Brody Stevens RIP – We Enjoyed It

Steven Brody Stevens RIP

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Brody Stevens performs at the last Josh and Josh Show at Bar Lubitsch

Steven Brody Stevens killed himself. He was only 48 years old.
This is horrible and VERY SAD but not unexpected. Mental Illness is not a joke.

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Brody Stevens’ Name on the Comedy Store Marquee….. RIP

We didn’t know Brody. We weren’t friends. We never hung out. We did meet Brody when he was a special guest at our comedy show “The 5 and Dime in Studio City”. We watched his reality show when it was broadcast on cable. We knew about “the incident” on Sunset Boulevard that got him arrested. We became a real fan one night when we found his Periscope channel. We saw him perform live at The Josh and Josh Show a few times, but we watched his live performances on Periscope many times, which he shared every night for a long time, before taping his comedy special. We watched his scopes from his apartment, and his “Steps with Steve” scopes, and in his car driving (while drumming) scopes. Most of the time it was just Brody being weird and real, and it was raw, and sometimes it was hard to watch because he was so f*cked up mentally. But mostly it was entertaining and sometimes pure comedy genius. He was a unique talent, brave to broadcast his comedy direct to his fans and haters (who were there with him every night too), and he knew nobody could steal his act, his off-center jokes, and his catch phrases. “Solo scene on a yoga mat”, “Leather exterior”, “Take my mom to lunch and pay half”, “She’s an UBER driver in Coachella”, just f*ckin’ great jokes and if you knew him, you knew all the punchlines and they were still funny everytime. He was also a big presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using each platform creatively to promote himself. I’ve peppered this Blog Post with more of his comedy in tribute to a man who shouldn’t be dead.

“You’re never alone when you’re bipolar.”

EVERYONE KNEW HE WAS “SUICIDAL” and there was nothing they could do…. all of his FRIENDS loved him and his weirdness, but it wasn’t enough.

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Brody Stevens on the road at the Cabazon Dinosaurs

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Brody Stevens at the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip

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Brody Stevens Backstage at the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip

Everyone knew he had mental health issues, it was public knowledge. He did a TV reality show “Brody Stevens, Enjoy It” you can watch on ComedyCentral’s channel and addressed the problems he was experiencing, the drugs that he was prescribed, and his recovery after being “5150” hospitalized for a bipolar incident in 2011. He was very brave to talk about mental illness, his personal issues and his feelings. He was also very frustrated and angry, he was jealous of other people’s success, and he held a grudge hard and was not afraid to air his complaint and grievances publicly. He burned a lot of bridges. He had “run-ins” with the police and other authority figures, and it cost him jobs.

“I’m intense. I get B.O. in the shower.
I get road rage at the car wash” – Steven Brody Stevens

Brody had small speaking roles in films. He was in “The Hangover”, “The Hangover 2” and “Due Date”, but he got cut out of “Funny People”. He “created Chelsea Lately!” Brody was frequent guest on other people’s podcasts and had his own “The Festival of Friendship”.

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The Brody Stevens “Festival of Friendship” – You Got It!

He was incredibly funny, he wrote clever jokes, he loved baseball, the Chicago Cubs, and drumming. He loved his mom and her dog, Daisy. He could improvise on a dime and do weird bits that other comedians would never dream of trying, and he was a master of “crowd work” and warm up. “Arms crossed, negative” was a common line as he broke down the audiences’ defense, crashing through the fourth wall, and attacked them with his aggressive comedic persona. Angry Brody unleashing on an unresponsive audience was a sight to behold! It was “in your face” and mostly unapologetic, and designed to get a real reaction. His daily Periscope broadcasts were GENIUS! He made other comics laugh, and tried to make the world a more positive place. He will be missed.

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NOTE: This sequence below is from a truly creative Periscope video he shared. Using the delay in broadcast time, Brody engineered a conversation with himself using his iPhone, iPad and GoPro, while still talking to his viewers. It was BRILLIANT!

“You Got It!” – Steven Brody Stevens

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Brody Periscoping from his apartment in North Hollywood

NOTE: Brody often talked about his medication and the drugs he was taking. We read that he had recently changed medication and was taking Lexapro for his depression. He talked about adjusting to it in his last broadcasts and feeling “melancholy”. We looked it up after we heard the news and found reports online from 2005 and 2011 that stated Lexapro (and other drugs like it) can intensify suicidal thoughts and behavior in some cases. Brody was bipolar and the medication may have pushed him over the edge.

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Brody’s Name on The Comedy Store Wall of Fame

Rest in Peace now Prince of Periscope.
Thank you Brody for sharing your one-of-a-kind comedic talent with us!
May the Four Winds blow him safely home.

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Brody Stevens Backstage at the Improv

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A Sketch of Brody Steven, the Prince of Periscope

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“818 ’til I die!” – Steven Brody Stevens

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“POSITIVE PUSH!”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away! Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.

Read the previous Blog Post “Depression? Questions to Ask – Before Giving Up!”>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/depression-questions-to-ask-before-giving-up

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BrodyIsMeFriend – Steven Brody Stevens RIP

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There will be a Benefit on March 5, 2019 at The Comedy Store
for Brody’s Mom and Sister and Mental Health Awareness:

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Tickets are only $30 at thecomedystore.com!

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Brody Stevens RIP and Kevin Short (West Hollywood Jesus) RIP

 


UPDATE: Thursday, March 7, 2019
There was a big Festival of Friendship Benefit to celebrate Brody’s life (and death) at The Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood on Tuesday night March 5th.

Brody was so happy about getting his name on The Comedy Store wall, and was always concerned about getting his name on the marquee. Well, his name was on the marquee and his friends and the staff at the store had t-shirts made to honor his catch phrase “ENJOY IT!” (and if you knew him, you just read that in his voice with a special inflection)

His friends and fans gathered together, proceeds were donated to a Mental Health charity, there were flowers and photos, and many fine tributes to Brody. There were also other gatherings at other venues and most everyone had at least one Brody story to tell. There were also fan tributes, online tributes, and a lot of immediate media coverage. When the news broke, Brody was trending #1 on Twitter and Facebook. He would have loved that, too bad he was dead. Don’t try suicide. It just leaves a mess behind.

There is a lot of Brody Stevens available on Comedy Central, YouTube, and Social Media!
Brody was “The Prince of Periscope” and he also had accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. He appeared on television, the internet, numerous podcasts, and posted his own videos online. He was a tortured soul who left behind an enormous body of work for his fans to remember him by. #BrodyIsMeFriend

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Rest in Peace Brody.



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UPDATED March 10, 2019: There was a gathering at The Comedy Store to “celebrate” Brody Stevens, his friends and comedy friends assembled for this wonderful picture.
There will be another “CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC” gathering tomorrow night (Monday the 11th) at The Comedy Store for his friends.

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Get Your Brody Stevens Suicide Souvenir T-Shirt and Merch!


UPDATED 11-19-19: Brody’s Bench has been installed in Reseda Park! 818 Baby!



 

There is a BLACK BEAR DINER in the San Fernando Valley!

Yes! There is a BLACK BEAR DINER in the San Fernando Valley!

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The Black Bear Diner in Tarzana, California

We were tired, hungry and driving down Ventura Boulevard last week, when much to our surprise and amazement, there was a Black Bear Diner in Tarzana!

Located in the space previously occupied by CoCo’s, Season’s and Bob’s Big Boy in Tarzana Square on Ventura Blvd just east of Reseda Blvd, we have a Black Bear Diner!

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We are a big fan of the Black Bear Diner and enjoy eating at the restaurant in Medford, Oregon when we are visiting in Ashland. They are located in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and there’s also one in Midwest City, Oklahoma. They are currently adding new locations and will soon be opening in Katy, Texas (according to their website).

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We were so happy to see a Black Bear Dinner in the Valley and to have an easy decision on where to eat dinner. We pulled right into the parking lot and started taking pictures for this Blog Post. It was late and after the dinner rush and not very crowded at all. There were people at about 40% of the tables and they were mostly finishing up. The counter was empty and we chose to sit at a table at the back of the main dining room where it was quiet and there wasn’t any waiter traffic.

We were seated immediately by a young host/cashier and greeted promptly by our waitress (or female server if you’re particular about the job title). When we asked how long they had been open they told us almost three weeks. Our waitress had worked at the previous restaurant CoCo’s in the same location, which had closed long ago.

Everything was new and “fresh” with the familiar decor that is part of their brand and a constant throughout the chain. A large WELCOME sign and statues of Black Bears greet you out front and there’s a beautiful vintage-style jukebox available in the lobby for patrons to play classic American music of their choosing. They have a merchandise display and food products available for sale at the register too.

The board-of-fare is All-American “stick to your ribs” Food, and it’s breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. We decided to keep it simple and test the American cheeseburger basket.

On The Menu: American Cheeseburger with Fries (in a basket)

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As you can see, the burger and cheese were presented on the basket, not on the paper, which may sound particular (and it is) but it’s important for some customers (like us). We ordered it with lettuce only, but there was no lettuce on the burger and we didn’t want to wait for a server to come, get the lettuce and then bring it back, before eating….

The cheeseburger was fine, but not great and a little bland. The fries were great and served very hot. We only had water to drink and ate the food quickly because we were really hungry. We finished and paid at the register and we were happy and no longer hungry. The service was fast and aside from the food presentation and missing lettuce everything was fine and we will return again.

NOTE: Our waitress left after putting the order in and bringing us barbecue sauce and mustard, and another server brought us our food, but the lettuce was ordered and missing from the meal.

We didn’t have dessert, but they do have a great dessert menu (with pics):

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Desserts Under Glass!

Black Bear Diner – 18355 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356 
“Down-home chain serving all-day American comfort food & desserts in a woodsy setting.”
OPEN 6AM-10PM everyday of the week
We also asked if they were going to have late-night hours, but they didn’t know yet…

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Take home some sauce and/or dessert!



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

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

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

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Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana, CA

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

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

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

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Fabrocini’s Open Kitchen and Dining Room

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

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

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Leaning Tower of Pizza!

The Menu:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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They have great pizzas too!

Wednesday Night Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

Wednesday Night Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

We went to my favorite sushi place: Sushi Ichiban Kan

Sushi Time!

Our friend Master Sushi Chef Hiro-san previously owned Sushi Hirosuke in Encino and Kabuki Sushi in Northridge, and now he operates Sushi Ichiban Kan, located on Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills (actually it’s in Tarzana between Corbin and Winnetka).

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

The dining room is large, spacious and warm. The sushi bar has about 14 seats. There is a waiting area/lobby by the front door and host desk. Street parking (metered 8am-8pm) and free parking in a small lot off the alley in the rear is available.

Sushi Bar or Table? In addition to the regular menu, they have Monthly and Daily Specials, a Special Roll Menu and a Sushi Menu. They also do food “to go” and catering for parties.

Beer, wine and (hot & cold) sake are available with lunch or dinner.

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ON THE MENU: Spicy tuna & spicy yellowtail cut rolls, baked scallop California roll, yellowtail-albacore-freshwater eel sushi, an order of “volcano”, a nigiri (mixed) sushi plate: albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, octopus, shrimp, tomago (egg), California roll, tuna and cucumber cut rolls and a coke.

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Nigiri (mixed) sushi plate: albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, octopus, shrimp, tomago (egg), California roll, tuna and cucumber cut rolls

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My opinion is that this is the best sushi place in the San Fernando Valley and one of the best in Los Angeles. Hiro-san is a Master Chef and he gets the choice fish at the market. Everything they serve is wonderful, flavorful and super-fresh! It’s a little more expensive than most of the sushi restaurants in the valley, but it’s less expensive than most of the Westside and Hollywood places, and better quality than almost all others.

Sushi Ichiban Kan19723 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364
818-883-8288 http://www.sushiichiban-kan.com

NOTE: There are previous Blogs about Sushi Ichiban Kan (with more pics)
SEARCH: Sushi Ichiban Kan (Search Box at the top of the page) ^^^^^^^^^^^^

All photos copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Sushi Ichiban Kan

 

Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen

Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen

Wednesday night in the San Fernando Valley, let’s go out to eat!

We were going to go to CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) in Tarzana, but there were a bunch of people waiting in the small reception area when we arrived. The confused looking hostess told us there were six parties in front of us and there would be a 35 minute wait to be seated, even though we could see more than ten empty tables on one side of the restaurant through the floor to ceiling glass windows that line the front.

After considering our options, we decided to go to Frankie’s Italian Kitchen a few blocks away on Reseda boulevard.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen on Reseda Blvd in Tarzana

Frankie’s has been in the same location since 1993, and I have fond memories of meeting my Grandmother (of blessed memory) here for their “early-bird” special. I hadn’t been back in long time. They renovated and upgraded the decor, and enlarged the front patio, but they still serve the same Italian classics, and they still have an “early-bird” special menu before 6pm Monday-Thursday.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – open prep area, cashier & host desk

It’s not a big space, but not small either. There’s an open prep area behind the cashier and host desk as you enter and the dining room to the left. They have regulars and there are groups that meet here for both lunch and dinner, and even when it’s crowded, it’s not loud. Dine indoors or al fresco on the patio which is inside the Gelson’s parking lot and not actually on Reseda Blvd., so there’s a lot less traffic going by.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Dining Room

The menu is classic Italian fare. Pizza, pasta, chops, and even a selection of veal dishes. Normally I would have had fried calamari and lasagna, but instead opted for a pasta entree with a side salad. We didn’t order any appetizers, drinks or wine and instead drank ice water. Yes, I know, but we’re trying to save money and calories this month.

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Dinner Menu

On the Menu: buttered garlic rolls, caesar side salad and chicken fettucine alfredo. We also ordered a broccoli fusilli pasta (it was split and a 1/2 order is pictured below).

And for dessert they were all out of tiramisu….

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Buttered Garlic Rolls

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Caesar Side Salad

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – 1/2 Order of Broccoli Fusilli Pasta 

The food is very good. Italian classics done right! The fresh baked rolls are served hot and covered in butter and garlic. So good, I requested a second basket. The chicken fettucine alfredo and broccoli fusilli pasta dishes were delicious. I’ve had the lasagna and can definitely recommend it.  And as I mentioned, they were out of tiramisu! It’s real good stuff, and they must have had an “early bird” rush, but an Italian restaurant should never run out of tiramisu! Very disappointed, but I left the restaurant very full and happy with some leftover rolls and pasta for the next day.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen – 5538 Reseda Blvd. Tarzana, CA 91356 (818) 705-1295
and 267 N. Pass Ave. Burbank, CA 91505 (818) 567-2288  www.frankiesonline.com
Hours: Mon – Thurs 11am – 9:30pm Fri – Sat 11am – 10pm Sun 4pm – 9pm

 

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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!

RIGHT CLICK AND THEN OPEN IN NEW WINDOW TO SEE A LARGER PICTURE!

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

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

First time in L.A.? Want the local experience?

First time in L.A.? Want the local experience?

San Fernando Valley #1 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley #1 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I’m going to run down the beautiful San Fernando Valley for you. Here are some attractions, Points of Interest, good restaurants, and fun things to do. This list is nowhere near complete and things are constantly changing!

Don’t say there’s nothing to do and nowhere good to eat in the San Fernando Valley! Also, you”ll probably find a celebrity sighting or three if you get lucky.

San Fernando Valley #2 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley #2 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Let’s start at Universal City, CA: Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal CityWalk with lots of places to eat/drink/shop on the hill, Firenze Osteria (Fabio from “Top Chef”) Italian restaurant,

Universal CityWalk (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Universal CityWalk (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Universal CityWalk Hollywood (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Universal CityWalk Hollywood (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

North Hollywood: Television Academy, NoHo Arts District and it’s many theatre companies, The Federal Bar, Circus Liquor and the giant clown sign on Cahuenga, Los Angeles Valley College, North Hollywood Park, Tiki No Bar, Joe Peep’s Pizza, Bar One: a craft beer bar, Krua Thai restaurant,

 

Atwater Village: Atwater Village Theatre, The Village Bakery & Cafe Proof Bakery, Canele Restaurant,

Burbank: Warner Brothers Studios, Disney Studios, Burbank Media Center, Bob’s Big Boy, Johnny Carson Park, Market City Caffe Italian restaurant, Smoke House Restaurant, Burbank equestriain center, Pickwick Bowl, Colony Theatre, Ribs USA, Arnie Morton’s The Steakhouse – Burbank,

Glendale: The Americana at Brand Shopping Center, Autry Museum, Griffith Park, Forest Lawn (there are two cemeteries, one near Griffith Park and one in Glendale), Jax Bar & Grill, Griffith Park and the Observatory, Griffith Park Travel Town, Los Angeles Zoo, Tam O’Shanter restaurant, Damon’s Steak House, Mori Teppan Grill, Billy’s Deli – Glendale, (continue east on the 134 freeway to Eagle Rock and Pasadena)

Sun Valley: Hansen Dam Park, Georgio’s Pizza and Sports Bar,

Studio City: CBS Studio Center, The Village restaurant, CA DEL SOLE restaurant, Black Market Liquor Bar, Spark Woodfire Grill, Vitello’s Italian Restaurant, Loteria Grill, Du-par’s Restaurant & Bakery, Fryman Canyon, The Six Restaurant, City Wok Chinese restaurant, Henry’s Tacos, Art’s Delicatessen & Restaurant, Firefly Studio City restaurant and bar,

Spark Italian Woodfire Grill in Studio City (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Spark Italian Woodfire Grill in Studio City (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks: Sherman Oaks Galleria, Sherman Oaks Castle Park, Casa Vega, Westfield Fashion Square, Smoke City Market bbq restaurant, Delmonico’s Steak and Lobster House, Café Bizou restaurant, Blu Jam Café, The Getty Center, Skirball Cultural Center, Bamboo Cuisine Chinese restaurant, Valley Inn restaurant,

Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks (copyright 2012 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks (copyright 2012 JoshWillTravel)

Van Nuys: Van Nuys Courthouse and historic district, Lake Balboa Park, Puro Sabor Peruvian restaurant, Swiss Chef restaurant, Salsa And Beer Mexican restaurant (Papas &Beer), Sepulveda Recreation Center, Japanese Gardens, Woodley Avenue Park,

Lake Balboa Park - Los Angeles, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lake Balboa Park – Los Angeles, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Encino: Encino Commons, Okumura Sushi Restaurant, Sushi Hirosuke, Larsen’s Steakhouse, Versailles Cuban restaurant, Taj Mahal Indian restaurant, Balboa Sports Center, Los Encinos State Historic Park, Benihana Japanese restaurant, Yamato’s Japanese Restaurant, Aroma Bakery Cafe, Encino Velodrome,

Oh yeah, we're gonna have sushi. Sushi at Okumura! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Oh yeah, we’re gonna have sushi.
Sushi at Okumura! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tarzana/Reseda: Tarzana Village, Le Sanglier French Restaurant, Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen, Sushi Ichiban Kan, Bea’s Bakery, Superwok Chinese restaurant, Las Fuentes Mexican restaurant, Sol y Luna Mexican restaurant,

Le Sanglier (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Le Sanglier (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Northridge: Northridge Fashion Center, California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC), Pacific Theatres Winnetka 21, A & W Seafood Chinese restaurant, Brent’s Deli, Mandarin Deli Restaurant (soup dumplings), (continue northwest on the 118 freeway to Simi Valley)

 

Woodland Hills: CA: Warner Center, Westfield Topanga Mall, Yang Chow Restaurant, Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion restaurant, Pierce College: Farm Center, Arnie Morton’s The Steakhouse, My Brother’s Bar-B-Q, (continue west on the 101 freeway to Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks)

Drive Topanga Canyon south over the Santa Monica Mountains to Topanga State Park, Saddle Peak Lodge, and down to the Pacific Coast Highway for access to Malibu Beach,

Drive Mulholland Drive from Cahuenga Blvd to the 405 freeway at Sepulveda or vice versa. Great views of the valley day or night!

San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

OTHER UNIQUE EATS (multiple locations):

In-N-Out Burger in North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, and Woodland Hills

Katsu-ya in Encino and Studio City

Cheesecake Factory in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills

Cupid’s Hot Dogs in Northridge and Tarzana

Tommy’s Burgers in North Hollywood and Van Nuys

Solley’s Deli in Van Nuys and Woodland Hills, Jerry’s Deli in Studio City and Encino

Mulberry Street NY Pizzeria in Encino and Sherman Oaks

El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills

Zankou Chicken in Tarzana and Sherman Oaks

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito in Woodland Hills, CA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

There are numerous public and private Golf Gourses, Tennis Courts and Country Clubs in and around the valley.

The Woodland Hills Country Club (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Woodland Hills Country Club (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There are also numerous city parks, bike paths, small dog parks and urban garden areas. The rehabilitation of the L.A. River is an ongoing project.

 

 

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area http://www.nps.gov/samo has 500 miles of trails and spans 153,075 acres, the world’s largest urban national park!

Paramount Ranch, Agoura, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Paramount Ranch, Agoura, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley at night (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley at night (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Great Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in the Valley!

Far away from the Westside and Hollywood and Santa Monica and Downtown, in the west end of the San Fernando Valley, is one of my favorite restaurants: Sushi Ichiban Kan.

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Sneaking in the back door! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The restaurant is beautiful, from the front to the back, and the parking is FREE!  Or at worst, you’ll have to park at a meter (which now run until 8pm) on Ventura.  We went to dinner early, parked in the rear and entered through the back door.  We were greeted and seated and then the real fun began

Dinner tonight was fantastic!  Everything was fresh.  Everything was prepared beautifully. The service was friendly and efficient.  I’ve known the owner and masterchef Hirosuke and his wife for twenty years and have followed him from Kabuki in Northridge, to Hirosuke in Encino, and now to the new restaurant Ichiban Kan on Ventura Blvd in Tarzana, between Corbin and Winnetka.  Trust me, if you love sushi it is definitely worth the trip from wherever you are.

Sushi Ichiban Kan - Assorted Sashimi Combination & California Roll (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Assorted Sashimi Combination & California Roll (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

On the menu tonight: stuffed shitaki mushrooms stuffed with creamy crab starter, miso soup, green salad, spicy tuna and blue crab handrolls (with no rice), an assorted sashimi combination (with tuna, albacore, yellowtail, salmon), assorted tempura and an iced green tea.

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Miso Soup and Green Salad (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Spicy Tuna & Blue Crab Handrolls (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan – Assorted Tempura (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

It’s not cheap, but it’s not “over the top” expensive.  You can get a lot worse and pay a lot more at other places.  This is top of the line fish, that rivals Nobu, and it’s a real value for sushi lovers.  Be sure to tell Hiro-san that I sent you!

Sushi Ichiban Kan – 19723 Ventura Blvd in Tarzana http://www.sushiichiban-kan.com

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan

Sushi Time!

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Iced Green Tea – Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Sushi Plate – Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Sashimi – Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Spicy Tuna Handroll – Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Tempura Vegetables – Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Sushi – Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Baked Scallop California Roll – Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Big Bowl of Ramen – Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Large Hot Sake – Sushi Ichiban Kan (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi Ichiban Kan19723 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA

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