Independence Day – the Irony of It

Happy July!

Reading the OC Register this morning, I see that the California governor is going to tighten restrictions today. Who knows what that means but I’m hearing “bars and beaches.” Laguna Beach is talking about closing before the 4th of July. In fact, all of this is happening now to prevent a huge spike over Independence Day.

Oh the irony of that name. You may as well cancel the 4th, because, frankly, we don’t seem to have any independence these days.

But what does independence in this context mean anyway? The ability to not wear a mask? Not to stay socially distant? But if you don’t wear a mask, or stay socially distant, things close. Not much independence in being forced to stay home because nothing is open.

I’m especially concerned because for all intents and purposes, we’ve been locked down in Vegas since the end of September. Returning from our trip to California, we decided to go ahead and build a home here. During that time we were so focused and financially strapped and uneasy about leaving the cats with a new pet sitter in that strange rental, that we stayed in Las Vegas.

Ten months in Las Vegas straight is a record for us. Geographically and culturally, we’re basically a suburb of SoCal. And it’s normal for us to visit every six weeks or so during the warmer months of the year. Mostly Disneyland and the beach. And my old neighborhoods, of course. 🙂

No Napa Rose for my birthday celebration. And now maybe no beach. We’d give California the finger and cancel the trip if it we weren’t in such need right now to see the beach – the beach that belongs to not only California residents, but the entire country. Closing the beach is not the way to celebrate “Independence Day.”

I get it, but I don’t like it. Some people can’t be trusted and they’re deciding what I get to do and what I can’t do right now. Not feeling very independent at all.

Oh the irony. We escaped lockdown well before the 4th, so now we may be back under lockdown orders by the 4th!

Mask Headache

Today we went to Home Depot. I wore my mask. After about ten/fifteen minutes, I was done. Instead of continuing our browsing, we finished our business so we could leave. I’ve noticed that after wearing a mask, I get a terrible headache around the back of my head, where I usually get stress headaches.

We keep hearing and reading of spikes in “The Bob.” Paul of The Motorhome Experiment, said in his Live show last night that the spikes in Florida are up because of the testing that’s being done everywhere. He calls it the “Corona Chaos.”

Sue, my DVC friend, calls it “medical theater,” and she works in some sort of state-run long-term residential facility.

I love their attitude.

I hate to hear of the spikes. But I have a feeling that none of my activities are spiking anything. Even without a mask. The spikes are probably more likely due to those who *must* gather closely together in crowds, throwing caution to the wind. But here in Nevada you must wear a mask as soon as you leave your home. Exercising in the fresh air? Must wear a mask. More than six feet from the next person? Must wear a mask. It’s getting ridiculous!

Thanks, Nevada governor. He’s definitely getting on my nerves again. He’s also still restricting churches to 50 participants, although restaurants/bars/casinos are only limited by percentage – not total number. There’s a lawsuit underfoot.

No more than 50 people can attend church and because some churches have thousands of members, we’re told we can only go to church once during Phase 2. And now the governor is delaying opening up to Phase 3. So church, for all intents and purposes, is still in the same camp as brothels and tattoo parlors.

What has horrified me the most about all of this is how much control the governors seem to have, although lawsuits are being filed questioning this.

Seriously still thinking about the full-time RV life when Rich retires. Then we can move from state to state if something is too distasteful to have to remain in one state.

As for the birthday trip, I’m also seriously reconsidering our plans to stay in a large hotel near Disneyland in case we can go to Downtown Disney. Disney has revealed no specific plans about who will be open, who will not. How do you get a reservation? Nothing. Nada. Zip. And it will be busy, mark my words. Especially since the theme parks will not be open anytime soon. People will clamor to get into Downtown Disney.

With California always on the verge of lock down, I’m thinking we might go back to Plan A, which was to stay at a smaller beach property and perhaps get food delivery and drive along the coast. Anything not to wear a mask. But I must see the ocean. Smell it. Walk it. Okay, I might have to wear a mask for that.

Knott’s Berry Farm, California Missions, and Friendly Masks

What I’m Watching:

Knott’s Berry Farm is one of my favorite childhood hangouts. We went there often as a family. The first time I knew what my parents were spelling out was when they said we were going to K-n-o-t-t-s B-e-r-r-y F-a-rm.

We were in the car and I recognized what my mother was spelling and shouted, “Knott’s Berry Farm!” lol! That’s when my mother knew spelling in front of the kids would no longer work. Ironically, Knott’s was also the celebratory place we went after I won the 6th grade spelling bee.

Impromptu visit to Knott’s after school with my cousins (me in the dress)

My favorite parts about Knott’s is the old Knott’s, the mining town, Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, the Reflection Chapel, and the Missions of California.

I loved studying and visiting the missions in school. I would come home and talk nonstop about “Father (now Saint) Junipero Serra,” which was pretty funny since my grandmother was busy trying to impart her Jehovah’s Witness religion on us.

In those days, my mother put on pretenses whenever her mother was around and my grandmother influenced me greatly when I stayed with her. But I like to say I met Jesus in those Missions through Saint Serra.

So, instead of being all caught up with the things we can’t do, I’m trying to focus on the things we can do. And so we’re planning on having lunch at Mrs. Knott’s during my birthday trip. The Marketplace is now open and it will be fun to see it again.

  • Disney Springs with Tim Tracker

Also, I’ve noticed that seeing people wearing masks doesn’t freak me out quite as much when I see friendly people I recognize wearing them. And speaking of masks, Tim Tracker has been trying out several different ones and his latest one in his Disney Springs video looks promising.

I’d tried the neck thingie he wore in his Moss Park video, but it’s tight around my neck and I still can’t breathe wearing it, but the Disney Springs mask might be worth a try, especially with the strap thingie he wears so his ears aren’t being pulled – that’s another issue I’ve found.

We still haven’t heard what/if restaurants at Downtown Disney will be open when it opens July 9, so we’ve made reservations at a beach restaurant for my birthday (impressed by their social protocols they have in place). But we’re hoping to pop in to DD, if it looks like it will work for us. Disneyland and the hotels won’t be open before my birthday so they will have to wait until the August trip.

It’s hard to make any plans during this time because we just don’t know what things are available and what they will look like. So we will have to remain flexible. I’m looking forward to the trip, though, and getting back to frequent trips to Disneyland and the beach from our new home in Las Vegas.

My Orange County (CA) Life: Nostalgia, Disneyland, and Denny Pezzin

This morning Adam of The Daily Woo is eating his meal (Denny’s) at his favorite location outside the Anaheim Convention Center, talking about whether he will be interested in securing entrance to the opening of Disneyland. Well, of course, we would all love to since it’s happening on Disneyland’s 65th anniversary.

It’s really hard for me to be cut off from Disneyland. It’s one reason we moved back West each time we moved to Florida. The easy access to Disney World and the beach in Florida couldn’t compare to the much longer 4-hour drive to Disneyland and the beach from Las Vegas. Disneyland is special to many people, but especially to those who grew up there and maybe even more so to those who grew up there but no longer live there. Disneyland is family.

The years I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, working in Silicon Valley, were filled with trips to Disneyland just to touch that childhood nostalgia. My mother tells the story of us watching it being built when I was quite small and my step dad was in Korea. As soon as his stint was over, we went to Disneyland for the first time with my mother, step dad, his daughter (Sherry), and me. You might have seen this photo before:


Disneyland: then and now (me on the lower right, afraid of the “old Lady” in the rocking chair)

This was taken several years ago, perhaps around 2010. We updated the (now) version in the same spot just last summer when we were there on Rich’s birthday.

August 2019

As so many of us, I was also aware of being in Disneyland when Walt was walking around Main Street. My mother, ever so discreet, would say quietly, “There’s Walt.”

Back to my Silicon Valley days with trips to Disneyland in the 1990s. I would often stay at my favorite Embassy Suites where Denny Pezzin would perform his “One Man Show.”

Since then, he’d moved to Florida when we were there the second time around. His father was living there after his mother died and Denny was there to help him during his time of grief. Denny and his wife have since moved back to SoCal in the desert area where he performs at various venues with some trips to the OC (at least before the “Bob” affected our lives).

I subscribe to his YouTube channel and he uploads a performance daily (or close to it). So check out today’s Denny Pezzin performance, an Elvis Medley, “The Wonder of You” and “One Night With You.”

I’m really feeling the pull of my childhood and younger days and can’t wait to get back to my Orange County and Disneyland, especially Galaxy’s Edge, DJ Rex, and Oga’s Cantina.

Rich enjoying a Jet Juice at Oga’s Cantina

Grooving to DJ Rex

French Martini & Cocktail Video (Inspired by Disney, Cruising, Las Vegas, California, Florida)

With the release of French Martini on Kindle, I was inspired to create a video looking back at our life through cocktails – lol! This was so much fun to put together (PS – a link to a recipe for a French Martini is in the video description). Enjoy! Also, please subscribe, like, and/or comment on the video. Thank you!

San Diego to Napa Rose (Surprise Halloween Trip)

Took a little trip to San Diego to take care of some business and so, of course, we had to stop off at Napa Rose for dinner before returning home to Las Vegas. I thought I’d post a brief report with some pics.

San Diego was lovely, as usual, with perfect weather.

Walking the grounds of the San Diego Hotel with a quick, tasty bite at Chili’s next door.

After one night in San Diego, we drove up to Orange County and checked into our favorite Residence Inn for one night. We then drove to the Grand Californian and left the car with valet.

We were a bit early for our Napa Rose ressie, so we took a walk around, checking out the gift shop and the Halloween decorations, including the giant cake of Ursula. At a nearby cart (the one with the cookie shots), we grabbed a fun Halloween cookie (photo below was taken after we unwrapped it back home) before heading for Napa Rose.

We arrived for our 8:30 pm ressie at around 8 pm, hoping to be seated early, but it was soon apparent that wasn’t happening. We were quite surprised by the crowd on a Monday night. So were the Napa Rose CMs.

We were finally were seated in the lounge for a glass of wine.

Rich had the Syrah, Stolpman Vineyards, Santa Ynez Valley and I had the Malbec, Bodega Viamonte, Montevia, Argentina.

We ended up being seated for dinner at around 8:40 pm. The food was well worth the wait – it’s just as delicious as ever. That’s three times at Napa Rose for us since May. It’s becoming a thing.

We shared the Hamachi “Crudo” with Avocado, Jalapeño and Prickly Cactus Pear Vinaigrette for our appetizer with the usual bread service (the breadsticks are our favorites).

Rich had the Pomegranate-glazed Veal Osso Bucco served with Apple-Pine Nut Relish and Sautéed Potato Gnocchi, and I had the the Market Fish of the Day (Hawaiian Ono) with Pacific White Shrimp, Light Shrimp Broth, accented with Lemongrass, Mint and Chile

No dessert – we just finished our wine.

On the way back to valet, I took a couple of photos of the registration area, remembering when that was also a thing.

 

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.

 

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day Five

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

We got up early, Rich brought us some coffees and pastries while I showered, and we made our way to the Theatre to wait for disembarkation. We were off the ship by about 7:15 a.m. We saw our friend April and her friend again and we chatted once again. She wished me “Happy Birthday” again – really fun girls!

We had so many ideas about what we might do this day since we were flying back to Florida until the next day. One popular idea was to go to Disneyland if we got off the ship early. Well, we were off early but we were exhausted so we drove to Newport Beach.

It was only 8:30 am but already all parked up. So we drove to Huntington Beach and had breakfast at Norm’s – where our favorite pancakes in the world awaited and the friendliest, hometown experience.

Then we went to Mass at one of our regular SoCal churches. We were blessed to have been part of a baptism. So far, we were really feeling at home again.

We also drove around some of our favorite neighborhoods and when our hotel wasn’t ready early like we’d requested, we drove to Corona del Mar, hoping to enjoy the beach there. Nope – parking full. We ended up taking the ferry to Balboa Island, although there was quite a line of cars ahead of us.

This was a favorite childhood hangout for my family, including my mother who used to hang out there as a teen. My novel, Letters on Balboa Island, was inspired by all that.

Exhausted from getting up early and driving around, we decided to park at our hotel and wait in the lobby for our room. They’d offered a pool view room but we waited for our water view room.

We ended up ordering room service – burgers and wine – and relaxed and sipped and watched the sun set over Balboa Bay where I used to go with my family to watch 4th of July fireworks!

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day Two

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

As I mentioned here, we ate the leftover steak from Napa Rose for breakfast this morning along with some eggs from the hotel breakfast buffet. Then we headed for the port of Long Beach via my old stomping grounds – childhood home, high school, and other neighborhoods. I’ve posted enough pics about them so I won’t repeat that – lol!

We were a bit confused by the entry to the port due to some detour. But when we looked confused, a bus driver asked if everything was okay via a thumbs up? And so I rolled down the window and asked how to get to the port and he very nicely gave us directions. We were so impressed!

We parked the car in the garage and headed for the new check-in area at were directed to priority boarding and were onboard in no time at all. Because we were suite passengers, our room was ready so we dropped off our luggage and I noticed there were birthday decorations and a bottle of Prosecco that Rich had ordered. Yay! We met our cabin stewardess who was amazing and kept our ice and water well-stocked and cleaned.

 

We then headed for Guys Burgers for lunch. We shared the Straight Up – amazing!! Maybe even better than In N Out! Ohhhhh!!!

Then we made our way to the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar and Rich ordered a Blue’s Patron Margarita for me then ran over to the Red Frog Rum Bar on the opposite side of the ship and brought back his Rum Jumper (aka Rum Runner).

Rich’s Rum Jumper

Kathy’s Blue’s Patron Margarita

We did a bit of a ship tour, although we have sailed on two sister ships, the Paradise (twice), and the Inspiration. One of our favorite areas is the Adults Only Serenity Deck, especially on this class of ship.

We unpacked our carry-on bags and then it was off for the Muster Drill. Ours was located up on the pool deck. Carnival has improve somewhat with accounting for people by electronically beeping people’s Sail & Sign cards, similar to Princess but Princess is far more efficient. Then it was time for sailaway, although there seemed to be a bit of delay.

Our Prosecco was on ice waiting for us but due to the delay, we headed to the salad bar (Carnival’s is the best!). We made our way back to the cabin where chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, macaroons, and truffles awaited! Eventually, the ship began to move and Rich popped open the Prosecco, poured us each a glass, and we sailed away from our balcony.

I don’t remember doing much more after we sailed away. I think we pretty much just hang out on the balcony, which is our favorite thing to do on a ship. This is why we cruise. We texted with our pet sitter a few times before leaving range. We were pretty tired, as we always are on embarkation day.

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day One, Part Three: Napa Rose

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

Birthday Dinner at Napa Rose

We were enjoying sipping our Pinot Noir in the Napa Rose Lounge when a server came by, told us our table was ready and carried our wine as she led us to our table. We were seated at a table for two near the open kitchen where I could watch Andrew Sutton cook. If you’ve read our prior Napa Rose reports, you’ll know I am a big fan of Andrew Sutton and his food.

Our server, excellent throughout our meal, took our order and brought us a basket of delicious breads, including tasty rosemary rolls and delightful parmesan crisps.

MENU

Appetizer (Shared)

Barbequed Bristol Bay Diver Scallop
with Forager Mushrooms, Apple Bacon, and Summer Peaches

Entree (Rich & Kathy)

Grilled Creekstone Farms “Prime” New York (Medium Rare)
Bone Marrow Fritter, Onion Fondue, and Mustard Crème

Wine (Rich & Kathy)

MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir

Dessert (Shared)

Valrhona Blond Chocolate Crunch Covered in Dark Chocolate Ganache
Caramelized Bananas and Honey Sauce

We always wanted to try the diver scallop appetizer at Napa Rose, and we finally got our chance. Andrew Sutton changes the preparation often, and this preparation was exquisite. This has to be the best scallop we’ve ever had. Amazing!

We both ordered the New York Strip. Sometimes a steak is just a steak, but not at Napa Rose. Cooked perfectly, the steak was luscious, juicy, and seasoned splendidly. The accompaniments were good, but the steak was the star.

Since it was Kathy’s birthday, our server offered her a free dessert from the menu. She chose the Valrhona chocolate dessert that we shared. What can we say? YUM! That about sums it up. It was rich, chocolaty, and, well, incredible.

This was our best Napa Rose experience, even better than the Chef’s Counter. The service, food, and atmosphere were delightful. This was a fantastic way to start the celebration for Kathy’s birthday and kick off her birthday trip.

Bread Service

The Amazing Scallops

Awesome Steak

Complimentary Birthday Dessert

Kathy’s Comments: Looking at the photos, it might seem as if we were skimping but neither of us could finish our steak – Rich left a couple of bites on his plate and we took about half of mine back to the hotel, stored it in the fridge, and the next morning heated it up with the hotel eggs and had Steak and eggs for breakfast, which was absolutely scrumptious the next day.

 

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day One, Part Two

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

Picking up the story where we left off in Part 1 (pulling over to figure out how to get to 405S and to make arrangements for Skipper with our pet sitter), we found our way to the freeway, amazingly enough. We were both quite devastated over the news and I suggested we cancel my birthday dinner at Napa Rose and just rest up at the hotel before boarding our ship the next day. The good news was that when we picked up our car in the Emerald Aisle, a black Challenger just like ours at home was sitting there waiting for us. Amazing. We’ve never seen a sporty car like that in the Emerald Aisle. So we were at least feeling comfortable driving a familiar car in the midst of all this craziness.

We were also happy we’d chosen the Residence Inn in Garden Grove just a few miles from Disneyland. We’d stayed there many times when we came in from Las Vegas and it felt like home. We’d booked and unbooked so many choices before we finally settled on this hotel, and we were glad we’d stuck with this choice. By the time we arrived at the hotel, we decided we should go ahead and celebrate and keep our dinner reservation at Napa Rose. Skipper would have wanted it that way.

We checked in and relaxed for a few hours and then valet parked the car at the Grand Californian. Unfortunately, the porte cochere was under some sort of refurbishment and we had to park over by the Conference Center, which meant a roundabout walk to the lobby. We admired the lobby, the oh so familiar Hearthstone Lounge, and our favorite gift shop before heading into Napa Rose a bit early. They seated us at a table in the Napa Rose Lounge and asked if I’d like a birthday pin. I said yes and we ordered a couple of glasses of MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir for old times’ sake.

Rich will write about the actual dinner. But let me say that this was our best experience at Napa Rose and the Napa Rose staff surprised me with so many wonderful birthday touches – far more than they had before. Maybe because Andrew Sutton was in the house and everybody outdid themselves. 🙂

And now for a few pics – we’d made a pact that we wouldn’t take any photos of each other because after travel day and the news about Skipper, we decided it would be best not to.

“Good Neighbor” Residence Inn Hotel along Hotel Row, Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove/Anaheim with our Black Challenger rental car (just like Home)

The Grand Californian Lobby – a site for sore eyes!

Our usual table at Hearthstone Lounge – ah….

A glass of MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir in the Napa Rose Lounge while we wait for our 7:30 p.m. reservation