Disneyland eats and my favorite corners

Ok, so it’s a been a while since I’ve actually been to Disneyland, though I used to go there all the time when I was in college and had a pass.  Every now and then I still get barraged by the occasional Disney bug bite, compelling me to go get my fix somehow. But alas, I’m afraid that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

The happiest place on earth has gone quite mad I think, as they seem to have developed the notion we are all made out of gold.  I mean really, have you seen the prices lately?

Premium Annual Pass: $649.00

Deluxe Annual Pass:  $469.00

Southern Cal Annual Pass: $329.00

These are per person, my friend. That means that the average family of four would have to pay nearly $2,000 for average passes, not including parking (tack on another $130 per vehicle because they are non-nontransferable).  If you go all the way and get the best pass it ends up being over $3000, probably closer to $3,500 when you consider parking, food, and the driving to and from the place.

Ok, so yeah. Cha-ching.  But the thing is, people still pay it and we all know why.  There is just something about it that is, for some of us, worth 2 months rent. For me it was the time I spent there as a child with my dad. Once a year on my birthday he’d take me there, just me and him.  For one whole day I’d have the person I felt the closest to and saw the least of all to myself in a place where nothing seemed to go wrong.  (this was, of course, when tickets were, I don’t know, like $20)

So in the old days during college when I had a pass and would go there to ‘study’ with friends, I would often explore the in’s and outs of the place, discovering favorite corners, food, and the random idiosyncrasies that make it what it is.

Yes, I do think places have idiosyncrasies. Places are people too, ya know :/

Ok maybe not. But still.

Alright, so I guess I’ll start with the little Mint Julup bar in New Orleans square since it has three things I love.

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First of all, Fritters.  They’re  sorta like baked potatoes made out of churros. Actually, thats exactly what they are. Delish.

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Mint Juleps are also sold here, the non-alcoholic type of course.  I think this may be the only place in the park you can find them.  If you don’t like mint, it’s less than likely you’ll enjoy this, but I find it to be scrumdidaliumpsious. Instead of your typical bourbon base, I think they must use sprite.

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(Also,  there are these fantastic tulip lamps hidden in bushes near the train right there.  I discovered them once whilst moseying around while my friends were actually doing things like riding rides.)

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So moving on, we have one of my all-time favorites, the Corn Dog. Dun dun dun.  The ones sold here are, by far, the best I’ve ever had. They’re all messy and out of proportion and delectable. Mmmmm. I’m not sure if they’re sold in other restaurants around the park, but I get them from the corn dog cart between Mainstreet and Tomorrow-land.

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So when  you mention Disneyland coffee shop, a lot of people think of the one on Mainstreet closest to the entrance, sorta looks like an ice cream shop inside?

Yeah, that’s not the one I’m talking about.

Instead of going into the one on the left (walking into the park), keep walking and go to the one on the right side. I’m sorry that I don’t know the name of it, I am sort of going by memory here.  It has a sweet little nook to play checkers at and looks like this inside:

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One of the ingenious things about this place is that if you buy a regular coffee here, it’s refillable all day long.  No charge.  For someone who is very addicted to coffee, this is good news indeed. Just keep your receipt and you won’t be without a hot cup of coffee the entire day, haha!

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Yes, your friends or family may hate me for telling you this when you’re bouncing off the walls of Space Mountain, but c’est la vie, what is Disneyland for.

Ok, so everyone knows about Bread Bowls, but I must mention them anyway because it would be a tragedy if I didn’t. These are a particular favorite of mine on cold/rainy evenings when I can no longer feel my toes.  My favorites include Steak Gumbo, Clam Chowder and Broccoli Cheese. I think that last one may only be served in California Adventure at the Boudin Sourdough Co.

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There used to be a charming little candy shop in Adventureland that I’d always stop at. Sadly, it’s no longer there, but I thought I’d mention it anyway since it was one of those spots I loved.

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The hot soft Pretzel. Need I say more?

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And lastly, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the famous Dole Whip at the Tiki Juice Bar. Everyones has had these, yes? I certainly hope so.

A good place to crash for a while after a long day in the park, is the lobby of the Grand Californian. In the winter and fall seasons they’ve got fireplaces going, and sometimes the piano man is playing in the center of the room. It’s quite restful, I find.

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So restful, you see, that you might just sort of fall asleep right there in one of the lobby chairs. This was taken at the Grand Californian hotel a few years back. Out cold.

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They have a nice bar there if you fancy a drink, and they’ll serve you a complimentary bowl of what I refer to fondly as ‘cheesy crunch twisties’. To be honest, sometimes I get a drink there just so I can have the free cheesy crunch twisties.

I really wish I had a picture for you, but unfortunately that term does not come up when I google it.

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Am I forgetting anything?  If so, fill me in friend.

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The sweeter side of Trader Joe’s

I really didn’t mean to go on a Trader Joe’s sweets excursion last night, but since that is what’s happened, I figure I’ll make the most of it.  It’s actually quite convenient really, seeing that it’s still February and all.  Hey, maybe I planned it this way all along..

Yes yes, that’s it…….um…..ta da! I present to you February sweet deliciousness, TJ’s style.

So, I seriously wish I could take credit for what I’m about to tell you, but I’m afraid I must once again give credit to Mr Bossman, KG, because he found it first.

Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter

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Yeah, speculoos it is.  Honestly, it really does taste just like cookie dough in a jar, and who doesn’t like that?   Having opened it up last night and given it a taste, I just sort of stared at the stuff in wonder for a few moments wondering what in the world I was going to do with it.  I suppose you could spread it on a good piece of toast, perhaps some biscotti or morning bagel if you’re brave.  Personally, I think it would be just as delightful in one of these:

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Yes, that’s right, no shame.  KG says the cookie butter tastes just like the ‘cats cookies’ from TJ’s, though I myself have yet to come across any such thing.  Highly suspicious.

Hard Pear Cider

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Though I’ve mentioned this one before, I wasn’t able to find a photo for you previously and promised to do so.  So you see, the pear cider does exist.  I had a glass last night, and imagine it would be most refreshing on a warm summer’s eve.  As lovely as it was, I drank mine wrapped in a blanket and cuddling next to a heater last night. Not exactly a winter brew.

Cinnamon Apple Snack Sticks.

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Yummeee. Sort of healthier, crispier version of Disneyland churros without the line to buy them. Really light and not too sweet, these were definitely worth it.

Mini Lemon Blueberry Scones

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These little darlings are dangerously good, I only pick up a bag every once in a while because they seem too special to have too often.  If you’re a tea person, I recommend a hot cup of earl grey with some cream and lemon to go with it, or some other black breakfast tea of your choice. Oh, and be sure to warm them up for about 20 seconds beforehand, they are most delightful served hot.

Edamami Crackers

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Since everything I’ve mentioned today has been on the sweeter side, it seems appropriate that I should end with something savory (look at that, it even says ‘savory’ on the bag, haha). These guys are really good by themselves, but I imagine they’d do well with some sort of hummus or even alongside avocado or guacamole. If you enjoy edamani half as much as I do, I imagine you’ll like these.

Happy munching my friend.

Final infusion

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Well it’s over, at least for now.  Fingers crossed my body has taken it all in well and my blood work check in a month will be much improved.  If so, it looks like I won’t have to do this nonsense again for at least a little while.

And hey, against all ridiculous odds, I made it (:

My final day at the infusion center is another uneventful one, I’m incredibly pleased to report.  I think the most exciting thing that happens is that I find my vanilla goldfish in my travel bag. Better than you’d think, those little fish never let me down.

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They won’t let you down either.

Other than that it’s just the normal body aching and back pain afterwards, which I promptly address with some good chinese food and a drink.  For some reason this time the whole thing sort of knocks me out and I sleep most of the rest of the day/afternoon/evening.

Maybe he snuck in some Benadryl when I wasn’t looking, who knows.

I try watching Argo when I get home but find myself waking up during the credits. Boy those credits were good.

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As I said before, I hope the telling of my little adventure helps someone who reads it down the line. Maybe you think you are the only one who has funny things happen to you in hospitals. I assure you, my friend, you are not alone in your strangeness if that is the case. (:  This isn’t the first time I defied all odds in that sense, I am sure it won’t be the last.

Two days ago they further confirmed Lupus with more bloodwork and the doctor discussed with me the possible treatment plans, the first being steroids.

Steroids. Again. Are you kidding me?

Seeing that the only current problems it’s causing right now are fevers, some pain, and chronic anemia (which they have now addressed) I am choosing to hold off on further treatment at the moment. My lungs have been intact for a good amount of time, my heart problems haven’t worsened in the past year and apart from being very tired I honestly don’t feel too bad at all. I am thankful for that, and I think this might be something I can combat with a diet conducive to such things. While I’m not sure exactly what that means at the moment, I’m looking into it.

Thanks again to all my dear friends who have been so supportive during my needle phobia and the like.  You guys are the best.

Oh, and here’s my final happy-face shot. This was, of course, after the final IV was set.

Peace out.

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Infusion #4: Thats more like it

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This may the first time I’ve ever said this, but I’m very pleased to tell you I have no exciting story for you this week.

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As my first truly uneventful infusion, I thought I’d celebrate with some drinks tonight, which I plan on attending to very shortly, just as soon as I tell you my non-story.

They move me to the chemo ward today. The halls are a pretty green color that remind me of the sea and the area is very quiet and still.  I feel sad immediately, but not for me.  The nurse is very kind and brings me 3 hot blankets instead of two during my prep and steroids, and offers me extra benadryl beforehand, just to let me sleep through the infusion. I say ‘yes please’ and then realize I probably shouldn’t allow my body to become immune to a drug that has helped save my life (and may need to do so in the future) and politely decline.

I hardly feel the needle and sleep through the drip anyway.  He uses my preferred area (on the inside of my elbow) and I watch ridiculous daytime TV and eat wheat thins for the moments I’m awake.

Thats it, thats my story this week:) My only side effects have been the sharp back pain and body aches I will always get (sorta like when you get the flu) that will inevitably fade within 48 hours. I’m hoping my blood pressure doesn’t drop so low again this week, but aside from that I’m home free.  Isn’t that delightfully simple and surprisingly uneventful? I certainly think so.

I’m off to that drink now, cheers (-:

 

Week three, 3rd times a charm

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Maybe a rusty charm, but nevertheless.

To prevent a third reaction, the doctor decides to try a new steroid on me, despite the fact that we finally discovered one that actually prevented a reaction last week. He says he’s doing a preemptive strike with a less intense drug this time, as the last two weeks have apparently been considered emergencies, requiring emergency steroids.   He doesn’t want to administer the heavy duty stuff unless my BP,breathing and heart gets hit again.  I guess this makes sense, but I still don’t like it because it means risking another reaction.  I give a final request to leave well enough alone, but he sticks to his guns and I am too tired to fight.

They have to poke me twice, which is a bummer, but really nothing to complain about.  The first attempt she goes through the entire vein, consequently causing my arm to cramp up in pain and leaving a pretty good mess running down my arm.  It is the first time I cry during this thing, and hopefully the last.

I have no picture for you, and yes you’re welcome.

They bring in one of my nurses from week#1 to do it instead, since this poor gal is pretty traumatized at this point by whats happened.  I feel bad for her and try to crack a joke, but my tears sort of counteract the effect.   The guy decides to use my other arm,  in-between the elbow and the wrist instead to try and prevent it from blowing.  I don’t know what that location is called in medical terms, but in patient terms I thinks its just called the ‘holy-crap-stop -it-now’ place.

The new steroid works, thank God, and does almost everything its supposed to do to protect me.  My only allergic reaction is on my neck at the end of the infusion, in addition to a drop in blood pressure and back pain, but not to the point where I feel another trip back to the hospital is necessary. My BP is still low, but seems to have leveled off to the point where I can function ok, as long as I don’t try to have an intelligent conversation with anyone.

Thank you to those who have prayed for me and supported me so kindly.  I am grateful.

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More Trader Joe’s for the un-foodies

My friend Suj and I recently went on a saturday excursion somewhere in orange county, during which we stopped at a very large, very beautiful Trader Joes (aren’t all Trader Joe’s beautiful though?) Anyway, seems neither of us can bear to pass by  a TJ’s without venturing inside, bewitched by the scent of fresh coffee and whatever happens to be inside those tiny paper cups at the sample booth at the moment.

Those little things are just too small, don’t you think?

Our ‘walk-through’ quickly advanced into a full-fledged shopping trip, which I cannot say I regret in the slightest.  I thought I’d share some of what we found that day, along with a few others I’ve discovered since, mostly because I feel a bit gloomy knowing there is such goodness sitting upon shelves people may or may not know about.

TJ’s Truffle Brownies

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Suj was the one who introduced me to these that fateful day (and by introduced I mean tossed in the shopping cart and insisted that she buy them for me).  As a person who chooses her chocolate sparely and rarely cooks, I have to say these were well worth the effort. Make sure you have people to share them with, lest you eat the entire pan all by your lonely self. I split mine with Scotty.

Buttermilk Pancake Mix

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I believe I may have mentioned these before, very briefly while telling some other random, less important story. But yes, truly makes the best pancakes I’ve ever had. I bet they’d make terrific waffles too, but I haven’t gotten that far just yet. Still working on not making the kitchen explode when I turn on the stove. Goodness only knows what would happen if I pulled out the waffle maker..

Do I even have a waffle maker? Hmm.

TJ’s Smoked Sockeye Salmon

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Sort of a strange idea if you’ve never tried it before, I know, but once you get into it I think you’ll find it rather addictive.  A bit of this stuff on a mild cracker with a good slice of  cheese… Mmmm. A little hard cider with that, if you please.

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I swear I’ve seen and tried hard pear cider at TJ’s before, but for some reason there seems to exist no record of it online. Senseless poppycock that is, if you ask me. But lest you think me mad, I’ll be sure to snap a photo of it the next time I’m there just to show you I’m not batty. And also because it’s delicious and you should taste it.

TJ’s Kefir

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Ok, so I’ve known about this one for a while, but just now realized I’ve never mentioned it before.  Really good by itself if you’re hardcore, sort of like drinkable yogurt. If you’re not into the plain, tart yogurt thing, it’s a great base for fruit smoothies or with granola and honey. The strawberry and pomegranate flavors don’t need anything but an empty glass and a willing participant.

Pizza Al Pollo Asado

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If you pick off every last little hint of cilantro on this, it’s delectable.  It has lots of good flavors and you can eat it with your hands, which is always a plus in  my mind. Just don’t go into it thinking you’re getting Papa Johns- this is not a pizza my friend.  Just looks like one.  To be perfectly honest, I stumbled upon this thing quite on accident, thinking it was a pizza because I was too tired or careless to notice when picked it off the shelf.  After the initial shock, I thought it was quite good.

TJ’S Fleur De Sel 

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In plain English, ‘the sort of caramel that makes you drool like a dog just thinking about it’.  Kevin told me to look for these, and thanks to him I’ve continued to do so ever since.

TJ’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Pita Chips with Sea Salt

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Looking for an effortless, charming snack that involves no cooking, no cilantro, and no risk of setting the kitchen ablaze? Dunt da da da! Here you are (: Enjoy