Free Lunch Friday at the new Karl Strauss Brewing Co. in DTLA!

FREE LUNCH at the new Karl Strauss Brewing Co. in Downtown Los Angeles! (DTLA)

We were invited via email to a FREE meal on Friday!

One of the best perks of writing this Blog is that occasionally we are invited to experience cool events for free! “Training Day” at the new Karl Strauss Brewing Co. which just opened at 600 Wilshire in DTLA was a good one. Normally we wouldn’t make the trip and deal with traffic and parking downtown for just a free lunch, but we already had an appointment at the LA Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Friday at 2pm! Bazinga!

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Free Lunch at the Karl Strauss Brewing Co. in DTLA

We had a reservation for noon and traffic was good up until Hollywood Blvd, then it was stop and go into downtown at 11am as usual… we called from the car and let them know we might be late. We found street parking at a meter, walked a couple of blocks, arrived at ten minutes past noon and we were immediately seated by the hosts.

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

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

As you can see from the pics, it was busy and a lot of folks were enjoying a free lunch. They had also invited people who work in the neighborhood to sample the menu gratis. The service was excellent! There were a lot of very friendly people working hard and they were obviously going full speed for “Training Day”. So, I’ll take my hat off to Management for having a well trained and motivated staff, and have no complaints and only compliments about the service.

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Free Lunch at the Karl Strauss Brewing Co. in DTLA

The “Training Day”Menu:

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

 

On The Menu: crispy brussel sprouts, salami/hard-boiled egg/cashews/apple plate, a Big Beer Burger with cheese and bacon, fries, an iced tea and a “Chocolate On Tap” (brownie/ice cream/whipped cream/chocolate and caramel sauce) for dessert!

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

 

NOTE: Traffic and Parking Sucks Downtown! We got lucky and after driving around downtown for awhile we found a meter a couple blocks from the restaurant. At $0.25 for every 5 minutes we paid for an hour and a half with quarters (the meters also take credit and debit cards for payment) and walked over for lunch. Use caution and always be aware when walking around Downtown Los Angeles, even during the day, because there have been numerous violent incidents involving the homeless, drug addicts and mentally ill individuals!

Karl Strauss Brewery & Restaurant600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100 (at Grand Av) Downtown Los Angeles

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Travel Answers: Los Angeles!

Travel Answers: Los Angeles! (from a previously saved draft)

These are Travel Answers about Los Angeles saved from another website:

Best views in Los Angeles?

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Downtown Los Angeles from up high!

Q: Best views in Los Angeles? We will be visiting LA and want to take in the views! Ocean views, city views..from restaurants, hotels, parks, etc. Where are the best places to take some photos in LA? Thanks!

A: Great views of Los Angeles day or night?

The Standard and Skybar on Sunset Blvd and the Rooftop Bars/Pool Decks at the London West Hollywood Hotel, Montage Beverly Hills and Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive all have great views along with cocktails and food.

Nice views of Downtown at WP24 from the 24th floor bar and 25th floor restaurant (the WP stands for Wolfgang Puck), both the Elevate Lounge and the Rooftop at The Standard Downtown LA have excellent views.

If you can get into City Club on Bunker Hill (a private club on the top of the Wells Fargo building) there’s a men’s restroom with the best view!

The Music Center plaza has great views of DTLA, Cityhall and the DWP Building. The dancing fountains, the PEACE statue, and the architecture of Disney Hall, the Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion provide great scenery.

There’s a picnic area at the top of the Hollywood Bowl that has great views and it’s open during the day as a city park. You might also catch a (free) rehearsal if it’s the musical season.

Visit the Getty Museum for amazing views and amazing art. FREE just pay $10 for parking. Open late on Fridays.

Take a slow drive along Mulholland Drive for great views of the San Fernando Valley and West L.A. day or night. There are numerous turnouts and vista points between Hayvenhurst and Runyon Canyon Park.

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The View of the San Fernando Valley from the Top O’ Topanga

Free things to do in Los Angeles?

Q: My girlfriend and I are traveling to LA for 6 days and we would like to know what free or cheap things there are to do in Los Angeles? We are kind of on a budget! We would also like to find out the best mode of transportation and areas to stay in!

A: “Cheap” thrills in L.A.? There’s so much stuff you can do that is free or “on the cheap” in Los Angeles! The Getty Museum is FREE, it cost $10-15 to park.

The Beaches in Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach are FREE, pay only for parking.

Griffith Park and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area have hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Parking and park fees vary. There are also many other places in L.A. for hiking, biking, picnicking, etc.

There are also any number of free public parks and other unique spaces to visit! Bergamot Station and The Brewery Artist Loftshave art galleries in addition to numerous other galleries throughout the city. Check and see if you’ll be in town for “FREE MUSEUM DAY” which varies by location, and some museums are always FREE, but alway encourage donations. The museums also have relatively inexpensive entry fees.

Visit the Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Pier, Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, NoHo Arts District, Universal CityWalk, Old Pasadena, Venice Beach Boardwalk, Hollywood and West Hollywood. No entrance fees. Pay for parking and other activities.

UCLA, USC – University of Southern California, Art Center College of Design, California Institute of the Arts and other colleges have museums, art galleries and events that are also worth looking into too.

See my other answers for more things to do in Los Angeles!

I recommend that you rent a car rather than uber/lyft/taxi/public transport if you want to see and do a lot while you’re here. You really need a car to navigate the city.

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Malibu Beach – Malibu, Los Angeles, California

Where is the walk of fame and how far is it from the airport in L.A.?

Q: This is my first time to LA and I was wondering where the walk of fame is and how far is it from the airport?

A: Where is the “Walk of Fame”? Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood!

The Walk of Fame runs from LaBrea to Gower and up Vine to the Capitol Records Building. You can see the stars’ hands and feet in concrete in the courtyard of (Grauman’s) Mann’s Chinese Theater, visit the Kodak Theatre and shop at Hollywood & Highland. Also in the immediate vicinity are Ripley’s, Madame Tussaud’s, Max Factor and the Hollywood Wax Museums. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the El Capitan Theatre and the Jimmy Kimmel Live studio/offices are just across the boulevard. There are also many restaurants, clubs, bars, retail and tourist gift shops in the neighborhood. The Musso and Frank Grill, Frolic Room, AVALON Hollywood (the old Hollywood Palace Theater), Pantages Theatre and The Egyptian Theatre are all very historic spots along the Walk of Fame.

How far is it from the airport?

Los Angeles International Airport in Inglewood is far away. And depending on the time of day, traffic and your chosen route, it can take 20 minutes or two hours. The LA Flyaway recently started a Hollywood Shuttle, but it’s timeliness because of traffic has been problematic.

Bob Hope Airport in Burbank is closer and the 170 and 101 freeways provide a direct route which can take 20 minutes or an hour depending on time of day, traffic or an event in Hollywood or at the Hollywood Bowl.

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Hollywood & Highland on the Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame

Best Steakhouse in Los Angeles?

Q: My first question would be about food! I’m searching for the best steakhouse that’s at par with CUT. Aside from Lawry’s, Morton’s, Mastro’s and Ruth Chris, do you know of any? Thanks in advance!

A: Great Steakhouse in Los Angeles? So many… here are a few:

BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood and Santa Monica

Craft in Century City (and CraftSteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas)

Le Sanglier in Tarzana, Larsen’s Steakhouse & Delmonico’s Steak and Lobster House in Encino and the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Arnie Morton’s The Steakhouse – Burbank and Woodland Hills

and the Côte de Boeuf at Mélisse is exceptional!

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Dinner Party at n/naka in West L.A. (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The typical great night in bars and then club in LA

Q: We’ll be a bunch of friends and we wanna experience the now famous ‘LA Style’ nightlife! So let us know, no restriction at all. Where could we start to drink? Then have a cool dinner? Then drink again? And finally be in a nightclub all night long? Or in a house? or swimming pool? or… I don’t know, you’re the one. Thanks!

A: So you want a great night bar/club hopping in Los Angeles? I suggest you pick the nightclub first depending on your taste in music, atmosphere and cost. Check the LA Weekly for listings and reviews.

Pick your location: Hollywood or Downtown Los Angeles, Silver Lake or Koreatown (Los Angeles), West Hollywood or Beverly Hills, Santa Monica or Culver City? Staying in one area is easier than trying to motor from place to place on a busy night.

There are any number of bars and restaurants in all of the locations, again depending on your taste in food and drinks, atmosphere and cost. Pick your restaurant, most have a bar or beverage service. Pick your poison, designer cocktails or craft beer, absinthe or single malt whiskey?

Cover charge, cost of drinks or bottle service, parking and tips add up quickly. Choose nearby bars and restaurants, within walking distance if possible, to avoid traffic, parking charges and/or a DUI. Designate a sober driver or get a limo. Choose a supper club where dining at the restaurant gets you admission to the club.

Contact local club promoters and restaurants and let them know you have a group party, and see what they’ll offer you! VIP treatment, free drinks, bottle service, and other perks can be negotiated with a large party. Make sure you have reservations and are “On the List” because waiting in line to get in sucks.

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Lucy’s 51 in Burbank (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Nice LA beach for swimming in July

Q: I will be staying in the Hollywood area for 5 days in July.  Any recommendations on a nice beach for swimming?  Thanks.

A: I recommend Zuma Beach and Malibu Beach north on Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica. There’s no beach close to Hollywood! Drive Sunset Boulevard from Hollywood to the Pacific Ocean and you’ll pass through West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills, UCLA, Brentwood Villageand the Pacific Palisades on your way. When you get to PCH turn right and head up the coast to Malibu. Avoid “rush hour” or you’ll get caught in heavy traffic!

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Malibu Beach – Malibu, Los Angeles, California

Bachelorette in LA

Q: Hi – I am looking for some advice on a killer bachelorette weekend in LA. 7 of us will be traveling together, and I would love recommendations on a good location, any bars or events, as well as hotels. At lot of us are from cities that provide accessible public transit – so if possible, we’d rather save on cab money and be in a central location. I’ve heard West Hollywood and Los Feliz are good neighborhoods. Has anyone had luck finding a hotel that accommodates a large party like ours? We would ideally like to spend about $1K for the two nights. One random note – the bachelorette really likes Harry Potter. Know of any “entertainers” that could accommodate? Thanks!

A: So you want a great Bachelorette weekend in Los Angeles? I suggest you pick the hotel and nightclubs first depending on your taste in music, atmosphere and cost. Talk to the Sales Manager at the Hotel to arrange a Group Rate! Check the LA Weekly for club listings and reviews.

Pick your location: Hollywood or Downtown Los Angeles, Silver Lake or Koreatown, or Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, or Culver City Staying in one area is easier than trying to motor from place to place on a busy night.

There are any number of hotels, bars and restaurants in all of the locations, again depending on your taste in food and drinks, atmosphere and cost. Pick your restaurant, most have a bar or beverage service. Pick your poison, designer cocktails or craft beer, absinthe or single malt whiskey?

Cover charge, cost of drinks or bottle service, parking and tips add up quickly. Choose nearby bars and restaurants, within walking distance if possible, to avoid traffic, parking charges and/or a DUI. Designate a sober driver or get a limo. Choose a supper club where dining at the restaurant gets you admission to the club.

Contact local club promoters and restaurants and let them know you have a group bachelorette party, and see what they’ll offer you! VIP treatment, free drinks, bottle service, and other perks can be negotiated with a large party. Make sure you have reservations and are “On the List” because waiting in line to get in sucks.

NOTE: Avoid going to Comedy Clubs, most hate bachelorette parties.

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The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

See my other Blogs with more answers about fun things to do in Los Angeles!

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Echo Park, Los Angeles, California

Renting a Car in Honolulu?

Renting a Car in Honolulu?

Will You Need A Rental Car in Hawaii?
Here’s a Q&A from a saved draft. This is a Travel Blog.
Sharing it now for #TravelTuesday!

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Waikiki Beach – Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Is there a difference in reserving a rental car here or when we land in Honolulu? Any rental companies you’d recommend or avoid?

A: Internet before you arrive!

Check each Rental Car Company WEBSITE for best deal! They run 24 hour cycles for car rentals, so if possible arrange your pickup and drop off in 24 hour increments. You can also get a deal on week long rental if you’ll be there that long. Also, you’ll get better rates away from the airport rental office (you won’t pay airport fees), so if they have another location rent from them. (they might even offer delivery to your hotel and you can usually get a free shuttle from the airport)

NOTE: Each company’s rates and availability vary wildly depending on what events are happening, the day of the week, the weather, “hotel block” specials and many other factors, so reserve ahead of time VIA TELEPHONE (not the internet) if possible and always get a confirmation number and the name, employee number and direct phone number of the employee you booked the reservation with.

AAA offers discounts, join the rental car company “customer card” loyalty program before searching for rates (they always offer upgrades and discounts) and check with the hotel for a package deal/discount or free rental! You probably don’t need additional insurance coverage, but check with your own car insurance company and make sure you are covered when driving a rental car in the destination location! If you have travel insurance, that may also cover you. Check and see if the resort fee at the hotel covers parking too.

They also may try to sell you GPS and additional upgrades, add-on services or amenities with your basic rental. Buyer beware! Do you need that GPS or can you just use your smartphone? It’s a lot of fun to have a convertible or a jeep, but how much more will it cost and how much driving will you really be doing on Oahu? Remember to figure the cost of fuel into your budget and the higher gas prices in Hawaii!

NOTE: Once you’ve found the best deal for a rental car, check and see about package deals/vacation companies that will save you money with a bundled “air-hotel-rental car” package or consult a travel advisor for additional service and a price quote.

Plan ahead! Make your reservation well in advance and watch for any specials that might be offered after you reserve (they’ll usually allow you to change to the lowest rate). Be sure to plan your connection from the airport to the rental car company location, most offer free shuttles, or you can arrange other transport. It’s always best to do your research and make your arrangements and reservations prior to arrival.

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Duke Kahanamoku Statue on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Travel Answers: Las Vegas!

Travel Answers: Las Vegas!

NOTE: These answers were originally posted on another site, and some may have been posted in previous blogs. I am posting them again here for easy access for my readers.

Welcome to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Welcome to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Free Stuff to do in Vegas?

Q: Are there free things to do in Vegas?

A: Lots of Free Things to do in Las Vegas!

Walk the The Strip and the Fremont Street Experience downtown. Lots of “Only in Las Vegas” things to see day or night!

Visit Circus Circus Hotel & Casino (great for kids).

Watch the Fountains of Bellagio (and visit the Bellagio Gardens) and catch the Volcano eruption at The Mirage. Walk around the The Venetian, the MGM Grand Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan or any of the other large resorts.

Most of the Casino lounges still have live entertainment. The Carnaval Court at Harrah’s is happening. The Rio Hotel & Casino has live music in the Masquerade Bar on Friday and Saturdays.

Art and architecture at City Center, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign, Wildlife habitat (flamingos) at the Flamingo Las Vegas, Auto collection at The Quad Resort & Casino (get free tickets on the website), the Downtown Container Park giant treehouse, and visit the Ethel M Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden.

Window shop at Forum Shops at Caesars, The Grand Canal Shoppes or the Fashion Show mall.

Visit the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon or The Valley of Fire.


ACES! Video Poker at the MGM Grand Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

4 ACES! Video Poker Win! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Best tips and casinos for first time gambler?

Q: First trip to Vegas, and I have some money set aside to gamble. I’m fairly new to gambling, so what’s a good overall strategy for a first timer? Best casino’s and games to play? Any tips to help my luck? Thanks!

A: Most of the Casinos in Las Vegas have programs where they will teach you how to play the table games and basic strategy. Just ask at the “Player’s Card” desk and always get a Player’s Card at the casino to earn “Comps” and other freebies while gambling.

Read a few good books, watch a DVD or two, go online and learn from the pros via youtube, etc. before you go!

Craps!

Craps!

Best games to play: Blackjack, Craps and Baccarat have the best odds for the player with basic strategy. Keno, Slots and Video Poker will give you the longest play for your money. Again read a book or watch a tutorial to learn about finding the best odds on the games!

Worst games to play: Roulette, Spin the Wheel/Wheel of Fortune and all the other weird table games. And any game where you don’t know the rules, basic strategy and the odds against you.

Best advice for the first time gambler: set a budget for how much you are willing and can afford to lose! Leave your ATM card at home and win or lose just have fun. (Losing sucks)

NOTE: The Big Las Vegas Strip casinos require larger minimum bets for table games, and the table minimum will increase depending on time/day/crowd/event. Find lower table minimums Downtown on Fremont Street and at the smaller “off-strip” casinos. Your money and your play time will last longer!

The Race & Sports Book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

The Race & Sports Book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

GOOD LUCK!


Las Vegas Blvd "The Strip" at night

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Birthday weekend in Vegas- where to stay?

Q: My friends and I going to Vegas for my birthday over Labor Day weekend! We need a place to stay that isn’t outrageously expensive, but has a lot going on. We’d like to stay in a hotel that has daytime pool parties. There are 5 of us and we’re open to getting two rooms or a suite, if it’s worth it. Any suggestions?

A: Las Vegas on Labor Day Weekend?

Try The Cromwell, the newest boutique hotel on the strip. It used to be Wild Bill’s and before that it was the Barbary Coast. Located center strip at Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd. Drai’s is located in the hotel, so you get your choice of pool party, club night or after-hours. Hotel guests get VIP line access.

Just fully renovated! Everything is fresh and new.

Las Vegas Blvd "The Strip" at night

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

You’re across Las Vegas Blvd from Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino and The Mirage Hotel & Casino and the volcano. Next door to Harrah’s Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino, The Quad Resort & Casino soon to be renamed The LINQ after the giant ferris wheel. Across Flamingo is Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, Paris Hotel And Casino, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the Bellagio Hotel and fountain, and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

There’s lots to see and do within “walking distance”, which will save you on cab fare and waiting. Great restaurants, spas, clubs, shows and other diversions at any of the above resorts. you can also access the monorail at Bally’s or the Flamingo.

Las Vegas Blvd "The Strip" at night - The Flamingo

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Flamingo

Make reservations in advance (and do it by telephone rather than online and always get the name of the person you talk to!) because everything will be crowded!

NOTE: Bring sneakers for walking and then switch to heels when you arrive at your destination. Use a Big purse and plastic bag.

Avoid the MGM, it’s too big and the service is only ok.


Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

The Bar at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Bachelor party venues

Q: One of my best buddies is getting married next year and as a groomsman, I’ve been tasked being one of the organizers for his bachelor party.  Here’s the thing: none of us groomsman are really party animals, so we really have no idea where to start, but we just know that we want our buddy to have a good time and that we want to go to Vegas, just for the experience. Any ideas on which venues to start looking at and/or bachelor party-type activities?

A: Bachelor Party in Las Vegas! Do you want the full blown “Hangover, part 4” or just a good time?

First, how many people will be attending? Do you have hotel reservations? Do you want to have dinner, go clubbing, go drinking, go strip clubbing, hit an ultra-lounge or three, see a show, do some gambling, ride a roller coaster, or maybe shoot automatic weapons?

Or do you want to really get wild?

You can get a nice package deal with the hotels if you have a large group (sometimes, all you need is a block of five rooms). Hotel rooms, dinner, and entertainment can all be arranged, contact the group sales manager.

Rent a limo or party bus if you want to travel around, beyond walking distance. There are companies that can arrange the whole evening, just know that they are probably getting “kickbacks” from the party venues. NOTE: Be sure to shop around, negotiate for the best deal and extras, and always check safety and consumer reports before booking with any company!

You are on your own for strippers, escorts & hookers.

Good luck and be safe.


Las Vegas Blvd "The Strip" at night

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

All photos copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 JoshWillTravel

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Las Vegas Blvd "The Strip" at night

“Vegas Baby! Vegas!” Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

 

 

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

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LARGER PHOTOS

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.

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LARGER PHOTOS

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.

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Where is the Best Place to see 4th of July Fireworks in Los Angeles? 2015

Q: Where’s the Best Place to see Fourth of July Fireworks in Los Angeles?

A: Here’s my short list of Independence Day events for 2015:


Grand Park BLOCK PARTY!  July 4, 2015 >>> 3:00 pm – 9:30 pm

200 North Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90012

FREE!  www.grandparkla.org #GO4THDTLA

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

From the Grand Park website:

LOS ANGELES! Grand Park is the place to celebrate together with music, food, and an incredible fireworks display launched from the civic center skyline. Grab the best friends, the whole family, and main squeezes and enjoy a bit of togetherness under the beautiful Angeleno sky. **Safety for everyone is número uno. Please read all event info to know what to bring and what to leave at home:**

PICNIC and OUTSIDE FOOD is welcome. SIZE OF BAGS AND BACKPACKS/TOTES and COOLERS must be standard backpack size or smaller (16.75 inches x 13 inches x 8.5 inches). NO OUTSIDE BEVERAGES including juice and soda. ONLY EMPTY (non glass) WATER BOTTLES allowed. FREE WATER FILLING STATIONS will be available in the event space, provided by LADWP, in addition to several booths with water for sale. HANDHELD UMBRELLAS allowed, no tents, large umbrellas or anything that spikes into the ground

NOTE: This will be an alcohol-free event: no beer garden or point of purchase / no outside alcohol permitted in event space. All bags will be checked.

SCHEDULE: Doors open at 3pm for early birds (no prior admittance). Rooftop fireworks show at 9pm. Event ends at 9:30pm. 

FIREWORKS!  HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

FIREWORKS! HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

PLEASE LEAVE AT HOME: Grilling gear, alcohol, narcotics, fireworks, sparklers, candles, large coolers (handheld coolers OK but subject to search), lawn furniture including low folding chairs, tents, lawn umbrellas or sun umbrellas (handheld umbrellas OK) or anything that spikes into the ground or would obstruct views of stages.

THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES ARE PROHIBITED: Public Intoxication / Rollerblading / Skateboarding / Smoking / Vaping / Unauthorized Vending / Aggressive Solicitation / Staking Objects to Ground

Grand Park is an LA County park powered by The Music Center. 

http://grandparkla.org/event/4th-of-july-block-party/



The Rose Bowl Stadium and outside the Rose Bowl – Pay to see the 89th Annual “Americafest” show inside, pay for parking to see the fireworks show from the outside. It’s the biggest and longest running 4th of July party in the L.A. area.

Join in celebrating our nation’s independence with the 89th Annual Fourth of July Celebration at AMERICAFEST! The largest fireworks show in Southern California! 

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

2 PM: Festival begins outside the stadium (parking lots open at 9am)

There will be food vendors, entertainment, crafts, exhibits and inflatable rides for the kids outside the stadium starting at 2 pm and closing following the fireworks. Fanfest is located in Area H southeast of the Rose Bowl marquee sign.

Live Motorcycle Stunts by TNT Action Sports

Celebrating, “The 50th Anniversary of when Elvis Met the Beatles in Los Angeles”

9 PM: Fireworks Spectacular! produced by Pyrospectaculars by Souza

In celebration of the upcoming Universal Pictures “Minions” movie there will be a viewing of “Despicable Me 2” on the videoboard directly following the fireworks.

General Admission $13 Reserved Seating $25 TicketMaster 800-745-3000

General Admission children 5 years and under will be admitted free. Reserved Seating children 2 years and under require a ticket in these sections.

Day of event tickets will be available 10am– 9pm at the ticket booth at Gate B. Before 2pm guests may park in Lot B at no charge for 15 minutes to purchase tickets and leave or they can pay to park in any general parking lot and remain. After 2pm guests will be required to pay to park in general parking as directed to purchase tickets. After 2pm there are no in-and-out privileges.

Active military who present a valid Military ID will gain free admittance (up to 4 per family). Tickets can be obtained from the ticket booth at Gate B beginning at 3pm on July 4th only. Veterans who present a valid Military ID will gain free admittance (1 ticket only). Tickets can be obtained from the ticket booth at Gate B beginning at 3pm on July 4th only.

Parking is $25 per car payable at the parking lots. Advanced parking for $20 per car will be available at the Rose Bowl Will Call Booth by Gate B beginning Sunday, June 28; hours-10am to 5pm; everyday through July 3.

Parking lots will open to the general public starting at 9am on July 4. Guests will be directed to the closest available lot.

For your safety and the enjoyment of all, we ask that you please help by observing the tailgating guidelines. (READ THE RULES!)

Pasadena Police and Pasadena Fire Departments will be patrolling the lots. There is a zero tolerance policy regarding illegal fireworks.

A shuttle from Old Town Pasadena will NOT be in operation this day.

http://www.rosebowlstadium.com/events/detail/americafest-1



3-Day July 4th Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl

FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 4th of July!

FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 4th of July!

Smokey Robinson, the King of Motown will be headlining the three-day Independence Day celebration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a Fireworks Spectacular each night at the Hollywood landmark. July 2-4th, 7:30pm $15-$250 + fee

www.hollywoodbowl.com



Marina del Rey Fireworks 9:00pm

Celebrate the 4th of July in Marina del Rey with a spectacular fireworks show over the water! Fireworks are shot from a barge across the Marina’s main channel, lighting up the night sky and water below. The show begins at 9 pm and lasts approximately 20 minutes.

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

Depending upon weather and cloud cover on the night of the show, the fireworks can usually be seen throughout the marina, and from the waterfront side of most hotels, restaurants, beaches, apartments and anchorages. Popular viewing locations include:

Fisherman’s Village, 13755 Fiji Way (2 blocks west of Lincoln Blvd.)
Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way (1 block west of Admiralty Way)
**This location will have speakers set-up near the Helmsman statue, allowing spectators to watch the display and  listen to synchronized music 
Marina Beach (Mother’s Beach) 4101 Admiralty Way (1 block south of Washington Blvd.)

Parking
Come early! There is no on-street parking inside Marina del Rey. Parking is available in 14 self-pay public lots. Park early because most public parking spaces are filled by 6pm!

The Marina del Rey Visitors Center (at the corner of Mindanao & Admiralty) will also be open from 10am – 4pm with festive giveaways like complimentary flags , red & blue bead necklaces, and other items to celebrate the 4th!

http://www.visitmarinadelrey.com/events/4th-of-july



Santa Monica 4th of July Parade 

July 4, 2015 – Parade starts at 9:30am

This year’s theme: Inspirational Heroes!

Main Street from Pico Blvd, turning on Marine to the beach in Downtown Santa Monica

The entire stretch of Main Street in Santa Monica will be closed. http://www.opa-sm.org

The Flag of the United States of America

The Flag of the United States of America


The annual Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach  July 4, the 2015

Pre-Judging begins at 10am, Finals at 1pm

Sign up the morning of the competition. No Late Fee! Registration is 7am – 9:30am.

Muscle Beach – 1800 Ocean Front Walk, between Navy Street and Washington Boulevard, at the Venice Recreation Center in Venice, California.

Bodybuilding.com presents the Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach, Saturday July 4, 2015. Hosted by Profight Supplements. BB, Figure, Bikini, Men & Women’s Physique, Couples (Mixed Pairs). Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach features men and women amateur athletes competing in a muscle and fitness competition. Categories include figure, bodybuilding, women’s physique, and men’s physique.

FREE and OPEN to the public. All are welcome!

http://www.musclebeachvenice.com



“Top Gun” + Fireworks! Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Gates open at 7:15pm, Screening at 9pm, Fireworks to follow!

Admission $25 (SOLD OUT!)

6000 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood

http://cinespia.org/event/top-gun/

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!



There are many good options for the 4th of July in L.A., and there are many other smaller celebrations, both public and private events, happening all over Southern California. Check the local listings! LA Weekly, LAist, LA Times & google.

The Queen Mary and Disneyland have special events and extra-special fireworks for the holiday. Disneyland has special fireworks all week long!

Disneyland Fireworks!

Disneyland Fireworks!

The Dodgers are playing the Mets at Dodger Stadium at 4:15pm with Fireworks after the game, but we are BOYCOTTING the Dodgers until we can watch the games on television.

BOYCOTT THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS AND TIME WARNER CABLE!

Read the Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1qL


Happening the weekend before:

Celebrate America!

Saturday June 27 at 5pm – Corsair Stadium​ at Santa Monica Community College

SMC’s Independence Day Celebration, the biggest, most sensational patriotic community event on the Westside! Bring your family and friends to SMC for a star-spangled salute to our nation’s independence. Come early, picnic on the lawn, enjoy continuous entertainment and special exhibits (with plenty of refreshments available for purchase), and cap off the evening with a spectacular fireworks salute to America.
Celebrate America 2015 Flyer

Celebrate America – June 27th, 2015 at Corsair Field at Santa Monica Community College

http://www.smc.edu/ACG/Marketing/Events/Pages/Special-Events.aspx


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The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon

Ashland, Oregon Visitor's Map

Ashland, Oregon – Visitor’s Map

Founded in 1935, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a not-for-profit professional theatre company located in the City of Ashland in southern Oregon. The performance season runs  ten months of the year, from February through early November.

The OSF’s Mission Statement:
“Inspired by Shakespeare’s work and the cultural richness of the United States, we reveal our collective humanity through illuminating interpretations of new and classic plays, deepened by the kaleidoscope of rotating repertory.”

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The OSF season features eleven works by William Shakespeare and by other classic writers, as well as modern and contemporary work and original world premieres. Plays are performed in three theatres: two indoor stages, the Angus Bowmer Theatre and the Thomas Theatre, and the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Green Show & Angus Bowmer Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Green Show presents FREE performances on an outdoor stage in the courtyard by visiting acts before the evening shows (outdoor performances run from early June to mid-October). Backstage tours, park talks, lectures, classes, workshops, pre and post-show conversations, community and special events are also available for visitors.

The Green Show! FREE Performances before the evening show June-October

The Green Show! FREE Performances before the evening show June-October

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Allen Elizabethan Stage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The OSF welcomes everyone and believes the inclusion of diverse people, ideas, cultures and traditions enriches both insights into the work presented on stage and in our relationships with each other. They are committed to diversity!

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Thomas Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

2015 Season: Much Ado About Nothing, Pericles, Anthony & Cleopatra, Long Days Journey Into Night, Guys & Dolls, The Count of Monte Cristo, Fingersmith, Head Over Heels, Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, Sweat, and The Happiest Song Plays Last

2016 Season: Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Richard II, Timon of Athens, Great Expectations, Roe, The Winter’s Tale, The Wiz, The River Bride, The Yeoman of The Guard and Vietgone,  

Detailed Information and Tickets are available on the OSF website at http://www.osfashland.org

Visit our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/theatreinashland for more about Ashland!

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Allen Elizabethan Theatre at OSF from Lithia Park (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

What’s your favorite Shakespeare play?

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Lots of Free Things to do in Las Vegas!

Lots of Free Things to do in Las Vegas!

4f8d874fe4b067794ba2b3bf_pm9

Walk the The Strip and the Fremont Street Experience downtown. Lots of “Only in Las Vegas” things to see day or night!

Visit Circus Circus Hotel & Casino (great for kids).

Watch the Fountains of Bellagio (and visit the Bellagio Gardens) and catch the Volcano eruption at The Mirage. Walk around the The Venetian, the MGM Grand Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan or any of the other large resorts.

Most of the Casino lounges still have live entertainment. The Carnaval Court at Harrah’s is happening. The Rio Hotel & Casino has live music in the Masquerade Bar on Friday and Saturdays.

Art and architecture at City Center, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign, Wildlife habitat (flamingos) at the Flamingo Las Vegas, Auto collection at The Quad Resort & Casino (get free tickets on the website), the Downtown Container Park giant treehouse, and visit the Ethel M Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden.

Window shop at Forum Shops at Caesars, The Grand Canal Shoppes or the Fashion Show mall.

Visit the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon or The Valley of Fire.

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Best Place to See Fourth of July Fireworks in Los Angeles?

NOTE: Independence Day is only two weeks away!

Q: Where is the best place to see Fourth of July fireworks in Los Angeles?

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

A: July 4, 2014 – Independence Day Fireworks in Los Angeles

Grand Park BLOCK PARTY! Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90012

COST: FREE! 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm    www.grandparkla.org

From the Grand Park website: “Launching the biggest rooftop fireworks display in DTLA and expanding festivities from Temple to Second Streets, Grand Park’s 4th of July Block Party is bigger, better and FREE FOR ALL!

NOTE: Doors open at 1pm for early birds. Entertainment begins at 4pm. Prepared food picnics encouraged in the park. Grilling & cooking prohibited. Visitors may not bring alcoholic beverages into the event.” (but they’ll have some for sale I’m sure)

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

The Rose Bowl Stadium and outside the Rose Bowl – Pay to see the 88th Annual “Americafest” show inside, pay for parking to see the fireworks show from the outside. It’s the biggest and longest running party in the L.A. Area.

2 PM: The 1st annual America’s BBQ & Brews Festival begins outside the stadium. This 2-day event showcases 200 vendor barbeque competitors from all over the U.S along with national and local Breweries presenting over 55+ brands of beer and wine. 7 PM: Live motorcycle stunts and musical performance by Liverpool Legends, the Ultimate Beatles Experience.

9 PM: The largest fireworks show in Southern California by Pyrospectaculars by Souza http://www.rosebowlstadium.com/events/detail/americafest

3-Day July 4th Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl – Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers will be headlining the three-day Independence Day celebration with fireworks each night at the Hollywood landmark. July 2-4th, 7:30 pm $15-$243 + fee www.hollywoodbowl.com

FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 4th of July!

FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 4th of July!

Santa Monica Pier and Marina Del Rey

Celebrate America – Sat., June 26 5pm at Santa Monica College Corsair Field – Fireworks salute to America and our nation’s independence. Call (310) 434-3005.

4th of July Parade 9:30-11:30am Main Street – The entire stretch of Main Street in Santa Monica will be closed. After the parade there will be a refreshment area at Ocean View Park, including one band that will continue to play until noon. Call (310) 564-1968

Marina del Rey Fireworks 9:00pm Burton Chace Park & Fisherman’s Village – Fireworks shot over the Marina’s main channel. Park early most public spaces are filled by 6pm.

So there are five good options for the 4th of July in L.A., but there are many other smaller celebrations, both public and private events, happening all over Southern California. Check the local listings! LA Weekly, LAist, LA Times & google.

The Queen Mary and Disneyland both have special events and extra-special fireworks for the holiday. Disneyland has special fireworks all week long!

Disneyland Fireworks!

Disneyland Fireworks!

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FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!