December 4, 2016

Pali Wine Co.

Little Italy has really morphed into a culinary mecca in San Diego over the past few years. 
But it's not just food that brings the natives and the visitors down to this cute little neighborhood.
There's something for everyone - 
from top chef restaurants, to cute little cafes,
adorable boutiques and a weekly farmers market,
bars that are cracking' till 2 am and craft tasting rooms that are perfect for a mid afternoon treat.
One of the newest additions to the block is Pali Wine Co.,
a Central Coast winery known for its premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from California and Oregon and its newer label, 
Tower 15, which features Bordeaux and Rhone from the Paso Robles region.

I consider all varieties to be the elixir of the gods,
so when Pali invited me to check out their brand new San Diego tasting room a few weeks ago,
I said... wine not?!

First of all, let me tell you about the space.
Location is perfectly situated near the heart of Little Italy, 
making it a practical location for a pre-dinner drink, or two (or five, if you're having a flight). 
The tasting room itself is very modern, light and airy. 
Very insta worthy, if you know what I mean. 

As for the wine itself,
having tried pretty much every variety they offer,
(my friend and I opted to share a flight each, one of Pali, and one of Tower 15),
I, like many others before me, fell in love with the Fiddlestix
With that being said, there's something for everyone. 
The Little Italy tasting room offers all of its bottled wine inventory,
 and houses an 8-keg wine on tap system for a refillable growler program!
Come by, and stay a while. 
A small plate food menu will be available to pair with your wine selections in the very near future. 
2130 India St. 
Little Italy, San Diego


November 20, 2016

In Love With..

A beautiful farmer's market salad from Florent
I think it's officially fall in San Diego now. 
It happened overnight..
literally, it was 85 degrees two days ago, and now it's raining.
But I'm not complaining. 
I've been counting down the days till I could wear some of my favorite cozy knits and boots,
and the time is finally here!

Besides the appropriate wardrobe updates,
I've also been loving the seasonal happenings all around San Diego lately. 
Pumpkin spice lattes aren’t the only thing popping up all over town. 
So are brand new fall menus, and Chef Brad Hightow from Florent 
has launched a lineup of fall-inspired eats with savory proteins, 
sweet seasonal fruits and unique carbohydrates to get downtown ready for the colder weather. 
The restaurant invited me in to try a few of their seasonal favorites a couple of weeks ago,
and I jumped at the opportunity to start building up my "winter coat". 
The Nashville Hot Quail and the Pork Chop with Maple Brine were my personal favorites.
Filled with flavor from seasonal ingredients, 
each entree perfectly fit into the category of comfort food. 
Ahhh does anyone else feel like they're already behind on their holiday shopping? 
Luckily, the kind folks at Fashion Valley helped me out by inviting me to an exclusive holiday preview event. 
I got a chance to mingle with other influencers over happy hour, 
then see top trending gift ideas from the mall’s luxury retailers including 
I had a few revelations that night,
and wanted to share some best kept secrets about the beloved shopping center with you all!
1. Did you know that there is a restaurant inside of Bloomingdales Fashion Valley?!
It's called 59th & Lex.
It's on the 3rd floor, it's chic and fuck*n legit. 

2. Another hidden gem inside of Bloomingdales Fashion Valley!
Did you know they housed a Clarins Spa?!
Yes, boys and girls. 
Mind blown!
Okay, so when I first heard about it, I'm not going to lie, I had my doubts. 
How good can a "spa" be inside a department store?
But I was in dire need, and with a nice referral discount I decided to try it out anyway. 
Best decision I made all month!
After a 50 minute facial that was customized specifically for me, 
I walked out GLOWING. 
Seriously, I've been getting compliments on my skin all week. 

3. Santa Baby.. I found what I want for Christmas. 

4. Okay so this last one is not really a secret or a hidden gem,
but it was a revelation for me. 
It was my first time inside a Kendra Scott store,
and I. Fell. In. Love. 
Definitely know what I'm getting all my girlfriends for the holidays. 
With the options to completely customize what you want at the Color Bar,
the options are limitless,
which is perfect when shopping for ladies who seem to have it all!
Karubi Short Rib from the last Cosecha dinner
Remember when I went to Kaboo a few months ago?
Well what I really loved about that festival is that it was a diverse mix of not only music,
but also culinary offerings, libations, art exhibitions, comedy and much more. 
Not to veer off topic too much, 
one of my personal discoveries was the talent of Chef Steve Brown,
who showed off his culinary skills and won the 2016 Kaaboo Rock’n Chef Competition.
He's been a busy man since then,
doing things like launching Harvest, his very own catering company, 
as well as a series of pop-up restaurants, called Cosecha
“Cosecha”, meaning harvest in Spanish, has quickly become a popular event among the southern California crowd.
The "crowd" including myself and some of my dearest friends since we attended the latest event. 
The five-course dinner, which showcased produce grown at local Wild Willow Farms
included pumpkin ravioli, beets and bone marrow, and a 72-hr Karubi short rib 
paired with beers from Temecula’s Ironfire Brewing Company

Save the date!
The next event will take place on December 17th,
and will feature Satsuma Wagyu beef straight from Japan
with your choice of whiskey pairings or Baja wine pairings.
Tickets will be on sale soon, so keep your eyes out!
Sampling some Harvest Wine at Seasons 52 San Diego Seaport
The last happening I wanted to share with you is taking place at Seasons 52 San Diego Seaport location.
The restaurant invited me in to sample Harvest Wine,
 available for a limited time (until it runs out!).
Extremely popular in Europe, half-fermented Harvest Wine lies between a fully fermented wine and grape juice. 
During the process, in this case with a Sauvignon Blanc from the Mauritson vineyards in California,
the wine loses some of the acidity it’s known for. 
The acidity maintained makes this wine great for pairing with dishes such as seafood and spicy or salty dishes. 
Due to its sweet flavor and low alcohol content (about 5%), 
this wine is refreshing and makes for a great daytime beverage as an accompaniment to shrimp scampi and the scallops. 


November 11, 2016

Nicky Rottens Coronado

BP jacket, Hudson jeans, Steve Madden heels, Celine bag
Well.. America had a busy week, didn't she?
This is definitely not a political blog,
so I'm not even going to go there. 
But since it's Veterans Day and all, I feel like we need to regroup as a country. 
And what's more American than a nice juicy burger as big as my head?

Last week I was invited to stop by Nicky Rottens in Coronado to check out their menu and hang out for a bit. 
As soon as I walked in, I felt right at home. 
The world championships were on multiple big screens, 
the scent of sizzling burgers filled the air,
and as I looked around, I felt like I was an extra on an episode of Cheers.

Nicky Rottens is a family owned bar located on Coronado Island. 
There's a certain sense of pride that the island locals have,
and I think a lot of it has to do with the ownership of belonging to a small town community. 
Coronado also happens to be one of only two Navy SEAL headquarters in the US,
(ladies, take note),
and this neighborhood restaurant definitely pays tribute to this fact. 
They even have a special cocktail, the Cavner Mule, that honors SOC Brad Cavner Navy Seal.
 $1 of every drink sold goes to the Navy Seal Foundation in Brad’s Name,
and if that's not a reason to order up this delicious cocktail, I don't know what is!

The menu is sweet and simple. 
Although the famous burgers are front and center,
there's plenty of options for everyone. 
And perhaps... if you're feeling extra bold (or extra hungry),
you might opt to take the Ultimate Burger Challenge!
Weighing in at a whopping 2 1/2 pounds, 
this friggin’ huge burger will leave any grown man crying for mercy!!! 
You have one hour to clean your plate, and if you finish in 30 minutes, the burger is on the house.
Because there's nothing like having your name engraved in a neighborhood restaurant to feel like you truly fit in. 
Cavner Mule - Jameson, Fresh Lime Juice, and Angostura Bitters, Topped with Ginger Beer.
*In Honor of SOC Brad Cavner Navy Seal. $1 of every drink sold goes to the Navy Seal Foundation in Brad’s Name. 
Buffalo Wings - I like 'em HOT
Bacavo Burger and a side of tots! Cause.. who doesn't love tots?
I wasn't lying.. burgers as big as my head. 
Orange Ave. Michelada - Rotating Lager, Lime Juice, Hot Sauce, Clamato, Tajin Rim and Cucumber 
Peppercorn Burger and more tots tots tots!
Cookie Bomb - house made cookies with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce 


November 8, 2016

Bainbridge Island

There aren't many things that I love more than being a tourist.
Not like an obvious one.. with a giant camera strapped around my neck and a Fodors guide in hand. 
But the sense of adventure that comes along with exploring a new destination is pretty spectacular.
When my friend and I were in Seattle a few weeks ago,
we decided to expand our boundaries and take a day trip to Bainbridge Island
Highly recommend it!
We had the best time, breathing in fresh air and gawking and the beautiful surroundings. 

Bainbridge Island is located west of Seattle, is entirely surrounded by salt water, and is known for its outstanding natural beauty and rustic character. 
Catch a quick ride from Pier 52 on one of the Washington State Ferries, and get there in less than an hour.  
I recommend bringing your vehicle across the pond, so you can have the convenience of navigating as you deem fit. 
We didn't really have a set itinerary for the day.. 
instead we googled a few "must see destinations" while we sat back on the ferry,
and the first thing that caught our attention was the Bloedel Reserve
Oh em geeeeeee! 
Best pleasant surprise ever!! 

The Bloedel Reserve is an internationally renowned public garden and forest preserve.
It was created by Prentice and Virginia Bloedel, who resided on the property from 1951 until 1986,
with a vision to provide refreshment and tranquility in the presence of natural beauty.
Let me just tell you, it did not disappoint!
It took us about two hours to make our way around the woodland trails at the most leisurely pace.
The grounds are absolutely stunning,
and we found ourselves oohing and ahhing every few minutes as we came across the gorgeous sweeping vistas, formal gardens and soothing water features. 
Their home, which is now open to the public,
is my dream come true.
The pictures just don't do it justice. 
Anyway, to say that we were not disappointed is an understatement.
We truly did leave the reserve feeling relaxed and inspired.

We spent a few more hours on the island,
perusing the adorable boutiques (this one was my favorite),
before making our way back to Seattle to catch our flights home. 
Perfect way to end our trip!