#WineWednesday Again!

It’s #WineWednesday Again!
Celebrate the end of November!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Make it “A December You Won’t Need to Remember!”

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Wine Tasting at the Belle Fiore Winery in Ashland, Oregon

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Dinner in the Backroom at Mozza Osteria in Hollywood!

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Wines, Single Malt Scotch and Tequila from Thanksgiving 2016

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Fine Wines and Finnish Chocolate from Thanksgiving 2015

 

All photos copyright 2014-2015-2016 JoshWillTravel

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Party on the Patio at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset!

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There are almost 600 Previous Blog Posts (BLOGS) archived for your enjoyment!
Use the Search Box at the top of the page or just read though (there’s an “Older Posts” link at the bottom of the page) to find fun and interesting stuff.

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl!

“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl!

And we are back! We went to the Hollywood Bowl last week and it was good fun! We’re having a heatwave again in Los Angeles and it’s been 90 degrees+ and into the 100s on some days. So, it has stayed warm at night and it was really perfect weather for an outdoor concert.

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra performing “West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl on a Tuesday evening in July!

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

We were invited to the Bowl again. Well, there was a “small” brush fire on the mountain across the 101 freeway at Cahuenga Blvd from the venue at 4pm and we watched on the television as the Los Angeles Fire Department responded and made quick work of it!

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Fire on the Mountain! (That yellow dot is three firefighters)

By 5:30pm the fire was out, they were handling the hot spots and traffic was f*cked. So we left the San Fernando Valley for Hollywood at about 6pm. After some miles of “stop and go” traffic, the Highland exit ramp jam and Lot B parking ($20 cash) we were walking past the crowd of picnickers that occupy any convenient spot they can find out front at 7pm.

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Picnickers Out Front at the Hollywood Bowl for “West Side Story”

NOTE: It wasn’t as crowded as usual! It was a Tuesday night and a lot of people must have stayed home to watch the Republican National Convention night #2 from Cleveland, Ohio. Of course, that meant more people arrived around 8pm as the performance was starting…

We decided to go directly to our seats (Super Seats! not benches) behind the light and sound booth and have our dinner there instead of going to one of the picnic areas. And picnicking at the Hollywood Bowl in the super seats or bench seating is even more of a challenge than dining in one of the boxes because you have no table and very limited space.

Picnic time! On the Menu: Roast beef sandwich, veggie chips, dill pickle, bottled water and 1/4 of a chocolate tart from Sweet Lady Jane. We remembered to take a pic just before finishing the sandwich, but didn’t take one of the sides and desserts. We also brought red and white wine, a bottle of bubbly water, carrots, cole slaw, a rice dish and a berry cobbler.

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Roast Beef Sandwich and Veggie Chips

Show time! The orchestra took the stage  a little after 8pm, just as the sun was setting. They always begin with the “Star Spangled Banner” (note the flags flying at half mast).

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing under a full moon on a warm summer evening in Southern California, no complaints here.

“West Side Story”

The musical “West Side Story” has special meaning for us.  We participated in building and and presenting a production on the Performing Arts MainStage at UC Santa Cruz in Spring of 1986.

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Directed by Michael Edwards
I was a Set Builder, Costumer and then Wardrobe Master for the run of show.
I also did the hair/makeup and hand inked tattoos for the actors.

The Jets were “Glam Punks” circa early 1980’s in ripped denim and studded leather.
The Sharks were 1970’s “Cholos” complete with bandanas, pleated flannels, pressed white t-shirts and tan khakis. The Shark girls were hot!

A truly professional production with a live band, great singing and dancing and a truly amazing set design! The program cover above is one of the design sketches, but the freeway was left unfinished with exposed rebar extending out over the audience and then we added chain link fencing, lots of graffiti and debris for texture.

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

Very proud of this production and the work we did. Also of note is the level of talent and the future professional career paths of some of the participants.

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

 

 

Dixie Hollywood Hotel, Susan Feniger’s Mud Hen Tavern and The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl

SLUGFEST IN HOLLYWOOD!

The Dixie Hollywood Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Susan Feniger’s Mud Hen Tavern on Highland Avenue in Hollywood and The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl are the subjects of this Blog.

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HOLLYWOOD! (not my pic)

Fun Dinner! Met up with some OLD College Friends from UC Santa Cruz at the Dixie Hollywood Hotel and drove over for dinner at Susan Feniger’s Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood before The Cure concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

The Cure Crew

Ann, Diane, Ber, yours truly and Tracy in Hollywood (the valet took this one)

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And THIS GUY!

First, a little History and Backstory:

Our very good friend Ann loves The Cure. She has for as long as we’ve known her… and that’s over 30 years. We met at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the mid-80s.

We became friends, shared many experiences together with a larger group of friends at Kresge College and UCSC, graduated together in 1987 and threw a legendary blowout party at “The Big Yellow House” on High Street to celebrate. To celebrate her wedding to Stevo, we returned to Santa Cruz with our fiancé, along with the rest of the “K-Town Crew” and later she and Stephen were guests at my wedding in Los Angeles.

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The “K-Town Crew” at Ann & Stephen’s Wedding in Santa Cruz (not my pic)

We had a “K-Town Crew” Reunion in San Jose in 2014 at Ber’s house (see the Previous Blog) and they had a gathering last year in Santa Cruz that we did not attend. We often visit Ann in San Jose when we road trip to Oregon and we were present last year when her daughter graduated from high school (see the Previous Blog).

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UC Santa Cruz “K-Town Crew” Reunion 2013 at Ber’s in San Jose (not my pic)

Now among that larger group of friends were Diane, Ber (short for Kimberly), Tracy and Jason. They too are all big fans of The Cure. Jason lives in Los Angeles, Tracy in Rancho San Mirage, Ber and Ann live in San Jose and Diane lives near Sacramento. And so, they all planned a trip to see The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl. Ann arrived on Monday in the afternoon. Jason picked her up at the airport and they went to the concert on Monday night. Then they went out drinking and Ann was hungover on Tuesday afternoon when we called her at the hotel. Also, Ann dropped her phone and broke the screen, so we were lucky she was able to answer her phone at all when we called sometime after 1pm!

Diane flew in early too and she and Tracy partied down in Laguna Beach the day and night before. So, Tracy and Diane were picking Ber up at Burbank airport and they were going to come to the hotel. And so it was decided that we would drive to Hollywood and meet them all and then go to dinner and drinks before the concert.

And so, we ventured out onto the 101 freeway to east Hollywood, and with only a little afternoon traffic, arrived at our destination on Hollywood Boulevard.

The Dixie Hollywood Hotel

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NOW: The Dixie Hollywood Hotel – Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California

Located on Hollywood Boulevard just east of Western Avenue, the Dixie Hollywood Hotel is the perfect example of the gentrification of Hollywood. Previously it was a Days Inn and the neighborhood around Hollywood and Western was run down and dangerous.

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THEN: Days Inn in Hollywood (not my pic)

Now, the old motel has been cleaned up, painted, some upgrades to the rooms have been added and the neighborhood has undergone significant changes in the past five years. There is and has been major development all along the Metro line, and Hollywood has seen  tremendous growth and new construction. Across the street is a new residential over retail building that used to a “crackhead motel” and there’s another large residential over retail building under construction just next door.

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!

There’s a restaurant on Hollywood Blvd that is part of the hotel, but it wasn’t open, so we just took a picture of the “A” rating and the chef mannequin in the window. Then we found Ann’s room and knocked on the door. It’s wonderful to see a very good friend you haven’t seen in a long time. We caught up while we waited for the girls to arrive from picking Ber up at Burbank airport.

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Tracy, Ber and Diane Arrive! Let the Party Begin!

It wasn’t very long before the girls joined the party! They unloaded the car and brought their luggage and stuff upstairs to the room. Diane was hung over too, Ber was sober and she and Tracy were ready to go. It was decided that we would hang out for a little bit and then drive over to the restaurant on Highland.

Susan Fenigar’s Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood, California

There’s Valet Parking in the Rear! Very important to know, because there’s not a lot of parking during peak traffic hours or anywhere in the neighborhood after 6pm. We arrived early enough on a Tuesday evening and self parked in the valet lot and kept the keys. There’s an entrance in the rear lot that leads onto the restaurant’s patio and into the main dining room/bar.

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Susan Feniger is a James Beard Award winning American chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and radio and TV personality from Toledo, Ohio. She has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the California Restaurant Association. She is also known for the cooking show “Too Hot Tamales” on the Food Network and opening several influential restaurants including City Cafe/Restaurant and The Border Grill in Los Angeles. Feniger has published five cookbooks: City Cuisine (1989), Mesa Mexicana (1994), Cantina: The Best of Casual Mexican Cooking (Casual Cuisines of the World) (1996), Cooking with Too Hot Tamales (1997) and Mexican Cooking for Dummies (1999/2002).

In April 2009, Feniger opened her first solo project: Street, a multi-ethnic eatery of street food in Hollywood. In December 2013, Street was replaced in the redesigned space by the Mud Hen Tavern and with Executive Chef and Partner Kajsa Alger and mixology consultant Tricia Carr.

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

It’s a very nice space. The Dining Room/Bar is open and airy, so even when it’s crowded and there are a lot of people it’s doesn’t feel cramped and it isn’t as noisy as some places. There’s a long bar and bar seating as well as table seating inside and on the outdoor patio.

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The Bar at the Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood, California

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Party on the Patio at The Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood (our waiter took this one)

We chose a big table on the empty patio because it was a beautiful evening and so we could be loud and festive without disturbing everyone inside. Our friend Jason arrived and joined us at the table and then we ordered drinks and a lot of food to share.

The Food and Drink:

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!

On The Menu: deviled eggs, hangover toast, Berliner pizza, tuna crudo, chicken & waffle croquettes, crispy brussel sprouts, special Burger with bacon & garlic fries, and shrimp and grits. And there were some cocktails (a couple of Cosmopolitans, Long Island ice tea, Ketel One Seabreeze, a double Absolut Bloody Mary, a beer and some wine) too.

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Double Absolut Bloody Mary at the Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood, California

NOTE: We were our friend’s “designated driver” and so we did not drink alcohol. We drove a car of happy drunk women through gridlocked Hollywood traffic and dropped them off at the Hollywood Bowl. We did not attend the concert but we watched parts live on Periscope.

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Selfie Time! Tracy, Ber and Diane at the Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood

After dinner and drinks, Jason was going home and the girls were going to Uber to the Hollywood Bowl, but instead we offered to drive them and drop them off. So we got in the car and off we went into Hollywood!

Traffic was beyond UNBELIEVABLE! The gentrification of Hollywood has added thousands of residents to the immediate neighborhood without any traffic improvements. The Metro (Los Angeles’ subway and bus system) brings hundreds more to the neighborhood creating pedestrian traffic that gridlocks the street intersections. Add an event, concert or premiere at the Hollywood Bowl, Kodak Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, Arclight Cinerama Dome, Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Chinese Theatre or any of the studios or nightclubs and it creates a daily traffic nightmare!

So, at 7pm to get from Highland and Melrose to the Hollywood Bowl we had to get creative! Highland was a parking lot, so we cut over and took Las Palmas to Fountain, cut over and turned right on Sunset, and made a left onto Cahuenga which was a total parking lot (we saw later on that there was a major accident at the intersection of Cahuenga and Franklin). We cut through the Jack-in-the-Box parking lot and turned left onto Ivar and crossed Hollywood Blvd, turning left again at Yucca, then right at Cherokee and left at Franklin and back to Highland. A right on Highland and little more traffic we dropped the girls at 7:40pm across the street from the Hollywood Bowl and then got on the 101 freeway back to the San Fernando Valley.

The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl

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From Wikipedia:

The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley, West Sussex, in 1976. The band has experienced several line-up changes, with vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member. The Cure first began releasing music in the late 1970s with their debut album Three Imaginary Boys; this, along with several early singles, placed the band as part of the post-punk and new wave movements that had sprung up in the wake of the punk rock revolution in the United Kingdom. During the early 1980s, the band’s increasingly dark and tormented music was a staple of the emerging gothic rock genre.

After the release of 1982’s Pornography, the band’s future was uncertain and Smith was keen to move past the gloomy reputation his band had acquired. With the single “Let’s Go to Bed” released the same year, Smith began to place a pop sensibility into the band’s music and their popularity increased as the decade wore on, with songs like “Just Like Heaven”, “Lovecats” and “Friday I’m in Love”. The band is estimated to have sold 27 million albums as of 2004 and have released thirteen studio albums, ten EPs and over thirty singles during their career.

The Cure LIVE on Periscope (Screenshots):

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

And a very good time was had by everyone we’re told. They all enjoyed the concert and made it back to the hotel and then home again on Wednesday morning. It was great to see our old friends and spend some time reconnecting. We made good time going back to the San Fernando Valley and caught the sunset on our way. It was a fun time.

Dixie Hollywood Hotel5410 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90027
323-463-7171 http://www.dixiehollywoodhotel.com

Mud Hen Tavern742 Highland Ave., Hollywood, CA
323-203-0500 http://www.mudhentavern.com

Hollywood Bowl2301 Highland Ave, Hollywood, CA
323-850-2000 http://www.hollywoodbowl.com

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel unless otherwise noted

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Going Home on the 101 Freeway North to the San Fernando Valley

The Cure “The Love Cats” Live in Japan 1984:

Travel Answers: Los Angeles!

Travel Answers: Los Angeles! (from a previously saved draft)

These are Travel Answers about Los Angeles saved from another website:

Best views in Los Angeles?

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Downtown Los Angeles from up high!

Q: Best views in Los Angeles? We will be visiting LA and want to take in the views! Ocean views, city views..from restaurants, hotels, parks, etc. Where are the best places to take some photos in LA? Thanks!

A: Great views of Los Angeles day or night?

The Standard and Skybar on Sunset Blvd and the Rooftop Bars/Pool Decks at the London West Hollywood Hotel, Montage Beverly Hills and Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive all have great views along with cocktails and food.

Nice views of Downtown at WP24 from the 24th floor bar and 25th floor restaurant (the WP stands for Wolfgang Puck), both the Elevate Lounge and the Rooftop at The Standard Downtown LA have excellent views.

If you can get into City Club on Bunker Hill (a private club on the top of the Wells Fargo building) there’s a men’s restroom with the best view!

The Music Center plaza has great views of DTLA, Cityhall and the DWP Building. The dancing fountains, the PEACE statue, and the architecture of Disney Hall, the Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion provide great scenery.

There’s a picnic area at the top of the Hollywood Bowl that has great views and it’s open during the day as a city park. You might also catch a (free) rehearsal if it’s the musical season.

Visit the Getty Museum for amazing views and amazing art. FREE just pay $10 for parking. Open late on Fridays.

Take a slow drive along Mulholland Drive for great views of the San Fernando Valley and West L.A. day or night. There are numerous turnouts and vista points between Hayvenhurst and Runyon Canyon Park.

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The View of the San Fernando Valley from the Top O’ Topanga

Free things to do in Los Angeles?

Q: My girlfriend and I are traveling to LA for 6 days and we would like to know what free or cheap things there are to do in Los Angeles? We are kind of on a budget! We would also like to find out the best mode of transportation and areas to stay in!

A: “Cheap” thrills in L.A.? There’s so much stuff you can do that is free or “on the cheap” in Los Angeles! The Getty Museum is FREE, it cost $10-15 to park.

The Beaches in Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach are FREE, pay only for parking.

Griffith Park and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area have hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Parking and park fees vary. There are also many other places in L.A. for hiking, biking, picnicking, etc.

There are also any number of free public parks and other unique spaces to visit! Bergamot Station and The Brewery Artist Loftshave art galleries in addition to numerous other galleries throughout the city. Check and see if you’ll be in town for “FREE MUSEUM DAY” which varies by location, and some museums are always FREE, but alway encourage donations. The museums also have relatively inexpensive entry fees.

Visit the Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Pier, Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, NoHo Arts District, Universal CityWalk, Old Pasadena, Venice Beach Boardwalk, Hollywood and West Hollywood. No entrance fees. Pay for parking and other activities.

UCLA, USC – University of Southern California, Art Center College of Design, California Institute of the Arts and other colleges have museums, art galleries and events that are also worth looking into too.

See my other answers for more things to do in Los Angeles!

I recommend that you rent a car rather than uber/lyft/taxi/public transport if you want to see and do a lot while you’re here. You really need a car to navigate the city.

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Malibu Beach – Malibu, Los Angeles, California

Where is the walk of fame and how far is it from the airport in L.A.?

Q: This is my first time to LA and I was wondering where the walk of fame is and how far is it from the airport?

A: Where is the “Walk of Fame”? Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood!

The Walk of Fame runs from LaBrea to Gower and up Vine to the Capitol Records Building. You can see the stars’ hands and feet in concrete in the courtyard of (Grauman’s) Mann’s Chinese Theater, visit the Kodak Theatre and shop at Hollywood & Highland. Also in the immediate vicinity are Ripley’s, Madame Tussaud’s, Max Factor and the Hollywood Wax Museums. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the El Capitan Theatre and the Jimmy Kimmel Live studio/offices are just across the boulevard. There are also many restaurants, clubs, bars, retail and tourist gift shops in the neighborhood. The Musso and Frank Grill, Frolic Room, AVALON Hollywood (the old Hollywood Palace Theater), Pantages Theatre and The Egyptian Theatre are all very historic spots along the Walk of Fame.

How far is it from the airport?

Los Angeles International Airport in Inglewood is far away. And depending on the time of day, traffic and your chosen route, it can take 20 minutes or two hours. The LA Flyaway recently started a Hollywood Shuttle, but it’s timeliness because of traffic has been problematic.

Bob Hope Airport in Burbank is closer and the 170 and 101 freeways provide a direct route which can take 20 minutes or an hour depending on time of day, traffic or an event in Hollywood or at the Hollywood Bowl.

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Hollywood & Highland on the Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame

Best Steakhouse in Los Angeles?

Q: My first question would be about food! I’m searching for the best steakhouse that’s at par with CUT. Aside from Lawry’s, Morton’s, Mastro’s and Ruth Chris, do you know of any? Thanks in advance!

A: Great Steakhouse in Los Angeles? So many… here are a few:

BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood and Santa Monica

Craft in Century City (and CraftSteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas)

Le Sanglier in Tarzana, Larsen’s Steakhouse & Delmonico’s Steak and Lobster House in Encino and the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Arnie Morton’s The Steakhouse – Burbank and Woodland Hills

and the Côte de Boeuf at Mélisse is exceptional!

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Dinner Party at n/naka in West L.A. (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The typical great night in bars and then club in LA

Q: We’ll be a bunch of friends and we wanna experience the now famous ‘LA Style’ nightlife! So let us know, no restriction at all. Where could we start to drink? Then have a cool dinner? Then drink again? And finally be in a nightclub all night long? Or in a house? or swimming pool? or… I don’t know, you’re the one. Thanks!

A: So you want a great night bar/club hopping in Los Angeles? I suggest you pick the nightclub first depending on your taste in music, atmosphere and cost. Check the LA Weekly for listings and reviews.

Pick your location: Hollywood or Downtown Los Angeles, Silver Lake or Koreatown (Los Angeles), West Hollywood or Beverly Hills, Santa Monica or Culver City? Staying in one area is easier than trying to motor from place to place on a busy night.

There are any number of bars and restaurants in all of the locations, again depending on your taste in food and drinks, atmosphere and cost. Pick your restaurant, most have a bar or beverage service. Pick your poison, designer cocktails or craft beer, absinthe or single malt whiskey?

Cover charge, cost of drinks or bottle service, parking and tips add up quickly. Choose nearby bars and restaurants, within walking distance if possible, to avoid traffic, parking charges and/or a DUI. Designate a sober driver or get a limo. Choose a supper club where dining at the restaurant gets you admission to the club.

Contact local club promoters and restaurants and let them know you have a group party, and see what they’ll offer you! VIP treatment, free drinks, bottle service, and other perks can be negotiated with a large party. Make sure you have reservations and are “On the List” because waiting in line to get in sucks.

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Lucy’s 51 in Burbank (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Nice LA beach for swimming in July

Q: I will be staying in the Hollywood area for 5 days in July.  Any recommendations on a nice beach for swimming?  Thanks.

A: I recommend Zuma Beach and Malibu Beach north on Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica. There’s no beach close to Hollywood! Drive Sunset Boulevard from Hollywood to the Pacific Ocean and you’ll pass through West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills, UCLA, Brentwood Villageand the Pacific Palisades on your way. When you get to PCH turn right and head up the coast to Malibu. Avoid “rush hour” or you’ll get caught in heavy traffic!

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Malibu Beach – Malibu, Los Angeles, California

Bachelorette in LA

Q: Hi – I am looking for some advice on a killer bachelorette weekend in LA. 7 of us will be traveling together, and I would love recommendations on a good location, any bars or events, as well as hotels. At lot of us are from cities that provide accessible public transit – so if possible, we’d rather save on cab money and be in a central location. I’ve heard West Hollywood and Los Feliz are good neighborhoods. Has anyone had luck finding a hotel that accommodates a large party like ours? We would ideally like to spend about $1K for the two nights. One random note – the bachelorette really likes Harry Potter. Know of any “entertainers” that could accommodate? Thanks!

A: So you want a great Bachelorette weekend in Los Angeles? I suggest you pick the hotel and nightclubs first depending on your taste in music, atmosphere and cost. Talk to the Sales Manager at the Hotel to arrange a Group Rate! Check the LA Weekly for club listings and reviews.

Pick your location: Hollywood or Downtown Los Angeles, Silver Lake or Koreatown, or Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, or Culver City Staying in one area is easier than trying to motor from place to place on a busy night.

There are any number of hotels, bars and restaurants in all of the locations, again depending on your taste in food and drinks, atmosphere and cost. Pick your restaurant, most have a bar or beverage service. Pick your poison, designer cocktails or craft beer, absinthe or single malt whiskey?

Cover charge, cost of drinks or bottle service, parking and tips add up quickly. Choose nearby bars and restaurants, within walking distance if possible, to avoid traffic, parking charges and/or a DUI. Designate a sober driver or get a limo. Choose a supper club where dining at the restaurant gets you admission to the club.

Contact local club promoters and restaurants and let them know you have a group bachelorette party, and see what they’ll offer you! VIP treatment, free drinks, bottle service, and other perks can be negotiated with a large party. Make sure you have reservations and are “On the List” because waiting in line to get in sucks.

NOTE: Avoid going to Comedy Clubs, most hate bachelorette parties.

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The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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Echo Park, Los Angeles, California

Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

A rainy Wednesday night and it was someone’s birthday! (not mine)

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

We were going to have Indian food and a party at the house, but I suggested Dinner at Cafe Bizou instead! We made a reservation last week for a party of nine at 6:30pm. When we arrived the table was ready and waiting. Of course, we didn’t arrive all at once…

They have convenient Valet Parking on Ventura Blvd and there’s also parking in the rear. It’s also possible to find street parking because they’re not in the middle of restaurant row and I’ve parked in the bank lot across the street after hours on occasion.

The first thing you’ll notice when you enter is that it’s in a house that’s been remodeled as a restaurant. There’s a nice bar but the bar area is small, also functions as the waiting area, and the path of service runs through the bar to the dining room. The large dining room is divided into two spaces and each has a difference ambiance, but also the same.

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

They also have a “patio area” in front, which is enclosed, covered and heated at night. It’s a very nice place for an intimate and/or romantic dinner.

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Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks – “Patio Area”

The food is great. The food is reasonably priced. They have a good selection of wine at a fair market price and a very reasonable corkage fee if you want to bring your own bottle(s).

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On the Menu: Steak & Shrimp au poivre with baked potato, fried calamari, caesar salad, bread & butter, creme brûlée, chocolate covered profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and a coke. Also had a couple lamb chops that were orphaned and a taste of tiramisu.

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Fresh Baked Bread and Butter

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Fried Calamari

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Caesar Salad

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Steak & Shrimp with Baked Potato

And for Dessert: They brought the flourless chocolate cake with a candle for the birthday girl and half of us ordered dessert. I love their creme brûlée! I also had a little taste of the profiteroles and tiramisu, but passed on cappuccino or coffee.

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Creme Brûlée

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Chocolate Covered Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream

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Tiramisu

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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream

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We really like Cafe Bizou! It’s a very comfortable environment and the dress code is casual to dressy without comment. Diners in jeans, shorts and t-shirts sitting next to executives in coats and ties is perhaps too common an occurrence, but the restaurant really all about the great food and pleasant dining experience.

The service is excellent! The wait staff and busboys are constantly in motion, well trained and pretty attentive to the tables and guests’ needs. Refills and requests are handled promptly and the courses are timed out for dining at a relaxed pace.

Again, it’s very reasonably priced for fine dining and they have a nice selection of food! (Check out the menu above)

They are open for Lunch, Brunch and Dinner.
Reservations in advance are recommended because “you never know”.

Cafe Bizou
14016 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423  (818) 788-3536

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Read the previous Blog “Lunch at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks”> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-ll

 

Travel Answers: Las Vegas!

Travel Answers: Las Vegas!

NOTE: These answers were originally posted on another site, and some may have been posted in previous blogs. I am posting them again here for easy access for my readers.

Welcome to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Welcome to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Free Stuff to do in Vegas?

Q: Are there free things to do in Vegas?

A: Lots of Free Things to do in Las Vegas!

Walk the The Strip and the Fremont Street Experience downtown. Lots of “Only in Las Vegas” things to see day or night!

Visit Circus Circus Hotel & Casino (great for kids).

Watch the Fountains of Bellagio (and visit the Bellagio Gardens) and catch the Volcano eruption at The Mirage. Walk around the The Venetian, the MGM Grand Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan or any of the other large resorts.

Most of the Casino lounges still have live entertainment. The Carnaval Court at Harrah’s is happening. The Rio Hotel & Casino has live music in the Masquerade Bar on Friday and Saturdays.

Art and architecture at City Center, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign, Wildlife habitat (flamingos) at the Flamingo Las Vegas, Auto collection at The Quad Resort & Casino (get free tickets on the website), the Downtown Container Park giant treehouse, and visit the Ethel M Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden.

Window shop at Forum Shops at Caesars, The Grand Canal Shoppes or the Fashion Show mall.

Visit the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon or The Valley of Fire.


ACES! Video Poker at the MGM Grand Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

4 ACES! Video Poker Win! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Best tips and casinos for first time gambler?

Q: First trip to Vegas, and I have some money set aside to gamble. I’m fairly new to gambling, so what’s a good overall strategy for a first timer? Best casino’s and games to play? Any tips to help my luck? Thanks!

A: Most of the Casinos in Las Vegas have programs where they will teach you how to play the table games and basic strategy. Just ask at the “Player’s Card” desk and always get a Player’s Card at the casino to earn “Comps” and other freebies while gambling.

Read a few good books, watch a DVD or two, go online and learn from the pros via youtube, etc. before you go!

Craps!

Craps!

Best games to play: Blackjack, Craps and Baccarat have the best odds for the player with basic strategy. Keno, Slots and Video Poker will give you the longest play for your money. Again read a book or watch a tutorial to learn about finding the best odds on the games!

Worst games to play: Roulette, Spin the Wheel/Wheel of Fortune and all the other weird table games. And any game where you don’t know the rules, basic strategy and the odds against you.

Best advice for the first time gambler: set a budget for how much you are willing and can afford to lose! Leave your ATM card at home and win or lose just have fun. (Losing sucks)

NOTE: The Big Las Vegas Strip casinos require larger minimum bets for table games, and the table minimum will increase depending on time/day/crowd/event. Find lower table minimums Downtown on Fremont Street and at the smaller “off-strip” casinos. Your money and your play time will last longer!

The Race & Sports Book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

The Race & Sports Book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

GOOD LUCK!


Las Vegas Blvd "The Strip" at night

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Birthday weekend in Vegas- where to stay?

Q: My friends and I going to Vegas for my birthday over Labor Day weekend! We need a place to stay that isn’t outrageously expensive, but has a lot going on. We’d like to stay in a hotel that has daytime pool parties. There are 5 of us and we’re open to getting two rooms or a suite, if it’s worth it. Any suggestions?

A: Las Vegas on Labor Day Weekend?

Try The Cromwell, the newest boutique hotel on the strip. It used to be Wild Bill’s and before that it was the Barbary Coast. Located center strip at Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd. Drai’s is located in the hotel, so you get your choice of pool party, club night or after-hours. Hotel guests get VIP line access.

Just fully renovated! Everything is fresh and new.

Las Vegas Blvd "The Strip" at night

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

You’re across Las Vegas Blvd from Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino and The Mirage Hotel & Casino and the volcano. Next door to Harrah’s Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino, The Quad Resort & Casino soon to be renamed The LINQ after the giant ferris wheel. Across Flamingo is Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, Paris Hotel And Casino, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the Bellagio Hotel and fountain, and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

There’s lots to see and do within “walking distance”, which will save you on cab fare and waiting. Great restaurants, spas, clubs, shows and other diversions at any of the above resorts. you can also access the monorail at Bally’s or the Flamingo.

Las Vegas Blvd "The Strip" at night - The Flamingo

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Flamingo

Make reservations in advance (and do it by telephone rather than online and always get the name of the person you talk to!) because everything will be crowded!

NOTE: Bring sneakers for walking and then switch to heels when you arrive at your destination. Use a Big purse and plastic bag.

Avoid the MGM, it’s too big and the service is only ok.


Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

The Bar at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Bachelor party venues

Q: One of my best buddies is getting married next year and as a groomsman, I’ve been tasked being one of the organizers for his bachelor party.  Here’s the thing: none of us groomsman are really party animals, so we really have no idea where to start, but we just know that we want our buddy to have a good time and that we want to go to Vegas, just for the experience. Any ideas on which venues to start looking at and/or bachelor party-type activities?

A: Bachelor Party in Las Vegas! Do you want the full blown “Hangover, part 4” or just a good time?

First, how many people will be attending? Do you have hotel reservations? Do you want to have dinner, go clubbing, go drinking, go strip clubbing, hit an ultra-lounge or three, see a show, do some gambling, ride a roller coaster, or maybe shoot automatic weapons?

Or do you want to really get wild?

You can get a nice package deal with the hotels if you have a large group (sometimes, all you need is a block of five rooms). Hotel rooms, dinner, and entertainment can all be arranged, contact the group sales manager.

Rent a limo or party bus if you want to travel around, beyond walking distance. There are companies that can arrange the whole evening, just know that they are probably getting “kickbacks” from the party venues. NOTE: Be sure to shop around, negotiate for the best deal and extras, and always check safety and consumer reports before booking with any company!

You are on your own for strippers, escorts & hookers.

Good luck and be safe.


Las Vegas Blvd "The Strip" at night

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

All photos copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 JoshWillTravel

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Las Vegas Blvd "The Strip" at night

“Vegas Baby! Vegas!” Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

 

 

Saturday in Echo Park & Downtown Los Angeles

Echo Park – Los Angeles, California

“Saturday in the Park…”

It was a beautiful day. I found parking! The park was full of people and activity.

Here are a few pics of the park (not the people):

Echo Park - Los Angeles, California

Echo Park Lake & Downtown Los Angeles, California

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Echo Park - Los Angeles, California

Jose Marti Monument at Echo Park Lake – Los Angeles, California

“Man loves liberty, even if he does not know that he loves it. He is driven by it and flees from where it does not exist.” ~ Jose Marti

José Julián Martí Pérez  January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895

Born in Havana, Cuba, he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary, a philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher and a political theorist. His writings and political activity became a symbol for Cuba’s bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century and he is referred to as the “Apostle of Cuban Independence.”

“El que tenga patria que la honre, el que no, que la conquiste.” (“Honor your country if you have one; and if you do not have one, struggle for it.”)

 “Con todos y para el bien de todos” (“With all, and for the good of all.”)

In 1976, the city designated the intersection of Park Ave and Echo Park Ave “José Martí Square,” (plaza) to honor the the Cuban community of Los Angeles. Sculptor Sergio López-Mesa created the bust of José Martí, a Cuban writer and champion of Latin American identity whose poem from the book “Versos Sencillos” (“Simple Verses”) inspired the lyrics for “Guantanamera,” the definitive protest song of Cuba.

Civil engineer Carlos Sebastian Lorente, and Sergio López-Mesa installing José Martí Monument, 1976. | Cuban California Archive USC Libraries Special Collections.

Civil engineer Carlos Sebastian Lorente & sculptor Sergio López-Mesa installing José Martí Monument 1976. | Cuban California Archive USC Libraries Special Collections

More Jose Marti quotes:

“Liberty is the right of every man to be honest, to think and to speak without hypocrisy.”
“A grain of poetry suffices to season a century.”
“Others go to bed with their mistresses; I with my ideas.”
“It is necessary to make virtue fashionable.”
“The struggles waged by nations are weak only when they lack support in the hearts of their women.”
“Charm is a product of the unexpected.”
“The vote is a trust more delicate than any other, for it involves not just the interests of the voter, but his life, honor and future as well.”
“Man has to suffer. When he has no real afflictions, he invents some.”
José Martí was killed in battle against Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos in 1895.  He is buried in Cementerio Santa Efigenia in Santiago de Cuba.
“No me entierren en lo oscuro/ A morir como un traidor/ Yo soy bueno y como bueno/ Moriré de cara al sol.” (“Do not bury me in darkness / to die like a traitor / I am good, and as a good man / I will die facing the sun.”)
Echo Park - Los Angeles, California

US Bank Tower, Pedal Boats on Echo Park Lake & Downtown Los Angeles, California

US Bank Tower, formerly the Library Tower and First Interstate Bank World Center, is a 1018 ft skyscraper at 633 West Fifth Street in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s the tallest building in California, the 11th tallest building in the United States, the tallest west of the Mississippi River and the 65th tallest building in the world. (or thereabouts…) It’s 73 stories tall with two parking levels below ground. Construction began in 1987 and finished in 1989. The building was designed by Henry N. Cobb and architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. It cost $350 million to build.

Echo Park - Los Angeles, California

The Lady of the Lake Statue, Echo Park Lake & Downtown Los Angeles, California

On a concrete peninsula with benches facing the water, is a fourteen-foot Art Deco-style female statue. The official name is “Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles” (“Our Queen of the Angels”) but most people know her simply as the “Lady of the Lake.” Rendered in poured concrete, it was created in 1934 by Ada May Sharpless with funding from the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP). It stands on a pedestal box with four bas-reliefs featuring the Hollywood Bowl, L.A. Harbor, the San Gabriel Mountains and the Central Library.

"Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles" ("Our Queen of the Angels") aka "Lady of the Lake." 1934 by Ada May Sharpless

“Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles” (“Our Queen of the Angels”) aka “Lady of the Lake.” 1934 by Ada May Sharpless

Echo Park - Los Angeles, California

The “Wooden Bridge” at Echo Park Lake – Los Angeles, California

Possibly the Oldest Bridge in Los Angeles County, it was built in 1896. The bridge was originally all wood but was replaced with steel sometime before 1960. The bridge is currently closed to foot traffic and there are large locked steel gates at both ends.

Echo Park - Los Angeles, California

Palm Trees at Echo Park Lake – Los Angeles, California

NOTE: The City of Los Angeles spent a lot of money to “rehab” the park and they did a great job! However, the HOMELESS problem remains. A homeless man was camped under a tree when I parked, and another homeless man was passed out on the steps of an outbuilding with his overflowing shopping cart parked nearby.

Bonus Pics: PETA at the Bob Barker Building on Sunset and L.A. City Hall 

Echo Park - Los Angeles, California

PETA at the Bob Barker Building on Sunset Blvd in Echo Park – Los Angeles, California

US District Court Building & Los Angeles City Hall

US District Court Building & Los Angeles City Hall – Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA)

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All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

Echo Park Lake – 751 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90026  (213)847-0929
City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation & Parks
http://www.laparks.org/dos/aquatic/facility/echoPkLake.htm

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“Vegas Baby! Las Vegas!”

“Vegas Baby! Las Vegas!”

Las Vegas, Nevada in August on a two night trip to “Sin City” for my birthday!

NOTE: This Blog is unfinished…and will likely remain unfinished.

Enjoy!

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

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – Bally’s, Paris & The Cosmopolitan

“ROAD TRIP!” We left Los Angeles on Thursday Morning, made two stops along the way, and arrived in Las Vegas a few hours later. It was a beautiful day to make the drive.

Glendora Sky at the Donut Man

Glendora Sky at the Donut Man

Our first stop was in Glendora at the famous Donut Man shop just off the 210 freeway. They are known for their Strawberry Glazed donuts, but all of their creations are great.

Strawberry Glazed Donuts at Donut Man in Glendora

Strawberry Glazed Donuts at Donut Man in Glendora

We bought a half dozen, a strawberry glazed, 2 chocolate custard filled, 2 glazed old fashioned and a cinnamon roll. We enjoyed the custard filled and took the rest “To Go”.

Half Dozen Donuts

Half Dozen Donuts “To Go” at Donut Man in Glendora

We stopped for gas and to stretch our legs somewhere between Barstow and Vegas, and I ate the strawberry glazed donut…it was a good donut, but they make such a fuss about them, I guess I expected something more.

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip”

The drive was without incident, and we arrived in Las Vegas and drove directly to our destination. We stayed both nights at The Palazzo Hotel at The Venetian-Palazzo Resort.

The Venetian Hotel & Casino (pic from a previous trip)

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel & Casino (this pic from a previous trip)

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas – Bypassing the regular line for Invited Guest Check-In

We valet parked the car, and proceeded to the Invited Guest (VIP) Check-In desk. After a short wait we were given our room assignment and keycards.

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas – Invited Guest Check-In

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas – Invited Guest Check-In Front Desk

Guest Suite at The Palazzo:

The Palazzo Hotel - 9th floor

The Palazzo Hotel – 9th floor

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel -

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel – “Wanna take a bath?”

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View! The view from my room.

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Poker Room at The Venetian Hotel

The Poker Room at The Venetian Hotel

The Race & Sports Book at The Venetian Hotel

The Race & Sports Book at The Venetian Hotel

After the long drive into Las Vegas, and after checking in at the Palazzo and dealing with the room, luggage and housekeeping, we decided to grab a bite at the Grand Lux Cafe.

READ THE BLOG NOW! Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel: (Right Click and “Open in New Window”) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1P4

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe – Fried Chicken Strips & Waffle with Maple-Pecan Syrup

READ THE BLOG NOW! Late Dinner at Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar Original Buffalo Wings at The Venetian Hotel (Right Click and “Open in New Window”)  http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1Qb 

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Food Court at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel – Original Boneless Buffalo Wings $12

Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino on Friday Night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

READ THE BLOG! Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s CARNEVINO Italian Steakhouse at the Palazzo Hotel (RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW WINDOW)  http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1NX

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Carnevino Bar at The Palazzo Hotel

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

“Vegas, Vegas, Vegas!”

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – I can see the “High Roller” from here!

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Linq (Wanna knish?)

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

HAIL CAESARS PALACE! (they ruined this place). Evel Kneivel ate it big time on this spot:

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – Caesars Palace

Welcome to Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Welcome to Caesars Palace Las Vegas!

The Poker Room at Caesars Palace Las Vegas

The Poker Room at Caesars Palace Las Vegas

The Race & Sports Book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

The Race & Sports Book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

The

The Statue of “David” at Caesars Palace (NSFW or is it Art?)

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Cosmopolitan & Bellagio from Caesars Palace

Craps!

Craps!

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Flamingo

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View at Night!

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

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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The

The End… “David” at Caesars Palace – Nice Butt. “Take a picture it’ll last longer.”

Had a great time. Will return shortly…

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)

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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

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