And More and More Recipes!

And More and More Recipes!


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)

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

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!


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


Mrs. Frank Sinatra’s Spaghetti and Meat Balls


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.

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
salt and black pepper

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

The Alpine Village Inn’s famous CHICKEN SUPREME SOUP recipe
(from the Las Vegas Review Journal after the restaurant closed in March 1997)
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)
1/2 cup oil
1 cup flour

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



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.

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

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)

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”

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

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.

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.




Granny’s Crescent Rolls

Pan Pizza Dough


Tonga Toast – Serves 4

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


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.



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

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

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


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
1-1/4 C. confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

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

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

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.


Orange Cake and Orange Cookies


$100 Mayonnaise Cake and Peanut Butter Frosting


Peanut Butter Frosting
6 Tablespoons softened Butter
2/3 cups Peanut Butter
1 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar
¼ cup Milk
2/3 cups chopped peanuts (optional)
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

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
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.

Cornbread & Cornbread Muffins (with optional  BACON, cheese and jalapeño!)


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

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.



Drop Scones



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


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

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)

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.
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.


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

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.

(from “The Joy of Cooking”)
*for the Feast of St. Stephen and to celebrate Boxing Day*
Makes about 30 Small Cakes

“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.



Festivus Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Get Baked for Festivus! Sharing my recipe.


Festivus Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Holiday Month of December!


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Miss Donuts in Reseda, California

Miss Donuts in Reseda, California

Filming location for “Boogie Nights”


Just another Donut store in the San Fernando Valley? Yes, and NO!
It was the location for the climatic scene in the film “Boogie Nights” where Don Cheadle’s character Buck Swope is caught in the middle of a robbery and shootout.


And they have really tasty Donuts and Pastries!

On The Menu: DONUTS! Chocolate custard filled, chocolate bar, raspberry jelly filled, a cinnamon roll and a Napoleon pastry “to go”.

Miss Donuts – 18231 Sherman Way, Reseda, California (west of Lindley)

All photos copyright 2018 JoshWillTravel

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Don Cheadle in “Boogie Nights” (not my pic)

And time to eat the donuts…


Donuts from Miss Donuts in Reseda, California


Happy Holidays! Goodbye 2016!

Goodbye 2016!
Happy Holidays from JoshWillTravel!


Here’s my “Internet Holiday Card” to all my online friends:




James Kahlo RIP – Father Time/Old Man New Year – Dickens Christmas Fair – San Francisco

It’s Monday, December 19th and we can’t wait for this year to be over…


Cold Rain & Snow = Winter Holiday Travel Delays! Be Careful Out There!


Monday’s Holiday Week Forecast: “Baby it’s cold outside!”

Well, the weather outside is frightful for a lot of people.
Here in Los Angeles it’s really delightful! We are having our West Coast Winter again.


Flights Cancelled! Baggage Claim at Denver International Airport

People just have to travel for the holidays. You must know that traveling during the Winter Holidays is a crazy thing to subject yourself to… bad traffic, long lines, weather delays, irritated crowds and overworked staff are guaranteed to be part of the experience. We always advise you plan ahead, use a travel agent and buy travel insurance, especially if you’re flying or cruising during the holiday season.

Out here in California it’s cool and clear with blue skies and sunshine while most of the nation is suffering Arctic cold and blizzard conditions. We had a rainstorm or two come through last week, and it’s definitely “sweater weather” in Southern California with some nighttime temperatures getting into the 40s & 50s! We’ll just say “Sorry” for all you folks shoveling mountains of snow, driving in dangerous conditions, or just freezing your asses off. Stay warm and safe!


Happy Holidays! Yosemite Valley – First Snow of the Season!

We are “home for the holidays” again this year. White Christmas? Green Christmas? Here in Los Angeles you can decide. There was snow on the Grapevine (the top of the 5 freeway north where it crests on the way to Bakersfield) during the storms last week. There’s snow and skiing/snowboarding in the nearby San Gabriel mountains, Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear; or you can have cocktails at the beach or picnic in the park….
or both on the same day.

And currently, as we write this part of the Blog, it is 71 degrees at 2:30pm on Tuesday, December 20 and there’s a puppy asleep in my lap and another asleep in the playpen next to me. They are such sweet little girls! (and at 5pm today in Chicago it’s only 28 degrees)


Puppy Laptime Naptime!

HAPPY FESTIVUS! December 23rd – 
“the festival for the rest of us”

A family tradition of “Seinfeld” writer Dan O’Keefe, Festivus entered popular culture in 1997 in the episode “The Strike” The holiday celebration includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, the “Airing of Grievances”, “Feats of Strength” and easily explainable events witnessed as “Festivus Miracles!”


Happy Festivus! “We Shall Begin With The Airing of Greivances!”

“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it!”

The English word festive derives from Latin “festivus” an adjective meaning “excellent, jovial and/or lively” which in turn derives from festus “joyous; holiday, feast day”.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS! December 24 & 25

Happy birthday Jesus! December 25 was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. The prominence of Christmas Day celebration increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day in the year 800 and then William I (the Conqueror) of England was crowned on Christmas Day 1066. In Colonial America, the Pilgrims of New England shared the Protestant’s (Puritan) disapproval of Christmas, and in 1620, they spent their first Christmas Day in the New World working to demonstrate their complete contempt for the holiday. Christmas observance was outlawed in Boston in 1659 by the Puritans and the ban wasn’t revoked until 1681. George Washington crossed the Delaware and attacked hungover Hessian (German) mercenaries during the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, the day after Christmas. The holiday being much more popular in Germany than in America at the time.


Happy Holidays! The Citadel Outlets in Commerce, California 2016

The practice of special decorations at Christmas began in the 15th century: in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be “decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green.” Holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches: its thorns and red berries represent the Crown of Thorns and the blood Jesus shed.


Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas 2014

The traditional Christmas colors are red, green, and gold. Red for the blood of Jesus shed at his crucifixion, green for eternal life and the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold for royalty is associated with the three gifts of the Magi.


Kevin Brown RIP as Charles Dickens at the Great Dickens Fair in San Francisco

In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel “A Christmas Carol” credited with reviving the spirit of Christmas, seasonal merriment and emphasizing family, goodwill, compassion and redemption. The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, and “Bah! Humbug!” a statement dismissive of the festive spirit. Also in England in 1843, the concept of sending greetings cards at Christmas was created and the first commercial Christmas card was produced by Sir Henry Cole.


The first commercially produced Christmas card made by Henry Cole in 1843

The Christmas tree was introduced in the early 19th century in England. In 1832, the future Queen Victoria wrote about having a Christmas tree hung with lights, ornaments and surrounded with presents. An image of the British royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle created a sensation when it was published in the Illustrated London News in 1848. A modified version of this image was published in the United States in 1850 and by the 1870s putting up a Christmas tree had become common in America.


The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2016 Arrives in NYC!


The Christmas tree is considered by some as “Christianization” of pagan tree worship tradition and ritual of the Winter Solstice. The English language phrase “Christmas tree” was first recorded in 1835. Other traditional decorations include garlands, mistletoe & holly, poinsettia, bells, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, snowmen and angels.

Where’s Waldo? Mele Kalikimaka!

A number of figures are associated with Christmas and the giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas aka Santa Claus from the Dutch Sinterklaas for Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle; Père Noël, Saint Basil, the Weihnachtsmann, the Christkind,  Joulupukki, Babbo Natale and Ded Moroz. The Scandinavian tomte is sometimes depicted as a gnome. Of course, the best known of these figures today is red-dressed Santa Claus.

The exchange of gifts is the modern commercial Christmas celebration, making it the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. Gift giving is based in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, the Christian tradition associated with St. Nicholas and the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh which were given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men.



Thursday’s Holiday Item: Bendable Santa and a Happy Xmas Peanut M&M



Mele Kalikimaka! Wishing you a Happy Christmas!

Christmas Day is the least active day of the year for business and commerce in most Western nations. Retail, commercial and institutional businesses are closed for the holiday and almost all industries cease activity (more than any other day of the year).

HAPPY HANNUKAH! December 24-31

Hannukah is the Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt (167-165 BC) against the Seleucid Empire. Also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication it is celebrated for eight nights beginning on the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar (late November to December on the Gregorian calendar).

Hanukkah became more widely celebrated in America in the 1970s, when Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson called for public awareness and observance of the festival and encouraged the lighting of public menorahs. And for secular Jews it became an alternative to Christmas celebrations, a celebration of religious freedom and a symbol of Jewish identity.


Happy Hannukah! Light the Menorah!

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of the nine-branched Menorah (also called a Chanukiah/Hanukiah). The extra candle is called a shamash (Hebrew for attendant) and is given a distinct location usually above the rest. Light the shamash candle first and then use it to light the others. Three blessings are recited when lighting the candles: On the first night recite all three blessings and on all subsequent nights recite only the first two.

The tradition of lighting one additional candle on each night of the eight night holiday commemorates the miracle declared by Jewish sages: According to the Talmud, unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the kohen gadol (high priest) was needed for the eternal flame in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night. One flask of oil was found, only enough oil to burn for one day, yet it burned for eight, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply.

Homemade Jelly Donuts

Jelly Donuts (Sufganiyot)

Traditionally, fried foods, potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot) are eaten to commemorate the importance of oil during the celebration of Hanukkah, gifts are given each night and children are gifted with cash money called Gelt (Yiddish for money). Giving Hannukah Gelt dates back to the East European custom of children gifting their teachers money at this time of year as a token of gratitude.


Friday’s Holiday Item: Dreidels and Hannukah Gelt ($)

Dreidel: a small four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side, a gambling game played with a dreidel, especially at Hanukkah. The dreidel is a Jewish variant on the teetotum, a gambling toy found in many European cultures. Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (He), ש (Shin), which together form the acronym for “נס גדול היה שם” (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – “a great miracle happened there”) Nun stands for the Yiddish word nisht (“nothing”), He stands for halb (“half”), Gimel for gants (“all”), and Shin for shtel ayn (“put in”)


Hannukah! Eight Crazy Nights!

In the United States and Israel it is common to give and/or exchange presents with friends and family. In addition, many families encourage giving tzedakah (charity to those less fortunate) during Hannukah.

In 1951, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion gave Harry Truman a Hanukkah Menorah. In 1979, Jimmy Carter held the first public Hanukkah candle-lighting of the National Menorah on the White House lawn. In 1989, George H.W. Bush displayed a menorah in the White House. In 1993, Bill Clinton invited a group of schoolchildren to the Oval Office for a small ceremony. In 2001, George W. Bush held an official Hanukkah reception at the White House, along with the candle-lighting ceremony, and it has become an annual tradition attended by the United States’ Jewish leaders. In 2008, George Bush linked the occasion to the 1951 gift by using that menorah for the ceremony, with a grandson of Ben-Gurion and a grandson of Truman lighting the candles.


Saturday’s Holiday Item: YUM YUM raspberry jelly filled, cinnamon roll & (not pictured) chocolate custard filled donuts!

HAPPY KWANZAA! December 26th – January 1st


Kwanzaa celebrates its 50th year in 2016!

Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate family, culture and heritage, the name Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase meaning “first fruits” and is modeled after the harvest celebrations of Africa. The colors of Kwanzaa reflect the Pan-African movement and people of African descent worldwide: Black for people of color, red for blood that unites people of African ancestry, and green for Africa. 7 Principles and 7 Primary Symbols emphasize a unique set of values and ideals during the 7 days of Kwanzaa which is spelled with 7 letters. The first US postage stamp to commemorate Kwanzaa was issued in 1997. There have been 5 more designs released since.


AND HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017! December 31st – January 1st


San Francisco Civic Auditorium – New Year’s Eve 1984-85

First recorded in 1939: Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians performed it every New Year’s Eve for decades until his death in 1977. His version is played immediately following the dropping of the ball in Times Square every year.

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup! and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne. CHORUS
We two have run about the slopes, and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne. CHORUS
We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne. CHORUS
And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne. CHORUS

“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song traditionally used to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. (Hogmanay, the Scots word for the last day of the year is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year).


Happy New Year 2017! Pour the Champagne! Don’t Drink and Drive!

Champagne: a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France following rules that demand secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation, specific vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes exclusively from Champagne and specific pressing regimes unique to the region. The term Champagne is used as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in many countries it’s illegal to label any wine Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region and is produced under the special rules of the Champagne winemaking community (under the auspices of the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne – CIVC).


Happy New Year!

Me at the beginning of 2016 versus me at the end of 2016:

“The Dude Abides”

To all my Friends and Followers,

The end of 2016 is a welcome relief. It has not been an easy year.
We are still struggling with the tragic loss of our precious little girls in August,
and now we have the new beautiful little girls in our life to love and train.
We are angry, anxious and depressed about the outcome of the 2016 election.
We are worried about the current condition and future direction of our country.

This year was also full of lots of fun, entertainment and good times.
(Read our past Blogs and visit our facebook and Twitter pages to see the fun!)
We hope to expand and increase our “fun tolerance level” in the coming new year.
There’s a secret plan ahead for JoshWillTravel in 2017,
so if you haven’t yet, be sure to “LIKE”, Follow, and stay connected with us. 

We wish you and yours a Happy Winter Solstice, a Happy Festivus,
a Happy Christmas-Hannukah-Kwanzaa and a very Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2016, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

What does the FUTURE hold for us in the year 2017?


Donald J. Trump – Baby New Year – New York City

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


Our Festivus Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe>


Festivus Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

The earliest Latin Christmas hymns appear in 4th-century Rome. Christmas Carols in English first appear in 1426 written by John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty-five “Caroles of Cristemas” probably sung by groups of wassailers going house to house. The songs were originally communal folk songs sung during harvest celebrations as well as Christmas. Carols like “Personent hodie”, “Good King Wenceslas” and “The Holly and the Ivy” date back to the Middle Ages. “Adeste Fideles” (O Come all ye faithful) appears in its current form in the mid-18th century, although the words may have originated in the 13th century. Secular Christmas songs emerged in the late 18th century: “Deck the Halls” dates from 1784 and “Jingle Bells” was copyrighted in 1857.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
~ Buddy the Elf

Musical Merry Christmas Countdown! Playlist 2015

[thinking Miles is an elf]
Did you have to borrow a reindeer to get down here?

Miles Finch:
Hey, jackweed, I get more action in a week than you’ve had in your entire life. I’ve got houses in L.A., Paris and Vail. In each one, a 70 inch plasma screen. So I suggest you wipe that stupid smile off your face before I come over there and SMACK it off! You feeling strong, my friend? Call me elf one more time.

[after a pause]
He’s an angry elf.

[Miles promptly attacks him]



Hollywood film studios release their big movies during the holiday season always including new Christmas films, big budget “blockbuster” fantasy movies and megastar powered dramas for consideration for the Academy Awards. And YES, “Die Hard” and “Lethal Weapon” are Christmas films.

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives.
When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?


“It’s A Wonderful Life” 1946
produced & directed by Frank Capra,
based on the short story “The Greatest Gift”

Teacher says,
Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”



Mele Kalikimaka!

Mele Kalikimaka! (written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson)

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you from the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night…


Mele Kalikimaka!

Happy Memories!

A toast to absent friends and family,
and a toast to the blessed memory of everyone who left us in 2016!


E. Caitlin Phillips RIP

“Another Year Gone!
Say Buh-Bye 2016…
A New Year Ahead!”



JoshWillTravel PO Box 18376, Encino, CA 91416

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


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The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!>
(And our Periscope videos from Katch are now posted on YouTube)


Pop A Cork! (Photo By Niels Noordhoek)





Sunday’s Holiday Item: 2016 Tournament of Roses – Rose Parade Drum Head

NOTE: The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl football game will be held this year on Monday, January 2, 2017, the New Year’s Day federal holiday!



Friday! National Donut Day USA!

It’s Friday, June 3rd, 2016! We thought we might try to “live blog” the day. 

My dogs and a couple guests Friday morning chillin’ on the backyard patio:


What time does the poker game start?

Woke up and got out of bed. We had bacon, grapefruit, a glass of orange-pineapple juice and an iced espresso for breakfast, and then a dill pickle, some tortilla chips and another iced espresso later on.



Social Media Time! Set up this Blog and worked on our other Social Media platforms, went through the emails and did other stuff in the Home Office until lunchtime.

NOTE: We are now back on SnapChat! @JoshWillTravel


We made a cheese quesadilla for lunch. It was quick and filling.

Dropped one of the dogs off at the pet groomer and then ran some local errands.

It’s National Donut Day 2016 in the USA! (see our previous Blog)
We went to get some donuts…


Dunkin’ Donuts at Ventura Blvd and Balboa Blvd

We stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts and there was a parking spot in front, but then when we got out of the car and walked over, the line was out the door!


LUNCHTIME RUSH! No Progress after 10 Minutes! Time to Bail!

We waited for about ten minutes without making progress or getting inside the doorway of the donut shop, so we bailed! Not very well managed if you ask me, offering a free donut with beverage purchase, and knowing there would be a rush at lunchtime…

So we drove a few blocks north on Balboa Blvd to Stop In Donuts at Victory Blvd. There was a parking spot in front and a pan handler in the lot.


Stop In Donuts at Victory Blvd and Balboa Blvd in Encino, California

There wasn’t a line (in fact it was us and the owner and her daughter alone in the shop) and so we bought a bag of donuts! Five donuts: Cinnamon Roll, Apple Fritter, 2 cake with chocolate frosting and a chocolate glazed with sprinkles for $6.30 cash and then they gave us a half dozen donut holes for free! (but we had to ask) And in tribute to Mitch Hedberg…THEY DIDN’T GIVE US A RECEIPT! (and we didn’t ask for one) Thanks Stop In Donuts!


Bag of Donuts from Stop In Donuts in Encino, California

We went to the local Post Office. Then instead of running our other errands we returned home because the temperature was 100 degrees in the San Fernando Valley and we wanted to bring the other four dogs inside the house and out of the afternoon heat.


Time to EAT the Donuts! Five donuts: Cinnamon Roll, Apple Fritter, 2 cake with chocolate frosting and a chocolate glazed with sprinkles for $6.30 cash and then they gave me a half dozen donut holes for free (not pictured)

Siesta! Afternoon nap time! Too hot for humans or dogs outside!

We woke up from our nap and it was still hot outside. The other dog was returned home from the pet groomer looking pretty and smelling nice.

Temperature at 6pm: 95 degrees! Hot in the San Fernando Valley Tonight!


Hot in the San Fernando Valley Tonight!

We fed the dogs, got ready to go out and then drove to NoHo. When we arrived there was food cooking on the grill! We drank a beer (Pabst Blue Ribbon) and waited for dinner time!

Texas BBQ Dinner in North Hollywood at a friend’s house:


Dinner is Served! Texas/NoHo BBQ: Ribs, Beans, Bread & a Dr Pepper

On The Menu: Texas BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Beans, Bread and Butter with a Dr Pepper!

Dinner was a total surprise, and we weren’t expecting to eat so well. We didn’t eat until late, and then after a little post dinner digesting, we drove home.

And then we logged on to the internet around midnight and got the BAD NEWS:

Muhammed Ali RIP 1942-2016
He was The Greatest! Float like a Butterfly!
May the Four Winds Blow Him Safely Home.


This Pic Was Tweeted By The Family


Growing up, Muhammed Ali was THE SPORTS HERO! He was a black man in a white world who stood up for what he believed in. He was a great boxer! An Olympic Gold Medal Winner! The Heavyweight Champion of the World! He was a victim of Parkinson’s Disease. He changed the United States and the world!

Muhammed Ali lights the torch at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta:

All photos copyright 2014-2016 JoshWillTravel (unless otherwise noted)




The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!>
(And our Periscope videos from Katch are now posted on YouTube)



The California Presidential Primary Election is this Tuesday June 7, 2016
*Polls are OPEN 7am to 8pm* – GO VOTE! ONLY 3 DAYS TO GO!



Trump is a RACIST.
If you support Trump you support RACISM.
If you support RACISM you are a RACIST.


A Collection of Posts, Pics, Good Memes & Cartoons!


Jeb Bush had a good breakdown of everything that was wrong with Trump’s tweet: “It’s like eating a watermelon and saying ‘I love African-Americans”

Trump said this today at a rally in San Jose: “We had a case where we had an African-American guy who was a fan of mine….Look at my African-American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest? You know what I’m talking about?”

Trump is a “Cheap Fraud!”
And federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, who Trump called “A Hater” and “we believe, Mexican” ordered the release of internal Trump University documents and also ordered that ‪‎Trump‬ will go to trial starting Nov. 28 in a civil case in which he is accused of defrauding students who attended. Former managers of  the for-profit school portray it as an unscrupulous business that relied on high-pressure sales tactics, employed unqualified instructors, made deceptive claims and exploited vulnerable students willing to pay.

“I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme,” Mr. Schnackenberg wrote in his testimony, “and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”

Trump is a Liar and a Con Man who uses “Veterans as Props to Get Votes”
“For four months, Donald Trump didn’t cut the check to veterans groups that he claimed he had, and had not raised the money he said he did. And he never would have, unless investigations by multiple outlets had exposed him.” Former US Marine Alexander McCoy organized a protest outside of Trump Tower, demanding that the billionaire “apologize for using Veterans as props to get votes while failing to keep his promises.” After weeks of media scrutiny about donations he promised to veterans groups, Trump held a news conference Tuesday. The Washington Post and the Associated Press reported Trump sent many of the checks after reporters began asking the campaign questions about the fate of the donations. The total also fell far short of the $6 million Trump had been bragging about.

First Amendment and The Constitution?
Trump insulted the Press during the news conference and ABC News’ Tom Llamas was branded a “sleaze” for asking about the gap between the $5.6 million and the $6 million in donations. His question: “You said you had raised $6 million. Clearly you had not. Your critics say you tend to exaggerate and have a problem with the truth.”

And a Trump campaign staffer and private security guard removed a Politico reporter from the San Jose rally on Thursday for reporting on the event without permission as violent demonstrations and protests erupted outside the venue.


Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 9.26.45 PM

Here’s what Trump thinks of you!


National Donut Day 2016!

It’s National Donut Day 2016!



The Famous Strawberry Donuts – Donut Man in Glendora, California

The first Friday of June each year is National Donut Day! Originally created by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the men and women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I.  You can get a FREE DONUT most places that serve donuts today!




Chocolate Cake Donut with Sprinkles from Yum Yum Donuts



Yum Yum Donut in North Hollywood, California


More Pictures of Donuts:


Cinnamon Roll from Donut Man in Glendora, California



Then: Big Do-Nut Drive-In – Los Angeles, California

There’s a lot of Donut History in Los Angeles!


Now: Randy’s Donuts – a Los Angeles Landmark (not my pic)


FREE DONUTS! Thanks Service Department!



They opened a Dunkin’ Donuts in Encino at Ventura Blvd and Balboa Blvd!


FREE COFFEE & DONUT! – Los Angeles Times Travel Show 2015


Van de Kamp Assorted Donuts from Ralphs Supermarket


Coffee and Donuts

All photos copyright 2013-2016 JoshWillTravel


Puck’s Donuts in Ashland, Oregon


Receipt for the donut… thanks Mitch!


National Donut Day! And a tribute to Mitch Hedberg!

National Donut Day! Yum Yum Donuts!

07-JUN-13: National Donut Day!



The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!>
(And our Periscope videos from Katch are now posted on YouTube)


Half Dozen Donuts from the Donut Man in Glendora, California


National Donut Day!

Good Morning! Coffee & Donuts!

Good Morning! Coffee & Donuts!

Free coffee and donuts in the Service Department waiting room:




Assorted Donuts!


Cappuccino – My Cup Runneth Over!



The Waiting Room – What are you waiting for?


I saw an accident happen the other evening and it happened right in front of me.

I was turning right, and the SUV in front of me turned right against the red, and the silver Honda turned left in front of the SUV turning right, and the SUV hit the Honda hard.


Accidents will happen! A sad fact about living in Los Angeles.

NOTE: Thankfully, no one was hurt. The police were on the scene immediately, because it happened in front of the Police Station in North Hollywood. I stopped and did my civic duty, waited and gave my info to the driver of the Honda who was shaking pretty hard.


Dinner at The Habit Grill: Double BBQ Bacon CharBurger with cheese, fries and a chocolate shake with whipped cream. Oh yes!


The Habit Grill – Double BBQ Bacon CharBurger with Cheese and Fries


All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel




Sunset Over The San Fernando Valley

Joy Flavor Summer Brunch at Madera Kitchen in Hollywood

Joy Flavor Summer Brunch

I got invited to a “Tasting Party” at Madera Kitchen in Hollywood!

Thursday, noon, Hollywood, Cahuenga & Franklin, street parking!

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen on Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood


They offered hosted valet, which is always great, but I found a spot on Franklin and walked half a block to the restaurant. The party was called for noon, so I arrived at noon.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – pretty flower centerpieces on the tables

They weren’t quite ready at noon, and I discovered it was also a tasting party for Joy Flavor, a flavored vaping oil company. The patio was set for a lot of people and they were setting up the vape table, with hand held vape pens filled with Joy Flavor oils.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – setting up the umbrella on the patio

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Patio dining with a few other “on time” guests.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Patio

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor vaping oil tasting table

It was warm and humid on the patio (because the enclosure has no breeze or air flow and the sunroof is transparent), so I went inside and sat at the bar where it was cooler. They gave me 2 drink tickets, which I redeemed for Toast vodka & pineapple juice cocktails made by Tiffany, the beautiful and friendly bartender. I asked her if she wanted to make small talk and she said yes. We talked about where she was from, Arizona, her music, Urban Pop, China, her cute dogs, her tattoos and the two featured drinks they were offering at the brunch while I was waiting for the food.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Tiffany tending the Bar inside

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen – Toast vodka and pineapple juice cocktail

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – the Bar inside

They were offering these featured drinks. Tiffany gave me a taste of the Blue Coup, which was too sweet for me, and then we discussed the pros and cons of lavender in a cocktail. (Tastes like the way my Grandma used to smell…I am not a fan of lavender in my drink)

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – featured drinks for the event

They have an interesting drink menu and a selection of wines by the glass and beer on tap in addition to their full bar. I originally wanted a Bloody Mary to drink, but there wasn’t any mix on Thursday although they have them for brunch on the weekend. I was also disappointed that they don’t have Stolichnaya vodka.


Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Drinks, Wines and Beer menu

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Try the wine.

The interior is an open “L” shaped space with simple decor. the bar runs the length of the long wall and the dining/seating area is furnished with booth seating and movable tables and chairs.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen

Because this is Los Angeles, when you call an event for noon, most people show up at 1:30 or later. So there was a long time waiting before the food was served and it wasn’t very crowded for the first hour and a half. They served the dishes “family style”, and I shared the food plates with one other person.

On the Menu:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Blueberry pancakes with orange curd, berries and whipped cream fraiche:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Crepes a la Carbonara with applewood smoked bacon, crepe linguini, cream, topped with egg yolk and pecorino:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Endive Salad with arugula, candied pistachios, blood orange, buttermilk and blue cheese

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Cinnamon Donuts on a bed of marscapone and mixed berry sauce:

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

Brunch at Madera Kitchen

The food was good. I enjoyed the pancakes, pasta and donuts very much. I’m not a big fan of arugula or blue cheese, so the salad not so much. But it was a nice salad if you like the ingredients and my new dining friend said that it was good.

When I received the invite, I thought it was a promotional event for the restaurant. Surprise! Turns out it was also a promotional event for JOY FLAVOR! Flavored vaping oils in many different fun flavors!

Now the disclaimer: I don’t vape. I’m fine with you vaping if you want to. I’m fine with you vaping flavored oils with or without tobacco. I hate cigarettes! I hate cigarette smoke! Vaping is “reasonable” alternative to cigarettes, if you think so.

So, Joy Flavor set up a vaping oil tasting table, with vaporizers filled with the different flavors that had removable plastic “nipples” for each taster. However, it appeared to be a communal sharing event with the vape pens being handled and sampled by a lot of people. I decided not to partake in the vaping, but I did take pictures.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor assortment of flavored gaping oils

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy flavor tasting table with vaping pens, “nipples” and promo swag

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor vaping oil tasting table

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor vaping oil tasting table

And they were nice and gave everyone a gift bag! There were three little bottles of Joy Flavor flavored vaping oil, 2 promo swag key rings and a promo t-shirt in the promo bag.

Madera Kitchen

Madera Kitchen – Joy Flavor gift bag

It was a nice lunch. A couple free drinks. I met some nice people and was introduced to Madera Kitchen, Joy Flavor and the PR Company that produced the event. I had a good time and it was a pleasant way to spend a Thursday afternoon.

NOTE: I want to go back and try their regular dinner menu.







Road Trip pt. 5 – Ashland Farmer’s Market and Puck’s Donuts

Saturday Morning at the Ashland Farmer’s Market on Oak Street (unfinished blog)

After a nice walk in Lithia Park, I went over to the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market in downtown Ashland and then stopped in at Puck’s Donuts. Here are a few pictures:


Ashland Farmer's Market - Saturday Morning

Ashland Farmer’s Market – Saturday Morning (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Eggplants, and Kale, and Carrots, Oh My!

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)


Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer's Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ashland Farmer’s Market (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

and then a quick stop at Puck’s Donuts!

Puck's Donuts - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Puck’s Donuts – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)




Three Great Adventures in Los Angeles near UCLA!

Three great adventures in Los Angeles near UCLA!

“Can you recommend a 5-hour round trip from LA to see the most sites? My husband and I will be visiting our son and his wife at UCLA in October from Alabama. While they are busy during the day, we would like to venture either north or south, preferably on the PCH to see some of California. In addition, we would love to find an interesting boutique or historic hotel to stay in near the UCLA campus.” ~ Nancy M. from Birmingham, Alabama

UCLA is in Westwood. Stay at the W Hotel Los Angeles in Westwood!

Five hours (round trip) is not a lot of time and Los Angeles is a very big place. Here are three great adventures near UCLA:

1. Santa Monica and Venice Beach

Santa Monica Pier Sign at Ocean Blvd

Santa Monica Pier Sign at Ocean Blvd

I recommend you head to Santa Monica (you can take a drive down Wilshire to San Vicente through Brentwood and do some shopping on Montana Avenue). Walk the Third Street Promenade, Palisades Park, and the Santa Monica Pier. Do some shopping at Santa Monica Place and have lunch at one of the many restaurants down by Santa Monica State Beach or head south on Pacific Coast Hwy to Venice Beach. Have lunch at one of the many restaurants there and visit the Venice Beach Boardwalk, Main Street and Abbot Kinney Blvd. If you have time drive into Marina Del Rey and have a drink at the The Ritz-Carlton.

A Nice Day in Marina del Rey (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

A Nice Day in Marina del Rey (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Take the 10 freeway or the Marina freeway back to the 405 freeway north, exit Wilshire Blvd east and you’ll be back in Westwood.

*One more quick note: You can also visit the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades-Malibu as a great side trip from Santa Monica. The Getty Villa houses a fantastic collection of ancient Greco-Roman art and sculpture! It’s FREE but you need to make reservations. ___________________________________________________________________

2. Century City and Beverly Hills

Century Towers - Century City, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Century Towers – Century City, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Park at the Westfield Century City Mall in Century City, CA. There’s lots of shopping (including Bloomingdale’s), restaurants and the AMC Century City 15 movie theater. Take a walk into Century City (follow the people in suits going back to work) and visit the CAA building (aka “The Deathstar”), the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza (also a great place to stay), and the Century Towers and Plaza.

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel - Century City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel – Century City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There’s more shopping and even better restaurants there (Craft is Tom Colicchio’s steak place). Be sure to visit the shops underground at the Twin Towers! Century City also has the The Annenberg Space for Photography (FREE!) and a few other art galleries. There are fantastic buildings and lots of hidden things to see if you just walk around during the day. Here’s a link to a list of museums and other info for the area (Westwood-Century City):

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Rodeo Drive from the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

You can also drive to Beverly Hills and visit Rodeo Drive, there’s mega-shopping and wide variety of some of LA’s finest restaurants: Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen, Mastro’s Steakhouse, Spago Beverly Hills, Il Pastaio, Il Cielo, Fogo de Chao, Matsuhisa, Lawry’s the Prime Rib, The Farm of Beverly Hills, and many others! in addition to the The W Hotel Los Angeles – Westwood, the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills is a great boutique hotel and they have a wonderful restaurant, where you can dine indoors or outdoors in a poolside cabana at Oliverio at Avalon Beverly Hills restaurant.

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Bathtub/Walk-in Shower & view at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

and The InterContinental Los Angeles Century City Hotel, the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, the Montage Beverly Hills, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel, Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive, Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, London West Hollywood Hotel, Mondrian Hotel- Hollywood and Chateau Marmont are a few of the finest luxury hotels in the city.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Each hotel has at least one amazing restaurant and/or bar: 24/7 Diner and the Cactus Lounge/Pool at the Standard, Scarpetta and the Scarpetta Bar (and the hidden whiskey lounge Ten Pound by The Macallan), On Sunset @ Luxe Hotel (amazing Sunday Brunch!), LIVELLO, Culina, Modern Italian @CulinaLA, Tres by José Andrés, Saam at The Bazaar by José Andrés, On Rodeo Bistro Lounge, The Rooftop Grill, the Parq Bar, and Cut (Wolfgang Puck’s steak house) to name just a few.

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

On Sunset Restaurant Patio at the LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

You must try Stan’s Donuts and Diddy Riese ice cream in Westwood Village And for a quick and tasty Chinese lunch or takeout try Jin Jiang at Santa Monica and Sepulveda. ___________________________________________________________________

3. The Getty Center

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

One more great 5 hour trip from UCLA is a trip to the The Getty Center and it’s FREE!

Getty Center Central Garden (view from museum)

Getty Center Central Garden (view from museum)

From the Getty Center website: “The collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center includes pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; 19th- and 20th-century American, European, and Asian photographs; contemporary and modern sculpture; and Robert Irwin’s Central Garden, designed specifically for the Getty Center….Contemporary and modern sculpture is featured throughout the grounds, including 28 modern and contemporary outdoor sculptures installed at the Getty Center, donated by Fran and Ray Stark.” In addition to the absolutely incredible Permanent Collection, they also have changing exhibitions. Here is the exhibition schedule:

You won’t be able to see everything in five hours!*

So, take your time and explore two of the four art pavilions, walk the gardens and enjoy the amazing view from above.

Panoramic View of West L.A. from the Getty Center

Panoramic View of West L.A. from the Getty Center

There is food available (but it’s not inexpensive), so you might want to bring a picnic lunch from one of the hotel restaurant I mentioned in my previous post, or from Whole Foods Market in Westwood, or if it’s Thursday the Westwood Village Farmer’s Market. There’s also the lovely Bel-Air Bar & Grill on Sepulveda or On Sunset @ Luxe Hotel for fine dining, either before or after. The Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel is a beautiful property, and I recommend an upstairs room by the pool with a balcony if available.

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

“Josh, these suggestions are fantastic—-can’t wait to show them to our kids before they move—-they will love them! I especially appreciate your recommending the Avalon Hotel. We love boutique hotels and this one is very reasonable! We may have to extend the trip and leave the kids behind! Thanks so much!” ~ Nancy M. from Birmingham, Alabama

FOLLOW this BLOG for more of my detailed reports, reviews and pictures!

Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills

Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The 90th Party at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles

Party Time Roaring 20’s Style to Celebrate the 90th Birthday of the beautiful and historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Millennium Biltmore Hotel (originally named the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel) is a luxury hotel located on Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles. At its grand opening in 1923, the Los Angeles Biltmore was the largest hotel west of Chicago.  In 1969 the Biltmore Hotel was designated a Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles.  Since 2009, it has operated as the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles.

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby and Reception:

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Bar:

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Fine Detail and Original Restoration:

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grand Corridor:

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)


The Party Theme was Roaring 20’s and guests were instructed to dress the period or wear black and white.  After checking in we were greeted by a 1927 Automobile (have your picture taken!) and waitstaff with trays of champagne and sparkling water.

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)


I arrived a little early, the ballroom was beautiful and the Dean Morro Orchestra was the evening’s entertainment.

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Artifacts and Biltmore History were displayed for guests:

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Let the festivities begin!

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Two costumed couples were hired to dance and provide “atmosphere”.

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There was Singing! (and some truly great music!)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There was Dancing! (Everybody Charleston!)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

And there was lots of Great Food, Champagne and an Open Bar!

Tray passed appetizers: California crab cakes on slider buns and Prime rib on sourdough with horseradish. Then buffet stations! Asian food: veggie springrolls, duck pancakes, and seafood lo mein; Seafood: Salmon-sour cream-caviar on potato pancakes and LOBSTER in martini glasses; New England Clam Chowder in a hollowed out bread roll, Beef short rib with polenta, leg of lamb with risotto; And The Dessert Table: chocolate cake, lemon cake, cake pops, petit fours, (tray passed by the executive chef a chocolate cigar filled with ganache), sugared donuts, coffee, champagne and an open bar. I tried a little bit of every food dish, but skipped dessert and only a had half a donut, one bite of the cigar and only two Grey Goose and 7up.

Salmon with sour cream and caviar on a potato pancake:

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lobster in a Martini Glass with a slice of lemon

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Asian Food: veggie springrolls and crispy duck (seafood lo mein not pictured)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Beef Short Rib with Polenta and shaved black truffle

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Leg of Lamb with risotto and mint jelly

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Dessert Table

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Root Beer Float!

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Donuts and Coffee

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Rendezvous Court (once it was the original hotel lobby):

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Meanwhile back at the Bar:

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Millennium Biltmore506 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA