Traveling Circus: Convention Food

Today marks the start of one of the biggest pop culture events of the year, San Diego Comic Con. While many of my fellow nerds will be experiencing the sights and sounds of the San Diego Convention Center and its surrounding restaurants, I’ll be in Anaheim for SPOCOM, a giant car show featuring incredible imports, American cars, classics, restorations, motorcycles, and the like.

Eating at and around conventions can be dicey, since many of the chains near any convention center are more focused on sending out food that is easy and fast to make, can be made en masse, and costs little to produce, rather than the kind of hand-crater dishes that we all love.

When Magneto and I were in Anaheim for WonderCon (because #nerds), we managed to find food that, at the very least, satisfied our cravings. The best thing about going to Anaheim? The road trip itself – because we’ve found that the food on the way there and back is far more delicious.

Points for creativity?

Let’s start with the not-so yummy: the roast beef cheeseburger at Mix in the Hilton Anaheim. I love the idea of adding meat on top of a cheeseburger. I love roast beef. But for some reason, this burger was pretty bland. The saving grace? A basket of fries.

It might be that this burger couldn’t live up to the ridiculous double cheeseburger we ate on our way to Anaheim at Tom’s Jr. in La Mirada, right off the 5. There are no photos of that, by the way, because we each tore into our respective burgers in the car. We ate in silence, consumed by the greatness.

The only thing in Anaheim that moved me to the same speechlessness was a pair of cupcakes from My Delight Cupcakery, based in Ontario (CA) but with a truck that graced WonderCon with its presence. The breakfast cupcake was perfect: buttermilk batter cupcake that tasted just like a pancake, applewood-smoked bacon bits throughout and on top, super buttery maple-tinged frosting, and a maple drizzle. The carrot cake cupcake was also quite tasty, moist and rich with just the right amount of sweetness in both the cake and vanilla cream cheese frosting. I’m a sucker for carrot cake with bits of pineapple, coconut, raisins, and carrots, and this one did not disappoint!

The road home was one full of traffic and bad drivers, but we stopped off at the Citadel Outlets for a quick purchase at Le Creuset and lunch at Ruby’s Diner. We figured if we were splurging on calories that weekend, we might as well end on a spicy note. Chili fries for two! We spiced things up with a touch of hot sauce, but Ruby’s chili was surprisingly flavorful on its own. Most excellent, and just what we needed to fortify ourselves for the rest of the gridlock getting back home.

You know, Ruby’s might be chain, but it’s a pretty good one if you’re looking for reliable roadside diner food.


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