Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill Mexican Restaurant in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California

Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill Mexican Restaurant
in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California

NOTE: This Blog was started and in “draft” form for a couple weeks before being finished and published. Posting now because writing helps as a distraction.

Mexican Food!

Saturday night in the beautiful San Fernando Valley on Van Nuys Blvd near the Government Center (Courthouses, Police Station, Post Office, etc.) at Erwin St.

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Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill Mexican Restaurant

 

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Front Desk at Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill

We parked in back and used the Rear Entrance. (just a little sketchy)

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The Rear Entrance to Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill in Van Nuys

There’s a large dining room with tables and booths along the side walls. And of course there’s a long bar, and a very nice one too. they also have a very small stage for live music on Fridays and Satudays and this was one of those nights.

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The Large Dining Room at Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill

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The Long Bar at Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill

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Live Music on a Small Stage on Friday and Saturday

The live music was good. Two guys, one on guitar and one on a kid’s drum kit, singing and playing classic rock tunes while we enjoyed our Mexican dinner.

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Live Music and the Bar at Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill

When we arrived the bar was empty, and when we left it wasn’t.

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The Bar at Los Tres Hermanos Bar and Grill

We were seated in a booth without having to wait and presented with a “classic” Mexican restaurant menu and warm chips, red pepper salsa and a bean dip.

This being our first time here, we decided to compare the Fiesta platter, a favorite found on most appetizer menus.

The Classic Mexican Restaurant Menu:

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On The Menu: Chips and salsa, Fiesta Platter with chicken wings, nachos, taquitos, a quesadilla (and we substituted more taquitos for the quesadilla, because we made a large one for lunch) and a Dr Pepper

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Tortilla Chips and Salsa

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Fiesta Platter!

We enjoyed the food! It was classic Mexican, very tasty and they have pretty good chips and salsa. The Fiesta Platter was done well, but the nachos could have been better. My dining companions enjoyed their choices as well and the prices are very reasonable! They have lots of fun cocktails and drink specials on and off the menu. We would return if we were in the neighborhood on a Saturday, but probably not on a weekday.

Tres Hermanos Mexican RestaurantVan Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

 

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UPDATE: Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A large, tasty chicken burrito (“wet” ranchero sauce & melted cheese) with rice and beans inside and tortilla chips “to go” for dinner a few nights ago. Only ate half, then ate the other half the next day for breakfast.

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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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FOLLOW Good Guy Steven Brody Stevens on Periscope and Twitter: @Brodyismefriend

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!

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“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!

All photos copyright 2015-2016 JoshWillTravel

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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

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s May the 5th! Celebrate!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s May the 5th! Celebrate!

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Mexico’s Independence Day (from Spain) is celebrated on September 16.

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A PLETHORA OF MARIACHIS!

Cinco de Drinko!
IT’S TEQUILA TIME! Tequila is the general name for a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, produced in the specific region surrounding the city of Tequila, 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the central western Mexican state of Jalisco. Mexican law states that Tequila can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and in certain places in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas.

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TEQUILA!

The Champs! “Tequila” LIVE on the Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show on 3 May 1958
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uyl7GP_VMJY

 

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Tequila with Chips & Salsa!

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Blended Margarita

The two basic categories of tequila are mixtos and 100% agave. Mixtos use no less than 51% agave, with other sugars making up the remainder. Mixtos use both glucose and fructose sugars. Tequila is usually bottled in one of five categories:

  • Blanco (“white”) or plata (“silver”): white spirit, unaged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels
  • Joven (“young”) or oro (“gold”): unaged silver tequila that may be flavored with caramel coloring, oak extract, glycerin, or sugar-based syrup. Could also be the result of blending silver tequila with aged and/or extra-aged tequila.
  • Reposado (“rested”): aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels of any size
  • Añejo (“aged” or “vintage”): aged a minimum of one year, but less than three years in small oak barrels
  • Extra Añejo (“extra aged” or “ultra aged”): aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels, this category was established in March 2006.
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Silver Tequila w/Limes

Pee Wee Herman performs “Tequila” from “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVKsd8z6scw

The Four Stages of Tequila:
2 shots “I’m rich!”
4 shots “I’m good looking!”
6 shots “I’m invisible!”
8 shots “I’m bulletproof!”

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Strawberry Margarita!

The traditional margarita uses Tequila, Cointreau and lime juice, though many variations exist and a large number of tequila drinks are made by adding fruit juice. The International Bartenders Association (IBA Official list of Cocktails) standard is 7:4:3, that is, 50% tequila, 29% Cointreau and 21% fresh lime juice

The standard margarita is a cocktail consisting of tequila, triple sec and lime or lemon juice, often served with salt on the rim of the glass. The drink is served shaken with ice (on the rocks), blended with ice (frozen margarita) or without ice (straight up).

Margarita:
1 ounce tequila
Dash of Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
Pour over crushed ice and stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt. Take care to moisten only the outer rim and apply the salt on it. The salt should just coat the rim and never mix into the cocktail. Add fresh fruit or juice for more flavor!

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TEQUILA!

Tequila Sunrise:
3 oz (6 parts) Orange juice
1-1/2 oz (3 parts) Tequila
1/2 oz (1 part) Grenadine syrup
Pour the tequila and orange juice into glass over ice. Add the grenadine, which will sink to the bottom. Do not stir. Garnish and serve on the rocks in a collins glass.

Three-Amigos

The Three Amigos!

“Take another shot of courage
Wonder why the right words never come
You just get numb
It’s another tequila sunrise, this old world
Still looks the same”
~The Eagles “Tequila Sunrise”

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Viva Mexico! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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MEXICO!

CLICK TO SEE A LARGE PIC OF “THE REGIONAL CUISINE OF MEXICO”

“One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, more…
four tequila, five tequila, six tequila… floor.”

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“But there’s booze in the blender,
And soon it will render
That frozen concoction that helps me hang on…”

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Margarita!

“…Wasted away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt.
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame,
But I know, it’s my own damn fault.”
~Jimmy Buffet “Magaritaville”

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER!

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Chipotlé Burrito Test!

Chipotlé Burrito Test!

Believe it or not, I’ve never had Chipotlé. There are so many good Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley that chain restaurant “fast-food” from Chipotlé was never a “go-to” option.

We had a Coupon (and it was about to expire on May 1) for a FREE Burrito, Burrito Bowl or Order of Tacos at any Chipotlé Mexican Grill. And there’s one that opened up relatively recently in Encino on Ventura Blvd and we’ve wanted to try it for awhile now.

NOTE: We’ve been hesitant to eat at Chipotlé because of the recent “food-borne” illness news reports centered on the restaurant chain, which is why we call this a test.

So, Wednesday evening at 7pm we stopped and picked up an order “TO GO” for dinner on our way to our friend’s place in North Hollywood.

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There’s metered street parking on Ventura Blvd (8am-8pm) but you can’t park on the street between 4-7pm because it’s an ANTI-GRIDLOCK ZONE during “rush hour”, so there’s drive-in underground parking (which we can’t tell you about because we parked on the street just after 7pm).

The restaurant was clean and bright with a big letter “A” health rating on the front window which was good. It wasn’t very busy and there wasn’t any wait to order, which is always of concern at fast service restaurants where the food sits and waits for a customer.

The young guy behind the register said hello from across the empty front area as we entered. The young woman who prepared the order was very business-like and efficient, but not very friendly (and she shorted us on the steak…yes we noticed that sneaky move!) as she quickly made our Burrito Bowl.

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On The Menu: A Burrito Bowl with 1/2 chicken, 1/2 steak, 1/2 black beans, 1/2 pinto beans, 1/2 brown rice, 1/2 white rice, hot sauce, guacamole, lettuce and a large flour tortilla

NOTE: We read a food article about “How to get the best value at Chipotlé” which said that if you order the Burrito Bowl with 1/2 of each ingredient, you will get more food than if you order a Burrito or a Burrito Bowl with single ingredients. And of course you have to get the guacamole (on the side) for a “small additional charge”.

We exchanged the food for the coupon and took it “TO GO” We drove over to our friend’s place and ate after we arrived, so the food traveled in the car for about 15 minutes. We removed the lettuce from the bowl and heated the meat, rice and beans in the microwave for a minute to get it hot again. We emptied the contents of the bowl onto the tortilla, added the guacamole, took a few pics, rolled it up into a very large burrito and promptly ate the whole thing (except the lettuce, which we didn’t eat at all) and it was okay. Not great, but we were very hungry so it was good. And the price was right, it was FREE.

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“Rub-A-Dub-Dub Thanks For The Grub!”

We would eat there again, but it still wouldn’t be a first choice for “fast casual” Mexican food, It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great. It was okay and it was an okay value. There was a lot of food in that large burrito and we don’t feel sick the next day.

Chipotlé Mexican Grill16350 A Ventura Blvd., Encino CA 91436
818-808-0816 chipotle.com

Copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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NOTE: My own homemade steak soft tacos the previous night were much better!

Taco Tuesday! Steak soft tacos with 2 kinds of cheese, grilled red onion, flour tortillas, brown rice, refried beans, lettuce, fresh guacamole, salsa verde, tortilla chips and a coke

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We like to cook fresh Mexican at home. We enjoy Cuban food from Versailles and casual Mexican food from El Torito and Poquito Mas. And every once in awhile we’ll eat at Taco Bell or Del Taco, although that doesn’t really count as Mexican or real food.

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” to Read about Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in North Hollywood (previous Blog)> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-2Vc

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We like to eat at Mucho Mas in NoHo. And we also like to call, order and pick up a very large and tasty Chicken Burrito with rice and beans “Gringo Style” (with melted cheese and red sauce on top) from Las Fuentes Mexican Restaurant on Vanowen just east of Reseda Blvd in Reseda for about the same price as Chipotlé:

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We got recently got one “TO GO” with fresh made chips, a large avocado salsa, and a variety of different salsas from the salsa bar and we made the fresh guacamole at home before going to pick up the order.

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Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in North Hollywood

Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo (North Hollywood)

Friday night in the beautiful San Fernando Valley with friends
and where shall we eat?

MUCHO MAS in North Hollywood! Mexican food (“gringo style”) for dinner!

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Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo

The neon lights welcome you! On Burbank Blvd east of Vineland, just across the border of North Hollywood and in the City of Burbank is a great Mexican restaurant, Mucho Mas.

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Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo

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“No Shoes, No Shirt, No Dice!”

The place is a CLASSIC “gringo style” Mexican joint, with wagon wheel chandeliers and bunch of grapes lighting fixtures in addition to the neon exterior signage. Brick, plaster, wrought iron, wood and ceramic shingles with velvet paintings and “kitchy” rustic “South of the border” type decor combine to make you feel as if you’re actually in Mexico!

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The Bar at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo

There’s a small bar with a dining area, an outdoor patio and an “L” shaped dining room with comfortable booths and wooden tables. The menu is traditional “gringo style” Mexican food with additional house specialties (there’s a menu page pic below).

Start with a shot of tequila or a margarita!

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Tortilla Chips & Salsa with a Shot of 1800 Tequila and a lime wedge

ON THE MENU: Fresh and warm tortilla chips & salsa, a shot of 1800 tequila and a Grande Combination: green salad with ranch dressing, 2 beef tacos, a cheese enchilada, (with an added chicken tamale) and Mexican rice & refried beans.

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Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo

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Menu Page from Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant – Grande Combo #16

 

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Mucho Mas Green Dinner Salad with Ranch Dressing

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Mucho Mas Grande Combo: 2 Beef Tacos & Cheese Enchilada w/Rice & Beans

You get a lot of food for $13 and the drinks are very reasonably priced! They have beer, wine, hard alcohol and cocktails on the menu and nice food and drink specials during the week and at off hours.

We’ve been coming here regularly for a while now. The food is good, the prices are very reasonable, the service is pretty good, parking is free (there’s a small parking lot and plenty of street parking), it’s not too far from my friend’s house and we never have to wait for a table. So, if you’re in NoHo and hungry and want some good “gringo style” Mexican food, I would definitely recommend trying Mucho Mas!

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Margarita on the Rocks

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Velvet Paintings! Joaquin Murrieta we think…He’s watching you!

Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant10405 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601 www.muchomasrestaurant.com  818-980-0300

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Circus Liquor’s “Neon Clown” – Burbank Blvd & Vineland Ave in North Hollywood

Taco Tuesday! Dinner at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

Taco Tuesday! Mexican food at El Torito in Sherman Oaks.

Thinking about chips and salsa! We hit up the El Torito Mexican Restaurant at Ventura blvd and Van Nuys blvd. There’s a parking lot that’s always full, valet parking and (TIP) street parking available. If you get lucky, you’ll find a parking space in the lot. If you’re smart you’ll find street parking at a meter on Ventura blvd, Moorpark street or Van Nuys blvd.

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Mexican Food at El Torito Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

Enter through the double doors and into the reception area. There’s a Taco Bar (and Lunch and Brunch) Buffet area and a hallway to the restrooms on the left. The Bar is ahead of you behind the hostess desk and the large dining room divided into three areas is to the right.

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Dinner at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

The Bar is usually busy, and on Tuesdays it is really crowded because of the Taco Tuesday $1.99 Taco special (It used to be $1.00) and the Taco Bar spread which is only available in the Bar area. It’s also very loud with music and conversation, so we decided on the regular menu and a comfortable booth in a quiet corner of the center dining room.

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At the Bar at El Torito in Sherman Oaks

The Bar is pretty fun if you can find a seat. They have beer, wine and spirits. Usually there’s a tequila drink (margarita) on special or it’s “happy hour” and there’s always a game on the televisions and loud music playing.

Besides the Taco special and Taco Bar Buffet, they have a Bar Menu with appetizers and small plates and you can order off the regular menu in the Bar area as well.

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Taco Tuesday! The Taco Bar Buffet at El Torito in Sherman Oaks

I haven’t tried the lunch buffet or Saturday/Sunday brunch in a long time, but it’s a pretty good value and a they have a lot of different choices available. A Mexican food buffet is always pretty good! Tacos, burrito makings, fajitas, enchiladas, tamales, rice, beans, desserts, fruit, salads, soups, salsas and more; and then breakfast foods, menudo, juices and pastries for the weekend Brunch buffets.

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Center Dining Room at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

The Dining Room is large and spacious, and divided into three areas. There are tables and large booths available. The menu is traditional Mexican (gringo-style) fare, but they recently upgraded the recipes and the food is very tasty and you get a lot of it!

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Mexican Food at El Torito in Sherman Oaks

Drinks from the Bar and all kinds of fun cocktails are available at your table too!

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Drinks on the Menu at El Torito in Sherman Oaks

On the Menu: Chips & salsa, Fiesta platter (nachos, beef flautas, chicken wings and a cheese quesadilla), Macho Combo (chicken burrito, beef taco, tamale & chile relleño with rice, beans and sweet corn cake) and a shot of Silver tequila with lime.

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Warm Tortilla Chips & Roasted Pepper Salsa

The chips are made fresh and served warm with roasted pepper salsa. They’ll make fresh guacamole at your table if you order it. They have a good selection of appetizers, entrees and ala carte items. Not so much on dessert, only deep fried ice cream, flan and a tres leches cake. Free refills on soda and most other beverages and more chips and salsa too.

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Silver Tequila Shot with Lime(s)

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Fiesta Platter! Nachos, Beef Flautas, Chicken Wings & a Cheese Quesadilla

I recommend the Fiesta Platter to start. Eat the nachos and chicken wings, take home the quesadilla and flautas. Then order a Macho Combo (your choice of four items) with rice, beans and sweet corn cake. Eat what you can and take home the rest for tomorrow.

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Macho Combo! Beef Taco, Tamale, Chicken Burrito, Chile Relleño, Rice & Beans

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Happy Birthday! Mexican Birthday Song at El Torito Restaurant!

It wasn’t my birthday, but the waitstaff came over and sang to the table next to ours so I got a nice picture. The service was excellent! I didn’t have to look around for our waiter because he was checking in with us regularly. When I finished the coke, he was right there asking “would you like a refill?”. Every request was handle promptly and the Manager even came by to ask how everything was.

The prices are reasonable. The Buffets and Specials are a pretty good value if you’re hungry and want to eat a lot of food. Drinks are also pretty reasonable and some of the drink specials are excellent! You get a lot of food and we even got a AAA discount on the check!

It was a very good meal and a pleasant dining experience. Good food and lot of it. The service was excellent and it wasn’t too expensive. A Very Happy Taco Tuesday!

El Torito Mexican RestaurantVentura Blvd (at Van Nuys Blvd) in Sherman Oaks

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El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

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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.

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LARGER PIC

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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

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW A LARGER PIC

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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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RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LARGER PIC

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

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

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 9.58.49 AM

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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Dinner at El Torito in Woodland Hills

Mexican Food! El Torito (near Warner Center) in Woodland Hills has been at this location for many, many years. Casual dining, good Americanized Mexican food, and cocktails have been the foundation for this restaurant’s success.

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

ON THE MENU: Chips and salsa, Caesar salad, Mex Fix Platter: chicken & avocado roll, steak nachos, buffalo wings, quesadilla, beef taquitos with sour cream, guacamole, ranch dressing, & sweet sauce. Here’s the “food porn”:

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito – Chips & Salsa (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito – Strawberry Margarita (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito – Mexican Caesar Salad (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito – Mex Fix Appetizer Platter (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

and Deep Fried Ice Cream for dessert! Sorry, no picture because it got “inhaled”….

El Torito Restaurant 6040 Canoga Ave, Woodland Hills, CA 91367 http://www.eltorito.com

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Farewell Tito Puente “The King of Latin Music”

Tito Puente “The King of Latin Music”

Tito Puente - "El Rey de los Timbales"

Tito Puente – “El Rey de los Timbales”

“Tito Puente’s gonna be dead and you’re gonna say I’ve been listening to him for years and I think he’s fabulous!”  ~ John Winger (Bill Murray) in Stripes

Ernesto Antonio “Tito” Puente RIP (April 20, 1923 – June 1, 2000)

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