After two days of working at home I needed a reason to put on make-up and some real clothes so I talked Jason into an impromptu Tuesday night dinner date (luckily, it wasn’t very hard- the man loves to eat!). I spent a few minutes on yelp (one of my favorite websites) and picked The Marble Room in the Gaslamp Quarter, a six block walk from us.
Apparently, the Gaslamp Quarter was San Diego’s Red Light District in the late 19th century. While prostitution was technically illegal, there were as many as 75 brothels in operation and the men in charge of enforcing the laws were some of their best customers. The Marble Room was once Madame Cora’s Golden Poppy Saloon and Hotel, one of the city’s most popular brothels. It had a saloon downstairs and 20 rooms upstairs. Each room (and girl) was assigned a color. Customers would come, request a color, and receive a marble in that color upon payment. Then they would proceed upstairs. During the obligatory police raids, Madame Cora would explain that her customers were just buying marbles, not sex. This flimsy justification and a few strategic bribes allowed her to remain open longer than many of her competitors, although they were all eventually forced to close down.
Today, The Marble Room pays homage to their colorful past with more than just their name. The decor is also reminiscent of the era, and the female staff all wears corsets and lingerie. I struggled to capture a good photo on the interior in the dim light, so here’s one from their website (where I also got the history above).
While I appreciated the attention to detail that went into creating this festive ambiance, I was there for the food. I opened the menu and didn’t even make it halfway down the page before my eyes got stuck on… wait for it… prosciutto macaroni and cheese. Normally I would restrain from ordering a $9 bowl of fat and empty calories, but last night, I had a moment of weakness. I caved. And it was worth it.
Jason even stole a few bites. It really says something when Mr. Grilled Chicken goes back for a second and third taste of anything with carbs OR cheese, let alone both!
For entrees, I ordered the sea bass and Jason had the filet mignon. The presentation was beautiful, but the flavors were just okay. My fish, in particular, could have used a little more pizazz, but he made sure none went to waste.
The mood was nice and the service was good. We went straight home and I fell fast asleep. Sad how two glasses of wine does that to me these days. I guess this is what people mean when they talk about “growing up”. It’s not very fun, and I don’t like it one bit.