Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino!

Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino!

NOTE: Still working on the “Road Trip” and “Burning Man” Blogs, be patient.

There’s a new place to eat in town! Fat Sal’s is open and located in the old Johnny Rocket’s space on the corner of Ventura and Balboa.

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Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino! 

Indoor and Outdoor seating available. The Patio is covered now so you can sit and watch the cars go by in the shade. Parking is still limited in the small lot, but there is a lot of metered street parking (8am-8pm everyday except Sunday) available nearby.

There’s a big menu on the wall.  Order at the counter and wait for your number to be called (actually they give you a pager). They’re makin’ sandwiches over here!

 

NOTE: They have a bunch of flat screen TELEVISIONS (with all the games on) inside!

Signature “Fat” sandwiches & burgers, salads & wraps, fries, sides, and shakes are the board of fare. So, I had a Philly Cheesesteak and it was a good Philly Cheesesteak.

They have 2 digital “self-service” soda fountains with many beverage choices. On a sad note, they charge 25 cents for sauces (WHICH IS STUPID AND BAD FOR BUSINESS). but when we asked for mustard for our sandwich and BBQ sauce for our onion rings, he gave us a plastic cup of each and told me it was “on the house”.

 

And the “Big Fat Fatty” Challenge for $49.99!

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“Big Fat Fatty” Food Challenge!

ON THE MENU: Philly Cheesesteak and Onion Rings with a Dr Pepper

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Philly Cheesesteak and Onion Rings!

The Cheesesteak gets a thumbs up and the burgers got a thumbs up too. The fries were limp, undercooked and not good at all, but the onion rings were terrific. Nice mixed Encino crowd checking out the new place, most likely will stay in business for awhile.

Fat Sal’s – 16901 Ventura Blvd (at Balboa Blvd), Encino http://www.fatsalsdeli.com

All photos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel

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Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino!



 

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Tuesday Night Dinner at Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana, CA

Tuesday Night Dinner at
Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen
in Tarzana, CA

We are back! We wrote a new restaurant Blog post. Enjoy!

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Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana, CA

We were just going to go to CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) but the parking lot was full, which indicated the restaurant would be crowded and busy, so we detoured to Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen just two blocks away on Ventura Blvd (near Reseda Blvd) in Tarzana and we were glad that we did.

We really like this restaurant! We’ve been here before and it’s always really good. Good food, good service, good atmosphere and pretty good prices. They have free parking in the rear and there is ample metered street parking (8am-8pm everyday except Sunday).

We arrived without a reservation and were seated immediately. The dining room was busy and there were several large family parties, but unlike CPK, the noise was not a factor at all. It’s not a very big place occupying two store front windows, with the open kitchen on one side and the dining room on the other. They do good business (lunch, dinner, catering and delivery), and they also have beer & wine on premises.

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Fabrocini’s Open Kitchen and Dining Room

There are pictures of all things Italian on the walls and the Dodgers game was on the television in the dining room (as reflected on the pic below).

NOTE: We are still boycotting the Dodgers and Time-Warner/Spectrum/SportsNetLA (see the previous Blog) but it was on and we didn’t pay attention because we currently don’t care about Major League Baseball until we can watch the Dodgers games on television FOR FREE.

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Leaning Tower of Pizza!

The Menu:

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On The Menu: Caesar salad, fresh baked bread with olive oil, pasta fusilli with broccoli in a garlic sauce (a little too salty tonight), meat lasagna and a coke.

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A GOOD dinner!  The service (waitstaff & busboy) was excellent and the management strives to make sure everything is beyond satisfactory. We should add that although our intention was to eat at CPK, the experience at Fabrocini’s was much better! We still like CPK, but the difference in the quality of food, service and care between a family owned restaurant and a huge corporate chain is exemplified in this comparison. And we should also mention, the cost wasn’t very different and there wasn’t a “loyalty club” discount involved, so we didn’t have to show them our phone or give them a code.

NOTE: Don’t fill up on bread and salad or appetizers, because the entrees are large and delicious! They also have good desserts but we didn’t indulge this time.

Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen18608 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA (west of Reseda Blvd) http://www.fabrocinistarzana.com (818) 342-4490​

Lunch: 11:00am – 4:00pm Closed for Lunch on Sunday
Dinner: 4:00pm – 9:00pm Sun-Thurs 4:00pm to 10:00pm Fri & Sat

Fabrocini’s Beverly Glen2960 Beverly Glen Circle (at Mulholland) (310) 475-7404

 

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They have great pizzas too!

More Fun Recipes!

More Fun Recipes (and Food Infographics)!

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Here are collected recipes from my hard drive.

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Gazpacho (makes 6 servings – about 1 1/4 cups each)

Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped unpared cucumber
1 avocado, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tblsp red wine vinegar
1 quart tomato juice
2 tblsp olive oil
Sour Cream

Directions:
1. Place cucumber, avocado, onion, salt, oregano and vinegar in large pitcher or serving bowl. Pour tomato juice over vegetable mixture; stir gently. Cover; refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.
2. Stir olive oil into juice mixture just before serving. Top with a dollop of sour cream.

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Chipotle’s Guacamole Recipe:

chipotle-guacamole-recipe


JoshWillTravel’s Easy Fresh Made Guacamole

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JoshWillTravel’s Easy Fresh Made Guacamole

Ingredients:
1 large or 2 small ripe avocados. Skined and deseeded. (Save the pit!)
finely chopped onion (white, yellow or red, a thin slice diced)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 2 chrushed/chopped garlic cloves)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (adjust amount to taste)
1/2 tsp cayenne power (adjust amount to taste)
dash of red pepper flakes (to taste)
2 dashes of lime juice (fresh or bottled, to taste)

Optional Ingredients:
small amount of finely chopped jalapeño pepper (fresh or canned, to taste)
small amount of finely chopped fresh cilantro or dried cilantro flakes (to taste)

NOTE: Adjust the amount of spices depending on the size/ripeness of the avocado, the amount of “HEAT” you like in your guacamole and the food you are serving it with.
Don’t hide the flavor of the avocado! And if you over-spice, just add more avocado.
We do not like a lot of cilantro! (and sometimes we don’t want any at all)
Use other spices to add “Heat” instead of cilantro if you agree.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small-medium size bowl.
Use the back side of a fork to crush and mix the avocado, onion and spices.
DO NOT OVER MIX! Guacamole should be slightly lumpy.
Chill in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes, serve in small bowls or as a garnish.
(to prevent “browning” place the unwashed pit in the bowl with the guacamole)

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JoshWillTravel’s Easy Fresh Made Guacamole (ingredients)

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VINTAGE RECIPES:

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OTHER RECIPES:

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Manny’s Artichoke Recipe

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Manny’s Artichoke Recipe (from Manny’s Bistro in Westwood and the Renaissance Faire)

Manny’s Churros (makes 18-20)

Ingredients:
Vegetable Oil
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 tblsp butter (melted)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Heat oil (1-1/2 to 2 inches) to 375 degrees in a 12-inch skillet or fry pan
2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. Beat in granulated sugar gradually. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk. Stir in butter and vanilla.
3. Fit a pastry tube with a large star tip.* Fill with dough. Squeeze dough into hot oil in 6-8 inch lengths, cutting off ends with a knife. Fry until golden brown, about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels; keep war. Repeat with remaining dough. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
*Tip: A cookie press with the star plate can be used in place of the pastry tube.


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Steak-On-A-Stake (makes 6 servings)
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Steak-On-A-Stake (makes 6 servings)

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds of beef loin sirloin steak, boneless, 3/4″ thick
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tblsp honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp sesame or vegetable oil
2 tblsp dry sherry
Pineapple chunks
Black olives

Directions:
1.  Cut meat into strips about 3/4 inch wide and 2 inches long; place in shallow baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients except pineapple and olives; pour over meat. Cover; refrigerate  and marinade 1 to 2 hours, (turn meat over in marinade at the 1/2 way point).

2. Remove beef strips from marinade. Thread on a 9 or 10 inch bamboo (or metal) skewers, using about 5 pieces of meat for each. Grill 4 inches from medium-hot coals until meat is browned, 3 to 5 minutes on each side (or broil in oven 3-4 minutes on each side)

If desired, baste with separate marinade mix (do not use marinade used for raw beef). Garnish with pineapple chunks and black olives.

TIP: Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before prepping the meat to prevent them from burning.

NOTE: We used a London Broil, cut it into chunks and broiled the meat 3-4 mins on each side instead of grilling for these pics.


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“Sticky Chicken” Dry Rub and Directions for Baked Chicken
(add flour and egg wash for a Baked “Fried Chicken”):

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Citrus Cuban Garlic Chicken (just like Versailles Restaurant’s)

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Baked Buffalo Wings
Bake at 400 degrees for 45 mins, dip in butter & sauce, bake another 45 mins
(use Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or your preferred brand):

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Orange Fruit Ice (makes about 3 pints before freezing)
or Strawberry, Lemon or any fruit flavor you wish!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water (CAUTION!)
3 cups orange juice (fresh squeezed is recommended)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated orange peel
Mint sprigs

Directions:
Dissolve sugar in water; cool. Stir in juices and grated peel. Pour mixture into freezer container or ice cream maker. Freeze until firm, stirring frequently. Serve in hollowed-out orange shell if desired.* Garnish with mint sprigs.
*Tip: The juice from the fresh oranges can be used as the juice in the recipe.
NOTE: For other fruits, use a blender/juicer/food processor and adjust the amount of sugar as necessary (less for berries, more for lemon).

Lemon Fruit Ice (makes about 3 pints before freezing)

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 cups boiling water (CAUTION)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel
Mint sprigs

Directions:
As above, use hollowed-out lemon shells if desired.


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“Fiesta” Ice Pops (makes 4 popsicles)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon/lime juice
2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup honey-ginger simple syrup (recipe below)
1/2 cup water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to combine.
Pour the mixture into ice pop molds and freeze.

Honey-Ginger Simple Syrup (makes about 2 cups)

Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 cup honey (or agave syrup)
6-inch knob of ginger, chopped

Directions:
In a small saucepan, combine water and honey (or agave syrup) on medium heat until the honey dissolves.  Add chopped ginger and simmer on very low heat for 20 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool slightly.  Strain and let cool completely to room temperature.
There will be usually be some syrup leftover. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week.

Homemade Ginger Ale

Ingredients:
1 cup club soda
3 Tbsp honey-ginger syrup
Ice

Directions:
Combine ingredients. Squeeze a lime over the top and enjoy!


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Marge’s CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE
(my friend Mark Teich’s Mom, pics below by Mark)

1. mix 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour
2. add 1 stick butter (melted and cooled a bit), 2 slightly beaten eggs,
1 cup semi -sweet chocolate chips and 1 tsp vanilla
3. pour into a unbaked pie shell
4. bake 1 hour at 325 (test with toothpick when done)
5. serve with whipped cream or cool whip (my fave)


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FOOD INFOGRAPHICS:

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Margaret’s Green Goddess Dressing:

Use equal parts of mayo and light sour cream, (about 1/3 cup each), add a few tablespoons of buttermilk, a TBLSP of lemon, 2 anchovies, 2 small garlic cloves, salt, pepper, about a TBLSP of parsley, it calls for a tsp of tarragon but Margaret prefers a tsp of dill. Mix it all in a food processor or blender, refrigerate and let chill for a couple of hrs to let flavors marry.


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Disney’s Secret Recipes
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-6Xo

Cooking With Kenny Rogers – DOLE Cookbook Recipes
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-6Yk

FUN COOKING RECIPES
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/fun-cooking-recipes/

FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/cocktails/

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Disney’s Secret Recipes!

Disney’s Secret Recipes!  (well, not so secret…)2c02fea15eee5969dcce2eb9e02eab16_love-disney-characters-cook-clipart_564-763

We had NO IDEA how many “Disney” recipes and cookbooks there actually were!

There are the “real” Disney theme park recipes. There are recipes from old restaurants associated with Disney. And there are “Disney Inspired” and Disney themed recipes.

We’ve collected a few favorite recipes, but in researching this Blog, we found so many more!

So, here are some fun Disney recipes now shared on our Blog. Bon appetit! Enjoy!

 

DISNEY RESTAURANT MENU RECIPES:

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BIG THUNDER RANCH MENU RECIPES:

NOTE: Big Thunder Ranch opened in 1986 and closed permanently on January 11, 2016 and will soon be the new 14-acre “Star Wars” Land.

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OTHER RECIPES
and More Items of Interest:

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Mickey Mouse Pancakes at the River Belle Cafe!

The Famous DOLE WHIP (copycat) Recipe:

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Vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Cookbook Recipes:

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And here’s the Malasadas (Jelly Donut) Recipe from the Aulani Hotel in Hawaii:

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Disneyland’s Mint Julep

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And a Disney “Adult Beverage”
(See Our Fun Cocktail Recipes Page!)

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Shrunken Ned’s Jungle Juice Cocktail

Ned1 oz Vodka
1 oz White Rum
1 oz Lemon Heart or Bacardi 151 Rum
1 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Orange juice
1/2 oz. Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz. Cranberry Juice
Add ingredients into a shaker with ice (except the Lemon Heart 151 rum). Shake vigorously. Pour into exotic or hurricane glass. Float the Lemon Heart 151 rum on top. Garnish with a lime wedge.

 

Kungalooza (1990s & 2010s)

Kungalooza Then & Now

Kungalooza Then & Now

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More Fun Recipes
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-6Y3

Cooking With Kenny Rogers – DOLE Cookbook Recipes
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-6Yk

FUN COOKING RECIPES
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/fun-cooking-recipes/

FUN COCKTAIL RECIPES
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/cocktails/

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The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!>
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POPCORN!

Popcorn 77

Vintage Disneyland! Vacationland Summer ’77 magazine



 

30000 Hits! THANK YOU! www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

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30000 Hits! THANK YOU! http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com
(unsolicited and not “promoted”,  all unpaid for!)

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30000 Hits! THANK YOU! Another Benchmark!

Many thanks to our loyal readers and all the “drop-in” visitors since February 2013!

There are almost 600 Previous Blog Posts (BLOGS) archived for your enjoyment!
Use the Search Box at the top of the page or just read though (there’s an “Older Posts” link at the bottom of the page) to find fun and interesting stuff.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! More to come!

Use the links below to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!

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THANK YOU!

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

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USA! The United States of America!

Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance!
Originally it was called Decoration Day. A day when Americans went to cemeteries and placed flags or flowers on the graves of the war dead. It was a day to remember ancestors, family members, and loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice and died in service for the United States of America. Waterloo, New York, was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, but over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of the holiday. Decoration Day was created during the Civil War to honor the dead. It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years and many Americans have forgotten the meaning and traditions of the day. At many cemeteries, the graves of American war dead are increasingly ignored or neglected while backyard barbecues and a three day weekend are now the only celebration of the holiday.

FRIDAY

Our “three day weekend” began on Friday afternoon.

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Friday Lunchtime!

Lunchtime! Quesadilla with red pepper salsa, avocado, celery & carrots, persian cucumber, dill pickle, strawberries, blueberries, mango and an iced espresso

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Dinner with a friend at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in North Hollywood. We been here before and you can read about it (See our Previous Blog! Search Box: Mucho Mas^^^^^)

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Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in North Hollywood, California

On The Menu: 2 beef tacos, a cheese enchilada, Mexican rice, refried beans, a green salad with ranch dressing, fresh made tortilla chips & spicy salsa and a Dr Pepper.

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!
Memorial Day Weekend in Los Angeles is a “Maximum Enforcement” period by local law enforcement to combat drunk driving. On our way to NoHo we saw LAPD Metro cops on motorcycles already patrolling the San Fernando Valley. Once again we were the designated driver, so we didn’t drink any alcohol before dinner or at the restaurant, so our friend could enjoy his beers and stay safe in North Hollywood.

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Neon Clown Drive-by at Circus Liquor in North Hollywood

SATURDAY

Chore Day! Laundry and Spring Cleaning! We spent most of the day trying to clean and get organized. We are on a mission to get rid of the clutter and stuff we don’t need.

We finished and posted a new Blog about the “Slugfest in Hollywood” on Tuesday: the Dixie Hollywood Hotel, Dinner at Susan Finegar’s Mud Hen Tavern and The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl”.

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Saturday Lunchtime!

Lunchtime! Sesame bagel with hummus and persian cucumber, dill pickle, avocado, carrots, celery, red grapes, blueberries and an iced espresso.

A beautiful sunset in the San Fernando Valley:

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Saturday Sunset in the SFV – San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, California

And a pretty boring Saturday night at home…

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Dinner: Enchilada Nachos!

Dinner: Enchilada Nachos! Used the leftover Mexican food from last night: cheese enchilada cut up with the rice and beans and then more cheese over tortilla chips with taco bell hot sauce. “Life is short, make it saucy!”

And we watched “The Intern” with Robert Deniro and Anne Hathaway on HBO. A cute film about a 70 year old retired business man (played by Deniro) who interns for a successful online women’s clothing company owned by a young, overworked woman with an adorable young child and a “stay at home” husband (played by Hathaway). The cast is rounded out by a crew of young, nerdy “Tech Bros” and Rene Russo as the company masseuse.

It’s really a romantic comedy without the romance between Deniro and Hathaway, adding Rene Russo as the hot, younger old person and love interest. It was a fun movie with a great cast, but the happy ending was kind of lacking in resolution and could have been much better! Deniro got to chew on the scenery and play a custom tailored part and that’s what he’s great at. Hathaway is a terrific actress, and this role mirrors her part in “The Devil Wears Prada” as a young and successful working woman conquering adversity.

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And we ate some Hot Tamales to better simulate the “movie theatre” experience.

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Hot Tamales!

We also did a little Periscope viewing too. We watched The Cure live from Washington and Steven Brody Stevens killing it and rockin’ comedy at the Improv on Melrose.

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And then we worked on laying out this Blog until we got tired and fell asleep.

SUNDAY

We slept in and then made breakfast/brunch.

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Sunday Breakfast – Bacon and Eggs!

Sunday Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with cheese & hot sauce, bacon, English muffins with peanut butter & raspberry jam, nectarine, orange juice and an iced espresso.

And we were going to do stuff today and then we turned on HBO and saw they were running a marathon of “The Pacific”, the under appreciated follow up to “Band of Brothers” in honor of Memorial Day. It’s a great period piece about World War II and the war against the Japanese. So, we didn’t watch all 10 hours, but we did watch…and worked.

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Hot Dogs! Sunday afternoon with the dogs in the backyard:

We were invited to go to the movies, but passed because we didn’t want to see the film and we hate going to the theatre on weekends or holidays because there are just too many people, and all it really takes is one person with a cell phone to ruin the experience for me. So, we stayed at the home office and someone brought me dinner!

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Sunday “To Go” Dinner delivered: Orange chicken, steamed rice, sautéed vegetables from The Cheesecake Factory and a Dr Pepper. Tasty “comfort” food makes me happy.

Sunday night “must see TV” on HBO: New episodes of “Game of Thrones”, “Silicon Valley” and a previously aired episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”

SPOILER ALERT! 

“Hold the door!” We waited all week for this episode of Game of Thrones. Last week’s episode “The Door” was excellent. And sad. And emotionally involving. And as always, there are so many story lines running that each episode feels incomplete…
And so, with great anticipation we waited and watched this week’s episode.

Do you think Hodor will return as a wight?

NOTE: “Silicon Valley” is “genius” humor.
This week’s episode was pretty great. Oh the Bachmanity!

MONDAY – It’s Memorial Day!

Grapefruit, coffee, leftover cold orange chicken for breakfast and then back to bed…

The annual “Band of Brothers” marathon on HBO was interrupted by a LIVE televised Memorial Day Holiday High Speed Pursuit at noon!

Band_of_Brothers_poster

“Band of Brothers” is a 2001 American war drama based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose’s 1993 non-fiction book. It is based on the true World War Two story of the men of Easy Company from the US Army 101st Airborne division who fought in Europe during the war.

NOTE: We’ve seen “Band of Brothers” in it’s entirety a couple of times. So when a social media alert was broadcast about another LIVE high speed pursuit in Los Angeles, we switched over and began watching the car chase.

Memorial Day Holiday LIVE Televised High Speed Pursuit:

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Memorial Day Holiday High Speed Pursuit in Southern California

The French Open was rained out so NBC stayed on the chase that started at about 10:30am… Stolen vehicle: a silver KIA Sorrento SUV with an “impaired” driver on surface streets in East Los Angeles. We picked up the pursuit at noon as the suspect got on the empty freeways and continued driving for almost 3 hours. NBC commentary was complete speculation and stupidity, so we switched over to ABC and then KCAL9 (our local CBS affiliate). Please just the facts, not ignorant newscaster’s uninformed opinions!

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Memorial Day Holiday High Speed Pursuit in Southern California

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Memorial Day Holiday High Speed Pursuit in Southern California

And Fox 11 had coverage too:

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Memorial Day Holiday High Speed Pursuit in Southern California

At 1pm, KCAL 9 and FOX both cut off their news coverage and returned to regular programming, so we switched back to ABC and NBC because KTLA 5 News didn’t pick up the chase at all for their one o’clock broadcast. And just after 1pm he ran out of gas on the 405 near the Long Beach Freeway, smoked some more meth in the car and then surrendered without further incident to the California Highway Patrol.

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Memorial Day Holiday High Speed Pursuit – 405 South near the Long Beach Fwy

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Memorial Day High Speed Pursuit – Suspect in Custody!

Just another holiday Monday in Los Angeles! And with the suspect in custody and the chase over at 1:30pm, it was time for lunch.

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Monday Lunchtime!

Monday Lunchtime! A bacon, lettuce and cheese sandwich on challah bread; dill pickle, celery, carrots, blueberries, red grapes and pineapple juice.

Afternoon CHILLIN’ in the backyard and more episodes of “Band of Brothers” while getting some work done in the office was how we spent the rest of the day.

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Monday Memorial Day Holiday Chillin’ on the Backyard Patio

We worked, we cleaned, we played with the dogs.

And then we got hungry and went to see what ingredients we had for dinner. We decided to make some pasta and did a little fancy cooking in the kitchen:

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Dinner on Monday: Spaghetti with garlic alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, stir-fried broccoli & sautéed onions and a coke.

Where did the three day weekend go? Mostly boring. We hope you had a good one!

REMEMBER THE FALLEN! Some gave all so you could BBQ in peace.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

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Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 3.11.16 AM


Here’s a better pic of the Circus Liquor’s Neon Clown in NoHo:

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Neon Clown at Circus Liquor in North Hollywood, California

Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

Our first night in Ashland, we had the fine idea to drive up to Medford (only about 20 minutes north on the 5 freeway) to the Texas Roadhouse BBQ for a big dinner.

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Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

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Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

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Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

The first thing you’ll notice about the Texas Roadhouse BBQ is the decor. Lots of wood, brick, neon beer signs, farm and western chotckes, and more wood.

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“New Country Rock” on the Jukebox at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ

The second thing you’ll notice is the noise… it’s very loud inside! The place is always busy and full of people. The hard wood surfaces and concrete floor amplify the noise and they play LOUD “New Country” music throughout the restaurant.

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Shelled Peanuts at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

On The Menu: BBQ baby back pork ribs, bone-in ribeye steak with fries, side of chili, dinner salad, bread & butter, salted shelled peanuts and a coke.

 

The food was good. The steak was done right. They boil their ribs and they boiled these a long time. If you like boiled BBQ ribs you’ll probably like theirs. The portions are large, there are lots of side items to choose from, and it’s good “country music” time. If you don’t like loud country music, best to find another restaurant. It’s a good concept and the waitstaff will keep on dancing for your enjoyment!

Texas Roadhouse BBQMedford, OR

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Moosehead mounted over the front doors…

Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino!

Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino, California

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Berry Panna Cotta & Berry Sorbet at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant

Thursday evening and time for another happy birthday dinner! Neapolitan Italian Food at Gio Cucina Napoletana in Encino. We’ve eaten here before and the food has always been excellent. Tonight’s dinner was a lovely dining experience and the meal was great.

The restaurant is located on the 2nd Floor of a small shopping center/mini-mall on Ventura Blvd and in addition to the small storefront dining room and kitchen there is a large outdoor patio available for dining.

There is limited free parking in the shopping center’s front and rear lots and metered (8am-8pm) street parking available.

The restaurant has been here for years and the food is made with only fresh ingredients. The pasta and gnocchi is made from scratch. They offer rice pasta as a substitution for the “gluten free” diner and have a number of vegetarian options on the menu.

There’s a nice selection of appetizers, vegetable soups and fancy salads (and they have a Caesar Salad that’s off the menu but easily ordered with or without anchovies). There’s pizza, pasta, meat and fish entrees on the menu and always creative daily specials on the whiteboard in the dining room. If you like lasagna, try their beef or chicken lasagna.

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Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino

We got there early and chose to sit inside. We had the dining room all to ourselves for most of our meal. It got busy inside just as we were finishing up.

Everything is made to order and you can almost watch them cook from across the dining room. Fresh baked bread and olive tapenade are offered as a starter. They have a nice selection of wine by the bottle or glass to choose from and their desserts are very tasty.

This picture and cutout from Valley Magazine was above our table in the dining room and provides a wonderful description of the restaurant and the dining experience:

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Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino

“Gio’s Cucina Napoletana is a tiny restaurant with a big heart. Toques off to chef and owner Roberto Castellanos, who cooks with olive oil rather than butter, makes pasta from scratch and bakes mini-loaves of killer bread for each table.From his minuscule open kitchen, Castellanos presides over a menu of variety and quality. His dairy-free pureed vegetable soups have deep, rich flavor. His radicchio, endive, fennel and shaved Parmesan salad could pass muster at a  far fancier restaurant. And his homemade spaghetti with seafood in white wine-tomato sauce with roasted garlic is hearty, tasty,old-fashioned fare. I’ve yet to try the cracker thin pizza, but it’s next on the list. Prices are reasonable, making it easy to go back.” – Valley Magazine May-June 2008

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On The Menu: Meat Lasagna, 1/2 Caesar Salad, fresh baked bread with olive tapenade, fried calamari with marinara sauce, berry panna cotta & berry sorbet, tiramisu and a coke

NOTE: There was also lobster & vegetable risotto and mushroom & vegetable pasta as the other entrees (not pictured). Both dishes received excellent reviews!

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Meat Lasagna with pasta and sauce made from scratch!

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NOTE: We sent the fried calamari back. It was pan fried, not deep fried, in a very light batter and two of us were fine with the preparation, but two of us didn’t like it.

Here’s a pic of one of the best dishes we ordered at a previous dinner: Hawaiian Prawns with spaghetti, garlic and olive oil:

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From a Previous Dinner: Hawaiian prawns with spaghetti, garlic & olive oil

Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant15826 Ventura Blvd., 2nd Floor, Encino
818-905-7446

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Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino

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Gio Cucina Napoletana Italian Restaurant in Encino at Night

 

Updated December 29, 2016
A nice dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana
Fresh baked bread, fried calimari with marinara sauce, beef lasagna and a coke

 

Updated Friday, April 7, 2017
Dinner delivered!
Spaghetti bolognese with parmesan cheese and fresh baked bread: Excellent!

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Spaghetti Bolognese with parmesan cheese and fresh baked bread

 

UPDATED Friday April 28, 2017:

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Beef Lasagna at Gio Cucina Napoletana

My old college friend Kent came out to the valley and took me to dinner. We went to Gio Cucina Napoletana and had some great Italian food. Carpacchio, fresh baked bread and olive tapenade, fried calamari, Caesar salad, beef lasagna, tiramisu, red wine (cabernet sauvignon) and a coke. So much fun, I even took a selfie.

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Selfie! Dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletana with Kent

Dinner at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ in Van Nuys

Sunday Dinner at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ Restaurant in Van Nuys, California

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AYCE stands for ALL YOU CAN EAT!

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Dinner at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ Restaurant in Van Nuys

Literally, a HOLE IN THE WALL in Van Nuys, California! I was invited to dinner and just went along for the ride. And it was a fun ride! We arrived at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ a little after 5pm and it was already crowded.

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As you enter the restaurant, there is an undecorated waiting area between the front door and the dining room proper. There are two benches, some beer signs and two pinball machines in the enclosed “waiting room”.

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Then as you pass through the second set of doors you enter a large dining room. The host desk is just inside. There are booths along the two side walls and long tables in the center. Even with the industrial fans overhead, the room was thick with smoke from the grills. We were told there was a 20 minute wait, so we decided to hang out, and then they seated us at the center of a long table after only 5 minutes.

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AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ Restaurant in Van Nuys – Booth or Table?

There was a salad, dishes with an assortment of appetizers and sauces placed on the table and waiting for us when we sat down. They took our drink order and left us to look at the menu (a single sheet in a plastic standee and a beer & wine list):

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AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ – On the Menu: ALL YOU CAN EAT!

On the Menu: All you can eat! Green salad, alfafa sprout appetizers, glass noodles, dumpling soup, beef bulgogi, spicy pork, beef kalbi, garlic beef, apple pork, pork ribs, lemon pepper chicken, steamed rice and a coke.

And then they give you a small frozen yogurt too…so full.

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Green Salad, Appetizers and Sauces

 

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Dumpling Soup, Steamed Rice and a Plate of Cooked Meat

 

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Glass Noodles (Mung Bean) with Vegetables

 

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Marinated Spicy Pork and Beef Bulgogi waiting to be cooked

I took some good pictures, but then the food started coming fast and furious! So, I had to focus on the food cooking on the grill while trying to eat the food on my plate, while having a conversation with my dinner companion, so the picture taking stopped.

NOTE: The dining room is very loud. There were a lot of people, they were playing music, the fans were relatively quiet but still noisy and there was a lot of action and food service happening. I wouldn’t recommend coming here for a quiet romantic dinner. This is a place that’s all about the food and the food is good. Everything else is “NO FRILLS” so don’t expect much more than a constant stream of raw marinated meats ready for grilling.

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“You cook it yourself!” Beef Kalbi Cooking on the Grill

We tried a lot of different meats and our favorites were the beef bulgogi, beef kalbi and the spicy pork, although everything we ate was pretty darn good.

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Spicy Pork and Pork Ribs Cooking on the Grill

 

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Steamed Rice, Alfalfa Sprout Appetizer and 3 Kinds of Meat

Too Much Food! Meat Coma… so full!

Well, we went for it! And it was a good dinner. The service was good, the food was good and certainly plentiful, and we enjoyed our dining experience very much. I would definitely go back again.

The All You Can Eat Dinner is priced at $22.95 per person after 3pm (NOTE: “If any member of a party is ordering AYCE, all members must also order AYCE”) and it’s worth it if you’re hungry and want a lot of meat. I’m pretty sure we both got our money’s worth! They also have beer, wine and sake, as well as a selection of other beverages. They have Lunch for $17.95 and there’s also an express lunch priced at $12.95 served between 11am – 3pm.

AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ7128 Van Nuys blvd Van Nuys, CA 818-465-3050 http://www.aycegogi.com

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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

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The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!>
(And our Periscope videos from Katch are now posted on YouTube)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoP3QQfRTfD-2eABWVd-JwQ

 

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