Monday, June 30, 2014

Back Together!

My brother and his wife and I went to La Vecchia Cucina in Santa Monica for dinner last night.  

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 We all shared Insalata Tagliata (chopped salad with romaine and iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, turkey breast, salami and fresh mozzarella cheese tossed in a champagne vinaigrette):

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Awesome salad. 

We also shared Melanzane Alla Caprina (rolled slices of eggplant stuffed with goat cheese and herbs, topped with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil and oven baked):

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Also delicious. Great sauce! 

I ordered the Fettucine Bolognese: 

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Excellent. Great restaurant!!! 

This morning I headed to Encino to wait for my son's bus to arrive from camp. I stopped at Starbucks along the way for breakfast. 

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Skinny vanilla latte and a fruit cup.

FINALLY the bus arrived and I was reunited with my son! It has been a LONG two weeks!!! I drove two of his friends home as well. We stopped at McDonald's for lunch.

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Premium Grilled Chicken & Ranch McWrap with a salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Standard McDonald's order for me. 

I got my son home safe and sound and now the whole family is back together!! 

What's the longest you were ever away from your family as a child?

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

145.4…My Big Fat Greek Dinner

Last night we hosted our "Gourmet Club" for dinner. I had decided on making Greek food, so Alicia brought her homemade spanakopitas for an appetizer. You could taste the love in them. :)

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We sat outside enjoying them and some delicious wine before dinner was ready. Eventually we moved inside when it was time to eat. 

On the menu:

Easy Tzatziki

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Greek Salad

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Marinated Lamb and Chicken Kebabs:

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Pita:

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Still one of my favorite meals ever.

Sherry brought homemade creme brûlée. 

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Delicious. The perfect creme brûlée! 

Such a fun evening with everyone! I love when we get together…it's guaranteed good fun & eats! I forgot to mention what happened early in the day:

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Yep. A snake at our front door. Definitely a first for us. Yuck.

This morning we hit the road for the Los Angeles area to pick up my daughter from sleep away camp. I brought some coffee and a Special K breakfast sandwich in the car with me to eat for breakfast.

After we picked her up, we went to Souplantation with some family for lunch. It was brunch time so they had a few different things than they normally do. I had my standard salad and chili but I tried the breakfast foccacia which was good but would have been better if it was warm.

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Cinnamon roll. Good thing I got a small piece. Dangerous. 

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 My husband and my daughter headed back to San Diego and I'm still in Los Angeles because I'll be picking up my son tomorrow morning. The family will finally be back together! 

Do you get wild critters in your yard? 

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

145.4…Bencotto

Our "eating out extravaganza without kids" continued last night with friends at Bencotto in downtown San Diego. It is a small, two story modern looking restaurant. I was excited to try it…they make all their pasta fresh, in house. 

We al shared several appetizers: 

Riso Fritto (fried saffron risotto balls, bolognese meat sauce dip)

Fried Squash Blossoms (stuffed with ricotta cheese)

Insalata Cesare 

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Burrata (burrata cheese with shaved celery and fennel salad in lemon vinaigrette):

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We were all underwhelmed by the appetizers. I found everything a bit bland. 

For my entree, I ordered off their daily specials menu: Homemade fettucine with lamb ragu:

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This was good. Very rich and hearty and the fresh noodles really made the dish. Overall, while I enjoyed my pasta dish, I wouldn't probably go back to Bencotto. 

Breakfast this morning was a fried egg sandwich on an English muffin with cheddar cheese. 

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Our "Gourmet Club" friends are coming over tonight for dinner. I am making the main dishes, Alicia is bringing the appetizer and Sherry is bringing dessert. It's going to be good! I spent the morning prepping the food and getting everything ready.

Lunch was the usual. Yes. Boring. 

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Tomorrow we leave super early for the Los Angeles area to pick up my daughter from camp. My husband will take her home and I will remain in Los Angeles to pick up my son from camp on Monday and then we will return home. I'm so excited to see them! I'm also excited to get back into our normal routine and start cooking again before my clothes don't fit. :)

Have you ever made pasta from scratch? I went to a class once to learn and have all the equipment but I haven't tried it at home yet!

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Friday, June 27, 2014

144.0…Cooking It Up!

We went to an old favorite for dinner last night: Samurai Japanese Restaurant.  We sat in the Teppan Yaki room where they cook the food in front of you. Our meal started with miso soup and salad.

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I had the NY steak with fried rice and extra onions:

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So good!!! Not sure why we don't come here more often!

Breakfast this morning was Honey Nut Cheerios and almond milk.

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I went to Cardio Muscle class. 

We have friends coming over tomorrow night for dinner so I started prepping for that. Lunch was a turkey sandwich, veggies and ranch dressing. 

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Our week "childless" continues tonight with a dinner with friends. Happy Friday!

Any fun weekend plans?

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

145.0…Cucina Enoteca

My mom and I continued our Palm Desert food tour at Sherman's Deli yesterday for lunch. 

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Can't go wrong with a mile high salami sandwich on rye with cole slaw. 

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Just like that, my two day visit with my mom came to an end and it was time for me to drive home. I was sad but this face made me smile when I got home:

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Gotta love Arnold!

Last night we went to dinner with some friends at Cucina Enoteca in Del Mar. I had been once for a charity lunch but was really looking forward to trying it for dinner. We all shared tons of things…definitely the way to go  there!

Burrata and Roasted Garlic Mini Mason Jar with Tuscan Toast:

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I could just eat this for dinner. Delish!

Stuffed Fried Squash Blossoms (herb ricotta, opal basil pesto and cured lemon aioli):

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Another winner. You really can't go wrong frying a vegetable and stuffing it with cheese. 

Pepperoni and Fennel Sausage Pizza:

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This was also good…wasn't my favorite but tasty nonetheless. 

Creamy Mascarpone Polenta with Pork Shoulder Ragu:

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This was probably my favorite dish of the night. So comforting and rich!

Truffle Parmesan Fries:

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Can't go wrong there. 

Bucatini (guanciale, burnt cabbage leaf, tomato, chili, pecorino, hen egg):

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This pasta tasted very unique. I meant that in the best possible way. I really enjoyed it!

Dessert was Nutella Affogato (sugar and five spice donut):

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I was least impressed with this one. 

Overall, I really enjoyed our dinner at Cucina Enoteca. The ambiance was beautiful, service was great and the food was excellent. Winner!

Breakfast this morning was scrambled egg beaters with salsa, green onions and cheddar cheese. 

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I went to a PTO meeting, then ran a ton of errands. Lunch was tuna salad, veggies and ranch dressing. You've seen it before. 

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I just got back from the gym. I'm proud of myself for going in the afternoon. Usually by this time, there's no way you can get me there!

Are you a morning or afternoon gym person?

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

143.6…More Fabulous Food Finds

It's so fun discovering new restaurants. I've been having a great time visiting my mom in Palm Desert these past couple of days. I've had some amazing meals!

Breakfast yesterday was toast with crunchy peanut butter.

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We went to lunch at Clementine Gourmet Marketplace. I had the chicken salad sandwich.

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It doesn't look like much but it was pretty delicious. I would prefer regular bread next time as opposed to a hamburger bun. I'm not a huge potato chip fan but they make their potato chips themselves. I bet they would taste excellent with some onion dip. :)

We shared a yummy lemon merengue tart for dessert.

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Dinner was at Castelli's Italian restaurant. I have driven past this place so many times and was excited to try it.

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Our meal started out with amazing garlic bread loaded with garlic.

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I couldn't decided between two dishes: Linguine alla Bolognese (imported pasta prepared in a sauce of diced tomatoes, red wine, ground beef, mushrooms and grated Parmigiana) and Tortellini Romano (beef stuffed pasta in a Romano cream sauce with Prosciutto, mushrooms, peas and freshly grated Parmigiana). They offered to give me half of each! Genius!!

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They were perfect together. I would not have wanted an entire plate of the tortellini because it was really heavy but it was a great compliment to the bolognese. Great restaurant….the food, service, charming ambiance….would go back for sure.

Breakfast this morning was half a bagel with cream cheese.

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We are going to have lunch in a bit and then I'll head home to San Diego. I take the back route over the mountains from Palm Desert to San Diego and I love the drive. It's so relaxing and beautiful and nice to step away from the freeways!

Today is the Blog Bake Sale at Accidental Intentions! Go bid on my Toffee Brownies (aka Crack Brownies)! You won't be disappointed!

What's the best food find you've discovered lately?

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Monday, June 23, 2014

143.2…Best Mexican Food. Ever.

Last night my husband and I went to Il Fornaio in Del Mar for dinner.  My dinner started with the Beef Carpaccio:

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That was followed by the half size of the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese:

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Fabulous meal. We sat on their outdoor patio overlooking the ocean and beautiful sunset.

Breakfast this morning was a toasted English muffin with peanut butter and half a grapefruit.

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I packed up the car and headed to Palm Desert to visit my mom for a couple of days. We had lunch at the restaurant at the golf club where she lives. I had a chicken salad sandwich with fries.

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It's definitely quite hot here and mom's dog, Oliver,  recently got a major haircut for the summer. He looks like an Ewok.

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Right!?! He could possibly scare the crap out of small children.

There's a Mexican restaurant near my mom's new house called Fresh Agave that I had been dying to try. My mom always talks about how fabulous it is. I had to see for myself.

First of all, their margaritas may knock you on your ass.

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You should enjoy your margarita with some extra spicy table-side guacamole.

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I had the fish tacos which were beyond perfect.

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I'm in a Mexican food coma of happiness. I can't wait to go back. After dinner we took Oliver on a walk…just as the giant golf course sprinklers came on and gave us a nice shower. Epic evening.

What's your favorite thing to order at Mexican restaurant? 

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