Friday, July 06, 2007

I'm going back, back to Cali, Cali...

After a couple of awesome days of fun in the sun, we drove back from Lake Havasu at the wee hours of dawn and both Johnny and I went straight to our jobs. Being back at work on Thursday was so tough (especially with a hangover) but luckily I had enough work to keep me busy throughout the day. (I honestly can't complain since it was the only day I worked this week.)

The next morning, I was on a flight back to CA where we were just the weekend before. This time, I went alone to celebrate my graduation from UNLV with friends from my junior college. They couldn't make it to my commencement because of their participation in the Revlon Run/Walk Marathon where they've collectively raised around $20,000 each year for the cause (Yasmin is a breast cancer survivor). Since they couldn't come to Vegas, Yasmin flew me to Cali to have celebrate my achievement over lunch.

(From left to right: Lalo, Yasmin, Barbara, Joel, Rosemary, Frankie, me, and Sherri in front)
Lalo and Frankie picked me up from the airport and we met the rest of the group at Crustacean on Little Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills. It's a Euro Vietnamese restaurant with a neat little story, "Crustacean's owner, Helene An, a wealthy member of the former royal family of Vietnam, escaped her native country during the fall of Saigon. At Crustacean, she has attempted to recreate the old-world elegance of her great-grandfather's estate in French colonial Vietnam, where she spent her childhood. Her daughter Elizabeth, manages the restaurant, while Helene prepares six “sacred dishes” out of sight of prying eyes, in the privacy of a special kitchen."

There's a huge fish tank near the entrance full of exotic fishes. My favorite is the yellow one to the left that looks like Nemo in Finding Nemo.

The fish tank appears to feed a river which runs along the floor of the restaurant making a path so that we'd "walk on water" on our way through the restaurant to our seats. I saw koi fishes swimming under me! (Most likely swimming madly away to avoid becoming my lunch!)

A pot full of plants!
For lunch, we had a cracked whole roasted Dungeness crab marinated in secret spices soaking in garlic sauce, ...

Yasmin and Sherri
...char-broiled huge Royal Tiger prawns over garlic noodles, coconut prawns, and Pacific Rim style dumplings of minced mushrooms, carrots, and water chestnuts...

Rosemary and Barbara enjoying lunch
...a fillet of sole with mushrooms, crab cakes, and kung pao chicken. YUM, YUM, YUM!!

Sherri, Lalo, and Frankie

What a lovely time I had and it was so good to see everyone. Last time I saw them was last October for Rosemary's surprise birthday party.

Later, Lalo and I went shopping and then to P.F. Chang's for appetizers and Asian Pear Mojitos (Honestly, who could eat again after that gorgeous huge lunch? But I was still full from the multiple bloody mary's I had before my flight to self-medicate because I get SO NERVOUS about flying).

Eventually, I found a bikini that had a little more coverage for the next day when we will BBQ and swim at Rosemary's home. I am certain my Malibu Strings will not be well received with Rosemary's grandchildren who would be present.

Barbara and Rosemary

Tomorrow, Lalo, his grandmother and I will visit one of my favorite places to frequent--the Wat Thai (Thai Temple) in North Hollywood. That is another meal I'm looking forward to.

For now, all I have to say is that lunch was simply delicious and it was wonderful to see the very people that have made such a difference in my life at the start of my college career. How did I get so lucky and be blessed with such good people in my life?

(A cemetery we passed after leaving the restaurant)

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