Mizumi Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas…. what a crazy, interesting, evocative, and mischievous place to visit. It’s one of my favorite places to people watch and remember why I am where I am now and not where I used to be. Brandon’s grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin live in Summerlin, just outside of Vegas, and we were finally able to take a weekend trip out there to spend time together and with them. We had so much fun with everyone and it was truly the trip we needed to just get away and not work for a few days — both of us are complete workaholics. Spending time away gave me a really great appreciation for everything I do and reminds me that I need to keep my life outside of work a priority as well. Life is too short not to live it fully and enjoy and embrace the present moment.

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Brandon and I had a really amazing evening out together and we shared a delicious meal at Mizumi in The Wynn hotel. It is a beautiful Japanese restaurant with a waterside view and an absolutely amazing ambiance. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten at or written about a restaurant of this caliber. It was truly a refreshing breath of air to see this type of service and particular care and attention to detail that Mizumi takes with each plate.
We started with drinks. I had a The Dream (champagne, elderflower liqueur and preserved edible hibiscus) and a Mizumi Cloud (lemongrass, yuzu, gin and ginger liqueur). Both drinks were delicate and flavorful. The slight sweetness of the elderflower liqueur gave the champagne a refreshing flavor. The Mizumi Cloud was sweet, but tart, and gave the gin an enlivening elegance.

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We decided to get a selection of hot and cold items instead of ordering sushi rolls.

 

Shiromi Usuzukuri, thinly sliced white fish (snapper), ponzu, miso flakes, momiji oroshi, scallion oil

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Yellowtail Sashimi and Jalapeño Gelée, crispy onion, cilantro oil, ponzu

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Robata Platter, sea bass, organic Jidori Chicken, beef tenderloin, shishito peppers, shiitake mushrooms

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Crispy Brussels Sprouts, toasted almonds, green onion, balsamic soy reduction

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Hokkaido snow beef 5 Pieces 2oz Hot Stone

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Seared Foie Gras with Kabocha Puree, Micro Green and Pomegranate Salad, Chestnut Foam Pomegranate-Balsamic Reduction

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Kurobuta Katsu Panko Breading, Apple Slaw, Curry Sauce and Tonkatsu sauce

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Liquid Lemon-Yuzu Cheesecake, Graham Walnut Streusel, Sour Cherry Compote, Sugared Walnuts, Morello Cherry Sorbet

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Mizumi Chocolate Mask, White Chocolate, Hazelnut Dacquiose, Chocolate Mousse, Praline Puffed Rice, Vanilla Ice Cream

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Coffee and Espresso

 

Everything was delicious and presented so well with the descriptions given on each plate. My favorites were the Shiromi Usuzukuri and the Kurobuta Katsu, but everything was really fresh, executed with extreme attention to detail, and the service was impeccable. It was an evening to remember.

 

Another highlight of the meal was the Hokkaido Snow Beef. This beef is literally melt-in-your-mouth tender. You cook the snow beef table-side on a hot stone, so even when Brandon isn’t working, he’s still cooking on his night off.

 

This meal was everything that the decadence, details, and drama of Las Vegas could serve up and we were completely satisfied with our whole meal experience. It was truly a memorable dining event and I am so glad I could spend it with such a special person. We were also fortunate to go to see Le Rev at The Wynn after dinner, which was such a wonderful Vegas experience and our first Vegas show.  I am so grateful to have these memories to share.

 

Cheers,

 

Unrivaledkitch

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat from Judgement

 

kimberly fujitaki yoga BBB

I’ve had a few weeks to reflect and enjoy the memories and events that took place  during our Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat from Judgement at Lido Palms in Desert Hot Springs. This week has been such a busy week of staying in the moment, being present to the flow of opportunity and really being intentional and authentic in my actions and words. I’m truly blessed to be exploring such amazing opportunities in my career and life.

 

I managed to wear my yoga pants and chef coat at the same time. This has been a dream of mine since I stepped away from the professional kitchen and onto the yoga mat full-time. My love of culinary arts will never leave me, nor does it have to. I am at home in the kitchen, just as I am on my yoga mat, which feels like a tremendous honor and privilege to be able to express my passion for union through culinary arts, asana, pranayama, meditation and mindfulness.

 

When the amazingly talented Thea Pueschel (artist of living, body positive yoga instructor and hypnotherapist) asked me to venture out into the desert to look at the venue where we would be holding the yoga retreat, I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen. From walking around the space and seeing the rooms, I knew that I would be able to make amazing meals there because if there is one thing you learn from working in a professional kitchen, it’s that you don’t need much to make a great meal. I’ve cooked using camp fires, tin cans, hot plates, 20-burner ranges, expensive gas ranges and electric stove tops, but the thing is, they all can be used in ways that produce amazing food.

 

So we took a gamble. After we drove a few hours away, we talked it over and agreed that we should give it a go. Thea made the big moves and put herself out there with the intention and desire to be of service and that’s just what she did. Just a few short months later and we were one room from being sold out! It was an amazing showing of how perseverance and hard work truly pay off.

BBB Yoga practice

The healing mineral water pools and warm desert climate made for the perfect October evenings. Thea offered insightful workshops and yoga sessions, including her signature detox to retox, yoga nidra and gentle practices to soothe and aid the body in compassionate, body positive and deeply connected practices. She also acquired the amazing reiki skills and compassionate body positivity of Adriana Franco, who conducted mini reiki sessions with all of the attendees and offered her graceful wisdom and heart felt conversation and connection with us all. Women from all over joined us and truly met themselves on the mat as they were, with open hearts and open minds. This was truly a retreat from judgement and a gathering of powerful intention to love ourselves deeply and practice self-care.

 

My menus were designed with many things in mind. Even with dietary restrictions, we all cared and nourished our bodies in abundance, which is what Unrivaledkitch is all about. We are more than the things we aren’t and that is what we have to focus on. Many of us seem to highlight the things we can’t do or things we don’t do, instead of celebrating the things we can do and will do, and for me, this goes for food as well. Whether you can or can’t eat something, I always strive to find accommodations for people to nourish their soul and I truly felt that this was accomplished. The menu was a plant-based seasonal vegetarian meal with a variety of vegan options. Here are the menus I created for this special Unrivaledkitch event for the Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat.

 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

Special Fall Menu Prepared by

Chef Kimberly Fujitaki of Unrivaledkitch

BBB Welcome Dinner

Welcome Dinner

Cheese Plate

Vegetarian Honey Goat Cheese, Red Leichester, Pere Brie and Gorgonzola

Crudite Platter of Raw Seasonal Organic Vegetables

(Vegetarian, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Fresh Organic Heirloom Tomato, Basil & Garlic Flatbread BBQ Pizza

with Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese and Parmesan

(Vegetarian includes Grain and Dairy & No Cheese Option)

 

Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Skewers

with Oregano, Basil and Red Pepper Flakes

(Mushrooms, Bell Peppers, Eggplant, Zucchini)

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Autumn Pear Salad

Organic Living Lettuce with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Shaved Pear, Walnuts, Pink Beets and Cucumbers

(Crumbled Blue Cheese on the Side Vegetarian Option)

(No Cheese Vegan, Legume-Free & Grain-Free )

 

Grilled Fall Fruits with Whipped Cream & Cinnamon

Pears, Persimmons, and Apples

(Whipped Cream on the Side Dairy-Free Option)

Welcome Dinner BBB


 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Breakfast table

Breakfast

 

Homemade Breakfast Pumpkin Cookies

with Pepitas, Raisins, Cranberries and Whole oats

(Vegan Dairy-Free includes Wheat and Oats)

 

Soy Yogurt

(Vegan includes soy)

 

Greek Yogurt

 

Vanilla Granola

(Contains Wheat and Oats)

 

Dried Fruit & Nuts

 

Whole Grain Toast

with Organic Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Peach Jam

and Organic Mixed Fruit Jam

(Includes Wheat and Oats)

 

Fresh Fruit

(Bananas, Oranges, & Apples)

 

Tea/Coffee

 

Green Smoothies

(Kale, Ginger, Apples, Strawberries, Oranges, Banana & Spinach)

BBB breakfastBBB Practice


 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Lunch Table

Lunch

 

Grilled Vegetable Tacos

Assorted Chopped Grilled Veggies spiced with Cumin and Coriander

Zucchini, Peppers, Squash, Broccoli & Cauliflower

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Soyrizo Potatoes

(Vegan, Contains Soy, Gluten-Free)

 

Served on Corn Tortillas

 

Taco Bar Includes

Pico de Gallo, Roasted Jalapenos, Cilantro and Onions,

Lettuce, Guacamole and Cheese

 

Cumin-Scented Mashed Organic Black Beans

(Cheese on the Side Vegan Option)

 

Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Organic Spanish Rice

with Roasted Corn and Tomatillos

(Vegan)

 

Fresh Fall Fruits

Pomegranates, Persimmons, Apples, Pears

BBB Lunch


Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Dinner table

Dinner

 

Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” & Polenta

 

Roasted Vegetable Sauce

with Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Zucchini,

Carrots, Celery and Onions with Olive Oil,

Garlic, and Fresh Basil

Walnut Pesto with Parmesan Cheese

 

(Spaghetti squash, No Pesto Vegan Option

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free and Grain-Free)

(Vegetarian Option Polenta with Pesto includes Dairy)

 

Spinach Salad

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Cherry Tomatoes,

Avocado, Cucumber and Sherry Vinaigrette

(Vegan Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Roasted Fall Vegetables

(Vegan Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Seasoned Grilled Tofu

(Vegan Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

 

Green Tea & Homemade Pumpkin Bread

(Vegan)
BBB Dinner dishes


 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Brunch table

Brunch

 

Mini Vegetable Frittatas

with Mixed Vegetables and Roasted Jalapenos

(Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Autumn Vegetable Hash

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Acorn Squash,

and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs and Spices

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Vegan Sausage

(Vegan includes Grain, Gluten, Barley, Red wine)

 

Fire-Roasted Potatoes O’Brien

with Peppers, Onions and Spinach

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Fresh Fall Fruits

 

Fresh Berries with Yogurt

 

Lemonade and Iced Tea

bbb brunch


 

I was also privileged to teach my signature Deeply Rejuvenated Restorative Yoga practice. Restorative Yoga is such an important practice for self-discovery and self-study. We learn from stillness that our body can gain a tremendous benefit from slowing down, resetting our nervous system and replenishing the oxygen supply in the blood.  Under the beautiful star-filled sky, we offered out our intentions and connected with the inner authenticity as we breathed and let go deeply. This was truly one of the highlights of my yoga teaching thus far and I was truly privileged to teach such an amazing group of empowered women, relaxing and leaving the practice deeply rejuvenated.

Restorative Yoga KFY BBB

The weekend ended with laughing, tears, joy, and for me, a sense of accomplishment, hard work paying off and extreme gratitude for this opportunity to blend my two favorite things in the whole world. I shopped, catered, packed, cooked, cleaned and repeated these steps many times throughout the weekend and I know I will do it again. I am truly humbled by this amazing experience and I hope you’ll join us on our next yoga retreat.

10547919_314752352046452_1328736761571136101_oPhoto by Adriana Franco

I want to thank all of the wonderful ladies who came to practice in the desert with us for a retreat from judgement. And of course, an extra special thank you to the amazing Thea Pueschel for bringing me along on this wonderful journey.

 

Namaste!

 

Kimberly Fujitaki

Executive Chef/ Owner

www.unrivaledkitch.com

Yoga Instructor

www.kimberlyfujitakiyoga.com

 

SC Prime and The Yard House, Summerlin, NV

We had plenty of delicious food while we were in Vegas, but there was one dish in particular that, if I didn’t blog about it, it would be a crime. On our last night in Vegas, Brandon’s grandpa wanted to take us to a nice dinner. He decided to make reservations at SC Prime in the Suncoast Hotel & Casino. The SC Prime is a gorgeous restaurant with a beautiful view. The décor is simple and elegant and the food is straightforward. A seemingly effortless endeavor was made by the waiters to make each and every customer feel welcomed and well taken care of.

I ordered the veal chop with mixed vegetables and pommes puree topped with chanterelle mushroom sauce. The veal chop was so moist and tender. I don’t often eat veal, but for some reason it caught my eye on menu and I decided to order it. I’m very glad I did because it was one of the best dishes I’ve had. Brandon had a really wonderful Chilean sea bass dish that was really cooked well. The fish had an outstanding crunchy crust and in the middle it was soft and tender. We really enjoyed our dinner. It was a brilliant experience.

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Earlier in our trip, Brandon and I found ourselves at the Red Rock Resort roaming around because I’d never been there before. I enjoyed looking around and playing a little bit of penny slots. We decided to stop into The Yard House  I’d never been to a Yard House before, but it was a very interesting experience. Brandon and I had two different beer flights, which are small tastings of six different beers. Brandon had the Belgian flight and I had the house flight. There were lots of delicious beers to vary in flavor and richness. They have so many different types of beer on tap I don’t even think they count. There would always be something new to try and I love that. Both tastings had a good balance and we also ordered some truffle fries to go along with our beer. I liked the atmosphere and the classic rock playing in the background. The customers seemed to be well taken care of and our bartender was very polite. Overall, we had a great time sipping beer and enjoying each other’s company.

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During our trip we also drove the scenic route of Red Rock Canyon to see the beautiful sights of the desert. I think natural wonders are always something to keep an eye out for on a nice trip.  There are plenty of hiking trails and stops along the route to look out into the mountains. It’s nice to take your time and enjoy the fresh air and unique rock formations.

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Though I’ve been to Vegas many times, I’m always amazed by the new things that I see every time I go. I’m sure we’ll have another trip soon and I look forward to the new adventures ahead.

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Farmer’s Market on Fairfax and Third

If you live in Los Angeles you’ve more than likely been here. In fact, you’ve probably been here many times. You’ve fought the traffic, gotten a little bit of your personal space encroached upon and decided that this could be a little bit of sensory overload for your foodie sensations, but still, you go back time and time again. Maybe this isn’t your experience, but for the most part, every time I visit the Farmer’s Market on Fairfax and Third, this is the way I feel. There is so much to see, so much to eat, so much to explore and it’s pretty awesome. I love California for just these reasons. There is never a shortage of food adventures and even if you go to the same place during a different month, your experience will be different. We have the seasons of fruits and vegetables, even if there isn’t any snow here and most of the time it’s sunny.

On a recent beautiful weekend in sunshiny California, I decided it would be a nice reminder to get out and walk the farmer’s market and look for a little inspiration. Not only do they have a plethora of fruits and vegetables, but there are also many butchers and meat purveyors, pastry makers, small markets, specialty ingredient stores, cured meats and deli’s, as well as small restaurants and little food shacks with plenty of people lined up for a delicious bite. I don’t normally like to come here hungry, because the overwhelming amount of choices is just too much.
This market is on the expensive side of looking for produce and fruit, but has its own charms. It’s an alluring place to explore options and see the colorful, multicultural and flavorful side of Los Angeles.
Cheers
-Unrivaledkitch

The Hungry Cat and Santa Barbara Farmers Market

Brandon and I seem to find our way out to Santa Barbara pretty often. It’s far from where I live, but only 30 minutes away from where he lives, so when I visit him, which is often, we have a tendency to head up there to see what’s going on. We knew there was a farmer’s market there on Tuesdays, so we decided to drive up to see what kind of beautiful vegetables we could get and also have a nice dinner.
The season is showing its spring-like colors at the market with beautiful citrus, lots of wonderful radishes, rainbow tomatoes, and strawberries peeking around each stand. The wonderful smell of citrus and fresh picked greens always makes me have a little longing for a garden of my own one day, but I’m not sure that would work, seeing as I can barely keep a plant alive, but one can hope.

After we walked the market, we decided to stop in at The Hungry Cat. This beautiful, small restaurant captures the quaint and simplistic nature of Santa Barbara. We came in for a midday meal around 5:00 p.m. and it was still happy hour, so drinks were half off–a steal for such gourmet cocktails. I ordered the Greyhound Proper, which was Plymouth Gin, fresh grapefruit juice, and candied grapefruit; a deliciously prepared strong and wonderful cocktail.
The kitchen at The Hungry Cat is half-open with a conjoining bar and a long set of seats, set along the back side of the restaurant. Small decorations and open glass windows keep the restaurant open and inviting. We perused the midday menu to see what we would get. Brandon and I have been known to devour large towers of seafood together, so we decided to go with that again. We ordered the medium-sized seafood platter, which came with peel-and-eat shrimp, clams on the half shell, oysters, snow crab legs, a half Maine lobster, marinated mussels, rock crab claws, and caviar. The large tower was a fantastic sight to see, so wonderfully prepared, freshly shucked, flawless seafood done with just the right touches.  We were also served accompaniments to aid in the seafood flavor development: housemade tartar sauce, housemade cocktail sauce, housemade thousand island, and mignonette. All the sauces were delicious and went well with everything. We had fun making small bites of delicious sauce and seafood and we were also given toast points with chives, hardboiled egg yolk and white, crème fraiche, and shallots, which made for some delicious seafood morsels. Everything was so wonderful. I’m still not the biggest fan of raw clams, but everything else was excellent, especially the most delicately poached and tender peel-and-eat shrimp; I could eat those every day.
A beautiful day in Santa Barbara with wonderful food and food adventures along with the best company a girl could ask for. I’m sure we’ll frequent The Hungry Cat again, you should too.
cheers
-Unrivaledkitch

Las Vegas: TOOL, Va Bene Caffe and Estiatorio Milos

I don’t know how to explain the magic that is TOOL live. It’s a complete experience that transcends me beyond what I think is honest and real, into the purest sense of reality without hesitation. My best friend, Virginia, and I traveled from the center of downtown Los Angeles to Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, NV 1/15 Sunday afternoon, just in time to see our 8:00 p.m. show. Pressing our luck with time, nothing would stop us from getting to our destination to have our souls shattered open by the vast depths of the music that is TOOL. I’ve been listening to TOOL for a huge portion of my life and have seen them in concert once before in ’07 in Los Angeles. I was completely open and in the whole experience for those precious moments that never fail to show me something I’ve never felt before. There’s no way I could tell you how much this meant to me and what it’s done for my mental sanity.
Set List
Hooker With A Penis
Jambi
Stinkfist
Ticks & Leeches
Pushit
Schism (Extended Intro)
Intension
Forty-Six & 2
Lateralus
The Pot
Ænema
While in Vegas, of course we had to partake in at least one amazing meal or else it would have been a loss of a great culinary experience. I love Vegas; not for the other sin city attractions, but for the food. My first after 21 Vegas experience was the most amazing time filled with lots of brilliant food and great menu scouting all up and down the strip. My favorite part of Las Vegas is the food and the amazing ideas that come along with it. Virginia and I roamed the strip looking at all the gorgeous attractions that make up Vegas. All the glamour and glitter worked up quite an appetite.
As we walked through the Bellagio, The Cosmopolitan, and Aria, we found ourselves taking extra time in The Cosmopolitan looking at the beautiful chandelier bar and in between window shopping we decided to stop over to Va Bene Caffe for a coffee and a sweet snack.  I had a cannoli and Aranciata, which is an Italian orange beverage that I’ve loved for years now. The cannoli was a little sweeter than I normally like, but the texture of the ricotta and the slight citrus flavor in the creamy center, with a perfectly crunchy shell and chocolate dipped sides with pistachios made my mouth water–a delicious decadent snack.  After walking around taking in the vast and lavish sights that are sin city, we decided to finally stop for lunch.
 
Virginia found a teleprompter, which gave us listings for restaurants in The Cosmopolitan and we decided to check out Estiatorio Milos. Milos is a stylish and classically chic restaurant with a beautiful color palate of woodsy browns and beige tones. The architecture of the restaurant is something to be seen; the center dining room overlooks the main focal point, the open kitchen in the corner, which has a large display of fresh vegetables and fruits, then on large piles of crushed ice, is the freshest fish that you could ask for, all decoratively placed with precision. The style of food that Milos offers is the freshest fare possible, with Greek influences and Mediterranean flavors. My passion for Mediterranean flavors is an ever expanding bank of culinary knowledge. I find it fascinating, elegant, truthful and pure in so many of its forms. This was probably the highest form of elegant Greek food I’ve ever had and that in itself was an amazing experience.
We eagerly perused the menu, which was in the set of a 3-course prix fixe, where you have the choice of one, amongst a wide variety of each: appetizer, entree and dessert. Virginia is a pescatarian and there were plenty of amazing options for her to eat.  She chose the Greek Meze Plate for her appetizer, which came with three varieties of spreads, pita, kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes. All the spreads were topped extra virgin olive oil from Greece and were very fresh and delicious.
Htipiti: Red pepper spread – a chunkier, fire-roasted red pepper flavor with bold notes of garlic and lemon
Tzatziki: cucumber and herb infused white cream  spread – completely smooth and pure white, which tasted just of cucumber and perfect seasoning
Tarama: Fish roe with caper spread – slightly fish fragrant flavor spread with salty capers
Seared scallop with a salad of orange, fennel, red onions and Greek olive oil
The scallop was seared to perfection–that still opaque center with perfect grill marks and the best seafood flavor and texture possible. A slight seasoning highlights the true flavors of the scallop in a perfect way. This dish was a simple and to the point scallop preparation with scrumptious results.
Entrée
Tuna Burger with fried zucchini and aioli
The tuna burger was not your run-of-the-mill option. The tuna was high quality and masterfully seasoned with Asian flavors such as soy sauce, ginger, and orange. The burger was topped with small ribbons of red onion and fennel with a toasted sesame seed bun. A wonderful run of textures concluded on your pallet when biting into this whole concoction.
Lavraki: Grilled Mediterranean Sea Bass
This bass was a flawlessly prepared whole fish. The seasoning was a triumph and the expertly cooked flesh of the bright flavorful fish was beyond explanation.  One bite and that kind of sigh of happiness comes over your body as you realize you have a whole plate to go. There’s something about whole fish that just makes sense; it takes the simplest idea and perfects it with capers, olive oil, and the brightness of lemon. I thought to myself, ” I could eat this my whole life”, as I finished the body of the fish, combing over the crunchy collar pieces and plucking out the succulent cheek flesh for the last bites as a savage carnivore. I found myself in the presence of collective genius.
Dessert
Walnut cake with mint sorbet
A moist brown cake with lots of walnuts, seemingly light and dense both at the same time, was placed in front of us for our enjoyment. The mint sorbet cleaned the pallet and added a refreshing element to the cake.
Yogurt Martini
Sweet, creamy yogurt topped with passion fruit preserves, offering a mouth-watering and luscious way to end a fantastic meal.
Throughout our meal, we shared sentiment and quiet moments with delicious food, not to mention phenomenal service from wait staff and kitchen staff at the top of their game at a moment’s notice. Though we were in for a late lunch, we were taken care of as if we were the first guests to arrive–with precision and grace. I’m so glad that we were able to experience this incredible meal together. Virginia is a gift in my life and I’m so blessed to be able to share these phenomenal moments with her.

Santa Barbara

So much for all things October, it’s already over?!?! Can you believe it? I really can’t. Well, I hope everyone had a delicious and sinfully sweet holiday over the whole weekend. Mine was spent with my family, including my little niece, and unfortunately, a horrible headache on Monday evening. But I’m back in action and ready for the rest of the week. I wanted to recap a couple of things that seem to have escaped me during this last month. I took a beautiful trip to Santa Barbara, filled with gorgeous elements of fall and fun, to see my best friend from high school, Michelle. I catered Michelle’s going away party here, when she was accepted to grad school at University of California at Santa Barbara, and I felt that it was an opportune time for me to visit.

 

We started out our afternoon by hanging around talking and getting a quick bite to eat. We managed to find a place to have a light lunch called Silvergreen . I ordered a chopped steak salad and Michelle had an Ahi tuna salad. The restaurant was very cozy, kind of like a café  place where you order at the front and you’re given a number, then when your food is ready, you go and pick it up. My salad was fresh, but nothing mind blowing, just a decent lunch for a budget price, which, in Santa Barbara, all the students are looking for. We were down in the central part of college life: Isla Vista. Thousands of bikes, students and looky loo’s lined the streets cruising to their next meeting, friend’s house or beach activity.

Though the skies were pretty gray, there was plenty happening as we sat out on the patio and watched the activities. After lunch, we took a stroll down to the beach and watched the silver sky dance among the glittering waters. It was beautiful, but pretty cold, so we took a quick peek and then headed back. The beach is about a 15 minute walk from Michelle’s apartment—talk about luxury—no wonder people want to go to school there.

As we were walking, Michelle stopped into  IV Drip for an ice cream cookie sandwich. She chose espresso ice cream and chocolate chip cookies. They were sandwiched with lovely rich espresso filled deliciousness and the cookies were crunchy and full of chocolate. I took a couple bites off hers because I was way to full. The café was simple and had coffee, tea, and ice cream and fresh baked good offerings for good prices. I’d definitely stop in again for coffee and cookies.

We walked back to the apartment and lazed around for a bit before we went pumpkin picking at a Lane Farms Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze.  I can’t remember the last time I went pumpkin picking at a real pumpkin patch. Growing up in the city doesn’t really make for too many farm picked pumpkins and also doesn’t make for very affordable pumpkins either. But I like the experience of pumpkin patches and I love farms. So we get to this gorgeous pumpkin patch with perfect pumpkins still growing in the soil, and I picked out a nice one for Michelle while she met up with some of her colleagues. We ran through the corn maze and saw the live animals and even for a grownup, it was a perfect evening. We finally left the pumpkin patch with a perfect pumpkin, a delicious little bag of pumpkin spice, pumpkin seed brittle, which tasted like pumpkin spice heave—probably one of the best brittles I’ve ever had. I’m going to have to try my hand at making some sometime soon.

So here I’ll stop for the evening and I’ll pick back up with my adventures in Santa Barbara tomorrow. I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween. Had lots of sweets and fun with family and friends. Here’s my home depot pumpkin that cost me 4.45 instead of 20 dollars it would of been at the pumpkin patch. :)

Me and my sister  are carving pumpkins like we have for our whole lives together, my dad made one too. Here’s a little picture of my beautiful niece, Happy first Halloween Monk Monk!

Lastly I’d like to thanks Nancy from Spiciefoodie.com for hosting this months Your Best Recipe featuring bloggers from around the worlds choice recipe from their blogs for that month. Please check out her monthly round up by clicking the Banner below. Your blog is welcomed to the round up as well check out the information for future months.

link to my featured recipe for saffron rice, corn and goat cheese peppers here and thank you everyone for voting these peppers to foodbuzz Top 9 on 10/30!

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Laughlin, NV with Mom and Grandma

Life is a funny thing–just think about it. When we think the same hum drum happenings couldn’t get any worse, they do; and when we decide life is peachy as a whipped trifle on a sweet summer day, it sometimes is. I love that I’m not talking about worse gets better and better gets worse, because we can focus on those terrible things every second of every minute of our lives and everything is somehow cyclical, but I’d like to think about the beautiful moments in life and the wonderful pieces of happiness that freshly follow me around. The rest we’ll figure out later.

I’ve just come off a great set of adventures. A lovely, interestingly strange and a tad bit awkward trip to Laughlin, Nevada with my Mom and Grandma, as well as a breathtakingly gorgeous and extremely whirlwind catering adventure to Lake Tahoe for a wedding with my good friend and old co-worker, Brandon. Both of these trips were very impromptu, but much needed. As you know, I have a terrible travel bug that is awesomely running my life as we speak. I’m so fortunate and grateful for all these amazing experiences and also to be able to share them all with you as well!

Laughlin was a Sunday through Thursday trip of interesting happenings. I love my mom, but it seems we have never really been able to get away on a vacation with just the girls. Being so much alike definitely puts a couple of bulls in a china shop at times, but we love each other fiercely and would do anything for one another. My mom is my love, my heart and has shown me how to care for people beyond the normal parameters of what love can contain.   My Grandma Ruthie is an amazing person, at 78 years young, she’s so full of life and love for everything she does. Grandma Ruthie is one of my great inspirations. This woman is the person I get my flighty, witty and sometimes unruly attributes from, but don’t tell her I told you. So finally, I was able to make it on the road with these two wonderful women and share some cocktails, food, a couple of pennies in the slots and a good time.

 

Laughlin is Las Vegas without the glitz and glamor for mature adults. I’m not trying to understate it, but we were staying during the week and I’d say the majority of people in the casinos were in the high 50s and above, which there is absolutely nothing wrong with, but I found it hilarious and fun. Food in Laughlin is a bit on the turn your head the other way and eat because you’re starving side, which is tolerable for vacations to the desert. Laughlin is on the border of California, Arizona and Nevada. I think it’s pretty awesome to be in three states  within the hour. Also, the road to Laughlin on the Arizona side is pretty intense, like a mini roller coaster that my grandma and I had more fun on than my poor mom, who suffers from motion sickness; however, she was definitely a trooper.

We stayed at the Tropicana Express, free of charge for four nights, so who can complain. The rooms were nice. We had a view of the pool and of course my favorite feature of hotels is air conditioning. Boy did we need it! During the entire trip the weather was in the 100s–talk about melting.

We ate at coffee shops/diner-type places, where the food was pretty much the same on each menu; everywhere serving simple American classics and seeing which place could get the better deal on flap jacks and eggs for $3.99.  I had a Cobb Salad at the Riverside Riverview Restaurant our first night, where, even in the dark, you could see the moon beaming off the Colorado River. Gorgeous. Grandma Ruthie and Mom both had hot turkey sandwiches with mashed potatoes and gravy, which was stick to your ribs good. As for my salad, well let’s just say I could have passed on it, but the turkey my mom had was juicy and delicious.

We had breakfast at the Colorado Belle overlooking the Colorado River; dinner at the Pioneers restaurant Boarding House ; buffet at Harrahs; and popped into a place in the Golden Nugget called Harlows. I had a Cesar salad, my mom had fish and chips, and grandma had chicken fried chicken which was interesting and good. The food here was amongst the best offerings of the area with very pleasant service.

 

I’d say the Fresh Market Fair Buffet at Harrahs is a lavish display or mismatched globally traveled foods for any pallet even better after a few good rounds of cocktails of course, which are the best and most well-served along the entire row of Casinos.

Laughlin is a great place for a little poolside, hotel side relaxation getaway. I enjoyed my time with my Mom and Grandma immensely–times we can never get back and will always cherish. I love you Mom and Grandma!

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Hollywood’s Magic

I woke up from a morning of face stuck-to-the-pillow exhaustion and opened one eye to wink at my phone, to see who was texting me. Of course, it was a welcomed text from my good friend Joanna, telling me, “It’s a beautiful day. What are we going to do?” I decided quickly that it was time to take a little adventure to the Westside and see what kind of fun we could have in the beautiful reminiscence of the California summer sunshine.

We made our way through Laurel Canyon and decided on the El Capitan Theater to see “Beauty and the Beast” in 3-D as our main adventure, but we’d also have several other ones along the way.  We took a quick walk to Boho, which is a gastro pub located in an outdoor mall on Hollywood and Highland. I would say the atmosphere is very Jumanji study meets lounge; definitely interesting and eclectic. The bar is set up nicely and they have a number of beers on tap and other sections of cocktails and wine. We opted to have a quick afternoon cocktail—at ten bucks a piece we limited ourselves to one. I ordered the Apple St. Germine and Joanna ordered the Fizzy Pink. We ended up swapping drinks because the fizzy pink was too tart for Joanna’s liking, but that was fine by me because the elderflower in the St. Germine was a bit sweet for my taste buds.

We decided that we’d go buy our tickets for the show and then head over for a cheap happy hour at Hooters . Classy I know, we ordered greasy bar food, like loaded tater tots and boneless chicken wings, to go with our drinks. We chatted, watched a bit of football and then made our way over to the movie. I’m a Disney fiend; to say the least. I love everything associated with old-school Disney movies. The singing and animation just remind me of a carefree time in my life that I always wish to go back to. Having my little niece is great, because now I get to share all my Disney love with her as well. The movie was great, but the theater itself was even better; it was so much fun to see the curtains drawn up with all the lights and huge stage.

We made our way back to the valley and as we were passing Sherman Oaks, I drove by The Local Peasant, which I mention I had wanted to go to, and Joanna said, “Well, we’re here. Why don’t we go?” So I turned around and we found a good parking space and stopped in for a drink. The Local Peasant has the staple old-school cocktails, some modern reinvented ones, a large selection of beer on tap, and wine in the bottle, as well as on tap for their house selections. The atmosphere is dark for the most part, as with most of these types of pubs. One side of the restaurant is lined with mirrors and white tiles reflecting the diminishing sunshine from a late evening sunset, there are communal tables as you walk in, a growing trend in the restaurants these days. The Local Peasant has no significant signage except for plain letters on the front door. The bar is large and positioned at the back of the restaurant, seating about 15-20 guests. Joanna had the Cellopeno, which is a mixture of spicy green jalapenos, Ventura County limoncello, vodka, lemon and rosemary. This small cocktail packed a punch of spicy sweetness with a sort of burning warmth as it was sipped. I ordered the Fox Barrel Pear Cider, which was light and refreshing. The clientele is older, but still interesting; a mix of people just getting off of work and having a beer on a Monday night. Our service was wonderful and I look forward to going back for dinner or a cheese plate another night.

After our cocktail we made our way over to Reseda to Pho 999, this Vietnamese restaurant is humble and family style. The restaurant was still pretty busy for a Monday night at 9 p.m. I ordered Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong, which is a cold noodle dish with fresh vegetables and barbecue pork and eggrolls. It’s a delicious option if you don’t want hot soup that day; otherwise, pho is always an excellent choice. The addition of fish sauce makes the whole bowl delightful and refreshing. Joanna ordered a kind of Vietnamese very small grain rice that had barbecue beef on it, a mixture of Vietnamese pressed meat and vegetables and a type of tripe that’s a very strange texture, yet still delicious. The whole plate was so different and interesting. It was a great meal to share and a wonderfully full day of food and drink adventures.

 

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Adventures with Stephanie from The-loudmouth.com; Ventura Edition

Stephanie and I found our way out to Ventura County this time around. I used to work and live in Moorpark, CA so I’m very familiar with the surrounding areas, because honestly, there isn’t much going on in Moorpark. I loved it there, but being back in the valley is where I belong. Living somewhere else and then coming back really makes you realize how great you had it. I still miss V.C. every now and again, and my friends who live there, so I visit frequently.


It’s actually been a little while since I got out to Ventura, namely Main Street, which is its main drag of interesting happenings.  I always used to get my knives sharpened at American Flags and Cutlery, but sadly, their storefront is now out of business. They still offer sharpening services, so I’ve heard, but I can’t find any information on it. I was very glad to get my knives sharpened one last time. I don’t trust my babies to just anyone. I guess I’ll have to be on the hunt for a new knife sharpener soon. Stephanie saw firsthand, my Dexter-style kitchen utensils. If you haven’t read about them, please see your way to this post.

After we dropped off my knives, we decided to get some lunch. We stopped in at Natures Grill. This small café style eatery offers a natural selection of vegetarian, vegan and meat eating options alike. I chose to have the old town salad, which had a lovely tahini dressing and was filled with hearty brown rice, guacamole, carrots, tomatoes and feta cheese over romaine lettuce. I also had a wedge of squaw multigrain bread and a raspberry ginger beer. The combination of flavors is really wonderful. I love this salad. Stephanie had a very ample burrito filled with fresh veggies and a side salad. We had a completely affordable and healthy lunch by the beach.

Main Street has a surplus of fine eateries, pubs, bars and even night clubs after dark, but it’s also home to thrift stores as well as stylish boutiques. We walked down to window shop and peak in at the thrift stores as well as have a little photo shoot on the sand by the waterfront, just a couple blocks away. We followed that with a beer at Anacapa. I opted for the house brewed stout and Stephanie had the house amber ale.  We chatted over our local beer, having an epiphany about what was next on our list of adventures.



Suffering from a bit of a food coma, sun coma and an afternoon cocktail, we decided a coffee appealed to us. We stopped at this gorgeous little café called Savory. They had wonderful baked goods and a very nice espresso drink selection. The cafe has a very gardenesque feel to it. The décor is adorable and purposeful. The dining room has an almost outdoor feel with a very large open window for people watching. They are a full-service restaurant and bakery as well. I had a peanut butter cookie and double espresso black. Stephanie had a soy latte with amaretto.



After coffee we picked up my knives, just as sharp as can be, and headed back to the car. Another beautiful day full of adventure and interesting eats and treats.

Cheers

Unrivaledkitch