Friday, May 11, 2007

I do realize that it's not all about me

I've had a stressful past couple of weeks at work, and Spooney and I have been planning a weekend away.

To Santa Catalina Island.

Yeah, that place that just burned up.

Actually, although the fire burned over 4000 acres and at least one home (in the only real town on the island, Avalon), word is they are gaining the upper hand, and the town is no longer threatened. That is good news for the residents of Avalon, who had to evacuate the island via ferry.

Check out this live webcam of Catalina and you can see the smoke that still envelopes Avalon and the harbor. Yeah, that's smoke, not fog.

Catalina has many fans and detractors. A friend of mine once described it as "one big happy hour waiting to happen," and indeed it often seems like there's not a whole lot to do there. But there are lots of corny but cool touristy things, like the glass-bottomed boats and the flying fish cruises, as well as hikes through the botanical gardens and undeveloped interior of the island.

If you've never been, you may be surprised to know that the island was once largely owned by the Wrigleys, and it was the site of the Cubs spring training camp.

Also, it is absolutely true that a herd of buffalo roam the island that are the descendants of some that were left behind after a film shoot in the 20s. The island has been a backdrop for movies since the beginning of movies. Once you've been there, you will instantly recognize it when you see it in a film, just like you recognize the infamous Point Dume in Malibu. In fact, the Tuna Club in Avalon was the set for a scene in one of my favorite movies, Chinatown. It's the scene were Nicholson's character meets Huston's character over lunch.

One of favorite restaurants in the world, Cafe Prego, is there. Family owned and operated. When you order dinner, they come around with a huge tureen of the best vegetable soup you've ever tasted, and ladle some out into your bowl right at your table. I had pasta there once with gorgonzola, walnuts, white grapes, and hot peppers that was so fucking good I can still taste it. I love that place so much I have a framed picture of it hanging over my stove. *

I will definitely be going back to Catalina again, as soon as they are back on their feet.

*There, restaurant meme people, happy now?


GETkristiLOVE said...

I still remember that cute brother and sister team karaoke'ing "Baby Got Back" in that bar when we were there, and that was the only excitement we could find.

It must have been off-season.

Anon. Blogger said...

As a restaurant meme gal, I'm totally impressed.

Thing 1's 8th grade trip was to Catalina Island. Lots of marine life study. They had a great time.

IMO, it beats the hell out of the 8th grade Washington trip idea. Her east coast friends were impressed.

I'll have to check it out myself now!

cheer34 said...

Sounds like a wonderful place. I hope the buffalo are OK and your favorite restaurant.

Grant Miller said...

The fucking Cubs ruin everything.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Kristi: Yeah, not a lot of people are so into the "Christmas on Catalina" thing. Although I hear New Year's is very big, probably because your hotel room is only a short walk away.

AB: I make fun of the glass-bottomed boat ride, but it was totally cool to see all those fish, and also the cormorants.

Cheer34: Yeah, me too. I still can't wait to go.

Grant: Somehow I knew I was going to hear from you on the Cubs angle, ya American League loving bastard.