After spending much time at the Aquarium Barb and I were off to view some of the neighborhoods. They have a great map to do so as well as Barb having a gps system in her phone. Since I was going to be staying in the East Village area, the location of the Courtyard Marriott, it was the last of the sightseeing before Barb had to head back to Sacramento. But, wait, we have to eat lunch first!
Wokcano seemed like a good spot with its locale in a section called The Promenade. I vowed not to have sushi again, but couldn't resist a particular one called, Late Night Party Roll consisting of crabmeat avocado roll topped with baked lobster, scallop and smelt eggs in a creamy sauce.
I had beef short ribs with broccoli while Barb dined on the spicy shrimp with walnuts.
The most interesting aspect of my stay at the Courtyard Marriott was the room's location. It was on the top floor in a corner with a view of the Queen Mary. In fact, there was a photo of the Queen Mary on the opposite wall and taking the right shot imposes the real one onto the photo.
Barb and I got a behind-the-scenes tour at the Aquarium of the Pacific, going to areas that are usually restricted to the employees. It gave us access to viewing the main aquarium from above as well as the animal care center. Frankly, I would recommend this one-hour romp only if you expect to spend much of the day there.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is quite large and there is certainly a whole lot to see without going behind the scenes. I'm not sure if the otters were around, but that's one that I missed viewing. I guess I'll just have to go back to Monterey.
There was this group of fish that had really long tongues and a fish tank of shark eggs in a hatchery.
We did have time for the Lorikeet Forest. For the extra $3 you get this liquid in a small plastic cup to feed them. As you approach them they will fly over to you and rest on your hand, fingers, or shoulder to be fed. They are so cute and colorful. If you go, save some food for near the end of the circular trail as those birds are the least fed. At first I thought that one would never leave! We got lots of photos and videos!
In between being on the Queen Mary and the gondola ride, we had lunch at Buster's Beach House and dinner at Gladstone's.
Barb and I found Buster's Beach House at a small shopping center located at 168 Marina Drive. My palate was interesting in doing a day of seafood. The hype of the restaurant is the view, which is great as long as the food is as good. It was. We started with a coconut crusted fried shrimp appetizer. Barb had the ahi tuna while I had halibut with plum sauce over coconut jasmine rice. Hmmmm...is that Eunice trying to take a bite? For dessert we shared this outrageous Fruit Fantasia: sweet flatbread (in the shape of a surfboard)smothered with a tropical mango glaze topped with exotic fresh fruits and berries, toasted coconut and almond streusel.
Gladstone's locale was at the Pine Avenue Pier, an area of food and entertainment, where you can view the Queen Mary across the way. Gladstone's has both indoor and outdoor dining. A sushi bar and entertainment are indoors. The outside area was especially set up for the cooler evening. There was one center table that had burning rocks in the middle. Heat lamps were fixed near each table around it, which accounts for why my photos came out with a red tone.
When it comes to sake, there's nothing I like more than a carafe of Gekkeikan Black and Gold. If you remember from my trip to Folsom, I visited the company and did a tasting. It was paired with a 3 Amigos Roll of salmon, tuna, yellowtail wrapped and covered in tempura flakes, topped with spicy mayo and papaya mango salsa.
We then got sample their ahi tuna, mahi mahi, and a dungenese crab. You can't get more local on crab. I love it because it's the least salty while having the most meat
Make room for dessert as we had the Mile High Chocolate Cake. Now that was decadent! Couldn't take the leftovers to go so we shared it with people from another table.
Having taped the interviews of La Traviata Restaurant, Barbara and I were off to visit the Queen Mary, now a hotel. It's a fabulous idea for people who want to experience sleeping on a cruise ship and not worrying about becoming sea sick or getting stuck in the ocean for four days.
We went to the check in desk on the lobby level and got what would be considered a family suite. There was a bedroom with a king bed, television and work area with port holes facing the land for a view of downtown Long Beach. The other room had two twin beds, a sink and the bathroom.
The one main activity on the Queen Mary is Ghost Tours. The ship has restaurants, shops, evening entertainment, and lots of the ship's history to explore. We later taped an interview with one of the shop managers as you can purchase some historic items such as dishes and napkin holders.
Gondolas in Long Beach? Yes, there is an area known as Naples Island where a company called Gondola Getaway has set up a romantic walkway (ala Italian style) to several gondolas. These gondolas, imported from Italy, can be made for dining or just relaxing while the gondolier takes you on a tour.
Kyle, our gondolier, told us about the houses along the waterways. There was the most expensive, the oldest and one that was "green" with large windows that drew in the sunlight to use as energy. Dean Martin music was playing in the background and voices echoed as we passed under bridges.
There were several boats as it looked as if each homeowner had some sort of sea vehicle such as one run by battery looking more like a golf cart just made from cruising the waterways.
Then there were those that created their own "gondola" by standing on what looked like a large surfboard.