Turning 29 Again at Disneyland and the Beach, Day 3 (Final)

We woke up early and instead of relaxing by the pool at the Disneyland Hotel, we cecked out of the hotel and drove to Newport Beach for a morning walk and breakfast at Mutt Lynch’s, after enjoying it so much in July for my birthday.

Mutt’s was late opening the doors, but after our walk we just stood there and she finally opened them. First off, coffee. Then, I got my usual – corned beef hash, those amazing hash brown ribbons, and eggs. No toast this time – the waitress didn’t bring it and I didn’t really want any. This time Rich tried the pancakes with bacon (I had a slice or two), and I tasted the pancakes to compare to Norm’s. As I suspected, Norm’s is definitely the winner of the pancakes (nobody else comes close), but Mutt’s wins the best hash browns ever award.

It was overcast, of course, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying our breakfast at the beach. It’s quite a contrast to the daily bright morning sun in Las Vegas. But it was a week day and parking was a breeze – just a few surfers, early morning walkers, and us. Several people (more than on Saturday) joined us for breakfast soon after we were seated. It did open later so maybe that’s the difference. Or people got a later start on a Saturday.

After breakfast, we took care of us some business in Costa Mesa and then drove home. Overall, it was such a fun trip, catching up on the new stuff at Disneyland and DCA and getting a bit of beach atmosphere before heading back to the desert. We’re looking forward to our next trip, although we have a couple of cruises booked (busy, busy fall – everything is up in-the-air).

Kathy’s Birthday Trip to Disney and the Beach, Part 3

The next morning, Rich brought back some breakfast from the hotel and I heated up the leftover pork chop to go with, which was still so amazingly delicious. If you think you don’t like something, think again if Andrew Sutton is preparing it. That’s what I love about food – the surprise.

We packed up and got on the road via one more look at the beach. Ah….

Around Barstow we were thirsty so we drove through Del Taco for their “mini” shakes, but that location doesn’t have them. So we got one shake and a Diet Coke to share.

The road was pretty busy, especially where it narrows to 2 lines each way on the Barstow to Vegas stretch. But the line of cars heading back to L.A. on a Sunday were even longer than before. Note to LA to Vegas travelers: do not drive home on a Sunday or, if you must, get up early!!

Anyway, here’s a video of the pianist in the Grand Californian playing “The Sound of Music,” us relaxing and enjoying our home away from home. Can’t wait to go back for Rich’s birthday for a stay at the Disneyland Hotel and catch up with the parks.

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. đŸ™‚

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!)

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

 

 

Catching Up With Tasty Treats at Disney and the Beach, Day 4

We skipped the complimentary breakfast at the hotel because this was travel day and that means Norm’s for breakfast. Their pancakes are the best ever. And it fills us up until dinner so we don’t have to stop to eat on the way home.

As usual, we had the “Bigger, Better Breakfast,” which is the best deal even if you just eat the pancakes. It comes with ham, bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns and pancakes. I skip the ham and bacon, eat a couple of sausage links, half the pancakes, and the hash browns because they are pretty amazing, too. I am so getting hungry!

Our drive home was uneventful and it was so good to see the kitties. Scott, our pet sitter from before, had agreed to take care of the kitties even though we now live way beyond his normal boundaries. He is awesome and the only pet sitter we trust in Las Vegas. Thank you, Scott!

 

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.