Sunday, November 23, 2008

South Bay Saturday

Yesterday was an abnormal Saturday in that Costco was not the first stop of the morning. Instead, we headed down to Gardena to attend a seminar held by Alan Kondo, an insurance rep / investment adviser. Somehow I got on his mailing list years ago and every month or so I receive an invitation to one of his financial planning seminars as well as a reprint of one of his Rafu Shimpo articles.

A couple of months ago one came on the subject of long term care insurance. Given the ordeal we recently went through with my parents, it seemed like a worthwhile topic to explore so I called to make a reservation.

The seminar was held in a small classroom at the Gardena civic center. Besides Julie and me, there were seven other people, along with Mr. Kondo and his assistant, Akemi.

He spoke for about an hour and provided us with a good bit of useful information. We also received a free copy of a book he had written, The Path to Antei, and a folder containing more information.

Naturally the objective was to sell us long term care policies or interest us in the other services he provides, but thankfully everything was kept very low key. No time share high pressure tactics here! He simply told us that he'd be happy to discuss things more fully at one of his offices, and that was that.

With the costs of care skyrocketing these days and our not getting any younger, we plan on contacting him to get more information. It was a worthwhile trip.

Something interesting he mentioned for those of us who may be thinking Social Security will help foot the bill: back in the 30's when it was created, the ratio of people paying into the system to people drawing money out of the system was 40:1. At that time, President Roosevelt felt that such a ratio assured a continual stream of money into social security. By the mid 90's that ratio had shrunk to 3.5:1 and by 2015, was it (or sometime in the future), the forecast is 1.8:1. If there are only 1.8 times as many people paying in as there are taking out, how can this system possibly be supported? And I thought Ponzi and pyramid schemes were illegal in this country.

Afterwards we headed over to Bruddah's for brunch. That was our first visit. I've read about the place on Chowhound and Yelp, many saying this was the most authentic Hawaiian place in town.

The two waitresses were very friendly and this is a very informal, down-home kind of place as you can see by the pictures. Quite a bit different from Bistro 39 last night!

Here's a picture of what I ordered: the Portugeuse sausage plate, with two scoops of rice and macaroni salad. Julie had Spam Musubi and macaroni salad but the picture didn't come out very good so I didn't upload it.

The food was good but nothing spectacular, although I don't know how spectacular the items we ordered could be. There's a lot of things on the menu and on the specials board, however, and the service was first rate. A place like this is wayyy better than the ubiquitous Hawaiian eateries, especially the chains, that have sprung up all over the place with the same boring, limited menus of mediocre food. I'd take Bruddah's any day over places like that, for sure.

And after Bruddahs, THEN the Saturday visit to Costco! Since we were out that way we went to the Torrance location. It was packed and we lucked out finding a parking space.

People who shop at the Torrance Costco are lucky. This one has a lot more things than the Alhambra or Azusa locations I usually frequent so it was like being a kid in a candy store wandering around seeing things here that I don't usually see in a Costco.

The two "new" items today are things that they do carry in Azusa, though. First are baguettes. The La Brea Bakery bread is so yummy. They didn't have the usual rolls so I got these instead.

Next is Chicken Cordon Bleu. It looks good on the package so we'll see how it is on the tastebuds.

Before heading back home, I filled up the tank. $1.849 per gallon today - amazing! I said gas would never go below $3.00/gallon again, and after it did I said never below $2.00. Well, maybe I should say never below $1.00 as a test. It was nice to have a gasoline bill for less than $20 for a change.

Then later on I discovered that Bruddah's actually has a 2nd location in the SGV. They've made some concessions decor-wise and food-wise, however, as you can see from the picture of this 2nd location below:

Hey wait a minute.. didn't you say yesterday this was the secret room in back of Bistro 39??? haha..

Anyway.. it was worth attending that seminar this morning. Retirement planning and long term care is something we all eventually need to think about, sooner than later.

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