Mother’s Day Sunday Brunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

Mother’s Day Sunday Brunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Let’s have a Brunch Party!

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Sunday Brunch on Mother’s Day in Sherman Oaks in the beautiful San Fernando Valley at The Hamburger Hamlet was a very good choice! We didn’t make the reservation, our sister did through the Open Table website. We arrived at the restaurant at the appointed time and parked the car in the large lot behind the building on Moorpark. There’s a $4.00 flat fee for parking on Saturday and Sunday that will be refunded with a validation on a yellow ticket (not a white ticket) before leaving the lot. There is also metered street parking with limited availability on Van Nuys Blvd and other neighborhood streets.

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Sunday Brunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

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Sunday Brunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

From the Hamburger Hamlet website:

WE WELCOME YOU TO THE HAMBURGER HAMLET

LIKE MANY OF US WHO GREW UP IN LOS ANGELES, THE HAMBURGER HAMLET PLAYED A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES LIVES. FROM DINNER IN WESTWOOD BEFORE SEEING A MOVIE, TO SUNDAY BRUNCH IN BRENTWOOD, THE HAMBURGER HAMLET WAS ALWAYS A HOME AWAY FROM HOME KNOWN FOR SIMPLY MARVELOUS FOOD & DRINK.

OUR MEMORIES INCLUDE WATCHING A VERY DAPPER MAN NAMED HARRY LEWIS GO TABLE TO TABLE GREETING HIS GUESTS OR SEEING MARILYN LEWIS WORKING WITH THE STAFF AND ATTENDING TO THE GUESTS NEEDS. STILL FRESH IN OUR MEMORIES IS OUR FAVORITE BURGER PAIRED WITH A HAAGEN DAZS SHAKE, THE FAMOUS LOBSTER BISQUE AND THE APRICOT CHICKEN WINGS.

SO INSPIRED BY WHAT THE HAMBURGER HAMLET REPRESENTED, THAT WHEN WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE OVER SUCH A HISTORIC BRAND, WE COULD NOT RESIST THE CHANCE TO BRING IT BACK TO THE PROUD TRADITION AND FOUNDATION CREATED BY YOUR FORMER HOSTS, HARRY AND MARILYN LEWIS AND PAY OUR RESPECTS TO WHAT THEY ACHIEVED.

WELCOME BACK!

YOUR HOSTS KEVIN MICHAELS AND BRETT DOHERTY

Welcome to The Hamburger Hamlet! There’s a lot of history behind this restaurant!

The first Hamburger Hamlet was opened in 1950 on Sunset Blvd. At its peak the chain grew to 24 restaurants in multiple states. The Lewis family sold the sit-down chain for $29.2 million after opening Kate Mantilini in 1987. The owner Hamlet Group Inc. filed for bankruptcy on April 5, 2013.

The last remaining location in Sherman Oaks was acquired in 2014 and remodeled in 2015 by Killer Shrimp’s Kevin Michaels and Brett Doherty. They have refreshed the menu with brand new items and still feature the popular items that people loved growing up in Los Angeles.

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FLASHBACK!

The interior of the restaurant was extensively remodeled, and the famous red leather booths and chairs are no longer available…but there is still something familiar about the redesign.

There are many pictures from the history of The Hamburger Hamlet restaurant chain on the walls, which is a really nice touch. Many Angelenos have great memories of the restaurants and their menu dishes. Mine are of family experiences growing up: lunch with my Grandmother on Sunset Blvd (her office was across the street in the Union Bank building and they knew her by name), going there for special occasions, and parties and dinners at the locations in Sherman Oaks, Hollywood and Brentwood.

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

And so it seemed appropriate for Mother’s Day that we revisit the location on Van Nuys Blvd which turned out to be a very good decision. As we drove to our destination, we passed packed restaurants on Ventura Blvd with people waiting outside to be seated (Marmalade Cafe, Blu Jam Cafe, The Cheesecake Factory at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, etc.). When we arrived at The Hamburger Hamlet there were empty tables and we were seated at our reserved table without having to wait.

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Have a Cocktail in The Bar at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

The remodel of the restaurant was very well done. The Bar is beautiful. The dark dining room of the past is now a large open space with lots of light and the kitchen area was given a major upgrade and is semi-open and dining room adjacent.

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

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Sunday Brunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

The Menu has also retained it’s history!  The still have the “signature” dishes along with some new items and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner all day.

NOTE: the Saturday and Sunday Brunch Menu is only available 9am-3pm on weekends.

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

On the Menu: 1/2 Caesar salad, cornbread, Hot Turkey Sandwich with steak fries, cranberry sauce & gravy and a Mr Pibb soda. Our table also ordered eggs benedict & hash browns, a club sandwich & salad, a Cobb salad with cornbread, an Arnold Palmer, grapefruit juice, bacon & eggs and pancakes.

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

The food was good. Classic American “comfort food” for brunch. The portions were large. The service was good, but slowed down as they got busier. The prices were reasonable (entrees are in the $13-$26 price range) and there wasn’t a “Mother’s Day Menu” or price increase because of the holiday which was particularly nice. We enjoyed our food, the memories, the brunch experience and Mom had a very good time!

The Hamburger Hamlet4419 Van Nuys Blvd (at Moorpark), Sherman Oaks CA 91403
http://www.hamburgerhamlet.com 818-784-1183

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 11:30am – 10pm and Friday: 11:30am – 12am
Saturday: 9am – 12am and Sunday: 9am – 10pm

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Harry Lewis’ Picture on the Wall at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

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Harry Lewis at The Hamburger Hamlet Brentwood

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Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Inventions!

p.s. We really miss Hamptons Hollywood Cafe on Highland and the Old World Restaurant in Westwood, both offered the upscale hamburger experience in Los Angeles.

Celebrity sighting in Los Angeles?

Q: Best spots for celebrity sightings?

“Taking my second trip to LA and I really want to see some celebrities this time around. I have no idea where that would most likely happen. What would you say are the best places, hidden spots, or parts of LA for spotting celebs? ” – Michelle R., Mesa AZ

HOLLYWOOD!

HOLLYWOOD!

A: Celebrity sighting in Los Angeles?

The best places to see celebrities in Los Angeles is where they live, work and play. You have a good chance near the studios and in the more upscale neighborhoods.

Downtown Los Angeles near the The Music Center and Nokia Theatre LA Live – restaurants, bars and galleries in the newly gentrified downtown area. The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles and the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza.

Sony Pictures and Culver Studios in Culver City – restaurants, bars and shopping nearby along Culver Blvd.

Paramount Pictures Studio and Raleigh Studios Hollywood in Hollywood – Starbucks at Sunset & Gower, AstroBurger, W Hotel Hollywood, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the Farmers Market and The Grove in West Hollywood

The restaurants, (Dan Tana’s, Mel’s Diner, Katana) coffee shops, clubs, hotels and bars on Sunset Blvd – Chateau Marmont, The Standard, the Mondrian Hotel, London West Hollywood Hotel, and the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles At Beverly Hills, the Ivy and Newsroom restaurants, and shopping on Robertson Blvd in West Hollywood. Canter’s Deli and Genghis Cohen restaurant on Fairfax.

The comedy clubs: Improv on Melrose, the Comedy Store, the Laugh Factory, Flappers in Burbank and any of the smaller performance spaces. You have a pretty good chance of seeing someone from television working new material or watching a friend perform.

The restaurants, clubs, shopping and bars on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood and in Brentwood along Wilshire and San Vicente Blvd. (Katsu-ya sushi in Brentwood, Hollywood, and Encino)

Beverly Hills – restaurants, bars and shopping on Rodeo Dr, Canon, Beverly and little Santa Monica Blvd. There are a number of hotels where they like to stay: Montage Beverly Hills, The Beverly Hilton, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and the smaller boutique places in the 90210 zip code. The InterContinental Los Angeles, The CAA Building, the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel and shopping at Century Plaza in Century City.

Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City – restaurants, coffee shops and bars on Cahuenga Blvd West, Cahuenga and Lankershim. The Jon Lovitz comedy club at Universal CityWalk.

Warner Bros Studio, Warner Bros. Ranch and Disney Studios in Burbank – restaurants on Riverside (Bob’s, Paty’s, Mo’s, etc.) and in the general vicinity

CBS Radford Studio in Studio City – restaurants on Ventura Blvd (Art’s Deli, McDonalds, The Counter, etc.). Sherman Oaks Galleria and restaurants, bars, coffee shops and shopping along Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks and Encino.

Santa Monica – restaurants and bars near the beach, 3rd Street Promenade and vicinity. Venice Beach on Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Also dog parks and hiking trails (Runyon Canyon & Griffith Park) and in Malibu – restaurants (Nobu, Malibu Crossroads, etc.) and shopping near the Malibu Colony and in Pacific Palisades.

Just be aware of the people around you, you might be sitting next to someone famous in a baseball cap and sunglasses and not even know it.

NOTE: Please respect their privacy.
You can try to find celebrities, but in Los Angeles you can randomly encounter them almost anywhere! I’ve seen Quentin Tarentino, Kevin Nealon, Randy Jackson, James Cromwell and many others getting coffee or working at Starbuck’s. I see celebrities at Ralph’s when I’m shopping for groceries and when I walk my dog at the park. They eat and drink at neighborhood restaurants and bars. One time I heard Samuel L. Jackson’s familiar voice behind me at CVS, and I turned around and he was talking on his cell phone while shopping. Good luck!

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Three Great Adventures in Los Angeles near UCLA!

Three great adventures in Los Angeles near UCLA!

“Can you recommend a 5-hour round trip from LA to see the most sites? My husband and I will be visiting our son and his wife at UCLA in October from Alabama. While they are busy during the day, we would like to venture either north or south, preferably on the PCH to see some of California. In addition, we would love to find an interesting boutique or historic hotel to stay in near the UCLA campus.” ~ Nancy M. from Birmingham, Alabama

UCLA is in Westwood. Stay at the W Hotel Los Angeles in Westwood!

Five hours (round trip) is not a lot of time and Los Angeles is a very big place. Here are three great adventures near UCLA:

1. Santa Monica and Venice Beach

Santa Monica Pier Sign at Ocean Blvd

Santa Monica Pier Sign at Ocean Blvd

I recommend you head to Santa Monica (you can take a drive down Wilshire to San Vicente through Brentwood and do some shopping on Montana Avenue). Walk the Third Street Promenade, Palisades Park, and the Santa Monica Pier. Do some shopping at Santa Monica Place and have lunch at one of the many restaurants down by Santa Monica State Beach or head south on Pacific Coast Hwy to Venice Beach. Have lunch at one of the many restaurants there and visit the Venice Beach Boardwalk, Main Street and Abbot Kinney Blvd. If you have time drive into Marina Del Rey and have a drink at the The Ritz-Carlton.

A Nice Day in Marina del Rey (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

A Nice Day in Marina del Rey (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Take the 10 freeway or the Marina freeway back to the 405 freeway north, exit Wilshire Blvd east and you’ll be back in Westwood.

*One more quick note: You can also visit the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades-Malibu as a great side trip from Santa Monica. The Getty Villa houses a fantastic collection of ancient Greco-Roman art and sculpture! It’s FREE but you need to make reservations. http://www.getty.edu/visit/villa/ ___________________________________________________________________

2. Century City and Beverly Hills

Century Towers - Century City, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Century Towers – Century City, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Park at the Westfield Century City Mall in Century City, CA. There’s lots of shopping (including Bloomingdale’s), restaurants and the AMC Century City 15 movie theater. Take a walk into Century City (follow the people in suits going back to work) and visit the CAA building (aka “The Deathstar”), the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza (also a great place to stay), and the Century Towers and Plaza.

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel - Century City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel – Century City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There’s more shopping and even better restaurants there (Craft is Tom Colicchio’s steak place). Be sure to visit the shops underground at the Twin Towers! Century City also has the The Annenberg Space for Photography (FREE!) and a few other art galleries. There are fantastic buildings and lots of hidden things to see if you just walk around during the day. Here’s a link to a list of museums and other info for the area (Westwood-Century City): http://centurycity.patch.com/directory/art-galleries

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Rodeo Drive from the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

You can also drive to Beverly Hills and visit Rodeo Drive, there’s mega-shopping and wide variety of some of LA’s finest restaurants: Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen, Mastro’s Steakhouse, Spago Beverly Hills, Il Pastaio, Il Cielo, Fogo de Chao, Matsuhisa, Lawry’s the Prime Rib, The Farm of Beverly Hills, and many others! in addition to the The W Hotel Los Angeles – Westwood, the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills is a great boutique hotel and they have a wonderful restaurant, where you can dine indoors or outdoors in a poolside cabana at Oliverio at Avalon Beverly Hills restaurant.

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Bathtub/Walk-in Shower & view at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

and The InterContinental Los Angeles Century City Hotel, the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, the Montage Beverly Hills, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel, Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive, Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, London West Hollywood Hotel, Mondrian Hotel- Hollywood and Chateau Marmont are a few of the finest luxury hotels in the city.

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

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

Each hotel has at least one amazing restaurant and/or bar: 24/7 Diner and the Cactus Lounge/Pool at the Standard, Scarpetta and the Scarpetta Bar (and the hidden whiskey lounge Ten Pound by The Macallan), On Sunset @ Luxe Hotel (amazing Sunday Brunch!), LIVELLO, Culina, Modern Italian @CulinaLA, Tres by José Andrés, Saam at The Bazaar by José Andrés, On Rodeo Bistro Lounge, The Rooftop Grill, the Parq Bar, and Cut (Wolfgang Puck’s steak house) to name just a few.

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

On Sunset Restaurant Patio at the LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

You must try Stan’s Donuts and Diddy Riese ice cream in Westwood Village And for a quick and tasty Chinese lunch or takeout try Jin Jiang at Santa Monica and Sepulveda. ___________________________________________________________________

3. The Getty Center

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

One more great 5 hour trip from UCLA is a trip to the The Getty Center and it’s FREE! http://www.getty.edu/visit/center/plan/

Getty Center Central Garden (view from museum)

Getty Center Central Garden (view from museum)

From the Getty Center website: “The collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center includes pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; 19th- and 20th-century American, European, and Asian photographs; contemporary and modern sculpture; and Robert Irwin’s Central Garden, designed specifically for the Getty Center….Contemporary and modern sculpture is featured throughout the grounds, including 28 modern and contemporary outdoor sculptures installed at the Getty Center, donated by Fran and Ray Stark.” In addition to the absolutely incredible Permanent Collection, they also have changing exhibitions. Here is the exhibition schedule: http://www.getty.edu/visit/exhibitions/

You won’t be able to see everything in five hours!*

So, take your time and explore two of the four art pavilions, walk the gardens and enjoy the amazing view from above.

Panoramic View of West L.A. from the Getty Center

Panoramic View of West L.A. from the Getty Center

There is food available (but it’s not inexpensive), so you might want to bring a picnic lunch from one of the hotel restaurant I mentioned in my previous post, or from Whole Foods Market in Westwood, or if it’s Thursday the Westwood Village Farmer’s Market. There’s also the lovely Bel-Air Bar & Grill on Sepulveda or On Sunset @ Luxe Hotel for fine dining, either before or after. The Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel is a beautiful property, and I recommend an upstairs room by the pool with a balcony if available.

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

“Josh, these suggestions are fantastic—-can’t wait to show them to our kids before they move—-they will love them! I especially appreciate your recommending the Avalon Hotel. We love boutique hotels and this one is very reasonable! We may have to extend the trip and leave the kids behind! Thanks so much!” ~ Nancy M. from Birmingham, Alabama

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Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills

Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Pic of the Day 06-APR-13: Sunset at Sunset Blvd

405 Freeway south at the Sunset Blvd exit

405 Freeway south - Sunset

405 Freeway south – Sunset at Sunset Blvd (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

At Hotel Angeleno, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel, every room includes complimentary valet parking, free wireless internet access, courtesy shuttle service, and a complimentary wine hour every evening in the lobby.

This L.A. landmark building, once was a Holiday Inn, and is the last of a vanishing breed of circular hotels from the 1960s.  Mixed reviews after the renovation because of the high noise level due to it’s proximity to the 405 freeway!

Read the blog: Dinner & Show: Nan Ban Kan and “Assisted Living” @ Odyssey Theater!

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