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Friday, April 28, 2006

First Weekend in L.A. - part 2

Sunday started off with a Champagne Brunch at the Alpine Village in Torrance. While the place is nothing to gush over (pretty dark and nondescript), the food was actually good for a buffet. There were the usual breakfast items like pancakes, scrambled eggs, muffins and cold cuts. But in addition to that there was also an interesting array of warm German / Scandinavian style dishes like goulash, pork roast with gravy, stewed meatballs, breaded fish, and beef roulades. They also had a good selection of sausages – the grilled bratwurst was my favorite with pickled sauerkraut. And they even had a carving station with roast turkey, spiral ham, and roast beef. Plus all-you-can-drink orange juice and champagne (Mimosas!). The dessert spread was a bit disappointing though, except for day-old danishes, there was a too-sweet chocolate mousse and two kinds of cakes that did not really look appetizing. But all in all, it was worth the $14.95 per head.

After breakfast we walked around the quaint (yet expensive) little Alpine-themed shops, visited the local delicatessen, and made the rounds of several outdoor stalls (there was a swap meet that weekend). I bought a pair of white flip-flops with a criss-cross design and couldn’t believe it was only $6.00 (I would later find out why). We stopped by at home to drop my brother Jules who had to get some studying done.

Our next stop was The Queen Mary in Long Beach. After buying outrageously expensive tickets, we took a self-guided tour of the ship. It was quite interesting in a “Titanic” kind of way. The ship was well-maintained and you really got a sense of what it was like during its prime in the 1930’s. However, after walking around the deck and a few dark hallways, we decided we had seen enough of the ship. We then lined up for the ship’s Ghost and Legends tour. It is a 30-minute walking tour that takes people down to the ship’s indoor swimming pool area, boiler room, and other dark and eerie places, supposedly to see supernatural phenomena that result from ghosts of passengers that have died on the ship. It was nothing really spectacular and apart from the loud noises, pitch black darkness, and an overacting tour guide, we didn’t really encounter any supernatural beings. After the tour, we walked around some more trying to find the exit (the decks and hallways all start to look the same after a while). It was during this time, I found out the reason why my flip-flops cost only $6.00 – I had blisters and red marks on my feet. Now I really have to think twice about these so-called “bargains”.

We then took The Passport (which are the red and purple buses around Long Beach) and spent the rest of the afternoon browsing shops at The Shoreline Village. It’s a tourist place designed to look and feel like a fishing village. Pleasant for an afternoon stroll but nothing really memorable to make you want to come back. About an hour or so later, we headed back home. Everyone was tired and pretty soon hungry (you’ll notice, we almost always are!) and so the weekend ended with steaming bowls of homemade hotpot soup (with beefballs, fishballs, pork and cabbage dumplings, baby corn, enoki mushrooms, tofu, spinach, watercress, and egg noodles).

2 comments:

jol said...

Coffee was sadly missing in our brunch at Alpine Village and we joked a lot about this. The rides on the Passport buses at Longbeach were free; it allows you to see and appreciate the place at your own pace. Spent a great day bonding!

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