Race You

Last week I found myself at home instead of teaching a cooking class. That lead me to cook in my free time, obviously. Although I don’t have much photo proof to show you, I did indeed make some delicious food.
Pavlovas with lemon curd, scallops with an herb chili oil, esquites (Mexican street corn salad) and crab cakes with a remoulade.

The crab cake recipe that I use (Andrew Zimmern) is the only one I need, ever. Super simple ingredients, not loaded with filler, it lets the crab shine. It’s delish!

Shawna and I hit the Del Mar races. I had some luck on my side… finally.

Winner!

It was a fun day. The weather perfect, the views even better.

Our weather has been a consistent 77-80 degrees with humidity. Leaving us craving water in all forms.

We went to Mission Bay and the Plunge at Mission beach and then back to the bay. Seeking refuge in bodies of water.

I think it’s almost time for an adult poolside day. One where I’m not lugging snacks, chairs, boogie boards, water bottles and everything else that comes along with children. More like a good book and an adult beverage!

This is 8

8!

Can you believe it? I can’t.

Smoosh face.

We had family over for dinner, cake and pressies. Celebrating Averi and Aileen who have birthdays one day apart.

Averi’s cake was chocolate with vanilla frosting but I apparently I added too much lemon zest (said the girl who loves lemons) and they didn’t like it.

For fucks sake.

Aileen got a Julien apple pie, she is much easier to accommodate.

The girls went to bed and the adults played a fun game, before we knew it, the night was over.
Happy birthday ladies.

Delayed

Our Averi is a super fan of lemon. Lemonade, lemons with sugar, lemon soda. I told her it was because when I was pregnant with her, the only thing that soothed my nausea was lemonade. I mean, I am not wrong but she probably likes those things because…sugar. Anyhow, I was telling her that Europe has Fanta Limón, well I should say that I knew Spain had it, and I was really hoping that Greece and Italy did too. I told her I would bring some home for her to try if we ran into any. I didn’t see any in Athens, Santorini or Rome. That was, until we were inside the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.

Our alarm went off early because our Uber was to be in front of our hotel at 8:30 for our 11:30 flight. I woke up to messages saying that our flight had been delayed two hours. So we rebooked our ride for later and went and had breakfast that’s when it hit us, we wouldn’t be making our connecting flight in Toronto. Fast forward an hour and a half, we were finally checked in and we were told that our luggage would meet us in San Diego. Sweet. We found a spot to grab a sandwich for the plane and that is where I found it, Fanta Limón. I grabbed two bottles, stuck them in our carry on and we were off to Toronto. Since we missed our connecting flight to Chicago, they automatically put us on another flight, but now we were headed to Vancouver. As we sat there we kept watching the screen push back our flight time..DELAYED. DELAYED, MOTHER FUCKING DELAYED. They blamed it on the galley and clean up crew, we would soon find out that all of the airlines were lacking all crew, including pilots and flight attendants. About an hour later we were finally making our way onto the aircraft and would be arriving in Vancouver at midnight. I searched high and low for a hotel to stay at but since we didn’t get our Covid tests the only option was The Fairmont in the international terminal and it was completely booked. So with that, we found ourselves a vending machine, bought some waters and cookies, found a row of open airport chairs and hunkered down for the night.

Airplane pillows, face masks, eye masks and a few melatonin later, we actually slept a few hours at a time. The security gates opened at 6:00 am so we made our way to our future 9:30 gate for our flight to San Diego. This is when when we lost the Fanta, sigh. We completely forgot it was in our carry on bag. The TSA agent felt bad and said that we could drink them really quick, and we told him they were for our kids. With a heavy heart, I took a picture for proof and we parted ways.

Everything was looking up after that and then….our flight to San Diego, the ONLY flight to San Diego was….Yep, cancelled.

The sole purpose of us leaving Rome to be home by the 14th was our girls 5th grade graduation. We promised them that we would be picking them up at school and all getting ready together to celebrate and we had surprise dinner reservations. That was when we realized that we wouldn’t be making it home in time to pick them up or even in time to make the graduation, if we even made it home at all. There were tears, lots of tears in the airport. Once we made our phone calls to our girls, we sat outside our future gate for a flight to San Diego and then decided, f#ck it , let’s drink. Nothing says eff it like morning booze. We made our way to the bar and had a couple of morning adult beverages.

Once we landed in San Fran, we had to walk miles from terminal to terminal to find our gate. At this point we didn’t’ get our hopes up, if the plane and crew showed up, great, if not, great. So we found our gate and grubbed some clam chowder.

In a twist of events, our plane was ready and waiting and our flight went off without a hitch.

After insane amount of boarding passes, we landed in San Diego at 8:30 p.m.

Can you guess what happened next? No seriously, take a wild guess.

Yep, no luggage. I mean that would be asking for too much. On top of everything, they didn’t even know where our luggage was. We had to laugh because all we thought was, thank god this wasn’t happening a day before our wedding (Sorry C and A). We finally made it home after 9:00 pm, took hot showers and were so thankful to be sleeping in our bed instead of an airport.

Destination Santorini, hopefully

Setting: Santorini, Greece

Reason: Wedding

Our alarm went off at absurdly 3:10 a.m.

I know what you are thinking, I thought the same thing… it’s for a vacation, that’s exciting right? Well, we all had a bad cold leading up to this, and sleeping wasn’t what I was getting much of at the time, so ya, 3 in the morning hurt. But, we got to the airport, on the first flight without any hiccups or coughing fits, thankfully. I literally had to have a cough drop in my mouth at all times.

We left San Diego early and got to NYC on time as the picture suggests. The layover in NYC was simple and then we were on our second leg to Athens. This leg was a good 9 hours and I started out by playing a game.

But after this rude comment, I switched to my book. (which is Book Lovers and as good as I imagined it would be.)

Finally we made it to Athens.

(If you don’t see this video because I am in a different country and my computer doesn’t comprehend.)

Once we reached Athens, we hit the ground running, until we weren’t. The Santorini airport was unlike anything else I have experienced. We should have had over 2 hours to play around at the airport, however that didn’t happen. Long story short, an hour was spent getting our luggage checked, and then we had to wait for a bus, yes a shuttle bus to take us out to our plane. The bus was a few hour late meanwhile we were only in the air for 26 minutes. However, we made it and was pleasantly surprised that our luggage made it as well.

The four of us took a transfer from the airport to Oia, pronounced Eeee-Uh. Our hotel was located at the beginning of the Oia(n)? village. This is the area you see in all of the movies. White buildings that look like sugar cubes perched on the rugged cliffs over looking the Aegean sea. There are blue domed churches dotted along the way, the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful.

There are cats and dogs happily sun bathing all over the village.

Once we got settled into our amazing room at Thirea Suites and Studios, and took a much needed shower, we met up with my parents for dinner.

Amazing right? Everything about this hotel is wonderful, except these.

Doesn’t look too terrible but I assure you this isn’t all of them. We counted and there are 139 steps. Let me tell you, after a week of coughing and the Mediterranean sun, 139 steps is no small feat. But it’s worth it when you reach the top.

We planned on walking through the village and down the 300 steps to Ammoudi bay however I didn’t have it in me. Not enough sleep and still fighting my cold, I wasn’t confident I would make it back up. So we stopped into a little restaurant that served traditional Greek dishes and had a nice dinner.

I ordered the Mussels Saganaki and a dry white wine (I can’t remember the varietal) and it was all really good. After dinner we popped into a little market by our hotel for some wine, water and snacks because no one wants to be left without options on vacation.

We poured a glass of wine and soaked in our jacuzzi, winding down from a couple of long travel days.

The one thing we didn’t prepare for was how difficult it is to find rides on the island. So if you come here, come prepared. There are very few taxis and even less Uber’s and transfers need to be reserved ahead of time or you’re left waiting.

I had made reservations at a winery a few weeks before we arrived. We forget to arrange our ride the day we got in so after climbing all of the stairs and coughing for a good 10 minutes in the sun, we finally managed to get a ride, although we ended up being an hour late to our reservations, but we made it.

We had four wines paired with two courses. The food was really good, the wine was just ok.

From the winery which was located in the middle of the island, we wanted to catch a ride on the bus down to Perrisa beach which is on the bottom of the island. We had to hike a ways back up the road to get to the bus stop. The bus is really convenient and a cheaper option to get around but it takes time to get from one side of the island to the other. We hopped off the bus in the town of Perrisa and walked seaside until we picked a beach bar to pop a squat. I don’t know why all the countries have amazing beach bars and we live in California and we have nothing like this.

The beaches were lined with shops and bars and they all offered chairs and umbrellas, all of them.

We changed into our suits, ordered a drink and soaked up the Mediterranean sun, literally, for hours.

The beaches are all black sand (rock beaches) thanks to the volcanic lava and ash. Hot as hell is what is was, like it literally did just came out of a volcano.

The water was chilly but it felt good. It was crystal clear and so refreshing to float in. I wish I could walk right into it right now.

We called our transfer for a pricey ride back to our hotel because we didn’t want an hour long bus ride.

The rest of the crew were all going to do a wine tour/dinner that evening, we were the only two losers that didn’t go. We had already done the wine thing and wanted to have a nice quiet dinner, but I did feel slightly guilty for not going. But they all had a good time, the didn’t miss us, I’m sure.

We tootled through the village, stopping for a couple of adult beverages and people/sight watching.

First up, two espresso martinis with a sea view.

We found a pharmacy and got some more cold meds because my cold is hanging on for dear life. Then we ran into this cute place with an amazing drink menu.

We found a bench and just soaked up the fact that we were in Greece.

Back to dinner, you guys, this meal was incredible.

We started off with grilled octopus with fava bean puree.

Ridiculous.

Then we both ordered risotto.

Me, pistachio risotto with sea bass. Her, wild mushroom with smoked bacon risotto with truffle oil.

Again, so so good.

For dessert, creme brûlée.

Completely satisfied, we walked back up more f*cking stairs.

And made our way back to our room, where we once again soaked in the jacuzzi until sleep beckoned us.

Tomorrow I hear there is a wedding. Although, it didn’t start of very pleasant for the happy couple. More on that next time.

καληνυχτα (good night)

Mother’s Day

We spent Mother’s day on Saturday to avoid the chaos that Sunday would have brought. Brunch was in Old Town and in typical fashion, everyone ate too many chips, but the margaritas were delish.

After brunch we took the girls swimming, you know, to tire them out. We finished the night watching A Christmas Story with pizza.

I was spoilt.

This egg cooker is AMAZING. Hard boiled eggs in less than 10 minutes, soft boiled in even less. AND no “watched pot never boils” situation.

It came with a mini griddle. I used it Sunday morning to make pancakes. I was blown away. Easy, perfect little pancakes, no mess and the kids ate them up.

But then, while getting sugar out of the pantry we realized that ants had invaded THE ENTIRE PANTRY. There was no solution aside from taking everything out and spraying, so happy Mother’s day to me, I now had some real fun ahead of me.


Half a day later, I ordered groceries via InstaCart, because taking the kids to the store was just too much.

So much work….. but it looks so much better.

Once I was done I took the girls to the pool. They were begging to go all day and guess what, they lasted less than an hour. I mean… of course they did.

80’s in the House

Our USA mens national team qualified for the world cup. This is exciting, I mean, the fact that it was up in the air is depressing, but they did it. Now it’s only forward to Qatar.

We managed to watch a game at our local soccer bar which is always fun!

I also had a nice lunch with Uncle BK at the Michelin recognized Tuetano Taqueira in Old Town. The counter service restaurant has a large patio and the focus is on Birria. If you’re not familiar, Birria is stewed beef shoulder seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and chili’s, aka adobo, and it usually the plays a main role in a taco, or quesadilla. The restaurant is still trying to get it’s footing, but the food was delicious. A local magazine had an article praising the taqueira and highlighted their bone marrow birria taco, and yes, I ordered it.

The taco was full of deep flavor, rich and very messy. The liquid gold that is bone marrow added a layer of decadence to the taco. The tortillas, freshly made rounded the taco out, and were so good. But the scene stealer is their salsa matcha. More of a chili oil than a salsa, but you guys, it’s everything. I would have taken loads home, but the place is a work in progress, and something as simple as getting more napkins, which is very necessary when eating here, was a challenge. So I left the salsa slash chili oil behind, but I will be back.

We had an impromptu turnaround trip to Vegas. 80’s station, a favorite cover band of ours was finally playing after a long two years. So we made our towards Fremont Street for a Friday night of music.

We had the most delicious monkey bread at a restaurant in the container park. I tried to make it at home and it was a huge fail. This wasn’t a Pillsbury recipe you guys, and I don’t know what their secret is, but I will figure it out, probably going to have to go back a few more times to gather notes.

We ended the night listening to the 80’s station. We don’t need much to have the best time.

Vegas always delivers.

I wanted to take a minute to try and blog. I am sitting here trying to write and the only thing going through my mind is “we don’t talk about Bruno”. The girls are watching videos of…. I don’t know what, but that song hasn’t stopped. Today is an important day, it’s Shawna’s birthday. We are waiting to celebrate her, I made her a banana cream pie and she gets to eat it before dinner, as she wishes.

We wet out to dinner the other night to celebrate her and her mom’s March birthdays, the girls love going out and I love taking picture of them.

This video is titled “how to embarrass your 7 year old”.

If you are a fan of Top Chef, or Chef Brooke Williamson or just cupcakes….Brooke partnered with Sprinkles cupcakes and put out a dark chocolate cupcake with passionfruit filling. I was on top of that and brought us home a couple. Delicious!

Things have been busy, Averi started Karate. She seems to really enjoy it.

The girls made fluffy slime using this recipe.

And our feral cat. She is 3 now and I really thought she would grow out of her assholeness. Outlook not so good.

I can’t wait to let you know how the banana cream pie turned out. Fingers crossed. I’m off for birthday celebrating.

Birthdays Part One {Good Food}

We celebrated both mine and my brothers birthday with the family adults last week. STAKE on Coronado is a chophouse that features aged American and Japanese Wagyu along with other prime cuts. That is kind of redundant because I think wagyu means simply, Japanese cow. But don’t hold me to that.

If I am being transparent, the price range is up there. I was worried that it would be hard to enjoy knowing how much everything cost. That was until I had my first bite of Japanese Wagyu, and then it all made sense.

We managed to get to the restaurant early and have a drink at the bar. I was getting cabin fever so It felt so good to get out.

The family trickled in and we were seated. Ordering a bunch of stuff to share, ahi poke, crab cakes, wedge salad, potatoes, duck and the Wagyu.

We each chose our preferred knife. I went with one made in Japan.

We chowed down while sipping local Syrah.

And then, we were introduced to the best bite of steak in the world.

That piece on the right my friends, was the most incredible bite of steak I have ever had. It was like butter. Rich, umami and intense steak flavor, with melt in your mouth marbling. I am now forever ruined because I know that the rib eye in the fridge will never compare to that bite of meat.

With barely any room for dessert, we persevered with some carrot cake and a lemon tort.

Then we toasted to another year around the sun.

Definitely a dinner to remember.

Speaking of things to remember. This book was so good.

I am not a huge Stephen King fan. I think I’ve liked one or two of his books, same with his movies.

This one however, is so good. We started by listening to the audiobook, but I couldn’t wait for the next road trip to finish it. So I picked it up at the library and finished reading it. I fell in love. I hope that they do it justice if they turn it into a series or a movie. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a new book.

Let’s Talk Food

Yes, I know we all just ate an excessive amount of food.

Whether you devoured the traditional Thanksgiving classics, decided to go global with your menu, or maybe you just said f*ck it, and ran off to Vegas for drinks and chips, the other kind ch$ps.

It takes awhile to get back in the mindset to meal plan again, I know because I’m struggling.

But, I do have a couple of recipes for you to jot down, you know, for when you’re ready to eat again.

Starting with….

Whipped Feta Dip with Olive Oil, Thyme and Roasted Toms

*recipe adapted from https://www.spendwithpennies.com/whipped-feta-dip-with-roasted-tomatoes/

INGREDIENTS

TOMS

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic crushed

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (save some for garnish)

Salt and Pepper to Taste

CHEESE DIP

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed (room temperature)

4 tablespoons cream cheese ( room temperature)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium lemon zested & juiced

1 clove garlic minced

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven 400 degrees Place the tomatoes (toms) on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add crushed garlic cloves and Thyme. Toss to combine, then roast for 20 minutes OR until tomatoes soft and begin to burst. Allow to cool as is, then remove the thyme and garlic.

While the tomatoes roast, prepare the cheese. In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic with the lemon juice, only if you want.

Combine the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed and smooth. Drizzle in the olive oil while pulsing, followed by the honey. Then add the lemon juice and garlic mix, salt and pepper.

Process until smooth and airy.

Transfer to a serving dish. Refrigerate until the tomatoes have fully cooled. 

Top the Whipped Feta Dip with cooled, roasted tomatoes.

Serve with anything, pita, crackers, toast, or even just your fingers.

Raise that Money

You guys, we have fifth graders…. 5th graders, that is absolute bullshit. I had lunch today with my uncle and he brought up a memory that I had completely forgotten about. In 2011 San Diego had an unprecedented and unplanned power outage. I vaguely remember trying to put a five month old

baby to bed, in the dark with no power. We live on sound machines, so I am not sure how I survived that, probably with wine.

Anyhow, now she is finishing her last year of elementary school and that makes me feel all sorts of ways.

To raise money for their fifth grade promotion, the girls volunteered at their school craft fair selling food. They loved it, they would have worked until sun down. Even Averi got in on the action, amazing, ask them to help around the house, and I am a mean mom, but at school, it’s a holiday.

They were able to raise over $1,000, so the hard work paid off. They were rewarded with free room and board.

That was the tail end of the busy week I was talking about. It was nice to see other parents that we’ve missed, we talked to the girls old, that doesn’t sound right….the teacher they had for Kindergarten? You know what I mean right? Well we chatted with her for probably an hour, and I was lucky enough to meet Averi’s teacher, in person, and see her classroom. Funny how we aren’t allowed on campus during the week but on Saturday…. Speaking of that, all the girls have gotten their first dose of the vaccine, they should be fully vaccinated by Christmas. Jesus is clapping, be like Jesus.

I celebrated getting through the week with this.

A Thai Tornado with Tiramisu foam from Ding Tea. I can’t begin to try and explain to you how GOOOOOOD this is, it’s just, so good! And rich, I put half of it in the fridge for the next morning and then when I was prepping dinner, it fell to the ground and SPLAT, I cried. So, we now have a date with Ding Tea on Friday.