Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Carnival Splendor Welcome Home

After a glorious seven day Mexican cruise on the Carnival Splendor we arrive back at Long Beach. The official arrival time is scheduled for eight a.m. and we arrive a bit early. The process of disembarking the ship starts. Passengers need to be cleared by customs and this can take time for over three thousand passengers. As I mentioned, our bags have been picked up and await us in the port facility. As it was on boarding the ship there are many variables to the actual time we can leave the ship. Under ideal conditions it might be possible to leave in time to catch the daily Amtrak train back home. We could carry our own luggage and ask for early departure time, have our car waiting and speed across L.A. to run to board the train, hopefully. Instead we chose to have leisurely coffee so we can spend our last minutes of the cruise without stress. We will stay  an extra night in town and catch the train the next morning. I shot pictures of the Queen Mary which is permanently docked next door.
Queen Mary Long Beach Ca.
 We disembark, pick up our luggage and contact our driver from Go Sedan who is waiting nearby. He arrives two minutes later displaying our name on his IPad in the front window of the Town car sedan. People think we are VIP's as we are whisked into our luxury ride while they scramble for cabs and shuttles. Bottled water and candies are offered as we head for our downtown L.A. hotel.  In the past I have booked random rooms on Hotwire but this time I have picked the Miyako Hotel in L.A.'s Little Tokyo, located about a mile from Union Station Amtrak. With no traffic our ride is smooth, we check in and ask for ideas for brunch. The Miyako Hotel is a bit older than some places we have stayed. The rooms are smaller but it is clean and the staff is accommodating. The Little Tokyo district abounds with restaurants and fun shops. We have brunch at Mitsura Grill, what I would describe as a Japanese Diner. Not only can you get ham and eggs but Japanese specialties. We have combo plates loaded with more food than we could possibly eat.
Mitsura Grill Little Tokyo L.A.

After brunch we check out an old school hardware store, Anzen Hardware &  Supply Co. If you are in the area check this place out because it is part of a dying breed. Tiny but packed with all kinds of interesting housewares. I had read about their knife selection and the owner, Mr. Nori Takatani, assists me with my choice. He offers a carbon steel chef's knife from K.K. Aoki Hamono Seisakusho in Japan. He advises it may discolor a bit with age but is high quality. Avril spots a mandolin slicer she likes so we add both to our culinary tool collection.This knife has become my go to knife and stays razor sharp.
Azen Hardware Little Tokyo L.A.

We ask Mr Takatani for a dinner recommendation and he steers us to a friends place, Restaurant AOI, down the street. We wander the streets and check out Japanese mall next to the hotel. So many restaurants and shops to explore in only one day. Back at the hotel I am amazed,  amused and frankly a little scared to use the electronic toilet seat in the bathroom. Looks like it could launch you into space!
Space Shuttle Toilet Seat Miyako Hotel

We hang out in the hotel and about four we start to get hungry. The AOI does not open until five so I decide to check out the Lazy Ox Canteen that was mentioned by LATimes as having a great happy hour. They too did not open until five so we walked back towards the hotel. Earlier in the day we had walked past a bar called the FarBar several times. It had a restaurant adjacent, down an alleyway. It looked fun to me but Avril was not so sure about it. I finally convinced her to try it with the promise we could head back to the fancy place at five. FarBar has happy hour all day on Sunday with low priced drinks and food. We had the half pound Far Burger with wasabi fries. After the first drink of wine,  the burger and chatting with the charming, bearded barman Avril was loving the joint.
Far Bar Happy Hour Little Tokyo L.A.

We got our buzz on and called it an early night. The next morning it was a quick cab ride and a long train ride back home already plotting our next cruise vacation.


Chilebrown said...

I want that knife. I would go in that store and buy a set. Good job!

Greg said...

Chilebrown- It's an old school customer service type place. I had hoped to find a knife shop in Mexico. I've seen pictures on line of hand crafted knifes but no luck. I just happened to do a Google search near the hotel we were staying at and there is was just a across the street. Not cheap but quality.