As soon as my mom arrived, we were off and running to begin the adventures with whale watching in Dana Point.
Don’t mind our messy hair!
We saw two gray whales (a mommy and her calf, just a few weeks old) en route to the feeding grounds in Alaska, along with a small pod of dolphins. We were amazed by how close they were to shore, but learned that the mother hugs the coast to eliminate two angles of attack from killer whales. Here, they were in about 20-30 ft. of water, but can swim in as little as 5 ft. of water!
The video is really grainy because I was using my point-and-shoot camera, but you can vaguely see little puffs from the whales’ and dolphins’ blowholes at 0:09, 0:15, and 0:21. Hopefully you can catch glimpses of the whales’ backs at 0:25 and 0:30. I know they happen really quickly, but it was so unpredictable to record. Plus, I wanted to soak in the moment with my own two eyes, rather than through a lens.
Next time, I’d like to take my parents on the whale watching tour in Long Beach. The boat there is designed a little differently so if you’re lucky enough to spot a huge pod of dolphins, they’ll literally be swimming at your feet!
The next morning, after watering the flowers on my balcony…
…we had dim sum at Hong Kong Palace, a place my mom had researched and wanted to try. I didn’t realize how close I lived to Rowland Heights, and thus began our obsession with all the nearby, unexplored Asian stores.
From siu mai to almond milk tea topped with a pastry puff, it’s great to know I can get satisfy my dim sum cravings at a delicious Chinese restaurant just 15 minutes from home.
Anyone else think this mini palm tree is as cute as a button?
For lunch, we stopped by Quality Seafood. Live, chilled, grilled, or fried — they have it all!
Two sea urchins, a dozen clams, and a couple lbs. of Old Bay seasoned crabs. Next time, I’m going to get more clams instead of the crab. Afterwards, we shopped around Ranch 99 and Daiso, a.k.a the 100 yen shop — which means everything is high quality, super cute, and $1.50 unless otherwise marked.
We liked Hong Kong Palace so much that we went back for dinner. They have a special where if you order $30, you get an entree free from the choices of steamed chicken (nope), Peking duck (YEAH), deep fried squab (maybe next time), or steamed shrimp (pass).
I’m always a fan of dau miu, but these were especially delicious because they were served in a shark fin broth, rendering even more tenderness and flavor.
We got home relatively early to download some of my mom’s favorite Chinese songs and rest our stomachs for the big day ahead.
And by big, I mean BIG JUICY SOUP DUMPLINGS at Wang Xing Ji in San Gabriel.
JUICY PORK AND CRAB BUN. Yup, it’s as big as the teapot and comes with a straw to sip every last drop of the steaming hot juices inside.
It was a pretty overcast day which probably made the buns taste a million times better. It took some technique to devour those bad boys without shredding them to pieces, but we managed to flip them into soup bowls.
After buying a bunch of our favorite jerky at Champion Provisions Co., we stopped by Class 302 to cleanse our palates. Normally, one serving feeds up to groups of 4 to 6, but we’re all about gluttony so we each got one. And since we went around 4:00, there was absolutely no wait…that can’t go uncelebrated, right?!
(I’m starting to get really hungry again!!!!!)
Ok, so giant juicy dumplings, check. Giant shave snow, check. Giant strawberry donuts…here we come!
We brought them into my office and definitely impressed (and probably slightly scared) my co-workers. The donut is like a pillowy clamshell for the beastly glazed strawberries.
My mom and I were crrazzzzyyyy for one of the special starters of the day — Sauteed Mushroom Salad. My mom said she could’ve enjoyed it as an entree. Light, citrus dressing and lots of assorted mushrooms. Probably one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten.
I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the wood-fired mushroom and sausage pizza we got from Olive Wood Pizza, but I guess I was too excited to eat it. Last week, I went back with Josh to try the polish sausage and bratwurst at the stand next door, but the pizza is still the best.
We ate dinner at the Lazy Dog Cafe with Leslie, Matt, and Mrs. Wear.
He was so well behaved! And luckily, we could let Chef sit in our laps (some of the other Lazy Dog Cafe locations have strict patio rules).
Friday was a full day at Disneyland and California Adventure!!
The morning was off to a great start, complete with some beef skewers and a classic pineapple Dole Whip Float. We rode all our favorites except for Space Mountain which was closed for safety reviews. The highlight of the day was Radiator Springs in the new Cars Land. We lined up for Fast Passes first thing in the morning, and our return time was between 5:50 and 6:50. However, we had planned to take a break around that time to pick Josh up (he took the MCATs that morning), go back to the apartment, freshen up, and return to Disneyland. We left the park around 5:00, got stuck in some traffic, and encountered some issues with parking. By the time we got back into the park, it was 6:37!!! We knew that they’d be sticklers about returning on time, so we did what we had to do — RUN!! Well, it was more like power walking because we didn’t want to injure anyone….but still! We were panicking!! But luck was on our side, and we raced (har har har) back to Cars Land at 6:45. Only to realize that the ride was temporarily shut down for repair, ugh! We were so shocked and winded that we had to literally stand there to catch our breaths and laugh at ourselves. And then we went on the Ferris Wheel to calm down some more.
Thankfully, the ride was up and running within an hour. And boy, it was worth the wait!!!!