California Sky!


California sky,
Golden sunset in the west.
Why live anywhere else?

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California Sky! Sunset Over the Sepulveda Reservoir 

 

Just another beautiful day in paradise……

All photos and poetry copyright 2018 JoshWillTravel

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Monday Sunset in the SFV!

Monday Sunset in the SFV! (San Fernando Valley, California)

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Just another beautiful day in paradise……

All photos copyright 2018 JoshWillTravel

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INKTOBER! Hey it’s Rocktober too!

INKTOBER!
Holy Sh*t it’s October 2018!

31 Days 31 Drawings. Every October artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge and do one ink drawing a day the entire month.

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Thought we would play along today.
So here’s a quick doodle for Inktober
1. Poisonous (Uniball on paper)
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October 1st is National Vegetarian Day.

 

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September 29th was National Coffee Day!

COFFEE TIME! Read the Blog Post>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/coffee-time/

Hey it’s Rocktober too!
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And right now it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers V. the Colorado Rockies for the MLB National League West division pennant. You know it gonna happen. The BOYCOTT continues!

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UPDATE: Dodgers win 5-2 – Win 6th straight NL West Division Champs! The NL playoff schedule is set: Dodgers host the Atlanta Braves in Division Series Game 1 on Thursday, The Rockies travel to Chicago and play the Cubs in a wild-card playoff game tomorrow!

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Go Cubs! Go!

p.s. There’s still plenty of time for the Dodgers to choke….
READ OUR PREVIOUS BLOG POSTS! 

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Wabbit. Wabbit.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Blackout/Boycott Continues in 2018!

The Los Angeles Dodgers Blackout/Boycott Continues in 2018!

Go ahead and spend BIG Money on tickets, parking, food and merchandise. Or choose Time-Warner/Spectrum/SportsNet and pay BIG Money for the privilege to watch the games on television in your home. The Los Angeles Dodgers will let you down again!

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Boycott! Posted on facebook April 6, 2015

I’m quoted by Steve Lopez in today’s (5-20-2018) Sunday LA Times California section about the Dodgers’ Blackout/Boycott:

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L.A. Times Sunday California Section 5-20-2018

“In Encino, Josh Weisel is no longer a Dodgers fan, after 50 years of loyalty to the team, and he is convinced he knows the reason for the Dodgers horrible start this season. ‘It’s Karma’ said Weisel, who is in direct communication with the baseball gods. ‘It’s a curse on the Dodgers, and they won’t win until the fans can watch the games again.’

“In Encino, Josh Weisel said he’s got plenty of entertainment options and the Dodgers are no longer one of them.”

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L.A. Times Sunday California Section 5-20-2018 continued

Read the Blog Post that started it all> https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/boycott-the-los-angeles-dodgers-and-time-warner-cable/
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Actually this Blog Post started it all> https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/there-is-no-joy-in-mudville-the-dodgers-have-struck-out-again/

choke-dodgers

 

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And we miss Vin Scully too!

 

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“Go Cubs! Go!”

Miss Donuts in Reseda, California

Miss Donuts in Reseda, California

Filming location for “Boogie Nights”

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Just another Donut store in the San Fernando Valley? Yes, and NO!
It was the location for the climatic scene in the film “Boogie Nights” where Don Cheadle’s character Buck Swope is caught in the middle of a robbery and shootout.

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And they have really tasty Donuts and Pastries!

On The Menu: DONUTS! Chocolate custard filled, chocolate bar, raspberry jelly filled, a cinnamon roll and a Napoleon pastry “to go”.

Miss Donuts – 18231 Sherman Way, Reseda, California (west of Lindley)

All photos copyright 2018 JoshWillTravel

Use the links below to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
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Don Cheadle in “Boogie Nights” (not my pic)

And time to eat the donuts…

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Donuts from Miss Donuts in Reseda, California

 

ROAD TRIP to Ashland, Oregon!

ROAD TRIP to Ashland, Oregon! Ten Days “On The Road” and on a mission.

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Cold Rain and Snow! Ashland, Oregon 3-14-18

Los Angeles, California to Ashland, Oregon and now WE ARE BACK!

NOTE: The road trip happened in early March with the threat of winter weather in the north and in the Siskiyou Pass into Oregon, so we had to time our travel and hope for good weather on both sides.

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Monday Morning Road Trip! Los Angeles to Ashland (670 miles) in 10 hours! Instead of stopping, we decided to make a straight shot on Interstate 5 (via the 405 freeway) to stay ahead of the winter weather in the Siskiyou Pass…

A long, beautiful, uneventful drive north with the intent to get there as soon as possible while driving as safe as possible. “No tickets, no accidents, and no encounters with law enforcement” makes for a good trip. We stopped for gas and to stretch our legs (and other business) along the way, and arrived in Oregon in only 10 hours!

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Tejon Pass, California

NOTE: This Blog Post was delayed again because of technical issues. Our primary computer crashed recently and it had the transferred pics ready to upload.

 

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Mt. Shasta in the Siskiyou Pass, California (things start getting blurry)

670 miles and ten hours later we were in Ashland, Oregon!

WE LOVE ASHLAND!

There was beautiful weather all week long. It had snowed the week before, there was snow on the mountains, Mt. Ashland ski resort was open for business, and there was even still some snow on the ground the first day. It was cold and windy at night the first couple nights, and it was raining/snowing in the pass, but the weather stayed really nice during the day (sunny and in the 70s) from Ashland to Medford most of the time.

 

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Ashland Creek in Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon

 

Scenes from the Ranch:

 

 

On The Menu in Ashland:

Lunch at Sesame Asian Kitchen in Ashland

Dinner at The Loft in Ashland
NY steak & prawns, fries, veggies, caesar salad, tuna tartare, bread & butter, an excellent 1993 Southing Sea Smoke pinot noir, and a coke
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Pizza (take-out) from Kaleidoscope Pizza in Medford
Lunch (take-out) from Arby’s
Lunch (take-out soups) from Olive Garden

BBQ Tri-Tip Sandwiches for Dinner at the Ranch
Pasta and Meatballs with cheesy bread and a coke for Dinner at the Ranch
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Pizza and Champagne Dinner at the Ranch with friends
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Ice Cream from Grater’s in Cincinnati, Ohio (via UPS)
pints of black raspberry chocolate chip, cherry chocolate chip,
salted caramel chocolate chip, and chocolate chocolate chip
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Girl Scout Cookies: Tagalongs and Samoas

Dinner (take-out) from La Tapatia in Phoenix (Oregon, not Arizona)
2 chicken street tacos with salsa

Dinner (take-out) from Harvey’s Place in Ashland
roast beef dip sandwich and fries
(Read our previous Blog Post about Harvey’s Place>
)

Sushi Lunch at Bonsai in Medford
sushi, sashimi and cut rolls

Dinner at Beasy’s on the Creek in Ashland
shrimp cocktail, clam chowder, grilled prawns (didn’t eat them, got them “to go”), bread & butter, red wine, a coke, and no dessert thank you

Hand-made Chocolates from Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point

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Oregon Sky 2

 

Walking in Lithia Park on Monday Afternoon (almost alone)
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Ashland Creek in Lithia Park

 

Heading South on Wednesday! Destination: Oakland and then Home!

There was rain and snow in Ashland, in the Siskiyou Pass, and even further south to the Bay Area. And more stormy weather was predicted for Thursday and through the weekend, so when the weather looked clear on Wednesday morning we headed south hoping to get through the pass without incident or chain requirements. It rained a little, it snowed a little, there was a little sleet and then it was clear and beautiful the whole way to Oakland.

We stopped for an hour at the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, California on the I-5.

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Rolling Hills Casino – Corning, California

 

Going south, we had the choice to “stay on or get off?”: stay on and keep going south on the I-5 with Los Angeles as our destination or get off and take the 505 Winters cutoff to the Bay Area with an Oakland stopover as our destination. We almost kept going, but decided to detour west, get a hotel room, have dinner and rest for the night instead.

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San Leandro Bridge and Puffy Clouds 3-14-18

We were going to stay at a hotel in Emeryville where we got off the freeway because East Bay traffic was jammed, but found a good deal on a room at the LaQuinta Inn near the Oakland Airport online and made a same-day reservation through an internet site because it was easy and we were tired. We had Dinner at the Black Bear Diner in Emeryville on Pi Day and tried to connect with a friend who was local via telephone.

On the Menu: Breakfast for dinner.
2 eggs over medium. bacon (with extra bacon), biscuits & gravy, and iced coffee
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and then a small chocolate cream pie “to go”
We enjoyed it with some “free” coffee from the lobby in our hotel room.

 

 

After we ate, we drove over to the La Quinta Inn at the Oakland Airport via surface streets to avoid the freeway traffic and soon arrived at the hotel without too much trouble.
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We checked in, went to the room, unpacked, took a nice hot shower and shaved, and then got dressed to go and meet our friend. But it was too late (almost 8:30pm) so we got undressed and ate some of our pie and quickly fell asleep.

Thursday 7am: Leftover Pie and a Continental Breakfast!

On the Menu (a nice continental breakfast at the hotel): scrambled eggs, bagel with cream cheese, cornflakes and milk, and coffee. We also took a banana, an apple, 2 blueberry muffins, and a bagel with peanut butter and jelly for the road trip home. We also enjoyed the leftover chocolate cream pie and some canned pineapple juice before breakfast.

Thursday 11am: On The Road Again!
I-5 south (via 580) Oakland to Los Angeles

The LaQuinta loyalty program offers a late check-out to guests, so we could have stayed until 1pm. Instead we enjoyed the “free” breakfast, packed our bags, and loaded the car The early storm passed and morning Bay Area traffic cleared and we left at 11am to get on the road and get clear of the weather. From Oakland we had the choice to take the faster Interstate 5 (east route) or more scenic US highway 101 (west route) south to Los Angeles and so we chose the 5 south, again because of the stormy weather on the coast.

There was a little residual rain as we left the Bay Area at Livermore, but then it was blue skies all day and the whole way to L.A. and it only took 5 & 1/2 hours with one stop for gas.

 

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Los Angeles Again 3-15-18

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Oakland Sunrise 3-15-18

Party at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seasonal French-American cuisine!

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

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A Vintage Vintage! 1993 Dom Perignon Champagne – Cheers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All photos copyright 2017 JoshWillTravel

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

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405 Freeway north into the Sepulveda Pass at night

MONDAY! MONDAY! MONDAY! MONDAY!

MONDAY! MONDAY! MONDAY! MONDAY!

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HAPPY MONDAY from JoshWillTravel!

Happy Monday Morning from the beautiful San Fernando Valley!
You’ve got a green light for a great day!

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Ventura Boulevard in Encino, California

10am: Currently it is 59°F (15°C) and sunny with a 7mph wind.
1pm: Currently it is 65°F (18°C) and sunny with a 13mph wind.

Here are some things you can do TODAY (right now) that require minimal effort:

FOLLOW the BLOG> www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com (YOU ARE HERE NOW)
LIKE our facebook page> www.facebook.com/joshwilltravel
LIKE our other facebook page> www.facebook.com/theatreinashland
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HAVE A NICE DAY!

Previous MONDAY Blog Posts:

Monday. Blue Monday>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/monday/

Monday! Monday!>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/monday-monday/

A Case of the Mondays?>
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/a-case-of-the-mondays/
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Here are links to our most recent Blog Posts:


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Echo Park and DTLA


 

RFDTV BOYCOTT IS ON – SAY NO TO PAULA DEEN!

RFDTV BOYCOTT IS ON – SAY NO TO PAULA DEEN!

PAULA DEEN IS A RACIST!

TODAY in 2018, MORE THAN EVER, WE MUST COMBAT RACISM, BIGOTRY, ANTI-SEMITISM & HATE EVERYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD!

BOYCOTT RFDTV, The Cowboy Channel, Rural Radio and Rural Media Group, Inc.

We are going to boycott your network and your advertisers. Paula Deen does not belong on television or in any public forum. She is an admitted racist and your network can really do much better. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THIS OK? We will not be watching or buying from your advertisers for as long as she is on your network. THAT IS ALL.

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TODAY in 2018, MORE THAN EVER, WE MUST COMBAT RACISM, BIGOTRY, ANTI-SEMITISM & HATE EVERYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD!

Paula-Deen-Racism

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“Nothing in the world is more dangerous
than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr. January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

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“Man of the Year” TIME magazine 1963
(How Time has changed…)



 

 

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

 

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).

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!

 

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

 

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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!