Travel Tuesday: Jelly Belly Factory Tour

My recent visit to San Francisco unfortunately coincided with the Wine Country wildfires, so I had to pivot on some of the excursions I was planning on doing with my mom while my sister was working. Particularly I tried to think of things to do that were indoors to avoid possible poor air quality. One of the destinations that I ended up choosing to take my mom was the Jelly Belly Candy Company, and try out their free Jelly Belly Factory Tour and do some shopping for candies she could take to relatives in Thailand. It was more of a trip for her since she loves candy, but I think I ended up having just as much if not even more fun. It was much cooler then I thought it would be for someone like me that loves the idea of sweets but doesn’t love eating sweets. There’s a lot that go into making a Jelly Belly bean!

Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California, entrance area Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California, cafe area

The location of the Jelly Belly in the Bay Area is out in Fairfield, which is north towards Napa, and also happens to be across the street from an Olive Oil and Vinegar tasting room and also the Budweiser Tasting Room, so you can make this a productive day excursion for the one hour drive. If you’re staying by Napa, consider it to take a break from wine. We only stopped for the Jelly Belly Factory Tour, which I’ll share here.

It’s best to visit on a weekday because then you’ll see the machines working with the people running them, vs when it is not operating on weekends or holidays. Overall, I recommend going to the Jelly Belly Factory Tour because it is cool to learn how the jelly beans are made and prepared for sale, and Jelly Belly really strives for a mix of efficiency with machinery but also relies on people for quality every step of the way. The workers seemed happy – several waved at me and smiled, and I’m not a cute kid on a tour. Though I think the paper hats they require you to wear the whole tour are both silly (so non functional) and cute.

Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California: the rainbow of 50 flavors and more of Jelly Belly Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, California: the rainbow of 50 flavors and more of Jelly Belly

I am all for technology and progress I don’t believe it means completely displacing people out of jobs, though it may mean changing the job description to work with the technology. As fascinating as automation is, seeing it paired with people too is heartening – and if you come on a working factory day you’ll be able to watch that interaction.

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Holidays in Sonoma – Gloria Ferrer and Viansa

For Thanksgiving this year, I went with F and our two usual partners in trouble for Thanksgiving to spend the holidays together in Sonoma. We rented a place via Air BNB that was maybe 10 minutes from Sonoma Plaza. I really recommend renting your own space as it gave us access to a kitchen so we could eat leftovers or make our own breakfast. Our rental had a whole table of various brochures (possibly more than the Sonoma Visitor’s Center) for us to browse through when we were home to plan more adventures, and the owner provided us a wonderful picnic basket that we used on our winery visits.

During our stay from Wednesday – Sunday, we kept our visits in Sonoma, going up through Glen Ellen and Kenwood, as far north as Forestville and Windsor, and back around through Sebastopol and Petaluma. If you haven’t been to Sonoma this probably means nothing to you, but in the next few posts I plan to walk you through how we spent our days.

If you can, I recommend flying into Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport with Alaska Airlines, which has direct flights from Portland, Seattle, San Diego and Los Angeles. The plus of flying into this smaller airport rather than the San Francisco area is that besides already arriving much closer and saving yourself a 1-2 hour drive is that YOUR WINE FLIES FREE! Your wine must still be packed safely and securely to prevent breakage and should be able to be opened so they can inspect if if necessary, but your first case to any outbound US destination will be checked for free. This is the same amazing deal Alaska offers with Oregon wines, so it’s definitely a strong consideration.

I’ve also always have great service on Alaska, and they have been updating their airplanes with seats that have standard and USB power outlets, which I really appreciate for keeping my devices charged. They always have local beverages and snacks available – for instance during one trip they were highlighting Canoe Ridge wine and Seattle’s Skillet Diner’s bacon jam. I am not sponsored by Alaska in any way- I just really like them.
Friendly skies by @AlaskaAir #iFlyAlaska bc they charge ur device at each seat & generously pour Canoe Ridge WA wine Congrats @skilletstfood on being highlighted by @AlaskaAir & getting more bacon jam fans! #bacon #baconjam #eatlocal

For financial reasons we flew to Seattle and then to Portland on the way back rather than a direct flight, which I don’t mind because the view was gorgeous on each side – a spectacular sunset on the right side flying into Portland, and this on the left side where I was sitting…
View on the shuttle back between Seattle and Portland on Alaska Airlines

If you do fly into the Bay Area, I also suggest as you are driving north to stop and welcome yourself to wine country with a break from your plane and car travel at Gloria Ferrer. They are right by the beginning of wine country and have a big outdoor terrace with many patio tables overlooking the Vineyards. Inside are more tables and a fireplace if you prefer.

Either way share one of their flights while enjoying the complimentary spicy almonds (if you join their mailing list they’ll give you the recipe for the tasty nuts). They also have a small selection of cheese and charcuterie and crackers to further augment your welcome to wine country. I love the extra touch that if you purchase a glass, they have individual coasters for each one to help remind you what you are having, which you can see in the photos of the glasses of Va de Vi and Sonoma Brut.
Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer
Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer and enjoy a flight of sparkling on their terrace overlooking their vineyards Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer and enjoy a flight of sparkling on their terrace overlooking their vineyards Spiced nuts at Gloria Ferrer Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer and enjoy a flight of sparkling on their terrace overlooking their vineyards Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer and a glass of sparkling on their terrace overlooking their vineyards Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer and a glass of sparkling on their terrace overlooking their vineyards Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer and enjoy a flight of sparkling on their terrace overlooking their vineyards Welcome yourself to Wine Country with a visit to Gloria Ferrer and enjoy a flight of sparkling on their terrace overlooking their vineyards
Also towards the entrance of wine country on Route 121 is Viansa Winery. I loved looking at the Tuscan grounds and if you like Italian wines this may be perfect for you! They also have an Italian marketplace and lots of outdoor seating to enjoy your sips and bites. Their grounds, similar to Gloria Ferrer, make it very group and family friendly.
A look at Viansa Winery grounds A look at Viansa Winery grounds A look at Viansa Winery grounds A look at Viansa Winery grounds A look at Viansa Winery grounds A look at Viansa Winery grounds A look at Viansa Winery grounds A look at Viansa Winery grounds A look at Viansa Winery grounds

Tomorrow, I’m going to share some photos of one of my picks for the most beautiful winery grounds we visited.

Have you been to Sonoma? Did you stop at either of these wineries? 

This post is the first in my series of looking at visiting Sonoma:

 

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Beer in San Diego

I don’t discriminate against beverages- juices, sodas, hard liquors, cocktails, beer, wine… I am equal opportunity for deliciousness. This post however, happens to be highlighting beer in San Diego while I was there the last week in June because I did happen to have quite a bit of it. I was there for a few days for work, but then extended my stay over the weekend into vacation, with F joining me on Friday. F drinks mainly just beer. San Diego has lots of great craft beer- I only covered the tip of the iceberg here, and hope to continue my exploration when I return to San Diego March 2014.

Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing

First, I had a sampler with some of the guys I was working with on my work trip at Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing. I didn’t believe anything was so good I would go back on a second trip- it was more of the close location and the laid back atmosphere of a sports bar with lots of moving pictures on the many screens to relax after a day of work that drew us there. From the sampler, my favorite was the McGarvey’s Scottish Ale, but sitting outside the light Paradise Pale Ale Duck Dive Hefeweizen and California Gold also hit the spot.

Oggi's Pizza and Brewing, San Diego, California Oggi's Pizza and Brewing, San Diego, California, sampler tray, beer sampler Oggi's Pizza and Brewing, San Diego, California, sampler tray, beer sample

Second, when F arrived, we had a beercation, where we visited on our first Friday evening two gastropubs in the Gas Lamp district reknown for their vast beer selection.

Ok, first, I have to admit we stayed at the Hotel Solamar, a Kimpton hotel, which means every evening they have a complimentary 1 hour beer and wine social to sample local beverages for guests. So F and I were able to try the Dawn Patrol Dark by Port Brewing Company. This was a special seasonal beer that was nice and chewy English style dark ale with its nutty maltiness. Perhaps I had it the next evening as well. And then we went out for more beer at two places. Yes.

Knotty Barrel and Neighborhood in the Gas Lamp district

The first, Knotty Barrel we stumbled upon on the way to our destination and decided to stay for a short visit. It was after all, already on the way… Also it was damn hot and we wanted a rest under their roof for shade and refreshment to continue our quest. We were impressed with the huge list of beers on the wall, and that they had a long card to fill out of 16 options for putting together your own small sampler of up to four 4oz pours if you didn’t want full glasses/bottles from their extensive menu of 22 drafts and more than 80 bottles. After a DunkelWeizen by Stumblefoot Brewing Company and Hefeweizen by Black Market Brewing Co. which were my favorites of what I sampled, it was time to move on.

Knotty Barrel, San Diego, East Village, gastropub Knotty Barrel, San Diego, East Village, gastropub

So refreshed, we headed towards Neighborhood, with their tap of only 25 drafts and 50 bottles, but their selection had more unique beers, including those that were harder to find and higher alcohol/barrel aged. Because of working up to lunch earlier that day and then logistics of shipping boxes back to work and airport drop off of coworkers and retrieval of F, I had eaten lunch rather late and was not very hungry for dinner. S

o, I found myself continually reading the script of beers on the chalkboard and in the helpfully named “These Are The Things You Drink” drink booklet. In retrospect, maybe I was not very hungry for dinner because I was all full of liquid, such as Biere de Chocolat by Almanac Beer and 10 Commandments by Lost Abbey, and because we had not enjoyed it before a Chimay Blanche (Cinq Cents).

Neighborhood, San Diego, Gas Lamp Quarter, gastropub Neighborhood, San Diego, Gas Lamp Quarter, gastropub Neighborhood, San Diego, Gas Lamp Quarter, gastropub

Stone World Brewing World Bistro and Gardens

Saturday, we wandered the 1 acre garden at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. The atmosphere here is a wondrous escape, where you can just order a beer and then walk the backyard with its small streams, a waterfall, various patio furniture, seats around a firepit or two or three… and what would be usually mild San Diego weather. The bistro portion is vast, seating hundreds, with soaring ceilings and a mix of wood and stone (naturally) and a small river that runs inside the restaurant with koi. One side are huge glass doors which opens up the the outside tables for dining, which further expand out to the aforementioned gardens. This is probably about 30 minutes outside of San Diego and I was driving, so I limited myself to a single Stone Smoked Porter.

My only disappointment was that we didn’t see many unique beers that you could not see anywhere else on tap or in bottles at the World Bistro. So we actually ended up trying new beers by ordering other bottles they had on their menu (and at least they do offer a pretty good selection there!), such as Beaver Milk Stout by Belching Beaver and a Goudenband by Brouwerij Liefmans

Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido

Brunch at Karl Strauss in Sorrento Mesa

Next, Sunday was brewery visit day, where we started with the brunch buffet of Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

Karl Strauss Brewing Company, view at Sorrento Mesa location with Japanese Garden, San Diego, California Karl Strauss Brewing Company, view at Sorrento Mesa location with Japanese Garden, San Diego, California Karl Strauss Brewing Company, view at Sorrento Mesa location with Japanese Garden, San Diego, California Karl Strauss Brewing Company, view at Sorrento Mesa location with Japanese Garden, San Diego, California Karl Strauss Brewing Company, view at Sorrento Mesa location with Japanese Garden, San Diego, California Karl Strauss Brewing Company, view at Sorrento Mesa location with Japanese Garden, San Diego, California

The location we visited at Sorrento Mesa included a gorgeous view of Japanese Gardens and a koi pond as you enjoyed a beer flight with your brunch OR a beer mimosa which mixed their Windansea Wheat hefeweizen with champagne. I was SO full from their generous offerings at their brunch buffet. Items included an omelet station, bagels with cream cheese that you could further top with smoked salmon, biscuits and gravy, a pasta station, a carved meat station, little waffles you could top with strawberries and cream, a selection of fresh cut fruit too, warm chips that you could scoop artichoke cheese dip, boneless buffalo wings, little bbq ribs, a whole table of baked goods for sweet desserts, cocktail shrimp and ahi tuna…

In fact, they even suggested pairings with a board on the wall that suggested certain items of food to enjoy with the offerings of their featured june brunch beer flight. For instance, they suggested their raspberry hef balsamic salad or blueberry crumb tart with their Winadansea Wheat, the Red trolley BBQ Pork shanks or beer brined roasted turkey with their Red Trolley ale, the blue cheese salad, boneless buffalo wings, or Thai basil curried chicken with their Tower 10 IPA, or the blackened salmon with mango salsa or carrot cake with their Blackball Belgian IPA.

sign from Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Sorrento Mesa location with Japanese Garden, San Diego, California

I was stuffed for the rest of the day. The service was great – even though they were really busy, servers made sure to take away our plates, check on our drinks, refill champagne in mimosas, even come around with samples of some of their beer for the tables.

sign from Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Sorrento Mesa location with Japanese Garden, San Diego, California Karl Strauss Brewing Company, view at Sorrento Mesa location of the beer mimosa using Windansea Wheat hefeweizen, San Diego, California Karl Strauss Brewing Company, view at Sorrento Mesa location with Japanese Garden, San Diego, California Karl Strauss Brewing Company, view at Sorrento Mesa location with Japanese Garden, San Diego, California

Green Flash Brewing Company

This brewery visit was then followed by a visit to Green Flash, with their 20 taps, including some which don’t really get to Oregon and stay local. An example of this was a Saison Diego golden farmhouse ale brewed with Seville orange peels, Chinese ginger that was very refreshing but carried interesting flavor profiles even in its lightness. I also liked their Barleywine and their Double Stout With Serrano Chiles. The Green Flash tasting room is part of their warehouse/production facility, with most standing along the long counters that curve in a U from the entrance, although there is a small area of outside seating, and a different food truck that visits outside that you can purchase food from to balance the beers. Definitely a different atmosphere from which we had just visited.

Green Flash Brewing Company, San Diego, California

Pizza Port at Solana Beach

And then one more different kind of atmosphere- we finished up with pizza and beer while enjoying the Pacific Ocean breezes at Pizza Port at Solana Beach. This pizza joint/brewery is small and open to families, including the requisite arcade games in the back and bench shared seating that is first come first serve. You go up to the counter and order, and then wait to hear your name called and go back to pick up your pizza. They did have an interesting selection of beers to select from besides their own brews, and the pizza combinations were above the norm. For instance, F (since I was still full) ordered a pizza with asparagus and squash, which you see me enjoying with my choice of their selections that visit, Saison De Mule

Pizza Port, Solana Beach, San Diego, California Pizza Port, Solana Beach, San Diego, California

Coronado Brewing

The last beers before we returned to Portland was at Coronado Brewing and it was my last chance at fish tacos- Wahoo Fish tacos with onion rings. Here, my favorites were the refreshing Orange Avenue Wit you see below, as well as a smoked style beer from the sampler F created (you could get a sampler of their core, or write your own selected sampler on a postcard which you could then mail to yourself/others) called Rauche Sham Bo.

Coronado Brewing Company, Coronado Island, San Diego, California Coronado Brewing Company, Coronado Island, San Diego, California Coronado Brewing Company, Coronado Island, San Diego, California Coronado Brewing Company, Coronado Island, San Diego, California Coronado Brewing Company, Coronado Island, San Diego, California Coronado Brewing Company, Coronado Island, San Diego, California

Too late for our visit, but perhaps not too late for you… Untappd (which is how I track my beers- ok, if I remember to check them in, a great app you can use to understand what you like and don’t like or remember what you had before, or help look up when deciding beers to order) and Brews Up (a craft beer promotions organization and membership program in San Diego) are teaming up to put together a brew based scavenger hunt that will take you to up to 60 different breweries in the San Diego area. This was entirely coincidence that I was writing this post last night and this contest starts today until September 2. The scavenger hunt involves reading clues and then checking in a beer at that brewery’s location using Untappd at 16 of the 60 breweries that are answers to the riddles. The grand prize are a pair of VIP tickets aboard the Brews Cruise, San Diego’s 1st ever floating craft beer festival, and other prizes include some prizes that are geared a bit more towards San Diego locals, but also brewery merchandise, so don’t feel like you can’t go enjoy a Beer Vacation even if you don’t live in San Diego.

I wish they were doing something like that in Portland- I don’t even need a grand prize, just making it a game on promoting and knowing your local breweries sounds educational and fun! July is Oregon Craft Beer Month though, so you should still expect more beer reports coming up- I’m just getting started!

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Bäco Mercat and Bar Amá in Downtown LA

The last week of June I spent in California, travelling from LA to San Diego for work, and then staying the weekend in San Diego for vacation. Here’s a look back at some of my eating adventures from that trip.

For my first evening’s California dinner, my sister/LA resident recommended Bäco Mercat, listed by Alan Richman as one of the top twelve restaurants in the LA as well as getting recognized by Bon Appetit and Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly. Just a block away was Bar Amá. Both of these restaurants are only a block away from each other downtown in LA, both owned by Josef Centeno. Both celebrate bold flavor.

Instead of choosing just one, we decided to visit both. A progressive dinner! One thing I should note is that this area is just a few blocks away from Skid Row, so you may want to exercise some caution on what streets you travel through if you visit for dinner. Suddenly you may turn down a street and just see people standing around, a mix the sadness of homeless and abused and the menace of mentally unstable and pushers, as garbage piles on the street and perhaps blows across before your car like you stepped into a modern post-apocalypse part of town. Yet, Bäco Mercat and Bar Amá are part of the Old Bank District, where I saw grand old bank buildings, a Mercedes park at a meter, and across the street bright lights twinkled from a cupcake storefront (Big Man Bakes).

First, after cheering for the Blackhawks at cool but weird dive bar Bar 107, we then headed to our 7:45pm reservation. For first dinner at Bäco Mercat, we started out selecting from their menu of sandwiches (baco, a sandwich made with flatbread that for me was reminded me of shawarma), their homemade bazole soup, and a few small plates. Unfortunately the lighting wasn’t great with my point and shoot, but here is what we had at this bar of small plates that celebrates fusion flavors from Mexico, Spain and the Mediterranean. Inside, the atmosphere mixes metal punctuated with yellow tinged lighting and the blue of their napkins and butcher paper on the table for an industrial urban feel.

Bäco Mercat, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining Bäco Mercat, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining

We kicked off with the “caesar” brussels sprouts with pecorino, anchovy, garlic. Another dish was the tasty Bacon-Wrapped Half Hen with cucumber, kumquat, quinoa. The brussels sprouts were decent but seemed overdressed in this case- I preferred the ones I will be showing you in the next post from M.B. Post. On the other hand, I did like the hen with its mix of savory bacon and chicken with the brightness of the cucumber and kumquat and the toothsome texture of the quinoa. And, it was a magnificent looking plate.

Caesar brussels sprouts with pecorino, anchovy, garlic, Bäco Mercat, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining Bacon-Wrapped Half Hen with cucumber, kumquat, quinoa, Bäco Mercat, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining

Then was the arrival of the signature baco sandwiches. I shared the Baco Sandwich Original with pork, beef carnitas, and salbitxada, and also got a taste of the Beef Tongue Schnitzel baco with harissa, smoked aioli, pickle. The chunks of pork belly were generous in the Baco Original, and I found myself sometimes picking out a piece to eat on its own. This is a pretty messy sandwich to eat, and you will be wiping that salbitxada sauce (pronounced salbi-tch-ada, a mix of tomato, vinegar, olive oil, chilis, garlic, parsley, and almond to make a kind of pesto) from your face and trying to tuck the ends of that arugula into your mouth. I liked the tender yet crispy beef tongue schnitzel, though I am unsure if I could handle a whole sandwich of it. I was too engrossed in my own dinner party companions, but I wonder how the beautiful people around me managed to still look good while eating this sandwich…

Baco Sandwich Original with pork, beef carnitas, and salbitxada, Bäco Mercat, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining Baco Sandwich Original with pork, beef carnitas, and salbitxada, Bäco Mercat, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining Baco Sandwich Original with pork, beef carnitas, and salbitxada, Bäco Mercat, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining Beef Tongue Schnitzel baco with harissa, smoked aioli, pickle, Bäco Mercat, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining

I felt that the star of this first dinner however was not the baco that Josef invented, but the the not photogenic but complete fireworks of flavor in your mouth Bazole soup with housemade noodle, pork chili broth, pork and beef, carnitas, mushroom, and fried egg. Holy moly. It almost got to be too much and I needed something to calm my mouth down because there was so much going on.
Bazole soup with housemade noodle, pork chili broth, pork and beef, carnitas, mushroom, fried egg, Bäco Mercat, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining

Our next stop, for second dinner, was Bar Amá. This restaurant doesn’t take reservations unlike Baco, and the viewpoint here is Josef Centeno’s homage to his grandmother and hometown San Antonio Tex-Mex nostalgia. The atmosphere here at Bar Amá was hip but more relaxed then the trendy buzz in the atmosphere from Bäco Mercat. Honestly, I liked my experience at Bar Amá better.

The rich delicious Tex Mex Queso, with chorizo added was so good I wish I could have poured it over rice and eaten it with a spoon, I will never be able to eat regular nacho cheese again without thinking upon this queso. What Bar Amá offers is that recognizable cheesy liquid gold, but celebrated in all its glory. We threw in another vegetable for our dinner here with the cauliflower and cilantro pesto with cashew and pine nuts and lime, but that kind of pesto brightened up with lime could go on any vegetable and honestly the size of the cauliflower here was a little big- everyone was cutting theirs down.

Tex Mex Queso, with chorizo, Bar Amá, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining cauliflower and cilantro pesto with cashew and pine nuts and lime, Bar Amá, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining

What blew us all away and stretched the waists of our pants was the stunning chicken fried steak. We were taken aback by the size and moist tender meat and the size of this chicken fried ribeye steak with cream of wheat and fried egg. The crispy outside was just like eating the best extra crispy fried chicken skin, but inside was that juicy meat, and then you break that egg and have the yolk running outside and mixing with that cream of wheat as a soft sauce… Look at this impressive and wonderful thing. Be prepared to share. Thanks for the recommendation J!

chicken fried ribeye steak with cream of wheat and fried egg, Bar Amá, Josef Centeno, LA, downtown Los Angeles dining

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Lobsters in LA

I love lobster rolls. I seem to have a harder time finding them here in the Northwest, but in LA there are several roaming lobster trucks, so when I went to visit for Christmas week I requested that I try one. The Lobsta Truck was on holiday, so based on previous experience of my siblings and location from where we were staying, our next choice was Cousins Maine Lobster. It was parked right next to another food truck, Let’s Roll It, that takes various Japanese dishes and then substitutes cooked meat from other cultures instead- we looked longingly at inari pouches with lobster and a lobster maki roll, but did not get distracted. We were here for lobster rolls, and then off to a second lunch destination.

My brother and I got the Connecticut Lobster Roll, which has fresh warm Maine lobster served on toasted New England style roll and touched with melted butter and lemon. The fact that it is a New England style roll is critical. My mom went with the Maine Crab roll that uses Maine Jonah crab in the same roll brushed with butter and dressed with mayo. At first she was using a fork to just eat the crab meat and I was totally not going to let her throw away that roll- I would eat it plain- but then she discovered that it was really good bread and ate it all herself after all. One of my bucket list trips is to go to Maine and just eat lobster rolls all week.

Cousins Lobster Truck Cousins Lobster Truck

They have a cute little ironing board where you can wrap up your leftovers in foil if you’d like, but that’s silly. You will not have any leftovers. You will devour this sandwich in mere minutes, mmmming the whole time from the toasted but soft sweet buttery roll and the generous lobster meat.

Cousins Lobster Truck crab roll Cousins Lobster Truck lobster roll LA

Cousins also has a restaurant in Pasadena, which then offers additional menu options if you don’t have the flexibility to stalk down the latest location of their truck.

Actually, this was quite a lobster day. First, after all that sweet lobster had melted in my mouth, on the way to lunch stop #2 I had the lobster ice cream.

Cousins Lobster Truck lobster ice cream

And, later that evening, the family went off to eat the specialty house lobster at Newport Seafood Restaurant.

Newport Seafood Restaurant Chinese lobster

I don’t think there is ever too much lobster. Having it whole where you need to free that tender lobster meat from the shell is not something I really enjoy- I prefer lobster tails and lobster rolls and let’s say, lobster that is added to a dish (such as the Risotto Con Aragosta I had at Michaels on Naples).

I was so happy with my dinner at Michaels- my lobster risotto was decadent but not too creamy, and I also go to share 1/3 of the  Bistecca Per Due special they had, a really tasty 32 ounce prime rib eye roast with my brother which they carved table-side for us. Even though it was a chilly 40 degrees or so, sitting on their upstairs patio was no problem at all because they had covered it with a tent and had plenty of heat lamps, a roaring fireplace, a saxophone player playing at the bar, so sophisticated  it didn’t even seem like we were outside. If I hadn’t been with my siblings, I would have never gotten to experience this elegant meal- and it was one of my top two meals of the week (the other being Cousins which was delicious but not really elegant as we were eating standing on the street). Great picks J!

Michaels on Naples lobster risotto Michaels on Naples Bistecca Per Due Michaels on Naples Bistecca Per Due

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