Dinner at the Lakeside Cafe in Encino

Dinner at the Lakeside Cafe in Encino, California

NOTE: This Blog is still under construction!
Once again wordpress is acting weird, so we published before the Blog was finished!

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Dinner at the Lakeside Cafe in Encino, California

It’s Thursday night and let’s go out to dinner!
Chinese? Japanese? Deli? Where do you want to go?
I don’t know, someplace different.
Okay, ….

How about the Lakeside Cafe in Encino?

We went there one time for dinner a long time ago, it was soon after they opened in the old El Torito building on Ventura Boulevard (just east of Balboa Blvd) adjacent to Los Encinos State Historic Park with a fantastic view of the lake.

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

El Torito Mexican restaurant had been in the same space for years and was an Encino “constant”! After they closed, a couple of other restaurant/bar/club ventures tried to make a “go” of it and failed. And now the tenant is the Lakeside Cafe, a combination coffee house and bar-restaurant and now also a performance space with live jazz and other music.

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El Torito Mexican Restaurant

We went there just for dinner at about 6:30pm. They have Valet Parking for $3.00 in a lot off Ventura and there’s metered street parking that operates 8am-8pm everyday except Sunday. We found a spot on the street and entered through the Valet lot entrance (there’s also an entrance on Ventura).

 

The “Front-of-House” on Ventura is set up like a coffee house.

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Lakeside Cafe “Front-of-House” on Ventura Blvd – Coffee House

 

You can enter the restaurant from Ventura Blvd through the coffee house area and center room. There is additional inside table seating here away from the bar area.

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Lakeside Cafe Center Room, Host Desk Entrance from Valet Lot, Additional Indoor Tables and the Waiting Area as seen from Coffee House side

If you enter through the Valet lot you walk into the center room and arrive at the Host desk and the waiting area. There are couches, a coffee table and benches for additional seating against the wall.

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

There is a side guest table as well. Would you care for some literature?

Sunday Brunch, Happy Hour 3pm-6pm, Live Jazz on Saturdays and the Catering Menu are featured on the promotional material available on the guest table, on your table and inside the menu. Quality marketing and promotion is good business (direct to customer inside the restaurant).

The Dining Room, the Bar and the Outdoor Deck Patio on the Lake

The restaurant’s dining room is open to the elements because of the outdoor seating and deck. It was a lovely evening, the doors were open, but as the sun set it got cooler, and then colder due to its location on the lake. We knew this was inevitable and we decided to sit inside the bar area dining room away from the doors when we arrived.

There was a good crowd, but it wasn’t too crowded when we arrived. They have it set up as a “cafe” with wood 4-top tables and nice chairs in the dining room. On our previous visit we sat at a bar table on tall stools and it was not comfortable. The dining areas are wide open, so it has a cafeteria vibe where you’re eating with everyone in the room. Also, there are only hard surfaces indoors (wood floor and glass windows), so it gets really loud inside even when it’s not crowded. I would not recommend trying to have a romantic dinner inside, although it might be nice place for a rendezvous outside during the afternoon or on a warm summer night.

There is a small covered outdoor deck patio, which is separate from the other outdoor seating by the lake. It would be nice for having a small private cocktail or dinner party.

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

They have a very nice bar, unfortunately it takes up a lot of space in the Dining Room area, and makes the dining room part of the bar area, adding a lot of traffic and noise to the room.

NOTE: There is a DISCLAIMER NOTICE in the menu!

 

 

Outdoor Seating – Dining Al Fresco on the Lake!

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The Lake and the Dining Room Entrance from the Outdoor Seating Area

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

There’s outdoor seating by the lake, which is a beautiful place to dine al fresco on a warm San Fernando Valley day or night. Be sure to read the Disclaimer in the menu though!

The Dinner Menu and Bar Offerings:

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

Cocktails $12?
It’s a nice place, but they have “westside” prices in the heart of the valley!
The food was good, but their food items and drinks are expensive compared to many other neighborhood restaurants, which is probably the reason we haven’t been back since the first time we ate here. We most likely would have ordered drinks otherwise.

On The Menu: fried calamari, a Santa Fe salad, fettucine chicken alfredo and a coke

The calamari was excellent, lightly fried and crispy/chewy! The Santa Fe salad was good, but The Cheesecake Factory’s salad dressing is the standard to which all other Santa Fe salads are compared. This one “not as good”. And the fettucine chicken alfredo was tasty, but just a little bland. The thin sliced chicken and pasta was cooked perfectly, which is sometimes hard to accomplish with a pasta sauce. The service was only okay, it was a little scattered and could have and should have been better. Our entrees arrived pretty soon after the appetizer (while we were still eating the calamari), which is good for fast service, but bad in relation to “timing the meal”. Nothing to really be upset about though.

According to the literature, they have Sunday Brunch and Happy Hour at the bar 3pm-6pm. They have live music on Saturdays and they do catering too.

Here’s their Catering Menu:

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Lakeside Cafe Catering Menu

Lakeside Cafe16817 Ventura Blvd., Encino, California 91436
818-616-2430  www.lakesidecafe.com @LakesideEncino

Read our previous Blog Los Encinos Park

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Visit & Win at the Lakeside Cafe!

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Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

Opening Day & Dedication Ceremony! July 17, 1955

Opening Day & Dedication Ceremony! July 17, 1955

First time at Disneyland! In the Dome of the Monorail with cousin Danny 1970

First time at Disneyland! In the Dome of the Monorail with cousin Danny 1970

Vintage Disneyland! Vacationland Summer '77   magazine - COVER

Vintage Disneyland! Vacationland Summer ’77 magazine – COVER

Mark Twain's Steamboat - Disneyland, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Mark Twain’s Steamboat 1994 – Disneyland, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Tom Sawyer's Island 1994 b&w (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Tom Sawyer’s Island 1994 b&w (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

Happy 60th Anniversary Disneyland!

 

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25-JUL-13: This Old House, Santa Cruz, California

This Old House, Santa Cruz, California

This Old House, Santa Cruz, California

This Old House, Santa Cruz, California  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I used to live here in the mid 80’s. Took this pic last week and the house looks pretty much the same.

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11-MAY-13: Annie’s Cake! Santa Cruz K-Town Crew Reunion Party!

Annie’s Birthday Cake!

Annie's Birthday Cake! Santa Cruz Gang Reunion Party!

Annie’s Birthday Cake! Santa Cruz Gang Reunion Party!

Santa Cruz K-Town Crew Reunion Party in San Jose, California!

Santa Cruz Gang Reunion 2013

Santa Cruz K-Town Crew Reunion 2013 in San Jose, California

 

UPDATED March 2, 2017
Our good friend Ann O’Reilly (nee Collins) passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on February 22, 2017. Our thoughts are with her family and friends who loved her. We are shocked and saddened by her death and really can’t adequately express our feelings here.

REST IN PEACE ANNIE – May the Four Winds blow her safely home!

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Ann, Tracy, Diane & Ber in Hollywood in May, 2016

 

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Dinner & Show: Thai Food at Chan Dara & “Dreamgirls” @ the Met Theater in Hollywood

Friday 12-April-2013

Drove the 101 Freeway into Hollywood (no traffic!) and picked up my friend Jessica on a warm Friday evening for dinner and a show.  Reservation for 6:45pm at House of Chan Dara (Larchmont) and a lovely Thai food meal ahead.

A quick car ride and a short walk after self parking on Larchmont, we arrived at our destination:

House of Chan Dara - 310 North Larchmont, Hollywood

House of Chan Dara – 310 North Larchmont, Hollywood

ChandaraPIC

We were both hungry, and I didn’t take the food pics until after we had both eaten, so apologies (or not, because it was delicious) and imagine the plates with even more food!

We shared a tasty chicken satay with peanut sauce appetizer (4 skewers),

Chicken satay with peanut sauce  appetizer (4 skewers)

Chicken satay with peanut sauce appetizer (4 skewers)

a spicy beef panang which was delicious but the meat was just a little overcooked,

Spicy Beef Panang

Spicy Beef Panang

a great plate of chicken and shrimp pad thai noodles,

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai Noodles

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai Noodles

and an order of yummy sweet and crispy mee krob.

Crispy and Sweet Mee Krob

Sweet and Crispy Mee Krob

I had a Thai iced tea with no cream and Jessica had a glass of red wine.

My friend Jessica Jolly is a very talented actor/standup comedian/writer/producer/director and currently be seen in “The Broad Casters – Football for Girls Who Like Football” on Funny or Die: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/cd317b2861/the-broadcasters (NSFW)

Jessica enjoying the sweet and crispy Mee Krob

Jessica enjoying the sweet and crispy Mee Krob for the camera and making me laugh!

The food was fantastic, and it is every time I eat here or at the other Chan Dara (at Cahuenga and Sunset in Hollywood proper) and the price is very reasonable.  Dinner for two (or four if you count the leftovers) with drinks and tip ~$75.  The service is very good, and the portions are big, so we had a lot of leftovers to take home.  But, it wasn’t time to go home yet…

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My friend Keith Arthur Bolden is starring in “Dreamgirls” at the Met Theater in Hollywood presented by the Doma Theatre Company http://www.domatheatre.com.  He’s a great actor and he absolutely brings it as Jimmy “Thunder” Early along with a very talented cast and chorus.  The LIVE BAND did a fantastic job and rocked the house, with a special shout out to the keyboard player and conductor!  The show is getting rave reviews and has been extended through May 5th.155602_10152737492845584_1320352895_n

View Keith’s IMDB pagehttp://www.imdb.com/name/nm1080768/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

The Met Theater is in East Hollywood, on Oxford, just east of Western, and just north of Santa Monica. Parking is tight but there are two lots that are available for the theater, stack park at Earl Scheib, or park at Catalina Marketplace (enter alley just east of Western off Santa Monica) for $5.

The Met Theater - up the stairs to the Lobby

The Met Theater – up the stairs to the Lobby

The Lobby at the Met is too small for the house and the Box Office is inside and on the far side of the Lobby.  The show was full but not sold out and the lobby was hot and crowded.  Because of some technical difficulties the show started about a half hour late, and the show producers offered free drinks at the bar while we waited.  BRAVO!!!

Technical Difficulties = Free drinks at the bar!

Technical Difficulties = Free drinks at the bar!

Jessica had a glass of red wine and I had a Heineken and we continued talking while we waited.  We went down the stairs to the landing where it wasn’t crowded and hot and it didn’t take very long before they solved the problems and opened the house.

Dreamgirls "Stage" Set at the Met- preshow

Dreamgirls split-level “Stage” Set at the Met – preshow

The show was worth the wait!  It was well staged and wonderfully choreographed.  The music was performed live and the band rocked the house.  The lead actors were extremely talented and gave strong performances. The large chorus did a great job acting as supporting characters and executing the large musical numbers.  The singing and dancing was very well executed, and the staging was creative and entertaining.  The production value was amazing!  The set and lighting design was very effective.  The period wigs were hilarious!  And the costumes were absolutely fantastic!  Special congratulations go to the costume designer  and director for a job well done.

My friend Keith was terrific!  I had only seen him do heavy, dramatic material prior to this show and was pleasantly suprised to see him sing and dance as well as act.  He had the  entire audience cheering as he sang “Jimmy Wants More!” so it’s not just a biased opinion.  I was again reminded of how many talented people there are in Los Angeles, who perform in smaller theaters every weekend while chasing the Hollywood dream.  The show was fun but wasn’t perfect.  The performances were mixed,  with some actors not as strong as the leads.  And the show was long, with the first act running 90 minutes and the second act running almost an hour with a brief intermission.  Overall it was an entertaining and exciting piece of musical theater with a very talented cast, and at a caliber not often seen in a smaller theater space. Check out the reviews and go see it!

Watch a preview  of “Dreamgirls” at the Met on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyA7MqoogTw

We waited for Keith after the show, thanked him for the tickets and congratulated him and other members of the cast.  It’s always good when you see someone you know perform and it’s great (not so good when it’s not good).  We talked for awhile and after saying goodnight and a fast walk to the car, I drove Jessica home and then headed back to the valley.  It was a very fun night!

27-FEB-13: Mount Haleakala

Who wants to go to Hawaii?

Mount Haleakala Crater - Hawaii Island, Hawaii - CLICK TO ENLARGE!

Mount Haleakala Crater – Maui, Hawaii ~10,000 ft. – CLICK TO ENLARGE! (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Sunrise on Mount Haleakala “The House of the Sun” high above the clouds.  This picture can’t do the unbelievable true beauty of Mother Nature and Madame Pele justice, but it’s still a great picture.

Plan your next tropical vacation to the islands of Hawaii.

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