Warning: include(wp-includes/class-wp-term-connect.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/content/79/6889879/html/wp-config.php on line 77

Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening 'wp-includes/class-wp-term-connect.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php5/lib/php') in /home/content/79/6889879/html/wp-config.php on line 77
2009 September | Ryan's Blog

Archive for September, 2009

Griffith Observatory – Los Angeles, CA

My parents just arrived into LAX and we were looking for something small  to do before heading back to Long Beach.   We’ve always wanted to go to Griffith Park, however never got around to it. 

After arriving, we found that there wasn’t anything small about it.  In fact, I wish we had dedicated more time to it.  

Parking was a bit rough.  Since the Observatory is on the top of a mountain, there is only a limited number of spaces.  Luckily someone left and we grabbed their spot.

We still had enough time to catch the “Centered in the Universe” program ($7).  Their star projector is the most advanced in the world.  There was a bright blue sky outside, but inside the dome you were instantly transported to a dark evening.   The stars were so lifelike!  The show goes through the concepts of how the Universe was created; from past to the presently accepted theory.  

Take time to explore the grounds of the Observatory.  They offer the best view of the Hollywood sign and Downtown LA I’ve seen.   Inside, there are many free exhibits from items ranging from Tesla’s coil to the inner workings of a telescope.  

It wasn’t until after we left and read the brochure that we realized we missed a free show outlining the past, present and future of the Observatory in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater.   Next time we’ll be sure to allow more time to have lunch at the cafe and take in another show.     

Official Website:
http://www.griffithobs.org/

Contact Info:
2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 473-0800

Observatory:
34° 7’6.73″N
118°18’1.31″W

 

Griffith Observatory Los Angeles Skylinve
Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory Telescope

At Last Cafe – Long Beach, CA

We’ve been trying to go to this place for awhile, however it has been difficult to get everyone to agree upon a set time for dinner.  You DEFINITELY need reservations (at least 24 hrs prior) as there aren’t many tables.   The hassle is well worth it.  

There’s been a lot of hype about this restaurant in the neighborhood, and I can see why.   While it is not located in the most ideal place, (parking is a bit hard to find; don’t expect a Tiffany’s next door) the food is absolutely heavenly.   If you are in the mood for hearty comfort food, this place has all the fixings.  

For dinner I ordered the pot roast.  Very delicious, moist, and tender.  It could have used a bit more pepper, but that is why you have it on the table.   For dessert we shared the Crème brûlée and the Apple Crisp; both to die for.  I also tried my friend’s Mac and Cheese which had such an amazing crunchy texture.     

There isn’t any alcohol on the menu; however there is no corkage fee. 

We’re definitely going back.  It is an amazing value for the quality of food!  Prices are relatively inexpensive (~$10/entre). 

Official Website:
http://jmchefcatering.com/

Contact Info:
204 Orange Ave
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 437-4837

Restaurant:
33°46’4.77″N
118°10’36.68″W

At Last Cafe Pot Roast

 At Last Cafe Apple Crumble

At Last Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kavikas Grill & Bar – Long Beach, CA

Tonight my friends and I didn’t feel much like cooking, so we though we’d try this new place at the Pike called Kavikas.  It’s located right above the V2O dance club in Rainbow Harbor.   Self dubbed as “Fresh Fusion & California Cuisine”, I’d say it had a distinct Asian/Hawaiian flare.

They really did a great job on the design of the place – modern and very solid.   Inside there is a huge two-way fireplace separating the dining area from the bar.  This would be a great place to stop by for happy hour as there are multiple large monitors and plenty of bar seating. 

We started with the Nachos.  AMAZING.  They almost resembled the wrapping egg rolls come in.   For dinner it was a tough decision, but I ended up with the Wood Fired Grilled Prawns per our waiter’s recommendation.  The sauce was excellent and was just the right level of spicy.   We’d heard the fries were great, so I decided to get those as the side for everyone to share.  No complaints! 

Overall, my friends and I were very happy with the food and will definitely be back.   

Official Website:
http://www.kavikas.com/

Contact Info:
95 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 432-8700

Restaurant:
33°45’48.25″N
118°11’43.37″W

 

Kavikas

Kavikas Grilled Shrimp & Fries

Kavikas Firewall

KAVIKAS Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

Apsara – Blue Ash, OH

Not feeling too adventurous this evening, I thought I’d try this Asian restaurant that was right next to my hotel.   My first impression was good.  The decor was warm, inviting, and unique.  There was a huge waterfall behind the sushi bar that was very relaxing.  For a Tuesday night, the place was pretty empty.  Hopefully that would mean faster service for me!

After looking through the menu I realized this wasn’t just one type of Asian cuisine.  You could get everything from sushi, Thai, Chinese, Indian, and Sri Lankin.   So much to choose from….  I thought I’d try a little bit of everything, so I ordered a California roll (not feeling adventurous enough to try real sushi),  the chicken satay as an appetizer, and the cashew chicken.

I would not recommend the chicken satay (bland/dry), however both the cashew chicken and California roll were excellent.   The steamed jasmine  rice was very tasty as well.  Next time I’ll have to try the coconut-ginger rice.

While nothing I had was the best I ever had, it was good and very conveniently located next to my hotel.  I had no complaints about the service, and look forward to sampling additional items from the extensive eclectic menu the next time I’m in town.

Official Website:
http://www.apsaraasiancuisine.com/

Contact Info:
4785 Lake Forest Dr
Blue Ash, OH 45242
(513) 554-1040

Restaurant:
39°15’5.77″N
84°22’42.15″W

Aspara - Blue Ash, OH
Apsara on Urbanspoon

Old Tony’s – Redondo Beach Pier

After a long morning of sightseeing, I needed to grab a quick bite for lunch.  This was the first time I’ve been to Old Tony’s for lunch, however dinner had been excellent in the past.  Located on the Redondo Beach Pier, Old Tony’s is a great spot for those in search of a scenic dining location.  Enjoy hearing the soothing waves break while enjoying your lunch/dinner.     

The decor is circa 1970’s, but the food is A+.  Don’t think I would change the decor – it is nostalgic and just wouldn’t be the same.   If you’re waiting for a table, take a look at the autographed celebrity photos from past distinguished visitors.  Also, the bar upstairs has breathtaking panoramic views.   This is a great place to watch the sunset.  

For lunch I decided to try their charbroiled halibut.  It was a good choice; however I would recommend getting it blackened.  Even though it was 90 degrees out, I still had my favorite salmon chowder.   For dinner, don’t pass up the twin lobster tails.  Don’t know how they prepare them, but they are by far tastiest lobster tails I’ve had.  Make sure to get the smaller tails, and not the one big tail. 

Service is excellent.  Not once did I feel like I was waiting for the waitress in all of the times I’ve been there – even on busy nights.  I would bet that it has always been that way since they opened in 1952. 

Official Website:
http://www.oldtonys.com/

Contact Info:
210 Fisherman’s Wharf
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 374-1442

Restaurant:
33°50’21.15″N
118°23’29.76″W

Old Tony's

Old Tony's - Sign

Tony's on the Pier on Urbanspoon

Redondo Beach Pier

The last stop for the day was to Redondo Beach Pier.  I had a craving for some good seafood, was going to make a stop at Old Tony’s.  There’s a ton of other restaurants as well, ranging from Hot Dog on a Stick to Mexican, to Irish, and everything in between. 

If you have a lady in your group, stop by the Mie Pearl to try your luck at winning her a big pearl.   Basically you pick the clam, and they open it for you.  You get to keep whatever sized pearl is inside.  It’s a little touristy, but fun – especially if you get a large one.  For kids there is an arcade on the ground level.  You can also watch local fisherman catch fish (if you don’t mind the smell of the bait).  Once we saw a fisherman pull in a large sting ray.      

 The pier was built back in 1889.  It’s gone through several iterations due to storms and fires; most recently being rebuilt in 1995.  It was used many times in filming of the hit TV series “The O.C.”.  

Official Website:
http://www.redondopier.com/

Pier:
33°50’20.60″N
118°23’28.16″W

Redondo Beach Pier

Redondo Beach Pier Entrance

Point Fermin Park/Lighthouse – San Pedro

Nestled atop a seaside cliff, lies Point Fermin Park.  Along the cliff are several picnic tables with incredible views of the ocean/coastline/cliffside.  The park has plenty of shade trees, a playground, and a stage for local performances.

On the grounds is also a lighthouse dating back to 1874.   It was originally built from California redwoods.  In 1941 the light was extinguished for 30 years after the battle of Pearl Harbor in fears it may be used as a beacon for enemy planes/ships.

The lighthouse is open to the public by guided tour Tuesday thru Sunday from 1:00PM – 4:00PM (Closed Mondays and Holidays).

Official Website:
http://www.pointferminlighthouse.org/

Contact Info:
807 W. Paseo Del Mar
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 241-0684

Park Entrance:
33°42’24.57″N
118°17’36.63″W

Lighthouse:
33°42’19.47″N
118°17’37.20″W

Point Fermin Lighthouse

Point Fermin Park

Point Fermin Park - Tree

Point Fermin Park - View From Cliff

Korean Bell of Friendship – San Pedro

Next on my list of attractions to pre-visit before my parents came was Point Fermin Park, however I ran into the Korean Bell of Friendship on the way. 

Perched atop what seemed to be the highest point of San Pedro lies the Korean Bell of Friendship.  From here you can see amazing views of San Pedro, the Port of LA, the Pacific Ocean, and Ranchos Palos Verdes.  It was purposefully located here to overlook the sea gate in which US troops sailed into the Pacific.   

The bell was donated in 1976 to Los Angeles by the Republic of Korea to celebrate the bicentennial of US independence, honor veterans of the Korean War, and to consolidate traditional friendship between the two countries.  The bell was crafted after the Bronze Bell of King Songdok, which was made in 771 AD (still in existence in South Korea today).  It weighs 17 tons, has a height of 12 feet, and a diameter of 7 1/2 feet.  When built in 1976, it cost $500,000. 

One note – don’t park at the bottom of the hill unless you want a steap hike up an nearly vertical path.   There is another parking lot at the top of the hill (entrance at West 37th Street and South GaffeyStreet).

Bell:
33°42’35.03″N
118°17’37.66″W

Korean Bell of Friendshiop

Korean Bell of Friendship - Pagoda

Lion’s Lighthouse for Sight – Long Beach

I had off on Friday 9/4 and thought I would do some local sightseeing in preparation for my parents visit.  We’ve seen most of the major attractions in the LA area, so trying to find something new was a challenge.

Close by to where I live is a fairly new lighthouse named Lion’s Lighthouse for Sight (built in December of 2000).  It was partially funded by the local Lion’s club.  It is a symbol of their fundraising efforts for the visually impaired.  The harbor office is also located in the base of the structure.

The lighthouse is in an ideal location.  You can enjoy great views of downtown Long Beach, the Queen Mary, and Shoreline Village.   The bike/running path runs along the perimeter of the park.  Close by you can visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, and the recently completed Pike complex.  

Finding the park is a bit difficult, so I suggest punching in the coordinates to Google Earth to find the nearby parking lot (minimum $2 for 90 minutes).  Since the park is a bit hard to find, it is very peaceful and not as crowded as Shoreline Village.   

Lighthouse:
33°45’36.76″N
118°11’38.65″W

Long Beach Skyline 

Lion's Lighthouse for Sight

URL issue FIXED

Was able to fix the blog so it now works both externally and internally.  Had to add my domain name to the LMHOSTS file on the local comptuer I was using to post.   This has been a great learning experience.