Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

Happy Thanksgiving 2016! “Tradition!”

Home for the Holiday!
Family Feast at Four O’Clock! 20 Guests for Dinner!

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Happy Thanksgiving! Still Crazy After All These Years!

Three days of preparation, many hours of cooking and finally it’s time to eat!

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THE FANTASTIC 2016 THANKSGIVING FEAST!

On The Menu: 2 big turkeys, 3 dressings (1 plain, 1 with fruit, 1 with fruit & nuts), cranberry sauce, gravy, home baked challah bread, asparagus, creamed spinach, creamed vegetables, sweet potato puree, garlic mashed potatoes, corn pudding, and then dessert… apple, pumpkin, pecan, lemon meringue and peanut butter pies, chocolate chip cookies and “blondies”, chocolate fudge and peanut butter rice krispies marshmallow crunch. And just a little liquor: red and white wine, single malt scotch and some Don Julio tequila.

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!

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FABULOUS DESSERTS!

We’ve been trying to lose weight and have been successful in dropping 20 pounds since August (call it the “Puppy Diet”). Our Thanksgiving is one of the best meals of the year, so we allow for a little holiday indulgence. We only had one plate of food, didn’t drink alcohol, and had a coke with dinner and a couple cookies for dessert. And later, just a little leftover pumpkin and lemon meringue late night pie after midnight.

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Pumpkin, Pecan & Lemon Meringue Pies (Apple & Peanut Butter not shown)

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A Little Liquor: Red Wines, Single Malt Scotch & Tequila (Don’t Drink and Drive!)

NOTE: The Thanksgiving Food Party is annual tradition on the JoshWillTravel Blog!
SEARCH “Thanksgiving” in the box at the Top of the Page to find the other Blogs^^^^^

Thanksgiving dinner,
Our annual food orgy,
A friendly feast!

Thanksgiving (All-Day) NFL Football Tradition!

In addition to The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC (both of which we are boycotting and you should be boycotting Macy’s and NBC too!) and the big National Dog Show, there were THREE NFL FOOTBALL games on television today!

detDetroit Lions 16 – Minnesota Vikings 13min

dalDallas Cowboys 31 – Washington Redskins 26was

pitPittsburgh Steelers 28 – Indianapolis Colts 7ind

denGO BRONCOS! Sunday Night’s NFL Game in Denver vs Kansas City!kan

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Flashback Friday! Last year I made Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake for Thanksgiving. This year I didn’t. So everyone asked about cheesecake and was disappointed… and I got some good Jewish guilt for the holiday.

Here’s the link to the recipe if you’re interested> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1SV

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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PEACE! LOVE! HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE – STAY ALIVE!

The Arlo Guthrie “Alice’s Restaurant” Tradition:

This year is the 51st anniversary of the story of how Arlo Guthrie and his friends “took out the garbage” on Thanksgiving.

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Gia, a Greyhound won “Best in Show” at the National Dog Show, a Thanksgiving Tradition (photo by Bill McCay/NBC)

The 15th annual National Dog Show, presented by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. was held on November 19 & 20 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center and pretaped for NBC.

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The Big Dog Barking at Me (and the two little girls wonder why…)

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Friday Night Dinner: Leftovers! Open face turkey sandwich, dressing and gravy on challah bread, cranberry sauce, dill pickle and a coke (and then probably another nap)

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen

Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen

Wednesday night in the San Fernando Valley, let’s go out to eat!

We were going to go to CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) in Tarzana, but there were a bunch of people waiting in the small reception area when we arrived. The confused looking hostess told us there were six parties in front of us and there would be a 35 minute wait to be seated, even though we could see more than ten empty tables on one side of the restaurant through the floor to ceiling glass windows that line the front.

After considering our options, we decided to go to Frankie’s Italian Kitchen a few blocks away on Reseda boulevard.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen on Reseda Blvd in Tarzana

Frankie’s has been in the same location since 1993, and I have fond memories of meeting my Grandmother (of blessed memory) here for their “early-bird” special. I hadn’t been back in long time. They renovated and upgraded the decor, and enlarged the front patio, but they still serve the same Italian classics, and they still have an “early-bird” special menu before 6pm Monday-Thursday.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – open prep area, cashier & host desk

It’s not a big space, but not small either. There’s an open prep area behind the cashier and host desk as you enter and the dining room to the left. They have regulars and there are groups that meet here for both lunch and dinner, and even when it’s crowded, it’s not loud. Dine indoors or al fresco on the patio which is inside the Gelson’s parking lot and not actually on Reseda Blvd., so there’s a lot less traffic going by.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Dining Room

The menu is classic Italian fare. Pizza, pasta, chops, and even a selection of veal dishes. Normally I would have had fried calamari and lasagna, but instead opted for a pasta entree with a side salad. We didn’t order any appetizers, drinks or wine and instead drank ice water. Yes, I know, but we’re trying to save money and calories this month.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Dinner Menu

On the Menu: buttered garlic rolls, caesar side salad and chicken fettucine alfredo. We also ordered a broccoli fusilli pasta (it was split and a 1/2 order is pictured below).

And for dessert they were all out of tiramisu….

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Buttered Garlic Rolls

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Caesar Side Salad

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – 1/2 Order of Broccoli Fusilli Pasta 

The food is very good. Italian classics done right! The fresh baked rolls are served hot and covered in butter and garlic. So good, I requested a second basket. The chicken fettucine alfredo and broccoli fusilli pasta dishes were delicious. I’ve had the lasagna and can definitely recommend it.  And as I mentioned, they were out of tiramisu! It’s real good stuff, and they must have had an “early bird” rush, but an Italian restaurant should never run out of tiramisu! Very disappointed, but I left the restaurant very full and happy with some leftover rolls and pasta for the next day.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – 5538 Reseda Blvd. Tarzana, CA 91356 (818) 705-1295
and 267 N. Pass Ave. Burbank, CA 91505 (818) 567-2288  www.frankiesonline.com
Hours: Mon – Thurs 11am – 9:30pm Fri – Sat 11am – 10pm Sun 4pm – 9pm

 

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Happy Thanksgiving! Pictures From The Feast!

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

NOTE: I’m posting this Blog on 12-14-14 and will reference it in my next Blog “12-13-14”

All Day Holiday Entertainment! NFL Football on Thanksgiving! 3 Games on Thursday! DETROIT LIONS v. Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys v. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, and SEATTLE SEAHAWKS v. San Francisco 49ers. (Winners are capitalized) There was also a Great Halftime show in Dallas with Pitbull, Neo and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders!

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Pitbull & Neo rock Dallas at Halftime with the Cowboy Cheerleaders!

Pictures from the Thanksgiving Feast! WARNING: The following pics of Good Food may cause you to salivate, drool and/or develop mild to severe hunger pains. You’ve been warned. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! The Dining Room Table is Set and Ready (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving dinner menu: Roast turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce, garlic mashed potato, corn pudding, candied yams, carrot & yam puree, 2 kinds of stuffing, asparagus, brussel sprouts, creamed spinach and home baked challah bread. Red wine, white wine, coke, cherry coke and coffee to drink.

Here are some pics of great holiday food:

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! The Feast! Dinner is Served! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! 25 Pound Turkey “Before” (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! 25 Pound Turkey – “After” (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! White Meat covered with seasoned skin (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Dark Meat (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Stuffing #1 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Stuffing #2 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Cranberries and Gravy (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Garlic Mashed Potato (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Candied Yams with pineapple topping (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Sweet Potato and Carrot Puree (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Corn Pudding (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Creamed Spinach (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Asparagus and Brussel Sprouts (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Home Baked Challah Bread (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Soda pop and Wine on both tables (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! The Feast! My Dinner Plate! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving Dessert menu: Apple-Pecan torte, Lemon cheesecake, Chocolate-mocha Parisian cake from Bea’s, Pumpkin cheesecake, 2 kinds of cookies, 2 kinds of fudge, and my sister’s Chocolate-Cherry bread pudding served with fresh made whipped cream.

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! The Desserts! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! The Desserts! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! 2 kinds of cookies, 2 kinds of fudge (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Pumpkin Cheesecake (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Upside Down Apple-Pecan Torte (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Lemon Cheesecake (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Chocolate Mocha Parisian Cake from Bea’s (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! Chocolate-Cherry Bread Pudding (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014! My Dessert Plate – Sweet! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: I was going to bake a cherry cheesecake, but because I knew there would be enough dessert and due to a lack of “baking enthusiasm”, it did not happen.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this meal as much as I did eating it! And there were leftovers…

And then the “TURKEY COMA” followed by a nice nap. I was invited to another party, but had to send my regrets. Too full, too tired and too late. It was a wonderful day.

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“Chef”, Sherman Oaks Galleria, ArcLight & Dinner at Versailles

“Chef” (the film) at the ArcLight Cinemas in the Sherman Oaks Galleria and Dinner at Versailles Restaurant in Encino!

Memorial Day Monday! It’s a national holiday!

USA! The United States of America!

Memorial Day! – USA! The United States of America!

I hung the American flag out front first thing in the morning, then changed my facebook cover and profile photo to reflect the patriotic nature of the holiday. I had bacon and coffee for breakfast, and then fried chicken, watermelon, strawberries, avocado, and an iced espresso for lunch. Later I munched on some popcorn and then went to the movies and saw “Chef” at the ArcLight Cinemas in the Sherman Oaks Galleria (it was very good, but don’t see it on an empty stomach). Then we went for dinner at Versailles Cuban Food Restaurant in Encino and had a great meal.

There are four parts to this Blog:

1. “Chef” (the film) starring and directed by Jon Favreau, with John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergara, and “the kid”. Great supporting roles performed by Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Scarlet Johansson, and Oliver Platt. There’s also a small but memorable cameo appearance by Robert Downey Jr.

"Chef" the film

“Chef” the film

“Chef” – My Review of the Film: I liked it! It was a very good story, it was well written and well acted with interesting characters to care about. There was almost no CGI and no one got assaulted, murdered or blown up. It was well directed with a straightforward and low-budget “indy film” quality. It’s a feel-good, buddy movie/romance/father-son bonding story,  with (spoiler alert) a happy ending. The story was fun! It was made up of a series of both comedic and dramatic vignettes, about a middle-class, hard-working chef trying to manage both his career and his fractured family. There were several very clever creative choices both in plot and direction that explore social media (Twitter, facebook, vine, etc.) and it’s influence on our culture and society.

"Chef" the film

Exploring the Influence of Social Media and Twitter in “Chef” the film

Jon Favreau does a great job as the title character, Chef Carl Caspar, including performing difficult knife tricks and cooking tasks with practiced skill. John Leguizamo is great as his sous chef, buddy and comic relief. I’m sure sales of corn starch are going to spike. Bobby Cannavale is good as the other sous chef, playing the wasted but capable second fiddle with his usual almost over-the-top “New York theatre trained” style. Scarlet Johansson plays the restaurant’s beautiful hostess and the chef’s “friend with benefits”, and in this case the benefit is pasta! Dustin Hoffman is terrific as the intractable restaurant owner. Sofia Vergara is gorgeous and shines as the chef’s ex-wife and romantic interest, remarried and divorced from a sleaze bag investor played by Robert Downey Jr., but sharing custody and co-parenting of their adolescent son. “The kid” did good job, and I gave him a pass on the few times he was “acting” it, because he was cute and his performance was both capable and pivotal to the storyline. And a tip of the hat to Oliver Platt for his performance as the food critic Ramsey Michel. There’s a lot of music, both soundtrack and live performance, in the film. I enjoyed the ethnic Cuban beat (made me miss Tito Puente), Gary Clark Jr.’s Texas blues, working in the kitchen, cooking good food, road-trip playlist and even enjoyed the sing-along to “Sexual Healing”. From the opening cooking sequence accompanied by Aiko-Aiko I found myself tapping my feet along with the music. And of course, as a film titled “Chef” necessitates, there was a lot of cooking and good food involved, so my advice is to go see it, but don’t see it on an empty stomach, because you’ll be hungry for something good (maybe a Cubano sandwich) by the time the credits roll at the end.

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The holiday adventure began with a drive down Ventura Boulevard at 4pm. Normally on a weekday, there would be a lot of traffic. Everyone must have left town or stayed home to barbecue, because there was hardly anyone on the road.

Ventura Blvd east going to Sherman Oaks (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

No Traffic on Ventura Blvd going east to Sherman Oaks! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

A short drive down the nearly deserted street brings us to the world famous SHERMAN OAKS GALLERIA (the second incarnation). Parking is available in the structure under and next to the Galleria Complex. Valet parking is located under the main mall structure and self-parking is located in the structure next to the bank, offices, restaurants and retail shopping. There is a charge for parking, but there are validations available at the theatre, the Starbuck’s, and in the restaurants. Parking in the structure can be crowded and difficult at times, so be sure to allow for traffic and a long wait to exit the parking structure and/or get your car back from the valet when there are a lot of people at the Galleria (or when all the movies let out at the same time).

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

2. The Sherman Oaks Galleria at the intersection of Ventura and Sepulveda boulevards is a San Fernando Valley Landmark. Used as a filming location since it was first built in 1980, and featured in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, “Commando” and many other films and television programs. The original mall was damaged during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and then repaired, but never fully recovered. It closed in April 1999 for a major renovation and remodel. It reopened in 2002 as a mixed-use open-air center, it’s second and current incarnation, a collection of office space, retail shopping, a few familiar chain restaurants, a Starbuck’s, a Ben & Jerry’s and the ArcLight Cinemas.

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – “The Wind Tunnel” Patio Area (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – Fuddrucker’s Hamburgers (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – The Water Wall in “The Wind Tunnel” (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – covered walkway (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria - P.F. Chang's Chinese Restaurant (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – P.F. Chang’s Chinese Restaurant (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – P.F. Chang’s Horse Statue (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – The Cheesecake Factory (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – El Torito Grill Mexican Restaurant (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The walk from self-parking (once you’ve found a space) takes you past the restaurants, retail shops, patio, courtyard and fountain. Continue through the “wind tunnel” and covered walkway, to the rotunda and the escalator and elevator. And be sure to leave enough time for parking and the walk if you’re going to the ArcLight Cinemas!

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ride the escalator or the elevator (past the DSW Shoe Store) to the third floor and the ArcLight Cinemas lobby. There’s a fitness center and membership gym on the second floor, so just expect to see people in workout clothes anytime of day or evening and there may be a funky smell in the elevator.

NOTE: If you Valet Park, you can ride the elevator or the escalator up to the third floor without walking through the “wind tunnel” and covered walkway, but all you’ll see of the Galleria is the rotunda. There is an additional charge for Valet and as previously noted, you may have to wait awhile to get your car back. But on a positive note, you might meet a celebrity while you’re waiting! I said hello to Ice Cube last time I used the Valet.

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – rotunda, skylight & glass elevator (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The ARCLIGHT CINEMAS in the Sherman Oaks Galleria

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ArcLight Cinemas in the Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

3. The ArcLight Cinemas in the Sherman Oaks Galleria was originally the Pacific 16, but was rebranded, renovated and upgraded in 2007 (with further improvements made even more recently). In addition to the traditional popcorn, candy & soda concessions, there are better food items available. They have a coffee, tea and espresso bar and a gift shop that sells Hollywood “movie-related” knick-knacks and other souvenir items.

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Box Office is inside the theatre, in the lobby, and you don’t need a ticket to visit the espresso bar, gift shop, concession stand, lobby exhibits or cocktail lounge.

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ArcLight Cinemas – Concessions Stand (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ArcLight Cinemas – Gift Shop (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Marvel Merchandising! Get your Spider-Man 2 lunchbox and Wolverine sippy-cup here!

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ArcLight Cinemas – Gift Shop (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 “Double espresso with whipped cream, please.”

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ArcLight Cinemas – Coffee, Tea and Espresso Bar (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And there’s a BAR & COCKTAIL LOUNGE AREA with a full liquor license in one corner of the lobby! Cocktails, beer and wine are available of purchase but can only be consumed in the lounge area!

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ArcLight Cinemas – THEY HAVE A BAR & COCKTAIL LOUNGE! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

They had a large promotional display for Disney’s “MALEFICENT” with Costumes & Artwork in the lobby. (see my next blog with more pictures and details)

Maleficent! Costumes at the ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Maleficent! Costumes & Artwork at the ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The film was showing in a theater adjacent to the Bar & Cocktail Lounge Area, and it was a full house for a 4:30pm showing on Memorial Day Monday.

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ArcLight Cinemas – Full House for “Chef” the film (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I wandered past the X-Men Days of Future Past lighted wall of marketing, and it was cool.

ArcLight Cinemas (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ArcLight Cinemas – X-Men Days of Future Past wall of marketing (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Going Down at the Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria- covered walkway (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Usually we like to hit the Cheesecake Factory after a film, when it’s not a total madhouse. The food is good and you get a lot of it, and the cheesecake is THE BOMB. It gets pretty slammed when the Galleria is busy and a there are good films showing, but that’s true of all the restaurants in the complex on high traffic days. I don’t care for the El Torito Grill, and P.F. Chang’s is pretty expensive for Chinese food. Fuddrucker’s is an okay burger, but it’s almost “buffet style”and there’s a FatBurger and In-N-Out not too far away if you want a real good burger. There’s a Sisley Italian Kitchen and an upscale Denny’s across the street within walking distance, or any number of good restaurants on Ventura Blvd just a short drive away. I recommend Cafe Bizou (east of Van Nuys Blvd) but you should make a reservation well in advance for dinner.

Well, after seeing “Chef”, the decision was made to have Cuban food. So, after the walk back to self-parking and a short drive back down Ventura Boulevard, we arrived at our dinner destination, VERSAILLES CUBAN FOOD RESTAURANT in Encino.

Versailles Cuban Food (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food Restaurant in Encino (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

4. Dinner at Versailles Cuban Food Restaurant in Encino

If you want Cuban food, Versailles is the place! We’ve been eating here since they opened the Encino restaurant. The original space is in West L.A. at Pico and La Cienega, and there are also Culver City and Manhattan Beach locations.

Versailles Cuban Food

Versailles Cuban Food – The Dining Room (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Encino location is a large storefront dining room with floor to ceiling glass windows tucked into the corner of a small strip mall on Ventura Boulevard. The parking lot is small, but there is always metered street parking (8am-8pm) available nearby. They have a small bar area and there’s usually a sporting event on the television. It’s pretty much “no frills”, just good food, and when the dining room is full at peak dining times, it can get very loud.

Versailles Cuban Food (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food – The Menu (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

They have an extensive menu of classic Cuban food, with a wide choice of chicken, pork, beef, fish and vegetarian options.  The food is consistently excellent! We usually pick up “take out” and our regular order is the house specialty, the garlic roast chicken served with steamed rice, black beans (or moros, a combo of dirty rice and black beans), onions and plantains. The roast chicken (and also pork, beef and fish) is marinated in their special Cuban garlic-citrus-vinegar sauce, which is also sold by the bottle at the bar.

Versailles Cuban Marinade - sold by the bottle at the bar

Versailles Cuban Marinade – sold by the bottle at the bar

Start with a glass of sangria and the bread with butter and garlic, choose an appetizer, an entree and later, if you are so inclined and not too full, a dessert. The entrees are large and easily shared by two people (or more), so bring friends and order a few different things.

Versailles Cuban Food (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food – Sangria and a Coke (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food- Bread w/chopped garlic & melted butter (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ON THE MENU: I had the Bistec Empanizado (seasoned & breaded steak) and plantains served with steamed rice & black beans! Also had to have the bread with garlic and melted butter, a taste of pork tamale (with garlic sauce which I also drizzled on my rice), a glass of sangria, and a coke.

Versailles Cuban Food (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food – Pork Tamales in Garlic Sauce (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food – Bistec Empanizado with Plantains (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food – Bistec Empanizado, the breaded steak (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food – The Roast Chicken in Garlic Sauce! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I also recommend the roast pork in garlic sauce and the oxtail stew in tomato and wine sauce, which were also on the menu at our table.

Versailles Cuban Food (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food – Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Versailles Cuban Food – Oxtail Stew in a Tomato & Wine Sauce (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The prices are very reasonable, and they have lunch and dinner “specials” with discounted prices on both food and drink items. You get a lot of good food for a decent price. The service is usually fast and efficient, but it can get a little chaotic in the dining room when the waiters are slammed or serving a couple of large parties at the same time.

We all enjoyed the food and drink, had a really good time, and when we finished the place was packed. So, if you like Cuban food, definitely try Versailles. It was a great dinner, but no one ordered a Cubano sandwich (see “Chef” the film).

"Chef" the film

“Chef” the film – Russell Peters and Jon Favreau recreate a scene from “Lady & The Tramp”

Versailles Cuban Food Encino – 17410 Ventura Blvd., Encino http://www.versaillescuban.com  818-906-0756 (and 3 other locations in L.A.)

Sherman Oaks Galleria – 15301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks 91403 (on the northwest corner of Ventura Blvd and Sepulveda Blvd) http://www.shermanoaksgalleria.com ArcLight Cinemas (same address) – https://www.arclightcinemas.com 818-501-0753 

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