An Orange County Weekend: Day 1 in SoCal

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Trip Report Index:

An Orange County Weekend – Introduction
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, California – Our Room & Lounge
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, California – Hotel Grounds and Spa
Day 1 in SoCal
Day 2 in SoCal
Back to Kansas

Orange County Trip Report  – Day 1

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Emily & Daraius by the Tide Pools in Laguna Beach, California

Emily Jablon:  After breakfast, we went strolling through the hotel.  It was a cool morning, and I wore a sweater since I was cold (and here I thought California was going to be warmer than Kansas!)  After strolling through the lush green landscaping in the the hotel, Daraius took me to a Vietnamese neighborhood to have bahn mi sandwiches and bubble tea.

Daraius:  The food experts on Chowhound suggested visiting the Little Saigon in Westminister, which has the largest concentration of Vietnamese-Americans in the US and is a 15 minute drive from the hotel.

I narrowed down our options to two Bahn Mi bakeries (Cho Cu & Che Cali) and a Vietnamese supermarket.  I didn’t tell Emily what I had planned because I like surprising her.

It took us 10 minutes to walk to the car which I had parked for free on the street to save the $29 valet fee at the hotel.  It was a nice walk because it had warmed up by then and the sun was out.

Emily Jablon:  We went to Banh Mi Cho Cu for a BBQ pork sandwich and for a Thai bubble tea.  Both were delicious and the sandwich was a steal for only $2.50!  Subway can learn a thing or two from them!

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Banh Mu Cho Chu Bakery

Daraius:  I love trying new types of food and drinks, so I picked out a drink from the cooler.  It was semi-solid and fruit pieces at the bottom.  I had no idea what it was!  I didn’t like it at first, but the taste slowly grew on me.  It was very light and refreshing, which complimented the spicy jalapenos in our sandwich.  I think it was a chrysanthemum drink with jelly.

The sandwich was delicious – the bread  was crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.  And I loved the explosion of flavors and various textures with the jalapenos, carrots, BBQ pork and other veggies in the sandwich.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Lunch For Less Than $10!

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Will This Picture Come Back to Haunt Me?!

Emily Jablon:  After our sandwich, we went to an Asian supermarket where we stocked up on lychees, Aloe Vera drink, mango mochi, and coconut water.  We were traveling on Southwest so we could check 2 bags each for free!

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Emily Outside ABC Supermarket

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Yummy!

Spicy Baby Crab

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Yummy!

Daraius:  I love lychees, but there are very few places where you can get them in the US.  So I was very happy when we saw a stack of lychees!

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

All The Things I Love!

Emily Jablon:  After shopping, we went for another bahn mi sandwich in the strip mall by the grocery store (banh mi che cali) and had frozen yogurt with Asian fruit toppings!

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Strip Mall by the Grocery Store

We picked up a fruit tart to have later in the day and also visited Banh Mi Che Cali for another Banh Mi sandwich for our picnic later in the day.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Emily in the Bakery

I had an ice-cream with not the usual fruit toppings!

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Popping Boba Mango & Other Treats!

It was yummy!

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Emily With Her Ice Cream

After lunch, we went back to our hotel to get our swim suits and went for a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway alongside the beach.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and Daraius wanted to take me to see the tide pools at Laguna Beach.  First, we stopped at a small park and had a picnic with the Banh mi and fruit tart we had bought earlier in the day.  We even peeled some lychees!

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Picnic With Fruit Tart, Lychees & Banh Mi!

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

A Gorgeous Day in California!

Daraius:  I came across the Laguna Beach Tide Pools while researching activities near Huntington Beach.  It seemed like the perfect way to spend an afternoon with Emily because she loves exploring!

When we first arrived at Crescent Bay Beach, the rocks were closed because of the high tide.  Fortunately, a lifeguard came up and took down the sign and told us that the tide was receding and it was safer to explore.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Tide Pools by the Rocks

Emily Jablon:  We walked around the boulder and rocks….

…and saw large and small crabs scampering about and eating their dinners, thousands of barnacles covering the sea floor, and even red and orange starfish and purple and green sea urchins!  I enjoyed myself looking at the sea life.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Starfish in the Tide Pools

Daraius:  We had most of the beach to ourselves as we were exploring the tide pools and I loved watching Emily as she saw a crab crawl out of the rocks or a starfish in the tide pool.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Tide Pools

Emily Jablon:  After exploring the coves, we went for dinner at Thai Nakrom.

Daraius:  Thai Nakorm is in Stanton, about ~20 minutes drive from the hotel, but was listed as one of the best restaurants for authentic Thai food in the area.

There were lots of Thai families in the restaurant, so I was pretty sure that the food would be great!

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Thai Ice Tea & Chilled Coconut Water

Emily Jablon:  We had chicken satay, Thai chicken salad, and green curry.  To drink, we had a Thai iced tea and ice-cold coconut water.  My favorite was the chicken satay—it was the best I ever had!!

Daraius enjoyed the chicken salad, but couldn’t each much since we had snacked through most of the day.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Dinner at Thai Nakorn

After dinner, we went back to relax at the hotel.  We decided to take a dip in the Jacuzzis downstairs, and are glad we did!

It was cold outside, but we quickly warmed up in the Jacuzzi.  After relaxing a while, we went back upstairs to our room and enjoyed some of the lychees we bought earlier that day.  We thoroughly enjoyed our first full day in the sunny OC!

 

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23 responses to “An Orange County Weekend: Day 1 in SoCal

  1. If you liked the Boba drink with the tapioca pearls at the bottom (sometimes also called Bubble tea) you can get it in Lawrence at Zen Zero and House of Cha. They’re both located in/near Mass Street.

  2. Welcome to OC. Glad you are enjoying your time out here. Since you enjoy ethnic cuisine, I’d also recommend you check-out the Indian neighborhood in Artesia / Cerritos. Lots of great places to eat and shop (Emily, some of the nicest jewelry stores in So Cal … wink, wink). There is a great Indian lunch buffet at “The India Restaurant” on Pioneer Blvd and snacky places like “Surati Farsan”.

  3. Thai Nakorn is our favorite Thai restaurant. We make sure that we get to go there at least once whenever we are visiting the area. When you first started the SoCal series, I was thinking to myself that if we would meet during the December LA FTU, we could take you to Thai Nakorn for dinner! 😀 How did you first find out about the restaurant?

  4. You guys are so adorable! Thanks for the dose of cuteness to start my week. Love the trip report and pictures!

  5. Gen BBQ in Tustin, CA. Enough said.

  6. love that you two can have a great time and great food on such a small budget! i believe the drink you had was simply jelly and fruits at the bottom! looks delicious, and the bubble tea as well

  7. Orange County? ! In Southern California?! For vacation?! Just shows you can have fun anywhere.

    — A Northern Californian

  8. Good call on the bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches)…that’s one of my favorite foods! Also, for what’s it worth, I think the Vietnamese food in Westminister/SoCal is far better than what you get in Vietnam, so you can take that off the list of reasons to visit Vietnam 🙂

    In case anyone was wondering…it seems boba is basically the California name for the drink, and other places call it bubble tea. I grew up outside CA before living there for a while, so I still say bubble tea.

  9. Glad you all enjoyed the trip report! I love bubble tea but have had a hard time finding it in Kansas. Vinny V- thanks for the suggestions!

    Daraius and I have fun anywhere we go, whether it’s a road trip to Tulsa, OK, or an overnight plane ride to Asia. Having these experiences that will last a lifetime is what collecting miles and points is all about! 🙂

  10. Love your trip report! Bwt, the correct spell is “banh mi” 🙂

  11. Thanks for such a great trip report. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one and many others you two have published in your blog. I look forward for more 🙂 …I miss California and the ethnic food there…

  12. laguna beach is so cool.. wish i could afford to live there, but was cool to visit there for a day back in 2010

  13. I was so pleasantly surprised to see Vinny V’s comment — I’m from Lawrence too and I’ve always thought it was cool that Daraius & Emily live in Kansas City. Nice to see another millionmilesecrets reader from the area too =)

    Daraius & Emily, your blog is so wonderful.

    • @Vinny V – Thanks for the tip! I always thought that House of Cha sells hot traditional tea, but will check it out soon.

      @AAP – Thanks for the tip! I can’t believe I didn’t find the Indian ethnic food while researching the trip since it would have been nice to visit.

      @Jimmy @TravelByPoints
      – I found out about Thai Nakorn on Chowhound. How did you find out about it? I guess we’ll have to go somewhere else during FTU, though I wouldn’t mind eating at Thai Nakorn again.

      @Prana @TravelWhimsy – Thanks…though it is Emily who supplies the cuteness!

      @Joseph – Will put that on the list of things to do next time!

      @sash – You don’t need Big Money to have Big Travel (& Big Food either!)

      @Gary Steiger
      – Ha! We liked our earlier visit to the Bay Area as well. California is very beautiful.

      @Frequent Flyer Collector
      – Not been to Vietnam as yet, but I’m sure the food is great there!

      @Jax – Thanks for letting me know!

      @Paws – We want to go back to California as well!

      @Robert – The houses were beautiful, but extremely expensive!

      @Jing – Thanks for reading!

  14. i love the tidal pools at Laguna. Have been lucky enough to see them twice in my life and look forward to taking my kids there as well. Walking around the pools is so fun and interesting. Seeing a snail here, some small fish there, and once in a while, a nice surprise like an octopus. Hope that you had fun.

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  20. Cute article! Next time you come to SoCal be sure to go to a 99 Ranch market for Asian foods and fruits. It is a small chain of supermarkets and they have a great fruit, vegetable and fish selection. I was at one last week and got jujubes (fruits) for 99 cents a pound and dragon fruits for only $2.50 a pound. They had fresh jakfruit for 79 cents a pound too. They have fresh lychees, longans and rambutan fruit as well.