Mel’s Drive-In-Various Locations

Mel’s Drive-In-Various Locations

What: Mel’s Drive-In

Where: Various Locations

For: All Ages

Mel’s Drive-In is a 50’s-themed diner on the Sunset Strip that we found while searching for somewhere to eat in the West Hollywood area.  Mel’s Diner was the restaurant what was featured in the film American Graffitti, and since then, the diner has expanded to include multiple locations in the Southern California area.

The Diner

When you arrive at the West Hollywood location, you pull up to park around one of the last googie buildings in Los Angeles.  This is the only location that is open 24-hours-a-day 7-days-a-week.  Mel’s is continuously shows in TV spots, commercials and movies.  The iconic drive-in, although not in use, can be seen in the parking stalls and outer set-up of the diner.

The vibe of Mel’s can be seen by the structure of the building.  Guests are greeted with a neon jukebox upon walking in.  There are souvenirs available for sale at the cashier’s.  We decided to sit at the bar of the diner.  The wait staff were all uniformed in 50’s-themed attire.  The menu was so long that we had a hard time deciding what to order, but the food came out quickly.  At each of the seating areas was a small table jukebox that allows patrons to pick which song they would like to hear in the restaurant.

The Food

The food was ended up being better than expected.  Ethan ordered a burger, and I ordered eggs benedict.  Both entrees tasted great, and we couldn’t help but order a chocolate malt at the end of our meal.  The malt came in a classic shake-glass with the left overs offered to us in a metal cup.  We inhaled everything that was put in front of us, and we left with our stomachs full.

The Crowd

The crowd at Mel’s consisted of a large mix of people.  There were a lot of guests taking pictures of the diner both inside and outside.  Keep in mind that guests can pay by walking up to the cashier after the meal.  There was also no line when we arrived, but I can imagine that the diner would be busier particularly on weekends in the evening.

Cost

Mel’s was very affordable.  For two entrees, two drinks and dessert we ended up paying $50.  The cost was definitely worth the experience of visiting this iconic Hollywood landmark.

Mel’s Drive-In Information

8585 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

(310) 854-7201

melsdrive-in.com

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Fire + Ice – Anaheim

Fire + Ice – Anaheim

What: Fire + Ice

Where: Anaheim

For: All Ages

My family took me to Fire + Ice for my birthday three years ago, and it was a very interesting experience.  It’s right across the street from Disneyland, and it’s the perfect place to go as a group for some good food and company.  We’ll probably go again to eat after stopping in at Disneyland since they’re in such close proximity.

The Restaurant

Fire + Ice is a create-your-own-meal experience that serves Brunch, Dinner and Lunch at fixed prices.  Guests grab a bowl and fill it with their favorite ingredients before heading over to the sauce bar to add some extra flavor.  There is an assortment of toppings, sauces, spices and herbs for plates.  After patrons have mixed their perfect concoction, they bring it on over to the grill to watch the chefs cook their food.  It takes from five to ten minutes to gather your food and for the chefs to complete your plate, and you can come back as often as you want.  The chef was very personable, and it was nice to chat with him while he was preparing our meal on a huge grill in front of us.

There is both indoor and outdoor seating on the patio.  The patio includes a fire pit and live entertainment on the weekend.  Happy Hour is available all week from 3:00pm-6:00pm.  There is also a full bar available for adults.

The Food

The restaurant offers a variety of Asian, American, Latin and Italian flavors.  I made a few smaller dishes so I could try everything.  This is probably why we ended up staying in the restaurant so long (since it takes 10 minutes to make one dish).  The Asian food includes noodles, eggs, siriracha sauce, bok choy, soy and ginger (just to name a few!).  The American culinary experience includes wings, ribs and burgers.  Latin flavors give choices such as beans, rice and tacos.  The Italian experience focuses on pastas, sausage, meatballs and various herbs and spices.  Each dish that I threw together was cooked to perfection and tasted amazing.

The Crowd

The first time I came here was in the middle of the week during lunch time, so there was no wait.  The second time we attempted to come, there was a 90-minute wait.  I would suggest calling the restaurant to make a reservation or putting your information in online.  If you are able to get in, the experience lasts about an hour to 90 minutes.  Another thing to keep in mind is parking.  When we tried to get in at 5:00pm on a Saturday, we were circling the parking structure for 20 minutes trying to find a spot after finding out about the hour-and-a-half late before ultimately leaving and going somewhere else.

Cost

Brunch costs $14.99 per person for adults and $9.99 for kids ages 4-11.  Lunch costs $11.00 for adults and $7.99 for kids, with dinner coming in at $18.99 for adults and $10.99 for kids.

Fire + Ice Information

1104 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

(714) 808-9757

fire-ice.com

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Tony’s on the Pier-South Bay

Tony’s on the Pier-South Bay

What: Tony’s on the Pier

Where: Redondo Beach

For: All Ages/Ages 21+ at Night

Tony’s on the Pier (aka ‘Old Tony’s’) is a restaurant and bar that allows guests to have an amazing seafood meal while sitting on the Pacific Ocean.  I’ve been here a few times, once for the afterparty of a good friends’ wedding and once for a night out in Redondo Beach with Ethan.

The Restaurant

The restaurant is situated on the pier and has large glass windows overlooking the ocean.  It was especially nice that the décor of the restaurant was completely ocean themed.  There were lobster traps, fishing nets and various sea creatures lining the walls.  Tony’s is open for lunch and dinner, and menus are on the website.  We had a pre-fixed course with soup and entrees.  The chowder was amazing, and the clams were perfect.  I really enjoyed the way Tony’s cooked and seasoned their seafood.  It wasn’t too heavy so that we felt extremely full when I was finished, but it left us completely satisfied.

Top O’ Tony’s

If you walk up the stairs from the restaurant, there is a rooftop bar with live entertainment.  The rooftop offers a full bar and a small amount of seating for guests.  The bartenders were very kind and personable.  There was trail mix on each table for patrons to enjoy while sipping their cocktails.  The view of the Redondo Beach Harbor is best from the rooftop. Happy hour is offered during select dates and times (please check the website for specifics).  The live entertainment has always been a great addition to the bar.  Although the area is small, it felt very intimate with the musicians singing and playing their instruments close by.

The Crowd

The restaurant is open for all ages, with the rooftop bar reserved for ages 21 and over.  The crowd is quieter at Tony’s, with most guests coming to enjoy the live music and ambiance of the restaurant.  Parking for the restaurant is in a prepaid parking structure east of the pier.  Keep in mind that if you decide to take an Uber or Lyft to the Redondo Beach Pier, cell service becomes extremely spotty (no matter which network), so you’ll have a difficult time getting out.

Cost

Lunch costs about $20 per person, excluding drinks.  Dinner will run about $30 per person, again excluding drinks.  At the top bar, cocktails are about $12 each.  Since Tony’s is one of the few restaurants that overlooks the ocean, the price is definitely paid along with the location and quality of the food makes the restaurant and bar worth the price.

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Tony’s on the Pier Information

210 Fisherman’s Wharf, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

(310) 374-1442

oldtonys.com

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The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker-West Hollywood

The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker-West Hollywood

What: The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker

Where: West Hollywood

For: All Ages

I saw this restaurant on Instagram and told myself that I would have to eat here whenever we were in West Hollywood.  Last weekend, Ethan and I got that chance.  The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker (or BBCM) serves modern Californian cuisines with a European Twist.  They have the most amazing craft cocktails and specialty coffee beverages that you will ever see.

The Restaurant

BBCM is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner daily.  Although we didn’t eat at the restaurant, the food that we saw was very aesthetically pleasing.  Guests ordered beautiful food for brunch, including sandwiches, avocado toast and salads.  When we were sitting at the bar, there was a gorgeous coffee machine at the checkout stand of BBCM.

The Drinks

The specialty cocktails are especially great at BBCM.  The guests next to us ordered a triple flight of mimosas in three different flavors.  The Bloody Mary looked spicy and strong (although it was odd that a waiter was in the back pouring out three of the guests’ drinks into a pitcher and filling the now half-full drinks with Bloody Mary mix instead of alcohol.  Ethan ordered a craft cocktail from the menu, and it was the perfect refreshment to a hot day.

Now, let’s talk coffee!  Most of the coffee came out in mason jars.  The real star of the show were the cappuccinos.  The cappuccino that I ordered came out in about fifteen minutes with the most beautiful artwork I’ve ever seen in coffee.  It was so gorgeous that I didn’t want to drink it.  Although I was pleased with the look of the drink, it tasted very good as well.

The Crowd

There were so many people waiting at the front of the restaurant when we arrived.  Patrons can sit at the bar if they don’t want to wait (understand that the bar seating is highly coveted).  Guests can make reservations online, as there is always a wait for a booth or table.

Ethan said that this was the Instagram models’ paradise.  Not only is the food Instagram-worthy, but the crowd is dressed in new Hollywood glamour.  There is also a new store that recently opened at USC village.  Please check their website for hours of operation.

Cost

The bill came in at $24 for one cocktail and the cappuccino.  Although it’s expensive, I definitely think that it was worth the price for the experience and the beautiful coffee that I received.  I would recommend coming here for the pure experience.

The Butcher, The Baker, the Cappuccino Maker Information

8653 West Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

(310) 360-6900

bbmcafe.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Sloan’s Ice Cream-Santa Monica

Sloan’s Ice Cream-Santa Monica

What: Sloan’s Ice Cream

Where: Santa Monica

For: All Ages

Sloan’s Ice Cream is a sweets wonderland.  Filled with whimsical decorations, amazing treats and luxury ice cream, it was the perfect place to stop with the kids on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica during a hot day.

The Store

The store is an eclectic group of bright pinks, greens, yellows and purples.  Famous paintings line the walls with ice cream inserted into them.  It reminded me of what a Barbie House would look like in real life.  If I were to give our 4 and 5 year old full reign to decorate a store, this is exactly what they would come up with.

A counter with all types of ice cream is at the front of the store.  More toppings than you can imagine are offered to put on top of guests’ ice cream.  There are assortments of treats offered to the side of the ice cream counter.

Candied apples, brownies, cookies and doughnuts are offered fresh from the bakery.  Desserts of all shapes and sizes are everywhere you look.  A candy wall lines the opposite side of the candy counter.  Bright stuffed animals and toys sit on tables around the store as well.

I tried the kids’ ice cream and it was very good.  It tasted very old fashioned and creamy.  The workers were generous with the amount of candy toppings the kids requested.  Since the scoops were generous, the kids couldn’t finish their desserts.  We would definitely come back to try some other desserts next time we’re in the area.

The Crowd

Although it was extremely hot outside, there was no one in line at Sloan’s Ice Cream.  This may be because there isn’t a very visible sign outside facing the Promenade.  Guests need to walk through two double doors to get into the store.  There is outdoor seating that allows for people watching while patrons enjoy their desserts.

Cost

We told the girls to get one scoop of ice cream each with two toppings.  For the two small scoops and two toppings, the bill came in at $15.  Although this is way more than I want to pay for a small scoop of ice cream, the girls enjoyed the atmosphere of the store.  If you’re looking for a ice cream shop and are on the Promenade, I definitely think that Sloan’s takes the cake.

Sloan’s Ice Cream Information

1315 Third Street Promenade, Unit A, Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310) 394-3940

sloansicecream.com

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Discovery Cube OC/Discovery Cube LA-Los Angeles and Orange County

Discovery Cube OC/Discovery Cube LA-Los Angeles and Orange County

What: Discovery Cube OC/Discovery Cube LA

Where: Los Angeles and Orange County

Summer 2018 Dinosaur Exhibit.

For: All Ages

The kids have been to Discovery Cube OC on many different occasions.  It makes for an entire fun filled day with the whole family.  There is an indoor and outdoor area filled with activities that promote learning.  Each time I’ve been to Discovery Cube OC, I’ve learned a lot of new things that I never knew.

Entrance to Discovery Cube OC.

The Ongoing Exhibits

Exhibits change seasonally (please check the corresponding websites for current exhibits) and are different in Orange County and Los Angeles.  In Orange County, the ongoing exhibits include: Mission Control (kids can complete a space mission inside a replica of the Jet Propulsion Lab’s control room), Helicopter Tour (fly in a virtual helicopter over Orange County’s landmarks), Water Gallery (a scientific look at water’s impact on the planet), Inspector Training Course (learn how to navigate your garden while eliminating vectors), PetersonVille Healthy Kitchen (kid’s cooking class with real food), Interactive Exhibits (cloud ring, rock wall, seismograph, shake-shack, hurricane), Science of Hockey (learn about and play hockey), Boeing Rocket Lab (learn about how rockets work), Discovery Theater (short feature films scheduled throughout the day), Planetary Research Station (learn all about weather on earth), and the Eco Station (save the world as a superhero).

Dinosaur Summer 2018 Exhibit.

The Exhibits in Discovery Cube LA include the Aquavator (descend into the earth’s crust with a special elevator), Discovery Market (learn the importance of making healthy choices when you shop) and Park Science.  The Science of Hockey, Planetary Research Station, 3D Theater, Helicopter Tour (pertains to LA landmarks), Race to Zero Waste and Inspector Training Course is the same as the Discovery Cube OC.

Aquvator Exhibit

There is a small healthy eating area with restaurant in the Discovery Cube.  They offer healthier options of snacks and lunch for the kids.  I can be very crowded around lunch time, so I would suggest going earlier in the day.

Bubblemania Bubble Fest

The Seasonal Exhibits

Currently, there is a Dinosaur exhibit going on for the summer.  I took Skylar here last year, and she had an amazing time looking at the life-sized animatronic versions of dinosaurs.  We’ve also been when there was a Dora the Explorer themed exhibit that taught kids about the rainforest and how to speak Spanish.  One of our favorite times there was when we went to watch Bubblemania and a Bubble Show.  Please check online for information about seasonal exhibits.

With Skylar and my Father at the Dinosaur Exhibit

The Crowd

It gets very crowded on weekends and later in the day.  Parking also becomes harder when there are bigger crowds.  I suggest coming when it opens so that there aren’t many lines for the little ones.

Skylar at the Garden Exhibit.

Cost

Adult admission is $19.95 and children admission (ages 3-14) is $14.95.  Check Living Social and Groupon for any deals to use.  For extra shows or exhibits there is an extra charge per person.  The discovery theater is an extra $3.00 per person.

Discovery Cube Information

Orange County: 2500 N. Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 91705

(714) 913-5040

Los Angeles: 11800 Foothill Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91342

(818) 686-2823

discoverycube.org

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Discovery Cube, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar-Multiple Locations

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar-Multiple Locations

What: Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

Where: Multiple Locations

For: All Ages

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar is a novelty sushi bar that has a conveyor belt that delivers sushi directly to your table.  It’s completely automated and offers all types of foods to patrons.  Wait times can be up to 90 minutes in the South Bay Kura since it’s a fairly new restaurant.

The Restaurant

When you get into the restaurant, you have a panel next to your table that allows you to order.  The waitress only served to get us drinks and take away plates.  Various appetizers, sushi and chicken were offered on a conveyer belt that goes around the entire restaurant.  There is a small sign before each type of food so you knew what was being served on the plates.  Don’t worry if you don’t grab the plate you want when it first comes around!  There are many opportunities to grab the food.

Kura’s Ninja Cartoon that gives you a prize after consuming 15 plates.

If you don’t find something you want on the conveyor belt, you can use the order panel to choose what type of food you want.  You’ll hear a dinging sound when your food is ready, and an order belt brings your food directly to your table on a conveyor belt above the revolving sushi conveyor belt.

After you finish the food on your plate, there is a disposal slot on the side of each table that allows you to put your empty plate into.  The order panel keeps track of the number of plates you eat. Every five plates inserted, there is a small cartoon that plays a story on the order panel.  Skylar enjoyed the cartoon and kept telling us to eat more so we can win the cartoon.  Once guests eat and insert fifteen plates, you ‘win’ a prize.  The prize is in a small ball that comes out of a ‘prize shoot’ on top of the conveyor belts.  They are very cheap prizes, but Skylar thought it was amazing that she won anything at a restaurant.  When parties are finished eating, you can check out right at your table on your order panel.  The waitress brings you the check and you are on your way!  It’s one of the most fun and interesting restaurant experiences we have had.

The Food

The restaurant serves nigiri, sushi rolls (regular and baked), hand rolls, gunkan maki (sushi served in small cups), ramen and various appetizers.  There is also a variety of plates to choose from.  The sushi tasted very good and fresh.  We kept having to ask for more wasabi and ginger, but that was more of a wait staff issue than a restaurant issue.

Skylar isn’t much of a sushi eater, so we ordered ramen on the top belt for her.  Although she likes California Rolls, the ones at Kura are actual crab (she’s used to imitation crab)…meaning I ended up eating her entire roll.  I tried as much as I could, but the menu contains so many dishes that there are twelve pages to scroll through on the order panel.  We definitely need to come back to try more of the food offered.

The Crowd

There is a mobile app that allows you to check in remotely.  It will give you the wait times for either a seat at the sushi bar or a table.  Because of the novelty of the restaurant, there is usually an our long wait time.  Since you can view the place you are at in line, you can leave your house in time for them to call you.  At the door of Kura there is also an iPad that allows walk-ups to check in and view where they stand in line.  I noticed that each group that went in took about 30 to 45 minutes to finish their meal.

Cost

We ended up paying $64 for three people at Kura.  Each plate ranges from $2.50 to $2.75, and other pricing is available on the order panel.  We ordered some drinks which added another $10 to our bill.  We paid $52 when we went as a couple.

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar Information

1840 W. 182nd Street, Torrance, CA 90504

(424) 221-5731

kurausa.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

The Grove/The Original Farmers Market-Los Angeles

The Grove/The Original Farmers Market-Los Angeles

What: The Grove/The Original Farmers Market

Where: Los Angeles

For: All Ages

The Grove and Farmers Market is literally somewhere you can spend all day.  Not only may you catch a celebrity sighting or two, but there are always so many things to do.  I used to take Skylar all the time when she was younger.  We loved watching movies, going into the stores and trying out the amazing food at the market.

The Grove

During the summer, they have a concert series with some pretty famous singers.  There is a nice grassy area that families can set up with a blanket and picnic while they’re watching the concert.   Every so often there is a fashion show as well (check the website for special event information). There is also a double-decker trolley that’s on a track.  It allows you to jump on and off whenever you please while it makes its way from one end of The Grove to the other.  A movie theater plays all the new releases and sits right in the center of the venue.  A dancing fountain shows at regular intervals and is beautiful to watch.  If you’re a regular visitor to The Grove, make sure to sign up for the kids club so you can be first to find out about special family-friendly events.

The grove has a variety of stores, ranging from common chains that you would find in any mall to higher end luxury boutiques.  What’s interesting about the stores is that they’re truly glamorized to reach the Hollywood crowd.  For example, the Abercrombie and Fitch is three stories high and has fit shirtless male models that welcome shoppers.  There are also a variety of sit-down restaurants around The Grove.  Although I would suggest saving money and exploring the Farmers Market, some of the restaurants have outside seating that allow guests to people watch (and, as I said…maybe have a celebrity sighting!)  One of our favorite dessert places is Sprinkles (I’ll probably post about this later).  They have the most amazing cupcakes we’ve ever had…we even grab ‘pupcakes’ for the dog when we go there.  There is always something to do at the Grove by yourself, as a couple or with the family.

The Farmer’s Market

Although not affiliated with The Grove, the Farmers Market is attached to the huge outdoor mall.  There are two separate parking lots specifically for the Farmer’s Market.  The merchants include an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants.  Seating is outside on a first-come first-served basis.  Generally if we go with a group, we make sure that we have a table to sit at first (these fill up easily) prior to getting our food.  Since there is such a large variety of food offered, many times people in our group all go to different places to eat.

At the shops, you will find a variety of odds and ends.  There is one place that more types of hot sauce than you can imagine.  Another only sells hats.  All in all, there are about 100 shops and restaurants to choose from in the Farmers Market.  Please check the website for days and hours of operation.

The Crowd

As I mentioned before, I’ve been to the Grove alone, as a couple and with my family.  Every time it has been amazing, and the crowd has been a joy to interact with.

Cost

Parking at the Grove has various options.  Self-parking is a maximum of $24 per day (make sure to get validation if you don’t want to pay so much).  Valet parking is offered, and there are specific drop-off areas for Uber and Lyft.  Please check the website for more information.  Parking at Farmers Market is $30 maximum per day for self-parking, but it offers validation as well.

The Grove/The Original Farmers Market Information

The Grove: 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036

(323) 900-8080

thegrovela.com

The Original Farmers Market: 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

(323) 939-9211

farmersmarketla.com

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Medieval Times-Buena Park

Medieval Times-Buena Park

What: Medieval Times

Where: Buena Park

For: All Ages

We took Emma to Medieval Times to show her about the knights and take her back in time.  The entire experience lasted about two hours, and it was very interesting.  Emma loved the food and show, and a plus was that our knight won the tournament!

Pre-Show

Prior to the show, the guests are checked in and walk to a host stand where they are assigned a color of knight to root for and given a colored crown corresponding to the color of knight they are given.  There is a photo opportunity with a ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ before patrons walk into the castle.  The 11th Century European Style Castle has many things to do before the show.  There is a full bar available for adults.  A shop for souvenirs lines the wall.  All of the horses that are used in the show are in stables with glass windows, so guests can see them being groomed and fed prior to the main event.

There is a Hall of Arms where guests can admire elaborate Mediavel decorations.  This is also where the ‘Museum of Torture’ sits where replicas of old torture devices are on display.  Many weapons are on display from the Armory (some are for sale!).  Patrons can also buy replica smaller-scale weapons to take home.

The Show

The show starts out with an introduction of the knights and cheering sections.  There is a storyline where knights have to win various games in order to win the heart of the ‘Queen’.  The games were fun to watch, and the knights were given flowers by the Queen after each game.  In turn, the knights gave the flowers to girls in their corresponding cheering section.  Emma had a flower thrown to her and it made her night even more special.

The games included jousting which was probably the highlight of the show.  The knights get onto their horses and run at each other on different sides of a divider with long wooden spears that fly apart when they run into each other.  This was when the crowd was the loudest, cheering on their knight.  Fighting with weaponry is another highlight.  Knights utilize swords, shields, an alabarda (cross between a battle axe and a spear), mase, armor and lances to fight each other.

A royal falconer also comes out and lets his falcon fly around the heads of the crowd.  It’s so interesting to see how close the birds get to the patrons without straying from its goal of flying back to its handler.  A beautiful display of horsemanship is also a part of the show.  The horses are well trained and beautifully groomed.  One horse walked on its hind legs, and Emma couldn’t believe her eyes that the horse was walking like a person.  The ‘King’ also read out special occasions that patrons were celebrating to the crowd during dinner.

The Food

The food is served almost immediately.  A variety of soft drinks are offered for guests.  There is also a full bar available for adults.   Keep in mind that there are NO utensils offered for guests.  The appetizer is tomato bisque soup served in a cup with a handle with garlic bread on the side.  Diner is half of a roasted chicken with sweet buttered corn and herb roasted potatoes.  There is so much food that servers were walking around offering take-home bags.  We were so full at the end of the meal.  Dessert was pound cake and tasted amazing.  Coffee followed dessert.  There are no kids meals offered, but there are vegetarian meals available.

The Crowd

There are five Medieval Times castles around the United States.  The crowd consisted mostly of families and people celebrating special occasions.  There were also some schools there.  Ages ranged from infant to the elderly.

Cost

Adults cost $61.95 and kids (ages 12 and under) cost $36.95.  If guests sign up online, they are able to see seasonal deals as they come around.  When we went, I used a deal that allowed me to go for free on my birthday.  Groupon and Living Social often have deals so that guests don’t have to pay full price for tickets.  There is also a discount if you purchase tickets online.  Drinks were about $15 each (it’s cheaper if you buy it when you sit down for dinner rather than pre-show).  We bought Emma a little light-up flower that was $7.

Medieval Times Information

7662 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620

(888) 935-6878

medievaltimes.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to the Medieval Times, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Din Tai Fung-Multiple Locations

Din Tai Fung-Multiple Locations

What: Din Tai Fung

Where: Multiple Locations

For: All Ages

Din Tai Fung is one of our favorite places to take our guests when they’re in from out of town.  Awarded a Michelin star for its Hong Kong branch, we love to come here on Sundays for an amazing meal.  We just had a restaurant open in the mall near our house, and we’ve already been there five times.

The Wait

Ethan and I have waited upwards of 90 minutes to eat at Din Tai Fung.  You can make reservations online or by calling the restaurant.  If you walk up, there is a separate line for putting your name in for a reservation and for waiting to be seated.  After you give the hostess your name and phone number, you are free to roam around the mall until you receive a text to come back.  It takes about 10-15 minutes from the time you receive a text for your reservation until the time you are seated.

While guests are waiting in the line to be seated, there is an open window that shows employees making dumplings.  It’s very interesting how quickly they are able to make little blobs of dough into beautiful dumplings. There is a full bar in the middle of the restaurant for patrons waiting to be seated.

The Restaurant

When you’re seated, the waiter/ress will ask if anyone in your party has ever been to Din Tai Fung before.  If it’s a guest’s first time, then they are taken through the menu (that’s no less than 15 pages long).  Each table is given a piece of paper and pen where they can check off what they want to eat.  Din Tai Fungis a family-style restaurant.  You’re meant to share all of the dishes with your party.  After the waiter/ress confirms your order, she takes it to the kitchen and brings it back to your table.  When a dish is ordered and brought to the table, the employees cross it off on a piece of paper at the table.

It is essential to order the dumplings.  The soup dumplings (XiaoLongBao) have a little bit of soup wrapped up with meat in the bottom of the dumpling.  The shrimp and pork wonton soup is especially tasty.  We also love to order the dumplings, spicy noodles, shao mai and fried rice.  Don’t forget the Thai Tea and Coffee!

The Crowd

There are locations in Glendale, Torrance and two in Arcadia.  There is also a location in Orange County and San Diego.  The restaurant gets very busy on the weekends.  The crowd is a mix of people, all craving dumplings.  Make sure to make a reservation if you don’t want to wait 45 to 90 minutes.

Cost

We always order about 5-7 dishes with drinks and walk away paying just less than $100 for three or four people.  For the two of us, it’s about $60…and believe me…every penny is worth it.

Din Tai Fung Information

21540 Hawthorne Blvd, Ste 519, Torrance, CA 90503

(310) 214-1175

dintaifungusa.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Din Tai Fung, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com