Monthly Archives: April 2011

I Totally Did Not…

I’m in San Diego for the weekend for the ArtWalk. It’s been a really, REALLY long day. Ora and I arrived here around 10:30pm last night, ravenous, exhausted and hungry. Wait, what?
Yeah, THAT’S how tired I am. We ordered a few appetizers to split, and got a table full of edibles. Chicken strips, guacamole and salsa, red pepper hummus and some other kind of hummus. Oh yes, and a Stone IPA for me. I ordered Ora a Lost Abbey Hefeweizen, which I am totally not drinking as I type this. At least, I think that’s what it was a Hefeweizen… I Googled all over and couldn’t find out what I am totally not drinking now. Also, I’m way too lazy to go ask the bartender what it is that I’m totally not drinking now…

A 5am wake-up call was ordered. It did not come at 5am. It actually arrived at 4:30am. I was totally not pissed. I totally did not consider demanding free beer for my mental suffering. I totally did not follow up on said demands…
Also, I totally did not watch a gorgeous sunset on the patio of my hotel room whilst totally not sipping a Lost Abbey beer.
Yeah, totally didn’t do any of that…

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Filed under Travel

Rainbow Chicken Fajita Salad with Jalapeño-Scented Sour Cream

How’s THAT for a mouthful? A mouthful of delicious, tender chicken, sweet, yet slightly crunchy bell peppers and onions, and a spicy sour cream that sears into your tongue, only to have the spice be cut instantaneously by the dairy? Oh yeah!
It’s okay to envy me right now. I’ll envy you too after you make this! I received a coupon for a free bag of Tyson’s Grilled and Ready chicken, and picked it up with this delicious concoction already dancing around my brain. I was originally going to get their plain grilled chicken strips and marinate them, but they’d thought ahead for me and created prepared fajita chicken strips!
Why must my life be so very… easy? Anyway, without further ado, I present to you…

Rainbow Chicken Fajita Salad with Jalapeño-Scented Sour Cream – Printable recipe available HERE.
Marinade Ingredients:
The juice of 1 lemon
A splash of water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp Worchestshire sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
A pinch of red pepper flakes (Be careful with these! A little goes a LOOONG way!)
Fajita Ingredients:
1 onion
3 small bell peppers of different colors (This is important for the “rainbow” aspect of the title…)
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 6oz. bag of Tyson’s Grilled and Ready Fajita Chicken Breast Strips
Jalapeño-Scented Sour Cream ingredients:
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 jalapeño, seeded and minced
The juice of 1/2 a lime
Salad Makings:
Lettuce of your choice (I used romaine)
Tortilla chips
Any other fun toppings you can think of!

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients and whisk well. Set aside.
2. Peel the onion, cut in half and slice into thin strips.
3. Repeat with the three small bell peppers, and toss them and the diced jalapeño into the bowl with the marinade.
4. Toss vegetables to fully coat with marinade.
5. Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, and add vegetables, reserving the marinade liquid. This leftover marinade can be used as a dressing for the salad!
6. Saute over medium heat, stirring often until they become tender: about 12 minutes.
7. Add the chicken strips and continue cooking until heated through: about 5 minutes.
8. While the chicken and veggies heat through, in a small bowl combine 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/4 seeded and minced jalapeño and the juice from 1/2 a lime.
9. Display all your ingredients in a fancy manner on an extended counter, hand everyone a plate and dig in!
(Yes, this is in fact my version of fancy)
Dinner is served!

OH! I almost forgot:
10. Go out for gelato. You just spent an hour in the kitchen! You deserve an easy dessert!
Mmmmm, gelato!


Filed under recipe

Breaking the Chain: The Old Place Cornell

This post is part of a new series I’m doing called “Breaking the Chain”. Check out previous broken chains like White Elephant, Rúla Búla and Park View Cafe.

I was out on a drive with the family on Saturday, and we stumbled across a hidden gem!
We found this rustic little place that looks like a dive bar in the middle of the Santa Monica mountains, and decided to give it a try. The Old Place Cornell – I love that name!
This place used to be “Hank’s Country Store” – the grocery store for the locals, and was also the post office from 1884-1904. It’s like walking into a piece of history. It even smells like history! Delicious history.
There are about five booths in the restaurant, and a long bar. That’s it. No tables except for outside. If you come here during peak hours on the weekends, you can expect to wait for one of the few seats to open up. I personally love how quaint and cozy this place is.
Their menu is relatively small compared to any other restaurant. It makes decisions SO much easier!
My parents started off with coffee. It was served in little tin cups, and smelled like heaven! The aroma was earthy and rich, and taunted me and my coffee-free self.
We started off with the gooey cinnamon rolls, baked in an iron skillet. There was an awful lot of stabbing with the forks in order to get the last piece. If you think you’ve had a good cinnamon roll, I’m here to tell you that you haven’t. THIS is THE BEST cinnamon roll out there! Normally, you suffer through the stale, dry edges in order to get to the soft, gooey center, but even the caramelized edges on this are soft and luscious and so-good-you-can’t-stop-describing-them-and-lose-your-readers’-interest.
I ordered the goat cheese, sundried tomato and spinach frittata. This iron-clad frittata had a rosemary potato crust in the bottom, and was stuffed with generous crumbles of goat cheese! They served fresh sourdough bread coated with butter on the side. I was full after the cinnamon rolls, but I still found a way to eat a portion of this and a thick slice of sourdough.
We waddled out front and checked out the surrounding area, and went into the newer building next door.
Cornell Winery & Tasting Room.
It’s a beautiful building stuffed to the gills with art, furniture and California wines. We didn’t stay too long. We wanted to reminisce on the wonderful brunch we’d just devoured while driving through the mountains and up the coast.

I’m still dreaming of those cinnamon rolls…


Filed under Breaking the Chain

In Mem’ry of Bacon

I’ve been slacking on the blogging lately, I know. I’d love to say that I’ve been busy with school, but the truth is…
I got new technology, and my brain has been completely involved in it. I actually tried blogging from it the other day, but the title of my post would have been, “Clogging From Android” thanks to the text prediction. Yeah, it’s definitely not meant for blogging.

Anyways… now that I’ve torn my eyes from my Droid screen long enough, here are a few of the brews I’ve tried lately.
Autumnal Stillwater Artisinal.
Good head retention! A little bit too harsh of a pour… oops on my part! This beer was mediocre. It had a funky tart taste and after half of a glass, the flavor became almost cloying. I finished it anyways. I’m gracious like that.
Shockingly enough, I’d never had ANYTHING from Firestone prior to this DBA! Please don’t hurt me for admitting that! I always thought that Firestone wasn’t craft beer, but was edumacated very recently and gave this one a shot. LOVE! It was a little sweeter than I generally like, but very smooth and had a beautiful color! If I’m ever in a pinch, I’m willing to try more Firestone!
For the next beer, I needed to prepare. I chopped up a crapload of veggies – eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, broccoli and onion, marinated it in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garam masala and curry powder, then grilled it over low heat until everything was caramelized. I threw a couple of steaks on next to it as well, all in preparation for this:
Legit Bavarian smoked beer! This stuff is INTENSE! The smokey scent punches you in the nose, but surprisingly enough, it’s a smooth sip. Until you swallow. Then it’s like a group of smoked salmon is having a barbecue in your throat. I thought that this would be a good pairing with barbecued veggies and meat. I was wrong. It totally tipped the scales into the “excessive” zone of smokiness. This one, I couldn’t finish. I think it would make a good marinade for my next steak, though!
To rinse the smoke out of my mouth, I turned to Liefmans sour ale. I’ve tried a few sours before, and have only enjoyed one of them. This one is a keeper! It wasn’t overwhelmingly tart, but not overpoweringly sweet either. I love a unique beer, and this was just right. I’d compare it to Duchesse De Bourgogne. They are almost identical! If you’re looking for something different (especially if you’re trying to convert a wine-drinker to beer), this and the Duchesse are wonderful!
After all the veggies and red meat, I needed to round out my meal with some sugar! I received a coupon from Magnum for a box of their ice cream bars that are just now being introduced to the U.S., and picked up the first box I could find.
HOLY CRAP! I can honestly say that this was the best ice cream bar I’ve ever had! I probably wouldn’t have tried them without the coupon, but this is something I will actually go back and purchase! I loved the uber-thick layers of chocolate encasing more chocolate. I actually felt like crying – it was that good. My only complaint? The letter from Foodbuzz said I would be getting TWO coupons, and I only got one. Sadness 🙁

And all those beers bring me to today! It was BOTTLING DAY for my beer from the shop brew! This was my second beer I’ve ever brewed, and my first time using 12 ounce bottles and a capper.
Mmmm, bottle capper! Drooooool!
I plotted this all out, Hebrew-style (from right to left, in case you didn’t get that – my artist taught me that :P)
First, I boiled some corn sugar in water and added it to the sanitized bottling bucket. Then, I siphoned the beer gently from the carboy into said bottling bucket. I soaked all of the bottles in Star San, emptied them and filled them within an inch of the top with a bottle filler. Next came the capper (my favorite part!!!), drying and boxing.
I ceremoniously finished up the LAST growler of Dos Beckis whilst bottling this new beer.
Speaking of which, the new beer’s name is: In Mem’ry of Bacon.
(For those of you who are new, I made Oatmeal Stout Brownies with Caramelized Bacon for the shop brew, which were a HUGE hit! I thought this name was fitting)
I also got some awesome new gloves (thanks for those, mom!) to spare my poor skin from the acid sanitizer, which exfoliated the CRAP out of my hands last time.

28 days until I can finally taste the goodness of “In Mem’ry of Bacon!”


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My pops has the week off from work, so we decided to live it up: family-style! We all headed down to the Channel Islands Harbor around noon, slathered in sunscreen and donned in hats, and jumped in some kayaks. Who needs to travel when you have the ocean at your front door?
Staycation > Vacation!
It was a BEAUTIFUL day out! It was partly cloudy for about half of our time on the water, and around 65 degrees.
My WONDERFUL, GORGEOUS parental unit 🙂
We spent about two hours on the water, acting like idiots (my dad and I)
…while my mom rolled her eyes and kept her distance so as to not be associated with said idiots.
After two hours on the water, we were famished! We headed to our favorite place to replenish our caloric needs with as much grease as possible: Andria’s!!!
For the first time ever, there was NO LINE out the door! We actually got to wait in the INSIDE line before placing our order! It was around 2pm, so even though the place was still pretty packed, this is nothing compared to the regular lunch rush.
One of the most important things to do first at Andria’s (after ordering) is to get an exorbitant amount of tartar sauce. If it doesn’t make people cringe as you walk by with all the little containers, then it’s not enough.
If this picture doesn’t make you weep with joy, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.
My parents got the fried clams while I stuck with my favorite – fried fish and chips. You really can’t go wrong at Andria’s. If it’s covered in batter and tartar sauce, it’s GOOD!
Once we were replenished and uncomfortably stuffed (the only way to be after a visit to Andria’s), we walked around the harbor.
A few days ago, a HUGE school of sardines were chased into the harbor by sea lions and had no exit. They used up all the oxygen and perished. The city had to bring in a bunch of people to scoop up all them dead fishes and dump them somewhere else, but there were still hundreds floating on the surface, and on the sea floor.
There were MANY a happy seagull!
All that tragic death left us upset (kinda, not really), so we drove up to Main Street in Ventura and drowned our sorrows in beer and Magners (most definitely really) at the local Irish pub.
And of course since we were there, we HAD to stop by Trufflehounds to pick up some chocolate! Fried fish and Magners just wasn’t enough replenishment.

Overall, it was a pretty tough day with all the paddling and gorging and weeping over delicious fried fish, then weeping more over the deceased sardines, but I’d call it a win! *insert winky face here*

Do you vacation or staycation?


Filed under staycation

Greasy Burgers and Ghost Towns!

I had to. I just HAD to. I hadn’t been there in almost a month and I could tell that Ladyface missed me almost as much as I missed her, so I took a nice detour and made that special visit. Because, you know, Roman Holiday wasn’t enough of a mini-vacation for me…
Okay, maybe Roman Holiday WAS enough of a mini-vacation – I stuck with a small taster of Chesebro IPA instead of a full glass. Shocking, I know!
According to Ladyface, sweet potatoes are “out of season”. The giant bag I have sitting on my counter begs to differ. I’m not known to throw fits though, as long as I get some sort of edible fod, so I settled for a few of the mouth-watering regular fries with red ale ketchup that Sofia had ordered before I’d arrived…
…and after a long peruse of the happy hour menu, ended up with the same thing she ordered.
A big fatty burger with white cheddar. Oooooh, I LOVE the way the grease makes it shine! It was SO AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS! Seriously, sometimes all a girl needs is a little grease!
We attempted to take a cute picture. Sofia was in heels, so this is me on the very tips of my toes attempting to look like a normal-sized person next to her. It worked, right? Don’t answer that.
Of course we couldn’t end without dessert! This is the CENTER PIECE of the bread pudding! If you ever order bread pudding from ANYWHERE, order the center piece! It will make your life worth living! We asked our waiter to get us the center piece and then followed up by asking the general manager to make sure that we got the center piece. Not that we’re high maintenance or anything…
What, your non-food-blogger friends don’t take pictures of their food too? If they ever get a center piece of the bread pudding, they would! Center Piece.
After, we drove through the mountains to visit the old abandoned town I love – Paramount Ranch.
I lent Sofia my Converse while we walked around. We were hanging out on the porch when two girls came by – one carrying a camera and the other dolled up to high heaven. They walked over to the mountainside and started taking pictures. A few moments later, a big burly guy carrying a guitar lumbered around the corner and stood in front of them, strumming a little serenade. Everywhere they went to take pictures, he lumbered after, strumming away. It was awkward to watch.
Almost as awkward as watching Sofia try to walk to her car after putting her fancy-schmancy heels back on…

Hahahaha! That picture just made my day!


Filed under Adventures

Roman Holiday

I celebrated my midweek-weekend over in Valencia with my lovely cousin, Allie. We stumbled across this wine lounge, Roman Holiday, and decided to be spontaneous and spend the evening there.
The bartender, Chris, gave us a tour of the cozy little lounge, which uses pay-by-the-taste wine dispensers!
We filled a little card with some money and got to work tasting a few of their sixty bottles of wine!
After each pour, we resorted back to what may be the most comfortable couch in all of Santa Clarita Valley, with a beautiful view of the lounge.
Chris was incredibly well-versed in his wines, and directed us to the best ones, and some of the weirdest.
This is the one that he proclaimed, “the weirdest.” Of course I loved it.
I’m classy like that, as you can see by my stick-on nail polish…
Once Chris was off the schedule, the girl behind the bar brought out menus and helped us select an AMAZING cheese plate. I’m going to attempt to tell you what is on it. Gruyere, prosciutto, soft white cheese which I do not know the name of because it’s in another language and by this time I was starting to feel nice and warm from the wine, organic fig jam, apple slices and dried cherries. DROOL. All of this was served with a big basket of soft breads and crackers.
We balanced out the cheese, meat and bread platter with – what else – a cheese, meat and bread sammich! This panini had turkey, more gruyere and balsamic onion marmalade, all encased in a rustic, crusty bread that was soft enough inside that your teeth sliced through it like butter. Oh yeah.
When I only had a few dollars left on the card, I decided to go big and try the most expensive wine in the lounge.
$333 dollars for a bottle of wine???
This is the amount of wine that three bucks will get you from a $333 bottle. I was so excited to try it! Sadly, it was a major letdown. It tasted smoky and bland, and wasn’t even worth my three dollars! I wanted to put a sad-faced picture next, but at this point, I was pretty happy no matter what was happening…
To make up for my disappointment, Chris jumped back behind the bar and made Allie and me these AMAZING margaritas with REAL lime juice! I got mine with a sugar rim (in the background) and Allie got hers with salt. This isn’t just ANY kind of salt, in case you weren’t tipped off by the inky black color – this is Kilauea Black Sea Salt from the active volcano Kilauea on the island of Molokai in Hawai’i. This salt is not like regular salt in any way! It’s a soft, subtle salt with an earthy, smoky flavor. For the first time, I wished that I’d asked for a salt rim!
We spent almost four hours there, sipping fine wines, gorging on decadent panini and cheese plates, and chatting with the hilarious bartenders. One of said bartenders was checking out this jar:
Bee pollen! He was kind enough to give us a sample of the floral, slightly sweet little pellets. The other bartenders gathered around to see what he was doing, to which he replied: “Oh, you know me: just pollinating the customers!”

Yeah, I’m just gonna end with that.


Filed under Roman Holiday, Wine Lounge

The Meal of my Dreams!

Today was a BEAUTIFUL day! It started out with a hike the national park, in 68 degree weather.
Followed the hike with half of an icy cold Green Monsta and a half serving of Kitchen Sink Salad. Half-back to the classics!
I’m practicing this newfangled concept of eating smaller portions and stopping when I’m satisfied. No idea how my roommate convinced me to go on this crazy journey, but I’m in for a ride!

Dinner was a beautiful mish-mash of different eating concepts. I made Angela’s Cranberry, Apple and Almond Quinoa, but added in a stalk of chopped celery to the onion and carrot saute, cut the salt in half, and used raisins instead of cranberries. I tried this recipe a few weeks ago, force-fed it to my roommates (who first tried my terrible, mushy Lemony Quinoa and swore to never consume quinoa again) and created quinoa-lovers! They actually requested it to be on tonight’s menu!

I also made Chicken with Pineapple Salsa from the Sonoma Diet Cookbook one of my favorite cookbooks ever! The combination of the acidic, tart fresh pineapple with the smoky spice of chipotle peppers will knock your socks off!
Roasted broccoli rounded out the meal, which we ate slowly, taking our time to chat and actually taste and enjoy the food! This concept is just so INNOVATIVE! Who woulda thunk? We even went so far as to use pretty placemats and tapered candles to make it feel like an event. Try this! It makes the meal so much more enjoyable!
This may, in fact, be the best healthy meal I’ve had all year. Hooray for leftovers!!!

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Filed under Dinner, Sonoma Diet, Uncategorized

Cuteness OD!

You wanted a post with a purpose? Oops.
Fine artist getting excited about a location from a sci-fi novel!
2 ounce plastic beer tasting mug! FILLED WITH BEER = CUTE!
Leather jacket puppies = AWWWW!
Shower-steam art = GIGGLE!
Miniature dollhouse accessories = ADORABLE!
My fluffy Buddha-licious = BUDDHALICIOUS!
Roasted guinea pigs over handmade paper flame = CUTENESS FROM BOREDOM! (Also known as cruelty to plastic animals…)

Things that are not cute:

This slight waste of time has been brought to you by Becki Kregoski.


Filed under cuteness, overload, Uncategorized

My Other Half

Yesterday was my last day of retail! I’m technically still “on-call” but after last night, there will be no more! I just can’t take it anymore – the sitting around, waiting for customers who never come, doing homework at the counter and no one really cares because there’s nothing to miss… It’s just a waste of my time, so I’m officially done!

To celebrate, I opened my second to last growler of Dos Beckis.
I think it has passed its peak! I think it’s been sitting a little too long with the trub… The flavor is a little metallic-y now, and the hops have definitely added more bitter to it. I still drank it, AND enjoyed it! No worries!

Today, I celebrated by meeting someone who I’ve only met on the internet. How risqué am I? I’ve known this person for a little over a month –  we were assigned to the same group project (in an internet college course) and have exchanged many e-mails and Skype conversations. I risked my life today…
She’s TERRIFYING! This is Sofia Pernas, the most brizziliant person in my class. Seriously, she’s the only one in the entire class who uses correct grammar and doesn’t need a thesaurus to think up big words when she writes. Oh yeah, and she’s an incredibly gorgeous, talented actress. That too…
We met up at Caffe Aroma, another Breaking the Chain in Newbury Park. This place is freakin’ adorable! It’s very kitschy and is normally filled with elderly ladies wearing big red hats having tea parties. PERFECT for a first time meetup! If this scared her away, then it just wasn’t meant to be…
I ordered the ice blended green tea with boba (soy, thank you very much!) – one of the top recommended drinks to order on Yelp. This. Was. Luscious! I’d recommend this, but without the boba. The tapioca pearls varied between hard and crunchy and sickly sweet. I may have found my new substitute for my coffee until Lent is over, though! GREEN TEA SLUSHIES!
My turkey avocado sandwich in the foreground with Sofia’s tuna melt and chocolate shake in the back. I envied her combo, I must say…
…but then I saw the HUGE chunks of avocado and sprouts sticking out, layered between thick slices of bread that was baked with tons of walnuts and seeds. And my life was complete. I only finished half and asked them if they could keep the rest in their refrigerator so it wouldn’t go bad. Sweetly, they complied, “only if you don’t forget to take it with you!”

I FORGOT THE OTHER HALF 🙁The menu for this adorable little cafe is slightly pricey, but totally worth it for the peace and ambiance.
Like I said, kitschy and adorable. The service here was wonderful! The girl working behind the counter gave her recommendations, which we greedily consumed, and put up with our ridiculous giggling for FOUR hours!
Two apples, no plums.

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Filed under Uncategorized