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House Hunting in SoCal

House Hunting in SoCal
via American and United First Class
April 2016

After four enjoyable years in Denver, Mrs. SFO777 is ready for a change of scenery, away from wildly variable and extreme weather, but especially the lack of humidity.  With the white hot Denver real estate market, our home was under contract in 48 hours and above asking price.  :)  

So we have to scramble to find a new home in Orange County and something with an ocean view please.   Ordinarily, we'd fly United to SNA but F prices this weekend were crazy.  So we're off to LAX on AA at only $74 with free EXP upgrades.  With Mrs. SFO vowing to never eat another AA meal, we headed out early for a late lunch at the DIA branch of wonderful Root Down, in the C concourse.

A table with a view!

Mrs. SFO went with the fabulous Root Down Bento Box, with grilled salmon. 

I couldn't resist the amazing Colorado Lamb sliders with sweet potato fries.

At around T-45, we headed for the train back to the A concourse.

AA 5977
April 23, 2016

With bulkhead seats, we headed to the empty Priority lane, where boarding commenced a couple minutes later. 

Loads of leg room in row 1.

We passed on today's meal options of Oriental salad with Salmon or Charcuterie plate.    But did have the crème brûlée cheesecake. 

Well, you get what you pay for... the AA Bus Terminal and the bus shuttle to Terminal 4.

And the tunnel the exit.

First a little cash refill.  Seriously?  I select English and am asked if I really mean it???

Still recovering from foot surgery, Mrs. SFO rests while we wait for the Avis shuttle.

With a great off-peak weekend rate, we headed for the St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel in Dana Point.   Despite a couple of accidents on the 405, we made it from the Avis LAX lot to the hotel in 75 minutes.  Welcome to LA traffic.  Very nice hotel although the courtyard and pool area are under construction.

Pleasant standard room on the 2nd floor.

Gorgeous sunset.  I think we can get used to this.

The hotel bar was packed so we headed to the bar at Michael Mina's in house restaurant, the outstanding Stonehill Tavern.  Great menu and wine list.

Next morning, I headed out for breakfast while Mrs. SFO decided to forgo.


We headed down to meet our real estate agent for our whirlwind day of 8 houses. 

Great location and views. but THEY WANT HOW MUCH??   LOL.  Maybe we don't have to be on the beach.

Not a good sign when the agent can't get the key to work.

Someone needs to rest.  

Eight mostly ridiculously priced houses in four hours and we need a drink... to help clear our heads.  Ha.

Burger for Mrs. SFO.

Lobster roll for me, both from the Michael Mina kitchen. 


We had schedule 4 more homes on Monday, although all from the B List.  Because we had found "the house" plus a backup, we decided to blow off the morning showings and just head home.  Fortunately, two Saver seats were available on the afternoon UA flight from SNA.  So we opted for this instead of our 9PM AA flight.   After a leisurely morning, we explored the PCH up to Newport and headed to lunch at the Bayside Café.  What a great find.   This place been around for a while but has atmosphere and spectacular food.  Wow.


We opted for the prix fixe lunch, a bargain at only $25.  Delicious salad to start... sorry forgot to snap a pic.

Mrs. SFO's shrimp with risotto.

My Norwegian salmon was simply out of this world.

Resting before dessert.

Amazing food and prices.  Then off to gas up and return the car to the woefully slow and inefficient Rental Car Garage at John Wayne airport. 

Jeez, I hope this garage is not this bad all the time.   On the other hand, once in the terminal, PreCheck was a breeze and we were in the United Club a few minutes later.  Small but adequate for the station size.

At T-40, we headed downstairs to the nearby Gate 9, where the longest line was Group 1 where United lets everyone and his brother line up, First or not.

Orange County-Denver 
United 809
April 25, 2016


We passed on the meal, which was some type of salad with beef.