Dinner at Davenport’s in Encino

Dinner at Davenport’s in Encino

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Wednesday night we went for dinner at Davenport’s in Encino. We wanted to try a neighborhood restaurant we had never been to before. They opened last year in the space formerly occupied by Dupar’s and John L. Groats on Ventura Boulevard west of Woodley Avenue. And so, on a cold winter weekday evening we made a reservation for 7:15pm.

Parking is in the rear and the lot was full. There was a line at the host station, located just inside the front door and the restaurant was packed at the sushi bar, long bar, bar dining  area and dining room. The outdoor patio was empty because it was “effing” cold and there was a nice wind blowing through the courtyard that even the outdoor heaters couldn’t warm. We know this because the reservation was made for “Outside”, even though we didn’t ask for the patio. When we asked to sit inside, the hostess seating us said there was an hour wait for a table and we almost left and went somewhere else…

Instead we went inside and found the manager and explained the situation. He was very understanding and they found a nice table in the corner of the dining room for us in a very short time. BRAVO! 

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The restaurant is divided into different spaces as mentioned above: there’s a sushi bar, long bar, bar dining area and formal dining room/private party space where we were seated. the interior is very nice, albeit a little crowded when the place is packed. If you’ve followed my Blog you know there are more than 20 sushi restaurants in the neighborhood, so a restaurant with a sushi bar (and raw oyster bar) is nothing new and the prices for sushi and sashimi were higher than most. They were offering a combination sashimi and oyster plate for $42 when we offered the specials by our friendly waiter.

We decided not to have sushi or oysters, knowing that we were going to have a big meal and instead just started with their tasty cornbread and bread & butter. They have some nice appetizers but again we didn’t order any know the entrees were large. We did share an $11 Caesar salad, but ended up giving it to another member of our party because they added kale (WE HATE KALE) without mention of it on the menu.

We had the BBQ baby back ribs ($29 for a full rack) and they were delicious! Fall off the bone and cooked really well. The BBQ sauce was tasty and we substituted sautéed asparagus for cole slaw. The fries were tasty, but they weren’t served hot enough. We ate a few of the ribs at dinner and took the rest home and ate them with hot (reheated) fries for lunch the next day, and the ribs were delicious the day after too!

Or party also tried the lobster roll, lobster (Cobb) salad and the ribeye steak. We also tried a glass of red and a glass of white wine, which were both excellent choices. And everything they served us was very well prepared, visually appealing, very tasty and super quality food! We tasted the brownie sundae dessert which was shared by our party, and it was wonderful but we were full and didn’t want dessert.

NOTE: We LOVE dessert and the brownie sundae was good, but the meal service had taken a long time and we were tired of sitting, a little claustrophobic, and really ready to go before we even ordered dessert.

The service was good, just a little slow because it was slammed, crowded and the layout of the restaurant makes it harder to serve. We never had to wait very long for our waiter,  and he did an excellent job tending to our requests.

On The Menu: BBQ Baby Back Ribs with fries and sautéed asparagus, cornbread, bread & butter, Caesar salad, Lobster Roll, Lobster Cobb Salad, Brownie sundae and a coke

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All in all, it was a very nice dinner to celebrate the end of Hannukah and the Winter Solstice (see our previous Blog Posts) and we left happy, full and with leftovers in hand. It was a good dining experience at a restaurant we had never been to before, and we would definitely return for another meal.

Davenport’s16120 Ventura Blvd, Encino 91436 (at Woodley Av)
http://www.davenportsrestaurant.com

All photos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel

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Pretty Christmas Tree at Davenport’s!

 



 

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Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

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Thanksgiving Feast 2017

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

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

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Thanksgiving 2017 – Pretty Flowers!

Would you like to start with an adult beverage?

 

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

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Thanksgiving Feast – dinner plate 2017

Pictures of the Thanksgiving Feast:

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Thanksgiving Feast 2017 – CHALLAH!

 

Desserts:

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Thanksgiving Feast – Dessert! 2017

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

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

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Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake 2017

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

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

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

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Minnesota Vikings 30 – Detroit Lions 23

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

 

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Los Angeles Chargers 28 – Dallas Cowboys 6

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Washington Redskins 20 – New York Giants 10

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Thank you “South Park”

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

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

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

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

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Leftover Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream


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

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


 

Sunday Brunch at Manhattan Beach Post in Manhattan Beach!

Sunday Brunch at Manhattan Beach Post in Manhattan Beach, California!

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Sunday Brunch at Manhattan Beach Post, a Social House

NOTE: BLOG IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION! This Blog post isn’t finished… but we have to publish because we aren’t sure if wordpress is saving it and it’s 3:15am.

Forget Football, let’s have Sunday Brunch! Okay, so we watched the morning games and then hit the road after 1pm. The Jacksonville Jaguars had just tied the Los Angeles Chargers at the end of the fourth quarter and were headed for overtime, and we had to leave because we had “a long way to go and a short time to get there” with unknown traffic before arriving at lunch…

405 Freeway south to Manhattan Beach

It was cloudy, overcast and there was a lot of traffic, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. We made pretty good time, past the 101/405 intersection and up the hill, past West L.A., past the 405/10 intersection and LAX, past Venice and Marina del Rey, and down to the Manhattan Beach Blvd exit. And of course, Manhattan Beach Blvd was all torn up and under construction and only one lane, so the delay made us late. We got lucky and found metered parking in front of the restaurant, so we were only 15 minutes late.

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Manhattan Beach

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Sunday Afternoon at the Manhattan Beach Pier

 

 

Manhattan Beach Post  (a David LeFevre restaurant)

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Manhattan Beach Post (a David LeFevre restaurant)

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The Menu:

On The Menu: Cornbread biscuits with bacon & cheese, honey fried chicken with slaw, pork tacos, broccoliflower, burrata sandwich, lamb gyro, pickles & olives, fries, orange juice, a “Blood & Smoke” bloody mary and chocolate pudding with peanut butter mousse, bacon bits and banana for dessert!

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Sunday Brunch at Manhattan Beach Post  (a David Lefevre restaurant)

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Bad traffic on the 405 going north on the way home, so we got off and took Sepulveda Blvd through West L.A. to Mulholland over the hill to the San Fernando Valley.

 

And Jacksonville beat the L.A. Chargers 20-17 in overtime!
But then the Broncos lost the Sunday night game to the Patriots…..

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Quadrophenia! LIVE at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park on Saturday Night!

Pete Townshend’s “Classic Quadrophenia!”

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LIVE at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park on Saturday Night!

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Saturday night’s alright for “Quadrophenia”!

NOTE: Still working on the “Road Trip” and “Burning Man” Blogs, but we decided to spend the money and see a LIVE show at the Greek Theatre on Saturday night.

Parking SUCKS at the Greek Theatre (and it always has). We tried to park at the “Offsite Parking Lot” for $10 and wanted to take the shuttle, but were greeted with “Unfortunately……”

It was explained by a lackey in orange vest that unless you paid online, they weren’t letting people pay cash and park because they didn’t have enough parking.
Because Griffith Park is TOO F*CKING SMALL AND DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH SPACE TO PARK EVERYONE WHO WANTS TO PARK OFFSITE!
JUST ANOTHER City of Los Angeles FAIL.
(just count on the City to FAIL everytime)

So we drove around and then up the hill to the Greek Theatre, with traffic on Los Feliz and Vermont, and paid $25 to park on the grass on a hillside above the theatre. At least they had rows of cars instead of just “stack parking” and packing them in like the old days.

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It cost us an extra $15. We didn’t have to offsite park or take the shuttle and then we walked over to WillCall and picked up our $100 ticket ($79.50 + $18.80 fees). We bought a $5 bottled water so the price tag for the evening was ~$130 + gas (and another $10 for a cocktail + tip later on the way home).

The Greek Theatre in Griffith Park is a very nice venue once you get past the parking.

 

Here’s a handy seating chart and aerial view of the Greek Theatre (not my pics):

 

Our $100 ticket was for Sec B, Row U, Seat 13 – an okay seat on the $$$ price scale. For another $25 we could have been more center, and for a couple hundred dollars more we could have been in Sec A or front of Terrace (Loge seats), but WHY?

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Quadrophenia!

With Pete Townshend, Alfie Boe, Billy Idol, an orchestra and a choir!

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It wasn’t a rock concert. We knew that going in. It was a classical performance piece with full orchestra and a large choir. They performed the entire double album’s music beautifully and it rocked, but it wasn’t a rock concert and some people didn’t get it.

We really enjoyed the music, it’s one of our favorite WHO albums, and it was great to see it performed live with the orchestra and choir. The sound was really good at the Greek, and with the exception of the audience, it was a very good show.

EXIT (Stage Left): So, we waited for the Greek to empty out and there still was a line to get out of the GATED AREA. It is a VERY DANGEROUS EXIT because if there were an emergency, people would get crushed trying to escape. They didn’t have the large gates open, so everyone had to funnel into and out through the entrance point.

Drive through Griffith Park at night!

We walked back to our car and waited for the parking lot to empty, and the line at the restrooms to clear, then instead of driving down the hill back to Los Feliz, we drove through the park and then down to Western Avenue. There are great views of the city and Downtown Los Angeles from the road through the park, but the only pictures we took were in the tunnel because of the traffic and people walking to their cars.

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Tunnel Vision! Drive Through Griffith Park!

Saturday Night! We drove through Ferndell to Los Feliz and down Western to Hollywood Blvd. We got on the 101 freeway and headed back to the valley, and decided to stop for a post-show drink at the Chimneysweep Lounge in Sherman Oaks on the way home. It used to be a real “hole-in-the-wall” dive bar, but then it was taken over by hipsters…

We got a seat at the bar and enjoyed a Stoli rocks with a lime (our first and only drink of the evening). We people watched for a bit but they weren’t interesting people, decided we didn’t want to hang, so we headed home and ate some food before going to bed. It was a pretty fun night and we certainly enjoyed the music.

 

GREEK THEATRE in Griffith Park – 2700 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles 90027 http://www.lagreektheatre.com

Chimneysweep Lounge4354 Woodman Ave (at Moorpark), Sherman Oaks 91423

All photos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel

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Dinner at the Lakeside Cafe in Encino

Dinner at the Lakeside Cafe in Encino, California

NOTE: This Blog is still under construction!
Once again wordpress is acting weird, so we published before the Blog was finished!

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Dinner at the Lakeside Cafe in Encino, California

It’s Thursday night and let’s go out to dinner!
Chinese? Japanese? Deli? Where do you want to go?
I don’t know, someplace different.
Okay, ….

How about the Lakeside Cafe in Encino?

We went there one time for dinner a long time ago, it was soon after they opened in the old El Torito building on Ventura Boulevard (just east of Balboa Blvd) adjacent to Los Encinos State Historic Park with a fantastic view of the lake.

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El Torito Mexican restaurant had been in the same space for years and was an Encino “constant”! After they closed, a couple of other restaurant/bar/club ventures tried to make a “go” of it and failed. And now the tenant is the Lakeside Cafe, a combination coffee house and bar-restaurant and now also a performance space with live jazz and other music.

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El Torito Mexican Restaurant

We went there just for dinner at about 6:30pm. They have Valet Parking for $3.00 in a lot off Ventura and there’s metered street parking that operates 8am-8pm everyday except Sunday. We found a spot on the street and entered through the Valet lot entrance (there’s also an entrance on Ventura).

 

The “Front-of-House” on Ventura is set up like a coffee house.

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Lakeside Cafe “Front-of-House” on Ventura Blvd – Coffee House

 

You can enter the restaurant from Ventura Blvd through the coffee house area and center room. There is additional inside table seating here away from the bar area.

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Lakeside Cafe Center Room, Host Desk Entrance from Valet Lot, Additional Indoor Tables and the Waiting Area as seen from Coffee House side

If you enter through the Valet lot you walk into the center room and arrive at the Host desk and the waiting area. There are couches, a coffee table and benches for additional seating against the wall.

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There is a side guest table as well. Would you care for some literature?

Sunday Brunch, Happy Hour 3pm-6pm, Live Jazz on Saturdays and the Catering Menu are featured on the promotional material available on the guest table, on your table and inside the menu. Quality marketing and promotion is good business (direct to customer inside the restaurant).

The Dining Room, the Bar and the Outdoor Deck Patio on the Lake

The restaurant’s dining room is open to the elements because of the outdoor seating and deck. It was a lovely evening, the doors were open, but as the sun set it got cooler, and then colder due to its location on the lake. We knew this was inevitable and we decided to sit inside the bar area dining room away from the doors when we arrived.

There was a good crowd, but it wasn’t too crowded when we arrived. They have it set up as a “cafe” with wood 4-top tables and nice chairs in the dining room. On our previous visit we sat at a bar table on tall stools and it was not comfortable. The dining areas are wide open, so it has a cafeteria vibe where you’re eating with everyone in the room. Also, there are only hard surfaces indoors (wood floor and glass windows), so it gets really loud inside even when it’s not crowded. I would not recommend trying to have a romantic dinner inside, although it might be nice place for a rendezvous outside during the afternoon or on a warm summer night.

There is a small covered outdoor deck patio, which is separate from the other outdoor seating by the lake. It would be nice for having a small private cocktail or dinner party.

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They have a very nice bar, unfortunately it takes up a lot of space in the Dining Room area, and makes the dining room part of the bar area, adding a lot of traffic and noise to the room.

NOTE: There is a DISCLAIMER NOTICE in the menu!

 

 

Outdoor Seating – Dining Al Fresco on the Lake!

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The Lake and the Dining Room Entrance from the Outdoor Seating Area

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There’s outdoor seating by the lake, which is a beautiful place to dine al fresco on a warm San Fernando Valley day or night. Be sure to read the Disclaimer in the menu though!

The Dinner Menu and Bar Offerings:

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Cocktails $12?
It’s a nice place, but they have “westside” prices in the heart of the valley!
The food was good, but their food items and drinks are expensive compared to many other neighborhood restaurants, which is probably the reason we haven’t been back since the first time we ate here. We most likely would have ordered drinks otherwise.

On The Menu: fried calamari, a Santa Fe salad, fettucine chicken alfredo and a coke

The calamari was excellent, lightly fried and crispy/chewy! The Santa Fe salad was good, but The Cheesecake Factory’s salad dressing is the standard to which all other Santa Fe salads are compared. This one “not as good”. And the fettucine chicken alfredo was tasty, but just a little bland. The thin sliced chicken and pasta was cooked perfectly, which is sometimes hard to accomplish with a pasta sauce. The service was only okay, it was a little scattered and could have and should have been better. Our entrees arrived pretty soon after the appetizer (while we were still eating the calamari), which is good for fast service, but bad in relation to “timing the meal”. Nothing to really be upset about though.

According to the literature, they have Sunday Brunch and Happy Hour at the bar 3pm-6pm. They have live music on Saturdays and they do catering too.

Here’s their Catering Menu:

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Lakeside Cafe Catering Menu

Lakeside Cafe16817 Ventura Blvd., Encino, California 91436
818-616-2430  www.lakesidecafe.com @LakesideEncino

Read our previous Blog Los Encinos Park

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Visit & Win at the Lakeside Cafe!

GBTA 2013 Convention in San Diego! (Global Business Travel Association)

GBTA 2013 Convention in San Diego! (Global Business Travel Association)

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NOTE: For ThrowbackThursday and FlashbackFriday we found this Blog draft. We laid out all the type and captions back in 2013 and never added the pics or details. So we went to the files for collateral from the convention, found old travel picture files on our other laptop for pictures that were never seen and also went hunting for the pics that we had already downloaded or posted, then we filled in all the details we could remember and constructed this Blog! And even though the event happened in 2013 we still hope you will enjoy this Blog for TravelTuesday in 2017!

We were invited to attend the GBTA 2013 Convention as a “Hosted Buyer”, but we had prior commitments and could only attend the first and second day of the event. So we made a one-night hotel reservation and arranged to attend the “preview day” on Sunday and the first day on Monday.

GBTA 2013 Convention Schedule for Sunday and Monday:
(Vendor Parties not shown) CLICK to SEE A LARGER PIC!

Road Trip to San Diego! – Ride along with me!

It was a foggy Sunday morning when we woke up very early and hit the road to San Diego. We left the San Fernando Valley at 7am to avoid traffic and drove south on the 405 and 5 freeways for about three hours. We were successful and drove fast (we also took pictures as we went) but other drivers were driving really fast! We were really amazed at the speed of some of the cars passing us at very high speeds like we were parked.

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GBTA 2013! – On The Road to San Diego (405 freeway south to 5 freeway south)

Ride along with me to San Diego, just click on the pics below:

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GBTA 2013! – Downtown San Diego

Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego (A Hilton Hotel)

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GBTA 2013! – Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego Atrium & Skylight

We arrived in San Diego and found our hotel, the Embassy Suites Downtown, sometime after 9am. We found metered street parking two blocks away from the hotel which was FREE and available because it was Sunday. We walked over to the hotel, had breakfast at the complimentary buffet and got an early check in.

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GBTA 2013! – Breakfast Buffet at the Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego

We went up to the room, checked it out and dropped our luggage. We set up the laptop, hooked into the hotel’s wi-fi and did our morning business via the internet and cell phone.

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After a short time in the room, we walked over to the Hyatt Regency and caught the Free Shuttle to the Convention Center.

Sunday was a “preview” day, so it was not very crowded, just busy. There were a lot of people checking in and the vendors and staff were making preparations for the week ahead. The Exhibition Hall didn’t open until Monday, but we were invited to the “First-Timers” lunch and the Welcome Party at the Hilton on Sunday evening.

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GBTA 2013! Global Business Travel Association Convention in San Diego

We rode the shuttle to the Convention Center, walked to Check-In, checked in and got our credentials, and then we walked to the “first timers” lunch in an adjacent meeting hall.

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GBTA 2013! – San Diego Convention Center

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GBTA 2013! – “First Timers” Lunch, Orientation and Welcome

On The Menu: Turkey sandwich with mozzarella cheese balls, lettuce & tomato and a slice of apple pie with iced tea, water and coffee

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After lunch, we attended the “Going Global” session, walked around the Convention Center and then we walked to the shuttle pickup point, rode the shuttle back to the Hyatt and then walked back to our hotel. We cleaned up and enjoyed a free cocktail and complimentary appetizers at the Embassy Suites’ afternoon Happy Hour downstairs.

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GBTA 2013 Welcome Reception Party Buffet at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront

After the Happy Hour we drove over to the Hilton Bayfront Hotel and paid $15 to park for the Welcome Reception and Party on the Great Lawn which runs along the Marina.  An outdoor evening buffet for 7000 people or so, with beer/wine and magaritas at the bar.

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GBTA 2013! – Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

NOTE: It was a huge convention! Every hotel in San Diego remotely close to the Convention Center was at capacity and filled with Travel Agents, Vendors, Travel Writers and other attendees from all over the United States and other parts of the world. We commented on the size of the crowd to a staff person at the Convention Center and they just laughed because Comic-Con had been in town the week before and the size of GBTA convention wasn’t even close to the overflow crowd for Comic-Con.

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GBTA 2013 Welcome Reception Party on the Great Lawn – the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

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GBTA 2103 Welcome Reception Party on the Great Lawn – the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

On The Menu at the Welcome Reception Party Buffet at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront:
Buffalo chicken meatballs, lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce, pasta in lobster sauce, pita chips and a bunch of types of hummus, prime rib sliders with cheese, chicken potstickers, veggie potstickers, pork potstickers, other stuff too, and then on to the dessert table! Nice truffle selection, chocolate covered strawberries, candy lollipops in a bunch of weird flavors and mini-pastries…

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GBTA 2013! – Sunset Over A Sea of Travel Industry at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

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We walked to over to Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant for the next party. It was a long “Las Vegas” walk just after dark along the Marina and Bayfront to get to Roy’s, but it was worth it! We immediately regretted eating at the Welcome Party Buffet, because there was an amazing assortment of incredible food at Roy’s!

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GBTA 2013! – The Kitchen at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant in San Diego

There were all kinds of sushi and cut rolls, egg rolls, chicken and beef satay skewers, Hawaiian style ribs, other tasty appetizers and finger foods, fresh fruit and a lot of fancy desserts. We ate and drank and networked until it got too crowded inside the large restaurant and we didn’t take any pictures (except the one of the kitchen above). We left the party early and took a little food “to go” for later at the hotel. We didn’t want to do anymore walking or make the long dark walk back to the Hilton parking structure, so we negotiated with a pedal cab guy and survived a really fast and wild nighttime ride back to the hotel along the Bayfront for $10+tip.

We walked to our car and drove back to the Embassy Suites. We valet parked our car at the hotel and retired to our hotel room. We did some work, ate the “to go” food (ribs, sushi and little chocolate balls) after midnight and went to bed.

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Monday morning, we were up early and we enjoyed the Embassy Suites’ breakfast buffet again. We took the food up to the room, ate and did some more work, and then packed up our stuff, went downstairs and had a second breakfast. After eating again we got our stuff and checked out of the hotel. We picked up the car from the valet, drove to over the Convention Center and paid to park there. Parking was $15 for all day until midnight.

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GBTA 2013! – Embassy Suites Hotel Breakfast Buffet (in the room)

We arrived in time and got a pretty good seat for the Keynote Address and Lunch for 6000 people with a presentation and performance by singer/songwriter Jewel. All of the front area tables were “Reserved” so we took a seat at a forward table in the first section behind the front area. The hall at the Convention Center was massive! Lunch for 6000 is not an easy task!

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GBTA 2013 Keynote Lunch with Jewel at the San Diego Convention Center

Monday’s GBTA 2013 Keynote Speaker Jewel performs
“Who Will Save Your Soul” live at the San Diego Convention Center

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On The Menu: iceberg lettuce salad, bread & butter, stuffed chicken breast with pesto sauce, vegetables, a fruit tart dessert and iced tea.

After lunch they opened the massive Exposition Hall which ran the entire length of the Convention Center and was filled with Vendors and Suppliers. There were also Vendor meetings scheduled for the afternoon. We walked a portion of the Exhibition Hall, collected brochures/information/swag and received invitations to events later on that evening and later in the week. It would have been impossible to cover the whole Exhibition Hall in one day, so we didn’t try. Instead we did what we could between 3-6pm and dropped all the promotional material in our car before beginning the evening activities.

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GBTA 2013! – The Gaslamp District Sign in San Diego

The Gaslamp District!
The Historic Heart of San Diego is located across the street and train tracks from the Convention Center. Bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels and plenty of gift shops are within easy walking distance (unless you’ve already walked all day).

Let’s get this party started!
We were invited to eight different parties happening at different locations around the Gaslamp District and the Bayfront near the Convention Center.

Monday Party # 1 – Sunset cocktails and dinner at the Altitude Lounge

Our first invitation was for a party at the Altitude Lounge on top of the Marriott Gaslamp Hotel. We walked over to the Marriott Hotel next door to the Convention Center, but it was the wrong Marriott. So then we walked over to the Gaslamp District and found the right hotel. We ate and drank and watched the sunset from the rooftop patio.

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Excellent view of San Diego and Mission Bay from the outdoor patio!

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GBTA 2013! View from the Altitude Lounge in San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – View of Petco Park from the Altitude Lounge in San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – Sunset in San Diego from the Altitude Lounge

On The Menu: tray passed appetizers and a buffet with eggrolls, beef on toast, beef and chicken satay, tuna on wonton crisp, crab on cracker, pita bread and hummus and more… catered by Flemings Steakhouse!

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Monday Party #2 –
We crashed The Parking Spot Party at Lou & Mickey’s at the Gaslamp

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GBTA 2013! – The Parking Spot Party at Lou & Mickey’s at the Gaslamp

We left the party and walked across the street and crashed The Parking Spot’s party at Lou & Mickey’s restaurant. We ate and drank and met the nice folks from The Parking Spot and told them we crashed their party. They didn’t mind. Their party ended early, and the place emptied as the crowd left for other parties that were just getting started.

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Monday Party #3 – GBTA 2013 “AMPED” Party at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego!

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GBTA 2013! – Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Guitar at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

We walked over to our next event: the AMPED party at the Hard Rock Hotel! We ate and drank and met a bunch of really nice people. It started slow but soon the crowd at the main bar was five people deep, the music was rockin’ and it got pretty hopping.

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This party was on a very large rooftop patio, with several permanent bars, a couch area with fire pits and portable heaters, several floating bars and a bunch of buffet stations with a great selection of food. There was good music, of course, and a stage was set up for performance, but it didn’t get used until later. There was even a photo booth for taking pictures with silly wigs, hats and props.

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GBTA 2013! – Buffet Station at the AMPED Party at the Hard Rock Hotel

We asked permission before taking these pics of one of the Go-Go Dancers on a raised pedestal (there were several). She said “Go ahead, I don’t see why not” and posed for the first one. And she was a fantastic dancer too!

Monday Party #4 – Level Skye Club at the Andaz Hotel in San Diego!

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GBTA 2013! – The Bar at Level Skye Club at the Andaz Hotel in San Diego

We had one more party to check out or we would have just stayed at the Hard Rock, instead we left the hotel and walked over to Level Skye Club at the Andaz Hotel. We walked a lot and we were wearing our dress shoes, so by the end of the night our feet were really hurting. We were also tired from a long day at the convention and a long night of partying.
When we got to the club the upstairs was deceptively quiet because downstairs in the basement it was raging! The party at Level Skye was really “off-the-hook” with funky dance music and lots of light and a lot of drunk travel agents. Travel industry people love to party! Thanks American Express!

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GBTA 2013! – Big Party at Level Skye Club in the Andaz Hotel Basement in San Diego

We didn’t eat or drink anything alcoholic because we still had to walk back to the car and drive home to Los Angeles. So, Monday late night we walked back to the car on sore feet before they closed the Convention Center Garage for the night (at midnight).

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GBTA 2013! – San Diego Convention Center Parking ($15 all day – closes at midnight)

We drove back to Los Angeles on the 5 freeway north after midnight and hit a impossible “Stop-and-Go” traffic jam along the way because of construction at 2am in the morning.

When we finally made it home after 3am, we unloaded the car and crashed hard. We had a really good time, did a lot of business and networking, saw Jewel play live music, enjoyed our “budget” stay at the Embassy Suites, and ate and drank and danced and partied in San Diego for two days.

NOTE: We did a lot of walking, a whole lot of walking in our dress shoes, so next time we bring and wear more comfortable walking shoes.

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GBTA 2013! – San Diego Convention Center Stairs at Night

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GBTA 2013! – We did not attend GBTA 2014 in Los Angeles

FINAL NOTE: We finished this Blog and hit “PUBLISH” and it did not. WordPress lost the Blog and the draft(s) totally disappeared! We had to use Google Cache to rescue it and then we had to start over and rebuild the original Blog again. Total waste of time. There is a flaw (BUG) in the wordpress program, because when we went looking for help we found that this has happened to other people as well. So, please ENJOY THIS BLOG, a lot of time went into it.



 

UPDATED Wednesday March 29, 2017 – We posted this Blog yesterday!

We collected a bunch of FREE stuff in the short time we were there, two bags full of stuff actually! Most was promotional “paper”: sell sheets, pamphlets, maps and brochures. But there was some fun giveaway stuff and cool “incentives” for visiting certain booths.

We were given a “Swag” bag at check-in provided/sponsored by Delta and the padded bag was very nice. We recently found it in Storage (see our previous Blog about Storage) and we are now using it as a laptop bag.

UPDATED April 5, 2017 – TRAVEL TIP!
We found these “hospitality cards” (restaurant and bar coupons, freebies, come-ons, etc.) from the San Diego trip. We had so much FREE food and drink and were only in town for one night, so we didn’t use any of them. They can be found at the Concierge Desk at the San Diego Convention Center (and these are just a few of the ones available).

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Hospitality Cards (Restaurant and Bar Coupons, Freebies, Come-Ons, etc.)

JoshWillTravel’s 600th Blog Post!

JoshWillTravel’s 600th Blog Post!

http://www.JoshWillTravel.wordpress.com Blog! February 2013 – October 2016

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THANK YOU LOYAL READERS!

THANK YOU VISITORS!

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JoshWillTravel

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600 Blog Posts! Celebrate!

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30000 Hits! THANK YOU! www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

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30000 Hits! THANK YOU! http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com
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30000 Hits! THANK YOU! Another Benchmark!

Many thanks to our loyal readers and all the “drop-in” visitors since February 2013!

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

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! More to come!

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Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill Mexican Restaurant in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California

Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill Mexican Restaurant
in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California

NOTE: This Blog was started and in “draft” form for a couple weeks before being finished and published. Posting now because writing helps as a distraction.

Mexican Food!

Saturday night in the beautiful San Fernando Valley on Van Nuys Blvd near the Government Center (Courthouses, Police Station, Post Office, etc.) at Erwin St.

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Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill Mexican Restaurant

 

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Front Desk at Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill

We parked in back and used the Rear Entrance. (just a little sketchy)

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The Rear Entrance to Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill in Van Nuys

There’s a large dining room with tables and booths along the side walls. And of course there’s a long bar, and a very nice one too. they also have a very small stage for live music on Fridays and Satudays and this was one of those nights.

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The Large Dining Room at Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill

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The Long Bar at Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill

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Live Music on a Small Stage on Friday and Saturday

The live music was good. Two guys, one on guitar and one on a kid’s drum kit, singing and playing classic rock tunes while we enjoyed our Mexican dinner.

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Live Music and the Bar at Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill

When we arrived the bar was empty, and when we left it wasn’t.

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The Bar at Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill

We were seated in a booth without having to wait and presented with a “classic” Mexican restaurant menu and warm chips, red pepper salsa and a bean dip.

This being our first time here, we decided to compare the Fiesta platter, a favorite found on most appetizer menus.

The Classic Mexican Restaurant Menu:

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On The Menu: Chips and salsa, Fiesta Platter with chicken wings, nachos, taquitos, a quesadilla (and we substituted more taquitos for the quesadilla, because we made a large one for lunch) and a Dr Pepper

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Tortilla Chips and Salsa

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Fiesta Platter!

We enjoyed the food! It was classic Mexican, very tasty and they have pretty good chips and salsa. The Fiesta Platter was done well, but the nachos could have been better. My dining companions enjoyed their choices as well and the prices are very reasonable! They have lots of fun cocktails and drink specials on and off the menu. We would return if we were in the neighborhood on a Saturday, but probably not on a weekday.

Tres Hermanos Mexican RestaurantVan Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

 

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UPDATE: Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A large, tasty chicken burrito (“wet” ranchero sauce & melted cheese) with rice and beans inside and tortilla chips “to go” for dinner a few nights ago. Only ate half, then ate the other half the next day for breakfast.

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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.

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

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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.