Friday, September 6, 2013

The Exclusive Club 33

Being a family member to a Disney aficionado, I've grown up hearing about Club 33.  I've heard of the tens of thousands of dollars club fee plus the expensive yearly fee.  I've heard there was a waiting list of many years just to become a member.  I've heard of the exclusivity.  I imagined that only the rich and famous had dinner at this club.  But then I got older and my brother's company had membership and half my family went.  Living in southern California it seems that almost everyone you meet that knows about Club 33 has either gone or knows many people who have.  All of a sudden it seemed a little less exclusive and a little more attainable.  

A couple of months ago my brother called us up asking if we would want to go have dinner at Club 33.  Knowing it was a little expensive but recognizing it was a rare opportunity we decided to do it.  Last time we were at Disneyland we actually ran into (literally) Jennifer Morrison (from Once Upon a Time) and we saw that she went to Club 33.  Maybe we would see someone famous while eating dinner!

We rang the doorbell and were escorted inside.  There was a very fancy and old school, glass elevator complete with a sliding door.  My mom took the trip in the elevator and the rest of us walked the stairs to the top.  There were two main dining halls.  We were in what was called the Trophy Room.  We had a very energetic waiter and we settled in for a long enjoyable night.

Our waiter gave us a good history of the club and even indulged on which celebrities he had served.  He said some celebrities have their own memberships including Nicholas Cage (maybe that is why he's bankrupt) and even Jennifer Morrison.  I thought that was really funny that he said her because that is who we saw go into Club 33!  He served Ronal Reagan and even Michael Jackson.  He said Michael was disguised that he didn't recognize him at first.  

The Trophy room used to have animatronic animal heads on the walls and Disney had an idea that they would talk and respond to diners' conversations.  Each chandelier over each table had a microphone that someone would listen in on the conversation and then have the nearest animal on the wall respond.  This was soon axed as they realized there could be some compromising conversations.

The food was actually really good.  Sean got the Vitner, the 5 course meal that the Chef designed.  I couldn't even pronounce, let along recognize, half the ingredients on the menus.  I order a Kobe Steak which was seasoned well and very tender.

NOTE: These pictures aren't the best quality because I only brought my iPhone and I didn't use flash.  The good photos are courtesy of my brother's camera.

Compliments of the Chef.  I remember that it was cucumber soda but I can't remember what the other was called but it had a slice of radish and raw salmon with another piece of food topped with herbs.

Sean's first course: Muscovy Duck Confit, Local Berries, Micro Spinach,  Rhubarb Granita.  The Granita was an amazing touch!
Sean's second course: Rare Seared Sri Lanka Ahi, White Asparagus Orzo, Pea Shoot Frons, Citrus Froth.  The Orzo was DIVINE!
Sean's third course: Anaheim Ale Braised Short Rib, Yukon Potato Galette, Creamed White Corn.  This was the epitome of melt in your mouth, so good!!
My entre: American Kobe Hangar Steak, Mine Shaft Blue Cheese Fritter,  Yukon Gold Potato Puree, Chanterelle Mushrooms and Buttered Corn.
I ordered the cheese plate which was a larger sampling of Sean's fourth course.

My dessert was creme brûlée, it was delicious!

Sean opted out of his fifth course, stone fruit phyllo for a chocolate cake with raspberry sorbet.
Of course there was the birthday cake!  Cute little chocolate mouse Mickey Mouse cake.
The view from our dining room overlooked the square right outside the exit of the Pirates.

I heard the ladies room was a must see so I visited it.  It was so old school, I loved it!

After dinner we meandered our way to the other dining area which connected to the balcony.  Fantasmic was going but unfortunately the trees were too much in the way that you only saw snippets of it.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mulholland Drive

Several weeks ago I mentioned to Sean that a chick flick was coming out that I would like to see.  I had the intention of maybe asking some girlfriends to go with me but he immediately told me that he would want to go with me.  As the date approached for the release, I realized that Austenland was a limited release and it was only playing in one theater in all of LA.  When I told that to Sean he was still willing to go.  So we made a date!  

I decided to make it more than just a movie.  I've always wanted to drive Mulholland Drive so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.  On our way out of town Sean said, we're going on another adventure.  It made me think of the name of our blog and I told Sean that I really like calling all our outings, adventures.  They make them more memorable.  This adventure ended up more memorable then we expected.

As we were driving south on the 170, Sean noticed a couple of cars in front of him start to swerve and slow down.  I heard some squeals and before we knew it we saw an SUV veer out of traffic to the left, hit the median, fly into the air and flip over.  A second small car (like a sports car) veered right, perpendicular with the freeway and braked before it headed down the small embankment.  Of course everyone stopped dead on the freeway.  We immediately wanted to jump out and help but were sort of boxed in.  Sean inched his way to the side and got out to help while I called 911.  I have to admit it was my first time calling 911 and I accidentally dialed 991 at first. :)  Guess I was a little flustered.  By the time Sean got to the car, the one passenger was already out.  She was obviously shaken but I didn't see any blood.  Looking at the car, I was amazed she wasn't more hurt.  The front row was totally smashed by the windshield.  Since there is nothing more we could do we drove away.  

There were a lot of individuals who got out of their cars to help but one of the "first responders" was video taping it. Are you kidding me?  The first thing you do is record it instead of helping out?  Idiot.  

That was the start of our great adventure!  Like I said, a little more than we bargained for.  We continued to Mulholland Drive and made our way up into the hills.  The first overlook was called the Hollywood Bowl Overlook.  I've been to the Hollywood Bowl before and I've seen headlights way up in the hills and I assumed it was this place.  What I didn't expect was the crowds of tourists.  We lucked out and got a spot in their small parking lot.  There were tons of the tour vans and most of the tourists were actually foreigners.  We hiked up a few stairs to the overlook.  We've done other overlooks like Griffith Park but this was located further west so it had a slightly different view.  It was cool to the the observatory and a different angle of the Hollywood Sign.  It was super crowded!  

There was a (German) mom taking a photo of her family and I offered to take their picture.  I know what it is like to not have your whole family in a picture so I try to be conscious of that when I go places and I like to offer to take their pictures since most people aren't to willing to ask.  I asked them if they were German and they said yes (I could recognize the german) and so I said Eins, Zwei, Drei when I took the photo.  I think they liked that.  The father said I pronounced them perfectly (my german teacher told me the same thing-too bad I just don't remember the language).

We maneuvered past the tour vans and headed further west along Mulholland to the Universal City Overlook.  There was NO ONE at this overlook.  We saw a bunch of cool houses and I felt like  paparazzi taking their photos.  From this overlook you saw Universal Studios (the theme park), the offices, Warner Brothers Studios and a little bit of Disney.  We also got a different view of the Hollywood sign, practically perpendicular to it.

 After the second overlook we decided to head down to the movie.  It was fun to drive through a variety of neighborhoods of LA.  We drove down Sunset Strip which is always eye candy.  The last time we were on the strip we took one of those double decker red bus tours.  Our theater was the Landmark on Pico.  It was a very nice theater.  Our theater was on the second floor and from that view we were able to see the temple.  Being in this area reminded me of a lot of Boston.  Urban life is something that sometimes is still a novelty for me.