Poolside pups & pastelitos: Our extremely pet-friendly trip to Miami Beach

This used to be his playground…

We just got back from a weekend away in Miami. It was MY first trip to Florida, and Mike’s millionth… approximately. (He used to work on a show called Burn Notice that filmed in Miami.)

But the difference for Mike this time was that he had his dog in tow!

Actually it wasn’t just OUR pooch, our friend and The Gifted castmate Skyler Samuels brought her dog Matey along too!

If you’re looking for a pet-friendly trip to Miami, you’re going to have to stay at The Standard Miami Beach.

This place just set the tone for the perfect getaway with your pooch… Continue reading “Poolside pups & pastelitos: Our extremely pet-friendly trip to Miami Beach”

Hitch a ride on a Vancouver seaplane for a magical vehicular tourist activity

We not only used our time in Vancouver seek out all the best restaurants, but we also accomplish one of my lifetime goals: TO RIDE ON A FREAKING SEAPLANE!

I have long believed — since growing up watching Baloo von Bruinwald XIII pilot the Sea Duck in Talespin — that seaplanes are the most kick-ass of vehicles. They are magical. They are amazing. They are boats that become planes and then planes that become boats, and sometimes they can even ski!? My mind boggles.

Mike discovered my love of seaplanes when I forced us to stop, mid-bike ride around Stanley Park, to endlessly watch the Vancouver seaplanes become boats and then turn into planes again.

traveling in a seaplane vancouver - @thedashanddine
The look on my face is pure excitement.

We were hoping that we could take advantage of a free weekend in Vancouver to fly from Vancouver to Victoria by seaplane. But since it we only had Canada Day weekend free, the prices were inappropriately high (even for magical modes of transportation).

So instead we just did a quick seaplane tour with Harbor Air instead. Which was clearly equally as thrilling for me, as you can see here: Continue reading “Hitch a ride on a Vancouver seaplane for a magical vehicular tourist activity”

From hotels to campsites: Where to stay in Anderson Valley

So you’ve read our post about how amazing Anderson Valley is, and you’ve decided that a weekend getaway to Anderson Valley sounds like the perfect trip. Congrats, you make good choices. But where should you stay?

From the fanciest hotel in Philo, to the budget option in Cloverdale, and even camping and the best places to stay for groups… we’ve rounded up where to stay in Anderson Valley for your perfect wine tasting trip!

Boonville hotels:

Photo of us by Wild About You Photography, taken at The Boonville Hotel.

The Boonville Hotel

The Boonville Hotel is smack dab in the middle of charming Boonville. Conveniently, it’s walking distance to many awesome wineries and eateries. And it also houses one of the best restaurants in town — Table 128.

The Toll House

The Toll House is located on 650 acres with private trails, gorgeous views, and is 5 miles from Boonville. With three different multi-room accommodations that sleep from 12-6 people, it’s perfect for large families, or groups of close friends. So if you have a larger crew in tow, book the Toll House.

Philo hotels:


The Madrones

The Madrones is a winery, restaurant, and hotel with several guest rooms. There are also two cabins available at their neighboring property The Brambles. It’s located right next door to our favorite winery in Anderson Valley — Goldeneye.

Indian Creek Inn

They have a total of fifteen rooms divided between three buildings. The Standard rooms are small. The Deluxe Rooms are more spacious. And the Suites offer a master bedroom and an additional bedroom which are designed for a family of four. And the other building has a dining and living room area are shared by five rooms — perfect for a group of around ten people.

Anderson Valley Inn

Located across from Scharffenberger Cellars Winery, the Anderson Valley Inn offers comfortable and affordable lodging in the heart of Mendocino Wine Country.

Cloverdale hotels:

Cloverdale Wine Country Inn

The Cloverdale Wine Country Inn is basically Best Western (because it actually used to be a Best Western). It’s a great budget option — save that extra cash for more bottles of wine!

The Highlands Estate

The Highlands Estate is a super-cute B&B in the Yorkville highlands. It’s a retreat for adults, so no children under 18. Which means, this is the place to go if you want a grown-up weekend get-away.

Anderson Valley hotel alternatives:



Get creative and check out the Airbnb options in the Anderson Valley. You can cater your search to exactly what you need — large groups, pet-friendly, budget rooms, etc. See what gems you can find!


There are a couple of campsites good for camper vans or pitching tents. Check out:

Secretly amazing wine, famous local beers, and hugging giant trees: Things to do in Anderson Valley

Things to do in Anderson Valley - @thedashanddine

Northern California’s Anderson Valley is a very special place for us — it’s where Mike’s ancestral home is, it’s where we got married, and it’s where we go when we have time for a weekend getaway. As we’re prepping for an upcoming visit, we thought we’d share our best Anderson Valley travel tips. Because who doesn’t love awesome wines that’ll give you some major sommelier cred, popular local beers, and staggeringly giant trees!?

You may not have thought you’d ever visit this part of Northern California — it’s kept a bit of a secret for a reason — but you’re about to learn that there’s lots of stuff to do in Anderson Valley… Continue reading “Secretly amazing wine, famous local beers, and hugging giant trees: Things to do in Anderson Valley”

Snow, swan boats and sulfur: Our quick trip to Hakone

Our quick trip to Hakone - @thedashanddine

Mike: Megan gets a little overwhelmed in New York, so I thought she might get triggered in Tokyo, being surrounded by endless skyscrapers. When we booked our trip to Japan, I scheduled a night in the mountain town of Hakone as a brief respite from the city. Turned out that Megan was just fine in Tokyo, but we’re still glad we hit this charming resort spot.

Megan: After our six days in Tokyo, we jumped on the RomanceCar (the not-really-appropriate name for the very-ordinary train to Hakone) and left the city behind…
Continue reading “Snow, swan boats and sulfur: Our quick trip to Hakone”

Go to these restaurants in Charleston for a glutinous and amazing foodie trip

Awesome restaurants in Charleston via @thedashanddine
The very beginning of our foodie weekend trip to Charleston!

We’re lucky enough to be close friends with one of the best chefs to come to LA from South Carolina. (Avid readers may remember him as Ari, my chef friend at Red Medicine.) So when Mike and I decided to head to South Carolina for a weekend, we immediately emailed Ari to ask about the restaurants in Charleston that we HAD to try.

Here are the places he recommended, plus some others we discovered during our glutinous and amazing foodie weekend trip to Charleston.

Great restaurants in Charleston for foodies:

Continue reading “Go to these restaurants in Charleston for a glutinous and amazing foodie trip”

A quick list of the (lobbyist approved!) best restaurants in Sacramento

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!

So ignore those other sites, and check out these places. Because if anyone knows where the best restaurants in Sacramento are to be found, it’s the people who have to schmooze over dinners and drinks for a living… Continue reading “A quick list of the (lobbyist approved!) best restaurants in Sacramento”

“Happy Hallowsemite!” Our last-minute weekend trip to Yosemite in October

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!

Oh boy, it is EVERYTHING everyone said it would be… Continue reading ““Happy Hallowsemite!” Our last-minute weekend trip to Yosemite in October”

The perfect recipe for a weekend trip to the Santa Ynez Valley

weekend trip Santa Ynez Valley
Me with Mike and his sister Jessica.

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.)

Day one

This was the driveway at our weekend rental.

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
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • avocado — 3-4 ripe avocados or pre-made guac
  • Margarita mix
  • Tequila

Day two

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
  • Syrup
  • Jam
  • Bacon — one pack is plenty
  • Orange juice
  • Milk

Free swim

Hopefully you’ve rented a place with a pool (and jacuzzi for the folks who are always cold, like me).

Hopefully your rental also comes with awesome pool toys!

Lunch: Full of Life Flatbread

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

Mike and the birthday girl outside of Bob’s Well Bread.

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!

Wine tasting

Sampling wines at Bridlewood Winery

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).

The cheese and charcuterie at Vincent Vineyards and Winery.

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…

Sun, grape vines, wine, and friends. What more could you want out of a weekend!?

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)

The Petit New York Steak from @santa_barbara_private_chef

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!

Day three

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!
The chocolate almond croissant was amazing.

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!

10 tips for getting the most out of your The Taste LA Times weekend pass

For the past three years, Mike and I have attended The Taste LA Times Event — a weekend long food festival. This year we attended all four of the weekend events to collect the best bites of The Taste LA 2017.

But patterns started to really emerge this year (that we suspected of being true last year) and we realized, we’ve got a bit of insight into how to get the most out of your weekend pass to The Taste LA… Continue reading “10 tips for getting the most out of your The Taste LA Times weekend pass”