Quadrophenia! LIVE at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park on Saturday Night!

Pete Townshend’s “Classic Quadrophenia!”

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LIVE at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park on Saturday Night!

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Saturday night’s alright for “Quadrophenia”!

NOTE: Still working on the “Road Trip” and “Burning Man” Blogs, but we decided to spend the money and see a LIVE show at the Greek Theatre on Saturday night.

Parking SUCKS at the Greek Theatre (and it always has). We tried to park at the “Offsite Parking Lot” for $10 and wanted to take the shuttle, but were greeted with “Unfortunately……”

It was explained by a lackey in orange vest that unless you paid online, they weren’t letting people pay cash and park because they didn’t have enough parking.
Because Griffith Park is TOO F*CKING SMALL AND DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH SPACE TO PARK EVERYONE WHO WANTS TO PARK OFFSITE!
JUST ANOTHER City of Los Angeles FAIL.
(just count on the City to FAIL everytime)

So we drove around and then up the hill to the Greek Theatre, with traffic on Los Feliz and Vermont, and paid $25 to park on the grass on a hillside above the theatre. At least they had rows of cars instead of just “stack parking” and packing them in like the old days.

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It cost us an extra $15. We didn’t have to offsite park or take the shuttle and then we walked over to WillCall and picked up our $100 ticket ($79.50 + $18.80 fees). We bought a $5 bottled water so the price tag for the evening was ~$130 + gas (and another $10 for a cocktail + tip later on the way home).

The Greek Theatre in Griffith Park is a very nice venue once you get past the parking.

 

Here’s a handy seating chart and aerial view of the Greek Theatre (not my pics):

 

Our $100 ticket was for Sec B, Row U, Seat 13 – an okay seat on the $$$ price scale. For another $25 we could have been more center, and for a couple hundred dollars more we could have been in Sec A or front of Terrace (Loge seats), but WHY?

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Quadrophenia!

With Pete Townshend, Alfie Boe, Billy Idol, an orchestra and a choir!

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It wasn’t a rock concert. We knew that going in. It was a classical performance piece with full orchestra and a large choir. They performed the entire double album’s music beautifully and it rocked, but it wasn’t a rock concert and some people didn’t get it.

We really enjoyed the music, it’s one of our favorite WHO albums, and it was great to see it performed live with the orchestra and choir. The sound was really good at the Greek, and with the exception of the audience, it was a very good show.

EXIT (Stage Left): So, we waited for the Greek to empty out and there still was a line to get out of the GATED AREA. It is a VERY DANGEROUS EXIT because if there were an emergency, people would get crushed trying to escape. They didn’t have the large gates open, so everyone had to funnel into and out through the entrance point.

Drive through Griffith Park at night!

We walked back to our car and waited for the parking lot to empty, and the line at the restrooms to clear, then instead of driving down the hill back to Los Feliz, we drove through the park and then down to Western Avenue. There are great views of the city and Downtown Los Angeles from the road through the park, but the only pictures we took were in the tunnel because of the traffic and people walking to their cars.

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Tunnel Vision! Drive Through Griffith Park!

Saturday Night! We drove through Ferndell to Los Feliz and down Western to Hollywood Blvd. We got on the 101 freeway and headed back to the valley, and decided to stop for a post-show drink at the Chimneysweep Lounge in Sherman Oaks on the way home. It used to be a real “hole-in-the-wall” dive bar, but then it was taken over by hipsters…

We got a seat at the bar and enjoyed a Stoli rocks with a lime (our first and only drink of the evening). We people watched for a bit but they weren’t interesting people, decided we didn’t want to hang, so we headed home and ate some food before going to bed. It was a pretty fun night and we certainly enjoyed the music.

 

GREEK THEATRE in Griffith Park – 2700 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles 90027 http://www.lagreektheatre.com

Chimneysweep Lounge4354 Woodman Ave (at Moorpark), Sherman Oaks 91423

All photos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel

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Saturday Night! Mexican food, Blues music and BBQ in Pasadena, California

Saturday Night! Mexican food, Blues music and BBQ in Pasadena, California

So you’re probably wondering about the title….here’s the story:

We got invited to see and hear a blues band play in Pasadena on Saturday night at a place called Big Mama’s Rib Shack. I was not responsible for the planning or execution, once again I was a passenger along for the ride.

Someone may have told someone that the Rib Shack’s food wasn’t good, so the plan was to eat before the show and the decision was to go for Mexican food.

Two Tacos at La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant

Take the 101 freeway south to the 134 east past Glendale and into Pasadena. I wanted to take more pictures along the way, but “stupid” traffic had us running late to dinner. We finally arrived (only ten minutes late) at the restaurant and found a good parking spot on the street right out front.

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La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in South Pasadena

The restaurant is a relatively small place, with simple Mexican decor, and it quickly filled up with people once we were seated. We ordered drinks and then perused the menu.

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La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in South Pasadena

 

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La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in South Pasadena

 

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La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in South Pasadena

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It’s a standard Mexican restaurant menu with tacos, burritos, enchiladas and the usual appetizers and entrees. EXCEPT THE FOOD IS GREAT! IT’S REAL MEXICAN FOOD! 

On the Menu: 2 crispy tacos, one shredded beef and one chicken, two chicken enchiladas in mole sauce with rice & beans, chips & salsa and a margarita pre show!

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Margarita – with a lot of tequila!

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Two Crispy Tacos – One Chicken & One Beef with Chips & Salsa

Really good crispy tacos! Excellent Mole sauce! Gringo style Mexican food done right!

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Two Chicken Enchiladas with Mole Sauce and Rice & Beans

I was told that we would be eating at the show later, so I didn’t try a burrito, a combo or the Fiesta platter of appetizers…and I would happily go back. They also have an “All you can eat” Taco special that I would like to try.

We finished eating and then motored across Pasadena to Big Mama’s Rib Shack.

Blues & BBQ at Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena, California

Go north up Lake Avenue, past The Hat (really good pastrami sandwiches) and Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, and you’ll come to Big Mama’s BBQ Southern Country Rib Shack.

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Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena

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Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena – Southern Country BBQ

The building’s not much to look at and the interior design is “whacked”. There are white vinyl booths on one side, tables in the middle with both plastic and wood chairs, and a beer & wine bar in the corner of the dining room. there was an area cleared as a stage (but no stage) next to the bar and a small area for the band’s merchandise as well. They have Saturday night performances, but it’s not real design as a performance space at all.

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Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena

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Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena

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Heineken

Here’s the menu: pork, chicken, seafood or beef, beer, wine and soft drinks and a full list of classic BBQ sides. Tickets were $20 for the show and dinner was also required, so we ordered food, with the plan to take home a good portion for lunch on Sunday.

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What’s on the Menu at Big Mama’s Rib Shack?

On the Menu: BBQ Baby Back Ribs, mac’n’cheese, hush puppies, cornbread muffins, collared greens, yams & Heineken beer

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BBq dinner

There were only two servers and a bartender covering the crowd, so we ordered before the first set and the food came during the performance before the intermission. And contrary to what we had been told, the food was good (not great, but good) country BBQ.

8:00pm – SHOWTIME!  John Németh and his blues band from Memphis, Tennessee

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John Németh from Memphis, Tennessee

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He Brought His Many Harps! (Blues Harmonicas)

I checked out the merchandise and the band’s setup before the show. I had never seen or heard the band before, but when I saw the collection of harps I knew it was going to be a good show. And I was not disappointed, the music was great!

John Németh and his blues band played two rockin’ sets of Chicago and Texas inspired music. He really is a master of the harp (blues harmonica) and his backing band was tight! The guitar, bass and drums were well rehearsed from playing gigs all over the country. At one point in the second set a guest bassist ( a former band member) stepped in for a few songs. I periscoped three of the songs and links to the live performance videos are located below.

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Rockin’ Blues on Periscope> view on YouTube

More Rockin’ Blues on Periscope> view on YouTube

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John Németh’s Upcoming Gigs! Check them out if you can!

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La Fiesta Grande1107 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030 (I’m told the Colorado Blvd location is closed)

Big Mama’s Rib Shack1453 N. Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104 http://www.bigmamaspasadena.com

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Fool Moon Fever!

Fool Moon Fever!

The moon reached its full phase (just now) at 3:11am Christmas morning. It’s the first full moon on Christmas since 1977 and last until 2034.

Full Moon Friday December 25, 2015 3:11am PST

Fool Moon Fever! Full Moon on Friday December 25, 2015 at 3:11am PST

Happy Christmas!

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“Vegas Baby! Las Vegas!”

“Vegas Baby! Las Vegas!”

Las Vegas, Nevada in August on a two night trip to “Sin City” for my birthday!

NOTE: This Blog is unfinished…and will likely remain unfinished.

Enjoy!

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Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – Bally’s, Paris & The Cosmopolitan

“ROAD TRIP!” We left Los Angeles on Thursday Morning, made two stops along the way, and arrived in Las Vegas a few hours later. It was a beautiful day to make the drive.

Glendora Sky at the Donut Man

Glendora Sky at the Donut Man

Our first stop was in Glendora at the famous Donut Man shop just off the 210 freeway. They are known for their Strawberry Glazed donuts, but all of their creations are great.

Strawberry Glazed Donuts at Donut Man in Glendora

Strawberry Glazed Donuts at Donut Man in Glendora

We bought a half dozen, a strawberry glazed, 2 chocolate custard filled, 2 glazed old fashioned and a cinnamon roll. We enjoyed the custard filled and took the rest “To Go”.

Half Dozen Donuts

Half Dozen Donuts “To Go” at Donut Man in Glendora

We stopped for gas and to stretch our legs somewhere between Barstow and Vegas, and I ate the strawberry glazed donut…it was a good donut, but they make such a fuss about them, I guess I expected something more.

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip”

The drive was without incident, and we arrived in Las Vegas and drove directly to our destination. We stayed both nights at The Palazzo Hotel at The Venetian-Palazzo Resort.

The Venetian Hotel & Casino (pic from a previous trip)

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel & Casino (this pic from a previous trip)

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas – Bypassing the regular line for Invited Guest Check-In

We valet parked the car, and proceeded to the Invited Guest (VIP) Check-In desk. After a short wait we were given our room assignment and keycards.

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas – Invited Guest Check-In

The Venetian-Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas

The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas – Invited Guest Check-In Front Desk

Guest Suite at The Palazzo:

The Palazzo Hotel - 9th floor

The Palazzo Hotel – 9th floor

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel

Suite at The Palazzo Hotel -

Guest Suite at The Palazzo Hotel – “Wanna take a bath?”

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View! The view from my room.

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Casino Bar at The Venetian Hotel

The Poker Room at The Venetian Hotel

The Poker Room at The Venetian Hotel

The Race & Sports Book at The Venetian Hotel

The Race & Sports Book at The Venetian Hotel

After the long drive into Las Vegas, and after checking in at the Palazzo and dealing with the room, luggage and housekeeping, we decided to grab a bite at the Grand Lux Cafe.

READ THE BLOG NOW! Late Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel: (Right Click and “Open in New Window”) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1P4

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe

Late Lunch at the Grand Luxe Cafe – Fried Chicken Strips & Waffle with Maple-Pecan Syrup

READ THE BLOG NOW! Late Dinner at Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar Original Buffalo Wings at The Venetian Hotel (Right Click and “Open in New Window”)  http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1Qb 

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Food Court at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel

Frank & Teressa’s Anchor Bar at The Venetian Hotel – Original Boneless Buffalo Wings $12

Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino on Friday Night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

READ THE BLOG! Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s CARNEVINO Italian Steakhouse at the Palazzo Hotel (RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW WINDOW)  http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1NX

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Carnevino Bar at The Palazzo Hotel

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

“Vegas, Vegas, Vegas!”

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – I can see the “High Roller” from here!

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Linq (Wanna knish?)

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night

HAIL CAESARS PALACE! (they ruined this place). Evel Kneivel ate it big time on this spot:

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – Caesars Palace

Welcome to Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Welcome to Caesars Palace Las Vegas!

The Poker Room at Caesars Palace Las Vegas

The Poker Room at Caesars Palace Las Vegas

The Race & Sports Book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

The Race & Sports Book at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

The

The Statue of “David” at Caesars Palace (NSFW or is it Art?)

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Cosmopolitan & Bellagio from Caesars Palace

Craps!

Craps!

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”

Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas Blvd “The Strip” at night – The Flamingo

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View at Night!

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The

The End… “David” at Caesars Palace – Nice Butt. “Take a picture it’ll last longer.”

Had a great time. Will return shortly…

Happy Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Las Vegas!

Happy Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo Las Vegas!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Friday night! We were celebrating in Las Vegas at the Palazzo Hotel and made a dinner reservation for 7:15pm. We arrived on time and were seated without having to wait.

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – The Carnevino Bar!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – The Carnevino Bar!

We had a choice of the Dining Room or a table in the Carnevino Bar with a view of the casino. We chose the Dining Room which was almost full, so we were seated at a 4top in the back of the house by the service doors (more about this later) and the entrance to the “group” and private dining rooms.

The Dining Room has a large metal cow in the center. We were sitting in the back of the house with a nice view of the cow’s ass. The space has an “old-world” rustic Italian theme. There are bottles of wine used as window display, and there’s a nice view of the Wynn and Encore hotels.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – View of the Wynn & Encore Hotels

The service was excellent and the large restaurant staff is very well trained and extremely well managed and monitored! There is a defined procedure for every step of the meal followed by the waiters, servers and bus people. The meal was perfectly timed, done to order and everything we ate was excellent!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

White linen tablecloths, a great menu with lots of variety, tasting menus and an extensive wine list were on the table and available.  As I mentioned before, we were seated at a 4top in the back of the house by the service doors. There’s a very large staff and they move very quickly. They also have carving carts for table presentations and large group rooms beyond the Dining Room accessed through the back of the house. I know this because of the constant stream of traffic rushing by our table, and the carts trying to fit between the chairs. There was also a clown car length line of business people that walked past our table to get to their party in the group room, probably 50 or so people parading past our table. It was a little distracting, and almost annoying, but we were enjoying the food and this is really my only complaint about the dining experience. I would advise requesting a table away from the service doors and back of house to anyone eating here.

The food was terrific. Everything was cooked to order and prepared with care. The presentation and plating was clean and simple, the food being the focus. We made our choices and chose a glass of wine (rather than a bottle) from their extensive list. I really enjoyed each delicious dish, which is the sign of a great kitchen.

On The Menu:

Cheese puff appetizer starter, Grilled octopus appetizer, NY Strip steak (bone in, cooked medium), charred asparagus, mashed potato with poached egg & bacon, bread with butter & lardo, a glass of red wine and a coke.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Cheese puff appetizer starter course

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Bread with butter & lardo (pork fat)

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Grilled Octopus in Limoncello

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – NY Strip Steak (bone in, cooked medium)

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Mashed potato with poached egg & bacon

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Charred Asparagus

A fine wine: 2009 Ciacci Piccolomini d’ Aragona Brunello di Montalcino

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Fine Wine!

ROSSO DI MONTALCINO DOC – Tuscany, Italy
The Grape varietal of this wine is 100% Sangiovese Grosso; fermented & refined in stainless steel & glass concrete vats w/temperature controlled through cooling plates & jackets, aged roughly 12 months in 20-85 Hl Slavonian oak barrels. Rosso di Montalcino fruit-forward, spicy & floral. Red berry fruits notes are enriched by slight floral & spicy hints. Warm, soft on the palate w/great structure & round tannins.

The wine was a wee bit tannic at first, but was great with the perfectly cooked meat.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – a coke and a smile

For Dessert: Birthday tiramisu, peanut butter & chocolate torte with almond brittle and caramel sauce, an espresso and shortbread cookies with black currants to finish.

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Happy Birthday Tiramisu and an iced espresso

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Double Down on Dessert at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Peanut Butter & Chocolate Torte with Almond Brittle and Caramel Sauce! Like a Snickers on Crack!

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel – Shortbread Cookies with Black Currants to finish

Thank you Carnevino! Thank you for a wonderful birthday dinner! I really enjoyed the food and the service was terrific. I would definitely return and recommend it to my friends. It really is one of the best steaks in Las Vegas.

GOOD SHABBOS!

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

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All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

Vegas Leftovers!

Vegas Leftovers!

Vegas Tip! (or tip for any hotel stay): Request an in-room mini-refrigerator for a “special diet” or “medical reasons”! They usually provide them without a charge (ask them to waive the fee if there is one) and you’ll have a place to store leftovers, food you bring/buy outside the hotel, and a place to keep beverages cold (much better than the ice bucket). My Vegas leftover breakfast: cold NY strip steak, cold boneless buffalo wings with ranch dressing, pineapple juice, tiramisu, slightly stale donuts & a banana (not pictured)

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View!

The Venetian – Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – Suite View!

Vegas baby! Vegas!

Here’s the view from my suite on the 9th floor of the Palazzo Hotel:

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View!

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View of the Pool & Treasure Island Hotel!

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View of Trump Hotel & Fashion Show Mall

The Venetian - Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - Suite View!

The Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas – Suite View of Treasure Island & Trump Hotel at night!

MORE TO COME!

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Monty Python’s “Spamalot” and “A Midsummer Night” at the Hollywood Bowl

Monty Python’s “Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Saturday night performance at the Hollywood Bowl on a beautiful, warm, summer night in August! And what a great show! The celebrity cast was awesome! It was so much fun!

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – A Beautiful and Warm Summer Night!

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Picnic on the bench:

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl – No ham, jam or spam. (there was bacon)

On the Menu: steak & bacon sandwich, potato chips, celery, carrots, cucumber, dill pickle, pineapple juice, Heineken, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

NOTE: Our bench seats were in section K2, which is high up and way off to one side. The wood benches are really uncomfortable, even with seat cushions. I prefer the Box Seats!

FINGER OF SHAME! This couple insisted on using bench space for their bag! And when asked if they would make more room, they refused and copped an attitude! This is a picture of their shame after being TOTAL A**HOLES in a fun place!

Look at their facial expression and body language!

FINGER OF SHAME

FINGER OF SHAME! – They know they’re being Total A**holes!

Well the show must go on! And the a*ssholes were ignored.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl - Sunset!

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – Sunset!

It was great from the opening national anthem, when the orchestra began with “Hail Brittania” before being interrupted and playing the Star Spangled Banner, to the “England” introduction by Eric Idle as The Historian, and the opening number celebrating Finland with the Fish Slapping Dance!

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

The Historian: “I SAID ENGLAND!”

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – “What happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot!”

Loosely based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail there were great bits from the film: “He must be a king”, debating the airspeed of the European swallow, taunting by the French, “large tracts of land” and storming the castle, the Trojan Rabbit, the Ballad of Sir Robin, the Knights who say Nee, Tim the Enchanter, the Vorpal Bunny and of course Camelot!

Warwick Davis gave a fantastic performance as Patsy, King Arthur’s squire complete with coconut shells and amazing facial expressions! He is such a gifted actor.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Tom Deckman was hilarious as Not Dead Fred, Prince Herbert and the French Guard. Merle Dandridge was dazzling as the Lady of the Lake and her musical numbers were mesmerizing!

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

Kevin Chamberlin, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rick Holmes and Christian Slater were just terrific as Arthur’s Knights (and the many other minor roles they alternately played). And Craig Robinson was a very entertaining King Arthur, smiling and “tap dancing” his way through the whole thing.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl press photo

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – King Arthur & his Knights on a Quest for the Holy Grail

There were wonderfully entertaining musical numbers with inspired dance and fun choreography. And a number of jokes were tailored to the Hollywood Bowl audience including a jab at “overpriced dinner in the Pool Circle” and a little “Uptown Funk”.

Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – “The Ballad of Sir Robin” on the big video screen

Wonderful performances by the entire cast! You could tell they were having a great time performing. I was really impressed by how great they all were!

And big kudos to the Hollywood Bowl for their live video on the big screens, as well as the costumes, sets, sound, lighting and projections which really make the musical productions special.

Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

The Grand Finale with the entire cast and chorus was an audience sing along to Eric Idle’s

“Always Look On The Bright Side of Life”

Some things in life are bad…They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle,
And this’ll help things turn out for the best……….
And, always look on the bright side of life…(Whistle)

Always look on the light side of life…(Whistle)

If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten!
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing!
When you’re feeling in the dumps don’t be silly chumps,
Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing.
And…always look on the bright side of life! (Whistle)

Come on. Always look on the right side of life! (Whistle)

For life is quite absurd and death’s the final word.
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin, give the audience a grin!
Enjoy it! It’s your last chance anyhow.

So always look on the bright side of death. (Whistle) 

Just before you draw your terminal breath. (Whistle)

Life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it.
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true.
You’ll see its all a show, keep ’em laughin’ as you go,
Just remember that the last laugh is on you!

And…Always look on the bright side of life…(Whistle) Always look on the right side of life…

I mean – what have you got to lose? You know, you come from nothin’.

You’re going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing.

Always look on the right side of life…

Nothing will come from nothing ya know what they say?
Cheer up ya old bugga c’mon give us a grin! There ya go, see!

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – Finale sing along “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life”

Everyone knows the words! Whistle and sing along! A good time was had by all! The full Blue Moon was shining brightly overhead as the large crowd exited the Bowl at 10:30pm. It was packed and we were on the far side, so I sat and waited for the audience to disperse a little and then cut through the seats directly to the exit. I went right when I should have gone left and ended up half-stepping down the hill with the crowd to the escalator and made it back to the car in about 15 minutes.

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl – Full Blue Moon over the departing audience

It was warm and humid all night, so by the time we got back to our parking space I was really looking forward to going home and taking a shower. (and yes, my shower was really refreshing later after midnight…)

"Spamalot" at the Hollywood Bowl

“Spamalot” at the Hollywood Bowl

They stacked parked the cars (unnecessarily) for this performance, so it required a little maneuvering to exit the lot. Traffic is always tough after a full house, but we were able to get back to the freeway and headed home in a reasonable amount of time without too much trouble. A wonderful evening, a nice picnic and a great show. Huzzah!


And the week before we went to

“A Midsummer Night” at the Hollywood Bowl

Tuesday night and we had great Box Seats with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra playing Mendelssohn on a warm summer night in July!

Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl – Midsummer Night’s Dream with Dudamel & the Los Angeles Philharmonic

Terrible traffic on the 101 freeway from the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood. The price of Parking at the Hollywood Bowl has increased $2 this year from $18 to $20 per car.

TIP: GO EARLY! Traffic is always unpredictable, but you can bet it will take at least 20 minutes to get past the light coming off the 101 freeway at Cahuenga and Highland. Provide extra travel time for walking uphill, bag check, ticket turn stalls, refreshments, restrooms and managing your picnic dinner.

NOTE: It is really bad form to arrive 5 minutes AFTER the performance begins and then start your meal! Finish eating before the Star Spangled Banner (snacks and beverages are acceptable during, but avoid any packaging that makes noise. Wait for intermission if you need to have that dessert! And please don’t set up your picnic blanket in front of the restrooms (seriously, they were sitting on the concrete in front of the restroom doors!).

Midsummer Night's Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night's Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

Dinner in the Box Seats is great because they provide removable folding tables, trash service and if you choose, expensive catered food delivered directly to your Box.

We ordered from Amer’s Mediterranean restaurant in Encino and picked up our “to go” food on the way. They recently changed ownership again, and the menu changed too. We also packed in our own beverages (advisable at events when they’re permitted) and also brought dessert and ice. The only refreshments we bought were a couple bad cups of coffee at intermission.

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl - Middle Eastern food: the wrong order!

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl – Middle Eastern: the wrong order!

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl - Cheesecake for dessert!

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl – Cheesecake for dessert!

On the Menu: Middle eastern food, it was supposed to be an “Amer’s Special” shwarma meat with hummus, tabouli, rice, falafel and pita bread. They screwed up the order. I hate beets. They gave us a “mixed grill” with chicken and ground beef kebabs. And they forgot the rice and falafel. At least there was good cheesecake for dessert.

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Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

The first act was Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor with an exceptional performance by Gil Shaham on violin. The second act was “Midsummer Night’s Dream” accompanied by dramatic Shakespearean readings by Bryce Dallas Howard, and guest vocal performances by Deanna Breiwick and Jennifer Holloway with the Women of Los Angeles Master Chorale. It was beautiful.

Hollywood Bowl

Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl

The lighting and inspired projections enhanced the wonderful musical performance. The first act was better than the second, and I thought it was a little weird to hear the wedding march played as a classical piece in concert. There was also a lot of noticeable cricket noise during the quiet parts of the show, which I found distracting during the second act.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show! What’s not to like about Tuesday night at the Bowl with Dudamel and the LA Phil? It was a real good time.

Our box was positioned close to the exit, so we were out of there fast. We quickly traveled the long walk to the car and made a fast getaway from the parking lot and onto the 101 freeway home.

The Hollywood Bowl is a great venue! And once you know the “procedure” and tricks to traffic, parking and picnicking it’s a very pleasant experience. I’m looking forward to seeing more shows at the Bowl this summer.

Hollywood Bowl - Parking Lot after the show

Hollywood Bowl – Parking Lot after the show

All Photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel (except the Cast Press Photos)

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St. Paul’s Reunion in San Francisco – June 2014

At last! Here’s the Blog about the St. Paul’s Reunion in San Francisco in June 2014!

Throwback Thursday! My post from last week was the St. Paul’s Reunion Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco. I realized that I never finished the Blog about the weekend gathering in the city of old friends from the Renaissance Faire.

The reunion was a year ago. The pictures needed to be posted and the story need to be told. Actually there are a lot more pictures, some have been seen here on my Blog before, others were previously posted on facebook and Twitter, and still others will remain hidden from the eyes of both friends and strangers alike. There’s also more to the story, but those sordid details will have to remain private to protect the innocent (and not so innocent).


First, a little history:

St. Paul's Ringout at the Renaissance Faire - Agoura 1983

Guild of St. Paul’s – Ringout at the Renaissance Faire – Agoura 1983

Once upon a time, back in the 1980’s, there were a group of friends who all worked at the Renaissance Faire and Dickens’ Christmas Faire. They were street actors and members of the Guild of St. Paul’s (the thieves’ guild) and their close friends. Eventually, many would join the CREW and/or find other gigs at the Faire, but the bonds of friendship built during the “Crazy 80s” always remained strong. Over the years, some of the members moved away, disappeared or died. And so it was that a reunion was planned for June of 2014 in San Francisco.

Castle St. Paul in Pig's Gulch - Agoura 1983

Castle St. Paul in Pig’s Gulch – Agoura 1983

Great weekend in San Francisco with old friends!

Highlights of the festivities included Lunch at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf, Sushi Dinner in the Omakase Room at Yoshi’s, the “Pub Crawl” (Limo ride with stops at Smuggler’s Cove, Knuckles at the Wharf, the Pig & Whistle, and Tommy’s Joynt), Coffee at Sugar Cafe and a Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s on Union.

Friends came from New York, Indiana, Delaware, Arizona, northern and southern California to attend this long overdue reunion of the Guild of St. Paul’s from the Renaissance Faire!

San Francisco Civic Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco Civic Center – San Francisco City Hall (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I drove into the city of San Francisco on a beautiful Saturday morning, and after a stop downtown at the Civic Center, the California Statue and United Nations Plaza, I headed for Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 to meet my old friends.

California Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

California Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Read my previous Blog about the Simon Bolivar Statue>> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1eH

Saturday at Fisherman’s Wharf!

After spending time walking around Grosvernor’s Square and the Civic Center, I drove down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Probably the most touristy thing you can do on a Saturday in San Francisco! There was a lot of traffic and a lot of tourists. Oh, and PARKING SUCKS!!!

Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

RANT!!! PARKING SUCKS! TRAFFIC SUCKS! Let me repeat: PARKING SUCKS!

There is a parking structure at Pier 39 but it costs a lot to park! They do have discounts and “first hour free” type offers on certain days. But, IT WILL TAKE YOU 30 MINUTES TO PARK and at least 30 MINUTES TO GET OUT OF THE PARKING STRUCTURE….SO DON’T DO IT! There is metered parking nearby and it costs a lot too. (~$4-8 per hour).  Park for free or for a reasonable rate far away and then take the trolley, bus or a shuttle.

p.s. There are huge crowds on weekends, visit midweek for a less crowded experience.

NOTE: Driving in San Francisco has gotten impossible! What’s with all the traffic and construction? People just stop and double park in lanes of traffic with cars behind them. Trucks double park and triple park to make deliveries. Pedestrians walk right in front of oncoming traffic and take their time crossing in front of cars. $10 per hour to park at meter? $30+ to park overnight? Just a driving nightmare, I don’t recommend it.


Meet at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf

After the parking experience, I walked down to Pier 39. The views of the city and the bay from the parking structure bridge were wonderful in all directions!

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 & Alcatraz Island - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf & Alcatraz Island – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

We met on Pier 39, and after 20+ years, at first, even in the “age of facebook”, it was a shock to see young friends grown old, in person.

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Late Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. at Pier 39

Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

We decided to get drinks at Bubba Gump’s, and after grabbing a couple tables in the bar, and avoiding the line of waiting tourists, Anchor Steam Beer and Maker’s Mark shots were consumed to begin the party! Soon, we were joined by more old friends, food and more drinks were ordered and consumed, friendships were renewed, and we made a few new friends with the restaurant’s staff.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 – San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39

Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Beer and Maker's Mark at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Beer and Maker’s Mark at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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Getting Animated at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 – San Francisco

Making friends with our waiter at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Making friends with our waiter at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Making friends with our waitress at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Making friends with our waitress at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 – San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Pier 3939 Pier, San Francisco CA 94124 415-781-4867

We walked back to the parking structure and found the car. As previously mentioned, it took forever to get out of the lot and it was really expensive to park for a short time! It is definitely another example of the City of San Francisco “fleecing the tourist” at every opportunity. We spent a few hundred dollars on lunch, drinks and souvenirs and then got taxed again on the way out!

Wyland at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Wyland at Pier 39 Parking Structure Bridge at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

View from Parking Structure Bridge at Pier 39 - San Francisco

View from Parking Structure Bridge at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Coit Tower, TransAmerica Building and San Francisco

Coit Tower, TransAmerica Building & San Francisco Cityscape from Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf


As I mentioned previously, driving in the city is impossible, even for a native of Los Angeles  who has driven in the worst traffic imaginable. It took a really long time just to make a right turn out of Fisherman’s Wharf. There is no pedestrian or traffic control and there are just too many people and cars on a Saturday afternoon. I almost lost my mind trying to get to the hotel and then found a parking lot down the street, around the corner and down an alley near the hotel. After negotiating the “cash” rate with the attendant ($30 overnight – THAT’S CHEAP in SF!), I grabbed my bag and walked to the Hotel Beresford on Sutter, wondering if my car would still be there tomorrow.

Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

Hotel Beresford on Sutter – San Francisco

Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

Hotel Beresford – San Francisco

My friend made the reservations and I was invited to share the room, and to be honest I really had no previous experience or knowledge about the hotel.

We checked in, went up to the room, rested a little and then got ready for dinner at Yoshi’s and the “Pub Crawl” to follow. Requested (optional) dinner attire: wear a Hawaiian shirt!

Hotel Beresford  635 Sutter St, San Francisco CA 94102 415-673-9900

Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

Hotel Beresford –  Welcome to San Francisco!

The White Horse Restaurant & Pub at the Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

The White Horse Restaurant & Pub – San Francisco

We called for a cab and taxied over to the restaurant, another experience in San Francisco that’s different from anywhere else. You just put your life in someone else’s hands and hope you arrive at your destination.

Taxi!

Taxi POV! Put you life in someone else’s hands in the city of San Francisco…



As scheduled, the gang regrouped at Yoshi’s for dinner, and we were joined by more friends who hadn’t made it to the gathering at Pier 39. Dinner, drinks and dessert were enjoyed and a very good time was had by all.

Read Dinner at Yoshi’s (right click open in new window) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's - San Francisco

Dinner in the glass Omakase Room at Yoshi’s – San Francisco

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Read Dinner at Yoshi’s (right click open in new window) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba

Yoshi’s – 1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco 94115

NOTE: Yoshi’s in San Francisco is now CLOSED, Yoshi’s in Oakland is still open.



Limo and “Pub Crawl” – Saturday Night in San Francisco!

After dinner, there was a shiny stretch Limousine waiting for us outside the restaurant.

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

Inside the Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

It was “close quarters” inside the limo but we all fit. The plan for the “Pub Crawl” was not mine. I was just along for the ride and it was great fun! The limo was fully stocked and had music and LED lights. It was like riding through the streets of San Francisco in a VIP booth filled with friends with bottle service at a trendy nightclub.

Map of St. Paul's Pub Crawl on 22 June 2014

Map of St. Paul’s Pub Crawl on 22 June 2014

Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

Inside the Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

Our first stop was the world famous Smuggler’s Cove! One of the best bars in America, or so they say, I couldn’t tell you because it’s a tiny 3 level Tiki bar that packs them in like sardines. It was still very early and light outside, but the place was absolutely filled with too many humans…and then they let all of us in too. We made our way to the bar, but a few of us just couldn’t hang with the lack of seating (due to injuries and old age) and a lack of personal space.

Smuggler’s Cove – 650 Gough St, San Francisco CA 94102 415-869-1900

Smuggler's Cove - San Francisco

Smuggler’s Cove – San Francisco

Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco

Very Crowded at Smuggler’s Cove (at the bar) – San Francisco

Another limo ride and we reached our second stop Knuckles at the Wharf, at the Hyatt. I’m told it’s a great sports bar, but it was pretty empty on Saturday night. We sat at a long table in the “dining area” and ordered drinks from the waiter. It was really nice to be able to talk with my old friends and catch up on the past 20 years (a little).

Knuckles at the Wharf – 555 North Point St, San Francisco CA 94133 415-486-4340

Knuckle's at the Wharf in San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf in San Francisco

Knuckle's at the Wharf - San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf (at the bar)  – San Francisco

Knuckle's at the Wharf - San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf – San Francisco

Knuckle's at the Wharf - San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf – San Francisco

Stoli on the Rocks with a lime

Stoli on the Rocks with a lime at Knuckles at the Wharf

After a round (or two) of cocktails, and some good fun, we called for the limo. We all agreed that Knuckles was very nice, but too nice for our purposes and so we instructed our Driver to take us to our next stop, the Pig & Whistle!

“Get in the Limo!” at Knuckles at the Wharf in San Francisco

Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

Inside the Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

The Pig & Whistle is a dark place with an English Pub theme and it was a perfect place for our third stop. We took command of a few tables and ordered the next round of drinks from our hippie waiter. We took a few group pictures and got a little bit “wild”. We were also forced to remind one of our friends PLEASE NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

The Pig & Whistle – 2801 Geary Blvd, San Francisco CA 94118 415-885-4779

The Pig & Whistle - San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle – San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle - San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle – San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle - San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle – San Francisco

Please, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

Please, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

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SERIOUSLY, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

After more drinks and fun, around midnight we all climbed back in the limo and rode to our next stop. By this time, it seemed like we had been driving in circles all over the city and it turns out we had!

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

Back in the Limo after drinks at the Pig & Whistle

Back in the Limo after more drinks at the Pig & Whistle

After dinner, drinks, three stops, and another limo ride we arrived at our fourth stop, Tommy’s Joynt! Late night-early morning drinks and food were on the menu. There’s a full bar on one side and an order & pickup restaurant on the other side of the main room. It’s pretty well known for it’s sandwiches and other tasty food and for being open very late.

We got our food and took over a few tables in the upstairs dining area. I had a meaty pastrami sandwich, which I remember was really good. We had some more fun and made a little trouble, but not so much as you’d notice…because we’ve all gotten old and mellow.

After a leisurely meal and some serious (drunk) conversation, we called for the limo and took a few more group pictures before stumbling back in to our rolling disco lounge.

Tommy’s Joynt – 1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco CA 94109 415-775-4216

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt after midnight – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt (at the bar) after midnight – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt – the “carving station” from upstairs – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Upstairs at Tommy’s Joynt – San Francisco

Best Pastrami Sandwich in San Francisco at Tommy's Joynt

Best Pastrami Sandwich in San Francisco at Tommy’s Joynt

Selfie with Pastrami Sandwich at Tommy's Joynt

Selfie with Pastrami Sandwich at Tommy’s Joynt

St. Paul's Reunion in San Francisco

St. Paul’s Reunion Saturday Night “Pub Crawl” in San Francisco – A good time was had by all!

Return to the Hotel Beresford

Limo back to the Hotel!

Limo back to the Hotel Beresford!

We dropped almost everyone off at their different hotels on the way back to the Hotel Beresford. We enjoyed the amenities and the space inside the limo as our friends departed along the way. I’m not sure exactly what time the rest of us finally got back to the hotel, but there was a lot of noise on the street from the crowd leaving the club and pub up the block. We paid and tipped our driver (who did a really great job running us all over the city on a Saturday night), collected our belongings and stumbled upstairs to our rooms. The street noise was clearly audible in our hotel room, but it didn’t matter.

Limo back to the Hotel!

Limo back to the Hotel Beresford!

And so a great time was had by all on our San Francisco Saturday night adventure. Everyone got home safe and just a little worse for wear. Good food was eaten and many drinks were imbibed. Our 30+ year friendship was renewed in person and there was much shared fun and mischief throughout the evening.

“May the Four Winds Blow Them Safely Home”  

NOTE: Missing friends were mentioned and remembered. Some are MIA, some were not able to make the reunion, and unfortunately others have passed on. The recent loss of a couple of our friends is one of the reasons this party was planned. Throughout the night, there were bittersweet moments as we toasted absent friends and friends we’ve lost.

The Guild of St. Paul's - Agoura 1982

The Guild of St. Paul’s – Agoura 1982


SUNDAY! SUNDAY! (the morning after)

Sunday morning I woke up too early! We packed our stuff and checked out of the hotel. I walked my bag back to my car, which was where I parked two blocks away at Cosmo and Ophir. I could have valet parked at the hotel for $27, but then you don’t know where they put your car. Our friends Erik and Sharon were late to brunch because they had to file a police report…the valet at a different hotel allegedly stole Erik’s Bluetooth from the car when he parked it.

On Sutter in San Francisco

On Sutter in San Francisco

On Sutter in San Francisco

On Sutter in San Francisco

Urban Blight! In the space of two blocks, I passed four or five seriously “homeless” people. Desperate, dirty, drug addicted and mentally damaged humans who now claim a piece of sidewalk as home. The walls along the major streets as well as the alleys were covered in graffiti and they were just dirty and littered with trash. It made me sad.

Graffiti in San Francisco

Urban blight! Graffiti tags on the (repainted) walls in San Francisco

Then we met up for Coffee and Espresso at Sugar Cafe, just up the street from the hotel, before getting a couple taxis to drive us to brunch.

Sugar Cafe - San Francisco

Sugar Cafe – San Francisco

Coffee and Strudel and Sugar Cafe in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Coffee and Strudel and Sugar Cafe in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Morning After! Coffee at Sugar Cafe

The Morning After! Coffee at Sugar Cafe in San Francisco

Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s

Perry's - San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union – San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco!

At 11:40am we all taxied over to Perry’s on Union for our Brunch reservation at noon.

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s (at the bar) in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

Jones, Party of 10! We were taken to the back room and seated without waiting again. I brought a bottle of champagne to the reunion, and since we didn’t drink it in the limousine the night before, we brought it with us to the restaurant. There’s was a $15 corkage fee, and we spent another $12 on fresh squeezed orange juice in little teapots, so we all had MIMOSAS with brunch!

St. Paul's Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco June '14

St. Paul’s Reunion – Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco – June ’14

Champagne Brunch - Mimosas all around

Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s on Union – Mimosas all around!

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

“The Bird” at Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

On The Menu: I had eggs benedict with their special bacon instead of ham/canadian bacon and shared a fruit plate with a couple friends. My brunch included potatos and I also ate one of my friend’s side of toast with butter and jam because they didn’t want it.

Egg's Benedict for Sunday Brunch at Perry's on Union in San Francisco

Eggs Benedict for Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco

Perry’s Restaurant – 1944 Union St, San Francisco CA 94123 415-922-9022

After Brunch we taxied back to the Hotel, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I walked over to The Pub on Sutter on the corner, had a beer and waited for the World Cup game to start.

Pub on the Corner - San Francisco

The Pub on Sutter on the corner – San Francisco

Pub on the Corner - San Francisco

Watching the World Cup at the Pub on Sutter on the corner – San Francisco

After the game I jumped in the car, made my way through traffic and drove out of the city and back south towards San Jose.

THE END!

THE END!

All (well, most) photos copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel.

Our Reunion Dinner at Yoshi’s! READ THE BLOG>> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba (NOTE: Yoshi’s in San Francisco is now CLOSED)

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Friday Night Dinner – Good Shabbos!

Friday Night Dinner! Good Shabbos!

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I did a little happy cooking in the kitchen today! ON THE MENU: Sticky roast chicken with carrots and onions, roasted garlic red potato, sautéed asparagus, crudite’ (celery, carrots, cucumber, radish) with ranch dressing, tortilla chips with fresh guacamole, fresh made raspberry lemonade and an iced espresso.

Starter course: Crudite' (carrots, celery, cucumber & radish) w/ranch dressing

Starter course: Crudite’ (carrots, celery, cucumber & radish) w/ranch dressing

Starter course: Fresh made guacamole with tortilla chips

Starter course: Fresh made guacamole with tortilla chips

Sticky Chicken

Roasted Sticky Chicken (cooking)

Sticky Chicken

Roasted Sticky Chicken with carrots and onions (cooking)

Sticky Chicken (done)

Roasted Sticky Chicken (done) with carrots and onions

Vegetable course: Sauteed Asparagus

Vegetable course: Sauteed Asparagus

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Potato Course: Roasted Garlic Red Potato

Dinner Plate

Dinner Plate: Sticky roast chicken with carrots and onions, roasted garlic red potato, sautéed asparagus, crudite’ (celery, carrots, cucumber) with ranch dressing

Fresh made raspberry lemonade

Drink: Fresh made raspberry lemonade and an iced espresso

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Dessert Course: Mixed Berry Tart

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Hollywood Bowl with Joshua Bell & Friends!

Hollywood Bowl with Joshua Bell & Friends!

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Tuesday night in Los Angeles? How about a concert at the Hollywood Bowl?

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Arrive Very Early! Get parking or take the Shuttle, Allow plenty of time and avoid the rush. Don’t be the latecomer just starting your picnic when the concert starts! Proper Hollywood Bowl etiquette is FINISH your dinner BEFORE the start of the show!

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

We had Box Seats and brought a picnic dinner. The boxes are nice because they provide a fold-down table for dining which they will remove before the concert begins. Two things about dining in the box: you’ll be at a different level than your table partner because of the raked theater seating and the boxes are tight and a little close quarters. It can be difficult to maneuver, but the canvas seats in the boxes are so much better than the benches (even with a cushion). Note: They recently replaced all the old wood benches with new stadium benches, and there are also a couple non-box sections with stadium seating.

The Hollywood Bowl is fully accessible for guests with special needs, just be aware of the steep hillside terrain and large crowds that can at times be difficult to navigate.

The best dining option at the Hollywood Bowl is to bring your own picnic dinner. They even let you bring wine, beer, and other beverages for the classical concerts, but you should always check because they have restriction and are pretty strict about them at the rock and family events, and at big events where they are selling alcohol.

They also have a sit down outdoor patio restaurant, Patina at the Bowl, but you’ll need a reservation in advance! And they have concession stands that serve overpriced snack food and drinks, alcohol service varies.

TIP: You can park and picnic at the Ford Theatre across Highland when they don’t have a conflicting event. Or, the best place to picnic is at the top of the Bowl! Ride the escalators all the way up to the picnic area with tables, benches, and a great view of the city. Seating is first come, first served so arrive early and allow time for parking, walking and dining!

ON THE MENU: Lamb/Turkey Shwarma, rice, hummus, tabouli, falafel, pita bread, tahini and hot sauce, baby carrots, avocado, string cheese, sweet potato tortilla chips, cherries, an apple, Hershey’s chocolate bar, red wine, Pellegrino water, and a coke.

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

We like to bring too much food and take home the leftovers. It’s also nice because you can share your food with total strangers while you picnic. We ordered dinner from California Mediterranean Cafe and packed the sides, dessert and beverages from home. As I mentioned dining in the box can be difficult, but after going to the Bowl for years, it’s a practiced affair. Dinner was good. I was hungry. We finished eating, and put the food away.  They took away the garbage and the folding tables as the orchestra was tuning up.

Every show at the Hollywood Bowl begins with “The Star Spangled Banner”, and it’s okay to sing along, most people do it badly…

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Moon Over the Hollywood Bowl – “The Star Spangled Banner” (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Singing “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The program was Joshua Bell & Friends:

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The weather was perfect. Not hot, nice breeze, not too cold. Perfect. The concert was good. A little too much “slow sleepy music” and not enough flourish on the pieces. The L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra is always great! The choice of the pieces and the flow of the show was a little “jerky”. Glenn Close singing two of the pieces was a nice touch, the Eleanor Rigby with Frankie Moreno from Vegas was different but very entertaining, and the quartet with Joshua Bell and Time for Three was just plain cool. The classical pieces were played and conducted well and the concert was very enjoyable.

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Going Home at the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)