As July gets closer San Diego Comic-Con attendees get their checklists in order. While getting ready to pack for the mecca of pop culture it might be easy to forget about one of the most important things to me when it comes to traveling… the food. With the craziness of San Diego Comic-Con, it is so easy to adopt a diet of dried fruit and protein bars while waiting in line for panels and off sites. This is the diet so many of us fall into, so it is easy to forget other options exist. Last year I arrived in San Diego a couple of days early to explore some of the eateries around the convention center.
1050 Columbia St., Downtown San Diego, CA 92101
Kuma Cafe is located on Columbia street right between Broadway and C St. This is about a 21-minute walk from the convention center but for those that attend Conan and other events at Spreckels theater it convenient. Both Westin Hotels, The Sofia, The Bristol, and The US Grant are 3-5 minutes up Broadway.
I stopped at Kuma Cafe after I picked up my tickets for the Conan O’Brien show at the Spreckels Theater. The Kuma Cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating and serves both breakfast and lunch. Their menu has a variety of sandwiches, bowls, salads, and smoothies. They also serve coffee which comes in handy when braving the long days and nights of SDCC.
As a fan of avocado toast, my eyes immediately went to the small sign on top of the counter that showcased their three different kinds of avocado toast. I decided on the garlic avocado toast as it blends two of my favorite foods, avocado, and garlic. The garlic avocado toast was absolutely delish! The pickled cayenne garlic had a nice little kick to it and the garlic aioli really brought the toast together. It blended well.
If you find yourself in the area Kuma Cafe is definitely worth a stop. I will be returning this year to try all three versions of the avocado toast to compare.
707 G Street
San Diego, Ca 92101
My favorite meal of the day is definitely breakfast, so any time I see the word breakfast in a restaurant title I look at the menu. Breakfast Republic’s menu stood out, as there are unique dishes on the menu. One of those unique dishes I decided to try, was the Turkey Meatloaf Hash. Meatloaf is one of my favorite foods, and when I gave up eating beef 12 years ago I thought It meant I would have to move on from this comfort food. A year later I started making my own turkey meatloaf but it wasn’t something that I commonly found in restaurants. This particular meatloaf dish is a breakfast hash. The dish included a mix of the turkey meatloaf, pesto, potatoes, spinach and topped with three eggs.
I am not a big fan of pesto so this dish was just ok for me. The pesto was a bit overpowering but I really wanted to taste their turkey meatloaf. It didn’t have a lot of individual flavor as it took on the flavor of the pesto but the mix with potatoes and spinach made for a good dish. If you are a fan of pesto I definitely recommend trying it. The jam that comes with their toast is delicious.
My younger sister had their chilaquiles with eggs, black beans, and Mexican rice. She said the flavor was just average, though I felt it tasted quite nice. I am a sucker for black beans and rice. I would order this dish again.
Breakfast republic is about at 20-minute walk from the convention center.
Athens Market Taverna
109 West F Street (1st and F), San Diego CA 9210
I belong to a rather large facebook group for San Diego Comic-Con badge holders, and for the last couple of years, we have had a meetup at Athens Market Taverna. Greek food is a favorite of mine as it tends to be pretty lean and works well within my diets.
One of my favorite dishes there is the Three Dip Combo! This appetizer is served with warm pita bread and does an excellent job in representing the flavors of Greek cuisine. I have ordered this dish the last three years during the meetup and I will be getting it again this year. Satziki is a combination of yogurt, cucumber, and garlic. None of these flavors are overpowering the other and blend well together. The Hummous, tahini, and garbanzo bean dip is smooth and pairs well with the pita bread. The Melizanasalata is an eggplant dip with big enough chunks of the eggplant that you can get a taste. I have found in my past experiences with eggplant that, it doesn’t really have a taste but this dip has tons of flavor.
The rest of the menu is a wide variety from pasta, to skewers, to sandwiches all highlighting the cuisine well. If you have room left over for dessert definitely try the Baklava!
This is a bit further into Gaslamp but is still within walking distance. If you are by Speckles theater it is about a 4-minute walk. Coming from the convention center is about a 20-minute walk.
The Field Irish Pub
544 5th AveSan Diego, CA
Last year (2018), was the first year I visited The Field Irish Pub, during another Facebook group meet up for San Diego Comic Con. As a fan of pub food (who isn’t?), I was excited to give this place a try.
Our group was seated upstairs in a section that was away from the commotion downstairs and perfect for group meetings. The pub offers a wide array for Irish Fayre (they even have a section of their menu dedicated to it) that any homesick UK attendee might find comforting. I decided to try the Whiskey Chicken Boxty. For those of you that don’t know, a boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake. These were served folded on each other topped with pieces of chicken. The boxty was then covered in a Jameson Whiskey cream sauce. It was absolutely delicious!
The Field Irish Pub serves brunch (Saturday/Sunday), lunch, and dinner and though I have only been there for dinner I definitely think this is a place you should stop. It is in a good location just a couple minutes walk from the convention center.
Bub’s @ The BallPark
715 J Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Now let me be honest with you from the beginning I did not try Bub’s regular menu because the second I saw they had a specialty tot’s menu my mind was made up. Yes, instead of a typical dinner I ordered two skillets of tots. And I regret nothing!
The first skillet I tried was the Nach-Yo. This consisted of crispy tots, melted cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and jalapenos. Basically, anything you would find on a plate of nachos was on these tots. As someone who loves both potatoes and nachos, I was in heaven.
The second skillet I tried was the Schm’animal Tots. Tots topped with cheese, caramelized onions, chopped bacon, and Thousand Island. I apologize for not having a picture of this but I was half-way through the tots when I remembered I was a food blogger. The tots were amazing.
You can guess from the name that this restraint is over by the ballpark, but is still relatively close to the convention center and well worth the trip. I will be back!
600 5th Ave. | Gaslamp District | San Diego, CA
Last but certainly not least, is a place I have visited every single time I have been in San Diego. Yes, it is that good. barleymash (the b is not capitalized) has an extensive menu that includes everything from mac and cheese skillets, to french fries skillets, to flatbreads, to steaks and sandwiches. They also have salads if you are looking for something lighter.
Last year I had The Hog Ranch, which is a Mac N Cheese skillet with apple-wood bacon, ranch dressing (homemade) and green onion. It tasted like perfection.
I have tried a lot of different things at this restaurant and I can honestly say that all of it has been amazing. barleymash is a couple of streets into Gaslamp but still in walking distance of the convention. It can get very crowded during the week of San Diego Comic-Con so do not be surprised if you have a wait. Trust me though, the wait is worth it!
*For more follow my food journeys on Instagram at @imonehungrynerd