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.
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.
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.
An Evening With The Mayor is an annual event hosted by the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce. Held at the iconic Greystone Mansion, it was definitely an evening of elegance that one often only gets to experience in a movie.
We were first picked up by Starline Tours, the official shuttle service of the evening. Then greeted by two luxury vehicles provided by O’Gara. Upon entry, you come across the first photo opportunity of the evening, on the staircase overlooking the entire terrace. However, it’s the soft melody from a harp that invites you in. The live music was provided by Kirschner Creative Artists’ Sasha Boldachev.
A couple weeks ago I received my first shipment of Vegin Out, a vegan meal delivery service. I know that it will take me quite some time before I get to a place where I can call myself vegan (if I ever do), but I believe in taking baby steps and doing the best we can. Right now I'm in my experimental phase where I'm trying different tactics to eat a majority plant based diet. I decided to see what's out there to aid me in maintaining a plant based diet. Naturally, having cooked food delivered straight to your door is by far probably the easiest way to go about it. The question remains is could I see myself eating like this and will it be easy on the wallet...
For starters, the basic meal plan at Vegin out is 3 main courses, 4 sides, 1 soup, and cookies, all precooked and delivered to your door. In my shipment came the following:
4 sides: Vegetables with vinaigrette, Greek roasted veggies, Cilantro lime jasmine rice, Kale with citrus vinaigrette.
3 entrees: Tofu Tikka Masala, Ethiopian Lentil Stew, Chickpea Bolognese
1 minestrone soup
1 package of snickerdoodles
Everything was tasty and there wasn't anything that I didn't like or wouldn't want to eat again. My favorite though has to be the Tofu Tikka Masala. I loved the fact that it came with fresh veggies, especially the Kale salad with had slivers of almond and golden raisins.
I would say that the entire meal lasted me the whole week. I mixed and matched it with other foods. I have to admit though, I did sometimes eat the meals with a side of meat/chicken/fish. When I could resist the temptation to add meat, I did find that it was hearty and I didn't quite miss the meat.
The total cost of this package was $128, which might seem a little steep but I do want to mention that you can get anywhere from 3 to 4 servings of each entree. So the entire meal lasted me all week. I even had some leftovers that I ended up freezing because I didn't want them to go bad.
My overall take is that I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to be vegan, especially if you are low on time and want to eat a healthy meal but don't necessarily have the time to cook. Even if you are not vegan, I still believe this can be a great option to supplement your meals so that at least you can cut back on the animal products you consume. Have you ever tried a meal delivery service before, specifically a vegan one? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Did you know that the artichoke was considered an aphrodisiac by the Ancient Greeks? Well, I decided to put it to the test with this next foodecall. And what better way to do that, than to visit the Annual Artichoke Festival at Market City Café right here in Burbank California.
MCC Hospitality Group has partnered with Ocean Mist Farms to showcase their premium California grown artichokes. Each restaurant of MCC Hospitality Group, including Market City Caffé, will feature the hearty vegetable in different dishes, determined by the chef's creative interpretation and driven by local seasonal ingredients.
Now, to me cooking and eating artichokes seems like a lot of work for very little reward, so I have to say that I will gladly let someone else put in the work by taking out all the edible parts and putting it into a dish for me.
Artichoke dish #1: Artichoke Pizzata
I loved this dish. Instead of tomato sauce, they used a black olive tapenade, artichoke hearts, caramelized onion, fresh arugula, burrata chese, and drizzled it with truffle oil. I could smell the truffle even before eating it. Delicious and great for sharing.
Artichoke dish #2: Artichoke & Bacon Arancinis
Braised artichoke heart, apple-wood smoked bacon, mascarpone cheese, parmesean cheese, and parsley in a risotto ball, light panko breading served with a lemon artichoke aioli. This could easily feed 4 if you split them in half. Very different from anything I've eaten. I recommend this.
Artichoke Dish #3: Baby Artichoke Hearts Crispy Fried
This is basically what the title says it is. Lightly breaded artichoke hearts, flash fried and served with housemade lemon aioli. I've never had fried artichoke like this, so it was totally new for me. Another great dish for sharing.
Artichoke Dish #4: Free Range Chicken Zpesattino
Fresh artichoke, calamata olive, wild mushroom white wine cream sauce served with baby wile arugula. I devoured this dish because it had the protein and fresh vegetables I needed.
Artichoke Dish #5: Spinache Artichoke Ravioli
I call this one The Show Stopper. Served in a shrimp scampi sauce, baby heirloom tomatoes, and crispy fried artichokes. This was to die for!!
Pair it with one of their specialty drinks like a peach bellinitini, or a beer from their sister company Verdugo West Brewing Co.
I was extremely impressed with the food. Each dish had fresh ingredients, in the right amount, and were all so tasty and unique. That’s all for now! Arti-Choke you next time!
Shutters On The Beach
Santa Monica, CA
Shutters On The Beach is a beeeeautiful hotel located in Santa Monica, and its kind of a no brainer to figure out where its at…on the beach (duh!). This place looks like it was plucked straight out of Cape Cod or the Hamptons, equipped with white linen, fresh flowers, and all the sunlight you’ll ever need. With stunning views of the ocean and boardwalk, it makes for the perfect Sunday brunch place. They validate parking for $8, better than the local parking lot that goes for $12. Prices are little higher than your average restaurant, but then again, when you go to Shutters you go for the location, not necessarily for the food. Although, I did really enjoy my turkey club sandwhich Be sure to ask to sit outside on the patio!
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Taste of Chicago!
What a way to start my personal food quest in Chicago by going to the 35th Annual Taste of Chicago, a food festival where popular restaurants from all over Chicago come together to showcase their goods. Its a free festival, but you have to purchase tickets in order to get food. It cost $8.50 for 12 tickets, and each sample of food required anywhere from 4 to 5 tickets.
I traveled from one end to the other in search of the best food and I honestly am so happy with my choices.
But the BEST food in the entire festival has to go to La Bomba, a Puerto Rican Restaurant for their Pork Shish Kabobs. I meannnnn…..Hello! This was hands down the tastiest thing in the entire festival. It was so good we ordered 3 of them. OH, and their secret ingredient is such an odd one, (I saw them add it to the boiling pot), but it makes all the sense in the world. Sorry, can’t divulge that. You’ll just have to try them out whenever you get a chance. This is somewhere I would definitely seek out the next time I’m ever in Chicago.
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