This year, we headed to San Diego in April. Our Friday the 13th flight was rough but our first night, at the U.S. Grant Hotel, was very nice. We asked for matches at reception but were told the hotel no longer had them. Normally, we would not eat in the hotel restaurant if there are no matches but it was late, so we had dinner in the Grant Grill. After a very good meal, we were rewarded with a matchbox each -- "They just came in." On my morning walk on Saturday, I stopped for a light breakfast at Cafe 222. It is small but one of the places for breakfast in San Diego. As I was leaving at 8:30am, there was a line to get in. Lunch found us at Valley View Casino in Valley Center for a good sandwich and a view of the mountains from a table by the window. Then, it was on to the Motel Mediteran in Escondido and a room in our usual section with lemon and orange trees outside our door.
Sunday with family included the Oceanside Pier with pelicans and sea lions. On the way back to our motel, we stopped at three casinos -- Pala Casino in Pala; Casino Pauma (30-strike multi-color) in Pauma Valley, and Harrah's ( 30-strike multi-color) in Valley Center. The next day, it was off to Los Angeles, with a stop at Pechanga Casino in Temecula for a multi-color 30-strike in more than one variety followed by a fine lunch overlooking a renowned golf course at the Temecula Creek Inn (box). The disappointment is that they are running low and not planning on reordering. We arrived in Hollywood for two nights at the Magic Castle Hotel, where the staff took excellent care of us.
Feel free to skip this paragraph as it has nothing to do with matchbooks. As our hotel was one block from Hollywood Boulevard, I took my evening walk down Orange Drive and could see the Roosevelt Hotel. Time to see if it has matches. As I crossed Hollywood Boulevard, I saw westbound was blocked off and something was going on at Grauman's Chinese Theater. There's lights, young girls screaming --it's the premier of the new Zac Efron movie, The Lucky One. So I'm now across from the theater and I see someone familiar walking through the crowd at Grauman's -- it's Leonardo DiCaprio. Then, a guy in a suit with an ID badge came to the girl screaming in front of me with a sign, "Zac, will you come to my prom?" and gave her and her friends tickets to the premier. He gave out a few more -- guess I am not the right demographic. But, hey, I followed the link last week at hotelchatter.com so my wife and I could see the Zac Efron photos from Sydney. When I told this story to my wife, she said something to the effect, "I'm in the hotel room unpacking and you're at a Hollywood premier watching Leonardo DiCaprio walk down the red carpet!" Oh, well. Sorry for the digression but I just had to tell this story.
Tuesday, it was a day for Beverly Hills, walking the grounds at Greystone Mansion and lunch at the Stinking Rose. No matches but it did have condom matchbooks for sale. Just had to buy one. The evening found us at the Magic Castle Club for dinner and a magic show. Lipstick matchboxes were for sale in the gift shop. Had to buy a few.
Wednesday was a good day for matches. First was a multi-color box at Lula in Santa Monica for very nice cocina Mexicana. Passing through Manhattan Beach, we decided to stop at our long-time favorite Mexican restaurant, Pancho's (multi-color box). Our next two nights would be at Akua Motor Hotel in Anaheim. Nice accommodations at a great price. Thursday was devoted to Disneyland.
On Friday, we returned to San Diego for the AMCAL (Associated Matchcover Clubs of California) convention. Along the way, we stopped for a nice tour of Rancho Buena Vista in Vista. Bertrand at Mister A's was our choice for dinner. In addition to excellent cuisine, there were spectacular views from the twelfth floor. The occasional plane would pass by right at our level on its way to the airport. After dinner, we went out on the patio for a closer view of San Diego and, as it turned out, the fireworks at Petco Park after the Padres game. There were also toothpicks with the restaurant name. At AMCAL, I did buy a few matchboxes from L.A., including the restaurant and the bar at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood that I never did get to. I also managed a stop at the neighborhood bar across from the hotel, Gilly's, where the motto is "Beer is good for you."
Otherwise, no more matches until Monday breakfast at The Shores (multi-color slim box) -- nice restaurant in the La Jolla Shores Hotel. We stopped by the San Diego Botanical Gardens for a little sightseeing and, then, on to happy hour at The Marine Room for a slim box. When we checked into the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club on Sunday, we were told the club no longer had matches with its name, only plain white matchbooks. (Wow! I thought.) After dinner at the club dining room on Monday, our last night in San Diego, I asked again and we were rewarded with multi-color slim boxes. Deja Vu.
We ended California with lunch at Nicky Rottens in Coronado for a multi-color 20-strike matchbook in two varieties (black and red on white and white and red on black). Our trip ended with breakfast at the Golden Eagle Diner (box) in Bristol, Pennsylvania.