This past weekend we spent in southern California visiting with Jackie and a few friends. It turned out that Bill had to work in Long Beach on Friday, so the three of us flew to Long Beach on Thursday evening.
This was my first time seeing the new terminal at Long Beach Airport, quite nice. But heck, anything was going to be an improvement from the portable buildings they were using.
Friday morning, Bill left for work and Tommy and I had a lazy morning in his hotel room.
Once we were up and dressed Tommy and I had a nice lunch at Deli News. It’s a small deli that specializes in sub sandwiches, made-to-order pizzas and pasta dishes. They are only open on weekdays making most of their business at lunchtime. All of their food is delicious, but the real reason for my visit was their cookies.
They sell peanut butter-filled chocolate cookies, fudge-filled chocolate chip cookies and fudge-filled chocolate cookies. If you don’t get there before the lunch crowd, then you will likely strike out on getting any cookies. They sell out almost every day. The peanut butter filled cookies are the best. This place is just one of many restaurants that I miss about living in Long Beach.
After lunch Tommy and I drove out to the Naples neighborhood of Long Beach to enjoy the gorgeous day with some playtime at Mother’s Beach. Within the marina there’s a great stretch of beach that has no waves and a pretty great playground. At that time of day on a Friday, it was pretty empty too.
We had bought some swim trunks for Tommy the night before since he has outgrown his trunks from last summer. Yet he insisted that he only wanted to get his toes wet. “I don’t need my swim trunks Mommy!”
And what does he do? He runs right into the water up to his waist. He had a blast splashing in the water and laying in the sand. I was very thankful to have a change of clothes with me.
After he was done with the water, we played at the playground for a while. They had a 2-levered shovel that he LOVED.
“Mommy! I an excavator!!”
After the park, we met up with Jackie at Long Beach airport and drove out to her place, avoiding the carpool lane and staying on the heavier-trafficked freeways so Tommy could have a decent nap. He fell asleep within about ten minutes and stayed asleep the whole drive.
When Bill was done with work, he made his way out to Highland Park, where Jackie lives, and we all had a delicious dinner at Fusion Burgers. Jackie took Tommy and me there on our last visit and I knew Bill would love it.
I had the Mexican BBQ burger that is a patty of al pastor (a blend of seasoned pork) that had caramelized onions, grilled pineapple and their special aioli. It was messy but amazing.
Jackie had their Noir Burger that is a beef patty with a red wine reduction sauce. Bill had the Lard-O-Rings burger that had pancetta, onion strings, Dijon mustard and cheddar cheese. We had some very happy tummies!
Saturday morning Tommy and I joined Jackie as she taught one of the classes at her gym: Crossfit Ganbatte. If you didn’t know, she works there now full-time as a coach and is LOVING it. Tommy thoroughly enjoyed playing on some of the equipment and dancing to the loud music while the gym goers did their workout.
After the gym we dropped Jackie off and picked up Bill and headed down to Signal Hill for a birthday party. Our friends Mahsa and Mel have a second little boy named Logan and it was his first birthday.
Lots of kids were there and Tommy had a blast playing. Bill and I enjoyed some delicious food and wonderful company. The lengths of time between visits with our friends are far too long.
Bill’s caption for this image cracks me up: This is like traffic on the 405… dude not paying attention to the road… chick texting… another dude checking her out. Sheesh!
It was a very yummy cake!
Some extremely patient kids!
From left to right: Colin, Eliana, Natalie, Tommy and Max. Only Elias and his family weren’t able to be there. It’s amazing to see how much they have all grown since the photos we took of them as little babies!
The kiddies with a couple of the next generation babies with them. Natalie is a very proud big sister to Amelia and Max a very protective big brother to Logan.
It was wonderful to see our friends again. Our visits are way too infrequent!
Post-nap snuggles with Jackie and TJ.
On Sunday, Jackie, Tommy and I met up with Cari, her husband Rob and Nathan to visit the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles.
We had a blast looking at the fun exhibits!
I really needed a wider-angle lens to take better photos of the fun exhibits.
These chicks hatched right when we got to their exhibit. It was SO cool to see!
Tommy and Nathan thought it was cool for about 3 minutes, but us big kids wanted to stay and watch for a little longer.
Above the aquarium.
I wonder what these three were talking about?
I was pretty happy with this jellyfish shot. Not too bad considering how dark it was. I love watching the jellyfish.
The Science Center had a couple of different play areas for young kids, some even had areas that were fenced off for kids three and younger. Plenty of books, puzzles and games for the little guys. We had fun playing at one of these areas while we waiting for our scheduled time to visit the Space Shuttle Endeavor.
Speaking of the Endeavor… wow!
I wasn’t quite prepared for the goosebumps I got when I walked into the hangar to be greeted by the shuttle. Bill and I have visited the Space Shuttle Discovery that’s on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Washington DC, but we didn’t get to walk so close to it like we did the Endeavor.
Plus, this is the shuttle that we watched fly over us when we were in Disneyland last September. It’s voyage from LAX to downtown Los Angeles was such a fun event to see documented.
A photo of a photo… they had to remove some light poles and trees to get it through some of the streets.
Tommy was stoked that he could touch the support beam.
This was just too awesome not to photograph… the Transfer Order. I love how the shuttle was deemed “excess personal material”. Oh… and the invoice:
Yes, that reads $1.9 billion!
My camera lens just couldn’t fit the whole shuttle in one shot, it was pointless to even try. After picking up a couple of rad t-shirts we headed back.
But not before picking up a pick-up truck in the parking lot… literally! They have a massive lever set up so we can try our hands at picking up the pick-up truck. The strength of one adult can totally do it, and Tommy and Nathan loved helping Jackie. So cool!
After the museum we headed back to Jackie’s apartment for a much-needed nap. We had take-out Thai food with Jackie and her roommate, Latiffe while watching Monsters Inc.
On Monday Jackie, Tommy and I had lunch at Porto’s Bakery and Cafe in Glendale. Porto’s is kind of famous for their amazing pastries, cakes and sandwiches. We got there early enough that we avoided a super long lunch lines. We shared a croissant sandwich and I picked up a bunch of different pastries to bring home to Bill.
On the left, potato balls… spiced ground beef and peppers surrounded with mashed potatoes and fried until crispy. So delicious. On the left are meat pastries and chorizo pies.
I also picked up some chocolate croissants, strawberry and cheese croissants, and a few of their famous guava and cheese strudel. Yes, I ended up taking three boxes home with me. It made for fun carry-on. The best part, I wasn’t the only person on our flight carrying a few boxes from Porto’s.
Jackie drove Tommy and me to Long Beach and we flew home, arriving in time for dinner. It was a great trip and one I want to make again soon.