THE JOSHWILLTRAVEL BLOG ARCHIVES!

THE JOSHWILLTRAVEL BLOG ARCHIVES!

Here are “The JoshWillTravel Blog Archives”
our previous Blog Posts links organized by year and month:

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Venice Beach, California

RIGHT CLICK ON ANY LINK AND THEN “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

The JoshWillTravel Blog – Established February 2013

NOTE: Use the SEARCH BOX at the Top of the Page to Search by Topic!
(and then continue to see what we have written about it)

Use these LINKS to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LINKS>
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Black Rock Desert, Nevada

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019! 2018 is OVER! Our “End of the Year Review”

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019! 2018 is OVER!
Our “End of the Year Review”
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Another new year.
Three hundred sixty five days!
The future is here.

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Okay, so it’s January 10th, 2019. We’ve been working on this Blog Post since just before New Year’s and it’s not going to get finished… so we are posting it “AS IS”. Enjoy it!

JANUARY 2018

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!

And so, GOODBYE 2018!
“Don’t let the door hit ya, where the good Lord split you!”
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We hope year 2019 kicks 2018’s ass, the way 2018 kicked ours!

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And Santa’s  job is done for the year. He’ll be back to judging you next week.

GOOD KHARMA for 2018:
Flooding in Montecito, California, near Santa Barbara, forced family to evacuate. They and their little dog were our houseguests for three weeks in January and February. They had previously evacuated during the Thomas Fire and also stayed with us then.

And the Not So Good News:
On January 13, an early morning ballistic missile alert was sent across Hawaii in error, and revoked after 38 minutes, prompting changes to the warning system.
On January 25, the “Doomsday clock” was moved by 30 seconds to 2 minutes to midnight by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,  now the closest since the 1950s.

Kilroy Was Here! (pic from October 2017, read the Blog Post from January 2018)
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February

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY! February 4th, 2018
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Philadelphia Eagles 41 – New England Patriots 33
The second time that the Super Bowl was played in Minneapolis, MN
NBC’s broadcast had the smallest audience in 9 years,
with an average of only 103.4 million viewers

On Feb 6th, Elon Musk’s company SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket.

The XXIII Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea begin on February 9th.

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!
2018 was the Year of the Male Yang Brown Earth Dog

2019 will be the Year of the Female Yin Brown Earth Pig.

Mom’s Very Special Birthday Party at Melisse Restaurant
in West Los Angeles in February was a great event!

March

90th Academy Awards on March 4th:
“The Shape of Water” wins Best Picture and Best Director for Guillermo del Toro
Gary Oldman wins Best Actor for “Darkest Hour”, Frances McDormand wins Best Actress for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Mississippi”, and Jordan Peele wins Best Original Screenplay for “Get Out”. “Remember Me’ from the film “Coco” wins Best Original Song.
And a new envelope procedure was begun to make sure the presenters are given the correct envelope for the category they are about to present after “Envelopegate” in 2017.
The 2018 Academy Awards on ABC had 26.5 million viewers across the almost 4 hour show, a decline of 20% over 2017’s show and the worst viewership ever.

THE DAY OF THE DUDE March 6th
“You’re a Lebowski. I’m a Lebowski.”
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The oldest “message in a bottle” was found in western Australia. It was thrown from German sailing ship Paula on June 12, 1886, 132 years ago!
And they also found the sunken American aircraft carrier the USS Lexington in Australia. It was lost during World War II’s Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942.

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Sunset in Oakland, California

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the “Highest overdose death rates ever recorded in the US”: 142000 overdoses in year 2016-17.

On March 20th,  Donald Trump meets with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House.

“March for Our Lives” rallies held in Washington D.C., most U.S. cities, and around the world to protest gun violence on March 24th. Thousands and thousands of people attend.

In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” on March 26th, adult film star Stormy Daniels goes public about sex with Donald Trump, the $130000 payoff from Michael Cohen, and then later being threatened to keep quiet.

April

HAPPY REX MANNING DAY!
April 8th is always Rex Manning Day!
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On April 14th, Beyoncé Knowles is the first African-American woman to headline the Coachella Music Festival. Her performance is the most-watched ever on YouTube!

Donald Trump hosts his first state dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron on April 24th.

Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault in Pennsylvania on April 26th. He and Roman Polanski are expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on May 3rd.

Things That Really Don’t Matter but are considered really important:
On April 26th, 4 quarterbacks were chosen in the top 10 during the first round of the NFL Draft for the first time in history. On April 27th, the Swedish band ABBA announced they have recorded new songs for the first time since 1982. On April 29th, “The Simpsons” animated series passed “Gunsmoke” (with 635 episodes) as the television series with the highest episode count. And on April 30th, “Avengers: Infinity War” set a new box office record for a film’s opening weekend earning $250 million in the United States and $630 million worldwide.

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Mt. Shasta

“Truckin’, got my chips cashed in.
Keep truckin’, like the doo-dah man
Together more or less in line, just keep truckin’ on.”

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Mt. Ashland in the Siskiyou Pass, Oregon

Ashland, Oregon – “A Gathering of Friends” Saturday, April 14th
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Dad 1

Lee Weisel RIP

In April we had a “Bilbo Baggins” party for my father Lee Weisel (now of blessed memory) at Beasy’s on the Creek in Ashland, Oregon. He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other associated illnesses and passed in May. It was a swell party and good time was had by everyone!

We made three hard road trips from Los Angeles to Ashland and back between January and June. The first to take care of him, the second for the party and the third for the funeral. Rest in Peace Dad.

 

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”  ~ T. S. Eliot

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Double Rainbow Over the Comfort Inn & Suites at Oregon Exit 19

 

The first LEGAL 4-20 celebration in California in April!
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Recreational use of marijuana became legal in California on January 1st.
And as of November, ten states now have legal “recreational” marijuana!

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CA, OR, WA, AK, NV, CO, MI, MA, VT & ME

The whole country of Canada legalized marijuana this year too!
The Canadian Cannabis Act made weed legal across the nation on October 17th!

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Oh Canada!

May

The Kilauea volcano on the Big Island Hawaii begins erupting and forces the evacuation of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and residential areas on May 3rd.

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Kilauea Volcano on Big Island Hawaii

California becomes the worlds fifth largest economy passing Great Britain on May 4th.

Justify wins the 144th Kentucky Derby On May 5th and the 142nd Preakness Stakes on May 19th! And on June 9th, Justify wins the 150th Belmont Stakes with 58 year old jockey Mike Smith and becomes the 13th Triple Crown winner!

 

Vladimir Putin is sworn in as Russian President for another 6 years on May 7, having won the election with over 75% of the vote (and the murder of his political rivals).

Global tourism accounts for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions according to a University of Sydney study.

On May 14th, the United States Supreme Court struck down the federal law banning sports gambling in most states.

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A $5 Bet wins $100000 Parley For New Years 2019!

 

American actress Meghan Markle married English Prince Harry at a ceremony in Windsor Castle, joining the British royal family on May 19th. Queen Elizabeth II grants them the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Donald Trump posthumously pardons boxer Jack Johnson on May 24th for a racially orientated criminal conviction: transporting a white woman across state lines. Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury in June, 1913, despite the fact that the incidents used to convict him took place before the passage of the Mann Act.
NOTE: Credit should go to Sylvester Stallone for convincing Trump!

HAPPY TOWEL DAY! May 25th “Don’t Panic”
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June

Net neutrality is repealed by The Federal Communications Commission on June 11th.

Donald Trump and Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un meet in Singapore on June 12th.

FIFA World Cup begins on June 14th in Moscow, Russia.

On June 22, comedian John Oliver and the HBO website on the Chinese social media platform Weibo was blocked by censors after a hilarious 20 minute segment on Chinese dictator Xi Jinping ran on June 17th. Oliver made fun of the Chinese president’s apparent sensitivity over comparisons of his figure with that of Winnie the Pooh and called Xi the “creepy uncle who imprisons 800000 people in his basement” while criticizing China’s Human Right record and their crackdown on any form of political or social dissent.
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On June 28th, a lone gunman attacked the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, killing nine people,

July

“The Boss” joined the family in July.

Care and training for the new puppy!

August

Birthday Dinner at Larsen’s Steakhouse in August

Camp Envy – Burning Man 2018 (August September)

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CAMP ENVY PRIZE for BURNING MAN 2018

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TRAINWRECK! (via Camp Envy stream) at Burning Man 2018

We didn’t go to Burning Man in 2018 (read the previous Blog Post) but we participated in the event via Camp Envy (online webstream, webpage and fb group) on the interweb.
NOTE: We want to go back to Burning Man in 2019…. we think.

September

Happy Rosh Hashanah! (the Jewish New Year)
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October

Inktober!

Dinner Party at Mozza Osteria in October

LOTTERY FEVER!

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“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”

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October 20th
Celebrate LA!
The Dodgers win the pennant!
World Series choke time

October 28th – CHOKE.
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World Series Game 5: Red Sox 5, Dodgers 1
THE RED SOX WIN THE SERIES!
And it’s all over now, Dodger Blue. They suckered you in again and took your money again. You bought your hats, jerseys, bobbleheads and other blue merch. You don’t get to watch the game on TV (FU TWC), and how much did you spend on tickets, parking and overpriced concessions to see them play at Chavez Ravine? And now when it counts, they fold like a bad poker hand and let you down again. But, maybe next year…..
THE CURSE OF TIME-WARNER/SPORTSNET CONTINUES.

Halloween

November

THE MIDTERM ELECTION on November 6th!

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WE VOTED!

 

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Veterans Day 2018!
100 Year Anniversary of the End of World War I on 11/11 at 11:11am.
Please remember and honor all the men and women, living and dead,
that have loyally served the United States!
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ArtRising in Reseda, California
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2018 was a Big Year for Natural Disasters!
2017 was a record year in the United Sates for cost of natural disasters: $306 billion
2018 will break that record.
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VOLCANOES!
The Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island has been active for 35 years and this year the eruption in May-June-July destroyed more than 700 homes and impacted the tourism industry. Kilauea continues to erupt at the summit and from the Puʻu ʻOʻo vent in the East Rift Zone, producing lava that flows to the ocean.
The Anak Krakakau volcano in Indonesia triggered a tsunami on Saturday, December 22, and killed more than 400 people. Airplane flights have been rerouted and the crater’s status was just raised to high alert, the second-highest level.
The Fuego volcano’s sudden eruption in southern Guatemala on June 3 killed 194 people and more than 230 people are still missing. ~21000 acres of farmland was also destroyed.
And volcanoes also caused fires, floods, smaller tsunamis and earthquakes.

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Lava Flow from the Kilauea Volcano On the Big Island of Hawaii

EARTHQUAKES!
There were 15 earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 7.0 in 2018:
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HURRICANES!
The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season was an above-average and damaging Atlantic hurricane season with 15 named storms with 2 major hurricanes Category 3+: Florence and Michael. 154 people died and the cost of damages exceeded USD$33.3 billion (2018).

NOTE: Puerto Rico has still not recovered from Hurricane Maria in September of 2017. 4645 people died (as per a Harvard study in May) and it caused over $43 billion in economic losses.

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Puerto Rican Lives Matter Too!

FLOODS!
Flooding was a major problem around the world in 2018. North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and South America all experienced record floods this year.

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FIRESTORMS!

Big fires in California and Oregon this year: The Woolsey Fire in Thousand Oaks, the Camp Fire in Northern California (the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history killed 86 people), the Mendocino Complex Fire in July was California’s largest fire by burned area ever (and it destroyed nearly half a million acres), the Thomas Fire in Ventura County (December 2017), and the Crater Lake and other adjacent Oregon fires this summer broke all records. Wildfires also killed more than 70 people in Greece and following the longest sustained drought on record, more than 50 fires in the Swedish Arctic Circle burned uncontrollably in July.
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The Last Josh and Josh Show at Bar Lubitsch in West Hollywood

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The Last Josh and Josh Show at Bar Lubitsch

For 10 years the name only promised one thing, Josh and Josh….
and usually they were lying. All good things must come to an end, right?

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No matter where you go, there you are.

Rockabilly Retro Relief for Fire Victims
LIVE at Joe’s in Burbank on 11-16-18!
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In honor of Steamboat Willie and Mickey’s 90th:
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Disneyland - Mark Twain's Steamboat b&w

Tom Sawyer’s Island, Mark Twain’s Steamboat & Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland –  taken in Black & White in 1994

Tom Sawyer’s Island, Mark Twain’s Steamboat & Big Thunder Mountain
Taken in black and white in 1994 at Disneyland (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving Feast 2018

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Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake Thanksgiving 2018

and the REAL TURKEY and the bird he was “pardoning”:

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“Don’t worry Donny, he won’t talk to Mueller”

Haiku for nothing?
Now you must pay the piper!
Pony up some dough.

On November 20th, the Rolling Stones announced they would tour again in 2019!
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“If you start me up I’ll never stop
Never stop, never stop, never stop
You make a grown man cry”

December

90000 Unsolicited Hits on Our Blog in early December! THANK YOU!

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90000 Unsolicited Hits on Our Blog in December! THANK YOU!

And as of the date of this Blog Post was published
we have passed 92650 Unsolicited Hits!

December Holiday Season

December 21st: Happy Winter Solstice! A full “Cold Moon” and the Ursids meteor shower! The last time the full moon occurred on Winter Solstice was 2010, and it won’t happen again until 2094! Celebrate the first day of Winter!

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Egg Nog!

Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the study, not a creature was stirring except my little buddy. The cell phones were charging by the desktop hard drive, with high hopes that AmazonPrime would arrive. No children, just dogs asleep on the bed, waiting for dinner and soon to be fed. And me in pajamas, awake from a nap, drinking my coffee and writing this crap… Happy Christmas Eve! (just a little poem I wrote)

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Egg Nog!

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Had enough Christmas yet?

 

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2016, REMEMBER WHEN?

12-30-18: Los Angeles Chargers 23 – Denver Broncos 9 (at Mile High)
Is Tim Tebow available?
And so ends another terrible season for the Denver Broncos…. 6 wins, 10 losses?
Someone’s getting fired.

December is cold
And still waiting for winter
A new year arrives

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Eat, Drink and Be Happy. We’re all gonna die.

Dad left us in May. And our old friends John “Wheels” Wheeler and Joreth Toropov left the party early this year too. John tragically in July and Joreth suddenly in October. Both left us way too soon. May the Four Winds blow them safely home.

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Tom Petty RIP

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Stan Lee RIP

 

 

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Roy Clark RIP

And WE REMEMBER THE VICTIMS OF MASS MURDER in 2018. Never forget.

On February 14th, 17 people were killed and 17 injured in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A shooting at Santa Fe High School in Houston, Texas killed 10 people, and wounded 13 more on May 18th. 11 people were murdered (including Holocaust survivors) in an anti-Semetic “hate crime” on the Tree of Life Jewish Temple in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 27th. The deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States’ history. 

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The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA

And the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks killed 12 people and the gunman, and injured at least 10 more on November 7th. Ventura County Sheriff Sergeant Ron Helus was killed by CHP friendly fire during the attack.

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The Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA

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The Borderline Bar & Grill Victims

We Remember. “May their memory be a blessing!”

NOTE: There were many other “Shootings in 2018” with multiple victims, and these are just the two of the worst and most recent Mass Murders in the United States. So, THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS for the Victim’s friends and families and BUSINESS AS USUAL for the GOP Republicans, the NRA, the Gun Manufacturers and Retailers.

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It’s been four years and I still miss this guy.

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We are glad that 2018 is over. It was not a great year.
But, we did gain a new family member. And he’s such a good boy!

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And “The Boss” got bigger too! (a recent December pic)

Where were you 35 years ago? We were at the San Francisco (now the Bill Graham Memorial) Civic Auditorium for night number 4 of the 1983-84 New Year’s Eve Run and The Band was the opening act for the Grateful Dead on New Years Eve!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8vKVPx2-Lc

RECENT 2018 BLOG POSTS:

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2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Bottom’s Up!

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Use the links below to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!

RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LINKS>

LIKE us on Facebook> http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel

FOLLOW us on Twitter and Periscope> http://www.periscope.tv/joshwilltravel

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

Plan for 2019 (cup of water… check):

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“Beef Jerky For Everyone”

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Party at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica

A Very Special Dinner Party at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica!

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“To receive a guest is to take charge of their happiness
during the entire time they are under your roof.”
– Fernand Point

SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT FOR DINING! And a Birthday Party for my Mom!

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A fancy restaurant, a private dining room, 13 good friends and family, champagne, wine, great food, gifts, love, conversation and congratulation, and a good time was had by all!

Saturday evening, we had a 7:00pm reservation for a private dinner party at Melisse restaurant for my mother’s birthday. And it was “FABULOUS”!

We drove over the hill on the 405 freeway and down Wilshire boulevard to 11th Street in Santa Monica. Then we drove around for 15 minutes looking for a place to park before we finally gave up and valet parked in the lot behind the restaurant ($8.50 + tip).

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We were the last to arrive at 7:20pm, and because we were asked to take pictures, that was the first order of business after saying hello to everyone. The pictures of the party guests and the Guest of Honor, some pictures of the restaurant, and pictures of the excellent food came out pretty good. We were worried because it was dark in the private dining room and we chose to use the flash on our cheap LG phone even though we had brought our mini iPad camera.

“Melisse is both a two Michelin Star Award winning restaurant and the recipient of Zagats highly coveted top rated restaurant in Los Angeles since 2003.” – Open Table

“Simply superb in every way”, this “refined” “gastronomical wonder” in Santa Monica from Josiah Citrin “defines fine dining”with “inspired”“artful” French-American tasting menus and “spectacular” wine pairings – all “seamlessly” presented by an “intuitive”“world-class” staff in a “chic yet soothing” setting; prices are “not for the faint of heart”, but the “state of bliss” that ensues is “worth every penny.” – Zagat (4.8 out of 5)

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GOOGLE REVIEWS: 4.5 Stars! (141 reviews)
#38 on LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold’s 2017 “101 Best Restaurants” list.

Seasonal French-American cuisine!

We have eaten here before and it was one of the most amazing meals we have ever enjoyed! Read about in our Previous Blog post “Dinner at Melisse” (see the link below). And we were very excited about dining here for Mom’s “Big Birthday” party!
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On The Menu: 1993 Dom Perignon champagne, crab amuse bouche, egg caviar, Maine lobster, dry aged prime New York steak or Spanish turbot (fish), choice of fresh baked bread & butter, red & white wine, chocolate L’Opéra cake, lemon soufflé with fruit & vanilla ice cream and 4 different petit fors:

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A Vintage Vintage! 1993 Dom Perignon Champagne – Cheers!

Let’s begin with a Dom Perignon 1993 Champagne to toast the Guest of Honor!

We began with a champagne toast! Found a bottle of Dom Perignon vintage 1993 tucked away recently. Didn’t know if it would still be good after 25 years. Opened it for the party and it was excellent! So we toasted the Guest of Honor and then we made everyone pose for the “toast picture” (as seen above) taken by our Host.

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“On the nose, this wine opens with notes of red-fleshed peaches, rapidly evolving into cashew nuts and dried herbs. The aromatic experience finishes on a note of lightly toasted brioche. On the palate, it offers a host of well-orchestrated, precise and full-bodied tastes. The initial density becomes creamy, while the long finish ends on a note of glazed citrus fruit.” – Winemaker notes

The unique Dom Perignon style: a rich creamy mousse, fine bubbles, a spirited, crisp opening leading into a broad palette of aromas and tastes, the delicacy of substance itself. Each Cuvee Dom Perignon is cellar-aged for 6 to 8 years.

And then a bottle of fine Chardonnay (white wine) for the egg caviar and lobster courses.

NOTE: Melisse has a fantastic, world-class wine list, however the “Good Stuff” is very expensive (repeat, very expensive), so we brought our own bottles of wine and champagne and paid the corkage fee for each one we opened.

BIG THANKS TO CHEF JOSIE AND THE ENTIRE STAFF AT MELISSE! Everything was excellent. The food was 5 star quality and cooked perfectly. And the service was done with professional precision and attention to detail not found in most restaurants.

NOTE: The red wine, a Pra’ Amarone della Valpolicella (aka Amarone) is a rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried Corvina Rondinella grapes and other red grape varieties. Valpolicella is located in the province of Verona, in the Veneto region near Venice. Italy.

“Dark ruby. Very refined nose offers aromas and flavors of spicy dark plum, chocolate-covered cherry and minerals, lifted by strong floral accents (especially lavender and peony). Multilayered and very suave, boasting a long and tactile finish, leaving behind a strong impression of grace and refinement. A very elegant, smooth Amarone of noteworthy depth and complexity but also impeccable balance (you can’t tell this clocks in at 16.5% alcohol).” – Ian D’Agata, Vinous (scored a rating of 94)

Read our Previous Blog post “Dinner at Melisse”
(Right click and “Open in New Window”> https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/dinner-at-melisse/

Melisse Restaurant1104 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401 melisse.com

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Chef Josiah Citrin, in his Santa Monica restaurant Mélisse. Citrin is celebrating Mélisse’s 15 year anniversary in 2014 (photo by Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

NOTE: A meal at Melisse is a real dining experience and it’s expensive! $$$$$
If you can afford it, we recommend this restaurant as a destination in Los Angeles. The menu changes constantly and they have different tasting and course menus available.

All photos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel

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NOTE: The photo of Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines is a fantastic gift!

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405 Freeway north into the Sepulveda Pass at night

Hello 2017…. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hello 2017…. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.” ~ Japanese Proverb

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017 HOUSE PARTY!

December 31st, 2016 – 10pm PST – Burbank, California

The Annual HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE HOUSE PARTY at KJ and Steve’s!

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Not This Year’s Invitation, but You Never Know…

It’s 2017!

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Top Hat and Champagne Poppers for New Year’s Eve!

The last third of 2016 really kicked our ass. We really weren’t feeling up to a big party this year and were really prepared to stay home with the dogs and ring in 2017 quietly. We were invited to a couple of parties and a couple of big events, but at the invitation of an old friend, we decided to venture out into the night and attend the Annual Happy New Year’s Eve Party at KJ and Steve’s in Burbank once again. This party has been happening every year since the 1980’s…

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35 YEARS+ of Friendships! Old Friends who are now really old old friends! Marriages, relationships, divorces, births, deaths, illnesses, good times and bad.
There’s a lot of history, stories and good memories associated with the house and all the fun times we’ve had at the many birthday and holiday parties held there over the years.

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Happy New Year House Party Pic – Late 1990’s (with lots of children – not my pic)

The parties are not as rowdy as they used to be in the 80’s and 90’s, and all the children who used to run around the house are all grown up (some with children of their own), as are most of the adults now…

Tempus fugit! Time flies! In the old days this was a “destination” party and people would come from out-of-town and camp in the backyard! There were years when it was standing room only and other years when there wasn’t an invitation sent out and only a few people showed up. You never knew who might be in attendance from year to year, or who might stop by on their way to another party. And then some people stopped coming. A lot of the “regulars” from the past have moved away, found other parties, grown old or now only celebrate with us in spirit. And some of the younger party guests weren’t even born when the celebration first took place!

And so, with the coming of the New Year,
THE HAPPY NEW YEAR HOUSE PARTY CONTINUES!
Here are some Happy New Year 2017 House Party pics!

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Happy New Year Tradition! Old Friends by the Fire!

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

In the old days the party would continue until dawn and guests would literally be passed out on the floor. We last attended this party at the end of 2013 when everyone went home just after midnight and a family card game broke out in the living room. We always bring a nice bottle of champagne or fine wine as a gift for our hosts whenever we visit for New Years. In the past we’ve also brought a bottle of Stolichnaya vodka (size might vary from year to year and decade to decade) for our own consumption and to share, along with mixers, snacks and other refreshments. This year we just brought a big bottle of nice wine (a Malbec from Argentina) for our hosts and a single can of coke that we plugged with a single shot of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum for old times sake.

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Have an Adult Beverage! Beer! Wine! Champagne! Cocktail! Choose Your Poison!

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

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Gather Around the Fire and Catch Up With Old Friends!

The tradition of the circle of friends around the fire began when the firepit was just a hole with a gas pipe sticking out of it. In the old days when the gas was off we burnt wood in the red brick firepit (and often things that were not wood would be thrown in the fire). Now it’s a large cinderblock pit designed for a party with an adjustable gas flame, but the tradition continues. (Who threw the plastic champagne popper in there?)

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The Old Red Brick Fire Pit

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

The house is designed for a party. There’s a large living room, the kitchen and the food table, the covered back patio and bar area, the firepit, the pool area and hot tub, the office and the bedrooms. In recent years, modular units (more rooms) have been added as additional party space. The house and backyard are always decorated with a lot of festive lighting and there’s always a real fire in the indoor fireplace.

Regardless of the weather conditions in December, it’s always been an indoor-outdoor event. Some years it’s been “California freezing” cold or there’s been rain, but the party goes on regardless and the celebration adjusts accordingly. And just like the Rose Parade, the weather has never prevented those in attendance from having a good time!

This year it was cold outside, but not freezing. And someone who won’t be named turned the gas for the firepit all the way up to “Viking Funeral” level so it was nice and warm around the outdoor fire. Everyone ate and drank and some of the boys smoked cigars.

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Single Malt Scotch and Fine Cigars with Old Friends

Tradition also has everyone gathering in the living room and on the patio for the Midnight Countdown and “Stroke of Midnight”. Helium balloons filled with glitter and confetti are popped, people are kissed and everyone toasts the New Year at twelve o’clock. There’s also a large artist pad and box of colored pens, and anyone can sign or draw on the page for the current year. And the old pads and pages going back to the 1980’s are available for viewing (and reminiscing about the past).

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Balloons Filled with Glitter and Confetti…

There’s always too much food! It’s sort of a potluck, and some people bring food, but our gracious hosts always provide Dinner and Snacks for everyone! It’s also BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer or Alcohol) but there’s always a full bar too. In the old days, there used to be a row of “personal coolers” filled with people’s own preferred drinks and snacks.

On The Dinner Menu: Cheese Lasagna, “Navy Boy’s macaroni & cheese”, ham, green bean casserole, chips, more chips, nuts, cookies, carrot cake and more. An assortment of non-alcoholic beverages: coffee, tea, sodas, juices and bottle water are provided too.

Food, Drink and Other Pics from the House Party:

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

We ate some lasagna, reheated in the microwave, then enjoyed an adult beverage: a Coke&Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, and then a wee bit of McCallan Gold blended scotch, and then a really wee bit of Glenfidditch single malt scotch, and then later we ate some good munchies: Doritos nacho cheese chips & honey roasted cashews.

NOTE: We tried it and it was not the “Best Damn Root Beer”… sorry. It was “hard” root beer (with alcohol) and tasted like diet soda, so we only had a sip and then gave it away. DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! We stopped drinking before midnight (and we really didn’t drink very much at all) and then waited until after 2am when the party was done before driving home (and there’s always room to crash at the house if you’ve had too much!).

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The Road Home – Don’t Drink and Drive!

It was great to see our old friends and celebrate together again! It was a warm and fuzzy place to ring in 2017 and a good time was had by all. Thanks to everyone for the fun party!

All photos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel (unless otherwise noted)

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Post-Party Breakfast at 3am

January 1, 2017 – 3am PST – Breakfast at Home
On The Menu: 3 eggs over medium, crispy bacon, pink grapefruit, a leftover donut with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, and an espresso with whipped cream


A New Year’s Message for all My Friends!
READ THE BLOG “HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!”> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-6eN

This Blog first posted on Monday, January 2, 2017 at 4:20pm PST
HAPPY NEW YEAR! KEEP ON TRUCKIN’!

 


 

 

 

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

Use the links below to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!

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

http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

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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!

 


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

Most photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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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.

25000 Hits! Thank you from JoshWillTravel!

25000 Hits!!!!!

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25000 HITS!!!!!

THANK YOU TO ALL MY LOYAL FOLLOWERS AND READERS!!!!!

It’s a MILESTONE! When we started this Blog in February 2013 we wondered how long it would take to reach the milestone numbers. We have finally reached 25000, without any paid promotion or heavy marketing. In fact, beyond our facebook and Twitter posts, we have let our Blog grow organically without hype and have attracted loyal readers from around the world!

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25000 HITS!!!!!

Sunday 24 April 2016 is the day we hit 25000 Hits on our Blog!!!!!

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25000 HITS!!!!! A Champagne Toast!!!!!

We will continue to post about things we find interesting, important and fun!
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St. Paul’s Reunion in San Francisco – June 2014

At last! Here’s the Blog about the St. Paul’s Reunion in San Francisco in June 2014!

Throwback Thursday! My post from last week was the St. Paul’s Reunion Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco. I realized that I never finished the Blog about the weekend gathering in the city of old friends from the Renaissance Faire.

The reunion was a year ago. The pictures needed to be posted and the story need to be told. Actually there are a lot more pictures, some have been seen here on my Blog before, others were previously posted on facebook and Twitter, and still others will remain hidden from the eyes of both friends and strangers alike. There’s also more to the story, but those sordid details will have to remain private to protect the innocent (and not so innocent).


First, a little history:

St. Paul's Ringout at the Renaissance Faire - Agoura 1983

Guild of St. Paul’s – Ringout at the Renaissance Faire – Agoura 1983

Once upon a time, back in the 1980’s, there were a group of friends who all worked at the Renaissance Faire and Dickens’ Christmas Faire. They were street actors and members of the Guild of St. Paul’s (the thieves’ guild) and their close friends. Eventually, many would join the CREW and/or find other gigs at the Faire, but the bonds of friendship built during the “Crazy 80s” always remained strong. Over the years, some of the members moved away, disappeared or died. And so it was that a reunion was planned for June of 2014 in San Francisco.

Castle St. Paul in Pig's Gulch - Agoura 1983

Castle St. Paul in Pig’s Gulch – Agoura 1983

Great weekend in San Francisco with old friends!

Highlights of the festivities included Lunch at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf, Sushi Dinner in the Omakase Room at Yoshi’s, the “Pub Crawl” (Limo ride with stops at Smuggler’s Cove, Knuckles at the Wharf, the Pig & Whistle, and Tommy’s Joynt), Coffee at Sugar Cafe and a Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s on Union.

Friends came from New York, Indiana, Delaware, Arizona, northern and southern California to attend this long overdue reunion of the Guild of St. Paul’s from the Renaissance Faire!

San Francisco Civic Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco Civic Center – San Francisco City Hall (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I drove into the city of San Francisco on a beautiful Saturday morning, and after a stop downtown at the Civic Center, the California Statue and United Nations Plaza, I headed for Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 to meet my old friends.

California Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

California Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Read my previous Blog about the Simon Bolivar Statue>> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1eH

Saturday at Fisherman’s Wharf!

After spending time walking around Grosvernor’s Square and the Civic Center, I drove down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Probably the most touristy thing you can do on a Saturday in San Francisco! There was a lot of traffic and a lot of tourists. Oh, and PARKING SUCKS!!!

Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

RANT!!! PARKING SUCKS! TRAFFIC SUCKS! Let me repeat: PARKING SUCKS!

There is a parking structure at Pier 39 but it costs a lot to park! They do have discounts and “first hour free” type offers on certain days. But, IT WILL TAKE YOU 30 MINUTES TO PARK and at least 30 MINUTES TO GET OUT OF THE PARKING STRUCTURE….SO DON’T DO IT! There is metered parking nearby and it costs a lot too. (~$4-8 per hour).  Park for free or for a reasonable rate far away and then take the trolley, bus or a shuttle.

p.s. There are huge crowds on weekends, visit midweek for a less crowded experience.

NOTE: Driving in San Francisco has gotten impossible! What’s with all the traffic and construction? People just stop and double park in lanes of traffic with cars behind them. Trucks double park and triple park to make deliveries. Pedestrians walk right in front of oncoming traffic and take their time crossing in front of cars. $10 per hour to park at meter? $30+ to park overnight? Just a driving nightmare, I don’t recommend it.


Meet at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf

After the parking experience, I walked down to Pier 39. The views of the city and the bay from the parking structure bridge were wonderful in all directions!

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 & Alcatraz Island - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf & Alcatraz Island – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

We met on Pier 39, and after 20+ years, at first, even in the “age of facebook”, it was a shock to see young friends grown old, in person.

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Late Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. at Pier 39

Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

We decided to get drinks at Bubba Gump’s, and after grabbing a couple tables in the bar, and avoiding the line of waiting tourists, Anchor Steam Beer and Maker’s Mark shots were consumed to begin the party! Soon, we were joined by more old friends, food and more drinks were ordered and consumed, friendships were renewed, and we made a few new friends with the restaurant’s staff.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 – San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39

Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Beer and Maker's Mark at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Beer and Maker’s Mark at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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Getting Animated at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 – San Francisco

Making friends with our waiter at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Making friends with our waiter at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Making friends with our waitress at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Making friends with our waitress at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 – San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Pier 3939 Pier, San Francisco CA 94124 415-781-4867

We walked back to the parking structure and found the car. As previously mentioned, it took forever to get out of the lot and it was really expensive to park for a short time! It is definitely another example of the City of San Francisco “fleecing the tourist” at every opportunity. We spent a few hundred dollars on lunch, drinks and souvenirs and then got taxed again on the way out!

Wyland at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Wyland at Pier 39 Parking Structure Bridge at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

View from Parking Structure Bridge at Pier 39 - San Francisco

View from Parking Structure Bridge at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Coit Tower, TransAmerica Building and San Francisco

Coit Tower, TransAmerica Building & San Francisco Cityscape from Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf


As I mentioned previously, driving in the city is impossible, even for a native of Los Angeles  who has driven in the worst traffic imaginable. It took a really long time just to make a right turn out of Fisherman’s Wharf. There is no pedestrian or traffic control and there are just too many people and cars on a Saturday afternoon. I almost lost my mind trying to get to the hotel and then found a parking lot down the street, around the corner and down an alley near the hotel. After negotiating the “cash” rate with the attendant ($30 overnight – THAT’S CHEAP in SF!), I grabbed my bag and walked to the Hotel Beresford on Sutter, wondering if my car would still be there tomorrow.

Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

Hotel Beresford on Sutter – San Francisco

Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

Hotel Beresford – San Francisco

My friend made the reservations and I was invited to share the room, and to be honest I really had no previous experience or knowledge about the hotel.

We checked in, went up to the room, rested a little and then got ready for dinner at Yoshi’s and the “Pub Crawl” to follow. Requested (optional) dinner attire: wear a Hawaiian shirt!

Hotel Beresford  635 Sutter St, San Francisco CA 94102 415-673-9900

Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

Hotel Beresford –  Welcome to San Francisco!

The White Horse Restaurant & Pub at the Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

The White Horse Restaurant & Pub – San Francisco

We called for a cab and taxied over to the restaurant, another experience in San Francisco that’s different from anywhere else. You just put your life in someone else’s hands and hope you arrive at your destination.

Taxi!

Taxi POV! Put you life in someone else’s hands in the city of San Francisco…



As scheduled, the gang regrouped at Yoshi’s for dinner, and we were joined by more friends who hadn’t made it to the gathering at Pier 39. Dinner, drinks and dessert were enjoyed and a very good time was had by all.

Read Dinner at Yoshi’s (right click open in new window) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's - San Francisco

Dinner in the glass Omakase Room at Yoshi’s – San Francisco

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Read Dinner at Yoshi’s (right click open in new window) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba

Yoshi’s – 1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco 94115

NOTE: Yoshi’s in San Francisco is now CLOSED, Yoshi’s in Oakland is still open.



Limo and “Pub Crawl” – Saturday Night in San Francisco!

After dinner, there was a shiny stretch Limousine waiting for us outside the restaurant.

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

Inside the Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

It was “close quarters” inside the limo but we all fit. The plan for the “Pub Crawl” was not mine. I was just along for the ride and it was great fun! The limo was fully stocked and had music and LED lights. It was like riding through the streets of San Francisco in a VIP booth filled with friends with bottle service at a trendy nightclub.

Map of St. Paul's Pub Crawl on 22 June 2014

Map of St. Paul’s Pub Crawl on 22 June 2014

Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

Inside the Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

Our first stop was the world famous Smuggler’s Cove! One of the best bars in America, or so they say, I couldn’t tell you because it’s a tiny 3 level Tiki bar that packs them in like sardines. It was still very early and light outside, but the place was absolutely filled with too many humans…and then they let all of us in too. We made our way to the bar, but a few of us just couldn’t hang with the lack of seating (due to injuries and old age) and a lack of personal space.

Smuggler’s Cove – 650 Gough St, San Francisco CA 94102 415-869-1900

Smuggler's Cove - San Francisco

Smuggler’s Cove – San Francisco

Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco

Very Crowded at Smuggler’s Cove (at the bar) – San Francisco

Another limo ride and we reached our second stop Knuckles at the Wharf, at the Hyatt. I’m told it’s a great sports bar, but it was pretty empty on Saturday night. We sat at a long table in the “dining area” and ordered drinks from the waiter. It was really nice to be able to talk with my old friends and catch up on the past 20 years (a little).

Knuckles at the Wharf – 555 North Point St, San Francisco CA 94133 415-486-4340

Knuckle's at the Wharf in San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf in San Francisco

Knuckle's at the Wharf - San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf (at the bar)  – San Francisco

Knuckle's at the Wharf - San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf – San Francisco

Knuckle's at the Wharf - San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf – San Francisco

Stoli on the Rocks with a lime

Stoli on the Rocks with a lime at Knuckles at the Wharf

After a round (or two) of cocktails, and some good fun, we called for the limo. We all agreed that Knuckles was very nice, but too nice for our purposes and so we instructed our Driver to take us to our next stop, the Pig & Whistle!

“Get in the Limo!” at Knuckles at the Wharf in San Francisco

Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

Inside the Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

The Pig & Whistle is a dark place with an English Pub theme and it was a perfect place for our third stop. We took command of a few tables and ordered the next round of drinks from our hippie waiter. We took a few group pictures and got a little bit “wild”. We were also forced to remind one of our friends PLEASE NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

The Pig & Whistle – 2801 Geary Blvd, San Francisco CA 94118 415-885-4779

The Pig & Whistle - San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle – San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle - San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle – San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle - San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle – San Francisco

Please, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

Please, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

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SERIOUSLY, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

After more drinks and fun, around midnight we all climbed back in the limo and rode to our next stop. By this time, it seemed like we had been driving in circles all over the city and it turns out we had!

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

Back in the Limo after drinks at the Pig & Whistle

Back in the Limo after more drinks at the Pig & Whistle

After dinner, drinks, three stops, and another limo ride we arrived at our fourth stop, Tommy’s Joynt! Late night-early morning drinks and food were on the menu. There’s a full bar on one side and an order & pickup restaurant on the other side of the main room. It’s pretty well known for it’s sandwiches and other tasty food and for being open very late.

We got our food and took over a few tables in the upstairs dining area. I had a meaty pastrami sandwich, which I remember was really good. We had some more fun and made a little trouble, but not so much as you’d notice…because we’ve all gotten old and mellow.

After a leisurely meal and some serious (drunk) conversation, we called for the limo and took a few more group pictures before stumbling back in to our rolling disco lounge.

Tommy’s Joynt – 1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco CA 94109 415-775-4216

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt after midnight – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt (at the bar) after midnight – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt – the “carving station” from upstairs – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Upstairs at Tommy’s Joynt – San Francisco

Best Pastrami Sandwich in San Francisco at Tommy's Joynt

Best Pastrami Sandwich in San Francisco at Tommy’s Joynt

Selfie with Pastrami Sandwich at Tommy's Joynt

Selfie with Pastrami Sandwich at Tommy’s Joynt

St. Paul's Reunion in San Francisco

St. Paul’s Reunion Saturday Night “Pub Crawl” in San Francisco – A good time was had by all!

Return to the Hotel Beresford

Limo back to the Hotel!

Limo back to the Hotel Beresford!

We dropped almost everyone off at their different hotels on the way back to the Hotel Beresford. We enjoyed the amenities and the space inside the limo as our friends departed along the way. I’m not sure exactly what time the rest of us finally got back to the hotel, but there was a lot of noise on the street from the crowd leaving the club and pub up the block. We paid and tipped our driver (who did a really great job running us all over the city on a Saturday night), collected our belongings and stumbled upstairs to our rooms. The street noise was clearly audible in our hotel room, but it didn’t matter.

Limo back to the Hotel!

Limo back to the Hotel Beresford!

And so a great time was had by all on our San Francisco Saturday night adventure. Everyone got home safe and just a little worse for wear. Good food was eaten and many drinks were imbibed. Our 30+ year friendship was renewed in person and there was much shared fun and mischief throughout the evening.

“May the Four Winds Blow Them Safely Home”  

NOTE: Missing friends were mentioned and remembered. Some are MIA, some were not able to make the reunion, and unfortunately others have passed on. The recent loss of a couple of our friends is one of the reasons this party was planned. Throughout the night, there were bittersweet moments as we toasted absent friends and friends we’ve lost.

The Guild of St. Paul's - Agoura 1982

The Guild of St. Paul’s – Agoura 1982


SUNDAY! SUNDAY! (the morning after)

Sunday morning I woke up too early! We packed our stuff and checked out of the hotel. I walked my bag back to my car, which was where I parked two blocks away at Cosmo and Ophir. I could have valet parked at the hotel for $27, but then you don’t know where they put your car. Our friends Erik and Sharon were late to brunch because they had to file a police report…the valet at a different hotel allegedly stole Erik’s Bluetooth from the car when he parked it.

On Sutter in San Francisco

On Sutter in San Francisco

On Sutter in San Francisco

On Sutter in San Francisco

Urban Blight! In the space of two blocks, I passed four or five seriously “homeless” people. Desperate, dirty, drug addicted and mentally damaged humans who now claim a piece of sidewalk as home. The walls along the major streets as well as the alleys were covered in graffiti and they were just dirty and littered with trash. It made me sad.

Graffiti in San Francisco

Urban blight! Graffiti tags on the (repainted) walls in San Francisco

Then we met up for Coffee and Espresso at Sugar Cafe, just up the street from the hotel, before getting a couple taxis to drive us to brunch.

Sugar Cafe - San Francisco

Sugar Cafe – San Francisco

Coffee and Strudel and Sugar Cafe in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Coffee and Strudel and Sugar Cafe in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Morning After! Coffee at Sugar Cafe

The Morning After! Coffee at Sugar Cafe in San Francisco

Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s

Perry's - San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union – San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco!

At 11:40am we all taxied over to Perry’s on Union for our Brunch reservation at noon.

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s (at the bar) in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

Jones, Party of 10! We were taken to the back room and seated without waiting again. I brought a bottle of champagne to the reunion, and since we didn’t drink it in the limousine the night before, we brought it with us to the restaurant. There’s was a $15 corkage fee, and we spent another $12 on fresh squeezed orange juice in little teapots, so we all had MIMOSAS with brunch!

St. Paul's Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco June '14

St. Paul’s Reunion – Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco – June ’14

Champagne Brunch - Mimosas all around

Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s on Union – Mimosas all around!

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

“The Bird” at Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

On The Menu: I had eggs benedict with their special bacon instead of ham/canadian bacon and shared a fruit plate with a couple friends. My brunch included potatos and I also ate one of my friend’s side of toast with butter and jam because they didn’t want it.

Egg's Benedict for Sunday Brunch at Perry's on Union in San Francisco

Eggs Benedict for Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco

Perry’s Restaurant – 1944 Union St, San Francisco CA 94123 415-922-9022

After Brunch we taxied back to the Hotel, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I walked over to The Pub on Sutter on the corner, had a beer and waited for the World Cup game to start.

Pub on the Corner - San Francisco

The Pub on Sutter on the corner – San Francisco

Pub on the Corner - San Francisco

Watching the World Cup at the Pub on Sutter on the corner – San Francisco

After the game I jumped in the car, made my way through traffic and drove out of the city and back south towards San Jose.

THE END!

THE END!

All (well, most) photos copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel.

Our Reunion Dinner at Yoshi’s! READ THE BLOG>> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba (NOTE: Yoshi’s in San Francisco is now CLOSED)

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel – http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

TBT: ThrowbackThursday! St. Paul’s Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco June ’14

TBT: Throwback Thursday!

St. Paul’s Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco June ’14

Great weekend in San Francisco with old friends!

Highlights of the festivities included Lunch at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39, Sushi Dinner in the Omakase Room at Yoshi’s, the “Pub Crawl” (Limo ride with stops at Smuggler’s Cove, Knuckle’s on the Wharf, the Pig & Whistle, and Tommy’s Joynt), Coffee at SugarCafe and a Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s.

St. Paul's Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco June '14

St. Paul’s Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco June ’14

Champagne Brunch - Mimosas all around

St. Paul’s Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco June ’14 – Mimosas all around!

Perry’s Restaurant – 1944 Union St, San Francisco CA 94123 415-922-9022

All photos copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel.

At last, here’s the Blog about the St. Paul’s Reunion in San Francisco in June 2014

READ IT!>>> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1EV

Our Reunion Dinner at Yoshi’s! READ THE BLOG>> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba (NOTE: Yoshi’s in San Francisco is now CLOSED)

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravelhttp://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

FOODGASM! OMG Dinner Party at n/naka!

FOODGASM! OMG Dinner Party at n/naka!

One of the most amazing meals I’ve ever eaten. We did the full 13 course dinner with wine and sake pairings. Each dish was a work of art both visually and culinary! BRAVA! BRAVA!

There’s no sign, just the address, on the front of the restaurant. Located on Overland between National and Palms, they have street parking (when available) and valet parking for $7 behind the building.

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE LARGER IMAGE OF PICS!

N/Naka - 3455 Overland Ave, in Palms (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

n/naka – 3455 Overland Ave, Palms, L.A. (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Inside, the space is clean, quiet and intimate. The focus is all about the fine food and drink.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The episodic documentary “Chef’s Table” recently released on Netflix features Chef Niki Nakayama “applying the artistic and technical notions of kaiseki to create an ever-evolving seasonal narrative within each meal.”

netflix-11-0407

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chef Niki Nakayama began her career at Takao. She previously owned Azami Sushi Cafe and Inaka, before opening n/naka four years ago.

“Through a meaningful balance of both traditional and modern techniques, Chef Niki Nakayama is committed to creating a meal that will engage your attention. It’s about enjoying the moment, the current offerings of the season, and ultimately, the food in front of you.”

la-dd-a-conversation-with-david-gelb-about-che-001

n/naka’s Sous Chef and Chef Niki Nakayama prepare fresh uni.

Modern Kaiseki ($165 thirteen course – $85 optional wine pairing) per person

A deep exploration of traditional Kaiseki service with modern accents in technique and flavor pairings. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course meal consisting of a sequence of dishes, each often small and artistically arranged. It’s a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food. It also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals.

There is also a vegetarian menu available for $150, but they are not vegan. Ingredients vary based on season and everything is organic and “farm to table” fresh.  Each menu is planned specifically. Guests are consulted on their “Likes & Dislikes” and the menu is confirmed a few days before the reservation.

I’ve been anticipating this dinner since the reservation was confirmed. I watched the “Chef’s Table” episode on Netflix and visited the restaurant’s website. I read the numerous rave reviews and recent interviews with Chef Nakayama regarding her philosophy, style, training and success. After all the hype, I was not disappointed in the least, it was a true “foodie experience”!

The reservation was for Saturday night at 5:30pm (the early seating) and I arrived early, found street parking and waited for the rest of the party to arrive and the restaurant door to open. We were the first guests of the evening and were seated immediately and offered the beer, wine, champagne and sake list.

We chose to add the wine and sake pairings with dinner. If you choose this option, do not plan on driving! Have a designated driver or Uber, Lyft, Taxi or Limosine your way home. In addition to the wine and sake pairings, I ordered a Sapporo beer to enjoy with my food.

Sapporo beer, still water and the “Zen” rock garden centerpiece and place settings:

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Philippe champagne to start the evening and toast the special occasion!

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

First appetizer: oyster with roe, uni, orange and foam sauce.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: Not everyone likes oysters, so a second appetizer was graciously substituted.

Second appetizer: Snow crab with roe and pea puree.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a 2013 white wine

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Seasonal Appetizer course: lobster tempura with spicy aoli, smoky cod on lemon, Tazmanian sea trout sashimi, stuffed squid with crab, quail egg and squid ink.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The lobster in light tempura with the spicy aoli was “melt in your mouth” incredible. And so was the cod, sea trout and stuffed squid.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Seijuro Fujitsu cold sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sashimi course: Bonita sashimi with black mustard flower and shiso paste served with a mini yuzo sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Soup course: Clam with radish & seaweed in clear Japanese water broth.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Alsace Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés 2012 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sashimi course: toro belly, kampachi yellowtail with cucumber, red snapper, uni on lemon and octopus in a daikon radish slice

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a really nice tasting sweet cold sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cooked fish course: Delicious “grilled” Branzino with pickled daikon, ginkgo nut and cooked bamboo. I think it was blowtorched to perfection.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a tasty Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Steamed course: egg, snow crab, shitake mushroom and shiso. Thicker than a soup.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Pazo Señorans Albariño 2013 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Special Pasta course: abalone, truffle & spaghetti with garlic butter cream sauce.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a Sancere 2013 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Wagyu beef (to die for) on a hot stone – cook to taste with vegetables brussel sprout, purple carrot, asparagus and a beet chip in daikon horseradish sauce and sea salt.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: I wanted a whole steak of this A+ Wagyu beef! It was superb.

Paired with a rich Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 red wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sunomono course: firefly squid with cucumber, tomato and seaweed (sorry, pulled it apart before taking the pic) served with a mini yuzo sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi course (6 pieces and soup): Toro, makata, Japanese mackerel, sweet shrimp, squid, uni and shrimp head in white miso broth.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Makata and Toro (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Japanese Mackerel and Sweet Shrimp (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka!  Squid and Uni (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Shrimp head in white miso soup (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Born Gold Junmai Daiginjo cold sake. “Gold has an elegant nose comprised of green apple, sweet rice, plum skin, and peach aromas.”

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert course #1: Melon sorbet with icy rose granita. Served with hot green tea in a bowl.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert course #2: popcorn ice cream with cookies & cream meringue, lemon drop gelee’, chocolate covered raisin, sugared fennel and caramel sauce. Served with a different hot green tea in a cup.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Birthday Dessert (not mine): green tea pudding with whipped cream and a strawberry.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert was paired with an unusual sweet/spicy Hannya cold sake (tasted like a liquer).

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sake and Wine! They have many choices both by the glass and by the bottle/carafe and the prices are not inexpensive. You can also bring your own wine. There’s a $35 corkage fee and a “limit” of one bottle per every two people in the party.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Wine and Sake (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Wine and Sake (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE LARGER IMAGE OF PICS!

FYI – Front page of the Beer, Wine, Champagne and Sake List:

“Without wine, even beautiful cherry blossoms have small attraction”

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

“As to flowers, when half open; as to sake, when a person is half tipsy”

The service was great and the courses were well timed. It’s not a large space and the restaurant is about the food and the dining experience, not the number of people served. Each dish is ART and requires attention to detail in the planning and preparation. Our multi-course dinner from start to finish timed out at about three wonderful hours.

After the meal, Chef Nakayama came to our table and thanked us for coming. She was incredibly sincere and humble when we praised her and the incredible food she created.

BRAVA! BRAVA!

n/naka's Chef Niki Nakayama

n/naka’s Chef Niki Nakayama

n/naka3455 Overland Ave, Palms (Los Angeles)  www.n-naka.com

Reservations are absolutely required. They are currently booked until July!

 

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