Friday food trucks and fun in Balboa Park!

People stroll down El Prado, checking out a variety of gourmet food trucks on a late Friday afternoon.
People stroll down El Prado, checking out a huge variety of gourmet food trucks on a late Friday afternoon.

If you haven’t been to Food Truck Friday in Balboa Park, you’re missing out!

Not only is there all sorts of yummy food, but there is grass to picnic on and live music and juggling and hula hoops and checkers and crafts for the kids and colorful flowers and splashing fountains and amazing architecture and smiles and . . . I could go on and on! And the museums are open late, too!

Balboa Park’s special magic adds spice to an already tasty meal!

Balboa Park Food Truck Friday promises yummy eats and fun through September in the Plaza de Panama.
Balboa Park’s Food Truck Friday promises yummy eats and fun through September in the Plaza de Panama and along the length of El Prado.
Feasting on the grass in sunny Balboa Park. Food Truck Fridays is the place to be for a fun and festive dinner.
Feasting on the grass in sunny Balboa Park. Food Truck Fridays is the place to be for a festive family-friendly dinner.
Kenny Shelton the friendly juggler was getting warmed up. He and other entertainers can be found throughout the park.
Kenny Shelton the awesome juggler was getting warmed up. He and other entertainers can be found throughout the park.
A beautiful photo of the Plaza de Panama, its fountain, flowers, and the House of Hospitality during Food Truck Friday.
A beautiful photo of the Plaza de Panama, its fountain, flowers, and the sunlit House of Hospitality during Food Truck Friday.
If you live in San Diego, this giant checkerboard and these hula hoops are waiting for you!
If you live in San Diego, this giant checkerboard and these hula hoops are waiting for you!
Musicians were playing under the Balboa Park Conservancy canopy near the Plaza de Panama fountain.
Musicians were playing under the Balboa Park Conservancy canopy near the Plaza de Panama fountain.
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum had a table in the plaza where kids could paint pictures of trains!
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum had a table in the plaza where young kids could apply dots of paint to fun trains!
And nearby, Spanish Village Art Center had their own fun table where kids could be creative!
And nearby, Spanish Village Art Center had their own cool table where kids could be creative!
I spotted a Puppet Shows sign traveling through the plaza. So naturally I had to investigate...
I spotted a Puppet Shows sign traveling through the plaza. So naturally I had to investigate…
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park is now presenting The Little Mermaid! A pelican puppet says hello and invites you all to the show!
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park is now presenting The Little Mermaid! A pelican puppet says hello and invites you all to the show!
A truly Happy Friday in San Diego's always amazing Balboa Park.
A truly Happy Friday in San Diego’s always amazing Balboa Park.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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The Walking Dead eat fans at 2017 Comic-Con!

A hungry zombie eyes dinner at 2017 San Diego Comic-Con . . . and it's me!
A hungry zombie eyes dinner at 2017 San Diego Comic-Con . . . and it’s me!

If you are nervous or squeamish, don’t look at these photos or read the captions. I’m warning you. It’s all quite gruesome.

The events you are about to witness happened today at 2017 San Diego Comic-Con. Some of the fans were completely unprepared for what happened…

Everyone was having a great time at Comic-Con. I was just wandering about, not paying very close attention.
Everyone was having a great time at Comic-Con. I was just wandering about, not paying very close attention.
That place looks cool. I'll go check that out. I wonder what they mean by Deadquarters?
That place looks cool. I’ll go check that out. I wonder what they mean by Deadquarters?
They've got a nice lounge! Awesome! My feet are tired!
They’ve got a nice lounge! Awesome! My feet are tired!
Let's all sit here and watch AMC's show Walking Dead. How entertaining and relaxing.
Let’s all sit here and watch AMC’s show The Walking Dead. How entertaining and relaxing.
Oh, wow! They've got pinball, too! This place rocks!
Oh, wow! They’ve got pinball, too! This place rocks!
A lady suddenly screamed and started running! Huh? What happened?
A lady suddenly screamed and started running! Huh? What happened?
Oh my gosh. That door says Dead Inside, and some hands are trying to open it from the inside.
Oh my gosh. That door says Dead Inside, and some hands are trying to open it from the inside.
Oh my goodness! They've got zombies loose in here! Where'd they come from.
Oh my goodness! They’ve got zombies loose in here! Where’d they come from.
Thank goodness this one doesn't seem to see me.
Thank goodness this one doesn’t seem to see me.
But this one does!
But this one does!
Get away from me! Seriously, I probably don't taste all that good!
Get away from me! I probably don’t taste all that good!
The Walking Dead Encounter! I wish I'd seen that sooner. Maybe some caffeine from a Mountain Dew will help me escape...
The Walking Dead Encounter! I wish I’d seen that sooner. Maybe some caffeine from a Mountain Dew will help me escape . . .
I see people are learning fighting skills to fend off these roving zombies.
I see fans of The Walking Dead are learning fighting skills to fend off these hungry zombies.
A tiny version of Deadpool was swinging a bat wrapped with barbed wire. I think he nailed a couple zombies.
A tiny version of Deadpool was swinging a bat wrapped with barbed wire. I think he nailed a couple zombies.
Over here, quick! Help! Where's that little superhero?
Over here, quick! Help! Where’s that little superhero?
Nobody seems to take these zombies very seriously. Watch out, people! They appear to be hungry!
Nobody seems to take these zombies very seriously. Watch out, people! They actually appear to be hungry!
Told you so!
Told you so!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Team of Santas urges kids to eat healthy food!

Real Santas United to End Childhood Obesity pose for the judges in the Uniform Contest at 2017 OTL. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Real Santas United to End Childhood Obesity pose for the judges in the Uniform Contest at 2017 OTL. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)

People playing Over The Line on Fiesta Island today had to be blinking their eyes. They didn’t just see Santa Claus striding across the sand–they saw a whole team of jolly Santas!

Real Santas United to End Childhood Obesity is competing this year in the OMBAC World Championship Over The Line Tournament in San Diego! And they’re spreading the important message that kids should eat healthy, nutritious food!

The unique team of Santas is organized by “Sustainable Santa” Richard Eckfield, and its members were observed this morning parading around the island handing out carrots and talking about the dangers of processed, sugary junk food and the rise of childhood obesity. Supported by several sponsors and the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, their mission is simply to promote healthy eating habits for children. “Healthy, Happy and Fit for Life!”

Members of Real Santas United to End Childhood Obesity can also be seen from time to time at farmers markets across San Diego County. They encourage children to eat real, honest-to-goodness wholesome food.

Will they win the OTL Camummy Division this year? I don’t know. I do know these Santas have a winning message!

You might like to follow the Santa & Mrs Claus for Healthy Children Facebook page!

Unlike most presents unwrapped at Christmas, good health is a gift that will last a long, merry, magical lifetime!

Kristin Francy, Miss Emerson in 2015, and a team of sporty Santas at the Over The Line World Championship tournament in San Diego. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Kristin Francy, Miss Emerson in 2015, and a team of sporty Santas at the Over The Line World Championship tournament in San Diego. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Photo of Baseball Santa Bill Swank and Richard “Sustainable Santa” Eckfield at the Linda Vista Farmers Market last December. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Photo of Baseball Santa Bill Swank and Richard “Sustainable Santa” Eckfield at the Linda Vista Farmers Market last December. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Front and back of cards that Sustainable Santa hands out at farmers markets throughout San Diego County. (Click to enlarge.) Image courtesy Bill Swank.
Front and back of cards that Sustainable Santa hands out at farmers markets throughout San Diego County. (Image courtesy Bill Swank.)
Baseball Santa Swank holds up carrots which the Real Santas United hand out to kids instead of sugary candy canes. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Baseball Santa Swank holds up carrots which the Real Santas United hand out to kids instead of sugary candy canes. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)

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Watch processing through a window at Chesapeake Fish!

Worker inside the processing window at Chesapeake Fish packages fresh local catch. Their seafood products are used by nearby restaurants and shipped around the world.
Worker inside the processing window at Chesapeake Fish packages fresh local catch. Their seafood products are used by nearby restaurants and shipped around the world.

Millons of pounds of fish are processed at San Diego’s Chesapeake Fish Company every year. The dock where local fishermen unload their fresh catch is just steps away.

Most visitors to San Diego’s Embarcadero don’t realize they can actually watch freshly caught fish being processed. Just north of Seaport Village, a window invites tourists and passersby to watch the fish cleaning and packaging operation. The friendly workers will even hold up the fish for photographs and sometimes wave!

The processing room is refrigerated, but this morning I still managed to get some decent photos through the thick, fogged, drippy glass window…

If you see this sign just north of Seaport Village, take a look into the big window. Workers inside might be cleaning fish caught off San Diego!
If you see this sign just north of Seaport Village, take a look into the big window. Workers inside might be cleaning fish caught in the ocean off San Diego!
Near the processing window of Chesapeake Fish Co. is the small dock where fishermen unload their catch. Beyond is Tuna Harbor, full of commercial fishing boats.
Near the processing window of Chesapeake Fish Co. is the small dock where fishermen unload their catch. Beyond is Tuna Harbor, full of commercial fishing boats.
A worker holds up some fish for my camera!
A worker holds up a de-boned fish for my camera!
I believe these are the bones, heads and inedible parts that are removed from the fish during the cleaning operation.
I believe these are the bones, heads and inedible parts that are removed from the fish during the cleaning operation.
Two workers get dinner ready for seafood lovers!
Two workers get dinner ready for seafood lovers!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Santa eats lots of pizza in Little Italy!

Santa Claus appeared this morning in Little Italy. He bought a yummy pizza at Landini's Pizzeria. I guess a good pizza is hard to come by at the North Pole.
Santa Claus appeared this morning in Little Italy. He bought a yummy pizza at Landini’s Pizzeria. I guess a good pizza is hard to come by at the North Pole.

I didn’t expect to see Santa this morning in Little Italy! What was he doing there?

I walked up and down India Street spying on the exploits of Santa and his merry Christmas pals. Read the photo captions and you’ll learn what I discovered…

Possibly to flag down Santa while he flew by overhead, a Buon Natale banner was hung on a street lamp in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood.
Possibly to flag down Santa while he flew by overhead, a Buon Natale banner was hung on a street lamp in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood.
Apparently Santa left his sleigh and went into Filippi's Pizza Grotto to get another pizza.
Apparently Santa left his sleigh and went into Filippi’s Pizza Grotto to get another pizza.
I hope Santa doesn't neglect to put those presents in his sleigh under the Little Italy Christmas tree.
I hope Santa doesn’t neglect to put those presents in his sleigh under the Little Italy Christmas tree.
Thank goodness! He hasn't forgotten. Strange, but now he's flying a train onto rooftops. When you're full of Christmas magic, you can do things like that.
Thank goodness! He hasn’t forgotten. Strange, but now he’s flying a train onto rooftops. When you’re full of Christmas magic, you can do things like that.
I wonder if this nutcracker likes pizza. Chances are he prefers walnuts.
I wonder if this nutcracker likes pizza. Chances are he prefers walnuts.
Rudolph and an elf are also hanging out in Little Italy while Santa pays his visit. It seems everyone loves Italian food!
Rudolph and an elf are also hanging out in Little Italy while Santa pays his visit. It seems all sorts of odd folk love Italian food!
I hope and pray Santa brought lots of gifts. He'd better not forget Little Italy's poinsettia tree in Piazza Basilone.
I hope and pray Santa brought lots of gifts. He’d better not forget Little Italy’s poinsettia tree in Piazza Basilone.
That's nice. This elf brought candy canes. Obviously, Santa with his big jolly belly likes to constantly eat.
That’s nice. This happy elf brought candy canes. Obviously, Santa with his big jolly belly likes to constantly eat.
Candy canes and pasta in a window of an Italian market. Perhaps it's a tasty combination, perhaps not.
Candy canes and pasta in a window of an Italian market. Perhaps it’s a tasty combination, perhaps not.
Hey Santa! I see you're still hanging around Little Italy. You must be really hungry.
Hey Santa! I see you’re still hanging around Little Italy. You must be really hungry!
Santa can't get enough Italian food, it seems. He has already grown pale from hunger. Time for more pizza.
Santa can’t get enough to eat, it seems. He accidentally stepped into a foodless Little Italy shop and has already grown pale from hunger. Time for more pizza!
What is Frosty the Snowman up to in that window.
Wait!  What is Frosty the Snowman up to in that window?
Oh, dear! Frosty grabbed the pizza! What will Santa do.
Oh, dear! Frosty grabbed the pizza! What will Santa do?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Ho, ho, ho! To chuckle at some perfectly silly short stories, check out my blog Foolyman Stories!

Meet your meal on a pier!

Shoppers at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market learn about whelks and other food from the sea.
Shoppers at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market learn about whelks and other food from the sea.

Late yesterday morning I revisited the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. It’s a place whirling with human activity, fascinating sights, and fishy, oceany smells. The fresh seafood market spontaneously appears on the pier between Seaport Village and Tuna Harbor every Saturday morning. It features the catch of local fishermen. And lots of shoppers, should you arrive early.

During my casual visit I noticed some interesting information on a table that described what our local fishermen catch. So I took some pics. I also enjoyed being shown various species of edible sea creatures by a few of the friendly vendors, though I’m afraid I purchased nothing. My cooking skills amount to pushing buttons on the microwave. I admit it.

If you’d like to read some of the literature I spotted on a table, click the images.

Sidewalk signs try to lure people out onto a pier near Seaport Village. Fresh seafood caught by local fishermen is sold here every Saturday morning.
Sidewalk signs try to lure people out onto a pier near Seaport Village. Fresh seafood caught by local fishermen is sold here every Saturday morning.
I arrived at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market at about eleven o'clock, after the usual early morning crowd of fresh fish shoppers had departed.
I arrived at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market at about eleven o’clock, after the usual early morning crowd of fresh fish shoppers had departed.
Some freshly caught silvery Pacific bluefin tuna on ice for sale. That's a lot of eating!
Some freshly caught silvery Pacific bluefin tuna on ice for sale. That’s a lot of eating!
I noticed people by the edge of the pier looking across the water toward downtown San Diego.
I noticed people by the edge of the pier looking across the water toward downtown San Diego.
Something below in the water has caught their attention...
Something below in the water has caught their attention…
It's a sea lion just hanging out, probably hoping for a handout!
It’s a sea lion just hanging out, probably hoping for a handout!
The Mary Beth docked nearby appears equipped and ready to go out for more fish.
The Mary Beth docked nearby appears equipped and ready to go out for more fish.
Some colorful artwork at the fresh fish market depicts a fisherman and scenes from above and beneath the ocean.
Some colorful artwork at the fresh fish market depicts a fisherman and scenes from above and beneath the ocean.
Meet your meal! At one table I discovered some interesting photos and literature, including a diagram of deep-set buoy gear used to catch swordfish.
Meet your meal! At one table I discovered some interesting photos and literature, including a diagram of deep-set buoy gear used to catch swordfish.
This poster shows the most common seafood commercially harvested in California. Many of these species can be purchased at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
This poster shows the most common seafood commercially harvested in California. Many of these species can be purchased at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
More info on the table describes the wavy turban snail and Kellet's whelk, which I'm told make for good eating.
More info on the table describes the wavy turban snail and Kellet’s whelk, which I’m told make for good eating.
I believe I've seen brown box crabs, Pacific rock crabs, and red sea urchins at this very market! The latter can live up to 200 years, and is considered a delicacy.
I believe I’ve seen brown box crabs, Pacific rock crabs, and red sea urchins at this very market! The latter can live up to 200 years, and is considered a delicacy.
Some guys cut up fish. Customers can have their purchase filleted on the pier.
Some guys cut up a huge fish, making steaks. Customers can have their purchase cleaned on the pier.
A big pile of whelks. To cook these, boil!
A big pile of whelks. To cook these, boil!
Look at all the seafood one can choose from at this one tent. The Tuna Harbor Dockside Market continues to grow and now occupies about half of the pier.
Look at all the seafood one can choose from at this one tent. The Tuna Harbor Dockside Market continues to grow and now occupies about half of the pier.
Fresh fish! Lots of tuna!
Fresh fish! Lots of tuna!
I and some other folks are shown a sea urchin. The kelp and starfish are just for show--they aren't normally eaten!
I’m shown a spiky sea urchin. The kelp and starfish are just for show–they aren’t normally eaten!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Last chance to enjoy Anthony’s at the waterfront.

Last chance to enjoy Anthony's at the waterfront. 70 years of great memories and seafood at Anthony's Fish Grotto, which will close on January 31, 2017.
Last chance to enjoy Anthony’s at the waterfront. 70 years of great memories and seafood at Anthony’s Fish Grotto, which will close on January 31, 2017.

Time is running out. Anthony’s Fish Grotto on San Diego’s waterfront will be closing at the end of next January. The restaurant has produced fond memories for millions of people over the course of its 70 year history. You have one last chance to enjoy this wonderful, unique place before it’s torn down.

Next year, the Brigantine will introduce a new restaurant at this scenic location, right next to the Star of India. I was told by a gentleman who sells art on the sidewalk nearby that the new Brigantine building is now under construction, and will be brought in across San Diego Bay on a ship or barge. That would certainly be a sight to behold!

Late yesterday morning I walked down to the Embarcadero to devour some french fries and a yummy tuna melt at Anthony’s outdoor Fishette. I sat on the wood deck dipping my fries in tartar sauce and breathing in the fresh air. I simply gazed out at the water.  Pleasant visions floated on the sparkling blue, including a visiting cruise ship and San Diego Yacht Club sailboats. Between licking my fingers, I took a few photos.

Anthony's has been a fixture on San Diego's Embarcadero for 70 years. But their lease ran out and the Brigantine will soon build a new restaurant at this location.
Anthony’s has been a fixture on San Diego’s Embarcadero for 70 years. But their lease ran out and the Brigantine will soon build a new restaurant at this location.
I've stood in this line many times. This is a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike.
I’ve stood in this line many times. This is a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike.
Eating seafood on benches inside a protected area of the informal outdoor Fishette, over the gently lapping water of San Diego Bay.
Eating seafood on benches inside a protected area of the informal outdoor Fishette, over the gently lapping water of San Diego Bay.
Funny sign over the Fishette soda machine shows two fish in love.
Funny sign over the Fishette soda machine shows two fish in love.
I'll attest that Mama Ghio's secret tartar sauce is a tasty concoction!
I’ll attest that Mama Ghio’s secret tartar sauce is a tasty concoction!
Anthony's Fish Grotto opened in 1946, right after World War II. I remember eating here many times as a child.
Anthony’s Fish Grotto opened in 1946, right after World War II. I remember eating here many times as a child.
Another photo of the small casual Fishette. I prefer dining outside, but many enjoy the more formal Fish Grotto, which occupies the interior of the building.
Another photo of the small casual Fishette. I prefer dining outside, but many enjoy the more formal Fish Grotto restaurant, which occupies the interior of the building.
In my opinion, some of the best seats in San Diego.
In my opinion, some of the best seats in San Diego.
A gull was watching my fries.
A gull was patiently watching my fries.
Activity on San Diego Bay included a refueling cruise ship. Those guys in the boat fishing were being watched by a sea lion.
Activity on San Diego Bay included a refueling cruise ship. Those guys in the boat fishing were being watched by a circling sea lion.
Here comes the Maritime Museum of San Diego's historic Pilot boat, out on a harbor tour. Those sailboats racing in the distance belong to the San Diego Yacht Club.
Here comes the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic Pilot boat, out on a harbor tour. Those sailboats racing in the distance belong to the San Diego Yacht Club.
I love this place. It will be sad to see it go. (In this photo you can see where the Fish Grotto's dock used to be. It was destroyed in that El Nino wind storm that I blogged about in early February.)
I love this place. It will be sad to see it go. (In this photo you can see the concrete posts where the Fish Grotto’s boat dock used to be. It was destroyed in that ferocious El Nino windstorm that I blogged about in early February.)
Another beautiful day on the Embarcadero. Time marches on.
Another beautiful day on the Embarcadero. Time marches on.

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