restaurants

Long Beach Eats

Long Beach is full of great food and new places are popping up all the time. I feel like you can get just about any type of food you desire within minutes except for Ramen. For some reason LB just doesn’t do Ramen…yet. There is a goldmine to be had for the person who opens a legit Ramen noodle bar with craft beer. Your welcome for the idea. Ok, enough with my Ramen rant. Lets move onto what new things I have tried lately and loved…

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Americana Steak and Fries
This place is in my neighborhood and yet it took me years to actually try it and boy was I missing out. The Supreme Steak and Country Chicken hot sandwiches are sooooooo good, the rolls are super soft and fresh, its inexpensive, and the people who own it and work there are super nice. Its a win, win, win!

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Elephant Thai Kitchen
This place is in an area that we don’t usually think to go to to eat although it is super close to where we live. Everything we had was delicious, the staff was very friendly and accommodating offering recommendations, and it didn’t break the bank. It is legit. Its clean, casual and they have a little parking lot in the back.

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Photo by Anne Watson
Padre
This place opened up in a space on Broadway that used to be several different places that were just ok…until now. Padre did a great job with the decor, there is a ton of indoor and outdoor seating and the food and drinks are on point. My favorite things are the fried chicken tacos, brussel sprouts and for a cocktail, well they are all amazing but my go to is the Watermelon Fixx. I love Happy Hour and they do it 7 days a week! Woohoo! They have an interesting railing leading upstairs when you walk in the main entrance. I won’t spoil it for you, you have to just see it for yourself.

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Pizzanista
This spot has a location in DTLA and just opened in Long Beach. It was founded in 2011 by legendary professional skateboarder Salman Agah. I call it hipster pizza but I mean that in the best of ways. It is New York style which I love. We had the Meat Jesus (pictured above) which was drool worthy, the white pizza that was delicious with Sriracha, and the Spicy Chopped salad that was just fine. They sell a ton of pizza by the slice including vegan and veggie which are about $4 and a whole pizza runs close to $30, so its not cheap but everything is super fresh and locally sourced. If you are into cold pizza they sell day old slices in their fridge for $1, so thats a deal! We passed on the garlic knots but they smelled amazing. Everyone who worked there was really, really nice. It’s a great addition to Long Beach!

As delicious and eclectic as the LB eats scene is, it isn’t known for its health food so if anyone from Lemonade, Tender Greens or maybe Urban Plates is reading this we need you! Downtown Long Beach is on the up and up! Come on down, we would LOVE to have you!

There are so many new places to try and we always say we are not going to eat at the same place twice until we try all the new spots but we still end up at our old faves all the time like Long Beach Thai for the curry noodle soup, Pho Hong Phat for the Pho, and Los Compadres for their amazing Molcajete.

What restaurants have been on your radar lately?

 

Villa del Palmar Loreto Mexico Day 3

Ahhh…day 3 in paradise at the Villa del Palmar. This day was so much fun and jam packed with activities! The beauty of this resort is that they have so many things you can do if you want to or you can just relax! Relaxing always sounds good to me but then I end up doing something. I love to explore and try new things!

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The perfect way to start this beautiful morning was with a guided hike. Carlos was so knowledgable about the geography, ecology and vegetation. He even taught us some survival skills!

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Photo by James Tiffany Photography
After the hike we met with Ivan, the Villa del Palmar Healer who is part of the Wellness Program. We did a sun salutation with him on the beach and he blessed each of us. It was a really beautiful and spiritual moment and one of my favorite parts of the trip. Ivan had great energy and the whole experience was really grounding.

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The afternoon was spent boating and snorkling around the gorgeous islands of Loreto. The landscape was unlike anything I had ever seen with cactus growing on mountains beside crystal blue water. Again, I felt like I was dreaming.

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Photo by James Tiffany Photography
Those 2 little snorkel heads are me and my friend Luci!

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After boating I took a very educational class on tequila, taught by the in house sommelier, and even got certified! I learned that Jose Cuervo is only good for cleaning toilets ­čśë and I do like the taste of tequila, I just had to taste a bunch to find the right one!

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Our final evening included a “Fiesta Mexicana” dinner buffet at The Market Restaurant and a cultural show. I think my girl Kitty can totally rock a sombrero!

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The next morning I paddle boarded at 7am and absorbed all of the peace and beauty of the early morning on the Sea of Cortez before packing my bags to head home.

The town of Loreto and the Villa del Palmar dazzled me with its beauty and warm hospitality. This trip will forever fuel my spirit and warm my heart. I will definitely be back one day but in the meantime I will continue to be inspired by my experiences and the memories created there!

The Villa del Palmar Islands of Loreto is offering my readers a rate of $119 USD per night in a Deluxe Studio suite, plus taxes & gratuities. You can book your getaway now for travel through April 30, 2016. Terms & conditions apply. Blackout dates apply. Book your stay through reservaciones.vdpl@vgloreto.com. Please reference code FAMNOV15 to receive this special rate.

 

Villa del Palmar Loreto Mexico Day 2

I woke up with the sun on my first morning at Villa del Palmar and still thought I was dreaming. The only thing missing was my husband who I will definitely bring next time! I felt well rested and refreshed, ready for a fun day filled with adventures!

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The morning began with this decadent breakfast spread!

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After breakfast we took a tour of the property. This is the Danzante Bungalow. It is at Danzante Bay on the outer edge of the resorts property and is an 800 square foot yurt! It is totally private with its own jacuzzi on the deck right on the sand! How romantic! I would love to stay there and sip champagne in the jacuzzi under the stars!

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This was an interesting and important part of the tour because it is part of the desalinization system which is the process of removing dissolved salts from water, thus producing fresh water from seawater. A big concern when traveling to Mexico is always the water. At Villa del Palmar all the water is drinkable because of this system! It was impressive. They really care about the environment and do a lot to give back to their local community.

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I loved spending time at the Sabila Spa. It was absolutely gorgeous and soooo relaxing. I had a wonderful mini massage and then spent time hopping around from the jacuzzi to sauna to steam to cold water plunge. They also offer yoga, meditation, juice therapy and have a new wellness program.

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The afternoon was spent taking a scenic 50 min. shuttle ride along the coast into the quaint little downtown area of Loreto. There is shopping in Handcraft Alley, great food/drinks and historic buildings like the church and Mission. Carlos from Villa del Palmar was our guide and really gave us a lot of historical information about the town as well as the best spot for chocolate clams and jalape├▒o margaritas!

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When we returned from town we had a magical meal at Danzante, the fine dining restaurant at Villa del Palmar. My photos don’t do it justice because of the soft, dim lighting but trust me, it was delicious!

More adventures from this trip coming soon!

 

Top 35 Sushi Restaurants in America

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The Daily Meal just put out their list of the top 35 sushi restaurants in America and I have been to 2 of them! #18 Matsuhisa in LA is where I discovered my love for sashimi. My friend Mary and I had the Yellowtail Jalape├▒o and the Tuna Tataki with cilantro dressing and both were melt-in-your-mouth delicious! We also loved the Lobster Ceviche, King Crab Tempura, and the Fish N Chips Matsihisa Style. #34 Sansei has several locations in Hawaii and I just had the pleasure of eating at one last month. The Fresh Hawaiian Ahi Carpacciov Garnished with cilantro & chopped peanuts in a Thai chili vinaigrette blew my mind along with the Crab Ramen with Asian Truffle Broth with cilantro, Thai basil and mild jalape├▒os. Several Nobu’s made the list but not the Malibu location which is the only one I have been to. Wade and I went there for our 7 year wedding anniversary and did the Chef’s Tasting Menu and shared a bottle of Champagne. It was an amazing meal in a beautiful location right on the water. My local, go-to sushi spot in Long Beach is Sushi Kinoya. I could just eat the cilantro hand rolls all night long! Have you been to any of these spots and what do you love?

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Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa

Last month I had a long time client/friend get married on Waikiki Beach in Oahu and we had the pleasure of spending a week on this beautiful island at The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa and it was absolutely fabulous! The lobby was gorgeous, the customer service was top notch, and we were within walking distance of everything. Our room was absolutely amazing with an ocean facing window and ocean view balcony. We spent a lot of time out there. It was paradise!

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The stunning view from our balcony. It doesn’t get much better then this! We actually ordered food to go from Arancino di Mare┬á┬áon our first night and had a romantic dinner under the stars.

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I loved waking up to a view of the ocean every morning. It felt like a dream!

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The bathroom was spacious and modern with plenty of room for me and the hubs to get ready at the same time. We need this set up at home!

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A “Welcome Mai Tai” and shrimp cocktail at the poolside lounge The Moana Terrace┬áwas the perfect way to start our trip!

IMG_3250DKÔÇÖS Crab Ramen with Asian Truffle Broth with cilantro, Thai basil and mild jalape├▒os at Sansei was my favorite meal of the trip! How decadent can you get?!

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The Fresh Hawaiian Ahi Carpacciov Garnished with cilantro & chopped peanuts in a Thai chili vinaigrette at Sansei was so fresh and delicious I could of eaten the whole plate myself!

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Beach wedding ready! I am wearing my favorite summer dress by Geisha Designs.

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We rented a jeep for a day for around $100 at the Enterprise that is located in the hotel and gave ourselves a tour of the island. Our first stop was The Dole Plantation. I was obsessed with getting pineapple ice cream and doing the garden maze. It was a complete zoo of tourists but the ice cream was well worth it! Our next stop was the famous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck in Haleiwa and it did not disappoint. If you like shrimp, garlic and getting messy you are in for a treat. By the time I was done my hands were covered in sauce and I was thrilled to see a giant outdoor sink. With our bellies full of shrimp deliciousness we headed down the road to Waimea Valley where we took a beautiful 1/2 mile walk through the Botanical Gardens to the majestic Waimea Falls where you can swim. It was magical. On the way in/out there is a cafe that serves snacks, beer and wine as well as a gift shop. There is nothing like a cold beer and a little shopping on a hot afternoon!

All in all I found this island to be magical. It dazzled me with its beauty and its wonderful people. I will definitely be back one day. There is still more to eat and see like Pearl Harbor and the Doris Duke house. In the meantime I will just close my eyes and go to my “happy place” on the balcony at The Waikiki Beach Marriott over looking the ocean and try to keep the Aloha spirit alive!

Need help finding the best deals and booking your next trip? My brother and travel agent extraordinaire Derek Albinson can hook it up!

 

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