With the Lunar New Year beginning last week, we had a somewhat busy weekend. The weather we had really made the weekend great. Saturday we had a high of 85 degrees with clear skies and a light breeze. Sunday it cooled off to about 78. And it’s been sunny and in the 70s ever since. Except today, it’s overcast and in the 60s. Yes, heartbreaking….
Because of the workload and deadlines I’m facing at work, I was unable to fly up to OAK last Wednesday to have dinner with Bill’s family, which is (I’ve learned) traditional for Lunar New Year’s Eve. Bill did fly up though and spent Thursday as a tour guide for a few family members. A first cousin of Laikwan’s was in town from Muenster, Germany where he lives. Apparently, Laikwan and this cousin had never met. Bill reminded me that this can be common in a very large family. Thursday they spent touring San Francisco seeing sites including the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Golden Gate Park and Chinatown. Thankfully, it was a clear and gorgeous day. I’ll see if Bill will send me some of the photos.
Friday evening, Bill’s parents flew down to LGB to spend part of the weekend with us. Friday night we had dinner at L.V. Chinese Seafood restaurant near the airport that Bill frequents with his co-workers. He goes enough that the manager and a few wait staff know him. Dinner was tasty with a whole steamed tilapia, salt and pepper pork chops, walnut prawns, and pea greens. It’s quite obvious that the restaurant’s patrons aren’t Chinese as the tables are set with plates and forks instead of chopsticks and bowls. Thankfully they still cook many traditional Chinese dishes and have a pretty decent selection of seasonal fresh fish.
Saturday we drove out to Monterey Park for dim sum. The restaurant we went to I’ve visited once before with Bill’s aunt and a friend back in October. It’s a huge restaurant! When we had dinner there in October, we were in the smaller dining room while a wedding banquet went on in their large dining room. A wedding with 450 people! And our dining room still had approximately 200 people in it. Plus they have half a dozen additional private rooms that can hold around fifty people. Considering all of that, the service is good (good for Chinese restaurant standards) and the food is fantastic. On Saturday we sat in the main dining room for dim sum and it was loud and busy with carts rolling all over the place. Having dim sum in such a large restaurant was new for me, and there were plenty of new items I’ve never seen. Plus the carts making a vegetable stir-fry or pan fried daikon cake right at your table were pretty cool. While we mostly ate our favorites, it was fun to try few new items and see some favorites prepared a different way. My favorite dessert item is a steamed bun filled with a sweet egg custard. (lai wong bao in Chinese) I’ve also tasted it with the bun baked or deep fried. I still like steamed best. At this restaurant they mixed some finely shredded coconut into the custard and used a baked sweet bread instead of the normal steamed bun. It was incredibly good… and felt like a lead weight in my stomach. After dinner we drove home not wanting to deal with the crowds at the Monterey Park Chinese New Year festival.
On the way home from Monterey Park we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and we stopped at our local nursery to see what they had on sale. I didn’t want to stop there, as I felt it was too early to be planting anything. There was another reason, but I couldn’t think of it… They had a few tomatoes, but I was adamant that it was too early for tomatoes. Bill bought one plant of the Early Girl variety anyway and we’ll see how it does. We also bought some strawberries, bok choy, parsley, a boysenberry plant, and an artichoke. We’ll do artichokes this year instead of watermelon. It’s an issue of space, as both items need a lot of it. Jan and Mark grew artichokes last summer and they were incredibly tasty. I plan to grow the boysenberries along one part of the backyard wall. When it grows bigger, I’ll attach some lattice to the fence.
Sunday morning Bill’s parents picked up a rental car and drove out to Palm Springs for a few days. Laikwan officially retired on February 1st and Mark is on sick leave after eye surgery, so they have lots of time for traveling right now. Although I’m not sure what they do in Palm Springs. They don’t play golf. And I don’t know what else there is to do in Palm Springs. Anyone?
Also on Sunday morning James flew in from RIC. He has a job interview with a company in San Francisco today. I’m hoping to get a call later today to learn how it went. After he arrived on Sunday we drove out to Gardena to have lunch a Bruddah’s Hawaiian. (a good article about Bruddah’s) My pork lau lau was fantastic, as always. And the Spam Musubi was awesome too. We ran some errands and had a late dinner at a Korean BBQ restaurant in Cerritos. Bill and I are still looking for a good Korean BBQ restaurant. This place came recommended by a co-worker of Bills. The spicy marinated pork was very good, but the BBQ short ribs mediocre. It’s a place that Bill and I will probably try again, but we’re still looking for a place with good short ribs.
When I got home from work on Monday, Patrick was waiting for me at home. He had just flown in and the four of us, Bill, James, Patrick and myself picked up a co-worker of Bill’s and went to The Yard House for dinner. Bill’s co-worker, Scotty, lives in Florida, but he’s a Bay Area native who’s lived all over the place including New York and Chile. Dinner was fantastic as was the beer, and the company.
Tuesday morning Patrick made us breakfast of french toast, bacon and OJ. The french toast was made from a loaf of cinnamon bread I had purchased from the King’s Hawaiian Bakery in Torrance. (Most of you probably see their sweet rolls in the supermarket.) It was really tasty and a great start for the morning. Thankfully, there was no jogging involved that morning. Around noon on Tuesday, Patrick and Bill boarded a “secret” jetBlue flight. No one was told where the destination was, except that they would be back in LGB before 5PM. After the rumors went flying, most crewmembers knew where it was going. The plane went to LAX for a press conference where jetBlue CEO Dave Barger announced service to and from LAX beginning in May. (LGB to LAX, shortest… flight… ever…) This is exciting for us in Long Beach as this frees up slots at LGB for new destinations. Long Beach Airport has a limited number of slots for commerical airplanes. jetBlue has most of them, but they couldn’t add any new destinations without taking away a flight to somewhere else. With LAX flights to JFK and BOS, jetBlue will begin flying from LGB to Seattle, San Jose, and Austin. I’m thrilled to finally have the flights to Seattle and happy to see the option to fly to SJC instead of OAK. All around it’s exciting to finally see some changes and additions being made on the West Coast. They’re also bringing out their other aircraft, the Embraer E190. It’s really comfortable and seats only 100 passengers in a two by two layout… no middle seats. I’m interested to see what routes will used the E190. Sadly, I couldn’t get either of the boys to take my camera yesterday…
Today I remembered why I didn’t want to plant anything in the backyard yet. When I get home from work, it’s dark!
BTW, some of my work is available for purchase:
no, not my children’s book yet…