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Friday, March 25, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
So Scott and Eden flew down to California to visit over winter break. Needless to say, we went to Disneyland multiple times. I honestly think Scott would live there if he could. This is when Tron was out and Disney was promoting the film heavily with an after hours dance party at California Adventure. We decided to check it out and at least have a look around.
The music was kind of eh. I was honestly expecting more Daft Punk or at the very least some good 80s music to bring back the nostalgic feel of the first Tron film. But alas. Scott and I seemed to agree that whoever choreographed the opening dance routine needed to be shot. I've seen better choreography in the Main Street parade.
While at California Adventure we decided to see the new World of Color show. What we could see of it seemed pretty cool, but our vantage point suuuuuuuuuuuuucked. I mean seriously sucked. We saw the show twice. The first time we were too close to the water to friggin see any of the projections and the second time we got stuck directly behind a tree. It also didn't help that were was a kid in front of us who would not. stop. moving. Even though he had no damn reason to move in order to see any better.
This picture was taken at the end of the show after the crowd had dispersed somewhat. That's the only reason you can actually see the water. I should probably also mention that I was still recovering from jet lag the first time we saw this and was getting extremely sleepy right at seven o'clock and probably dozed off a couple times waiting for the show to start. I was also having difficulty regulating my body temperature and was freezing that night in jeans and a hoodie. I think it was in the low 60s, what Scott would probably consider a lovely spring evening. God damn Canadians and their resistance to cold.
In other news, we got one of these while we were waiting in line for Indiana Jones. We thought maybe something magical would happen once we reached the end of the line, but no. *sadface* Fun fact: the other side is in Spanish.
By the way, Mom, Dad. I'm really sorry for dragging you guys on the submarine ride all those times when I was little. It's just that the submarine ride had mermaids and I was really into mermaids when I was a little kid. I never realized before how much it sucked to be sealed into a tin can with 40 people and uncomfortable seats and the ever present scent of ammonia for the slowest, longest ride ever just so your kid could stare out a tiny window at some fake fish. Until they converted the submarine ride for Finding Nemo which is not one of my favorite movies (sorry, Pixar, it's nothing personal) and the ride lost all the charm it had for me. But Scott wanted to go on it, so we did. Hopefully we don't need to go on it again.
On the bright side, we found a real seagull sitting on the buoy with the animatronic ones.
One of these is a spy...
I just want to add that I like Eden's shirt.
Who's a cute little brain eating monster? You are! Yes you are!
Aside from Disneyland, we decided to go on a culinary adventure across L.A. and Pasadena. We went to three places, all of which have been featured on the Food Network. Needless to say, we got lost several times.
First we stopped at Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills, a place I've been wanting to visit for years now, but have never gotten around to. Omg, it was so worth the wait. There were three of us, so we each picked two to go and then shared them all. The cupcake flavors are, starting from the top row, left to right: red velvet, lemon, banana,, cinnamon sugar, chocolate marshmallow, and black and white.
The flavor combinations were excellent and the frosting was sweet but not too sweet. I think my favorites were the banana and the lemon. The only two that were somewhat underwhelming were the chocolate marshmallow and the cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon sugar was really more like a muffin than a cupcake and if I remember right, lacked frosting. The chocolate marshmallow was trying to be an upscale hostess cupcake. Those two I could pass on, but I would definitely eat the others again.
Our next stop was the Nickel Diner in Los Angeles because Scott saw their maple bacon doughnut on the Food Network and decided he had to have one. We really wanted to stay for lunch, but unfortunately had a time limit on our parking. So we picked up a maple bacon doughnut, a red velvet doughnut, a bailey's irish cream flavored doughnut, and I think a poptart flavored doughnut and were on our way again.
All of them were good, but unfortunately they were all the same kind of cake with different toppings. The dough itself tasted like babka to me, which was fine. I like babka. But it got old pretty fast. The maple bacon doughnut actually tasted really good. You already have all those flavors in your mouth when you're eating, say, pancakes with maple syrup and a couple slices of bacon. So the favor translates pretty well into a single entity.
We then drove a bit further into Pasadena and visited Galco's Soda Pop Stop and bought about $30 worth of soda. We originally had some kind of plan to review every single soda, but this really was the sort of thing that should have been done right then and there as a live blog. Scott and Eden took pictures of each soda we tried, but don't ask me to remember what every single one tasted like. It's likely we'll wind up out there again next time they visit for even more soda. If that happens I'll make sure we sit down for a tasting and record our reactions in real time.
At some point we got to the LA Zoo. I hadn't been in a few years and I kind of wanted to see the new elephant exhibit everyone was making such a big deal about. I also wanted to see Reggie.
There he is!
Rest assured, the elephants have lots of space now. I think a third of the entire zoo is devoted just to them. Unfortunately, all the other animals are still in enclosures that seem way too small. Especially the primates.
Oh, and in case you were wondering why a lot of zoos don't have chimps, there's a reason. Chimpanzees are fucking psychotic. Personally, I feel this is because they are so genetically similar to human beings. But this also might be because we put a bunch of them in an enclosure together with no way to vent their frustration aside from flinging feces at tourists. The chimps were screaming and climbing trees and making a ton of noise, which the other zoo goers seemed to love. There was even a stadium like seating area where you could sit and watch and it was packed with people oooing and aaahing at primate performance art. Even though we didn't give the chimps much more than a passing glance I somehow managed to accidentally take the best photograph ever.
And then we went and played in the prairie dog exhibit at the children's zoo. Eden looks like she's on the moon! Or at least some alien planet that's been featured on Star Trek.
And that concludes the highlights of Scott and Eden's visit to California. Now to decide whether or not I should get coffee while I'm at the airport.
P.S. Did you guys know that Long Beach Airport has a wine bar now? Weird.
Hello, internet. How are you? I'm fine. Been a bit preoccupied lately with life, but most of it good.
So I guess I should wrap up that Paris thing now, huh? I mean, it's been what--almost three months since the actual trip? Yeah, I should probably do that. So...
Here's Rodin's house!
As I'm sure you'll agree, the dude had some seriously sweet digs. I didn't take any pictures of the inside, but most of it was filled with sculptures. Here are a couple more pictures of the grounds.
This is the kind of class that's missing on MTV's Cribs
Seriously, how many artists do you know that lived like this. How many??
And another thing, am I the only one who thinks Rodin looks like Santa? Please tell me I'm not: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-R38535,_Auguste_Rodin.jpg
To learn more about the museum or explore the exhibits, click here: http://www.musee-rodin.fr/welcome.htm
And now for some more glamour shots of food.
Gods, I would shank someone for a decent macaron stateside.
Perfect chocolate goodness.
Must have more chocolate!
This, my friends, is a croque madame. It is easily the best thing the French have ever invented. Just get me some good bread, some ham, lots of gruyere, and a fried egg and I am in heaven. In fact, if heaven doesn't have this sandwich then I'm not going.
Wait a minute, you may be asking, what the hell is this? McDonalds? You went to Paris and had McDonalds?
Yeah, yeah I did. Call it a cultural experiment. Companies like McDonalds and Starbucks have been global for years now and I was curious to see how they differed between countries since there isn't much difference, if any, from state to state as far as I can tell.
First of all, the menu is much, much smaller than the one here in the U.S. Things like drink sizes are also smaller, which I kind of approve of. The items on the dessert menu also looked smaller and the desserts themselves seemed fancier. There was some kind of mousse and a small brownie or cake as I recall. We tried to order one but didn't know the right term and wound up getting an instant hot chocolate instead and even that tasted better than the instant hot chocolate here.
I had something called a McFarmer, which was being advertised all over French television and internet. It was basically a cheeseburger with shredded lettuce in a kind of coleslaw topping. The meat tasted slightly different. Less salty but more flavored, if that makes sense. The fries, strangely enough, were rather underwhelming. If you want real french fries in France take my advice and just go to any restaurant. Don't bother with McDonalds.
They also gave you one packet of ketchup and one packet of "pomme fritte sauce", which basically tasted of ketchup and mayonnaise. I don't recall if they had condiments out where you could get them or if you had to ask for more. Either way, I didn't use my French ketchup and instead opted to mail it to Skeeve.
The restaurant did not function the same way as most fast food places in the states. Instead of going up to the counter and ordering your food, there were several touchscreens where you could order and pay for your food and then wait while the kitchen finished your order. I've used one of those before when Disneyland experimented with them in one of their restaurants at California Adventure. They're actually pretty easy to figure out, but I swear Americans must be too stupid to use them. I assure you this consensus is based entirely upon my observations of people at Disneyland trying and failing. For people who didn't want to use one of the touchscreens, there was a hostess walking around who took orders electronically and then brought your tray to your table.
On the whole, I'm not sure whether I prefer the French or the American version. I should probably try the chicken nuggets next time since that's what I usually get when I do have McDonalds anyway. I will say this though, French Twix bars are waaaaaaaay more awesome than American Twix bars. French candy bars are required by law to have a higher percentage of cacao to actually be called "chocolate". You guys have no idea what you're missing.
So let's sum up.
Favorite food: Croque madame.
Favorite pastry: I'm gonna say pain au chocolat but macarons come in a close second.
Favorite drink: Chocolat chaud a l'ancien.
Favorite food on the go: Nutella crepe, though the banana and the cinnamon sugar were equally delicious.
Favorite museum: The Cluny. I could live there, you guys. I'm not even kidding. Second favorite would probably be the D'Orsay.
Favorite place: This bookstore.
This is the oldest English language bookstore in Paris. It's awesome. Shakespeare and Company is housed in a very old building and I swear you guys the inside looks like a witch's cottage. There are books literally from the floor to the ceiling. They have a sunken floor so you step down when you walk in and the shelves are all twisty turny. There's even a crooked staircase leading to the children's section upstairs. Barnes and Noble wishes it could be this awesome.
And I guess that's all I have to say about Paris. I'm flying to Seattle over spring break to visit my best friend Skeeve and her husband Jerome so I wanted to get the blog somewhat up to date before I start making posts about my upcoming trip. Of course as soon as I got back from Paris Scott and Eden showed up! So I'll see if I can crank out a post about some of the stuff we did while they were here before I get to Seattle. Until next time.