GOOD EATIN’ in The SFV! Valley Restaurant Grindage!

GOOD EATIN’ in The SFV!
Valley Restaurant Grindage!

NOTE: Here’s another Draft that’s been sitting for a long time. It’s a FOOD BLOG POST!
Some good restaurants in the San Fernando Valley. LINKS at the bottom of the page.

FOODIES take note!
We’ve been eating really good in the neighborhood!

The beautiful San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California, that is….

It was International Week “ON THE MENU” for the last couple months:

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Dinner at CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) in Tarzana

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Dinner at Lum Ka Naad Thai Restaurant in Encino

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and Dessert at Sweet Lady Jane Bakery in Encino on Saturday

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Sunday Dinner! All You Can Eat at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ in Van Nuys

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NOTE: After Sunday’s AYCE dinner, Monday was a light “Meatless” dinner at home.

Taco Tuesday at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

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Taco Tuesday at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

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The Bar at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

Wednesday night Sushi at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino

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Sushi at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino

Pastrami Sandwich “To Go” from Cricca’s Italian Deli in Woodland Hills
(on the way, going through Topanga Canyon to PCH and Malibu Beach)

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Lunch “To Go” from Cricca’s Italian Deli in Woodland Hills

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Pastrami Sandwich from Cricca’s Italian Deli on Malibu Beach

And check out these past blogs from February 2016 as well:

Drinks and Appetizers at the Cheesecake Factory‘s Bar at the Sherman Oaks Galleria

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Drinks & Appetizers at the Cheesecake Factory Bar in Sherman Oaks

Venti Mocha Frappuchino at Starbuck’s in the Sherman Oaks Galleria

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen

Saturday Night! Mexican food, Blues music and BBQ in Pasadena, California
La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant & Blues & BBQ at Big Mama’s Rib Shack

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Dinner at La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in Pasadena

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Dinner at Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena

NOTE: Yes, I know Pasadena is the San Gabriel Valley, not the San Fernando Valley, but both restaurants definitely deserve a mention here in this Foodie Blog.

Sushi at Okumura in Encino

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Sushi Time at Okumura!

Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo (North Hollywood)

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Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo

Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino

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Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino

And a few other San Fernando Valley restaurants from 2015:

Dinner at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood

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Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Thai Food Birthday Dinner Party at Sri Siam Cafe in North Hollywood

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Birthday Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

 

VEGAS BABY! VEGAS!
Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino
at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas!

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

NOTE: Yes, I know Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas isn’t in the San Fernando Valley, but it was a really great meal and definitely deserves a mention in this Foodie Blog.

Dinner at Sushi 2u in Encino (OUT OF BUSINESS)
Read our Blog> Sushi Ganzo (OUT OF BUSINESS)

This was in the space that used to be Sushi Hirosuke for years.
The Space is now occupied by CRAVIN’S.

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Sushi 2 U in Encino

 

All photos copyright 2015 & 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Tuesday Night Dinner at Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana, https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/tuesday-night-dinner-at-fabrocinis-italian-kitchen-in-tarzana-ca/

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San http://wp.me/p3dhVM-20S

Sushi Time at Okumura http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1Xm

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1Pp

Dinner at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood http://wp.me/p3dhVM-20z

Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino http://wp.me/p3dhVM-31l

Dinner at Taj Mahal Cuisine of India in Encino  http://wp.me/p3dhVM-13W

Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo http://wp.me/p3dhVM-2Vc 

Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino http://wp.me/p3dhVM-31l

Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino!
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/fat-sals-is-open-in-encino/

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Party at the Culver Hotel in Culver City

Graduation and Dinner Party at the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Sunday night!

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The Culver Hotel in Culver City, California

A beautiful Sunday evening in Los Angeles and an invitation to a Graduation and Dinner Party at the historic Culver Hotel in Culver City, California.

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The Culver Hotel and The Lion’s Fountain in Culver City

The party was called for 6pm, so we left the San Fernando Valley a little after 5 o’clock, and drove the 405 freeway to the Venice Blvd exit and into Culver City. We decided not to valet park or park in the public parking structures, so we drove around for a little while and finally nabbed street parking at a metered space. The meters don’t run on Sunday, so we took a short walk and arrived at our destination right on time.

The 405 Freeway south (through a dirty windshield):

Downtown Culver City (founded 1917)

The intersection of Washington Blvd and Culver Blvd in downtown Culver City.

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View of Washington Blvd & Culver Blvd in Culver City from Harry Culver’s Office

Parking Sucks! There is metered street parking and there are public parking structures in Downtown Culver City (first hour free, then $1.00 every 30 minutes) in case you don’t want to valet park. However, you don’t have to pay to park at the meters on Sunday, so if you can find a space on the street, you’re golden. Be sure to check the signs carefully, because there are many restrictions and some other strange valet parking rules.

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Walk With Me: Sunday Evening in Downtown Culver City!

 

The Historic Culver Hotel 1924 Six Story Flatiron Brick Building

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The Culver Hotel in Culver City, California

National Registry of Historic Places 1997

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The Culver Hotel in Culver City, California

 

 

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Built by Harry Culver, the founder of Culver City. Originally named the Hotel Hunt and later known as the Culver City Hotel. Culver had offices on the second floor of the hotel.

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Harry Culver’s Office (Then)

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Harry Culver’s Office (Now)

Culver City became a movie-making mecca in the 1920s and was the home of MGM Studios. Many legendary Hollywood stars maintained private residences and cast members from classic films like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz  (including the 124 actors who played the Munchkins) were guests of the hotel.

The hotel was later owned by Charlie Chaplin. Legend has it Chaplin lost the property in a poker game to John Wayne, who owned the hotel for several years and eventually donated it to the YMCA.  The property fell into disrepair, was boarded up for a time and almost demolished in the 1980s.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had a Presidential campaign office in the hotel in 1952.

The Culver Hotel was restored and reopened by Lou Catlett in the mid 90’s and was then purchased by Abraham Hu who ran it for several years until 2007, when he sold it to the Mallick family. Since 2007, the entire plumbing and electrical systems have been upgraded and the guestrooms and the public spaces have been redone, all 140 handmade windows in the guest rooms have been replaced while maintaining the property’s history and architectural integrity.

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ICP Graduation 2016 and Dinner Party on the 2nd Floor

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Diplomas were awarded and Speeches were made before Dinner

6pm Reception, Cocktail Hour & Hors d’oeuvres
7pm Welcome, Introduction, Graduation Speaker & Graduation
8pm Dinner & 9pm Dessert (with a brief award presentation in between)

On The Menu: Tray passed appetizers: mac’n’cheese, tuna poke with wasabi cream cheese and bruschetta with cream cheese & tomato; red wine, Buffet: chicken, salmon, pasta in red sauce, roasted cauliflower/broccolini/root vegetables and a coke; Dessert: mini cannoli and macaroons….didn’t stay for coffee.

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Party at the Culver Hotel in Culver City

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The Ground Floor Lobby and Bar are used for special events. There was a wedding in progress and we took a couple pictures on our way out.

Culver Hotel9400 Culver Blvd Culver City, CA 90232

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Wine Wednesday! The Aftermath!

Wine Wednesday! The Aftermath!

Wine and cheese party in Ashland Oregon: South Stage Cellars petite syrah, Chateau Lorane sauvignon blanc, Grizzly Peak tempranillo, a Margerum M5 and more.

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The Aftermath! Wine and Cheese Party in Ashland Oregon!

There was cheese and plenty of other appetizers too.
It was a lovely evening with friends and family!

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Say Cheeeeese! Rogue Creamery in Central Point Oregon

Dinner at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ in Van Nuys

Sunday Dinner at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ Restaurant in Van Nuys, California

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AYCE stands for ALL YOU CAN EAT!

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Dinner at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ Restaurant in Van Nuys

Literally, a HOLE IN THE WALL in Van Nuys, California! I was invited to dinner and just went along for the ride. And it was a fun ride! We arrived at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ a little after 5pm and it was already crowded.

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As you enter the restaurant, there is an undecorated waiting area between the front door and the dining room proper. There are two benches, some beer signs and two pinball machines in the enclosed “waiting room”.

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Then as you pass through the second set of doors you enter a large dining room. The host desk is just inside. There are booths along the two side walls and long tables in the center. Even with the industrial fans overhead, the room was thick with smoke from the grills. We were told there was a 20 minute wait, so we decided to hang out, and then they seated us at the center of a long table after only 5 minutes.

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AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ Restaurant in Van Nuys – Booth or Table?

There was a salad, dishes with an assortment of appetizers and sauces placed on the table and waiting for us when we sat down. They took our drink order and left us to look at the menu (a single sheet in a plastic standee and a beer & wine list):

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AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ – On the Menu: ALL YOU CAN EAT!

On the Menu: All you can eat! Green salad, alfafa sprout appetizers, glass noodles, dumpling soup, beef bulgogi, spicy pork, beef kalbi, garlic beef, apple pork, pork ribs, lemon pepper chicken, steamed rice and a coke.

And then they give you a small frozen yogurt too…so full.

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Green Salad, Appetizers and Sauces

 

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Dumpling Soup, Steamed Rice and a Plate of Cooked Meat

 

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Glass Noodles (Mung Bean) with Vegetables

 

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Marinated Spicy Pork and Beef Bulgogi waiting to be cooked

I took some good pictures, but then the food started coming fast and furious! So, I had to focus on the food cooking on the grill while trying to eat the food on my plate, while having a conversation with my dinner companion, so the picture taking stopped.

NOTE: The dining room is very loud. There were a lot of people, they were playing music, the fans were relatively quiet but still noisy and there was a lot of action and food service happening. I wouldn’t recommend coming here for a quiet romantic dinner. This is a place that’s all about the food and the food is good. Everything else is “NO FRILLS” so don’t expect much more than a constant stream of raw marinated meats ready for grilling.

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“You cook it yourself!” Beef Kalbi Cooking on the Grill

We tried a lot of different meats and our favorites were the beef bulgogi, beef kalbi and the spicy pork, although everything we ate was pretty darn good.

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Spicy Pork and Pork Ribs Cooking on the Grill

 

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Steamed Rice, Alfalfa Sprout Appetizer and 3 Kinds of Meat

Too Much Food! Meat Coma… so full!

Well, we went for it! And it was a good dinner. The service was good, the food was good and certainly plentiful, and we enjoyed our dining experience very much. I would definitely go back again.

The All You Can Eat Dinner is priced at $22.95 per person after 3pm (NOTE: “If any member of a party is ordering AYCE, all members must also order AYCE”) and it’s worth it if you’re hungry and want a lot of meat. I’m pretty sure we both got our money’s worth! They also have beer, wine and sake, as well as a selection of other beverages. They have Lunch for $17.95 and there’s also an express lunch priced at $12.95 served between 11am – 3pm.

AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ7128 Van Nuys blvd Van Nuys, CA 818-465-3050 http://www.aycegogi.com

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen

Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen

Wednesday night in the San Fernando Valley, let’s go out to eat!

We were going to go to CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) in Tarzana, but there were a bunch of people waiting in the small reception area when we arrived. The confused looking hostess told us there were six parties in front of us and there would be a 35 minute wait to be seated, even though we could see more than ten empty tables on one side of the restaurant through the floor to ceiling glass windows that line the front.

After considering our options, we decided to go to Frankie’s Italian Kitchen a few blocks away on Reseda boulevard.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen on Reseda Blvd in Tarzana

Frankie’s has been in the same location since 1993, and I have fond memories of meeting my Grandmother (of blessed memory) here for their “early-bird” special. I hadn’t been back in long time. They renovated and upgraded the decor, and enlarged the front patio, but they still serve the same Italian classics, and they still have an “early-bird” special menu before 6pm Monday-Thursday.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – open prep area, cashier & host desk

It’s not a big space, but not small either. There’s an open prep area behind the cashier and host desk as you enter and the dining room to the left. They have regulars and there are groups that meet here for both lunch and dinner, and even when it’s crowded, it’s not loud. Dine indoors or al fresco on the patio which is inside the Gelson’s parking lot and not actually on Reseda Blvd., so there’s a lot less traffic going by.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Dining Room

The menu is classic Italian fare. Pizza, pasta, chops, and even a selection of veal dishes. Normally I would have had fried calamari and lasagna, but instead opted for a pasta entree with a side salad. We didn’t order any appetizers, drinks or wine and instead drank ice water. Yes, I know, but we’re trying to save money and calories this month.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Dinner Menu

On the Menu: buttered garlic rolls, caesar side salad and chicken fettucine alfredo. We also ordered a broccoli fusilli pasta (it was split and a 1/2 order is pictured below).

And for dessert they were all out of tiramisu….

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Buttered Garlic Rolls

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Caesar Side Salad

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – 1/2 Order of Broccoli Fusilli Pasta 

The food is very good. Italian classics done right! The fresh baked rolls are served hot and covered in butter and garlic. So good, I requested a second basket. The chicken fettucine alfredo and broccoli fusilli pasta dishes were delicious. I’ve had the lasagna and can definitely recommend it.  And as I mentioned, they were out of tiramisu! It’s real good stuff, and they must have had an “early bird” rush, but an Italian restaurant should never run out of tiramisu! Very disappointed, but I left the restaurant very full and happy with some leftover rolls and pasta for the next day.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – 5538 Reseda Blvd. Tarzana, CA 91356 (818) 705-1295
and 267 N. Pass Ave. Burbank, CA 91505 (818) 567-2288  www.frankiesonline.com
Hours: Mon – Thurs 11am – 9:30pm Fri – Sat 11am – 10pm Sun 4pm – 9pm

 

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Tuesday Afternoon at the Woodland Hills Country Club

Tuesday Afternoon at the Woodland Hills Country Club:

Another Day, Another Golf Course!

The Woodland Hills Country Club

The Woodland Hills Country Club  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Celebrity Cruises (and Air New Zealand) threw us a party tonight at the Woodland Hills Country Club. Wine and other beverages to drink, tray passed appetizers to eat, and a presentation on Modern Luxury.

Tuesday Afternoon at the Woodland Hills Country Club (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tuesday at the Woodland Hills Country Club (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tray passed appetizers: Crab cake balls, vegetable quesadilla cones, beef wellington puffs, tomato and cheese on mini-bruschetta toast, and chicken potstickers. I didn’t drink the wine because I have to work tonight, just alternated between the iced tea and lemonade.

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23-MAY-13: Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I went to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful.  It was fun.  The office is just a short drive down Ventura Boulevard.  And the restaurant is on Cahuenga Blvd West across the street from Universal Studios, Citywalk, and the 101 Freeway.

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I checked in and was given a drink ticket which I quickly exchanged for a Moonlight Madness (Apple Pie “Moonshine” corn liquor, vodka, ginger ale, granny smith apple garnish) served in a small mason jar.  There were tray passed appetizers: Olive, sundried tomato, basil and mozzarella skewers; Buffalo-ranch cocktail shrimp with toothpicks; and marinated and grilled meatballs with toothpicks which were delicious.

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer at Spoonful (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There was a pretty good turnout, everybody was very social, and I met lots of new people.  It’s also great to put a face to the name on those emails you’ve been getting….

I want to come back and try a bunch of things on the menu.  Thumbs up for Spoonful!

Spoonful3413 Cahuenga Blvd West, L.A., CA  90068   http://www.spoonfulrestaurant.com 

UPDATE: Spoonful has CLOSED PERMANENTLY.

Another victim of the Cahuenga Curve!

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