Sunday With the Family


This is my sister and brother-in-law’s last full day in SoCal. We didn’t want to waste it!

family-at-breakfastStef was driving down from Hollywood, so we made reservations for a noon brunch. Traffic didn’t cooperate!

When she called, Stef was crawling through the City of Commerce on the 5. I pushed the reservation back to 12:30.

Brunch was at the Back Bay Bistro in Newport Beach. Like many places out here, Doppler is welcome if we’re eating outside.

g-h-and-dopplerWe sat on the patio, directly on the bay. A boat, just large enough to arguably be called a yacht, was moored around 20 feet away. Brunch was delicious and filling!

We turned south down PCH for Laguna Beach. Laguna was the setting for a few MTV shows, but it’s mainly an arty town with beautiful homes precariously placed atop one another on steep hillsides. Downtown is perfect for window shopping.

laguna-hillsWe found a meter at the beach. I swiped in two hours worth of parking. Laguna’s business district runs right to the water. There are shops and restaurants on the tree lined streets.

I think Trudi and Jeff have enjoyed visiting California. It’s very different from Wisconsin, especially this time of year. We will miss them. They’ll be back.

A Day At The Sun

Mohegan Sun is one of two casinos ‘in’ Connecticut. ‘In’ is in quotes because these are sovereign nations–a term I don’t totally understand.

“I can’t believe it’s just over a day since we left.” That was Helaine referring to our whirlwind trip to Mohegan Sun. It was for an occasion, but I’m sworn to secrecy. Let’s leave it at that!

Mohegan Sun is one of two casinos ‘in’ Connecticut. ‘In’ is in quotes because these are sovereign nations–a term I don’t totally understand. It is a spectacular complex with two immense casinos, shopping, upscale restaurants, a large arena and giant hotel.

Before casinos Eastern Connecticut was the quiet part of the state. It was the section of Connecticut most like the rest of New England. Now the two casinos are the economic engine which powers the area.

By the time we’d driven the 65 miles to Uncasville we were hungry! First stop Bobby’s Burger Palace. In this case Bobby is Bobby Flay, celebrity chef. I’m not a fan of his persona, but I love his cooking.

I had a Chicago Burger with fries and a vanilla bean malted. Oh–it was ‘crunchified’ meaning potato chips were embedded in the burger. The taste was excellent especially the malted. I can’t remember the last malted I had.

This was going to be a one-meal-per-day trip!

I wandered over to the poker room. For years Mohegan Sun had gone without poker, but it’s back and the room is big. Later this month the Sun will host a large televised tournament. It’s a lot too rich for my blood with a $5,000 buy-in for the main event (though most qualify by winning smaller satellite tournaments).

I played three separate sessions Saturday and Sunday at $1/$2 no limit Hold ‘Em tables. I am not a big money player. I lost in one session and won the other two times. My profit was a little under a hundred dollars.

Helaine had gone online for tickets to a comedy show. We headed to the Cabaret Theater where the Treehouse Comedy Club is now booking comedians.

The format for shows like this is always the same with three comics: a headliner, featured act and the emcee. In this case that meant Richie Byrne, Tina Giorgi and Bob Dibuono.

Three for three! We laughed a lot. Helaine and I agree Tina Giorgi (a former schoolteacher) was our favorite of the night, though Richie Byrne (who does the audience warm-up for the Dr. Oz Show) finished very strong.

Our single meal today was brunch at Caesar and Pompeii. We’ve eaten there before, both brunch and for dinner. The brunch buffet was very good with lots of seafood, lamb chops and a dessert table that would make you fat just looking at it! Unfortunately, there’s no longer dinner at Caesar and Pompeii and even the Sunday brunch disappears Mother’s Day.

The best part of the trip was going with Helaine! We had a great time together. Even after twenty six years she’s a helluva date.