By Bill Dudley

I love to travel, but is such a hassle with heavy airline security and high fuel costs, that I decided to stay home for my birthday this year. Here here a number of interesting things I did in just one day this summer.

I mentioned in a previous blog, I recently rode the historic Angel’s Flight tram (founded in 1901), to the top of Bunker Hill overlooking downtown LA, and was greeted at the top by an outdoor Rufus concert. Then it was off for an afternoon of wine tasting at the San Antonio Winery.  Founded in 1917, and still family owned some 95 years later, it is the only winery located in the city limits of Los Angeles. San Antonio even survived the prohibition era, by supplying communion wine to the nearby Catholic Church, well into the 1930’s. The grapes once grown at this Lincoln Heights location (on Lamar St), are now grown in the Napa valley, at the Riboli family farm. The winery tour is free, and so is the wine tasting. Then, step into the on-sight Maddalena Restaurant, and dine among the redwood wine casks that once held the wine you may now be tasting. The gift shop abounds with every taste and class of your favorite wine.

Next went up to one of the world’s best known and classiest venues, The Hollywood Bowl. I have seen hundreds of show there, but I must say this was one the best ever, with the Portland, Oregon based ‘Pink Martini’. This hard to define orchestra was founded in 1994 by pianist and song-writer Thomas Lauderdale and vocalist China Forbes. They play Jazz, Classical, Latin, French, Japanese, American Standards, and almost anything else you can imagine. Thomas used to come in my record store in downtown Portland, and ask me to hang posters for the early ‘Pink Martini’ concerts. Little did I know then, his band would soon become internationally famous, record in at least 10 languages, and appear at The Hollywood Bowl. ‘Pink Martini’ is a first class act. Don’t miss them next time they are in town.

After the show, we walked down Highland St, and  stopped by Hollywood’s oldest Italian restaurant Miceli’s for a little late night spaghetti, and a nightcap. The neon sign welcomes you to a very comfortable and historic location. Every time I am there, I always reflect on the Hollywood legends who have dined there before, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe, and even Walt Disney’s animated characters, Lady And The Tramp. Remember the alley scene from the film, it was based on Miceli’s. A perfect day with a wide array of entertainment can always be spent by staying right here in L.A.


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