Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hello again! Mrs V's Vintage logo for business cards!'s been a LOOONNNNGGG time.  I'm hoping to get this up and going again soon.  Man, it's tough to set aside time to do things you like. (except estate saling, of course...)  Anyway, Mrs. V's Vintage, my store and future brick and mortar is taking up lots of time.  I'm preparing for a trunk show hosted by Bess & Evie's Vintage Clothing store at the beginning of August.  I cannot wait.  Now, I'm trying to come up with a little logo for some business cards... I used. and came up with something cute. The best part is that, it was FREE with mention in this blog.  It was easy to use and quick.  Check it out if you're in need!
Tata for now!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

3 Food Products to KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!!

Man! It's been a long time!  I feel like a bad piano student who's gone weeks (er, months) without practicing.  [Perhaps I know that feeling because I have been that bad piano student in my past?]  Well, there's certainly a lot to catch you readers up on.... I mean, I'm a certified bus driver now-- CDL, baby! and I've sold 5 vintage items on my etsy shop (the first one-- all the way to Holland)!  Various other things have happened, but tonight's post is on 3 food products that have totally knocked my socks off and I think will knock yours off too.  There's only one catch--- all three were purchased at Costco Warehouse store.  I've not done the research to find out if 2 of them are available other places, you'll have to do that work.  One of them is the mighty Kirkland brand, so I know you'll need that handy Costco membership for that one.  Without further ado... here they are... in ranked order from 3rd MOST AMAZING ----> to #1 MOST AMAZING.... left to right.  Read on for names, descriptions, thoughts and tips!

In third most sock-knocking... ALEXIA SWEET POTATO JULIENNE FRIES.  (but are they reeallly sweet potatos?? Check out this previous post)  These are found in the frozen section at Costco.  It is a large, resealable zipper bag.  These fries are tasty ... they are possibly overly-greasy which is why I ranked them 3rd.  Our tricks are:  to put them on TOP rack (peeking every so often) flipping them around every so often, I don't reccommend using foil, and adding a little time onto the package instructions to get them more brown and crisp.  Very delicious!

In second most stocking-knocking....KIRKLAND SIGNATURE BRAND FIRE ROASTED VEGETABLE BLEND WITH BALSAMIC BUTTER SAUCE.   This is a COSTCO private brand, so I doubt it's available at other retail stores.  These veggies are so good! They are found in the frozen section and come in a bag with three smaller bags inside.  We cook them in a skillet on the stovetop.  The flavor is amazing due to these little "pellets" if you will, that make the balsamic sauce after melting.  And my favorite part about the veggie assortment is that there are QUALITY veggies in there-- whole mushrooms, beans, and my ultimate fave--- sundried tomatoes.  Give these pups a try.  The price isn't amazing for the 3 individual bags, but the amount for two people is perfect and the taste makes it worth it for SURE.

Drum rrrrooooolllll..... In first MOST KNICKER-KNOCKING....AIDELLS CHICKEN AND APPLE SAUSAGES!   T-O  D-I-E  F-O-R!  Otto and I both said we would eat these every day for the rest of our lives.  And I am NOT a creature of habit.  These are found in the refrigerated section at Costco.  The flavor is sweet, and smoky and just plain delicious.  They are precooked... we just plop them on the grill to get that casing nice and dark.  The package offers 15 sausages.  We usually cook 5 at a time and have three in the fridge to take for lunches.   I'm telling you, these will not let you down.

So there you have it--- 3 tasty food products.  All very easy for us "new age" wives... ;-)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Two new business opps-- Bus Driving and Mrs. V's Vintage

Go ahead and ignore the former.  I don't really plan on making a business of it.  But this was a very exciting weekend! 

So over the summer, I purchased some antiques and some vintage accessories and clothes.  (of course I did.  My mom visited.  What else would we do besides make homemade ice cream in a 1950's ice cream maker?)  I also shopped a bit in my grandmother's closet.  There are some awesome 1970's finds in there!  So with the profit that  I made off of selling a Charles Eames sofa circa 1950's/60's  (blog on that to come).... Otto opened a bank account up for me and I planned to start a little online business.  I wasn't sure if I'd sell on ebay or etsy or what, but I had my new account since late July.  Finally, yesterday I did some research and decided to open an shop for my stuff. 

I had an etsy account previously just for purchasing.  (Have I blogged about my vintage letter "V" from Don't think so.. more to come on that)  Well, my account name was lame-- mverhulst716. I didn't know that that name couldn't be edited.  In fact I didn't care because I had not planned on being a seller.  But just as soon as I decided to be a seller, I find out that you need to have a catchy shop name and mverhulst716 was not going to cut it and it couldn't be changed.  So, I simply opened a new shop.  I didn't give the name much thought.  I was anxious to list my items quickly, thus Mrs. V's Vintage it was!  Afterall, how can you beat a little alliteration?  Last night I got a whole 5 items (all handbags so far) listed on etsy.  Crossing fingers for some sales.  PLEASE visit and "LIKE" it on Facebook!!!

As for the bus driving.  Well, I drove the bus this morning at 7am.  It was my second time driving, but my first time driving on an actual road... not to mentioin an INTERSTATE!  It was quite scary. I felt very... WIDE on the road.  And that puppy would NOT get up and go! I asked my trainer.. "Are you positive this thing goes over 15 mph?".  She said yes and by 9am, I had driven 50mph!  Overall, I felt pretty comfortable and confident.  I successfully parallel parked a 36' vehicle, and also successfully, well... ran a red light immediately after doing a great job at a railroad crossing.   I have a few more days of practice driving and will be taking my CDL driving test in Sept.  Pray for me!  All I know is that if Otto mentions me hauling 18-wheeler loads as a summer job $$$ one more time, I might... well...throw him under the bus!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Wow, it's been a looong time since I blogged.  I feel not-so-good about it.  I was so in to it when I first started this beaut, but then.... I got too busy.  I was busy traveling.  Even with so much good content to blog about, I didn't have time to stop an actually do it.  Well, here  I am, back in action.  I make no guarantees about how often I'll blog now since a) I'm back at school and starting to act psycho again b) I'm busy preparing to get my CDL license finally c) My evenings need to be spent working out since I have a large chunk of weight to lose.   All that besides the point, that I'd now like to tell you about our new office and how you, TOO could have a much cooler office if you look for retro/used furniture and cutesy accessories!

So this all started when Otto and I decided we needed to switch the office room with the spare bedroom room.  See blog New Guest bedroom new office part 1.   The bedroom was done first since we had all the furniture for that room.  The office was more of a challenge.  So, after looking at some new office furniture from places like Staples, Office Depot, Crate and Barrel, etc... we realized that new furniture is often
C-R-A-P!!  So my smart mom recommended that I go hunting in used office furniture stores etc.  So that's what I did.  I decided I wanted something that was going to be like early 70's-ish.  You know, something that looks like it belongs in an office on a 70's detective TV show or something.  And I became obsessed!

After going to WAY too many stores that had nothing appealing (or old enough-- mostly ealry 90's UGLY stuff) I turned to the internet and found "Secondhand Sam".  This dude is awesome!  He has a warehouse of all used furniture in Irving.  Otto and I drove to check out this desk we saw on his website.   Oh Sam!  What a character! He had this packed little warehouse with this AWESOME but LARGE 70's Jofco walnut desk.  When we saw it, it had a few flaws, but I loved the heavy duty style and the peg legs and brass drawer pulls.  Sam gave us a little discount on the price, threw in a free retro chair that matched my style, and helped us load that big boy up.  Getting it into the house was quite the ordeal, but we managed.  Below is a picture of the desk when it was still at Secondhand Sams.  How COOL and retro is it?!!?!?!?


When we got this big dog into our office-- it looked HUGE! I mean, you can't tell from the picture, but it is a HUGE desk.  But they're not made like this anymore, and I grew to love it in all it's size. 

After getting the desk, I was on the hunt for a matching credenza for against the wall behind the desk.  I (again) became obsessed with finding a matching (or just coordinating) one.  Whilst looking for a credenza, I managed to buy the funky strange art using a Groupon which Otto purchased for me on  Here are the two pieces I bought.  The colors and style would look awesome with the desk!

A Deer Wearing Gym Socks Art PrintTweet

The problem came when I received these cuties and realized that they would require custom framing.  More to come on that later.  So...I continued to look for a Jofco brand credenza or at least something that looked like it would coordinate with my desk.  I searched mid-centurty modern sites/stores, and then came upon a man that sent me to his showroom's warehouse.  It's where all the used merchandise arrives before being cleaned up, priced and sent it into the showroom.  It was in a somewhat freaky part of town and an Eastern European named Zoran!! worked there.  He showed me around and I found no credenza to my liking.  What I DID find was strange, striped, futon-looking couch thing sitting up on it's side.  It caught my eye just because it looked like it didn't belong there and I couldn't tell what it was.  It had a low price on it.  It appeared to be old. I bent down to see if there was any marking on it (mama taught me that!)  Indeed-- I found a sticker that said "Designed by Charles Eames for Herman Miller".  WHOA -- I knew those names.  I knew I had likely found a gem.  I asked Zoran to hold it for me, got in my car and had my mom look it up.  It was worth a lot of money.  It was likely manufactured in 1960s.  And after a lot of internet research and talking to experts,  I found out that the upholstery which I thought was God awful, was a design by Alexander Girard, head textile designer known for bright fabrics in the 50's &60's.  His stuff is highly sought after, especially in good condition and original on the furniture.  Long story short... I sold that thing for a nice profit in mid-July.  I felt like a smart entrepreneur!

While in California, I received a call from a used office furniture salesman  at Pearce Office Furniture whom I had told I was looking for a credenza-- preferably walnut, Jofco, with peg legs.  He had saved my number and called to let me know he got a matching credenza in!  I asked him to send me pictures immediately and he did.  I purchased it over the phone.  It was a perfect match to my desk and I was ecstatic!  Here's the credenza.


We purchased the credenza for a great price and my mom and I picked it up when I returned from Cali.  It was too good to be true. 

The other thing mom and I did, was --- LOTS of antiquing.  While going to antique stores, mom had the great idea of looking for frames for my artwork.  She said we should find a cool frame for which we could ditch the art inside and use the frame for my deer picture. The deer print was going to cost $300+ to custom frame.  Mom found a frame for about $13. Perfect size, perfect color.  Then, we went and purchased a piece of mat board for $15, took it to a frame shop and got it cut for $4  Insane.  We custom framed it for $32.  We were able to frame Tweet (bird print) rather inexpensively. 

Mom bought us a really nice end table to function as a TV stand in the office, as an anniversary gift.  The styling coordinates nicely with the office decor.

Otto and I bought an orange mail sorter from The Container Store. I'm still looking for some little accessories, including a desk lamp.  I also purchased a large wall decal in the shape of the United States.  I'm going to eventually frame it in some unique way.  The colors match great with the office.  Anyway... TADA! Here's the semi-completed office.  Do ya like it??

Here's the full view.........

Here's the awesome art! Look at that frame job on the deer!


Front of Desk... love the off-set pulls and the peg legs which are hard to see here.

Matching credenza... can you believe it?!!?

The small table purchased by my mom (need a retro desk lamp.. this one ain't cuttin' it).  And the United States art which will eventually go up on the large empty wall and possibly be surrounded with travel photos, the FREE chair from Secondand Sam, and the orange mail sorter from The Container Store.   I've removed the matching orange desk bell which was on the desk and Otto misused it to call in his "Secretary".  Hmmmm.... needless to say-- he LOVES this office.  I've barely sat in there because it's never vacant!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yo Mama's Sweet Taters ARE NOT Sweet Taters!

Well, hello, after a long time, no blog.  We returned from our 2 week+ Mexi/Cali vacation which was a blast! (See later blog re: Mexico visitors)

During one of our meals with Taylor Evans, Otto's childhood friend, and his fiance, Lauren Aponte, we had planned to have pulled pork sandwiches and sweet potato fries.  Well, honestly, when Otto and I have sweet potato fries at home, we just get the Costco frozen ones, sling em in the oven and they're done.  Well this time, we were being adventurous and we had to slice and dice the sweet potatoes to make the fries ourselves. The surprise came when I cut into them and they were not orange.  My mother in law swore she purchased "sweet potatoes".  As I mutter some words about "these taters not being sweet taters", Taylor (man of vast knowledge) valiantly corrects me and states that they ARE sweet potatoes! He proceeds to tell me that the orange potatoes that everyone calls sweet potatoes are actually yams.  I never knew this.  So apparently sweet potatoes are white... and I will tell you-- we cut them up, tossed them in oil, baked them and they were definitely SWEET.  A sweet surprise coming from a potato that was white in color!?

Since we got back home, I've looked some things up about this, and I'm not totally convinced that Taylor was 100% accurate, but I know that sweet potatoes can certainly be white fleshed because I ate them!
Here's one article on this topic from Bon Appetite .  I'll let you form your own theory from here-- interesting nonetheless.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mexi-cali Vacation, Part 2

Wednesday morning was a slower start than Tuesday.  We woke up and had breakfast but since I wrote that LONG blog, I lost track of time and missed my morning work out. Darn.  Otto did some laps in the pool and I sat in the jacuzzi and read one of my many unopened mags which I brought along.

After lunch we went to (go ahead and laugh) The Pizza Bakery for round 2.  And don't even think that was the last time I'd see The Pizza Bakery this trip.

After stuffing ourselves, we went to Crystal Cove which is this state park beach between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.  It's really neat because they are revitalizing these beach cottages and making them into rental units.  It's quite a long walk from the bluff where parking is, down to the state park area.  They have a restaurant, visitor's center, snack shack and  then these cottages where people can stay, as long as they book about a year in advance!  Pretty neat.  It has an old-timey, but cute vibe.  Almost key west-ish to me for some reason.    Otto of course went into the water.  I took a nap and caught some rays despite the June Gloom.  (The sun barely came out at all yesterday and I still got a little burnt on my back side. ) 


When we left Crystal Cove, we went back to Park Newport to get the bikes.  We planned to ride the bikes down to Balboa and putz around until 5:30 at which point we were going to Otto's friend, Lee's place for dinner.  I was a little nervous on the bike at first 1) because it was too tall for me and 2) because I hadn't really ridden a bike any long distance in quite some time.   Within the first minute of the ride, leaving Park Newport, we had to ride down this gigantic hill.  It was fun, but very fast and again, sort of freaked me out.  We rode along the back bay area, through some yacht club parking lot, across a major street or two, through a neighborhood, and then put ourselves and bikes on the Ferry to go across to the peninsula.   We rode along the boardwalk, in front of all of the adorable houses, and then down to the beach so Otto could body surf some more.  Again, I was photographer and enjoyed the cool breeze and sound of surf.  While Otto was out there, a group of about 5 dolphins swam by, within 50 feet of him.  That was neat. 

When Otto came in, we rode our bikes to the liquor store and the very talented husband I have purchased a 20 pack of beer and carried it while riding his bike to friend, Lee's apartment on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).  We pulled up to Lee's door, saw his scooter parked on the street, so knew we were in the right spot.  Lee and his girlfriend came to the door for fear that these two tourists were messing with his scooter.  Once he realized it was us, he goes... "I did tell you dinner was TOMORROW night, right?".  Otto's face was this grin, like.. "No, you surfer flake, you said tonight".  But instead Otto said, "No, I'm pretty sure your text said tonight". (Keyword ="pretty")  So both guys got their phones out and started double checking.  Sure enough, Lee was actually correct.  The text said TOMORROW night.  So, we got a good laugh, chatted for a bit, left the beer with them, and headed back for the ferry on our bikes. 

It was really  fun riding the bikes, but it really is a bit painful in a few areas. haha.

When we arrived back to Park Newport, Connie had finished her work out, so we had some snacks and then hopped in the car to do what were supposed to be the next night's plans.  Connie wanted us to visit the Laguna Beach hotel called La Casa del Camino .  It has a really spectacular view of the Pacific from their rooftop bar.  Although it's the perfect spot to view the sunset, we were a little late for that.  On the way to the hotel, we picked up Connie's friend, Nick who recently moved to Laguna.  After chatting with him, making another stop, and arriving at the hotel, it was already dark.  It was a very nice vibe, however.  Beautiful even at night.  They had heat lamps for a little added warmth.  I ordered a sangria, but had to walk a couple blocks back to the car to get my ID because the waitress said I looked too young. :)  The sangria was delicious, as were the fabulous chips and salsa (with seafood chunks in it). 

We only had time for 1 drink and the appetizer because they closed at 9pm due to some new city ordinance. Boo.  But it was very cool to see and I'd love to go back there sometime.  Later, we picked up Otto's sister, Andree, who was just returning from a visit to New York City.  We headed home, chatted a while about things to do today and the upcoming trip down to Mexico and hit the sack.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mexi-cali Vacation

I will just keep adding to this blogpost as interesting things occur in the next couple weeks on this fabulous West Coast vaca.

We arrived at John Wayne Airport (Orange County, CA) yesterday, Mon. June 20, 2011 around 3pm.  Connie, my mother-in-law picked us up from the airport.  We came to Park Newport where she lives in a nice little apartment on this gorgeous "Back Bay" as they call it.  Click HERE to see how awesome Park Newport is... they have everything in the way of amenities!  Tennis, putting greens, pools, gyms, stores, trails.  Connie's place has a nice view from her little 4th floor patio.  Below is a photo of the view this morning, but as you can see, the photo was taken before the morning "June Gloom" had burned off.  Don't worry, we got tons of sun today-- read on.

So after arriving yesterday, we got to Park Newport and the dedicated athletes (me NOT included) went for a quick swim in the pool.  You see, Connie and Otto are both training for swimming events (Otto- half Ironman tri, Connie- Sprint tri, I believe).  They swam some laps, I sat in a chair and enjoyed the crisp, cool air and Cali sun.  Yesterday, the sun was out and it was gorgeous when we arrived-- but that beautiful summer sun is accompanied in So. Cal with a nice mild temp.  So as I laid by the pool, I pointed out to Connie that I was not sweating! Such a pleasant welcome after leaving 100+ degrees in Tejas. After the pool visit, we quickly got ready to drive a bit north and east to see Otto's Nana for dinner.  This is his father's mother, who lives in Norwalk.  She has a quaint little house painted a lovely blue, which she has lived in since Otto's dad was a child.  It has this small back/side yard that I just love. The size is so cute.  I really like Nana's house.  We got there and I was able to meet for the first time, Cheryl (Otto's dad's cousin), George (Cheryl's dad / Otto's dad's uncle), and little Sebastian, a more distant, 8 year-old cousin.  We had a nice dinner on tables in the back yard.  We chatted and caught up.  Sebastian threw the frisbee over the wall into the other yard and since we ALSO wanted to see the backyard and pool, then we stood on chairs and peered over.  As I was way up there peeking, the big black lab woke up and saw me and started barking like crazu.  Next thing you know, the neighbor walks out, sees us being  creepers and nicely fetches the toy for us. Luckily we had an excuse for several of us to be acting very strange and suspicious!    The dinner and company was delightful.  I always enjoy meeting member's of Otto's family.  See pic below. 

I look as if I have a maternity shirt on-- I don't. Please excuse!

Now, I am very sleepy, so I'm going to skip writing about today and do it manana, after some rest.  There are great pics of beach time!!!

Ok, so last night I was falling asleep as writing, so now I'll be a better blogger.  The visit with Nana and fam on Monday night was very nice.   She served this Chinese Chicken Salad from Costco... cannot wait to look for it! It was so delicious.  So yesterday morning, we woke up at 7:30 or so and had coffee and breakfast overlooking the Back Bay view. It's definitely chilly here in morning and evenings.  But it's so nice because we sleep with windows and doors open.  The temp is perfect! Oh how I wish that was possible in Texas or Florida.  California--- +2000 points.   After breakfast, it was fitness time for Otto which made a perfect reason to make it fitness time for me.  He did a bike and run, and I drove Andree's Prius (love) to the nearby 24 Hour Fitness for a weightlift/step class-- how convenient.   All those So. Cal ladies are in such good shape, and do they not have jobs?? I guess not.  Er, maybe they're teachers-- hot ones at that. hhahah.  I didn't get lost back to Park Newport, thankfully. I got back and showered and waited for Otto to get back from leg 2, his run.  Working out during vacation?  Big step for me--- Margot +100 points!  Then we hit the road for the day. 

First stop was Otto's FAVORITE pizza place, The Pizza Bakery, in Newport.  Otto LOVES pizza--- so this tells you something.  I think it's partially nostalgia for him because he went there a lot as a teen, but the pizza deal, including all-you-can-eat Garlic knots is nothing to dismiss.  It's a nice large slice, with yummy crust, just crisp enough on the bottom.   When we came here last December for the Rose Bowl, the darn Pizza Bakery was closed on New Year's Eve.  Otto was not a happy camper. Often, that alone would cause him not to return to a place, but The Pizza Bakery can do no wrong :)  Luckily they were open... see below.

After stuffing ourselves with the delicious Italian fave, we drove past Otto's High School, Newport Harbor.  Just like the tv series Laguna Beach, people--- this is a NICE looking public high school.  It's very close to The Pizza Bakery, hence Otto's frequent school day visits.

At some point after leaving The Pizza Bakery, the "June Gloom" burned off and we were blessed with this , sunny, crisp, cool breeze, gorgeous California day!  As a vacation bonus for me, we headed over to Fashion Island.   This place is a female's heaven.  An open-air shopping destination with all the unique, high-end, aesthetically beautiful retail establishments you could ask for.  It's laid out impeccably--- you meander through little courtyards with gorgeous fountains, foliage and seating areas.  They all connect to become, well, an Island of fashion.   The stores are so amazing.  The window displays, perfectly designed to catch the typical sucker's eye.  (ME, even though I was in merchandising and marketing and know all the tricks)   We just went into a couple stores, but I really just enjoy walking around that place.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love to make purchases too.. but as a retail gal, just seeing the new store names and fashions was fun.

We left Fashion Island and decided to ride the Auto Ferry over to Balboa Peninsula to go see if the Wedge was "going off".   If you don't understand that--- you should only be depressed that you aren't an avid beach bum.   Driving around Balboa Peninsula is a wonderful experience alone.  The beach cottages are adorably cute, perfectly proportioned and SO "The American Dream".  Below are a couple pics.

If I coldn't have a house right on the boardwalk, these are a few of my favorites.

 The Wedge is this well-known and bizarre wave break where a jetty juts out and causes this strange wave formation (that was not said in proper surf terms-- ya'll know I'm from Florida-- inferior to California in surf culture)  Otto put his DUCK FEET on and hopped in the FREEZING cold Pacific.  These waves are HUGE.  It's so fun to just sit on the  beach and watch people act fearless with these powerful walls of water.  It's hard in the below pictures to really grasp the size, but trust me, they were big.  Otto did some body surfing and I captured some great "Sports Action Mode" shots with my Sony camera (love).

And self-portrait since I'm not in many pics... hahaha

As we left The Wedge to head to 11th street beach to just sit on the beach and catch some rays, we ran  into Otto's old buddy, Lee.  The funny thing about this, is last summer, a year ago, as we were headed to the The Wedge to ... (complete my sentence) see if it was "going off", this dude on a scooter zoomed past us.  Otto immediately said "That was Lee".  He called him up and Lee turned around and chatted with us through the car window.  Lee loves The Wedge, but I still think it was so crazy that on both of the exact days and times we went to the Wedge, we saw Lee.   I see a pattern--- Lee goes to the Wedge every day at approximately the same time, I guess.  So yesterday, we chatted with Lee a bit.  Otto got caught up on the O.C. gossip and we headed to our next beach stop-- 11th Street.

At 11th street, we just plopped down, played a few rounds of thumb war (I won 1 out of about 8 games) and Otto went back in the water for round two.  I actually fell asleep on my back, catching some rays, and Otto came to wake me up for my 4:30 hair appointment at XO Salon.  We were meeting Connie, who had a 3:30 color appointment.  Selena, her stylist has this great little salon on Balboa Peninsula.  Totally chic, totally OC!   Selena is this blue-eyed, deep red haired, petite, cute lady.    She did a great job on my hair which had not been cut or colored since (cough) November!  She said my hair was in surprisingly good condition for having gone that long.  So I got a trim and she even did this nice curl style.

After my hair was done, Connie still had to be rinsed and dried.  Otto and I walked a few doors down to El Ranchito which (conveniently) hosts a Taco Tuesday event where you pay $5.00 to have all-you-can-eat tacos, rice, beans, chips, salsa, tostados... you get the point.  It's essentially a bar, with tables, and you get in line to be served your choice of shredded beef or chicken tacos with all the fixins.   But this food is actually very good!  These are 'real Mexican style' tacos, folks.  That price is unbelievable.  My favorite from the food line was the shredded beef taco.  Otto liked the hand-fried shell beef taco.   The funny thing about it was, that as we walked up to El Ranchito, I thought it looked very familiar!  Then I recalled partying there one night back in 2003 when I lived in the OC while doing my internship at Volcom in Costa Mesa!  Crazy.  We had a drink and food and then headed back to Park Newport to get jackets.  Otto and I were going to head to Surf City (a.k.a Huntington Beach) for Tuesday Surf City nights.  This happened to be a special one because Surf Champion and legend, Kelly Slater was going to be receiving an award and the "key to the city". 

el ranchito

When we arrived in downtown Huntington Beach (Surf City) it was 7:30pm.  The place was packed, but we were able to get a parking spot in a garage.  They had the streets closed and featured booths with artists, retailers, a farmer's market, restaurant samplings, music, sidewalk sales etc.  At the end of main street, towards the ocean, was a large stage where a reggae-esque band was playing music, overlooking the street fair.   People began dispersing and that's when I knew that I had missed my opportunity to see Kelly Slater receive the city's key.  Oh well.  Otto and I walked up and down, looking at all the vendors.  The farmer's market was really cool.  Any plant, fruit, veggie, jam, jelly or granola you could think of, beautifully displayed.  Otto purchased a couple things from the sidewalk sales of the surf shops.   We then, tackled the awful exit line in the parking garage.  Luckily, Otto spent some cash at the surf shop, so our parking ticket was validated and we didn't have to pay :)

 Surf city, USA

Tacos surely make your sweet tooth come out, which provided the perfect opportunity for us to drive back over to Balboa Peninsula and hit up Dad's.  Dad's is an ice cream/doughnut/cookie/frozen banana/Balboa bar shop.  It's been around since the 1960's apparently.  There's a walk-up window, always bustling with customers.  Balboa Bars are vanilla ice cream rectangles on a stick, hand dipped in molten chocolate and rolled in your favorite topping.  They sell them all over Balboa, but Dad's is the place to be.  They also sell chocolate dipped frozen bananas.  Three doors down is the rivaling Sugar n Spice.  They've been around since 1945!! Before DAD'S!  There is a big to-do about which is better.  Read this entertaining article which gives points for each establishment based on different categories.

Dad's Sign...  Makes you feel a little simian, eh?

I usually get the Balboa Bar or the Frozen Bananas, I mean, we're on Balboa for goodness sake. Otto always gets ice cream, his favorite-- Chocolate Peanut Butter.  So, I had already made up my mind that I was also going to get a scoop (or two) of ice cream instead of a Balboa Bar.  Otto walked in, looked in the ice cream freezer and sees NO chocolate peanut butter!  That was it--- he wasn't getting anything.  I still opted for ice cream-- I got a scoop of Pineapple Coconut chunk and a scoop of Mocha Almond Fudge.  It was delicious.  I loved the Pineapple Coconut.  I mean, can any other flavor be more perfect for an Orange County vacation???