May 2010


Ad-buy season is nearly upon us. The reps are going crazy with the cupcakes. We had some new additions to the table today…

…including 4 trays of mini cupcakes…

…and a big box of jumbo sized ones!

I wish I had better pictures, but trust me when I say, these are some very decadent cupcakes. Temptation much?! Thanks to the combination of a headache and a weird feeling of icing apathy, I didn’t eat ANY of these. More room for pizza and wine on Friday night I suppose!

Anyone else work for a treat-filled office? When do you indulge?

For me, I’d rather eat cleaner and greener while at my desk at work. Enjoyable food deserves a more enjoyable setting, right? Still, I can’t turn down a slice of ice cream cake. And, sometimes a cupcake, as long as it comes from Sprinkles :)

I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I have not one…not two…but THREE restaurant reviews for you! Yes, I’ve been very busy eating out. I’m thinking I’m going to have to switch to salads pretty soon but for now I am enjoying every last bite.  So last week, the boy (oops, sorry, the MAN) took me out for a “surprise” dinner…aka I had no idea where we were going and couldn’t spend hours pouring over the online menu picking out the perfect dish. I know, so risky, right?! We ended up in a new-to-me neighborhood at Cha Cha Cha Cafe.  The decor was so kitschy and colorful, which you can sort of tell from the food photos. 

We started with glasses of their popular sangria…

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Hands down, the best part of sangria is always the wine soaked fruit at the end! After glancing through the menu we decided to share a few appetizers, since everything sounded so delicious! Luckily great minds think alike, and we easily picked out four plates:

Jerk Chicken Pizza – Jamaican jerk chicken, red onions, fresh parmesan and
mozzarella cheese

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This was SO good and definitely one of my favorites of the night! Spicy, crispy – I had to eat it with a knife & fork because it was so saucy.

Jerk Pork – Shredded pork tenderloin grilled with a spicy Jamaican jerk sauce

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Also yummy! I used bites of this to top some of the other dishes because the spicy jerk sauce went well with everything.

Sopes de Pollo – Small corn tostadas filled with black beans, chicken
and garden vegetables

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This dish was okay, but nothing amazing. The best part was definitely the sweet dipping sauce, which I also used on the fourth appetizer…

Black Bean Tamales – Sweet corn tamales with black beans, tomatillo salsa
and golden caviar

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First, we scrapped off that blob of sour cream. Ick. I thought it would at least be on the side so I forgot to order the tamales without. Even with our sour cream faux pas, this dish was definitely the best of the four. The corn was legitimately sweet and all the flavors went together really well.  I would go back for these tamales alone!

This dinner out was a very welcome distraction in my otherwise totally creeper week.  On Friday, Stephanie came and met me for lunch, which was a nice way to wind down. We took a quick walk over to Clementine. Not only is this spot super cute and charming, it has a seasonal menu, lots of fresh veggies and gourmet salads, outdoor tables – and I’ve never had a bad meal!

Just to give you an idea of the adorableness…

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I ordered an open-faced sandwich that included grilled eggplant, tomato confit, and goat cheese on toasted whole grain bread. Believe it or not, this sandwich was even better than it looks. I could probably try to recreate it but I know it contained more olive oil than I’ve ever used since it tasted amazing and kept me full for a good six hours, and through a workout.  Not too shabby, right?

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Review number three involves a discussion about pizza crust, which clearly deserves a post of it’s own. So for now, I’ll leave you with a little story about gratitude. Suffice to say, this week has been crazy. Actually, this month has been crazy. Then again, when aren’t we swamped and running around like wild women?

Recently, I fell in love with a jean jacket. I swear, I read every girly magazine imaginable for work and denim is definitely on the “Do” list again. When worn properly, of course. This one is from Gap and couldn’t be cuter.

For some reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about this jean jacket, which is a sure sign that I will actually wear/use it, unlike so many other things in my closet. Of course, I went to three different stores and not one had it in my size. I’m relaying this story to the boy, and he immediately offers to call the stores near his place to check on the coat status, and actually does so. Unfortunately, it was a no-go, but sweet nonetheless.

Then, I’m explaining to my mom how I can’t find this jacket and she calls all the Gap stores in her area, thinking maybe a store in Jersey will have them. No luck. So she calls the ones near her boyfriend’s house – remembering one Gap off the beaten track – and finds my jacket! Her boyfriend went the next day to buy it for me and ship it out. You better believe I will be wearing this coat like a second skin after all the effort!

But seriously, it’s little moments like this that make me feel so blessed, so lucky, to have people in my life willing to take the time to do something nice, without anyone asking, for no reason beyond being genuinely kind. I’m so grateful for all those warm fuzzies, and reminders that good deeds can be the simplest things.

Yep, looks like I’m signing off on another sappy note. Not sure what’s gotten into me lately, but I don’t really mind :)

Happy *almost* Hump Day!

Julia’s episode of New Adventures of Old Christine was awesome! She did SUCH a great job and we all had fun combining Cinco de Mayo (margaritas and Jell-o shots anyone??) with watching her on TV. Well, Jell-o shots for everyone but me. I was the driver, and hence, the good girl of the party.  I brought this oatmeal chocolate chip cookie cake…which I purposely made in “cake” format so I couldn’t polish off any of this dessert while baking. I MAY have snuck a bite of dough though :)

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“New Julia” is our fun little play on the show title, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the “Old Julia.” Sorry, JLD!

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It hasn’t gotten hot in LA yet, but my foods have definitely turned summery.  I’ve been eating my weight in Greek yogurt lately. Mostly in yogurt mess format, but I did bring back the hot & steamy cinnapple, mixed with 0% Fage (my favorite!).

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Stirred up!

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I’ve also brought back my La Tortilla Factory tortillas with lots of veggie and chicken wraps. I got some great baby heirloom tomatoes at Trader Joe’s; I’m a big fan of little grape and cherry tomatoes and these didn’t disappoint!

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I even whipped up a new batch of hummus for lunches this week, with artichokes, spinach, sea salt and garlic added to the standard chickpeas.

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This week I had my first corn on the cob of the season! It was no sweet Jersey ear, but I always love the start of summer corn. With chicken and rosemary potatoes:

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Has anyone tried the Chipotle Garlic salsa from Trader Joe’s? It’s an awesome salad topper! 

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Other warm weather returns include fizzy flavored water…

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…and ridiculous numbers of yogurt messes! I ate this for breakfast AND lunch on Saturday and I had to force myself to switch it up for dinner. I would eat one of these for every meal, no joke.

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I know I am a day behind (typical, as I am always running late) but I just wanted to say HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all my blog moms out there. And especially, to my mommy. Sadly we are on opposite sides of the country so we couldn’t celebrate together but I made sure to send her a package of goodies. It might be cheesy to say that my mom is my best friend, but it’s the truth. We never went through that “love/hate” stage; instead, I’ve always thought my mom was the sun & moon & stars & universe. She is my biggest supporter and fan & I will always be hers!

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Also, she’s the cutest thing in the whole world, no?!?

Now I am off to Taco Monday in Silverlake. I NEED to kick off the week on a high note…if today’s workload is any indication of what this week is going to be like :)

This weekend, I attended my FIRST triathlon — as a spectator of course! The guy I’ve been seeing wanted to surprise his brother who was doing the Long Course (1 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, half marathon run) so we headed a few hours north to check out the Wildflower Triathlon. We took a boat over to the event start, which was windy and gorgeous. Not that you can really see my face in this photo, but you can see the sun! and my huge grin!

We actually managed to spot his brother 4 minutes and 30 seconds before his age group started. Which was shocking, because the scene looked something like this:

Once we found him though, we were able to track and spot him throughout the rest of the day. Luckily, I have a big mouth and don’t mind screaming, so I was able to cheer my little heart out. With lots of time to kill, we wandered the grounds, ate pizza and gelato, and even hiked to the halfway point of the run to catch his bro and pump him up. Seriously, look at this breathtaking place! The grass and I had a nice moment together.

After his brother finished, we headed back to downtown Paso Robles to hit up a few wine tasting rooms before dinner. My favorite stop was our first, at Arroyo Robles.  I ended up pretty tipsy and in love with a new bubbly, Almond Sparkling Wine. The almond flavoring seriously takes this glass up a major notch!

I wish I had food photos but I ended up with a whole lot of scenery instead! Sunday we decided to detour and extend our mini vaycay by visiting Hearst Castle. I haven’t had a good history lesson in ages! We did the Experience Tour…and our tour guide was kind of a grump, but the grounds more than made up for it.

Casa del Sol — the 18 room guesthouse:

The Neptune Pool (which totally reminded me of a Vegas hotel!):

Casa Grande, which includes a personal movie theater:

The Roman Pool (check out the diving platform on the right!):

In between the walking tour and the movie, we had some time to kill so we popped a bottle of the Almond sparkler from the night before and munched on some baby shortbread biscuits that the tasting room had Ziplock-ed for us.

Yes, in the trunk of the car.

It was such a nice, funny moment. And let’s pretend it was classy as well, mmmkay?

We didn’t get home until after 10PM but the side trip was so worth it! Getting out of LA and pretending I was on a full fledged vacation was just what I needed. Of course, now I am itching for a longer trip but I will take what I can get.

In other news, I think everyone should celebrate Cinco de Mayo tonight by watching my Julia on The New Adventures of Old Christine on CBS at 8PM!!! We are having a mini party tonight and I made an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie cake to share. Not Mexican, but delicious nonetheless :)

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