Sunday, August 22, 2010

Risking lives for a birthday gift

Today I had the brilliant idea of visiting one of the local Tommy's Hamburger shacks to pick up a Tommy Burger T-shirt for my brother-in-law [CB: you can't read this until a week after it has posted]. I have never had a Tommy Burger in the many times I've visited LA (as an East Coaster) nor as a CA resident.

I did my research and found out that these burgers were famous for being a drippy (but tasty) mess of a burger than comes slathered with chili and as many as three beef patties (I can feel my arteries seizing up as I write this). had some humorous reviews but among the hundreds of review out there, the common themes were:

- don't eat here if you're not into grease and a hamburger hangover
- the more sober you are, the less appealing the food is (and along the same vein, Tommy Burgers make great "drunk food")
- many loyal fans can only stomach a Tommy Burger about one every other month
- if you don't like messy food, ask for the chili on the side (I made sure I remembered that!)
- eating the burger is only half the experience; the other half is experiencing the environment one has to endure in order to get a Tommy Burger (read on for further explanation)

After my internet search, it turned out that the closest Tommy Burger shacks were located in Santa Monica and Long Beach. After reading the Yelp reviews, Air Boss and I thought it best not to drag the kids to the questionable area of Santa Monica where Tommy Burger was located and decided instead to mosey on over to the "better part" of Long Beach.

Haha. So. Not. True.

We found the shack in LB no problem. We dined al fresco to the roars of loud motor bikes in the parking lot, to the shuffling of homeless folks, to the incessant pigeon cooings as they waited for crumbs to fall, and to the excitement of an arrest happening about 100 yards away. Luckily the kids were sitting with their backs to the police cruiser and the suspect spread eagle on the hood of the police car. I had called Air Boss' attention to the "situation" just as another police car arrived at the scene (thank goodness for back-up). We saw cop #2 exit his vehicle only to return seconds later to retrieve his billy club.

Needless to say, 'Shroom and Lolli were getting a lot of flak from me for not eating fast enough.

Air Boss knew I was just itching to blog about our Tommy Burger experience. He told me to take a photo of our exciting environment as a way of documenting the moment. I thought better of it.

Instead, I'll post an image of the anatomy of a Tommy Burger so you don't have to risk your health (or life) to benefit from our burger experience:


P.S. Oh yeah. Mission accomplished: we got the T-shirt!

"Well I love that dirty water...

. . . Oh, Boston you're my home"

I have to admit it took a bit of an adjustment for me to get used to seeing so many people donning Red Sox T-shirts and caps on the streets and all around town. When we arrived at Logan and were making our way to retrieve our baggage at the luggage claim area, I saw a man wearing a Red Sox cap and thought, "Oh wow! There's a Sox fan!" and then I passed two other individuals wearing something with the red socks motif within the next five seconds. Ahh yes, I had just entered the capital of Red Sox Nation.

Other than that and getting re-acclimated to the muggies (humid, damp, muggy weather), our transition back to our old stomping grounds was fairly quick and easy. Air Boss worked the first week we were there (he still works for his Boston-based employer) and when I drove him to work one day, I had a hard time remembering street names but I managed to find my way back through the back streets and pot-hole-ridden alleys of Cambridge.

Seafood. Yes - we had our share of eating sea creatures. Air Boss caught the first fish of the day just shortly after 8 AM on a fishing outing with his colleagues. His fish measured a generous 30" and we ate fresh blue fish that night. I betcha my mom and sis still have some frozen in their freezers!

We even managed to drive to Kittery Point, Maine for some good old lobster right out on the lobster deck. We should have gotten our lobster fix at the local Shaw's (grocery store) where lobster was on sale for $4.99/lb. Chauncy Creek Pier's market price was $14.99/lb. Oh well, at least we didn't have to boil it ourselves or melt our own butter.

Happy As A Lobster

The kids along with Boston Cousins 1 and 2 (BC1 and BC2) managed to have fun at Boston's Museum of Science, but for the most part, they were quite content playing at my parents' house, improving their scores on my mom's Wii Fit, and trading their Japanese erasers.

photo: My Sis

I managed to get my back-to-school clothes shopping done for the kids (thank you no-clothing-tax Massachusetts!). Too bad we were in Canada during MA's annual tax-free weekend, although even if we were around, I don't think we would have purchased any big-ticketed item that could be easily transported back to CA and still maintain our 50 lb weight maximum per suitcase. Just as well.

I did make a deliberate trip to LLBean to see if I could get new bungee laces to replace 'Shroom's shredded ones. LLBean, I am disappointed in your 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Not only did you not replace the laces (the sneakers were purchased last year and worn for less than 2 months), you referred me to a separate on-line vendor who didn't even carry the bungee laces. When I tried to exchange the shoes for a new pair (at the recommendation of one of your sales associates), you would only give me $3 credit that would go towards a new $35 pair

Not a 100% satisfied customer. Not even 25% satisfied. At least Air Boss managed to amuse himself in the store by trying on their signature backpacks.

Other sights visited: our green house, Dunkin Donuts (of course), our old church, the Boston Esplanade, Harvard Sq., the swan boats in the Boston Common, and the Mass Turnpike where you have to pay a toll at practically every mile marker (okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit).

Ahh . . . it was nice to be back after a two year wait. It was wicked awesome. =)

Boston Reunion (my father's side of the family)


It's been several days since we've returned from our East Coast adventures and looking at the numerous photos of our trip makes it seem like we were there months ago. Our first full day after landing in Boston was a family reunion with my dad's extended family. We managed to coordinate the three California families to be in Boston on the same day. My dad's family consists of a sister and three brothers (of which he is one) and their offspring and grandchildren. I think we had about 45 folks spanning three generations.


Here Air Boss managed to get us assembled on the deck so he could take a "corporate marketing" pose. He half hung out of a second floor bedroom window to take this shot. Can you find me? I'm waving my hand. [I have to make a correction as the photo changed: I'm no longer waving my hand. I'm the one smiling.] =)

Despite not remembering any of their second cousins, 'Shroom and Lolli had lots of fun catching up with their first cousins: BC1 and BC2 (that would be 7 year old "Boston Cousin #1" and 4 year old "Boston Cousin #2").

What a great way to start out our trip!

L to R: BC2, 'Shroom, Lolli, BC1 (and yes, they are participating in a relay race with a pool noodle!)