It’s the 25th Anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake!

It’s the 25th Anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake!

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25 years ago, on January 17, 1994, we woke up in the dark at 4:30am to the 6.7 magnitude Northridge Earthquake shaking and the sound of things falling! As I opened my eyes, the TV fell off the stand in the bedroom with a crash and the sound of glass breaking could be heard as things fell out of cabinets in the kitchen of our 4th floor apartment in Glendale, California.

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Damage at home was pretty minimal and we had earthquake insurance that covered most of it! Our storage unit in Northridge was another story however (yellow tagged), and we had to rescue our trapped Grandmother (of blessed memory) from a destroyed condominium/apartment in Sherman Oaks.

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Our friends lived on Woodman near Burbank and they could see daylight through their apartment walls! The whole neighborhood to the south and west suffered “liquefaction” and there was more damage to most of the buildings in that area. They also had to wait in a line to get into their building to try to recover their stuff when the building was “yellow tagged”. Our Grandmother’s third floor apartment in Sherman Oaks was completely destroyed and she had to be rescued because she was trapped inside.

And the aftershocks in Sherman Oaks and the mid-Valley were just plain scary and went on for days! A pic of the Northridge Fashion Center after the quake:

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The Northridge Fashion Center After the Northridge Earthquake

We remember the 57 people who died (and the thousands who were injured) in the Northridge earthquake, a smaller number than might have been killed, because the event happened at 4:30am when most people were in bed……….

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57 People Died! Thousands Were Injured!

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BE PREPARED FOR THE NEXT BIG EARTHQUAKE!

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Sunday BBQ Dinner at the Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks!

Sunday BBQ Dinner at the Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks!

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The Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, California

We heard good things about this place via friends on the interweb.
We were originally going to have an Italian dinner at Gio Cucina Napoletano (read our previous Blog Post), but when we got there, they were varnishing the tables and chairs and so were closed for the night. A quick decision was made and we headed over to the Boneyard Bistro on Ventura Boulevard near Woodman in Sherman Oaks for some BBQ.

NOTE: There have always been great BBQ places in San Fernando Valley. Growing up there were places like Monty’s Steak House, The Oak Room, Houlihan’s, Charley Brown’s, Victoria Station, and Love’s BBQ. Recently, a lot of old time BBQ joints have closed down: the El Paso BBQ in Tarzana, and My Brother’s BBQ in Woodland Hills are now gone, the SmokeHouse BBQ in Van Nuys didn’t last long, there was once a Mr. Cecil’s Barbecue in almost the same location as the Boneyard, but it closed well over a year ago. And just recently the Tony Roma’s chain BBQ restaurant in Encino closed after many years and the location will soon be a crappy Norm’s Restaurant.

The Boneyard Bistro has Valet Parking in front for $6.00 + tip, but we were able to find street parking at a meter and it was Sunday night so you don’t have to pay. Parking is a major problem on Ventura, and there is Starbuck’s on the corner to compound the problem. Just sayin’.

The place was busy, as shown in the photos, the bar was crowded and the dining room was already more than half full. It was a chilly evening so the patio was almost empty.

Choose your seating: The Bar (high-top table), the Dining Room or the Patio.

We chose the Dining Room and were seated immediately at a table for two. The Sunday night football game was on the television (Dallas Cowboys v. Philadelphia Eagles). The service was good. We ordered our drinks and food. They brought us the drinks and in very short order, they brought us the food. We waited a little bit for the bread and fried corn muffins, and then before we could butter our bread, they brought out the entrees.

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Not sure how to describe the utilitarian design of the place, other than functional. From the street is has a “Chicago Diner” type facade with a glass enclosed patio and big block letters. High ceilings and hard surfaces with wood accents amplify the sound. There is a weird painting in the dining room that is the length of the full wall and it’s a skeleton in red heels holding a platter of fire. The skull and cleaver is their logo and brand.

We were seated by the kitchen doors and prep station, so there was a lot of activity passing us and all around the table, and the dining room is a little “close-quarters” even for the size, because of the number of tables and space between them. The noise level in the bar area was very loud and happily the dining room was not as noisy. Service throughout the meal was good, and all of our requests were handled quickly.

Go ahead and have a beer (or a cocktail from the bar):

We ordered the $9 flight of beers, served in four small glasses. It was a very good deal.

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The Special Stout Festival Beer Menu

ON THE MENU: BBQ baby back ribs, fries, baked beans, bread & fried corn muffins, a flight of beer, and a coke. Tiramisu Creampuff for dessert.

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It’s a good menu. There are a lot of things to try that look really good. They also have salads, but who has a salad at a BBQ place? We always judge a BBQ restaurant on their ribs, and we weren’t disappointed by theirs.

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It was an excellent BBQ dinner! We ordered off the Ala Carte Barbecue list. The dry rub on the baby back ribs was subtle, spicy and not too peppery. The pork was smoked for a long time, it was juicy and came right off the bone. The beef ribs were big and beautiful. They give you the option of “wet” or “dry” ribs, and their BBQ sauce is very tasty, both on the meat and “on the side”. Their homestyle baked beans have nice chunks of meat in the recipe and was an excellent side selection. They have shoestring fries, and the first order was not hot, so our waiter brought us another order just out of the fryer.

The portions are huge, so each entree is actually two meals, and good for sharing. We ended up taking a big bag of leftovers home, like most of their customers, for later.

They also have fabulous creative desserts (like banana puddin’ brûlée made with Nilla Wafers and chocolate chip cookie dough egg rolls with vanilla ice cream and chocolate ganache) but they were all a little too fancy (and too expensive = $11 per dessert), so we decided to pass.

We enjoyed the food, and will probably return soon when we have our next BBQ craving.

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The Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, California

NOTE: And so DESSERT? After a brief conversation in the car, we decided to stop and get something sweet on the way home at the Paris Baguette. My dinner companion had a craving for chocolate cake. I wanted tiramisu when we were originally going for Italian food, so of course, a Tiramisu Creampuff for dessert:

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Tiramisu Creampuff from the Paris Baguette bakery in Encino!

Boneyard Bistro13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 (east of Woodman)
818-906-7427 http://www.boneyardbistro.com Open 4:30pm-2am daily

All photos copyright JoshWillTravel 2018

Read the Previous Blog Posts about the Paramount Ranch>

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11:11 on 11-11-11

Pizza Time! Mulberry Street Pizza!

Pizza Time! Mulberry Street Pizza!

Richie Palmer’s Mulberry Street Pizzeria of Beverly Hills est. 1991

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Pizza from Mulberry Street Pizzeria

Thursday night pizza delivery for dinner: $33 + $1.50 tip (~$4.25 per slice)
Not cheap! High quality very large pizza and it was delivered “on time”.

On The Menu: Pizza with pepperoni, sausage and extra cheese.
(and they only have one size – very large)

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Pizza from Mulberry Street Pizzeria

Real New York style thin-crust pizza with pepperoni, sausage and extra cheese!

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Pizza with Pepperoni, Sausage and Extra Cheese from Mulberry Street Pizzeria

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Mulberry Street Pizzeria 17040 Ventura Blvd., Encino, CA 818-906-8881
(there are also other locations in Sherman Oaks and Beverly Hills)
http://www.mulberrypizzeria.com 

 

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They also have a line of Mulberry Street retail food products
available for purchase in-store or online:

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We haven’t written a new restaurant Blog in a long time.
We have written a lot about food lately:

Where’s the Beef
Superbowl 51 with recipes for chicken wings & meatballs

Fun Cooking Recipes posts and Pages (see sidebar)
including Disney Secret Recipes and Kenny Rogers Cookbook Blogs!

And we have updated a few of our past restaurant Blogs recently too.

RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW THE BLOGS!>

Sushi Dinner at Cho Cho San http://wp.me/p3dhVM-20S

Sushi Time at Okumura http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1Xm

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1Pp

Dinner at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood http://wp.me/p3dhVM-20z

Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino http://wp.me/p3dhVM-31l

Dinner at Taj Mahal Cuisine of India in Encino  http://wp.me/p3dhVM-13W

Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo http://wp.me/p3dhVM-2Vc 

Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino http://wp.me/p3dhVM-31l

“Rockin’ Good Times!” A Cable Television Variety Show for $100!

“Rockin’ Good Times!”
starring Stan Davis and The Congregation

Produced by Joshua Weisel for Cable Access Television

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30 minute Variety Show
Shot LIVE in 1997 at TCI Cable Studio in Sherman Oaks for under $100.

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Opening Number “Underwater” followed by the Host’s monologue (standup comedy performed by Stan Davis), 2nd musical number “Lemondrop” and the interview and introductions with the band followed by the closing number “Turn It Out”.

The Congregation “Underwater” performed on “Rockin’ Good Times!”

The Congregation “Lemondrop” with interview and introductions by Stan Davis

The Congregation “Turn It Out” performed on “Rockin’ Good Times!”

NOTE: The program was shot LIVE on tape without any interruption or break. Unfortunately, most of the “technical details” were beyond our control and we were at the mercy of the Cable Access Television crew and their equipment for the video and audio.

SECOND NOTE: Unfortunately, the Host Monologue/Stand Up Comedy portion of the show starring Stan Davis was not uploaded with the musical numbers and interview.

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Once upon a time the giant cable companies were mandated to provide facilities and airtime for Public Cable Access. Pro and Con Productions decided to use this avenue to produce and shoot a “Demo” for a 30 minute variety show we called “Rockin’ Good Times!” and hosted by our talented management client at the time Stan Davis. We enlisted The Congregation and their manager, who we had met when we worked at Warner Brothers Records A&R, to be the musical guest.

Studio time and equipment was provided for FREE by TCI Cable in Sherman Oaks (which would later become Time-Warner and now Spectrum) after attending an orientation and training class. The equipment was far from “state of the art” (and so was the crew) but it was free, functioning and able to produce adequate broadcast quality video. Our studio time was also very limited, so we set-up, blocked, shot and struck the show in about two hours without any time for in-studio rehearsal.

We paid for the 3/4″ mastering and VHS videotapes. We also provided refreshments for our cast, crew and very limited audience. Total cost was under $100 for the entire production.

Public access studio time: $0 , two 3/4″ & two 1/2″ videotapes: $48, finding your vids posted on YouTube 14 years later: PRICELESS! (found it online in 2012)

“Rockin’ Good Times!” is currently available for airing on 3/4″ Video Master or VHS video.
Contact me if you would like to view the entire program and/or fund the next episode.

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Big Thanks to Stan, Katy, TCI Cable, the Crew,
Kevin, Andrew and all the Guys in The Congregation!

William Stanford Davis at IMDB.com:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1017853/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Kevin Sandbloom – Red Llama Music: http://www.kevinsandbloom.com

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Mother’s Day Sunday Brunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

Mother’s Day Sunday Brunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Let’s have a Brunch Party!

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Sunday Brunch on Mother’s Day in Sherman Oaks in the beautiful San Fernando Valley at The Hamburger Hamlet was a very good choice! We didn’t make the reservation, our sister did through the Open Table website. We arrived at the restaurant at the appointed time and parked the car in the large lot behind the building on Moorpark. There’s a $4.00 flat fee for parking on Saturday and Sunday that will be refunded with a validation on a yellow ticket (not a white ticket) before leaving the lot. There is also metered street parking with limited availability on Van Nuys Blvd and other neighborhood streets.

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Sunday Brunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

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Sunday Brunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

From the Hamburger Hamlet website:

WE WELCOME YOU TO THE HAMBURGER HAMLET

LIKE MANY OF US WHO GREW UP IN LOS ANGELES, THE HAMBURGER HAMLET PLAYED A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES LIVES. FROM DINNER IN WESTWOOD BEFORE SEEING A MOVIE, TO SUNDAY BRUNCH IN BRENTWOOD, THE HAMBURGER HAMLET WAS ALWAYS A HOME AWAY FROM HOME KNOWN FOR SIMPLY MARVELOUS FOOD & DRINK.

OUR MEMORIES INCLUDE WATCHING A VERY DAPPER MAN NAMED HARRY LEWIS GO TABLE TO TABLE GREETING HIS GUESTS OR SEEING MARILYN LEWIS WORKING WITH THE STAFF AND ATTENDING TO THE GUESTS NEEDS. STILL FRESH IN OUR MEMORIES IS OUR FAVORITE BURGER PAIRED WITH A HAAGEN DAZS SHAKE, THE FAMOUS LOBSTER BISQUE AND THE APRICOT CHICKEN WINGS.

SO INSPIRED BY WHAT THE HAMBURGER HAMLET REPRESENTED, THAT WHEN WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE OVER SUCH A HISTORIC BRAND, WE COULD NOT RESIST THE CHANCE TO BRING IT BACK TO THE PROUD TRADITION AND FOUNDATION CREATED BY YOUR FORMER HOSTS, HARRY AND MARILYN LEWIS AND PAY OUR RESPECTS TO WHAT THEY ACHIEVED.

WELCOME BACK!

YOUR HOSTS KEVIN MICHAELS AND BRETT DOHERTY

Welcome to The Hamburger Hamlet! There’s a lot of history behind this restaurant!

The first Hamburger Hamlet was opened in 1950 on Sunset Blvd. At its peak the chain grew to 24 restaurants in multiple states. The Lewis family sold the sit-down chain for $29.2 million after opening Kate Mantilini in 1987. The owner Hamlet Group Inc. filed for bankruptcy on April 5, 2013.

The last remaining location in Sherman Oaks was acquired in 2014 and remodeled in 2015 by Killer Shrimp’s Kevin Michaels and Brett Doherty. They have refreshed the menu with brand new items and still feature the popular items that people loved growing up in Los Angeles.

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FLASHBACK!

The interior of the restaurant was extensively remodeled, and the famous red leather booths and chairs are no longer available…but there is still something familiar about the redesign.

There are many pictures from the history of The Hamburger Hamlet restaurant chain on the walls, which is a really nice touch. Many Angelenos have great memories of the restaurants and their menu dishes. Mine are of family experiences growing up: lunch with my Grandmother on Sunset Blvd (her office was across the street in the Union Bank building and they knew her by name), going there for special occasions, and parties and dinners at the locations in Sherman Oaks, Hollywood and Brentwood.

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And so it seemed appropriate for Mother’s Day that we revisit the location on Van Nuys Blvd which turned out to be a very good decision. As we drove to our destination, we passed packed restaurants on Ventura Blvd with people waiting outside to be seated (Marmalade Cafe, Blu Jam Cafe, The Cheesecake Factory at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, etc.). When we arrived at The Hamburger Hamlet there were empty tables and we were seated at our reserved table without having to wait.

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Have a Cocktail in The Bar at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

The remodel of the restaurant was very well done. The Bar is beautiful. The dark dining room of the past is now a large open space with lots of light and the kitchen area was given a major upgrade and is semi-open and dining room adjacent.

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Sunday Brunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

The Menu has also retained it’s history!  The still have the “signature” dishes along with some new items and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner all day.

NOTE: the Saturday and Sunday Brunch Menu is only available 9am-3pm on weekends.

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On the Menu: 1/2 Caesar salad, cornbread, Hot Turkey Sandwich with steak fries, cranberry sauce & gravy and a Mr Pibb soda. Our table also ordered eggs benedict & hash browns, a club sandwich & salad, a Cobb salad with cornbread, an Arnold Palmer, grapefruit juice, bacon & eggs and pancakes.

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The food was good. Classic American “comfort food” for brunch. The portions were large. The service was good, but slowed down as they got busier. The prices were reasonable (entrees are in the $13-$26 price range) and there wasn’t a “Mother’s Day Menu” or price increase because of the holiday which was particularly nice. We enjoyed our food, the memories, the brunch experience and Mom had a very good time!

The Hamburger Hamlet4419 Van Nuys Blvd (at Moorpark), Sherman Oaks CA 91403
http://www.hamburgerhamlet.com 818-784-1183

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 11:30am – 10pm and Friday: 11:30am – 12am
Saturday: 9am – 12am and Sunday: 9am – 10pm

Most photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Harry Lewis’ Picture on the Wall at The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks

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Harry Lewis at The Hamburger Hamlet Brentwood

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Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Inventions!

p.s. We really miss Hamptons Hollywood Cafe on Highland and the Old World Restaurant in Westwood, both offered the upscale hamburger experience in Los Angeles.

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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MONDAY February 29, 2016 Leap Day!

Leap Day! MONDAY February 29, 2016 (published March 1st…)

Hey, it’s Leap Day. Tell facebook you’re excited about the extra day.

“It’s Leap Day. Real life is for March.”

A complete orbit of the earth around the sun takes exactly 365.2422 days, but the Gregorian calendar uses 365 days. Leap seconds (and thus leap years) are added to keep our clocks (and calendars) in sync with the Earth, its seasons and our calendar system.

NOTE: On February 29, 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American actor to win an Academy Award for her Best Supporting Actress role in “Gone with the Wind”.

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F*CK THE KKK! If you don’t condemn racism and hate, get off my Blog!

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F*CK YOU DONALD TRUMP! If you support Trump, you are a RACIST.

LIKE> Tell the USA to Dump Trump on facebook! (Unless you’re a racist)
RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”> www.facebook.com/usadumptrump

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Did you watch the Academy Awards? #OscarsSoWhite or #OscarsSoWhat?
Did Chris Rock do a good job as host? Or did his lynching jokes go too far?
Who wore what? Who said what? Who won? Who lost? Who cares?

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Well? Chris Rock hosts #OscarsSoWhite

The rich and famous celebrating being rich and famous for our entertainment.

Having once been part of the “Hollywood Machine”, an entertainment industry professional and a talent representative, I had to care about the award ceremonies.
As an agent and manager for talent, I had to know everything about the industry:
read the Hollywood Reporter and Variety daily, scan all the entertainment news and websites online, follow the trade news and listen to the gossip just to stay current.

Watching the Oscars and the industry from the outside is a much healthier way of life! These awards don’t matter in the big picture. They are marketing and advertising wrapped up in a pretty package and spoonfed to the public by the media they own and control.
Minions and Toy Story (PIXAR) are ABC/Disney characters and were featured prominently in the Academy Awards telecast as presenters! The opulence, the extravagance, the parties, the black tie and designer gowns and jewelry, the “bling” and THE WASTE!

It’s good that it provides jobs and tax revenue for the city! There is definitely an economic impact from all that money spent. The film industry gets a big bump from the promotion and Pizza guys and Girl Scouts get a cash infusion thanks to the publicity.

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I’m LOVING the Periscope App! Last night I watched Elton John perform at the Oscar party in West Hollywood from the front row, then watched from the stage as Joe Satriani performed in concert at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, and watched my online friend LiterallyAnika riding in a Rolls Royce down “Sheik Street” in Downtown Dubai.

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Elton John perfoming LIVE at the Oscar Party in West Hollywood

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@ChickenfootJoe LIVE onstage at the Fox Theatre in Oakland

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@LiterallyAnika riding in a Rolls Royce in Downtown Dubai

NOTE: The periscope videos expire after 24 hours, so I’m not posting the links.
Please visit and FOLLOW us on Periscope!
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Last week I met an old friend who lives in New York for a drink at the Sherman Oaks Galleria in the beautiful San Fernando Valley. He had a meeting across the street so we met up at The Cheesecake Factory and went to the bar.

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Sunset at the fountain at the Sherman Oaks Galleria (Ventura & Sepulveda)

After a brief wait and a little maneuvering we got a couple seats at the bar, ordered a fried calamari appetizer and enjoyed an adult beverage and some food while catching up on the past in person.

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The Bar at the Cheesecake Factory at the Sherman Oaks Galleria

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Waving for a cocktail does work at the Cheesecake Factory Bar!

On the Menu: Stoli rocks with a splash of pineapple, my friend had a draft beer and a Manhattan straight up with Woodford Reserve, and we shared an order of fried calamari and the complimentary bread & butter.

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Stoli Rocks with a Splash of Pineapple Juice

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Fried Calamari

 

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The world famous Sherman Oaks Galleria in the beautiful San Fernando Valley

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NOTE: I periscoped the walk through the Galleria from the parking garage to the fountain at Ventura & Sepulveda and saved it to www.Katch.me/joshwilltravel

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And on the way out to the self-parking garage I stopped at the Starbuck’s in the courtyard and got a Venti Mocha Frappuchino with whipped cream to go.

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Venti Mocha Frappuchino – Starbuck’s Sherman Oaks Galleria

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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

 

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Birthday Dinner at the “Old School” Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Serving the San Fernando Valley since 1947! This place is “Old School” 1950’s era dining at it’s finest and the restaurant’s atmosphere, decor and menu all follow this directive.

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

No valet parking here. Street parking is available, the meters run 8am-8pm everyday, except Sunday. Ready yourself for a “TIME WARP” dining experience!

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Welcome to the Valley Inn!

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Wall of Autographed Headshots!

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Chick Hearn & John Wooden Memorabilia!

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Tweety Bird (& the WB Animators)

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Antique Machine!

The Saloon Bar (order a martini or classic cocktail):

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – The “Old School” Saloon Bar (have a cocktail!)

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – The “Old School” Saloon Bar (have a martini!)

There are two public dining rooms, the John Wooden Board Room and the Main Dining Room, and there’s a private dining room in the back available for small parties.

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – John Wooden & Main Dining Rooms

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – John Wooden Board Room (Dining Room)

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Main Dining Room

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Fine Wine!

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Private Dining Room & Fine Wine Reserve

 

On The Menu: Fried calamari with marinara sauce, Boston clam chowder with soup crackers, Caesar salad, BBQ baby back ribs with wedge fries & coleslaw, bread & butter, a glass of red wine (Artesa Pinot Noir 2013), a coke and a hot fudge sundae for dessert.

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Red Wine! Artesa Pinot Noir 2013

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Fried Calamari with marinara sauce

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Boston Clam Chowder

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Caesar Salad

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – BBQ Baby Back Ribs w/Wedge Potatoes & Coleslaw

Dessert: Happy Birthday to me! A classic Hot Fudge Sundae!

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks – Hot Fudge Sundae

NOTE: The coffee machine was broken, so they could only offer us decaf…NO COFFEE! We were told they were having it fixed “tomorrow” but that didn’t help us at dinner.

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

The food is good, not great. The atmosphere is good if you like the “retro” dining experience. It’s not a cheap meal, market price for lobster here was $39 per pound.

I would not order the ribs again (they were lacking seasoning and not very good), instead I would have steak and/or lobster.

THE SERVICE NEEDS WORK!!!!! Our server didn’t smile once and seemed totally overworked, which is impossible for a restaurant this size, it was early, and it wasn’t very busy. The service was slow and her attention to detail and our needs while dining was lacking (to put it nicely). There’s a regular crowd that eats and drinks here, and they seem to get better attention/service.

We had a fun party and ate a lot of food. It was a nice dinner, but could have been so much better! Good service and proper attention to the service makes a big difference!

I won’t patronize establishments with poor service where I’m treated as a 2nd class citizen, especially at their prices.

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

Valley Inn Restaurant4557 Sherman Oaks Ave. Sherman Oaks 91403 (818)784-1163

Next time we’ll go back to Le Sanglier! Read the Blog> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-XM

 

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UPDATED November 25, 2018: Another Old School Steak Dinner at the Valley Inn!
We have been back and the experience was pretty much the same. We even sat in the same booth. It’s a big meal and a San Fernando Valley experience.
ON THE MENU: Ribeye steak (medium rare) with fries & veggies, fried calamari, salad with ranch dressing, bread & butter, a coke and a vanilla chocolate fudge sundae.
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**Goodbye 2014! Hello 2015!** – My Year in Review.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015! Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

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“It is a new year!
What will you do different?
Will you be the same?”

Happy New Year! Balloon Drop San Francisco Civic Auditorium 1983

Happy New Year! Balloon Drop at Midnight – San Francisco Civic Auditorium 12-31-1983

Goodbye 2014! (Wow, this year went by fast!) Hello 2015!

“Wet earth and sunshine
You can smell it in the air
After the rain.”

Here’s my year in review. My Blogs (see previous blogs) and Facebook posts (Joshua Weisel & JoshWillTravel) have stories, details and cool pictures for most events! Please check them out by following the links at the bottom of the page.

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January

LA Times Travel Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hosted Reception at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City

The Sportsman's Lodge in Studio City, CA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City, CA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

“Buy Tuscany” Event at the Italian Cultural Institute in Westwood

"Buy Tuscany" event at the Italian Cultural Institute (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

“Buy Tuscany” event at the Italian Cultural Institute (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

February

GUNG HAY FAT CHOY! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

GUNG HAY FAT CHOY! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

IsramWorld and Israel Tourism Event at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills

IsramWorld and Israel Tourism Event at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills

IsramWorld and Israel Tourism Event at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills

Japan Tourism Event at the Doubletree Hilton Downtown Los Angeles

Japan Tourism Event at the Doubletree Hilton Downtown Los Angeles

Japan Tourism Event at the Doubletree Hilton Downtown Los Angeles

Mexico Tourism Event at the Universal Sheraton Hotel in Universal City

Mexico Tourism Event at the Sheraton Universal in Universal City

Mexico Tourism Event at the Sheraton Universal in Universal City

Los Angeles 9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show at the Long Beach Convention Center

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show - Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

9th Annual Travel & Adventure Show – Long Beach Convention Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

March

Four Seasons Event at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

On Rodeo on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Cafe Firenze with Carrie and John in Moorpark

Dinner at Cafe Firenze (photo by Carrie Smith)

Dinner at Cafe Firenze (photo by Carrie Smith)

Sunday Brunch at On Sunset Restaurant at the LUXE Hotel On Sunset!

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Travel Massive Los Angeles Event at The Roof on Wilshire

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Italian Dreams at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills

Beverly Hilton (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Beverly Hilton (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Joshua Weisel Departs Willett Travel (effective March 31st)

NOTE: Willett Travel was bought by FROSCH. I became JoshWillTravel (Luxury Travel Advisor, Lifestyle and Travel Writer, Independent Consultant) full time! Read my Blogs!

April – May

Passover

Passover Seder (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Passover Seder (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinners at Le Sanglier French Restaurant (celebrated two birthday parties there this year)

Le Sanglier (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Le Sanglier (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Mother’s Day “The Lion in Winter” Matinee at the Colony Theatre in Burbank and Lunch at Bow & Truss in North Hollywood

Colony Theatre in Burbank (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Colony Theatre in Burbank (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Fifty Seven in Downtown L.A.

Dinner at Fifty Seven (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Fifty Seven (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Memorial Day “Chef” at the ArcLight Sherman Oaks and Dinner at Versailles in Encino

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks Galleria (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

June

World Cup! United States - One Nation One Team!

World Cup! United States – One Nation One Team!

Phyllis Patterson RIP – She Changed My Life!

Phyllis Patterson RIP (photo and costume by Vicky Nebeker)

Phyllis Patterson RIP (photo and costume by Vicky Nebeker)

“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.” ~Japanese Proverb

E. Caitlin Phillips RIP June 14, 2014 “May the four winds blow you safely home!”

E. Caitlin Phillips RIP

E. Caitlin Phillips RIP 2014

St. Paul’s Reunion in San Francisco! (and the Road Trip north and south)

San Francisco Civic Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco Civic Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

St. Paul's Reunion in San Francisco

Old Friends! Stretch Limosine! St. Paul’s Reunion in San Francisco – June 2014

Return to the Paramount Ranch in Agoura 2014 – Visiting Old Ghosts!

Washing Well foreground, Twilziwop and DAW/SOB on the hillside

Paramount Ranch – Washing Well foreground, Twilziwop and DAW/SOB on the hillside

July – August

Summer “Staycation” in Los Angeles

San Fernando Valley #2 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley #2 – A view from Mulholland Hwy (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Box Seats for Four Great Summer Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl! Joshua Bell & Friends, Yo-Yo Ma and a nice Dinner on the patio at Patina, Beethoven (with Dudamel and the L.A. Phil doing the 5th Symphony) and “HAIR!”

Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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

A Celebration of Caitlin’s Life in Santa Monica

Celebrating Caitlin with Mardeen, Kevin, Janet & Bob in Santa Monica

Celebrating Caitlin’s Life and Memory with Mardeen, Kevin, Janet & Bob in Santa Monica

The Simpsons Marathon on FX

The Simpsons take the Hollywood Bowl!

The Simpsons! Every Episode in Chronological Order…

September

Burning Man! (via the internet)

Burning Man 2014

Burning Man 2014 (via UStream) Screen Capture

Burning Man 2014 "Embrace" burns!

Burning Man 2014 “Embrace” burns!

The Simpsons Take the Hollywood Bowl! EXCELLENT FUN!

The Simpsons take the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Simpsons take the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Simpsons take the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Simpsons take the Hollywood Bowl (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Happy Jewish New Year 5775!

Happy New Year 5775!

Happy New Year 5775!

Richard Edward “Ed” Whitchurch III RIP September 29, 2014 (a Vietnam Veteran)

“You can get anything you want, (exceptin’ Alice) at Alice’s Restaurant.”

“May the Four Winds Blow You Safely Home”

October

Road Trip! California-Oregon-Nevada (San Jose, Santa Cruz, Ashland, Reno, Lake Tahoe)

Going Home! US Highway 395 south in California

Going Home! US Highway 395 south in California

Great vacation! Saw old friends and family, visited UCSC and the Grateful Dead Special Collection, celebrated my father’s birthday and saw some great theatre in Ashland (“The Tempest”, “Richard III” and “The Cocoanuts”), partied in Reno, relaxed at Lakeland Village in South Lake Tahoe, and drove scenic US Highway 395 south to L.A.

(I’m still working on finishing the Road Trip Blogs! Please be patient.)

Lake Tahoe Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

South Lake Tahoe Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

November – December

Thanksgiving 2014 – The Feast! (Our annual family food fest)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 – The Feast! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thanksgiving 2014 – Dessert! (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Otis Redding RIP Dec 18, 2014 – Had to say goodbye to the old boy, very sad.

“He was a great dog. He had a good life. May the Four Winds blow him safely home.”

Otis Redding RIP

Otis Redding RIP

Dinner at the Border Grill & “Blithe Spirit” with Angela Landsbury at the Ahmanson Theatre

Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

At the Los Angeles Music Center (copyright 2104 JoshWillTravel)

Hannukah!

Happy Hannukah!

Happy Hannukah!

Festivus, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Dinner with Friends!

Ho! Ho! Ho! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas in North Hollywood (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

“Another Year Gone!
Say Buh-Bye 2014…
A New Year Ahead!”

E. Caitlin Phillips RIP

E. Caitlin Phillips RIP 2014 (she was there in spirit this year)

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” ~ T. S. Eliot

 

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Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year 2015!

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Baby New Year! She had a very good year too!

Baby New Year! She had a very good year too!