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Showing posts with label California. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California. Show all posts

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

Hello Kitty Cafe Entrance Irvine Centre California.

Location: Irvine, California, USA
Address:  360 Spectrum Center Drive
Date: June 2019
Website: www.sanrio.com

  Hello Kitty was created by company Sanrio in 1974 and since then she has appeared on everything from pencil cases to electric guitars.  Hello Kitty products generate billions of dollars every year.  People just can't get enough of that cute little kitty with no mouth.  That includes us.  When we heard that California had a Hello Kitty Cafe where we could also have tea, we made our reservation right away.

Inside the Hello Kitty Cafe Irvine Center California.

  The Hello Kitty Cafe is located in the Irvine Spectrum Center.  The Irvine Spectrum Center is located about 1 to 3 hours drive (Welcome to LA!) south of Los Angeles.  Once you arrive you can load up on Hello Kitty shaped cookies, cakes, macarons and more.

Picture of Desserts at Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

  The cafe is decorated with drawings of desserts that feature Hello Kitty.  Some of them were available and very similar to what was pictured.  Anyone can purchase items from the cafe but you need a reservation to have tea in the Bow Room.  There are only about six tables in the Bow Room so book ahead.

The Bow Room At Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

  The Bow Room is located through a door at the back of the cafe.  If you have a reservation you are welcomed into this room, while everyone else looks up from their Hello Kitty cookies to try and sneak a peak.  It is called the Bow Room after the little pink bow Hello Kitty always has in her hair.  Sorry Pochacco but this is not the Bow Wow room.  Only Hello Kitty is featured, none of her large group of Sanrio friends.

Hello Kitty Tea Place Setting.

  We were seated at our table for two.  We had place settings of gold cutlery, pink tinted glasses and a Kitty shaped plate.  We each had pink sugar shaped like Hello Kitty herself.  How sweet.

Hello Kitty Bow Room Tea Pots.
 Hello Kitty Tea Cup.

  The tea cups and tea pots all had a gold Hello Kitty on them and of course a bow.  It was too cute.

Hello Kitty Coconut Cream

  We started our meal off with a fruit salad topped with coconut cream.  It had a Hello Kitty face inside a heart on top.

Tea Service At The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe.

  Hello Kitty's backstory claims here real name is Kitty White and she comes from England.  For this reason we hoped she knew a thing or two about high tea service.  She did not disappoint.  We enjoyed everything.  We were served 3 tiers of scones, quiches, sandwiches and desserts.

Hello Kitty Square Cake At Hello Kitty Grand Cafe.

  We devoured everything in between sips of tea.  One of the last desserts we ate was a square cake with a frosted Hello Kitty on top.  Sorry Kitty but looking cute will not stop us from eating you.  Same goes for you Hello Kitty shaped sugar.  Into the tea cup you go.

Hello Kitty Bow Room Irvine California.

  The Bow Room serves cocktails in the evening.  But it also looked like you could have your tea around the Hello Kitty silhouette bar.  We enjoyed the Bow Room and our visit immersed in Hello Kitty.  As we left the cafe we passed a Hello Kiity near the entrance.  Goodbye Kitty.......for now.

Hello Kitty At the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe.

Map of Our World
Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

Post # 257

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Unconditional Surrender

Unconditional Surrender statue San Diego

Location: San Diego, California, USA
Address: 
Date: June 2019
Website: en.wikipedia.org

  As you walk past the USS Midway Museum in San Diego and head into Tuna Harbor Park you come across a couple locked in an embrace.  This is a sculpture by artist Seward Johnson and is based on a photograph taken in Times Square at the end of World War II.  It is called Embracing Peace.

USS Midway MuseumUSS MIdway Museum Plane

  San Diego is a huge naval town and the USS Midway is an aircraft carrier with fighter jets parked on top.

Ready To Serve.

  Behind Embracing Peace out in the harbour are active naval ships that are ready for action as needed.

Kiss A Little Longer

  The 25 foot tall couple doesn't notice as passerby snap photos.  They reminded us of the couples in an old commercial for Big Red chewing gum.

Embracing Peace

  The original artwork was in Sarasota, Florida and then moved to San Diego.  The artist then made several versions of the statue available.   The original was foam filled and stayed in San Diego until 2012.  It was originally called Unconditional Surrender.

Bronze is Made To Last

    About a year later a bronze replacement arrived in San Diego.  This is the strongest version offered by the artist.  As the couple continues to stand in the habour, that is one strong kiss as well.

Embracing Peace.

Map of Our World
Unconditional Surrender

Post # 255

Monday, 10 September 2018

Old Town San Diego

Welcome To Old Town.

Location: San Diego, California, USA
Address:  Old Town
Date: February 2014
Website:  www.parks.ca.gov

  Old Town San Diego is said to be the birthplace of California.  Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo discovered the area in 1542.  In 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino named it San Deigo de Alcala.  The area became a bustling hub, military post and religious mission.

American and California Flags

  In 1846 the first American flag was raised in Old Town's plaza.  In 1968 Old Town became a State Historic Park.  In 2014 we made a visit to take in the history, sights and food that Old Town had to offer.  We entered the Old Town area through the market.  We would come back here later for some souvenirs.

Two Churros Please.

  The first order of business was to get something to eat.  We had some churros from one of the food vendors.  After enjoying our deep fried treat we headed further into the town for some history.


Order In The Court!  I'd Like A Churro Please.  That's A Little Further Back Up The Road.

  San Diego's first courthouse was built in 1847.  It is also the first brick building built by the Mormons after the war with Mexico.  At one point it served as the mayor's office.

La Casa de Estudillo

  La Casa de Estudillo is an adobe mansion and was built in 1829.  Adobe means it was made from earth and other organic materials.   This building is located in the center of town and was the social and religious center during the Mexican Era.  The Mexican Era ended in 1846 when the United States declared war on Mexico.

La Casa de Estudillo Garden.

  In the center of La Casa de Estudillo is a garden with many interesting plants and flowers growing.

Tall Cactus Plant. Cactus and Catcus.

  Around Old Town there are also many plants, especially cactus.  There are also some resident cats.

La Casa de Machado y Silvas

  La Casa de Machado y Silvas was built in 1843 and used to be a restaurant.  This building is also said to be where the Silvas family hid the Mexican flag during the war in 1846.

Covered Wagon

  A covered wagon sits in the middle of the street.  This was the primary means of transportation for anyone who came to Old Town.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel.

  Across from the covered wagon was the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  Back in 1827 it used to be the home of Juan Bandini and later in 1869 a second floor was added and it opened as a hotel.  The hotel has undergone some renovations but still maintains some original features such as the floorboards.  We sat at a table over these floorboards as we enjoyed a meal in the hotel dining room.  A highlight was the deep fried brussel sprouts.

Fiesta de Reyes.

  After lunch we enjoyed a walk and some shade down by Fiesta de Reyes which housed some other vendors.  It had a nice pineapple topped fountain out front.

Next we shall play Enter Sandman.

  In the garden was a metal mariachi band.  Old Town plaza was a popular place for music, bullfights and other forms of entertainment.

Colorado Hotel.

  The Colorado Hotel is much smaller than the Cosmopolitan.  This is a reconstruction as we belive the original from 1851 was destroyed in a fire.

Cygnet Theatre

  As we headed out of Old Town we passed a theatre.  It wanted to be like The Swan theatre in England so it was named after a young swan.  The Cygnet Theatre runs performances throughout the year.

Immaculate Conception Church

  We headed back to our car and passed the Immaculate Conception Church.  This church was built in 1865 and was the first church in California built outside of the mission system.  Just outside of Old Town we purchased some souvenirs from one of the many shops.  There was so much on offer but we took a small vase as a memento.  The mixture of food, fun and history had made for a great day.


Map of Our World 
The Cosmopolitan Hotel (Old Town)
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Post # 226

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Mask at Warner Bros. Studios

Squeeze Me Gently On Hennessy Street.

Location: Burbank, California, USA
Address: 3400 West Riverside Drive
Date: Feb 2014
Website:  vipstudiotour.warnerbros.com

  We have a copy of The Mask on DVD that we got for free inside a box of cereal.  The movie was also a box office success and starred Jim Carrey as Stanley Ipkiss.  When Stanley finds a special mask he puts it on and is transformed into... well, into Jim Carrey doing his stand-up routine.

Stanley's Apartment.

  When we visited Warner Bros. Studios, we were lucky to see some of the filming locations from this movie.  The first location is found on Hennessy Street of the backlot.  Stanley lives in the apartment pictured above.  It is the building with Hardware written on it and fire-escapes on the front.  When Stanley first puts on the mask he becomes a green faced cartoon-like character.  He ends up bouncing down a hallway and out the window of this building.  He is flattened when he hits the ground below.  A car honks at him for being in the street.  Stanley pulls out a tiny little horn which lets out one giant-sized windshield shattering " Bahooogahh!"

Warwick Hotel.

  Later in the film Stanley is once again wearing the mask.  This time he finds himself face to face with a street filled with police.  The building above played the neon lit Warwick Hotel.

They call me Cuban Pete.  I'm the king of the rhumba beat.

  When faced with this predicament, The Mask breaks into song and the police are surprised to find themselves losing control and dancing along.  The song he sings is Cuban Pete.  This song was previously made famous by Desi Arnaz of I Love Lucy fame.  All of the action takes place just beyond the dumpster you see in the middle of the road above.

I go chick chicky boom, chick chicky boom.

  At one point The Mask leaps into the air and slides down a light pole beside this theatre (right hand side of the photo above).  The dance sequence continues and finishes with a conga line before The Mask sneaks off once again.  Our golf cart also snuck off once again as we continued our tour of the studio.


See more locations from the Warner Bros. Studio Backlot.

Map of Our World
New York Street , Stanley Ipkiss Apartment

Post # 191

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Location: Santa Barbara, California, USA
Address: 1100 Anacapa St.
Date:  Feb 2014
Website:  sbcourthouse.org

  If you find yourself in court, you could do far worse than the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.  The courthouse was built in 1926 and is a great example of Spanish Colonial Architecture.  We spent some time enjoying the building as well as the surrounding grounds during our visit.

Courthouse Archway.

  As you approach the courthouse, an archway states "Dios nos dio los campos El arte humana edific√≥ ciudades".  This means "God gave us the country, the skill of man hath built the town."

We want Justice man.

  Two figures sit above the archway.  The figure in the photo above looks like a male version of the familiar Justice statue.  He appears to be holding a sword in one hand and scales in the other.

Spirit Of The Ocean.

  Next to the archway is the Spirit of the Ocean fountain.  This is a hand carved replica of the original  courthouse fountain.  The original had deteriorated through the years and it was decided that it must be replaced.  The replica was unveiled in 2011.

The Courthouse Hallway.
Quiet Court Is In Session.

The inside of the courthouse is equally impressive with its long hallways.  Even the "Quiet. Court is in session" sign is unique.

Mosaic Bench.
 Curved Stairway.

  Intricate mosaic tiles adorned benches and stairwells.  The courthouse truly is a work of art inside and out.

Painted Court Room.

  One court room which is a popular wedding spot is the Mural Room.  All of its walls are covered with a giant mural.

Clock Tower.

  No trip to the courthouse is complete without a trip up the clock tower.


  Just before reaching the viewing area at the top of the tower is the clock room.  This houses a Seth Thomas tower clock which ticks away the time.

Santa Barbara Bells.

  You can also see bells hanging from the ceiling inside to save space. This way everyone can visit the top of the tower and enjoy the view.

View from the clock tower.
 Santa Ynez Mountains in the distance.
 Santa Barbara County Administration Building.
 Red tiled rooftops.
What the Frack?

  From the top of the tower you can see the red tiled rooftops of Santa Barbara. You can tell that the Spanish Colonial style is popular all across the town.  Behind the town you can see the Santa Ynez mountains.  Out across the ocean you can see oil rigs trying to hide behind the hazy sky.

Sunken Garden.

  As you look straight down from the tower you are looking into the sunken garden on the courthouse grounds.

Santa Barbara Courthouse Garden.
 Deep in the Sunken Garden.

  We descended the tower and headed out into the gardens.  We were glad that we were only visiting as tourists. If we found ourselves on trial at this courthouse at least there would be many beautiful distractions.


Map of Our World
Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Post # 143