The Dive, San Diego

One of the best and interesting meals I had in San Diego was at the The Dive. Why, you ask? Well, this was my first experience with steam kettle cooking. To understand what steam kettle cooking is, you kinda just have to see it for yourself. I kinda wish they explained it on their About page but no such luck. So good ol Google it is. According to Sandiegoville.com, “steam kettle cooking uses jacketed stainless steel kettles to cook with steam as it travels through one side of the kettle and moves around the jacket of the kettle, heating the food indirectly and very evenly. A large boiler in the back of the restaurant pumps steam through a network of pipes to heat the kettles. Using steam in this method is known to be approximately six times more efficient than gas or electricity by itself, and each steam kettle unit costs around $3,000 a piece.” I mean, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

As for what to order, literally everything was so good. You can’t go wrong with any of the entrees, but there was one that stood out above all the others and if I’m not mistaken, I believe that was the Dive Chowder. Everything had so much flavor and yes they were seasoned differently. Although, if I had to redo it, I probably wouldn’t order the Gumbo AND the Jambalaya in the same visit. The Boudin balls were cool, and the beignets were fire!! (A MUST order). Good news is they have a new location in Temple City so no need to drive all the way to San Diego to get it. Definitely worth trying so go check them out!

Boudin Balls

Boudin Balls

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

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Beignets

Beignets

Picture with the Owner

Picture with the Owner

Albuquerque Guide

My trip to Albuquerque was very much unplanned and happened with such short notice. With that said, it still ended up being as good as any trip planned weeks in advance. I live in LA, and I'm always trying to find weekend trip destinations. The kind you can just hop in your car and go. Well, I’m happy to let you know that Albuquerque is one of those destinations. It was a 13 hour drive from Los Angeles. We left at 6 am and arrived at approximately 8 pm Albuquerque time.

We arrived on Wednesday evening and left on Friday morning. Technically we only had one full day and I believe that was enough to get a sense of Albuquerque. However, if you do have the time, I think I could spend another 1-2 days and see everything I need to see. I have a feeling I'll be back in Albuquerque this year, that's why I wasn't stressed to see everything this go around. BUT, I've created this guide for you so that you can make the most of your stay in Albuquerque and will continue to update it every time I visit.

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Where to Stay:

 If you are looking to stay somewhere outside of the typical hotel/motel situation, try a bed and breakfast instead. We stayed at the Mauger Estates and get this, it was built in 1897!! Over a century old! Its considered an historical landmark! Because everything is so new in LA, I kind of geek out when it comes to historical buildings like this.

 Our room was very quaint yet fully equipped with everything we needed, blow dryer, iron, mini fridge, AC, heater, tv, remodeled bathroom, etc. There are usually homemade baked goods waiting for you upon arrival in the foyer. Continental breakfast is put out at 7:30 am, and hot plates are served from 8:30 am to 9:30 am. If you have a dog, they have a room to accommodate that too! For bookings, visit their website here: https://maugerbb.com/

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What To Do:

One thing you absolutely need to know is that Albuquerque, besides becoming world famous for being where Breaking Bad was shot, is also known for their hatch chili's. It's all chili errthang. That's why you may want to pick up some chili related souvenirs.

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We stopped at the Chili Addict which has been around for 33 years! We stopped here to pick up some Chili salsa and hot sauce. Grab a pinon coffee too. Pinon is a type of pine nut that is extremely hard to come by and I'm told only grows in Albuquerque. Sometimes, years will go by without a harvest. Which is why they're a little pricey, but if you want something similar to sunflower seeds, then pick up a bag of roasted pinon.

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If you're looking for whole hatch chili's, dry or fresh, pop on over to Chili Konnection. You can get whole dried chili's by the buttload, or ziplog bags of ground chili, various types.

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One very popular thing in Albuquerque are breweries, they're everywhere! The owners of the BnB recommended  a place called Marble Brewery. Apparently, they're the first ones to pioneer the brewery movement in Albuquerque. They have beers to please anyone, even myself who's not a very big beer connoisseur, I was really impressed with their unique flavors. Sours are my favorite so naturally their passionfruit was my favorite. The double white was our groups favorite, named after Walter White from Breaking Bad.

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Where to eat:

 This is obviously my favorite part because...food. But seriously, the two places we ate at were legitimately awesome!

First off, if you're not here to eat New Mexican food, I can't be friends with you. And yes, New Mexican food is different than Mexican food, and they take this differentiation very seriously so don't get it twisted. At first glance, it would appear to be the same. Both have tamales, burritos, tacos, enchiladas. I asked a local what the difference is, they said that New Mexican food is spicier and more characterized by Native Indian Americans. Personally the difference that I saw was that it definitely was spicier and saucier. The tamales, enchiladas, and burritos were doused in chili sauce. Not to mention the presence of green chili stew was different. Tacos were predominantly hard shell tacos as opposed to the corn tacos you find everywhere in LA. I also did not see quesadilla on any menus either. Also, we don't get sopapillas (more on that later).

 Cervantes

 So let's start with our first legit meal in Albuquerque, and that was at Cervantes. Here, we got the works and pretty much ordered a little bit of everything. I recommend you get EVERYTHING we ordered and I'll tell you exactly what that is...

 Order the Combo Plate #2 which comes with Enchilada, Chile Relleno, beef taco (hard shell, duh). It does not come with the tamale like combo # 1 does, but #1 does not come with the Chile Relleno, so we ordered the tamale a la cart.

 Next, you HAVE TO order the green chili stew. Seriously, you cannot come to NM without trying that. Its just a really delicious tasting stew, pretty hearty in its own right. We ordered the large and shared that between myself and husband. Well really we shared everything we got. So this order is for two people who have a VERY HEFTY appetite.

 Our order also came with a basket of sopapillas, another MUST. These were puffed fried dough in a triangular shape and meant to be eaten with honey. So simple yet so damn delicious. To be honest though, I did end up taking these back to the hotel and ate them with nutella...omg game changer. But try it traditionally first.

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Now, because my husband are fat f*cks, we decided to order another plate of enchiladas. For a normal couple, I would recommend stopping right here and you'll be just fine. But everything else, you must order.

Combo Platter #2

Combo Platter #2

Enchilada

Enchilada

Tamale

Tamale

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Chili stew

Chili stew

Frontier Restaurant

Frontier Restaurant is an Albuquerque landmark, often referred to as the "college student restaurant" because it is parked right across the street from the University, and offers really affordable food. Now, I have to admit, hearing that made me thinking it was fatty, greasy, and poor quality. It was anything but those things. I was impressed yet again with delicious NM food all over again. This time we ordered chicken enchiladas, two beef tacos (I wanted a whole one to myself), a carne adovado burrito, green chili stew, and a green chili hamburger.

And of course, you cannot go to frontier without ordering one of their sweet rolls which is essentially a cinnamon roll. The best cinnamon roll I ever had was from the city of Windsor, Canada where I grew up, but this is a classic and it's what they're known for so you kinda gotta get it just for novelty of it. Plus, I don't often see freshly baked cinnamon rolls like I used to so this took me back to my childhood. The only thing missing was the pecans on top (insert crying emoji). P.S. I recommend everything I ordered. But their fries also looked sooooooo good, I just didn't have the heart to order them.

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A few other things to note is that they make their own tortillas right in front for anyone to watch which was kinda cool. Also, this place was surprisingly massive! It consisted of three very large rooms. And people would literally line up by the herds which can be disappointing at first because we really didn't want to wait a long time as we were wanting to get on the road, but as soon as I stepped in the line, it was basically my turn. They move REALLY fast!

Overall I was really impressed by the food in New Mexico. It wasn't greasy at all. Everything was super fresh and had a very homemade quality to it. If you ordered everything I ordered at a restaurant in LA, I bet you there will be at least one item that simply is not up to par with everything else. That was not the case here. Both times we went out, I would order everything all over again and definitely recommend you order it as well.

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I got a lot of recommendations from you guys. Because this was such a short trip, I couldn't get to everything but I'll definitely be adding to it each time I travel there and will try to hit up new places every time. Hope you enjoyed reading, if you try any of these places or have any other suggestions leave them in the comments section below!

LA Fashion Week!

LA Fashion Week!

Food and Fashion, the perfect combo if you ask me. That's why I was absolutely thrilled to attend Day 1 of LA Fashion Week this year. There were three tiers of tickets one could purchase. General admission which started at $70, and $250 for the VIP ticket to have access to both the after party and dinner. The event was held at the Petersen Automotive Museum, you're probably more familiar with it if I say 'that big red and silver building on Wilshire Blvd.' Oh, they also hold some of the rarest and most valuable cars in the world, no biggs.

Valentine's Day Ideas

Valentine's Day Ideas

Valentine's Day can be quite a daunting day, whether you are in a relationship or not. Those who don't have a Valentine might feel the pressure of not having one, and those that do, feel the pressure of having to create a special experience for their loved one. Whichever boat you fall in this year, take the time to do make the most of the day...because, why not?! I love to stop and appreciate the holidays because when I don't it feels like the year just flies by and I didn’t make the most of it.

The Treehouse, Bel Air

The Treehouse, Bel Air

I paid a very special visit to The Treehouse, Bel Air, I feel as though since returning from China with new ah-ha moments, coupled with finding out I have high blood sugar, is pushing me towards a transitioning in my life. And I feel it is more than just a coincidence that this visit to The Treehouse was set up when it was.

LA Mag Food Event

I am soo sad I was not able to attend the LA Mag Food Event in person. I ended up doing a very impromptu trip to China. I was really looking forward to it. Instead, I sent my husband and the official FOODECALL representative. The risk in doing that is that he actually drinks all the wine, which could mean you’ll end up with the best…or the worst pictures, depending on how you look at it. Just scroll and you’ll see what I’m talking about. In the meantime, I’m just gonna home that I get to go next year because it looked like so much fun!

NEWPORT BEACH FESTIVAL

NEWPORT BEACH FESTIVAL

I recently had the pleasure of venturing out all the way to Newport Beach just to attend the Newport Beach Festival. The Pacific Sales Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Jaguar Land Rover, one of Southern California’s most intimate and highly-acclaimed food and wine events, wrapped its fifth annual extravaganza on Sunday, October 7, 2018. The four-day epicurean event drew over 6,000 guests who enjoyed tastings from over 40 of Southern California’s best restaurants and more than 250 varieties of wine, as well as access to their favorite celebrity chefs. This year’s festival attracted top talent from the culinary world, including Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina, Food Network and Bravo stars Duff Goldman, Richard Blais, and Jet Tila, as well as contestants from Bravo’s Top Chef television series.

CHEATDAY LAND

CHEATDAY LAND

CHEAT DAY LAND (CDL) pop-up museum is a celebration of the foods we all dream about and all deserve after a hard week’s workout. The interactive experience officially opened on October 1st and received overwhelming response from the public and the media, selling out several weekends in row. A Red Carpet Preview Party was held on Sept. 28 and attended by over 350 VIP guests.