Catching Up With Tasty Treats at Disney and the Beach, Day 3

We woke up feeling like we’d accomplished all we’d set out to do on this trip and thought about driving back home. Maybe it was the overcast skies. We were missing waking up to the desert sunshine. But then we became aware of a bit more business we needed to take care of in Irvine so we repeated yesterday’s breakfast/coffee routine, and drove back to Irvine. It was quite a successful morning, and we were glad we stayed.

By lunch  time we made our way back up PCH to Duke’s in Huntington Beach, noticing the heavy traffic in the opposite direction. Oh yeah, it was some big Volleyball championship going on off the pier – lol! So we left the Challenger with Valet and were seated in the bar since we wanted to eat off the regular menu and not the brunch.

Rich had the Waikiki Classic, which was ribs, chicken, rice, and macaroni salad with a Mai Tai, and I had the coconut shrimp off the appetizer menu with a Margarita since it was Cinco de Mayo or as Rich called it “Cinco de Mai Tai.”

After lunch, we walked the Huntington Beach pier, looking in shops and soaking up the beautiful day.

We returned to the room for our usual nap, and then got up to get ready for Mass at our favorite church. It was a huge blessing for us, outdoing even the last time we were there.

The day had been so wonderful, we were thankful we hadn’t left that morning.

 

Catching Up With Tasty Treats at Disney and the Beach, Day 2, Part 2: Napa Rose

We left Huntington Beach around 5PM heading to the Grand Californian for our 6PM Napa Rose reservation. About a half hour later, we pulled into the valet parking lane of the Grand Californian.

We were a little early for dinner, so we walked around the Grand Californian lobby and peeked into Hearthstone Lounge, noticing the new chairs in our favorite spot (replacing the ugly chairs that had replaced our favorite chairs), ending up in the gift shop browsing for gifts for ourselves. Kathy spotted some great Grand Californian mugs while we were browsing.

Near 6PM, we entered Napa Rose and checked in. In a few minutes, we were seated at a table for two near where we sat for Kathy’s birthday meal last July. Our server greeted us and reviewed some of the menu items. She mentioned the prix fixe menu, but we were aiming for a smaller, simpler meal this time. Maybe next time.

We ordered our wine as we reviewed the menu. When the wine was served, we ordered.

Wine
Malbec, Bodega Viamonte, Montevia, Argentina

Appetizer (Shared)
Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks
with Forager Mushrooms and Baked Herb Dumplings

Entree Salad (Kathy)
Smiling Tiger Salad
with Spicy Beef, Asian Greens, Lobster Shrimp Fritters, and Coconut Vinaigrette

Entree (Rich)
Salmon (Sustainable Fish of the Day)
with Roasted with Thyme, Lemon and ‘Nduja Clam Broth, Tender Potato Gnocchi, and Forager Mushrooms

The food, as always, was incredible. The appetizer came in a little iron pot.

The beef cheeks were tender and paired perfectly with the mushrooms and dumplings.

The entrees were just as delicious. Every part of Kathy’s salad was flavorful, including the greens. My salmon was cooked perfectly and the flavors blended beautifully. There were clams alongside my salmon that made the dish all that much better.

We skipped dessert because we were headed to Downtown Disney for dessert and shopping.

The food and atmosphere were fabulous. Napa Rose never fails on those counts. Unfortunately, the service was uneven. This has happened before at Napa Rose. The entrees took forever to come out from the kitchen, and the server was nowhere to be found most of the time. But we can overlook the service faults because the food Andrew Sutton creates is so amazing.

After dinner, we exited through security and into Downtown Disney. We headed for Salt and Straw where we got a scoop of Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons ice cream in a cup and shared it. Wow! This is the most amazing caramel ice cream we ever tasted. Tasted just like eating caramel candies, but better.

(Salt and Straw)

We strolled Downtown Disney checking out some of the restaurants for another visit, listening to live music, and browsing the World of Disney store.

Finally, it was time to leave, so we went back to the Grand Californian where we purchased the Grand Californian mugs using our Disney Reward points, returned to the valet, and headed back to Huntington Beach.

Catching Up With Tasty Treats at Disney and the Beach, Day 2, Part 1

Overcast skies at the beach allowed us to sleep in a bit more than we do in bright sunny Las Vegas, which feels odd to us – lol! Eventually, we got up and Rich made our first cup of coffee in the room. Then he went to bring back the better coffee and some complimentary breakfast, which has improved since our last few stays.

We showered, dressed, and drove to Irvine to take care of some personal business. Some of the neighborhoods remind us a lot of Summerlin – beautiful but houses are situated in interesting ways to make the most of the precious land. And then there’s UCI – I’m quite familiar with it – several of my classmates went there and I had plans before my family moved to the PNW and I ended up at SJSU. Long story short.

Business done, we drove to Newport Beach and back to Huntington Beach where we grabbed tacos and chips from Surf City Tacos to share back in our room. Delicious food, friendly personal staff with a great local vibe.

We were stuffed but had dinner plans at Napa Rose. We took a nap, hoping to be hungry by dinner. 🙂

Catching Up With Tasty Treats at Disney and the Beach, Day 1

We left Las Vegas at around 9:00 but since we’re 30 minutes north of where we used to live, we basically left at our usual 9:30 departure time, arriving around 1:30/2:00 pm with our usual lunch stop at Tommy’s in Barstow.

TamaleTommy’s Tamale – Yum!!

This was our first trip from LV to SoCal in our Black Challenger, although the one we rented at LAX last summer was exactly the same – lol!

Btw, Las Vegas is booming again and has grown quite a bit since we left in May of 2017, and this is felt on the Vegas freeways and on I-15 from LV to SoCal. We also noticed the change in Inspection station, which is now much closer to the Cal/Neva border than it was before. Fridays used to be pretty smooth sailing, but now it feels more like a Saturday.

Also, instead of staying near Disneyland, we chose to stay in Huntington Beach so we had another half hour on the other end of the drive. But we were more in the mood to relax at the beach than spend most of our time at Disneyland since we weren’t planning on entering the parks this trip.

After settling into our room, we took a nap and instead of going out for dinner, we opted to make something in our villa. Pizza, as I recall, with some wine we’d brought from home. It felt so good to be here again!

The two-story villa (instead of high rise) is nice for a change

Studio with King Bed

Convenient to have a kitchen – our version of DVC

First Trip Back, First Mother’s Day…

We made our first trip back to the Disneyland Resort and the beach after returning to Las Vegas and it was tough not leaving from our former home where Skipper and Buddy and Lovey lived. And then not returning to that house.

Sometimes we drive over there or do something in that area and it feels like Skipper should be in that house waiting for us.

Realizing this will be the first Mother’s Day after Skipper’s death brought back a surge of grief. So I’ve been remembering him though photos. Pet lovers understand. For one thing, he was my constant companion for 18 years. It was hard losing any of our cats but Skipper was special. But like they say, “Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy that it happened” or something like that.

I think Shadow senses my mood because he’s howling the way he did for three weeks, 24/7, after Skipper died in Florida. We have mixed feelings about that Florida house, Skipper loved it but once he was gone, we were done.

We’ll be posting a trip report soon but first some favorite photos of Skipper, first two taken in 2010 when he was 10, followed by photos taken on his 18th birthday last year.

Two4Disney.com is Back!

Need we say more? We couldn’t live without it. lol! I’d been thinking about retrieving it for some time, but one of those “buy a domain to sell” sites had bought it. I checked again recently, and noticed it was available again – yay!

This is just in time for our first trip back to Disneyland after our recent move back from Florida. I tell you, if we could, we’d just live in both places like snowbirds or Disney birds or East/West birds.

We’ve been catching up with FreshBaked and Mr. CheezyPop and the most recent videos of Star Wars land (Okay, Galaxy’s Edge) have created some excitement even in us. Wow! We can’t wait for the treats and drinks! I think we’re the most excited about those. But the whole thing looks super awesome. I imagine it will be awhile before we can squeeze in.