topped with a small hunk of honeycomb), riccio di mare granchio (linguine with sea urchin and crab), and roasted cauliflower.

Both the focaccia and pasta were great, but the cauliflower was... not exactly a disappointment, but the flavours were very unexpected and zesty; it tasted almost like a dessert.

We were once again blessed with a hot guy as the manager, who looked a little like Guy Pearce, and Richard Madden in profile. It started a conversation on our way back to the hotel about Richard Madden that we got so involved in that we walked about four blocks past where we should have turned, until a cockroach crossed our path and sufficiently grossed us out enough that we emerged from the blissful Richard Madden haze and realized our mistake. Thanks, street cockroach, you disgusting evolutionary mistake.


A truly exhausting day this was, starting out with a couple hours at the spa. We Ubered back to Hillcrest for this. Experts in San Diego routes by now, we totally noticed that our driver missed turns and took a bit of a long way there. Tsk. We also asked him for food recs, as he was a longtime local and drove a fancy car so might have money to splurge on good eats. Imagine our delight at being in the know about these great establishments: Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and the Old Spaghetti Factory. We stopped speaking to him after that.

Cascade Spa was another Asian massage place, but a little nicer than the last. Sarea and I got different packages this time, though they started us out in the same steam room, in which we nearly died, it was so hot. Sarea was then whisked off to the jacuzzi (where she nearly died some more from the warmth of the water), while I got a body scrub/Vichy shower and then reflexology and a full body massage, also in Sarea's package. I was very pleased with my masseur -- one of the best massages I've had -- until Sarea and I walked outside and he asked for my phone number.


On to better things -- Oscar's Mexican Seafood! We both got a Surf and Turf taco and a grilled octopus taco, which confused the kitchen staff as they thought it was a replicated order and didn't bother to make mine until the cashier noticed I was still waiting. And then they piled apologies on top of my tacos in the form of extra everything. It was delicious, so very delicious. I will have dreams about that octopus taco for years to come.

Uber back with driver Kris, who was also in town for SDCC and just decided to make some money while he was at it. He and Sarea talked Game of Thrones for a bit, though he admitted he wasn't all the way caught up with the most recent season before Sarea could accidentally spoil him about Jon Snow (though he had heard that something had happened). We were surprised he'd even lasted this long without getting even more spoiled. He said he didn't have tickets to the con, but that "he had his ways." Intrigue! On drop-off, he gave us promo codes for Lyft, a driver service much like Uber, and it turned out great for us because on sign-up Lyft gave us three $15 credits, which was essentially three free rides.

We used our first to get to the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center to pick up our con badges. Traffic was kind of awful but our Lyft driver Daniel, a bit brusque at first, was very efficient and knowledgeable about different routes, and got us to the T&C twenty minutes earlier than his GPS predicted. We tucked and rolled out the car, and got in line for the badges, a line that went much quicker than we'd anticipated. In fact I think we got through in about ten minutes. Lanyards were next (Penny Dreadful-themed) and then program books and complimentary tote bags. We both ended up with Batman v. Superman ones, but Sarea managed to trade hers with a nice lady who didn't care about not having an Arrow bag. I kept mine, as I didn't see anything worth trading for (other ones we saw were Flash and Gotham). We took pictures of each other with our bags, Sarea excited about Arrow, and me the face of ambivalence.

Lyft back with McKenzie, the only female driver we had the whole trip. She was super nice and told us about many bunnies she's accidentally run over, living next to her boyfriend's parents, wanting to move to Portland (for the hiking; we had little to contribute on this topic), and visiting Australia for over two months.

Initially, because of the way SDCC runs its badge pick-ups, we thought we'd have to go downtown to get the rest of our single-day badges, but this turned out not to be the case. So while that was a pleasant turn of events, we were now at loose ends for dinner plans. Yelp told us there was a good taco place in Little Italy called Taco Express, so we decided to go with it.


Sarea got beef and chicken tamales; I got a fish taco and a carnitas taco. Everything was meh. We sort of expected a minor letdown, considering the mindblowingness of Oscar's, but even by regular taco standards these were subpar. Incredibly disappointing considering we were in San Diego, which is almost Mexico! Neither of us finished our food. I'm not angry with you, Yelp, I'm just disappointed. The one upside was that there was a very cute guy sitting behind me, so Sarea executed the trick of pretending to take pictures of me while secretly focusing on him in the background. What stealth masters we are.

A short trek to another branch of Pappalecco to save the evening. Sarea got spumone and I pistachio; much tastiness all around. There are no pictures of the gelato; it all got eaten before the camera could come out.

Here, again, the cashier had an Italian accent. Curious.

Although we hadn't actually done much of anything this day, we were both tired and sort of dreading having to brave the infamous SDCC lines and crowds in store for us the next day.

Adelagia: "Why am I so tired?"
Sarea: "We're old, Adelagia. Very old. Let's see if Matlock's on TV."

Part II ahoy!

  • Current Mood: exhausted exhausted