Miss Donuts in Reseda, California

Miss Donuts in Reseda, California

Filming location for “Boogie Nights”

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Just another Donut store in the San Fernando Valley? Yes, and NO!
It was the location for the climatic scene in the film “Boogie Nights” where Don Cheadle’s character Buck Swope is caught in the middle of a robbery and shootout.

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And they have really tasty Donuts and Pastries!

On The Menu: DONUTS! Chocolate custard filled, chocolate bar, raspberry jelly filled, a cinnamon roll and a Napoleon pastry “to go”.

Miss Donuts – 18231 Sherman Way, Reseda, California (west of Lindley)

All photos copyright 2018 JoshWillTravel

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Don Cheadle in “Boogie Nights” (not my pic)

And time to eat the donuts…

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Donuts from Miss Donuts in Reseda, California

 

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Konstantin’s Piroshki Recipe!

Konstantin’s Piroshki Recipe (from the Renaissance Pleasure Faire)
From the article in “Sphere” magazine, “Come to the Faire” July 1975
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Makes 10 Piroshkis
Ingredients:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup warm milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp salt (1/2 tsp cinnamon – according to sources)
2 Cups all purpose flour
Beef Filling:
1 medium onion (fine chopped)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
3/4 lean ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 hard boiled egg (fine chopped)
Instructions:
Dissolve yeast in warm water in medium bowl. Stir in milk, sugar salt and enough flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough on to lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turn grease side up and cover with a towel. Let rise in warm place until it doubles ~ 45 minutes (Dough is ready if impression remains).
Make beef filling.
Punch down dough. Roll dough on floured board to 1/16 inch thickness. Cut into 10 5-inch circles.(It will be necessary to gather scraps and re-roll dough) Place 1/4 cup filling on each circle. Bring ends of dough together at center. Pinch edges together to seal so that Piroshki are plump in the center with tapered ends. Place Piroshki seam side down on greased baking sheets. Cover lightly with waxed paper and let rise for 45 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve hot with a dollup of sour cream or hot mustard if desired.
ENJOY IT!
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Piroshki Booth at the Northern Renaissance Pleasure Faire

Dinner at Lum Ka Naad Thai Restaurant & Dessert at Sweet Lady Jane Bakery

Dinner at Lum Ka Naad Thai Restaurant
and Dessert at Sweet Lady Jane Bakery in Encino

Saturday night! Where should we go to eat at 7pm?

We had tried Take Out from Lum Ka Naad Thai Restaurant not long after they opened and it wasn’t good. Someone told someone that the food was good and that led to someone’s suggesting we try the restaurant again, this time on premises to find out.

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Dinner at Lum Ka Naad Thai Restaurant in Encino

Located at Ventura Blvd and White Oak Ave in Encino, in the San Fernando Valley, they are well reviewed by LA Weekly (because you automatically get a good review if you advertise). There is easy free parking and the restaurant is clean, bright and colorfully decorated.

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Dinner at Lum Ka Naad Thai Restaurant in Encino

There is a waiting area by the entrance, an outdoor patio on the parking lot and a service bar in the back with the mandatory Thai altar. They serve beer, wine & Coca Cola products.

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Service Bar at Lum Ka Naad Thai Restaurant in Encino

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Thai Altar at Lum Ka Naad Thai Restaurant in Encino

The menu is massive! There are well over a hundred different Thai dishes to choose from!

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We decided to try a few different simple entrees that we usually order at other Thai restaurants so we could compare them.

On the Menu: Chicken satay with peanut sauce and cucumber salad, pad Thai noodles with chicken, chicken panang curry, honey BBQ ribs, a larb salad with duck meat, steamed rice and a Thai iced tea (no cream)

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chicken satay with peanut sauce and cucumber salad

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larb salad with duck meat

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chicken panang curry (with bell pepper)

NOTE: I ordered the chicken panang because all the other curries had bell pepper listed in the description of the dishes on the menu and it didn’t. I don’t like bell pepper!

When the dish came it had bell pepper in the curry. VERY DISAPPOINTED!

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pad Thai noodles

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Asian honey BBQ ribs

Well, guess what? The food wasn’t good. 

The pictures came out good, but the food wasn’t. The key to good Thai food is the seasonings, spices and sauces. Nothing  we tried was as good as the food at Thai’N’I, Krua Thai, Chan Dara or Sri Siam Cafe (see previous Blogs). Also, the service wasn’t very good. And it wasn’t cheap!

I really don’t want to go into detail about the food, so I’ll just say there are a lot of other Thai restaurants, or Indian restaurants, or Chinese restaurants that are better than this.

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And then we went for Dessert at Sweet Lady Jane Bakery (there’s a discount after 8pm!) at Ventura Blvd and Hayvenhurst Ave, also in Encino.

The space is clean and bright. Inside, there are tables and chairs, a open baking prep area and the glass dessert cases filled with treats.

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Sweet Lady Jane Bakery in Encino

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Sweet Lady Jane Bakery in Encino

They are open for Breakfast & Lunch, and then open late everyday!
Sun-Thur 6:30am-10pm and Fri-Sat 6:30am-11pm

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Sweet Lady Jane Bakery in Encino

They have wonderful and expensive pastries, cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, tarts, pies, brownies, breads, and even Oreo or English trifle to choose from.

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Sweet Lady Jane Bakery in Encino

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Sweet Lady Jane Bakery in Encino

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Sweet Lady Jane Bakery in Encino

We only got a couple discounted cookies and a double chocolate cupcake “to go” and they were all very good. So good,in fact, that there are no pictures.

Everything I’ve tried from Sweet Lady Jane Bakery is very good (but kind of expensive too).

 

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

A rainy Wednesday night and it was someone’s birthday! (not mine)

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

We were going to have Indian food and a party at the house, but I suggested Dinner at Cafe Bizou instead! We made a reservation last week for a party of nine at 6:30pm. When we arrived the table was ready and waiting. Of course, we didn’t arrive all at once…

They have convenient Valet Parking on Ventura Blvd and there’s also parking in the rear. It’s also possible to find street parking because they’re not in the middle of restaurant row and I’ve parked in the bank lot across the street after hours on occasion.

The first thing you’ll notice when you enter is that it’s in a house that’s been remodeled as a restaurant. There’s a nice bar but the bar area is small, also functions as the waiting area, and the path of service runs through the bar to the dining room. The large dining room is divided into two spaces and each has a difference ambiance, but also the same.

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

They also have a “patio area” in front, which is enclosed, covered and heated at night. It’s a very nice place for an intimate and/or romantic dinner.

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Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks – “Patio Area”

The food is great. The food is reasonably priced. They have a good selection of wine at a fair market price and a very reasonable corkage fee if you want to bring your own bottle(s).

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On the Menu: Steak & Shrimp au poivre with baked potato, fried calamari, caesar salad, bread & butter, creme brûlée, chocolate covered profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and a coke. Also had a couple lamb chops that were orphaned and a taste of tiramisu.

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Fresh Baked Bread and Butter

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Fried Calamari

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Caesar Salad

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Steak & Shrimp with Baked Potato

And for Dessert: They brought the flourless chocolate cake with a candle for the birthday girl and half of us ordered dessert. I love their creme brûlée! I also had a little taste of the profiteroles and tiramisu, but passed on cappuccino or coffee.

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Creme Brûlée

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Chocolate Covered Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream

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Tiramisu

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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream

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We really like Cafe Bizou! It’s a very comfortable environment and the dress code is casual to dressy without comment. Diners in jeans, shorts and t-shirts sitting next to executives in coats and ties is perhaps too common an occurrence, but the restaurant really all about the great food and pleasant dining experience.

The service is excellent! The wait staff and busboys are constantly in motion, well trained and pretty attentive to the tables and guests’ needs. Refills and requests are handled promptly and the courses are timed out for dining at a relaxed pace.

Again, it’s very reasonably priced for fine dining and they have a nice selection of food! (Check out the menu above)

They are open for Lunch, Brunch and Dinner.
Reservations in advance are recommended because “you never know”.

Cafe Bizou
14016 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423  (818) 788-3536

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Read the previous Blog “Lunch at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks”> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-ll

 

Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake Recipe

Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake

Grandma's Cherry Cheesecake!

Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

(Recipe for a small spring-lock baking pan)

Graham Cracker Crust:
2 ½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 cup butter (melted)
4 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons White Sugar
½ teaspoon Cinnamon

Grease the small spring-lock cake pan all around with a stick of butter. Mix ingredients in large bowl and press on bottom and sides of spring-lock pan to form 1/4″ thick crust. (avoid loose crumbs if possible)

Grandma's Cherry Cheesecake ingredients!

Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake ingredients!

Cheesecake Filling:
4 ¾ packs of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (8oz. each)
1 small carton of Knudsen’s Sour Cream (8 oz. or ½ of a large carton, use other half for topping)
½ small carton of Half-and-Half
4 Eggs
1 cup White Sugar
Punch of Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Juice from a small lemon
½ Can of Comstock Cherries (use other ½ for topping)

Blend all ingredients except cherries (or mix by hand for thicker texture). Pour into crust. Spoon in cherries at various locations and depths. Bake in preheated oven at 300 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Cool. Note: butter in the crust will cook off, so make sure to use a drip pan, cookie sheet or tin foil to catch the melted butter.

Grandma's Cherry Cheesecake!

Grandma’s Cherry Cheesecake! Chillin’ in the fridge.

Topping:
1 small carton of Knudsen’s Sour Cream (8oz. or other ½ of large carton)
½ cup of sifted Powdered Sugar
½ Can of Comstock Cherries

Beat together and top cake (once it is cool). Decorate with remaining cherries around the top of cake. Heat oven to 450 degrees and put topped cake in for 3 minutes only. Chill and serve when ready.

 

All photos copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel

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Chocolate Eclairs & Cream Puffs recipe

Chocolate Eclairs and Cream Puffs

Here’s a great recipe that I found online:

eclair

Makes about 12 small eclairs or about 18 cream puffs

Dough
6 tbsp (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¾ cup water
¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs

Cream
4 large egg yolks
⅓ cup sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
One pinch kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 ½ cup heavy cream, divided
½ tsp almond extract
2 tbsp (¼ stick) unsalted butter

NOTE: ice cream, custard or chocolate mousse can be substituted for cream filling

Glaze
¾ cup heavy cream
½ tsp kosher salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1½ cups)
Toasted sliced almonds for topping

NOTE: Almonds are optional or top with any crushed nuts, sprinkles or other decorations

Instructions
1. Prepare dough: bring the butter, sugar, salt, and water to a simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon to encourage the butter to melt. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the flour, stirring constantly, until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring the dough occasionally. (You don’t want the eggs to scramble in the next step.)

2. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously between each addition with a wooden spoon. The dough will break apart and slide around in the pot before it comes back together. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pipe the dough into 3-inch lengths about 3 inches apart. (For cream puffs, drop the dough in 2-tablespoon scoops about 3 inches apart on the prepared sheets. )With damp fingertip, flatten any points. Preheat to 450°F and bake until deep golden brown and puffed, rotating the sheets halfway through, 22 to
 26 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

4. Prepare the cream: stir together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl.

5. In medium saucepan, bring the milk and 1 cup of the heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. Add a little bit of the warm milk mixture to the yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Repeat this process a few times until all of the milk mixture has been incorporated into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the pan.

6. Cook at medium-low heat, stirring constantly and making sure to get the edges, until the mixture begins to thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. (It’s helpful to have both a spatula and a whisk handy while making the custard. Switch between the two.) Let it come up to a very slow boil and cook for 1 minute more. Strain the custard through the sieve into a clean bowl, and stir in the butter and the almond extract. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream and refrigerate until cooled completely.

7. Prepare the glaze: bring the cream and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and salt. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute and then whisk to make a smooth sauce.

8. Whip remaining ½ cup cream to soft peaks. Whisk the cooled almond cream to loosen it, then fold in the whipped cream. Transfer the cream to a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip. Slice the top third off of each éclair and fill with cream. Dip the top of the top half in the glaze and replace it. (For cream puffs, insert the tip of the pastry bag into the bottom of each puff and fill. Dip the filled puffs in the glaze.) Top with almonds to serve.

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