San Diego’s manufactured festivals: Carnevale and Mardi Gras. Matt Yukor, the Visions restaurant bartender, is drunk and itching for a fight.
Little Italy has a Carnevale night. Tara, Ashby, and I spent about an hour and half walking around the neighborhood checking out the stilt walkers, musicians, and people wearing Venetian masks. I asked on gentleman on stilts if I could ride on his shoulders. He said ‘no’. I asked if he would consider at least giving me a piggy back. Alas, he said no to this as well. We grabbed a Guinness and Calamari at Zia’s Bistro. They do wine events early evenings on the weekdays. We hadn’t been there, but we liked it. As for Carnevale, it was pretty sedate. Then again we were indoors by 7PM. Maybe it got crazy after we left, but I doubt it. The whole concept of Carnevale is cooked up by the local businesses in order to get folks from outside Little Italy to come out and spend money. I noticed Fillippi’s had a line of people going darn near around the block. This is one of the busiest places in Little Italy, but not one of the best in terms of quality of food.
San Diego does Mardi Gras. Kind of. The city cordons off a 2 block by (about) 10 block wide swath of the city in the Gaslamp district, creates a police militarized zone of happy-fun-time, and charges $20 for admittance. I didn’t actually go to Mardi Gras, but Steve and I walked the circumference of the event bar-hopping along the way. Neither of us could convince ourselves, or one another, that spending $20 a person to listen to DJs, second rate cover bands, and throngs of drunks cheering maniacally at passing PG-13 rated floats was a good use of our dollars. We did decide that if we saw a hole in security we would slip in. However, the city was damn serious about collecting their $20 a person. Security was better for this event than I have seen at some military installations. I’m serious. There were police in staggered patrols around the circumference on horseback, bicycle, foot and squad car. I don’t believe we were ever out of site of police or hired security. The city likely needs to collect $20 a person because keeping people out must have cost a fortune! Inside the event, Damien told me, they were equally serious about maintaining absolute control. Allegedly, even crossing the street was a security risk in the eyes of the police and was disallowed. This made it difficult to meet up with friends on the opposite side of the street.
In lieu of Mardi Gras, Steve and I started off at an Irish pub on 4th st. We had a couple Guinness. We then walked all the way around the event. On 7th street we almost stepped into a restaurant called Visions, which Steve had been told by somebody was a happening and funky place. While walking toward the, albeit side, door I was physically halted by a fellow named Matt Yukor. He was a tall 30-ish bartender who shoved his hand into my chest and demanded to know: "where do you think you’re going?" I told him we were planning on going inside to have a drink and he derisively sneered: "no you’re not" with an alcohol laced breath and slight slur to his speech. Apparently Matt Yukor had been drinking on the job. Evidently the bar was in the Mardi Gras and Matt Yukor, the bartender for Visions restaurant, San Diego, CA (search engine optimization) thought it appropriate to lay hands on a potential patron and assert what little authority his life afforded him. I thanked him for letting us know it was closed to the public as I gently placed my hand on his chest in a much more ginger manner than his was thrust onto my body and told him to have a good night. As Steve and I turned to leave it must have struck Matt that I had made a point of mimicking his actions and he flipped out. Matt Yukor, Visions restaurant bartender, San Diego, CA was itching for a fight. I suggested to him that he probably shouldn’t shove potential patrons. With his chest puffed out he charged us in an attempt to rub against either of us, mind you we were already walking away. It was hilariously reminiscent of high school, which I’m guessing Matt Yukor, 30+ year old Visions restaurant bartender (another attempt at search engine optimization), likely did not graduate from. This made me stop and smile. I asked a couple other employees who were smoking nearby what Matt’s name was. Matt Yukor proudly announced his name and even spelled his last name for us: "Matt YUKOR–Y-U-K-O-R". I hadn’t asked for the spelling, it struck me that he may be attempting to prove that he could spell. Meanwhile another employee proudly hollared at us: "the owner don’t give a fuck so don’t bother, he don’t give a fuck man, I’m serious." Hehehe… Needless to say, avoid Visions Restaurant in San Diego, CA where Matt Yukor drinks on the job, is itching for a fight, servers don’t speak grammatically correct English, and allegedly the owner "don’t give a fuck".
Steve and I left Visions Restaurant in San Diego, CA and went to the the Marriott’s Altitude bar, which is on the 23rd floor (if I recall correctly) and overlooks the ball field. A very cool place where the staff is classy and polite. Finally, we finished our night off at La Cantina. Daniel the bartender sings opera and makes the best damn margarita I think I’ve ever had. Here’s how he does it: 1 lemon, 1 lime, 1/2 an orange, 2 shots tequila, and about 1 1/2 shots of Controy. All shaken vigoursly with ice, served in a salted glass with a lime. Killer. Not too sweet, just right. The food is pretty good there too.