#11 Visit the Statue of Liberty

It doesn't matter at what angle you view the statue, it always inspires.

It doesn’t matter at what angle you view the statue, it always inspires.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

-Emma Lazarus

Denise in front of Castle Clinton

Denise in front of Castle Clinton

We were anxious the morning we were to go and visit the Statue of Liberty. We got to Battery Park very early, too early. Arriving at Clinton Castle Fort (which is also a national monument) we found the line where we needed to confirm our reservation tickets, but we told that we could not get in the line until 30 minutes prior to our start time. I wasn’t sure why this was, when we finally did get to the line we found out that your start time doesn’t really matter. The ferrys just constantly run and when you get to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island you are allowed to stay on each island as long as you want.

The closest metro stop the Statue of Liberty is Staten Island Ferry.

The closest metro stop the Statue of Liberty is Staten Island Ferry.

An early morning view of the Statue of Liberty as seen from Battery park.

An early morning view of the Statue of Liberty as seen from Battery park.

The sea glass carousel at Battery Park is definitely different than other carousels I have seen.

The sea glass carousel at Battery Park is definitely different than other carousels I have seen.

This statue is dedicated to the immigrants who arrived at Battery Park.

This statue is dedicated to the immigrants who arrived at Battery Park.

AJ boards the ferry after passing security.

AJ boards the ferry after passing security.

AJ in front of Battery Park that used to protect New York.

AJ in front of Battery Park that used to protect New York.

On the way to the statue you can see the one world trade center.

On the way to the statue you can see the one world trade center.

This building used to be the immigration building for non-immigrants.

This building used to be the immigration building for non-immigrants.

Denise in front of Castle Clinton

Denise in front of Castle Clinton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as we got to Liberty Island we headed straight for the crown. You are not allowed to bring anything with you into the statue except a camera and one bottle of water. They have lockers you can rent for $5.00 at the gift store at the base of the statue.

Despite having gone through intense security before getting on the boat, to go to the statue you have to pass through security again. Inside the base of the statue, the first thing you see is the old torch, which is nice because from inside the statue, even at the crown, it is hard to see the torch. Not to mention the passageway up to the torch has been closed to visitors since 1916 when German spies blew up some ammunition and the shrapnel got lodged in the torch in what is now known as the “Black Tom” incident.

Going inside the base you can see the original torch.

Going inside the base you can see the original torch.

A view from the crown up to the torch.

A view from the crown up to the torch.

The ladder goes up to the torch, but it is closed off to visitors.

The ladder goes up to the torch, but it is closed off to visitors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After climbing a lot of steps you get to the pedestal. The pedestal viewing area is very windy and cramped. There are a lot of people and it can sometimes be hard to get past them. From the pedestal you can get a good view of the base of the statue and see the old walls of what used to be Fort Wood, which was what was on the island before the statue.

As Denise demonstrates there is not much passing room at the pedestal.

As Denise demonstrates there is not much passing room at the pedestal.

From the pedestal you can see the outline of what was Fort Wood.

From the pedestal you can see the outline of what was Fort Wood.

This archway is leftover from Fort Wood.

This archway is leftover from Fort Wood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing upward in a very narrow (only one person can go at a time) spiral staircase, you get to the crown. There is very limited space at the top. When we went up there were two rangers keeping a watch on the statue and stairs. They were very informative and told us an interesting story about the real intentions of the statue.

Here is a video:

 

The beginning of the stairs up to the crown.

The beginning of the stairs up to the crown.

As you can see the stairs are very curvy, but every so often there are areas to stop and rest.

As you can see the stairs are very curvy, but every so often there are areas to stop and rest.

This shot kind of shows how many steps to the top.

This shot kind of shows how many steps to the top.

The port holes at the crown are not very big.

The port holes at the crown are not very big.

This is a side of the statue's face that not many see.

This is a side of the statue’s face that not many see.

It took some effort but the Pedrozas made it to the crown. No elevators inside.

It took some effort but the Pedrozas made it to the crown. No elevators inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AJ got a souvenir coin than is the thickness of two pennies, just like the statue.

AJ got a souvenir coin than is the thickness of two pennies, just like the statue.

Going back down we got our backpacks once again out of the lockers. There are two gift stores at the island. The one at the base of the statue of liberty is very crowded, compared with the store at the landing with the food court, that has most of the same stuff (Denise said they had different postcards) and is less crowded.

AJ always enjoys doing the Junior Ranger program every time we go to a national park. It is a free activity and you get a cool badge for your adventure. The junior ranger program is much shorter than other junior ranger programs. We completed it rather quickly with the audio tour that is included with all tickets. The audio tour looks like a phone receiver with a lanyard and at different points you put in a number and the virtual guide explains what you are looking at. At the end of junior ranger program we got to meet ranger Louie, which was cool. He is one of three rangers that go up to the torch to make sure it is always lit (except for that one day, but that is another story).

statajonetower statjuniorrangeroath statrangerlouie

 

 

 

 

 

From Liberty Island the ferries run every 30 minutes to both New York and Ellis Island.

These are the bolts that keep the statue attached to the pedestal.

The ferries run every 30 minutes.

Denise and John arriving to Liberty Island.

AJ poses in front of the statue.

My favorite view was from the base upward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was #11 on my all time goals list. For the rest of the list please go to goaltravels.com

#17 See a Show on Broadway, Welcome to Broadway, NYC

It is fun to read the Playbill before the show.

It is fun to read the Playbill before the show.

As a kid growing up in Southern California I was no stranger entertainment. We are indeed the Entertainment Capital of the World. Radio, television, music, and film making, as well as the abundance of tourist and amusement attractions in the region, undoubtedly makes us the #1 entertainment place in the world, except for one thing, the stage.

Denise and AJ in front of the theater.

Denise and AJ in front of the theater.

To find the best musicals, the greatest musicals, there is only one place to go, and that is Broadway, New York City. They know, we know it, and if you ever go to a show on Broadway your pocketbook will know it.

Shows on Broadway are expensive. There are ways to try to mitigate. You can do what we did and try to find a show like Groundhog’s Day that is previews and rush it. That is when you go to the theater the day of the show you want to go to and see if there are any discounted tickets. There is a cost to that, in our case it cost us $119 dollars when we walked out during intermission when we discovered how much bad language can be crammed into a 4 minute song (it is a lot). It also means that you can you can find yourself 3 rows behind comedian Caroline Rhea. You just never know what is going to happen when you follow your dreams and perhaps that is why Broadway is so magical, because it is a not only a place of dreams, but it comes with a soundtrack.

Today (4/23/17), Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is opening on Broadway. It is amazing show. It brings in that magical mystical musical adventure that is Broadway. A mix of new and old songs, it brings new twist to the Roald Dahl classic. It is very different than both the 1971 Gene Wilder and 2005 Johnny Depp version.

It has the “Pure Imagination” song, it has some definite dark moments (when the oompa lumpas start singing you know something bad is going to go down), but it is unique, and they are my favorite part in the musical. How they do them is something you have to see for yourself.

As magical as seeing a show on Broadway was it was kind of eye opening. First of all the theaters are very close to each other, which is good because they are all in walking distance. The second was that they are all very small, or at least smaller than their Los Angeles counterparts. The term Broadway show does not necessarily mean that the show plays on Broadway, which is a street in New York, it more refers to how many seats the theater holds. If the theater has over 500 seats it is considered a Broadway show. The largest is the Gershwin Theater (currently playing Wicked) at 1,935 seats and the smallest is the Helen Hayes Theater (currently under renovation) at 597 seats. Compare that to the 2,703 seats at the Pantages and you notice the difference. The third thing was parking. At $38.01 an hour, you are not parking on Broadway. You are going to take public transportation in, which is fine because the streets.

 

Paying full prices were not so fun.

Paying full prices were not so fun.

It is very bright outside at 11 pm on Broadway.

It is very bright outside at 11 pm on Broadway.

Rush tickets can be a great deal if available.

Rush tickets can be a great deal if available.

The Neil Simon Theater currently playing a revival of Cats

The Neil Simon Theater currently playing a revival of Cats

The Wonka Emporium did sell chocolate but not Wonka bars, kind of weird

The Wonka Emporium did sell chocolate but not Wonka bars, kind of weird

Did not buy the soundtrack.

Did not buy the soundtrack.

A pre-show selfie at the Lunt-Fontanne

A pre-show selfie at the Lunt-Fontanne

Hamilton playing at the Richard Rogers Theatre, next to the Marques playing On Your Feet, as seen from the Lunt Fontanne Theater

Hamilton playing at the Richard Rogers Theatre, next to the Marques playing On Your Feet, as seen from the Lunt Fontanne Theater

Caroline Rhea sat three rows up from us during the show.

Caroline Rhea sat three rows up from us during the show.

A lot of people were pushing the button that was clearly labeled "Do Not Push."

A lot of people were pushing the button that was clearly labeled “Do Not Push.”

At $38.01 an hour, you should really find another way than your car to get to the theater

At $38.01 an hour, you should really find another way than your car to get to the theater

Apparently musicals run on Macbooks.

Apparently musicals run on Macbooks.

The production poster for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The production poster for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

We waited at the door to the Lunt-Fountanne Theater at 10am to get discount tickets but there were none.

We waited at the door to the Lunt-Fountanne Theater at 10am to get discount tickets but there were none.

We were that close to the Groundhog day show.

We were that close to the Groundhog day show.

Side view of the Lunt Fontanne Theater showing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Side view of the Lunt Fontanne Theater showing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Look, a car elevator

Look, a car elevator

The inside of the August Wilson theater.

The inside of the August Wilson theater.

The August Wilson Theater playing Groundhog Day.

The August Wilson Theater playing Groundhog Day.

A look into the box office of the August Wilson theater.

A look into the box office of the August Wilson theater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am very happy to have been able to have finished this experience for the list. Saying that however I am OK watching the new musicals preview at the Macy’s Thankgiving Day parade and waiting for the good ones to come out to Los Angeles.

Thanks for reading

Thanks for reading

Welcome to The Grand Concourse, Bronx, NYC

The Bronx motto translates to "Yield Not to Evil"

The Bronx motto translates to “Yield Not to Evil”

Our original plan for visiting New York City included visiting all five of the New York Boroughs. We did accomplish this goal, but the day we had planned for the Bronx did not quite go the way we wanted. What wanted to do is to go to a park near the zoo and eat pizza in the northern Little Italy of New York. What  we did is get stuck in a very heavy rainfall and ended up getting very wet while running down the Gran Concourse. Which is probably just as well because looking at Bronx history I learned it too didn’t quite go the way it wanted.

This is a drawing of the Grand Concourse in the 1890s

This is a drawing of the Grand Concourse in the 1890s

To understand this you have to look back to New York in the 1890s. At that time New York was booming. So much so that they had so many jobs available that they were practically begging people to come and work for them. Hence a great migration was started and poor people from all over the world started arriving in New York. At first when the immigrants started to arrive, they lived in Manhattan, but the locals very quickly came to the agreement that although they needed workers, they didn’t really want to live close to them. No worries, there is lots of money and all of this land north of Manhattan in an area known as the Bronx. This guy, his name was Aloys Risse (who happened to be an immigrant himself), got this great idea on how to get the immigrants to the Bronx. It was a better than great idea, it was a grand idea, The Grand Concourse.

The Grand Concourse was a huge two story street that was to rival the  Champs-Élysées in Paris. It was bigger, longer, and it had all these cool buildings built along the way. Everything was great until the prohibition came along in the 1920s. A bunch of poor immigrants and a law the majority of the people did not want to follow gave rise to bootleggers (illegal alcohol sellers) and that gave rise to crime. The situation got worse with the Great Depression and World War II, when many people left the area. In an effort to boost the population of the Bronx and to clean up Manhattan, the city adopted a policy that anyone on welfare in the 1960s was to be moved to the Bronx. This created a huge immigration of African Americans, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans to the area. They didn’t get along with each other very well and a wave of arson swept the Bronx in the 1970s. It was so bad that by 1980, 90% of all housing units were declared unsuitable for habitation. Eventually the citizens of the Bronx had enough and a ten year housing plan was put into effect. Financially backed by the city of New York, it worked and in 1997 the Bronx was declared an “All American City”.

Garlic twists from the Bronx were yummy.

Garlic twists from the Bronx were yummy.

Enjoyed the chicken roll. Reminded me of Costco.

Enjoyed the chicken roll. Reminded me of Costco.

AJ demonstrates the proper folding technique of a New York Pizza slice

AJ demonstrates the proper folding technique of a New York Pizza slice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The result of this is the Bronx still has a lot ethnicity it had back in the late 19th century, but most of the historical buildings are gone. The Grand Concourse however remained. It was on that very long, very wide road we briefly paused to take a picture, declared that we had made it to the Bronx, and quickly found a pizza place that was warm and dry. We were very much wet that night coming home, but we like the Bronx, can say we made it.

 

The Grand Concourse 2017.

The Grand Concourse 2017.

This is a view looking to the police station. I don't know why but I thought it was hilarious they were putting on a musical about the Bronx.

This is a view looking to the police station. I don’t know why but I thought it was hilarious they were putting on a musical about the Bronx.

Welcome to Delmonico’s, NYC

Last month I reviewed the Sundowners Delmonico Steak in San Bernardino California. If you missed it (how could you have done that), here is the link: http://www.johnpedroza.com/blog1/sundowners-family-restaurant-delmonico-steak/
Due to this it was natural that we had to go to the real Delmonico’s in New York. Why Delmonico’s? Well we have to tell you a story…

The entrance way to Delmonicos has a trophy case with a bunch of awards.

The entrance way to Delmonicos has a trophy case with a bunch of awards.

The year was 1825 when the first steam ship from Albany in New York arrived on the Manhattan bay. Stepping off the ship was the esteemed guest, the one and only, Marquis de Lafayette. It was at that moment the United States suffered a major diplomatic embarrassment. There was no place for this man to eat. The existing taverns and inns were not the type of place a man like this would want to be seen at and the newly created coffee house did not serve enough food for a group setting. Luckily, a few families got together and agreed to host the Marquis de Lafayette, but not before his couriers dispatched the news to Europe that the United States had no restaurants, not even a small cafe. Hearing this, two years later, two swiss men, John and Peter Delmonico decide to establish the United States’ first restaurant. Actually, they started two business, a restaurant and a corner store. The corner store did not do too well. The restaurant went on to fame. Don’t believe me? Watch this:

DRG – Chef Billy reel 2015 from NYC Restaurant on Vimeo.

The presentation of the steak was simple.

The presentation of the steak was simple.

Delmonico is known for many things but mostly for it’s steak, the Delmonico cut. The Delmonico steak is a special steak that combines both a ribeye cut that resembles a filet mignon and a strip steak (which by itself is known as the NY steak). What makes a Demonico cut special is by cutting the steak in this way it makes the rest of the ribeye only good for stew meat. The benefit being the steak is extra thick and very moist.

 

A medium well steak has pink in the middle and brown on both sides.

A medium well steak has pink in the middle and brown on both sides.

This is what I would call a medium steak, I sent it back.

This is what I would call a medium steak, I sent it back.

AJ really liked the Mac and Cheese with Alaska king crab and truffle sauce.

AJ really liked the Mac and Cheese with Alaska king crab and truffle sauce.

Denise had the seafood pasta al dente.

Denise had the seafood pasta al dente.

The Creme Brulee and Baked Alaska for dessert.

The Creme Brulee and Baked Alaska for dessert.

The inside of the Baked Alaska.

The inside of the Baked Alaska.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was no question I (John) was going to order meat when going to Delmonicos. What I didn’t know is that I could up my game even further and get a 45 dry aged rib-eye. This is considered the best of all meat, all the fat, no tendons. It also gives the meat a different flavor from sitting for that long. In order to do that you have to have a special refrigerator, so as to age the meat, but not let it go rotten. I ordered the steak medium well, which is when both sides are brown but there is still some pink in the middle. The presentation was good, but it came out medium. That is when is light pink on the outside, dark pink in the middle. That was Chef’s suggestion. I tried two bites, the second only at the waiter’s suggestion that I try again, but it wasn’t that great. I sent it back do get a little more heat. On the second round it came out perfect. I asked for some horse radish sauce but it really didn’t need it. It was good on it’s own. For a side I had an asparagus and broccoli dish that was infused with walnuts. For dessert we shared a creme bruelle and a baked Alaska, which is ice cream inside a baked meringue cake.

It wasn't a cheap menu, but it wasn't like those crazy ones where they don't list the prices.

It wasn’t a cheap menu, but it wasn’t like those crazy ones where they don’t list the prices.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

The Pedroza's were here.

The Pedroza’s were here.

Delmonico's was the first restaurant in America to allow women come by themeselves.

Delmonico’s was the first restaurant in America to allow women come by themeselves.

We were practically the only people there.

We were practically the only people there.

This room was called "the Boardroom."

This room was called “the Boardroom.”

AJ did not like all the waiting that is involved in a formal restaurant.

AJ did not like all the waiting that is involved in a formal restaurant.

The bar room was very noisy with people talking.

The bar room was very noisy with people talking.

Watch out! They let the Pedroza's in!

Watch out! They let the Pedroza’s in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost wise it was an expensive meal but it wasn’t the most expensive meal I have ever had (that was Victoria and Albert). Considering the exclusivity of the restaurant and that we had our own waiter (he only was at our table), it wasn’t that bad. The ambiance was very nice and the staff was great. We were very appreciative of the courtesy afforded to us even the only coat we had for coat check was a raincoat. I do have to say although it was fun I still consider us more of a Sundowners type of crowd. It was great steak but I am not sure it was worth 10 times what we paid back in California.

Welcome to Brooklyn, New York

The seal of Brooklyn means "Strength in Unity" in Dutch.

The seal of Brooklyn means “Strength in Unity” in Dutch.

Translated, the seal of Brooklyn means “Strength in Unity” or at least that is what they told me because I don’t speak Dutch. Brooklyn is the most populated borough in New York with about 2.6 million people. If it was it’s own city it would rank as one of the most populous in the nation. Which sounds like a trivial thing to say, but significant in that Brooklyn was at one point it’s own city. In fact, established by the dutch in 1645, it predates the island of Manhattan.

At first glance the borough may seem new and hipster but if you look deep down you will see that it has a lot of history.

At first glance the borough may seem new and hipster but if you look deep down you will see that it has a lot of history.

Brooklyn became a borough of New York City on January 1, 1898, about 15 years after the famous Brooklyn Bridge was built. As a borough Brooklyn is definitely part of New York City, but it also has a distinct feel that keeps it’s own identity. Kind of gritty, kind of hipster, Brooklyn is a Borough that feels lived in. Not to say that people don’t live in the other boroughs, but you feel it more in Brooklyn. It was in Brooklyn that I saw more people in the parks, in the stores, and on their stoops talking to each other. Lots of talking, in lots of different languages.

On almost every corner there is a deli. The deli is like a 7/11 in that is meant for convenience food, but they make it to order for you hot or cold. Some have tables and chairs where you can sit but most food is meant for take out. In between the corner delis you will find small restaurants and trendy coffee shops. Also, in the mix you will find plenty of parks (that are almost always attached to a public school) and warehouses (where you buy stuff that is not food).

I miss getting sandwiches at the corner deli.

I miss getting sandwiches at the corner deli.

The corner deli is a staple of New York and Brooklyn is no exception.

The corner deli is a staple of New York and Brooklyn is no exception.

At $1.50 a sandwich, McDonald's could never compete in Brooklyn.

At $1.50 a sandwich, McDonald’s could never compete in Brooklyn.

I loved the vintage shops in Brookyln

I loved the vintage shops in Brookyln

Food is plentiful in Brooklyn

Food is plentiful in Brooklyn

I don't know why but Boar's Head is the primary go to meat in Brooklyn.

I don’t know why but Boar’s Head is the primary go to meat in Brooklyn.

The fish and the cheese come in daily

The fish and the cheese come in daily

Couldn't be New York without a bagel place

Couldn’t be New York without a bagel place

They say the water makes the difference for a New York bagel.

They say the water makes the difference for a New York bagel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the metro goes through Brooklyn but the main form of transportation is the elevated trains that go through all 69 square miles. The most famous locations in Brooklyn are the bridge and Coney Island, but also important are the continental plaza (where Washington regrouped after his defeat) and the artsy Williamsburg.

Continental Army Plaza

Continental Army Plaza

At the warehouse you can get anything that is not food related.

At the warehouse you can get anything that is not food related.

This noodle factory in an old beer factory shows how Brooklyn constantly recreates itself.

This noodle factory in an old beer factory shows how Brooklyn constantly recreates itself.

Waterbury and Wilson are known for their street art.

Waterbury and Wilson are known for their street art.

Everyone is very friendly in Brooklyn

Everyone is very friendly in Brooklyn

No "magic" mushrooms at this shop, but they were exotic looking.

No “magic” mushrooms at this shop, but they were exotic looking.

The crepes on Wilson were cheap and good.

The crepes on Wilson were cheap and good.

This crepe was called the tornado

This crepe was called the tornado

This was in the middle of the Maria Hernandez park, who was killed after advocating against the drug dealers, but it worked because I didn't see any drug dealers (unless you count the chocolate chip cookies, those are like crack).

This was in the middle of the Maria Hernandez park, who was killed after advocating against the drug dealers, but it worked because I didn’t see any drug dealers (unless you count the chocolate chip cookies, those are like crack).

The J, M, and Z runs through the heart of Brooklyn

The J, M, and Z runs through the heart of Brooklyn

Even the cheapest buildings have style in Brooklyn

Even the cheapest buildings have style in Brooklyn

Unlike other boroughs you can see that people actually live in Brooklyn.

Unlike other boroughs you can see that people actually live in Brooklyn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

Brooklyn was our “home” base for our New York trip. We stayed at the Bklyn (no, I spelled that right) House Hotel. It was I would describe as a hipster hotel. The rooms were a bit small, but it had cool graffiti (urban) type art throughout the hotel. It took us about an hour to get to anywhere in Manhattan (the main island) via the elevated train. It cost us about $40 a day less to stay in Brooklyn over Manhattan. Denise said she felt safe and enjoyed going over the bridge every day.

Sundowners Family Restaurant Delmonico Steak

In a very non-descriptive building at 1131 S E St in San Bernardino (there is also a location in Fontana) California you will find Sundowners Family Restaurant. They call themselves a restaurant but what they really are is an old-school cafeteria. When we were newly married I would often take Denise out to this place because it was cheap and we couldn’t really afford much. This last weekend we were on our way back from going to the temple and I had twenty dollars in my pocket. Twenty dollars will easily get you two fast food or counter service meals,  but I wanted a sit-down place, the only place I could think of was Sundowners.

Denise was happy she didn't have to cook or clean.

Denise was happy she didn’t have to cook or clean.

Going into the line at Sundowner there are a bunch of billboards announcing everything they offer. Something on the lunch menu caught both of our eyes. They had an item labeled “The Delmonico Lunch Special.” This caught our eye because when we made reservations to go to Delmonicos in April (which we had to make in January), we were told to expect a minimum of a $200 bill. Here at Sundowners they had a picture of a Delmonico steak, and the price? $11.09!! And that included Texas baked bread, baked potato, soup, and a soda. Denise got a tuna melt (which also included the same things my lunch special had) but I knew immediately what I had to get. We ordered our food  and the two meals and the final price was $19.39. I couldn’t believe it I had my sit-down meal for under $20 and I had change in my pocket!

Sundowners is always seasonal and over the top with their decorations.

Sundowners is always seasonal and over the top with their decorations.

So of course the question is was it any good? I am not going to say it was the best steak ever, but for the price you really can’t beat it. I don’t know if the cut of beef I had was a true Delmonico, but it certainly looked like one. It had the traditional cross hatching, the traditional triangle bone-in cut, and the New York strip steak cut. The meat was tender but the cooking was not optimal. I ordered my cut medium well-done, so I expected it to be thoroughly cooked but was looking for the center to still have some pink, the pink line was not there.

High class dining it was not, but for the price it was great. How can anyone call a $11.09 steak anything less than great. You can’t even go to the store and buy a raw piece of meat for that price, let alone have someone cook, serve, and clean up after you.That has got to be one of the cheapest steaks I have ever had and the funny park is Sundowners sells several other cuts of beef and the “Delmonico Special” is the most expensive.

I order it medium well-done. It was cooked well but it was missing the pink strip which indicated it was a bit over cooked.

I order it medium well-done. It was cooked well but it was missing the pink strip which indicated it was a bit over cooked.

The presentation of the dish was simple but it had all the basics.

The presentation of the dish was simple but it had all the basics.

The appetizers consisted of clam chowder soup, saltines, and a soda.

The appetizers consisted of clam chowder soup, saltines, and a soda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It will be interesting to see what the real Delmonico has to offer. I expect them to be better, that is without question. The question will be, are they 20 times better? It is gong to be a tough act to follow.

Cathedral of our Lady of Los Angeles

AJ and John in front of the LA Cathedral.

AJ and John in front of the LA Cathedral.

In the 13th century St. Francis of Assisi (Italy) was given the small chapel of St. Mary’s in which to use as a base of operations. It was not a very good chapel and had to be rebuilt, which is said he did by hand after hearing the world of God come to him and say “Go and restore my house.” According to the story while praying in that chapel during Mass he got another vision that said to “go forth and preach penance and conversion to all mankind” and so was born the Franciscan order in the Catholic church. In the Franciscan order this revelation is celebrated on August 2nd.

Fast forward to Wednesday, August 2, 1769, Father Juan Crespi, a Franciscan priest accompanying the first European land expedition through California, led by Captain Fernando Rivera Y Moncado, talked about a “beautiful river from the northwest” located at “34 degrees 10 minutes”. Recognizing the amazing coincidence of the date, and seeing as though they were Franciscans they named the river Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de la Porciúncula. Thus Los Angeles got it’s name.

In the hallway of the Cathedral of our Lady of Los Angeles is a sacred stone from the original St. Mary’s Chapel in Assisi, Italy. The stone symbolizes the spirit for which Los Angeles got it’s name. Los Angeles is a place to be explored and so is the Cathedral.

Old murals mix with new paintings.

Old murals mix with new paintings.

A modern painting meets visitors upon entry.

A modern painting meets visitors upon entry.

This wall contains paintings highlighting the original 21 California Missions.

This wall contains paintings highlighting the original 21 California Missions.

A sacred stone from the original St. Mary's Chapel in Italy.

A sacred stone from the original St. Mary’s Chapel in Italy.

The main altar in the cathedral.

The main altar in the cathedral.

The final resting place of Chief Justice Malcom Lucas who presided over the California Supreme Court for a number of years. I think they will update his cover later.

The final resting place of Chief Justice Malcom Lucas who presided over the California Supreme Court for a number of years. I think they will update his cover later.

Many of LA's past Cardinals and Bishops have been laid to rest in the Cathedral.

Many of LA’s past Cardinals and Bishops have been laid to rest in the Cathedral.

The refurbished stained glass windows are impressive.

The refurbished stained glass windows are impressive.

The chapel containing the remains of St. Vibiana, a third century Martyr.

The chapel containing the remains of St. Vibiana, a third century Martyr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Los Angeles Cathedral sits on a huge plot of land on Temple St. that overlooks the 101 freeway, which intersects the heart of Los Angeles. It was opened in 2002 to replace the Cathedral of Vibiana, which had previously been the cathedral of Los Angeles, that had been severely damaged in a 1994 earthquake. There was a lot of back and forth on what would be done with the damaged cathedral, but in the end the old cathedral became a public library and the Catholic Church constructed a modern cathedral.

As a modern cathedral the lines a very sleek and minimalist. Though minimalist in nature there are antique touches throughout the building. One of my favorite example of this is downstairs in the mausoleum. The mausoleum is very modern looking in with clean lines, housing the final remains of important and famous people such as Gregory Peck, Chief Justice Malcom Lucas, Bishop Thaddeus Amat y Brusi (first Catholic Bishop of Los Angeles), and even Saint Vibiana (a martyr from the 3rd century). Despite the modern look, the mausoleum is decorated with the stained glass windows from the old Cathedral of Vibiana.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles CA

disneyfrontA few years ago when AJ was little and I (John) was out of town on business Denise went out to downtown Los Angeles with AJ in a stroller. Being a downtown LA explorer, Denise has been encouraging me for sometime to take the audio tour.

I am not sure I can add anything to the knowledge of the Walt Disney Concert Hall that you can’t readily access via Wikipedia. The Disney Concert Hall was finished in 2003. It is located on Grand Ave. and is in walking distance to both the Civic Center and Pershing Square Metro Red Line.  It is home to both the LA Philharmonic and the LA Chorale.

Tickets at the Walt Disney Concert Hall can be expensive, but the good news is that the audio tour is free. All you have to do is leave an ID card for collateral for the tour wands.

balconytour disneyaudiotour

 

 

 

 

It should be noted that there are elevators, but there are a lot of stairs in the concert halls, so make sure you have some comfortable shoes, although I did see one lady in high heels walking up 5 flights of stairs (how did she do that?!).

disneystairs2 disneystairs

There are a lot of small spaces in the concert hall such as the Wellington Music Room (currently exhibiting Jazz singers).

There are a lot of small spaces in the concert hall such as the Wellington Music Room (currently exhibiting Jazz singers).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

disneydelfinrosefountainThe tour was interesting, but I have found that when it comes to architecture I prefer more flourishes and decorative touches. The would paneling of the concert hall gave it a warm feel, but the overall simple ascetics of the was too bland for me. My favorite part of the tour was the back of the concert hall where they had a little garden. In the garden they have a rose fountain made out of Delphine China. Apparently Mrs. Disney was a big fan of Delphine China and collected it on all of her travels. Her favorite flower was the rose. The architect decided to make a fountain out of Delphine China. According to the story there is cheap china and expensive china. The architect went out to find cheap china but when Delphine found out what they were going to use the china they insisted the concert hall use the expensive stuff. So the fountain has a bunch of very expensive broken plates in it.

 

Even in downtown LA all Disney tours end at the gift shop.

Even in downtown LA all Disney tours end at the gift shop.

September 2016 Randomness

Haven’t been very consistent on the blog lately but life as always moves on. In September there were four major happenings for the Pedroza family. In this blog I will talk about our trip to Arizona, Denise’s Birthday, and Amy’s graduation from Bible school. Yeah that is only three but I am kind of pressed for time and I am hoping to write about the fourth event later when I have more time, but my guess is most people reading this blog already knows what happened.

Arizona Trip

Denise has a large family which means we have a lot of nieces and nephews, I guess it doesn’t have to mean that, but with us it does. This month one of our nephews in Arizona turned eight and he invited us to his baptism so we took a little road trip. In addition to going to the baptism and visit with relatives we were able to able to walk around both Tucson and Phoenix. I play a game called ingress where you get little patches for visiting different points of interest, so it was fun walking around and getting to learn about new places.

Some mosaics I got while playing Ingress in Phoenix and Tucscon

Some mosaics I got while playing Ingress in Phoenix and Tucscon

An interesting sign I saw in Tucson. Sadly the troops did not come home in 1971.

An interesting sign I saw in Tucson. Sadly the troops did not come home in 1971.

AJ shows the cowboys in Picacho his technology

AJ shows the cowboys in Picacho his technology

AJ and Denise enjoying pork belly sandwiches in Phoenix

AJ and Denise enjoying pork belly sandwiches in Phoenix

Phoenix City Hall has cool building features.

Phoenix City Hall has cool building features.

Dogs on a Short Leash has some interesting hot dogs. All of them come in nan bread instead of buns.

Dogs on a Short Leash has some interesting hot dogs. All of them come in nan bread instead of buns.

Now you know where "the hole in the wall" comes from (and a spider bug mobile).

Now you know where “the hole in the wall” comes from (and a spider bug mobile).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denise’s Birthday

denisebirthdaySeptember is Denise’s birth-week (yes it is not a birthday). This year Denise turned 40. Most women would not talk to you ever again if you published their birthday, but not Denise. Quite the opposite, she is more than happy to tell you all about her age. One of greatest attributes of Denise is that she is very comfortable in who she is. I (John) know she met with lots of people for her birth week, so I can’t say all of what she did. With AJ and I, we spent the day at miniature golf and at Chipotle.

Amy’s Graduation

amygraduationThis month I (John) also went down to South Gate, CA to see my sister’s graduation from bible school. For the last two years she has been going to Teen Challenge bible school. Bible school may seen trivial to some but for my sister this is a great achievement as it means that for I think in the first time in her life she has a purpose in life. Which the lack of which can destroy you, so for her to have one makes me happy. I am excited for her future prospects.

So with that life moves on at the Pedroza household. AJ is very excited about Halloween coming up. He has told me he wants to be a dragon, should be interesting. Denise says she is planning to have less items on her “to do list.” I (John) plan on being occupied with work stuff for the next few months. If I am lucky I might be able to get out and do a few weekend trips here and there.

Robot Restaurant, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

AJ and Denise among the Tokyo lights.

AJ and Denise among the Tokyo lights.

When night falls the Tokyoites come out to play.

When night falls the Tokyoites come out to play.

In many ways Japan is very normal. It is a land of hard working people that get up and go to work every day. On the other hand Japan is very different from the Western world. There are things that you will see there that you can’t even imagine back home. Case in point is the Robot Restaurant. I asked Denise to describe the place and she said, “it is proof that Liberace can still exist in the modern world.” The decorations are over the top but it is more than just decorations.

You really can't miss the entrance to the restaurant.

You really can’t miss the entrance to the restaurant.

Making the decision to go to the Robot Restaurant was one that I (John) hesitated on. It was for one thing kind of expensive, about $80 per person which included a bento meal. The second thing is it is located in the middle of Kabukicho (the red light district). It used to be that you had to be over 18 to get into the show and early reports said that it was not a place that any respectable person wanted to be caught in. Other reports however gave a different picture, saying that the show had changed and was now more family friendly. In fact when I was doing my final research I found that there was a discounted children’s ticket. Knowing that there were decency laws in Japan we decided to take a chance and buy a ticket.

Tickets for the show were very popular and we had to book several days in advance. The day we were able to get tickets just happened to be the same day AJ and I (John) were scheduled to return from our Mt. Fuji hike. The tickets we got were for 7:15 p.m. and we were scheduled to return from Mt. Fuji at 2:30 p.m., except it took us longer to get down the mountain than we thought and ended up getting back to Tokyo at 4:30 p.m. It was just enough time for AJ and I to take showers, get changed, and run out to the metro station. As a result of the short rest my feet were still pretty sore from the climb, but I was able to hobble my way to the show.

Shinjuku station is always a bustle of activity. At night it is even more so, as the night lights come on, the Japanese come out to see them. The short walk to the Robot Restaurant was very colorful. There was lots of people and lots of flashing lights, but there was no mistaking where the Robot Restaurant was. It was the flashiest of all the places in Kabukicho.

The stairs don't have handrails but there is plenty of stuff to grab on to if you think your going to slip.

The stairs don’t have handrails but there is plenty of stuff to grab on to if you think your going to slip.

The waiting lounge was I think inspired by Liberace.

The waiting lounge was I think inspired by Liberace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The outside of the restaurant was just a preview of what was to come. Inside the building was even brighter than the outside. The rules were very clear that there was no flash photography allowed but the lights inside were so bright, that taking pictures were no problem. The first thing we were told to do was wait in a lounge, which was very over the top decorated. There we were entertained by a guy dressed up as a robot playing an electric guitar. At the bar there was a little robot that would speak broken English.

After the man with an electric guitar finished we were let down some flashy stairs to the basement for the main show. The seating was assigned and was very compact. Denise and I got sushi bento boxes and AJ got a beef and rice bento that was heated with a built in heating element. The show is hard to explain but it is a high energy, in your face (literally), high volume show. It was broken into four acts in which there was a break so that they could set up for the next act. It was a very engaging show if only for the fact that you never knew what or who was going to show up. The show was catered mostly to foreigners in that the dialogue was all broken English with English and Japanese subtitles.

Here is a little video to give you an idea of what we saw:

 

enjoyshowThis kind of show is kind of a once in a lifetime thing, I am glad we saw it once, but I doubt I would pay to see the show twice. Looking out to the audience it was hard to say that this was an authentic Japanese experience. I was told that the manager was an American. I only saw two other members in the audience that looked like they were from Japan. Yet, this was a show that I have never seen anything in any other part of the world and for that I will call it a Japanese experience. I am still sure what we saw, it was kind of like a dream, but a dream I definitely will not forget.

The drummers made a very dramatic entry to start the show.

The drummers made a very dramatic entry to start the show.

One of many dancing robots.

One of many dancing robots.

For being robots, these two were very wobbly.

For being robots, these two were very wobbly.

This lady on the left was the MC/Ringleader who gave an introduction for each set.

This lady on the left was the MC/Ringleader who gave an introduction for each set.

They pulled this airplane around before the show to show you how close the floats were going to get to you. That is to say when those wings head for your head you better duck!

They pulled this airplane around before the show to show you how close the floats were going to get to you. That is to say when those wings head for your head you better duck!

AJ and Denise with their bento boxes.

AJ and Denise with their bento boxes.

When they put up the chains and the evil robots came out we knew the show was going to get crazy.

When they put up the chains and the evil robots came out we knew the show was going to get crazy.