Sunday, September 17, 2017

Club Thirty Three- Reservation for Three!

Disneyland is magical.

Isn't it, Marla?

And magical just got magicaler.

In less than an hour we are going to go through these doors, to enter the infamous CLUB THIRTY THREE.

We have been waiting for this moment for three months (some more patiently than others...).

Long story short: My coworker's husband randomly and unexpectedly offered his work's Club Thirty Three membership and I jumped at the opportunity.  

I guess it is the Eeyore in me, but I had been so certain that I would never have 'an in' to go to Club Thirty Three, until that day when, suddenly, all that turned right around.  
And not just for me, but for Marla and Eric as well!  

All you need is faith and trust and a little bit of pixie dust, and a company/person who has paid the $25,000 initiation fee (after waiting up to 14 years for an opening) and has since paid $10,000 per year, and is willing to let you use the membership. 

There is a specific dress code that needs to be followed.
I told Marla that my dress was a 'respectable length', but I guess respectable is more like a spectrum. 

Let us in!

As soon as our reservation was confirmed, we were whisked into this waiting area by ladies who walk around with their hands pressed together at their chest like princesses in a cartoon, to drink lavender lemon water, before we were escorted upstairs.

Right at our reservation time, 5:45, we were sat at our table.
Our waitress told us that we were more than welcome to walk around, stretch our legs, and go out onto the balcony while we wait for our food.  
Looking back, that was a pretty clear indicator that it was going to be a long evening.  

We got an ideal table, next to the window, right above Cafe Orleans.

When I asked Marla to go to the bathroom with me she reluctantly agreed... 
yeah, until she was relaxing in a comfy lounge chair.

Club Thirty Three (bathroom included) is ornate.
Unfortunately for Eric, the men's bathroom is far from extravegant.

Okay, we are back!
When we returned, just as our aunt had described, our napkins were replaced with freshly folded linens.  Every single time we got up we were greeted upon return with a napkin, folded like a miniature tuxedo shirt.

We splurged and ordered a superb bottle of Silverado Vineyard chardonnay.
It happened to be a momentous choice- Silverado Vineyard was opened by Diane Miller, Walt Disney's only biological child. 


Eric went with an Orange Curtain IPA (or two...)- one of the best orange IPAs out there.

Although no alcohol is allowed on the balcony, we happily set our drinks down to go outside.  We were drawn to this area, where very few Disney enthusiasts have seen the view from.

Oh no, Marla, I think your knees are showing!
We look good.

This little gem, was not part of our five course meal.  
It may look like just a little piece of cucumber with some ahi but it was so much more, so much flavor packed into one little bite.  Even Eric, who claims not to like seafood, raved about it.

As did he rave about the scallop (the first one of his lifetime).
Corn, flava beans, scallops... what a combination!

This was Eric's first course- thinly sliced veal.

My second course- heirloom tomatoes with homemade lemon ricotta cheese.

Marla and Eric went with he corn soup and corn bread.

This weekend was the first weekend of the Halloween decorations, so it was packed, and here we are, totally separated from the chaos.

Hello!?  I am outside.  Stop having fun without me!

Course three- homemade pasta.
Eric and Marla got the pasta too, but the original recipe was packed with ham.
They made a special veggie one for me.

The bread was like a giant, sliced, warm, flakey croissant.
Homemade herbed butter just made it even better.

Also complimentary, a palate cleanser, homemade raspberry sorbet.  You know, dessert before dinner before dessert!
"I didn't even know my palate was dirty!"- Eric.

The fourth course was homemade gnocchi for me, and juicy steak for Eric and Marla.

I think Marla started saying she was full around course two.  
She was able to make it through half of her steak and then the hero Eric manned up and ate whatever was left.  Bravo.

We aren't allowed into the members only side of the restaurant.  But I took a peak anyway.
They made it clear that you could only come here if you are WITH a Club Thirty Three member.  
So, because I am a honorable person, I only went in part of the way.
Right past the bottles of wine that cost more than our rent...

Okay, back to 'our' side.
It is a lot brighter over here...
And I have to get back, I can't let Marla and Eric have all the fun without me!

Finally, over three hours later, the pièce de ré·sis·tanc, dessert!
Carmel mousse "Neopolean" with almond brittle and orange currant coulis (in the front).
Manjari chocolate opera cake, coffee, chantilly cream and raspberry sorbet (in the back).

And it just hit me that Marla has completely lost it over the dessert, she has a spoon and a knife, just picking up whatever they are throwing down...

There is no question from any of us, it was totally worth it.
A most memorable and delicious dining experience.

One last round outside.
Whippoorwill.  Whippoorwill.  Look up here!

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” - Walt Disney

What an unforgettable evening.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Totality!!!- Idaho

Idaho Falls is on the map!!
It is so unbelievable that a total solar eclipse, after 38 years of absence over the US, is going right over Raya's house!  
Is it 11:33 yet?!

This is, after all, why we are all here.
That and it is Phil's birthday!! 
Phil, for your birthday, you can have pie for breakfast- no judgments. 

We are getting pretty excited... 
let the Total Solar Eclipse 2017 countdown begin!

A colander works great!

What do you do while you are waiting for a total solar eclipse!?
There is no right way to pass the time.
Raya's neighbors prepare to have us over for a big post-Total Solar Eclipse BBQ Bash.
Val and Sean go for a bike ride.
Phil takes pictures.
I play the banjo.  (Any requests?)

Alright, alright.  I will STOP playing the banjo!
That wasn't the kind of request I was anticipating...

Ahhhh!!   Almost!!

Look how pretty the lighting gets right before totality.
It is so unbelievable how little sun it takes to make daylight!
Even when the sun was over 99% covered, it was STILL light!

And then there was darkness.
The sun, which I have seen rise and set thousands of times, is now an unfamiliar object to me.
This was so much more amazing than I ever would have imagined.  I couldn't tell if my goosebumps were a result of the cold or the awe inspiring sight.

What a different an eclipse makes.

It is difficult to put into words, but our reaction is a good start.
(If you weren't there our commentary probably won't be as interesting as it is to us.)
A total solar eclipse is one of the most amazing experiences in this world.  Now, when I see a photograph of totality, I am transported back to this moment of goosebumps and a blackened sun.

One minute and 46 seconds later...the Diamond Ring Effect begins.

The street lights were confused, as were the birds and the animals at the zoo.  
What a sight to be seen!

Idaho was so prepared on so many levels.

Hmmm, I guess Idaho could only be so prepared.
We wanted to get home by tomorrow, late afternoon, so we left after the post-Total Solar Eclipse BBQ Bash.  

This doesn't look so bad, except it was completely inaccurate.  
Instead of five hours and 34 minutes to get to our hotel, it took us that long to get to Pocatello! 
Had we turned around when we were eating dinner in Pocatello, it would have taken 45 minutes to return.  (Believe me, we thought about it.)  

Would I have missed two prep days and the first day of school with the students if I were to do it all over again?  YES!
Had I seen this 'driveshed' image (which was actually posted on would I have still gone?  YES!  
Had I known that Maps was going to be so inaccurate, would we have waited at Raya and Josh's and left at 4:00am the following day?  YES!  Oh well, you live and you learn.  
We will have it down for the next solar eclipse.

April 8th, 2024!!
Who is with me?!