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Archives for October 2012

Reagan Presidential Library

At the Reagan Library you can tour Air Force One. Seven U.S. presidents have traveled on this aircraft.

History buffs tell me that the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley, CA, is the best U.S. presidential library of all.  Visitors can tour Air Force One, the aircraft used by seven U.S. presidents.  You can also see Marine One, the presidential helicopter and other vehicles President Reagan used. There’s a full-sized replica of the Oval Office, and multimedia exhibits detailing President Reagan’s life and eight years in office, including the assassination attempt on his life.  the grounds are stunning.  Perched on a hilltop, the hacienda ranch style building overlooks hills and crops and on a clear day visitors can see the Pacific Ocean.

The interactive exhibits are my favorite part of the Reagan Library.  Remember, Ronnie was an actor, so you’ll have the chance to sit before a camera and green screen where you’re transported into a movie scene, or calling a ballgame alongside Reagan. I delivered one of Reagan’s G.E. radio addresses, which was really fun .  Your performance is recorded so you can see how you did.  One room over, you can go on stage behind a lectern to find out what it’s like reading glass teleprompters as you address the public.

The Reagan Library gives you a chance to step into the shoes of a U.S. president!

Outside, there’s a lot of green grass. An area depicts the White House South Lawn and rose garden.  You can take an up close look at a chunk of the Berlin Wall and the Ronald Reagan  memorial, where the president’s body was laid to rest following the sunset funeral service on the Library grounds. Be sure to bring your camera, the Reagan Library features an array of photo ops to help you remember your visit.

The Reagan Library features a full-size replica of the Oval Office.

Bonus: The Reagan Library is hosting a special “Treasures of theWalt Disney Archives” exhibit through April 2013. This is the largest off site exhibit of Disney memorabilia ever. Check back for my post on this aspect of your visit to The Reagan Library.

Miles from LAX: 49 miles

Traffic411 Insider Tip: Visit in the afternoon when the Library is less crowded.

Reagan Presidential Library

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley California is a fun place to spend an afternoon. Several interactive multimedia exhibits offer the opportunity for visitors to step into the life of the U.S. president known as the great communicator.

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So Cal Burgers

Umami Burger features a variety of unique burgers at a dozen locations across Southern California. (photo: Umami Burger)

Gourmet burger restaurants have become a popular part of the Southern California dining experience. Umami Burger and The Counter are two of the area’s biggest gourmet burger chains. Carnivores will delight in sinking their teeth into a premium beef patty with all the trimmings, some traditional and some very unusual.  Even non-meat eaters can enjoy by trading in the beef for ahi tuna or veggie patties.

Mark Alyn, host of Late Night Talk on Radio, offers this review of Umami Burger, which has about a dozen locations across Southern California.

The burgers are exceptional. They cost about 3 times what a Big Mac costs, averaging 11 bucks each. It’s worth it. Mind you I’ve paid $30 for a hamburger and the ones at Umami beat anything else hands down. The meat is juicy, with the special bun (stamped with a “U” on the top) soaking up most of the juice so you don’t loose it. The bun is soft by the way, which I like. Hard rolls are difficult to navigate. 

We tried several burgers. We ordered the Manly, but being out of one of the condiments, it wouldn’t be served (out of the bacon). I said this was okay with me, but they refused to take the order. This struck me as strange and I asked about that. The server explained that changes on the burgers are not allowed. Hmm, I thought I was the diner. 

Other burgers sampled included the Truffle burger (with house-made truffle cheese and truffle glaze), the Cali (butter lettuce, slow-roasted tomato, house spread, house-made American-cheese and caramelized onions), Umami (shiitake, caramelized onions, parmesan crisp and Umami ketchup). All are outstanding, but there is something missing: customer care.

 For sides, we tried the house pickles, thin fries, and tempura onion rings…. (read more of Mark’s review)

For a more unique burger dining experience, try my favorite independent gourmet burger joints: 26 Beach in Marina del Rey and Blue Dog Beer Tavern in Sherman Oaks.

For a more economical alternative, try Islands Restaurants or the more casual Five Guys Burgers & FriesSmashburger also gets a thumbs up from burger lovers. Smashburger has several restaurants in San Diego, and is venturing into the greater Los Angeles area with their first store in Thousand Oaks.

Last but not least, In N Out Burger may be the ultimate casual So Cal burger experience.  In N Out pioneered the first drive thru hamburger shop in California in the 1940s, and today it remains a favorite fast food stop for good burgers, shakes  & fries.

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Umami Burger

Blue Dog Beer Tavern in Sherman Oaks has been voted best burgers in the Valley (photo: Blue Dog Beer Tavern)