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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

spending quality time at citywalk

the girls and i had less than zero interest in sportsball sunday last week - not even for the commercials or halftime, which we knew we could catch online or on youtube or something later on.  and with dining outdoor in l.a. county having just reopened, we decided to head out to universal city and browse through citywalk.  it had been a long time since we'd been there, and we figured it'd make a nice change from our usual downtown disney.

with pretty much no traffic on the way, we got there just before 2pm.

one of the things that's kept us from hitting citywalk on a regular basis is the cost of parking, but during these covid times it's free.  i tried to find a spot in the section that's typically the pricier VIP lot, where we spotted one of the trams for the backlot tour:

but we were deterred by the "reserved" signs and headed on into the regular parking structure.  we found a pretty good spot in no time, and followed the many signs that pointed us to the temperature check station.

and magically we found ourselves smack dab in the center of citywalk - and in front of bubba gump, where we'd decided to grab a table and have a late lunch.

knowing that we were going to be there for at least a couple of hours, the old lady and i decided that it was safe to order at least one cocktail.  she went with the georgia peach iced tea, made with sweet tea infused vodka, gin, peach schnapps and cranberry juice while i ordered a tried-and-true lava flow.

it was really nice to sit and enjoy a meal together, something the three of us hadn't done in a really long time.  there weren't a lot of other diners, and they were all seated at least a table or two away from us.  the servers were all wearing face masks and/or shields and only came over whenever absolutely necessary.  once we were done we perused the retail store since everything was 25% off, and while we found some fun t-shirts and these silly socks, we emerged emptyhanded.

the bean loves this candy store, and with just a few people waiting to get in we hopped into the line.

as we waited, the bean said "hey, isn't that the place you took dad for his first sushi when you were dating?" it sure was.

once inside the store, we browsed every inch of the place and giggled at all the novelty items.  like, who wouldn't want to dress up as a sexy piece of laffy taffy?

we hadn't realized that the hard rock cafe was gone, although with the one that had opened several years ago near hollywood & highland i guess we should've known.  still, it was kind of sad to see the giant guitar gone from its familiar spot.

we forgot all about it once we found the bright pink storefront for voodoo doughnuts.  there's normally a good-sized line to get in here, but between covid and super bowl sunday it was pretty deserted and we walked right in.

have you ever known me to walk away from a photo op?  even the bean, who's been doing the sullen teenager thing and tends to eschew such opportunities, stopped for a quick shot.  the old lady was happy to take the pictures but didn't partake.

but as we passed bubba gump again on our way to the other half of citywalk, the forrest gump photo op was one she couldn't pass up.

as we passed the water fountain play area, the bean reminisced about days gone by spent with friends here, laughing and splashing in the water on hot summer days.

we stopped at sparky's for some hot, fresh mini donuts covered in cinnamon sugar.  it's always fun to watch the machine dispense perfect little donuts into the hot oil.

at the other end of citywalk is the entrance to the universal studios theme park.  like disneyland, of course, it's currently closed.

after we browsed through the universal studios store, we headed over to the harry potter sweets & treats shop and grabbed a couple of butterbeers to enjoy on our way home.

back at home, we opened that pink box and dug right into those donuts we'd picked out.  top left: the oh captain, my captain - vanilla frosting and captain crunch cereal.  top right: the ODB - chocolate frosting, oreo crumbles and peanut butter drizzle.  bottom left:  grape ape - vanilla frosting with grape dust and purple sprinkles.  and last but not least, the voodoo bubble - vanilla frosting, pink bubble gum dust and a piece of dubble bubble in the middle.

man, i love a good novelty donut.  or four.  yum.

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