This year was to mark my fourth in a row attending San Diego Comic Con, the behemoth of a pop-culture convention that marks the culmination of the nerd calendar. Considering I’ve lived in LA for five years and missed the first SDCC by choice (I went to NBA Summer League in Las Vegas instead), that feels like a pretty good track record… that is, if I had a ticket to get in the convention.
See, I was shut out of SDCC this year for tickets – not only did my ‘prior attendee pre-sale’ lottery ticket not come up, I also failed in the general lottery. And not only THAT, I had no idea until it was too late that I can register as a professional since I write and self-publish a giant monster comic called Kodoja. So really, triple-fail for me.
However, the failure notice came early enough for my fiancé to apply and get in as a volunteer for an off-site Comic Con thing, and SDCC has enough non-convention activities to make a weekend there worth your time – so I went anyway! Here are the highlights:
SAN DIEGO RECORD SHOW
As I’ll cover in an upcoming podcast episode, San Diego hosts a quarterly record show that happened to be going on that weekend. Hell with Comic Con, it’s San Diego RECORD Con! Not overly big but still stocked full of good records, the show takes up the hall of an LGBT community center in North Park (I think). Whether or not you’ve been to a record show I think you get the gist: a bunch of dealers with records! I bring my portable turntable and set aside a couple hours to listen to prospective purchases – always a good time!
MICROBREWERIES AND FOOD
San Diego and its nearby areas (like Carlsbad) boast an abundance of microbreweries, the North Park neighborhood a particularly shining example of microbrew goodness.
SODA AND SWINE: next to the cocktail bar ‘Polite Provisions’, this spot offers up seriously good mac and cheese and beyond seriously good Meatballs and Meatball sliders (in multiple varieties). Also check for the pizza knots, mozzarella-filled doughballs of goodness.
MIKE HESS BREWERY: tasting room on site, you walk right by the giant vats over a suspended walkway to get to the tasting room. The Soul Traveling favorite is the Vienna Cream Ale,with almost every other beer delicious and commendable (the pilsners and wheats are sick!) I give the Soul Traveling gas face to the Rye IPA – I’m not an IPA guy and the Rye seems to make it even more hoppy, dry and bitter if that’s possibly. You really make the gas face when you try it, Bam!
BELCHING BEAVER: the actual brewery is in Carlsbad but there’s a tasting room in North Park, and on the whole I found their beers thoroughly delicious. The Milk Stout gets a good rep (I thought it was okay and had a strong coffee flavor), but the real sure shots are the Peanut Butter Stout (I don’t even like Stouts and I thought this was SICK), and the ‘Me So Honey’ Honey Blonde, which is one of the best five beers I’ve ever tasted.