October 3, 2015

Painting & Vino

I never really considered myself a very artistic person...
But hey, there's this thing called wine,
and it magically makes everything seem... easier? 

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to try out a Painting & Vino class,
and I figured, why not, it would be a fun way to catch up with some girlfriends. 
The concept is pretty straight forward - 
pick a picture of your choice and attend a session that offers it. 
The price of the class includes a step-by-step lesson and all your materials. 
Locations vary, but one thing is constant - wine is plentiful, and typically, there are other great deals on appetizers to keep your strength up while you work on your version of the Sistine Chapel. 

My girlfriends and I opted to paint "Africa at Night" at Caffe Bella Italia, when we went. 
The results were honestly a lot better than I expected!
I painted giraffes you guys! Not one, but two! In the moonlight, no less!
It was such a fun night - laughing, painting and drinking wine with my friends. 

Want to try it?! I've partnered with Painting & Vino to offer you a promotion code!
Use code LOVESD15 for a $20 discount off your next class.
The company also offers private events for a minimum of 15 people,
so keep that in mind next time you go to plan a birthday party, bridal shower or maybe a corporate event. 


September 8, 2015

Seasons on Seasons at Seasons 52

And just like that, 
in a blink of an eye, 
autumn is here. 

Kind of... 
The temps were in the upper 90s today, 
and it's only supposed to get hotter before the weather starts cooling off. 
But hey, 
I don't mind sipping on my Pumpkin Pisco Sour in a sundress!

Last week I was invited to sample the flavorful and bountiful flavors of the season at Seasons 52,
a fresh grill and wine bar that offers a seasonal menu inspired by the appeal of a local farmer’s market and what’s good now. 
The menu is paired with an ever-changing collection of more than 100 wines, with 52 available by the glass, 
along with exceptional signature handcrafted cocktails. 
Some of my standout favorites were the Organic Sunshine Martini and the Perfect Storm cocktails. 
All the dishes I tried were bursting with flavor, 
but I really liked the Kabocha Squash Ravioli, the Lump Crab Cake,
and the Lobster & Fresh Mozzarella Flatbread
The menu is updated every week
so no guarantees that my recommendations will be available when you undoubtedly decide to stop by a location near you.
But don't worry, 
there’s always something new and flavorful to discover at Seasons 52.
You won't be dissapointed!
The restaurant features live music at the bar every night! Don't see that very often nowadays. 
Kabocha Squash Ravioli - brown butter, walnuts, crispy sage
Lump Crab Cake - Maryland-style, mustard sauce.
You guys, this was ALL MEAT. No funny business with these cakes. So good!
Oak-Grilled Rack of Lamb - caramelized root vegetables, Yukon mash, pomegranate sauce,
with an accompaniment of Caramelized Sea Scallops
Oh and the dessert part is fun, and I'm not even a sweets person!
They bring out everything at once and go through every option until you're frantically searching for your napkin to wipe the drool off your face.
I opted for the cannoli, which was so creamy I almost DIED.
The portions are all squeezed into a shot glass so although filling,
these little guys are not big enough to make you feel guilty about indulging. 
789 West Harbor Drive
Seaport District, CA 92101


August 12, 2015

Café Gratitude

Have you seen that meme that goes a little something like this:
"*eats a salad one time* I am honestly the most pure being on this earth. I can feel the toxins escaping my body right in this moment. health is a lifestyle."

Or better yet, all the vegan jokes going around social media for the past... idk, decade?
I like this one:
*someone starts having a heart attack*
person: is anyone here a doctor?
vegan: I'm a vegan.

I know why. 
Because you go to a place like Café Gratitude,
eat the most amazing vegan dishes,
and feel pure af. 

I'm a carnivore, by the way. 
Did I mention that?
So when I got invited to a media dinner at the newly opened Café Gratitude,
I was like... wait.. so no meat? 
Okay. But what if I don't like it? 

Well. I went. I tasted. And I LOVED it. 
The charismatic head chef Dreux Ellis brought out dish after dish of raw, delicious goodness. 
I am abundant.
I am flourishing. 
I am transformed!
All dishes are always plant-based and 100% organic. 
I'm talking even the spices.
It's pretty incredible, and, no pun intended,
it's truly food for thought. 
I am celebrating - two collard spring rolls, daikon and wakame filling, carrots, sunflower sprouts, avocado, Japanese pickled vegetables, wasabi and thai almond dipping sauces
I am abundant - sicilian antipasto plate, cultured cashew academia cheese with saffron, preserved lemon and sundries tomato, eggplant caponata, bistro pickled vegetables with germinate, fennel salad with green olives, toasted almonds and smoked salt, toasted gluten-free sourdough baguette & gluten-free crackers. Wowza!
I am flourishing - braised asparagus arancine, arborio rice, braised asparagus, cashew mozzarella, gremolata, basil hempseed pesto oil, arugula.
I am dynamic - yam cauliflower chaat, two whole wheat samosas, roasted garnet yam and cauliflower filling, kale, chana masala, tomato, housemate beagle gram masala, coconut mint chutney, spicy tomato jam
Owner Ryland Engelhart sharing with us the story behind the restaurant. So inspiring!
Really makes you think... is the glass half empty or half full?
I am bountiful - quinoa pasta, braised cherry tomatoes, roasted marinated eggplant, green olives, capers, raisins, brazil nut parmesan, wild arugula, fresh basil. This was AMAZING!
BEST LEMONADE I'VE EVER TRIED: elevated - rose water lemonade
I am warm-hearted - grilled polenta, braised summer squash, sautéed kale, roasted tomatillo sauce, salsa verde, cashed queso fresco, spicy pipits, chopped scallions, cilantro
Dreux Ellis presenting us with more delicious goodness! I swear, by the time this course came around, I could barely breathe, but it was sooo good!
And dessert! Explain how they made raw food taste like key lime pie? Avocados?
Mind. Blown. 
1980 Kettner Blvd. 
Little Italy, CA 92101


August 5, 2015

Riga, Latvia - Part II

Although I was only in Latvia for a few days,
I was able to squeeze in plenty of amazing experiences. 
Logistically speaking, it's really easy to get around. 
City center is a quick 15 minute drive from the airport. 
We opted to stay at the Radisson Blu Ridzene Hotel in Riga,
and honestly, it was perfect for our needs.
Walking distance to all the major attractions,
this five star hotel is not only affordable (by american standards), but also comfortable,
and as a bonus, it offers a delectable breakfast buffet. 
Highly recommend!

After checking out Riga's city center on the first day, 
we decided to head out of town. 
Destination: Jūrmala.
Located 25 kilometers west of Riga, 
this seaside town is a popular getaway for most locals. 
We wandered the beaches and checked out the romantic Art Nouveau architecture before heading back for dinner. 
Speaking of dinner... every meal we had in Latvia was SO good!
From pickled herring, to lamb shanks to suckling pork knuckles,
every dish left us stuffed yet drooling for more. 
In fact I'm drooling just thinking about it now. 
me and my statue