Thursday, May 24, 2018

hey hey hey, WHAT is going on here??

when i heard that a "saved by the bell"-themed cafe was coming to l.a., i knew there was a group of my friends who'd be all over it right along with me.  we coordinated via email, text and facebook and as soon as the reservations became available, we booked it.

we had weeks and weeks to plan for our totally awesome outing, and with dailygluttony's help we even managed to coordinate matching t-shirts.  she and lilcee and i attempted to do the matchy-matchy thing and ordered maroon cheer skirts from amazon, but mine never arrived and dailygluttony's didn't fit her properly.  i found a length of fabric in my stash that was the perfect color to make a quick skirt, and took my too-long tee and chopped off the bottom to turn it into a knotted hem shirt.  it started out looking like this:


and ended up like this.


i met up with lilcee so that we could carpool out to west hollywood, and we arrived with some time to spare.  as we made our way towards the restaurant, we came across first nanette, followed by trish and dailygluttony, and finally we ran right into weezermonkey.  she took one look at our outfits and ran back to her car to find some props she had left over from a paw patrol show (hilarious in itself).


before we went inside, we managed to get a couple who was waiting outside to take a group picture of us.


i was so excited to be there that i probably missed a ton of photo ops, but that's okay.  i think i got enough for you to get the git.  as we walked in, we passed a graffiti'd wall and a row of lockers stuffed full of props that the characters on the show would have had on hand.






the restaurant looked just like the one the bayside gang frequented on the show in pretty much every episode.


 and episodes were playing on the screens above the bar.


this row of lockers led to the restrooms, with these signs on the doors to indicate which one was for boys and which one for girls.



there was also a separate dining room (which required a separate reservation, apparently) modeled after the principal's office.


the "museum" was full of memorabilia and props from the show.


we took our seats in the booth we were led to and settled in for our allotted 90-minute dining window.


even the table sported the familiar shapes that were used in the shows opening and closing credit sequences.


menus:



when you make a reservation, you basically prepay for your meal.  it consists of an appetizer and an entree, with sides, drinks and dessert offered at an additional cost.  we decided to order one of each of the appetizers (except the salad - boring), doubling up on the wings and poutine.



they were okay, which we'd anticipated.  after all, this isn't the kind of place you go expecting top-notch food.  here, it's all about the photo ops.  and the peoplewatching.  we were super amused to see two separate parties who were treating their reservation as one big photo shoot.


this was the "kelly kapowski, basically their take on a monte carlo-style sandwich.


i shared it with lilcee, who split her order of fried chicken and waffles with me.


and this was the bacon burger, with the bayside tigers logo to make it extra "saved by the bell"-y.


with the eating part over and done with, we vacated our booth and started making our way around the place to take more pictures.




 a quick visit to the principal's office:


and of course, weezermonkey's and my best attempt at recreating the famous "i'm so excited!  i'm so excited!  i'm so...SCARED!" scene.  this will never stop being funny to me.


we took a couple more fun boomerang videos before we called it a night.


we went outside for a quick group hug, and then we parted ways and headed home.

now time to plan for another super fun GTG!  wonder what sort of shenanigans we'll get up to next.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

hitting the track (& field)

i was pretty shocked when the bean told me that she wanted to join the track and field team at school this year.  i mean, this kid hates to run.  the few times i've managed to drag her out for a 5K were kind of excruciating...for both of us.  but as i listened to her chat with her friends in the back seat, i realized that she was likely doing it not for the love of the sport, but to be involved in more activities with her BFFs.  either way, i was all for it and signed her up before she could change her mind.  heh.

the season really only went for a couple of months.  they practiced twice a week for two hours per session, and the first scheduled track meet ended up getting rained out (go figure...of course it fell on one of soCAs few rainy days).  the regular practices came to an end mid-april, and then the coach emailed to let us know that they finally had a chance to reschedule the track meet.  three schools would compete at a nearby school - a full month after practices had come to an end.  makes so much sense, but whatever.

the kids were released from class about half an hour early that day to get changed and board the bus to head to the field.  the old lady, the hub and i ended up meeting there as we were all coming from different directions.  when we got there, the team was just getting checked in.


the bean was signed up for three events - a 200m race, a 4x50m relay and the softball throw.  the kids all hung out in the playground until it was time to start the show.


it was a while before they finally got to her race, and then they lined up.


my girl is just like her mother - not fast.  like, at all.  but i give her a shitton of credit for going out there, giving it her all and having fun doing it.  she didn't even care that she came in last, and happily crossed the finish line.


the softball throw was next.  not having a chance to practice this one, she hucked it as far as she could and then went back to the field to join her teammates for the relay.


not before we got this selfie, though.


i wonder if she'll sign up for track again next year.  i'll keep my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

celebrating the old lady's birthday at da club

so, back to the old lady's birthday celebration.  the hub and i had come up with a pretty great plan that we figured would go over pretty darn well with the whole family, and it involved one of his friends who realized a lifelong dream of becoming a member of disneyland's exclusive club 33.

if you've been reading for awhile - oh shit, i'm talking like ten years! - you might remember that we've actually been lucky enough to enjoy dinner here once before.  in fact, it was for the old lady's 13th birthday, and the club has been remodeled quite a bit since that visit.  we've been dying to go since the renovations were completed and the club was reopened to members and their guests.  and with the new club came new rules, one of them being that a guest reservation for a friday or saturday night had to be made two weeks in advance.  they've also tightened up the rules for photography inside the club - you can take as many pictures as you want as long as no one who isn't in your party can be seen in the background.  and absolutely no photography is allowed in the restrooms.  there's no videography anywhere inside, including silly boomerang videos.  oh well.

i worked on dresses for the three of us to wear, trying to be stealth because i knew if she saw the disney prints i was using, it would be a dead giveaway.  i ended up finishing the last of it on the morning of her birthday, while she was at work.  and when she got home, i'd done some decorating and placed all of the gifts we had for her on the table.


i couldn't stop giggling while i pasted this selfie i'd found on my phone from a previous trip to disneyland onto the birthday banner i strung across the doorway.


so when the hub and the old lady's special friend got home, we were all ready to go in our disney dresses - which the girls had to wear leggings underneath because it ended up being one of those chilly "may gray" days, even drizzling on us for part of our drive down to anaheim.  when we got to the parking structure, the hub dropped the three of us off at the escalators because he knew that if we all went together to pick up his ticket from guest services, it would completely blow our surprise.  so we headed on through security, onto the tram and into the park.  i led them to the entrance to blue bayou, which is just a few steps away from the entrance to club 33.


and when the hub and the bean finally arrived, we made our way to the front door.  except that the hub had no idea that the entrance had been moved and when he stopped at the old club 33 door and i kind of jerked my head over to tell him to keep moving, i knew the old lady had gotten confirmation of where we were actually going.  she told me later that she pretty much knew once she saw our dresses, but this clinched it for her.  oh well.

at the front door, we pushed the button to alert the cast members that we had arrived for our reservation.


as we stepped aside to wait for the door to open, another club member arrived and flashed her membership card in front of the doorbell.  and then of course, when the door opened, she and her (rather large) party sashayed on right in front of us.  one of them patted me on the shoulder and said "oh, i guess we kind of went right in front of you, didn't we?'  heh heh, motherfucker.  just go on inside and get out of my sight.

it was a few minutes before the door opened again and we were finally allowed to enter.  we stepped through the doorway and emerged on the other side right into the court of angels, a lovely little area that used to be open to everyone.



we had a little time to kill, so we took some obligatory photos by the staircase.  they closed this area just before we did our first photo shoot in the park, and now i'm kind of kicking myself for not taking a family photo here.  but we got a few good shots, so that's okay.



and then we were led up the stairs and into the restaurant.  i paused for a second and managed to get this shot:


the chandelier overhead as we walked into the lobby also had the club logo on it.


i eyed the case of club-exclusive merchandise as we walked past.  i'd heard that there was a special line of dooney & bourke bags, and snapped this so i could take a longer look later.  i'm generally not a dooney fan, but we all know what a sucker i am for exclusive disney crap.


we were seated at a lovely table in the main dining room, and these plates were at each place setting.


the menu listed the options for the five-course dinner.



and this was the list of house cocktails, with more choices of alcohol on the pages behind it.


the bean opted for the non-alcoholic version of a gin fizz, which our server said would taste rather like an orange julius.  it was delicious, although i was a little surprised that she was willing to try it since she generally hates anything fizzy or soda-like.


our amuse bouche was a delicious sliver of toasted brioche with slices of cucumber and shaved parmesan.


we had one last gift for the old lady to open, which i'd left in the car because the security guards at the tram statins typically don't let you bring in wrapped presents.  i was really surprised when the hub handed it to me to put in my bag, and he just kind of smirked and moved on.  anyway, it was a specific wallet that she'd had her eye on, and she was happily surprised when she ripped off the paper and saw it.


she and i had ordered the same thing for our first course - a truffled mushroom crepe.  it was creamy and delicious.


the bean had chosen the steak tartare, something she'd never had before but ended up loving.  she devoured every last bit of this.


the hub went with the hamachi crudo served with an orange vinaigrette, and he said it was tasty.


this is the sautéed scallop, ordered by the old lady's special friend.  it was served with a cauliflower puree, capers and ham.


for my second course, i went with the french frisee salad served with lardons and a poached egg on top.  the bean was happy to take that egg off my hands while i chewed on the salad.


the others had ordered the minestrone soup.  the servers placed bowls of what looked like chopped vegetables in front of them and then poured hot broth from individual pitchers.  the hub had opted for the other salad on the menu, but i didn't get pictures of either item.  oh well.  i'm sure you can picture vegetable soup bowls and mixed greens salad.

look, even the bread basket was rocking the logo.


i can't even remember what the fish of the day was, but i'd ordered it and it arrived cooked perfectly with crispy skin on top and served with shrimp bisque, leeks and potato.  it was delicious, a pretty generous portion and was my favorite course of the meal.


i was surprised to see that the old lady had chosen the housemade goose sausage, served with pappardelle pasta.  not a typical item for her to order, but maybe the pasta had drawn her to it.  my girl loves her pasta.


palate cleanser!  strawberry sorbet with a berry puree poured on top.  it was tart and cold and yummy.


i was already feeling pretty full by then, so i was a little agog at the size of the fourth course.  this was the filet mignon braciole, with prosciutto rolled inside and a red wine jus drizzled on top.  while it was also super delicious, i had a little trouble finishing it because i was so stuffed.


this was the old lady's parisian gnocchi, with kale and a carrot top pesto.


the girls decided to stretch their legs a little and went out onto the balcony to do some peoplewatching.


while they were gone, the dessert courses were served.  the hub had chosen the cheese plate, which looked pretty awesome.


my profiteroles were stuffed with a milk chocolate ice cream with some fresh whipped cream:


and if that wasn't good enough, the server picked up a tiny pitcher and poured a nice hefty portion of warm chocolate ganache on top.


the special friend had ordered the tangerine vanilla cheesecake with orange caramel.  he's not usually a sweets kinda guy, but even he raved about this.


both girls had opted for the chocolate hazelnut cake, and the old lady's came with a cute little edible birthday greeting.


along with the check came little boxes containing mignardises - a couple of housemade chocolates plus a fruity, gummy treat.  we were all so full, these all went home.


we'd checked our jackets at the front desk, so i handed the card to the hub to retrieve them.


but before we left, the server happily took a group photo for us.


the old lady and i went out onto the balcony for one last look.  being a friday evening, the park was bustling with activity.


across the way, we could just catch a glimpse of the exclusive members-only bar.


this is where the bean went to hang out between courses.  she sat on one of these chairs for a few seconds and then stood by the window to look at the crowds down below.


she signed the guest book and then took a seat as we waited for our coats.


i managed this shot of the entrance to that members-only bar.  it took a couple of tries, as i realized there were people in the background with my first shots.  i deleted them right away, because although i wouldn't have posted them anywhere i didn't want to take any chances.  any sort of infraction can result in a member's privileges being revoked and i sure wasn't going to be the one to wreak any havoc.


and peering down at us next to the door was this old audio-animatronic bird that had originally been placed in the old club that walt used to eavesdrop on conversations.  i'd never heard it actually talk the last time we were here, but this time the bean had seen and heard it say "thank you for coming!" as a couple of guests walked out the door.


we finally tore ourselves away and walked out the door and down the stairs, and i took this shot of the doorbell as it glowed in the dark night.


our one ride of the night was on the disneyland railroad, which we took to main street and attempted to find a spot to watch the fireworks.  but the bean was pretty tired and fell asleep at the table.


and so we decided to hightail it outta there before the show started in hopes of avoiding the huge crowds that try to leave all at the same time once the fireworks are over.  our timing was pretty spot on, and we got on the tram and back to the car in no time.

and if you were wondering...this was my mother's day present.  yay!


while it was definitely a splurge, i kind of hope we get to go back again one day.  maybe we can do lunch sometime.  that would be really cool.
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