Tag Archives: get out of town burbank

Get Out Of Town!: Republic of Pie

While some Burbankers malign North Hollywood, we enjoy our funky, chill neighbor to the west. And Republic of Pie on Magnolia Boulevard, near Lankershim, is just one reason.

The laid-back cafe boasts delicious food, hot and cold drinks and, of course, pies and pastries. Open from 8:00 a.m. every day of the week, Republic of Pie also has a thriving evening cafe scene with live music just about every night of the week.

republic of pie

Croissant Sandwich. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We mostly enjoy breakfast or brunch at Republic of Pie. From egg dishes to specialty french toast and pancakes, quiche and vegan options, the cafe’s extensive menu has something for most everyone.

Fruity Pebbles French Toast is very sweet, of course, and nice to share with a friend. Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, Berry Berry Pancakes and Banana Cream Pancakes are other popular sugary items.

The Republic of Pie Omelet – ROP Omelet – is a tasty vegetarian omelet filled with mushrooms, spinach and cheese. The Vegan Hash, tofu, soy chorizo and home fries topped with spinach is a healthy way to start the day.

republic of pie

Vegan Hash. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Croque Madame – a sunny side egg topped fried ham and cheese sandwich glistening with bechamel sauce – is a delicious indulgence.

A variety of quiches, a hearty ham and cheese croissant and several different breakfast wraps are available every day of the week. Sandwiches and quesadillas are also available on the regular menu.

With high ceilings and light and bright daytime vibe, Republic of Pie’s eclectic bistro atmosphere turns cool coffee house hang as evening falls. Decorated with mismatched chairs, tables, comfy couches and a beautiful living ficus tree, the cafe is fun and relaxing.

republic of pie

Republic of Pie. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Bathrooms are clean and staff are friendly. Parking is available on the street or in several nearby lots off of Magnolia. Republic of Pie is open until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. every night of the week.

The cafe’s dessert cases are filled with pies of every flavor, from berry and cream pies to cheesecakes, decadent breads and pastries and more. Their lattes, teas and coffees are the perfect accompaniment to these sweet treats. Republic of Pie is a favorite stop no matter the time of day.

Editor’s Note: While there’s always a lot going on in Burbank, myBurbank’s “Get Out Of Town!” highlights some of our favorite activities and events outside the town borders.

Get Out Of Town!: Black Bottom Cafe

One of the top new restaurants of 2017 must be Black Bottom Southern Cafe in North Hollywood. With a healthy and fresh approach to southern food, Black Black Bottom Cafe makes high quality BBQ with all the fixin’s and amazing desserts.

The best brisket we’ve had in a long while can be found at the restaurant, which is located at the busy intersection of Camarillo and Vineland, just a few minutes west of Burbank.

The brisket sandwich is tender and flavorful and you can order it with or without the spicy and sweet BBQ sauce. Accompanied by sweet potato fries, the sandwich has a light smoky flavor and topped with baby lettuces and tomato.

The shrimp po’ boy on the Sally Lunn roll is very filling. A waterfall of lightly battered and fried shrimp gush from the bread, which is dressed with a delicious aioli and topped with baby lettuces and onion.

Shrimp Po’ Boy. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Black Bottom Cafe’s main plate menu is extensive, including smoked brisket, smoked yardbird and pulled chicken, along with shrimp n’ grits, salmon and shrimp purloo and a host of sandwiches and salads. There are also several vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.

We’ve also enjoyed the one-quarter dark meat Yardbird plate, slathered in a piquant bright red BBQ sauce. The meat was juicy and full of flavor and the BBQ sauce was nicely spicy.

Black Bottom Cafe’s signature southern style greens are sauteed kale and absolutely top notch. The kale is slightly softened to a garlicky and buttery perfection.

One-quarter dark meat yardbird with spicy and sweet BBQ sauce, southern style kale, mac n cheese, Hoppin John, cole slaw and pickles make a delicious meal from Black Bottom Southern Cafe. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Hoppin John is excellent; black eyed peas, kale, rice and vegetables are cooked together in a fresh-tasting and healthy side. The smoky mac n cheese was pretty standard, as was the creamy cole slaw.

The sides are generally enough for two people to share. Better save room for dessert though… or get a dessert to enjoy later, because Black Bottom Cafe’s sweet treats are incredible.

Generally, the desserts, which come individually portioned, are better served chilled. One dessert that should be served warm is the buttery, fruity peach cobbler.

Hummingbird cake. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The decadent namesake Black Bottom Pie, with its creamy smooth chilled chocolate filling, sits atop a chocolate buttery crust. The Hummingbird cake looks beautiful and tastes even better. Cream cheese frosting tops a nutty, sweet cake dotted with pineapple.

The Buttermilk pie is mild and sweet, like creme brûlée in a pie with a buttery crust. And the ubiquitous Sweet Potato pie is creamy and perfect. Its butter crust is accented with cinnamon and the pie is topped with airy fresh whipped cream.

Black Bottom Pie. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Black Bottom Cafe has a tiny parking lot, but there’s usually plenty of street parking on surrounding streets. It’s perfect for takeout, but the restaurant also has a small outdoor patio and seating area.

For more information on Black Bottom Southern Cafe, visit their website. It’s a great spot for lunch, dinner or dessert.

Editor’s Note: While there’s always a lot going on in Burbank, myBurbank’s “Get Out Of Town!” highlights some of our favorite activities and events outside the town borders.

Get Out Of Town!: Yosemite National Park

When summer temperatures start to soar, thoughts turn to the beaches or the mountains, for escape from the heat. Five to six hours drive north, Yosemite National Park beckons those nature lovers who seek peace among the waterfalls, mountain streams, trees and rocks of one of the most legendary national parks in the country.

Right now, the waterfalls and streams are full tilt. The melt from record-setting winter snowfall has turned once languid streams into literally roiling rivers. Waterfalls are the largest in decades and the amount of water pouring off the granite mountains is astounding, and dangerous.

Yosemite National Park

Tunnel View of Yosemite Valley with early morning clouds. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The gorgeous waterfalls and impossibly swollen rivers are beautiful and deadly. Those used to slowly rafting or tubing down the Merced will have no chance for river sport for several weeks at least.

Tolumne Meadows, the Tioga Road and High Sierras remain closed until mid-July, but there’s miles of national park and trails for all skill levels to enjoy. However, massive crowds on weekends demand patience from all.

Yosemite National Park

Stairs up to Vernal Fall via the Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Weekdays are definitely less crowded but still very busy during the summer. Basically, all lodging in the park is already booked up for months, but some availability at hotels and places outside the park boundaries may be available.

There are trails from mild and easy to the hardest, most demanding possible.

Be careful on the Mist Trail, part of the Vernal Fall/Nevada Falls loop – steps are covered with running water and the spray from the falls and the river is punishing.

Many enjoyable trails exist, especially the walk to Mirror Lake and the Valley floor loop trail. Of course, Lower Yosemite Falls is filled with massive crowds by midday.

Shuttle buses make getting around the popular spots in the Park a lot less frustrating than trying to do it in your car during the busy season from Memorial Day until September.

Yosemite National Park

Gorgeous Yosemite Valley with waterfalls and cloud. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

For iconic California views and unforgettable scenery, Yosemite National Park remains a must do for all California residents. You’ll be sharing the park with people from all over the country and the world, but with some planning and patience, summer in Yosemite can be a wonderful escape from city life.

Editor’s Note: While there’s always a lot going on in Burbank, myBurbank’s “Get Out Of Town!” highlights some of our favorite activities and events outside the town borders.

Yosemite National Park

The view from Glacier Point. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Get Out Of Town!: Universal Studios Hollywood

When The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2016 at neighboring Universal Studios Hollywood, just about every kid in Burbank and Southern California made the pilgrimage to check out the magical space.

After almost a year in, the Wizarding World and the California Neighbor Pass program have made Universal Studios attendance rates remain steadily high. And for Burbank residents, the 10-minute drive to the park allows for shorter visits, on weekends and after school.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter lives up to the hype. With permanently snow-covered roof tops, the village of Hogsmead is brought to life, featuring Honeydukes candy shop, the Three Broomsticks pub and Ollivanders magical wand shop.

With the purchase (approximately $50) of a special wand, aspiring wizards and witches can cast spells at specific spots throughout the World, opening a chocolate frog box or stirring a remote cauldron.

Universal Studios Hollywood

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The charm of the place is infectious and a big draw for all ages. The major ride in the World, Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey has undergone some tweaks since first opening, getting rid of the 3-D aspect that made a lot of people motion sick. It’s a terrifically fun ride and can still make those prone to motion sickness nauseous.

Three Broomsticks pub serves really delicious food. The breakfasts are pretty spectacular and the regular lunch menu offers hearty English staples like fish & chips, roast chicken and Shepard’s Pie.

Lighter fare, including fresh salads are also available. Butterbeer is sold hot, cold and frozen.

When you get tired of casting spells, there’s plenty of other rides and mini-worlds throughout the park to explore, including the Minion Mayhem ride, Jurassic Park  and the Simpsons’ Springfield. Don’t miss Lard Lad’s giant donut or The Mummy’s short but scary roller-coaster ride.

Although the $129 California Neighbor Pass program blocks out the entirety of July, first two weeks of August and most major holidays, and has shrunk to a mere 9 months instead of 12, it remains a good deal for a quick Get Out Of Town! experience. For more information on Universal Studios Hollywood, visit their website here.

Editor’s Note: While there’s always a lot going on in Burbank, myBurbank’s “Get Out Of Town!” highlights some of our favorite activities and events outside the town borders.

Get Out Of Town!: Santa Ynez Wine Country

Editor’s Note: While there’s always a lot going on in Burbank, myBurbank’s “Get Out Of Town!” highlights some of our favorite activities and events outside the town borders.

Autumn is a lovely time of year to visit Santa Ynez Wine Country. Harvest weekend in October is always a big draw, but the peaceful country vibe and relaxed pace of life in the region, northeast of Santa Barbara, is a welcome respite from city life any time of year.

Los Olivos and Solvang are about two and one-half hours drive from Burbank. Nestled in the Santa Ynez mountains, the towns are good jumping-off points for a country ramble. We usually stay overnight and get a good night’s sleep so we don’t have to drive home after a long day of wine and food.

Carhartt Tasting Room, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez Valley. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Carhartt Tasting Room, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez Valley. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Wineries and tasting rooms are typically open 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Driving from one area of the Valley to another takes quite a bit of time; we have found it easier to visit one area of Santa Ynez Wine Country at a time.

We often like to stop at the Calabasas Cantina for breakfast on the way up to Santa Ynez. When we forego the heavy breakfast, we start the day with a lunch at the spectacular Los Olivos Cafe. There are several new restaurants in Los Olivos and throughout the Valley, like Red Barn, Santa Ynez Kitchen and Petros to try.

Little Gem Salad, Los Olivos Cafe. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Little Gem Salad, Los Olivos Cafe. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

After wandering about the rustic town of Los Olivos, looking at jewelry and art made by local artisans, we visit a tasting room or two. Our favorite is Carhartt’s little shack on Grand Avenue, but there are many from which to choose.

Children are not allowed in tasting rooms and must stay outside. Some with patios are able to welcome the under-21 set. Stolpman’s little red barn with a shady patio in Los Olivos is a comfortable option for those with kids.

Plenty of maps to the wineries and tasting rooms in the area are available online and throughout Santa Ynez Wine Country.

Foley tasting room, Santa Ynez Valley. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Foley tasting room, Santa Ynez Valley. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

One thing we’ve learned over nearly two decades of trips to the area – wines change in quality and drinkability from year to year. One year, a favorite winery will pour amazing flights for tastings. The next, we wonder why we liked that same spot so much. However, many times the wines made for wine club members far outstrip the wines available at tastings – depending on the vintner, of course.

Recurring favorites from year to year include: Foley, Lincourt, Foxen, Babcock, Melville, Carhartt and Alma Rosa. Some wineries such as Foxen and Dierberg Starlane have upped their tastings to $20 each, while most are pouring 6 tastes for $12 or $15.

For those aiming to try 10 wines for $10, there’s always Blackjack, just outside of Los Olivos. Made popular in the movie Sideways, of which there continue to be numerous references throughout the area, Blackjack has some great specials on cases.

Foley vineyards. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Foley vineyards. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

We loved Lincourt and Foley’s whites and reds – both tasting rooms in the Valley were pouring excellent varieties, backed up by knowledgeable servers. Very drinkable, very complex, the Foley and Lincourt wines were the hit of the trip.

Babcock’s eclectic, expansive tasting barn provides a fun way to while away an afternoon. Pool table, lounging chairs, gift items to browse, a solid collection of vinyl to put on the turntable and excellent, complex flights combine for a fantastic experience.

Melville’s rich and personable wines underscore the winery’s long and respected history in the area. Foxen’s Shack at 7200 Foxen Canyon Road currently serves a very fun chocolate and wine pairing course through the end of the year.

Melville Winery, Santa Ynez. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Melville Winery, Santa Ynez. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Whether you decide you love the taste enough to buy a bottle or six, the prime attraction of Santa Ynez Wine Country is the leisurely pace, the natural environment and delicious food available.

We also stopped for steaks at The Hitching Post II this trip. The restaurant embraces an old school approach to food, from the artichoke appetizer to top-notch steaks to rich desserts. Reservations are a must on busy weekends.

Another highlight: Danish pancakes and eggy french toast at Paula’s Pancake House in Solvang. No reservations and the wait can be up to an hour on a weekend, but it is definitely worth the wait.

Babcock Winery's lounge area. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Babcock Winery’s lounge area. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

There’s a lot of hotels and luxury resorts to stay in throughout the Valley – something for every budget and wish. Solvang boasts the highest concentration of hotels and restaurants in the area, and is a good base of operations, if you will.

We always like the Hotel Corque for cleanliness, comfort, style and central location, along with the more economical Hadsten House.

After all that wine and rustic food in the Santa Ynez Valley, we often stop for a palate cleanser in Santa Barbara on the way back to Burbank. Sometimes it’s tacos at La Super-Rica, but usually it’s Brophy Bros. seafood at the Santa Barbara harbor.

Seafood pasta, Brophy Bros. Santa Barbara. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Seafood pasta, Brophy Bros. Santa Barbara. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The best clam chowder on the west coast, fresh fish and seafood and excellent service make this casual seafood joint a popular spot any time of day, night, season or year. After re-fueling with some good grub, the drive back to Burbank takes just about two hours.

For those needing a break from the din and clang of city life, the Santa Ynez Valley is a perfect way to Get Out of Town!