GBTA 2013 Convention in San Diego! (Global Business Travel Association)

GBTA 2013 Convention in San Diego! (Global Business Travel Association)

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NOTE: For ThrowbackThursday and FlashbackFriday we found this Blog draft. We laid out all the type and captions back in 2013 and never added the pics or details. So we went to the files for collateral from the convention, found old travel picture files on our other laptop for pictures that were never seen and also went hunting for the pics that we had already downloaded or posted, then we filled in all the details we could remember and constructed this Blog! And even though the event happened in 2013 we still hope you will enjoy this Blog for TravelTuesday in 2017!

We were invited to attend the GBTA 2013 Convention as a “Hosted Buyer”, but we had prior commitments and could only attend the first and second day of the event. So we made a one-night hotel reservation and arranged to attend the “preview day” on Sunday and the first day on Monday.

GBTA 2013 Convention Schedule for Sunday and Monday:
(Vendor Parties not shown) CLICK to SEE A LARGER PIC!

Road Trip to San Diego! – Ride along with me!

It was a foggy Sunday morning when we woke up very early and hit the road to San Diego. We left the San Fernando Valley at 7am to avoid traffic and drove south on the 405 and 5 freeways for about three hours. We were successful and drove fast (we also took pictures as we went) but other drivers were driving really fast! We were really amazed at the speed of some of the cars passing us at very high speeds like we were parked.

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GBTA 2013! – On The Road to San Diego (405 freeway south to 5 freeway south)

Ride along with me to San Diego, just click on the pics below:

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GBTA 2013! – Downtown San Diego

Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego (A Hilton Hotel)

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GBTA 2013! – Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego Atrium & Skylight

We arrived in San Diego and found our hotel, the Embassy Suites Downtown, sometime after 9am. We found metered street parking two blocks away from the hotel which was FREE and available because it was Sunday. We walked over to the hotel, had breakfast at the complimentary buffet and got an early check in.

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GBTA 2013! – Breakfast Buffet at the Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego

We went up to the room, checked it out and dropped our luggage. We set up the laptop, hooked into the hotel’s wi-fi and did our morning business via the internet and cell phone.

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After a short time in the room, we walked over to the Hyatt Regency and caught the Free Shuttle to the Convention Center.

Sunday was a “preview” day, so it was not very crowded, just busy. There were a lot of people checking in and the vendors and staff were making preparations for the week ahead. The Exhibition Hall didn’t open until Monday, but we were invited to the “First-Timers” lunch and the Welcome Party at the Hilton on Sunday evening.

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GBTA 2013! Global Business Travel Association Convention in San Diego

We rode the shuttle to the Convention Center, walked to Check-In, checked in and got our credentials, and then we walked to the “first timers” lunch in an adjacent meeting hall.

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GBTA 2013! – San Diego Convention Center

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GBTA 2013! – “First Timers” Lunch, Orientation and Welcome

On The Menu: Turkey sandwich with mozzarella cheese balls, lettuce & tomato and a slice of apple pie with iced tea, water and coffee

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After lunch, we attended the “Going Global” session, walked around the Convention Center and then we walked to the shuttle pickup point, rode the shuttle back to the Hyatt and then walked back to our hotel. We cleaned up and enjoyed a free cocktail and complimentary appetizers at the Embassy Suites’ afternoon Happy Hour downstairs.

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GBTA 2013 Welcome Reception Party Buffet at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront

After the Happy Hour we drove over to the Hilton Bayfront Hotel and paid $15 to park for the Welcome Reception and Party on the Great Lawn which runs along the Marina.  An outdoor evening buffet for 7000 people or so, with beer/wine and magaritas at the bar.

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GBTA 2013! – Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

NOTE: It was a huge convention! Every hotel in San Diego remotely close to the Convention Center was at capacity and filled with Travel Agents, Vendors, Travel Writers and other attendees from all over the United States and other parts of the world. We commented on the size of the crowd to a staff person at the Convention Center and they just laughed because Comic-Con had been in town the week before and the size of GBTA convention wasn’t even close to the overflow crowd for Comic-Con.

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GBTA 2013 Welcome Reception Party on the Great Lawn – the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

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GBTA 2103 Welcome Reception Party on the Great Lawn – the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

On The Menu at the Welcome Reception Party Buffet at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront:
Buffalo chicken meatballs, lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce, pasta in lobster sauce, pita chips and a bunch of types of hummus, prime rib sliders with cheese, chicken potstickers, veggie potstickers, pork potstickers, other stuff too, and then on to the dessert table! Nice truffle selection, chocolate covered strawberries, candy lollipops in a bunch of weird flavors and mini-pastries…

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GBTA 2013! – Sunset Over A Sea of Travel Industry at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

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We walked to over to Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant for the next party. It was a long “Las Vegas” walk just after dark along the Marina and Bayfront to get to Roy’s, but it was worth it! We immediately regretted eating at the Welcome Party Buffet, because there was an amazing assortment of incredible food at Roy’s!

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GBTA 2013! – The Kitchen at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant in San Diego

There were all kinds of sushi and cut rolls, egg rolls, chicken and beef satay skewers, Hawaiian style ribs, other tasty appetizers and finger foods, fresh fruit and a lot of fancy desserts. We ate and drank and networked until it got too crowded inside the large restaurant and we didn’t take any pictures (except the one of the kitchen above). We left the party early and took a little food “to go” for later at the hotel. We didn’t want to do anymore walking or make the long dark walk back to the Hilton parking structure, so we negotiated with a pedal cab guy and survived a really fast and wild nighttime ride back to the hotel along the Bayfront for $10+tip.

We walked to our car and drove back to the Embassy Suites. We valet parked our car at the hotel and retired to our hotel room. We did some work, ate the “to go” food (ribs, sushi and little chocolate balls) after midnight and went to bed.

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Monday morning, we were up early and we enjoyed the Embassy Suites’ breakfast buffet again. We took the food up to the room, ate and did some more work, and then packed up our stuff, went downstairs and had a second breakfast. After eating again we got our stuff and checked out of the hotel. We picked up the car from the valet, drove to over the Convention Center and paid to park there. Parking was $15 for all day until midnight.

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GBTA 2013! – Embassy Suites Hotel Breakfast Buffet (in the room)

We arrived in time and got a pretty good seat for the Keynote Address and Lunch for 6000 people with a presentation and performance by singer/songwriter Jewel. All of the front area tables were “Reserved” so we took a seat at a forward table in the first section behind the front area. The hall at the Convention Center was massive! Lunch for 6000 is not an easy task!

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GBTA 2013 Keynote Lunch with Jewel at the San Diego Convention Center

Monday’s GBTA 2013 Keynote Speaker Jewel performs
“Who Will Save Your Soul” live at the San Diego Convention Center

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https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=703198789706690&set=vb.337421319696080&type=2&theater (facebook video)

On The Menu: iceberg lettuce salad, bread & butter, stuffed chicken breast with pesto sauce, vegetables, a fruit tart dessert and iced tea.

After lunch they opened the massive Exposition Hall which ran the entire length of the Convention Center and was filled with Vendors and Suppliers. There were also Vendor meetings scheduled for the afternoon. We walked a portion of the Exhibition Hall, collected brochures/information/swag and received invitations to events later on that evening and later in the week. It would have been impossible to cover the whole Exhibition Hall in one day, so we didn’t try. Instead we did what we could between 3-6pm and dropped all the promotional material in our car before beginning the evening activities.

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GBTA 2013! – The Gaslamp District Sign in San Diego

The Gaslamp District!
The Historic Heart of San Diego is located across the street and train tracks from the Convention Center. Bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels and plenty of gift shops are within easy walking distance (unless you’ve already walked all day).

Let’s get this party started!
We were invited to eight different parties happening at different locations around the Gaslamp District and the Bayfront near the Convention Center.

Monday Party # 1 – Sunset cocktails and dinner at the Altitude Lounge

Our first invitation was for a party at the Altitude Lounge on top of the Marriott Gaslamp Hotel. We walked over to the Marriott Hotel next door to the Convention Center, but it was the wrong Marriott. So then we walked over to the Gaslamp District and found the right hotel. We ate and drank and watched the sunset from the rooftop patio.

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Excellent view of San Diego and Mission Bay from the outdoor patio!

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GBTA 2013! View from the Altitude Lounge in San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – View of Petco Park from the Altitude Lounge in San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – Sunset in San Diego from the Altitude Lounge

On The Menu: tray passed appetizers and a buffet with eggrolls, beef on toast, beef and chicken satay, tuna on wonton crisp, crab on cracker, pita bread and hummus and more… catered by Flemings Steakhouse!

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Monday Party #2 –
We crashed The Parking Spot Party at Lou & Mickey’s at the Gaslamp

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GBTA 2013! – The Parking Spot Party at Lou & Mickey’s at the Gaslamp

We left the party and walked across the street and crashed The Parking Spot’s party at Lou & Mickey’s restaurant. We ate and drank and met the nice folks from The Parking Spot and told them we crashed their party. They didn’t mind. Their party ended early, and the place emptied as the crowd left for other parties that were just getting started.

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Monday Party #3 – GBTA 2013 “AMPED” Party at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego!

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GBTA 2013! – Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Guitar at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

We walked over to our next event: the AMPED party at the Hard Rock Hotel! We ate and drank and met a bunch of really nice people. It started slow but soon the crowd at the main bar was five people deep, the music was rockin’ and it got pretty hopping.

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This party was on a very large rooftop patio, with several permanent bars, a couch area with fire pits and portable heaters, several floating bars and a bunch of buffet stations with a great selection of food. There was good music, of course, and a stage was set up for performance, but it didn’t get used until later. There was even a photo booth for taking pictures with silly wigs, hats and props.

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GBTA 2013! – Buffet Station at the AMPED Party at the Hard Rock Hotel

We asked permission before taking these pics of one of the Go-Go Dancers on a raised pedestal (there were several). She said “Go ahead, I don’t see why not” and posed for the first one. And she was a fantastic dancer too!

Monday Party #4 – Level Skye Club at the Andaz Hotel in San Diego!

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GBTA 2013! – The Bar at Level Skye Club at the Andaz Hotel in San Diego

We had one more party to check out or we would have just stayed at the Hard Rock, instead we left the hotel and walked over to Level Skye Club at the Andaz Hotel. We walked a lot and we were wearing our dress shoes, so by the end of the night our feet were really hurting. We were also tired from a long day at the convention and a long night of partying.
When we got to the club the upstairs was deceptively quiet because downstairs in the basement it was raging! The party at Level Skye was really “off-the-hook” with funky dance music and lots of light and a lot of drunk travel agents. Travel industry people love to party! Thanks American Express!

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GBTA 2013! – Big Party at Level Skye Club in the Andaz Hotel Basement in San Diego

We didn’t eat or drink anything alcoholic because we still had to walk back to the car and drive home to Los Angeles. So, Monday late night we walked back to the car on sore feet before they closed the Convention Center Garage for the night (at midnight).

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GBTA 2013! – San Diego Convention Center Parking ($15 all day – closes at midnight)

We drove back to Los Angeles on the 5 freeway north after midnight and hit a impossible “Stop-and-Go” traffic jam along the way because of construction at 2am in the morning.

When we finally made it home after 3am, we unloaded the car and crashed hard. We had a really good time, did a lot of business and networking, saw Jewel play live music, enjoyed our “budget” stay at the Embassy Suites, and ate and drank and danced and partied in San Diego for two days.

NOTE: We did a lot of walking, a whole lot of walking in our dress shoes, so next time we bring and wear more comfortable walking shoes.

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GBTA 2013! – San Diego Convention Center Stairs at Night

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GBTA 2013! – We did not attend GBTA 2014 in Los Angeles

FINAL NOTE: We finished this Blog and hit “PUBLISH” and it did not. WordPress lost the Blog and the draft(s) totally disappeared! We had to use Google Cache to rescue it and then we had to start over and rebuild the original Blog again. Total waste of time. There is a flaw (BUG) in the wordpress program, because when we went looking for help we found that this has happened to other people as well. So, please ENJOY THIS BLOG, a lot of time went into it.



 

UPDATED Wednesday March 29, 2017 – We posted this Blog yesterday!

We collected a bunch of FREE stuff in the short time we were there, two bags full of stuff actually! Most was promotional “paper”: sell sheets, pamphlets, maps and brochures. But there was some fun giveaway stuff and cool “incentives” for visiting certain booths.

We were given a “Swag” bag at check-in provided/sponsored by Delta and the padded bag was very nice. We recently found it in Storage (see our previous Blog about Storage) and we are now using it as a laptop bag.

UPDATED April 5, 2017 – TRAVEL TIP!
We found these “hospitality cards” (restaurant and bar coupons, freebies, come-ons, etc.) from the San Diego trip. We had so much FREE food and drink and were only in town for one night, so we didn’t use any of them. They can be found at the Concierge Desk at the San Diego Convention Center (and these are just a few of the ones available).

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Hospitality Cards (Restaurant and Bar Coupons, Freebies, Come-Ons, etc.)

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#WineWednesday Again!

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Celebrate the end of November!

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Make it “A December You Won’t Need to Remember!”

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Wine Tasting at the Belle Fiore Winery in Ashland, Oregon

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Dinner in the Backroom at Mozza Osteria in Hollywood!

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Wines, Single Malt Scotch and Tequila from Thanksgiving 2016

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Fine Wines and Finnish Chocolate from Thanksgiving 2015

 

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Party on the Patio at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset!

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ThrowbackThursday! Joey Villa at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas!

ThrowbackThursday! Joey Villa at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas!

Here’s the story about Joey Villa and the time we met Perry Como and Jilly Rizzo at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 – Today they imploded the Monaco Tower at the Riviera.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016 – Today they imploded the last towers of the Riviera

Thanks to the Las Vegas Review-Journal for the live video!
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Riviera Hotel & Casino

We worked on a film (you’ve probably never heard of or seen it) called “Eternity” in 1990.

We met many famous people: Jon Voight, Armand Assante, Wilford Brimley, Lainie Kazan, Kaye Ballard, Steven Keats, Eileen Davidson, John P. Ryan, Charles Knapp, Eugene Roche, Robert Carricart, Frankie Valli and Joey Villa.

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“Eternity” aka “Evil Brother” feature film 1989 Pictured: Jon Voight, Armand Assante, Perri Lister, Kaye Ballard, Eileen Davidson, Charles Knapp RIP and Joey Villa RIP as the Jester

We became good friends with Joey Villa and he invited us to visit him, first at his home in Beverly Hills which doubled as his booking office, and then at the Riviera Hotel and Casino on The Strip in Fabulous Las Vegas where he was performing. He was friends with Meshulim Riklis and Pia Zadora, who owned the resort at the time, and was a headliner in “Splash!” in the big showroom at the Riviera for nine years. Joey also booked acts, hosted and headlined in the comedy room at the hotel.

Joey Villa (Joseph Charles Villani) was born on March 19, 1937. He was an actor and comedian, known for “Heat” (1986 with Burt Reynolds), “Eternity” (1990) and “They Call Me Bruce?” (1982). He died at the age of 68 on December 16, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada from complication from a stroke.

Villa, a native of New York, appeared in just a handful of movies, but he made his mark as a stand-up comedian, performing in Las Vegas as well as clubs around the country. He also spent many years performing on cruise ships, and eventually booked acts for the ocean liners. Villa opened for many famous entertainers, including Nat King Cole, Paul Anka, the Pointer Sisters and Diana Ross and the Supremes. He was a frequent guest on talk shows, including “The Merv Griffin Show” and “The Mike Douglas Show.” Villa was a close friend of both Frank Sinatra and of Sinatra’s “right-hand man” Jilly Rizzo. He gave one of the eulogies at Rizzo’s funeral when the celebrity restaurateur was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver in 1992 in Palm Springs, California.

Joey’s famous opening line from his stand-up comedy act for over 40 years was, “I’m going to live until I die” ……and then he would drop to the stage floor. Every audience roared with laughter as Joey stood up after falling down and began his show. He kept the audience laughing throughout his entire performance. “At the end they always applauded and cheered and left smiling, feeling they were parting as friends.”

“Joey was loved by everyone, from Sinatra on down,” Larry Manetti said.

Villa had no children and died at a local hospice. Survivors include three sisters. Joey and his former wife divorced in 1982 and remained close friends. “He was a gentle man, a much kinder man than most people knew,” she said. “He was born to make people laugh — and he made thousands laugh and applaud, and for a very short time they would forget their problems.”

Nelson Sardelli, a close friend of Villa, said the comedian will be cremated and his ashes cast into the sea. “He requested that there not be any services…He was a gentle person…Sometimes he looked like he was looking for approval…A little accolade, that’s want he wanted.” One friend described him as “happy on the outside, but sad on the inside. He was sort of a lonely person, but at the same time loved to be around people and make them laugh. But I think that is the way most comedians are.”

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

Vegas in the 1980’s before the Mirage opened in 1989 was a wild place! The last Casino holdouts of “Old Vegas” (before they tried to turn it into a “family friendly” destination and eventually turned it into Disneyland for Adults when the big corporations took over) were the main attractions. It was all about GAMBLING (not gaming) in the 80’s and they “comped” players to rooms, meals, shows and more without a plastic card. It really was “Sin City”! You could drive The Strip from Tropicana to Sahara without traffic and there were still undeveloped empty lots on The Strip!

There wasn’t a Fremont Street Experience, there was Fremont Street and Downtown Vegas, uncovered and dirty. Strip Clubs, showgirls, 99 cent buffets, free drinks, cigarette girls, $2 Blackjack…. even then we preferred The Strip.

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

The Evolution of Las Vegas!

Back in the day, we stayed and played at many of the classic hotels and casinos.

We saw “Seigfried and Roy” at the Mirage when it was the new joint on the strip.

Circus Circus, Thunderbird Hotel, El Rancho, The Landmark, Dunes, Desert Inn, Stardust, Barbary Coast, Wild Bill’s, Sahara, Aladdin, El Morocco, La Concha, Imperial Palace, Riviera, Las Vegas Hilton, Monte Carlo

Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Bally’s, Tropicana, Bellagio, Palms, Hard Rock Hotel, The Rio, Treasure Island, Mirage, MGM Grand, Venetian, Palazzo, The Cromwell

Pierino Ronald “Perry” Como (May 18, 1912-May 12, 2001) was an Italian American singer and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century, he recorded exclusively for RCA Victor for 44 years after signing with the label in 1943.

Ermenigildo “Jilly” Rizzo  (May 6, 1917-May 6, 1992) – On his 75th birthday, Rizzo was killed when his car was hit by a drunk driver in Rancho Mirage, California

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Farewell to the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas!
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“Crazy Girls” at the Riviera Hotel

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It’s WineWednesday (again)!

It’s WineWednesday (again)!

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Pour the wine again!
Today is WineWednesday!
Enjoy a big glass!
Enjoy a bottle!
WineWednesday is today!
Pour the wine again!

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CHEERS!

Read the Previous Blog>
Wine Tasting at the Belle Fiore Estate & Winery in Ashland, Oregon> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1QU

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F*CK YOU MORELS LAS VEGAS (at the Palazzo)

F*CK YOU MORELS LAS VEGAS! (at the Palazzo)

YOU SERVED THIS SH*TTY BREAKFAST TO A TRAVEL AND FOOD BLOGGER!

This sh*tty breakfast cost $23 at Morels with a french pressed coffee included:

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Breakfast at Morels Las Vegas at the Palazzo

WE WERE SERVED THIS SH*TTY BREAKFAST LAST AUGUST AT MORELS LAS VEGAS AT THE PALAZZO AND WE ARE STILL ANGRY!

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Coffee with Breakfast at Morels Las Vegas at the Palazzo

 

Complain to them about sh*tty food on Twitter and you’ll get BLOCKED!
How’s that for customer service and care?

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So we wrote a REVIEW ON FACEBOOK and gave them 1 STAR:
(because no stars was not an option)

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Screenshot of Our Review on facebook

Emily wants to know “Why’d you block him?” on March 31st.
And there was NO RESPONSE.

DON’T EAT HERE. There are many other good choices in Las Vegas!

Morels is inside the Palazzo Las Vegas. One more reason not to go there.

NOTE: We started this Blog before the Mass Shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida, where 50 human beings were murdered and 53 other people were injured. This horrible event, combined with the reaction to the event, and the constant INSANITY of Donald Trump, we thought we’d channel our negative energy into something positive and finished this negative Blog about a negative experience.

 

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Dixie Hollywood Hotel, Susan Feniger’s Mud Hen Tavern and The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl

SLUGFEST IN HOLLYWOOD!

The Dixie Hollywood Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Susan Feniger’s Mud Hen Tavern on Highland Avenue in Hollywood and The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl are the subjects of this Blog.

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HOLLYWOOD! (not my pic)

Fun Dinner! Met up with some OLD College Friends from UC Santa Cruz at the Dixie Hollywood Hotel and drove over for dinner at Susan Feniger’s Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood before The Cure concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

The Cure Crew

Ann, Diane, Ber, yours truly and Tracy in Hollywood (the valet took this one)

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And THIS GUY!

First, a little History and Backstory:

Our very good friend Ann loves The Cure. She has for as long as we’ve known her… and that’s over 30 years. We met at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the mid-80s.

We became friends, shared many experiences together with a larger group of friends at Kresge College and UCSC, graduated together in 1987 and threw a legendary blowout party at “The Big Yellow House” on High Street to celebrate. To celebrate her wedding to Stevo, we returned to Santa Cruz with our fiancé, along with the rest of the “K-Town Crew” and later she and Stephen were guests at my wedding in Los Angeles.

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The “K-Town Crew” at Ann & Stephen’s Wedding in Santa Cruz (not my pic)

We had a “K-Town Crew” Reunion in San Jose in 2014 at Ber’s house (see the Previous Blog) and they had a gathering last year in Santa Cruz that we did not attend. We often visit Ann in San Jose when we road trip to Oregon and we were present last year when her daughter graduated from high school (see the Previous Blog).

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UC Santa Cruz “K-Town Crew” Reunion 2013 at Ber’s in San Jose (not my pic)

Now among that larger group of friends were Diane, Ber (short for Kimberly), Tracy and Jason. They too are all big fans of The Cure. Jason lives in Los Angeles, Tracy in Rancho San Mirage, Ber and Ann live in San Jose and Diane lives near Sacramento. And so, they all planned a trip to see The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl. Ann arrived on Monday in the afternoon. Jason picked her up at the airport and they went to the concert on Monday night. Then they went out drinking and Ann was hungover on Tuesday afternoon when we called her at the hotel. Also, Ann dropped her phone and broke the screen, so we were lucky she was able to answer her phone at all when we called sometime after 1pm!

Diane flew in early too and she and Tracy partied down in Laguna Beach the day and night before. So, Tracy and Diane were picking Ber up at Burbank airport and they were going to come to the hotel. And so it was decided that we would drive to Hollywood and meet them all and then go to dinner and drinks before the concert.

And so, we ventured out onto the 101 freeway to east Hollywood, and with only a little afternoon traffic, arrived at our destination on Hollywood Boulevard.

The Dixie Hollywood Hotel

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NOW: The Dixie Hollywood Hotel – Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California

Located on Hollywood Boulevard just east of Western Avenue, the Dixie Hollywood Hotel is the perfect example of the gentrification of Hollywood. Previously it was a Days Inn and the neighborhood around Hollywood and Western was run down and dangerous.

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THEN: Days Inn in Hollywood (not my pic)

Now, the old motel has been cleaned up, painted, some upgrades to the rooms have been added and the neighborhood has undergone significant changes in the past five years. There is and has been major development all along the Metro line, and Hollywood has seen  tremendous growth and new construction. Across the street is a new residential over retail building that used to a “crackhead motel” and there’s another large residential over retail building under construction just next door.

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!

There’s a restaurant on Hollywood Blvd that is part of the hotel, but it wasn’t open, so we just took a picture of the “A” rating and the chef mannequin in the window. Then we found Ann’s room and knocked on the door. It’s wonderful to see a very good friend you haven’t seen in a long time. We caught up while we waited for the girls to arrive from picking Ber up at Burbank airport.

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Tracy, Ber and Diane Arrive! Let the Party Begin!

It wasn’t very long before the girls joined the party! They unloaded the car and brought their luggage and stuff upstairs to the room. Diane was hung over too, Ber was sober and she and Tracy were ready to go. It was decided that we would hang out for a little bit and then drive over to the restaurant on Highland.

Susan Fenigar’s Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood, California

There’s Valet Parking in the Rear! Very important to know, because there’s not a lot of parking during peak traffic hours or anywhere in the neighborhood after 6pm. We arrived early enough on a Tuesday evening and self parked in the valet lot and kept the keys. There’s an entrance in the rear lot that leads onto the restaurant’s patio and into the main dining room/bar.

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Susan Feniger is a James Beard Award winning American chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and radio and TV personality from Toledo, Ohio. She has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the California Restaurant Association. She is also known for the cooking show “Too Hot Tamales” on the Food Network and opening several influential restaurants including City Cafe/Restaurant and The Border Grill in Los Angeles. Feniger has published five cookbooks: City Cuisine (1989), Mesa Mexicana (1994), Cantina: The Best of Casual Mexican Cooking (Casual Cuisines of the World) (1996), Cooking with Too Hot Tamales (1997) and Mexican Cooking for Dummies (1999/2002).

In April 2009, Feniger opened her first solo project: Street, a multi-ethnic eatery of street food in Hollywood. In December 2013, Street was replaced in the redesigned space by the Mud Hen Tavern and with Executive Chef and Partner Kajsa Alger and mixology consultant Tricia Carr.

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

It’s a very nice space. The Dining Room/Bar is open and airy, so even when it’s crowded and there are a lot of people it’s doesn’t feel cramped and it isn’t as noisy as some places. There’s a long bar and bar seating as well as table seating inside and on the outdoor patio.

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The Bar at the Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood, California

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Party on the Patio at The Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood (our waiter took this one)

We chose a big table on the empty patio because it was a beautiful evening and so we could be loud and festive without disturbing everyone inside. Our friend Jason arrived and joined us at the table and then we ordered drinks and a lot of food to share.

The Food and Drink:

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!

On The Menu: deviled eggs, hangover toast, Berliner pizza, tuna crudo, chicken & waffle croquettes, crispy brussel sprouts, special Burger with bacon & garlic fries, and shrimp and grits. And there were some cocktails (a couple of Cosmopolitans, Long Island ice tea, Ketel One Seabreeze, a double Absolut Bloody Mary, a beer and some wine) too.

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Double Absolut Bloody Mary at the Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood, California

NOTE: We were our friend’s “designated driver” and so we did not drink alcohol. We drove a car of happy drunk women through gridlocked Hollywood traffic and dropped them off at the Hollywood Bowl. We did not attend the concert but we watched parts live on Periscope.

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Selfie Time! Tracy, Ber and Diane at the Mud Hen Tavern in Hollywood

After dinner and drinks, Jason was going home and the girls were going to Uber to the Hollywood Bowl, but instead we offered to drive them and drop them off. So we got in the car and off we went into Hollywood!

Traffic was beyond UNBELIEVABLE! The gentrification of Hollywood has added thousands of residents to the immediate neighborhood without any traffic improvements. The Metro (Los Angeles’ subway and bus system) brings hundreds more to the neighborhood creating pedestrian traffic that gridlocks the street intersections. Add an event, concert or premiere at the Hollywood Bowl, Kodak Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, Arclight Cinerama Dome, Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Chinese Theatre or any of the studios or nightclubs and it creates a daily traffic nightmare!

So, at 7pm to get from Highland and Melrose to the Hollywood Bowl we had to get creative! Highland was a parking lot, so we cut over and took Las Palmas to Fountain, cut over and turned right on Sunset, and made a left onto Cahuenga which was a total parking lot (we saw later on that there was a major accident at the intersection of Cahuenga and Franklin). We cut through the Jack-in-the-Box parking lot and turned left onto Ivar and crossed Hollywood Blvd, turning left again at Yucca, then right at Cherokee and left at Franklin and back to Highland. A right on Highland and little more traffic we dropped the girls at 7:40pm across the street from the Hollywood Bowl and then got on the 101 freeway back to the San Fernando Valley.

The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl

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From Wikipedia:

The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley, West Sussex, in 1976. The band has experienced several line-up changes, with vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member. The Cure first began releasing music in the late 1970s with their debut album Three Imaginary Boys; this, along with several early singles, placed the band as part of the post-punk and new wave movements that had sprung up in the wake of the punk rock revolution in the United Kingdom. During the early 1980s, the band’s increasingly dark and tormented music was a staple of the emerging gothic rock genre.

After the release of 1982’s Pornography, the band’s future was uncertain and Smith was keen to move past the gloomy reputation his band had acquired. With the single “Let’s Go to Bed” released the same year, Smith began to place a pop sensibility into the band’s music and their popularity increased as the decade wore on, with songs like “Just Like Heaven”, “Lovecats” and “Friday I’m in Love”. The band is estimated to have sold 27 million albums as of 2004 and have released thirteen studio albums, ten EPs and over thirty singles during their career.

The Cure LIVE on Periscope (Screenshots):

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

And a very good time was had by everyone we’re told. They all enjoyed the concert and made it back to the hotel and then home again on Wednesday morning. It was great to see our old friends and spend some time reconnecting. We made good time going back to the San Fernando Valley and caught the sunset on our way. It was a fun time.

Dixie Hollywood Hotel5410 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90027
323-463-7171 http://www.dixiehollywoodhotel.com

Mud Hen Tavern742 Highland Ave., Hollywood, CA
323-203-0500 http://www.mudhentavern.com

Hollywood Bowl2301 Highland Ave, Hollywood, CA
323-850-2000 http://www.hollywoodbowl.com

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel unless otherwise noted

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Going Home on the 101 Freeway North to the San Fernando Valley

The Cure “The Love Cats” Live in Japan 1984:

Party at the Culver Hotel in Culver City

Graduation and Dinner Party at the Culver Hotel in Culver City on Sunday night!

THIS BLOG IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION!
WORDPRESS BUG IS CAUSING THE PAGE TO FREEZE AGAIN
FORCED TO PUBLISH OR LOSE THE WORK!
Last update: Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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The Culver Hotel in Culver City, California

A beautiful Sunday evening in Los Angeles and an invitation to a Graduation and Dinner Party at the historic Culver Hotel in Culver City, California.

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The Culver Hotel and The Lion’s Fountain in Culver City

The party was called for 6pm, so we left the San Fernando Valley a little after 5 o’clock, and drove the 405 freeway to the Venice Blvd exit and into Culver City. We decided not to valet park or park in the public parking structures, so we drove around for a little while and finally nabbed street parking at a metered space. The meters don’t run on Sunday, so we took a short walk and arrived at our destination right on time.

The 405 Freeway south (through a dirty windshield):

Downtown Culver City (founded 1917)

The intersection of Washington Blvd and Culver Blvd in downtown Culver City.

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View of Washington Blvd & Culver Blvd in Culver City from Harry Culver’s Office

Parking Sucks! There is metered street parking and there are public parking structures in Downtown Culver City (first hour free, then $1.00 every 30 minutes) in case you don’t want to valet park. However, you don’t have to pay to park at the meters on Sunday, so if you can find a space on the street, you’re golden. Be sure to check the signs carefully, because there are many restrictions and some other strange valet parking rules.

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Walk With Me: Sunday Evening in Downtown Culver City!

 

The Historic Culver Hotel 1924 Six Story Flatiron Brick Building

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The Culver Hotel in Culver City, California

National Registry of Historic Places 1997

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The Culver Hotel in Culver City, California

 

 

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Built by Harry Culver, the founder of Culver City. Originally named the Hotel Hunt and later known as the Culver City Hotel. Culver had offices on the second floor of the hotel.

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Harry Culver’s Office (Then)

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Harry Culver’s Office (Now)

Culver City became a movie-making mecca in the 1920s and was the home of MGM Studios. Many legendary Hollywood stars maintained private residences and cast members from classic films like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz  (including the 124 actors who played the Munchkins) were guests of the hotel.

The hotel was later owned by Charlie Chaplin. Legend has it Chaplin lost the property in a poker game to John Wayne, who owned the hotel for several years and eventually donated it to the YMCA.  The property fell into disrepair, was boarded up for a time and almost demolished in the 1980s.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had a Presidential campaign office in the hotel in 1952.

The Culver Hotel was restored and reopened by Lou Catlett in the mid 90’s and was then purchased by Abraham Hu who ran it for several years until 2007, when he sold it to the Mallick family. Since 2007, the entire plumbing and electrical systems have been upgraded and the guestrooms and the public spaces have been redone, all 140 handmade windows in the guest rooms have been replaced while maintaining the property’s history and architectural integrity.

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ICP Graduation 2016 and Dinner Party on the 2nd Floor

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Diplomas were awarded and Speeches were made before Dinner

6pm Reception, Cocktail Hour & Hors d’oeuvres
7pm Welcome, Introduction, Graduation Speaker & Graduation
8pm Dinner & 9pm Dessert (with a brief award presentation in between)

On The Menu: Tray passed appetizers: mac’n’cheese, tuna poke with wasabi cream cheese and bruschetta with cream cheese & tomato; red wine, Buffet: chicken, salmon, pasta in red sauce, roasted cauliflower/broccolini/root vegetables and a coke; Dessert: mini cannoli and macaroons….didn’t stay for coffee.

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Party at the Culver Hotel in Culver City

RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW WINDOW TO VIEW LARGER PIC AND GALLERY>

 

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The Ground Floor Lobby and Bar are used for special events. There was a wedding in progress and we took a couple pictures on our way out.

Culver Hotel9400 Culver Blvd Culver City, CA 90232

All Photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Walk With Me: Sunday Evening in Downtown Culver City! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVSLpa6OdQ8

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TRAVEL TUESDAY! Where do you want to go next?

TRAVEL TUESDAY!
Where do you want to go next?

What’s the DESTINATION, Kenneth?

“I’ve got Two Tickets to Paradise!
Pack your bags and we’ll leave tonight!” 
~Eddie Money

Hawaii 24

Duke Kahanamoku Statue – Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Oahu 

“Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again…”
~John Denver

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Limo and a Private G-4 LearJet at Santa Monica Municipal Airport in Los Angeles

“I have a limo, ride in the back
I lock the doors in case I’m attacked”
~Joe Walsh

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Your Limosine is Waiting!

“VEGAS BABY! VEGAS!”

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The Venetian – Palazzo – Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

“If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there”
~Scott McKenzie

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Golden Gate Bridge in the Fog – San Francisco, California

We might need to go to Yosemite soon.

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Yosemite Valley, California 

Yosemite, California

Picture Point – Yosemite Valley – First snow of the season!

“Here today, gone to Maui…” (or maybe Hawaii)

Hawaii 33 Hana Maui

Hana Bay – Hana, Maui, Hawaii

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Rainbow Falls – Hilo, Hawaii 

Where do you want to go next?

“Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man,
Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can.
And when it’s time for leavin’,
I hope you’ll understand,
That I was born a ramblin’ man.”
~The Allman Brothers Band

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Road Trip! Mount Shasta from the I-5 Freeway – Shasta, California

All Photos copyright 2010-2016 JoshWillTravel

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Yosemite 33

Yosemite Falls – Yosemite Valley, California 

27 Great Travel Hacks!

27 Great Travel Hacks!

Here is a fantastic infographic!

bi_graphics_27 travel hacks that even frequent fliers don't know_02

 

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