I was in San Diego, CA for work last week. It was by far my favorite work trip so far! It started cold and dreary but ended up to be a great trip. My only regret was that I didn’t extend my stay and drive up the coast. I was ‘this close’ (said with my index finger and thumb just millimeters apart) to calling the travel agent and changing my flight but since I have another work trip this coming week I felt I should come home and at least do some laundry before I left again =)
I arrived on Saturday and immediately got to work. Well, maybe not immediately – I did stop off at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Hamiltons Tavern, for a bite to eat first. It’s a local sports bar but they are known for their grilled cheese. ‘Surprising’ is the only word I can use although it doesn’t give it credit at all. I ordered ‘The Rip Taylor’ which had slow roasted pulled chicken, pesto, red onion, tomato and provolone (I omitted the onion and tomato). It was delicious! I have to say I was doubtful of the restaurant choice by my colleague, Steve, as we were driving there but like always, he did a phenomenal job choosing. I would definitely recommend this place!
In addition to Hamiltons Tavern, I also dined at these restaurants while I was in San Diego:
I went to Roys with a group of ladies and we had such a great time. It was a nice relaxing dinner before the craziness of the week started. The waiter was a riot as he had much input on what we should eat and drink, but he did good because I took his recommendations and was not disappointed. Although we did have some laughs at how he described some of the menu items! We had the Calamari and Crunchy Golden Lobster Potstickers as appetizers. All good choices. Then I had the swordfish for the entree – another delicious choice! But dessert was the highlight – we ordered one item on the list but then our waiter brought ‘his treat to us’ and it was heavenly. The chocolate mousse was to die for! Even now, I have no words to describe how fantastic it was! Just trust me!!
San Diego Wine and Culinary Center -
On Sunday we had a group dinner for the executive conference that was going on at this show. Since I was helping out with that conference I also attended the dinner and the food was good but the place itself was spectacular! It is only for private parties so we had the place to ourselves. The décor was simply gorgeous. I wish I had taken more photos.
Asti Ristorante -
As a ‘Thank you’ dinner to the entire team, we all went to dinner at this Italian restaurant. The food was good, the wine was good, and it was nice to spend time with people outside of the convention center. I had the Gamberoni e Capesante (and yes, I had to point to the menu as I have NO CLUE how to pronounce that!!). English translation: grilled jumbo shrimp and large scallops =) Yummy!
Rama Thai -
I had declared one night my ‘room service night’ which I always do on work trips but decided to go out once I was asked by a friend to go to Rama Thai. It sounded good and I knew the company would be even better. I am lucky to work with such fun and wonderful people! Well, the wait was annoying – more annoying for the others who were there as I showed up later than everyone else – but once we were seated, dinner was great. We ordered almost every appetizer on the menu and we were not disappointed. Sounds funny but the sauces for the appetizers were the hit of dinner! We all loved them. The atmosphere in the restaurant was fun and intimate. It was a smaller place than I would have thought but nice and cozy. I had the Pad See-ew with shrimp. The flat rice noodles were delicious — thank you for the recommendation, Charles =)
Well, this blog post has turned into an all food post so I need to switch gears as there were many more highlights of my San Diego trip!
One of the most exciting things about this work trip was the fact that I met several famous people! Yeah! It’s never a bad day when you are put on ‘famous person duty’ which I was for the first 3 days I was there. How fun is that?!
First, I was in charge of Michael Reagan. Yes, like son to President Ronald Reagan! Although I didn’t know much about him before meeting him, I can sum him up in one word now – Charismatic! He loves life and is an absolute pleasure to be around. From the moment I met him in the lobby of the hotel, he had a smile on his face that never went away. I spend the next few hours getting him ready for his presentation and it never felt like a chore. He made me laugh and was great company. And I must have made an impression on him because he mentioned me several times during his presentation. Yeah – I felt pretty cool – Thanks Mike =)
My next famous person duty was to Jerry Zucker. He is a Hollywood director/producer that has directed movies such as Ghost, Airplane and the Naked Gun movies. As you would expect, he was a quirky, casual, director/producer-type. He was very interesting but unfortunately I didn’t spend as much time with him as I did with Michael. He had a ‘middle-man’ that took care of him mostly. His presentation was great and it was fun to hear about how he broke into the film business and the many stories he has.
The next was by far my favorite and it’s an experience I will never forget. I was the lucky lady to take care of Jim Abbott. Now, I must admit, I am not a huge baseball fan so I was not aware of his story but it didn’t take long for me to realize what a fantastic story he had.
I went down to the lobby and then quickly took him upstairs as he had to start signing books ASAP! We had 120 books for him to sign before he spoke to the group. So while he signed the books, I was able to chat with him about life and the process of writing the book. It was perfect. I now work with books everyday – marketing them, cover concepts, etc. – so it was nice to speak to someone on the other side of the table. I picked his brain about working with the Random House team, and he picked mine about what my favorite types of authors are, least favorite, etc. He was incredibly easy-going and humble. As a matter of fact, my favorite moment was when I told him he was giving me serious ammunition for friends and family as everyone would be jealous I was meeting him, and guess what he did….he smiled and blushed! Right there as we are overlooking the San Diego bay and he is signing 120 books about his life – he blushed because of something I said. What a guy!
Needless to say, his presentation was phenomenal and everyone loved him! He spoke and everyone listened. No one was checking email, getting up to use the restroom, nothing. Even the wait staff who were serving lunch stopped and just listened. He was captivating and really made you feel like you were there. He talked about his no-hitter game for the NY Yankees and as he was describing it, I was actually anxious to hear the outcome (like I didn’t already know). But even more, he had people in tears. Grown men in tears. And not because he was trying to tell a sad story. It wasn’t sad at all – it was inspiring. The line to meet him after his presentation grew quickly and he didn’t turn anyone away. He spoke to everyone, took pictures and smiled the whole time. Once the last person took a picture, he turned to me and asked ‘what’s next?’. He was willing to do more even after all that. I told him he was done and after walking to get his things together, he turned, gave me a hug, wished me luck in life and told me I should stay an extra day in California. I should have listened! I am reading his book now and I can’t get enough – be sure to check it out if you haven’t already:
As if my famous week could not get any better, guess what else I found in San Diego? The bar that Top Gun was filmed in!!!!! Kansas City Barbeque You know, the piano scene (“take me to bed or lose me forever”), the singing scene (“you’ve lost that loving feeling”) – that one! As soon as I heard about this, it was my mission to go there. So as the days passed and I hadn’t gone, I was starting to get disappointed. But on the last night in San Diego I had the most fun! I went to the bar, got the VIP tour with a group pic behind the bar, and even played some trivia! Random, but it was fun =) I was terrible at the trivia by the way! The bartender told us the Top Gun bar story (in exactly 2 minutes so clearly he has it down!) and I was in awe. I have always loved the movie so it was really fun for me. And I have to commend the guys who were with me – they were all willing to sing. I didn’t hold them to it but I wanted to – REALLY bad!!
From there we left and had a great time a local bar in the Gaslamp district. And again I must say, I work with some really great people! I had more fun that night than I have in a while. Dancing, signing and have a blast!
Then it was time to come home. It was a fantastic show and California treated me right. I hope to go back to San Diego again so I can do some more exploring but for now I sing…I left my heart in San Diego (yeah, yeah, I know it’s really San Francisco, but you get the point!).