Turning 29 Again at Disneyland Resort, Day 1, Part 1

If you’d like to peek ahead, check out the Rich’s Birthday at Galaxy’s Edge, Disneyland playlist on YouTube.

We’d had many plans for Rich’s birthday – when we were living in Florida we’d even booked a Med cruise, but, alas, with the move back west, we had to scale down those plans. But celebrating at Disney is always fun, right?

Staying onsite these days is reserved for special events, and this was pretty special, so we booked the Disneyland Hotel. Unsure about our future travel plans and with the AP we were interested in blocked still, we did not purchase an AP, but got a one-day park hopper to focus on catching up with what’s new, such as Galaxy’s Edge.

While Rich got in the check-in line, Kathy waited in the tea cup in the lobby, and after dropping off our bags in our pool view room, we changed into our swimsuits with a stop at Tangaroa Terrace for some lunch. We snagged a table outside, Rich ordered a Mai Tai and Kathy a Margarita, shared some Pulled Pork Nachos, and an order of Asian Chicken Wings. Tasty and refreshing. It was a hot afternoon and the whole pool area (Tangaroa Terrace) was packed.

After our lunch snack, we headed for the pool, but no chairs were available so like many others, we stacked our stuff on a cement wall and jumped in the pool for a refreshing dip. When we returned to our stuff, this big guy was sitting on our stuff but when I said, “You’re sitting on our stuff,” he got up and just stood there while we got dressed. Really strange, if not rude.

After the pool, we rested until time to get ready for Rich’s birthday dinner at Catal (and Kathy snuck in some birthday room decorations while Rich was out of the room).

 

 

 

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.

 

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!

 

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

 

 

Brunching From Las Vegas to Disney World to Disneyland (#Writer’sLife)

Brunch seems to have hit it big everywhere these days! Weekend brunch, that is. From Las Vegas to Disney World to Disneyland even. with the latest brunch place being Lamplight Lounge in DCA at Disneyland Resort. Check out the video below. We’re definitely adding that to our next trip plans.

Okay, so we miss being able to just drop into Disney World when we were living in Florida. That is always the difficulty when we move back to Vegas. And brunching at the resorts and Disney Springs was one of our favorite activities.

But I have to laugh when I think back to when I was first writing and submitting to RWA (Romance Writers of America) contests. My character was having brunch and one judge wrote that brunch would be way too expensive for my character. Totally ridiculous! She wasn’t poverty-striicken, but an average working girl who could definitely spring for a brunch. Mind you this was years ago before the brunch phenomenon hit but there were plenty of brunches out there. Obviously this RWA member was unaware of brunch. Maybe she came from a small Midwestern town and was clueless. And so I quit submitting my work to contests.

Back in the day, Las Vegas (Reno, Tahoe, etc) was the place to brunch and food, especially brunch, was quite affordable. The latest trend here isn’t brunch because everybody has brunch, but it’s Happy Hour during those brunching hours. Our favorite place for brunch time Happy Hour is Bobby Mao’s (I wrote about it here).

Anyway, check out Mr. CheezyPop’s brunch experience at Lamplight Lounge:

Catching up with Galaxy’s Edge and Las Vegas Local Stuff

While I catch up with the DIS Unplugged Galaxy’s Edge coverage, I thought I’d post some stuff about catching up with some of our favorite local hangouts – some old, some new.

One of the few sit down restaurants in our old neighborhood is Famous Dave’s BBQ. We hadn’t been there for years but while we were revisiting the neighborhood on Saturday, we thought we’d sit down and have some lunch. They are now offering lunch specials, calories listed, so it was much easier to choose a reasonable meal.

Rich:

Texas Beef Brisket (with Sweet & Zesty sauce added)
Piled high with hand-seasoned, hickory-smoked Texas Beef Brisket
Dave’s Cheesy Mac & Cheese

Kathy:

BBQ Tacos

Flour tortilla filled with pico de gallo, cilantro and fresh jalapeño
Our homestyle version blended with four cheeses
Wilbur’s beans

We each had a glass of Blue Moon, although neither of us finished it. All was delicious, and it was awesome to be back in the neighborhood.

One of our new discoveries is Bobby Mao’s Chinese Kitchen & Mexican Cuisine, located in the former Chevy’s (officially Henderson).  We were so disappointed when so many Chevy’s closed out here, including the one in Vegas, but we’ve come to love Bobby Mao’s. So far, we’ve been focusing on the Mexican menu: Carne Asada Street Tacos (6 to share), chips, salsa and guac, and Margarita for me and beer for Rich, all on the Sunday lunch Happy Hour Menu.

The big surprise for this time was addition of live music was awesome. We were seated to the sounds of “Route 66.” At first we thought it was on a playlist but then we noticed the musician sitting on stage – Calvin Brooks – he was pretty amazing!

Check out his credentials on his web site. I’m dumbfounded that we got to see him perform while eating lunch. That’s Vegas for you – kinda cool! So much talent in this town, and you never know where it’s going to pop up.

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!