Thursday, May 25, 2006

Recent SoCal Trip

Well, it's been about a week since I took off for a short trip to SoCal. The trip worked out great... I managed to kill about 5 birds with 1 stone. The biggest bird that needed to be taken out (and the main reason for trip) was to attend PetDander's wedding reception.

The other smaller birds were (in chronological order):

1) Do some drinking with Chococat, since I had won a bottle of GlenLivet from her on a bet.

2) Check out Spud's new house... I know he's been dying to show it off for some time, but I just never got a chance to visit. It's a really nice place with an amazing view, by the way.

3) Talk with a few people about a potential opportunity down there.

4) Celebrate my sister's birthday with her and her husband.

Anyway, that's the executive summary. Let the details begin...

Let me start off with a funny knitted gift. Some say it's a dual socking for keeping coins and other goodies, and others say it's... well, I'll just post up pictures of it from two different views.

A Dual Pouch Coin Purse or...

is it something more depraved? You be the judge.

So, back to the story... Wednesday, Chococat and I had a nice dinner over at Il Fornaio in Pasadena. The food was pretty good, but some of the shellfish could have been a bit fresher. It definitely wasn't bad at all, but I think she had the tastier dish. But, the sad truth is, it really doesn't matter too much (we'll get to that in a moment).

After dinner, we're back at her place and we play Scrabble and started having some of that good scotch. Well, let's just say that the two of us (with a tiny bit of help from her roommate) finished off the entire bottle. Talk about overindulging. I lost twice that night... the first loss was by a few points with a nice 8-letter bingo, DEVALUED. My bingo, POOLING, wasn't quite as impressive. The second loss involved seafood pasta, my esophagus, and about four thousand "I'm soooooo sorries."

Well, since she's such an amazingly kind person, I was not thrown out. I crashed there, and the next day we drove around a little bit in her hot car (a Lotus Elise), had some really tasty dumplings, and also some drinks at the local coffee shop. We had plenty of good conversation, and it was really an pleasant day. Oh, and one thing that really threw me off was when I saw some random guy taking a ton of pictures of her car... that was just really funny to me, but I guess that comes with the exotic car territory. After heading back to her place and a quick nap, I had to bid her farewell, as I had to pick up the girlfriend from LAX and then head down to see Spud in Laguna Niguel.

The house was nice... real nice. It's not like it's large or anything, it's just a really nice place. The neighborhood is certainly upscale, and I already mentioned the view. It's wonderful. So, anyway, Spud and Mrs. Spud hooked it up with some giant burgers, which were damn tasty. I don't know how they'd compare with a Big Kahuna burger, but it sure was a damn fine burger.

The next day, I went and talked to a few people about opportunities, and that all went well. Following this, the g/f and I ate over in Dana Point at an overpriced and not-so-good restaurant. We were not impressed, and the weather was gray, which really killed the one redeeming thing about the place... that is, the view.

Ok, so that night Spud, g/f, and I head up to Los Angeles to celebrate my sister's birthday at Luna Park. The place was packed, and the food was very good. I ordered the braised beef cheeks, and it was excellent, along with a couple of Stellas. I hear that they are known for their Mojitos, but I decided to just stick with the beer. It looked like everyone had a nice time there.

Later that night, we hit up a Soju bar called The Blink in Korea Town. I'd never really had Soju before. Not sure if the Korean experience is any different than the Japanese one, but it was fun. I definitely had a good time there. One funny thing about that place was that they have a 'look the other way' attitude about smoking indoors. And, instead of ash trays, they bring you a block of ice on a napkin instead. One funny exchange that evening went like this...

Spud: What's that?
Waitress: It's an ashtray.
Spud: It looks like an ice cube. What is this? A cheap illusion?

As the night went on, Spud got pretty drunk. A few times he was getting borderline out of line with his dry and often times politically incorrect humor. Luckily, we left before he got too surly.

The next day, I went to PetDander's reception with the g/f over at the Sea Empress Restaurant in Gardena. The reception was a good size... I'd say it was roughly 160 people. Both the bride and groom looked great, and the food was pretty good. I wasn't too fond of their their scallop dish and I felt that their Honey Walnut Shrimp dish was extremely bland. But, the rest of the dishes were really tasty... especially the fresh rock cod and the lobster. It was nice meeting up with my friends and also a few people I hadn't seen since my college days.

They had a nice Vietnamese band playing throughout the night, and I really thought they were great. There was a nice balance between the live entertainment and the more serious wedding type stuff. I thought everything worked out well, except that there was some odd mix-up where they kept trying to force me to new tables. But, in the end, it all worked out just fine with our table being overbooked with 12 instead of 10 seats.

Following the reception, some random drunk old guy backs his car into one of our friend's cars. He did not stop or get out... he just figured that a hit-and-run was the best play. Too bad for all of us, no one took a picture of his plates. Everyone was just shocked having witnessed a gross amount of stupidity.

After that commotion, we went to some dive bar down in Anaheim where we drank a bit. The Marquis, Enzo, the Barber, Gamer(o), and Domino were all there, and it was a fun time. We were mostly out of place with our post-wedding reception attire, but it was fine. I even got hit on by a 40+ lady... cuff links must be some sort of old person magnet.

That's pretty much how the trip ended. The next day (Sunday), we were on a plane back home. If you read this far... wow, I'm impressed.


Anonymous said...

No shit. Who's car was hit? Was it bad?

Brute Force said...

Ya... the Gamero. Some crazy drunk grandfather guy backed his car up crashes into Gamero's car. All of this happens as Gamero and Barber are standing right next to the car. Really crazy. Not too much damage, just some pretty ugly scratches, but it was nuts.