Postcards from Paris | London | Nice, I fell in love with the food, the coffee, and the scenery.

Eat. Drink. Share

Painted on the walls of 100 Wines in Hillcrest is my favorite saying that embodies what nomming is all about.

Hamachi Tartare

Every place has their own version of this delightful Yellowtail treat, but I adore how Botero serves the fish over crispy rice.

Good Eats

There are very few things in life, that prosciutto does not taste good with.

Salute, Cin Cin!

Cafe Juanita was well worth the 30 min drive in Seattle. Some of the best home made style Italian food I've ever had.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Juniper and Ivy: Dinner Postcards and Ten Things to Love



Two of my beloved eating partners and I decided to close out my birthday festivities by finally dining at this restaurant that we've been reading and hearing so much about.

The hype is real, the food is fantastic and the people and atmosphere are incredibly friendly and cool.

Take the pretension out of fine dining,  keep the expected presentation and food quality and their creativity and taste go beyond it all.

Here are 10 things I loved about my experience at Juniper and Ivy 

10. The location.  This time we walked but often times the idea of driving through Little Italy and parking, on a weekend, brings stress sweats out of me.  I love that it's located further north on Kettner, where parking is easier to find, and there isn't a cluster of other things going on. 

9. People are nice.  I once tried to make a reservation at Le Bernadin in NYC, a few weeks in advance, and was laughed and told "umm let's try 3months out." Since then, I've always started taking note at how restaurants handle extremely busy bookings.

Juniper and Ivy were pretty busy and booked up, the staff on the phone and in person were so friendly and helpful.

8. The Oysters! Oysters are oysters, I mean Kumomotos are my favorite, but as long as they're clean and fresh, they're going to be good.  They completely reinvented the oyster experience,  the tomatillo and beautiful pearls of horse radish, completely took me away with the flavors. 

7. Creativity.  We all compare dishes to any alike we've had before, and each dish that came out, even if the ingredients were the standard familiars, had a unique flare that made it a different experience to enjoy.  

6. Food knowledge.  The server and the chef were excited to share knowledge on what was in each dish, where the food was sourced from and why they chose those ingredients.  

5. Sharing.  The quantity on each plate was perfect for us to get a taste or two of everything.  

4. The Fish (Cod).  I could have listed all 10 things based on this fish alone, but if there was one entree I'd recommend, this would be it.  Since it was my birthday, I got to eat the head, and the eyes/cheeks were heavenly :D Perfectly cooked!

3. The plating.  I loved that the plating contributed to the eating experience, almost like a suggested order of operations in enjoying flavors.  It wasn't just a few sprigs of stuff and smear of puree, most of what was plated, was to be eaten in addition to being aesthetically enticing. 

2. The open kitchen.  I loved seeing the varying dishes come out, as it was what inspired many of our ordering decisions. 

1. The conversations.  The atmosphere just set the stage for a great evening.  We laughed, toasted, at times stared at each other in awe, when a flavor was mind blowing, and the staff would engage, contribute and laugh with us.  

As I walked out that night, I made a reservation for this Weds.  It was that good. <3 nbsp="" p="">

Monday, March 24, 2014

L.A Adventures: The Soup Dumpling Hunt

Let me preface this all by saying, a good Xiao Long Bao aka soup dumpling aka heavenly deliciousness, should in fact have soupy goodness in it. If it doesn't, and you don't see that liquid goodness through the skin, when they bring it out in the steamer, then you're just eating a glorified bun shaped dumpling.

But don't feel bad, I don't, because sometimes a glimmer of goodness is better than none at all.

Harold and Kumar were on to something, with their journey in search of White Castle, because good food is worth going the distance for.

It was an early Saturday evening in Huntington beach, when we decided that since there was too much traffic to make it back to San Diego in time to watch a fight, that we may as well endure traffic up north and seek out these magical Xiao Long Baos that we had a couple years back.

I won't wait in line or drive 15min for a free movie, but for amazing food, I'm almost always game to go the distance.

An hour later, we find ourselves at the exact plaza, standing at the location of what was the exact store front, except everything looks off. The menu, the look of the place, the lack of patrons and even the name.

After a few text messages, digging around, looking across the street and asking store owners, the original place were were looking for was just a few doors down, renovated and renamed. Once inside, the smells, the menu and the woman hand making the dumplings for each order, became wonderfully familiar.

The soup dumplings we ordered: traditional pork, pork and crab (my favorite) and fermented duck egg (equally amazing).

Also ordered: Green onion pancakes, pig stomach salad, fried dumplings and a bean paste/chilli oil noodle bowl.

How would I describe everything? Well.... Gregg Wallace said it best "That's banging on the door of divine, that is."


since the restaurant has moved and been renamed, a lot of the online directories and info are a bit inaccurate.  So here's a link to the google maps of the plaza in which the restaurant is located (first floor)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Postcards 2 from Kauai Hawaii

I've seen beautifully shot postcards, wallpapers and videos that collage the various breathtaking views of Hawaii, but it wasn't until I sat in the sand alone and watched the midnight blue sky illuminate by the golden sun rising, that I got it.

It was recently written that the late Philip Seymour Hoffman most ably "suggested that each of us [are] the sum of our secrets.." that when each of us return alone to our rooms, "all bets are off." 

The camera was off, the phone put away, and that sunrise, for a moment, spotlighted every insecurity, joy, hope, fear, delusion and desire.

I'm never certain what's to be derived from moments like these, life altering decisions? or maybe that moment of clarity and a bit of awareness is its entirety.

 It's like falling in love.

The whole trip was composed with beautiful scenery, adventure, relaxation, laughter, beach escapades and of course copious amounts of eating. My biggest surprise at the end of the trip, were how few photos were taken, in comparison to other trips. 

Though I'm looking forward to where the next flight or road trip takes me to, I think fondly of Kauai and will visit again.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman quote from: