After spending the winter setting up a temporary home base at the Tempo headquarters in Long Beach, California, the time has come for me to continue to my next destination.
I spent more time there than I usually do because we had some behind-the-scenes stuff happening on the logistical and operational side of the company that I had to tend to, but that also meant that I didn’t have a chance to do as much exploring as I wanted to… not that the amount I wanted to was that much to begin with anyway, though.
I noticed that this has been a recurring theme every time I visit California—the traffic is so paralyzingly bad, and for some reason, I generally just feel less motivated than I usually am, so I end up just staying indoors a lot.
This means that I didn’t really do much that would warrant their own dedicated blog posts like I regularly did when I was out non-stop road tripping, but I do still have a smorgasbord of photographs, so I wanted to share a handful of them here.
This is my friend’s greyhound Majima. He is very lanky, awkward, and clearly ecstatic to be a part of this picture.
The CEO of Tempo, one of our Producers, and I all share similar birthdays within the span of a few days, so near the end of January, we celebrated by going to some nice restaurants. One of them was the Naples Rib Company in Long Beach, California.
I’m still eating a diet low in saturated fat for heart health, so I ordered some swordfish instead of barbecue ribs. The swordfish filet was tender and juicy, the flavor was exactly what you’d expect from nicely-cooked swordfish, the sauce was perfectly complementary without being too overwhelming, and the sides added richness and texture to the main entrée.
While stationed at the residential quarters of Tempo’s facility, considering that I wasn’t personally paying for rent or otherwise being charged a fee like I do with hotels or other forms of lodging, I was more willing to go on air travel trips.
One convenient thing about the location of the company headquarters is that it is in close proximity to both Long Beach Airport (LGB) in Long Beach, California and John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana, Orange County, California. This means that I can fly out of much smaller airports, as opposed to going all the way over to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Here’s a photo of the Orange County suburbs:
… as well as the snowy mountains in northern California up by Lake Tahoe:
Air travel hasn’t been the best experience shortly after the initial surge of quarantine mandates during the pandemic, as most airlines decided to roll over everyone’s elite status, so it wasn’t special anymore to be a loyalty member—this meant that the upgrade list was oversaturated, so it was very rare to get free upgrades to first class if you weren’t one of the highest elite tiers.
However, in a “nature is healing” moment, I managed to be able to fly first class again on Delta Air Lines. Even better, regular meal service has been restored (as opposed to the “deluxe snack boxes” that they switched over to during the pandemic, where everything was pre-packaged to avoid physical contact by the flight attendants with the food). It wasn’t the best food ever, but definitely better than just having 8 different kinds of chips and crackers.
I also squeezed in a Las Vegas trip as well, for the usual—to check my mail, get a haircut, meet up with friends, and take care of some other errands. My hotel of choice for this trip was the ENGLiSH Hotel, part of the Marriott Tribute Portfolio, located in downtown Las Vegas on Main Street in the Arts District.
The hotel was pleasant, though I wasn’t a fan of the parking situation—the hotel’s lot is tiny, so I ended up having to street park… and downtown Las Vegas doesn’t exactly have the best reputation for being the most secure area in the Valley. Luckily, nothing happened to my truck.
Thanks to my Marriott Ambassador Elite status, I got to enjoy a free breakfast at The Pepper Club by Todd English, the restaurant directly connected to my hotel. I decided to order the Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon because it was priced perfectly efficiently to be able to use my entire breakfast credit.
Maybe it’s because I’m just used to staying at lower-end hotels for the bargain and convenience, but the Eggs Benedict was unexpectedly delicious. It tasted like an actual high-end breakfast restaurant dish—everything was cooked well, the presentation was nice, and the flavors had just the right amount of intensity. I’m also usually not the biggest fan of cheese, but the cheese sauce was just that—more of a sauce than actual cheese—so it didn’t have any of the moldy or vomit-ey smell that I prefer to avoid.
While in town in Las Vegas, I also met up with one of my friends and went to 138 Restaurant in Henderson, a restaurant that specializes in dry-aged food.
For my appetizer, I ordered duck confit wontons with chili oil, fried garlic, and sweet and sour sauce. I wasn’t a big fan of it—the pickled vegetables on top were way too sour, the sauce was overwhelming, and the wontons were over-fried, so I could barely even tell that there was any duck inside at all.
My friend ordered dry aged crispy pork belly with fennel butter, pickled shallots, apple, and pork jus.
For my main dish, I got Ōra King salmon with aloo gobi spiced cauliflower, red pepper coulis, cucumber, and cilantro, with a special request for it to be cooked less salty. I liked this much better than my appetizer—the flavors were much more complementary, and I could actually tell what the meat was that I was eating.
Although the menu didn’t clarify, the waitress said that the salmon had been dry aged. I couldn’t really tell, and it just tasted like I was pretty much just eating very normal salmon.
Finally, for dessert, I got some crème brûlée. I realized after-the-fact that the photograph makes it look small, but it was actually literally about double the portion size that I would expect from an already big portion. It tasted amazing, though I’m pretty sure I ate a week’s worth of sugar intake in just that one bowl.