I associate certain restaurants with particular places fairly strongly, so much so that going to eat somewhere becomes a major goal of a trip. When I got to Cincinnati, I want to eat at Skyline; when I'm in Athens (GA), The Grill or Taco Stand is an important stop; and Ann Arbor draws me toward Cottage Inn, Zingerman's or Blimpieburger. During my recent trip to Berkeley, I missed my chance to visit Blondie's, a pizza place that is one of my few positive memories of my year there.
Yesterday afternoon, we were given the afternoon off the conference to explore San Diego. I decided to skip the sights and TCOB. Steve, another guy from Back East, had business at the same location, so I gave him a ride.
We needed to find a place to grab a quick lunch. Searching my memories of my summer in San Diego, the UTC food court was a close, convenient place to get a bite. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to us that holiday shopping season would be in full swing, and the quest for a parking space would throw "quick" out the window. Eventually, however, my karma prevailed and we found a place.
Steve lost any concern with his delay when he discovered that the food court contained a Rubio's franchise. Rubio's is, he explained, San Diego's foremost purveyor of fish tacos. Fish tacos, I knew, were the characteristic food of San Diego. I remember being jarred by the sight of a "Fish Tacos" sign at a concession stand at a Padres game.
I admit I didn't find Rubio's fish tacos particularly exquisite compared to others I had tasted before. But I was glad to get a chance to go there, even if I never made it to Blondie's.