Wings Cafe ~ Fullerton, California

I found another great little cafe at a regional airport in Fullerton, California, you must go!

Fullerton, California is a town tucked into central Orange County, California not far from Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.  This cool little town has a quaint downtown area with boutique shops, a tea shop, restaurants, breweries and bars.

Away from the downtown area, nestled amidst older neighborhoods is the Fullerton Regional Airport.  Dating back to 1913, when the former pig farm with a makeshift dirt land strip, the land was used by crop dusters, the airport’s official birthday dates back to 1927.

I have fond memories of the airport from the few years  I lived in Fullerton in the 80’s. They offered helicopter flights from the airport to LAX where you could easily connect with your commercial flights.

To go back to the airport brought back fun memories and to dine at Wings Cafe was pure diner heaven.

The cafe is entirely aviation themed, and opened in October 2015 by local restaurateurs Brian and Sherri White. The decor features authentic aviation themed items including some interesting vintage pieces.

Entering the restaurant from the main airport building, you can’t miss the cafe.  The sliding doors are etched with a large airplane and the floor is a lit runway.  The main dining room features high top tables, all of which are placed carefully around the room so each diner has views out of the large picture windows to the runway.

The menu is filled with all of your favorite breakfast dishes from, eggs, bacon and sausage to omelets, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burrito, french toast, pancakes and waffles even beautifully cooked and creamy eggs benedict.

The lunch menu offers diners dishes that take you back to  your childhood favorites, and are pure and simple comfort food dishes.  Hot dogs, chili dogs, burgers, chili size and bowls of hot homemade chili, patty melt, egg salad sandwich and even a tuna melt.  You will also find a few salad choices, malts, shakes, freezes and ice cream sodas.  Looking for something a bit stronger, yes, they offer beer, wine and mimosas too.

We loved sitting against the window watching planes take off and land, even a helicopter or two,  Wings Cafe is great for the kids, offering great views and scrumptious comfort food and authentic diner style dishes.

Search out the unique and local spots, you will never be disappointed.

Until next time, travel safe.
Terri

Lodi Airport Cafe

Are you the type of traveler that searches out the hidden gems when you travel, or do you prefer a chain restaurant and something you are comfortable with?

When traveling and even when home, I love to find the hidden gems. On a recent trip we discovered a different type of American style diner, serving pure and simple comfort food, and now I’m hooked, so bear with me as I share my favorites with you occasionally. Many local and regional airports have hometown, diner style restaurants serving some incredible food, and I’m setting out to discover as many as I can to share with you.

California Highway 99 is a 4 lane highway, with only 2 lanes in each direction that runs North and South in California splitting off the 5 freeway just over the grapevine and it snakes up the Central Valley ending near Red Bluff, California.

There are some great little towns along the road where you can find some mom and pop style eateries and make for wonderful stops to eat and explore.

Following Hwy 99 north, we were headed to Lodi, California to spend a few days exploring this up and coming wine region.  Lodi is a small, friendly town with some great wineries and eateries.  Located just a smidge north out of town is the local, regional Lodi airport. Sitting alongside the runway is the Lodi Airport Cafe.

Lodi Airport Cafe is family owned and was remodeled about 3 years ago.  As you step in the door,you will feel right at home. The interior is clean, and bright, giving you the sense of eating in an airport hanger with the corrugated ceiling and airplane memorabilia sprinkled around the cafe.

Our server immediately greeted us, seated us and had coffee and tea on the table. The breakfast menu has plenty of choices from Two Egg Breakfasts, sweet dishes of waffles, pancakes and french toast; Pilot specials and omelets.  The cafe is known for their homemade focaccia made fresh every morning, so we settled on the Focaccia Breakfast sandwich.  The tender and soft melt in your mouth bread was filled with grilled ham, creamy scrambled eggs and melted cheese, be sure to add some fresh sliced avocado for the perfect bite.  The sandwich comes with a side of potatoes that were grilled, not greasy and so well flavored with bits of chopped onion. The omelets are large and perfectly cooked.

 

The lunch menu looks equally as delicious.  Filled with fresh burger choices and plenty of sandwiches, several with offer that same amazing focaccia bread. The salads are made with only fresh ingredients.  Their Sunshine Salad is the most popular and is filled with tender greens, mandarin oranges, chopped pecans, green onions, cranberries, avocado, feta cheese, and grilled chicken sits atop the salad and  drizzled with the Lodi Airport Cafe’s famous homemade poppy seed dressing.

As you eat, you will enjoy watching the sky diver’s take off and then take flight coming in for their landings right outside the window.

If you find yourself outside Lodi on Hwy 99 and in need of breakfast or lunch; stop in for a break and a fantastic meal. You will enjoy the fun of watching planes take off, land and sky diver’s filling the sky as they make their way back to the airport.

Until next time,
Terri

Dining Perfection, The Marine Room ~ La Jolla, California

Happy New Year,

I hope you all had a beautiful holiday season and are looking forward to your travels in 2017.

Should you find yourself in La Jolla, California in 2017, you will find a very special restaurant, The Marine Room, located at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

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Tea Time in Costa Mesa, California

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If you look you can find some little treasures in your own backyard. Royal Tea and Treatery in Costa Mesa, California is one of those little treasures in more ways than one.

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Morro Bay Getaway

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Do you ever feel the need to get away for a day or two?  A short change in scenery and quick getaway can renew the soul.

For those that live in California, Morro Bay is one of those destinations that is peaceful,  quaint  and perfect for a weekend away.  If you are visiting the coast of California, Morro Bay is a must see.

Where to stay, the Anderson is in my opinion the best place to stay on the bay.  This tiny boutique property is right on the Embarcadero.  The Anderson family is friendly, really fun and helpful in offering places to eat and things to do. Mollie works in the front office and runs the Inn with both of her brother’s and they are fantastic people.  After meeting them, you will know why this Inn is so special.

The Inn has 8 rooms, a few with full bay views and the remainder have partial bay views.  The rooms are spotlessly clean and really bring the bay and beach indoors with the hues of the ocean.  While staying here you can easily walk the entire Embarcadero and enjoy the activities the bay has to offer. The rooms are contemporary, yet comfortable and spacious.

http://www.andersoninnmorrobay.com/index.html

Along the Embarcadero you will find little eateries and shops.   A few steps away from the Inn is Chateau Margene tasting room.  We discovered this winery in Paso Robles and they now have a tasting room in Morro Bay.  This beautiful tasting room is bright and comfortable with a fun staff, so pull up a stool and the only choice you will have to make is which wine path to take.  Taste either the El Pistolero wines or the luxurious Chateau Margene wines.  Personally, I love the El Pistolero and their Pinot Noir has a beautiful smokey taste, yet it is smooth with many layers of fruit and leather.  I know leather doesn’t sound good when tasting wine, but it is the only way to explain the richness and smokiness of this beautiful wine.

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From Chateau Margene, wander, stroll or walk towards Morro Rock just around the corner you will find Stax Wine Bar.  A really cool spot to sit up at the bar, soak in the many wine varietals on the menu.  They have some fantastic appetizers to pair with the wines.

Having skipped lunch, I needed something a bit substantial before dinner and their appetizer menu has some excellent choices. Finally settling on one of the many Crostini choices, Crostini ala Filet Mignon.IMG_20160610_171558The bread was toasted to perfection, topped with shaved Parmesan cheese, fresh Arugula, tender strips of Filet and a fresh basil aioli.  The dish was scrumptious and the perfect accompaniment to the red wine.

http://www.staxwine.com/#/home

 

 

 

 

After hanging out, eating and savoring a glass of wine, it is time to move on to dinner.  Directly below the rooms at The Anderson is The Galley restaurant.  The restaurant came highly recommended and I understand why.  Most of the staff have been working at the Galley for many years or have had family employed for a long time, they love the restaurant and take pride in the food and service.

The Galley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The staff could not have been more friendly and knowledgeable.  Each dish was explained in detail and in a way that makes you want each and every one.  Finally making a decision, the scallops and crab cakes were amazing.  The scallops had a nice sear on the outside, yet tender on the inside. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh grilled asparagus.

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The dungenous crab cakes are some of the best I have had.  How many times have you ordered crab cakes and they come with a little bit of crab and a lot of breading and filler, not so at The Galley.  These beauties, had a bit of breading on the outside and filled with pure sweet and juicy crab in the middle.

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The red pepper and herb coulis was spicy and creamy and had a fresh herb flavor that elevated the crab to pure perfection.

http://www.galleymorrobay.com/welcome

The next morning, I was headed to Sausalito and needed a quick bite of breakfast.  Stopped into Crills II, a little candy shop, with salt water taffy, but they also make huge Cinnamon Rolls, and who can resist an Cinnamon Roll?  You will have choices to make, plain or covered in freshly chopped nuts with cream cheese icing on the side.

IMG_20160611_101304 Drove down towards Morro Rock, parked overlooking the bay, watched all the boats, paddle boarders and kayaker’s play in the water and savored my sweet treat and feeling sad to be leaving Morro Bay.

Next stop, Cavallo Point, Sausalito.

 

Travel Safe,
Terri

 

Barbecue Heaven ~ Part 2

Vintage BBQ Grill Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Back for our second round of great barbecue in Orange County, California.

For this trip we are heading to Orange, this is a little town I love and if you haven’t been, you really need to check it out.  Old Towne Orange is filled with little Mom and Pop cafe’s, antique stores and little shops.

Not only is Old Towne fun to explore, you will find some great BBQ.

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Barbecue Heaven

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The South has their own style of Barbecue.  Memphis and the Carolina’s have their own styles and sauces.  Then you have good ol’ Kansas Barbecue, but California??

California is not the spot you think of having killer barbecue, but you might be surprised.  For the past month and a half I have sacrificed myself to eat my way around Orange County, California trying some melt in your mouth, smokey barbecue goodness.  Sometimes when you can’t get away to travel, you need to travel close to home and find new places to eat and a new way to see your hometown.

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VACA Restaurant ~ Costa Mesa

Vaca Restaurant

Chef Amar Santana has done it again, along with his partner Ahmed Labbate.

Vaca is amazing!!  In December I wrote about our dining experience at his Laguna Beach restaurant, Broadway by Amar Santana which we loved.

We experienced Vaca a week after its soft opening and wow, we were extremely impressed.  I had hoped to get this post out early last week, don’t know where this first week of 2016 went.  All I know is that kicking the New Year off with dinner at Vaca was the best way to start.  I haven’t stopped thinking about our fun, amazing food and drinks all week and am ready to go again.  In fact we will be there in February before a show at Performing Arts, and again in April for girls night out.

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Broadway by Amar Santana and Top Chef

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Broadway by Amar Santana is a neighborhood gem in downtown Laguna Beach, California.

This restaurant has been on my list for a long time; when I read that Amar Santana is going to be on the upcoming season of Top Chef, we headed down for dinner before the show starts to experience his restaurant and food.  I am a Top Chef fanatic and try to eat at Top Chef restaurants whenever I can.

Let me just say that the next time you find yourself in Laguna Beach, make a dinner reservation and go.  I hope you will love the food and restaurant as much as we did. See if you can spot him in the small, cool open kitchen.

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An Aviation Day in L.A

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I want to share a hidden treasure in Los Angeles with you.  If you are an aviation enthusiast, you will love this not so little gem.

If you find yourself in Los Angeles in or around LAX give yourself a little extra time and visit the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum.  If you have guests that you are picking up or dropping off at LAX, take them.

The Flight Path museum is located on W. Imperial Hwy. and sits on LAX property.  Flight Path is not an airplane museum, but a museum that tells the story of aviation history through it’s exhibits of airlines that have come and gone, flight attendant and pilot uniforms through the years, and the history of LAX.  You will find exhibits showcasing airline china when flying was fun and an experience.

They have an old DC3 plane on the property.  With a docent you can step aboard, walk the aisle, take a trip back in time and sit in the cockpit.

The docents are knowledgeable, passionate and excited to share their love of aviation and the airline industry.  The docents we met and talked with all have one common thread, they were flight attendants, married pilots and worked in the industry.

One gentleman who has a deep love of aviation has loaned the museum his collection of metal airplanes all of which have been or are planes flying our skies today.  Another glass display case houses his treasured models, built to perfection with his own hands.  Take some time to appreciate his work and the history shown through these models.

Ethel Pattison who spearheaded the efforts with a small group of volunteers to create this fascinating museum.  Ethel is 90 years young and we were privileged to meet her on our visit.  Her enthusiasm is infectious and you quickly see why this museum is successful and fun.

Parking at the museum is easy, there is no fee for the museum, but they do have a small box up front for donations.

I challenge you to spend time with the docents, they will teach you something you didn’t know and be sure to ask them to show you a picture of something at LAX and explain how the letters LAX are incorporated into the architecture and design of the airport.  You will be surprised.

http://www.flightpath.us/

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20150912_115633 The Proud Bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To continue your aviation day in L.A, head over to the Proud Bird Restaurant.  Located right near the airport, this L.A icon has been in business since 1967 and proudly sits near one of the runways at the busy airport.  Inside you will find aviation history through photos, the old replicas of planes gracing the lawn and large windows that allow you to watch planes take off and land.

Do your best to get a table next to the window as they have two headsets per table where you can listen to the tower and air controllers  talk to the pilots, it is fascinating.  We listened to several planes that were about 10 miles out and the controllers telling them to get in the pattern and which runway to land and then you will see that plane come in, it is so much fun.

The food is American and  good, you will find a club sandwich, hamburger, a few seafood dishes and chicken.  They do offer a lunch buffet which is extensive and very nice.  Service was great and done with a smile.

If you read reviews on TripAdvisor, you will see reviews that say the restaurant is tired, in need of paint etc. It is, but in a quirky way, the restaurant feels like you are stepping back in time, one of old aviation history, but that is about to change.

The restaurant is family owned and they have been renegotiating their lease for several years with the city and LAX.  Obviously the family didn’t want to spend money on renovations only to find that their lease was not being extended.  It was touch and go and it looked like the restaurant was going to close, but with the support they received from the community and patrons, the city and LAX granted a new 20 year lease.  So, the time has come, the restaurant will be closing for several months starting in January 2016 and will be completely renovated.

If you happen to visit before January, look to the left as you walk through the door and you will find several artist renderings of the new Proud Bird.  The restaurant will be modern, hip and beautiful.

http://www.theproudbird.com

I hope you have fun on your day getaway in L.A

Travel Safe,
Terri