Dead & Co. Summer Tour 2016 – On The Road (again)!

Dead & Co. Summer Tour 2016 – On The Road (again)!

Dead & Company headlined Sunday, June 12th at Bonnaroo 2016 in Manchester, Tennessee and are now on the road for a two month summer tour!

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Dead&Co. LIVE at Bonnaroo – Photo Credit: Brande Jackson

The two sets from Sunday were livestreamed via Bonnaroo website and Redbull TV. Most of the live streaming coverage over the weekend was unwatchable because of connection problems, but the Dead&Co. stream we watched was mostly smooth. There were also a few livestreams from the audience on Periscope broadcast during the show.

Donna Jean joined the band onstage for the first time.

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Dead&Co. LIVE at Bonnaroo – Photo Credit: Emilio Roberts

After the encore, at the end of their performance, Bob Weir made a brief personal statement on the Mass Shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida that killed 50 human beings and injured 53 other people and the horrible comments by right-wing hate mongers that followed.

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After referencing Georgia congressman Rick Allen (who said gays were worthy of death) and Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (who said gay Orlando murder victims were reaping what they sow), Bob continued, “Now, I wanna ask a question. How different are these peoples’ world views from the world views of the people with ISIS? It’s the same hatred. They pull those hatreds out of different books.”

Dead & Company SUMMER TOUR 2016!

June 9 Manchester, TN–Bonnaroo
June 10 Charlotte, NC–PNC Music Pavilion
June 16 Cincinnati, OH–Riverbend Music Center
June 17 Noblesville, IN–Klipsch Music Center
June 20 Camden, NJ–BB&T Pavilion
June 21 Saratoga Springs, NY–SPAC
June 23 Bristow, VA–Jiffy Lube Live
June 25 New York, NY–Citi Field
June 26 New York, NY–Citi Field
June 28 Hartford, CT–Xfinity Theatre
July 2 Boulder, CO–Folsom Field
July 3 Boulder, CO–Folsom Field
July 7 Clarkston, MI–DTE Energy Music Theatre
July 9 East Troy, WI–Alpine Valley
July 10 East Troy, WI–Alpine Valley
July 13 Burgettstown, PA–First Niagara Pavilion
July 15 Boston, MA–Fenway Park
July 16 Boston, MA–Fenway Park

ADDED RECENTLY:

Jul. 22  Moda Center Portland, OR United States  
Jul. 23  The Gorge Amphitheatre George, WA United States  
Jul. 26  Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre Irvine, CA, United States  
Jul. 27  Sleep Train Amphitheatre Chula Vista, CA United States  
Jul. 29  Toyota Amphitheatre Wheatland, CA United States  
Jul. 30  Shoreline Amphitheatre Mountain View, CA United States  

 

SET LISTS FROM THE FIRST FOUR SHOWS OF THE TOUR:

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Hey Now! Hey Now! Aiko Aiko All Day!

Throwback Thursday! Four Seasons Westlake Village!

Throwback Thursday! Four Seasons Westlake Village!

Handmade chocolate truffles after lunch. Love the Four Seasons!

Four Seasons Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Four Seasons Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)



Wine Tasting at the Belle Fiore Winery in Ashland Oregon

Wine Tasting at Belle Fiore Winery in Ashland Oregon

To be honest, I was heading for Weisinger’s Winery, but missed it and followed the signs to Belle Fiore Estate & Winery…and I am very glad I did!

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

 

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Beautifully landscaped parking lot

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – the Main Building

I arrived about noon and followed the road up the hill to the Tasting Room, Winery and Restaurant. It’s very pretty and even the parking pot is beautifully landscaped! The main building has the exterior design of a modern Italian Palazzo, with nice classical details.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – the Main Building: Tasting Room, Winery and Restaurant

The interior is also lovely! There is table seating and a wine tasting bar downstairs, and a restaurant upstairs. The first floor also has the winery offices, a private dining/tasting room, restrooms and a kitchen area. The inside space is beautiful and decorated with art.

They have the Belle Arte label and hold an art competition every year, the winner is chosen and their art is featured on all the Belle Arte vintages that year. And artists can show and sell their work in the downstairs space.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Downstairs Tasting Room and Art Gallery

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – the fancy ironwork stairs to the Restaurant upstairs

There was only one other person at the tasting room bar when I arrived. I met my server Dottie, who passed me on the road in her new BMW and had just arrived at work. I would also meet Savannah (aka Sarah from Havana) and Michael while I enjoyed their wine.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – the Wine Tasting Bar downstairs

Tasting Time! They had two tasting menus to choose from, and the wines change weekly and there are substitutions and add ons available. I decided to try the $12 tasting menu with five wines: a sauvignon blanc, a pinot noir, a syrah, a cabernet sauvignon and a muscat canelli. Along the way I also tasted a caprettone, a montepulciano and their recent Gold Medal Award Winner the Numinos red wine blend.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Wine Tasting Time!

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Wine Tasting Menu

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Dottie and Savannah at the Wine Tasting Bar

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Belle Esprit 2014 Caprettone

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – 2014 Sauvignon Blanc

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – 2013 Estate Pinot Noir

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – 2012 Estate Syrah

Their Numinos red wine blend just won a Double Gold Medal Award!

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Numinos 2012 Red Wine Blend – Gold Medal Award Winner

 

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Big Thanks to Dottie, Savannah and Michael for their service, knowledge, stories and personal entertainment. Savannah and Michael are both very talented singers! They were also nice enough to let me plug in my phone charger while I was at the bar.

Bella Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery – 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Belle Arte 2012 Montepulciano

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Belle Esprit 2013 Muscat Canelli

They have a food tasting menu downstairs and a full restaurant upstairs. And I think the restaurant menu is available downstairs as well. I have to thank my new friends Kim and Lynn again for sharing their cheese, bread and charcuterie leftovers with me.

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Downstair Wine Bar Tating Menu

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Bread & Cheese

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Charcuterie Board Leftovers

The wines were EXCELLENT! All of the wines I tasted were absolute winners!

The whites were light, fruity and delicious. I would definitely drink the Caprettone and Sauvignon Blanc. The Muscat Cannelli is an excellent dessert wine.

Their red wines each had distinct qualities and wonderful flavors. The Numinos was exceptional and I “really-really” liked the Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Montepulciano vintages.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Private Dining/TastingRoom

I spent a couple of hours at the bar, tried a lot of wines, and then wandered around the parking lot and building afterwards. It was cloudy, hazy and smoky but I got a few good pictures. The winery is onsite and the loading dock is adjacent to the tasting room.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Winery Loading Dock and Vineyards

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Vineyards

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Vineyards

They have acres of vineyards and the neighbor’s properties make for good pictures.

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Belle Fiore Winery – the view from the parking lot of the neighbors property

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Belle Fiore Winery – the view from the parking lot of the neighbors property

I had a wonderful time and all the wines were great! I would definitely return and want to try the private tour/tasting of the Mansion and eat at the restaurant next time I’m in town.

NOTE: The Private Tour and Tasting available at the Mansion Estate and gardens up the hill includes a tour, a select wine tasting and is fully accessible for Special Needs visitors.  The cost for the Private experience is $25 per person for a group of 1-8 guests.

They are licensed to ship wine to CA, NY, WA, NV and CO. They will also pack your purchase for shipping and you can ship it yourself as “perishable food” (don’t tell them it’s wine) if they don’t ship to your home state.

Belle Fiore Estate & Winery 955 Dead Indian Memorial Road, Ashland, Oregon 541-552-4900  www.bellefiorewine.com

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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St. Paul’s Reunion in San Francisco – June 2014

At last! Here’s the Blog about the St. Paul’s Reunion in San Francisco in June 2014!

Throwback Thursday! My post from last week was the St. Paul’s Reunion Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco. I realized that I never finished the Blog about the weekend gathering in the city of old friends from the Renaissance Faire.

The reunion was a year ago. The pictures needed to be posted and the story need to be told. Actually there are a lot more pictures, some have been seen here on my Blog before, others were previously posted on facebook and Twitter, and still others will remain hidden from the eyes of both friends and strangers alike. There’s also more to the story, but those sordid details will have to remain private to protect the innocent (and not so innocent).


First, a little history:

St. Paul's Ringout at the Renaissance Faire - Agoura 1983

Guild of St. Paul’s – Ringout at the Renaissance Faire – Agoura 1983

Once upon a time, back in the 1980’s, there were a group of friends who all worked at the Renaissance Faire and Dickens’ Christmas Faire. They were street actors and members of the Guild of St. Paul’s (the thieves’ guild) and their close friends. Eventually, many would join the CREW and/or find other gigs at the Faire, but the bonds of friendship built during the “Crazy 80s” always remained strong. Over the years, some of the members moved away, disappeared or died. And so it was that a reunion was planned for June of 2014 in San Francisco.

Castle St. Paul in Pig's Gulch - Agoura 1983

Castle St. Paul in Pig’s Gulch – Agoura 1983

Great weekend in San Francisco with old friends!

Highlights of the festivities included Lunch at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf, Sushi Dinner in the Omakase Room at Yoshi’s, the “Pub Crawl” (Limo ride with stops at Smuggler’s Cove, Knuckles at the Wharf, the Pig & Whistle, and Tommy’s Joynt), Coffee at Sugar Cafe and a Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s on Union.

Friends came from New York, Indiana, Delaware, Arizona, northern and southern California to attend this long overdue reunion of the Guild of St. Paul’s from the Renaissance Faire!

San Francisco Civic Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Francisco Civic Center – San Francisco City Hall (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I drove into the city of San Francisco on a beautiful Saturday morning, and after a stop downtown at the Civic Center, the California Statue and United Nations Plaza, I headed for Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 to meet my old friends.

California Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

California Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Simon Bolivar Statue in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Read my previous Blog about the Simon Bolivar Statue>> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1eH

Saturday at Fisherman’s Wharf!

After spending time walking around Grosvernor’s Square and the Civic Center, I drove down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Probably the most touristy thing you can do on a Saturday in San Francisco! There was a lot of traffic and a lot of tourists. Oh, and PARKING SUCKS!!!

Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

RANT!!! PARKING SUCKS! TRAFFIC SUCKS! Let me repeat: PARKING SUCKS!

There is a parking structure at Pier 39 but it costs a lot to park! They do have discounts and “first hour free” type offers on certain days. But, IT WILL TAKE YOU 30 MINUTES TO PARK and at least 30 MINUTES TO GET OUT OF THE PARKING STRUCTURE….SO DON’T DO IT! There is metered parking nearby and it costs a lot too. (~$4-8 per hour).  Park for free or for a reasonable rate far away and then take the trolley, bus or a shuttle.

p.s. There are huge crowds on weekends, visit midweek for a less crowded experience.

NOTE: Driving in San Francisco has gotten impossible! What’s with all the traffic and construction? People just stop and double park in lanes of traffic with cars behind them. Trucks double park and triple park to make deliveries. Pedestrians walk right in front of oncoming traffic and take their time crossing in front of cars. $10 per hour to park at meter? $30+ to park overnight? Just a driving nightmare, I don’t recommend it.


Meet at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf

After the parking experience, I walked down to Pier 39. The views of the city and the bay from the parking structure bridge were wonderful in all directions!

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 & Alcatraz Island - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf & Alcatraz Island – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

We met on Pier 39, and after 20+ years, at first, even in the “age of facebook”, it was a shock to see young friends grown old, in person.

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Late Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. at Pier 39

Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

We decided to get drinks at Bubba Gump’s, and after grabbing a couple tables in the bar, and avoiding the line of waiting tourists, Anchor Steam Beer and Maker’s Mark shots were consumed to begin the party! Soon, we were joined by more old friends, food and more drinks were ordered and consumed, friendships were renewed, and we made a few new friends with the restaurant’s staff.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 – San Francisco

Meeting up with old friends after 20+ years at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39

Lunch & Drinks at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Beer and Maker's Mark at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Beer and Maker’s Mark at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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Getting Animated at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 – San Francisco

Making friends with our waiter at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Making friends with our waiter at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Making friends with our waitress at Bubba Gump's at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Making friends with our waitress at Bubba Gump’s at Pier 39 in San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Pier 39 – San Francisco

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Pier 3939 Pier, San Francisco CA 94124 415-781-4867

We walked back to the parking structure and found the car. As previously mentioned, it took forever to get out of the lot and it was really expensive to park for a short time! It is definitely another example of the City of San Francisco “fleecing the tourist” at every opportunity. We spent a few hundred dollars on lunch, drinks and souvenirs and then got taxed again on the way out!

Wyland at Pier 39 - San Francisco

Wyland at Pier 39 Parking Structure Bridge at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

View from Parking Structure Bridge at Pier 39 - San Francisco

View from Parking Structure Bridge at Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco

Coit Tower, TransAmerica Building and San Francisco

Coit Tower, TransAmerica Building & San Francisco Cityscape from Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf


As I mentioned previously, driving in the city is impossible, even for a native of Los Angeles  who has driven in the worst traffic imaginable. It took a really long time just to make a right turn out of Fisherman’s Wharf. There is no pedestrian or traffic control and there are just too many people and cars on a Saturday afternoon. I almost lost my mind trying to get to the hotel and then found a parking lot down the street, around the corner and down an alley near the hotel. After negotiating the “cash” rate with the attendant ($30 overnight – THAT’S CHEAP in SF!), I grabbed my bag and walked to the Hotel Beresford on Sutter, wondering if my car would still be there tomorrow.

Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

Hotel Beresford on Sutter – San Francisco

Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

Hotel Beresford – San Francisco

My friend made the reservations and I was invited to share the room, and to be honest I really had no previous experience or knowledge about the hotel.

We checked in, went up to the room, rested a little and then got ready for dinner at Yoshi’s and the “Pub Crawl” to follow. Requested (optional) dinner attire: wear a Hawaiian shirt!

Hotel Beresford  635 Sutter St, San Francisco CA 94102 415-673-9900

Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

Hotel Beresford –  Welcome to San Francisco!

The White Horse Restaurant & Pub at the Hotel Beresford - San Francisco

The White Horse Restaurant & Pub – San Francisco

We called for a cab and taxied over to the restaurant, another experience in San Francisco that’s different from anywhere else. You just put your life in someone else’s hands and hope you arrive at your destination.

Taxi!

Taxi POV! Put you life in someone else’s hands in the city of San Francisco…



As scheduled, the gang regrouped at Yoshi’s for dinner, and we were joined by more friends who hadn’t made it to the gathering at Pier 39. Dinner, drinks and dessert were enjoyed and a very good time was had by all.

Read Dinner at Yoshi’s (right click open in new window) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi's - San Francisco

Dinner in the glass Omakase Room at Yoshi’s – San Francisco

Dinner at Yoshi's in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at Yoshi’s in S.F. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Read Dinner at Yoshi’s (right click open in new window) http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1ba

Yoshi’s – 1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco 94115

NOTE: Yoshi’s in San Francisco is now CLOSED, Yoshi’s in Oakland is still open.



Limo and “Pub Crawl” – Saturday Night in San Francisco!

After dinner, there was a shiny stretch Limousine waiting for us outside the restaurant.

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

Inside the Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

It was “close quarters” inside the limo but we all fit. The plan for the “Pub Crawl” was not mine. I was just along for the ride and it was great fun! The limo was fully stocked and had music and LED lights. It was like riding through the streets of San Francisco in a VIP booth filled with friends with bottle service at a trendy nightclub.

Map of St. Paul's Pub Crawl on 22 June 2014

Map of St. Paul’s Pub Crawl on 22 June 2014

Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

Inside the Limo! Let the Pub Crawl begin!

Our first stop was the world famous Smuggler’s Cove! One of the best bars in America, or so they say, I couldn’t tell you because it’s a tiny 3 level Tiki bar that packs them in like sardines. It was still very early and light outside, but the place was absolutely filled with too many humans…and then they let all of us in too. We made our way to the bar, but a few of us just couldn’t hang with the lack of seating (due to injuries and old age) and a lack of personal space.

Smuggler’s Cove – 650 Gough St, San Francisco CA 94102 415-869-1900

Smuggler's Cove - San Francisco

Smuggler’s Cove – San Francisco

Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco

Very Crowded at Smuggler’s Cove (at the bar) – San Francisco

Another limo ride and we reached our second stop Knuckles at the Wharf, at the Hyatt. I’m told it’s a great sports bar, but it was pretty empty on Saturday night. We sat at a long table in the “dining area” and ordered drinks from the waiter. It was really nice to be able to talk with my old friends and catch up on the past 20 years (a little).

Knuckles at the Wharf – 555 North Point St, San Francisco CA 94133 415-486-4340

Knuckle's at the Wharf in San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf in San Francisco

Knuckle's at the Wharf - San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf (at the bar)  – San Francisco

Knuckle's at the Wharf - San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf – San Francisco

Knuckle's at the Wharf - San Francisco

Knuckles at the Wharf – San Francisco

Stoli on the Rocks with a lime

Stoli on the Rocks with a lime at Knuckles at the Wharf

After a round (or two) of cocktails, and some good fun, we called for the limo. We all agreed that Knuckles was very nice, but too nice for our purposes and so we instructed our Driver to take us to our next stop, the Pig & Whistle!

“Get in the Limo!” at Knuckles at the Wharf in San Francisco

Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

Inside the Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

The Pig & Whistle is a dark place with an English Pub theme and it was a perfect place for our third stop. We took command of a few tables and ordered the next round of drinks from our hippie waiter. We took a few group pictures and got a little bit “wild”. We were also forced to remind one of our friends PLEASE NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

The Pig & Whistle – 2801 Geary Blvd, San Francisco CA 94118 415-885-4779

The Pig & Whistle - San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle – San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle - San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle – San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle - San Francisco

The Pig & Whistle – San Francisco

Please, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

Please, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

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SERIOUSLY, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!

After more drinks and fun, around midnight we all climbed back in the limo and rode to our next stop. By this time, it seemed like we had been driving in circles all over the city and it turns out we had!

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! Our designated driver for the Pub Crawl

Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

Limo! The Pub Crawl continues!

Back in the Limo after drinks at the Pig & Whistle

Back in the Limo after more drinks at the Pig & Whistle

After dinner, drinks, three stops, and another limo ride we arrived at our fourth stop, Tommy’s Joynt! Late night-early morning drinks and food were on the menu. There’s a full bar on one side and an order & pickup restaurant on the other side of the main room. It’s pretty well known for it’s sandwiches and other tasty food and for being open very late.

We got our food and took over a few tables in the upstairs dining area. I had a meaty pastrami sandwich, which I remember was really good. We had some more fun and made a little trouble, but not so much as you’d notice…because we’ve all gotten old and mellow.

After a leisurely meal and some serious (drunk) conversation, we called for the limo and took a few more group pictures before stumbling back in to our rolling disco lounge.

Tommy’s Joynt – 1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco CA 94109 415-775-4216

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt after midnight – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt (at the bar) after midnight – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt – the “carving station” from upstairs – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Tommy’s Joynt – San Francisco

Tommy's Joynt - San Francisco

Upstairs at Tommy’s Joynt – San Francisco

Best Pastrami Sandwich in San Francisco at Tommy's Joynt

Best Pastrami Sandwich in San Francisco at Tommy’s Joynt

Selfie with Pastrami Sandwich at Tommy's Joynt

Selfie with Pastrami Sandwich at Tommy’s Joynt

St. Paul's Reunion in San Francisco

St. Paul’s Reunion Saturday Night “Pub Crawl” in San Francisco – A good time was had by all!

Return to the Hotel Beresford

Limo back to the Hotel!

Limo back to the Hotel Beresford!

We dropped almost everyone off at their different hotels on the way back to the Hotel Beresford. We enjoyed the amenities and the space inside the limo as our friends departed along the way. I’m not sure exactly what time the rest of us finally got back to the hotel, but there was a lot of noise on the street from the crowd leaving the club and pub up the block. We paid and tipped our driver (who did a really great job running us all over the city on a Saturday night), collected our belongings and stumbled upstairs to our rooms. The street noise was clearly audible in our hotel room, but it didn’t matter.

Limo back to the Hotel!

Limo back to the Hotel Beresford!

And so a great time was had by all on our San Francisco Saturday night adventure. Everyone got home safe and just a little worse for wear. Good food was eaten and many drinks were imbibed. Our 30+ year friendship was renewed in person and there was much shared fun and mischief throughout the evening.

“May the Four Winds Blow Them Safely Home”  

NOTE: Missing friends were mentioned and remembered. Some are MIA, some were not able to make the reunion, and unfortunately others have passed on. The recent loss of a couple of our friends is one of the reasons this party was planned. Throughout the night, there were bittersweet moments as we toasted absent friends and friends we’ve lost.

The Guild of St. Paul's - Agoura 1982

The Guild of St. Paul’s – Agoura 1982


SUNDAY! SUNDAY! (the morning after)

Sunday morning I woke up too early! We packed our stuff and checked out of the hotel. I walked my bag back to my car, which was where I parked two blocks away at Cosmo and Ophir. I could have valet parked at the hotel for $27, but then you don’t know where they put your car. Our friends Erik and Sharon were late to brunch because they had to file a police report…the valet at a different hotel allegedly stole Erik’s Bluetooth from the car when he parked it.

On Sutter in San Francisco

On Sutter in San Francisco

On Sutter in San Francisco

On Sutter in San Francisco

Urban Blight! In the space of two blocks, I passed four or five seriously “homeless” people. Desperate, dirty, drug addicted and mentally damaged humans who now claim a piece of sidewalk as home. The walls along the major streets as well as the alleys were covered in graffiti and they were just dirty and littered with trash. It made me sad.

Graffiti in San Francisco

Urban blight! Graffiti tags on the (repainted) walls in San Francisco

Then we met up for Coffee and Espresso at Sugar Cafe, just up the street from the hotel, before getting a couple taxis to drive us to brunch.

Sugar Cafe - San Francisco

Sugar Cafe – San Francisco

Coffee and Strudel and Sugar Cafe in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Coffee and Strudel and Sugar Cafe in San Francisco (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Morning After! Coffee at Sugar Cafe

The Morning After! Coffee at Sugar Cafe in San Francisco

Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s

Perry's - San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union – San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco!

At 11:40am we all taxied over to Perry’s on Union for our Brunch reservation at noon.

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s (at the bar) in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

Jones, Party of 10! We were taken to the back room and seated without waiting again. I brought a bottle of champagne to the reunion, and since we didn’t drink it in the limousine the night before, we brought it with us to the restaurant. There’s was a $15 corkage fee, and we spent another $12 on fresh squeezed orange juice in little teapots, so we all had MIMOSAS with brunch!

St. Paul's Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco June '14

St. Paul’s Reunion – Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco – June ’14

Champagne Brunch - Mimosas all around

Sunday Champagne Brunch at Perry’s on Union – Mimosas all around!

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

Sunday Brunch at Perry's in San Francisco

“The Bird” at Sunday Brunch at Perry’s in San Francisco

On The Menu: I had eggs benedict with their special bacon instead of ham/canadian bacon and shared a fruit plate with a couple friends. My brunch included potatos and I also ate one of my friend’s side of toast with butter and jam because they didn’t want it.

Egg's Benedict for Sunday Brunch at Perry's on Union in San Francisco

Eggs Benedict for Sunday Brunch at Perry’s on Union in San Francisco

Perry’s Restaurant – 1944 Union St, San Francisco CA 94123 415-922-9022

After Brunch we taxied back to the Hotel, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I walked over to The Pub on Sutter on the corner, had a beer and waited for the World Cup game to start.

Pub on the Corner - San Francisco

The Pub on Sutter on the corner – San Francisco

Pub on the Corner - San Francisco

Watching the World Cup at the Pub on Sutter on the corner – San Francisco

After the game I jumped in the car, made my way through traffic and drove out of the city and back south towards San Jose.

THE END!

THE END!

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Three Great Adventures in Los Angeles near UCLA!

Three great adventures in Los Angeles near UCLA!

“Can you recommend a 5-hour round trip from LA to see the most sites? My husband and I will be visiting our son and his wife at UCLA in October from Alabama. While they are busy during the day, we would like to venture either north or south, preferably on the PCH to see some of California. In addition, we would love to find an interesting boutique or historic hotel to stay in near the UCLA campus.” ~ Nancy M. from Birmingham, Alabama

UCLA is in Westwood. Stay at the W Hotel Los Angeles in Westwood!

Five hours (round trip) is not a lot of time and Los Angeles is a very big place. Here are three great adventures near UCLA:

1. Santa Monica and Venice Beach

Santa Monica Pier Sign at Ocean Blvd

Santa Monica Pier Sign at Ocean Blvd

I recommend you head to Santa Monica (you can take a drive down Wilshire to San Vicente through Brentwood and do some shopping on Montana Avenue). Walk the Third Street Promenade, Palisades Park, and the Santa Monica Pier. Do some shopping at Santa Monica Place and have lunch at one of the many restaurants down by Santa Monica State Beach or head south on Pacific Coast Hwy to Venice Beach. Have lunch at one of the many restaurants there and visit the Venice Beach Boardwalk, Main Street and Abbot Kinney Blvd. If you have time drive into Marina Del Rey and have a drink at the The Ritz-Carlton.

A Nice Day in Marina del Rey (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

A Nice Day in Marina del Rey (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Take the 10 freeway or the Marina freeway back to the 405 freeway north, exit Wilshire Blvd east and you’ll be back in Westwood.

*One more quick note: You can also visit the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades-Malibu as a great side trip from Santa Monica. The Getty Villa houses a fantastic collection of ancient Greco-Roman art and sculpture! It’s FREE but you need to make reservations. http://www.getty.edu/visit/villa/ ___________________________________________________________________

2. Century City and Beverly Hills

Century Towers - Century City, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Century Towers – Century City, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Park at the Westfield Century City Mall in Century City, CA. There’s lots of shopping (including Bloomingdale’s), restaurants and the AMC Century City 15 movie theater. Take a walk into Century City (follow the people in suits going back to work) and visit the CAA building (aka “The Deathstar”), the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza (also a great place to stay), and the Century Towers and Plaza.

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel - Century City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel – Century City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There’s more shopping and even better restaurants there (Craft is Tom Colicchio’s steak place). Be sure to visit the shops underground at the Twin Towers! Century City also has the The Annenberg Space for Photography (FREE!) and a few other art galleries. There are fantastic buildings and lots of hidden things to see if you just walk around during the day. Here’s a link to a list of museums and other info for the area (Westwood-Century City): http://centurycity.patch.com/directory/art-galleries

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Rodeo Drive from the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

You can also drive to Beverly Hills and visit Rodeo Drive, there’s mega-shopping and wide variety of some of LA’s finest restaurants: Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen, Mastro’s Steakhouse, Spago Beverly Hills, Il Pastaio, Il Cielo, Fogo de Chao, Matsuhisa, Lawry’s the Prime Rib, The Farm of Beverly Hills, and many others! in addition to the The W Hotel Los Angeles – Westwood, the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills is a great boutique hotel and they have a wonderful restaurant, where you can dine indoors or outdoors in a poolside cabana at Oliverio at Avalon Beverly Hills restaurant.

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Bathtub/Walk-in Shower & view at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

and The InterContinental Los Angeles Century City Hotel, the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, the Montage Beverly Hills, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel, Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive, Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, London West Hollywood Hotel, Mondrian Hotel- Hollywood and Chateau Marmont are a few of the finest luxury hotels in the city.

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

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

Each hotel has at least one amazing restaurant and/or bar: 24/7 Diner and the Cactus Lounge/Pool at the Standard, Scarpetta and the Scarpetta Bar (and the hidden whiskey lounge Ten Pound by The Macallan), On Sunset @ Luxe Hotel (amazing Sunday Brunch!), LIVELLO, Culina, Modern Italian @CulinaLA, Tres by José Andrés, Saam at The Bazaar by José Andrés, On Rodeo Bistro Lounge, The Rooftop Grill, the Parq Bar, and Cut (Wolfgang Puck’s steak house) to name just a few.

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

On Sunset Restaurant Patio at the LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

You must try Stan’s Donuts and Diddy Riese ice cream in Westwood Village And for a quick and tasty Chinese lunch or takeout try Jin Jiang at Santa Monica and Sepulveda. ___________________________________________________________________

3. The Getty Center

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

One more great 5 hour trip from UCLA is a trip to the The Getty Center and it’s FREE! http://www.getty.edu/visit/center/plan/

Getty Center Central Garden (view from museum)

Getty Center Central Garden (view from museum)

From the Getty Center website: “The collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center includes pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; 19th- and 20th-century American, European, and Asian photographs; contemporary and modern sculpture; and Robert Irwin’s Central Garden, designed specifically for the Getty Center….Contemporary and modern sculpture is featured throughout the grounds, including 28 modern and contemporary outdoor sculptures installed at the Getty Center, donated by Fran and Ray Stark.” In addition to the absolutely incredible Permanent Collection, they also have changing exhibitions. Here is the exhibition schedule: http://www.getty.edu/visit/exhibitions/

You won’t be able to see everything in five hours!*

So, take your time and explore two of the four art pavilions, walk the gardens and enjoy the amazing view from above.

Panoramic View of West L.A. from the Getty Center

Panoramic View of West L.A. from the Getty Center

There is food available (but it’s not inexpensive), so you might want to bring a picnic lunch from one of the hotel restaurant I mentioned in my previous post, or from Whole Foods Market in Westwood, or if it’s Thursday the Westwood Village Farmer’s Market. There’s also the lovely Bel-Air Bar & Grill on Sepulveda or On Sunset @ Luxe Hotel for fine dining, either before or after. The Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel is a beautiful property, and I recommend an upstairs room by the pool with a balcony if available.

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

“Josh, these suggestions are fantastic—-can’t wait to show them to our kids before they move—-they will love them! I especially appreciate your recommending the Avalon Hotel. We love boutique hotels and this one is very reasonable! We may have to extend the trip and leave the kids behind! Thanks so much!” ~ Nancy M. from Birmingham, Alabama

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Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills

Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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)

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

Earlier tonight I attended the “Buy Tuscany” event at the Italian Cultural Institute in Westwood, CA.  After a quiet January, it’s time to get out and network again!

It was overcast and foggy, with intermitten rain, in the San Fernando Valley today.  So after a nice drive over Mulholland Drive, Sepulveda Boulevard and then on the 405 to Wilshire…

First, a few pics from the drive over the hill through the billion dollar clusterf*ck that is the construction on the 405 freeway through the Sepulveda Pass:

New Mulholland Bridge over the 405 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

New Mulholland Bridge over the 405 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Remember “Carmaggeddon”?  Well here is the finished Mulholland Bridge that was widened and retrofitted! NOTE HOW TWO LANES BECOME ONE LANE BEFORE THE BRIDGE AND THEN WIDEN TO TWO LANES AGAIN ON THE BRIDGE…it totally defeats the purpose of widening the bridge, and you can’t turn right on a red light at the light.

Sepulveda Blvd (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sepulveda Blvd south (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sepulveda Boulevard at 2:30pm on a Thursday, once you get past the closed right lane at the top of the hill (where two lanes turn left and then have to merge into one lane again) and the new freeway onramp (where the cars in the right lane have to get in the left turn lane) is still a great drive.  Note the huge retaining walls along the freeway….will they hold?

Sepulveda Blvd (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sepulveda Blvd (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Traffic Tip: Get on the 405 south at Getty Center, because you never know what traffic will be like on Sepulveda at Moraga, Church and Montana! Again note the retaining wall….

Getty Center 405 Freeway Onramp (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Getty Center 405 Freeway Onramp (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

405 Freeway (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Thursday 2:40pm on the 405 Freeway south approaching Sunset, just wait until rush hour.  Note the massive Getty Center on the top of the hill.

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Exit the 405 at Wilshire on the brand new ramp that is exactly the same as the old ramp, only longer and now one lane again.  NOTE THAT THEY DIDN’T CHANGE THE EXIT AT WILSHIRE SO TRAFFIC STILL BACKS UP ONTO THE FREEWAY AT PEAK HOURS.

405 Freeway New Wilshire Blvd Offramp (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

405 Freeway New Wilshire Blvd Offramp (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

AND THEY DIDN’T FIX THE INTERSECTION AT SEPULVEDA AND WILSHIRE (the busiest intersection in the western United States) and the construction continues….

Under the 405 on Wilshire east at Sepulveda (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Under the 405 on Wilshire Blvd east at Sepulveda (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

So, I made it to Westwood in good time and arrived early enough to navigate traffic on Wilshire and in Westwood.  I parked in the parking structure next to the Italian Cultural Institute for FREE! The parking guys let me park my own car because I told them I didn’t want to leave the key (I also didn’t want anyone “stack” parking or moving my car). Parking was complimentary for a limited number of guests, so thank you Tourism Italia!

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

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

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

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

It began to drizzle a little after 3pm, so I checked in and sat inside on the red ultra moderne designer couch with a few other early arrivees in the reception area until they opened the Trade Show at 3:30pm.  Note the beautiful Italian marble patio!  It’s a great event space, but unfortunately it rained just enough to make it wet and slippery and they had to change the setup at the last minute.

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

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

The first order of business was the Trade Show.  Meeting with Vendors and Suppliers from Tuscany, the format was sort of a “one-on-one” format for more than one person.  Most of the Vendors were represented by two people and even early on, it was more than two people on my side of the table.  I paired up with one of my co-workers for the presentations at the beginning, but eventually had to go it alone, because of the format. There was a lot of room noise and some of the suppliers had thick Italian accents, so it was very hard to hear the presentations.  I managed to meet everyone, see what they had to offer, exchange business cards and collected a big bag of collateral material from the hotels, tour operators, wineries and other exhibitors.

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

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

Finished with the circle tour of the trade show, I had some coffee, dropped the bag of information in my car, and found a chair in the library to sit in while I waited for cocktail hour to begin.  There was limited seating to begin with, and because of the weather everyone who finished also was waiting inside, so having a seat was “groovy”.

Cocktail hour at last! Prosecco, Tuscan red wine and tray passed appetizers: shrimp, rare beef on toast, and tomato pomodoro soup in little square plastic cups.  I did some networking, drank some Prosecco and ate some hor d’ourves.

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

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

Cocktail hour in the Library

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

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

The next order of business was a very nice presentation in the theatre.  There were introductions, informative speeches, videos of beautiful Tuscany, expressions of thanks and gratitude, a musical performance and a drawing for some very nice prizes.

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

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

Then the Dinner Buffet was served.  On the menu: sausage and peppers, polenta with mushrooms and cheese, pasta with red sauce, fava, bruschetta, toasted bread and breadsticks.  More Prosecco and Tuscan wine was served, but instead I had still bottled water with my food.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And following the food, there was coffee and mini tiramisu for dessert (not pictured)

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

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

It was a long event 3:30-8:30pm (5 hours plus travel time), but it was well managed (even with the weather adjustments) and informative.  The food was good and the presentation was entertaining.  Overall, it was a pretty nice event and now I want to visit Tuscany!

I thanked my hosts, said goodbye to my friends and co-workers, and drove my car out of the parking lot back to the 405.  There was traffic on Wilshire, traffic getting on the 405 at Wilshire, traffic on the 405 freeway and the Skirball exit was closed.  Nevertheless, I made back to the valley in about a half hour, posted on facebook, and wrote this blog.  Hope you enjoyed my afternoon and evening.  Thanks for reading!!!  Grazie!  Tutte bene!

 

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23-JUL-13: Mt. Shasta from the 5 freeway

Mt. Shasta from the 5 freeway.  Road Trip Pic! Going south in California.

Mt. Shasta from the 5 freeway

Mt. Shasta from the 5 freeway (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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22-JUL-13: 101 Freeway south

101 Freeway south – FULL BLOG TO COME.

101 Freeway south

101 Freeway south (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Back from my road trip and travels to San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Pacifica and Ashland, Oregon! Back to work today in L.A.!

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17-JUL-13: Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Which would you choose?

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Comedy or Tragedy?  That is the question!

I saw King Lear.

The Green Show with Dirty Cello (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Green Show with Dirty Cello (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Green Show with Dirty Cello (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Green Show with Dirty Cello (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Showtime! Thomas Theatre - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Showtime! Thomas Theatre – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

 

"King Lear" at the Thomas Theatre (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

“King Lear” at the Thomas Theatre (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Oregon Shakespeare Festival: osfashland.org

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