Final Moments on my First Vacation

So the final day of my California adventure. We spent the last day of vacation at my cousins’ house in Irvine. I hadn’t seen my aunt and uncle in a while, so it was great to see them and hang out with them. It was super fun to fight over the dinner check when we went to Ding Tai Fung as well. We caused quite a scene, and my only regret is that I didn’t record it with my camera. Enjoy the last day of pictures! I am getting caught up pretty quickly on the posts that I have to write. Lobsterfest, Blue Point Tap Takeover, and Ravi’s graduation party are all that are left. Probably will put up other pictures that didn’t make it to the posts as a gallery too.

As usual we started the day at the Daily News Café with Yvonne this time though. Katrina ordered crepes, I got my 2 eggs special with Corned Beef Hash, and Yvonne got the 2 eggs with Bacon. We waited a while to get a table, but we had to take advantage of our free breakfast.

Those are my sunglasses

After eating breakfast, we left Carlsbad and headed into Irvine to meet my Aunt and Uncle for lunch at China Garden. It ended up being Dim Sum time, so that was pretty awesome. My favorite 豬腸粉 (Rice Noodle Roll) was available in abundance. Also other stuff I don’t really remember the name but was delicious.

I think this is Salt & Pepper Calamari

After a deliciously filling lunch, we went back to my auntie’s house and a moment to repose. I met their three dogs for the first time: Bebe, Cookie, and Dodo.

After digesting enough food to allow mobility, we headed out to Santa Monica Pier. My initially understanding was that it was basically fair/carnival on a pier. I was not completely wrong. It was one of those places I feel like you should go so that you can say you’ve been. I ended up with some great pictures though, since the sun was starting to set I was able to take advantage of some backlighting for some pictures and stuff. Bought the last of my souvenirs here before we headed Urth for some fancy tea & coffee.

A pretty good picture of Yvonne if I do say so myself

Look at the Street Sign

This guy was catching bowls on his head by kicking them. it was pretty baller

I took burst shots of this, but I didn’t want to load 20 pictures so you guys get the gist. If you really want to see the burst leave a comment and I’ll make it into a gif and put it up


Left to right: cousin, me, cousin, aunt

There was a guy dressed up as Jack Sparrow showcasing his Macaws. I chose to not tell him I was a Ninja lest he sic his flock on me

Badass girl putting her snakes on people

Oliver decided to try to play a carnival game

I love Dippin’ Dots

Yvonne got a Churro, I got Dippin’ Dots

Oliver wanted to show us a café that served tea and coffee with designs out of the milk, so we headed over to Urth. The designs we got weren’t especially elaborate, but still pretty. I’m sure they could’ve made more elaborate designs if they wanted to though. The African Spice Tea I ordered was delicious. I am usually not a fan of milk in my tea, but I really liked it in this instance. I recommend stopping by here if you are in the area.

After consuming our beverages and café snacks, we made our way to L.A. We meandered past Staples center so that Katrina could take a picture of it, and in the midst of that part of LA I saw a Borderlands 2 promo billboard that the gamer in me just had to take a picture of. After a quick tour of whatever part of L.A. we were in (we also saw the new Ritz-Carlton hotel), we headed to Arcadia to eat at Ding Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) Dumpling House. For those of you that aren’t asian, I’m told that this is a fairly famous restaurant in Taiwan and there are only two American branches. One in California and One in Washington.

I saw this billboard on the way to LA and I just had to take a picture

She’s not happy to be sitting next to me

Xialongbao – Their Signature Dish


I can’t remember what kind of noodles these are

Shu Mai

So when it came time for the check, Katnip had cleverly positioned herself right next to the cashier. I just happened to block my aunt and Yvonne into the booth – pure chance. Katnip stole the check because Oliver and Yvonne exhausted no small amount of gasoline trucking us around all over southern California. A verbal brawl ensued between my Aunt, cousins, and Katnip. It was hilarious. I was busy finishing off the rest of the food, while staying firmly in my roadblock seat. My aunt threatened to climb over/under the table more than once. Eventaully Katnip won, with some assistance by yours truly. The scene we made was hilarious and I regrettably did not have it on camera as I was busy eating. At one point when they finally took her credit card to ring it in, Oliver tried to retrieve it but at this point I got up to keep him from stealing the check back. It was at this point that Yvonne, in the frenzy of the moment, THREW her mom’s credit card at the cashier station. It was awesome. I retrieved the credit card and my aunt continued to mutter about how this is highly unusual and how our generation shouldn’t be treating the elders – especially since we were visiting them.

After paying the bill, we made our way back to Irvine, where I had arranged a meeting with my friend Paul Tran. I had met Paul while playing FFXI, and some may know him as Lucentio – the dragoon with pet wyvern Lune. I had discovered back when we still played that he lived in the same city as my cousin so I tried to get him and Justin (Dorobounin) to hang out. Unfortunately Justin had other engagements at the time, so I was only able to spend a couple hours with Paul. We went to Diamond Jamboree plaza where we went to get shaved ice at The Balcony Grill & Bar. It was delicious, and I got to check another Catalyst member off my list of met in person.

Yes that’s finally shaved ice

Paul and his Camera

As the night closed out, we moved closer to our departure from California back to the Great Lakes State. We prepared our baggage, and stopped by the Jamboree Plaza again to pick up some sushi from the revolving sushi eatery (I will eat there next time I visit!) and some baked goods for our parents. Then we proceeded to John Wayne Airport to fly back to Michigan. Katnip and I said our good-byes and we vowed to return in the future.

Cookie decided to come cuddle with me after I woke up

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar

85C Bakery in Irvine

Exploring during the layover at Phoenix Airport
Tanned and ready to go back at John Wayne Airport

I had a great vacation with my family and friends. While I didn’t pick up any lingo while in California this time, I can blame my new fondness of Yelp on Yvonne. I hope to come visit again soon, so I’ll see all of you SoCal dwellers again in the future!


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