There is a BLACK BEAR DINER in the San Fernando Valley!

Yes! There is a BLACK BEAR DINER in the San Fernando Valley!

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The Black Bear Diner in Tarzana, California

We were tired, hungry and driving down Ventura Boulevard last week, when much to our surprise and amazement, there was a Black Bear Diner in Tarzana!

Located in the space previously occupied by CoCo’s, Season’s and Bob’s Big Boy in Tarzana Square on Ventura Blvd just east of Reseda Blvd, we have a Black Bear Diner!

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We are a big fan of the Black Bear Diner and enjoy eating at the restaurant in Medford, Oregon when we are visiting in Ashland. They are located in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and there’s also one in Midwest City, Oklahoma. They are currently adding new locations and will soon be opening in Katy, Texas (according to their website).

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We were so happy to see a Black Bear Dinner in the Valley and to have an easy decision on where to eat dinner. We pulled right into the parking lot and started taking pictures for this Blog Post. It was late and after the dinner rush and not very crowded at all. There were people at about 40% of the tables and they were mostly finishing up. The counter was empty and we chose to sit at a table at the back of the main dining room where it was quiet and there wasn’t any waiter traffic.

We were seated immediately by a young host/cashier and greeted promptly by our waitress (or female server if you’re particular about the job title). When we asked how long they had been open they told us almost three weeks. Our waitress had worked at the previous restaurant CoCo’s in the same location, which had closed long ago.

Everything was new and “fresh” with the familiar decor that is part of their brand and a constant throughout the chain. A large WELCOME sign and statues of Black Bears greet you out front and there’s a beautiful vintage-style jukebox available in the lobby for patrons to play classic American music of their choosing. They have a merchandise display and food products available for sale at the register too.

The board-of-fare is All-American “stick to your ribs” Food, and it’s breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. We decided to keep it simple and test the American cheeseburger basket.

On The Menu: American Cheeseburger with Fries (in a basket)

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As you can see, the burger and cheese were presented on the basket, not on the paper, which may sound particular (and it is) but it’s important for some customers (like us). We ordered it with lettuce only, but there was no lettuce on the burger and we didn’t want to wait for a server to come, get the lettuce and then bring it back, before eating….

The cheeseburger was fine, but not great and a little bland. The fries were great and served very hot. We only had water to drink and ate the food quickly because we were really hungry. We finished and paid at the register and we were happy and no longer hungry. The service was fast and aside from the food presentation and missing lettuce everything was fine and we will return again.

NOTE: Our waitress left after putting the order in and bringing us barbecue sauce and mustard, and another server brought us our food, but the lettuce was ordered and missing from the meal.

We didn’t have dessert, but they do have a great dessert menu (with pics):

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Desserts Under Glass!

Black Bear Diner – 18355 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356 
“Down-home chain serving all-day American comfort food & desserts in a woodsy setting.”
OPEN 6AM-10PM everyday of the week
We also asked if they were going to have late-night hours, but they didn’t know yet…

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Take home some sauce and/or dessert!



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GOOD EATIN’ in The SFV! Valley Restaurant Grindage!

GOOD EATIN’ in The SFV!
Valley Restaurant Grindage!

NOTE: Here’s another Draft that’s been sitting for a long time. It’s a FOOD BLOG POST!
Some good restaurants in the San Fernando Valley. LINKS at the bottom of the page.

FOODIES take note!
We’ve been eating really good in the neighborhood!

The beautiful San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California, that is….

It was International Week “ON THE MENU” for the last couple months:

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Dinner at CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) in Tarzana

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Dinner at Lum Ka Naad Thai Restaurant in Encino

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and Dessert at Sweet Lady Jane Bakery in Encino on Saturday

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Sunday Dinner! All You Can Eat at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ in Van Nuys

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NOTE: After Sunday’s AYCE dinner, Monday was a light “Meatless” dinner at home.

Taco Tuesday at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

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Taco Tuesday at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

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The Bar at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

Wednesday night Sushi at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino

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Sushi at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino

Pastrami Sandwich “To Go” from Cricca’s Italian Deli in Woodland Hills
(on the way, going through Topanga Canyon to PCH and Malibu Beach)

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Lunch “To Go” from Cricca’s Italian Deli in Woodland Hills

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Pastrami Sandwich from Cricca’s Italian Deli on Malibu Beach

And check out these past blogs from February 2016 as well:

Drinks and Appetizers at the Cheesecake Factory‘s Bar at the Sherman Oaks Galleria

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Drinks & Appetizers at the Cheesecake Factory Bar in Sherman Oaks

Venti Mocha Frappuchino at Starbuck’s in the Sherman Oaks Galleria

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen

Saturday Night! Mexican food, Blues music and BBQ in Pasadena, California
La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant & Blues & BBQ at Big Mama’s Rib Shack

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Dinner at La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in Pasadena

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Dinner at Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena

NOTE: Yes, I know Pasadena is the San Gabriel Valley, not the San Fernando Valley, but both restaurants definitely deserve a mention here in this Foodie Blog.

Sushi at Okumura in Encino

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Sushi Time at Okumura!

Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo (North Hollywood)

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Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo

Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino

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Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino

And a few other San Fernando Valley restaurants from 2015:

Dinner at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood

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Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Thai Food Birthday Dinner Party at Sri Siam Cafe in North Hollywood

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Birthday Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

 

VEGAS BABY! VEGAS!
Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino
at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas!

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

NOTE: Yes, I know Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas isn’t in the San Fernando Valley, but it was a really great meal and definitely deserves a mention in this Foodie Blog.

Dinner at Sushi 2u in Encino (OUT OF BUSINESS)
Read our Blog> Sushi Ganzo (OUT OF BUSINESS)

This was in the space that used to be Sushi Hirosuke for years.
The Space is now occupied by CRAVIN’S.

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Sushi 2 U in Encino

 

All photos copyright 2015 & 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Tuesday Night Dinner at Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana, https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/tuesday-night-dinner-at-fabrocinis-italian-kitchen-in-tarzana-ca/

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San http://wp.me/p3dhVM-20S

Sushi Time at Okumura http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1Xm

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1Pp

Dinner at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood http://wp.me/p3dhVM-20z

Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino http://wp.me/p3dhVM-31l

Dinner at Taj Mahal Cuisine of India in Encino  http://wp.me/p3dhVM-13W

Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo http://wp.me/p3dhVM-2Vc 

Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino http://wp.me/p3dhVM-31l

Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino!
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/fat-sals-is-open-in-encino/

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

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

The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!>
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RETURN TO HOMEPAGE: http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

 


 

 

 

More Fun Recipes!

More Fun Recipes (and Food Infographics)!

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Here are collected recipes from my hard drive.

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Gazpacho (makes 6 servings – about 1 1/4 cups each)

Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped unpared cucumber
1 avocado, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tblsp red wine vinegar
1 quart tomato juice
2 tblsp olive oil
Sour Cream

Directions:
1. Place cucumber, avocado, onion, salt, oregano and vinegar in large pitcher or serving bowl. Pour tomato juice over vegetable mixture; stir gently. Cover; refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.
2. Stir olive oil into juice mixture just before serving. Top with a dollop of sour cream.

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Chipotle’s Guacamole Recipe:

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JoshWillTravel’s Easy Fresh Made Guacamole

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JoshWillTravel’s Easy Fresh Made Guacamole

Ingredients:
1 large or 2 small ripe avocados. Skined and deseeded. (Save the pit!)
finely chopped onion (white, yellow or red, a thin slice diced)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 2 chrushed/chopped garlic cloves)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (adjust amount to taste)
1/2 tsp cayenne power (adjust amount to taste)
dash of red pepper flakes (to taste)
2 dashes of lime juice (fresh or bottled, to taste)

Optional Ingredients:
small amount of finely chopped jalapeño pepper (fresh or canned, to taste)
small amount of finely chopped fresh cilantro or dried cilantro flakes (to taste)

NOTE: Adjust the amount of spices depending on the size/ripeness of the avocado, the amount of “HEAT” you like in your guacamole and the food you are serving it with.
Don’t hide the flavor of the avocado! And if you over-spice, just add more avocado.
We do not like a lot of cilantro! (and sometimes we don’t want any at all)
Use other spices to add “Heat” instead of cilantro if you agree.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small-medium size bowl.
Use the back side of a fork to crush and mix the avocado, onion and spices.
DO NOT OVER MIX! Guacamole should be slightly lumpy.
Chill in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes, serve in small bowls or as a garnish.
(to prevent “browning” place the unwashed pit in the bowl with the guacamole)

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JoshWillTravel’s Easy Fresh Made Guacamole (ingredients)

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VINTAGE RECIPES:

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OTHER RECIPES:

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Manny’s Artichoke Recipe

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Manny’s Artichoke Recipe (from Manny’s Bistro in Westwood and the Renaissance Faire)

Manny’s Churros (makes 18-20)

Ingredients:
Vegetable Oil
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 tblsp butter (melted)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Heat oil (1-1/2 to 2 inches) to 375 degrees in a 12-inch skillet or fry pan
2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. Beat in granulated sugar gradually. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk. Stir in butter and vanilla.
3. Fit a pastry tube with a large star tip.* Fill with dough. Squeeze dough into hot oil in 6-8 inch lengths, cutting off ends with a knife. Fry until golden brown, about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels; keep war. Repeat with remaining dough. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
*Tip: A cookie press with the star plate can be used in place of the pastry tube.


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Steak-On-A-Stake (makes 6 servings)
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Steak-On-A-Stake (makes 6 servings)

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds of beef loin sirloin steak, boneless, 3/4″ thick
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tblsp honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp sesame or vegetable oil
2 tblsp dry sherry
Pineapple chunks
Black olives

Directions:
1.  Cut meat into strips about 3/4 inch wide and 2 inches long; place in shallow baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients except pineapple and olives; pour over meat. Cover; refrigerate  and marinade 1 to 2 hours, (turn meat over in marinade at the 1/2 way point).

2. Remove beef strips from marinade. Thread on a 9 or 10 inch bamboo (or metal) skewers, using about 5 pieces of meat for each. Grill 4 inches from medium-hot coals until meat is browned, 3 to 5 minutes on each side (or broil in oven 3-4 minutes on each side)

If desired, baste with separate marinade mix (do not use marinade used for raw beef). Garnish with pineapple chunks and black olives.

TIP: Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before prepping the meat to prevent them from burning.

NOTE: We used a London Broil, cut it into chunks and broiled the meat 3-4 mins on each side instead of grilling for these pics.


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“Sticky Chicken” Dry Rub and Directions for Baked Chicken
(add flour and egg wash for a Baked “Fried Chicken”):

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Citrus Cuban Garlic Chicken (just like Versailles Restaurant’s)

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Baked Buffalo Wings
Bake at 400 degrees for 45 mins, dip in butter & sauce, bake another 45 mins
(use Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or your preferred brand):

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Orange Fruit Ice (makes about 3 pints before freezing)
or Strawberry, Lemon or any fruit flavor you wish!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water (CAUTION!)
3 cups orange juice (fresh squeezed is recommended)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated orange peel
Mint sprigs

Directions:
Dissolve sugar in water; cool. Stir in juices and grated peel. Pour mixture into freezer container or ice cream maker. Freeze until firm, stirring frequently. Serve in hollowed-out orange shell if desired.* Garnish with mint sprigs.
*Tip: The juice from the fresh oranges can be used as the juice in the recipe.
NOTE: For other fruits, use a blender/juicer/food processor and adjust the amount of sugar as necessary (less for berries, more for lemon).

Lemon Fruit Ice (makes about 3 pints before freezing)

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 cups boiling water (CAUTION)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel
Mint sprigs

Directions:
As above, use hollowed-out lemon shells if desired.


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“Fiesta” Ice Pops (makes 4 popsicles)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon/lime juice
2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup honey-ginger simple syrup (recipe below)
1/2 cup water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to combine.
Pour the mixture into ice pop molds and freeze.

Honey-Ginger Simple Syrup (makes about 2 cups)

Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 cup honey (or agave syrup)
6-inch knob of ginger, chopped

Directions:
In a small saucepan, combine water and honey (or agave syrup) on medium heat until the honey dissolves.  Add chopped ginger and simmer on very low heat for 20 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool slightly.  Strain and let cool completely to room temperature.
There will be usually be some syrup leftover. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week.

Homemade Ginger Ale

Ingredients:
1 cup club soda
3 Tbsp honey-ginger syrup
Ice

Directions:
Combine ingredients. Squeeze a lime over the top and enjoy!


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Marge’s CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE
(my friend Mark Teich’s Mom, pics below by Mark)

1. mix 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour
2. add 1 stick butter (melted and cooled a bit), 2 slightly beaten eggs,
1 cup semi -sweet chocolate chips and 1 tsp vanilla
3. pour into a unbaked pie shell
4. bake 1 hour at 325 (test with toothpick when done)
5. serve with whipped cream or cool whip (my fave)


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FOOD INFOGRAPHICS:

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Margaret’s Green Goddess Dressing:

Use equal parts of mayo and light sour cream, (about 1/3 cup each), add a few tablespoons of buttermilk, a TBLSP of lemon, 2 anchovies, 2 small garlic cloves, salt, pepper, about a TBLSP of parsley, it calls for a tsp of tarragon but Margaret prefers a tsp of dill. Mix it all in a food processor or blender, refrigerate and let chill for a couple of hrs to let flavors marry.


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

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

FUN COOKING RECIPES
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/fun-cooking-recipes/

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

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Disney’s Secret Recipes!

Disney’s Secret Recipes!  (well, not so secret…)2c02fea15eee5969dcce2eb9e02eab16_love-disney-characters-cook-clipart_564-763

We had NO IDEA how many “Disney” recipes and cookbooks there actually were!

There are the “real” Disney theme park recipes. There are recipes from old restaurants associated with Disney. And there are “Disney Inspired” and Disney themed recipes.

We’ve collected a few favorite recipes, but in researching this Blog, we found so many more!

So, here are some fun Disney recipes now shared on our Blog. Bon appetit! Enjoy!

 

DISNEY RESTAURANT MENU RECIPES:

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BIG THUNDER RANCH MENU RECIPES:

NOTE: Big Thunder Ranch opened in 1986 and closed permanently on January 11, 2016 and will soon be the new 14-acre “Star Wars” Land.

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OTHER RECIPES
and More Items of Interest:

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Mickey Mouse Pancakes at the River Belle Cafe!

The Famous DOLE WHIP (copycat) Recipe:

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Vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Cookbook Recipes:

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And here’s the Malasadas (Jelly Donut) Recipe from the Aulani Hotel in Hawaii:

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Disneyland’s Mint Julep

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And a Disney “Adult Beverage”
(See Our Fun Cocktail Recipes Page!)

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Shrunken Ned’s Jungle Juice Cocktail

Ned1 oz Vodka
1 oz White Rum
1 oz Lemon Heart or Bacardi 151 Rum
1 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Orange juice
1/2 oz. Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz. Cranberry Juice
Add ingredients into a shaker with ice (except the Lemon Heart 151 rum). Shake vigorously. Pour into exotic or hurricane glass. Float the Lemon Heart 151 rum on top. Garnish with a lime wedge.

 

Kungalooza (1990s & 2010s)

Kungalooza Then & Now

Kungalooza Then & Now

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Vintage Disneyland! Vacationland Summer ’77 magazine



 

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

Happy Thanksgiving 2016! “Tradition!”

Home for the Holiday!
Family Feast at Four O’Clock! 20 Guests for Dinner!

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Happy Thanksgiving! Still Crazy After All These Years!

Three days of preparation, many hours of cooking and finally it’s time to eat!

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THE FANTASTIC 2016 THANKSGIVING FEAST!

On The Menu: 2 big turkeys, 3 dressings (1 plain, 1 with fruit, 1 with fruit & nuts), cranberry sauce, gravy, home baked challah bread, asparagus, creamed spinach, creamed vegetables, sweet potato puree, garlic mashed potatoes, corn pudding, and then dessert… apple, pumpkin, pecan, lemon meringue and peanut butter pies, chocolate chip cookies and “blondies”, chocolate fudge and peanut butter rice krispies marshmallow crunch. And just a little liquor: red and white wine, single malt scotch and some Don Julio tequila.

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

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

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FABULOUS DESSERTS!

We’ve been trying to lose weight and have been successful in dropping 20 pounds since August (call it the “Puppy Diet”). Our Thanksgiving is one of the best meals of the year, so we allow for a little holiday indulgence. We only had one plate of food, didn’t drink alcohol, and had a coke with dinner and a couple cookies for dessert. And later, just a little leftover pumpkin and lemon meringue late night pie after midnight.

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Pumpkin, Pecan & Lemon Meringue Pies (Apple & Peanut Butter not shown)

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A Little Liquor: Red Wines, Single Malt Scotch & Tequila (Don’t Drink and Drive!)

NOTE: The Thanksgiving Food Party is annual tradition on the JoshWillTravel Blog!
SEARCH “Thanksgiving” in the box at the Top of the Page to find the other Blogs^^^^^

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

Thanksgiving (All-Day) NFL Football Tradition!

In addition to The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC (both of which we are boycotting and you should be boycotting Macy’s and NBC too!) and the big National Dog Show, there were THREE NFL FOOTBALL games on television today!

detDetroit Lions 16 – Minnesota Vikings 13min

dalDallas Cowboys 31 – Washington Redskins 26was

pitPittsburgh Steelers 28 – Indianapolis Colts 7ind

denGO BRONCOS! Sunday Night’s NFL Game in Denver vs Kansas City!kan

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Flashback Friday! Last year I made Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake for Thanksgiving. This year I didn’t. So everyone asked about cheesecake and was disappointed… and I got some good Jewish guilt for the holiday.

Here’s the link to the recipe if you’re interested> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1SV

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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PEACE! LOVE! HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE – STAY ALIVE!

The Arlo Guthrie “Alice’s Restaurant” Tradition:

This year is the 51st anniversary of the story of how Arlo Guthrie and his friends “took out the garbage” on Thanksgiving.

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Gia, a Greyhound won “Best in Show” at the National Dog Show, a Thanksgiving Tradition (photo by Bill McCay/NBC)

The 15th annual National Dog Show, presented by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. was held on November 19 & 20 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center and pretaped for NBC.

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The Big Dog Barking at Me (and the two little girls wonder why…)

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Friday Night Dinner: Leftovers! Open face turkey sandwich, dressing and gravy on challah bread, cranberry sauce, dill pickle and a coke (and then probably another nap)

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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
(unsolicited and not “promoted”,  all unpaid for!)

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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.

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THANK YOU!

Sushi Ganzo and Donutella in Encino

 

Sushi Ganzo in Encino (new place just opened in the Plaza de Oro shopping center)

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Sushi Ganzo in Encino

Sushi2U closed and Sushi Ganzo opened in the same space without changing very much.

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Sushi Ganzo in Encino

They changed the name and the signage. They took out some of the televisions. And they changed the menu too.

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

The MENU:

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

On The Menu: albacore sashimi, baked scallop California roll, spicy tuna cut roll, California roll, Rainbow roll, nigiri omakase platter, fried chicken appetizer and a Dr Pepper

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Fried Chicken Appetizer

The fried chicken appetizer was battered and deep fried to a hard shell and there was very little chicken to be found.

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

The sushi and rolls were good, they use real crab in the California rolls, but there was concern over the Omakase Nigiri platter (the chef’s choice of fish for the price ~$24) and about the freshness of some of the fish served.

The service was TERRIBLE. Our waiter was slammed and not properly trained for table service. We ended up asking the bus person and another waiter for everything we asked our waiter for twice… drinks, ginger & wasabi, a spoon, etc. Complete unsatisfactory! Nothing will kill a restaurant faster than bad food except for bad service!

As reported in the previous Blog about Sushi2U, there are too many sushi restaurants on Ventura, so you better bring it if you want to stay in business! The rent isn’t cheap and their large extensive menu means that they have to turn over the food inventory quickly to keep it fresh.

Sushi2U was good the first time we ate there, but on our second visit it was not. They didn’t stay in business a year! Sushi Ganzo better fix their problems or they’ll be gone too.

UPDATED February 21, 2017 – Sushi Ganzo is Sushi Gone.
Closed, out of business, no more, now in it’s place is Cravin’s: a combo Thai food/Poke bowl/Ice Cream concept that has been open almost 2 weeks as of this update.

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There’s a Menchie’s Yogurt next door to the restaurant and a Yogurtland across the street, and now there’s a new gelato place that just opened across the street, also in the Encino Town Center, and we decided to try Donutella for dessert.

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Gelato at Donutella in Encino

They have pastries, donuts, coffee, smoothies and boba drinks in addition to a nice selection of gelato flavors. The space is weird, because they have such large display cases there’s not much aisle space between the cases and the tables for guest seating inside. And since they don’t have outside seating in front it’s awkward and uncomfortable if you want sit down and eat on premises. We really don’t want to have people bumping us and having their butts in our faces while sitting down. We chose Salted Caramel and Hazelnut gelato and both were tasty flavors with good mouth feel. So, we enjoyed their product but the seating situation was a problem.

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

 

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Gelato at Donutella in Encino

2 scoops of gelato for ~$5

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Salted Caramel and Hazelnut Gelato at Donutella in Encino

Sushi GanzoPlaza de Oro shopping center 17157-17253 Ventura Blvd in Encino

DonutellaEncino Town Center shopping center  17200 Ventura Blvd in Encino

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Encino Saturday Sunset 1

MOZZA! Dinner Party at Osteria Mozza in Hollywood

MOZZA!  Dinner Party at Osteria Mozza in Hollywood

Tuesday evening and time for another Dinner Party!

At one of the finest restaurants in Los Angeles, California, the USA and the World!

101 Freeway to Hollywood. Exit Highland and down to Melrose. Valet Parking $12…

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Dinner Party at Osteria Mozza in Hollywood

Nancy Silverton is a co-owner, with partners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, of Osteria Mozza Italian restaurant and Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, Newport Beach, San Diego and Singapore, as well as Mozza2Go and Chi Spacca in Los Angeles. She also founded the La Brea Bakery and the recently closed Campanile Restaurant before opening Pizzeria Mozza.

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Osteria Mozza Co-Owner Nancy Silverton (CherryBombMag)

Early in her career, Nancy was named Food and Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chef”. She was also awarded “Pastry Chef of the Year”, “Who’s Who of Cooking” and “Outstanding Restaurant” for Campanile by the James Beard Foundation. Bon Appetit awarded Silverton Best of Food & Entertaining “Food Artisan”. She recently received the James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Chef” and is listed as one of the Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink by Fortune and Food and Wine Magazine. She has authored eight cookbooks: Desserts (1986), Breads from the La Brea Bakery (1996), Pastries from the La Brea Bakery (2000), Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book (2005), Twist of the Wrist (2007) and the Mozza Cookbook (2011).

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Dinner Party at Osteria Mozza in Hollywood

We’ve been to Osteria Mozza before and thoroughly enjoyed eating here previously, but we haven’t been back in a long time, and they have a new Executive Chef. The decision was made and once again we are happily just a passenger on a “foodie journey” to Hollywood.

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Dinner Party at Osteria Mozza in Hollywood

We arrived early. The restaurant was pretty much empty, but they have a policy to not seat a table until the entire party arrives, so we waited at the bar and ordered cocktails. Our bartender was very friendly and very patient, and since we were the only customers she had time to explain the single malt scotch selection and suggest a tequila-rum punch drink with cucumber and jalapeño for the guest of honor. We declined a pre-dinner cocktail knowing that there would be a lot of great food and a little wine coming soon.

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The Bar at Osteria Mozza in Hollywood

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

The restaurant is a beautiful space. Osteria Mozza is next door to Pizzeria Mozza, and in addition to the alcohol bar, there is a mozzarella bar in the large front dining room. There is a smaller adjacent dining room and a larger dining room (often used for private events and parties) with a wine bar and many stored Italian wine bottles in the back.

At our request, the manager made an exception to the rules, and we were seated at a table in the “private” room before our remaining dinner guests arrived, and we were the only table seated in the back room for the entire length of our dinner! We didn’t have to wait very long before our party was complete and the food service began.

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Mozzarella Bar & Front Dining Room at Osteria Mozza in Hollywood

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

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The Wine Bar in the “Private” Back Dining Room at Osteria Mozza

The Menu:

They have a very fancy and creative menu! Start with a nice selection from the Mozzarella Bar, then have an appetizer, followed by a first course (pasta), and then a second course (meat or fish) and finally dessert with coffee drinks and/or aperitifs. We chose to have only the appetizer and not the first course, instead eating bread and mozzarella before enjoying our entree choice and saving some room for their wonderful dessert.

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Wine, a Coke and the Menu at Osteria Mozza in Hollywood

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

NOTE: The menu changes daily depending on what fresh ingredients are available!

The Meal (Wednesday May 17, 2016):

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Mozzarella Tasting (3 Kinds), Burrata & Grilled Asparagus with Garlic Bread

On The Menu: Mozzarella tasting (3 kinds: bufala, smoked and burricotta) with salted garlic bread, Burrata and grilled asparagus in melted butter with toasted almonds and bread crumbs, Mozzarella with stewed zucchini sampler, Grilled Octopus appetizer, Porcini-rubbed Rib Eye Bistecca (charred & medium rare), Fried Potatoes with rosemary, Snap Peas & Romano Beans, bread & butter, a coke, Aetneus Etna Rosso 2008 red wine, espresso and Cannoli di Gelati (pistachio, caramel & espresso) for dessert. Yeah baby!

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Porcini-rubbed Rib Eye Steak, Fried Potatoes, Snap Peas & Romano Beans

Other members of our party ordered tequila-rum punch, single malt scotch, the rabbit con salsiccia, grilled yellowtail, roasted beets, squid ink pasta, another pasta, the grilled whole orata fish, cappuccino, coffee, chocolate cake and the sautéed strawberries.

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

NOTE: As usual, we try to take quality pictures of our food quickly and without interfering with the service or disturbing other diners. We managed to get a lot of good pics without being annoying, but didn’t get pics of all the dishes due to the size of the table.

We also ordered a fine bottle of wine, an Aetneus Etna Rosso 2008 red that was recommended by the sommelier. She “primed” our wine glasses by lightly washing the inside with a small splash of the wine before bringing them to our table. It was “fruity”, “mellow” and complemented both the grilled octopus and steak very well.

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Pour the Wine! Aetneus Etna Rosso 2008

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS DINNER!
EXCELLENT FOOD! TASTY WINE! SWEET DESSERT! GREAT SERVICE!

We really enjoyed the dining experience at Osteria Mozza. The only complaint we had about the food was that the octopus was a tad overcooked and a little too chewy (and it could have used more lemon). It was still good, but just a touch overdone. We shared the “market price” rib eye steak ($105.00) which was really delicious and cooked perfectly to order, but it’s also a lot of money for a plate of grilled meat for two. We realize how lucky we are and we are truly thankful for the privilege to enjoy such fine and expensive food!

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Dinner Party at Osteria Mozza in Hollywood

BIG THANKS!!! Thank you to the Staff, Kitchen Crew, Managers, Hosts, Servers and Bussers who made this meal and party possible. Special thanks to our server Kelly, who did an excellent job and was extremely friendly and personable.

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Osteria Mozza Executive Chef Elizabeth Hong (Brian van der Brug/LA Times)

Elizabeth Hong’s family settled in Los Angeles and opened Park’s BBQ, a Korean barbecue restaurant in Koreatown in 2003. Hong enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena and completed her cooking courses. Needing an externship to graduate, she applied to Osteria Mozza. Now Hong is 31 and has been at Mozza for as long as she has been cooking professionally: she first worked at the mozzarella bar, then moved to Pizzeria Mozza, where she became sous chef and then chef de cuisine. When longtime chef de cuisine Matt Molina left Osteria Mozza last year, Hong took over and she is now the Executive Chef.

From the Osteria Mozza website:
Hong’s first (paying) kitchen gig was alongside Nancy Silverton behind Osteria Mozza’s mozzarella bar. By quickly mastering each station in the kitchen, Hong worked her way to Chef de Cuisine at neighboring Pizzeria Mozza. As Executive Chef of the renowned and beloved Osteria Mozza, Chef Hong carefully adheres to Nancy’s words of wisdom: “Make it nice or make it twice.”

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Executive Pastry Chef Dahlia Narvaez (Mozza website)

NOTE: Big Congratulations to Executive Pastry Chef Dahlia Narvaez for recently winning a James Beard Award. The desserts were excellent! She has been thrice-nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Pastry Chef” Award. Her work has been celebrated in the LA Times, LA Weekly, New York Times, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, GQ and Metropolitan Home.

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Brooks Cherries al Forno, Perugian Tart, Yogurt Gelato & Dried Cherry Brittle

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Cannoli di Gelati: Pistachio w/cherries, Caramel w/marshmallow & Espresso w/chocolate

NOTE: Seriously, save some room for dessert!

After dinner we picked up our leftovers at the host desk and made it to the valet just in time! Three large parties exited just after we did and there was a sudden rush on the valet stand after we got there. Also, $12 is pretty steep for valet parking at a restaurant even in Los Angeles! There is street parking nearby, but it’s difficult to find a space and there have been some unpleasant “incidents” in the immediate neighborhood after dark, so we recommend valet or street parking on Highland or Melrose.

Osteria Mozza6602 Melrose Ave (at Highland) Hollywood, California
323-997-0100 http://www.osteriamozza.com
Open Mon-Fri 5:30-11pm and Sat & Sun 5-11pm

Unless otherwise noted, all photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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We took a couple pics of the interior of Pizzeria Mozza through the window while we were waiting at the valet.

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Party at the Culver Hotel in Culver City

Graduation and Dinner Party at the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Sunday night!

THIS BLOG IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION!
WORDPRESS BUG IS CAUSING THE PAGE TO FREEZE AGAIN
FORCED TO PUBLISH OR LOSE THE WORK!
Last update: Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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The Culver Hotel in Culver City, California

A beautiful Sunday evening in Los Angeles and an invitation to a Graduation and Dinner Party at the historic Culver Hotel in Culver City, California.

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The Culver Hotel and The Lion’s Fountain in Culver City

The party was called for 6pm, so we left the San Fernando Valley a little after 5 o’clock, and drove the 405 freeway to the Venice Blvd exit and into Culver City. We decided not to valet park or park in the public parking structures, so we drove around for a little while and finally nabbed street parking at a metered space. The meters don’t run on Sunday, so we took a short walk and arrived at our destination right on time.

The 405 Freeway south (through a dirty windshield):

Downtown Culver City (founded 1917)

The intersection of Washington Blvd and Culver Blvd in downtown Culver City.

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View of Washington Blvd & Culver Blvd in Culver City from Harry Culver’s Office

Parking Sucks! There is metered street parking and there are public parking structures in Downtown Culver City (first hour free, then $1.00 every 30 minutes) in case you don’t want to valet park. However, you don’t have to pay to park at the meters on Sunday, so if you can find a space on the street, you’re golden. Be sure to check the signs carefully, because there are many restrictions and some other strange valet parking rules.

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Walk With Me: Sunday Evening in Downtown Culver City!

 

The Historic Culver Hotel 1924 Six Story Flatiron Brick Building

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The Culver Hotel in Culver City, California

National Registry of Historic Places 1997

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The Culver Hotel in Culver City, California

 

 

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Built by Harry Culver, the founder of Culver City. Originally named the Hotel Hunt and later known as the Culver City Hotel. Culver had offices on the second floor of the hotel.

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Harry Culver’s Office (Then)

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Harry Culver’s Office (Now)

Culver City became a movie-making mecca in the 1920s and was the home of MGM Studios. Many legendary Hollywood stars maintained private residences and cast members from classic films like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz  (including the 124 actors who played the Munchkins) were guests of the hotel.

The hotel was later owned by Charlie Chaplin. Legend has it Chaplin lost the property in a poker game to John Wayne, who owned the hotel for several years and eventually donated it to the YMCA.  The property fell into disrepair, was boarded up for a time and almost demolished in the 1980s.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had a Presidential campaign office in the hotel in 1952.

The Culver Hotel was restored and reopened by Lou Catlett in the mid 90’s and was then purchased by Abraham Hu who ran it for several years until 2007, when he sold it to the Mallick family. Since 2007, the entire plumbing and electrical systems have been upgraded and the guestrooms and the public spaces have been redone, all 140 handmade windows in the guest rooms have been replaced while maintaining the property’s history and architectural integrity.

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ICP Graduation 2016 and Dinner Party on the 2nd Floor

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Diplomas were awarded and Speeches were made before Dinner

6pm Reception, Cocktail Hour & Hors d’oeuvres
7pm Welcome, Introduction, Graduation Speaker & Graduation
8pm Dinner & 9pm Dessert (with a brief award presentation in between)

On The Menu: Tray passed appetizers: mac’n’cheese, tuna poke with wasabi cream cheese and bruschetta with cream cheese & tomato; red wine, Buffet: chicken, salmon, pasta in red sauce, roasted cauliflower/broccolini/root vegetables and a coke; Dessert: mini cannoli and macaroons….didn’t stay for coffee.

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Party at the Culver Hotel in Culver City

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The Ground Floor Lobby and Bar are used for special events. There was a wedding in progress and we took a couple pictures on our way out.

Culver Hotel9400 Culver Blvd Culver City, CA 90232

All Photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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COFFEE TIME!

IT’S COFFEE TIME! Wake up and smell the coffee!

Take a Break, Read this Blog about Coffee and Have A Hot Cup of Joe!

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Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Welcome to the dark side!

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Coffee Service – French Press Iced Coffee with cream

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from the Coffea plant. The plant is native to subtropical Africa and some islands in southern Asia. The plant was exported from Africa to countries around the world and coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, India, and Africa. The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded arabica, and the less sophisticated but stronger and more hardy robusta. Once ripe, coffee beans are picked, processed, and dried. Dried coffee beans are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Roasted beans are ground and brewed to produce coffee as a beverage. (from Wikipedia)

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Illustration of Coffea arabica plant and seeds

“Enjoyin’ my coffee. Finishing my coffee.” ~ Walter Sobchak in “The Big Lebowski”

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“I like cappuccino, actually. But even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all.”
~David Lynch

Coffee and Donuts.
Today is Flashback Friday!
Sugar High Me!

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“Buy Tuscany” event at the Italian Cultural Institute (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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ESPRESSO:

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Noble Coffee – Espresso with whipped cream

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“Our culture runs on coffee and gasoline, the first often tasting like the second.”
~ Edward Abbey

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AM Coffee and Pastries in the Press Room at the 9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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Enjoying my coffee. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” ~ T.S. Eliot

Coffee is brewed by several methods: boiling, steeping, or pressure cooking. Brewing coffee by boiling was the earliest method, and Turkish coffee is an example of this method. It is prepared by grinding or pounding the seeds to a fine powder, then adding it to water and bringing it to the boil for no more than an instant in a pot called a cezve or, in Greek, a bríki. This produces a strong coffee with a layer of foam on the surface and sediment (which is not meant for drinking) settling at the bottom of the cup.

Coffee percolators and automatic coffeemakers brew coffee use gravity. In an automatic coffeemaker, hot water drips onto coffee grounds that are held in a paper, plastic, or perforated metal coffee filter, which allows the water to seep through the ground coffee while extracting its oils and essences. The liquid drips through the coffee and the filter into a carafe or pot, and the spent grounds are retained in the filter.

In a percolator, boiling water is forced into a chamber above a filter by steam pressure created by boiling. The water then seeps through the grounds, and the process is repeated until terminated by removing it from the heat, by means an internal timer/thermostat that turns off the heat when the pot reaches a certain temperature.

Coffee may be brewed by steeping in a device such as a French press (also known as a cafetière, coffee press or coffee plunger). Ground coffee and hot water are combined in a cylindrical vessel and left to brew for a few minutes. A circular filter which fits tightly in the cylinder fixed to a plunger is then pushed down from the top to force the grounds to the bottom. The filter retains the grounds at the bottom as the coffee is poured from the container. Within the first minute of brewing 95% of the caffeine is released from the coffee bean. Because the coffee grounds are in direct contact with the water, all the coffee oils remain in the liquid, making it a stronger beverage. This method of brewing leaves more sediment than in coffee made by an automatic coffee machine. 

The French press method’s sediment issue can be minimized by using the right type of grinder. For most brewing methods a burr grinder is superior because the grind is more even, the grind size can be adjusted and it uniformly grinds the beans into consistently-sized grinds, allowing the coffee to settle uniformly and be trapped by the press. 

The espresso method forces hot pressurized and vaporized water through ground coffee. As a result of brewing under high pressure, the espresso beverage is more concentrated (as much as 10 to 15 times the quantity of coffee to water as gravity-brewing methods can produce) and has a more complex physical and chemical constitution. A well-prepared espresso has a reddish-brown foam called crema that floats on the surface. Other pressurized water methods include the moka pot and vacuum coffee makers (Nespresso & Keurig machines).

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground beans in cold water for several hours, then filtering them. This results in a brew lower in acidity than most hot-brewing methods.

ICED ESPRESSO:

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Iced Coffee with Breakfast

“I never laugh until I’ve had my coffee.” ~ Clark Gable

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