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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Second weekend in L.A.

Today is my SIL’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Tracy! Welcome to the 30-somethings club :) Hope you have a great day and a wonderful year ahead. And am glad you had a good time at your party last Saturday. We did too :)

Speaking of last Saturday, here is my post on last weekend’s activities.

When Jojo and I got home from work Friday evening, our home was bustling with activity. My family had arrived from their 5-day Mexican cruise and had taken over the house! Mom was in the kitchen, cooking (as usual), Joy was helping her out, Jim was watching tv in the family room with Marc, a good family friend of ours, who was visiting from Arizona (he has been Jim’s best friend since 5th grade), dad was at his laptop, Jules was in his room, while Atsi and her friend, Mark, were chatting in the living room. (Headcount: we are now the 8 J’s and the 2 Marc/k’s.) Amidst all that, it would have been tough to decide where to eat, so I made the executive decision to go to one of our favorite places for dinner: BCD Tofu House.

As usual, Tofu House did not disappoint. The grilled ribs were succulent, the soon tofu soup was perfect for a cold night, the bibimbap had just the right mix of fresh veggies, the pork bulgogi was spicy, and the tofu salad was just the right way to balance out the meal. Again, there was way too much food (as is often the case with my family), but by the end of the meal, we amazingly managed to finish everything – I think good conversation, lots of laughter, and good natured bantering around the table does help whet one’s appetite!

Saturday started out with an amazing spread my mom whipped up for breakfast. All my favorites! Sinangag (garlic rice), tuyo (salted fish) in garlic and vinegar, Spanish style sardines, sunny-side up eggs, breaded fish fillets, and hot n’ spicy spam. We all lingered around the breakfast table since everyone pretty much wakes up and moves along at their own pace in the morning. In our family, breakfast is pretty much between 7:00 am – 11:00 am.

Finally, after everyone managed to get themselves ready, we were all set to go shopping and headed over to The Avenue (Rolling Hills Estate Mall). This is one of my favorite malls (open air, not crowded, almost brand new, and a nice place to spend an afternoon even if most the stores are rather pricey). But what I like even more is the drive going there. Driving thru Palos Verdes Road is a beautiful and scenic drive. Sprawling ranch-style homes surrounded by white picket fences, gorgeous pine trees, and horse/bike trails line the ascending and winding streets. It sort of reminds me of McLean, Virginia (one of the more picturesque places I’ve always admired).

Anyway, we pretty much spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon there. Did some shopping and stopped for slices of Red Brick pizza before heading back home. My hubby and I went to Tracy and Jojo’s place in Cerritos to help prepare for Tracy’s birthday party, while the rest of my family had other plans for the afternoon. When my brother called to let us know they were back home, Jojo and I drove back to Torrance, picked them up for mass before we all headed back to Cerritos to re-join the party. It was a fun evening, with more traditional Filipino food (Pinoy-style spaghetti, Kare-kare, Bicol Express, Dinuguan, Lumpia Shanghai, Leche Flan, etc.), good company, and of course, entertainment provided by my adorable nieces and nephew.

Sunday was spent in Santa Barbara. We had a very good seafood brunch at Moby Dick’s, right on Stearn’s Wharf. Bowls of creamy clam chowder, lunch specials (battered clams, scallops, shrimps, and potatoes), and Caesar salads. After lunch, while waiting for our 3 p.m. city tour, we browsed some of the stalls showcasing artwork by local artists. The artwork although pretty eclectic was quite interesting. When it was time for our tour to begin, we boarded a trolley reminiscent of the cable cars in SF. The tour, which was narrated by a charming gentleman, was 1 hour and 45 minutes long and took us to several different places in and around Santa Barbara. We drove thru the coast and headed towards Montecito, saw several homes of the rich and famous, caroused thru hotels and casinos, stopped briefly at the Mission Church, drove by the Santa Barbara zoo, and the botanical gardens. The tour also included a drive along Downtown, thru some of the more famous and historic streets and landmarks, before heading back to Stearn’s Wharf. I think city tours are a great way to see the sites of a city especially in this case since we only had a limited time to explore the place. And the 105-minute tour was just the right length to spend riding an open-air trolley cause by the time the tour ended, we were all too-cold to go on (especially Joy, who was freezing since she wanted to sit at the farthest end).

After Santa Barbara, we headed back south on the 101, did some speed-shopping at the Camarillo outlets, since my dad gave us exactly 1-hour to shop, before calling it a day and heading back home.


jol said...

Our family's bonding is always filled with lively discussion, happy interaction, enjoyable story telling and funny side comments. But it is often punctuated with our inability to stay within a proper time frame. But when you are with the best company, nothing matters and anything goes!

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