Walter Mencken 2:37 p.m., March 1
Ribs Or, Uh, Artichoke?
Still at Pacific Star. (See "Breakfast Under the Trolley," below). Problem is, I get to watching the danged soccer match in the TV, and talking with Walter and Wasan, the owners, and suddenly it's lunchtime.
Plus, where I'm standing, they have this sign.
"Marinated artichoke hot veggie sandwich, $4.99.”
The combo with salad or fries plus soda is $6.99.
What the heck? Can't resist the idea of marinated artichoke.
"Is this a Chaldean thing?" I ask Walter.
"No way," he says. "We have no artichokes in Iraq. I had a friend who had a restaurant here in town. It was his idea. I remembered it. I love the taste. It has the marinated artichoke pieces, lettuce, red onion, tomato and feta cheese."
Gotta say, with that feta cheese, this has taste. Usually, I'm kinda disappointed with artichoke. And always a bit scared about the choke part. But this marination of the artichoke's nice and lemony, and the feta cheese gives it oomf. It feels kinda French, or Italian, maybe.
Except, talking of tasty, Jasper, who's in the next booth, is happy he's having the other thing I almost had, the BBQ ribs ($6.99). He needs this food. Drives the trolleys. (Is that the most nerve-wracking job in 'Diego?).
He eats it like a carnivore. Down to the bone. Dang. Looks delicious. Suddenly he's up and off. Has to meet a trolley coming in. He'll take over. Twenty minutes he'll be down San Ysidro way. Or will it be Gillespie Field?
Me, I've got eight hours' woik ahead of me too. Realize I won't have time to finish off this big toasted warm sandwich. I make it through the first half, but like most of the food that Walter and Wasan give you, there's plenty of it. Have to pack it and go. I get up from under the trolley...
... and head on out. And guess what? Outside, is an exact copy of that antique trolley-in-the-wall. It pulls right up...
It's the old one they've just restored. Does the downtown circuit. But the timing...I swear, eat at Pacific Star and magic happens.
Pacific Star is at 1255 Imperial Avenue, Suite 100, 619-231-1888.