Masks and Thieves

So yesterday we decided to do something we rarely do these days – go out to lunch. One of our favorite places is Sonrisa Grill, the Mexican restaurant at Lake Las Vegas. It’s a fun drive and walk with great food and views.

We noticed that a few people we passed were not wearing masks, which is a bit disconcerting, especially since we’re used to going to Downtown Disney, where the mask requirement is enforced.

And the truth is, while I do wear a mask when I am out, I choose not to do a lot of things because I’m just not comfortable wearing a mask for more than an hour. So, truth be told, I really won’t be flying to Florida during this time – I can’t imagine wearing a mask for 4-6 hours. I’m also not sure I could really do Disneyland, although we’ll get a chance to test how long I can wear a mask at Knott’s Berry Farm next month, although for most of that time we’ll be sitting and eating/drinking so it shouldn’t be too bad. And there’s a relaxation station where masks are not required.

So on the thievery front, we were informed that our “Hitchhiking Ghosts” Christmas ornament was delivered by FEDEX yesterday, but we never got it. When we called Disney, they said they are out-of-stock now and will refund our money. Grrrr! We’d purposely ordered early to make sure we got them and now either the FEDEX driver kept it (not the first time this has happened in Vegas), or it was delivered to the wrong house and they kept our package.

Some photos from yesterday’s lunch:

Blue Sonrisa Margarita

Spicy Margarita

Salmon Tacos

Shrimp Tacos

Happy 65th Birthday Disneyland: Our First Trip Back to Downtown Disney (#YouTube #Disneyland65)

Happy 65th Birthday, Disneyland! This was the day Disneyland chose to reopen nut the state of California (ie Governor Newsom) rejected them. And the way he keeps shutting down the state, who knows when Disneyland will open again.

But our recent trip to Downtown Disney was a real pick-me-up to help tide us over. We’d hoped to get back to Anaheim for Rich’s birthday and had made reservations at the Hilton (while we were lunching at Uva Bar at Downtown Disney), but Hilton just cancelled them. They’re not opening by mid August after all.

Listening to Walt’s opening speech on July 17, 1955, I knew I had to update our youtube channel with a video of our recent time at Downtown Disney. The video starts with our driving by the Grand Californian, on to the Simba parking lot, and then Downtown Disney, concluding with lunch at the Uva Bar (Catal).

The Downtown Disney/Newport Beach Birthday Trip

Yes, we did it. We finally decided to go forward with staying at the beach, booking outside dining at Tommy Bahama in Newport Beach for my birthday dinner, and the next day lunch and shopping at Downtown Disney. It was pretty awesome. And we felt totally safe. People were wearing masks (definitely at Disney) and most other places we went, too. Life felt almost normal – certainly nothing like what you read in the media. Ugh!

The tyrant governor newsom should investigate his “data” a little more thoroughly and figure out where, exactly, these spikes are coming from and the reasons for them. Because I could see no reason for them or the closures where we were. Of course, we stayed outside and chose wisely. It did seem a bit more loose when we drove by the donut shop on Newport Beach. People were wearing masks but I couldn’t say they stood 6 feet away from each other. Maybe that doesn’t matter as much if you’re wearing a mask?

Here are some photos from the trip starting with the birthday dinner at Tommy Bahama, Newport Beach, kicking it off with a Mai Tai:

First Sip

Incredible Calamari with Cilantro Slaw (shared appetizer)

Rich’s Ribs

Kathy’s Coconut Shrimp

Key Lime Pie to share (Rich insisted – lol)

First Cut

First Bite

Evening walk on Huntington Beach

Everything was delicious and we took half the rack of ribs and a couple of shrimp back to our beach hotel for dinner the next night.

The next day we drove to Downtown Disney at around 11 am to secure a parking spot in Simba Parking Lot before it was full.

The CMs teased us that Rich was wearing an Angels mask, and Kathy was wearing a Dodgers mask (to match her blue outfit,she explained). Yeah, right, they said – lol!

Not sure a Dodgers mask goes with a Mickey hat – lol!

We stood in line for about half an hour for entry to World of Disney (nothing compared to those who arrive later in the day).

In line, waiting to enter the World of Disney

After the walk from the Simba parking lot, temp check, and security, 30 minutes in line for World of Disney, 45 minutes and $200 of shopping later, we were desperate to take off our masks at the Uva Bar and have a drink and some lunch.

Scanning the menu from the iPhone

Rich toasts Kathy’s birthday with a glass of Spanish Chardonnay

Enjoying the atmosphere, company, and refreshments at the Uva Bar in Downtown Disney

Rich’s Fish Tacos (Garlic Fries substituted for Sweet Potato Fries)

Kathy’s American Cheeseburger, Garlic Fries, and a Glass of Argentinian Malbec

Lunching at the Uva Bar at Downtown Disney was Magical! We felt safe and it was so like us that we didn’t even feel cheated that Disneyland or DCA weren’t open. We’re just waiting for the Grand Californian to reopen. Oh, and our server noticed the Angels and Dodgers masks and said her boyfriend was Angels but she was Dodgers. lol! The food was delicious and we took half the fries back to our beach hotel for dinner, but they didn’t heat up well. Darn! They were so yummy!

We returned to our beach hotel and admired our World of Disney shopping haul: Baby Yoda plush, 65th Anniversary Photo Frame, “the child” top for Kathy, coral top for Kathy, the Mandalorian t-shirt for Rich, Disneyland 65th Anniversary socks for Rich, Star Wars mask for Rich, Baby Yoda mask, and Mickey Mouse mask (matches her purse) for Kathy.

All in all, it was an awesome and much-needed trip and great birthday celebration even though we were originally disappointed that Napa Rose wouldn’t be open. It was nice to change it up. We’ll see what’s open for Rich’s birthday.

We’ll be uploading some new videos on YouTube.

Las Vegas Showgirls Wearing Masks

When I saw this photo, I’m pretty sure I must have flashed a huge smile. Showgirls in masks. Gotta love Las Vegas!

The governor of Nevada is starting to win me over, especially when he said how “Nevadans are independent people.” Oh yeah! But he also asked that we show our independent spirit by each donning a mask. lol!

I do wear a mask when I’m out in public, but I also don’t choose to go out in public very often. It was okay during church, but I really struggle when shopping. Like today, we went to a couple of furniture stores shopping around for a living room chair. Looking down at the tags, my glasses slip off my nose (that’s what your nose is for if you’re a glass-wearer – not masks), and when I shove them back on, they fog up. Really an unpleasant experience. So I get it the resistance not to wear them. But if it’s true wearing a mask is the difference between spreading “the Bob” and not spreading it, I’m pretty sure we must wear them.

On a side note, I was watching the Tracker Live show today where they were talking about theme park news, and then, of course, a little peek at Jackson, who is so cute! But must Jenn talk about his bodily functions all the time? And breast feeding?

It reminds me of when we’d drive to the Central Valley from Orange County to visit my step dad’s family. Inevitably, the men would go out to the front porch and talk while eventually, a few people would jump in the car to get some rock salt (I was usually in that car) to make some home made ice cream. The men would take turns with the crank, and the women would sit in the living room and talk about babies, ad nauseum.

I, of course, would be sitting with the men on the porch. Their conversations were much more interesting, even if only because they weren’t talking about babies. Ah, how I miss those days. Never thought I’d say that – lol – but the problem with everything being online today, especially today, is that you can’t just leave the conversation when the women (and now men, it seems) start chatting about their kids bodily functions, breast milk going sour, etc, etc.

You know, I did all of that as a kid, although back then babies were mostly bottle-fed. I helped raise my half-brother and half-sister. I heated the milk, fed them a bottle, Gerber’s baby food, burped them, changed diapers, emptied the “diaper pail.” (Now here I am talking about those same things I dislike hearing about – Ooops!)

Anyway, all I wanted to do was to grow up and be an adult. Progress. Move on. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the lifestyle working in Silicon Valley. Maybe that’s also why I enjoyed trips to Las Vegas from San Francisco. And maybe that’s why I, for the most part, love living in Las Vegas.

I miss having easy access to Disney and the beach (or at least, what used to be easy), but Vegas is where you can hang out without kids. Because even cruise ships are all about families it seems today. Cruising also used to be more about adults. You can’t even go to work and enjoy that same kid-free zone when they have “take your kid to work day.” lol!

(Okay, I absolutely adore kids at Disney, so don’t go all crazy on me. Time and place. Time and place.)

YUM!

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.

 

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).

Turning 29 Again at Disneyland, Day 2, Part 2: DCA

We entered Security at DD but it was a breeze, although Rich did have to remove his celebration pin. When we headed through the DCA gates, the CM said, “You need to have a real birthday button” and told us where to get it inside DCA. So we stopped in at the 5 and Dime and got one. They were so friendly and wished Rich a “Happy Birthday” and gave me one that said, “I’m Celebrating with Rich.”

It was hot and we were early for our Lamplight Lounge ressie, so we decided to have a drink at Carthay Circle Lounge, but, first, had to wait in line to be admitted. We were originally going to celebrate Rich’s birthday in the Carthay Circle Restaurant but decided to do Catal the night before and not use up our park time for a sit down dinner.

After about 10 minutes, we were admitted and seated in a cozy table for two. I had the amazing “Carthay Martini,” of course, and Rich had a “Scotch Mist,” considered to be “Walt’s drink of choice,” which is now Rich’s drink of choice.

We were enjoying the atmosphere so much, we decided to order a snack. We got the Vietnamese Beef Tacos, which were so scrumptious! We had an awesome server (Mark) who teased us about hearing Lamplight Lounge call us when we asked for the check. Next time, we’ll just stay there.

Scotch Mist: known to be Walt’s drink of choice – Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch with a Lemon Peel served over Crushed Ice

Carthay Martini: classically prepared with Hendrick’s Gin or Double Cross Vodka, Lillet Blanc Dry Vermouth and Gourmet Blue Cheese Truffle Olives served with an Ice Sphere

Vietnamese Twice-cooked Beef Tacos with fresh Pineapple-Mint Salsa

We then moved on to Lamplight Lounge via the Golden Vine Vineyard and Winery, one of our old favorite hangouts.

Golden Vine Vineyard

Golden Vine Winery

We’d heard so much about the Lamplight Lounge, although we were not fans of the Cove Bar, which was the original watering hole here. The CMs were friendly enough and we had the most incredible Salmon Sandwich that we shared and would go back just for that, but the atmosphere was just “Meh.” I think it might be better outside after dark, but it was hot and we were happy to be seated inside.

Rich reads the Lamplight Lounge Menu

Salmon Sandwich Photo from Touring Plans

We walked around and caught up with new stuff on Pixar Pier, shared a Churro (not the best – better at Fantasyland cart), rode Little Mermaid, Luigis, and Mater for the first time, which we now love more than Luigis. We stopped in at the Cozy Cone for an ice cream cone. We also did our Radiator Springs Racers watch after dark, which is so awesome. Watching may be even more fun than riding, especially with the 90-minute wait.

Stopping for a Churro

Luigi’s

The Cozy Cone

Pixar Pier

Our Lamplight Lounge Video (from iPhone)

Our Radiator Springs Racers Video (from iPhone)

We did our usual peek-in at the merch at Rushin River Outfitters, but didn’t find anything. The atmosphere at night is just so awesome. We walked through the GC on our way out, with a quick walk through the gift shop, a breeze through Security, and a walk back through DD, which was pretty quiet on a Sunday night.

Rich and the Hat he did not get

Overall, it was a very special birthday for Rich (and me), and we had a lot of fun, although the 7.5 miles would take a while to recover from. 🙂

 

 

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 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 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!)

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:

WineBarGeorge

DadStack

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 “Rosé 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!