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PA Hound in San Diego on a budget

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Staying just N of the Gaslamp Quarter and will be attending events at the convention center, which I believe is just S of there.

I was there many years ago and ate at a very small (or at least very narrow) Mexican place that was quite affordable and tasty. I recall sitting at a bar and pretty much watching them prepare my food. Ring a bell for anyone? I believe this was pretty close to the convention center.

In addition to that I'm looking for some affordable chow in what I suspect is a high priced area. I'm lucky to be going to this convention, so I'd like to be respectful when submitting that expense report when it comes to the food category.

I'll try just about anything really. Perhaps a Brewery? Or perhaps something ethnic like Thai or Vietnamese place.


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  1. Well, I don;'t know about ethnic, but Ciero's pizza has damn good NY style thin crust on the corner of market and 6th in the heart of gaslamp. great pizza at good prices.

    1. During Comic Con, I spotted a hot dog place on F St., between 4th and 5th on the north side of F, that sells hot dogs from a manufacturer in New York State that uses a recipe dating back to the late 1800s. Unfortunately, I got there before they opened, so didn't get a chance to try one, but I passed it on my way back to the car and they smelled great.

      1. Yup, the ESRI conference. It's a huge deal - I've heard as many as 15K. Was there 5 or 6 years ago, the put on a nice and informative event.

        Hot Dogs and Pizza - those are right up my ally, and certainly fit into my low budget needs. Thanks guys.

        I'll be online periodically through the weekend and next week, so any more ideas are welcome, and I'll post some chow updates as well.

        Any other GIS chowhounds out there?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ace_Mclean

          If you like hot dogs, then I have a warning for you - there's a place in the Horton Plaza food court, next to Hot Dog on a Stick, that sells grilled hot dogs. They are terrible. Do not waste your money.

          1. re: Ace_Mclean

            Ace, I will be there love to meet you at The Tin Fish for lunch or dinner, moderatly priced and great fish tacos. They are in the gaslamp area between your hotel and the Convention Center message me at the OBX board so we can do a hook up MikeW

            1. re: Ace_Mclean

              You'll like Ciro's. They have a lunch deal, soda and two slices for $6 - one of the best bargains downtown.

            2. Red Pearl Kitchen on J between 4th & 5th has tasty Asian fusion food. Moderately priced food. Expensive cocktails.

              I enjoy the Chicken/Ginger potsickers, Shrimp beggar purses, Shaking Kobe beef, Garlic cashew chicken & Chinese sausage noodle dish.

              Tasty asian food in Gaslamp. Its a trendy place, but friendly and all kinds of people inside on the 2 times I ate there. www.redpearlkitchen.com

              1. Just a quick update.
                Ciro's was a great suggestion, Josh - thanks. Had a couple of slices - 1 cheese - 1 white for a late lunch. Those 2 big slices plus a soda were 6 bucks - very reasonable. I'd give them an 8/10.

                I've gotten the hang of things around here, including the trolley, so if anyone has suggestions near the orange line, that would be doable.

                After a long day, I'll be looking to grab take out of some sort for dinner. Not sure what the neighborhood is called, but I'm just north of the Gaslamp district, not far from the freeway and Balboa park.

                Anyone online have some ideas for takeout or even delivery? Sandwiches, Chinese, Mexican?

                1. Back from San Diego - thanks for all the recomendations. If any of you are ever in PA or NC, those are the areas I know best.

                  A decent cheap chow adventure, but I've got lot's more to try next time. The combination of not feeling well and finding some good deals early in the week allowed me to spend a little bit more toward the end of my trip. Here's a recap.

                  Ciro's pizza (8 out of 10) - very good pizza, quick service and affordable.

                  Tin Fish (8/10)- excellent halibut tacos (also affordable), next time I'll try some of the other varieties - salmon, shrimp, etc. Had chips and salsa as well, but the salsa was medicore and the chips tasted OK but were very greasy. This place was packed at lunch, especially the first day. It's right across from the convention center and next to the stadium.

                  Yacht Club (in the Marriot Marina) (3/10) - had a grilled mahi sandwich. Not to bad, but a little bland. Service was a little slow. The view was great and they had some other interesting choices on their menu. But it did not knock my socks off.

                  La Fiesta (Gaslamp on 5th Ave) - I'd give it a 6/10. The complimentary salsa they serve was quite good and spicy, not overly tomato-ee, which I believe is more authentic. I had the tamales, which were average overall. The meat to corncake ratio was perfect, and they were nice and moist. The mole sauce they used to top them was disapointing. Be warned the real prices are 2-4 dollars higher than they have posted on their web site. The service was fantastic though. I had a better experience at Fred's Mexican Cafe about 5 years ago. La Fiesta is forgetable.