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BlizzConNov 2, 2023 10:00 am CT

Twas the Night Before the Day Before BlizzCon: BlizzCon 2023 Travelogue Day 1

Convention Center At night

Blizzard has stated that this years BlizzCon will be a much more intimate affair, offering up experiences such as meeting your favorite streamers or having Lilith etched forever onto your skin. With all these changes taking place off of the main stream, what we need is a person on the ground checking out all that the booths have to offer, as well as all the food they can try in the area. This calls for the someone walking around with his own tray of Blizzard Watch BlizzCon Cookies — recipe pending.

Thankfully, I am that person.

Taking the Scenic Route

One thing that has changed in the last few years since BlizzCon 2019 is the cost of ride shares have gone up considerably. It cost $40 in 2019 to go from LAX to Anaheim, and now it’s double to triple the price, not factoring in sitting in Los Angeles’s world famous traffic. To circumvent this, I took a much cheaper and shorter rideshare to Santa Monica Pier. The end of the line of the famous Route 66, the Pier offers majestic views, entertaining locations, and some really fine boardwalk grub.

Playland Arcade is a centerpiece of the pier. It is the archetype of how you picture an arcade, with skeeball, air hockey, pinball, and Pac-Man. It used to also be home to a cursed Street Fighter 2 arcade game that was in in a Mortal Kombat cabinet, and when you fought Ryu, he would randomly turn into Blanka at full health. Over the years, I made many pilgrimages to this arcade machine, but it was replaced in the 4 years since I last played. I hope it is still out there, challenging one person to finally beat the Ryu/Blanka beast.

Pierburger is located next to the Playland Arcade. Their signature burger, The Pierburger, is a single or double beef patty with American cheese, crispy lettuce, fresh tomato, and secret sauce on a brioche bun. They also offer everything with bacon and eggs if you’re into that. It may have been the 6 hour flight talking, but this was one of the tastiest burgers I have had the pleasure of eating. If there was a downside to this, it’s that they did forget my fries. A burger like this needs a big plate of fries to go hand in hand with it.

He took the high noon train going anywhere

A short two blocks from the pier, you can hop on the Metro for two dollars and ride all the way to downtown Los Angeles at Union Station. This offers up many fine dining options but in my opinion, the best option is to go across the street from the train station to Phillippe’s. Originally opened in 1908, this deli is home to the French dip sandwich. They offer several options — including beef, pork, lamb, pastrami, and ham — served dipped in au jus soaked buns. They also offer their own brand of mustard that has such a kick, you and your future generations will have cleared sinuses. I had the pastrami mixed with lamb and I have to say, between that sandwich and the David Bowie playing on my Spotify, I felt like I died and went to heaven.

Heading back to Union Station, I hopped on an Amtrak to Anaheim for only $16 and in less time — and money — than it would take to sit in traffic, I found myself arriving at my hotel at the end of the block of the Convention Center. I was amused at how much the Anaheim train station looked like it was an esports arena with how much RGB lighting it had. It truly felt right as the gateway to BlizzCon.

Tomorrow the activities will start up, such as the shop opening and badges, as well as more foods to try out. If you see me, ask for a cookie.


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