There is a BLACK BEAR DINER in the San Fernando Valley!

Yes! There is a BLACK BEAR DINER in the San Fernando Valley!

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The Black Bear Diner in Tarzana, California

We were tired, hungry and driving down Ventura Boulevard last week, when much to our surprise and amazement, there was a Black Bear Diner in Tarzana!

Located in the space previously occupied by CoCo’s, Season’s and Bob’s Big Boy in Tarzana Square on Ventura Blvd just east of Reseda Blvd, we have a Black Bear Diner!

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We are a big fan of the Black Bear Diner and enjoy eating at the restaurant in Medford, Oregon when we are visiting in Ashland. They are located in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and there’s also one in Midwest City, Oklahoma. They are currently adding new locations and will soon be opening in Katy, Texas (according to their website).

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We were so happy to see a Black Bear Dinner in the Valley and to have an easy decision on where to eat dinner. We pulled right into the parking lot and started taking pictures for this Blog Post. It was late and after the dinner rush and not very crowded at all. There were people at about 40% of the tables and they were mostly finishing up. The counter was empty and we chose to sit at a table at the back of the main dining room where it was quiet and there wasn’t any waiter traffic.

We were seated immediately by a young host/cashier and greeted promptly by our waitress (or female server if you’re particular about the job title). When we asked how long they had been open they told us almost three weeks. Our waitress had worked at the previous restaurant CoCo’s in the same location, which had closed long ago.

Everything was new and “fresh” with the familiar decor that is part of their brand and a constant throughout the chain. A large WELCOME sign and statues of Black Bears greet you out front and there’s a beautiful vintage-style jukebox available in the lobby for patrons to play classic American music of their choosing. They have a merchandise display and food products available for sale at the register too.

The board-of-fare is All-American “stick to your ribs” Food, and it’s breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. We decided to keep it simple and test the American cheeseburger basket.

On The Menu: American Cheeseburger with Fries (in a basket)

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As you can see, the burger and cheese were presented on the basket, not on the paper, which may sound particular (and it is) but it’s important for some customers (like us). We ordered it with lettuce only, but there was no lettuce on the burger and we didn’t want to wait for a server to come, get the lettuce and then bring it back, before eating….

The cheeseburger was fine, but not great and a little bland. The fries were great and served very hot. We only had water to drink and ate the food quickly because we were really hungry. We finished and paid at the register and we were happy and no longer hungry. The service was fast and aside from the food presentation and missing lettuce everything was fine and we will return again.

NOTE: Our waitress left after putting the order in and bringing us barbecue sauce and mustard, and another server brought us our food, but the lettuce was ordered and missing from the meal.

We didn’t have dessert, but they do have a great dessert menu (with pics):

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Desserts Under Glass!

Black Bear Diner – 18355 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356 
“Down-home chain serving all-day American comfort food & desserts in a woodsy setting.”
OPEN 6AM-10PM everyday of the week
We also asked if they were going to have late-night hours, but they didn’t know yet…

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Take home some sauce and/or dessert!



Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino!

Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino!

NOTE: Still working on the “Road Trip” and “Burning Man” Blogs, be patient.

There’s a new place to eat in town! Fat Sal’s is open and located in the old Johnny Rocket’s space on the corner of Ventura and Balboa.

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Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino!

Indoor and Outdoor seating available. The Patio is covered now so you can sit and watch the cars go by in the shade. Parking is still limited in the small lot, but there is a lot of metered street parking (8am-8pm everyday except Sunday) available nearby.

There’s a big menu on the wall.  Order at the counter and wait for your number to be called (actually they give you a pager). They’re makin’ sandwiches over here!

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NOTE: They have a bunch of flat screen TELEVISIONS (with all the games on) inside!

Signature “Fat” sandwiches & burgers, salads & wraps, fries, sides, and shakes are the board of fare. So, I had a Philly Cheesesteak and it was a good Philly Cheesesteak.

They have 2 digital “self-service” soda fountains with many beverage choices. On a sad note, they charge 25 cents for sauces (WHICH IS STUPID AND BAD FOR BUSINESS). but when we asked for mustard for our sandwich and BBQ sauce for our onion rings, he gave us a plastic cup of each and told me it was “on the house”.

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And the “Big Fat Fatty” Challenge for $49.99!

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“Big Fat Fatty” Food Challenge!

ON THE MENU: Philly Cheesesteak and Onion Rings with a Dr Pepper

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Philly Cheesesteak and Onion Rings!

The Cheesesteak gets a thumbs up and the burgers got a thumbs up too. The fries were limp, undercooked and not good at all, but the onion rings were terrific. Nice mixed Encino crowd checking out the new place, most likely will stay in business for awhile.

Fat Sal’s – 16901 Ventura Blvd (at Balboa Blvd), Encino http://www.fatsalsdeli.com

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Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino!



 

Mitch Hedberg RIP – “Club Sandwich”

Thinking everyone could use a little humor right about now.
Here’s a funny from the late Great Comedian
Mitch Hedberg RIP – “Club Sandwich”:


“I order the club sandwich all the time, but I’m not even a member, man…
I don’t know how I get away with it.
How’d it start anyway?
I like my sandwiches with three pieces of bread.
So do I!
Well let’s form a club then.
Alright, but we need more stipulations.
Yes we do; instead of cutting the sandwich once, let’s cut it again.
Yes, four triangles, and we will position them into a circle.
In the middle we will dump chips. Or potato salad.
Okay. I got a question for ya, how do you feel about frilly toothpicks?
I’m for ’em!
Well this club is formed; spread the word on menus nationwide.

[ I like my sandwiches with alfalfa sprouts.
Well then you’re not in the f*ckin’ club!” 
]

Join the Club Club!

We joined the Club Club!
Late Lunch delivered from The Nook Restaurant in Encino on Tuesday Afternoon!
On the Menu: Turkey & Bacon Club Sandwich (no tomato or mayonnaise, with yellow mustard, and we also took off the lettuce) on toasted garlic sourdough bread with salted and seasoned fries, a dill pickle and an iced espresso. Yes, frilly toothpicks included.

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Turkey & Bacon Club Sandwich w/Seasoned Fries from The Nook Restaurant in Encino

The Club Sandwich first appeared in 1894 at the famous Saratoga Club-House (originally called Morrissey’s Club House) an exclusive gentlemen only gambling house in upstate Saratoga Springs, New York where the potato chips was created.

The oldest recipe for the club sandwich was published in the Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book, by Isabel Gordon Curtis in 1903

The 1904 Worlds Fair in St. Louis helped popularized the club sandwich with four of the restaurants including a version on their menus.

The Nook Restaurant17316 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316 (CVS Shopping Center)
818-385-1271  www.breakfastatthenook.com
NOTE: Open for breakfast and lunch Only!

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“National Donut Day and a Tribute to Mitch Hedberg” >
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mitchhedberg1

33 years ago! Do you know where you were?
Grateful Dead Recorded Live: 12/28/1983
San Francisco Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, CA
————————————————————–
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Dinner at The Stand in Encino, California

Dinner at The Stand in Encino, California

Thursday evening and it was decided that we would have dinner at The Stand on Ventura Boulevard (just west of Balboa) in Encino, in the beautiful San Fernando Valley, in city and county of Los Angeles, in the golden state of California.

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Dinner at The Stand in Encino, California

There’s a big lot with FREE parking, metered (8am-8pm Mon-Sat) street parking on Ventura Blvd and FREE street parking on the side streets.

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Dinner at The Stand in Encino, California

Enter through the gates and the outdoor patio and then enter the restaurant through the covered patio. You’ll be greeted by the large Menu Board on the wall and (usually) a line of people waiting to order at the registers.

TIP: Know your order! Decide before arriving at the register and know what you want.

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The Menu at The Stand in Encino, California

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Dinner at The Stand in Encino, California

Everything is cooked and made to order. Once you place your order and pay, they will give you a number for your table and then you’ll have to decide whether to sit inside or outside.

It was a beautiful evening outside, but because it wasn’t crowded we chose to sit inside. They have nice outdoor seating, covered and uncovered, but you’re still Ventura Blvd adjacent and it can be noisy and/or crowded at lunch and during “rush hour” dinner time.

Burgers, Hotdogs, Sandwiches and Salads are the choices at The Stand. With lots of options, extras and side orders available. Burgers start at $7.50, hotdogs are ~$4, sandwiches and salads, desserts (good cobbler & ice cream) and drinks. They serve fountain beverages, bottled sodas and water, coffee, tea, Beer, Wine, milkshakes and floats!

On The Menu: Cheeseburger, onion rings, sweet potato fries and a chocolate milkshake with whipped cream. Our party also ordered a Polish Dog and a Grilled Chicken Salad.

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Cheeseburger, onion rings, sweet potato fries & a chocolate milkshake w/whipped cream

We chose a table inside the small dining room and waited for the food to be delivered. After a brief waiting period and some nice conversation, our dinner arrived and we ate our food.

We read another review while we were composing this Blog that called it a “BlandBurger” and that about describes it. Too much bun. Not enough seasoning on the meat patty, and it just wasn’t cooked right. We used Bbq sauce and mustard and it was still pretty tasteless. The onion rings and sweet potato fries were great and the chocolate milkshake was perfect, but  we wouldn’t order the cheeseburger again and it was a real disappointment. The Polish dog and the grilled chicken salad both looked good and got good reviews.

The Stand17000 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316
818-788-2700 www.thestandlink.com
Open Daily:  Serving Lunch & Dinner 11am-9pm

and 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, CA 90067 310-785-0400
and 5780 Canoga Ave, Woodland Hills, CA 91367 818-710-0400
and 19600 Plummer St, Northridge, CA 91324 818-709-3820

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Dogs are allowed on the outdoor patio!

 

Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

Our first night in Ashland, we had the fine idea to drive up to Medford (only about 20 minutes north on the 5 freeway) to the Texas Roadhouse BBQ for a big dinner.

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Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

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Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

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Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

The first thing you’ll notice about the Texas Roadhouse BBQ is the decor. Lots of wood, brick, neon beer signs, farm and western chotckes, and more wood.

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“New Country Rock” on the Jukebox at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ

The second thing you’ll notice is the noise… it’s very loud inside! The place is always busy and full of people. The hard wood surfaces and concrete floor amplify the noise and they play LOUD “New Country” music throughout the restaurant.

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Shelled Peanuts at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

On The Menu: BBQ baby back pork ribs, bone-in ribeye steak with fries, side of chili, dinner salad, bread & butter, salted shelled peanuts and a coke.

 

The food was good. The steak was done right. They boil their ribs and they boiled these a long time. If you like boiled BBQ ribs you’ll probably like theirs. The portions are large, there are lots of side items to choose from, and it’s good “country music” time. If you don’t like loud country music, best to find another restaurant. It’s a good concept and the waitstaff will keep on dancing for your enjoyment!

Texas Roadhouse BBQMedford, OR

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Moosehead mounted over the front doors…

Dinner at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood

Dinner at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood – Open 24 Hours!

Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Friday night and seeking comfort food, we decided to eat at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood. For many, many years it was Sitton’s Family Restaurant, but now it’s got a new name and it’s nicer. It has retained that familiar “old timey” ambience but it’s been cleaned up and refurbished nicely.

Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Dinner at the NoHo Diner

On the Menu: we both started with a Heineken served with a frosted glass, and then ordered the fried chicken dinner served with soup or salad, choice of potato and mixed vegetables. I chose fries and a green salad with ranch dressing on the side, my friend had a baked potato and salad.

Dinner at the NoHo Diner - Heineken in a frosted glass

Dinner at the NoHo Diner – Heineken beer in a frosted glass

Dinner at the NoHo Diner - green salad w/ranch dressing & crackers

Dinner at the NoHo Diner – green salad: iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing & crackers

Dinner at the NoHo Diner - Fried Chicken

Dinner at the NoHo Diner – Fried Chicken with fries & mixed vegetables

It’s still a family restaurant. The food is solid American cuisine, “stick to your ribs”, comfort food. It’s good, but definitely not gourmet, and a good value for the money. They also have great lunch and dinner specials before 8pm and on the board every night. We were there at 9pm on Friday, the place was pretty empty and the specials were the rotisserie chicken and fish chips dinner for $7.75. The service was good, our server was friendly and attentive, and the food was tasty and filling.

Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Dinner at the NoHo Diner – Open 24 Hours!

NoHo Diner – Magnolia (at Tujunga) in North Hollywood – Open 24 Hours!

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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!

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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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In-N-Out Urge! National Burger Day!

In honor of National Burger Day here’s a Blog about the “In-N-Out Urge”!

In-N-Out Urge!

In-N-Out Urge!

  1. In-N-Out Burgers, Inc. is a regional chain of fast food restaurants with locations primarily in the American Southwest.
    Founder: Harry Snyder – Founded: 1948, Baldwin Park, CA
    Customer service: 1 (800) 786-1000 – Headquarters: Irvine, CA
In-N-Out Urge!

In-N-Out Urge! Waiting in line to order at the drive-thru……

In-N-Out Urge!

In-N-Out Urge! Waiting in line to order….

At In-N-Out Burger, quality is everything.

In-N-Out Urge!

In-N-Out Urge! – Waiting….waiting…..waiting…..

In-N-Out Urge!

In-N-Out Urge! At last, a Double-Double of my own!

In-N-Out Burger in King City

In-N-Out Urge! Sometimes you have to have two or three.

SPOILER ALERT! WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! WARNING! SPOILER ALERT!


  1. Double-Double
  2. Nutrition Facts with Onion
    Amount Per 330 g
    Calories 520 – 670
  3. % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 41 g 63%
    Saturated fat 18 g 90%
    Trans fat 1 g
    Cholesterol 120 mg 40%
    Sodium 1,440 mg 60%
    Total Carbohydrate 39 g 13%
    Dietary fiber 3 g 12%
    Sugar 10 g
    Protein 37 g 74%
    Vitamin A 20% Vitamin C 15%
    Calcium 35% Iron 30%
    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

UPDATE 18 Sept 2015: The new In-N-Out Burger at the Rogue Valley Mall in Medford, the first in Oregon, opened this week. I drove by when I was in town (not open yet) and it was a total tease. Now open 10:30am-1am daily (1:30am on Fridays and Saturdays).

In-N-Out Urge in Medford, Oregon!

In-N-Out Urge in Medford, Oregon!

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Delicious Fried Chicken for Lunch at Sadie Kitchen in Hollywood!

I met Megan at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mixer and was invited to come for Lunch at Sadie Kitchen in Hollywood!  It’s a relatively new restaurant and they just started lunch service.  They are open Sunday-Wednesday until 10pm and Thursday-Saturday until 11pm.  They also do private and event catering.  After dining there today, I would definitely recommend this restaurant!

Sadie Kitchen - Hollywood, CA

Sadie Kitchen – Hollywood, CA  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

They are on Las Palmas in the heart of Hollywood.  Walking distance from Hollywood and Highland, the Arclight, Amoeba and other point of interest.  It’s a beautiful space.  The bar is warm and dark but very large and comfortable.  Giovanni is a master mixologist and the bar menu compliments the specialty drinks and spirits.  I did not have a cocktail at lunch, but the list of drinks was intriguing…check their website.

Sadie Kitchen - Hollywood, CA

Sadie Kitchen – Hollywood, CA  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Happy Hour is Tuesday-Friday 6-8pm with special food and drink pricing.  They also have a great selection of wine, and on Tuesdays they have a 50% off select bottle and wine by the glass special.

Sadie Kitchen - Hollywood, CA

Sadie Kitchen – Hollywood, CA  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

They have a huge covered dining patio with retractable roof that is also available for public and private events.

Sadie Kitchen - Hollywood, CA

Sadie Kitchen – Hollywood, CA  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

And they have a separate “Speakeasy” Parlor Room Bar with a separate entrance that hosts guest DJs, bartenders and private events.  The property is also available for rent as a location for filming.

Sadie Kitchen - Hollywood, CA

Sadie Kitchen – Hollywood, CA  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The food was great and the menu had a terrific selection of appealing items.  We skipped the appetizers and I had the fried chicken (substituted the amazing fennel salted fries for the whipped potatoes and grilled vegetables for the kale).

Sadie Kitchen - Hollywood, CA

Sadie Kitchen – Hollywood, CA  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Megan had the Caesar salad with shrimp (and picked out the anchovies):

Sadie Kitchen - Hollywood, CA

Sadie Kitchen – Hollywood, CA  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

We shared a huge side of real cheesy mac & cheese (there was more than half left over, so I took it home with me):

Sadie Kitchen - Hollywood, CA

Sadie Kitchen – Hollywood, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

FREE PARKING FOR LUNCH!  Metered street parking on Las Palmas for $2 per hour when available or lot parking for $10 all day.

Sadie Kitchen - Hollywood, CA

Sadie Kitchen – Hollywood, CA  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: Patrick Dougherty, the General Manager, was with the Hotel BelAir for many years and definitely knows how to deliver a great dining experience.  Next time you’re in Hollywood, it’s worth stopping in for a drink, lunch or dinner!  Tell them I sent you.

Sadie Kitchen in Hollywood – 1638 N. Las Palmas Ave, LA, CA, 90028 (just north of Hollywood Blvd, 2 blocks east of Highland)  www.sadiela.com

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