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

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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!

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!

 

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).

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!

 

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):

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!

 

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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! 

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!

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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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!

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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Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

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Thanksgiving Feast 2017

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

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

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Thanksgiving 2017 – Pretty Flowers!

Would you like to start with an adult beverage?

 

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

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Thanksgiving Feast – dinner plate 2017

Pictures of the Thanksgiving Feast:

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Thanksgiving Feast 2017 – CHALLAH!

 

Desserts:

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Thanksgiving Feast – Dessert! 2017

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

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

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Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake 2017

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

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

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

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Minnesota Vikings 30 – Detroit Lions 23

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

 

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Los Angeles Chargers 28 – Dallas Cowboys 6

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Washington Redskins 20 – New York Giants 10

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Thank you “South Park”

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

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

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

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

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Leftover Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream


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

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


 

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:

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

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

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

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

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

The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!>
(And our Periscope videos from Katch are now posted on YouTube)
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Tuesday Night Dinner at Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana, CA

Tuesday Night Dinner at
Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen
in Tarzana, CA

We are back! We wrote a new restaurant Blog post. Enjoy!

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Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana, CA

We were just going to go to CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) but the parking lot was full, which indicated the restaurant would be crowded and busy, so we detoured to Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen just two blocks away on Ventura Blvd (near Reseda Blvd) in Tarzana and we were glad that we did.

We really like this restaurant! We’ve been here before and it’s always really good. Good food, good service, good atmosphere and pretty good prices. They have free parking in the rear and there is ample metered street parking (8am-8pm everyday except Sunday).

We arrived without a reservation and were seated immediately. The dining room was busy and there were several large family parties, but unlike CPK, the noise was not a factor at all. It’s not a very big place occupying two store front windows, with the open kitchen on one side and the dining room on the other. They do good business (lunch, dinner, catering and delivery), and they also have beer & wine on premises.

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Fabrocini’s Open Kitchen and Dining Room

There are pictures of all things Italian on the walls and the Dodgers game was on the television in the dining room (as reflected on the pic below).

NOTE: We are still boycotting the Dodgers and Time-Warner/Spectrum/SportsNetLA (see the previous Blog) but it was on and we didn’t pay attention because we currently don’t care about Major League Baseball until we can watch the Dodgers games on television FOR FREE.

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Leaning Tower of Pizza!

The Menu:

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!

On The Menu: Caesar salad, fresh baked bread with olive oil, pasta fusilli with broccoli in a garlic sauce (a little too salty tonight), meat lasagna and a coke.

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!

A GOOD dinner!  The service (waitstaff & busboy) was excellent and the management strives to make sure everything is beyond satisfactory. We should add that although our intention was to eat at CPK, the experience at Fabrocini’s was much better! We still like CPK, but the difference in the quality of food, service and care between a family owned restaurant and a huge corporate chain is exemplified in this comparison. And we should also mention, the cost wasn’t very different and there wasn’t a “loyalty club” discount involved, so we didn’t have to show them our phone or give them a code.

NOTE: Don’t fill up on bread and salad or appetizers, because the entrees are large and delicious! They also have good desserts but we didn’t indulge this time.

Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen18608 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA (west of Reseda Blvd) http://www.fabrocinistarzana.com (818) 342-4490​

Lunch: 11:00am – 4:00pm Closed for Lunch on Sunday
Dinner: 4:00pm – 9:00pm Sun-Thurs 4:00pm to 10:00pm Fri & Sat

Fabrocini’s Beverly Glen2960 Beverly Glen Circle (at Mulholland) (310) 475-7404

 

Use the links below to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
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They have great pizzas too!

READ MY BLOG POSTS! (PLEASE!)

READ MY BLOG POSTS! (PLEASE!)

Shakespeare cartoon 2

Shakespeare Doodle

As you can see we’ve been busy.*
We have always written this Blog for our own amusement.
We hope others will read the posts and be entertained and maybe educated).
Our pics and vids are posted (copyright 2010-2017 JoshWillTravel) for your visual stimulation and to better tell the stories. All other images (photos and youtube videos, etc.) are for educational purposes only and not used for any commercial gain.
*There is a lot of NEW and FUN stuff!   ENJOY!

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

Read Our Blog Pages>

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

Recent April 2017 Blog Posts> 

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Tasting Flight at Dancin Vineyards – Jacksonville, Oregon

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GBTA 2013! Read the Blog Post!

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

Blog Posts from January 2017!>

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Happy Puppies!

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POP!

It’s our Blog’s 4th Anniversary! READ THE BLOG!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/its-our-blogs-4-year-anniversary/

恭喜發財! Happy Chinese New Year 2017! 新年好呀!新年好呀!
THE YEAR OF THE RED FIRE ROOSTER! 祝贺大家新年好!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/happy-chinese-new-year-2017/

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

Blog Posts from Our Spring Roadtrip 2016 to Ashland Oregon>

Ashland Creek 1

Ashland Creek in Lithia Park in Ashland Oregon (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Master Blog! Spring Roadtrip 2016 to Ashland Oregon!> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-35M
Seagulls! Moonstone Beach in Cambria> http://wp.me/s3dhVM-seagulls
The Bluebird Inn Motel in Cambria> 
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3gi
Historic Downtown Cambria, California> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3yI
The Vault Gallery in Cambria, California> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-4lQ
Sweet Offerings Confectionary in Cambria, California!> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3ik

Moonstone Beach – Cambria, California>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/moonstone-beach-cambria-california/

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

More of Our Previous Blogs:

It’s Rex Manning Day 2017!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/its-rex-manning-day/

Return to Paramount Ranch Park in Agoura, California: Part 2 Hiking the Site>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/paramount-ranch-park-agoura-california-part-1/

Return to Paramount Ranch – Agoura, California: Part 1 Western Town>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/return-to-paramount-ranch-01-apr-13-part-1-western-town/

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Friends of Paramount Ranch 2017 – Agoura, California

The Wabash Cannonball!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/the-wabash-cannonball/

HAAPPY SAAINT PAATRICK’S DAAY!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/haappy-saaint-paatricks-daay/

SPRING FORWARD! HAPPY PURIM! FULL MOON!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/spring-forward-full-moon/

Let’s Go To Malibu Beach!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/lets-go-to-malibu-beach/

“This is what happens Larry!”>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/this-is-what-happens-larry/

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“This is What Happens Larry!”

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Janis Joplin’s Psychedelic 1964 Porsche 356c Cabriolet

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Saturday Morning…>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/saturday-morning/

Procrastination (noun)
-the action of delaying or postponing something
-the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished
-the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones
-carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones
-putting off impending tasks to a later time

“PROCRASTINATION”>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/procrastination/

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REAL GOOD EATING in the San Fernando Valley!>

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

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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

Pizza Time! Mulberry Street Pizza!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/pizza-time-mulberry-street-pizza/

AND THERE ARE MANY MORE! OVER 600 BLOG POSTS! HAVE FUN!

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TREASON!