May 21, 2013

Visiting the OC

This weekend we spent time in Orange County; we drove down to see the White Sox vs. the Angels. They only have one series in Anaheim this year, which is a real bummer because baseball has just begun, but it's already over me. Frank might see them at home in July. Friday night's game was a winner. Adam Dunn even hit a homer. I never thought I'd see the day. There was a firework display after the game. It was a better show than the one with saw last month after the Giants game.

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We usually stay at Ayres Hotel for the games, but they were sold out when I tried to book so I booked on hotwire instead. We were set up with Red Lion Hotel across from Disneyland; Tower of Terror to be exact. The hotel was nicer than expected and accomodations were comfortable. My only complaint was the weak shower pressure. The zillions of kids wasn't ideal, but I expected it, I was on their turf so it comes with the territory. What I didn't expect was the lack of bars. We met friends at Fire and Ice for drinks. We were utterly shocked when the lights turned bright at 11:50 signaling last call. The oddest part about traveling is the various liquor laws; Anaheim is no exception. Midnight we were cut off. We walked over to Bar Louie to continue drinking, but it was lame, dirty and filled with drunks. We only stayed for one beer.

Saturday, we were up bright and early; headed to LA for Langer's Deli. It's a must whenever we're in the area. Our good friend that is stationed at Camp Pendleton drove up to meet us for brunch. It was too early for potato pancakes but we got a knish to start, and then, pastrami with nippy cheese hit the spot. Langer's never disappoints. It's definitely one of my favorite sandwiches.

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After stuffing ourselves silly, we drove back to Anaheim, before going to the game we stopped to get our friend checked in at Days Inn. Turns out there are several Days Inn hotels around Disney and the ballpark. We visited two of them before finding the right one which ironically enough was closest to our hotel. Once that was squared away we headed back to Angels' Stadium for Military Appreciation Day. It was good fun, but we were losers. We can hit, but we couldn't collect enough runs to come out on top.

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We filled up on peanuts during the game, but figured it was time for real sustenance. We went to Portillo's for dinner. I wasn't thrilled with the beef or dogs last visit so I had the chopped salad this time. Family back home has mentioned how delicious it is. If was fresh and chopped, but the raw red onion was so overwhelming I died of heartburn for the next few hours. Washing it down with a cake shake wasn't a good idea, either. My stomach was terribly upset with me. The guys were satisfied with their beefs, fries and onion rings.

I felt like death was upon me so I popped a few rolaids and napped a bit to feel better before we went out for the night. Frank wanted to go to a cigar bar, but I couldn't turn one up. Finding a place that allowed smoking around Disney was a real challenge. Plus, we're picky and prefer places with a good beer selection.

Fortunately, Yelp led us to The Globe in Garden Grove. I called beforehand to confirm they had a patio where cigar smoking would be ok. They welcomed us to come on down. We sat out back and rounds of delicious Belgium beer kept coming (each beer has its own glassware - I love details like that). I found a new favorite, Cuvee des Trolls. It's crisp and refreshing, perfect for summer. In addition to their regular menu, they have specials every month, each features a new country. May is Mexico and we had a few orders of taqueria duck tacos. They were superb. Next month, they are going to Jamaica, 'mon. I love the concept. I only wish we had the appetite to sample more of the menu - Next time! The owners, Michael and Marijke, are very hospitable, we chatted them both up. Learning about Belgium and the hoops to operate a bar and restaurant specializing in Global cuisine and Belgium beers. Our server was a wealth of knowledge, too. We got to introduce our Coors drinking friend to the world of fine beers. It was a great experience and fun evening. The Globe is a gem, I'm glad we found it. Other fine beers we consumed: La Trappe Quad, La Chouffe, Affligem Blonde, Leffe Blonde, Piraat IPA and Delirium Tremens.

Sunday morning, we checked out of the hotel and headed to Costa Brava which is my favorite place for Chile Relleno. They have excellent salsa and chips too. It's become a must stop whenever in the area. They have great corn tortillas and the Chile Relleno is stuffed with cheese and lightly battered. Today's was a bit wet, but still muy bueno. If there is a better chile relleno I'd love to know where. What this one might lack in presentation it makes up for in flavor. One of these visits I'm going to have to try the seafood and a michelada.

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After filling our bellies with Mexican goodness we drove to Newport Beach. I've been a few times, but it was a first for Frank. We actually found meter parking - Amazing! We grabbed the blanket and umbrella and hit the beach. We listened to the Dirty Heads "Cabin by the Sea" enjoyed the sun, the sand and breeze and three hours went by in an instant.

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We packed up, said so long to the beach and hit the freeway for the four hour drive home.

Langer's Deli on Urbanspoon The Globe Dine Bar on Urbanspoon Costa Brava on Urbanspoon

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