Where to Eat and Drink in San Diego (and other stuff to do): CEDIA Edition

We’ve been in San Diego setting up for CEDIA for three days now, and we’ve had just enough time to enjoy a handful of meals in city. We figured we’d share these as suggestions for you, dear CEDIA attendee.

[Oh, and definitely come and check us out at Booth #5935! Before then, you can see all of our products out in the field here.]


Our hotel, and the convention center itself, is in the Gaslamp Quarter, so our list will be somewhat specific to this location. Between the weather and the center’s proximity to great food and drink, it’s a wonder the show isn’t held in San Diego every year. Unlike when the event is held in other locations, CEDIA attendees will not be hostage to crappy convention center food – though, in our experience, even convention center food is better in California.

A quick bit of background on the Gaslamp Quarter – It is both a historical district with tons of historic buildings that cover about 16 blocks. If you have the time to do so, it’s well worth checking out the plaques on each and taking in some of the history. It’s also rich in restaurants and bars, and so the nightlife and party scene is robust. Be sure to drink plenty of water, friends, as our nights can go late and the show floor opens up early.

Fried Cheese Tacos: Pretty much everywhere in the area boasts a number of variations of street tacos, but the option to add a ton of fried cheese to your taco makes El Chingon worth a visit. The drinks are decent and everybody who works and hangs out here is intimidatingly more attractive than any of us in the field of Consumer Electronics. Their shirts, which read “Making Mexican Great Again” are pretty amazing. At about 9, this place becomes a bit more of a club, so if you’re looking to eat be sure to prioritize getting in beforehand.

Mezcal Mash: The food, especially the queso dip, is well worth checking out at Don Chido, but their Mezcal Mash, and other agave based drinks, are very well made. Their happy hour specials are also generous, and we had a great conversation with one of the bartenders—a gentleman with a waxed mustache—that helped inform where we’ll be eating and drinking in the days to come. We were also promised the nachos were well worth returning for.

Octopus Tacos: Our helpful bartender at Don Chido told us that we absolutely had to try the octopus tacos—specifically the Pulpo Ajillo—at Mariscos El Pulpo.

Craft Beer + Tots: As beer snobs from Maine, which may have the highest amount of breweries per capita in the United States, we’re always on the lookout for great local brews wherever we go. Knotty Barrel has over 100 beers available, flights of whiskey, and awesome pub fare like pulled pork and tots. Also, the vibe is really friendly and they’re pet friendly on their patio, which is super great. Speaking of craft beer, San Diego has a hell of a scene and has for a number of years. This recent Thrillist piece did the legwork on finding some of the best breweries to check out while you’re in town.

Tiramisu Pancakes: Massive and heavenly, the tiramisu pancakes at Cafe 21 are worth the trip to San Diego alone. You absolutely have to make your way to this spot before you go. The staff is also incredibly warm. Definitely grab breakfast here before you head back home.

Decent Haircut: Floyd’s 99 Barbershops are everywhere, but they’re also steadily reliable when it comes to getting a solid, decently priced cut. Especially if you’re repping your product or business, or going out to grab drinks among the beautiful people of San Diego, wouldn’t you feel better doing so with a fresh cut? Also, in my experience, the barbers here are FULL of amazing information about the town in which they’re based. My cut came with insights on the best spot to get a massage, and how bad the parking situation is downtown when there is a ball game. Speaking of which, make sure you plan parking accordingly, and carry cash, because when there is an event the parking lots tend to become cash-only ventures. Thanks for the great cut, and helpful information, Laura Pauline!

Thai, generally: Among the many helpful things my barber told me that Lotus Thai is her favorite spot, and I always defer to the locals when it comes to recommendations.

Beer + Bowling: While we haven’t been there yet, we’ve walked by it a handful of times and we are looking forward to bowling and grabbing some beers at Tavern Bowl.

Parties: Johnnie Sanchez of Johnnie & Co has identified all of the great CEDIA after parties going on this week.

Look for more suggestions soon, enjoy yourselves, make good choices, and definitely come and check us out at Booth #5935!