Phil Trani's

I have been to Phil Trani’s a few times over the past 5 or so years and Phil was there each time and he has always been really cool to me and is generous with the free shots. They have an awesome cocktail lounge with live music playing on thursday and friday nights. I am in walking distance from Phil Trani’s so that is an added bonus.

I usually just go to Phil’s to be a lounge lizard and I have never had any complaints with the service or the people in there. Amber and Ashley are always very nice and make sure that my glass is full whey I am sitting at the bar. The crowd here is typically a bit older which is great because you dont deal with that hipster bullshit that happens at a lot of the other bars. Just cool people and good fun!

Chase Bank

I walked in Chase bank on saturday do do some routine business and while I was talking to the guy he told me that he was a veteran. I told him that I was a Desert Storm veteran so we had something in common there. He asked me if I had the special account that doesn’t charge veterans and since Chase never offers free programs or money I responded with no.

To my surprise this was fixed and I got upgraded to a better account with some additional services like a free safe deposit box and free cashiers checks and they waive the $25 monthly fee. They also went back a few months and gave me some of my money back. I am in shock I think the banks might have gone nuts or something but I will take it.


Wienerschnitzel is an American fast food chain founded in 1961 (as “Der Wienerschnitzel”) that specializes in hot dogs, but is currently expanding to other items. Wienerschnitzel locations are found almost exclusively in California and Texas, though others are located in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Washington state. There is also a store in Guam.

Few foods hold the cultural significance of the great American hot dog. From ballparks to airports to home kitchens, hot dogs are one of America’s favorite foods. When I was doing the research on this location I realized that somewhere down the road they dropped the Der off the front of the name.

It is easiest to recognize a Wienerschnitzel by the stores pitched roof and the drive through is located in the middle of the building. The Wienerschnitzel in the photos below is not one of those locations.


This Shell Gas Station is located on the corner of Del Amo Blvd and Cherry Ave which is a very busy intersection. This location also has a car wash on the property and is a rather larger piece of property.

There are 8 pumps at this gas station and the car wash was busy and had pretty nice cars going in and coming out of it so that tells me that the car wash here is probably decent or that the people that run their car through this car wash don’t really care about their cars. My guess is that the car wash is decent.

Its amazing how many of of these gas stations have car washes on locations and how terrible they are or how poorly they are maintained. It seems to me that if you are going to bother installing a car wash, you should put in a good one and maintain it so that it doesn’t scratch up peoples cars. Anyway off the rant, the point is that I don’t think that is the case here at this Shell.

Blackbird Cafe

We headed on over to the Blackbird Cafe around 2:30 pm for a very late lunch. I knew that they closed at 3pm so we were cutting it a bit close but we still had plenty of time to enjoy our meals. When I was walking up I noticed that they just put up a gate outside that is probably going to be for outdoor dining. That intersection needs some people sitting outside and eating and hanging out it will bring some life to the area for sure.

So lets get down to what we had for lunch. I ordered a yummy sandwich called The Stacker.
It had sliced turkey breast, ham, roast beef, havarti chefs, lettuce and tomato on grilled sourdough. I also ordered extra avocado and for my side I ordered the chips with their special dipping sauce.

Abigail went with the Chicken Spinach Wrap which is a grilled chicken breast, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, bleu cheese and fresh spinach wrapped in a spinach tortilla. She also got the extra avocado and the side of chips.

Both of these meals where awesome and Abigail was only able to eat one half of the Chicken Spinach Wrap so she was able to turn it into two meals which was awesome. I digg the artwork on the walls, the service and the food and once that patio is finished up I will give that a spin as well.

A & B Liquor

A&B Liquor has to be the biggest liquor store that I have ever walked into. Unlike most liquor stores, the cash register is located way at the back of the store vs up front. This liquor store features a good sized video rental department and they have a short order grill and they whip up some good food here.

I have never came into a line here and I dig the vibe here so when I stop in to grab some food, I usually sit down at one of the tables, grab a paper and enjoy my meal and some small talk with the owner of the store. You can either park in one of the few parking spots on wardlow or you can park on with side of the building. When it comes to booze they have a very impressive selection.


This red box kiosk is located inside the Lakewood Walmart and as you walk through the double doors it is located on the left side. At this location there is only one kiosk instead of two which seems to be what red box is trying to roll out at most of its locations.

The set up is pretty good. You can stand here and select and return movies without getting in the way of the people that are coming in and out of the main door of the Walmart. This was not the case at the Albertson’s that I visited over in Wrigley Heights.

Another thing that stands out about this redbox kiosk is the fact that it is wrapped in blue vs the traditional red. I am not sure if this is a marketing deal or maybe they are making the walmart redbox kiosks look a little different but that is not really that big of a deal.

United States Post Office

This US Post Office is located off of Atlantic and San Antonio and is a pretty big location. There are more po boxes than you see in a normal post office and I only wait in line when I am trying to send stuff out for christmas.

One thing that sticks out is that their is bulletproof glass in front of the postal workers and I am not sure if that is a Long Beach thing or if all Post Offices are starting to move in that direction.

There is plenty of parking out front and if you can get there between 10am and the lunch rush, you should be able to get in and out pretty quickly.

USS Midway

I have never been to the USS Midway before and I was on my way out of San Diego and found myself in the unique position of not having to get home in a hurry so I decided that today was going to be the day that I visit the USS Midway. We arrived at the midway about a half hour early so I went around to another parking lot that had a tribute to Bob Hope and a big statue which was a great place to take photos of the USS Midway sitting in the harbor.

When 10am came we drove back in and paid our $7 for 4 hours and headed into the line which was actually kind of long for showing up at 10am on the dot. There was nobody in line at 9:30 am, I guess the line started forming around 9:50 or so. Anyway I got my sweet military discount which is always nice and we headed on board.

We were kind of going with the flow of the people also entering the ship so when we were in the huge hanger bay there were a ton of people also in there and taking pictures was kind of difficult. We headed upstairs onto the flight deck and kind of jumped ahead of the crowd which worked out nicely. It was much easier to take pictures of the plane when there where not 200 people on the deck.

On the flight deck we sat through 2 history lessons by well informed docents that had served on the USS Midway. The first guy explained how they launched the aircraft and what it took to get an aircraft that weighs around 50,000 pounds up to speed in the short span of 250 feet. I also learned that the average age up there is 19 years old so the bulk of the people that work in the different colored outfits are quite literally just kids.

The second briefing that we had was how the aircraft recovery process works. For the most part when you are being catapulted off the aircraft carrier, in most cases the catapult is hooked up to the plane, the pilot turns the jets on full blast and steam does the rest. In the landing process the pilot needs to do a bunch more work and the aircraft does not land itself. It was interesting to learn that the Landing Safety Officer or LSO actually grades the pilots landing and briefs them after the mission.

The next area of the aircraft was visited was the tower and this was broken into 3 main sections. They are the actual tower where flight control watches everything that is going on the flight deck, the chart room and then the actual bridge where the ship is steered. We also caught a glimpse of the captains quarters as this portion of the tour ended. The craziest thing here where by far the Navy Stairs. You have to climb up and down 4 sets of them and I am sure people bump their heads all day long. The most common thing that people in the infirmary was head injuries. It sounded like people were scrambling around constantly and low hanging objects where constantly lurking around.

After we left the flight deck we headed below to the galley, dinning hall, the infirmary and basically the places you get things done below deck. The dining hall for instance is also a place to hang out. You do not hang out and shoot the breeze in the sleeping quarters because there is always a group of people down there sleeping.

Overall I had a great time and I could have easily spend another 8 hours aboard and I will finish up the tour on my own next time when I have another 8 hours to dedicate to it. Here are some of the photos that I shot below.