Chocolate Eclairs & Cream Puffs recipe

Chocolate Eclairs and Cream Puffs

Here’s a great recipe that I found online:

eclair

Makes about 12 small eclairs or about 18 cream puffs

Dough
6 tbsp (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¾ cup water
¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs

Cream
4 large egg yolks
⅓ cup sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
One pinch kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 ½ cup heavy cream, divided
½ tsp almond extract
2 tbsp (¼ stick) unsalted butter

NOTE: ice cream, custard or chocolate mousse can be substituted for cream filling

Glaze
¾ cup heavy cream
½ tsp kosher salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1½ cups)
Toasted sliced almonds for topping

NOTE: Almonds are optional or top with any crushed nuts, sprinkles or other decorations

Instructions
1. Prepare dough: bring the butter, sugar, salt, and water to a simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon to encourage the butter to melt. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the flour, stirring constantly, until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring the dough occasionally. (You don’t want the eggs to scramble in the next step.)

2. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously between each addition with a wooden spoon. The dough will break apart and slide around in the pot before it comes back together. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pipe the dough into 3-inch lengths about 3 inches apart. (For cream puffs, drop the dough in 2-tablespoon scoops about 3 inches apart on the prepared sheets. )With damp fingertip, flatten any points. Preheat to 450°F and bake until deep golden brown and puffed, rotating the sheets halfway through, 22 to
 26 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

4. Prepare the cream: stir together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl.

5. In medium saucepan, bring the milk and 1 cup of the heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. Add a little bit of the warm milk mixture to the yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Repeat this process a few times until all of the milk mixture has been incorporated into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the pan.

6. Cook at medium-low heat, stirring constantly and making sure to get the edges, until the mixture begins to thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. (It’s helpful to have both a spatula and a whisk handy while making the custard. Switch between the two.) Let it come up to a very slow boil and cook for 1 minute more. Strain the custard through the sieve into a clean bowl, and stir in the butter and the almond extract. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream and refrigerate until cooled completely.

7. Prepare the glaze: bring the cream and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and salt. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute and then whisk to make a smooth sauce.

8. Whip remaining ½ cup cream to soft peaks. Whisk the cooled almond cream to loosen it, then fold in the whipped cream. Transfer the cream to a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip. Slice the top third off of each éclair and fill with cream. Dip the top of the top half in the glaze and replace it. (For cream puffs, insert the tip of the pastry bag into the bottom of each puff and fill. Dip the filled puffs in the glaze.) Top with almonds to serve.

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

 

Advertisements

Joy Flavor Summer Brunch at Madera Kitchen in Hollywood

Joy Flavor Summer Brunch

I got invited to a “Tasting Party” at Madera Kitchen in Hollywood!

Thursday, noon, Hollywood, Cahuenga & Franklin, street parking!

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen on Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LARGER PHOTOS

They offered hosted valet, which is always great, but I found a spot on Franklin and walked half a block to the restaurant. The party was called for noon, so I arrived at noon.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – pretty flower centerpieces on the tables

They weren’t quite ready at noon, and I discovered it was also a tasting party for Joy Flavor, a flavored vaping oil company. The patio was set for a lot of people and they were setting up the vape table, with hand held vape pens filled with Joy Flavor oils.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – setting up the umbrella on the patio

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Patio dining with a few other “on time” guests.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Patio

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor vaping oil tasting table

It was warm and humid on the patio (because the enclosure has no breeze or air flow and the sunroof is transparent), so I went inside and sat at the bar where it was cooler. They gave me 2 drink tickets, which I redeemed for Toast vodka & pineapple juice cocktails made by Tiffany, the beautiful and friendly bartender. I asked her if she wanted to make small talk and she said yes. We talked about where she was from, Arizona, her music, Urban Pop, China, her cute dogs, her tattoos and the two featured drinks they were offering at the brunch while I was waiting for the food.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Tiffany tending the Bar inside

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen – Toast vodka and pineapple juice cocktail

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – the Bar inside

They were offering these featured drinks. Tiffany gave me a taste of the Blue Coup, which was too sweet for me, and then we discussed the pros and cons of lavender in a cocktail. (Tastes like the way my Grandma used to smell…I am not a fan of lavender in my drink)

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – featured drinks for the event

They have an interesting drink menu and a selection of wines by the glass and beer on tap in addition to their full bar. I originally wanted a Bloody Mary to drink, but there wasn’t any mix on Thursday although they have them for brunch on the weekend. I was also disappointed that they don’t have Stolichnaya vodka.

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LARGER PHOTOS

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Drinks, Wines and Beer menu

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Try the wine.

The interior is an open “L” shaped space with simple decor. the bar runs the length of the long wall and the dining/seating area is furnished with booth seating and movable tables and chairs.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen

Because this is Los Angeles, when you call an event for noon, most people show up at 1:30 or later. So there was a long time waiting before the food was served and it wasn’t very crowded for the first hour and a half. They served the dishes “family style”, and I shared the food plates with one other person.

On the Menu:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Blueberry pancakes with orange curd, berries and whipped cream fraiche:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Crepes a la Carbonara with applewood smoked bacon, crepe linguini, cream, topped with egg yolk and pecorino:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Endive Salad with arugula, candied pistachios, blood orange, buttermilk and blue cheese

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Cinnamon Donuts on a bed of marscapone and mixed berry sauce:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

The food was good. I enjoyed the pancakes, pasta and donuts very much. I’m not a big fan of arugula or blue cheese, so the salad not so much. But it was a nice salad if you like the ingredients and my new dining friend said that it was good.

When I received the invite, I thought it was a promotional event for the restaurant. Surprise! Turns out it was also a promotional event for JOY FLAVOR! Flavored vaping oils in many different fun flavors!

Now the disclaimer: I don’t vape. I’m fine with you vaping if you want to. I’m fine with you vaping flavored oils with or without tobacco. I hate cigarettes! I hate cigarette smoke! Vaping is “reasonable” alternative to cigarettes, if you think so.

So, Joy Flavor set up a vaping oil tasting table, with vaporizers filled with the different flavors that had removable plastic “nipples” for each taster. However, it appeared to be a communal sharing event with the vape pens being handled and sampled by a lot of people. I decided not to partake in the vaping, but I did take pictures.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor assortment of flavored gaping oils

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy flavor tasting table with vaping pens, “nipples” and promo swag

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor vaping oil tasting table

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor vaping oil tasting table

And they were nice and gave everyone a gift bag! There were three little bottles of Joy Flavor flavored vaping oil, 2 promo swag key rings and a promo t-shirt in the promo bag.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor gift bag

It was a nice lunch. A couple free drinks. I met some nice people and was introduced to Madera Kitchen, Joy Flavor and the PR Company that produced the event. I had a good time and it was a pleasant way to spend a Thursday afternoon.

NOTE: I want to go back and try their regular dinner menu.

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LARGER PHOTOS

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

It’s National Scotch Day! Have a drink.

Today is National Scotch Day! Have a drink.

National Scotch Day! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

National Scotch Day! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

From Wikipedia: Scotch whiskey, often simply called Scotch, is malt whiskey or grain whiskey made in Scotland. Scotch whiskey must be made in a manner specified by law.

All Scotch whiskey was originally made from malted barley. Commercial distilleries began introducing whiskey made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century. Scotch whiskey is divided into five distinct categories: single malt Scotch whiskey, single grain Scotch whiskey, blended malt Scotch whiskey (formerly called “vatted malt” or “pure malt”), blended grain Scotch whiskey, and blended Scotch whiskey.

All Scotch whiskey must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years and one day. Any age statement on a bottle of Scotch whiskey, expressed in numerical form, must reflect the age of the youngest whisky used to produce that product. A whiskey with an age statement is known as guaranteed-age whiskey.

As of 23 November 2009, the Scotch Whiskey Regulations 2009 (SWR) define and regulate the production, labelling, packaging as well as the advertising of Scotch whiskey in the United Kingdom. They replace previous regulations that focused solely on production. International trade agreements have the effect of making some provisions of the SWR apply in various other countries as well as in the UK. The SWR define “Scotch whiskey” as whiskey that is:

  • Produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may be added) all of which have been:
    • Processed at that distillery into a mash
    • Converted at that distillery to a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems
    • Fermented at that distillery only by adding yeast
    • Distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 94.8% (190 US proof)
  • Wholly matured in an excise warehouse in Scotland in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres (185 US gal; 154 imp gal) for at least three years
  • Retaining the colour, aroma, and taste of the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production and maturation
  • Containing no added substances, other than water and plain (E150A) caramel colouring
  • Comprising a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40% (80 US proof)
National Scotch Day! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

National Scotch Day! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Make mine a single malt neat. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Make mine a single malt neat. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE: http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

Bunnahabhain - Islay Single Malt Scotch aged 12 years

Bunnahabhain – Islay Single Malt Scotch aged 12 years

Travel Answers: San Francisco! Yosemite!

Travel Answers for San Francisco and Yosemite:

Q: What’s a great day trip from SF that’s not wine country?

A: Great Day Trip from San Francisco?

Drive south on beautiful Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. Stop along the way in Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Davenport and/or at Ano Nuevo State Reserve and see the Elephant Seals.

Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Pacific Ocean from Highway 1 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Visit the beach and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, shop the Pacific Garden Mall, and check out the University of California, Santa Cruz (arboretum, performances, museums & special collections at the McHenry Library). Tour the campus, there are great views of Monterey Bay, art installations and walking paths/roads through the meadows, pastures and redwood forest on the hill (just stop and get a visitor pass at the main gate).

There are plentiful beaches, galleries, shops, restaurants, bars, wineries, clubs and other performance venues in Santa Cruz and in the nearby communities of Capitola, Aptos, Felton & Bonny Doon.

Check out the world famous Mystery Spot and Lighthouse Field State Beach! The Evergreen Cemetery est. ~1885 is one of the oldest in the bay area and state and it’s now a tourist attraction.

Return to San Francisco via Highways 17 (880) to San Jose and the 280 or 101 freeways back to the city sometime after sunset.


 

San Francisco from the Bay Bridge (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco from the Bay Bridge (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Best 3-day weekend trip from San Francisco? Looking for something outdoorsy that would be a good use of weekend summer trip. Ideally somewhere warm enough for sun, swimming & shorts. Probably for a small group (either 2 or 4 ppl).

A: 3-Day Trip from San Francisco? People have already recommended Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey and Santa Cruz to the south. Marin, Napa, Vallejo, Mendocino, and Lake Tahoe to the north. So how about going east to Yosemite National Park? Yosemite, Merced, Mariposa are all within driving distance and only a few hours away. Just make sure to make a reservation! http://www.nps.gov

Half Dome - Yosemite, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Half Dome – Yosemite, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)


Q: Best airport to fly into for a week at Yosemite?

I’m planning a fall trip to Yosemite and trying to figure out which airport to fly into: Sacramento, Fresno, San Fran? I’m coming from New York so I have some airline options. I’m most concerned about which airport will have sufficient car rental options and flights at all hours.

A: If you’re flying in from NYC, you’re going to have to land in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland or Los Angeles. Each has it positives and negatives, so base your decision on the cost of airfare and then determine the best mode of transport from your destination city.

Rent a car (get unlimited mileage plus insurance) or take Amtrak (train and bus combo) from Los Angeles or San Francisco/Oakland. The bus will take you right into Yosemite National Park and drop you at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls and it’s both less expensive and cleaner than driving! www.amtrak.com/san-joaquin-train

The drive from Los Angeles is about 6 hours, and you’ll travel the 5 freeway to interstate 99 through Bakersfield, Fresno and the Central Valley to interstate 41 into Yosemite.

The drive from the Bay Area is about 4 and 1/2 hours (could be longer with traffic) on highway 580 through San Leandro and Livermore to highway 205 through Manteca to interstate 120 into Yosemite.

NOTE: If you’re driving in the Sierra Mountains in the Fall, be prepared for rain and snow at higher elevations, some roads may require tire chains (sometimes a problem with a rental vehicle).

There are also tour companies that have chartered buses that will take you into the park, or backpack/bus adventure travel companies like Green Tortoise from San Francisco that include more than just transport: www.greentortoise.com/adventures/yosemite-national-park-tour-3d.php

NOTE: If you’re going to take a chartered bus, make sure the company is CA state licensed and check their safety and consumer record before buying a ticket!

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)


Q: Most impressive staircases you’ve ever seen?

I recently saw some of the craziest staircases in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Where else in the world has cool, winding, or even weird staircases? Want to plan some trips to see them..pictures would be awesome, thanks!

A: In Yosemite Valley there is a stairway to the top of Vernal Nevada Falls that was carved out of the granite rock. You can start at the bottom of Vernal Falls and climb 2000 feet to the top of Nevada Falls and the rim of the valley.

“Climb along nature’s giant staircase, where you are rewarded with close-up views of two waterfalls and numerous geologic features (depending on how far you choose to hike)…Prepare for slippery footing and a tremendous amount of waterfall spray in spring and early summer (hence the name for this trail!).”

Follow the Mist Trail 0.5 miles up a steep granite stairway of over 600 steps! Continue on to the top of Half Dome if you have a permit (and “weather permitting”).


Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Where was your favorite backpacking destination? Out of all the places in the world, where was your favorite backpacking destination and why?

A: My favorite backpacking destination: Tiltill Valley above Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in northern Yosemite National Park. Picture a valley just like Yosemite except there are no other people, no cars, no shuttle buses, no buildings… just an amazing wilderness all to yourself. It’s a long day hike uphill to reach the Tiltill Valley, but it’s worth the trip!

The trailhead begins at the Hetch Hetchy parking area, and it’s a rugged uphill trek past the reservoir and into the backcountry (be sure to get your permits at the ranger station and be aware you are in “BEAR COUNTRY” – problem bears are relocated to this area of the park).

p.s. I don’t recommend backpacking solo, you should always have at least one travel buddy when you are in the backcountry!


Yosemite in Winter (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite in Winter (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: How many days would I need to explore most of what Yosemite has to offer? I’m planning on going there some day and I would like to know how much days would I need to explore most of what the National Park has to offer! Thanks.

A: How many days in Yosemite National Park? It depends on how much of the park you want to explore. If you just want to see Yosemite Valley, you should allow at least three days. You should add more days if you want to really see everything! It also depends on how active a hiker you are because there are great things to do and day trips with varying degrees of difficulty you can experience. Ride the Shuttlebus and walk the valley, tour the valley in an open air tram, hike to Mirror Lake, picnic at Yosemite Beach, hike to the top of the waterfalls or around the rim of the valley, climb to the top of Half Dome or El Capitan. Visit Yosemite Village and the Ansel Adams Gallery and be sure to check out the The Ahwahnee Hotel.

Accommodations in the park range from tent and camp sites, RV sites, covered campsites, tent cabins, and hotel rooms. You need to make reservations for any of the concession vendors a long time in advance at nps.gov and there are lots of rules and regulations you need to be aware of before and during your visit.

REMEMBER YOU ARE IN BEAR COUNTRY!

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

There are other areas to see within the park or just outside: Tuolumne Meadows, Mariposa Grove and the Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees, Wawona Point (and historic hotel), skiing at Yosemite’s Badger Pass in winter), Bass Lake, Oakhurst, and many others. You should allow 1-3 days or more for each area depending on how active a hiker/camper/skier/snowboarder you are.

If you want to experience the backcountry as a backpacker/camper you should plan 3-14 day trips. there are great areas in and around the park. I’ve been to the Tiltill Valley above Hetch Hetchy Loop and down the South Fork Merced River in the Sierra National Forest, both of which were excellent backpacking trips! Be sure to learn the necessary skills and the park rules and regulations before entering the wilderness.

You are also close to Lee Vining, Mammoth Mountain and Mono Lake State Preserve which are near the east entrance to the park.

See also John Muir Trail and the Yosemite Park website nps.gov for more info.


 

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: You have a day to explore Yosemite. What do you HAVE to see?

I love everything about being outdoors, especially around water. I like hiking, but I don’t get too extreme. Viewpoints that are hidden/will make me never want to leave would be loved.

A: What to see in Yosemite Valley? Everything!

Ride the Shuttlebus, walk the valley paths and bridges, raft or inner tube down the river, tour the valley in an open air tram, hike to Mirror Lake, Picnic at Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, hike to the top of any of the waterfalls or around the rim of the valley or to the top of Half Dome, climb El Capitan. Visit Yosemite Villageand see the Visitor Center and the Ansel Adams Gallery, shop at Curry Village and be sure to check out the Ahwahnee Hotel. See my other answers for more.


Wawona Hotel - Yosemite (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Wawona Hotel – Yosemite (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Places to stay in Yosemite? If anyone is familiar with places to stay IN the Yosemite Park… I am trying to decide between a few places… Curry Village, Yosemite at the Falls & Wawona Hotel. From what I gather there aren’t bathrooms in Wawona Hotel (not so thrilled with that idea). Any advice, please on these 3 places?

A: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is the best place to stay, unless you can afford the Ahwahnee Hotel. It’s centrally located in Yosemite Valley near Yosemite Falls and a couple shuttle stops (almost walking distance) from Yosemite Village. The accommodations are “motel quality” but nice enough considering you won’t want to be inside very much.

Curry Village is near Half Dome, and on the shuttle route. The accommodations are mostly tent cabins with shared facilities and some full cabins with private facilities.

Both Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village have a “cafeteria” style restaurant, a “hamburger stand”, a bar/restaurant and mini-market/gift shops. Yosemite Lodge also has a nice sit-down upscale restaurant.

The Wawona Hotel sits up on the rim of the valley about a 45 minute drive from the valley floor and the village. It’s a very nice historic hotel, but not really convenient if you want to be in the valley. There are cabins with private facilities and they are very nice if you don’t mind walking outdoors to get to the main building (more of a problem in winter). Wawona is great if you want to ski at Badger Pass Ski Area, visit Glacier Point or the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwoods.

There are Ranger led nature talks available and other entertainment at all three locations. Yosemite Village has a market, a Visitor’s Center with an Indian Village and interpretive programs, the Ansel Adams Gallery, the post office and more restaurants and gift shops.

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

Yosemite Falls - Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Yosemite Falls – Yosemite Valley, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)





 

 

Dinner at Sushi 2 U in Encino

Dinner at Sushi 2 U in Encino

There’s a new sushi restaurant in town and we decided to try it out. Sushi 2 U has “soft-opened” in the space formerly occupied by Sushi Hirosuke in the Plaza de Oro shopping center on Ventura Blvd in Encino. Welcome to the neighborhood and good luck!

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

RIGHT CLICK and OPEN IN NEW WINDOW to view larger photo!

The DISCLAIMER on the window (enter at your own risk):

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The space has been renovated and remodeled. The sushi bar is smaller and more central, the prep area and kitchen are “hidden”, the booths have been removed and there are many flat-screen televisions in the dining room. They also have the ability to play music (which was kind of a problem at the previous incarnation in this space).

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dining Room – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

New Sushi Bar (and prep area) – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi time! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Old Sushi Hirosuke sushi bar & grill

ON THE MENU: Encino roll (spicy tuna, salmon and crab with avocado), Sushi2u roll (shrimp, soft-shell crab and salmon), California roll, spicy tuna hand roll, edamame, yellowtail/spanish mackerel/albacore sushi and a coke.

NOTE: We wanted to order a small hot sake, but they didn’t have their liquor license yet.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Edamame – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The Encino and Sushi2U special cut rolls were both very good!

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Encino Roll & sushi – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

11754403_1183648554995042_5729445580847678933_o

Sushi 2 U Roll – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The spicy tuna was spice just right with chili oil.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy Tuna Hand Roll – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Imitation crab (as noted in the disclaimer) California rolls:

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

California Rolls – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

It was only their fourth day being open for business, so they were still working out the dinner procedures and routines. Also, it seemed the one waiter was still being trained so service was a little staggered. Everything was fine and we got everything we ordered or asked for, but it was because we asked him or the owner/managers for something.

They have a big menu of sushi, rolls, grilled items and drinks. We ate pretty tame stuff. There’s a lot of different things to choose from and the orders are large.

The space is very nice and there was a steady stream of customers while we were there. There are six other sushi restaurants (Okumura, Gyoro Gyoro, Yamato, Midori, Cho Cho San and Sushi Stop within 3 blocks on either side, and many more in the nearby vicinity (4to6, Katsu-ya, Crazy Tokyo, Octopus, and Sushi Iké) so we’ll see if they can compete.

They were very nice, the food was good, the price was very reasonable and I enjoyed my dinner. I might wait until they get the service routine worked out and their liquor license before going back, but I’m sure I’ll be back again soon.

RIGHT CLICK and OPEN IN NEW WINDOW to view larger photo!

NOTE: The entrance “lobby” and bar upstairs on Ventura isn’t finished yet. It looks like it will be a nice space for waiting/drinking when it’s finished.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: The second time we ate there it was not good and we never went back.

Sushi 2 U – CLOSED in early 2016! Sushi Ganzo has opened in the same space.
READ THE BLOG “Sushi Ganzo and Donutella” > http://wp.me/p3dhVM-54p

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

See Southern Oregon! (btw Sacramento CA & Bend OR)

Travel Answers about Southern Oregon!

Visit our Ashland, Oregon facebook page: www.facebook.com/theatreinashland

Q: What is a must see between Sacramento, CA and Bend, OR?

My husband and I will be driving from Sacramento, CA, to Bend, OR, in early August, what are some must sees along the way?  I just discovered the Mt Shasta Lavender Farm will be closed for the season August 4 the day we will be doing our drive north.

A: Must see between Sacramento, CA and Bend, OR?

Food, Wine & Theatre in Ashland Oregon with JoshWillTravel

Food, Wine & Theatre in Ashland Oregon with JoshWillTravel

Ashland in Southern Oregon is just across the California border on the 5 freeway.

Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University, the city is a great place to stop and stay overnight or for a few days.

The OSF theatre season runs February to November, and there are free Green Shows during the summer. There are several other theaters in town and nearby, and the university has a full schedule of music, dance and drama programs as well. The Britt Festival Pavilion hosts great concerts and the Oang Medford Armory always has events scheduled.

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park was just voted one of the best parks in the United States, and is right off downtown. There’s hiking, biking, sports, a playground, a lake for swimming, ice skating in winter and bandshell concerts in summer.

There are lots of really great restaurants in Ashland! Beasy’s On The Creek, Peerless Hotel & Restaurant, and Amuse to name just three of the best. Other food places of note are Callahan’s Lodge and Restaurant, New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro outside Ashland, Puck’s Doughnuts and Noble Coffee in town.

The historic Ashland Springs Hotel with Lark’s Restaurant is located on Main Street and the Lithia Springs Resort is just north of town. Both are good choices if you’re staying overnight, and there are many other hotels, motels, B&Bs, and other accommodations available in Ashland or any of the neighboring towns.

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There are great wineries that offer tastings throughout the Rogue, Applegate, Umpqua and Willamette Valleys like Weisinger’s Winery, RoxyAnn Winery and Grizzly Peak Winery, named for the mountain and there’s great hiking at Grizzly Peak Trail and Mt. Ashland Ski Resort.

Visit historic Jacksonville (Oregon) and drive by Medford, but be sure stop in Central Point at Lillie Belle Farms Artisan Chocolatesand the Rogue Creamery cheese shop before continuing north.

Visit our facebook page “Food, Wine and Theatre in Ashland, Oregon with JoshWillTravel” for more info: www.facebook.com/theatreinashland


Q: “Can’t miss” in Oregon Wine Country? Where’s best base? Best time to go?

We’re planning a trip to explore the best of Oregon’s wine country and would appreciate any insider suggestions as to when is the least expensive and least crowded time to go, where to stay to maximize the experience and what we should be sure to do!

It will be my boyfriend and I, less expensive is ideal, I prefer white wines but know this is red wine country!  Want to do as little driving as possible but understand that wineries are spread out….

Are there any festivals or events we should check out?

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

A: Oregon Wine Country!

Visit the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon.Stay in Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Visit historic Jacksonville, home of the Britt Festivals and Medford, home of the Harry & David Country Village.

There are lots of great wineries: Grizzly Peak Winery, RoxyAnn Winery, Weisinger’s Winery, Trium Wine, EdenVale Winery and many others. You’re also just south of the Applegate, Umpqua and Willamette Valley wineries, so there are great day trips available.

There are also many great restaurants, places to shop, tourist activities and nice places to stay in addition to the wine and theatre available in Ashland. Please see my other answers for more details!

There’s skiing at Mt. Ashland Ski Resort if there’s snow.

Another great day trip is north 2-1/2 hours to Crater Lake National Park


Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon

Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon

Q: Place to stay w/ Kids at Crater Lake?

Driving up to Crater Lake this summer w/ 3 kids in tow. Would love a recommendation for a place to stay for 2 nights as close as possible to the lake.

Place to stay w/ Kids at Crater Lake National Park?

A: The best place to stay inside the park is the historic Crater Lake Lodge inside the park on the rim of the lake. Spend the extra money and get a room with a view if available!

From the nps.gov website: http://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/hours.htm

Crater Lake Lodge has 71 rooms and is normally open mid May through mid October (2014 Operating Season is May 16 – October 12, 2013). Advance reservations are strongly recommended and can be made on-line or by calling (888) 774-2728 

Cabins At Mazama has 40 units and is located in the Mazama Village complex. It is open late May through early October (2014 Operating Season is May 23 – October 5, 2014). Reservations are recommended. (888) 774-2728

RESERVATIONS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!

Accommodations for spring and summer book early and sell out fast! Check the nps.gov website for info.

There are additional places to stay (motels and cabins for rent) and activities (rafting, fishing, horseback riding, and more) available outside the park near Lost Creek Lake, Prospect, Fort Klamath, along the Rogue River and Highway 62 down the mountain.

 

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

 

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

Opening Day & Dedication Ceremony! July 17, 1955

Opening Day & Dedication Ceremony! July 17, 1955

First time at Disneyland! In the Dome of the Monorail with cousin Danny 1970

First time at Disneyland! In the Dome of the Monorail with cousin Danny 1970

Vintage Disneyland! Vacationland Summer '77   magazine - COVER

Vintage Disneyland! Vacationland Summer ’77 magazine – COVER

Mark Twain's Steamboat - Disneyland, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Mark Twain’s Steamboat 1994 – Disneyland, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Tom Sawyer's Island 1994 b&w (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Tom Sawyer’s Island 1994 b&w (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

 

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

 

Cocoa Brownies 2.0 – with optional Alice B. Toklas substitution

Cocoa Brownies 2.0

Chocolate Brownies!

Chocolate Brownies!

Ingredients:
4 large eggs
7 ounces granulated sugar
6 ounces light brown sugar
5 3/4 ounces natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Farenheit.
Prepare an 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil or non-stick spray. Trim a piece of parchment paper so that it fits just inside the baking dish with overhang on two sides and place it inside the pan.
Beat the eggs until fluffy and light yellow.
In a separate bowl, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, flour and salt. Mix slowly and introduce the sugar mixture. Follow with the melted butter and vanilla. Continue mixing until nice and smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the brownies for 15 minutes, then remove them from the oven for 15 minutes.
Put them back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then lift the brownie out using the parchment paper as a sling. Cut the brownies into 4 large pieces and move to a rack to cool completely.

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE: http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

I Love You Alice B. Toklas with Peter Sellers

“I Love You Alice B. Toklas” with Peter Sellers

OPTIONAL SUBSTITUTION TO MAKE ALICE B. TOKLAS BROWNIES:

Cannabutter

Recipe makes 1 pound

Ingredients: 

1 pound of unsalted butter
1 ounce of cannabis – good to excellent grade is recommended

large saucepan

cheesecloth
spoon
Tupperware container with a lid
rubber band that will fit around the Tupperware

Instructions: 

• Pour 2 inches of water into the saucepan and boil.

• Once boiling, add the butter into the saucepan, being careful that the butter does not burn. Once melted, turn the heat to low.

• Stir the cannabis into the butter, and simmer on low heat. Let simmer for at least 3 hours. The longer the simmer, the higher the potency. Make sure to stir often.
Strap 2 sheets of cheesecloth overtop the Tupperware bowl using the rubber band.

• Slowly pour the cannabis butter through the cheesecloth and into the Tupperware.

• Remove the cheesecloth, and ring-out any extra butter stuck in the cloth into the Tupperware.

Put the lid on the Tupperware and put it in the fridge until the water and butter separate. Carefully pour out the water—the remaining block is cannabutter.

Cannabutter, ready for cooking.

Cannabutter, ready for cooking.

View our previous Blog – Mrs. Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread: http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1DR

View our previous Blog – George Formby, “The Emperor of Lancashire”: http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1fb with a link to a clip of Peter Sellers playing the ukulele.

PLUTO! We Have Arrived!

PLUTO! We have arrived!

Today’s the day! 9 and a half years! NASA NewHorizons has made it to Pluto!

“Space, the final frontier!”

The dwarf planet Pluto is 3.26 billion miles away at the very edge of the solar system, and has never been seen in detail. After a nine-year journey, the New Horizons probe will pass closer to the surface than any other has ever before, passing within 7,767 miles of Pluto at 12.49pm UK time. (4:49am PST)

Moving faster than any spacecraft ever built at a speed of about 30,800 miles per hour, the nuclear-powered New Horizons, about the size of a baby grand piano, snapped pictures of Pluto as it hurtled by on auto-pilot. The photos will reveal details of Pluto never seen before in the history of space travel.

Pluto

Pluto

The closest pictures ever captured of dwarf planet Pluto will be beamed back to Earth today when US spacecraft New Horizons makes its historic fly-by. For much of the day, New Horizons will be out of communication with mission control as it gathers data about Pluto and its moons.

New Horizons' path past Pluto

New Horizons’ path past Pluto

The moment of closest approach will be marked during the live NASA TV broadcast that includes a countdown and discussion of what’s expected next as New Horizons makes its way past Pluto and potentially dangerous debris and into the Kuiper Belt and Deep Space.

NASA TV will share the suspenseful moments of this historic event with the public and museums around the world. The New Horizons spacecraft will send a preprogrammed signal after the closest approach. The mission team on Earth should receive the signal later in the day when New Horizons “phones home”.

Pluto with it's moon Charon

Pluto with it’s moon Charon

MORE FACTS:

Pluto sports a reddish-orange hue, while Charon is quite gray. At 750 miles (1,200 km) in diameter, Charon is about half as wide as Pluto.

Pluto has four other very small moons: Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx. Nix is about 20 miles (35 km) wide, while Hydra turns out to be approximately 30 miles (45 km) in diameter.

Pluto

Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons mission observations have already shown the dwarf planet’s surface is a complex blend of bright and dark features, and provided data measuring Pluto at 1,473 miles (2,370 kilometers) in diameter. Previous estimates had put its radius at 1,430 miles (2,301 km).

The feature previously thought to be a polar cap has been confirmed to consist of methane and nitrogen ice. The pole differs in composition from the dark features around the dwarf planet’s equator.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto on July 14, 2015, exactly 50 years after the first robotic visit to Mars. On July 14, 1965, NASA’s Mariner 4 probe flew by the Red Planet, the first spacecraft ever to capture up-close looks at another planet. (Mariner 2 gathered data but no images when it zoomed past Venus in December 1962.)

CGI rendering of New Horizons Pluto fly-by

CGI rendering of New Horizons Pluto fly-by 9.5 years & 3.26 BILLION miles in the making

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE: http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

And Pluto makes nine!

And Pluto makes nine!

Depression? Questions to Ask – Before Giving Up!

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn’t worth living.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away!

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.


Lake Tahoe Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWilTravel)

Lake Tahoe Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWilTravel)

Depression? Questions to Ask – Before Giving Up!

Are you hydrated? If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours? If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past day? If not, take a shower right now.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day? If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the energy for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please. If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day? Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day? If not, jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite tempo, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days? If not, do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets. Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days? If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand? That may be screwing with your head. Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

If daytime: are you dressed? If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep? Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed. If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Do you feel ineffective? Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip. Good job!

Do you feel unattractive? Take a goddamn selfie. Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll help fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision? Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day. If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable. Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you over-exerted yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually? That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you waited a week? Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week.

Symptoms of Depression:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness or unhappiness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Tiredness, fatigue and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but also overeating and increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away!

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon

Overlapping haikus (for a friend)

What the f*ck is up?
Your haiku is depressing.
Stop with the bullsh*t.
I hope you feel better now.
Don’t try suicide.
Why do you need a semi-colon?
You have survived.
You are loved by many.
Have a nice today.

13102622_10106329994761639_5034015322458189431_n

 

10303791_713515095365217_2266957191536499708_n

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE: http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

C'mon, this is funny!

C’mon, this is funny!