Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

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Thanksgiving Feast 2017

It’s the holiday season again, so that means it’s time for our annual Thanksgiving party and feast. It was warm and sunny, just another beautiful day in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles and Southern California, and time for a celebration. We always wonder why people want to face traffic and crowds to travel to miserable weather for the holidays when they can have summer here in late November and December!

We had about 20 guests this year (family and friends) and the party started an hour earlier at 3pm in the afternoon. The agenda for the evening (as always) is welcome, drinks and appetizers as the meal prep is finished, and then dinner and dessert served buffet style.

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Thanksgiving 2017 – Pretty Flowers!

Would you like to start with an adult beverage?

 

On The Menu: 2 large turkeys, 3 kinds of stuffing, corn pudding, creamed spinach, asparagus, cauliflower & brussel sprouts, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato & carrot puree, homemade challah bread, cranberry sauce, and dessert. I made Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake (big hit!), a Costco apple pie, a pumpkin pie, 3 kinds of cookies, 2 kinds of fudge and lots of booze. We also baked cornbread & muffins (see our previous Blog Post) and froze them, but there was too much food so we didn’t serve them and they will be saved for another day (or days as there are 4 batches in the freezer). And there was a bread and hummus appetizer which we didn’t eat because who wants to fill up on bread and garbanzo bean paste before a fantastic meal like this?

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Thanksgiving Feast – dinner plate 2017

Pictures of the Thanksgiving Feast:

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Thanksgiving Feast 2017 – CHALLAH!

 

Desserts:

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Thanksgiving Feast – Dessert! 2017

We usually make our Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake for the Thanksgiving Feast.

Last year we didn’t. So everyone asked about cheesecake and they were sadly disappointed… and then we got some good Jewish guilt for the holiday. This year, by “royal decree” we were instructed that there had to be cheesecake and we did some “midnight baking” without big mixing bowls (because they were all in use for meal prep). And so there was Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake for dessert, and it was a Big Hit and everyone was very happy!

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Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake 2017

Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake recipe>
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Costco Apple Pie and a Pumpkin Pie too! (not pictured)

NOTE: We are so blessed to have it so good! We are so thankful for our friends and family, and the wonderful food we have to eat, and all the modern conveniences that are usually taken for granted everyday. We also think of the less fortunate living on our city streets without homes and food and hope you will too this holiday season.

Also Thanksgiving means NFL FOOTBALL all day long on a Thursday!

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Minnesota Vikings 30 – Detroit Lions 23

and the Halftime Spectacular Show at the Dallas Cowboys game:
(the Cowboys lost, but it was a helluva halftime show)

 

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Los Angeles Chargers 28 – Dallas Cowboys 6

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Washington Redskins 20 – New York Giants 10

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Thank you “South Park”

Hope You Had A Happy Turkey Day!
More great recipes here on my Blog! (see the sidebar>>> or use the search box^^^)

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stuffing in the oven – someone hit BROIL by accident, almost burned them all

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Turkey dinner leftovers for breakfast on Friday, so a toasted chicken&cheese sandwich for dinner and a piece of leftover pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert.
Happy Pie Day and Good Shabbos!

NOTE: The day after Thanksgiving is known as “pie day” around my house. Not to be confused with “Pi Day” on March 14, but it is a Friday and we always have leftover pie because everyone eats all our cheesecake….

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Leftover Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream


This Day In History: On Nov. 25, 1965, Arlo Guthrie took out the garbage…

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THANKSGIVING TRADITION! “ALICE’S RESTAURANT” by Arlo Guthrie
“You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant (exceptin’ Alice)”


 

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Tuesday Night Dinner at Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana, CA

Tuesday Night Dinner at
Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen
in Tarzana, CA

We are back! We wrote a new restaurant Blog post. Enjoy!

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Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana, CA

We were just going to go to CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) but the parking lot was full, which indicated the restaurant would be crowded and busy, so we detoured to Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen just two blocks away on Ventura Blvd (near Reseda Blvd) in Tarzana and we were glad that we did.

We really like this restaurant! We’ve been here before and it’s always really good. Good food, good service, good atmosphere and pretty good prices. They have free parking in the rear and there is ample metered street parking (8am-8pm everyday except Sunday).

We arrived without a reservation and were seated immediately. The dining room was busy and there were several large family parties, but unlike CPK, the noise was not a factor at all. It’s not a very big place occupying two store front windows, with the open kitchen on one side and the dining room on the other. They do good business (lunch, dinner, catering and delivery), and they also have beer & wine on premises.

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Fabrocini’s Open Kitchen and Dining Room

There are pictures of all things Italian on the walls and the Dodgers game was on the television in the dining room (as reflected on the pic below).

NOTE: We are still boycotting the Dodgers and Time-Warner/Spectrum/SportsNetLA (see the previous Blog) but it was on and we didn’t pay attention because we currently don’t care about Major League Baseball until we can watch the Dodgers games on television FOR FREE.

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Leaning Tower of Pizza!

The Menu:

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

On The Menu: Caesar salad, fresh baked bread with olive oil, pasta fusilli with broccoli in a garlic sauce (a little too salty tonight), meat lasagna and a coke.

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

A GOOD dinner!  The service (waitstaff & busboy) was excellent and the management strives to make sure everything is beyond satisfactory. We should add that although our intention was to eat at CPK, the experience at Fabrocini’s was much better! We still like CPK, but the difference in the quality of food, service and care between a family owned restaurant and a huge corporate chain is exemplified in this comparison. And we should also mention, the cost wasn’t very different and there wasn’t a “loyalty club” discount involved, so we didn’t have to show them our phone or give them a code.

NOTE: Don’t fill up on bread and salad or appetizers, because the entrees are large and delicious! They also have good desserts but we didn’t indulge this time.

Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen18608 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA (west of Reseda Blvd) http://www.fabrocinistarzana.com (818) 342-4490​

Lunch: 11:00am – 4:00pm Closed for Lunch on Sunday
Dinner: 4:00pm – 9:00pm Sun-Thurs 4:00pm to 10:00pm Fri & Sat

Fabrocini’s Beverly Glen2960 Beverly Glen Circle (at Mulholland) (310) 475-7404

 

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They have great pizzas too!

Cook With Me! And Watch Me Cook!

It’s the JoshWillTravel AdventureScope on YouTube! 

COOK WITH ME! AND WATCH ME COOK!
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Here are our collected COOKING VIDEOS
from JoshWillTravel as of January 2017:

Cook With Me: Scrambled Eggs! (live on Periscope, and now on Youtube)

NOTE: “Scrambled Eggs” was only our third Periscope broadcast! And it was shot “handheld” while cooking with the other hand!

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Cook With Me: Cooking Dinner! (on Periscope.tv/joshwilltravel)
Tri-tip Steak, Salmon, Corn on the Cob, Twice Cooked Potatoes,
Sautéed Green Beans and Onions with Challah bread for Shabbat Dinner
RIGHT CLICK “Open in New Window” TO WATCH THE VIDEO ON PERISCOPE> https://www.periscope.tv/JoshWillTravel/1yNGanQZMmvJj

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NOTE: The “Cooking Dinner” broadcast was our first time cooking on the stove with the phone mounted.

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Mrs. Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread!

Baking Banana Bread pt 1 – Recipe, Instruction & Prep 
Mrs Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread recipe (live on Periscope, and now on YouTube)

Baking Banana Bread pt 2 – “The Banana Bread is Baked”:
Mrs Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread (live on Periscope, and now on Youtube)

NOTE: This video is in TWO PARTS (before and after baking):
part 1 was shot with the phone mounted, while part 2 is “handheld”.

Here is Mrs. Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread Recipe!
Right Click “Open In New Window” for the Recipe Blog>
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1DR

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Mrs. Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread!

 

And Read The Blog! Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a nice steak dinner!>
(Nothing fancy, just a nice dinner at home) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-2kO
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All photos and videos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel (unless otherwise noted)

Here are MY RECIPE BLOGS!
These are collected recipes from
my computer hard drive, picture files and previous Blogs:

FUN COOKING RECIPES (and more Julia Child!)
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/fun-cooking-recipes/

Disney’s Secret Recipes
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-6Xo

More Fun Recipes (including Manny’s Artichokes & Churros!)
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-6Y3

Cooking With Kenny Rogers – DOLE Cookbook Recipes
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-6Yk

FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/cocktails/

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RETURN TO HOMEPAGE> http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW OUR YOUTUBE PAGE!>

The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!>
(And our Periscope videos from Katch are now posted on YouTube)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoP3QQfRTfD-2eABWVd-JwQ

http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

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Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino!

Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino, California

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Berry Panna Cotta & Berry Sorbet at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant

Thursday evening and time for another happy birthday dinner! Neapolitan Italian Food at Gio Cucina Napoletana in Encino. We’ve eaten here before and the food has always been excellent. Tonight’s dinner was a lovely dining experience and the meal was great.

The restaurant is located on the 2nd Floor of a small shopping center/mini-mall on Ventura Blvd and in addition to the small storefront dining room and kitchen there is a large outdoor patio available for dining.

There is limited free parking in the shopping center’s front and rear lots and metered (8am-8pm) street parking available.

The restaurant has been here for years and the food is made with only fresh ingredients. The pasta and gnocchi is made from scratch. They offer rice pasta as a substitution for the “gluten free” diner and have a number of vegetarian options on the menu.

There’s a nice selection of appetizers, vegetable soups and fancy salads (and they have a Caesar Salad that’s off the menu but easily ordered with or without anchovies). There’s pizza, pasta, meat and fish entrees on the menu and always creative daily specials on the whiteboard in the dining room. If you like lasagna, try their beef or chicken lasagna.

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Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino

We got there early and chose to sit inside. We had the dining room all to ourselves for most of our meal. It got busy inside just as we were finishing up.

Everything is made to order and you can almost watch them cook from across the dining room. Fresh baked bread and olive tapenade are offered as a starter. They have a nice selection of wine by the bottle or glass to choose from and their desserts are very tasty.

This picture and cutout from Valley Magazine was above our table in the dining room and provides a wonderful description of the restaurant and the dining experience:

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Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino

“Gio’s Cucina Napoletana is a tiny restaurant with a big heart. Toques off to chef and owner Roberto Castellanos, who cooks with olive oil rather than butter, makes pasta from scratch and bakes mini-loaves of killer bread for each table.From his minuscule open kitchen, Castellanos presides over a menu of variety and quality. His dairy-free pureed vegetable soups have deep, rich flavor. His radicchio, endive, fennel and shaved Parmesan salad could pass muster at a  far fancier restaurant. And his homemade spaghetti with seafood in white wine-tomato sauce with roasted garlic is hearty, tasty,old-fashioned fare. I’ve yet to try the cracker thin pizza, but it’s next on the list. Prices are reasonable, making it easy to go back.” – Valley Magazine May-June 2008

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

On The Menu: Meat Lasagna, 1/2 Caesar Salad, fresh baked bread with olive tapenade, fried calamari with marinara sauce, berry panna cotta & berry sorbet, tiramisu and a coke

NOTE: There was also lobster & vegetable risotto and mushroom & vegetable pasta as the other entrees (not pictured). Both dishes received excellent reviews!

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Meat Lasagna with pasta and sauce made from scratch!

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

NOTE: We sent the fried calamari back. It was pan fried, not deep fried, in a very light batter and two of us were fine with the preparation, but two of us didn’t like it.

Here’s a pic of one of the best dishes we ordered at a previous dinner: Hawaiian Prawns with spaghetti, garlic and olive oil:

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From a Previous Dinner: Hawaiian prawns with spaghetti, garlic & olive oil

Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant15826 Ventura Blvd., 2nd Floor, Encino
818-905-7446

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino

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Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino at Night

 

Updated December 29, 2016
A nice dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana
Fresh baked bread, fried calimari with marinara sauce, beef lasagna and a coke

 

Updated Friday, April 7, 2017
Dinner delivered!
Spaghetti bolognese with parmesan cheese and fresh baked bread: Excellent!

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Spaghetti Bolognese with parmesan cheese and fresh baked bread

 

UPDATED Friday April 28, 2017:

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Beef Lasagna at Gio Cucina Napoletana

My old college friend Kent came out to the valley and took me to dinner. We went to Gio Cucina Napoletana and had some great Italian food. Carpacchio, fresh baked bread and olive tapenade, fried calamari, Caesar salad, beef lasagna, tiramisu, red wine (cabernet sauvignon) and a coke. So much fun, I even took a selfie.

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Selfie! Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana with Kent

Feel Awful? Have a Falafel! Here’s a Falafel Recipe:

Feel Awful? Have a Falafel!

Falafel-Mediterranean

Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, commonly served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa; “falafel” also frequently refers to a wrapped sandwich that is prepared in this way. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a meze tray (assortment of appetizers). Falafel is a common dish eaten throughout the Middle East. The fritters are now found around the world as a replacement for meat and as a form of street food. (from wikipedia)

Here’s a Falafel Recipe:

1 cup dried chickpeas (and/or fava beans)
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying

Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Diced green bell pepper for garnish
Sliced pickle for garnish
Avocado (sliced or salad) for garnish
Tahina sauce and/or Hot Sauce
Pita bread

Preparation
1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.
5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a nice steak dinner!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a nice steak dinner!

This Blog entry is about FOOD. Good Food! Food that’s good for you!
If you’re not into reading about a nice steak dinner, please move along.

It was a beautiful Sunday in the San Fernando Valley today. The weather was great! The first Sunday after football is always the hardest… but a beautiful day makes it easier.

Valentine’s Day is such a rip-off holiday. So, instead of going out and paying triple for dinner, I decided to cook a really nice holiday feast.

On the Menu: Teriyaki bone-in ribeye steaks, baked potato, steamed broccoli and carrots, green salad with ranch dressing, challah bread, red wine and a coke.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Defrosted a couple of bone-in ribeye steaks, prepped the potato, yam & vegetables and then made the salad. Timed it out perfectly and everything was done just right.

Nothing fancy, just a nice dinner at home.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Green salad with iceberg lettuce, celery, carrot and cheese.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Sauteed the red onions, marinaded the meat and pan cooked the steak. One steak cooked rare, one cooked medium rare. (leftovers for tomorrow: steak and eggs maybe?)

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Baked potato and yam, coated with olive oil, salt & pepper and cooked wrapped in tin foil. Topped with a little butter, salt & pepper and I left the sour cream in the fridge…

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Steamed carrots and broccoli (don’t overcook!) cooked to slightly crunchy.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Very happy with the final results! Better than most restaurants and a lot less expensive.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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p.s. The feast was appreciated.

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Visit our other facebook page (Ashland is the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival):
Experience Ashland Oregon with JoshWillTravel> www.facebook.com/theatreinashland

 

Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

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

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

Thanksgiving 2015

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

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” to view larger pic!

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

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

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

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Turkey #1 BEFORE

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Turkey #1 AFTER

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

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving Feast 2015!

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” to view larger pic!

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving Feast 2015!

And there was some wine and other beverages:

Thanksgiving 2015

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

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

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – the Dessert Table is waiting!

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

Thanksgiving 2015 - Baking (the night before)

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

2 Dozen Cornbread Muffins and 1 Dozen Mini Cornbread Muffins:

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – A Bowl Full of Cornbread Muffins!

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

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake!

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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving 2015 - Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Thanksgiving 2015 – Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys

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

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

Thanksgiving 2015 - Leftovers for Brunch the morning after!

Thanksgiving 2015 – Leftovers for Brunch the morning after!

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All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake Recipe – Read the Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1SV
Read last year’s Thanksgiving 2014 Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1mW

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Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 – Pretty flowers on the dining tables too.

Wine Tasting at the Belle Fiore Winery in Ashland Oregon

Wine Tasting at Belle Fiore Winery in Ashland Oregon

To be honest, I was heading for Weisinger’s Winery, but missed it and followed the signs to Belle Fiore Estate & Winery…and I am very glad I did!

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

 

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Beautifully landscaped parking lot

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – the Main Building

I arrived about noon and followed the road up the hill to the Tasting Room, Winery and Restaurant. It’s very pretty and even the parking pot is beautifully landscaped! The main building has the exterior design of a modern Italian Palazzo, with nice classical details.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – the Main Building: Tasting Room, Winery and Restaurant

The interior is also lovely! There is table seating and a wine tasting bar downstairs, and a restaurant upstairs. The first floor also has the winery offices, a private dining/tasting room, restrooms and a kitchen area. The inside space is beautiful and decorated with art.

They have the Belle Arte label and hold an art competition every year, the winner is chosen and their art is featured on all the Belle Arte vintages that year. And artists can show and sell their work in the downstairs space.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Downstairs Tasting Room and Art Gallery

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – the fancy ironwork stairs to the Restaurant upstairs

There was only one other person at the tasting room bar when I arrived. I met my server Dottie, who passed me on the road in her new BMW and had just arrived at work. I would also meet Savannah (aka Sarah from Havana) and Michael while I enjoyed their wine.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – the Wine Tasting Bar downstairs

Tasting Time! They had two tasting menus to choose from, and the wines change weekly and there are substitutions and add ons available. I decided to try the $12 tasting menu with five wines: a sauvignon blanc, a pinot noir, a syrah, a cabernet sauvignon and a muscat canelli. Along the way I also tasted a caprettone, a montepulciano and their recent Gold Medal Award Winner the Numinos red wine blend.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Wine Tasting Time!

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Wine Tasting Menu

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Dottie and Savannah at the Wine Tasting Bar

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Belle Esprit 2014 Caprettone

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – 2014 Sauvignon Blanc

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – 2013 Estate Pinot Noir

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – 2012 Estate Syrah

Their Numinos red wine blend just won a Double Gold Medal Award!

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Numinos 2012 Red Wine Blend – Gold Medal Award Winner

 

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Big Thanks to Dottie, Savannah and Michael for their service, knowledge, stories and personal entertainment. Savannah and Michael are both very talented singers! They were also nice enough to let me plug in my phone charger while I was at the bar.

Bella Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery – 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Belle Arte 2012 Montepulciano

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Belle Esprit 2013 Muscat Canelli

They have a food tasting menu downstairs and a full restaurant upstairs. And I think the restaurant menu is available downstairs as well. I have to thank my new friends Kim and Lynn again for sharing their cheese, bread and charcuterie leftovers with me.

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Downstair Wine Bar Tating Menu

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Bread & Cheese

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Charcuterie Board Leftovers

The wines were EXCELLENT! All of the wines I tasted were absolute winners!

The whites were light, fruity and delicious. I would definitely drink the Caprettone and Sauvignon Blanc. The Muscat Cannelli is an excellent dessert wine.

Their red wines each had distinct qualities and wonderful flavors. The Numinos was exceptional and I “really-really” liked the Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Montepulciano vintages.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Private Dining/TastingRoom

I spent a couple of hours at the bar, tried a lot of wines, and then wandered around the parking lot and building afterwards. It was cloudy, hazy and smoky but I got a few good pictures. The winery is onsite and the loading dock is adjacent to the tasting room.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Winery Loading Dock and Vineyards

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Vineyards

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Vineyards

They have acres of vineyards and the neighbor’s properties make for good pictures.

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Belle Fiore Winery – the view from the parking lot of the neighbors property

11950237_1210317988994765_7316723302090844237_o

Belle Fiore Winery – the view from the parking lot of the neighbors property

I had a wonderful time and all the wines were great! I would definitely return and want to try the private tour/tasting of the Mansion and eat at the restaurant next time I’m in town.

NOTE: The Private Tour and Tasting available at the Mansion Estate and gardens up the hill includes a tour, a select wine tasting and is fully accessible for Special Needs visitors.  The cost for the Private experience is $25 per person for a group of 1-8 guests.

They are licensed to ship wine to CA, NY, WA, NV and CO. They will also pack your purchase for shipping and you can ship it yourself as “perishable food” (don’t tell them it’s wine) if they don’t ship to your home state.

Belle Fiore Estate & Winery 955 Dead Indian Memorial Road, Ashland, Oregon 541-552-4900  www.bellefiorewine.com

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Tuesday evening. Not very much traffic. And we’re back at the Hollywood Bowl for more!

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Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

The escalator going uphill was broken. So a lot of people had to hump it up the hill, coolers and picnic baskets in tow….a lot of tired old people trying to make it up the stairs.

We had a nice box (No wood bench seats tonight!) and picked up our picnic dinner from The Coral Cafe on the way. The weather was perfect, a beautiful warm summer night.

On The Menu: Roast beef sandwich, Caesar salad, dill pickle, chocolate & cinnamon bread pudding and a bottled water.

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Roast Beef Sandwich & Caesar Salad

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Chocolate & Cinnamon Bread Pudding

The food was okay, but not great. I was not impressed by the roast beef sandwich (might have been better with mustard) or the bread puddings, and what can you really say about a “to go” caesar salad? It was fine for what it was, but the food was overpriced and I hate the plastic packaging.

NOTE: The people in the box behind us were still having their picnic during the first act, and decided to pack their trash and turn their chairs around after the program began. **FINISH YOUR PICNIC BEFORE THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER BEGINS!!!!!**

**AND DON’T TALK DURING THE PERFORMANCE!!!!!**

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Showtime on Tuesday Night!

Joshua Bell & the LA Philharmonic playing Mendelssohn, Bruch & Beethoven tonight:

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Mendelssohn, Bruch & Beethoven

It was a short program! The Bruch Concerto was beautiful and Beethoven’s 7th was very well done, but needed to build more before the finish, in my opinion. The concert was over  and we were back to the car and on the freeway before 10:30pm.

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – Beethoven’s 7th Symphony in Concert

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl

Joshua Bell at the Hollywood Bowl – A Beautiful. Warm Summer Night!

It was a lovely evening with wonderful music on a beautiful, warm summer night. I had a nice picnic dinner and listened to first-rate musicians perform classical pieces in a fantastic environment. Happy Birthday to Me!

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All Photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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Happy Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Las Vegas!

Happy Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Las Vegas!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Friday night! We were celebrating in Las Vegas at the Palazzo Hotel and made a dinner reservation for 7:15pm. We arrived on time and were seated without having to wait.

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – The Carnevino Bar!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – The Carnevino Bar!

We had a choice of the Dining Room or a table in the Carnevino Bar with a view of the casino. We chose the Dining Room which was almost full, so we were seated at a 4top in the back of the house by the service doors (more about this later) and the entrance to the “group” and private dining rooms.

The Dining Room has a large metal cow in the center. We were sitting in the back of the house with a nice view of the cow’s ass. The space has an “old-world” rustic Italian theme. There are bottles of wine used as window display, and there’s a nice view of the Wynn and Encore hotels.

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 – View of the Wynn & Encore Hotels

The service was excellent and the large restaurant staff is very well trained and extremely well managed and monitored! There is a defined procedure for every step of the meal followed by the waiters, servers and bus people. The meal was perfectly timed, done to order and everything we ate was excellent!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

White linen tablecloths, a great menu with lots of variety, tasting menus and an extensive wine list were on the table and available.  As I mentioned before, we were seated at a 4top in the back of the house by the service doors. There’s a very large staff and they move very quickly. They also have carving carts for table presentations and large group rooms beyond the Dining Room accessed through the back of the house. I know this because of the constant stream of traffic rushing by our table, and the carts trying to fit between the chairs. There was also a clown car length line of business people that walked past our table to get to their party in the group room, probably 50 or so people parading past our table. It was a little distracting, and almost annoying, but we were enjoying the food and this is really my only complaint about the dining experience. I would advise requesting a table away from the service doors and back of house to anyone eating here.

The food was terrific. Everything was cooked to order and prepared with care. The presentation and plating was clean and simple, the food being the focus. We made our choices and chose a glass of wine (rather than a bottle) from their extensive list. I really enjoyed each delicious dish, which is the sign of a great kitchen.

On The Menu:

Cheese puff appetizer starter, Grilled octopus appetizer, NY Strip steak (bone in, cooked medium), charred asparagus, mashed potato with poached egg & bacon, bread with butter & lardo, a glass of red wine and a coke.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Cheese puff appetizer starter course

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Bread with butter & lardo (pork fat)

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Grilled Octopus in Limoncello

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – NY Strip Steak (bone in, cooked medium)

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Mashed potato with poached egg & bacon

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Charred Asparagus

A fine wine: 2009 Ciacci Piccolomini d’ Aragona Brunello di Montalcino

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Fine Wine!

ROSSO DI MONTALCINO DOC – Tuscany, Italy
The Grape varietal of this wine is 100% Sangiovese Grosso; fermented & refined in stainless steel & glass concrete vats w/temperature controlled through cooling plates & jackets, aged roughly 12 months in 20-85 Hl Slavonian oak barrels. Rosso di Montalcino fruit-forward, spicy & floral. Red berry fruits notes are enriched by slight floral & spicy hints. Warm, soft on the palate w/great structure & round tannins.

The wine was a wee bit tannic at first, but was great with the perfectly cooked meat.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – a coke and a smile

For Dessert: Birthday tiramisu, peanut butter & chocolate torte with almond brittle and caramel sauce, an espresso and shortbread cookies with black currants to finish.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Happy Birthday Tiramisu and an iced espresso

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Double Down on Dessert at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Peanut Butter & Chocolate Torte with Almond Brittle and Caramel Sauce! Like a Snickers on Crack!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Shortbread Cookies with Black Currants to finish

Thank you Carnevino! Thank you for a wonderful birthday dinner! I really enjoyed the food and the service was terrific. I would definitely return and recommend it to my friends. It really is one of the best steaks in Las Vegas.

GOOD SHABBOS!

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

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Vegas Leftovers!

Vegas Leftovers!

Vegas Tip! (or tip for any hotel stay): Request an in-room mini-refrigerator for a “special diet” or “medical reasons”! They usually provide them without a charge (ask them to waive the fee if there is one) and you’ll have a place to store leftovers, food you bring/buy outside the hotel, and a place to keep beverages cold (much better than the ice bucket). My Vegas leftover breakfast: cold NY strip steak, cold boneless buffalo wings with ranch dressing, pineapple juice, tiramisu, slightly stale donuts & a banana (not pictured)