We had an enjoyable weekend visiting with friends. James was already with us for the weekend. Friday afternoon Michael and Sara flew in to see Wicked in Hollywood. James, Bill and I went and saw The Dan Band Friday night and really enjoyed the show. They performed many of the songs that we knew and a few new ones. They did a medley of Shakira songs that was hilarious. All in all it was a lot of fun and I’d recommend anyone to go see them when they tour in your area.

After the show we had planned to meet up with Michael and Sara for dinner, especially since our theaters were right down the street from each other. Our show got out around ten, theirs didn’t get out until just after eleven. So we walked up Hollywood Blvd doing silly touristy things like pointing out random stars on the sidewalk, Pat Morita, Deborah Kerr, Liberace, Faye Wray, Walter Matthau. We eventually sat and had some coffee and cocoa at a Starbucks about halfway between their theater, The Pantages, and the Grauman’s Chinese Theater. After their show, Michael and Sara were uber-lame and said they were too tired to hang out any later. So, Bill, James and I tried to find a relatively quiet place to eat dinner at 11:30. We tried one Japanese restaurant that Bill and I really like only to see that they aren’t open late anymore. :::shaking fist::: We settled on a ramen restaurant nearby where we had different ramen dishes.

Saturday morning Michael and Sara did their own thing while Bill, James and I drove south to San Juan Capistrano where we were meeting our friend’s Chuck and Mari for lunch. San Juan Capistrano is about halfway between our home and where Chuck and Mari live near Carlsbad… a forty-five minute drive from either direction. The downtown historic area is really beautiful with Mission San Juan Capistrano dominating the landscape with it’s ruins. We hand lunch at El Adobe De Capistrano; a Mexican restaurant with a history. The northern section of the building was originally the home of Miguel Yorba Adobe,
built in 1797. The southern half housed the Juzgado (court and jails)
and was established in 1812. What was once the jail is now the wine cellar. It’s been a restaurant since 1948. The food was delicious and the charm of the old building was really felt with the exposed brickwork and uneven walls. It was a little pricey for Mexican food, but fun.

After lunch we walked around a bit catching up with Chuck and Mari. Mari is about four months pregnant and they both listened intently to all the tips and advise James offered. We’re all really excited for them.

We headed to the mission and paid our admission fee… that included a free audio tour. Out of all of California’s twenty-one Missions, I’ve only ever visited Mission San Jose in Fremont, which is pretty small. Mission San Juan Capistrano is quite large with beautifuly landscaped gardens and fountains.

I didn’t really pay much attention to the audio tour. I was having too much fun enjoying the beautiful flowers and succulent plants. The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful… for January. You can actually listen to the audio tour on the webpage. Here are some of the photos I took:

James was taking a lot of photos with Chuck’s 10mp Nikon camera.



This fountain was beautiful and full of koi fish.

Bill is coming to the conclusion that he’d like a koi pond in our backyard.

I could easily spend days on end here taking photographs and painting. I saw a few people with their travel easels. Like this man painting a portion of the ruins of the Great Stone Church. It took nine years to build and was the largest structure in California when it was completed in the late 1770s. Sadly, six years after it was completed, the roof and seventy-foot high bell tower collapsed in an earthquake.

Chuck standing in a corner.

One of the Great Stone Church’s original bells.

After walking around for most of the afternoon, soaking up the sunshine and history, we parted ways with Chuck and Mari. We joked how Chuck and Mari live only two hours away from us, yet we only see them a couple of times a year. While we fly up to the Bay Area couple times a month. Perhaps we’d see them more if jetBlue began flying from Long Beach to San Diego. Like THAT’S gonna happen.

For dinner we met up with Michael and Sara who had spent the afternoon touring Hollywood on foot. Michael really wanted to have dinner at the Yard House, but none of us was up to waiting over two hours for a table. So we headed down the street and had dinner a Joe’s Sushi. We enjoyed our normal favs; salmon rolls. lobster rolls, deep fried California rolls, unagi rolls, spicy scallop rolls, spicy tuna rolls and baked mussels. Sara isn’t a big fan of sushi, but she enjoyed a plate of chicken katsu with rice and a salad. After dinner we went home and watched the film Transformers. Michael and Sara hadn’t seen it.

Sunday we met up with Michael and Sara for lunch at the Yard House. We sat in the back patio that has a lovely view of the harbor. Michael wanted to try a bunch of different beers so we opted for a sampler six pack. The restaurant chooses six beers and serves them in five ounce glasses. We would have liked to choose the beer, but it was still fun.

Let’s see if I can remember all of the beers we tasted… one was a Spaten Lager, Woodchuck Dark & Dry Cider, Carlsberg, Paulaner Lager… I can’t remember the rest. Michael had a pint of Leffe and James had a pint of  of Chimay. When James asked for a glass of Coors Lite, the waiter asked if he could get him something else… with a funny look on his face that said, “with all the great beers we have you want a Coors Lite?” So he brought him a pint HofBrau with the promise that if he didn’t like it, he’d get him a Coors Lite at no extra charge.   It was really funny.

I finally remembered to take pictures of the food this time…

Bill had his regular Mac n’ Cheese (on steroids)

I had a turkey burger that had a slice of grilled tomato with melted mozzerella cheese on top with a garlic aioli and an onion poppyseed bun. Mmmm. Their fries are really good too.

Michael had a parmesean crusted chicken breast with mashed potatoes.

Sara had a chicken enchilada stack that looked really good.

I didn’t get a picture of James’ plate, but he had a dish of garlic noodles tossed with lobster, shrimp, crab, fresh spinach and shitake mushrooms. The food was delicious, as it has been every time I’ve visited the Yard House.


Having fun with the reflection in James’ sunglasses…

After lunch we walked around the Shoreline Village area of Downtown Long Beach where there are many shops restaurants, and a carousel, all with views of the harbor, neighboring Lion’s “Lighthouse for Sight” and the Queen Mary.

Michael and Sara flew home last night. James flew back to Newark today. Bill will be flying to Washington DC tonight. So, it’ll be a quiet night for me. It actually works out because I want to watch the 5th Harry Potter film tonight, and Bill has no interest in seeing it.


About wobetxela

Artist, mom, traveler, hiker, babywearer (for as long as they'll let me) and hobbyist photographer.
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