Amaya’s Tigertastic 2s

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Life seems to be steaming right along.  August was a blur of celebration, grief, love, tears and just being.  Life is so precious that even in the day-to-day happenings we can get carried away with the difficulties or choose to see the joy that is around us and within us.

One of the most joyful days this year was little Amaya’s 2nd birthday party. She is in love with Daniel Tiger, from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS, and with temperatures well over 100 degrees in the valley, we decided to take the party back indoors to one of her favorite places, We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym. Last year we celebrated there too, but with children, they always find something new and exciting to explore.

We had a kid-friendly menu that I prepared for our family and friends.  Each dish had a Neighborhood friend theme and my sister put together crafty little accents to make this 2-year-old’s birthday quite a memorable one. Here is the menu!

I can’t believe it’s already the end of September, but life has its own way of quickly moving along. I am so glad we were able to celebrate this little Leo’s love, compassion, courage and curiosity. Happy birthday, Amaya, Auntie loves you!

Daniel Tiger’s Tasty Treats!

Snacks

Daniel Tiger’s Tigey Tails Cheese Curls

Katerina Kitty Kats mini swimmy colorful fish

Prince Wednesdays Popcorn

O the Owls whooo berries

Ms Elainas Sweet, Sweet potatoes

Dishes

Trolly’s Tasty Turkey Sliders

Turkey Burger on Kings’ Hawaiian bread with BBQ sauce and Lettuce

Neighborhood Crispy Crunchy Chicken Tenders

honey-mustard and ketchup

Grrrrific Bacon Burger slider

Ground Beef, Bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese and red onion with Thousand island dressing

Sides

Baby Margaret’s Macaroni Salad

Ugga-mugga Potato Salad

You Gotta Try New Foods Because They Might Taste Good!

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Amaya’s First Birthday Party at We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym For All Kids

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A first birthday in my family is nothing to be trifled with. For Amaya’s big day, we had to do something that would keep everyone relatively cool, since August in the San Fernando Valley can get up to 100 degrees or higher. My family has taken Maleeya and Amaya to this amazing play space for a little while now, it’s called We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym and they have so many fun things to play with that allow children of all abilities to come together and be in a very safe and loving super fun space. So my sister decided that we would have Amaya’s Snow White inspired First Birthday at We Rock the Spectrum.
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The decorations were beautiful and the atmosphere was so fun. Between food, jumping on trampolines, zip lining and swinging, the kids enjoyed cake and sang happy birthday to my sweet little leo for her big party. I took some time to make a few apple inspired desserts: little Rice Krispies red apples with graham cracker stems and little green leaves and of course, red candied apples as well as a few caramel ones too. The food was inspired by kids’ favorites so it naturally lent way to finger foods.
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Everyone enjoyed themselves on this beautiful day celebrating this lovely little lady who I can’t believe is already one-year-old! Happy Birthday Amaya, Auntie loves you! I’m so glad I could be with you on your special day.
 
Menu
 
Hot Dog Cornbread Muffins with
 
Turkey Dog Croissants
 
7 Dwarf Layered Bean Dip
 
Fruit Platter and Veggie Platter with Purple Basil
 
Spinach Pinwheels with Hummus and Mortadella
 
Turkey Pinwheels with Cheese
 
Ham Pinwheels with Hummus
 
Mac n Cheese Bites
 
Mac n Cheese with Peas and Carrots  
 
Rice Krispies Treats Red Apples with Graham Cracker Stems
 
Red Candied Apples
 
Caramel Apples

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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

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.