Party at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica

A Very Special Dinner Party at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica!

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“To receive a guest is to take charge of their happiness
during the entire time they are under your roof.”
– Fernand Point

SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT FOR DINING! And a Birthday Party for my Mom!

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A fancy restaurant, a private dining room, 13 good friends and family, champagne, wine, great food, gifts, love, conversation and congratulation, and a good time was had by all!

Saturday evening, we had a 7:00pm reservation for a private dinner party at Melisse restaurant for my mother’s birthday. And it was “FABULOUS”!

We drove over the hill on the 405 freeway and down Wilshire boulevard to 11th Street in Santa Monica. Then we drove around for 15 minutes looking for a place to park before we finally gave up and valet parked in the lot behind the restaurant ($8.50 + tip).

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We were the last to arrive at 7:20pm, and because we were asked to take pictures, that was the first order of business after saying hello to everyone. The pictures of the party guests and the Guest of Honor, some pictures of the restaurant, and pictures of the excellent food came out pretty good. We were worried because it was dark in the private dining room and we chose to use the flash on our cheap LG phone even though we had brought our mini iPad camera.

“Melisse is both a two Michelin Star Award winning restaurant and the recipient of Zagats highly coveted top rated restaurant in Los Angeles since 2003.” – Open Table

“Simply superb in every way”, this “refined” “gastronomical wonder” in Santa Monica from Josiah Citrin “defines fine dining”with “inspired”“artful” French-American tasting menus and “spectacular” wine pairings – all “seamlessly” presented by an “intuitive”“world-class” staff in a “chic yet soothing” setting; prices are “not for the faint of heart”, but the “state of bliss” that ensues is “worth every penny.” – Zagat (4.8 out of 5)

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GOOGLE REVIEWS: 4.5 Stars! (141 reviews)
#38 on LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold’s 2017 “101 Best Restaurants” list.

Seasonal French-American cuisine!

We have eaten here before and it was one of the most amazing meals we have ever enjoyed! Read about in our Previous Blog post “Dinner at Melisse” (see the link below). And we were very excited about dining here for Mom’s “Big Birthday” party!
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On The Menu: 1993 Dom Perignon champagne, crab amuse bouche, egg caviar, Maine lobster, dry aged prime New York steak or Spanish turbot (fish), choice of fresh baked bread & butter, red & white wine, chocolate L’Opéra cake, lemon soufflé with fruit & vanilla ice cream and 4 different petit fors:

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A Vintage Vintage! 1993 Dom Perignon Champagne – Cheers!

Let’s begin with a Dom Perignon 1993 Champagne to toast the Guest of Honor!

We began with a champagne toast! Found a bottle of Dom Perignon vintage 1993 tucked away recently. Didn’t know if it would still be good after 25 years. Opened it for the party and it was excellent! So we toasted the Guest of Honor and then we made everyone pose for the “toast picture” (as seen above) taken by our Host.

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“On the nose, this wine opens with notes of red-fleshed peaches, rapidly evolving into cashew nuts and dried herbs. The aromatic experience finishes on a note of lightly toasted brioche. On the palate, it offers a host of well-orchestrated, precise and full-bodied tastes. The initial density becomes creamy, while the long finish ends on a note of glazed citrus fruit.” – Winemaker notes

The unique Dom Perignon style: a rich creamy mousse, fine bubbles, a spirited, crisp opening leading into a broad palette of aromas and tastes, the delicacy of substance itself. Each Cuvee Dom Perignon is cellar-aged for 6 to 8 years.

And then a bottle of fine Chardonnay (white wine) for the egg caviar and lobster courses.

NOTE: Melisse has a fantastic, world-class wine list, however the “Good Stuff” is very expensive (repeat, very expensive), so we brought our own bottles of wine and champagne and paid the corkage fee for each one we opened.

BIG THANKS TO CHEF JOSIE AND THE ENTIRE STAFF AT MELISSE! Everything was excellent. The food was 5 star quality and cooked perfectly. And the service was done with professional precision and attention to detail not found in most restaurants.

NOTE: The red wine, a Pra’ Amarone della Valpolicella (aka Amarone) is a rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried Corvina Rondinella grapes and other red grape varieties. Valpolicella is located in the province of Verona, in the Veneto region near Venice. Italy.

“Dark ruby. Very refined nose offers aromas and flavors of spicy dark plum, chocolate-covered cherry and minerals, lifted by strong floral accents (especially lavender and peony). Multilayered and very suave, boasting a long and tactile finish, leaving behind a strong impression of grace and refinement. A very elegant, smooth Amarone of noteworthy depth and complexity but also impeccable balance (you can’t tell this clocks in at 16.5% alcohol).” – Ian D’Agata, Vinous (scored a rating of 94)

Read our Previous Blog post “Dinner at Melisse”
(Right click and “Open in New Window”> https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/dinner-at-melisse/

Melisse Restaurant1104 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401 melisse.com

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Chef Josiah Citrin, in his Santa Monica restaurant Mélisse. Citrin is celebrating Mélisse’s 15 year anniversary in 2014 (photo by Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

NOTE: A meal at Melisse is a real dining experience and it’s expensive! $$$$$
If you can afford it, we recommend this restaurant as a destination in Los Angeles. The menu changes constantly and they have different tasting and course menus available.

All photos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel

Use the links below to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
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The “JoshWillTravel AdventureScope” is now available on Youtube!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoP3QQfRTfD-2eABWVd-JwQ

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NOTE: The photo of Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines is a fantastic gift!

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405 Freeway north into the Sepulveda Pass at night

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Dinner at Davenport’s in Encino

Dinner at Davenport’s in Encino

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Wednesday night we went for dinner at Davenport’s in Encino. We wanted to try a neighborhood restaurant we had never been to before. They opened last year in the space formerly occupied by Dupar’s and John L. Groats on Ventura Boulevard west of Woodley Avenue. And so, on a cold winter weekday evening we made a reservation for 7:15pm.

Parking is in the rear and the lot was full. There was a line at the host station, located just inside the front door and the restaurant was packed at the sushi bar, long bar, bar dining  area and dining room. The outdoor patio was empty because it was “effing” cold and there was a nice wind blowing through the courtyard that even the outdoor heaters couldn’t warm. We know this because the reservation was made for “Outside”, even though we didn’t ask for the patio. When we asked to sit inside, the hostess seating us said there was an hour wait for a table and we almost left and went somewhere else…

Instead we went inside and found the manager and explained the situation. He was very understanding and they found a nice table in the corner of the dining room for us in a very short time. BRAVO! 

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The restaurant is divided into different spaces as mentioned above: there’s a sushi bar, long bar, bar dining area and formal dining room/private party space where we were seated. the interior is very nice, albeit a little crowded when the place is packed. If you’ve followed my Blog you know there are more than 20 sushi restaurants in the neighborhood, so a restaurant with a sushi bar (and raw oyster bar) is nothing new and the prices for sushi and sashimi were higher than most. They were offering a combination sashimi and oyster plate for $42 when we offered the specials by our friendly waiter.

We decided not to have sushi or oysters, knowing that we were going to have a big meal and instead just started with their tasty cornbread and bread & butter. They have some nice appetizers but again we didn’t order any know the entrees were large. We did share an $11 Caesar salad, but ended up giving it to another member of our party because they added kale (WE HATE KALE) without mention of it on the menu.

We had the BBQ baby back ribs ($29 for a full rack) and they were delicious! Fall off the bone and cooked really well. The BBQ sauce was tasty and we substituted sautéed asparagus for cole slaw. The fries were tasty, but they weren’t served hot enough. We ate a few of the ribs at dinner and took the rest home and ate them with hot (reheated) fries for lunch the next day, and the ribs were delicious the day after too!

Or party also tried the lobster roll, lobster (Cobb) salad and the ribeye steak. We also tried a glass of red and a glass of white wine, which were both excellent choices. And everything they served us was very well prepared, visually appealing, very tasty and super quality food! We tasted the brownie sundae dessert which was shared by our party, and it was wonderful but we were full and didn’t want dessert.

NOTE: We LOVE dessert and the brownie sundae was good, but the meal service had taken a long time and we were tired of sitting, a little claustrophobic, and really ready to go before we even ordered dessert.

The service was good, just a little slow because it was slammed, crowded and the layout of the restaurant makes it harder to serve. We never had to wait very long for our waiter,  and he did an excellent job tending to our requests.

On The Menu: BBQ Baby Back Ribs with fries and sautéed asparagus, cornbread, bread & butter, Caesar salad, Lobster Roll, Lobster Cobb Salad, Brownie sundae and a coke

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

All in all, it was a very nice dinner to celebrate the end of Hannukah and the Winter Solstice (see our previous Blog Posts) and we left happy, full and with leftovers in hand. It was a good dining experience at a restaurant we had never been to before, and we would definitely return for another meal.

Davenport’s16120 Ventura Blvd, Encino 91436 (at Woodley Av)
http://www.davenportsrestaurant.com

All photos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel

Use the links below to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
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Pretty Christmas Tree at Davenport’s!

 



 

Cook With Me! And Watch Me Cook!

It’s the JoshWillTravel AdventureScope on YouTube! 

COOK WITH ME! AND WATCH ME COOK!
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Here are our collected COOKING VIDEOS
from JoshWillTravel as of January 2017:

Cook With Me: Scrambled Eggs! (live on Periscope, and now on Youtube)

NOTE: “Scrambled Eggs” was only our third Periscope broadcast! And it was shot “handheld” while cooking with the other hand!

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Cook With Me: Cooking Dinner! (on Periscope.tv/joshwilltravel)
Tri-tip Steak, Salmon, Corn on the Cob, Twice Cooked Potatoes,
Sautéed Green Beans and Onions with Challah bread for Shabbat Dinner
RIGHT CLICK “Open in New Window” TO WATCH THE VIDEO ON PERISCOPE> https://www.periscope.tv/JoshWillTravel/1yNGanQZMmvJj

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NOTE: The “Cooking Dinner” broadcast was our first time cooking on the stove with the phone mounted.

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Mrs. Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread!

Baking Banana Bread pt 1 – Recipe, Instruction & Prep 
Mrs Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread recipe (live on Periscope, and now on YouTube)

Baking Banana Bread pt 2 – “The Banana Bread is Baked”:
Mrs Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread (live on Periscope, and now on Youtube)

NOTE: This video is in TWO PARTS (before and after baking):
part 1 was shot with the phone mounted, while part 2 is “handheld”.

Here is Mrs. Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread Recipe!
Right Click “Open In New Window” for the Recipe Blog>
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1DR

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Mrs. Hochmeyer’s Banana Bread!

 

And Read The Blog! Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a nice steak dinner!>
(Nothing fancy, just a nice dinner at home) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-2kO
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All photos and videos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel (unless otherwise noted)

Here are MY RECIPE BLOGS!
These are collected recipes from
my computer hard drive, picture files and previous Blogs:

FUN COOKING RECIPES (and more Julia Child!)
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/fun-cooking-recipes/

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

More Fun Recipes (including Manny’s Artichokes & Churros!)
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-6Y3

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

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

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

RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LINKS>

LIKE us on Facebook> http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel

FOLLOW us on Twitter and Periscope> http://www.periscope.tv/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE> http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW OUR YOUTUBE PAGE!>

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

http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

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“Where’s The Beef?”

“Where’s The Beef?”

WARNING! Vegans and Vegetarians may want to skip this Blog.

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Clara Peller asks “Where’s The Beef?” in 1984

Beef is the name for meat from cattle.
Beef can be harvested from bulls, cows, heifers or steers.

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Habit Burger Grill – Double BBQ Bacon Charburger with Cheese!

“Let’s Play Know Your Cuts of Meat!” – David Letterman

Beef muscle (MEAT) is cut into roasts, short ribs or steaks.
Cuts: filet mignon, sirloin steak, rump steak, rib steak, rib eye steak, hanger steak, etc.
Some cuts are processed (corned beef and beef jerky) and trimmings are ground, minced or used in sausages. Blood is used in some varieties of blood sausage.
Other parts: the oxtail, liver, tongue, tripe from the reticulum or rumen, glands (the pancreas and thymus are called sweetbreads), the heart, the brain, the kidneys and testicles (called calf friesprairie oysters or Rocky Mountain oysters in the U.S.) are eaten too. Some intestines are cooked and eaten, but more often they are cleaned and used as natural sausage casings. The bones are used for making beef stock and gelatin.

Beef is the third most consumed meat in the world, accounting for about 25% of meat production worldwide (after pork 38% and poultry 30%).

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

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“Where’s The Beef?”

Beef is first divided into primal cuts during butchering.
Primal cuts are large pieces of meat initially separated from the animal’s carcass.
Steaks and other subdivisions are cut from these basic sections.

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Steak! (Before)

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Steak! (After)

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Steak-On-A-Stake at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire

“Beef….it’s what’s for dinner.”

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Porcini-Rubbed Ribeye and Fingerling Potatoes at Mozza Osteria in Hollywood

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$29 Room Service Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas

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Steak Diane at Yoshi’s in San Francisco

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Steak Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas

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Bone-in Ribeye Steak w/fries at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

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2 AM Pastrami Sandwich at Tommy’s Joynt in San Francisco!

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Christmas Dinner! Prime Rib (perfectly done) at a Friend’s in North Hollywood

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Bite-Size Short Rib & Cheese Slider at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire

 

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Spicy Beef Panang at Chan Dara in Larchmont Village, California

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Cooking (All You Can Eat) Beef at AYCE GOGI in Van Nuys, California

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In-N-Out Burger Double-Double With Cheese!

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Wagyu Beef (on a hot stone) – Dinner Party at N/Naka in West Los Angeles

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Bone-In Ribeye Steak at Patina at the Hollywood Bowl

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Beef For Sale at The Butcher Shop in Eagle Point, Oregon

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Cheeseburger and Fries for Lunch at the Four Seasons Westlake Village

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Steak Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas

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Steak Sandwich and Fries at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Choose Your Steak for Dinner at the Texas Roadhouse BBQ in Medford, Oregon

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Chili Burger from Tommy’s at Universal City in Los Angeles

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Steak Dinner at Beasy’s on the Creek in Ashland, Oregon

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Best Pastrami Sandwich in San Francisco at Tommy’s Joynt

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Home Cooked Bone-In Ribeye Steak with Sautéed Red Onion

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Cooking Beef Behind the Glass at The Stand in Encino, California

 

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Steak-On-A-Steak!

 

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Filet Mignon at Le Sanglier in Tarzana, California

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Bacon Cheeseburger & Fries at Karl Strauss Brewery in Downtown Los Angeles

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Prime Rib at the Sunday Brunch at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset in West Los Angeles

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Bistec Empanizado (Breaded Steak) at Versailles Cuban Food in Encino

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Crusted Filet Steak at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills

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BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Lunch at Jasper’s in Medford, Oregon

 

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Sloppy Joe!

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1/2 of the Cote de Boeuf at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica

 

 

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NSFW Meat Humor:

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In-N-Out Burger: “Quality You Can Taste!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIGHT CLICK and “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW LINKS>

LIKE us on Facebook> http://www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel

FOLLOW us on Twitter and Periscope> http://www.periscope.tv/joshwilltravel

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE> http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW OUR YOUTUBE PAGE!>

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

http://www.twitter.com/joshwilltravel

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Fogo De Chao Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse


How did “Where’s The Beef?” become a part of the American vocabulary and an all-purpose phrase questioning the substance of an idea, event or product?

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Clara Peller (August 4, 1902 – August 11, 1987) was a manicurist and American character actress. Born on August 4, 1902 in Russia, she came to the United States at the age of 5 with an uncle and lived in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 81, Clara starred in the 1984 “Where’s The Beef?” advertising campaign for Wendy’s restaurants, created by the Dancer Fitzgerald Sample advertising agency.
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At age 80, Clara was hired as a manicurist for a television commercial set in a Chicago barbershop. Impressed by her no-nonsense manners and unique voice, the agency signed her. She was hard of hearing and had emphysema, which limited her ability to speak long lines of dialogue, and she appeared in many TV commercials. She first attracted attention as a comical cleaning lady in an ad for the new Massachusetts State Lottery game “Megabucks” in the late 1970s and later became a national cultural phenomenon  in a series of commercials for the Wendy’s Restaurant chain.

First aired on January 10, 1984, the Wendy’s commercial “Fluffy Bun” portrayed a fictional competitor “Home of the Big Bun” where three elderly ladies are complaining about an enormous hamburger bun containing a tiny hamburger patty. Two of the women comment on the size of the bun and they are interrupted by Peller’s character, who looks around in vain  while making the outraged demand: “Where’s The Beef?”

“Where’s The Beef?” became a catchphrase (before viral video) across the United States.
The actress made the three-word phrase a cultural phenomenon, achieved Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame” and became an instant star. Sequels to the spots featured her yelling her famous line in various scenes and her face and the slogan were merchandised on shirts, hats, buttons, mugs, glasses, bumper stickers, frisbees, games, a commemorative plate, and all sorts of other products. Nashville songwriter and DJ Coyote McCloud wrote and performed a hit song entitled “Where’s the Beef?” released as a promotional single for Wendy’s featuring Clara Peller.

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“Where’s The Beef?” – The Game!

Wendy’s sales jumped 31% to $945 million in 1985 worldwide. Wendy’s Senior VP of Communications Denny Lynch said at the time that “with Clara we accomplished as much in five weeks as we did in 14½ years.” Former Vice-President Walter Mondale also used the line in his bid for the Democratic nomination in the 1984 presidential campaign.

The campaign ended in 1985 when Clara did a commercial for Campbell’s Prego pasta sauce, where she declares “I found it! I really found it!” After the Prego commercial aired, Wendy’s management decided to terminate her contract. Clara’s response: “I’ve made them millions and they don’t appreciate me.” Following her termination and the conclusion of the “Where’s The Beef?” campaign, Wendy’s suffered a 2 year sales slump and consumer awareness of the Wendy’s brand did not recover for another five years!

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NOTE: According to an A&E biography, “Where’s The Beef?” was actually an error made by Clara who was supposed to say “Where’s all the beef?” And another story says the line was shortened because of her emphysema.

Clara was paid scale for the first commercial and claimed she only made about $30,000 from the commercials, but Wendy’s claimed she was paid about $500,000 for her work. Clara also appeared in other commercials, did interviews and guest spots (including a cameo on “Saturday Night Live” in April 1984), made other appearances, and she had a small role in the feature film “Moving Violations.”

Clara Peller died in on August 11, 1987, one week after her 85th birthday.

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“Where’s The Beef?”



Travel Answers: Los Angeles!

Travel Answers: Los Angeles! (from a previously saved draft)

These are Travel Answers about Los Angeles saved from another website:

Best views in Los Angeles?

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Downtown Los Angeles from up high!

Q: Best views in Los Angeles? We will be visiting LA and want to take in the views! Ocean views, city views..from restaurants, hotels, parks, etc. Where are the best places to take some photos in LA? Thanks!

A: Great views of Los Angeles day or night?

The Standard and Skybar on Sunset Blvd and the Rooftop Bars/Pool Decks at the London West Hollywood Hotel, Montage Beverly Hills and Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive all have great views along with cocktails and food.

Nice views of Downtown at WP24 from the 24th floor bar and 25th floor restaurant (the WP stands for Wolfgang Puck), both the Elevate Lounge and the Rooftop at The Standard Downtown LA have excellent views.

If you can get into City Club on Bunker Hill (a private club on the top of the Wells Fargo building) there’s a men’s restroom with the best view!

The Music Center plaza has great views of DTLA, Cityhall and the DWP Building. The dancing fountains, the PEACE statue, and the architecture of Disney Hall, the Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion provide great scenery.

There’s a picnic area at the top of the Hollywood Bowl that has great views and it’s open during the day as a city park. You might also catch a (free) rehearsal if it’s the musical season.

Visit the Getty Museum for amazing views and amazing art. FREE just pay $10 for parking. Open late on Fridays.

Take a slow drive along Mulholland Drive for great views of the San Fernando Valley and West L.A. day or night. There are numerous turnouts and vista points between Hayvenhurst and Runyon Canyon Park.

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The View of the San Fernando Valley from the Top O’ Topanga

Free things to do in Los Angeles?

Q: My girlfriend and I are traveling to LA for 6 days and we would like to know what free or cheap things there are to do in Los Angeles? We are kind of on a budget! We would also like to find out the best mode of transportation and areas to stay in!

A: “Cheap” thrills in L.A.? There’s so much stuff you can do that is free or “on the cheap” in Los Angeles! The Getty Museum is FREE, it cost $10-15 to park.

The Beaches in Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach are FREE, pay only for parking.

Griffith Park and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area have hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Parking and park fees vary. There are also many other places in L.A. for hiking, biking, picnicking, etc.

There are also any number of free public parks and other unique spaces to visit! Bergamot Station and The Brewery Artist Loftshave art galleries in addition to numerous other galleries throughout the city. Check and see if you’ll be in town for “FREE MUSEUM DAY” which varies by location, and some museums are always FREE, but alway encourage donations. The museums also have relatively inexpensive entry fees.

Visit the Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Pier, Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, NoHo Arts District, Universal CityWalk, Old Pasadena, Venice Beach Boardwalk, Hollywood and West Hollywood. No entrance fees. Pay for parking and other activities.

UCLA, USC – University of Southern California, Art Center College of Design, California Institute of the Arts and other colleges have museums, art galleries and events that are also worth looking into too.

See my other answers for more things to do in Los Angeles!

I recommend that you rent a car rather than uber/lyft/taxi/public transport if you want to see and do a lot while you’re here. You really need a car to navigate the city.

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Malibu Beach – Malibu, Los Angeles, California

Where is the walk of fame and how far is it from the airport in L.A.?

Q: This is my first time to LA and I was wondering where the walk of fame is and how far is it from the airport?

A: Where is the “Walk of Fame”? Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood!

The Walk of Fame runs from LaBrea to Gower and up Vine to the Capitol Records Building. You can see the stars’ hands and feet in concrete in the courtyard of (Grauman’s) Mann’s Chinese Theater, visit the Kodak Theatre and shop at Hollywood & Highland. Also in the immediate vicinity are Ripley’s, Madame Tussaud’s, Max Factor and the Hollywood Wax Museums. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the El Capitan Theatre and the Jimmy Kimmel Live studio/offices are just across the boulevard. There are also many restaurants, clubs, bars, retail and tourist gift shops in the neighborhood. The Musso and Frank Grill, Frolic Room, AVALON Hollywood (the old Hollywood Palace Theater), Pantages Theatre and The Egyptian Theatre are all very historic spots along the Walk of Fame.

How far is it from the airport?

Los Angeles International Airport in Inglewood is far away. And depending on the time of day, traffic and your chosen route, it can take 20 minutes or two hours. The LA Flyaway recently started a Hollywood Shuttle, but it’s timeliness because of traffic has been problematic.

Bob Hope Airport in Burbank is closer and the 170 and 101 freeways provide a direct route which can take 20 minutes or an hour depending on time of day, traffic or an event in Hollywood or at the Hollywood Bowl.

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Hollywood & Highland on the Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame

Best Steakhouse in Los Angeles?

Q: My first question would be about food! I’m searching for the best steakhouse that’s at par with CUT. Aside from Lawry’s, Morton’s, Mastro’s and Ruth Chris, do you know of any? Thanks in advance!

A: Great Steakhouse in Los Angeles? So many… here are a few:

BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood and Santa Monica

Craft in Century City (and CraftSteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas)

Le Sanglier in Tarzana, Larsen’s Steakhouse & Delmonico’s Steak and Lobster House in Encino and the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

Arnie Morton’s The Steakhouse – Burbank and Woodland Hills

and the Côte de Boeuf at Mélisse is exceptional!

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Dinner Party at n/naka in West L.A. (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The typical great night in bars and then club in LA

Q: We’ll be a bunch of friends and we wanna experience the now famous ‘LA Style’ nightlife! So let us know, no restriction at all. Where could we start to drink? Then have a cool dinner? Then drink again? And finally be in a nightclub all night long? Or in a house? or swimming pool? or… I don’t know, you’re the one. Thanks!

A: So you want a great night bar/club hopping in Los Angeles? I suggest you pick the nightclub first depending on your taste in music, atmosphere and cost. Check the LA Weekly for listings and reviews.

Pick your location: Hollywood or Downtown Los Angeles, Silver Lake or Koreatown (Los Angeles), West Hollywood or Beverly Hills, Santa Monica or Culver City? Staying in one area is easier than trying to motor from place to place on a busy night.

There are any number of bars and restaurants in all of the locations, again depending on your taste in food and drinks, atmosphere and cost. Pick your restaurant, most have a bar or beverage service. Pick your poison, designer cocktails or craft beer, absinthe or single malt whiskey?

Cover charge, cost of drinks or bottle service, parking and tips add up quickly. Choose nearby bars and restaurants, within walking distance if possible, to avoid traffic, parking charges and/or a DUI. Designate a sober driver or get a limo. Choose a supper club where dining at the restaurant gets you admission to the club.

Contact local club promoters and restaurants and let them know you have a group party, and see what they’ll offer you! VIP treatment, free drinks, bottle service, and other perks can be negotiated with a large party. Make sure you have reservations and are “On the List” because waiting in line to get in sucks.

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Lucy’s 51 in Burbank (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Nice LA beach for swimming in July

Q: I will be staying in the Hollywood area for 5 days in July.  Any recommendations on a nice beach for swimming?  Thanks.

A: I recommend Zuma Beach and Malibu Beach north on Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica. There’s no beach close to Hollywood! Drive Sunset Boulevard from Hollywood to the Pacific Ocean and you’ll pass through West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills, UCLA, Brentwood Villageand the Pacific Palisades on your way. When you get to PCH turn right and head up the coast to Malibu. Avoid “rush hour” or you’ll get caught in heavy traffic!

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Malibu Beach – Malibu, Los Angeles, California

Bachelorette in LA

Q: Hi – I am looking for some advice on a killer bachelorette weekend in LA. 7 of us will be traveling together, and I would love recommendations on a good location, any bars or events, as well as hotels. At lot of us are from cities that provide accessible public transit – so if possible, we’d rather save on cab money and be in a central location. I’ve heard West Hollywood and Los Feliz are good neighborhoods. Has anyone had luck finding a hotel that accommodates a large party like ours? We would ideally like to spend about $1K for the two nights. One random note – the bachelorette really likes Harry Potter. Know of any “entertainers” that could accommodate? Thanks!

A: So you want a great Bachelorette weekend in Los Angeles? I suggest you pick the hotel and nightclubs first depending on your taste in music, atmosphere and cost. Talk to the Sales Manager at the Hotel to arrange a Group Rate! Check the LA Weekly for club listings and reviews.

Pick your location: Hollywood or Downtown Los Angeles, Silver Lake or Koreatown, or Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, or Culver City Staying in one area is easier than trying to motor from place to place on a busy night.

There are any number of hotels, bars and restaurants in all of the locations, again depending on your taste in food and drinks, atmosphere and cost. Pick your restaurant, most have a bar or beverage service. Pick your poison, designer cocktails or craft beer, absinthe or single malt whiskey?

Cover charge, cost of drinks or bottle service, parking and tips add up quickly. Choose nearby bars and restaurants, within walking distance if possible, to avoid traffic, parking charges and/or a DUI. Designate a sober driver or get a limo. Choose a supper club where dining at the restaurant gets you admission to the club.

Contact local club promoters and restaurants and let them know you have a group bachelorette party, and see what they’ll offer you! VIP treatment, free drinks, bottle service, and other perks can be negotiated with a large party. Make sure you have reservations and are “On the List” because waiting in line to get in sucks.

NOTE: Avoid going to Comedy Clubs, most hate bachelorette parties.

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The Roof on Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

See my other Blogs with more answers about fun things to do in Los Angeles!

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Echo Park, Los Angeles, 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

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Moosehead mounted over the front doors…

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 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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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a nice steak dinner!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a nice steak dinner!

This Blog entry is about FOOD. Good Food! Food that’s good for you!
If you’re not into reading about a nice steak dinner, please move along.

It was a beautiful Sunday in the San Fernando Valley today. The weather was great! The first Sunday after football is always the hardest… but a beautiful day makes it easier.

Valentine’s Day is such a rip-off holiday. So, instead of going out and paying triple for dinner, I decided to cook a really nice holiday feast.

On the Menu: Teriyaki bone-in ribeye steaks, baked potato, steamed broccoli and carrots, green salad with ranch dressing, challah bread, red wine and a coke.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Defrosted a couple of bone-in ribeye steaks, prepped the potato, yam & vegetables and then made the salad. Timed it out perfectly and everything was done just right.

Nothing fancy, just a nice dinner at home.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Green salad with iceberg lettuce, celery, carrot and cheese.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Sauteed the red onions, marinaded the meat and pan cooked the steak. One steak cooked rare, one cooked medium rare. (leftovers for tomorrow: steak and eggs maybe?)

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Baked potato and yam, coated with olive oil, salt & pepper and cooked wrapped in tin foil. Topped with a little butter, salt & pepper and I left the sour cream in the fridge…

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Steamed carrots and broccoli (don’t overcook!) cooked to slightly crunchy.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Very happy with the final results! Better than most restaurants and a lot less expensive.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Cooking a steak dinner!

Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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p.s. The feast was appreciated.

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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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