Friday Faves

christmas balls

‘Tis the season to chaos, crazy, fun and indulgence. I feel like Happy Weekend is appropriate to say at this point even though it is technically still Friday on the West Coast. This week has been a whirlwind of holiday hair which has left time for not much else. This weekend I am looking forward to holiday parties, possibly car shopping (I’ve got my eye on the Mini Cooper Convertible), last minute shopping and gift wrapping! What are you up to? Here are a few of the things that made my week awesome…

* Hey California, get ready, black truffles are currently being cultivated in CA and could be on a dinner plate near you in the next few years! They have already fooled Michelin Star Chefs in a blind taste test and their freshness will be magical.

* Have you ever been to The Slanted Door in San Francisco? I had the pleasure of eating there once a few years ago and the flavors are something I will never forget. Now you can learn the history of the Chef/Owner Charles Phan who came to SF from Vietnam and steal some of his recipes with his book The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food.

* My best friend Sharon is now living in Nashville and sent me a box of locally made goodies for Christmas which included the best Chai Tea I have ever had! I had to order more…in bulk!

* Wishing I was in NYC to see all of the holiday window displays. Since I can’t be there Kristi’s recap will have to do!

* My new favorite fragrance is called Moroccan Dream and it’s only $5!

* Theres a new (to me) natural brand on the market called Eco Me and I tried the Lemon Fresh dish soap that not only smelled good but worked. I like to know that the home products I am using are safe for me and the earth.

* I am obsessed with body exfoliating and just sampled the Jan Marini Holiday Exfoliator and seriously wanted to slather it on a holiday ham and eat it. The scent is cranberry orange and it is the most decadent, mousse like body scrub I have ever used.

Enjoy your weekend! Relax, have fun, drink and be merry, be safe, and tell those who you care about the most how much you love them! XO

Holiday Gift Guide: Men’s Edition

I just recently discovered Kaufmann Mercantile  and found their vast array of gifts for the men in your life to be classic, rugged and sexy. For the man who appreciates craftsmanship and the finer things in life. There is something unique for every budget and seemingly every man you could need to shop for, so your welcome. Shop away!

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Another manly brand I recently discovered is the skincare line Jack Black. (no, it has nothing to do with the actor/musician) I sampled the Intense Therapy Lip Balm and found it to be strong enough for a man but soft enough for me AND it has SPF25. Perfect for all of the snowboarders, surfers, or outdoorsmen your know. I am tying one to the top of the all gifts for the men in my life!

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Celebrate the Holidays at Baleen Kitchen

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Photo by Gloria Plascencia
We recently visited the waterfront Baleen Kitchen in Redondo Beach to check out their new menu. Fresh, holiday libations started off the evening! This is the Anti-Oxident Mojito with Appleton Rum, Pomegranate juice, muddled blackberry, raspberry and mint. Cheers!

Mezcalero - Mezcal, Aperol and strawberries.
Photo by Wade Hammond
Mezcalero – Mezcal, Aperol and strawberries.

duck
Photo by Wade Hammond
As a starter we all shared the decadent Duck Carnitas. We had them earlier in the year and have been dreaming of them ever since. They are perfect for the holidays!

farro
Photo by Wade Hammond
The First Course was the Baleen Garden and was delicious. It was baby beets, farrow, tomato, quinoa, avocado, pea shoots, almonds with a soft lime vinaigrette. The texture of the farro, quinoa and almonds made this salad very unique. I would love to eat that for lunch everyday!

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Photo by Wade Hammond
The Second Course was a gorgeous Crab Salad full of avocado, haricot vert, and lollo rossa. They use both soft-shell crab and fresh Dungeness for this dish.

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Photo by Wade Hammond
The Third Course of Roasted Black Sea Bass with roasted mushrooms and sweet potatoes in a fabulous aromatic broth was so mind blowing that I took half of it home – it was just as amazing the next day!

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Photo by Wade Hammond
Last but certainly not least, our Fourth Course was the giant “Tommy Hawk” Rib Eye!

tommy-46Photo by Wade Hammond
The “Tommy Hawk” was quite impressive…tender and delicious!

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Photo by Gloria Plascencia
As you can see, a fun night was had by all! Book your upcoming holiday celebration at Baleen Kitchen or stop in for happy hour with snacks and cocktails!

Baleen Kitchen is located in beautiful Redondo Beach, CA at The Portofino Hotel right on the harbor at 260 Portofino Way. (310) 372-1202

Christmas Day they will have their famous À La Carte Brunch and “Build Your Own” Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar from 6:30am-1:00pm. Then a 3-Course Dinner from 1:00pm-10:00pm adults $59 with wine pairing $70/$22 kids.

NYE They will have a fabulous 5-Course Dinner from 5:00pm-11:00pm for $85pp with wine pairing $110.

Friday Faves

Happy Friday! I had a great time in Florida visiting family and friends, eating at some of my favorite spots and just relaxing! Now I am back to work and it will be crazy until Christmas! I was working on a fun post about California on my flight home yesterday and then the wifi dropped and I never got to finish it. So, I am sharing this awesome sample sale info instead! Thats where I will be on Sunday! I hope they still have some goodies left. If you are in LA this weekend this is not to be missed!

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Shop Local

MADE in Long Beach

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Photo and shirts by my friend Ismael of Gardea Studios

I am so thrilled that this store front on Pine Ave. is now home to MADE in Long Beach, a hosted space for locally made goods. There are so many creative people in Long Beach making really amazing things and now you can shop them under one roof! If you are looking for unique, hand-crafted holiday gifts this is a great place to start. On a recent visit I found delicious smelling soaps and candles, fun lucite ornaments and jewelry, the softest t-shirts, leather purses, wallets and jewelry, local coffee, plants, beautiful necklaces made from eggshells, and a bunch of other really cool stuff! Check it out!

MADE in Long Beach is at 236 Pine Ave. Long Beach, CA
Hours: Tues-Fri 10-7 Sat 10-9 Sun 12-7 Closed Mon