Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

Thirty guests for the holiday feast this year! We host our large annual gathering of family, friends and friends of friends. Visitors to our home included folks from faraway places: Finland, France, Scotland, the Czech Republic and West Hollywood.

You can compare this year to last year’s pics (in the previous Blog post), it was another very good year for food. I am truly thankful for this bountiful feast and the family and friends I shared it with. I am truly thankful for many things, including you reading this blog!

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – A Dozen Beautiful Roses! “There’s gonna be a party tonight!”

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Thanksgiving dinner,
Our annual food orgy,
A friendly feast!

Preparations begin early in the week and continue all the way until the meal is served. The party was called for 4:00pm pst on Thursday and we always allow time for our guests to arrive before the dining commences.

The turkeys are thawed and prepared the night before. This year we had two 18 pound organic turkeys, seasoned with a herb & butter rub under the skin. One bird cooks at our house and the other at my sister’s kitchen. She also makes the garlic mashed potato, chocolate bread pudding and fudge. This year her vegetarian friend was visiting so they made the summer squash as well.

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Turkey #1 BEFORE

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Turkey #1 AFTER

Thanksgiving 2015 Dinner Menu:
Two 18 pound organic turkeys, gravy, two kinds of stuffing, garlic mashed potato, corn pudding, yam puree, asparagus, creamed spinach, mixed grilled vegetables, summer squash, fruit compote, cranberry sauce and cornbread muffins.

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving Feast 2015!

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Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving Feast 2015!

And there was some wine and other beverages:

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Wine and Finnish chocolate brought by our guests from Finland

Thanksgiving 2015 Dessert Menu:
Pumpkin, pecan and apricot pies (we also had an apple but didn’t bake it); chocolate chip cookies, 2 kinds of fudge, blondies, chocolate bread pudding & fresh whipped cream, Czech cake with marzipan, a chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream (someone brought a flourless chocolate cake but we didn’t even put it out) and Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake!

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – the Dessert Table is waiting!

I did a little baking the night before as I mentioned in the previous Blog post:

Thanksgiving 2015 - Baking (the night before)

Thanksgiving 2015 – Baking cornbread muffins & Grandma’s cherry cheesecake (the night before)

2 Dozen Cornbread Muffins and 1 Dozen Mini Cornbread Muffins:

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – A Bowl Full of Cornbread Muffins!

And this year, by request, I baked my Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake:

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake!

It was a great meal! And complete dessert overkill as usual. I had a full plate of tasty food for dinner and then only had a small piece of cheesecake and a couple pieces of fudge for dessert. And a good time and meal was had by all.

We have the whole process down and this year we used plastic (for dinner) and paper (for dessert) plates, so there was less to clean up and we saved some water in exchange for creating some additional trash.

I finished eating, helped with the clearing and clean up, watched the end of the Bears-Packers game and fell asleep. When I woke up, most of the final cleaning was done, the guests were gone and the tables and chairs were put away. So, BIG THANKS go out to my Step-Brother for helping out while I was napping!

It was an okay day for football. Detroit beat Philadelphia and Carolina beat Dallas, but Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers couldn’t finish and lost to Chicago, so I went 2 out of 3 on my picks. Bad news for Cowboy fans because Quarterback Tony Romo was seriously injured in the game and is out for the rest of the season. Sorry Bob.

Thanksgiving 2015 - Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Thanksgiving 2015 – Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Okay, we have “to go” boxes for our guests to take home leftovers from the feast if they are so inclined. I had cranberries with my brunch leftovers, but there wasn’t enough left for dinner the next day… we also sent most of the desserts home with our guests too.

Day After Leftovers for Brunch: turkey, stuffing, garlic mashed potato, cranberry sauce, gravy and cornbread muffins. (repeated for dinner without the cranberry)

Thanksgiving 2015 - Leftovers for Brunch the morning after!

Thanksgiving 2015 – Leftovers for Brunch the morning after!

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All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” to view previous Blogs:
Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake Recipe – Read the Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1SV
Read last year’s Thanksgiving 2014 Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1mW

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Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Pretty flowers on the dining tables too.

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Happy Thanksgiving, Let’s Feast! What’s on the menu?

Happy Thanksgiving, Let’s Feast! What’s on the menu?

WISHING YOU AND YOURS A VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING! CELEBRATE GRATITUDE!

It’s that time again. It’s TurkeyTime! This year we’re having 30 people for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner feast and then I’m invited to another smaller dinner party after that. It’s a fine time to be a foodie.

Pictures and the menu from last year’s feast: (see more in the previous Blog, link below)

Thanksgiving dinner menu: Roast turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce, garlic mashed potato, corn pudding, candied yams, carrot & yam puree, 2 kinds of stuffing, asparagus, brussel sprouts, creamed spinach and home baked challah bread. Red wine, white wine, coke, cherry coke and coffee to drink.

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving Dessert menu: Apple-Pecan torte, Lemon cheesecake, Chocolate-mocha Parisian cake from Bea’s, Pumpkin cheesecake, 2 kinds of cookies, 2 kinds of fudge, and my sister’s Chocolate-Cherry bread pudding served with fresh made whipped cream.

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

That’s our traditional menu, give or take a dish or dessert or two. I’ll be making Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake and (maybe) cornbread muffins this year:

Grandma's Cherry Cheesecake!

Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake!

Grandma's Cherry Cheesecake ingredients!

Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake ingredients!

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” to view previous Blogs:
Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake Recipe – Read the Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1SV
Read last year’s Thanksgiving 2014 Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1mW

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p.s. I’m picking Detroit, Carolina and Green Bay to win. Have a great day!



 

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San!

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San in Encino!

Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, so let’s have some sushi!

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – Sushi Bar!

On The Menu: Yellowtail slam (yellowtail & avocado over spicy tuna) cut roll, tempura vegetables, shrimp doubleshot roll, California roll with real crab, spicy tuna roll, “rock-n-roll” scallop cut roll and an iced green tea.

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – Tempura Vegetables

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – California roll w/real crab and spicy tuna cut roll

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San- Shrimp doubleshot roll and avocado cut roll

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – “rock-n-roll” scallop cut roll and hand roll

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – Yellowtail slam (yellowtail & avocado over spicy tuna)

We’ve been here before, and it’s always good fresh food. It wasn’t busy when we arrived, but by the time we finished it was. We enjoyed our dinner and I left the restaurant happy.

I’m going to post a complaint about the service tonight: We sat at a table, not at the sushi bar, and halfway through the meal our server told us she was going on break without really having someone pickup our table. We had to flag down other restaurant staff to get drink refills, tempura sauce and the check. And we still left her a nice tip.

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San – the sign changes colors!

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

Cho Cho San – Ventura Blvd (at Balboa Blvd) in Encino

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Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino

UPDATE! Thursday 10 March 2016:

We had a Wednesday night Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino:

ON THE MENU: Salmon and albacore nigiri sushi, spicy tuna cut roll, spicy yellowtail cut roll, California cut roll, cucumber salad and a large hot sake

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Large Hot Sake at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant

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Nigiri Sushi and Cut Rolls at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant

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California and Spicy Tuna Cut Rolls at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant

Everything was pretty good. I was hungry and made quick work of the sushi and cut rolls. The service was much better this time. And the large hot sake really helped a lot today. #winewednesday

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UPDATED Friday, January 15, 2017:
Good Shabbos y’all! So, the puppies had their “lady parts” surgery on Tuesday and we’ve been babysitting them during the recovery. One of the pups had a bad reaction and is kinda freaked out, so we’ve been really stressed trying to keep her calm and not catatonic…

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Puppies Resting Comfortably After “Lady Parts” Surgery

Well, we had luke warm Indian food last night and didn’t really eat anything today, so we went out a little before 11pm to Cho Cho San, the sushi place down the street that’s open until midnight. They told me I had to get my order in by 11:10, so I did and then I ate at the sushi bar, paid and came home. The pups are resting comfortably and I’m full and happy.

On the menu: Shrimp&vegetable tempura, Firefly roll (spicy tuna inside, albacore on top with ancho paper and chili oil), Baked Scallop California roll with eel sauce, a large hot sake and an iced green tea. Happy weekend!

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Dinner at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood

Dinner at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood – Open 24 Hours!

Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Friday night and seeking comfort food, we decided to eat at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood. For many, many years it was Sitton’s Family Restaurant, but now it’s got a new name and it’s nicer. It has retained that familiar “old timey” ambience but it’s been cleaned up and refurbished nicely.

Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Dinner at the NoHo Diner

On the Menu: we both started with a Heineken served with a frosted glass, and then ordered the fried chicken dinner served with soup or salad, choice of potato and mixed vegetables. I chose fries and a green salad with ranch dressing on the side, my friend had a baked potato and salad.

Dinner at the NoHo Diner - Heineken in a frosted glass

Dinner at the NoHo Diner – Heineken beer in a frosted glass

Dinner at the NoHo Diner - green salad w/ranch dressing & crackers

Dinner at the NoHo Diner – green salad: iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing & crackers

Dinner at the NoHo Diner - Fried Chicken

Dinner at the NoHo Diner – Fried Chicken with fries & mixed vegetables

It’s still a family restaurant. The food is solid American cuisine, “stick to your ribs”, comfort food. It’s good, but definitely not gourmet, and a good value for the money. They also have great lunch and dinner specials before 8pm and on the board every night. We were there at 9pm on Friday, the place was pretty empty and the specials were the rotisserie chicken and fish chips dinner for $7.75. The service was good, our server was friendly and attentive, and the food was tasty and filling.

Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Dinner at the NoHo Diner – Open 24 Hours!

NoHo Diner – Magnolia (at Tujunga) in North Hollywood – Open 24 Hours!

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Terror in Paris!

Terror in Paris!

I haven’t posted since the attack. There’s been too much coverage. And I haven’t been attentive to other postings because I’ve been overwhelmed by our crazy world this week.

Vive La France! - French Flag

Vive La France! – French Flag

The horror! The shock! Terror in the civilized western world with many dead. This has even greater impact when you have immediate family visiting the city and in the vicinity of the attacks. Thankfully they are safe and now back in the USA.

fb post from my Mother in Paris, France the day after:
“Thanks to all who wrote. Lew and I are shaken but safe. We can’t wait to leave Paris and be home. We are sick about the terror and loss of innocent life, the grief so close and overwhelming.”

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel ToweI

I watched as the reports of the attacks came in and followed the news into the night. There was a short time between the news of the attacks and the text message from my mother telling me they were shaken but unharmed. They were in their hotel room when they heard news of the attacks. Their hotel was about 10 minutes from the Bataclan and they had been near the restaurant that was bombed earlier.

They were at the end of their trip and spent the next day in a locked down Paris before facing the crowds at Charles de Gaulle airport and returning to the USA.

It’s been 24 hours of terror everyday since on the news. Details and updates and raids on terrorists. Female suicide bomber, France bombs ISIS, Russia bombs ISIS, yeah that “mastermind” blew up real good and they identified him by the stains on the wall, the US bombs ISIS and they got Jihadi John with a drone strike, and the Republicans want to stop the United States from taking in Syrian refugees, and the French like to sing Le Marseilles, and the Syrian passport was forged, and Iraq told the French about the attack before it happened, and there were bombings in Lebanon and Kenya, and Anonymous declares cyber war on ISIS, and there was a video threatening New York, and a police dog was killed, and there are many tributes and memorials, and people changed their facebook profile pic and there were hashtags…. and everyone is afraid.

I’m going to post the blog at this point. Sat, Nov 21 at 6pm pst. Just saw a news item on a twitter page created by Mashable “En Memoir” to honor the victims of the Paris attacks.

Eiffel tower fireworks on July 14th Bastille Day

Eiffel tower fireworks on July 14th Bastille Day

Justice for the Victims! Never Forget! Peace & Love!

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Veteran’s Day 2015 – Thank you for your service!

Veteran’s Day 2015 – Thank you for your service!

The Flag of the United States of America

The Flag of the United States of America

Army – Navy – Air Force – Marines – Coast Guard

Veteran's Day 2015 Flyover (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Veteran’s Day 2015 Flyover – San Fernando Valley, CA  (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

 

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Wine Wednesday – Bella Fiore Caprettone 2014

Wine Wednesday – Bella Fiore Caprettone 2014

A Fine Wine! Bella Fiore Winery’s Bella Esprit label – Award Winning Caprettone 2014

Bella Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery – Bella Esprit Caprettone 2014 (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

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Dio de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) 2015

Dio de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) 2015

Dio de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) 2015

Dio de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) 2015

Janeen Bevan RIP

Janeen RIP 2015

“Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd 1975

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

Flores por Los Muertos! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Flores por Los Muertos! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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