Monthly Archives: January 2010

Off the beaten path

No one was available to join me on today\’s ride, which provides a few benefits. Primarily, I have no time schedule and no one complains about the u-turns. Today I took the Night Train out and rode up I-5 to the 126 west which took me through places like Piru, Santa Paula and Saticoy.

This video is the ride back from Like Piru to the Piru Motocross Park. It was totally unexpected to stumble upon the motocross park, but was entertaining to watch. Some of these guys got some big air. I posted some pictures if you want to check them out.

Was good to get on the road again. Seems like it has been a month since I put any real miles on one of the bikes.

Sunday Ride to Lake Piru

Sunday Ride to Lake Piru
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All good adventures include a u-turn.

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Lake Piru

Found a pleasant treat tucked away. Day 31.


Thank you Skype

Skype makes keeping in touch with my girlfriend a lot easier. Anyone in a long distance relationship should take advantage of this technology. Day 30.


Israeli Food is Tasty

Big Itzik Grill
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Authentic Israeli Food

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Sometimes I Work

I am terrible about going to the bank. I know it causes bookkeeping issues so I decided to be a nice guy today and get rid of some of these checks. Day 29.


Gu Gu Sushi and Roll, Hermosa Beach

The first time I ever tried sushi was back in the early 70\’s. Some new chain, whose name escapes me, had come to Southern California and my [now ex] wife and I decided to give it a shot. I was not impressed and never returned.

Fast forward 30 years and I found myself in an industry whose members seemed to exist for sushi, so I was pretty much forced into developing a taste for it. I still would never consider ordering, and relied solely on others, as I did not have a clue what would be the best rolls. As time went on, I found myself becoming fonder of it, and I would even go to a sushi restaurant by myself. I never dared to sit at the sushi bar and relied on the recommendations of my server.

About a year ago, a good friend of mine invited me to dinner and introduced me to Gu Gu Sushi and Roll, in Hermosa Beach. I will be honest. I was paying more attention to my friend than I was to the food. I remembered there were a couple tasty rolls that I had picked mainly because of their names (420 and opium rolls). I did not even remember the name of the place.

A few months later, my assistant and I decided we wanted to go have sushi. There was a place down the street that we had gone to a few times which is very authentic Japanese. I suggested that perhaps we could try the place in Hermosa again. I called my friend to get the name of it. After a best two out of three coin toss, we ended up at Gu Gu Sushi. It was a decision I have yet to regret.


If you are into the $15, all you can eat sushi bars, then Gu Gu is definitely not for you. You can spend more than that on a single roll, but I promise you, it will be one of the best rolls you ever tasted.

So, what makes Gu Gu Sushi so special? Put it this way. They have three menus. The first menu lists their standard rolls, sashimi and the kitchen items (tempura, soups, etc). Then they have their specialty rolls which comes on a separate menu with about 30 rolls on each side (no, I never counted them). Then they have four white boards up on the wall with even more specialty rolls. I have read reviews at Yelp that suggest they have over 100 selections. Again, I have never counted, but it sounds about right. What is really nice is that they regularly change up their specialty offerings, so you can come in over and over and have something new every time.

I have a tendency to stick to the specialty rolls, because they are so dang good. I do not even need to read the menu. It does not matter what the roll is made of because the fish and other ingredients are so fresh that the rolls literally melt in your mouth. Some of their rolls, like the Rice Ball Hella Spice, are so good that I use it as a dessert!

The chefs, Song and Alex, have made me feel so comfortable there that 99% of the time I sit at the bar. Truth be told, I will wait for a seat at the bar. I particularly enjoy taking people there for the first time, as the reactions are always the same. \”We must do that again.\” Some have suggested that Gu Gu is a little pricey. Well, if you are accustomed to assembly line sushi, it probably is. If you enjoy quality food, Gu Gu Sushi and Roll is more than fair in their pricing.



Ga Ga for Gu Gu

Ga Ga for Gu Gu
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Gu Gu Sushi and Roll, Hermosa Beach

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Life Is a Walk In the Park

There is no better way to start the day as far as Buddy is concerned. It is a nice way to end the day as well, come to think of it. It is a dog\’s life. Day 28.


My Favorite Mexican Restaurant

There is absolutely no restaurant that I have been going to longer than Pancho\’s Restaurant in Manhattan Beach. When I have out of town guests, Pancho\’s is my \”go to\” place. I was kind of surprised when I saw that my girlfriend had named Pancho\’s as her favorite restaurant on one of those Facebook quizzes, since she lives in another state and had only been there two or three times.

The first time I went to Pancho\’s was in 1971 or 1972. It was a small hole-in-the-wall joint with a Chinese decor. Apparently they had recently purchased the building and it was a Chinese restaurant before the new owner took over. A few years later they bulldozed the place down, dug a big hole in the sand and made it a two story affair. As you can tell from the photos they really did it up right when they re-opened. Huge, beautiful greenery makes it pretty much impossible to not become one with the environment.

I suspect I have eaten at Pancho\’s well over 100 times. Most of the waiters have been there for more than 25 years. I have never left there unsatisfied, although I will admit, I do tend to shy away from the standard combination plates. I can go to Taco Bell if I want a bean and cheese burrito. Any of their \”del Mar\” dishes are great. The spinach enchiladas are melt in your mouth yummy if looking for a relatively light meal, because they do give you a lot of food.

The best thing about their chips and salsa is that the salsa is just the way I like it. Hot. To me, a salsa should make you sweat under your eyes, and this does the trick. Their Cadillac Margaritas are a little pricey, but if you skip the additional shot of Grand Marnier the price drops and the Margarita still packs a punch. The best kept secret is their Queso Fundido. It is a melted mixture of four different cheeses with artichoke hearts and slices of jalapeno. What is really nice about it is that it may even be better the next day. It is the only dish that I have driven the 12 miles round trip just to get a \”to go\” order of. It really is that good.

I have read reviews on Yelp and seen the people whining about the cost. I suspect that a fast food joint would probably be better suited to them. Pancho\’s provides a great atmosphere, great service and fantastic food. I take pride in the establishments I take my friends to, and Pancho\’s has never let me down in the 35+ years I have been coming there. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to try some excellent Mexican food. Muy bien.