Sunday, May 19, 2013
St. John's Church - Anaheim, Calif
Its that time a year for the OC Greek Fest in Anaheim.
Located 6 miles from Disneyland at St. John's Church 405 N. Dale St. Anaheim, CA.
Greek Fest runs 3 days during May and hours are from noon to 10pm on the weekend.
Admission at the gate is $3 or you can print free admission from their website ocgreekfest.com.
Parking is free and is located behind the Walmart on the corner of La Palma & Dale in Buena Park.
There were 3 large air conditioned buses transporting passengers between the parking and the festival. It was a short 3 minute ride on the way to the festival and the bus drop is right at the entrance.
Once you exit the bus you enter at the admission tent. If you have a free pass from the website you just hand it to the person at the gate and you are waived right in.
The next booth is the Information booth where adults have their id's checked and you are given a free wristband in order to verify your age for alcohol purchase. You are not allowed to purchase any alcohol unless you have a wristband.
The festival is divided into different areas starting with the shopping area, entertainment, food and kids zone.
There were many vendors with booths at the festival. There were items Greek related such as pictures, jewelry and art. There were also other booths selling services such as DirectTv.
There was a band playing during my visit but the schedule had other performers lined up for later including Greek Dancers.
There were a number of tables and chairs covered with umbrellas but not close to enough that were needed. That would be the one thing that could be improved upon. The food is delicious but no where to sit and eat, there were many people who had claimed the tables as their own and appeared they were probably staying all day.
I always have to hit the Gyro booth while at the Greek Fest.
This is one of the reasons I like to make the short trip to this festival.
Ok so this photo isn't the most appealing but you can take my word for it that this is one of the best Gyros around. The Gyro cost $7 and it was served with the meat very hot and it was oh-so ever delicious.
There is an Opa Taverna located within the food area of the festival.
They had tall tables and chairs and also had some televisions up with sports showing.
Another of the must do's while at the festival is having some loukoumades.
These heavenly deep fried balls of dough are soaked in a honey sugary syrup.
You eat them with a tooth pick type thing and they leave you wanting more.
In recent years the church has purchased land to the north and this is now where the Kids Zone is located. Its a small carnival with rides and games.
On Sunday they had an all you can ride wrist band available for $25.
There were 4 games booths and about 10 rides.
I would warn that this area is on dirt so if you plan on wearing sandals your feet are going to get dusty.
Overall a very small yet delightful festival with something for everyone.
This festival has been around longer than me and it has maintained that small quaint feeling that makes it a favorite of many locals. If you have the time to check it out it takes place annually in May.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Los Angeles Dodgers
I attended the Dodgers game on Mothers Day with my mom and grandmother.
The Dodgers were playing the Florida Marlins and it was a day game at 1:10pm.
We had some very nice seats in the loge section 109 which is behind home plate.
We hit some traffic going north on the 5 freeway on the way but we had left early in order to not be rushed and so my grandma could take her time getting to the seats. Once in the parking lot we were able to display her handicap placard and were guided to the closest handicap parking to where our seat location was. The staff were very attentive and called over cart when they saw my grandma had mobility issues. We were carted up to the gate where we entered and made our way into the stadium and to our seats.
I have grown up a Dodger fan as my grandparents were long time Dodger fans, I guess you can say I was a home grown Dodger fan lol
It was nice to be able to take my grandma and my mom to the game and share this experience with them. My grandma was excited to be able to attend a Dodger game and knowing her mobility difficulties I purchased tickets in the very last row of our section as this is the best seats for not having to do the stairs. There is also handicap seating available, and I will look into this again next time I take her, but it was actually more expensive then the seats we had which ended up being right in front of the handicap ones.
Dodger's Stadium is not the most fancy of stadiums, no bells and whistles, but that is part of the charm. I remember going to the games when I was younger and it really gives me that same feeling of excitement. The stadium has that charm which you know you are at a real major league ballgame. The views are amazing and you see no city, no buildings, no freeways...you look out and just see the majestic mountains and lots of trees.
The walkways are nice and open and the concessions and restrooms are all located off these walkways. This past offseason included some improvement and construction to the stadium. Most notable for the regular fan is the additional restrooms added and large scoreboards.
Here is a couple of views from our seats.
A little video of the stadium from our seats.
It was an extremely hot day this day and people were not sitting in the sun until they had to.
We were lucky to have seats under the overhang and were in the shade the whole time. I am pretty sure I would not have survived in the sun and many people took shelter from the blazing rays during the game.
There is now a play area located for children in the park and family section seating.
There are also all you can eat sections and suites.
Since it was Mothers Day we all received a tote bag. These were actually very nice and quite large. We have been using these as grocery bags when going to the market.
We made our way to get some lunch and hit the famous Dodger Dogs stands.
Below is what $32 will get you at a game.
1 Dodger Dog, 1 garlic fries, 1 all beef Dodgers Dog, 1 small soda & 1 medium soda.
There are condiment bars located out in front of the concession stands.
Automatic dispensing Mustard & Ketchup along with chopped onions and relish are available.
Back to my seat with my fully loaded Dodger Dog and waiting for the game to begin.
There was a good crowd for the game this day and yes, despite what may be said about Dodgers fans, everyone pretty much stayed through the end of the game.
One of my favorite players Matt Kemp is shown up to bat in the photo below.
He hit his 1000 major league hit during this game.
Matt Kemp getting a hit.
The game was a great one with the Dodgers winning with a score of 5 - 3.
Go Dodger Blue!!!
Disneyland & California Adventure
Disneyland & California Adventure
Today I took a quick trip to Disneyland and California Adventure for a few hours.
I don't know what the official crowd calendar showed for today but it felt like an 8 of 10.
Waits for rides ranged for 100+ minutes for Space Mountain to 45 minutes for Star Tours.
We first jumped on the Monorail to take the ride into the park but we had about a 15 minute delay as they were changing Monorail trains ahead of us. Once on our ways we could see the lengthy lines to get through security and the long queues at the entrance to the park.
Off the Monorail you can see the crowds. The right hand side of the photo shows the line for Matterhorn wrapped around the whole mountain.
The crowds were already in place waiting for the parade. It wasn't too crowded to walk but it a bit congested. Luckily for everyone visiting today the weather was great and peaked out around 80 degrees.
Looking up Main Street towards the castle you can see the amount of people present and this is not including those sitting down along the curbs already waiting for the parade.
A walk through the shops still shows the Main Street Marketplace closed as it is being remade in the Disneyland Starbucks location.
A quick stop in the Candy Palace shows some new yummys including Mickey ear chocolates.
The fairly new expanded windows to the kitchen shows a cast member making some very nice looking chocolate covered strawberries. After dipping then drizzling the stems were cut to Disney perfection to make these some very appealing treats.
I love the very cute rice crispy treats on display.
Time to move over to California Adventure where there was absolutely no line queue to get in.
As you can see from the picture below the crowds were much better.
Looking up Buena Vista Street it appears much less crowded than Disneyland.
After heading into Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café I picked up a refreshing Starbucks drink and found a seat on a bench outside on Buena Vista Street.
I love to sit here and people watch and this time the red trolley news boys performers stopped for a long routine. I cant get the one line out of my head " suitcase and a dream"... over and over again :)
There were a lot of groups at the parks tonight. Everyone from the Girl Scouts of So Cal to many, many, many school. Tonight was also Grad Nite which this years private party moved to California Adventure park. Grad Nite now allows the guests to arrive any time and also park hop then attend a private party and exclusive World of Color showing just for them.
With the crowds starting to peak it will be off and on for my visits to the park until summer is over.
If I do go it will probably be like today where I can just walk around, relax and just enjoy the overall atmosphere of being in the magic.
Carolina's Italian Restaurant
12045 Chapman Ave. Garden Grove, CA 92840
Today I went to lunch at Carolina;s Italian Restaurant. I have never been to this restaurant before but had heard positive reviews from family. I was hungry for some Italian food and was looking forward to trying someplace new. I decided to do a little blog write up as when we arrived for lunch I had noticed tourists here who were on vacation. This restaurant is located 1.78 miles south of Disneyland just down Harbor Blvd and right on Chapman Ave. I could see the vacationers had an area dining guide which was from their hotel so I figured I might as well include a little restaurant write up for my blog in case anyone was in the area and thinking of coming here to dine.
Upon arrival you cannot miss the restaurant as the facade of the building is colored as an Italian flag.
We were quickly greeted and seated at a table. There was only one other table of people there for lunch when we arrived. We were given our menu's and noticed they were the Dinner Menu. We asked our waiter if there was a lunch menu or lunch specials and were told the lunch menu was only during the week and we only had the Dinner Menu available to us for the weekend. This was a bit disappointing since we not looking for a large lunch as the dinner portions were huge and more expense. I wish more restaurants would offer lunch menus on the weekend and they could draw a larger crowd as there were not many people here eating lunch on a Saturday. We did notice they were doing a big take out business as well as delivery and catering while we were there.
After being seated our drinks were taken and we went through the very expansive menu selection.
2 people in our party ordered Iced Tea but had to return it because it tasted bad as if it were old. The Ice tea and the lack of a lunch menu on the weekend were the only negatives we encountered.
We ordered our food and while we were waiting they brought complimentary garlic cheese bread. We were told this was unlimited and if we needed more just to ask. The bread was very good and had a light garlic taste. It was warm and soft and we used the oil & balsamic vinegar, which was on the table, to dip our bread in.
Below is the Antipasto Misto salad which was very good. The restaurant had their house Italian dressing on each of the tables so you could add to taste.
Italian Salami, Ham, Mortadella thinly sliced and placed on a bed of Romaine Lettuce with Marinated Vegetables, Tomatoes, Black Olives & Onions topped with Mozzarella Cheese & served with our homemade Italian Dressing.
Each table had the following (from top right going clockwise) House Italian dressing, grated Parmesan cheese, red peppers, oil & balsamic vinegar.
There were booths and tables available for seating and it appears the tables could be connected together for large parties.
The restaurant is also currently being expanded but this did not take away from our dining experience as there was no construction visible at all.
My meal also came with a choice of minestrone soup or small salad. I did not take a picture but I chose the minestrone soup since we had ordered salad to share. The soup was very good and I ended up dipping my bread in the broth of the soup.
The small Vegetarian Pizza was also very good and the crust was light and crispy.
Mushrooms, Black Olives, Green Peppers, Tomatoes and Onions.
The Meat Calzone was huge! It looked like a medium sized pizza folded over. I did not try this but it looked delicious, it was filled a lot of meat and I was told it tasted very good.
Filled with Meat Sauce, Meatballs, Sausage, and Ham Topped with Meat Sauce & Mozzarella.
I ordered the Baked Ziti and it was also good. The sauce was not too flavorful but it was still good. There was a large amount of ricotta cheese in the marinara sauce and with cheese on top it made it a very nice meal.
Ziti Pasta in Marinara Sauce mixed with Ricotta Cheese & Garlic baked with Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese.
We ended up taking at least half of what was ordered home with us. This was another reason I wish they would offer lunch menu as it was too much food. We had 5 to-go boxes taking our food home for the 4 of us.
As they were boxing up our leftovers we were brought out a small dish of spumoni for each of us. This was very nice as we did not order dessert and even though we were all full we each finished our dessert. It was very tasty and I was happy to had this little yummy treat.
Overall I was pleased with our meal as everything tasted quite good. The service was good and the staff was very friendly. I do wish they had a weekend lunch menu as I don't think I would return during the weekend for lunch again. I did grab a take out menu and the catering menu where the prices seemed very reasonable. I would recommend this restaurant based on my experience today especially if you were coming during the week for lunch or if you were looking for a place to have a good hearty Italian meal. I would also suggest if you are staying at a Disneyland local hotel to look up this restaurant as they offer delivery.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Company D - Disneyland
Today I had the opportunity to go to the Company D store in Anaheim. Company D is the discount store for Disney cast members but I was able to visit as a guest. The store is located in a very non descript warehouse at 1601 E Cerritos Ave in Anaheim which is only 1.7 miles from Disneyland and a 4 minute drive per Mapquest.
When you pull in there is parking on the East side of the building with plenty of handicap spaces right in the very front.
Once through the doors there is a cast member there where you can show your ID or like me the cast member pass. Once inside there is plenty of merchandise to browse through for hours. Some merchandise and a certain section in the very back is only for cast members and not for guests. This included a section that had props that ranged from napkins to wrapped presents.
There were well marked signs indicating the discounts on the merchandise display.
Most discounts were 50% off listed tag price but there were also discounts of 75% and some marked with a specific price such as $4 or $10.
There were racks upon racks of tshirts and sweatshirts.
There were tshirts from Disneyland, California Adventure, The Grand California Resort, Tinkerbell Half Marathon, Disney Alaska Cruise and CarsLand. I'm sure there was more but I think that about covers the majority of what I noticed.
There were items in boxes on the floor which included some old holiday items that were available during the Christmas season as well as Halloween.
Another part of the store had food items. This section was also only for cast members but it included bread, milk, juice and fruits.
There was a whole bunch of Vinylmation and pins available.
The checkout was very easy and they had many cast members manning the registers.
There was no line and no wait and I was checked out with a smile.
Cast members are only given a limited number of guest passes throughout the year and I was appreciative to be able to visit the Company D store. I only purchased a few items but for the value there were many good bargains to be had.