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Problem on the Blue Line.

Accident, they told us.

Whatever, it's the end of the line till they get buses organized to Old Town, which is where I was going.

So everyone off the trolley. This is at the temporary America Plaza stop on C between Columbia and State. Everybody scatters, looking for Plan B. It’s about 6:30 at night.

Me, I wander down in the general direction of Broadway. Pass this hotel. Called the Westin now, I see (400 West Broadway, 619-239-4500).

Oh yeah. The multi tower building with the uneven dark colorings on the tower tops that spill down the sides like some giant poured treacle from on high. Or worse. Remember when it was called the Pterodactyl Droppings building?


Lordy. Inside it looks deliciously warm and, well, cool, if you know what I mean.


Side entrance to lobby

Wonder if they have a happy hour at that bar…


Two seconds later, I’m sitting up to this way cool white marble counter, watching my neighbor dig in to a wicked-looking bowl of thick soup. Tomato? Steaming, scarlet, with gold tortilla strips hatching the top. And he has a martini in a glass with a sexy curvy stem.

“That cost me $9, but the soup was only $7,” he says. Name’s Alan. “And that’s on the regular menu, not the happy hour.”

Melissa, the cheery gal behind the bar, brings the happy hour menu.


Alan and Melissa

Turns out to be $5 drinks (beer, wine, well), and plates from $6 for, like, garlic parmesan fries, thru beef sliders (3 for $8), to calamari for $9. Chicken quesadilla looks like a good deal for $7.

But hey. Seeing is believing. I ask for Alan's tortilla soup, and seeing we’re with a classy clientele here, a glass of chard.


My chardonnay

Twelve buckeroos in all.

But the wine comes with that carafe of salty chewies, and the soup comes with a chunk of sliced French bread wrapped in a napkin.


Bottom line: it fills me up. And super-delish? You betcha. And yes, I could’ve just asked for the soup and a glass of water and Melissa wouldn’t have sent me packing. So I could have gotten out for under $10. And that’s not even happy hour. (It goes from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. seven days.)

Plus, good conversation. Alan has stories from all around the world. And Melissa - she’s been here for 15 years – knows how to keep a lively bar.

By the time I go, it’s well after happy hour.

But I’m still happy.

Guess I have the MTS to thank for that.

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