My buddy FarmerMegan came to town last week to visit us. We've been friends since the 6th grade, but since she went and married a farmer and moved to the waaaaay northeast corner of Oregon, and I moved down here, we only get to see each other once or twice a year anymore. So it was super excellent having her visit!
In high school and college, we would often invent little "quests" for our general amusement. If something seems to want exploring, we're up for the task. This past week, our explorations were for the most part culinary in nature. We went to A'float Sushi, where you sit around the sushi bar and pick what you want off the little boats that go floating past. It was quite fun, and I'd always wanted to go there but never had an excuse. (Tom ate there long ago and got sick afterward, so he - understandably - doesn't have the highest opinion of the place.) We stopped in at The Melting Pot and had some fondue! It's quite the expensive place if you go there for the full dinner, but you can do the "cheese and chocolate" thing without breaking the bank. Our cheese fondue (we picked the "Wisconsin Trio" - fontina, butterkase and bleu cheese, with shallots) came with 3 kinds of bread, green apples, cauliflower, celery & baby carrots. Our chocolate fondue (we went for the "Yin & Yang" - swirled milk and white chocolate) had strawberries, bananas, tiny brownies, rice crispy treats and pound cake, marshmallows rolled in Oreo cookies, marshmallows rolled in graham crackers, and a slice of cheesecake! We went to Whole Foods to find "unusual beverages" and walked away with Yumberry juice and pomegranate wine. (The Yumberry juice, we determined, was not especially yummy. Megan's assessment - like a combination of grape juice and tomato juice, a description I found surprisingly fitting. Oh well!) Soren, of course, went everywhere with us, either in his stroller or the front pack. Such a good little lad.
Our non-culinary adventure involved, of all places, the Pasadena City Hall. They recently finished a major renovation and seismic retrofitting project on the building, which included a re-landscaping of the little garden/courtyard area. There's a big fountain back there, and some benches, and it's in general just a pleasant little place to go sit. While in the courtyard, we were looking up at the building and spotted a spiral staircase leading up the middle of the main center dome. Megan wanted to see if we could get up there and look out. We took the main elevator up to the third floor; I'll have to go back and get a picture of the inside of the elevator, which had all its original operational mechanisms still in place next to the modern array of buttons. Very neat. On the third floor we found no staircases up to the dome, but a modern-looking elevator that went between the third and fourth floors only. So we took that one up, and walked out into the cubicle-land of City Finance, where we amused a couple of bored workers by asking about the dome. They told us that, unfortunately, all of the building's 3 domes had been closed off as a result of the renovations; a few years ago, you used to be able to get up there, but not anymore. There was, somewhat oddly, a square-shaped spiral staircase in the center of the finance department, apparently for the sole purpose of enabling someone to look out the windows near the ceiling. So I stayed with the stroller while Megan climbed up to have her look, and we considered the quest a reasonable success. :)
At any rate, it was a great week, and I'm so very glad she was able to come visit. I'm already looking forward to next time!