Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Napa in a day

My husband is two days older than me, and I love to remind him he is my older man. Every year for our birthdays we run away to the greater San Jose area. We are huge hockey fans and every year as a birthday treat the San Jose Sharks play back to back home games around our birthdays. This year we went to a game on Thursday and Saturday which left Friday open to escape to Napa for the day.
Our day started the best way possible with a Parisian breakfast at Bouchon Bakery. Every rich and savory treat you could wish for was ordered and paired with a heavenly salted caramel latte. The ivy covered building and seating area outside provided the perfect backdrop to allow for my fantasy of sitting in Paris somewhere.
From there we stared our day of wine tasting. My favorite by far was taking the tour and tasting at amazing Domaine Carneros. Every girl should have a little bubbly on her birthday.
We ventured downtown Napa and stumbled into the coolest place, The Oxbow Market.  This market place had several restaurants with communal seating so we got some treats from a few places. Our favorite was Hogs Island Oysters.  We then did some light shopping through the market at Whole Spice and Napa Valley Distillery where we got some unique bitters for cocktails. If you go to downtown Napa, I highly recommend this place.  
Whole Spice Panorama
After some more wine tasting, a dream came true, we had dinner at Ad Hoc. For anyone who knows me, I am obsessed with Thomas Keller, and specifically this cookbook created after this restaurant. The cover of the pig was painted on our dining room wall...that's obsession.

Ad Hoc's menu changes every day, you will never experience the same meal there twice. They do a 4 course family style menu with one optional supplement; if you go, get the supplement.

Our meal was amazing and lived up to all of our expectations. My husband, being the smooth talker he is even got us a tour of the kitchen and we got to talk to the head chef. Words cannot express enough the high level of service and amount that extra attention and we got after they learned it was not only our birthdays, but how utterly food-geeky we were for being there!  Dreams do come true for these foodies.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscar Party Recap

Candy bar with to-go boxes as party favors
Loads of food. Beet salad, braised short ribs with mash, mini vegetarian lasagnas and toast, shrimp toast, goat cheese balls with smoked salmon, mini cheese cakes just to name a few!
Oscar bingo boards and Oscar ballots for games!
A lot of lovely ladies.
Photo booth pictures.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Travel Bug

I believe in adventure and traveling. I believe in pushing oneself to their boundaries...and then to keep going. Traveling has made me a deeper more well rounded person. I believe in the power of experiencing new cultures and food and getting lost from time to time. 

I am lucky to have a husband with the same passion for food and travel as me. With this shared passion, we both have the same issue right now...a bad case of the travel bug. We are starting prep work for our next four day holiday and trying to decide which of these great American cities we want to visit. Both are achievable for a short four day holiday. Both cities offer outdoor adventures, food, culture, cocktails, and a new area to explore. If you have visited these places....PLEASE let me know your opinions. Help is appreciated.

New Orleans

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Letters


Dear self,
This week has show you perspective. Everyone in life has so many hours in the day and what they choose to do with those hours shows you what their priority is. While you cannot change people's priorities, understanding them helps you put your priorities into focus. 
Dear my lovely husband,
Happy Valentines day! I cannot believe this will be the 12 valentines day we spend that right? Wow I am starting to feel old as I type that. I am looking forward to having dinner with you tonight and diving into season two of House of Cards! 
Dear Nathan James,
I never thought I would love someone and miss someone I hardly know so much. Its surreal to me that you are so little and I get to be a witness to your whole life. I know that you are going to do great things, and even though I am far away, I cannot wait to see you grow into the person you will become.
You are too far away! With all this snow and cold weather I am desperately craving some yummy pieces from the new spring line and cannot wait to play dress up!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Simple Valentines Idea

I have a confession, I get HUGE anxiety doing crafts. I see all these amazing projects on Pintrest and wish I had the patience and ability to do some of them.
Another confession, Valentines day isn't a huge deal in my house. We try to show our love in small ways to each other but I never understood the concept of once a year spending hundreds on flowers and going out to eat and all this lavishness. I would rather sprinkle love throughout the year. Every since we started dating (11 years ago) we started the tradition of cooking for one another. To this day, this has been our standing tradition and is much more our style.
So combining my anxiety for crafts and the simplicity of the holiday I came up with the below idea. I remember making hearts out of standard construction paper in elementary school, so I thought to myself, "if a second grader can do it so can I."
I made some hearts and wrote different reasons why I love my husband. My plan is to hide them in places so he finds them throughout the day such as his underwear drawer, his lunch box he takes to work, by his toothbrush, his car, etc. 
It might be simple...but its the thought that counts right?
Happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Short Month, Make the Most of it...

February is the shortest month of the year, but there is no reason not to make the most of everyday by challenging yourself to try new things. Here are five fabulous ideas to help make the most out of your February!

1. Find a new colorful lip shade to try
February is the most romantic month of the year, why not spice it up with a fun new lip color? I just got Yves Saint Laurent ROUGE VOLUPTÉ and I am having so much fun with it!

2. Try a new workout
Statistics say that most people who make January resolutions already failed, why not start fresh with a new workout? I am obsessed with Tone It UP which has free weekly workouts and YouTube videos that make it easy for people like me who don't know what or how to do certain workouts.

3. Experiment with a new recipe
Why pay exorbitant prices to eat out on valentines day? Instead, why not try a romantic dinner at home with a new recipe.

4. Buy yourself flowers
Whether you have a valentine or not this year, fresh flowers help perk up any room and can change a mood every time you walk by them. Why not freshen up your space with a nice vase this month?

5. Treat yourself to a pedicure
Spring is right around the corner which means almost sandal weather! Why not treat yourself to a pedicure this month with a fresh fun color?

Happy February!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Spice up Your Weekday Meals with Chimichurri Sauce

I am always looking for healthy easy ways to spice up dinner to make it a little more fun and exciting. The answer: Chimichurri sauce. Originated from Argentina, this is the perfect way to dress up any meal time. I love making a simply grilled chicken, fish, or steak and throwing this sauce on top; hello easy weekday meal!

What you will need:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
4 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
1/2 to 1 jalapeno (depending on how much heat you like)
2 cups cilantro
1 cup parsley
1/3 cup fresh oregano
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

Combine vinegar, garlic, shallot, jalapeno and salt in bowl of food processor and let sit for 10 minutes. Add in cilantro, parsley and oregano.

Pulse to blend. Add in olive oil and blend again.

Taste and feel free to add more of the above ingredients as you feel are needed. You can add more jalapeno for heat or more cilantro for a citrusy flavor.

Top any grilled meat with your chimichurri sauce and enjoy. You can also use this sauce to spice up salads or dip bread in. You can store sauce in fridge and use through-out the week.
Bon Appetit!