Category Archives: Lifestyle

Hello, Hoshigaki Season 

All over Instagram and in professional kitchens around California, we are seeing rows and rows of hanging, bright peeled persimmons. And if like many, you’re wondering what this current Hoshigaki trend is all about, it’s actually a very old, traditional practice and a Japanese word meaning dried persimmons.

My friend and award-winning Bay Area writer Carolyn Jung went deep into discussing Hoshigaki and its use among Bay Area chefs in an article this week in the SF Chronicle. You can read it at: Hoshigaki time: Bay Area chefs embrace elaborate Japanese dried persimmons. And for more pics on Bay Area chef’s Hoshigaki displays, check out Inside Scoop’s recap at: Hoshigaki: The Bay Area’s breakout social media stars of winter 2015.

Pictured above: Hoshigaki hanging in the NINEBARK kitchen

(photo: moelopez)


Urban Remedy Retreat – Carmel Valley Ranch

Urban Remedy - Carmel Valley Ranch - Therapeutic Bath


With all the indulging and multitasking in every day life, we often forget how important it is to take a moment, or a long weekend to relax and completely get away from it all. A break from life’s noise is not only nourishing and necessary for the body, but also for the mind and spirit. This is why I’m so looking forward to escaping to one of my favorite destinations in California soon. Carmel is approximately a two-hour drive from San Francisco, an hour from Silicon Valley, and a place very close to my heart. It’s also the location I’ll be attending Urban Remedy’s Detox Retreat at The Ranch.

Carmel Valley Ranch Hotel

Carmel Valley Ranch is a 500-acre luxury resort that offers a true nature retreat with panoramic views of mature oak trees and the lush Carmel Valley.  I can’t wait to take a breather in the hundreds of miles of hiking trails and at one of the nearby beaches to hopefully catch a beloved Pacific coast Rothko sunset.


Urban Remedy embodies the belief that Food is Healing, and at the Urban Remedy Retreat, we’re going to delight in healthy meals and also learn how to make them. I’m really awaiting the visit to the on-site organic garden and attending a Q & A about organic farmstead practices and growing with Carmel Valley Ranch’s own Organic Farmer Mark Marino.

Meet the resident Artisans at:

Carmel Valley Ranch.

Neka Pasquale – the host for the retreat, is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Urban Remedy. She released the Urban Remedy Book earlier this year and is a huge believer in the power of raw foods and juicing. In as little as three to five days of resetting nutritional habits, she’s witnessed huge and positive changes in client’s health.

I’m personally excited to see how I physically and mentally feel after the detox weekend. In my world and profession, it’s unrealistic to eat raw on an every day basis, but I can take breaks from my usual dietary and work schedule and give this nourishing gift to myself. Balance. It’s all about balance.

Urban Remedy - Carmel Valley Ranch Salad

 “A retreat is time we take away from our everyday stresses in life to focus on ourselves. Taking a break from social media, our phones, eating unhealthy foods and the hustle and bustle of modern life. It is a time to create intention to go within and connect with your spirit and receive the messages of your soul. It is a reset where we eat nourishing and cleansing foods and juices that heal and balance the body. A retreat is a gift to yourself that supports overall wellbeing mentally, physically and spiritually.” - Neka Pasquale, Founder of Urban Remedy.


To attend or learn more about the retreat and property, visit:

Carmel Valley Ranch

Urban Remedy Detox Retreat


Truvée Wines Luncheon with the McBride Sisters

Sens Restaurant - Paella

Paella w chicken, spanish chorizo, prawns, clams, roasted peppers, saffron rice and Truvée Red Blend

Last week, I had the pleasure of lunching with the McBride Sisters, the first African-American sisters to own a wine company – Truvée Wines. Fittingly derived from the French verb “to find,” each bottle of Truvée embodies the McBride Sisters’ wonderful story of growing up continents apart, completely unaware of each other’s existence before uniting over a mutual passion – their love for wine. With Truvée, they’ve crafted an affordable and contemporary wine sourcing grapes from multiple premiere vineyards throughout the Central Coast of California.

Sens Restaurant

Meditteranean Spreads – cucumber-dill tzatziki, feta-aleppo pepper, hummus, smoked eggplant paired well with the Sangria


Tasting the clean and crisp Truvée Chardonnay with the family-style starters 

Sharing the same father, but raised by different mothers, the sisters both grew up in emerging wine regions—independently fostering appreciations for the craft of winemaking. Growing up continents apart in Monterey, California and Spring Creek, Marlborough, New Zealand, both were unaware of the others existence for nearly half of their lives. Their father’s final wish before he passed away of cancer was to connect his two daughters. The sisters were united for the first time in 1999. Their inspiring story honorably exemplifies  ”to find what matters most.”

Truvee Wines Mc Bride Sisters and Mika Takeuchi Food Fashionista

with Truvée Wine founders Robin McBride and Andréa McBride


Truvée Wines Sangria – perfect drink for a poolside BBQ or summertime dinner with friends

Truvée San Francisco Sangria Recipe

Serves 12

1 750 ml bottle of Truvée Chardonnay

6 oz. bottle Ketel One Citroen

6 oz. elderflower liqueur

6 oz. Stellina di Notte Prosecco





Join us at Cuyana Conversations: Gastronomical Delights 5/21

Cuyana Fewer Better Gastronomy Panel

If you’re around this Thursday, I’ll be moderating a thoughtful, food-focused panel at the ultra-chic Cuyana showroom in San Francisco’s downtown Union Square. The name Cuyana means ”to love” in Quechua and this gastronomy panel is one of the featured topics in the Fewer, Better Series. The panelists include an incredible group of food folks from the Bay Area. Hope to see you there!

BottleRock Napa Valley to feature Major Culinary Stage with Star Chefs & More

BottleRock Napa Fried Chicken

BottleRock Napa Valley has announced its star-studded culinary lineup and the addition of a fifth stage – the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage. BottleRock Napa Valley will deliver a lineup of chefs, restaurateurs, winemakers, sommeliers, and craft brewers that is unparalleled in the music festival world. Michelin stars fly among the musical stars at the 3-day festival, May 29 through 31, in downtown Napa, California.

BottleRock Napa

One of the stages at BottleRock 2014 (Photo: BottleRock)

 “BottleRock Napa Valley is all about blending great music, food and wine,” – David Graham, CEO of Latitude 38. 

President of Williams-Sonoma, Janet Hayes adds, “Williams-Sonoma’s Culinary Stage will showcase some of the country’s top chefs and sommeliers with musicians and celebrities. We are excited to create unique culinary experiences for festival attendees that will differentiate BottleRock from all other food and music festivals.”

Ca Momi Pizza

Centrally located in the Whole Foods Restaurant Garden of the festival, the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage will be hosted by the Bay Area’s “Foodie Chap,” Liam Mayclem of KCBS, and will feature celebrated chefs, vintners, actors, professional athletes and sommeliers participating in entertaining demos, performances, and other hi-jinx. The chef lineup includes Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Mina of the Mina Group, Iron Chef Marc Forgione, two Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn, Top Chef Michael Voltaggio, Larry Forgione of the Culinary Institute of America, Top Chef Mei Lin, Michelin-starred chefs Brandon Sharp of Solbar, Ken Frank of La Toque, and Robert Curry of Auberge du Soleil, 11-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani, Bryan Forgione of Buddy V’s, Rick Moonen of rm Seafood, Oenotri’s Tyler Rodde, and Dario De Conti of Ca’Momi. Joining the fun will be the Williams-Sonoma Chef Collective featuring Sarah Simmons of Birds & Bubbles, Matt Jennings of Townsman, the Bon Vivants of Trick Dog, and Jason French of Ned Ludd.

The Cure BottleRock Napa

The Cure – one of my favorite bands at BottleRock 2014 (Photo: Kara Murphy)

Many of the region’s best chefs, vintners, and breweries will also showcase their talents in the VIP areas and Platinum Lounge. Noted Napa Valley restaurants including REDD and Redd Wood, Goose & Gander, and Atlas Social will provide exclusive offerings for Platinum guests, paired with rare and cult wines presented by Master Sommeliers and wine experts including Ian Cauble, Sur Lucero, Jay James, Gilles de Chambure, Mark de Vere, Jimmy Hayes, Robert Bath, DLynn Proctor, Willi Sherrer, Chris Blanchard, and Desi Echavarrie.

Food Fashionista Mika Takeuchi BottleRock Napa

We are rocking the shades at BottleRock

 All festival guests will enjoy a global tour of culinary offerings, featuring Japanese, Indian, Italian, Spanish, Mexican, American, Mediterranean, and Vietnamese cuisines. Mouthwatering dishes include Morimoto Sticky Ribs, wood-fired pizzas, pork belly sandwiches, Vietnamese shrimp rolls, barbecue, fried chicken, vegetarian, vegan and more. Culinary hotspots to be showcased include Morimoto Napa, Ca’Momi, The Thomas at Fagiani’s, Whole Foods, La Condesa, Tarla Grill, Taqueria Rosita, Eiko’s, Fume Bistro, Il Posto Trattoria, Eight Noodle Shop, Ristorante Allegria, The Q Restaurant and Bar, Bui Bistro, Napa Palisades Saloon, Smoke Open Fire, Jax White Mule Diner and food trucks like Bacon Bacon, Curry Up Now, Kara’s Cupcakes, Mark’s The Spot, MeSoHungry, Drewski’s, and Napa Valley Crust, among others.


Many of the regions finest wineries will be sharing their finest vintages, including Miner Family Winery, Robert Mondavi Winery, Silver Oak Cellars, Del Dotto Family Vineyards, Schramsberg Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Gia by Gia Coppola, Goosecross Cellars, Round Pond Estate, Aviary Vineyards, Hill Family Estate, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, JaM Cellars, JW Thomas Group,, JCB by Jean Charles Boisset, Ca’Momi Wines, ONEHOPE Winery, Piazza Del Dotto, Starmont Wines, Twomey Cellars, and Vezer Family Vineyards.

There will be A LOT of wine at BottleRock 2015 (Photo: BottleRock)

There will be A LOT of wine at BottleRock 2015 (Photo: BottleRock)

Wine cabanas and beverage bars will be conveniently located throughout the festival grounds. All bars will be stocked with delicious pours from title wine sponsor Miner Family Winery and other premium Napa Valley vintners, dozens of craft beers, along with artisanal cocktails made with premium spirits. The craft brew garden will feature 20 brews from premium brewers and distillers such as Lagunitas, Crispin Cider, Boston Beer, 21st Amendment, Pyramid Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Green Flash, Ninkasi, Heretic, and local favorite Napa Smith brewery. Fan favorites including Coors and Blue Moon Brewing round out the brew selections.

For more info on BottleRock Napa Valley, including a full lineup of 90+ music and culinary artists on five stages over three days, visit

(Photos: BottleRock, Mika Takeuchi, and Kara Murphy