Monthly Archives: January 2011

Raw Vegan Academy and Cafe!

     After spending seven hours in the booth and wandering the fine arts along the streets of Carefree, Arizona, the artist and I went to visit a client-turned-friend of hers who is opening up a new raw, organic vegan restaurant in the area.

This isn’t your typical little hole-in-the-wall startup restaurant. This adorable little cabin-style building is nestled away from the road, surrounded by cacti, shrubs and rocks, and has the most beautiful sunset you could imagine.
Well, if you ignore the wires, it is GORGEOUS! One of those moments where you had to be there, I guess. Just take my word for it.
Sara (who you may remember from my first trip to Carefree – she brought the raw vegan cheesecakes!) has been renovating this building for a few months now. This section of the restaurant will be the “academy” room where she teaches clients how to eat, buy and LIVE the raw vegan life.
I got to go behind the counters and check out the setup.
Ready for the best part???
THE MENU!
I’ll admit, some of those shots scare me, but I’ll try anything once!
This place opens in two weeks! If you live in Arizona, I seriously recommend you try it. Everything Sara has ever brought to the show has been greedily shoved into my face. I love gorging and feeling healthy at the same time 🙂
Hi ho, hi ho, off to the booth I go!

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Filed under academy, Arizona, Carefree, Cave Creek, cheesecake, Chef Sara, raw organic vegan, sunset

Au Revoir, Malachi!

     Painfully cheesy title. Yes, Malachi is bailing on this country and taking up residence in France for six months. He’s not leaving for another three weeks, but with my travel schedule for work I wasn’t sure if I’d get another chance to see him. Bon Voyage lunch, it was!

We went to Vivian’s Millennium Cafe, a little hole in the wall on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. To get to the patio, you actually have to walk through the kitchen!
The courtyard is ridiculously cute and cozy. It’s tucked between two buildings and surrounded by plants that block out any traffic sounds. You wouldn’t even know that you were in LA – and that impresses me.
One last candid shot of Malachi before he becomes snobby and too uppity and important to eat day old bread. 
(French law prohibits the consumption of bread that is older than two hours.)
I ordered the chicken salad sammich on wheat which was tasty, but the REAL star of the meal was the potato salad! I don’t know what they put in this – smiles, sunshine, shooting stars, warm ocean breeze… but whatever it was, it was INCREDIBLE!!! The most epic potato salad of my life. I’ve been daydreaming about it ever since.
Farewell, Malachi! I look forward to harassing you on the interwebs, and then in person when you return!

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Filed under Au Revoir, chicken salad sammich, epic, France, Malachi, potato salad, shooting stars, Studio City, Vivian's Millennium Cafe

My First Groupon!

     Well, I finally did it. I went for it and bought myself a Groupon! I’ve been getting their daily e-mails for a few months now, and I finally found something that caught my eye. Can you guess what it is?

BEEEEEEEER!
Groupon in action!
We went to a place way up in Ventura County called Draughts. They had a huge selection of beer that was half off since we came during happy hour!
I got the sampler which included Draughts private honey blonde, hefeweizen, pale ale, IPA, amber and porter. I’m not sure if they brew on premise – the facilities don’t appear big enough for that, but I wasn’t in a big question-asking mode. I was there to relax!
We started off with an appetizer of Stuft ravioli bites.
(This place used to be called Stuft Pizza, and they are still in transition. We got the Stuft menus when we arrived…)
These were HOT, both in temperature and spice. It’s nice to know that you’re eating something that JUST came out of the deep fryer 🙂
I ordered the linguini pesto pasta. Garlicy, carby, nutty and delicious!
Oh, and have I mentioned? I haven’t been doing so well with my “January Challenge“. Dairy just doesn’t seem to want to leave me alone…
Nor I, it.
I guess I was right when I said I don’t do well with restrictions… Maybe I’ll try for February ;-P

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Filed under beer, beer sampler, Draughts, Draughts Restaurant, fried ravioli, Groupon, January Challenge, linguini pesto, Pinkberry

Cadillacs and High Tea!

     I headed out of town for a girls’ midweek weekend on Wednesday. It was long overdue.

First stop on a girls midweek weekend? La Cocina for Cadillacs!
And: Rascal Steph!
We sipped margaritas, crunched on sizzling tortilla chips and even sizzling-er salsa, and chowed down on flautas and tacos. Hooray for girls’ night!

     The next day, we decided to go for something even MORE girly, and a lot classier. 
I got “Blueberry Fields Green Tea”. It tasted like a meadow in the middle of the Grand Teton National Park, freshly-rained on while the sun casts its warm rays gently upon the glistening flowers.
It was that good.
Allie and I split a traditional afternoon tea, as well as a Tuscan tea.
The traditional tea sandwiches were cucumber-thyme, and curry chicken salad (which was Ah-MAY-Zing!). The Tuscan tea had finger sandwiches with tomatoes, avocado and fresh mozzarella. Oh yeah, I already failed a little on my no dairy – just a tad of mozzarella. Oops.
The next tier held cranberry scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. I was a happy girl.
     After our ridiculously girly tea, we went to Happy Foot Spa and splurged on the “Combo #1” – a half hour foot massage and half hour full body massage. How much was this splurge, you ask? A whopping THIRTY BUCKS! Seriously, that’s it! 
I can’t imagine a more perfect definition of “GIRLS’ MIDWEEK WEEKEND!”

In other news:
I am now on a “freebies” binge. I have received ridiculous amounts of free coffee, shampoo, adult diapers (Why? Cuz they’re FREE! I have no idea what to do with them all… Homeless shelter donation, maybe?), Advil, Breathe-Right nasal strips and energy bars.
I have an addiction. A weird, weird addiction…

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Filed under adult diapers, Allie, blogger meet-up, Cadillac, foot spa, high tea, La Cocina, massage, scones, Steph, tea sandwiches

Ladyface Tuesdays!

     Ladyface has a new “thing” for Tuesdays – 20% off any cellar beers (basically any of their guest beers that are bottled). I met up with the parental unit to give it a whirl.
  
     Unfortunately, “cellar beers” are a wee bit pricey, even WITH the 20% off, so we ended up sticking with the Ladyface brews.

“Jumpin’ Juniper” – Blind Ambition infused with Juniper berries. This was served at room temperature since it comes straight out of the cask. I liked it, but I think I would have preferred it chilled.
We split the roasted vegetable dish – roasted beets (which I’ve never liked until tonight), carrots and parsnips (which I’ve never tried before tonight). Tasty, but could have used less oil and a little more salt.
Charcuterie Plate – No idea what it means, but it had crostini, cheese (which I didn’t have because of the whole “no dairy” thing), dried cranberries and dates, prosciutto and sausage.
I sampled the Chesebro IPA and wanted a glass, then it hit me. This thing is STRONG!!! 9.8% ABV!!! I had this sampler and then decided to get something a little tamer for my final beer.
REGULAR Blind Ambition = happiness!
A good time was had by all 🙂
I think I’ve found a new Tuesday tradition!
If you want to come visit, I’ll be here every Tuesday that I’m in town!

P.S. Sorry Andy and Amanda, any similarities to your “Beer Monday” idea was completely unintentional!

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Filed under beer, Blind Ambition, Chesebro IPA, dairy-free, Jumpin' Juniper, Ladyface, Ladyface Ale Companie, Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie, roasted vegetables, Two Boos Who Eat

January Challenge!

     I make it a point to never restrict myself when it comes to resolutions every year. I find that if I tell myself that I can’t have something, I end up craving it more than ever and then feel guilty when I give in to those cravings. That’s why most of my resolutions included the word “more“. MORE whole grains and vegetables, MORE hiking, MORE monstas, etc. This way, I feel great when I succeed and get tons of health benefits. Win win!

     However… there is one restriction I’m giving myself for the month of January. NO DAIRY!

Oh Paciugo, I’ll miss you so!
Don’t worry, I’m not actually bailing on them – they have plenty of non-dairy options!
     The reason I’m banning dairy is because I find that my skin becomes porcelain when I keep milk products out of my diet. Every time I ditch dairy, my skin thanks me, but I find some excuse (GELATO, GELATO, GELATO) to go back, hoping that this time will be different. This is the final test – if I succeed, I will officially say goodbye to dairy forever, which will probably be better in the end anyway since I’ll be ridding my body of all those added hormones. Yuck.
     On a little more splurge-y note, we celebrated my wonderful mom’s birthday this week! As a final goodbye to the holiday season, we went to Wood Ranch. Meat ensued.
I think I’ve officially fulfilled my barbeque craving. 
At least for this next month 🙂

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMEEEEEEEEE!

What would be the most difficult food for you to give up?
Life is going to be TORTURE without gelato!

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Filed under barbeque, gelato, green monsta, Happy birthday mom, hiking, New Year, Paciugo, resolutions, restrictions, ribs, whole grains, Wood Ranch

Dreams of a New Year!

     Happy New Year! Now that I have my resolutions securely down and written in stone (or in a really pretty notebook), I’m ready to share! FIRST though, I’d like to share some of the “Morning After” quotes that I heard at work today:
1. “Did anyone else wake up miles from their house and not know how they got there?”
2. “Anyone have a great story about last night?” “I do, but I can’t share it…”
3. (In reference to someone’s bruised cheek and split lip) “What happened to your face?” “I don’t know yet. I’m waiting for someone to text me and tell me.”

Yep. Happy New Year.

     NOW for my resolutions!
1. Only try NEW beers when out – unless from a local brewery, like Ladyface, Island Brewing Company, etc… Gotta support the local breweries!
Bonus points if I try beer that scares the CRAP out of me – haha, get it? Weasel Crap Beer!
2. Spend more time with family and friends.
My GORGEOUS parents!
The lovely Tanya.
Serenading Dan.
Sleepy Malachi – who is being lame and flying off to France for six freaking months.
Sweethearts Jenny and Boa.
Grayson the Thoughtful.
Beautiful Allie.
Plus TONS more. It’s a year to focus on what’s really important – the people in my life.
3. Get back outdoors and HIKE!
4. Eat more vegetables, whole grains and olive oil!
Kitchen Sink Salad contains all of this!
5. Quit my retail job.
Seriously, it’s hazardous to my health!
I know I said I was putting in my two weeks notice last week, but I chickened out when I told my sweet coworker and saw the look on her face. I’m such a people-pleaser.
6. Travel more!
Stormy Arizona deserts.
Bee parts.
Me on the road = Ecastatic!
7. Drink more Monstas!
Cuz they’re DELICIOUS! And good for me. And stuffs…
8. Spend more time in the kitchen.
And spend more time out back, with this amazing view!
I need to get back into my apron and start cooking, STAT!
9. Attend more blogger meetups!
Need I say more? No, no I do not.
10. Join the Homebrewers Association, as well as the local homebrew club, and BREW IT UP!
Beer is good! Beer is good! Beer is good! And stuff!
(Lyrics from an actual song)
11. Start my new website and blog. That’s right, I’ll be heading up an actual website this year, as well as changing the name of my blog! I’m hoping the transition will be easy for you, but there’s still some time to get used to the idea before I officially move. EXCITED!!!

     There you have it – a sampling of my resolutions! I have a few more, but decided that twenty feet of pictures was probably more than people could handle as it is. I hope you had a blessed beginning to your new year, and that you’re as excited for what’s to come as I am!
Happy New Year! Let’s make it worthwhile!

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Filed under Arizona, beer, blogger meet-up, friends, green monster, hiking, homebrewing, Island Brewing Company, kitchen sink salad, Ladyface, Morning after, NEW WEBSITE, New Year, retail, Weasel Crap Beer

Happy New BEER Eve!

     Happy New Year’s Eve!!! Everyone seems to be doing resolutions in the blogosphere, but I’m still in the process of putting mine together. I’m one of those people who likes to spend the entire day thinking about new, exciting changes, jotting them down in pretty notebooks and then sharing them with family and close friends while we sit around eating shrimp canapes and sipping fine beers.

I’m fancy like that.

     We had a wonderful week with my brother and sister-in-law. I haven’t had so much beer in one week EVER. I’m definitely looking forward to a little detox – until MY beer is ready to try!
Speaking of which, it had a little bit of an overflow the other day. Overflow = VERY happy beer! My sis-in-law helped me save it.
MY ALMOST BEER!!! Took a reading with my hydrometer today and snuck a little taste.
HAPPY!!!
I got to try that scary Weasel Crap Beer that I’ve been fearing/desperately wanting to try. It was an experience! I can tell that it’s a good beer, but holy crap is thick! I was fine sipping it until I started thinking about how it was made. I had a total of half a glass and then couldn’t mentally handle it anymore.
Still glad I tried it!
We took “the brewers/vegans” out to Island Brewing Company in Carpinteria for a tasting while they were here.
Verdict from the beer snobs: GOOD BEER!
Yesterday, we all took a trip to the airport to ship them off to a cold, snowy place. It was sad to say goodbye, but we all had a wonderful time!
Miss you guys already!

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Filed under 2010, airport, Carpinteria, Island Brewing Company, Kriek, Liefmans, Mikkeller Geek Brunch Weasel, New Year, vegan