Wednesday, July 29, 2015

who you callin' a jelly belly?

even though it took us about an hour out of the way, we headed out to fairfield so that we could share something with the bean that we'd done with her sister about ten years ago:

the very sight of the place brought back some fun memories.

the bean had fallen asleep in the car, but perked up a bit when she saw where we were taking her.

 predictably, i was pretty excited myself.

but then...wah waaaaah.

despite the modified tour, it was pretty busy in there.  we stood in line for about 20ish minutes before we finally got to head up the stairs and start the tour.

even though the factory was in the midst of their annual shutdown, we were instructed not to take photos or video inside.  my finger might have slipped a time or two and accidentally snapped a few.  they weren't any good anyway, but there you go.

probably the most interesting thing we learned during the tour was that all of the product that is dropped on the floor doesn't get swept up and thrown away.  instead, they bag 'em all up and ship them off to local farms for feeding the pigs.  sweet & sour pork, anyone?  har har har.

we were handed samples of jellybeans in various stages of production.  this is the center of the bean, where most of the flavor is concentrated:

and then it looks like this before it gets its shiny coating and polish.

at the end of the tour, we were handed little bags of samples.

downstairs, we found ourselves in the middle of jelly belly heaven.  i didn't take as many pictures as i probably should have, but you get the point.

since the old lady was at home with the dog, i wanted to make sure we brought her some presents.  and because she was going through a pancakes phase at the time, i bought her a bag of the newest jelly belly flavor:

(they're actually really tasty, in case you wondered)

several machines during production filter out imperfect jellybeans - maybe they're misshapen, aren't the right size, whatever.  and if they don't fall on the floor to be sent to hungry piggies, they're bagged up and sold as "belly flops."

we were equally grossed out and fascinated by the harry potter-inspired "bertie bott's" line of jellybeans.  these look identical to their regular flavors, but if you get (un)lucky, you'll end up with a mouthful of these disgusting flavors:

back in the clearance section, we found out where valentine's and easter candy comes to die.

there's even a whole section of belly flops here.  i'm sure they're probably there because they're not as fresh as the others, but it's kind of funny to think of how bad those belly flops had to be to land in the clearance aisle.

even hello kitty was there.

and if you were so inclined, there was a jelly belly-shaped coin bank to be had for cheap.

thanks for a fun time, jelly belly!  till next time...although i have no idea when that might be.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

get yer fresh, hot fortunes right here

after two days in san francisco, it was time to say goodbye and hit the road.  it was kind of a bummer to have to leave so soon, with so much still to see and do and eat.  although on lilcee's recommendation, we did manage to squeeze in a quick stop in chinatown for something fun and unique.  it was crazy busy out there, so the hub decided to just let us out in front of ross alley and drive in circles while we went in for a treat.

this is what we came for:

luckily, we somehow managed to avoid a big crowd and had a great view of the staffers who were busy folding the fortune cookies fresh from the press.

and yes, we sure did pay our $.50 for the privilege of taking photos inside the bakery.  it smelled delicious in there, and we watched in awe as the lady in front of us calmly plucked the flat cookies from the machine in front of her, quickly place a little slip of paper in the middle, fold it in half and then bend it in half again over the little rod in front of her.  it was strangely mesmerizing and i couldn't stop watching her.

we were all happy to accept free samples, too.  they were warm and fresh and tasty.

MIL and i ended up each walking out with a bag of fortune cookies and another of fresh almond cookies.  she told us that they were nowhere to be found in china, because they'd been invented right here in san francisco.

while we waited for the hub to pick us up, we ducked into this shop to pick up some snacks for the road - a bag of steaming hot baked BBQ pork buns.  yum.

after we'd piled back into the car, the hub turned on the GPS to get directions for our next destination.  as we drove through chinatown, a sign caught my eye and we spotted lilcee and mr. lilcee in line here, waiting to pick up some delicious grub of their own.

on our way out of the city, we caught a glimpse of the transamerica building.

and because she'd fallen asleep when we drove by the day before, we stopped in alamo square a second time:

then we got to drive over the bay bridge again, only this time we were on the lower level.

it was a little eerie to see a portion of the old bridge off to the side, still in the process of being completely dismantled.

while we knew we wouldn't be able to get any further than the front entrance, this was our last stop before heading out towards the next phase of our trip:

one day, we'll get through those gates.  and hopefully another day in the future, we'll be visiting the bean there as she works on the latest disney/pixar creation.  that little girl has some big dreams, and i know she's going to achieve them some day.

in the meantime, if you know any animators to introduce us to...well, hey.  you know where to find me.  heh.
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