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

Kilroy Was Here!

Kilroy Was Here!

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“Kilroy Was Here” engraved on the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.

“Maybe you’ve bumped into Kilroy. He’s a bald (or balding) gentleman with a big nose, drawn peeking over a wall. Next to him is usually the phrase “Kilroy was here.” He can be found all over the world, and went viral long before social media or the Internet were around, finding his way through the theaters of war with American troops during World War II. (One of his most daring appearances may have been at the Potsdam Conference in 1945. During the summit, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin had exclusive use of a VIP bathroom. One day, Stalin reportedly used the facilities, and came out demanding to know from one of his aides who Kilroy was, having found the drawing on one of the walls.)”

“Kilroy Was Here” is a WWII slogan and graffiti by the American Army, the drawing based on the British “Mr Chad”, and sometimes coupled with images of pregnant women.

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1940s Vintage WWII “Kilroy Was Here” Hartland Plastics Pregnant Girl Figurine 

“Kilroy doesn’t appear to have originated entirely with U.S. servicemen, though. A similar doodle, known as Mr. Chad, was scrawled throughout Britain as a comment on shortages and rations during the war. Chad was similar in appearance to Kilroy, but was accompanied by a different message: “Wot? No tea?” (or whatever other goods were in short supply at the moment). Chad predates Kilroy by a few years, and may have been the created by British cartoonist George Chatterton in the late 1930s. As best as anyone can tell, at some point during the war, American soldiers borrowed Mr. Chad’s image and married it to their own name and phrase, ‘Kilroy was here.'”

Kilroy became the U.S. super-GI who had already been wherever American soldiers went. It became a challenge for the troops to place the logo in the most unlikely places imaginable (on top of Mt. Everest and the Statue of Liberty, on the underside of the Arch De Triumphe and even scrawled in the dust on the moon)

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Wisconsin Historical Markers: The Highground WWII Tribute: Kilroy Was Here

“If the man in the drawing was a variation of Mr. Chad, then where did the name Kilroy come from? While the Oxford English Dictionary writes Kilroy off as a mythical person, dozen of real people claimed to be the doodle’s namesake in 1946, when the American Transit Association (ATA) held a radio contest to establish the origin of the phrase. One of them was James J. Kilroy, who worked as at the Bethlehem Steel shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts during the war inspecting the work done by others on the tanks and hulls of warships. As Kilroy explained to the ATA:

I started my new job with enthusiasm, carefully surveying every inner bottom and tank before issuing a contract. I was thoroughly upset to find that practically every test leader [the head of a work crew] I met wanted me to go down and look over his job with him, and, when I explained to him that I had already checked the job and could not spare the time to crawl through one of those tanks again, he would accuse me of not having looked the job over. I was getting sick of of being accused of not looking the jobs over and one day as I came through the manhole of a tank i had just surveyed, I angrily marked with yellow crayon on the tank top, where the tester could see it, ‘Kilroy was here.’ The following day, a test gang leader approached me with a grin on his face and said, ‘I see you looked my job over.’ I nodded in agreement.

Kilroy provided the ATA with corroborating statements from men he worked with at the shipyard, and said that he assumed that shipyard workers who had seen his mark and then joined the military took the phrase with them and began writing it in Europe. He won the contest and the grand prize, a full-size trolley street car. Just a few days before Christmas, the 12-ton car was delivered to Kilroy’s home in Halifax, MA, where it was attached to the house and used as living space for six of his nine children.”

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The “Kilroy Trolley Car” photo from the Boston American, December 23, 1946. Thanks to Brian Fitzgerald (James Kilroy’s grandson)

“Kilroy Was Here” is written in two locations on the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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“Clap my hands and jump for joy; I was here before Kilroy.
Sorry to spoil your little joke; I was here, but my pencil broke.” ~Kilroy
(from A Diller, a Dollar: Rhymes and Sayings For the Ten O’clock Scholar 1955)

Kilroy can also be seen at the end of my favorite WWII film “Kelly’s Heroes”>

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Spoiler Alert! Kilroy Was Here in “Kelly’s Heroes”

The 1983 Styx album titled “Kilroy Was Here” was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The song, “Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto” ends with the line “I’m Kilroy.”

NOTE: sometimes we answer questions in the groups we are in on facebookand sometimes they become Blog Posts. We have insomnia and cannot sleep again.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!

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Check out these ceramic mugs with Kilroy!

Terror in Paris!

Terror in Paris!

I haven’t posted since the attack. There’s been too much coverage. And I haven’t been attentive to other postings because I’ve been overwhelmed by our crazy world this week.

Vive La France! - French Flag

Vive La France! – French Flag

The horror! The shock! Terror in the civilized western world with many dead. This has even greater impact when you have immediate family visiting the city and in the vicinity of the attacks. Thankfully they are safe and now back in the USA.

fb post from my Mother in Paris, France the day after:
“Thanks to all who wrote. Lew and I are shaken but safe. We can’t wait to leave Paris and be home. We are sick about the terror and loss of innocent life, the grief so close and overwhelming.”

The Eiffel Tower

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I watched as the reports of the attacks came in and followed the news into the night. There was a short time between the news of the attacks and the text message from my mother telling me they were shaken but unharmed. They were in their hotel room when they heard news of the attacks. Their hotel was about 10 minutes from the Bataclan and they had been near the restaurant that was bombed earlier.

They were at the end of their trip and spent the next day in a locked down Paris before facing the crowds at Charles de Gaulle airport and returning to the USA.

It’s been 24 hours of terror everyday since on the news. Details and updates and raids on terrorists. Female suicide bomber, France bombs ISIS, Russia bombs ISIS, yeah that “mastermind” blew up real good and they identified him by the stains on the wall, the US bombs ISIS and they got Jihadi John with a drone strike, and the Republicans want to stop the United States from taking in Syrian refugees, and the French like to sing Le Marseilles, and the Syrian passport was forged, and Iraq told the French about the attack before it happened, and there were bombings in Lebanon and Kenya, and Anonymous declares cyber war on ISIS, and there was a video threatening New York, and a police dog was killed, and there are many tributes and memorials, and people changed their facebook profile pic and there were hashtags…. and everyone is afraid.

I’m going to post the blog at this point. Sat, Nov 21 at 6pm pst. Just saw a news item on a twitter page created by Mashable “En Memoir” to honor the victims of the Paris attacks.

Eiffel tower fireworks on July 14th Bastille Day

Eiffel tower fireworks on July 14th Bastille Day

Justice for the Victims! Never Forget! Peace & Love!

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Chocolate Eclairs & Cream Puffs recipe

Chocolate Eclairs and Cream Puffs

Here’s a great recipe that I found online:

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Makes about 12 small eclairs or about 18 cream puffs

Dough
6 tbsp (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¾ cup water
¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs

Cream
4 large egg yolks
⅓ cup sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
One pinch kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 ½ cup heavy cream, divided
½ tsp almond extract
2 tbsp (¼ stick) unsalted butter

NOTE: ice cream, custard or chocolate mousse can be substituted for cream filling

Glaze
¾ cup heavy cream
½ tsp kosher salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1½ cups)
Toasted sliced almonds for topping

NOTE: Almonds are optional or top with any crushed nuts, sprinkles or other decorations

Instructions
1. Prepare dough: bring the butter, sugar, salt, and water to a simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon to encourage the butter to melt. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the flour, stirring constantly, until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring the dough occasionally. (You don’t want the eggs to scramble in the next step.)

2. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously between each addition with a wooden spoon. The dough will break apart and slide around in the pot before it comes back together. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pipe the dough into 3-inch lengths about 3 inches apart. (For cream puffs, drop the dough in 2-tablespoon scoops about 3 inches apart on the prepared sheets. )With damp fingertip, flatten any points. Preheat to 450°F and bake until deep golden brown and puffed, rotating the sheets halfway through, 22 to
 26 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

4. Prepare the cream: stir together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl.

5. In medium saucepan, bring the milk and 1 cup of the heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. Add a little bit of the warm milk mixture to the yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Repeat this process a few times until all of the milk mixture has been incorporated into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the pan.

6. Cook at medium-low heat, stirring constantly and making sure to get the edges, until the mixture begins to thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. (It’s helpful to have both a spatula and a whisk handy while making the custard. Switch between the two.) Let it come up to a very slow boil and cook for 1 minute more. Strain the custard through the sieve into a clean bowl, and stir in the butter and the almond extract. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream and refrigerate until cooled completely.

7. Prepare the glaze: bring the cream and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and salt. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute and then whisk to make a smooth sauce.

8. Whip remaining ½ cup cream to soft peaks. Whisk the cooled almond cream to loosen it, then fold in the whipped cream. Transfer the cream to a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip. Slice the top third off of each éclair and fill with cream. Dip the top of the top half in the glaze and replace it. (For cream puffs, insert the tip of the pastry bag into the bottom of each puff and fill. Dip the filled puffs in the glaze.) Top with almonds to serve.

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Happy Bastille Day!

Happy Bastille Day! Vive La France!

Vive La France! - French Flag

Vive La France! – The French Flag – Red White & Blue

The French National Day commemorates the Fête de la Fédération on 14 July 1790 and is celebrated on 14 July each year to commemorate the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille and the unity of the French Nation ending the French Revolution.

The Eiffel Tower 1944

The Eiffel Tower 1944 – U.S. Jeep – Spraeken ze Deutche?

In the United States over 50 cities conduct annual celebrations.

Want to know more? Visit France! http://www.france.fr/en.html

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The Eiffel Tower 1940

The Eiffel Tower 1940 – Remember when?

Think it can’t happen again?

TODAY! 14 JULY 2014 NEWS: Violent Anti-Jewish Riots Rock Paris!

An anti-Israel demonstration at the city’s Bastille Square quickly turned violent with protesters seeking out and attacking Jewish targets and screaming “death to the Jews” and “Hitler was right”…. Hundreds of Parisian Jews were trapped in a synagogue while rioters threw stones and bricks. The group was initially thought to be held hostage and was freed to leave the center only after police intervention at 9 p.m. A Jewish owned store on rue de la Roquette was trashed by 50 men with iron bars and a young man was hospitalized nearby, according to reports. Another synagogue in Paris was also attacked and a source told The Algemeiner that a similar demonstration in Marseille also turned violent.

http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/07/13/violent-anti-jewish-riots-rock-paris-activist-says-french-jews-are-in-serious-danger-video/

Today is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day! (and it’s also National Donut Day)

The 70th Anniversary of D-Day! Normandy, France – June 6, 1944

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It’s D-Day! Today is the 70th Anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy!

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Operation Overlord was the name assigned to the invasion of the Continent. The Normandy landing was the first phase, codenamed Operation Neptune, and the amphibious attack was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the Allied invasion of German-occupied western Europe, the establishment of a beachhead on the European continent, and it eventually led to the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II.

Map of Normandy Invasion Area

D-Day! A Military Map of the Normandy Invasion Area in France

Remember the Veterans of all our wars today.  

D-Day! View from inside a landing craft.

D-Day! Omaha Beach – June 6th, 1944 – View from inside a landing craft.

USA! The United States of America!

USA! The United States of America!

At Omaha Beach, part of the Mulberry Harbour B is still visible in the sea at Arromanches, a few beach obstacles remain, and the Longues-sur-Mer battery is nearby. A memorial to the American National Guard sits at the location of a former German strongpoint. Pointe du Hoc is little changed from 1944, with the terrain covered with bomb craters and most of the concrete bunkers still in place. The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is in Colleville-sur-Mer. Museums are located at Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, and Sainte-Mère-Église. Two German military cemeteries are also located nearby. The Juno Beach Centre, opened in 2003, was funded by the Canadian federal and provincial governments, France, and Canadian veterans. Pegasus Bridge, a target of the British 6th Airborne, was the site of some of the earliest action of the Normandy landings. The bridge was replaced in 1994 by one similar in appearance, and the original is now housed on the grounds of a nearby museum complex.

Beny-sur-Mer (Canadian) War Cemetery in Normandy, France

Beny-sur-Mer (Canadian) War Cemetery in Normandy, France

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It’s also National Donut Day!

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The first Friday of June each year is also 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 today!

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Randy's Donuts - a Los Angeles Landmark

Randy’s Donuts – a Los Angeles Landmark

It’s the Eiffel Tower’s Birthday!

The Eiffel Tower was dedicated and opened to the public on May 6, 1889.

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. It was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

The tower is the tallest structure in Paris at 1063 ft tall (about the same height as an 81 story building) and the most-visited paid monument in the world. 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011 and the tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010.

Eiffel tower fireworks on July 14th Bastille Day

The Eiffel Tower – Fireworks on July 14th Bastille Day

The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second. The third level observatory’s upper platform is 906 feet above the ground, the highest accessible to the public in the European Union. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or elevator to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. Although there are stairs to the third and highest level, these are usually closed to the public.

The Eiffel Tower 1944

The Eiffel Tower 1944 – The French Flag Flies Again!

 

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06-JUN-13: D-Day!

This day in History. Remember the Veterans of all our wars today. d_dayimage1   order-of-the-day

The Flag of the United States of America

The Flag of the United States of America

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