July 7th, 2007

default, pepper

Anthrocon, day 1

So, the first real day of Anthrocon has passed. It’s gone well—I shouldn’t say “surprisingly well,” since it’s not as if I was expecting it to go poorly. I’ve met most of the people I’d expected to, even if in some cases I’ve merely run into them a couple times, and in a couple cases not even had time to introduce myself. Even so, I’ve hung around with a few interesting people, met a couple of them in person for the first time, and even been given an advance copy of the new Dirtbombs CD by Internationally Famous Rock Star™ Mick Collins.

It’s amazing—and maybe even a little disturbing—how much the city’s rolled out the red carpet for us. The staff of the “Steel City Diner” near the con hotel is wearing Anthrocon T-shirts they had made for them. Fernando’s Deli is running a con special. I’ve heard, albeit apocryphally, that last year Pittsburgh computed the economic impact to the city of the con at $3M. If so, this year I’d bet it’s on track to be $4M—on Thursday, there were 2500 people registered for the con.

Me being me, of course, I’m also here for the food. I did some research on restaurants to try; I found a few well-regarded upscale restaurants nearby (including the “Sonoma Grille” in the very hotel I’m staying at, which I find perversely amusing). Tonight, everyone I might have gone to dinner with seemed to vanish off on their own, and nearly always to Steel City—so I decided to go off on my own. On a typical whim, I decided to go off to a restaurant which wasn’t on my list but which sounded more interesting to me: Six Penn Kitchen. It seems to have the California approach to cuisine, by which of course I mean sprouts on everything. No, no, I mean a focus on local ingredients and food styles, reinterpreting them creatively. And it was definitely creative: a chilled watermelon soup drizzled with blueberry puree and basil, and dinner of a roast pork shank, crispy on the outside yet falling apart on the bone, sauerkraut bacon mashed potatoes, and a serrano applesauce. Even the drink I had was pretty creative: a “spatini,” Hangar One Kaffir Lime vodka, lemon sours, fresh cucumber (yes, really) and mint.

So what happens tomorrow (later today, but who’s counting)? Well, I have a badge I’ve commissioned from cooner, and I may try to get another sketch or two, depending. I have a collection I feel like I should buy from SofaWolf, even though I think I’ve read several of the stories already (they’re from the writing group).

On the off chance someone reading this is at Anthrocon and wants to get in touch with me, if you’re on my friends list you can SMS me through LiveJournal—and I’m wearing a moderately obvious name badge, too.