Day: September 6, 2016

5 Green Vegetables That Will Make You Glow

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Eating green vegetables and other nutrient-dense green foods such as spirulina, wheat grass, blue green algae, sea vegetables and seaweed (a.k.a. “superfoods”) can give us large amounts of the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy and strong.

Chlorophyll, which we learned in grade school science class is what gives plants their green color, also happens to be quite similar in molecular structure to human blood. Isn’t that amazing? The same pigment oxygenating the plants in your yard can also help oxygenate your blood. But first, you have to get that green goodness into your body.

That’s where fresh, green juices come in. Starting your day with a juice or smoothie full of green vegetables is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. If you get into the habit of drinking fresh juices every day, you’ll likely notice your energy levels increasing, your digestion improving, and your eyes and skin looking bright and clear.

As they detoxify their bodies by eating raw whole foods, and drinking pure, fresh juices, many people begin to notice their entire systems have begun to work more efficiently, and they will naturally lose weight.

By ingesting green juices, you’ll also be giving yourself the gift of antioxidants, as well as decreased chances of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Certain green vegetables have even been shown to help prevent the occurrence of certain cancers.

Here are 5 of the best green vegetables to give you maximum nutrition for a minimum investment:

 

1. Spinach is a wonderful green vegetable to include in your daily juicing and smoothie regimen. It’s high in the aforementioned cancer-preventing antioxidants, and has also been shown in studies to reduce macular degeneration, heart disease and stroke. One of the best things about spinach as a fresh juice or smoothie additive is that it has a surprisingly mild flavor.

When mixed with carrots, apples, and ginger, even the pickiest children have been known to give spinach the thumbs-up. If you find the right blend, it can be a great way to quickly get some healthy greens into your kids.

 

2. Kale is another amazing green vegetable that has been rapidly growing in popularity, with delicious new kale products (such as kale chips) currently hitting the markets. In addition to giving our bodies loads of vitamin C and vitamin A, kale is widely appreciated for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities.

It seems to be no mistake that the word kale starts with a ‘k’ as it is absolutely loaded with vitamin K, to the tune of over 600 percent of our recommended daily allowance. Also abundantly found in spinach, broccoli, parsley, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, vitamin K is very important in the formation and protection of bones, as well as blood clotting and cancer prevention.

Kale is also high in calcium, providing the lactose intolerant among us with an easy way to get the nutrients necessary for proper bone health.

 

3. Parsley has long been known in the world of nutrition as a major player in the treatment of anemia, thanks to its high iron content. In addition to vitamin K, parsley is loaded with the well-known immune system boosters, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin B12. Parsley contains vitamin A, which is important for eye health.

Folic acid is also abundant in parsley, which lowers cancer risk, and is especially crucial for pregnant women, as it can prevent birth defects in unborn babies.

 

4. Cucumber can play an important role in your detoxification, which is one of the goals of any juice fast, smoothie or healthy eating program.

Cucumber acts as a natural diuretic in the body by eliminating excess water, and as long as you make sure to re-hydrate to replace what you’re losing, this process can cause your body to remove toxins at a faster rate. This diuretic quality is also why cucumber is used to clean the kidneys, with many using it daily to remove kidney stones.

An excellent source of silica, cucumber can help those with achy joints, as well as assist in preventing many types of cancer.

 

5. Celery will give you the same diuretic effects as cucumber, with the added benefit of a natural laxative effect that will help speed up the body’s removal of toxins.

Celery has been shown to reduce cholesterol and prevent stomach cancers, and helps reduce acid levels in the body. Creating an alkaline environment is highly desirable, as it will allow your body more energy to dedicate to fighting the bad guys.

 

Do you want to feel stronger, live longer, have more energy, and feel better about the way you look? Are you ready to glow with good health and vitality? Let green vegetables come to your rescue.

With their mega-doses of antioxidants and high levels of vitamins and minerals, green vegetables can be the superfood hero your body has been seeking. To healthy living, fresh juicing, and beyond!

 

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5 Fabulous Reasons to Own a Pool

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If you’re thinking about getting a pool, give yourself a pat on the back because you’re making a very smart choice.

In addition to the many health benefits swimming has to offer—such as reduced blood pressure, low-stress exercise, a stimulated metabolism and the ability to burn around 500 calories an hour—there are many other wonderful reasons to own a pool.

To help you feel even better about your decision, we’ve compiled a list of 5 great things owning a pool can do for you and your family:

 

  1. Take a Virtual Vacation—

Question: What’s the first thing your kids ask on any vacation upon checking into a hotel? Answer: “Does it have a pool?” Well guess what, kids? Now you have a pool forever.

Having a little bit of the big blue in your backyard feels like a permanent vacation every time you step outside and see it glimmering there before you. Set up a lounge chair and read by the water, and take a dip whenever the mood hits you.

Bonus: No flights to catch home or travel hassles required when you’re done; just walk back inside your home.

  1. Be the Cool House on the Block—

Yes, if you have children, get ready to be the popular house in your neighborhood, especially as the summer swelter starts to scorch.

Having other kids over to swim with your children will give them wonderful friendship opportunities, and will give you a chance to keep an eye on them while they are getting fresh air, exercising and being social. You will always know where your kids are, and they will have a positive entertainment alternative to sitting in front of a screen that will keep them fit and healthy. It’s a win-win!

  1. Pool Parties are Priceless—

People pay good money to rent out the local pools for birthday parties and social gatherings. Well, those days are over for you, new pool owner.

Also gone are the days of being forced to rent out the local germ-infested pizza and game arcade for your kids’ birthdays, because now you can have pool parties! And pool parties aren’t just for kids—having an adult pool party is a great way to get to know your grown-up neighbors, too.

  1. A Good Investment—

If the day ever comes that you decide to sell your home, having a swimming pool can drastically improve your property value, allowing you to sell the home for more money.

Many prospective buyers are particularly excited by the idea of owning a swimming pool, and in a tough realty market, your swimming pool might be the sparkling gem that makes your house stand out in a dull throng of for-sale homes with boring backyards.

  1. Make Memories—

Pool time is family fun time, and if you have a pool, it’s likely your kids will have wonderful childhood memories of learning to swim and playing pool games with friends and family.

Family board game night is fun on a cold winter night, but when you want to beat the heat and have some family bonding time, there’s nothing more refreshing than splashing around together in a swimming pool.

 

You and your loved ones will enjoy your pool for years, as the soothing crystal waters lend rejuvenation, relaxation and balance to your life. By adding a swimming pool to your home, you’re giving yourself a guaranteed backyard vacation any time you need one, and a gentle form of exercise that will keep you healthy and strong. Congratulations!

Five Ways to Take Carrot Cake to the Next Level

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Nothing beats the old-fashioned goodness of a perfectly moist carrot cake with a rich cream cheese frosting. The depth of the flavors and spices is an amazing taste to behold, making this classic dessert a favorite of many. We can feel good about the fact that we’re also eating our vegetables when we have a piece of carrot cake, but that doesn’t really matter does it? We eat it because it’s delicious. So, so very delicious.

Below are some tips to help you make the very best carrot cake you possibly can:

 

  1. Use Fresh Carrots—

Carrots are almost fruit-like in their sweetness, making them a popular choice for fresh juices, breads and oh yes… carrot cake. Be sure to buy the freshest carrots possible because the fresher they are, the more tender they will make your carrot cake. If you can afford organic carrots, even better, as organic fruits and vegetables are well-known for their great flavor, as well as health benefits.

 

  1. Soak Dried Fruit in Water—

If you are planning to use raisins in your carrot cake—or perhaps dried cranberries if you’re bringing the carrot cake to a festive holiday dinner—be sure to soak the raisins in warm water for a few minutes. This will cause them to re-hydrate, becoming plump and juicy, which will add moisture to your carrot cake.

 

  1. Blend Dry Ingredients Well—

You can use a spoon to blend the dry ingredients, but if you have one handy, nothing gets the lumps out of baking soda, flour and spices quite like a sifter. Because nothing ruins a bite of carrot cake like a salty lump of baking soda or a chunk of flour that didn’t get mixed in. Blend the ingredients well to give your carrot cake the smoothest texture possible.

 

  1. Use Oil Instead of Butter—

Most serious bakers are big fans of butter, and rightly so, as it adds a flavor to many baked goods that can’t be denied. But carrot cake is an exception to this rule, perhaps because the grated carrots already add such a large amount of moisture. Using a lighter type of oil like vegetable or canola will help keep your cake moist without making it too dense or heavy.

 

  1. Try Creative Additions—

Once you’ve mastered the perfect classic carrot cake, you might want to have fun experimenting a little with different spices, nuts and fruits your family or dinner guests might enjoy in a dessert. Use golden raisins instead of the traditional, or add pineapple and coconut to your carrot cake to give it a tropical flair.

Many cooks use walnuts instead of the more traditional pecans to mix it up (with the bonus of the walnut’s heart-healthy Omega-3s), or even add walnut oil to give the cake a nuttier flavor. If a spicier cake is desired, you can add nutmeg, ginger and cloves to the classic cinnamon to jazz things up.

Some other fun ideas if you’re feeling brave would be to add vanilla, almond extract, citrus zest, bananas, dates, chocolate chips, dried mango or papaya bits, dried cranberries, dried currants or even dried blueberries if you’re feeling daring.

 

Now that you’re craving carrot cake, here’s a very basic carrot cake recipe for you to make your own by using the 5 tips above:

Classic Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1½ cups oil
  • 4 eggs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease 9×13 pan.
  • Beat all ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended and pour mixture into pan.
  • Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool before frosting.

Be sure to grease your pans well, as carrot cake has a tendency to stick, and don’t forget that you can add orange or lemon zest to your cream cheese frosting to give it a little extra zing!

No matter what your particular carrot cake style may be, this classic American favorite is sure to be a crowd-pleaser every time.

4 Easy Crock Pot Recipes Your Family Will Love

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Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything we need to do. Cooking with a crock pot or slow cooker is a fast way to throw together a hearty, healthy, delicious meal while saving precious time and energy.

Here are 4 quick and easy budget-friendly crock pot recipes that will make your life easier and keep your family happy.

Simple Beef Stroganoff

You will need:

  • 3 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 package (1 oz.) dry onion soup mix
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  1. Combine soup, water, sour cream and onion soup mix in crock pot. Add beef and stir until well-coated. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.

Note: Beef Stroganoff is traditionally served over noodles, but you can serve it over rice if you prefer. This dish goes great with a green salad.

 

Island Shrimp with Rice

You will need:

  • 1 package (12 ounces) frozen shrimp, thawed
  • ½ cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sweet and sour sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup pineapple chunks, drained
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  1. Combine all ingredients in crock pot except for peas, pineapple and tomatoes. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.
  2. Add peas, pineapple, tomatoes and rice. Cover and cook on low an additional 5-10 minutes, and serve.

 

Picnic-Style Baked Beans

You will need:

  • 1 pound dried beans of your choice
  • 1 pound of bacon
  • 5 hot dogs, sliced into circular pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups of ketchup
  • 1 cup of your favorite barbeque sauce
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  1. Soak and cook the beans according to package directions. Refrigerate until ready for use.
  2. Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Drain on a paper towel, cool and crumble. Save 3 tablespoons of bacon fat in skillet, and add hot dogs and onion. Cook over medium heat until onions are tender.
  3. Combine cooked beans, bacon, hot dogs, onions, ketchup, barbeque sauce and brown sugar in crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.

Note: 1 pound canned, pre-cooked beans may be substituted for dried beans to save time, if desired. This kid-friendly dish can be served with soft bread or buns on the side, and works great as a side dish for any gathering.

 

Simple Southwestern Stew

You will need:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey (or beef)
  • 1 can tomatoes and chilies, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 cups instant white rice
  • 1 can ranch-style pinto beans
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen yellow corn
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • ½ cup scallions, diced
  • 1-2 cups water, to preferred consistency
  1. Add ground turkey or ground beef, onion, diced tomatoes and chilies, broth, water, corn and spices to crock pot for 3-4 hours, until meat is cooked.
  2. Add instant rice and cook 40 minutes, then add beans for 10 minutes, and serve.

Note: This dish can be garnished with shredded cheese and diced green onions, and is great served with tortilla chips on the side.

 

Cooking with the crock pot will make your house smell wonderful all day long. There’s really not much better than coming home to the scent of a savory slow-cooked dinner, is there? No matter what your family is in the mood for tonight, there is something here for everyone, so give one of these easy recipes a try today.

4 Classic Comfort Casseroles to Soothe and Satisfy

 

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Casseroles are the ultimate comfort food, reminding us of family gatherings and childhood dinners. Here are a few simple-yet-comforting casseroles that you may want to try.

 

Cheddar-Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
  • 1 can French fried onions

 

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9½ glass pie plate or casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. In large bowl, mix milk and soup. Add tomato, cheeses and pasta. Stir in chicken pieces, and spoon mixture into casserole dish.
  1. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle French fried onions on top. Bake 5 minutes longer, and serve.

 

Cheesy Tuna and Vegetable Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 12 ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 can (12 ounce) evaporated milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cans tuna (6 ounces each) in water, drained

 

  1. Cook noodles as directed on package, adding frozen vegetables for last minute of cooking to heat them up, and drain.
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In an ungreased 2-quart casserole baking dish, mix milk, soup, cheese and onion. Stir in tuna, cooked noodles and mixed vegetables.
  1. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, bake uncovered 5 minutes longer, and serve.

 

Note: Can be served with crumbled potato chips or cracker crumbs on top, just sprinkle over top of casserole before last 5 minutes of baking.

 

Cornbread ‘N’ Beans Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (28 ounce) baked beans, undrained
  • 1 package (16 ounce) mini-hot dogs/cocktail weenies
  • ½ cup barbeque sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 box cornbread/corn muffin mix
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg

 

  1. Heat over to 375 degrees. In large saucepan, mix beans, hot dogs, ketchup, barbecue sauce and onion. Cook over medium-high heat until hot, then pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole baking dish.
  1. In medium bowl, stir in cornbread mix, milk and egg until combined, then spread batter evenly over barbecue bean mixture in casserole dish.
  1. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until top is golden brown, and serve.

 

Sweet Potato-Bacon Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 3 large cans (24 ounces each) sweet potatoes
  • 1 package (12 ounce) bacon
  • ¼ bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

 

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  1. Cook bacon until crispy and chop into small pieces. In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs and one tablespoon butter or margarine and set aside.
  1. Spray 13×9-inch (3 quart) glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix sweet potatoes with bacon, sour cream, ¼ cup butter or margarine, onions, salt and pepper, until well blended. Spread mixture in baking dish and sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over top.
  1. Bake uncovered 20-30 minutes or until thoroughly heated, with bead crumbs turning golden brown, and serve.

 

 

Quick and easy to prepare, while filling and satisfying, a casserole can be a great way to feed your family for any occasion. Give one of these classic bakes a try for a soothing, satisfying meal.

3 Quick Crock Pot Cakes

 

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Have you ever wished you could combine the convenience of crock pot cooking with the deliciousness of desserts? Surprisingly, there are actually many crock pot recipes for cakes and breads that make baking easier than ever.

We’ve compiled a few simple and sumptuous favorites for you below.

 

Quick Chocolate Cake

You will need:

  • 1 package (6 serving size) instant chocolate pudding and pie mix
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 package (18 ounces) chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix
  • Whipped topping (optional)

 

  1. Spray crock pot slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Empty pudding mix into crock pot and whisk in milk.
  1. Prepare cake mix according to directions, blending well. Pour cake blend into crock pot. Do not stir.
  1. Cover and cook on high 1½ hours or until cake is set.

 

Note: Serve warm, with whipped topping, if desired.

 

Berry Perfect Pound Cake

You will need:

  • 1 package (16 ounces) pound cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and powdered sugar

 

  1. Spray crock pot slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  1. Prepare cake mix according to directions, stirring in brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
  1. Pour batter into crock pot and cook on high 1½ to 1¾ hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

 

Note: Serve with berries and powdered sugar, if desired.

 

Butterscotch Macadamia Pudding Cake

You will need:

  • 1 box (18 ounces) golden yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup butterscotch morsels
  • ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts (or any nut you prefer)

 

  1. Spray crock pot slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  1. Combine cake mix, water, eggs, sour cream and oil and mix well.
  1. Pour batter into crock pot and cook on high 2 hours, or until batter is set.
  1. Sprinkle butterscotch morsels and chopped macadamia nuts over surface of cake. Cover, and cook 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

 

Note: Serve warm, with whipped cream, if desired.

 

Pecan-Cinnamon Spice Cake

You will need:

  • 1¼  cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½  cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • Whipped cream

 

  1. Stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger in a medium bowl. Add milk and 3 tablespoons of margarine or butter, and mix until blended. Stir in the pecans and spread mixture across bottom of crock pot.
  1. Combine water, brown sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Pour melted butter and sugar mixture over batter in crock pot.
  1. Cover and cook on high 1¼ to 1½ hours, or until cake is set and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let stand uncovered for 30 minutes, and serve.

 

Note: This cake goes well with glazed pears. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

 

 

It may be an unconventional way to bake a cake, but crock pot cakes, breads and desserts are a great way to make tasty, traditional desserts in half the time.

 

 

Four Historical West Hollywood Music Venues

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One of the best things West Hollywood has to offer is a thriving music scene featuring excellent local bands, as well as many national acts.

After dinner at one of the fabulous restaurants the city has to offer, you might want to consider grabbing a drink and checking out some live music at one of these historic West Hollywood bars, many of which are located on the famous Sunset Strip.

The Viper Room

8852 West Sunset Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA.

Once owned by the actor Johnny Depp, and open since 1993, The Viper Room is a notorious party spot and eclectic musical venue that has been graced by the likes of Johnny Cash, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Hunter S. Thompson.

Surprise celebrity performances are not uncommon for this intimate venue with a 250 person maximum capacity, and there is a lounge away from the main room with a more intimate feel if you’re in the mood. Open 7 days a week, with no reservations required, The Viper Room is for the 21+ crowd. If there is a band playing, there will likely be a cover charge.

The Roxy Theatre

9009 West Sunset Blvd

West Hollywood, Ca.

With a grand opening in 1973 that featured Neil Young, The Roxy Theatre later became a favorite venue for performers such as David Bowie, Pearl Jam, Jane’s Addiction, Nirvana, and Foo Fighters.

Featuring cozy booth seating and a modest bar menu, The Roxy Theatre has recently added “brewery” to their list of accomplishments, offering their house brew, Roxy House Draft No. 1, which they describe as “a medium-bodied golden ale with toasted malt flavors and a dry citrus hop character.” Sold in 32. oz. growlers for $30 each, they offer a $5 discount when you bring back your bottle for a refill, making them ecologically friendly as well as delicious.

The Whisky a Go-Go

8901 Sunset Blvd

West Hollywood, CA.

Established in 1964, the Whisky a Go-Go played a large role in helping such bands as The Doors, Janis Joplin, Led Zepplin and Guns ‘N’ Roses develop a larger fan base and achieve the fame they were seeking. This crucial player in the formation of a Los Angeles rock scene is also available for filming, rentals, and party events.

The Whisky a Go-Go is also now all ages, all the time, which means that if you are visiting West Hollywood with children, and you find the music appropriate, you can bring your kids inside with you to enjoy the show.

The Troubador

9081 Santa Monica Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA.

The Troubador opened its doors in 1957 and holds the distinction of being the West Hollywood club where Sir Elton John first cut his musical teeth in America, as well as helping to launch the careers of James Taylor, The Eagles and Tom Waits. Musical luminaries like Buffalo Springfield, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young all made their Los Angeles debut shows at The Troubador in the 60s.

In the 70s, Janis Joplin famously spent her last night alive at The Troubador, and Billy Joel played his debut show there. The 80s also featured the first headlining gig for the band Metallica. The history of the Troubador goes on and on, so if you’re looking to visit a Los Angeles musical landmark, this classic club is not to be missed.

 

From the 60s (The Doors), the 70s (Neal Young), the 80s (Guns ‘N’ Roses), through the 90s (Pearl Jam) and beyond, the West Hollywood area has been vital to music for almost the entire history of rock and roll. With an impressive roster of notorious bands and famous musicians who’ve graced their establishments, visiting these West Hollywood bars can be a great way to check out a few of the places where rock and roll history was made.