Sportsman's Lodge & Patio Cafe
California Cookbook Adventure
Of all places to eat in the LA area, this was high on the list. Not because we knew the food was excellent. Not because someone told us about it.
It was because we saw it pictured in our travel cookbook... from 1963. More on that later.
Now, the hotel & restaurant sits beside busy Ventura Boulevard. But, the 8-acre complex actually predates studio film history.
When we arrived there was a lot of activity nearby. We heard sirens and saw flashing lights. We heard the sound of LAPD helicopters overhead. Filming a movie? No it was real. Before we knew it, Ventura Blvd. was closed down due to a nearby robbery at a cell phone store. Eventually we heard the thief was caught.
The grand motel was added in 1962. It's recently been renovated in a very modern-sheik style.
Don and I parked in a huge lot and walked to this great retro entrance.
The sitting area and bar near the lobby looked extremely mod and fun.
We had heard the hotel gets some very interesting guests and it did seem like everyone who walked through the door was a part of something interesting.
To The Cafe
I carried our special cookbook as we walked down the hall to the café.
We hoped we might end up talking to someone who was interested in the history of Sportsman's Lodge... and the odd book.
Orange and White
The café felt like a giant crème-cicle, with it's fresh décor!
The woman dressed in white behind the counter, made me think of old fashioned bakeries. The orange stools reminded me of Howard Johnson's
The slick white chairs made me wish I could watch the Jetson's on TV. No cartoons for me, but I did get to feast my eyes on the wonderful display of Hollywood stars... who once visited the lodge.
I didn't' get to meet any celebs, but I got to chat with our wonderful waiter from French Morocco. I showed him our cookbook with the watercolor illustration of the lodge, along with a recipe for Beef Stroganoff.
He was quite amused and said they actually had that on the winter menu. He was intrigued enough by this old Ford Motor Company Travel Cookbook that he disappeared to his car to get his cell phone to take a picture.
Another People Encounter
We had no stroganoff options for lunch, but the menu looked very good. While we were checking out the food choices, we had a nice visit from a woman who was seated behind Don.
She had noticed our enthusiasm for the place and seemed excited to let us know she was the designer for recent renovations. She shared a few stories and we let her know we were impressed with the new, fresh and modern concept.
I can get overly eager about a place and end up not even caring about the food. But this food was absolutely perfect. I had a Caesar salad with chicken wrap that came with sweet potato chips.
Don's sandwich with incredible sauce was equally yummy. Can I tell you what it was? Actually I can't remember for the life of me 2 months later. But I remember begging for bites. So much for food review.
Moe offered to take our photo. I see we're properly lined up with Clark and Kate.
We stumbled across their hand and footprints an hour later when playing tourists at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Mermaids in the Pool?
After eating, Don and I went exploring a bit.
The wonderful pool area looked quite inviting and also very quiet.
If we'd come another day we might have caught a performance or taken a class by "Aqualillies" a synchronized swimming group.
To view the fine Aqualillies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i7sPwOeGd4
The Old Sportsman's Lodge
Before we departed we had to explore the old lodge area from the '40's, where you can still dine at night or book an event.
The water color image is taken from the cookbook and shows the view through the window glass. Lush ponds, bridges and swans create a little urban oasis hidden in the middle of Studio City. This is where John Wayne supposedly taught his kids to fish.
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The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.