Fruit! Fruit! Fruit!

Fruit! Fruit! Fruit! (and it’s good for you too)
All these “Still Life” fruit photos taken by JoshWillTravel

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Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group.
Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen or dried and whole, cut-up or pureed.

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 “How do ya like them apples?” (An expression of gloating when someone turns the tables on someone else, the phrase originated in World War I with the “Toffee Apple” trench mortar used by British troops, in the 1959 film Rio Bravo a guy tosses a hand grenade and says the line, and it is used again famously in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting)

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“You Talkin’ To Me?” – Banana DeNiro

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“Is that a banana in your pocket?
Or are you just happy to see me?” – Mae West
(usually said when it appears someone has a boner to embarrass and draw attention to them)

 

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Baking Banana Bread pt 1 – Recipe, Instruction & Prep:
Baking Banana Bread pt 2 – “The Banana Bread is Baked”:

Mrs Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread recipe (live on Periscope, and now on YouTube)

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Mrs. Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread!

Here is Mrs. Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread Recipe!
Right Click “Open In New Window” for the Recipe Blog>
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1DR

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“Who wants an orange whip?
Orange whip? Orange whip?
Three orange whips.” 
– John Candy in “The Blues Brothers”

“Everyone should wake up and have a fresh-squeezed orange every day. By having a fresh glass of orange juice with American oranges, you are supporting the local economy, you have all the vitamin C you need in a day, and you support the environment because you don’t use any plastic from bottles or bags.” – Jose Andres

 

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“The Trunk, Leaves, and Flowers of this Tree, very much resemble
those of the Orange-tree.
The Fruit, when ripe, is something longer and larger than the largest
Orange; and exceeds, in the Delicacy of its Taste, the Fruit of every
Tree in this or any of our neighbouring Islands.
It hath somewhat of the Taste of a Shaddock; but far exceeds that, as
well as the best Orange, in its delicious Taste and Flavour.”

—Description from Rev. Griffith Hughes’ 1750 Natural History of Barbados.

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The grapefruit is a subtropical citrus tree known for its sour to semi-sweet fruit. Grapefruit is a hybrid from Barbados (an accidental cross between two species, sweet orange and pomelo, both were introduced from Asia in the seventeenth century). The grapefruit’s name alludes to clusters of the fruit on the tree, which often appear similar to grapes, but it was known as the shaddock or shattuck until the 19th century. Further crosses have produced the tangelo (1905), the Minneola tangelo (1931), and the oroblanco (1984). Varieties of Texas and Florida grapefruit include: Oro Blanco, Ruby Red, Pink, Thompson, White Marsh, Flame, Star Ruby, Duncan, and Pummelo HB.

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“A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin;
what else does a man need to be happy?”
– Albert Einstein

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Tangerine, she is all they claim
With her eyes of night and lips as bright as flame
Tangerine, when she dances by, senoritas stare and caballeros sigh
And I’ve seen toasts to Tangerine
Raised in every bar across the Argentine
Yes, she has them all on the run, but her heart belongs to just one
Her heart belongs to Tangerine
Tangerine, she is all they say
With mascara’d eye and chapeaux by Dache.
Tangerine, with her lips of flame
If the color keeps, Louis Philippe’s to blame.
And I’ve seen clothes on Tangerine
Where the label says “From Macy’s Mezzanine”.
Yes, she’s got the guys in a whirl, but she’s only fooling one girl
She’s only fooling Tangerine!
“Tangerine” by  Johnny Mercer & Victor Schertzinger (1941)

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“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” – Moliere

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Fruit Juices, Canned Goods & Apple Cider Vinegar

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

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“You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.”
– Will Rogers

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“Life is just a bowl of cherries…”
Definition of “life is just a bowl of cherries” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus: something that you say that means that life is very pleasant. This phrase is often used humorously to mean the opposite.

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“Life is just a bowl of cherries/Don’t take it serious; it’s too mysterious
You work, you save, you worry so/But you can’t take your dough when you go, go, go
So keep repeating it’s the berries/The strongest oak must fall
The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned
So how can you lose what you’ve never owned?
Life is just a bowl of cherries/So live and laugh at it all”
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Fruit Stand at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

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Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake

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Homemade Jelly Donuts

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“I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill,
On Blueberry Hill when I found you.” – Fats Domino

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The strawberry fruit was mentioned in ancient Roman literature in reference to its medicinal use. The garden strawberry was first bred in the 1750s in Brittany, France, via a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America and Fragaria chiloensis, which was brought from Chile in 1714.

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Fresh Strawberry Donuts from The Donut Man!

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Berry Panna Cotta & Berry Sorbet

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Strawberry Margarita at El Torito

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Mango Chutney

 

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Fruit Compote for Thanksgiving

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Fruit Stand at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

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Angel food shortcake w/buttercream, fruit& almond slices

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“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” ― Elbert Hubbard (a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune)

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Drink – Frozen Mango Lemonade

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Fresh made raspberry lemonade

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The Cranberries are an Irish rock band who formed in Limerick, Ireland in 1989.
The band consists of vocalist Dolores O’Riordan and three other guys.

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Life is Just a Bowl of Kumquats.

 

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AVOCADO?
Fruit or Vegetable?

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And what about Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Corn?
(“that keep us on growing once we have been born”)

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“Mine’s bigger. My cucumber. It’s bigger. I think vegetables (fruits) can be very sensuous, don’t you?” – Eric “Otter” Stratton in “Animal House”

ALL PHOTOS COPYRIGHT 2017 JoshWillTravel (yes, we took them all)

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And what about the Pumpkin?

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NOTE: This Blog is still UNDER CONSTRUCTION!

Wednesday Night Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

Wednesday Night Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

We went to my favorite sushi place: Sushi Ichiban Kan

Sushi Time!

Our friend Master Sushi Chef Hiro-san previously owned Sushi Hirosuke in Encino and Kabuki Sushi in Northridge, and now he operates Sushi Ichiban Kan, located on Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills (actually it’s in Tarzana between Corbin and Winnetka).

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

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

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

The dining room is large, spacious and warm. The sushi bar has about 14 seats. There is a waiting area/lobby by the front door and host desk. Street parking (metered 8am-8pm) and free parking in a small lot off the alley in the rear is available.

Sushi Bar or Table? In addition to the regular menu, they have Monthly and Daily Specials, a Special Roll Menu and a Sushi Menu. They also do food “to go” and catering for parties.

Beer, wine and (hot & cold) sake are available with lunch or dinner.

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

ON THE MENU: Spicy tuna & spicy yellowtail cut rolls, baked scallop California roll, yellowtail-albacore-freshwater eel sushi, an order of “volcano”, a nigiri (mixed) sushi plate: albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, octopus, shrimp, tomago (egg), California roll, tuna and cucumber cut rolls and a coke.

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Nigiri (mixed) sushi plate: albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, octopus, shrimp, tomago (egg), California roll, tuna and cucumber cut rolls

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!

My opinion is that this is the best sushi place in the San Fernando Valley and one of the best in Los Angeles. Hiro-san is a Master Chef and he gets the choice fish at the market. Everything they serve is wonderful, flavorful and super-fresh! It’s a little more expensive than most of the sushi restaurants in the valley, but it’s less expensive than most of the Westside and Hollywood places, and better quality than almost all others.

Sushi Ichiban Kan19723 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364
818-883-8288 http://www.sushiichiban-kan.com

NOTE: There are previous Blogs about Sushi Ichiban Kan (with more pics)
SEARCH: Sushi Ichiban Kan (Search Box at the top of the page) ^^^^^^^^^^^^

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Sushi Ichiban Kan

 

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon (Upstairs in the old Alex’s restaurant space)

Change is necessary and inevitable. And for restaurants and bars in Ashland, change is a common occurrence. And so it goes, say goodbye to Alex’s and hello to the Brickroom!

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – Upstairs!

Exposed red brick walls give this place it’s name, the wood floor and furniture with the granite bar and a lot of lights, give this place a clean and comfortable decor.

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – A stage for performances in the corner

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – full coffee service

I wandered in around 9:30pm on a Tuesday evening. Things were pretty quiet and there was a small crowd at the bar. The end of the Dodgers’ game was on television and the Dodgers were winning (oh, the irony).

BOYCOTT THE DODGERS AND CHARTER/TIME WARNER CABLE!

Read the Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1qL (Right Click and Open in New Window)

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – full bar with “top shelf” liquors

I ordered a “Stoli rocks with a couple splashes of pineapple juice” and then ordered a small basket of fries to soak up the alcohol.

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – cocktail $6.50

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – Fries $2.50

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – bowl of fresh fruit on the bar added “a touch of class”

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – fresh fruit on the bar

The small crowd was lively but not unruly and everyone was having a good time.

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – a nice and friendly Ashland crowd at the bar

I enjoyed being able to walk in and find a seat at the end of the bar. I’m told they have live music, and that the place gets crowded on the weekend or when they have a good band.

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – more seating/dining in a quiet corner past the bar

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – red brick walls, lounge space and a cozy fireplace

I stayed long enough (about an hour) to sip my drink, eat the fries and check out the new joint on the Plaza. It’s a nice place, not a dive bar, and it has a friendly vibe. The food and drink are reasonably priced, they have a good menu and non-alcoholic drink options. The drink was potent, the fries were terrific and the service was good.

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – Cocktail point-of-view

There is also an outside patio upstairs on the backside of the building on Guanajuato Lane, a pedestrian walkway along Ashland Creek. It has awnings for shade and a nice view of the water and green landscape of Ashland Creek Park.

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – Upstairs to the Back Patio!

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom in Ashland Oregon – Upstairs Back Patio on Guanajuato Lane & Ashland Creek

Guanajuato Lane on Ashland Creek in Ashland Oregon

The Brickroom upstairs patio on Guanajuato Lane on Ashland Creek in Ashland Oregon

A very nice addition to the drinking, dining and entertainment options on the Plaza!

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel.

Brickroom – 35 N. Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520 – (541)708-6030 http://www.brickroomashland.com

NOTE: OPEN FOR BRICKFAST! 8am-2pm daily, LUNCH 11am-4pm & DINNER!

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Saturday Farmer’s Market & Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday morning in Ashland! Farmer’s market downtown on Oak Street between Lithia and Main. Unfortunately, I got there late and the market was closing. I did get some good pics, but didn’t get to shop at all…

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon

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Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Beeswax candles

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Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Beeswax candles and fresh honey

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Fruit Preserves and Jams!

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Flowers and Floral Bouquets

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Plants and Flowers

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Fry Family Farm Certified Organic!

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Organic Spoons.

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Fresh Organic Honey

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Rising Moon Farm Organic

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Rising Moon Farm Organic

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Herbs, nuts and spices

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Herb, nuts and spices

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Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Herb, nuts and spices

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Plants

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Meat and farm fresh eggs

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Meat

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Salt

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Pickled Planet

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Plants and Flowers

Saturday Farmer's Market in Ashland, Oregon

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Ashland, Oregon – Flowers

Anti-GMO Protest on the Plaza

I love Ashland! Around the corner from the Farmer’s Market on the Plaza, there was an Anti-GMO protest in progress. I definitely had to check it out.

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon

There was an angry Hippie in overalls with a guitar yelling into the “open” microphone:

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon – Angry Hippie!

There were 15 groups represented and information tables with sign up sheets, petitions, and stuff for sale (donations). Lots of people were gathered both as participants and spectators. It was very reminiscent of Santa Cruz in the 1980’s.

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon

Anti-GMO Protest on the Plaza in Ashland, Oregon

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon

Anti-GMO Protest in Ashland, Oregon – Love this shot.

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel.

More pics of the Ashland Saturday Farmer’s Market (from previous blog):

“Road Trip pt. 5” – http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1nY

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FOODGASM! OMG Dinner Party at n/naka!

FOODGASM! OMG Dinner Party at n/naka!

One of the most amazing meals I’ve ever eaten. We did the full 13 course dinner with wine and sake pairings. Each dish was a work of art both visually and culinary! BRAVA! BRAVA!

There’s no sign, just the address, on the front of the restaurant. Located on Overland between National and Palms, they have street parking (when available) and valet parking for $7 behind the building.

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE LARGER IMAGE OF PICS!

N/Naka - 3455 Overland Ave, in Palms (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

n/naka – 3455 Overland Ave, Palms, L.A. (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Inside, the space is clean, quiet and intimate. The focus is all about the fine food and drink.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The episodic documentary “Chef’s Table” recently released on Netflix features Chef Niki Nakayama “applying the artistic and technical notions of kaiseki to create an ever-evolving seasonal narrative within each meal.”

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chef Niki Nakayama began her career at Takao. She previously owned Azami Sushi Cafe and Inaka, before opening n/naka four years ago.

“Through a meaningful balance of both traditional and modern techniques, Chef Niki Nakayama is committed to creating a meal that will engage your attention. It’s about enjoying the moment, the current offerings of the season, and ultimately, the food in front of you.”

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n/naka’s Sous Chef and Chef Niki Nakayama prepare fresh uni.

Modern Kaiseki ($165 thirteen course – $85 optional wine pairing) per person

A deep exploration of traditional Kaiseki service with modern accents in technique and flavor pairings. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course meal consisting of a sequence of dishes, each often small and artistically arranged. It’s a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food. It also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals.

There is also a vegetarian menu available for $150, but they are not vegan. Ingredients vary based on season and everything is organic and “farm to table” fresh.  Each menu is planned specifically. Guests are consulted on their “Likes & Dislikes” and the menu is confirmed a few days before the reservation.

I’ve been anticipating this dinner since the reservation was confirmed. I watched the “Chef’s Table” episode on Netflix and visited the restaurant’s website. I read the numerous rave reviews and recent interviews with Chef Nakayama regarding her philosophy, style, training and success. After all the hype, I was not disappointed in the least, it was a true “foodie experience”!

The reservation was for Saturday night at 5:30pm (the early seating) and I arrived early, found street parking and waited for the rest of the party to arrive and the restaurant door to open. We were the first guests of the evening and were seated immediately and offered the beer, wine, champagne and sake list.

We chose to add the wine and sake pairings with dinner. If you choose this option, do not plan on driving! Have a designated driver or Uber, Lyft, Taxi or Limosine your way home. In addition to the wine and sake pairings, I ordered a Sapporo beer to enjoy with my food.

Sapporo beer, still water and the “Zen” rock garden centerpiece and place settings:

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Philippe champagne to start the evening and toast the special occasion!

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

First appetizer: oyster with roe, uni, orange and foam sauce.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: Not everyone likes oysters, so a second appetizer was graciously substituted.

Second appetizer: Snow crab with roe and pea puree.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a 2013 white wine

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Seasonal Appetizer course: lobster tempura with spicy aoli, smoky cod on lemon, Tazmanian sea trout sashimi, stuffed squid with crab, quail egg and squid ink.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The lobster in light tempura with the spicy aoli was “melt in your mouth” incredible. And so was the cod, sea trout and stuffed squid.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Seijuro Fujitsu cold sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sashimi course: Bonita sashimi with black mustard flower and shiso paste served with a mini yuzo sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Soup course: Clam with radish & seaweed in clear Japanese water broth.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Alsace Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés 2012 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sashimi course: toro belly, kampachi yellowtail with cucumber, red snapper, uni on lemon and octopus in a daikon radish slice

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a really nice tasting sweet cold sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Cooked fish course: Delicious “grilled” Branzino with pickled daikon, ginkgo nut and cooked bamboo. I think it was blowtorched to perfection.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a tasty Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Steamed course: egg, snow crab, shitake mushroom and shiso. Thicker than a soup.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Pazo Señorans Albariño 2013 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Special Pasta course: abalone, truffle & spaghetti with garlic butter cream sauce.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with a Sancere 2013 white wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Wagyu beef (to die for) on a hot stone – cook to taste with vegetables brussel sprout, purple carrot, asparagus and a beet chip in daikon horseradish sauce and sea salt.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: I wanted a whole steak of this A+ Wagyu beef! It was superb.

Paired with a rich Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 red wine.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sunomono course: firefly squid with cucumber, tomato and seaweed (sorry, pulled it apart before taking the pic) served with a mini yuzo sake.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi course (6 pieces and soup): Toro, makata, Japanese mackerel, sweet shrimp, squid, uni and shrimp head in white miso broth.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Makata and Toro (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Japanese Mackerel and Sweet Shrimp (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka!  Squid and Uni (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Shrimp head in white miso soup (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Paired with Born Gold Junmai Daiginjo cold sake. “Gold has an elegant nose comprised of green apple, sweet rice, plum skin, and peach aromas.”

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert course #1: Melon sorbet with icy rose granita. Served with hot green tea in a bowl.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert course #2: popcorn ice cream with cookies & cream meringue, lemon drop gelee’, chocolate covered raisin, sugared fennel and caramel sauce. Served with a different hot green tea in a cup.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Birthday Dessert (not mine): green tea pudding with whipped cream and a strawberry.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert was paired with an unusual sweet/spicy Hannya cold sake (tasted like a liquer).

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sake and Wine! They have many choices both by the glass and by the bottle/carafe and the prices are not inexpensive. You can also bring your own wine. There’s a $35 corkage fee and a “limit” of one bottle per every two people in the party.

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Wine and Sake (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! Wine and Sake (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE LARGER IMAGE OF PICS!

FYI – Front page of the Beer, Wine, Champagne and Sake List:

“Without wine, even beautiful cherry blossoms have small attraction”

Dinner Party at N/Naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner Party at n/naka! (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

“As to flowers, when half open; as to sake, when a person is half tipsy”

The service was great and the courses were well timed. It’s not a large space and the restaurant is about the food and the dining experience, not the number of people served. Each dish is ART and requires attention to detail in the planning and preparation. Our multi-course dinner from start to finish timed out at about three wonderful hours.

After the meal, Chef Nakayama came to our table and thanked us for coming. She was incredibly sincere and humble when we praised her and the incredible food she created.

BRAVA! BRAVA!

n/naka's Chef Niki Nakayama

n/naka’s Chef Niki Nakayama

n/naka3455 Overland Ave, Palms (Los Angeles)  www.n-naka.com

Reservations are absolutely required. They are currently booked until July!

 

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Dinner at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino

Dinner at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino

We were going for dinner tonight at Sushi Hirosuke and instead found this sad news taped to the door:

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Sad News! Sushi Hirosuke RIP (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

My friend Hiro, the sushi chef, opened this place in the early 90s and we used to have dinner here twice a week. He sold it to a nice couple who ran it for a long time. It was a good place, not great, but it was reasonably priced, local, and always good enough.

My friend Hiro-san now owns the amazingly awesome Sushi Ichiban Kan in Tarzana (you can read about it and see the pictures in my previous blogs).

There’s a lot of sushi competition in the neighborhood! On Ventura Boulevard, between Sepulveda and Reseda, there are more than fourteen sushi restaurants: Katsu-ya, Midori, Yamato, Benihana’s, Okamura, Cho Cho San, Dancing Wasabi, Octopus, Four on Six, Sushi Ajito, Crazy Tokyo, Sushi Tsune, Makoto, and our new destination for dinner Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise Encino (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Upstairs in the mall where they shot “The 40 Year Old Virgin” is a new Japanese restaurant. I had heard nice things about it, but this was my very first time dining there. Ride the escalator or elevator to the third floor, enter the restaurant and enjoy the asian food and drink experience.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

The Bar of Tokyo at Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise has a great selection of sake and a full bar! They have a Happy Hour menu and specials from 3-6:30pm and after 10:30pm.

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo: Great Selection of Sake!(copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Bar of Tokyo: Beers on draft. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Restaurant!

Tuesday at 7pm, the place was empty. When you enter through the restaurant you are greeted at the Host Desk by the Giant Face seen below.  There’s a glass enclosed covered patio with a nice view of Ventura Blvd, the Sushi Bar area and a Dining Room area. We sat inside in a booth, which was too low for the table, wasn’t very comfortable for my back, and felt very cramped and claustrophobic. I did have a view of the glass enclosed kitchen, but could only see the grill from where I was seated. 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Welcome!  (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi Bar (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi Bar (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Patio Dining (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Kitchen & Grill enclosed in glass (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

It’s a very pretty restaurant, done in very modern Japanese design. We were seated, greeted and provided with drinks while we perused the menu and decided on our food choices. They have a massive menu with sushi, salads, rolls, entrees, sides, and desserts….and it’s very confusing. They also have an ala carte sushi and sushi roll menu and a yakitori menu with all kinds of traditional (chicken, beef, vegetables) and weird things (intestines, livers, and other parts) grilled on a skewer. Mark those menus with a pencil.

The prices are VERY REASONABLE!!! You can eat a lot of different things, share them, try stuff you might never try if you feel adventurous, and just have a really big meal Japanese meal for a good price. The drink prices are also GREAT!

ON THE MENU: hot sake, cucumber with sesame sunomono, grilled shishito pepper, avocado & negitoro (spicy tuna), fried calamari, spicy tuna roll, Wisconsin roll (salmon and crab), sushi – salmon, yellowtail and albacore, potstickers, chicken meatball and pork kalbi skewers and an iced green tea. We also ordered the live Uni pasta, roasted eggplant side, and a big Spicy Tuna and Rice bowl (we asked for brown rice, but got steamed white rice instead).

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Hot Sake! Large size! (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Cucumber with sesame sunomo (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – grilled shishito peppers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – avocado and negitoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – fried calamari (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – chicken meatball and pork kalbi skewers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – potstickers (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

 

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Wisconsin roll: salmon over crab (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – spicy tuna roll (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Sushi! Salmon, yellowtail and albacore. (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Everything was good! The fish was good quality, fresh and tasty. The cooked stuff was also done right. The fried calamari was excellent! I also enjoyed the spicy tuna dishes quite a bit. The avocado and negitoro was a good choice. Next time I’ll have the pork kalbi salted instead of sauced and forget about the cucumber and sesame sunomono.

They’re open late weeknights, and really late on Fridays and Saturdays, so I might have to go back soon….

Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro – Enjoying my dinner! Tasty Japanese Goodness! (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

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Gyoro Gyoro (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Into the Sunset on Ventura Boulevard…Time to Blog This. (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise – 17401 Ventura Blvd., B21, Encino, CA 91316 http://www.otootorestaurant.comhttp://www.ramla.net

 

Great Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in the Valley!

Far away from the Westside and Hollywood and Santa Monica and Downtown, in the west end of the San Fernando Valley, is one of my favorite restaurants: Sushi Ichiban Kan.

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Sneaking in the back door! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The restaurant is beautiful, from the front to the back, and the parking is FREE!  Or at worst, you’ll have to park at a meter (which now run until 8pm) on Ventura.  We went to dinner early, parked in the rear and entered through the back door.  We were greeted and seated and then the real fun began

Dinner tonight was fantastic!  Everything was fresh.  Everything was prepared beautifully. The service was friendly and efficient.  I’ve known the owner and masterchef Hirosuke and his wife for twenty years and have followed him from Kabuki in Northridge, to Hirosuke in Encino, and now to the new restaurant Ichiban Kan on Ventura Blvd in Tarzana, between Corbin and Winnetka.  Trust me, if you love sushi it is definitely worth the trip from wherever you are.

Sushi Ichiban Kan - Assorted Sashimi Combination & California Roll (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Assorted Sashimi Combination & California Roll (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

On the menu tonight: stuffed shitaki mushrooms stuffed with creamy crab starter, miso soup, green salad, spicy tuna and blue crab handrolls (with no rice), an assorted sashimi combination (with tuna, albacore, yellowtail, salmon), assorted tempura and an iced green tea.

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Miso Soup and Green Salad (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Spicy Tuna & Blue Crab Handrolls (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Assorted Tempura (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

It’s not cheap, but it’s not “over the top” expensive.  You can get a lot worse and pay a lot more at other places.  This is top of the line fish, that rivals Nobu, and it’s a real value for sushi lovers.  Be sure to tell Hiro-san that I sent you!

Sushi Ichiban Kan – 19723 Ventura Blvd in Tarzana http://www.sushiichiban-kan.com

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