Headspace 2: The Search for Something

Headspace 2: The Search for Something
Just a Blog Post, nothing to see here.

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JoshWillTravel

HELLO. HOW ARE YOU?
When you are asked “How are you?”
DO YOU REALLY ANSWER TRUTHFULLY?

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DON’T WORRY. BE HAPPY.

Good (Monday) morning!
One year. Missing my father.
Rough weekend for me.

Dad 1

Lee Weisel RIP

May 1st is May Day!
Laugh, Dance and Sing, it’s May Day!
Celebrate Springtime!🌷🌷🌷🌷

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REAL QUOTES FROM CONFUCIUS:
“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”
“Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

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Happy Birthday to the Little Boy!

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Such a Good Dog, Big Boy!

The Little Boy had his first birthday last week.
He is so full of energy and a fireball of Love.
The Big Boy is getting older and is such a good dog.
And The Little Girls are just the sweetest creatures.

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And the two Little Girls make four!

MAKE SOME ART!
CREATE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL!

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WOOF! A Dog Doodle (ink on paper)

ART: (noun) the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power

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ART: something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings

Happy Cinco de Mayo! (Fifth of Tequila May)

tequila shots

TEQUILA SHOTS FOR EVERYONE!

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The Battle of Puebla during the Second French intervention in Mexico (the French-Mexican War 1861-1867), took place on May 5th, 1862, near Puebla City, Mexico. The outnumbered Mexican Army of Benito Juárez defeated the invading French forces of Napoleon III. France controlled Mexico until 1867, until Mexican troops overthrew the government. The Mexican victory at Puebla is celebrated every year on the fifth of May.

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RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”>
FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES!
FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES 2
FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES 3
MORE TIKI COCKTAIL RECIPES!

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The Soup du Jour!

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!
HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER!

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Jose Cuervo, you are no friend of feline!

AND NOW SOME PICTURES OF SUSHI!

Pickup some Sushi and your Monday will be better.

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Rainbow Roll and a Spicy Tuna cut roll for dinner

Sushi cut rolls yum!
Pick it up, eat it at home.
Thursday night dinner

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California and Spicy Tuna cut rolls “To Go” for dinner

Ahi Tuna Poké (hybrid Hawaiian style)
Recipe: Ahi tuna (cut into cubes), chopped onion, chopped celery, avocado, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic powder, red pepper, and red pepper flakes
Mix ingredients together in a bowl, adding avocado last. Enjoy!

And Tuna Sashimi too

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Tuna Sashimi, rice, avocado, carrots and celery for dinner

And Look, Funny Cutting Boards:
A Kitchen Tribute to Lionel Ritchie, Jessie from “Breaking Bad”,
“The Guardians of the Galaxy”, and “The Walking Dead”

DO YOU NEED HELP?
I’ll just leave these numbers here just in case.

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And in the very near future…
HBO’s “Deadwood” The Movie premieres on May 31st!

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From W Earl Brown: “You might own playing cards, but I know damned well you don’t own a set of Deadwood cards signed by the cast because there is only one of those in existence. And it could be YOURS if you bid enough.”

Support burbankarts4all (Right Click and “Open in New Window”)>
https://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/item-detail.cfm?auctionID=17891&ItemID=691259&viewType=1&style=52&font=0&catName=TV+and+Movies

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Use these LINKS to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LINKS>
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Periscope | Experience Ashland Oregon 

Return to Homepage | The JoshWillTravel Adventure Channel on YouTube

The JoshWillTravel AdventureScope on Youtube> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoP3QQfRTfD-2eABWVd-JwQ

Have you seen my IMDB? http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0918756/

“Art is what you can get away with.”
Read the Blog Post> Warhol Wednesday!
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/warhol-wednesday

Read the Blog Post> Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s May the 5th! Celebrate!
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/happy-cinco-de-mayo-its-may-the-5th/

BE HAPPY NOW!

hiatus

WE’LL BE RIGHT BACK!

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute,
the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”
– Confucius

Mirage_las_vegas

The Mirage Hotel and Volcano – Las Vegas, Nevada

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I want to party in Vegas with THIS GUY!

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THE JOSHWILLTRAVEL BLOG ARCHIVES!

THE JOSHWILLTRAVEL BLOG ARCHIVES!

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

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Venice Beach, California

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

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

The JoshWillTravel Blog – Established February 2013

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

Use these LINKS to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LINKS>
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Periscope | Experience Ashland Oregon 

Return to Homepage | The JoshWillTravel Adventure Channel on YouTube
——————————————————————————————————————————

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Black Rock Desert, Nevada

And More and More Recipes!

And More and More Recipes!

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Open 24 Hours!

Here are more recipes! There are already a lot of recipes available on our Blog.
Some are in the Sidebar>>>> Others are in previous Blog Posts (use the Search Box^^^^^)
OR FOLLOW the links at the bottom of this page (see belowvvvvvv)

NOTE: This Blog Post is still UNDER CONSTRUCTION! We are posting it now because it’s the day before Thanksgiving, but we will continue to add recipes for a while.

Hor d’oeuvre?
Bacon Wrapped Cocktail Weenies! (“on a stick”)


Ahi Tuna Poke (Makes 4 Servings)

Ingredients:
1lb. Sashimi Tuna (use sushi-grade fish, not just store-bought tuna)
2 Ea. Avocado, Cubed
1 Ea. Vine Ripened Tomato
¼ Cup Cucumber, diced
¼ Cup Sweet Onion
1 tsp. Inamona, heaping
6 Ea. Scallions
¾ Cup Light Soy Sauce
¼ Cup Water
1 tsp. Rayu
Truffle Oil To Taste

~ Cooked Rice
~ Tortilla Chips

Procedure: Dice Ahi Tuna into ¼ inch cubes and set aside. Dice the tomato and onion into a fine dice. Cut the scallions into thin rings. In a mixing bowl, combine the tuna, sweet onion, tomatoes, scallions, cucumbers and inamona. Mix lightly. Next, add the soy sauce, water, rayu, and truffle oil to the mixture, again tossing lightly.


Sticky Chicken
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Sticky Chicken Dry Rub Ingredients:
4tsp salt
2tsp paprika
1tsp cayenne
1tsp onion powder
1tsp thyme,
1tsp white pepper
1/2tsp garlic powder
1/2tsp black pepper
1-2 large onions cut into quarters.

Directions: Combine all ingredients except onions. Coat chicken, insert onions into chicken. They call it sticky. We use minced onion instead of onion powder.
Bake for 4 hours at 300 degrees. We recommend cooking it breast side down for 2 hours, then flip it over. Also, you should baste it in the juice every half hour or so and add carrots if desired after 2 hours. Use the juice for gravy if you like. (tsp=teaspoon)


Potato Latkes (Pancakes) – Happy Hannukah!

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Potato Latkes (pancakes) – Happy Hannukah!

How to make Potato Latkes (potato pancakes):
3 potatoes (peeled and grated), small onion (1/2 grated, 1/2 finely chopped). Add 2 eggs (beaten), 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 tsp baking powder. Mix ingredients well. Heat cooking oil to med high in large frying pan. Spoon 1 large tablespoon at a time into oil. Cook until crispy golden brown on each side. Drain and pat dry on paper towel and serve warm with applesauce (or grated apple) and sour cream.


Quick Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie
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chickenpotpie


Mrs. Frank Sinatra’s Spaghetti and Meat Balls

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Ingredients:
Meat Balls
1 lb chopped/ground meat (1/2 beef, 1/2 pork)
1 clove garlic (chopped fine)
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Italian cheese
1 tsp finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all well, form into balls, brown in oil and put aside until sauce is done.

Sauce
1 large can Italian style tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp ground parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
thyme
salt and black pepper

Directions:
Brown chopped up onion and garlic in oil used to brown the meat balls. Strain tomatoes, add paste to the juice. Add the oil in used to brown the onion and garlic, but remove all sautéed ingredients. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and parsley. Cook the sauce (covered) for 1 hour, with meatballs added, over a slow fire. Boil spaghetti in water, salted to taste. Remove spaghetti, drain. Serve it on a platter over which you have poured the sauce and meat balls. Add layer of cheesed another layer of sauce. Serve piping hot.


Swedish Meatballs
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The Alpine Village Inn’s famous CHICKEN SUPREME SOUP recipe
(from the Las Vegas Review Journal after the restaurant closed in March 1997)
Ingredients:
2 quarts water
2 teaspoons celery salt
2 teaspoons Accent (monosodium glutamate) 
1 pound ground chicken (cooked)
1 medium onion, ground
Yellow food coloring (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
2 to 3 carrots (ground)
Roux:
1/2 cup oil
1 cup flour

Cook:
Boil the soup ingredients for 30 minutes.
Cool: Remove the pot from the heat and allowed to cool slightly.
Blend: Ladle the mixture into a blender, about 2 to 3 cups at a time, and blend until almost smooth. Be careful during this process, hot soup in a blender can shoot everywhere even with a lid on. The blender process gives the soup a creamier texture.
Thicken: To prepare the roux, heat oil add flour slowly and stir with a wire whisk. It should be the consistency of mashed potatoes. Don’t burn the roux.
Pour the blended mixture back into a large pot and add the cooked roux and continue to cook until the soup thickened.
Note: when adding the roux, use small amounts and watch the consistency (try not to over thicken-you may not need it all), it should look like a thick gravy.

SEASONED COTTAGE CHEESE (Serve as a condiment or a dip)
2 pounds cottage cheese, small curd
1/2 teaspoon caraway
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Accent (monosodium glutamate)
1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1 tablespoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon celery salt

Mix all ingredients together and chill for several hours or overnight.

 


Corn, Cheese & Chili Pie

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JOSHWILLTRAVEL’S QUICK CHILI (No Beans)
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Ingredients:
1/2lb pork sausage, 1/2lb ground beef, 1/2 chopped onion, can of stewed tomatoes, half of a small can of tomato sauce, half of a small tomato – chopped, chili powder, red pepper, cumin, garlic, black pepper, and salt.

Directions:
Brown the meat and onions, add to pot with tomatoes and sauce, add spices to taste, simmer for awhile and let sit for a bit before serving. Add beans, peppers, other spices, whatever you like. Serve with toppings: grated cheese, chopped onions, crushed nacho cheese tortilla chips, sour cream and/or creme fraisch, etc.


Amy Chen Lozano’s Thai Lettuce Cups
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Directions: (non-traditional)
Sauté minced shallots, ground pork, ground chicken, minced shrimp.
Season with black pepper and fish sauce.
Turn off heat and toss with lime juice and mint.
Serve in fresh, crisp Romaine lettuce leaves (with chopped nuts if desired)*

*this line added by JoshWillTravel


Runzas! (Dough filled with ground beef and cabbage)
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Constance Hall’s Cogs Biscuits (from the Folger Shakespeare Library)

Around 1672, Constance Hall recorded a dish called “Cogs Biskett”, a recipe for savory biscuits seasoned with caraway seeds and saffron. And here it is slightly adapted for your 21st-century kitchen:

“To make Cogs Biskett
Take 3 pound of fine flower well dry’d a Ounce of Carraway seeds 6 spoonefull of suger Double Refin’d 6 spoonefull of Ale 6 Eggs the whites of Two and wett it with warm Milk 2 peny worth of safforn lett it Lye to Rise”

Ingredients:
5 cups of unrefined, white flour
3 tbsp sugar
3 tsp.caraway seeds
1 generous pinch of saffron
1 tsp.salt (or to taste)
3 tbsp beer (use a beer with yeast in the bottle; look for the phrase ‘on lees’)
4 eggs
About 1 ½ cups of whole milk
Optional: Additional sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:
Thoroughly mix the flour, sugar, caraway seeds, saffron, and 1 teaspoon of salt. To the dry mixture, add beer, 3 eggs, and 1 egg white; save the yolk. Stir the mixture as you slowly and sparingly add the milk, adding just enough milk that you are able to work the flour into dough. Put the dough on a floured surface and knead, drawing in flour if the dough is still sticky. Knead until the dough is smooth and bounces back when poked. Cover the dough with a dish towel and leave it to rise for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 390F. Grease one or more mini-muffin pans with butter. Pull or cut away portions of the dough, roll each into a ball that is 1 inch across, and place it in the tray. Beat the remaining egg yolk with a little water, and use a pastry brush to brush it onto the tops of the biscuits. Finally, sprinkle the biscuits with sea salt. Bake for about 20 minutes and remove the biscuits from the oven when they are slightly browned on top. This recipe will make approximately 36 mini-muffin-size biscuits.

Alternatives:
The biscuits can also be prepared in any size on a cookie sheet (perhaps as 18 biscuits in a larger size) or as a single loaf in a loaf pan. This will affect how long it takes to cook them, however. Watch closely to avoid over- or undercooking them.
NOTE: If you cannot locate beer with yeast in the bottle, you can try a filtered beer, but you might want to add a bit of yeast. (see the section below)

Modernizing the recipe and cook’s notes:
Converting a period recipe to modern methods can be a challenge. In this case, the most accessible ingredient for a 17th-century household is actually the least accessible for us. The original text implies that the ale in Cogs Biscuits was used as a leavening agent, which means that the beer had to have active yeast in it. Most modern beers are pasteurized and filtered—processes that kill yeast—whereas early modern brews would have been quite alive and active. Our solution was to use a beer with yeast in the bottle (look for the phrase “on lees”); we used a beer by the Unibroue company of Québec, available from Trader Joe’s. The lack of availability of living, yeasty ale is a reminder of how much the brewing industry has changed since the 17th century.
As modern cooks, the original recipe gave us pause. There is no added fat (butter or oil) in the biscuits. No mention is made of salt, and the recipe calls for a large amount of flour with relatively little sugar.  It asks the cook to “wet”’ the mixture with milk (requiring quite a lot of milk), after adding only a dash of ale. The recipe also gives no instructions as to how to actually cook the biscuits—it assumes you’d already know how! It was not even clear if we were supposed to knead the dough. However, in the process of cooking the Cogs Biscuits, we found that the recipe worked just fine. The milk and eggs added enough moisture and fat to give a nice texture. We opted to knead the dough to help it rise, and we cooked the biscuits at 390F until they were lightly browned on top.
We also discovered that the basic Cogs Biscuits recipe easily lends itself to improvement and variation. We recommend being generous with the caraway and saffron. We tried the biscuits in a variety of sizes and chose tiny muffin-like poppers, baked in a mini-muffin pan, our version of a “cog.” But we also tried making a big loaf. Every size turned out well; the sliced loaf was lovely with some cheddar. You can also roll the dough into whatever shape you like.


QUICK BREADS:

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Granny’s Crescent Rolls


Pan Pizza Dough

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Tonga Toast – Serves 4
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Sugar-Cinnamon Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar & 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Batter Ingredients:
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Tonga Toast Ingredients:
1 quart canola oil, for frying
1 loaf sourdough bread (uncut, 12 inches long)
2 large bananas, peeled

Instructions:

1. Mix sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl (large enough to roll toast) with a fork until thoroughly blended. Set aside.
2. Whip eggs in medium bowl (large enough to dip toast) until well beaten. Add milk, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well and set aside.
3. Preheat oil to 350 degrees F in a large pot or a deep fryer. (If using a large pot, use a candy thermometer to make certain the oil does not get any hotter or it will burn.)
4. Slice the bread into four three-inch-thick slices.
5. Cut each banana in half crosswise, then each piece lengthwise.
6. Place a bread slice flat on the counter and tear out just enough from the middle (do not tear all the way through) to stuff half a banana into; repeat with each bread slice.
7. Dip stuffed bread into batter, covering both sides, allowing excess batter to drip off bread and place carefully into hot oil.
8. Cook 4-5 minutes until golden brown. If needed, turn toast over after 2 minutes and cook for another 2 minutes on other side. Remove and drain excess oil.
9. Roll toast in cinnamon-sugar. Repeat for each piece of toast.


 

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Just pour off juice/syrup from a can of sliced pineapple. Replace with Jello made with half the water in the direction. Chill and let set!

 


Cannoli Cream Puffs

Ingredients
Pastry Puffs:
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt (reduce to 1/4 tsp.if using salted butter)
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

Cannoli Cream Filling: 3 parts cheese, 1 part sugar
1 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (Don’t use low-fat, use whole milk)
or 1 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup confectioners sugar (use more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp cinnamon oil (USE CAUTION!)
1/2 tsp vanilla
chocolate chips (milk chocolate or cocoa drops, not semi-sweet or bittersweet)

Mix all cream filling ingredients to a creamy consistency and fill cannoli shells/pastry puffs using a pastry/plastic bag or spoon.
Garnish with chopped pistachio, chocolate chips and confectioners sugar.


Chocolate Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
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These were made without food coloring and almond extract (instead increase to tablespoon of vanilla extract). Also substituted plain white vinegar, mini chocolate chips, and reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup. They were delicious!


Long John Donuts

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Ingredients:
1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
1/4 C. warm water (110° to 115°)
1 C. warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/4 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
3-1/4 to 3-3/4 C. all-purpose flour
Oil for deep-fat frying
Glaze:
1-1/4 C. confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

Directions:
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, butter, sugar, salt and egg and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough.
Do not knead. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Cut into 3-in. x 1-in. rectangles. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 400°. Fry doughnuts, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Combine glaze ingredients. Dip tops in glaze while warm.


Manny’s Churros (makes 18-20)
Manny G. Suarez RIP

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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Orange Cake and Orange Cookies

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$100 Mayonnaise Cake and Peanut Butter Frosting

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Peanut Butter Frosting
Ingredients:
6 Tablespoons softened Butter
2/3 cups Peanut Butter
1 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar
¼ cup Milk
2/3 cups chopped peanuts (optional)
Directions:
Cream together butter, sugar, and peanut butter in a large bowl. Add milk and stir well. Add nuts (optional). Spread over warm cake. Place frosted cake under broiler about 4 inches from heat source. Broil just a few seconds, or until it starts to bubble. Do Not Scorch!! Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.


Los Angeles City Schools Old Fashioned Crumb Cake

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup oil
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
Directions:
1. combine flour, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, nutmeg, and oil.
remove 1/2 cup of mixture from bowl.
add 1 tsp cinnamon and set aside for topping.
2. combine remaining 1 tsp cinnamon, baking soda, egg and buttermilk. blend well.
add to flour mixture. do not over mix.
3. spoon butter into greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
sprinkle with 1/2 cup reserved topping.
Bake at 375 degrees30-40 minutes.
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Cornbread & Cornbread Muffins (with optional  BACON, cheese and jalapeño!)

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Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Corn Meal
1-1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
2 Eggs (beaten)
3 Tbsp Butter (melted)
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1-1/4 Cup Milk
Optional: Add 1/4 Cup of Honey to the batter mix

Directions:
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
Combine wet ingredients in medium bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease muffin pan and/or baking dish with more vegetable oil
Use a ~1/4 cup of batter for each muffin (fill each ~2/3 full)
Bake for ~18-20 mins or until they pass the toothpick test
Let cool and enjoy.

NOTE: This is basically the recipe on the Corn Meal box, so make adjustments for taste, time and temperature as necessary. We also like to add stuff before baking.
And the pictures show the product of a Doubled Recipe, so there will be fewer muffins.

Cornbread with BACON, cheese and jalapeño!
6 strips of Bacon (cooked and diced into very small pieces)
2/3 small block Colby Jack Cheese (diced into very small pieces)
1/2 small can of Diced Jalapeños (diced again into very small pieces)
Add Bacon, cheese and jalapeño to the batter mix and bake!
Adjust baking time as necessary, usually a little longer.

TIP: Bake in advance and freeze.
Let muffins cool completely and FREEZE them.
Then thaw them out and warm them before serving on the day of the party.


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Drop Scones

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Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake
(for a small spring-lock baking pan)

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Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake 2015

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients:
2 ½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 cup butter (melted)
4 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons White Sugar
½ teaspoon Cinnamon

Directions:
Grease spring-lock cake pan all around with a stick of butter. Mix ingredients in large bowl and press on bottom and sides of spring-lock pan to form crust. (avoid loose crumbs if possible)

Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:
4 ¾ packs of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (8oz. each)
1 small carton of Knudsen’s Sour Cream (8 oz. or ½ of a large carton, use other half for topping)
½ small carton of Half-and-Half
4 Eggs
1 cup White Sugar
Punch of Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Juice from a small lemon
½ Can of Comstock Cherries (use other ½ for topping)

Directions:
Blend all ingredients except cherries (or mix by hand for thicker texture). Pour into crust. Spoon in cherries at various locations and depths. Bake in preheated oven at 300 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Cool. Note: butter in the crust will cook off, so make sure to use a drip pan, cookie sheet or tin foil to catch the melted butter.
Topping:
1 small carton of Knudsen’s Sour Cream (8oz. or other ½ of large carton)
½ cup of sifted Powdered Sugar
½ Can of Comstock Cherries
Beat together and top cake (once it is cool). Decorate with remaining cherries around the top of cake. Heat oven to 450 degrees and put topped cake in for 3 minutes only. Chill and serve when ready.


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Strawberry Santas!
1 lb large strawberries
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3-4 Tablespoons powdered sugar (or sugar substitute – to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:
1. Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry. Remove the top, (enough for a hat). Clean out the whole strawberry with a paring knife, if necessary (some of them are hollow already. Prep all of the strawberries and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or Ziploc with the corner snipped off. Fill the strawberries with cheesecake mixture.
3. Once strawberries are filled, top with the ‘hats.’ Decorate according to photo.
4. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.


LADYFINGERS RECIPE
(from “The Joy of Cooking”)
*for the Feast of St. Stephen and to celebrate Boxing Day*
Makes about 30 Small Cakes
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“Saint Stephen with a rose
In and out of the garden he goes
Country garland in the wind and the rain
Wherever he goes the people all complain”

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Have ingredients at about 75 degrees.

Sift: 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
Sift before measuring: 1/3 cup cake flour and Resift 3 times!

1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
Beat until thick and lemon colored

2 egg whites
Whip until stiff, but not dry

Add and Fold the sifted sugar gradually into the whipped egg whites.
Beat the mixture until it thickens again.
Add and Fold in the egg yolk mixture and:
Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Add and Fold in the sifted cake flour.

Shape the dough into oblongs with a paper tube
Place the dough on ungreased paper on a baking sheet;
or pour into greased ladyfinger molds.

Bake about 12 minutes at 375 degrees.

Remove the baking sheet from oven.
Immediately slide the parchment paper (with the ladyfingers) onto a wire rack.
Let cool for just a minute and remove them from the paper using a flat spatula or knife.
Cool completely on wire rack. (If they cool before removing them, they may stick and are hard to remove without breaking)

Ladyfingers are best fresh on the day they are made. To freeze, place in a plastic bag between layers of wax or parchment paper and store frozen for up to one month.

Ladyfingers are long, thin sponge cakes shaped like a large finger. Also known as Boudoir biscuits, sponge biscuits, sponge fingers, Naples biscuits, Savoy biscuits and biscuits la cuiller. They can be served with desserts like ice creams, custards and coffees, and they are used as a component in other desserts. Ladyfingers can be either soft and cakey or dry and crispy, but they always have a sponge-like texture. Their texture makes them a perfect choice for soaking up flavors, which is why they are frequently used in other desserts. Ladyfingers are usually plain with a neutral taste, but can be flavored with any extract, a bit of citrus zest, cocoa or spice to give them a flavor that stands out.


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Festivus Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Get Baked for Festivus! Sharing my recipe.
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/festivus-chocolate-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe/

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Festivus Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Holiday Month of December!

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Sunday BBQ Dinner at the Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks!

Sunday BBQ Dinner at the Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks!

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The Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, California

We heard good things about this place via friends on the interweb.
We were originally going to have an Italian dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletano (read our previous Blog Post), but when we got there, they were varnishing the tables and chairs and so were closed for the night. A quick decision was made and we headed over to the Boneyard Bistro on Ventura Boulevard near Woodman in Sherman Oaks for some BBQ.

NOTE: There have always been great BBQ places in San Fernando Valley. Growing up there were places like Monty’s Steak House, The Oak Room, Houlihan’s, Charley Brown’s, Victoria Station, and Love’s BBQ. Recently, a lot of old time BBQ joints have closed down: the El Paso BBQ in Tarzana, and My Brother’s BBQ in Woodland Hills are now gone, the SmokeHouse BBQ in Van Nuys didn’t last long, there was once a Mr. Cecil’s Barbecue in almost the same location as the Boneyard, but it closed well over a year ago. And just recently the Tony Roma’s chain BBQ restaurant in Encino closed after many years and the location will soon be a crappy Norm’s Restaurant.

The Boneyard Bistro has Valet Parking in front for $6.00 + tip, but we were able to find street parking at a meter and it was Sunday night so you don’t have to pay. Parking is a major problem on Ventura, and there is Starbuck’s on the corner to compound the problem. Just sayin’.

The place was busy, as shown in the photos, the bar was crowded and the dining room was already more than half full. It was a chilly evening so the patio was almost empty.

Choose your seating: The Bar (high-top table), the Dining Room or the Patio.

We chose the Dining Room and were seated immediately at a table for two. The Sunday night football game was on the television (Dallas Cowboys v. Philadelphia Eagles). The service was good. We ordered our drinks and food. They brought us the drinks and in very short order, they brought us the food. We waited a little bit for the bread and fried corn muffins, and then before we could butter our bread, they brought out the entrees.

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

Not sure how to describe the utilitarian design of the place, other than functional. From the street is has a “Chicago Diner” type facade with a glass enclosed patio and big block letters. High ceilings and hard surfaces with wood accents amplify the sound. There is a weird painting in the dining room that is the length of the full wall and it’s a skeleton in red heels holding a platter of fire. The skull and cleaver is their logo and brand.

We were seated by the kitchen doors and prep station, so there was a lot of activity passing us and all around the table, and the dining room is a little “close-quarters” even for the size, because of the number of tables and space between them. The noise level in the bar area was very loud and happily the dining room was not as noisy. Service throughout the meal was good, and all of our requests were handled quickly.

Go ahead and have a beer (or a cocktail from the bar):

We ordered the $9 flight of beers, served in four small glasses. It was a very good deal.

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The Special Stout Festival Beer Menu

ON THE MENU: BBQ baby back ribs, fries, baked beans, bread & fried corn muffins, a flight of beer, and a coke. Tiramisu Creampuff for dessert.

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

It’s a good menu. There are a lot of things to try that look really good. They also have salads, but who has a salad at a BBQ place? We always judge a BBQ restaurant on their ribs, and we weren’t disappointed by theirs.

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

It was an excellent BBQ dinner! We ordered off the Ala Carte Barbecue list. The dry rub on the baby back ribs was subtle, spicy and not too peppery. The pork was smoked for a long time, it was juicy and came right off the bone. The beef ribs were big and beautiful. They give you the option of “wet” or “dry” ribs, and their BBQ sauce is very tasty, both on the meat and “on the side”. Their homestyle baked beans have nice chunks of meat in the recipe and was an excellent side selection. They have shoestring fries, and the first order was not hot, so our waiter brought us another order just out of the fryer.

The portions are huge, so each entree is actually two meals, and good for sharing. We ended up taking a big bag of leftovers home, like most of their customers, for later.

They also have fabulous creative desserts (like banana puddin’ brûlée made with Nilla Wafers and chocolate chip cookie dough egg rolls with vanilla ice cream and chocolate ganache) but they were all a little too fancy (and too expensive = $11 per dessert), so we decided to pass.

We enjoyed the food, and will probably return soon when we have our next BBQ craving.

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The Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, California

NOTE: And so DESSERT? After a brief conversation in the car, we decided to stop and get something sweet on the way home at the Paris Baguette. My dinner companion had a craving for chocolate cake. I wanted tiramisu when we were originally going for Italian food, so of course, a Tiramisu Creampuff for dessert:

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Tiramisu Creampuff from the Paris Baguette bakery in Encino!

Boneyard Bistro13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 (east of Woodman)
818-906-7427 http://www.boneyardbistro.com Open 4:30pm-2am daily

All photos copyright JoshWillTravel 2018

Read the Previous Blog Posts about the Paramount Ranch>

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11:11 on 11-11-11

ROAD TRIP to Ashland, Oregon!

ROAD TRIP to Ashland, Oregon! Ten Days “On The Road” and on a mission.

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Cold Rain and Snow! Ashland, Oregon 3-14-18

Los Angeles, California to Ashland, Oregon and now WE ARE BACK!

NOTE: The road trip happened in early March with the threat of winter weather in the north and in the Siskiyou Pass into Oregon, so we had to time our travel and hope for good weather on both sides.

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Monday Morning Road Trip! Los Angeles to Ashland (670 miles) in 10 hours! Instead of stopping, we decided to make a straight shot on Interstate 5 (via the 405 freeway) to stay ahead of the winter weather in the Siskiyou Pass…

A long, beautiful, uneventful drive north with the intent to get there as soon as possible while driving as safe as possible. “No tickets, no accidents, and no encounters with law enforcement” makes for a good trip. We stopped for gas and to stretch our legs (and other business) along the way, and arrived in Oregon in only 10 hours!

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Tejon Pass, California

NOTE: This Blog Post was delayed again because of technical issues. Our primary computer crashed recently and it had the transferred pics ready to upload.

 

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Mt. Shasta in the Siskiyou Pass, California (things start getting blurry)

670 miles and ten hours later we were in Ashland, Oregon!

WE LOVE ASHLAND!

There was beautiful weather all week long. It had snowed the week before, there was snow on the mountains, Mt. Ashland ski resort was open for business, and there was even still some snow on the ground the first day. It was cold and windy at night the first couple nights, and it was raining/snowing in the pass, but the weather stayed really nice during the day (sunny and in the 70s) from Ashland to Medford most of the time.

 

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Ashland Creek in Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon

 

Scenes from the Ranch:

 

 

On The Menu in Ashland:

Lunch at Sesame Asian Kitchen in Ashland

Dinner at The Loft in Ashland
NY steak & prawns, fries, veggies, caesar salad, tuna tartare, bread & butter, an excellent 1993 Southing Sea Smoke pinot noir, and a coke
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Pizza (take-out) from Kaleidoscope Pizza in Medford
Lunch (take-out) from Arby’s
Lunch (take-out soups) from Olive Garden

BBQ Tri-Tip Sandwiches for Dinner at the Ranch
Pasta and Meatballs with cheesy bread and a coke for Dinner at the Ranch
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Pizza and Champagne Dinner at the Ranch with friends
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Ice Cream from Grater’s in Cincinnati, Ohio (via UPS)
pints of black raspberry chocolate chip, cherry chocolate chip,
salted caramel chocolate chip, and chocolate chocolate chip
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Girl Scout Cookies: Tagalongs and Samoas

Dinner (take-out) from La Tapatia in Phoenix (Oregon, not Arizona)
2 chicken street tacos with salsa

Dinner (take-out) from Harvey’s Place in Ashland
roast beef dip sandwich and fries
(Read our previous Blog Post about Harvey’s Place>
)

Sushi Lunch at Bonsai in Medford
sushi, sashimi and cut rolls

Dinner at Beasy’s on the Creek in Ashland
shrimp cocktail, clam chowder, grilled prawns (didn’t eat them, got them “to go”), bread & butter, red wine, a coke, and no dessert thank you

Hand-made Chocolates from Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point

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Oregon Sky 2

 

Walking in Lithia Park on Monday Afternoon (almost alone)
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Ashland Creek in Lithia Park

 

Heading South on Wednesday! Destination: Oakland and then Home!

There was rain and snow in Ashland, in the Siskiyou Pass, and even further south to the Bay Area. And more stormy weather was predicted for Thursday and through the weekend, so when the weather looked clear on Wednesday morning we headed south hoping to get through the pass without incident or chain requirements. It rained a little, it snowed a little, there was a little sleet and then it was clear and beautiful the whole way to Oakland.

We stopped for an hour at the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, California on the I-5.

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Rolling Hills Casino – Corning, California

 

Going south, we had the choice to “stay on or get off?”: stay on and keep going south on the I-5 with Los Angeles as our destination or get off and take the 505 Winters cutoff to the Bay Area with an Oakland stopover as our destination. We almost kept going, but decided to detour west, get a hotel room, have dinner and rest for the night instead.

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San Leandro Bridge and Puffy Clouds 3-14-18

We were going to stay at a hotel in Emeryville where we got off the freeway because East Bay traffic was jammed, but found a good deal on a room at the LaQuinta Inn near the Oakland Airport online and made a same-day reservation through an internet site because it was easy and we were tired. We had Dinner at the Black Bear Diner in Emeryville on Pi Day and tried to connect with a friend who was local via telephone.

On the Menu: Breakfast for dinner.
2 eggs over medium. bacon (with extra bacon), biscuits & gravy, and iced coffee
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and then a small chocolate cream pie “to go”
We enjoyed it with some “free” coffee from the lobby in our hotel room.

 

 

After we ate, we drove over to the La Quinta Inn at the Oakland Airport via surface streets to avoid the freeway traffic and soon arrived at the hotel without too much trouble.
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We checked in, went to the room, unpacked, took a nice hot shower and shaved, and then got dressed to go and meet our friend. But it was too late (almost 8:30pm) so we got undressed and ate some of our pie and quickly fell asleep.

Thursday 7am: Leftover Pie and a Continental Breakfast!

On the Menu (a nice continental breakfast at the hotel): scrambled eggs, bagel with cream cheese, cornflakes and milk, and coffee. We also took a banana, an apple, 2 blueberry muffins, and a bagel with peanut butter and jelly for the road trip home. We also enjoyed the leftover chocolate cream pie and some canned pineapple juice before breakfast.

Thursday 11am: On The Road Again!
I-5 south (via 580) Oakland to Los Angeles

The LaQuinta loyalty program offers a late check-out to guests, so we could have stayed until 1pm. Instead we enjoyed the “free” breakfast, packed our bags, and loaded the car The early storm passed and morning Bay Area traffic cleared and we left at 11am to get on the road and get clear of the weather. From Oakland we had the choice to take the faster Interstate 5 (east route) or more scenic US highway 101 (west route) south to Los Angeles and so we chose the 5 south, again because of the stormy weather on the coast.

There was a little residual rain as we left the Bay Area at Livermore, but then it was blue skies all day and the whole way to L.A. and it only took 5 & 1/2 hours with one stop for gas.

 

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Los Angeles Again 3-15-18

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Oakland Sunrise 3-15-18

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunday, March 25 April 1st, 2018
(April Fools! See the NOTE at the bottom of the Blog for details)

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I hate glitter. It never goes away.

So, yes there is a new Blog Post coming soon.
Sorry (to our Loyal Readers) we haven’t published any more this month in March.

We are still working on the March 2018 Road Trip Blog Post and the Burning Man Road Trip Blog Post from last August-September 2017 is almost done too, but we are not sure if we want to post it… and there are a few more unfinished Blog Posts that may see the light of the interweb eventually. Meanwhile, we are getting regular unsolicited hits on past Blog Post from all over the world everyday. Check them out in the ARCHIVES>

It’s a beautiful “pleasant valley Sunday here in status symbol land”.

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Ten and a half Apostles! Happy Passover and Easter!

In honor the holiday we watched “The Prince of Egypt” again. It’s a beautiful animated film about Moses and the Exodus story from the Old Testament. Gets a big thumbs up and we recommend it for everyone (currently on Netflix too).

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COMPLAINTS and GRIEVANCES!
It’s not all good eating and sunsets here at JoshWillTravel. Times are tough right now.
Normally we keep it upbeat and positive here. Not today…

“Mothers complain about how hard life is and the kids just don’t understand”

We injured our back again this month. It’s the same injury to our lumbar spine that ended our career in production work. We hurt our back on our Road Trip moving heavy dog cages from one room to another and then hurt it again helping with other things at the Ranch. It’s one of the reasons we haven’t written because currently sitting, standing and walking for long periods of time is painful. We have prescribed medication but we don’t like to take it because it doesn’t really work and it makes us groggy, unmotivated and unfocused the whole day after. It also makes us angry, irritable and grumpy, along with the daily news and other real-world happenings. PAIN HURTS. PAIN SUCKS.

Our back is feeling somewhat better, but we have been having a hard time sleeping at night (INSOMNIA), and the construction next door to the Home Office continues without end (now, a year and a half of noise and disturbance). We have been hearing the constant whine of a tile saw and loud Ranchera music since we returned two weeks ago. We yelled at them last week and asked them to move the tile saw away from the property line, following up on the same complaint as a month ago when they had the wood saw next to our fence and loud “musica” before. No consideration at all for their noise or the  neighbors.

We are currently feeling very disorganized and slightly overwhelmed by the task of getting organized. Our advice to a friend this week was “just do one thing” and we are trying that approach and it’s a little better every time we do one thing….
(see our previous Blog Posts about Storage and Stuff for more details)

POLITICS and GOVERNMENT and TRUMPAGE (and TRUMP-RAGE!)
Can’t even begin right now. Everyday is another day of national embarrassment!

There is also a serious personal family matter that has been an ongoing concern for years. We won’t go into detail or even expand on the subject right now, but it is weighing heavily on us and has become even more difficult to deal with in recent months.

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Springtime in Oregon

NOTE: This was originally written on March 25, but right now it’s just after midnight on Sunday April 1st and we added a bunch of stuff. Happy Passover and Easter! On top of everything else, our primary desktop computer malfunctioned earlier this week and we had to upgrade the home office with a new desktop computer.

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Happy Passover 2018!

Party time at the house for the Passover holiday. This year 20+ guests and family again.

On The Menu: Brisket of beef, asparagus, gefilte fish with horseradish, roast vegetables, carrot/squash soufflé, noodle kugel, spinach & egg kugel, quinoa taboule, matzoh, wine (red & white) and Coke, and then desserts (all flourless: macaroons, chocolate cake, nut bread, chocolate covered matzoh) all mostly kosher for Passover.

 

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Happy Passover 2018!

Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe somehow you will
You will when you believe

principe do egito giphy

A Few Passover Facts: (ripped from the interweb)

The World’s Largest Passover Seder Takes Place in Nepal, of All Places. Each year members of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement hold their “Seder on Top of the World” in Kathmandu for Jewish locals and travelers alike (I’m gonna guess more the latter than the former). Last year they had around 2,000 people attend the festivities, and you can bet your tuchus that between the flowing wine and the thin air, it was quite the party.

2. Abraham Lincoln Was Assassinated During Passover. According to the American Jewish Historical Society, many Jews were in synagogue for the holiday when the news of Lincoln’s assassination broke. Altars in temples “were quickly draped in black and, instead of Passover melodies, the congregations chanted Yom Kippur hymns. Rabbis set aside their sermons and wept openly at their pulpits, as did their congregants.” Sadly, a time that was supposed to be full of celebration became one of mourning.

3. Coca-Cola Makes a Special Batch of Kosher Coke for Passover. While Coke is generally a kosher product, the dietary laws tighten during the Passover holiday making high-fructose corn syrup a no-no for observant Jews (it really should be a no-no for everybody all the time, but that’s neither here nor there). In response, Coca-Cola pumps out a batch of limited edition Coke that uses (gasp) real sugar instead of the kitniyot corn. Look for bottles with yellow caps on them to be sure you’re getting the right one, baby! (that was Pepsi‘s old jingle, but close enough.)

4. The First American Edition of the Haggadah Was Published in 1837. The Haggadah is the book or text Jews read from during Passover. It tells the origins of the holiday and explains how the Seder is supposed to proceed. Solomon Henry Jackson, an English-born American Jew, published the first American edition of the Haggadah in 1837 in New York. Jackson had moved to the city in the 1820s to establish the first Hebrew printing press, and The Jew, a monthly newspaper and the first Jewish periodical in the United States. One could say Jackson was the original member of the Jewish media elite.

5. Gefilte Fish is Really Good, I Swear. I know, I know, a bottle of gefilte fish looks more like something you’d find in science class than in a supermarket, but trust me when I say this: it tastes great. Some are even calling it “the new bacon.” Explaining the ingredients or the process of making it would probably only hurt my case, so I’m just going to say that if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. Just think of it as a fish hot dog, and as you can tell from Hebrew National dogs, we Jews know how to do mushy meat!

6. Manischewitz is a Brand, Not the Hebrew Word for Kosher Wine. Just as a Kleenex is really a “facial tissue,” and Q-Tips are actually “cotton swabs,” Manischewitz is a proprietary eponym. Founded in 1927 by Leo Star, the Manischewitz winery has basically cornered the kosher wine market here in the US with their sweet concord grape wine. Yet like Coca-Cola, Manischewitz uses corn syrup to sweeten things up a bit, so surprisingly not all Manischewitz is actually kosher for Passover.


Party at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seasonal French-American cuisine!

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

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A Vintage Vintage! 1993 Dom Perignon Champagne – Cheers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All photos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel

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

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405 Freeway north into the Sepulveda Pass at night

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!



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!

 



 

Happy Winter Solstice! Happy Festivus!

Happy Winter Solstice 2017!
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Happy Winter Solstice 2017 in the Northern Hemisphere
(Yesterday!) December 21st at 8:28AM PST – also known as midwinter,
it’s an astronomical phenomenon marking the day
with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.

SEASON’S GREETINGS! FELIZ NAVIDAD! JOYOUS NÖEL! HAPPY KWANZAA!

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Happy Winter Solstice and Happy Festivus 2017!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY HANNUKAH!
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Happy Festivus!
The Festival for the Rest of Us!6a00d8341c4f9453ef012876243c1f970c-800wi

festivus

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Happy Festivus!

And my how the little girls have grown!

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September 2016

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December 2017

Happy Festivus!
And Happy Winter Solstice!
Merry Christmas Dudes!

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And Christmastime’s A’Comin’!

So, we had an early Christmas dinner too last night.

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Happy Winter Solstice! Early Christmas Dinner!

On the Menu: Turkey breast, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce

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Have you been naughty or nice this year?

Why so negative?
That’s just your opinion, man.
Lump of coal for you.

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