The Gaslamp District in San Diego in a great place to eat. Restaurants line the streets for blocks around my hotel. They set up outdoor dining in front of each restaurant.

In the evening, they move the hostess stand outside as well. The hostess (never a host) is in her 20s and talks to everyone that passes by to try to draw them into the restaurant. This happens at every store front. I've only seen that once before, and that was in the French Quarter in New Orleans. And that was an entirely different type of hostess.

The point is they take food seriously down here. Or at least they do most places.

On Wednesday night, and a fairly short day at the NECC trade show, my team and I went to Dick's Last Resort for dinner. They pride themselves on their...um...Unusual service.

Inside it looked like an inexpensive sports bar. We ate outside in a former parking lot. They set up a bunch of picnic tables and umbrellas.

We sat down, and our server came over. He gave us sheets of butcher paper and some utensils, and he told us to set our table. The then introduced himself with great enthusiasm as Taco. He said, "If you need anything, just yell, 'Hey, Taco!'"

So you don't forget their names, most servers usually wear name tags. And some "fun" places, they will write their name on the butcher paper with a crayon at the table. Not at Dick's. Taco introduced himself, and then flipped up his T-Shirt to show us the giant TACO tattoo on his belly, like some sort of large frat boy Buddha.

When he was ready to take drink orders, he just yelled to us from across the restaurant, or parking lot, or whatever. We shouted our selection back at him, and he keyed everything right in. He took dinner orders the same way.

Later when one of the people at my table ordered dessert, Taco brought the dessert and about a dozen spoons. He then called out to all the other dinners and asked if they wanted to see a magic trick. He whipped the crowd into a frenzy and began his trick.

He held out the spoons and told Tim to pick one, as though he was about to do a magic trick. Tim chose a spoon. Taco held it up for all to see...

...and then licked both sides like a dog who just stumbled across some old meat. He then shuffled it with the other spoons, dropped them all on the table, wished Tim luck, and walked away smiling.

He then came back with a clean spoon for Tim.

He did other routines like that at tables throughout the evening. A bunch of diners asked to have their picture take with Taco's tattoo. I passed on that one.

It was a good routine. The food came in buckets rather than plates and was great.

If you're looking for a quite dinner, are shy, just want to blend into the woodwork, and sort of disappear, Dick's is not for you.

If you want good, reasonably priced food in a fun environment, and want a bit of an irreverent show, get on down there.

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