theres johnny: sicily, agrigento

July 6, 2019  “Things are about to get interesting”, I mutter to myself. I am waiting at the Avis office in downtown Palermo. My taxi ride here left a big impression. Aware, as I was, that at the end of this ride I would pick up my rental car and driving across Sicily, I paid […]

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there’s johnny: vietnam, ho chi minh day 2

February 10, 2019 My second day in Ho Chi Minh City, my last day in Vietnam, packed with excitement and exploration from dawn till past dusk. It bounces around a little something like this… Grab is the Vietnamese Uber. To make things more exciting, they have a more popular scooter option. “Hell yes” is what […]

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there’s johnny: palermo pt 3, mondello beach

July 5, 2019 It’s mid afternoon on my first full day in Palermo. The travel overachiever I am, I have already visited Teatro Massimo, Vucciria Market, Piazza Bellini, Quattro Canti, at least 8 churches, walked Via Bars all’Olivella, walked Via Roma, sat on the steps of the grand post office, had a beer with locals […]

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there’s johnny: vietnam, ho chi minh city pt 2

Dear Readers … Dear Mom … apologies for the disappearance. If you’ve been kind enough to read theresjohnnywanderingsandwine in the past, I’ll hope you will continue to do so in the future. I find myself with time on my hands and a desire to pick it up once more. I’ve got some tales to finish […]

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there’s johnny: sicily, palermo pt 2

July 5, 2019 Sometimes I think my favorite thing about being on vacation is the mornings; waking up happy and knowing what you have to do today is to explore, eat, drink, see, adventure, have fun and relax. In normal life, I am a miserable morning person. Days start with confusion, “Why is everything so […]

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there’s johnny: vietnam, ho chi minh city pt 1

February 9th, 2019 If we’re being honest, I’m happy to leave to Hanoi. Beautiful, filthy, delicious, noisy, eye-opening, claustrophobic and caffeinated. It feels good to be at the airport again. The next adventure awaits. I grab a coffee with milk (as they say here) and a croissant. I thumb through my travel book circling my […]

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there’s johnny: street food cinema

The first outdoor movie I ever saw was The Frighteners. It starred Michael J. Fox and was the second feature of a relatively unknown director named Peter Jackson. Things turned out okay for him. I was in college up in Poughkeepsie one summer night when we made a pilgrimage to the local Drive-In. I remember […]

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there’s johnny: sicily, arrival palermo

July 2nd, 3rd & 4th 2019, I left on a Tuesday night and arrived on a Thursday morning. A car, four planes, a train and now my feet taking me over the finish line. The train station to my AirBnB is supposed to be a ten-minute walk. It’s taking longer. I’m having trouble orientating myself. […]

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there’s johnny: renaissance pleasure faire

Salutations lads and ladies! Hark ye! Heed my words! For I will play both steward and yoeman to guide you through this prose. I will recreate a tale of swordsmen, wenches, revelry, and good strong ale. The application of my words, a balm on the dull crowd of ear-bussing circling your lobes. Begin then, as […]

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there’s johnny: vietnam, ninh binh

February 9, 2018 At 7:45 AM I’m fast walking through the overcast morning mist. I will not master Old Quarter Hanoi geography on this trip but I have memorized the path to and from my local street Pho stand. Pho, it’s Vietnamese for what’s for breakfast? Out the hotel door, left, right at the corner, […]

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there’s johnny: unwind

  Lately, I’ve felt like I’m not holding up my end of the promise of “wine” in this “wandering and wine” titled blog. So I have resolved to include a steady study of Los Angeles wine bars into the curriculum. I’m willing to make that great sacrifice for you, the reader. I know; heroic. So […]

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there’s johnny: hanoi pt 3

February 8, 2019 It’s dusk, and I’m walking the streets of Hanoi. The first few days I was here locals apologized that so much was closed as a result of the Tet holiday. The city never felt sleepy to me. “Anyone who can will take off the first three days” I was commonly cautioned. It’s […]

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there’s johnny: lure fish house

Growing up, every year for my birthday I got to choose whatever meal I wanted and Mom would faithfully execute. This is what food as love in action looks like. Maybe it’s cultural; my Jewish and Italian heritage combining into one Voltron superhero of “let me feed you!” power. But I’m guessing some other folks […]

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there’s johnny: the basement

  It’s too soon to say how successful this one will be, but crossovers are nothing new. You may not remember but back in 1986 Angela Lansbury’s Murder She Wrote character took a vacation in Hawaii only to find herself solving a murder with the one and only Magnum P.I.! Try to forget these memorable […]

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there’s johnny: vietnam, halong bay pt. 2

  February 7th, 2019 Continued from part 1….. From a dead sleep, I bolt up in my bed. At first, I think a helicopter is circling the boat. They’ve found me!! But this isn’t a movie so I step out onto my cabin’s balcony to see what I can see. We’ve drifted close to a […]

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there’s johnny: mofongos

Nothing says Puerto Rico like the Los Angeles Lakers. Okay, I can’t back that up with facts. It’s just a feeling. Okay, that also doesn’t match up; just checked in with my feelings. What I can say is friend Mark was in town and we ate some Puerto Rican food and then went to a […]

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there’s johnny: vietnam, halong bay pt 1

February 6, 2019 I find my Zen where it always waits for me; on the water. Kayaking on the other side of the world I am at peace. Daisy sits in front of me. Her conical hat prominent in my foreground, the expanse and wonder of Halong Bay, a stunning canvas, shines brilliantly in backdrop. […]

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there’s johnny: killer shrimp

It’s my birthday. Friends Joy and Tommy have colluded to spirit me off to some unknown destination for a celebratory dinner. Or my death. I mean, surprise birthday dinner was the pitch. “We’re taking you out for your birthday, it’s a surprise where!” the initial invite. But now that we three are in a car […]

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there’s johnny: hanoi day 1, pt. 2

February 5, 2019 I decide it’s time to explore Hoan Kiem Lake, described in my Rough Guide to Vietnam as, “the city’s spiritual, cultural and commercial heart”. But before I do, coffee. I had a cup before I dashed out of the hotel in the morning, but halfway into my first day I’m craving more. […]

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there’s johnny: katsu-ya

A long time ago before DVR’s, Roku, Fire Sticks and streaming television folks gathered around the boob tube at night to watch shows in real time; like when they actually aired. This is the strange and distant land I grew up in. Miniseries were events and the whole family watched. Speaking of strange and distant […]

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there’s johnny; vietnam, hanoi pt 1

February 4th, 2019 Happy New Year. My Hanoi Focus Hotel room is functional at best. Sleep was illusive the first night. Or is it night two? Subpar mattress, loud New Year’s Eve drunks navigating the hotel halls, active brain and insomnia conspired against me. But who cares for that now? Travel adrenaline courses through my […]

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there’s johnny: sun cafe

Full to the brim with nature, yoga and Kombucha, Los Angeles has the best Dry January attractions. Oh right…Yes, I am still doing that crazy, no drinking for a month thing, otherwise known as Dry January. Between us, it’s been a breeze. It may surprise you to read that and I’m a little surprised to […]

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there’s johnny: vietnam, getting there

February 3rd, 2019 Rain drops streak across the sunroof of my LYFT. I find it peaceful watching them roll across the glass. I’m on my way to LAX; final destination, Vietnam. In similar fashion to Paris, it’s snuck up on me. I’ve been too busy being lost in the noise of life. I spent all […]

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there’s johnny: wi spa

  Against my better judgement, I’ve decided to take part in a growing fad; Dry January. If you haven’t heard, Dry January started as a public health campaign in the UK. Concept is simple; don’t drink alcohol for the month of January. This will, in theory, benefit your health and wallet. Start the year off […]

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there’s johnny: commonwealth

Joy is back in town. She’s spent the past four months in Victoria Canada working on a kid’s show with dogs. Joy is a Hollywood dog trainer. On occasion she also trains other animals too like cats, pigs, bears and otters. Just an ordinary, boring 9 to 5. Back from shooting we finally get to […]

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there’s johnny: salsa & beer

  December 30th, 2018 Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. I find myself sitting on the couch falling into a gloom. In said gloom I begin to review the year concluding. I’ve made a habit in my adult life of stealing a moment in the final days of December to look back on the year that’s […]

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there’s johnny: pretty pictures

I’m back! Or, I am about to be back! For any loyal readers out there (hi Mom), sorry for the sudden disappearance. The holidays swarmed and I fell woefully behind on these adventures. At least the writing them up part. A break just sort of happened. Maybe we all needed it. I know Harlow really […]

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there’s johnny: pinocchio’s

  I’m feeling homesick. I always do in the fall. Since moving to Los Angeles, October thru December, my thoughts bend home. The Big Apple is at it’s best right now. First the leaves turn. It’s a novelty to put on your favorite sweater after a summer hiatus. Then a crisp cool air invades, pressing […]

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there’s johnny: mastro’s steakhouse

  No man ever forgets his first time; the excitement, the nerves, the anticipation, a key moment in the transition from a boy into man. It’s all been theoretical up until this point. Now it’s time to come of age. My first time was back in ’98. It was my first year in New York […]

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there’s johnny: belize 8

August 28, 2017 My last day in Belize. Hurricane Harvey bonus day. I look at myself in the mirror. I ran out of hair product two days ago. I’m a shade darker than when I arrived and my beard so much whiter than I realized, is coming in strong. I look like I’ve gone native. […]

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there’s johnny: paris pt. 7

April 8, 2018 In the morning the Pomeranian, now my pal, curls up on my lap as I sip coffee, eat my everyday I’m in France croissant and watch the Paris marathon front runners on local TV. One of the top women is bumped into a table of water and falls to the ground. She […]

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there’s johnny: huntington beach

  No deceit. I’m warning you right now, from the get go, this can only be a love letter to a dog. If somehow you don’t know, Harlow is my eleven year old, yellow Labrador mix. This wasn’t my original plan. My proposal was solid; visit dog beach, my favorite fish tacos spot and then […]

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there’s johnny: belize pt. 7

August 27, 2017 Sunday morning is here. Despite never sleeping more then 5 hours any night on this trip, I have been all go, go, go. For the first time today I am actually tired; Sunday morning vibe, no desire to do anything but lie around. I make coffee in my room and park myself […]

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there’s johnny: paris pt 6

April 7, 2018 For the second time on my trip, I visit the local pharmacy. Pharmacies in Paris have the same green, plus sign which marks marijuana dispensaries in LA. I get a private giggle every time. The same unassuming, lovely girl helps me. Well built, (as Hemingway would often say describing a woman in […]

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there’s johnny: beelman’s

  It’s a rainy Friday night in LA.; a rarity, for sure. Nothing in LA seems prepared for the rain when it decides to show it’s face. There are no drains in the streets in the Valley. Mini lakes begin to form. Drivers, well, they just freak. And despite a never ending draught, most folks […]

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there’s johnny: valley urban market

It’s the last Saturday in September. In an attempt to play the role of middle aged adult, I’m heading to meet two friends and explore the Valley Urban Market. It’s brand spanking new; the brainchild of three women; Jordyn Grohl, Megan Gefsky & Deborah Saly, currently in residence Saturday’s 10am-4pm at The Sportsmen’s Lodge in […]

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there’s johnny: belize pt 6

August 26, 2017 On Saturday I do what’s worked. I go back out snorkeling. A different company, a different destination, same blue bath water. Funny thing about this time, I am the only person going on the charter. No one else signed up and, surprisingly, the company honors it. My private guide’s name is Abraham. […]

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there’s johnny: kang ho dong baekjeong

  LA’s Koreatown was never much of a destination for me. What first drew me into Los Angeles, as a New York transplant, was the natural wonder and beauty of this city. It somehow casually existed amidst a thriving modern metropolis. The warm Hollywood nights framed by palm trees and mountains in the distance, the […]

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there’s johnny: paris pt 5, versailles

  April 6th, 2018 35 minutes? More like an hour. I’m on a train to Versailles. As I jostle in my seat, I read the Versailles section of the guidebook, with abridged history of Louis XIV, his reign, life and times. History was my favorite subject in school so I am getting my scholastic on. […]

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there’s johnny: the broad

  I’m playing tourist for a day in my own city and it couldn’t feel any better. I even woke up happy for it, energized and focused. I have a reservation for The Broad, downtown, at 10AM. Because I’m neurotically early for things like this, I arrive around 9:25AM. But it gives me the luxury […]

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there’s johnny: san louis obispo

  It’s the Tuesday after Labor Day. I find myself driving down interstate 101 from San Mateo to Los Angeles, California. I spent the weekend in the Bay Area with my oldest and dearest friend Eugene, and his kick-ass-take-no-prisoners family. High on domestic good times, heading home and back to work. Harlow is with me. […]

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there’s johnny: belize pt 5

August 24, 2017 There’s a group of 50 that have landed at the resort. They’re in Belize for Grandma’s 75th birthday. She’s from here. They are from Bed Stuy. They are loud and raucous and man is it comforting to be around folks from Brooklyn. One young guy comes up to chat with me. He […]

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there’s johnny: brent’s deli

  I spent a lot of time growing up perfecting blending in. My parents were hippies. Stretch that definition out a bit, pull at all the cliches, tug at the stereotype and let me know when you’re there. All the things you’re thinking I could mean…yes. I also grew up in Bensonhurst Brooklyn, a stronghold […]

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there’s johnny: paris pt 4

April 5, 2018 Paris Day 4 is a mix; a hodgepodge of everything. It twists and turns a little something like this… The light in the hallway outside my room continues to click on and off, on and off, adding to my nightmares. The room is alive. I toss and turn and never feel I […]

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there’s johnny: oc fair

  I remember attending a county fair once when I was kid. My family was camping in Salem New York. It was our annual summer retreat, for me, ages 4-10. And yes, I was just as adorable as you are imagining. I have two powerful memories that stick from this experience. Oxen are massive, majestic […]

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there’s johnny: vendome wines & spirits

  I take special delight in all the words people use in place of currency. Words like; clams, cabbage, dinero, bacon, c-note, dough or simply the name of the dead president on the front of the bill. These are all so much more fun than money. Why is cash so often disguised and nicknamed? Maybe […]

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there’s johnny: belize, pt 4

  August 24, 2017 There are no tours for me to jump on Friday. They require minimums of 4 people and only the, “your own private island for the day” tour is heading out, which when I read the description can’t help but sounding like, “go fuck on an island!”. I am not handling the […]

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there’s johnny: laurel point

  They say it’s important to know what you want in life. On this Wednesday afternoon in July, while it’s a dry 102 degrees in LA, I know exactly what I want; to be seated on a cliff over looking the Mediterranean, drink dry white wine and eat fresh seafood. Limitations of time, space and […]

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there’s johnny: paris, pt 3

April 4, 2018 The wait for the Louvre is 90 minutes but thanks to the Paris Museum Pass I bought my line is 10 minutes. Rick Steves, here’s looking out;10 minutes in the rain. When I stop in the bathroom before my tour I am reminded how my hair and precipitation are not friends. Today, […]

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there’s johnny: din tai fung dumpling house

I wanted a little adventure. Short on time and money I looked for something simple I’ve been meaning to eat. That’s how I wind up in Arcadia at Din Tai Fung Dumpling House. One other time I ventured to San Gabriel for dumplings. It was accidental. I went to pick up my final paycheck from […]

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