Kathy’s July Birthday Trip to Disney and the Beach, Part 2

Around 5 PM, we headed out from Huntington Beach to the Grand Californian. After a 30-minute drive up Harbor Blvd., we arrived at the Grand Californian where we left the car with the valet and headed into the hotel. It’s always a fantastic feeling walking into the Grand Californian lobby.

We headed to the gift shop to browse around, and then took at peek into Hearthstone Lounge. We noticed our favorite spot had comfy new chairs. So we sat down and ordered a couple pre-dinner drinks: Prosecco for Kathy, Conundrum White for Rich.

As our dining reservation time of 6:30 PM at Napa Rose approached, we closed out our Hearthstone Lounge tab and carried our drinks over to Napa Rose and checked in. They noted that it was Kathy’s birthday.

Soon we were seated at a table for two in a section we had enjoyed before. Our server, Michael, was quick to greet and welcome us. Rich recognized Michael as the server we had at our first visit to Napa Rose twelve years ago when we’d had the Tasting Menu. Sure enough, we asked, and Michael has worked at Napa Rose since it’s opening nineteen years ago. He was a cook for three years and a server since then. He is the very, very best. We would dare say the best server we’ve had at any restaurant.

We ordered, asking that the wine be served with the entrees since we still had some of our pre-dinner wine left.

MENU

APPETIZER (Shared)
Hamachi “Crudo”
cured with Meyer Lemon Kosho, Cucumber Jicama Relish, and Prickly Cactus Pear Vinaigrette

ENTREE (Kathy)
Cedar-smoked Berkshire Pork Chop
with Cherry Orange Conserve and Mustard Potato Salad

ENTREE (Rich)
Skuna Bay Salmon
with Strawberry-Lime Dust, Summer Corn-Strawberry Relish and Orange Crema

SIDE DISH (Shared)
Truffled “Mac & Cheese” Orecchiette Pasta
with Parmigiano-Reggiano

DESSERT (Shared)
French Vanilla Creme Brulee
with Strawberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries

WINE
Pinot Noir, MacMurray Ranch, Russian River Valley

Napa Rose is one of the best restaurants on the planet. Chef Andrew Sutton is our favorite chef, bar none. If you’ve read our other reports of Napa Rose and Carthay Circle, you know we are huge fans of Andrew. His food is incredible. There is nothing that disappoints.

The appetizer was one of our favorites — fresh, sparkling, sumptuous hamachi crudo. Wow, we could eat this every night.

Kathy’s pork chop was amazing. We aren’t big fans of thick pork chops, but this overcame any objections. The tenderness and flavor was so good, it was addicting. It was huge, so we took the leftovers in a doggy bag and had it with breakfast the next morning. And the mustard potato salad was a delight too. There was none of this left over.

Rich’s salmon with flavors of strawberry and lime was delightful too. The perfectly cooked salmon was bright, rich, and refreshing. We shared a side of the truffled mac & cheese, and this was equally exciting.

For dessert, we asked if we could order off the menu for Andrew Sutton’s creme brulee, and that was no problem for Michael. Soon he came with lovely creme brulee with a candle and a Happy Birthday wish for Kathy.

Everything was fantastic, as always. We chatted with Michael a bit about Andrew Sutton and how he is publicity shy. I said that he must be the best chef no one has heard of. He lets his food speak for itself, and wow, does it speak! Amazing!

After another incredible meal at Napa Rose, we sat in the lobby and listened to some beautiful piano music before we visited the gift shop again where we got a new Disney top for Kathy for her birthday and sunglasses for Rich.

 

Kathy’s July Birthday Trip to Disney and the Beach, Part 1

I’m really struggling to write much of anything these days, but Rich’s birthday trip is coming up and so I really must write up my birthday trip report. I’m so much more into my music and videos these days.(I just finished song #16 for 50/90.) In the future, I may just focus on photos and videos here.

As a side note, we finally got into the pool area for the first time since we got the key (it’s been way too hot to be out there until today, the day after a big rain), and I’ve been promising videos, so here they are:

Summerlin Pool Tour (with narration)
Summerlin Pool Tour (no narration)

Anyway, on with the July birthday trip to Disney(land) and the beach.

We did our usual Friday getaway, but since we’re half an hour north of where we used to live and we were staying in Huntington Beach, that added another half an hour on the trip. Sigh. Really hoping to move back to our old neighborhood after this lease expires.

We did our usual lunch stop in Barstow at Tommy’s (tamale for me, chili hot dog for Rich), checked into our hotel in Huntington Beach, rested up from the trip (so busy in the summer and maybe anytime these days).

For dinner, we drove over to Surf City Tacos via the beach, but this time we knew to get only two tacos to share and they tossed in some chips and salsa.

I woke up really early the next morning on my birthday and knowing how crazy busy the beaches are in the summer, we got up and drove to Newport Beach around 6 am. We found a parking place (one of the few not taken by the surfers), and walked over to Mutt’s, which opens for breakfast at 7:00. We were early so we walked the beach for a bit and then headed over to Mutt’s for breakfast. It was a bit early for cocktails, so when they asked, we passed – lol!

This was the first time we tried breakfast there and it was amazing! Must-go-back!!!

The morning fog was still pretty thick, but it made for a nice morning sitting in our chairs and watching the waves and people. Really a wonderful way for me to spend the morning on my birthday, relaxing on my childhood beach, especially after being away for the last couple of years while we were in Florida.

I remember my mother and step dad used to sneak off early and have breakfast at the beach while we slept. I suppose they figured I was old enough to babysit. 🙂

Anyway, it started getting busy around 9:30-10:00, the sun was coming out, and it was time for us to leave. We ended up in Irvine to take care of some personal business, and then headed back to the hotel for a nap before birthday dinner at Napa Rose.

Residence Inn at Fountain Valley/Huntington Beach

Surf City Tacos

Rich’s Salmon Breakfast at Mutt Lynch’s, Newport Beach

Kathy’s Eggs and Hash with Hash Brown Ribbons (incredible hash browns!)

Summerlin to Southern Highlands (Florida to Las Vegas)

After being notified of my “memories” from two years ago today (the Magic Kingdom at WDW), I began sorting through my videos, and I realized I hadn’t updated you guys on recent ones:

(1) Scouting out the neighborhood pool before we got the pool key – you can find this video here.

(2) Visiting our favorite park path in our old neighborhood – checking out a potential house here.

(3) Solo trip to the Magic Kingdom at WDW from two years ago (we’d just landed in our Orlando apartment, waiting for our house to be built, so I did a solo trip to the MK while Rich was at work) – that memories video is here.

And then I realized I hadn’t written up the trip report from my birthday trip to SoCal, catching up with Disney and the beach. In my defense, I’ve been participating in 50/90 where you’re challenged to write 50 songs in 90 days. It began on July 4th, and so far, I’ve written 11 songs. I’m totally exhausted already – lol!

 

Living in Las Vegas (Summerlin), 3rd Time Around Highlights

We’re more than halfway through our Summerlin rental here in Las Vegas, so I thought I’d post a video of some of the highlights of being back, including the business trip last summer that started the path to moving back for Rich’s job here at headquarters from Central Florida.

Malbec, Margaritas and Martinis seem to be the stars. Besides the Pahrump Winery, our favorite hangout this time around is Hussong’s Cantina (video of the original in Ensenada, Mexico is in the sidebar). Enjoy!

Cruising the Mexican Riviera on the Crown Princess in a Mini-Suite

I’m having so much fun creating videos from my iPad (far easier than iMovie on my Mac desktop), so I’m uploading some of my favorites to YouTube. This was an early celebration of our 20th Anniversary cruise in April, 2016, but then we cruised again on the actual anniversary in August – that video will be posted next.

#Mexico #cruising #Princess #CrownPrincess #MexicanRiviera #cruises #minisuite

Port Canaveral: Cruising from Central Florida

Looking back at our most recent time living in Central Florida, we feel immense gratitude for yet another Florida adventure, this time living closer to the beach than Disney World, enjoying beach bars and hanging out at Port Canaveral.

We even celebrated Rich’s birthday cruising to the Bahamas on the Carnival Liberty. So I put together a little video celebrating that time.

Port Canaveral is expanding so whether you’re a local, cruising solely, or combining your cruise with a trip to Disney World, I hope you enjoy it. If so, please like and subscribe to this blog and on youtube.

Thank you!

#Mexico #cruising #Princess #Carnival #Liberty #Bahamas #cruising #Carnival #Cruises #CentralFlorida #DisneyWorld #Florida #fiction

 

 

Father’s Day Brunch at Wine Bar George

From our Inbox:

Seven Layers of Awesome

Behold…The Dad Stack. Join us on Father’s Day for seven layers of French Toast, French Fries, Bacon, Sausage Gravy, Chicken Sausage, Skirt Steak and Sunny Side Up Eggs. See you June 16 for brunch?

Ah, Wine Bar George – no, we won’t be there for Father’s Day (although, we have other fun plans), but oh how we miss you! Just this time last year we were enjoying the “RosĂ© Tasting with Master Sommellier” event with you, George. So much fun – we hung out with you often. We were your first customers on your first full opening day. And you were the last place we went before our move back West. Thanks for the memories!

Our compensation is making reservations for special dining events for Rich’s birthday this summer at Disneyland! Woo hoo!