Dinner at The Stand in Encino, California

Dinner at The Stand in Encino, California

Thursday evening and it was decided that we would have dinner at The Stand on Ventura Boulevard (just west of Balboa) in Encino, in the beautiful San Fernando Valley, in city and county of Los Angeles, in the golden state of California.

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Dinner at The Stand in Encino, California

There’s a big lot with FREE parking, metered (8am-8pm Mon-Sat) street parking on Ventura Blvd and FREE street parking on the side streets.

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Dinner at The Stand in Encino, California

Enter through the gates and the outdoor patio and then enter the restaurant through the covered patio. You’ll be greeted by the large Menu Board on the wall and (usually) a line of people waiting to order at the registers.

TIP: Know your order! Decide before arriving at the register and know what you want.

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The Menu at The Stand in Encino, California

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Dinner at The Stand in Encino, California

Everything is cooked and made to order. Once you place your order and pay, they will give you a number for your table and then you’ll have to decide whether to sit inside or outside.

It was a beautiful evening outside, but because it wasn’t crowded we chose to sit inside. They have nice outdoor seating, covered and uncovered, but you’re still Ventura Blvd adjacent and it can be noisy and/or crowded at lunch and during “rush hour” dinner time.

Burgers, Hotdogs, Sandwiches and Salads are the choices at The Stand. With lots of options, extras and side orders available. Burgers start at $7.50, hotdogs are ~$4, sandwiches and salads, desserts (good cobbler & ice cream) and drinks. They serve fountain beverages, bottled sodas and water, coffee, tea, Beer, Wine, milkshakes and floats!

On The Menu: Cheeseburger, onion rings, sweet potato fries and a chocolate milkshake with whipped cream. Our party also ordered a Polish Dog and a Grilled Chicken Salad.

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Cheeseburger, onion rings, sweet potato fries & a chocolate milkshake w/whipped cream

We chose a table inside the small dining room and waited for the food to be delivered. After a brief waiting period and some nice conversation, our dinner arrived and we ate our food.

We read another review while we were composing this Blog that called it a “BlandBurger” and that about describes it. Too much bun. Not enough seasoning on the meat patty, and it just wasn’t cooked right. We used Bbq sauce and mustard and it was still pretty tasteless. The onion rings and sweet potato fries were great and the chocolate milkshake was perfect, but  we wouldn’t order the cheeseburger again and it was a real disappointment. The Polish dog and the grilled chicken salad both looked good and got good reviews.

The Stand17000 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316
818-788-2700 www.thestandlink.com
Open Daily:  Serving Lunch & Dinner 11am-9pm

and 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, CA 90067 310-785-0400
and 5780 Canoga Ave, Woodland Hills, CA 91367 818-710-0400
and 19600 Plummer St, Northridge, CA 91324 818-709-3820

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Dogs are allowed on the outdoor patio!

 

Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

Our first night in Ashland, we had the fine idea to drive up to Medford (only about 20 minutes north on the 5 freeway) to the Texas Roadhouse BBQ for a big dinner.

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Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

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Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

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Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

The first thing you’ll notice about the Texas Roadhouse BBQ is the decor. Lots of wood, brick, neon beer signs, farm and western chotckes, and more wood.

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“New Country Rock” on the Jukebox at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ

The second thing you’ll notice is the noise… it’s very loud inside! The place is always busy and full of people. The hard wood surfaces and concrete floor amplify the noise and they play LOUD “New Country” music throughout the restaurant.

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Shelled Peanuts at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

On The Menu: BBQ baby back pork ribs, bone-in ribeye steak with fries, side of chili, dinner salad, bread & butter, salted shelled peanuts and a coke.

 

The food was good. The steak was done right. They boil their ribs and they boiled these a long time. If you like boiled BBQ ribs you’ll probably like theirs. The portions are large, there are lots of side items to choose from, and it’s good “country music” time. If you don’t like loud country music, best to find another restaurant. It’s a good concept and the waitstaff will keep on dancing for your enjoyment!

Texas Roadhouse BBQMedford, OR

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Moosehead mounted over the front doors…

Wednesday Night Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

Wednesday Night Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

We went to my favorite sushi place: Sushi Ichiban Kan

Sushi Time!

Our friend Master Sushi Chef Hiro-san previously owned Sushi Hirosuke in Encino and Kabuki Sushi in Northridge, and now he operates Sushi Ichiban Kan, located on Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills (actually it’s in Tarzana between Corbin and Winnetka).

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

The dining room is large, spacious and warm. The sushi bar has about 14 seats. There is a waiting area/lobby by the front door and host desk. Street parking (metered 8am-8pm) and free parking in a small lot off the alley in the rear is available.

Sushi Bar or Table? In addition to the regular menu, they have Monthly and Daily Specials, a Special Roll Menu and a Sushi Menu. They also do food “to go” and catering for parties.

Beer, wine and (hot & cold) sake are available with lunch or dinner.

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ON THE MENU: Spicy tuna & spicy yellowtail cut rolls, baked scallop California roll, yellowtail-albacore-freshwater eel sushi, an order of “volcano”, a nigiri (mixed) sushi plate: albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, octopus, shrimp, tomago (egg), California roll, tuna and cucumber cut rolls and a coke.

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Nigiri (mixed) sushi plate: albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, octopus, shrimp, tomago (egg), California roll, tuna and cucumber cut rolls

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

My opinion is that this is the best sushi place in the San Fernando Valley and one of the best in Los Angeles. Hiro-san is a Master Chef and he gets the choice fish at the market. Everything they serve is wonderful, flavorful and super-fresh! It’s a little more expensive than most of the sushi restaurants in the valley, but it’s less expensive than most of the Westside and Hollywood places, and better quality than almost all others.

Sushi Ichiban Kan19723 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364
818-883-8288 http://www.sushiichiban-kan.com

NOTE: There are previous Blogs about Sushi Ichiban Kan (with more pics)
SEARCH: Sushi Ichiban Kan (Search Box at the top of the page) ^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Sushi Ichiban Kan

 

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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MONDAY February 29, 2016 Leap Day!

Leap Day! MONDAY February 29, 2016 (published March 1st…)

Hey, it’s Leap Day. Tell facebook you’re excited about the extra day.

“It’s Leap Day. Real life is for March.”

A complete orbit of the earth around the sun takes exactly 365.2422 days, but the Gregorian calendar uses 365 days. Leap seconds (and thus leap years) are added to keep our clocks (and calendars) in sync with the Earth, its seasons and our calendar system.

NOTE: On February 29, 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American actor to win an Academy Award for her Best Supporting Actress role in “Gone with the Wind”.

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F*CK THE KKK! If you don’t condemn racism and hate, get off my Blog!

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F*CK YOU DONALD TRUMP! If you support Trump, you are a RACIST.

LIKE> Tell the USA to Dump Trump on facebook! (Unless you’re a racist)
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Did you watch the Academy Awards? #OscarsSoWhite or #OscarsSoWhat?
Did Chris Rock do a good job as host? Or did his lynching jokes go too far?
Who wore what? Who said what? Who won? Who lost? Who cares?

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Well? Chris Rock hosts #OscarsSoWhite

The rich and famous celebrating being rich and famous for our entertainment.

Having once been part of the “Hollywood Machine”, an entertainment industry professional and a talent representative, I had to care about the award ceremonies.
As an agent and manager for talent, I had to know everything about the industry:
read the Hollywood Reporter and Variety daily, scan all the entertainment news and websites online, follow the trade news and listen to the gossip just to stay current.

Watching the Oscars and the industry from the outside is a much healthier way of life! These awards don’t matter in the big picture. They are marketing and advertising wrapped up in a pretty package and spoonfed to the public by the media they own and control.
Minions and Toy Story (PIXAR) are ABC/Disney characters and were featured prominently in the Academy Awards telecast as presenters! The opulence, the extravagance, the parties, the black tie and designer gowns and jewelry, the “bling” and THE WASTE!

It’s good that it provides jobs and tax revenue for the city! There is definitely an economic impact from all that money spent. The film industry gets a big bump from the promotion and Pizza guys and Girl Scouts get a cash infusion thanks to the publicity.

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I’m LOVING the Periscope App! Last night I watched Elton John perform at the Oscar party in West Hollywood from the front row, then watched from the stage as Joe Satriani performed in concert at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, and watched my online friend LiterallyAnika riding in a Rolls Royce down “Sheik Street” in Downtown Dubai.

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Elton John perfoming LIVE at the Oscar Party in West Hollywood

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@ChickenfootJoe LIVE onstage at the Fox Theatre in Oakland

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@LiterallyAnika riding in a Rolls Royce in Downtown Dubai

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Last week I met an old friend who lives in New York for a drink at the Sherman Oaks Galleria in the beautiful San Fernando Valley. He had a meeting across the street so we met up at The Cheesecake Factory and went to the bar.

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Sunset at the fountain at the Sherman Oaks Galleria (Ventura & Sepulveda)

After a brief wait and a little maneuvering we got a couple seats at the bar, ordered a fried calamari appetizer and enjoyed an adult beverage and some food while catching up on the past in person.

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The Bar at the Cheesecake Factory at the Sherman Oaks Galleria

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Waving for a cocktail does work at the Cheesecake Factory Bar!

On the Menu: Stoli rocks with a splash of pineapple, my friend had a draft beer and a Manhattan straight up with Woodford Reserve, and we shared an order of fried calamari and the complimentary bread & butter.

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Stoli Rocks with a Splash of Pineapple Juice

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Fried Calamari

 

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The world famous Sherman Oaks Galleria in the beautiful San Fernando Valley

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NOTE: I periscoped the walk through the Galleria from the parking garage to the fountain at Ventura & Sepulveda and saved it to www.Katch.me/joshwilltravel

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And on the way out to the self-parking garage I stopped at the Starbuck’s in the courtyard and got a Venti Mocha Frappuchino with whipped cream to go.

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Venti Mocha Frappuchino – Starbuck’s Sherman Oaks Galleria

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Saturday Night! Mexican food, Blues music and BBQ in Pasadena, California

Saturday Night! Mexican food, Blues music and BBQ in Pasadena, California

So you’re probably wondering about the title….here’s the story:

We got invited to see and hear a blues band play in Pasadena on Saturday night at a place called Big Mama’s Rib Shack. I was not responsible for the planning or execution, once again I was a passenger along for the ride.

Someone may have told someone that the Rib Shack’s food wasn’t good, so the plan was to eat before the show and the decision was to go for Mexican food.

Two Tacos at La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant

Take the 101 freeway south to the 134 east past Glendale and into Pasadena. I wanted to take more pictures along the way, but “stupid” traffic had us running late to dinner. We finally arrived (only ten minutes late) at the restaurant and found a good parking spot on the street right out front.

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La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in South Pasadena

The restaurant is a relatively small place, with simple Mexican decor, and it quickly filled up with people once we were seated. We ordered drinks and then perused the menu.

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La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in South Pasadena

 

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La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in South Pasadena

 

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La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in South Pasadena

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

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It’s a standard Mexican restaurant menu with tacos, burritos, enchiladas and the usual appetizers and entrees. EXCEPT THE FOOD IS GREAT! IT’S REAL MEXICAN FOOD! 

On the Menu: 2 crispy tacos, one shredded beef and one chicken, two chicken enchiladas in mole sauce with rice & beans, chips & salsa and a margarita pre show!

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Margarita – with a lot of tequila!

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Two Crispy Tacos – One Chicken & One Beef with Chips & Salsa

Really good crispy tacos! Excellent Mole sauce! Gringo style Mexican food done right!

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Two Chicken Enchiladas with Mole Sauce and Rice & Beans

I was told that we would be eating at the show later, so I didn’t try a burrito, a combo or the Fiesta platter of appetizers…and I would happily go back. They also have an “All you can eat” Taco special that I would like to try.

We finished eating and then motored across Pasadena to Big Mama’s Rib Shack.

Blues & BBQ at Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena, California

Go north up Lake Avenue, past The Hat (really good pastrami sandwiches) and Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, and you’ll come to Big Mama’s BBQ Southern Country Rib Shack.

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Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena

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Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena – Southern Country BBQ

The building’s not much to look at and the interior design is “whacked”. There are white vinyl booths on one side, tables in the middle with both plastic and wood chairs, and a beer & wine bar in the corner of the dining room. there was an area cleared as a stage (but no stage) next to the bar and a small area for the band’s merchandise as well. They have Saturday night performances, but it’s not real design as a performance space at all.

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Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena

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Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena

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Heineken

Here’s the menu: pork, chicken, seafood or beef, beer, wine and soft drinks and a full list of classic BBQ sides. Tickets were $20 for the show and dinner was also required, so we ordered food, with the plan to take home a good portion for lunch on Sunday.

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What’s on the Menu at Big Mama’s Rib Shack?

On the Menu: BBQ Baby Back Ribs, mac’n’cheese, hush puppies, cornbread muffins, collared greens, yams & Heineken beer

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

BBq dinner

There were only two servers and a bartender covering the crowd, so we ordered before the first set and the food came during the performance before the intermission. And contrary to what we had been told, the food was good (not great, but good) country BBQ.

8:00pm – SHOWTIME!  John Németh and his blues band from Memphis, Tennessee

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John Németh from Memphis, Tennessee

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He Brought His Many Harps! (Blues Harmonicas)

I checked out the merchandise and the band’s setup before the show. I had never seen or heard the band before, but when I saw the collection of harps I knew it was going to be a good show. And I was not disappointed, the music was great!

John Németh and his blues band played two rockin’ sets of Chicago and Texas inspired music. He really is a master of the harp (blues harmonica) and his backing band was tight! The guitar, bass and drums were well rehearsed from playing gigs all over the country. At one point in the second set a guest bassist ( a former band member) stepped in for a few songs. I periscoped three of the songs and links to the live performance videos are located below.

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Rockin’ Blues on Periscope> view on YouTube

More Rockin’ Blues on Periscope> view on YouTube

Even more Rockin’ Blues on Periscope> view on YouTube

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The John Németh website> www.johnnemeth.com

John Németh’s Upcoming Gigs! Check them out if you can!

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La Fiesta Grande1107 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030 (I’m told the Colorado Blvd location is closed)

Big Mama’s Rib Shack1453 N. Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104 http://www.bigmamaspasadena.com

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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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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Monty Python’s “Spamalot” and “A Midsummer Night” at the Hollywood Bowl

Monty Python’s “Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Saturday night performance at the Hollywood Bowl on a beautiful, warm, summer night in August! And what a great show! The celebrity cast was awesome! It was so much fun!

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – A Beautiful and Warm Summer Night!

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Picnic on the bench:

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl – No ham, jam or spam. (there was bacon)

On the Menu: steak & bacon sandwich, potato chips, celery, carrots, cucumber, dill pickle, pineapple juice, Heineken, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

NOTE: Our bench seats were in section K2, which is high up and way off to one side. The wood benches are really uncomfortable, even with seat cushions. I prefer the Box Seats!

FINGER OF SHAME! This couple insisted on using bench space for their bag! And when asked if they would make more room, they refused and copped an attitude! This is a picture of their shame after being TOTAL A**HOLES in a fun place!

Look at their facial expression and body language!

FINGER OF SHAME

FINGER OF SHAME! – They know they’re being Total A**holes!

Well the show must go on! And the a*ssholes were ignored.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl - Sunset!

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – Sunset!

It was great from the opening national anthem, when the orchestra began with “Hail Brittania” before being interrupted and playing the Star Spangled Banner, to the “England” introduction by Eric Idle as The Historian, and the opening number celebrating Finland with the Fish Slapping Dance!

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

The Historian: “I SAID ENGLAND!”

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – “What happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot!”

Loosely based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail there were great bits from the film: “He must be a king”, debating the airspeed of the European swallow, taunting by the French, “large tracts of land” and storming the castle, the Trojan Rabbit, the Ballad of Sir Robin, the Knights who say Nee, Tim the Enchanter, the Vorpal Bunny and of course Camelot!

Warwick Davis gave a fantastic performance as Patsy, King Arthur’s squire complete with coconut shells and amazing facial expressions! He is such a gifted actor.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Tom Deckman was hilarious as Not Dead Fred, Prince Herbert and the French Guard. Merle Dandridge was dazzling as the Lady of the Lake and her musical numbers were mesmerizing!

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Kevin Chamberlin, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rick Holmes and Christian Slater were just terrific as Arthur’s Knights (and the many other minor roles they alternately played). And Craig Robinson was a very entertaining King Arthur, smiling and “tap dancing” his way through the whole thing.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – King Arthur & his Knights on a Quest for the Holy Grail

There were wonderfully entertaining musical numbers with inspired dance and fun choreography. And a number of jokes were tailored to the Hollywood Bowl audience including a jab at “overpriced dinner in the Pool Circle” and a little “Uptown Funk”.

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – “The Ballad of Sir Robin” on the big video screen

Wonderful performances by the entire cast! You could tell they were having a great time performing. I was really impressed by how great they all were!

And big kudos to the Hollywood Bowl for their live video on the big screens, as well as the costumes, sets, sound, lighting and projections which really make the musical productions special.

Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

The Grand Finale with the entire cast and chorus was an audience sing along to Eric Idle’s

“Always Look On The Bright Side of Life”

Some things in life are bad…They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle,
And this’ll help things turn out for the best……….
And, always look on the bright side of life…(Whistle)

Always look on the light side of life…(Whistle)

If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten!
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing!
When you’re feeling in the dumps don’t be silly chumps,
Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing.
And…always look on the bright side of life! (Whistle)

Come on. Always look on the right side of life! (Whistle)

For life is quite absurd and death’s the final word.
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin, give the audience a grin!
Enjoy it! It’s your last chance anyhow.

So always look on the bright side of death. (Whistle) 

Just before you draw your terminal breath. (Whistle)

Life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it.
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true.
You’ll see its all a show, keep ’em laughin’ as you go,
Just remember that the last laugh is on you!

And…Always look on the bright side of life…(Whistle) Always look on the right side of life…

I mean – what have you got to lose? You know, you come from nothin’.

You’re going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing.

Always look on the right side of life…

Nothing will come from nothing ya know what they say?
Cheer up ya old bugga c’mon give us a grin! There ya go, see!

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – Finale sing along “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life”

Everyone knows the words! Whistle and sing along! A good time was had by all! The full Blue Moon was shining brightly overhead as the large crowd exited the Bowl at 10:30pm. It was packed and we were on the far side, so I sat and waited for the audience to disperse a little and then cut through the seats directly to the exit. I went right when I should have gone left and ended up half-stepping down the hill with the crowd to the escalator and made it back to the car in about 15 minutes.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – Full Blue Moon over the departing audience

It was warm and humid all night, so by the time we got back to our parking space I was really looking forward to going home and taking a shower. (and yes, my shower was really refreshing later after midnight…)

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

They stacked parked the cars (unnecessarily) for this performance, so it required a little maneuvering to exit the lot. Traffic is always tough after a full house, but we were able to get back to the freeway and headed home in a reasonable amount of time without too much trouble. A wonderful evening, a nice picnic and a great show. Huzzah!


And the week before we went to

“A Midsummer Night” at the Hollywood Bowl

Tuesday night and we had great Box Seats with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra playing Mendelssohn on a warm summer night in July!

Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl – Midsummer Night’s Dream with Dudamel & the Los Angeles Philharmonic

Terrible traffic on the 101 freeway from the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood. The price of Parking at the Hollywood Bowl has increased $2 this year from $18 to $20 per car.

TIP: GO EARLY! Traffic is always unpredictable, but you can bet it will take at least 20 minutes to get past the light coming off the 101 freeway at Cahuenga and Highland. Provide extra travel time for walking uphill, bag check, ticket turn stalls, refreshments, restrooms and managing your picnic dinner.

NOTE: It is really bad form to arrive 5 minutes AFTER the performance begins and then start your meal! Finish eating before the Star Spangled Banner (snacks and beverages are acceptable during, but avoid any packaging that makes noise. Wait for intermission if you need to have that dessert! And please don’t set up your picnic blanket in front of the restrooms (seriously, they were sitting on the concrete in front of the restroom doors!).

Midsummer Night's Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night's Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Dinner in the Box Seats is great because they provide removable folding tables, trash service and if you choose, expensive catered food delivered directly to your Box.

We ordered from Amer’s Mediterranean restaurant in Encino and picked up our “to go” food on the way. They recently changed ownership again, and the menu changed too. We also packed in our own beverages (advisable at events when they’re permitted) and also brought dessert and ice. The only refreshments we bought were a couple bad cups of coffee at intermission.

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl - Middle Eastern food: the wrong order!

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl – Middle Eastern: the wrong order!

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl - Cheesecake for dessert!

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl – Cheesecake for dessert!

On the Menu: Middle eastern food, it was supposed to be an “Amer’s Special” shwarma meat with hummus, tabouli, rice, falafel and pita bread. They screwed up the order. I hate beets. They gave us a “mixed grill” with chicken and ground beef kebabs. And they forgot the rice and falafel. At least there was good cheesecake for dessert.

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Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

The first act was Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor with an exceptional performance by Gil Shaham on violin. The second act was “Midsummer Night’s Dream” accompanied by dramatic Shakespearean readings by Bryce Dallas Howard, and guest vocal performances by Deanna Breiwick and Jennifer Holloway with the Women of Los Angeles Master Chorale. It was beautiful.

Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

The lighting and inspired projections enhanced the wonderful musical performance. The first act was better than the second, and I thought it was a little weird to hear the wedding march played as a classical piece in concert. There was also a lot of noticeable cricket noise during the quiet parts of the show, which I found distracting during the second act.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show! What’s not to like about Tuesday night at the Bowl with Dudamel and the LA Phil? It was a real good time.

Our box was positioned close to the exit, so we were out of there fast. We quickly traveled the long walk to the car and made a fast getaway from the parking lot and onto the 101 freeway home.

The Hollywood Bowl is a great venue! And once you know the “procedure” and tricks to traffic, parking and picnicking it’s a very pleasant experience. I’m looking forward to seeing more shows at the Bowl this summer.

Hollywood Bowl - Parking Lot after the show

Hollywood Bowl – Parking Lot after the show

All Photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel (except the Cast Press Photos)

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Where is the Best Place to see 4th of July Fireworks in Los Angeles? 2015

Q: Where’s the Best Place to see Fourth of July Fireworks in Los Angeles?

A: Here’s my short list of Independence Day events for 2015:


Grand Park BLOCK PARTY!  July 4, 2015 >>> 3:00 pm – 9:30 pm

200 North Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90012

FREE!  www.grandparkla.org #GO4THDTLA

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

From the Grand Park website:

LOS ANGELES! Grand Park is the place to celebrate together with music, food, and an incredible fireworks display launched from the civic center skyline. Grab the best friends, the whole family, and main squeezes and enjoy a bit of togetherness under the beautiful Angeleno sky. **Safety for everyone is número uno. Please read all event info to know what to bring and what to leave at home:**

PICNIC and OUTSIDE FOOD is welcome. SIZE OF BAGS AND BACKPACKS/TOTES and COOLERS must be standard backpack size or smaller (16.75 inches x 13 inches x 8.5 inches). NO OUTSIDE BEVERAGES including juice and soda. ONLY EMPTY (non glass) WATER BOTTLES allowed. FREE WATER FILLING STATIONS will be available in the event space, provided by LADWP, in addition to several booths with water for sale. HANDHELD UMBRELLAS allowed, no tents, large umbrellas or anything that spikes into the ground

NOTE: This will be an alcohol-free event: no beer garden or point of purchase / no outside alcohol permitted in event space. All bags will be checked.

SCHEDULE: Doors open at 3pm for early birds (no prior admittance). Rooftop fireworks show at 9pm. Event ends at 9:30pm. 

FIREWORKS!  HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

FIREWORKS! HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

PLEASE LEAVE AT HOME: Grilling gear, alcohol, narcotics, fireworks, sparklers, candles, large coolers (handheld coolers OK but subject to search), lawn furniture including low folding chairs, tents, lawn umbrellas or sun umbrellas (handheld umbrellas OK) or anything that spikes into the ground or would obstruct views of stages.

THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES ARE PROHIBITED: Public Intoxication / Rollerblading / Skateboarding / Smoking / Vaping / Unauthorized Vending / Aggressive Solicitation / Staking Objects to Ground

Grand Park is an LA County park powered by The Music Center. 

http://grandparkla.org/event/4th-of-july-block-party/



The Rose Bowl Stadium and outside the Rose Bowl – Pay to see the 89th Annual “Americafest” show inside, pay for parking to see the fireworks show from the outside. It’s the biggest and longest running 4th of July party in the L.A. area.

Join in celebrating our nation’s independence with the 89th Annual Fourth of July Celebration at AMERICAFEST! The largest fireworks show in Southern California! 

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

2 PM: Festival begins outside the stadium (parking lots open at 9am)

There will be food vendors, entertainment, crafts, exhibits and inflatable rides for the kids outside the stadium starting at 2 pm and closing following the fireworks. Fanfest is located in Area H southeast of the Rose Bowl marquee sign.

Live Motorcycle Stunts by TNT Action Sports

Celebrating, “The 50th Anniversary of when Elvis Met the Beatles in Los Angeles”

9 PM: Fireworks Spectacular! produced by Pyrospectaculars by Souza

In celebration of the upcoming Universal Pictures “Minions” movie there will be a viewing of “Despicable Me 2” on the videoboard directly following the fireworks.

General Admission $13 Reserved Seating $25 TicketMaster 800-745-3000

General Admission children 5 years and under will be admitted free. Reserved Seating children 2 years and under require a ticket in these sections.

Day of event tickets will be available 10am– 9pm at the ticket booth at Gate B. Before 2pm guests may park in Lot B at no charge for 15 minutes to purchase tickets and leave or they can pay to park in any general parking lot and remain. After 2pm guests will be required to pay to park in general parking as directed to purchase tickets. After 2pm there are no in-and-out privileges.

Active military who present a valid Military ID will gain free admittance (up to 4 per family). Tickets can be obtained from the ticket booth at Gate B beginning at 3pm on July 4th only. Veterans who present a valid Military ID will gain free admittance (1 ticket only). Tickets can be obtained from the ticket booth at Gate B beginning at 3pm on July 4th only.

Parking is $25 per car payable at the parking lots. Advanced parking for $20 per car will be available at the Rose Bowl Will Call Booth by Gate B beginning Sunday, June 28; hours-10am to 5pm; everyday through July 3.

Parking lots will open to the general public starting at 9am on July 4. Guests will be directed to the closest available lot.

For your safety and the enjoyment of all, we ask that you please help by observing the tailgating guidelines. (READ THE RULES!)

Pasadena Police and Pasadena Fire Departments will be patrolling the lots. There is a zero tolerance policy regarding illegal fireworks.

A shuttle from Old Town Pasadena will NOT be in operation this day.

http://www.rosebowlstadium.com/events/detail/americafest-1



3-Day July 4th Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl

FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 4th of July!

FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 4th of July!

Smokey Robinson, the King of Motown will be headlining the three-day Independence Day celebration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a Fireworks Spectacular each night at the Hollywood landmark. July 2-4th, 7:30pm $15-$250 + fee

www.hollywoodbowl.com



Marina del Rey Fireworks 9:00pm

Celebrate the 4th of July in Marina del Rey with a spectacular fireworks show over the water! Fireworks are shot from a barge across the Marina’s main channel, lighting up the night sky and water below. The show begins at 9 pm and lasts approximately 20 minutes.

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

Depending upon weather and cloud cover on the night of the show, the fireworks can usually be seen throughout the marina, and from the waterfront side of most hotels, restaurants, beaches, apartments and anchorages. Popular viewing locations include:

Fisherman’s Village, 13755 Fiji Way (2 blocks west of Lincoln Blvd.)
Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way (1 block west of Admiralty Way)
**This location will have speakers set-up near the Helmsman statue, allowing spectators to watch the display and  listen to synchronized music 
Marina Beach (Mother’s Beach) 4101 Admiralty Way (1 block south of Washington Blvd.)

Parking
Come early! There is no on-street parking inside Marina del Rey. Parking is available in 14 self-pay public lots. Park early because most public parking spaces are filled by 6pm!

The Marina del Rey Visitors Center (at the corner of Mindanao & Admiralty) will also be open from 10am – 4pm with festive giveaways like complimentary flags , red & blue bead necklaces, and other items to celebrate the 4th!

http://www.visitmarinadelrey.com/events/4th-of-july



Santa Monica 4th of July Parade 

July 4, 2015 – Parade starts at 9:30am

This year’s theme: Inspirational Heroes!

Main Street from Pico Blvd, turning on Marine to the beach in Downtown Santa Monica

The entire stretch of Main Street in Santa Monica will be closed. http://www.opa-sm.org

The Flag of the United States of America

The Flag of the United States of America


The annual Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach  July 4, the 2015

Pre-Judging begins at 10am, Finals at 1pm

Sign up the morning of the competition. No Late Fee! Registration is 7am – 9:30am.

Muscle Beach – 1800 Ocean Front Walk, between Navy Street and Washington Boulevard, at the Venice Recreation Center in Venice, California.

Bodybuilding.com presents the Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach, Saturday July 4, 2015. Hosted by Profight Supplements. BB, Figure, Bikini, Men & Women’s Physique, Couples (Mixed Pairs). Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach features men and women amateur athletes competing in a muscle and fitness competition. Categories include figure, bodybuilding, women’s physique, and men’s physique.

FREE and OPEN to the public. All are welcome!

http://www.musclebeachvenice.com



“Top Gun” + Fireworks! Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Gates open at 7:15pm, Screening at 9pm, Fireworks to follow!

Admission $25 (SOLD OUT!)

6000 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood

http://cinespia.org/event/top-gun/

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!



There are many good options for the 4th of July in L.A., and there are many other smaller celebrations, both public and private events, happening all over Southern California. Check the local listings! LA Weekly, LAist, LA Times & google.

The Queen Mary and Disneyland have special events and extra-special fireworks for the holiday. Disneyland has special fireworks all week long!

Disneyland Fireworks!

Disneyland Fireworks!

The Dodgers are playing the Mets at Dodger Stadium at 4:15pm with Fireworks after the game, but we are BOYCOTTING the Dodgers until we can watch the games on television.

BOYCOTT THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS AND TIME WARNER CABLE!

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Happening the weekend before:

Celebrate America!

Saturday June 27 at 5pm – Corsair Stadium​ at Santa Monica Community College

SMC’s Independence Day Celebration, the biggest, most sensational patriotic community event on the Westside! Bring your family and friends to SMC for a star-spangled salute to our nation’s independence. Come early, picnic on the lawn, enjoy continuous entertainment and special exhibits (with plenty of refreshments available for purchase), and cap off the evening with a spectacular fireworks salute to America.
Celebrate America 2015 Flyer

Celebrate America – June 27th, 2015 at Corsair Field at Santa Monica Community College

http://www.smc.edu/ACG/Marketing/Events/Pages/Special-Events.aspx


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Harvey’s Place in Ashland, Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland, Oregon – Restaurant, Bar & Grill

I had breakfast at the Morning Glory on Sunday, and during a conversation with a very nice woman from Washington state who visits regularly, she said, “We love to come to Ashland to see what restaurants have gone, and what’s new in town.”

Last October, during my last visit, Harvey’s Place had been open for a short time, in the space on Main Street previously occupied by the French restaurant Chateaulin for many years. Owned and operated by the same great folks from Beasy’s on the Creek, it’s a very nice, new and upscale “bar & grill” concept downtown on the Plaza.

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon

They have Beer, many on tap, Wine, by the glass or bottle, and a full bar with daily specials if you need a cocktail, shot or other “adult beverage”.

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon

They have a very nice menu, a happy hour from 3-5:30pm daily and a late night menu from 9pm until they close (Sunday-Thursday at 10pm, Friday and Saturday at midnight).

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon

I had a ticket to the theatre, and didn’t want to eat too much, but needed something good before going to the show. I settled on the “appetizer” size order (3) of Roy’s Ribs and just water to drink. Too much food and almost any alcohol before seeing a show just makes me sleepy during the performance. It didn’t take very long before my food was delivered. The ribs were terrific! Tasty and cooked perfectly, with a sweet and spicy, tangy sauce. I don’t know if it was intentional, but I was a little disappointed that the third rib was an end piece and more like a half rib, tucked under the two full sized ribs in the picture below. I mentioned it to my waitress, but decided not to make a big fuss about it.

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon - ROY'S RIBS!

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon – ROY’S RIBS!

I thought about going back after the theatre and having more food and a cocktail when the show was over, but the place was almost empty and it was getting close to closing time.

NOTE: I was also still thinking about the short rib hidden on my appetizer plate, and that ended up being a deciding factor, which ultimately cost them my return patronage that night. I enjoyed the ribs and liked the menu and the concept. We know the owners, so I’ll probably eat there again on my next visit to Ashland.

Harvey's Place in Ashland Oregon

Harvey’s Place in Ashland Oregon (Notice the “Tourist Tax” added to the check)

Bottom Line: Three ribs (actually two and a half) for $11 plus tax and tip? Do the math, that’s ~$5 per rib. So, I hope they’re still open next time I come to town…

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel.

Harvey’s Place – 50 E Main St, Ashland OR 97520 (541)488-9511 http://www.harveysplaceashland.com

Beasy’s on the Creek – 51 Water St. Ashland OR 97520 (541)488-5009 www.beasysonthecreek.com

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