We found ourselves in Sacramento for a weekend, but with only ONE night to properly dine out. So, before we left, I texted my lobbyist friend: “If you only had one night in Sacramento, where would you eat?” She got back to me with a quick list of what she thinks are the best restaurants in Sacramento, and SHOCKINGLY they weren’t on any of the other top Google hits for best Sacramento restaurants!
Yup, a new ice cream trend that started in Southeast Asia — Thai rolled ice cream — has made its way to Melrose. We stopped into Cold Rolled on a hot rainy night, and left feeling… overwhelmed by the whole process, but happy with our cold-rolled treats!
When you’re a foodie and you want to give a gift from the heart, the first thing you think of is giving the gift of food! Therefore, I’m constantly researching the best food gifts Los Angeles has to offer, and I’m pretty proud of my collection.
So whether you’re a foodie, or your shopping for one, these are the best food gifts that’ll work for holiday gifts, birthday gifts, or “thank you for getting me that audition” gifts…
It had been a couple of months since our last weekend trip, and Mike and I had been itching to get out-of-town again. Based on a genius hunch, Mike checked to see if there might be some last-minute availability in Yosemite in October — specifically over Halloween weekend. Lo and behold, he was right! He snapped up the (seemingly) last-remaining room at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, and the last-remaining dinner reservation at the Ahwahnee (now “The Majestic Yosemite Hotel”) and we were off on a weekend trip to Yosemite!
Here’s the thing, I grew up in Los Angeles, only four and a half hours away from Yosemite, and yet, I had NEVER BEEN. My high school boyfriend was obsessed with the place, and told me all about how much I would love it there. But it took 20 more years and a few more boyfriends to finally get me there!
When chef Jordan Kahn’s first restaurant Red Medicine was A Thing, I was lucky to have a close friend who was a chef there. In an effort to expand my toddler-esque palate, chef Ari Kolender (now of Hayden fame) and I had a special arrangement…
He’d send out food, instructing the servers to rebel against their training and not tell me anything about the dish. Then I’d have to at least try EVERYTHING that came out.
Because I never knew what I was actually putting in my mouth, I would come up with my own names for Red Medicine’s menu items. I was shocked (SHOCKED!) to find out that the “Awesome BBQ Balls” were actually beef cheek. (I still think “Awesome BBQ Balls” sounds more appetizing.) But my favorite special name for one of Red Medicine’s menu items was the “Science Salad”…
I’d sit at a table next to the open kitchen and watch as Jordan would construct his worlds of salad — using both his tongs and architectural skills. Then, once the salad was perfectly constructed and dropped at our table, I’d mix all the ingredients together, and it magically turned into both the salad AND the dressing. It was a culinary science experiment that delighted me with its beauty, creativity, and taste. Basically the Science Salad blew my mind.
Last time we talked waffles, this time let’s talk about the Holy Grail of Waffles: chicken and waffles. Here’s the deal with me… if chicken and waffles is on a menu, I’m ordering it. Every time. Which means, means I’m constantly on the “chicken and waffles LA” search.
For my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday we rented an awesome house and had a perfect, fun and sun-filled family weekend trip to Santa Ynez Valley. It was easy and successful because we had a team of producers (the Horowitz siblings) mostly running the show.
If you’re thinking of taking your own weekend trip to the Santa Ynez Valley, here’s a peak at our itinerary, complete with grocery shopping list! (Don’t get used to that though.)
Arrive at your (hopefully awesome) rental home
We highly recommend the house we stayed in — it has incredible views, a pool, spa, four bedrooms, and an adorable GIANT dog to frolic with…
Dinner: Tacos and/or burritos
This’ll easily feed six adults and a couple kids with leftovers to use on other meals…
Ground beef 85/15% — 3 lbs
Taco seasoning mix – 3 packs
Tortillas — either taco or burrito size
Beans — refried beans (2 or 3 cans)
Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice — One box
Lettuce — head of iceberg
Tomato — 4-5 ripe tomatoes (depending on size)
Cheese — bag of shredded cheddar
avocado — 3-4 ripe avocados or pre-made guac
Take a gorgeous morning walk
No matter what time it is, the lighting is so freaking gorgeous in the Santa Ynez Valley. Morning was my favorite time to get out of the house and take a walk, and appreciate the early morning sun shining through all the trees. Then it’s time to come back and make…
Breakfast: Waffles and/or pancakes
Pancake and waffle mix — pick your poison
Eggs — a dozen
Fruit — whatever floats your boat
Bacon — one pack is plenty
Hopefully you’ve rented a place with a pool (and jacuzzi for the folks who are always cold, like me).
One of our favorite restaurants — Full of Life Flatbread — is a 20 minute drive away, in Los Alamos. If you’re EVER within driving distance from Full of Life, GO THERE. Warning: It’s very busy at night, and service is very slow during the day. But it’s all worth it for their amazing pizzas.
Bob’s Well Bread Bakery
As you head back home from Full of Life, you should stop a few blocks down the road at one of the best bakeries in the world: Bob’s Well Bread! Grab one (of five) of their kouign amanns (don’t be surprised if they’re already sold out though — they’re popular). Then grab a bunch of different pastries for breakfast the next day!
Good thing you carbo loaded with all that pizza, because it’s time to go wine tasting! We were right down the street from a couple of wineries, so we hit up Bridlewood Winery (not our favorite, but the staff is lovely and fun).
Then we drove a little further down the road to Vincent Vineyards and Winery (where we enjoyed the wine more and was a little weirded out by the staff). Definitely take advantage of their cheese and charcuterie and, if you have any more time before dinner, play some corn hole and enjoy their brightly colored lawn chairs…
Buy a few bottles of your favorites from the day so you can use them when you get back for your special dinner…
Dinner: Hire a private chef (optional, obviously)
Okay okay, this is a Big Over-doing It step for us (and for a lot of people, I’m sure). But we wanted our big birthday gift for our mom to be an intimate family dinner where no one had to worry about cooking, cleaning, or setting the table. So I got in touch with the highly rated and the highly amazing Chef Mattias Blom and together we planned a menu, using all local ingredients, and he took it from there!
Breakfast: Kill the leftovers + pastries
Scramble all the left over eggs from the day before
Cut up and throw in all the leftover avocado
Top with sour cream
Use leftover bacon
And break out those Bob’s Well Bread pastries!
Take a final walk
Maybe it’ll a cool foggy morning and you can watch the sun rise over the valley and think about what a kick-ass weekend you just had. And start making plans for your next weekend trip to Santa Ynez Valley!
Do you have travel tips for Santa Ynez? Leave them in the comments!
If you know me, you know one of my favorite things in this world is waffles. I love them oh-so-much, that I think everything would taste better if it were waffled… or served on top of a waffle… or sandwiched between two waffles… or includes a character who’s also obsessed with waffles.
Just ask Mike, nothing ruins my day more than a bad waffle. Seriously, there will be tears and a sad George Michael/Charlie Brown walk home afterwards.
So you live/work/find yourself on Melrose Ave during lunch or dinner time, and you need to eat on the cheap and quick. Here are the best places to grab a quick but also still delicious meal for cheap. I’m talking $10 and under on Melrose…