Category Archives: Lifestyle

Nobu- Malibu, California

Nobu Malibu - Food Fashionista

Nobu Malibu is located on the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway and offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. On a warm Southern California day (which is quite often), it’s ideal for a relaxing day of lounging on the patio with a table spread of chef Nobu’s signature drinks and dishes. They also offer breakfast on Friday through Sunday.

Nobu Malibu - Food Fashionista

Glasses of Louis Roederer, Brut Champagne

Nobu Malibu - Food Fashionista new style sashimi

Nobu’s famous New Style Sashimi. See the recipe and make at home here: http://bit.ly/1O3Ojo9

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Lobster Shiitake Salad with Spicy Lemon Dressing – a must-order dish.

Nobu Malibu - Food Fashionista Mika Takeuchi

Being fed lobster isn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon. Just remember to bring sun glasses and wear sunblock if you plan on sitting on the patio. Although breezy, it can get toasty out there.

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Ocean view from the patio

 

Nobu Malibu

Address: 22706 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
Phone: (310) 317-9140

Kendra Scott Jewelry Comes to Northern California

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I was just off a flight from Paris and needed to fight the jet lag, so headed down south (from San Francisco) to sunny San Jose’s Santana Row. Kendra Scott fashion jewelry was touring California with their airstream, and dropped by for a one day show. I wasn’t familiar with Kendra Scott previously, so was excited to check out their accessories and learn more about them. I was especially intrigued by their Color Bar in which you could design your own jewelry. You just pick out the stone and accessory style of choice, and voila, they make it right there for you. It’s a fun and quick way to create a unique, personalized piece that’s all your own. And, it’s very affordable with most price points in the $50-$75 range. I’m big on the power and energy of crystals and natural stones so was pleased to see some of my favorites including pyrite and rose quartz in the mix.

kendra scott - santana row

Just put on a tee and pair of denim and throw on one of these Kendra Scott necklaces and you’re good to go…

Mika Takeuchi - Food Fashionista Santana Row Kendra Scott

Nothing beats jet lag like a good dose of sun rays with that vitamin D and some exercise to get the blood pumping. Just remember to wear your daily sunscreen.

Santana Row Kendra Scott Village California Bistro

One also needs fuel to shop, so I grabbed a tasty lunch at Village Bistro – which is located smack dab in the center of Santana Row with its breezy courtyard seating. This is their Tomato Bruschetta with fresh mozzarella pearls, Franchessi bread, basil pesto, baby heirloom tomatoes and balsamic reduction.

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This Phyllo Baked Brie isn’t the most photogenic, but was seriously satisfying with its mix of sweet and savory with caramelized apples and toasted almonds. I could not stop eating it.

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Although the Kendra Scott airstream was a one-day visit, they will be opening a permanent store in Santana Row this year. They also have plans to open up in Walnut Creek and eventually in San Francisco.

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Thank you, Santana Row for helping fight the jet lag. You definitely succeeded. I’ll see you again soon.

Visit Kendra Scott.com to see all their fab jewelry styles

 

Little Gem – San Francisco, California

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Little Gem Salad

Little Gem in Hayes Valley is a big, bright neighborhood gem. They’ve only been open since December 2015, but it’s one of those places that makes me wish I lived even closer. I’d be there all the time – breakfast, lunch, dinner. It’s just the kind of vibe that makes you feel welcomed at “home”.

During the day, the contemporary space’s expansive windows shine a glowing natural light upon the entire restaurant interior. You order at the counter and are given a number on a pastel ombré piece of reclaimed wood before choosing a seat at a barstool or table.

The menu is gluten, dairy and sugar free. I tend to mostly cook this way at home, so even before my visit, many friends and colleagues asked me if I had tried Little Gem yet. They knew it was a place that mixed in well with my daily at-home lifestyle and I was pleased when I finally visited. The people and space had a sincere, warm energy and the menu ingredients are all mindfully sourced from local farmers and artisans. It’s always refreshing to have a place that shows healthy, high quality dining options can also be affordable and satisfying.

Founders Eric Lilavois, John DiFazio and Chef Dave Cruz were all physically and presently working at the restaurant behind the counter and in the kitchen during my lunch visit. Lilavois was most recently the Chief Operating Officer for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group so it’s no surprise that Little Gem, although approachable and casual, had a clear and polished professionalism about it.

Little Gem Hayes Valley - Food Fashionista

Napa Valley Honey Lemonade prepared with local Marshall’s Farm Honey

Little Gem San Francisco Chef Dave Cruz

Window view of Chef Dave Cruz in the Little Gem kitchen. Before this new endeavor, Chef Cruz worked at several restaurants in New York and California including serving as the opening chef for Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville.

Little Gem San Francisco - Food FashionistaGrilled Trumpet Mushrooms on Beans & Rice w Rancho Gordo beans, Tuscan kale,  tomato-bacon stew.

Little Gem Flat Bread - Food Fashionista

Mixed Vegetable Flatbread with caramelized carrots, cauliflower, broccolini, kale, almond-onion puree

Little Gem Salad

Asparagus & Radish Salad with pea shoots, soft boiled egg, romaine lettuce, celery, green goddess dressing and addition of King Salmon

Little Gem Hayes Valley

Little Gem

Address: 400 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone:    (415) 914-0501

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest at Carmel-by-the-Sea

Chef Michel Bras Olivier Roellinger Relais Châteaux GourmetFest

The third annual Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest returns to postcard-perfect Carmel-by-the-Sea on the weekend of February 25-28. And as in previous years, you will find the most illustrious names in food and wine descending upon California’s Monterey Peninsula. This year’s culinary celebration will feature 17 Relais & Châteaux chefs from around the world participating in a total of 18 unique events spread throughout the weekend. In addition to the showcased gastronomy, carmaker BMW will have some of their newest cars on display during the occasion; and several renowned wineries will be pouring rare vintages.

Relais Chateaux GourmeFest

Pastry Chef Liz Miller Blackberry Farm Ron Mendoza Aubergine

Pastry Chefs Liz Miller (Blackberry Farm) and Ron Mendoza (Aubergine) during the plating of Milller’s dessert course of Strawberries, Coconut Meringue, Crème fraiche Ice Cream and Candied Pecans at the GourmetFest 2015 Grand Women Chefs & Winemakers Luncheon 

Relais Chateaux GourmetFest Blackberry Farm

Festival founder and L’Auberge Carmel Proprietor David Fink will be hosting along with the stellar local team at Aubergine, the restaurant at L’Auberge Carmel led by Executive Chef Justin Cogley and Pastry Chef Ron Mendoza. Keeping with tradition, Relais & Châteaux’s GourmetFest will be headlined by several three star Michelin chefs with a 2016 lineup including David Kinch (Manresa, Los Gatos), Joshua Skenes (Saison, San Francisco), Michel Troisgros (La Maison Troisgros, Roanne, France) and Hiroshi Nakamichi (Restaurant Molière, Sapporo, Japan). There aren’t many places where you’ll be able to experience the cuisine of these international culinary masters up close and personal and all in the same location, but once again, you will have that special opportunity soon in Carmel at GourmetFest.

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

With an abundance of food and wine festivals these days, Relais & Châteaux has done an exceptional job of curating a  standout event that delivers only the best of the best in food, wine and luxury brands for a festive, high-quality wining and dining weekend. There is also an online auction where you can bid on several of Relais & Châteaux’s most extraordinary properties. The auction will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Carmel Chamber of Commerce and the CSU Monterey Bay hospitality program.

For a sampling of what you can expect at this year’s GourmetFest, here are some more photo-worthy highlights I captured at last year’s R&C GourmetFest weekend:

La Playa Carmel Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

La Playa Carmel was the setting for the Opening Party

Chef Tetsuya Wakada Relais Chateaux

Chef Tetsuya Wakada & team plating their Salad of Aburi Alaskan Salmon w Daikon & Myoga 

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Chefs Olivier and Hugo Roellinger Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Chefs Olivier & Hugo Roellinger served Oysters with Cured Lemon and Morita Oil sharing the spirit and spices of their seafront Brittany property, Les Maison de Bricourt with its vicinity near the bay of Cancale and its oyster farms. They will be returning to the 2016 GourmetFest cooking together at the Father & Son’s luncheon. 

Chef Olivier Roellinger Oysters Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Carmel by the Sea SunsetCarmel-by-the-Sea and the Monterey Peninsula not only offer incredibly beautiful nature views year round, but a variety of the freshest, locally-sourced seafood which you’ll be able to enjoy while in the area.  

Ernst Loosen - Dr Loosen Wines

German Winemaker Ernst Loosen (Dr Loosen)  is all smiles in Carmel 

Chef Justin Cogley Aubergine Carmel Relais ChateauxChef Justin Cogley (Aubergine) serving Rainbow Trout with Seven Herbs and Smoked Trout Roe (below) at the Opening Night Welcome Party. 

Chef Justin Cogley Aubergine Rainbow Trout

relais chateaux gourmet fest

Chef Francis Wolf (Le Hatley Restaurant at Manoir Hovey)’s Panna Cotta of Cultured Goats Milk, Sweet Clover, Arctic Rose Flat Oatcake, Green Alder Candied Beet and Birch Syrup paired with a 1990 Philippi Barrel Aged Auslese at the Cuisine and Wines of the World Dinner at Seventh & Dolores.

Chefs Michel Bras Olivier Roellinger Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Legendary Chefs Michel Bras (Bras) and Olivier Roellinger (Les Maisons De Bricourt) discussing their game plan for the dishes at the much-anticipated and sold out Taste of France luncheon.

Michel Bras Relais Chateaux GourmetFest Carmel

Chef Michel Bras’ L’endive Farcie, parfum de truffes paired with a 2008 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône Valley

Olivier Roellinger GourmetFest Carmel

Chef Olivier Roellinger’s St. Pierre “Retour de Indes” – Hommage to the 18th Century French Mariners paired with a 2011 Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-A-Vent, Beaujolais 

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The All-Star Team at the Grand Women Chefs & Winemaker’s Luncheon

Gaja Wines GourmetFest Carmel

2005 Gaja Gaia & Rey Chardonnay Langhe from Piedmont, Italy was paired with Chef Annie Féolde (Enoteca Pinchiorri)’s Risotto with Prawns, Licorice Powder and Asparagus Marinated in Red Wine (below).

Chef Annie Feolde Risotto

Relais Chateaux GourmetFest Carmel

Pre-lunch cooking demo at the Gaggenau Demo Kitchen at La Playa Hotel’s courtyard featuring 3 Star Michelin Italian Chef Annie Féolde and team from Enoteca Pinchiorri.  

Chef Lanshu Chef (Le Mout Restaurant) Relais Chateaux

Chef Lanshu Chen (Le Moût Restaurant) plating her Pigeon with Yilan Style Pork Liver, Chantrelles & Lapsang Souchong Tea paired with a 2012 Wayfarer Vineyard Pinot Noir from Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma County, California and a 2012 Chappellet Pritchard Hill Cabernet Franc from Napa Valley, California. 

Lanshu Chen Pigeon Relais Chateaux GourmetFest

Relais Châteaux Taste of The World

View the entire Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest schedule here, which includes these standout events for 2016:

Welcome Party (Thursday, February 25): The must-attend event of the weekend. This strolling dinner shines a spotlight on world-class Relais & Châteaux chefs – including all four Relais & Châteaux three star Michelin chefs – at stations paired with famed wine estates and beer & spirits producers and luxury vendors.

• Rarities Dinner (Friday, February 26): An extremely limited, 10-course dinner meal-of-a-lifetime prepared by three Relais & Châteaux three star Michelin chefs: David Kinch of Manresa, Joshua Skenes of Saison, and Michel Troisgros of Troisgros. This spectacular dinner is parked with rare wines directly from the Chateau, Domaines and Estate cellars.

• Wild Mushroom Hunt & Lunch with Ranger Chuck Bancroft (Saturday, February 27): Retired Point Lobos Ranger Chuck Bancroft and his team of mycologists lead guests on a wild mushroom hunt through the pristine 20,000-acre Santa Lucia Preserve in upper Carmel Valley. Following the hunt will be a sumptuous wild mushroom lunch prepared by the Preserve’s Host Chef Jerry Regester and Relais & Châteaux Chef Matt Zubrod of The Little Nell with accompanying wineries pouring rare vintages from Galante Vineyards and Dawn’s Dream.

• Father & Sons Lunch & Michel Troisgros Cooking Demo (Saturday, February 27): Delight in a lunch prepared by two iconic French father and son chefs, Olivier and Hugo Roellinger of Les Maison de Bricourt and Michel and César Troisgros of Troisgros. The lunch, paired with some of the most highly sought after wines made in France including Chateau Grillet and Domaine d’Eugenie and finished with the wines of Napa Valley superstar Araujo, is preceded by a cooking demo in the Gaggenau Demo Kitchen and Champagne Taittinger reception.

• Taste of the World (Sunday, February 28): Experience a “strolling Route du Bonheur” in which wines, many from local Monterey County wine estates, are paired with bites from Relais & Châteaux properties from all over the world.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the 2016 GourmetFest, visit:

Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest

carmel by the sea sunset

…and while in Carmel-by-the-Sea, make sure to take in the magnificent sunset. This photo was captured a few minutes before last year’s GourmetFest began. Absolutely magical start to an unforgettable weekend.

 

Warby Parker’s Newest Collection is Easy on the Eyes

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Have you ever stepped into a Warby Parker boutique? Well, I have on several occasions and have to admit that each time I’ve left, I felt more uplifted than when I first arrived. I’m not sure if it was due to the stylish design space that surrounded me, or the adorable, helpful staff that looked like they fell off the pages of a magazine, or the no-pressure fun of trying on a number of glasses in daring new looks, but a visit to Warby Parker I’ve found is more than just a basic visit to grab some new specs. It’s an engaging and enjoyable eyewear shopping experience.

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Another huge factor that makes shopping at Warby Parker so pleasant and positive, is that the glasses aren’t only stylish, but they are affordable. With frames starting at only $95, you can add a pair into your seasonal wardrobe without guilt. And, for every pair of eyeglasses sold, Warby Parker works with non-profits around the globe to distribute a pair of glasses to someone in need. This is a 20/20 win-win for everyone!

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I’m loving the bold, bright and playful new collection that was inspired by the circus tents. The spring 2016 collection is crafted from premium acetate in spirited new hues and three new silhouettes.  I have my eyes on several pairs to add to the accessories wardrobe, but the Chelsea in Grapefruit Soda and the Haskell in Crystal with Blue Jay are definitely on my radar.

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And because all of us are busy, and not everyone has the time or proximity to venture directly into a Warby Parker boutique, they offer a Home Try-On service where you can model five different pairs for five days in your own digs with all of your favorite outfits. Does it get any easier than that? I don’t think so. I still though, highly recommend trying to visit the actual Warby Parker store since I’ve found it to be true positive retail therapy.

Warby Parker Spring 2016 Collection

For more info, and to find a store location visit:

Warby Parker 

Warby Parker Prescription Eyeglasses

Warby Parker Sunglasses

Warby Parker Progressives