GOOD EATIN’ in The SFV! Valley Restaurant Grindage!

GOOD EATIN’ in The SFV!
Valley Restaurant Grindage!

NOTE: Here’s another Draft that’s been sitting for a long time. It’s a FOOD BLOG POST!
Some good restaurants in the San Fernando Valley. LINKS at the bottom of the page.

FOODIES take note!
We’ve been eating really good in the neighborhood!

The beautiful San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California, that is….

It was International Week “ON THE MENU” for the last couple months:

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Dinner at CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) in Tarzana

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Dinner at Lum Ka Naad Thai Restaurant in Encino

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and Dessert at Sweet Lady Jane Bakery in Encino on Saturday

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Sunday Dinner! All You Can Eat at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ in Van Nuys

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NOTE: After Sunday’s AYCE dinner, Monday was a light “Meatless” dinner at home.

Taco Tuesday at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

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Taco Tuesday at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

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The Bar at El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks

Wednesday night Sushi at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino

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Sushi at Cho Cho San Japanese Restaurant in Encino

Pastrami Sandwich “To Go” from Cricca’s Italian Deli in Woodland Hills
(on the way, going through Topanga Canyon to PCH and Malibu Beach)

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Lunch “To Go” from Cricca’s Italian Deli in Woodland Hills

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Pastrami Sandwich from Cricca’s Italian Deli on Malibu Beach

And check out these past blogs from February 2016 as well:

Drinks and Appetizers at the Cheesecake Factory‘s Bar at the Sherman Oaks Galleria

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Drinks & Appetizers at the Cheesecake Factory Bar in Sherman Oaks

Venti Mocha Frappuchino at Starbuck’s in the Sherman Oaks Galleria

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner Party at Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana

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Dinner at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen

Saturday Night! Mexican food, Blues music and BBQ in Pasadena, California
La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant & Blues & BBQ at Big Mama’s Rib Shack

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Dinner at La Fiesta Grande Mexican Restaurant in Pasadena

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Dinner at Big Mama’s Rib Shack in Pasadena

NOTE: Yes, I know Pasadena is the San Gabriel Valley, not the San Fernando Valley, but both restaurants definitely deserve a mention here in this Foodie Blog.

Sushi at Okumura in Encino

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Sushi Time at Okumura!

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

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Dinner at Mucho Mas Mexican Restaurant in NoHo

Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino

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Dinner at Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino

And a few other San Fernando Valley restaurants from 2015:

Dinner at the NoHo Diner in North Hollywood

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Dinner at the NoHo Diner

Thai Food Birthday Dinner Party at Sri Siam Cafe in North Hollywood

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Birthday Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

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Dinner at the Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks

 

VEGAS BABY! VEGAS!
Birthday Dinner at Mario Batali’s Carnevino
at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas!

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas

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Dinner at Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel on Friday night

NOTE: Yes, I know Carnevino at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas isn’t in the San Fernando Valley, but it was a really great meal and definitely deserves a mention in this Foodie Blog.

Dinner at Sushi 2u in Encino (OUT OF BUSINESS)
Read our Blog> Sushi Ganzo (OUT OF BUSINESS)

This was in the space that used to be Sushi Hirosuke for years.
The Space is now occupied by CRAVIN’S.

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Sushi 2 U in Encino

 

All photos copyright 2015 & 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Tuesday Night Dinner at Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen in Tarzana, https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/tuesday-night-dinner-at-fabrocinis-italian-kitchen-in-tarzana-ca/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fat Sal’s is OPEN in Encino!
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/fat-sals-is-open-in-encino/

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READ MY BLOG POSTS! (PLEASE!)

READ MY BLOG POSTS! (PLEASE!)

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As you can see we’ve been busy.*
We have always written this Blog for our own amusement.
We hope others will read the posts and be entertained and maybe educated).
Our pics and vids are posted (copyright 2010-2017 JoshWillTravel) for your visual stimulation and to better tell the stories. All other images (photos and youtube videos, etc.) are for educational purposes only and not used for any commercial gain.
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Recent April 2017 Blog Posts> 

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Tasting Flight at Dancin Vineyards – Jacksonville, Oregon

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GBTA 2013! Read the Blog Post!

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Blog Posts from January 2017!>

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Happy Puppies!

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POP!

It’s our Blog’s 4th Anniversary! READ THE BLOG!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/its-our-blogs-4-year-anniversary/

恭喜發財! Happy Chinese New Year 2017! 新年好呀!新年好呀!
THE YEAR OF THE RED FIRE ROOSTER! 祝贺大家新年好!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/happy-chinese-new-year-2017/

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Blog Posts from Our Spring Roadtrip 2016 to Ashland Oregon>

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Ashland Creek in Lithia Park in Ashland Oregon (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Master Blog! Spring Roadtrip 2016 to Ashland Oregon!> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-35M
Seagulls! Moonstone Beach in Cambria> http://wp.me/s3dhVM-seagulls
The Bluebird Inn Motel in Cambria> 
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3gi
Historic Downtown Cambria, California> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3yI
The Vault Gallery in Cambria, California> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-4lQ
Sweet Offerings Confectionary in Cambria, California!> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-3ik

Moonstone Beach – Cambria, California>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/moonstone-beach-cambria-california/

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More of Our Previous Blogs:

It’s Rex Manning Day 2017!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/its-rex-manning-day/

Return to Paramount Ranch Park in Agoura, California: Part 2 Hiking the Site>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/paramount-ranch-park-agoura-california-part-1/

Return to Paramount Ranch – Agoura, California: Part 1 Western Town>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/return-to-paramount-ranch-01-apr-13-part-1-western-town/

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Friends of Paramount Ranch 2017 – Agoura, California

The Wabash Cannonball!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/the-wabash-cannonball/

HAAPPY SAAINT PAATRICK’S DAAY!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/haappy-saaint-paatricks-daay/

SPRING FORWARD! HAPPY PURIM! FULL MOON!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/spring-forward-full-moon/

Let’s Go To Malibu Beach!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/lets-go-to-malibu-beach/

“This is what happens Larry!”>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/this-is-what-happens-larry/

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“This is What Happens Larry!”

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Janis Joplin’s Psychedelic 1964 Porsche 356c Cabriolet

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Saturday Morning…>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/saturday-morning/

Procrastination (noun)
-the action of delaying or postponing something
-the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished
-the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones
-carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones
-putting off impending tasks to a later time

“PROCRASTINATION”>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/procrastination/

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REAL GOOD EATING in the San Fernando Valley!>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pizza Time! Mulberry Street Pizza!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/pizza-time-mulberry-street-pizza/

AND THERE ARE MANY MORE! OVER 600 BLOG POSTS! HAVE FUN!

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Seriously,
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TREASON!



 

STORAGE! February 2017

STORAGE! February 2017

EVERYTHING MUST GO!

“Never own more than you can carry in both hands at a dead run.”
– Robert A. Heinlein

From an undisclosed location somewhere in Southern California:

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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!

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu

We have started our SPRING CLEANING early. We are tasked with “unboxing”, sorting, repacking and moving all of our stuff again. And now we are selling and giving away other things we no longer need or wish to keep and store.

We moved everything to this location from our last storage space in North Hollywood. We also gave away a quality queen bed, a very nice leather recliner sofa and another small couch during that move. And our mid-century modern dining room table is also “on loan” until we have a place for it.

A daunting task to deal with so much “stuff” which we have only just begun…

MORE TO COME! (an inventory, pics and stuff for sale soon!)

“That’s all, a little place for my stuff.
That’s all I want, that’s all you need in life,
is a little place for your stuff, ya know?”

– George Carlin

February 2017
Eating / Thai food at Sri Siam Cafe in North Hollywood
and Sushi at Okumura in Encino (READ THE PREVIOUS BLOGS!)

Party Time! We braved the storm and drove across the valley to North Hollywood for a birthday dinner party at Sri Siam Cafe.

On The Menu: Thai food! Crispy rice with pork, beef panang and steamed rice, chicken satay with cucumber salad and toast, pad Thai noodles with chicken, green curry chicken, tom kai soup and a Thai iced tea (no cream). There were three other dishes that we didn’t eat and we cancelled two other dishes that they didn’t bring. So much food, so full.

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Sushi and Sake at Okumura (READ THE BLOG!)

We went out for dinner and had sushi and sake at Okumura in Encino.

On The Menu: Tuna poke appetizer, California roll, spicy tuna cut roll and a hand roll, Rainbow roll (tuna/salmon/yellowtail/albacore on California roll), yellowtail & green onion cut roll, eel & avocado cut roll, albacore sashimi, a coke and a small hot sake. Happy!

Drinking / Double espresso with milk
Practicing / Extreme patience & Good Housekeeping
Mastering / 2 Little Puppies and the Big Boy
Learning / “about history and havin’ some food”
spiccoli

Trying / To remain calm and get sh*t done.
Playing / With the puppies of course.

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Keeping warm and staying dry!

Finishing / More new Blogs
Reading / Bad news, lots of bad news… (Not “fake news”)
Writing / This Blog! (and other Blogs)
Remembering / Kresge College & UC Santa Cruz (New Blog coming soon!)

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Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in California

NOTE: This Blog (and the UC Santa Cruz Blog that hasn’t been published yet) was written before we got the news that our very good friend Ann from college died suddenly and unexpectedly this week. We’ve been in shock and are deeply saddened by this news. You don’t think this will be the last time you see someone you’ve loved for 30+ years. It was a really fun day in Hollywood and then I dropped them off at the Cure concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Rest in Peace Annie. May the Four Winds blow her safely home.

Wearing / Sweats, knit cap, warm bathrobe & (stinky) slippers
Cooking / Spaghetti with chicken marinara sauce

Working / In the home office and in the backyard
Traveling / Locally: we went to Culver City in West Los Angeles

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Helms Bakery in Culver City, West Los Angeles, California

Wanting / More. (much, much MORE!)

SHARE! Check your trees! After heavy rain & snow broken branches (“Widow Makers”) and/or the whole tree may be ready to fall! Be Careful! At least two of my friends had trees fall on their property causing big damage this weekend! SHARE!

Sushi at Okumura in Encino>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/sushi-time-at-okumura/

https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/pic-of-the-day-12-jun-13-oh-yeah-were-gonna-have-sushi-sushi-at-okumura/

Thai Food at Sri Siam Cafe in North Hollywood>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/thai-food-at-sri-siam-cafe-in-north-hollywood/

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

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READ THE PREVIOUS BLOG> from May 2016:
Dixie Hollywood Hotel, Susan Feniger’s Mud Hen Tavern
and The Cure at the Hollywood Bowl
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/dixie-hollywood-hotel-susan-finegars-mud-hen-tavern-and-the-cure-at-the-hollywood-bowl/

 

UPDATED Saturday May 13, 2017

Well, it took us two months but we emptied our storage space in North Hollywood:

Empty Storage Space. They jacked my rent for the last time.
Downsizing. Spring Cleaning. (and too much stuff to move)
Time for a nap.

Read the Blog Post TIME OUT!
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/05/13/time-out/


 

Tasty Thai Food from Thai ‘N’ I Cafe in Encino!

Thai Food from Thai ‘N’ I in Encino!

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Just around the corner from the Karate Kid Mural on Ventura Boulevard (at Texhoma Avenue) in Encino there’s the Thai ‘N’ I Cafe, a “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant that serves really great Siamese BBQ and Thai food.

There’s metered street parking on Ventura Blvd from 8am-8pm Monday through Saturday (FREE on Sundays) and a small parking lot in the rear of the restaurant accessed through a small driveway off the boulevard. Enter through the front door into a small foyer and dining room. It’s a straight shot to the Host Desk and cash register located at the back of the dining room. And there’s a large clean kitchen that parallels the dining room space so you can watch the food cook from Ventura Blvd through the front window.

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

The food is tasty, delicious and full of flavor! They have great sauces! There’s an extensive menu, with lots of fun choices and specialty dishes. The service is excellent and there are usually people dining inside. There are not a lot of tables and not a lot of space, and we live pretty close, so we always get our food “To Go” and takeout. Open for Lunch and Dinner, they also have delivery service in a limited area in Encino and do catering for parties and events.

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Buddhist Art and Shrine On The Wall at Thai ‘N’ I Cafe

On The Menu: 1/2 BBQ Chicken Combo with pad Thai and mee grob noodles, Chicken Satay with peanut sauce and small cucumber salad

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Thai Food “To Go” From Thai ‘N’ I Cafe in Encino

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Plated Dinner at Home (no sauces yet)

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Chicken Satay Combo with Pad Thai and Mee Grob Noodles

NOTE: This is our “go to” place for Thai food in the neighborhood. We’ve tried Lum Ka Naad at Ventura and White Oak twice  (read our previous Blog) and it was NOT GOOD both times. It wasn’t even close to the superior food from Thai ‘N’ I. Also, they are favored by the LAPD, and there are often uniformed officers dining on their breaks here.

Thai ‘N’ I Siamese BBQ & Cafe17544 Ventura Blvd (east of White Oak) Encino
(818) 783-8424 http://www.thaini.net

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The Karate Kid Mural on Ventura Blvd at Texhoma Ave

Thai Food at Sri Siam Cafe in North Hollywood

Thai Food! 

First time dining at the Sri Siam Cafe, a “Hole in the Wall” Thai Food restaurant in a mini-mall on the corner of Coldwater Cyn and Vanowen in North Hollywood. Everything was stellar! The portions were large and the prices were very reasonable. Each dish was done just right, super tasty and delicious. I give this establishment a big thumbs up!

On The Menu: Crispy rice salad (lettuce wraps), chicken satay with peanut sauce, cucumber salad and toast, yellow curry with duck, shrimp & egg pancakes, crispy spicy trout and a Thai iced tea with no cream.

(RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW WINDOW FOR LARGER PICTURE)

Sri Siam Cafe Thai Food

Sri Siam Cafe Thai Food

Crispy Rice Salad (Lettuce Wraps)

Crispy Rice Salad (Lettuce Wraps)*

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, Cucumber Salad and Toast

Chicken Satay w/Peanut Sauce, Cucumber Salad & Toast

Yellow Curry with Duck

Yellow Curry with Duck

Shrimp & Egg Pancakes

Shrimp & Egg Pancakes

Crispy Spicy Trout

Crispy Spicy Trout

Sri Siam Cafe – 12843 Vanowen St (at Coldwater Cyn) North Hollywood, CA 91605
(818) 982-6262

————————————————————–

UPDATE Saturday March 26, 2016:

Dinner at Sri Siam Cafe last night was terrific! The food was great, we’ve been back a few times now, and this time I brought a friend.

ON THE MENU: Thai food! Chicken satay with peanut sauce and cucumber salad, crispy fried rice salad, fried calamari and a Thai ice tea (no cream)

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UPDATED Sunday February 19, 2017

We had a very nice dinner party at Sri Siam Cafe on Friday night:

On The Menu: Crispy rice with pork, beef panang and steamed rice, chicken satay with cucumber salad and toast, pad Thai noodles with chicken, green curry chicken, tom kai soup and a Thai iced tea (no cream). There were three other dishes that I didn’t eat and we cancelled two other dishes that they didn’t bring. So much food, so full.

All photos copyright 2016-2017 JoshWillTravel

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Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

LUNCH at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood!

Saturday Afternoon in the beautiful San Fernando Valley.

ON THE MENU: Thai Food at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood!

Chicken satay with toast, peanut sauce and cucumber salad, Tom ko soup with chicken & mushrooms, beef panang, pad thai with meat, roasted duck salad, steamed rice and a Thai iced tea (no cream).

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Recommend! The chicken satay with peanut sauce, toast and cucumber salad:

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood – Chicken Satay w/peanut sauce

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood – Tom Ko Soup

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood – Roasted Duck Salad

Recommend! Krua Pad Thai with meat, egg and shrimp:

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood – Krua Pad Thai

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood – Beef Panang

Everything is delicious and savory! They give you a lot of food for a decent price (actually a real value). There’s an extensive menu of authentic Thai dishes. They have Boba drinks too. And they’re open very late for you night owls!

 Krua Thai Restaurant13130 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA 91605

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I Posted These Travel Answers About Las Vegas!

Las Vegas: Great food, not outrageous price, near Aria Casino?

Aria Resort - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Aria Resort – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: We will be traveling to Las Vegas this summer, looking for great places to eat within walking distance of the Aria Casino that are under $30 a plate. Looking for a tasty meal that doesn’t break the bank.

Late lunch spot for a couple, near the Wynn Hotel?

Q: My wife and I are landing in Vegas around 1:30 and want to stop for a late lunch on our way to the hotel. I normally would just go to Joe’s for some stone crab, but thought there might be a new place for us to try. We are staying at the Wynn, but any recommendations are welcome. We are fine (and might prefer) eating at the bar.

A: There are so many restaurants and places to eat, and they change constantly in Vegas.

Here are five options for great food at a reasonable price near (but not walking distance to) the Aria Resort and Wynn Hotel:

Grand Lux Cafe, Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grand Lux Cafe, Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

A reasonably inexpensive meal can be found at the Grand Lux Café (inside the Venetian and Palazzo Resorts). I like the hand tossed, wood-fired pizzas and you can get them “to go” in a pizza box. (~$16.00 per pizza) http://www.grandluxcafe.com/locations.htm

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Pizza from Grand Lux Cafe –  Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Go off-strip to this “hole-in-the-wall” #1 in the USA rated Thai Restaurant, the Lotus of Siam. Not really a secret, because the the locals and most “foodies” know about this amazing restaurant! (~$9.00-21.00 per dish and they have lunch & dinner specials) http://www.saipinchutima.com

Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill is at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Opened in 2004, the southwestern cuisine is truly fantastic (but it’s not inexpensive). From the Mesa Grill website: “Bobby developed his signature style of American cookery, marrying the flavors of southwest with his love of grilling at Mesa Grill. Bobby presents dishes like New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho Chile Sauce, Sweet Potato Tamale, and Crushed Pecan Butter. In a nod to the West, he also includes a Chiptole Glazed Rib-Eye with Red and Green Chile Sauce. Las Vegas’ proximity to Mexico gives the restaurant access to some of that country’s highest-quality tequila and mezcal offerings, and the expansive wine list has a global reach yet maintains an emphasis on top American wines. The combination of Mesa Grill’s magnificent decor, the exciting vibe of the casino atmosphere and Bobby Flay’s stunning range of textures, flavors and colors incorporated into his menu continue to electrify diners year after year.”  http://www.mesagrill.com/las-vegas-restaurant/index.php

or have too much amazing Bavarian (German) food and beer at the Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas. Sausages, sauerkraut, spaetzel, pork shanks, and all kinds of other Bavarian specials. A lot of food, so bring friends! (Daily specials start at $9.99) http://www.hofbrauhauslasvegas.com 

And of course, the Peppermill Restaurant is great anytime day or night (open 24/7 with a secret off-menu locals’ late night special Steak & Shrimp for cheap) and they have great cocktails too! http://www.peppermilllasvegas.com

NOTE: Do not eat at the MGM Buffet! (read my other blog)

Bon cha’nce! Bon appétit! Good luck & Good eating!

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Is it true if you eat at Tao Restaurant, you get into Tao Nightclub free and skip the line?

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Is it true if you eat at Tao Restaurant, you get into Tao Nightclub for free & skip the line?

A: TAO Asian Bistro, TAO Nightclub and Tao Beach inside the The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

From the Tao website: “Dinner and Nightlife Packages – As low as $82.50 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). Enjoy an evening at TAO Asian Bistro and Nightclub! Package Includes Three Course Dinner, Nightclub Admission and a VIP Table with One Bottle and Mixers. Available on dinner reservations before 6:30pm and after 10:30pm.”

http://taorestaurantlv.com/reservations/

The menu with this package and bottle service seems a to be a pretty good deal!

I’ve heard that admission was included if you have dinner at the restaurant, but I’m sure it depends on the night of the week and the event at the club. Contact the restaurant directly for reservations and questions.

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Bachelor party venues?

Welcome to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Welcome to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: One of my best buddies is getting married next year and as a groomsman, I’ve been tasked being one of the organizers for his bachelor party. Here’s the thing: none of us groomsman are really party animals, so we really have no idea where to start, but we just know that we want our buddy to have a good time and that we want to go to Vegas, just for the experience. Any ideas on which venues to start looking at and/or bachelor party-type activities?

A: Bachelor Party in Las Vegas!

Do you want the full blown “Hangover, part 4” or just a good time?

First, how many people will be attending? Do you have hotel reservations? Do you want to have dinner, go clubbing, go drinking, go strip clubbing, hit an ultra-lounge or three, see a show, do some gambling, ride a roller coaster, or maybe shoot automatic weapons?

Or do you want to really get wild?

You can get a nice package deal with the hotels if you have a large group (sometimes, all you need is a block of five rooms). Hotel rooms, dinner, and entertainment can all be arranged, contact the group sales manager.

Rent a limo or party bus if you want to travel around, beyond walking distance. There are companies that can arrange the whole evening, just know that they are probably getting “kickbacks” from the party venues. NOTE: Be sure to shop around, negotiate for the best deal and extras, and always check safety and consumer reports before booking with any company!

You are on your own for strippers, escorts, hookers and “party favors”.

Good luck and be safe!

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MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Vegas Sunset Through a Green Metal Screen at the MGM Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Dinner & Show: Thai Food at Chan Dara & “Dreamgirls” @ the Met Theater in Hollywood

Friday 12-April-2013

Drove the 101 Freeway into Hollywood (no traffic!) and picked up my friend Jessica on a warm Friday evening for dinner and a show.  Reservation for 6:45pm at House of Chan Dara (Larchmont) and a lovely Thai food meal ahead.

A quick car ride and a short walk after self parking on Larchmont, we arrived at our destination:

House of Chan Dara - 310 North Larchmont, Hollywood

House of Chan Dara – 310 North Larchmont, Hollywood

ChandaraPIC

We were both hungry, and I didn’t take the food pics until after we had both eaten, so apologies (or not, because it was delicious) and imagine the plates with even more food!

We shared a tasty chicken satay with peanut sauce appetizer (4 skewers),

Chicken satay with peanut sauce  appetizer (4 skewers)

Chicken satay with peanut sauce appetizer (4 skewers)

a spicy beef panang which was delicious but the meat was just a little overcooked,

Spicy Beef Panang

Spicy Beef Panang

a great plate of chicken and shrimp pad thai noodles,

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai Noodles

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai Noodles

and an order of yummy sweet and crispy mee krob.

Crispy and Sweet Mee Krob

Sweet and Crispy Mee Krob

I had a Thai iced tea with no cream and Jessica had a glass of red wine.

My friend Jessica Jolly is a very talented actor/standup comedian/writer/producer/director and currently be seen in “The Broad Casters – Football for Girls Who Like Football” on Funny or Die: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/cd317b2861/the-broadcasters (NSFW)

Jessica enjoying the sweet and crispy Mee Krob

Jessica enjoying the sweet and crispy Mee Krob for the camera and making me laugh!

The food was fantastic, and it is every time I eat here or at the other Chan Dara (at Cahuenga and Sunset in Hollywood proper) and the price is very reasonable.  Dinner for two (or four if you count the leftovers) with drinks and tip ~$75.  The service is very good, and the portions are big, so we had a lot of leftovers to take home.  But, it wasn’t time to go home yet…

Dreamgirls-postcard-5x7-2-736x1024

My friend Keith Arthur Bolden is starring in “Dreamgirls” at the Met Theater in Hollywood presented by the Doma Theatre Company http://www.domatheatre.com.  He’s a great actor and he absolutely brings it as Jimmy “Thunder” Early along with a very talented cast and chorus.  The LIVE BAND did a fantastic job and rocked the house, with a special shout out to the keyboard player and conductor!  The show is getting rave reviews and has been extended through May 5th.155602_10152737492845584_1320352895_n

View Keith’s IMDB pagehttp://www.imdb.com/name/nm1080768/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

The Met Theater is in East Hollywood, on Oxford, just east of Western, and just north of Santa Monica. Parking is tight but there are two lots that are available for the theater, stack park at Earl Scheib, or park at Catalina Marketplace (enter alley just east of Western off Santa Monica) for $5.

The Met Theater - up the stairs to the Lobby

The Met Theater – up the stairs to the Lobby

The Lobby at the Met is too small for the house and the Box Office is inside and on the far side of the Lobby.  The show was full but not sold out and the lobby was hot and crowded.  Because of some technical difficulties the show started about a half hour late, and the show producers offered free drinks at the bar while we waited.  BRAVO!!!

Technical Difficulties = Free drinks at the bar!

Technical Difficulties = Free drinks at the bar!

Jessica had a glass of red wine and I had a Heineken and we continued talking while we waited.  We went down the stairs to the landing where it wasn’t crowded and hot and it didn’t take very long before they solved the problems and opened the house.

Dreamgirls "Stage" Set at the Met- preshow

Dreamgirls split-level “Stage” Set at the Met – preshow

The show was worth the wait!  It was well staged and wonderfully choreographed.  The music was performed live and the band rocked the house.  The lead actors were extremely talented and gave strong performances. The large chorus did a great job acting as supporting characters and executing the large musical numbers.  The singing and dancing was very well executed, and the staging was creative and entertaining.  The production value was amazing!  The set and lighting design was very effective.  The period wigs were hilarious!  And the costumes were absolutely fantastic!  Special congratulations go to the costume designer  and director for a job well done.

My friend Keith was terrific!  I had only seen him do heavy, dramatic material prior to this show and was pleasantly suprised to see him sing and dance as well as act.  He had the  entire audience cheering as he sang “Jimmy Wants More!” so it’s not just a biased opinion.  I was again reminded of how many talented people there are in Los Angeles, who perform in smaller theaters every weekend while chasing the Hollywood dream.  The show was fun but wasn’t perfect.  The performances were mixed,  with some actors not as strong as the leads.  And the show was long, with the first act running 90 minutes and the second act running almost an hour with a brief intermission.  Overall it was an entertaining and exciting piece of musical theater with a very talented cast, and at a caliber not often seen in a smaller theater space. Check out the reviews and go see it!

Watch a preview  of “Dreamgirls” at the Met on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyA7MqoogTw

We waited for Keith after the show, thanked him for the tickets and congratulated him and other members of the cast.  It’s always good when you see someone you know perform and it’s great (not so good when it’s not good).  We talked for awhile and after saying goodnight and a fast walk to the car, I drove Jessica home and then headed back to the valley.  It was a very fun night!