This year Lena and I stayed at the Hilton. There are now 6 massive hotels directly involved in the Dragon*con festivities, and they all tend to sell out within minutes of opening up their rooms for the con. The Hilton used to be the last hotel you wanted to stay at, before they built a special connector that lets guests walk from it to the Marriot 30 feet over street level. Now getting a room there is like getting last minute tickets to see the Rolling Stones perform at a country club you don’t belong to. Anything is possible, but it sure ain’t likely.
The Marriot is the most popular, both because it is a central hub for many of the con’s most popular events and because they don’t ask for a deposit when you make your reservation. We like it however, because of Seared.
Seared is the primary restaurant in the Marriot. I would tell you the food is good generally… but I don’t really know. I only eat there during breakfast. But oh what a breakfast. (I suspect it is good generally though.) The restaurant also benefits from the typically awful food at the Hyatt, which has always been kind of inexplicable to me. It’s a great hotel surrounded by good places to eat… they just didn’t seem to try there.
There is an enormous buffet line at Seared that stretches most of the length of the place with all manner of delicious hot breakfast foods, with cooks ready to whip up omelets, pancakes, and waffles. There are also tables of baked goods, cold items (such as lox, cream cheese, capers, and other yummy bagel toppers) and condiments.
Of course, we don’t go there for the food.
No, we go to Seared in order to indulge one of Lena’s stranger obsessions… watching celebrities to see what they eat. Edward James Olmos eats oatmeal, as does David Prowse. Gil Gerard (who is friends and sits with Lou Ferrigno at breakfast) gets the buffet and makes ample use of it, while Lou eats very healthy. (Neither is surprising.) Virginia Hey is a vegetarian, Jewel Staite isn’t, and if June Lockhart catches you taking her picture eating a turkey sandwich she will yell at you and demand $40 for it. So be careful.
When we started going to Dragon*con there were about 20,000 attendees. This year it was just north of twice that. Atlanta has finally gotten into the swing of things and begun acting like a real host city, putting up signs everywhere and making people feel welcome instead of strange. Bartenders in about a two block radius of any of the con hotels can be found in varying degree of costumery, from fuzzy antennae to full-on Andorian slave girls. We got there a day early and spent several hours sneaking about the High museum furtively stealing photos of the amazing paintings and sculpture there. Later we found out that they fully allow photos to be taken (except for special exhibits which we didn’t actually want pix of anyway) and we were running around like spazzes for nothing. You know the guards were laughing up their sleeves at us the whole time. Still, I suppose getting caught and tossed by a museum guard would be preferable to some of the other dangers presented by Dragon*con.
Because you know June don’t play.