Today was our first full day in San Diego. After a complimentary (but greasy) breakfast at the hotel, Stephanie and I went exploring a little bit. The wedding wasn’t until early in the evening, so we had about four hours to wander around. First, we went down to the San Diego waterfront/boardwalk. It was REALLY nice out. Maybe 75 F with a light breeze coming in off the water. And sunny, too (so sunny that we both got a little sunburned – oops).
It was Saturday, so there were lots of folks out running and walking their dogs/babies. There also seemed to be a lot of tourists checking out the numerous street vendors/artisans and all the kitschy/touristy shops that dotted the boardwalk. We opted to avoid these and instead walked over to Petco Park (where the San Diego Padres play baseball).
Petco Park is really nice because it’s actually located downtown (unlike a lot of stadiums which are relegated to warehouse districts) so it’s super easy to walk to. Also, there’s large part of it (designated as the “Park at the Park”) that is always open to the public unless a baseball game is in session. This area is located behind the center field fence and includes a sandy play area (for the kids!), some grassy hills/berms, and lots of baseball-related statues/paraphernalia. It was pretty neat; I think it does a wonderful job of making the baseball stadium feel like a genuine part of the city/community. Good job, Padres.
Once we got to the park, we noticed that something was going on. It turned out that the Padres were carrying out their “Swing for Your Seats” promotion. Briefly, this is a promotion where anyone (as long as they haven’t played baseball in college/professionally) had the opportunity to sign up, go down to Petco Park, step into the batter’s box, and try and hit a home run off of a pitching machine. Each person only got one swing (they were allowed to take a pitch, too), but if they did hit a home run, they won a pair of SEASON TICKETS. I’d actually heard about this promotion earlier this month (I think it’s brilliant) so it was fortuitous that we were able to check it out. Most of the participants failed to make any contact and swung waaaaay too late (the pitching machine looked like it was throwing fairly fast; I think I read that it was set ~70 mph). Stephanie and I probably watched ~80 people swing; several people managed to make contact and foul the ball off, but I think only four or five hit the ball into fair territory. I’m not sure that anyone won free tickets, but just to have the chance to go down onto the field and swing a bat seems like a very cool opportunity. Once again – good job, Padres.
After we left the park, we wandered around the Gaslamp Quarter for a little bit until we happened across the Knotty Barrel (a “gastropub” – I guess that’s a thing in “hip” places?) where we stopped and grabbed some lunch. Stephanie got a beet salad (with an aged bourbon vinaigrette!) and I got the yogurt feta chicken sandwich. The feta was particularly tangy and the chicken had a very good marinade. Also, everything in southern California comes with avocado! Mine also came with a big ol’ serving of shoestring french fries. We both enjoyed lunch a lot. Once we finished eating, we wandered back towards the hotel. Soooooooooo many bars/restaurants was getting ready for St. Patrick’s day; we walked by dozens of places where folks were advertising Guinness/corned beef specials, hanging sparkly shamrocks over their doors, and lining their outdoor patios with AstroTurf. It all felt very festive.
Stephanie’s cousin’s wedding/reception was held at San Diego’s New Children’s Museum. The ceremony was outdoors in a little courtyard/park. The weather was perfect and the sun was setting just as the happy couple was saying their vows. The wedding was short and sweet and everyone looked lovely. I don’t have a lot of experience attending weddings, but I thought that this one seemed rather alright (understatement for effect). At the reception, there was an open bar (gin and tonics!) and a table covered with temporary tattoos that guests could apply to their arms/hands/rippling biceps in order to jazz up their outfits.
There were also kinds of two delicious hors d’oeuvres: pear+brie quesadillas and shrimp-wrapped steak medallions. Oh man. These were both really good. (I ate a non-zero amount of meat today, guys – you can consider this post to also be The Meat I Eat #13.) Dinner brought more delicious food. The highlights, for me, were the paella (with clams, mussels, AND shrimp) and the MASHED POTATO BAR. At the mashed potato bar, you put a big ol’ scoop of garlic mashed potatoes (there were also sweet potatoes) into a cocktail glass and then added any of 10+ toppings. I heartily encourage any/everyone to incorporate this idea into their weddings.
Dinner was accompanied by some wonderfully sappy toasts/speeches and followed by lots of dancing/boogieing/flailing around on the dance floor. And then cake. Most everything occurred with at least a little bit of excess, but weddings are mostly just big, happy love parties, so that’s to be expected. I had a wonderful time and Stephanie’s family seems pretty okay. Hooray!
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Miles run in 2014: 96.4
Books read in 2014: 21