If you ever discover termites are devouring part of your house, and to fix that problem you must remove all the food, the medicines, the 125-gallon fish tank, the 30-gallon fish tank, the 10-gallon fish tank, and the houseplants – as well as the plants living quite heavily on the outside wooden deck – 11 potted palms, 5 potted citrus, 3 bananas, and a bird of paradise – and for a minimum of 3 days your house will look like this:


I highly recommend this as a place to wait out your banishment:


There’s absolutely nothing wrong with San Diego’s Marriott Marquis. It’s walking distance to Seaport Village, the ferry to Coronado, Gaslamp District, a cool funky shopping mall, the Midway Museum, and the trolley to Old Town and beyond. There’s a Starbucks right there in the hotel to start your day with a venti black tea and a cup of fresh fruit. There’s a big hot tub, in case it’s too cool to swim in the June Gloom. And there’s a nicely groomed lawn right there next to the pool where your kids can practice their diabolo chops.


And best of all, the Tequila Bar & Grille, their house cantina, is completely awesome. The food is interesting and tasty, served piping hot by friendly staff, and with normal restaurant prices – probably because of all the nearby competition. And it totally rocked for an awesome late lunch/early supper after our big Silver Strand bike ride. Kid Two and I ordered too much food, of course – every taco on the menu was a bit much! – but we had worked up an appetite.

Here’s the special that day: tacos filled with braised, panko-encrusted short ribs, topped with toasted pepitas, sprouted cilantro, diced tomato, and sliced red onion.


Achiote-marinated pork tacos with pickled red onion, sliced radish, diced tomato, more of that pretty sprouted cilantro, and served with wedges of lime:



The chicken tacos are moist, served with chipotle sour cream and more of that tangy pickled red onion, cilantro sprouts, and lime wedges.


Here are the potato empanadas – light, crunchy, and slightly herby in the middle.


A mound of creamy guacamole, livened with lime, those amazing cilantro sprouts, and diced tomato:


And the TJ Dogs! So delicious – juicy, spicy, salty . . . yum. Their Tijuana Dogs are spicy Wagyu beef hot dogs, wrapped in bacon, grilled, and served on a bun with marinated vegetables.


I travel with a 13-year old boy, so we had to try dessert. Warm churros, piled high with a side each of dulce de leche and dark chocolate sauces for dipping:


At this point in the meal I wrote “Kid Two is covered in granulated sugar and chocolate. I’m covered in guacamole and knives.” Probably because I was busy deconstructing all the wonderful food into some semblance of The Composed Bite.

The only drawback we found with the Marriott, and I shared this with a manager on duty who engaged us in conversation on the way up to our room, possibly to his confusion,  is that we thought they showed a distinct lack of imagination by numbering the elevators 1 – 5. So we renamed them Anna, Maria, Josephine, Frank, and Henry, and avoided Josephine since she made odd sounds.

And you know, when you name the elevators, it’s time to go home!

Kid Two and I reflected in Frank's mirrored ceiling