When Sea World gets called in to rescue a sea lion, it usually goes to a beach. But not in this case, as a little aquatic mammal walked into a very fancy restaurant in San Diego and sat down as if preparing for table service, much to the delight of onlookers in the restaurant as well as those sharing the story of the little slippery visitor around the world.
The ocean side view at San Diego’s Marine Room is one of its biggest draws. The restaurant, known for its splashy seafood recipes and ocean-to-table preparations, is one of the fanciest and trendiest restaurants in a city known for great seafood.
As the establishment’s website describes it, the Marine Room includes “Select seafood & French fare in a chic setting with waves crashing against the windows at high tide.”
In fact, one of the meals served there is the High Tide Breakfast, a fun prix fixe item with such delectable specialties as “Buchmann’s Ranch Eggs” a delicious concoction made of rock shrimp, pancetta, black forest ham, honshimeji, scallions, bell peppers, tomato salsa, and cheddar.
It seems that the little sea lion couldn’t have chosen a better place.
And his reception, albeit happily confused, was very warm, indeed: the executive chief chef for Marine Room, Bernard Guillas, jokingly posted on Facebook:
“He was a little bit early for his high tide breakfast reservation.”
Guillas shared the story on the restaurant’s Facebook page, and a delighted internet soon took the ball and ran.
“He went to the right place for some good eats!” remarked one reader.
And as another put it, “Aww, poor little kid. He must have needed some rest and lobster bisque.”
Don’t we all?
After what clearly had to be the most adorable photoshoot ever encountered, the restaurant workers called local wildlife specialists at SeaWorld to rescue the little sea lion. SeaWorld is no stranger to these rescues; they have rescued 47 sea lions as well as other marine mammals this year alone. When the team arrived, they said that the little pup is skinny for its age, and it weighs only half what it should. They listed the pup in critical condition and immediately began to care for it. No wonder he popped in for a snack!
SeaWorld praised the restaurant staff’s response, saying they gave the little pup a “second chance at life.”
What could have caused the pup to be so little? El Nino, says the SeaWorld experts, saying that the harsh weather phenomenon makes conditions tough out there for marine mammals like the little sea lion. They’re not the only ones warning of harsh weather conditions.
San Francisco Parks Conservancy recently released its February report calling conditions particularly harsh: “Last year was a particularly rough one for pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). Underweight and malnourished California sea lion pups came ashore in search for food—one famously made it all the way up to Divisadero Street from the Bay in April 2015—and hundreds washed up on beaches suffering from maladies ranging from seizures to severe brain damage.”
The Bay Area rescue reported rescuing 1800 animals last year alone, an all-time record high, three times the normal amount. Its Southern California rescue teams are prepared for similarly trying circumstances.
Still, SeaWorld’s rescue team is taking care of this particular pup, giving the little visitor fluids. The team expects it to make a full recovery. So, yes, it looks like the pup chose the perfect restaurant for its surprise breakfast.