Saturday, March 10, 2012


I spent a few hours a couple weekends ago checking out the city of Fullerton, a city whose proximity--as I live somewhat close--invited exploration.  It was long overdue; though I'd occasionally pass through Fullerton to dine at a choice restaurant, I hadn't spent any substantial time in the city.

I started out late on a Sunday morning, destined for Tranquil Tea Lounge located in "historic" (self-proclaimed) downtown Fullerton for an energizing brunch with which to fortify myself for the day's excursion.  Tranquil Tea Lounge has a high Yelp rating, and I love tea so it was a win-win prospect.  I wasn't disappointed.  It's a great little eatery with an extensive tea selection and delicious food.  I ordered from their Tranquil Tea Trio option after which I indulged in their scrumptious flourless chocolate cake for dessert.  SO good.  I definitely plan on returning.
roast beef sandwich, organic greens, and lychee black tea
dark chocolate flourless cake w/ ganache & ice cream!
After my meal, I walked around the neighborhood a bit.  Fullerton is a university town, being home to CSU Fullerton as well as Fullerton College, so it has that college vibe, with eateries and bars abounding.  Yet downtown wasn't that bustling that morning; in fact, it was fairly dead.  Not that I minded.

I hung out a short while, and then I drove over to nearby Fullerton Museum.  The museum is part of the Fullerton Museum Center, a plaza with a park and a children's playground.  When I arrived at the museum center, I saw that it was likewise pretty subdued.  There were a dozen or so people in the park and playground, but I was the sole patron in the museum while I was there.
Fullerton Museum Center park
The museum's featured exhibition is Citrus: California's Golden Dream, an interesting retrospection on the "2nd California Gold Rush" which refers to the citris boom that dominated California's economy from the 1880s till the 1950s in which Fullerton played a part.
The museum isn't large, but in addition to the featured exhibit, there is a permanent exhibition in the Leo Fender Gallery, which features the life and career of Leo Fender, a lifelong Fullerton resident and the founder of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.  I'd heard of Fender guitars but know nothing about them, yet I found the gallery pretty cool.  I can imagine that a guitar enthusiast would find it much more so.
Creepy Keith Richards poster greets visitors at the Fender Gallery.
A few fascinating factoids I learned about Mr. Fender:  1) he himself did not know how to play the guitar despite his name being synonymous with the instrument; and 2) the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Fender in a non-performing capacity, PLUS he was awarded a Grammy for his technological contributions to the music and recording industry.
My next stop after the museum was the Fullerton Arboretum.  This 26 acre botanical garden is in fact part of CSU Fullerton.  It's a wonderful park in which to stroll and picnic.  Streams and ponds dot the landscape, and I spotted cranes, ducks, and turtles.  Best of all, the arboretum is free to the public, though donations are welcome.
Mr. Turtle
It had been a tad too uncomfortably sunny when I was downtown, but the arboretum's lush landscape suited the day's weather.  I lolled at the park for about an hour, meandering through the verge and lounging on choicely located benches on occasion.  It was super relaxing.
Bodhi Tree planted in honor of the Dalai Lama's visit in 2000.
sitting under the Bodhi Tree, waiting for enlightenment
I slowly made my way to the pictured bench where I had the chance to observe this gorgeous crane.
When at last I left Fullerton Arboretum, I hunted down what I'd been anticipating all week, Oahu Shave Ice!  To preface, I've lately become slightly obsessed with Hawaiian shaved ice, ever since my day at OC Great Park, when I had the glorious shaved ice from the Tropical Shaved Ice truck.  Since that day, I found a couple of other great shaved ice joints so I had high hopes for Oahu Shave Ice.
Alas, unlike the tea lounge, this was a disappointment.  My ideal shaved ice treat has ice shaved so finely that it has a powdery consistency.  This day's example was not like that.  Though tasty, the ice was coarse and clumped together as it melted.  Thumbs down and not worth a trip back.

I headed home after my dessert.  It wasn't a heavy day of exploration, but I got a decent feel for Fullerton, and I plan on returning for Tranquil Tea Lounge and Fullerton Arboretum.


  1. I was going to say that I've never been to Fullerton but that would be wrong. Went to the CSU campus for a Forensics tournament in high school.

    I was thinking years later when I dated the guy who had gone to CSU Fullerton and lived in Orange. Spent a lot of time in Orange. And a little in Buena Park (I don't do Disney anymore) and Newport. But no time in Fullerton. Oooo. Go to Orange. It's all cutesy.

    Maybe next time I'm in SoCal I'll check out Fullerton. Usually hang in Los Alamitos area these days so I only see where my old college roomie wants to hang. Lots of time in Los Al, Gardena and Long Beach.

    1. I've been to Orange but only to visit the Block. I'll do some research and plan a day exploring the city one of these days. Thanks for the tip!

  2. The "downtown" exteriors in "That Thing You Do"? Uh yeah. Orange.