Saturday, January 9, 2010

CALI COAST ROADTRIP - sf/big sur/santa barbara

This last holiday season of 2009 I decided to do something different. My birthday is 2 days after Xmas and I took the hour and a half drive from Stockton to SF to join my friends and explore the Ferry Building which I had never been to. It is an extravaganza of deliciousness. I met up with my friend Butch (it was his birthday the day before) and we began at the Boccalone Salumeria where we got a mixed sliced meats cone...yes a cone. In this cone, we had mortadella with black truffles, brown sugar & fennel salame, and soppressata di calabria. Their motto is "TASTY SALTED PIG PARTS". Enough said. I ended up picking up some brown sugar & fennel salame and soppressata di calabria for the road.

We then went on to the Cowgirl Creamery's Artisan Cheese Shop where I got a little sampler bag of goodies that came with a cheese spreader...very tasty and there were so many choices. The sampler bag was the way to go for me.

Onto Tsa Nicoulai Caviar where Butch and I sat down to have a sampler platter of caviar and a bottle of Prosecco. We decided to go with the Perfection Platter which included California Estate Osetra, Paddlefish Sturgeon, Brandy Trout, Vanilla Trout, Beet/Saffron Whitefish, and Truffle Whitefish. I think my favorite was the Truffle Whitefish. I'm a sucker for anything with truffles.
Butch bought me an incredible Gingerbread cupcake from Miette...moistest must scrumptious cupcake EVER with a cream cheese frosting.

We found these crazy shitake mushroom logs that you can sprout your own shitake mushrooms from...they're actually quite beautiful.

We made our way to La Mar next door which is a fantastic Peruvian restaurant. We had pisco sours and a ceviche sampler and a causas sampler (causas are appetizers made with a potato dough - similar to a huge gnocchi that is topped with various tasty stuffs).

We were joined by Chris and we went off to check out the Foreign Cinema - a very cool restaurant where they project foreign films on their outdoor patio wall. They have good cocktails and some good apps as well. We were in a nibbling mood so I can't comment on the entrees.

It was an incredible night and it ended for me at the Hotel Vitale which is across from the Ferry Building and my room overlooked the bridge, which was a gorgeous sight. I highly recommend this hotel. It has a really good vibe to it...very relaxing and the rooms are soothing and beautiful. The pictures on the website really don't do the place justice.

The next morning I met up with Silvio to head down PCH back to LA. I had a 3 night trek planned for this leg, starting with the Post Ranch Inn. WOW. This place is stunning. When we arrived we were greeted with a glass of wine and they handled our luggage, giving us a ride to our Mountain Room and a quick tour of the grounds.

The room had a fireplace, a terrace looking out onto the mountains, a minibar that was included, a large soaking tub and no TV. FANTASTIC. We decided to hit the infinity pool which was close to our room. It was overlooking the ocean and heated to optional at night. It couldn't be more perfect. We had dinner at the restaurant which was absolutely scrumptious.

The following day we moved to a Tree House room. There were windows all around and it was absolutely gorgeous. Again there was a fireplace and a large soaking tub.

There are some pretty trails around the area. It was a beautiful combination of forest and ocean views.

The breakfast that is included in the stay is delicious...a nice variety of flavors and a nice selection of fresh squeezed juices.

We had to move on from there after our perfect two night stay. We stopped at Nepenthe for a quick drink and appetizer. If you can sit at the outside bar that stretches around the restaurant, that is the best place to get the view...especially at sunset.

We were on our way to Santa Barbara, the last stop before heading to LA. As we drove along, we passed by a very surreal looking cemetary as the sun was starting to get to that golden hour. There were ominous clouds hanging low in the distance which provided a soft grey blanket that separated the blue sky from the green of the planted field beyond. We HAD to stop.

The result was this photo which has a heart shaped lens flare...something I've never seen before. I'd like to think that it was a message or sign of sorts.

We arrived at the Presidio Motel in Santa Barbara after dark. It's absolutely precious with its quirky little artistic touches. The rates are great. The walls are a little thin (I remember hearing our neighbor sneeze in the morning), but I actually didn't notice for most of our stay and it was a full house. Our room had beautiful origami butterflies hanging on a mobile from the ceiling. It was whimsically charming.

I hope that next time I won't wait another 15 years before I take the PCH roadtrip again. It's stunning and a great excuse to have an adventure.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the TING

The Ting is small and brown. She is fierce and loving. She is my dog. Her name is actually Monkey, but she is now known as the Ting. My friend Joe Ceccanti in Portland created this amazing design for me. We had to consult my Dad for the Chinese characters that read "Small Brown Ting". Joe tried to do the translation through Google and it came out as "Flying Grey Lice". That wouldn't do.
He made this design into a bunch of merchandising products on Zazzle and I am now the proud owner of all things Ting...a hoodie, bumper stickers, hats, mugs, mousepads, bags. Keep an eye out for this design... I have a friend in Austin that is now going to be sporting it and an Argentinian friend in Maui who will be spreading the Tingness.

GELASKINS - does rockband!

Oh my gah. I just saw this on the Gelaskins website and experienced a slight heart palpitation. They have gelaskins for Rockband guitars! This is going to take some time for me to decide which design I want, but I am for sure getting two of these for my playtime! Check out the rest of the site for more gaming, cellphone, mp3 player styling.

Monday, November 9, 2009

BLOWFISH - transition shoes for LA.

That sun sticks around even as we're getting into fall weather in LA. I found these sandal/boot combos a little while ago and they are CRAZY comfortable and I've worn them with just about everything. They show off a good pedicure without letting the feet get too cold if it cools off a bit in the evening. Blowfish makes them...they're reasonable and look and feel awesome. There was no breaking-in time needed. They also come in brown and black. Get 'em.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

GELASKINS - fashion for technology

I'm a big believer in personalizing everything... choosing art. I was looking for some form of sticker or artwork for my laptop when I came across this site, They have a decent sized library of art from urban artists that can fit a laptop or cell phone, or gaming devices. You can get wallpapers from the site as well to match your gelaskin for your iPhone, let's say. The artwork is varied and gorgeous. I have one of these on my work laptop, my personal laptop, and my iPhone. My personal favorite artist is Nanami Cowboy... that's the black and white image of the fish. I love that it feels like a cross between Asian art and graffiti.
This one I love because... well, because it has pandas and the girl depicted is a brunette. Like me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

INSPIRATION - just because

I've come to realize I'm a very visual person and that's really what inspires me most. I just thought I'd share with you some images that I thought were pretty incredible...just great photography in general. Sometimes it's something that just is "in the moment", sometimes it's an incredible mood or emotion that is evoked, and sometimes it's just plain pretty.

This last one looks just like my dog Monkey, who is a chiweenie (chihuahua/dachshund mix). That's pretty dope.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

DON CHOW TACO TRUCK - kung pao tacos, burritos & tamales...WTF?

Well this was an interesting find... coming out of an art festival in Chinatown, I saw a taco truck parked on Broadway called Don Chow...the name made me stop and take a peek at their menu. It's definitely no frills... their signs have a kind of makeshift feeling to them, complete with perma-marker revisions.

What caught my eye was the Kung Pao on their sign. Kung Pao tacos, burritos and a Chimale which is a tamale filled with Kung Pao chicken or pork. They also have Chinese BBQ pork and shrimp and tofu as a filling for their tacos, and a bit of the traditional in their Carne Asada and Al Pastor. I had to try the Chimale. It's a VERY tasty tastes nothing like Kung Pao, but I loved biting into an occasional chunk of water chestnut. They served it with what tasted like a fairly traditional salsa. I'm hoping to try the soy ginger sauteed shrimp taco next time I come across them. If you're looking for something tasty that's a bit different from your regular taco. This is it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

FAUX BOIS LOG PILLOW - super freakin' cute

Yet another favorite of mine from Etsy... these pillows are ridiculously cute. They're made of felt and sport a birch grain. They add a touch of whimsy to my TV room. I only have one, but I think that the two together look adorable stacked.

CARAMEL POPCORN & WASABI PEAS - an unlikely but nummy combo

corny sugar

So this snack combo happened by accident. I had a craving for savory and for sweet. I had gone to Trader Joe's and gotten their wasabi peas and their fat free caramel popcorn. You know how it goes...I ate some peas, then I took a bite of some caramel popcorn...then some peas...and I realized that they tasted REALLY good together.

There's something about the spicyness of the peas mixed with the caramelized sweetness of the popcorn that just sings. To me, this was even better than theater popcorn mixed with m&m's or goobers or whatever I've seen my friends doing.

Wasabi Peas

Try it. You'll like it...and if you don't, I might come up with another combo later on that you'll dig.

CHUL AN KWAK TABLE - neil gaiman wants this...need i say more?

Organic and fantastical at the same function. Wow. Just wow. These tables were crafted by Korean designer Chul An Kwak. Stunning and really...I can see Neil Gaiman getting some serious inspiration off of these (he twitted about them). I hope he gets them. :)