Being sort of the old fart that I am, I clearly recognize the importance of that all important civic duty that is Jury Service. Though I don't think that you'd blame me for being a bit tired of it all after having jury service scheduled 9 of my 12 years in San Diego. Heck, I never got called once in LA and only twice after 30+ years in Honolulu! I'm especially puzzled since some of my friends, many whom have lived in San Diego for most of their lives have only been called once or twice, some not at all!
After entering the Hall of Justice so many times, you could say that the "bloom is off the rose". Falling off your routine and falling behind at work doesn't help your attitude, though this year I went with the mindset of making the best of things.
It used to be that I'd park at Old Town and catch the trolley, this year I walked to the bus stop and caught the trolley, though this meant leaving a bit earlier.
After taking so many turns at jury service, I'd been to quite a few places, from Grab n' Go, Currant (10% Jury Duty discount), to the food court at Horton Plaza(what was the name of that burger place that was in Horton Plaza for a blink of an eye?) , Rei do Gado, and Lucy's Taco Shop. You'd think I'd have quite a collection of posts....well, not quite. I felt somewhat self-conscious and, well, a bit weird for having to take a camera to jury service. But this year I had my iPhone, which looked perfectly natural.
I always go a bit early for jury service, this year was no exception. I decided to stop into a place I've been to before while performing my civic duty; Specialty's.
This 40+ location, fast-casual type chain was founded in San Francisco in the 80's. I like the fact that it has an almost fully functional Peet's integrated in the place. I don't remember the iPad ordering kiosks the last time I visited, but that was an interesting addition. I was just going to have a coffee, which you can just step up to the counter and order, but decided on getting something to eat just because......
I ended up ordering a Classic Egg Sandwich, customized with bell peppers and red onion, topped with swiss cheese.
It did look a bit too perfect and processed, but this was hot and fresh and the ciabatta was pretty decent. Nice mild milky tones from the Swiss cheese, though it had a bit too much black pepper for me.
I ordered a small Americano, which was pretty weak. After our recent trip to Europe, it seems that coffee in the states is too large, weak, and without character. And Peet's is one of my favorite chains!
Still, this adjusted my attitude, putting me in the right frame of mind for having to sit for who knows how many hours.
Specialty's Cafe & Bakery
101 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
Mon - Fri 6am - 6pm
And though I might joke about it, the Jury Lounge and process has improved over the years with wi-fi(on the weak side) and heck, they even changed that pitiful orientation video that looked like it was from the 70's a couple of years back!
Of course, during the whole morning I was looking forward to....well, lunch of course. I had just read in Eater San Diego that the downtown location of Tender Greens had just opened.
It just seemed like a great fit and was only two blocks from the Hall of Justice. So once the lunch break was announced I was off like a bullet. After eating at the Point Loma location a couple of times (you can read Cathy's posts here and here), I figured lunch at Tender Greens downtown would be a zoo.
I got a nice laugh at the side of "Pardon Peppers", which had a nice poetic tie-in to my jury service, but I think they should probably use the correct spelling for padron peppers since they do claim to sell local produce.
According to what I read on Eater, the unique menu at this Tender Greens location is the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. I decided to get this in a sandwich with a side salad of arugula ($11).
I really don't think one should mess around with fresh, crisp, peppery arugula, and decently ripe tomatoes, Tender Greens really does a nice job here.
I thought the sandwich was over-dressed as my fried chicken got soggy pretty quickly. Bread to protein ratio seemed a bit too heavy on the carb side as well. I poached a couple of pieces of chicken when I sat down. It was nicely flavored and moist. I'd recommend on a hot plate or salad.
After reading the sign, I just had to have a side of those PardonPadron Peppers ($4):
This was my favorite item. While I enjoy padron/shishito grilled, which adds a layer of smokiness while further developing the sugars, this was quite nice. Perfectly salted and tender. Not quite to the level of melt in your mouth Padrons we recently had in Lisbon, but still darn good.
I gotta say that the speed while keeping a good level of service left me impressed. When I looked up from my meal, I noticed that the line was snaking itself around the block!
I think Tender Greens has a great concept and good food. If things keep this way downtown, who knows....
110 W Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
To kind of give you a clue on how quick lunch service was....jury service lunch breaks are long, at almost an hour and forty-five minutes. I had so much time on my hands I didn't know what to do. So I just walked around......here's a shot from Horton Plaza:
So for those who have jury service in Downtown San Diego; what's your pick? The jury-duty discounted Currant? A sandwich, maybe the Hall of Justice Food Court (maybe not....). Perhaps you've taken your chances and run down to East Village? Where do you eat?