Jeremy Felt

The Great Story of California– Destroyer of Swordfish Dreams

Ok, so no offense to Caron or anybody else out in that part of the country, but making the trip out to LA from Chicago is kind of a drag.

The June gloom, the yummy smog, and the incessant traffic don’t exactly play a convincing role in my decision on possible choices for future residence.

Granted, I only spent 33 hours out there this time, so I probably still haven’t experienced the “real” LA, but damn. I thought Chicago was annoying.

We flew out to LAX last Tuesday and drove our “happy to be out of the Midwest” selves down to Irvine to meet with a new customer. Everything went well, traffic at 11am was pretty nice, and Irvine’s roads are definitely superior. We met who we needed to meet and then went back to the hotel for the night.

Now. After being up since 1:00am PST just to make the flight out in time to have a productive day, all we wanted was some good seafood. Specifically swordfish, the “white steak” of the sea, and Fat Tire, the beer of beers. We hopped into the rental car after settling into the hotel and headed over to Newport Beach on “confused in it’s own direction” Highway 55.

Supposedly there’s this place called The Cannery that has what we’re looking for– A good restaurant with swordfish.

Of course, unbeknownst to us, an address may have been helpful before leaving. This place isn’t exactly visible from the main strip. But the internet at the hotel was slow, I got annoyed before I finished looking up directions, and we decided to just take off.

After driving around the not so large, but at times confusing, city of Newport Beach for an hour and a half, stopping at a liquor store to make sure our Fat Tire reserve was stocked, we finally found the place we were looking for. Impressed with the way they managed to stay so nicely tucked away from normal view, we were ecstatic that the swordfish would soon be in front of us.

Brilliantly enough, we go up to the front door only to find out that they closed at 9:00…. It was 9:05.


We wallowed in our misery for about 30 seconds, kicking at the street and yelling obscenities regarding the well timed bad luck we had run into. Suddenly, after glancing around in the hope of seeing something else that looked as good, we spotted a massive sign across the harbor sporting a picture of a swordfish.

The Blue Water Grill
SWEET. We hopped back in the car and fumbled our way through the side streets over to the quickly deemed “Mecca of Swordfish“.

9:25pm – Park the car, get out, start wandering towards the door.

All of a sudden, a waitress with a frantic look plastered to her face runs by screaming:

We’re closed! Didn’t you know about the tsunami warning at 10? You should leave!

Hmmm… well. No, actually nobody had informed us of this great impending danger we seemed to have driven ourselves into. Is that why traffic heading out of town was so bad this early at night? Wait a second, this is Southern California, not Tsunami land… Are the locals screwing with us, trying to keep the swordfish to themselves?

Slightly disgruntled, we got back in the car. The growing anticipation of a massive wave rolling us over and back out to see started to seep into our minds.

Tsunami? How the HELL is there going to be a Tsunami? All we want is swordfish. F*** a bunch of Tsunami!

Immediately, we were on the phone. Anybody back home with Google access should be able to confirm this catastrophe, right?


According to our always awake boss, has no warnings and lists tomorrow as 74 degrees and sunny. Nothing about a Tsunami warning at all.

We call the customer that we had met just hours before, no answer.

Ok, maybe doesn’t know about this “tsunami” yet, and we should get the hell out of dodge anyway. Sounds easy enough, right?

Ha, wrong again.

Somehow, a couple hasty turns later, I had managed to lose us in a residential area. Water and boats to the left, water and boats to the right. Exactly where I want to be when a tsunami comes roaring through… Wonderful.


Still in previously mentioned residential area. We can’t find a way out and by this point are thinking crazy thoughts….

How bad could a Tsunami be anyway. I bet we could run fast enough and hide somewhere before it got really bad. Maybe we should stick around and see what happens.

Ha, the brilliance that enters the minds of two guys who don’t want to admit that they’re lost.


Finally, we find our way back to Highway 55, now known as Parking Lot 55. The trip that took us only 10 minutes from the hotel now seemed as if it was going to take days. Screw the highway, we’ll find our way back on the side street. So we did, and finally got back in the hotel area around 10:30 or so, still searching for the ever present final goal. We had our Fat Tire, all we needed was the swordfish to go with it…

Jack in the Box, Long John Silvers, Jack in the Box, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, 7-11… the places raced by as we drove down the road, searching for some ounce of seafood that may still be open.

Fine, screw the swordfish, we’ll deal with the Long John Silvers. It’s still technically seafood right?

Right, but…. by the time we retraced our steps yet again, Long John Silvers was closed. Bastards.

And sure enough, we had to settle for KFC. We hung our heads and took our variety bucket and Fat Tire back to the hotel room, sulking in our defeat. I got onto the slow internet again and was actually able to find this storied tsunami warning… which had actually been issued, and had actually been canceled almost immediately. People in Northern California had reason to be worried, but not us. Just plenty of excuses to close down the seafood restaurants so that the eager tourists could not complete their mission.

Damn. At least we had Fat Tire….

As a side note, we ate lunch the next day at the Yard House in Irvine and the swordfish was wonderful.

Lesson Learned: If you want swordfish really bad, don’t go to the place where you are most likely going to find it. Especially after an earthquake 1000 miles away. The locals do get scared.

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