We were looking forward to attending church in Huntington Beach for the first time today. I grew up in nearby Westminster from the tail-end of the first grade through the seventh grade (then on to Santa Ana and Fountain Valley). This part of Westminster has changed greatly since my childhood as it is now known as Little Saigon. (In my day, most were from Ohio and other midwestern states). But Huntington Beach today feels like the Westminster of yesterday.
We inhaled the fresh salty scent of the ocean air as soon as we stepped out of our car, and walked into church and my senses immediately transported me to the past. The people were friendly and welcoming and we felt totally at home – we could so see us living here – if we could find something decent to live in for less than half a million. 🙂
After the service, we drove to Newport Beach, intending to eat brunch at our favorite Bluewater Grill. But we arrived later than usual and the parking area was full. Then we remembered noticing The Cannery across the Channel, which had valet parking, so we chose to eat there instead. And what a great decision. We were seated out on the patio overlooking the Channel where yachts were docked.
The link above shows the menu and this is what we had:
First of all, our waitress delivered a fresh basket of bread, including hot cornbread with whole kernels of corn – delish – quite tasty with the Bloody Marys, too. Then our entrees were delivered:
Rich: Brendon’s Filet Tournedos & Eggs w/ Skillet Onion Potatoes
Kathy: Seafood Omelet – Shrimp, Scallops, Blue Crab Meat, Chipotle Cream Sauce
We were surrounded by a jovial crowd, celebrating birthdays, and praising the Lord – who says southern Californians aren’t Christian? lol!
After our wonderful brunch, we drove down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) to Laguna Beach and then back to Disneyland through Costa Mesa.
Sometime during the afternoon we made our way back to Hearthstone Lounge at the GC – our server remembered us – very nice lady, I must add. The service throughout the GC and our entire SoCal trip was superb. We remembered the Habanero Margaritas from a previous trip so we each ordered one of those. The Habanero adds a nice kick to the Margarita.
There’s an assortment of seating areas in the Hearthstone Lounge. We found our favorite comfy overstuffed chairs by a window, and as soon as they were vacated, we claimed them. A group had several tables squeezed together but as soon as the 2-sofa seating area was available, they changed places, too. We couldn’t help but notice the two guys who ordered the Blue Glo-Tinis. I used to insist I would never drink a blue drink but tried one once and they are scrumptious – may have to try this next time.
Later that day we returned to the Festival and tasted the Italian wines – we’ve had better Italian wine or maybe these wines needed to be paired with food.
I keep wondering what we ate later that day, and I suspect this is the day we had the cheese plate and quesadilla I reported on yesterday – I thought we were eating way too much yesterday. lol! Next time, I’ll have to take notes.
This was the last night we’d be serenaded to sleep by the lobby pianist and it was so fabulous. Suddenly it dawned on me why everybody plays “Hotel California” – it seems to be the theme song for Downtown Disney/the Grand Californian/DCA area. Very fitting! Here’s a Downtown Disney favorite, David Wayne on guitar with Carlos Lopez on drums:
We did our usual shopping at Basin, and stocked up on body lotions that are a necessary part of life in the desert. After shopping at DD, we popped into the Pizzeria for a snack to take back to the room and grabbed a Greek salad. It was tasty, but to make it a great salad, they should add some Kalamata Olives! 🙂
We packed our bags, went to sleep, and the next morning we ordered room service breakfast. Here, again, we must praise the GC service. In re-reading our WDW reports, one morning AKL had a two-hour wait for room service breakfast – we cancelled after the first hour when they reported it would be another hour, So, we are thankful, indeed, every time the GC follows through with outstanding service, including fast room service delivery.
We would have been terribly sad to leave the GC, except that we’ll be returning later this month. It truly feels like our home resort.
If we’re hoping that 2010 is the year we finally decide where we’ll live next – Southern California or Florida – it’s going to be quite a ride because we are torn in two equal parts between our two favorite places. So, in case you’re keeping score:
WDW = 1
Disneyland = 1