October 31, 2012

Catch Up

Feels like it's been a hot minute since I've told you about what I've been up to lately,
so here are a few random shots. 
Up above, are me and my girls at the one year anniversary party for The Wine Lover,
a cute little wine bar in the heart of Hillcrest. 
Make sure to stop by and check out some Sunday Lovin, their open acoustic night. 
Wine and live music on a Sunday afternoon? 
Sounds spectacular. 
The husband and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary at Greystone.
My, how time flies!
If you're a meat lover, I highly recommend this place. 
Smack in the middle of the Gaslamp,
this place served up the best lamb chops I've had in YEARS. 
Erik ordered the elk chop, and was equally pleased. 
Like I said, if you're looking to impress on your next date night,
ch-ch-ch-check it out!
My friend and I took in some serious eye candy at the latest Art and Fashion Collide event at Andaz San Diego.
We started the night off at the Ivy Wine Bar, 
where we perused a display of contemporary abstract art from featured artist Heidi Thompson.
 A little while later we headed downstairs for the Maceoo fashion show,
where we had the pleasure of viewing the male model eye candy, front and center. 
Can we talk about the shirts though?
I seriously want to invest in a few for the huz. 
I mean, if Scott Disick wears them, they must be legit. 
And finally,
in the spirit of Halloween,
we decided to get dressed up and hit the town water, 
to celebrate this awesome holiday with a Boos Cruise
I was My Little Pony. <points to headband> Duh!
(Boy, I hope everyone gets the Mean Girls reference here.)


October 29, 2012

Let the Light In

Mother nature has been PMSing lately.
I hope everyone on the east coast is being safe,
while that biotch Sandy passes through. 
Luckily the only effects that we've experienced in California were some coy clouds,
which were just begging to be photographed. 

These pictures were taken last week,
while we were driving through Anza on our way home from the in-laws' house. 
Pretty, no?


October 24, 2012

London Time - Part II

This London post is dedicated to my favorite past-time...

There are so many amazing restaurants in London,
that narrowing them down to a mere dozen was one of the hardest aspects about planning our trip.
Whoever said that the UK had horrible food clearly wasn't looking hard enough.
The city is packed with choices of michelin star caliber,
and we were on a mission to try out as many of them as possible.

We started off our culinary voyage as soon as we got to London.
After we checked in at our hotel,
we crossed the street and arrived at the our first destination, The Delaunay.
What a great way to start off!
My taste buds were snapped out of jet lag as soon as I placed the first tender bite of Steak Tartare in my mouth.
The husband, always a sucker for a toasty sandwich, ordered the Croque Madame, and was equally pleased.

That same night we treated ourselves to our first five-course dinner experience at the Petrichor,
located within the beautiful Cavendish hotel, in the center of Picadilly and Mayfair.
And thus begun our obsession with stretched out dining experiences.
It took us nearly three hours to get through our meal,
and we happily enjoyed every minute of it.
A few dishes that stand out from that night include:
Scottish Scallops and the Wicks Manor Pork Belly.
Most importantly, if you plan to visit the Petrichor, don't miss out on the cocktails!
The Grey Goose Le Fizz and the Vanilla Spring were exquisite.

The next night we treated ourselves to another multiple course dinner at One Twenty One Two,
one of London's most celebrated restaurants located within the Royal Horseguards Hotel.
The ambiance was so romantic.. we were nestled into our own private booth for hours,
while the attentive staff brought us course after course of delicious entrees.
If you plan on visiting, I recommend the beef medallions and the duck,
both of which Erik deemed as "un-flippin-believable".

We couldn't visit London without checking out one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants.
I mean, the guy's a legend,
and after dining at Maze, I can understand why.
Pictured above, in clockwise order from the top left:
Ramsay's take on the ceviche,
braised feather blade of beef, pomme purée, shimeji mushroom, with togarashi spice,
quail, confit leg, girolles, with smoked sweet corn veloute,
pressed duck and foie gras, flat peaches, Sauternes gel and bitter almond,
and pork dumplings with radish, in aromatic mushroom broth.
Not pictured is the apple terrine, rhubarb and custard ice cream,
because in all honestly it just looked too delicious, so all picture-taking was out the door.
I highly, highly recommend this restaurant.
French cuisine with Asian influences? Right. On. Point.
There were several dishes that we just HAD to check off our British bucket list,
and a traditional English breakfast was definitely on there.
After a brisk walk across the Millennium Bridge,
we found a spot to enjoy a warm cappuccino along with a savory breakfast with a view that was hard to beat. 
Situated along the River Thames, Founders Arms is a modern pub that offers great food without any fuss.

And now for the grand finale...
Proudly wearing two Michelin stars,
Sketch is definitely a place to remember.
This is where you go to see and be seen.
You've probably seen the famous egg shaped bathrooms on TV recently,
(I know I'm not the only fan of the Real Housewives of New York out there).
Just check out this decor!
My eyes were darting around in every direction,
until my food came, that is.
Once that plate was placed in front of me,
my eyes closed, and with each bite, I was transported to la-la land.

Erik ordered the roast leg of lamb with garlic, paimpol coco beans, crunchy onions and sage with aubergine caviar,
while I feasted on the duck magret with maniguette pepper, peach caramelised with sweet wine, corn ice cream and coconut milk.
Wow.. is all I can say.
This place definitely earned its recognition.

I'll finish this post off with a quote:
 “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” 
-Virginia Woolf

Preach sista!


October 18, 2012

London Time - Part I

Oh London,
how I love thee. 

This wasn't my first time in the magical city of double decker red buses, 
although the only things that really stick from my visit there 20 years ago 
are the cute animals at the Zoo, and the overwhelming amount of toys at the Toy Museum
I remember it as being lovely,
and lovely it still is. 
There is SO much to see and do in this enormous city,
that even 6 days wasn't enough. 
I'm thinking I need at least a year, so that I can explore every little crevice thoroughly. 
From royal palaces, to bridges, to amazing museums,
we were on the go the whole time. 

Below is the first installment of my recommendations for things that can't be missed..

Where to Stay:
Since we were in London for almost a full week,
we decided to split our time between two neighborhoods. 
Our first stint was at the London Waldorf,
right in the center of the Theater District and only two blocks away from the Covent Garden tube stop. 
This is obviously a luxurious place to stay,
and is perfect for kicking back and relaxing after a long day of sight-seeing. 

For the second leg of our London stay,
we shacked up at the Caesar Hotel,
which was a lot more low key, and right around the corner from Hyde Park. 

I highly recommend both places.
The latter is a lot more affordable, but to each their own.

What to See:
Where do you even begin as a tourist in London? 
Like I mentioned earlier, there's just SO much to see. 
We decided that the best route was to split our days into territories. 
We actually took all the London walking tours with Sandemans New Europe company,
which I highly, highly recommend! 
The guides are young, energetic, and so smart that they put me to shame. 
Both Erik and I feel like we learned so much on this trip, 
and in large part, it's thanks to those tours. 

Ok, so of course we saw all the touristy stuff first,
and I could go on and on. 

Here are some fun facts that stood out to me:
*Buckingham Palace is The Queen's official London residence, 
but St. James's Palace is the ceremonial Royal residence.
With all that, The Queen still prefers to spend her weekends at Windsor Castle,
a place I'll tell you about in a future post.

*During the night of July 9, 1982,
one very drunk Irishman by the name of Michael Fagan proceeded to successfully break into the Buckingham Palace and join The Queen in her bed chambers. 
Apparently security wasn't all it's cracked up to be back then,
because Michael was able to easily hop the fence after a few lot of drinks at a local pub, and go on to explore the royal palace. 
After consuming half a bottle of the Queen's wine and munching on a little bit of her dogs' food,
Fagan wandered into her actual bedroom, where her majesty was peacefully sleeping. 
Long story short, it took nearly 45 minutes for the royal guards to figure out that security system was not "surely malfunctioning", 
and that there was, in fact, an intruder.
When Fagan was finally arrested, all he was officially charged with was theft... of half a bottle of wine and some dog food. 
True story. 
Now don't go wild and start hopping fences tonight.. the laws have surely changed since 1982.

*The Tower of London is not really a tower.
I mean, I guess "technically it is", 
but when the guide told us it was straight ahead yet there was no tip to be seen up above,
I was definitely confused. 
It looks more like a castle, or a fortress, but definitely not a tower.
Silly Englishmen.
*The Westminister Abbey is Britain's largest church. 
It's massive, and beautiful, and seems a lot bigger in person as opposed to when I saw it on the TV for William and Kate's wedding last year. 
The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. 

*The official name for Big Ben is St. Stephen's tower...
it picked up its nickname after the tower's largest bell, 
which, by the way, is not the original bell. 
The original had to be replaced after it was rang only once... the poor thing cracked under all that pressure. Tee hee. Get it?

The London Eye (previously known as the Millennium Wheel) was one of the structures built in Britain to celebrate the new old Millennium.
It was actually supposed to be decomissioned after all the celebrations, 
but after the government realized how much profit was at stake, the original plans were quickly abandoned.
It is the most popularly visited paid attraction in all of Great Britain, 
taking in an average of 3 - 3.5 million visitors each year.
Simple math will tell you that at about 19 GBP per ticket, this baby brings in a whole lotta mula!
I can keep going, and going, and going and.. 
Ok, fine. I'll stop. 
In the next post I'll be talking about a much more exciting subject... FOOD!

Have you ever been to London?
What stands out the most to you?


October 12, 2012

Mexico, Te Quiero

The huz and I spent another amazing weekend in Rosarito last week.
It saddens me to see the city so deserted,
but the upside is that we get treated like royalty every time we visit.

Perfect beach, amazing suite, great friends, and tons of tequila.
Who could ask for anything better?


October 10, 2012

Where the Wild Things Are

I love playing tourist in my own town. 
A few days ago I took an opportunity to show some visitors around San Diego Zoo Safari Park,
which was as much of a treat for me as it was for them, 
considering that I haven't been there in almost ten years. 

Now I'm sure that many of you are familiar with the world-famous San Diego Zoo,
but what you might not know is that along with the Safari Park, 
these two facilities are a part of a conservation organization dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. 
To date, the organization has reintroduced 33 species back into the wild including: 
5 species of reptiles, 17 species of birds, and 10 species of mammals. 
 In many cases, these efforts have meant the difference between extinction and survival.

Taking a guided tour around the facilities was truly an eye-opening experience. 
I also had a chance to pick out some critters that I'd like to adopt as pets...
How cute is this lion couple? He was totally following her around and holding her tail.
What's NOT pictured is how these lions got their freak on shortly after.
I was obviously a pervert and proceed to snap away, while some kids around me were scarred for life...
The best part was eavesdropping on the parents who were trying to explain the situation to their children
"um.. this is how momma lion and papa lion love each other". Ha!
Head over heels in love with the short chunky goat on the right. 
Giraffes are some of my favorite mammals.
Such beautiful animals. And how cute is the baby? Squeal!
Have I ever mentioned that I used to have a chinchilla for a pet?
Yep, her name was Gucci, and she was the cutest thing ever!
This one looks just like her. 
Oh my gosh, it's official, pacas are the cutest rodents. I want one!
The Lorikeet Landing was one of my favorite spots in the whole park.
For $3 you can buy some nectar and then proceed to an open cage where the lorikeets fly right up to you.
These guys are not shy at all!
It was awesome to be able to get so close to these pretty birds.
I became obsessed with this meerkat. He followed me around and would just sit back and chill.
Totally reminded me of Timone from Lion King.. Hakuna Matata!
So many babies around! This little gorilla was very active. 
If you're ever in San Diego, don't miss out on the Safari Park. 
I had such a great time there, and I'm sure you will too!