HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017 from JoshWillTravel!

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Goodbye 2016! Hello 2017!

We wish you the Best of Everything in the coming New Year!
Good Health, Happiness, Good Fortune and Prosperity for You in 2017!

SATURDAY NIGHT! DECEMBER 31st, 2016 – NEW YEAR’S EVE!

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ARE YOU READY FREDDY?

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LET’S CELEBRATE! LET’S PARTY!
GET DOWN, GET FUNKY! ROCK AND ROLL!

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Happy New Year!

Some Past Memories (and pics) of New Year’s Eve:

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

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

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Champagne: a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France following rules that demand secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation, specific vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes exclusively from Champagne and specific pressing regimes unique to the region. The term Champagne is used as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in many countries it’s illegal to label any wine Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region and is produced under the special rules of the Champagne winemaking community (under the auspices of the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne – CIVC).

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!

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Sunday, January 1st, 2017 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Monday, January 2nd, 2017 – New Year’s Day (Observed) Federal Holiday

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses! – Beautiful Pasadena, California

“In New York, people are buried in the snow.
Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear.
Let’s hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise.”
~Professor Charles F. Holder, 1890

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The 128th Annual Tournament of Roses Rose Parade 2017

The parade has never been held on Sunday. Local tradition has it that “the Tournament has a deal with G-d; we’ll never hold the parade on a Sunday, and He’ll never let it rain on the Rose Parade.” According to the Tournament of Roses Association this “Never on Sunday” policy was instituted in 1893 in order “to avoid frightening horses tethered outside local churches and thus interfering with worship services.”  The Rose Bowl Game and other bowl games usually held on January 1st are also never held on Sunday to avoid competing with the NFL.

The 128th Tournament of Roses Rose Parade “Echoes of Success”

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A US Air Force B-2 “Spirit Flyover” from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri!

44 floats, 19 equestrian units with ~400 horses, and 22 marching bands!

And these beautiful restored cars will be used in the 2017 Rose Parade to drive the Grand Marshals, Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Inductees and special guests down Colorado Blvd:

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

A BLAST FROM THE PAST!

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Valley Hunt Club – Tournament of Roses – January 2nd, 1893.

Members of Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club first staged the Rose Parade on January 1, 1890. Watched by hundreds of thousands of spectators on the parade route down Colorado Blvd, it is broadcast on multiple television networks in the United States and seen by millions more on television worldwide in more than 100 international territories and countries! It is produced by the nonprofit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association established in 1895. The Valley Hunt Club still enters a flower-decorated carriage in the parade.

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Colorado Street (now Boulevard) near Fair Oaks Ave 1890. Carlton Hotel is center-right

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1890 Colorado Street (later Boulevard) looking east from Fair Oaks. San Gabriel Valley Bank on right (S/E corner). A streetlight hangs over the middle of the intersection.

NOTE: Colorado Street was renamed Boulevard through Old Town Pasadena from Arroyo Parkway to Orange Grove Boulevard in 1958.

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Rose Parade – Colorado Street (later Boulevard) – Pasadena, California 1925

The Italian Renaissance-style mansion of William Wrigley Jr. (of Wrigley’s chewing gum) was offered to the city of Pasadena after Mrs. Wrigley’s death in 1958, under the condition that the home would be the Rose Parade’s permanent headquarters. Tournament House is now the name of the home office where the organization is headquartered.

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Tournament House – Pasadena, California

The 2017 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshals
Greg Louganis, Allyson Felix and Janet Evans
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The 99th Rose Queen and the 2017 Royal Court
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Miracle-Gro will have 4 former Rose Queens on their float in the 2017 Rose Parade!
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The 103rd Rose Bowl! (2pm on ESPN)

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The Rose Bowl football game was added in 1902 to help fund the cost of staging the parade. Originally titled the “Tournament East-West football game,” it is considered the first Rose Bowl. The next game wasn’t played until 1916 and they have been played every year since then. The Rose Bowl Stadium was built for the 1923 game.

University of Southern California Trojans

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Rose Bowl – Pasadena, California

UPDATED JANUARY 6, 2017: USC won the game 52-49, in a see-saw battle, with the winning field goal coming at the very end of the fourth quarter!

NOTE (if you’re going to the game):
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NOTE: NEW LAWS IN CALIFORNIA!

Even though it’s already illegal to hold a phone and talk or text while driving, Starting January 1, 2017 motorists cannot hold their phone for any reason! Phones must be mounted on the windshield or dashboard and “hands-free” functions (one-touch) will still be allowed as long as conditions are safe for use.

Senate Bill No. 880 & Proposition 63 = Stricter Gun Control Laws in California!
The new laws include expansion of the assault weapons ban, background checks for bullet buyers at the point of sale, adds new felony charges for stealing firearms, broadens a ban on large capacity magazines (over ten rounds) and requires all felons to surrender their guns effective January 1, 2017.

California approved Proposition 64 to legalize “recreational” adult use of marijuana!
Even though there is still Federal Prohibition and marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 Drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency, as of November 9, 2016, the State of California made it legal for any adult 21 years or older to:

    •  Possess, transport, obtain or give away to other adults 21 or older no more than one ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.

•  Cultivate up to six plants per residence and possess the marijuana produced by these plants.  All plants and harvest in excess of one ounce must be kept in a locked space not in public view at one’s residence.  Local governments may still forbid cultivation outdoors, but must allow it inside a private residence or accessory structure that is “fully enclosed and secure.”

• Medical marijuana patients keep their existing rights under Prop 215 to possess and cultivate as much as they need for personal medical use so long as they have a doctor’s recommendation, regardless of the Prop 64 limits for adult users. Beware though that local governments may still restrict cultivation via nuisance ordinances (except for the six indoor plant minimum allowed for personal use).

•  Retail sales for adult use will not begin until licensed stores are in operation after Jan 1, 2018.  In the meantime, Prop 215 patients with a doctor’s recommendation can continue to purchase at medical collectives and dispensaries.

•  Tax Tip for 215 Patients:  Patients who have a state medical marijuana ID card will be exempt from the state sales tax immediately, according to the State Board of Equalization.  If you spend more than $100 per month on medicine, it should pay you to get a state ID card.  State ID cards are available from county health departments;  under Prop 64 the card fees are capped  at $100 ($50 for Medi-Cal patients).

Prior offenders:  If you have been convicted for a marijuana felony or other offense that has been downgraded by Prop 64, you may petition the court to have your record changed to what it would be if Prop 64 had been in effect!

NOTE: Visit the California NORML website for all the details > http://www.canorml.org/news/what_will_be_legal_and_what_wont_after_Prop_64

And in 2017, salons and barber shops will legally be allowed to serve complimentary alcohol! The measure legalizes a practice already commonplace at many salons.

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Baby New Year 2017

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CHEERS! Here’s to a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR in 2017!

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Historical Photos and Early Views of Pasadena > http://waterandpower.org/museum/Early_Views_of_Pasadena_(Page_1).html

NOTE: 2017 has been designated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017 from JoshWillTravel! (MMXVII A.D.)


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HAPPY NEW YEAR BABY 2017!

 


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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):

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Echo Park Lake & Downtown Los Angeles, California

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

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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.”)
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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.

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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

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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.

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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)

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

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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9039 Sunset Blvd on the Strip

9039 Sunset Blvd on the Strip – A Brief Photographic History:

If those walls could talk! This address was the home of Cafe LaMaze in the 30’s (with a lounge called the Key Club), Sherry’s in the 40’s (where Mickey Cohen was shot), the Plymouth House in the 50’s, Gazzarri’s in the 60’s-80’s, Billboard Live and the Key Club in the 90s until last December 2013 when it became 1 Oak Nightclub.

Exterior-view-of-the-Cafe-Lamaze-restaurant-West-Hollywood-1937

9039 Sunset Blvd – Cafe LaMaze 1930’s

mickey_cohen_sherrys_1949_0721_will

9039 Sunset Blvd – Sherry’s 1940’s (Mickey Cohen was shot here!)

9039 Sunset Blvd

9039 Sunset Blvd – The Plymouth House 1958

9039 Sunset - Gazzarri's Supper Club 1960's

9039 Sunset – Gazzarri’s Supper Club 1960’s

9039 Sunset Blvd

9039 Sunset Blvd – Gazzari’s 1970’s

9039 Sunset Blvd

9039 Sunset Blvd – Gazzarri’s 1980’s  Bill Gazzarri “See Ya Pal”

9039 Sunset Blvd

9039 Sunset Blvd – Billboard Live and then the KeyClub 1990’s- 2013 RIP

I used to promote club nights as Joshua 13 with Stephen Aquarius and Luis Q NightKing Productions at the KeyClub! “Cloud 9” on Wednesday and Friday nights, “The Indepen-Dance 1998”, “Midsummers Night Dream 1998”, “Saturday Nights in the Plush Room” and “The Resolution!” on New Years Eve 1998-1999.

MidSummers Night Dream Party at the KeyClub 1998

MidSummers Night Dream Party at the KeyClub 1998

Saturday Nights in the Plush Room at the KeyClub

Saturday Nights in the Plush Room at the KeyClub

"The Resolution" New Years Eve 1998-1999! at the KeyClub

“The Resolution” New Years Eve 1998-1999! at the KeyClub

 Now it’s the new 1 Oak Nightclub. (but for how long?)

9039 Sunset Blvd - 1 Oak Nightclub 2014

9039 Sunset Blvd – 1 Oak Nightclub 2014

UPDATE: Not too long after this Blog was posted, rap mogul/convicted felon Suge Knight was shot “six times” at a pre-VMA party at 1Oak nightclub. Lucky mo-fo will survive the shooting. Weird parallel to the Mickey Cohen shooting in the 40’s!

“And it’s all just a little bit of History repeating!”

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Birthday! Labor Day Weekend in Vegas…where to stay?

Q: Birthday weekend in Vegas…where to stay?

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? – Talia H. Seattle, WA

Welcome to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Welcome to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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. Just fully renovated! Everything is fresh and new.

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

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.

Make reservations in advance (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.

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Dinner at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino

Dinner at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino

We were going for dinner tonight at Sushi Hirosuke and instead found this sad news taped to the door:

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Sad News! Sushi Hirosuke RIP (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

My friend Hiro, the sushi chef, opened this place in the early 90s and we used to have dinner here twice a week. He sold it to a nice couple who ran it for a long time. It was a good place, not great, but it was reasonably priced, local, and always good enough.

My friend Hiro-san now owns the amazingly awesome Sushi Ichiban Kan in Tarzana (you can read about it and see the pictures in my previous blogs).

There’s a lot of sushi competition in the neighborhood! On Ventura Boulevard, between Sepulveda and Reseda, there are more than fourteen sushi restaurants: Katsu-ya, Midori, Yamato, Benihana’s, Okamura, Cho Cho San, Dancing Wasabi, Octopus, Four on Six, Sushi Ajito, Crazy Tokyo, Sushi Tsune, Makoto, and our new destination for dinner Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Upstairs in the mall where they shot “The 40 Year Old Virgin” is a new Japanese restaurant. I had heard nice things about it, but this was my very first time dining there. Ride the escalator or elevator to the third floor, enter the restaurant and enjoy the asian food and drink experience.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

The Bar of Tokyo at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise has a great selection of sake and a full bar! They have a Happy Hour menu and specials from 3-6:30pm and after 10:30pm.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo: Great Selection of Sake!(copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo: Beers on draft. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Restaurant!

Tuesday at 7pm, the place was empty. When you enter through the restaurant you are greeted at the Host Desk by the Giant Face seen below.  There’s a glass enclosed covered patio with a nice view of Ventura Blvd, the Sushi Bar area and a Dining Room area. We sat inside in a booth, which was too low for the table, wasn’t very comfortable for my back, and felt very cramped and claustrophobic. I did have a view of the glass enclosed kitchen, but could only see the grill from where I was seated. 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Welcome!  (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi Bar (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi Bar (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Patio Dining (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Kitchen & Grill enclosed in glass (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

It’s a very pretty restaurant, done in very modern Japanese design. We were seated, greeted and provided with drinks while we perused the menu and decided on our food choices. They have a massive menu with sushi, salads, rolls, entrees, sides, and desserts….and it’s very confusing. They also have an ala carte sushi and sushi roll menu and a yakitori menu with all kinds of traditional (chicken, beef, vegetables) and weird things (intestines, livers, and other parts) grilled on a skewer. Mark those menus with a pencil.

The prices are VERY REASONABLE!!! You can eat a lot of different things, share them, try stuff you might never try if you feel adventurous, and just have a really big meal Japanese meal for a good price. The drink prices are also GREAT!

ON THE MENU: hot sake, cucumber with sesame sunomono, grilled shishito pepper, avocado & negitoro (spicy tuna), fried calamari, spicy tuna roll, Wisconsin roll (salmon and crab), sushi – salmon, yellowtail and albacore, potstickers, chicken meatball and pork kalbi skewers and an iced green tea. We also ordered the live Uni pasta, roasted eggplant side, and a big Spicy Tuna and Rice bowl (we asked for brown rice, but got steamed white rice instead).

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Hot Sake! Large size! (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Cucumber with sesame sunomo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – grilled shishito peppers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – avocado and negitoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – fried calamari (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – chicken meatball and pork kalbi skewers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – potstickers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Wisconsin roll: salmon over crab (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – spicy tuna roll (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi! Salmon, yellowtail and albacore. (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Everything was good! The fish was good quality, fresh and tasty. The cooked stuff was also done right. The fried calamari was excellent! I also enjoyed the spicy tuna dishes quite a bit. The avocado and negitoro was a good choice. Next time I’ll have the pork kalbi salted instead of sauced and forget about the cucumber and sesame sunomono.

They’re open late weeknights, and really late on Fridays and Saturdays, so I might have to go back soon….

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Enjoying my dinner! Tasty Japanese Goodness! (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

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Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Into the Sunset on Ventura Boulevard…Time to Blog This. (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise – 17401 Ventura Blvd., B21, Encino, CA 91316 http://www.otootorestaurant.comhttp://www.ramla.net

 

Travel Massive at The Roof at The Hotel Wilshire, a Kimpton Hotel

Travel Massive Los Angeles March 2014 Event

The Roof at The Hotel Wilshire, a Kimpton Hotel

I was invited to the Travel Massive Los Angeles event last month, but time and traffic prevented me from attending. So last night, on a cool Tuesday evening in March, I drove over the hill and down to the Miracle Mile for the event at The Roof at The Hotel Wilshire.

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Wilshire Boulevard, “the Miracle Mile” (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

On Wilshire Boulevard, between Crescent Heights and La Jolla, stands The Hotel Wilshire, a Kimpton Hotel.

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Going Up! Switch elevators on the sixth floor and ride on up to The Roof.

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire: bar and restaurant area with limited seating, two cabanas, flanked by couch seating, and small tables on the patio around the pool:

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Bar and Restaurant: (food by Executive Chef Eric Greenspan)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Bar and Restaurant Area at The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Nice Bar at The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Free Cocktail Tuesday! Vodka and seven. (one drink ticket and a cash tip)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Cocktail Time at The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Party on the Pool Patio! Cocktails and networking with a fun mix of new people.

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Pool Patio at The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

There were introductions, “thank yous” and a couple of short speeches:

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The event was sponsored by the wonderful Tourism Authority of Thailand:

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Tourism Authority of Thailand at The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And then there was a raffle prize drawing:

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Raffle Prize Drawing at The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Pool Patio at night – great views with lots of city lights in the distance:

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Nice view! Looking east down Wilshire:

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I won some cool luggage!

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

A medium size heavy duty rolling duffle bag with a hard plastic back and bottom, wheels and a retractable handle embroidered with the Thailand text: (very cool!)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Big thanks to Travel Massive Los Angeles, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and all the folks at The Roof and The Hotel Wilshire for a very nice event!

The Hotel Wilshire6317 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

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Sunday Brunch at the LUXE Hotel On Sunset

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE Hotel On Sunset – On Sunset Restaurant

Big Thanks to the LUXE Hotel On Sunset, the On Sunset Restaurant and LWH Hotels for the wonderful brunch! I was lucky and won brunch for 2 at the Tokyo Cerulean Hotel Reception at the LUXE On Rodeo (see past blogs, it was a great event!). I had to wait until after football season for a free Sunday, so today we went to collect my win and try their well reviewed Brunch.

I love this hotel. It’s a beautiful property! You can take the full photographic tour in my other blogs, there are a couple of links at the bottom of this page. This blog is just about the brunch and the delicious food and drink that we enjoyed today.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch Ahead at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I made a reservation and we had a lovely table reserved for us on the restaurant patio.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Cold Table: seafood – crab claws, crab legs, shrimp, oysters, bagel, lox and grav lox, cream cheese, sushi, scallop ceviche, fish ceviche, herring, meat plate – salami, turkey, 3 kinds of cheeses, crackers, tomatos and mozzarella, salad, muffins, danish, coffee cake and all kinds of bread.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hot Table: chafing dishes – bacon and sausage, roast potato, mexican rice, mashed potato, roast peppers and vegetables, fish in sauce, pancakes, french toast, waffles, blintzes, eggs benedict, and more.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Omelets, crepes and prime rib. Oh my!

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Prime Rib carving station. With Au Jus and horseradish sauce.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Crab legs, crab claws, shrimp, and oysters.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Bloody Mary, fresh squeezed Orange Juice, Iced Tea and Coffee to drink.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Cold Plate: sushi, crab legs, crab claws, shrimp, scallop ceviche, bagel, lox, grav lox, and cream cheese.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Cold plate; cornbread muffin, chocolate danish, salami, turkey, pepperjack cheese, bread, and a california roll.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Prime rib au jus with horseradish sauce, eggs benedict, and cheese blintzes with berry sauce.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Bacon, sausage, french toast, roast potato, and mashed potato.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Fruit: pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, Dessert: mini fruit tart, flourless brownie, and a chocolate mouse cake roll.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Many tempting desserts and a fruit platter.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

You can dine indoors in the dining room or bar area or on the restaurant patio or bar patio.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Today’s brunch was accompanied by music from a wonderful jazz trio.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel On SunsetSunset Blvd (at the 405 freeway), West Los Angeles, CA

https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/friday-at-the-luxe-hotel-sunset-boulevard/

https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/the-art-of-hospitality-lwh-hotels-event-at-the-luxe-hotel-on-sunset/

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