I walked past this place and had to turn back around when I smelled the delicious food being cooked inside. Bio is a tiny shop a block away from Union Square with lunch offerings that not only taste good but are also interesting. Jalapeno agave strawberry juice, anyone?

Bio's pastry is hard to resist. Every time I go there, I want to try one of everything!
The agave strawberry juice is sweet, tart, refreshing, and so healthy.
An open faced turkey sandwich with salad and agave strawberry juice for lunch.
Because no meal is complete without dessert. The house chocolate: cayenne pepper, lavender,
turmeric, sundried tomato, berries, fleur de sel, and flax. And it's vegan :P
Leave your heart in San Francisco

75 O'Farrel St.
San Francisco, CA

Red Medicine

Red Medicine is a Vietnamese restaurant that isn't a Vietnamese restaurant. It's not even Asian. The flavors are not what they look like on the plate. It's different. It's exciting. It's so good.

#87 crushed ice, mint, spice, chai.

PORK PATE, clove, rambutan

SANTA BARBARA UNI, cauliflower, chinese sausage

BRUSSEL SPROUTS, shallots, fish sauce

BIODYNAMIC LEEKS, yuzu, buttermilk. My favorite dish of this meal.

SWEET POTATOES, smoked tofu, tamarind

YOUNG TURNIPS, banana vinegar, creme fraiche

WILD ALASKAN HALIBUT, burnt onion, black roots

SWEETBREADS, spice bread, smoked bone marrow

SHAVED ICE OF REDWOOD STEMS, sour red currant berries and jelly, creme chiboust
(no idea what that is) flavoured with jasmine flowers, crispy rice crackers, orange blossom
bubbles, covered with roasted almond praline disk spray painted with white chocolate

Red Medicine
8400 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Champagne Tasting Party

Several months ago, my champagne-loving aunts Thess and Vangie babysat Amelia. We ended up staying for dinner at their place and they served champagne. Of course. I mentioned that I don't have a definitive favorite because my palate does not have a good memory, there are long stretches in between my champagne swillings, and I've never drank more than one type of champagne at a time. We talked about a tasting to resolve the matter. Finally we did. You're invited.

I was thrilled when I read that potato chips and popcorn go well with traditional brut champagne. No cooking required.

L to R: brillat savarin with truffles, truffle mouse, lambchopper sheep gouda, mortadella.

There you go. Everyone brought a different bottle so we can sample a wide variety.
L to R: Monthuys, Cuvee des Crayeres, Moet & Chandon, Gaston Chiquet, Perrier-Jouet, Benoit Lahaye.

A generous tasting portion is not so helpful when trying to remember.
For dinner I prepared rigatoni with creamy mushroom sauce that went well with the evening's libation.

For dessert I served Draeger's sponge cake with berries and Suzie & Ellen's homemade strawberry jam.

This cake was so good and more bubbles.

The drinking became more of a pairing than a tasting. I still don't know which champagne I like best. Ah, well. We need a do over. Who's in?

To paraphrase Tom Waits, champagne is for real friends. À notre santé!

Superba Snack Bar

Located on Venice's hottest block, Superba Snack Bar offers up Southern California cuisine with focus on house made pastas, small plates, and vegetables.

There's a small patio outside for al fresco dining.

Blankets are provided for patio diners in case it gets chilly.

This cold cut plate was too good!
L to R: porchetta di testa pastrami on rye with dill pickles; pâté de champagne, pickled mustard seed; smoked bacon & apricot mustardo; Julia’s chicken liver mousse pave, black pepper strawberry gelée

Vegetarian truffle special, spring greens and flowers, truffle oil, crostini 

Black kale, jalapeño pickled raisins, pine nuts, pecorino & crouton

Roasted white peaches, coconut "burrata", black radishes, radicchio, basil

Cauliflower T-bone, avocado puree, pickled beets & castelvetranos

My favorite dish was the wakame spaghettini made with uni, Dungeness crab, miso butter & pickled jalapeños. Sublime.

Smoked bucatini carbonara, poached egg, pancetta, black pepper & parmesan

Sweet corn agnolotti, jalapeño butter, ancho, lime & sheep’s milk cheese

Half and Half
The savory peach dessert on the left was not a favorite on our table. There was a lot left over, and leftover dessert is unheard of. On the other hand, the smore's like concoction on the right, well, let's just say nothing was left over.

Superba Snack Bar
533 Rose Ave.
Venice, CA 90291

Hinoki and the Bird

Lunch at Hinoki & the Bird by Chef David Myers lives up to the hype. Every dish was a hit with our group.

Kale salad made with crispy and raw kale, curried almonds, pecorino, red wine vinaigrette
Hanzo Fix made with yuzu juice, simple syrup, cucumber, orange juice, jalapeno
The chili crab toast with spicy cucumber and coriander was my favorite. I could eat a whole platter of this.

Beet salad special

Miso marinated skirt steak, shaved turnips, chili

Scottish salmon, rapini, radish sprouts

Monkfish, yellow curry noodle, eggplant, herbs

Raspberry macaron, rhubarb, yoghurt sorbet oh my!

Hinoki and the Bird
10 Century Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Friday 5: Happy Meals

Providing a toddler with a variety of foods at every meal is easier with these Spuds plates. First, the plates are made out of reclaimed potatoes. It is manufactured with only organic raw materials, even the packaging. Reading all too often about scary toxins found in common products that we use on a daily basis, I feel better about using natural products for Amelia, especially the ones touching her food.

Additionally, there are 5 compartments that make me come up a balanced meal. I try to fill them with protein, grains, vegetables, fruits and, occasionally, sweets at every meal. Amelia doesn't eat everything. Sometimes she'll eat only the egg or corn, but I can say I tried.
pecan raisin bread, avocado, egg,
kiwi, mango
kale puffs, slice of lemon-filled cupcake, panda cookie,
raisins, string cheese
mango, tilapia, squid ink pasta,
artichoke, tomato
apple, blueberry whole wheat waffles with almond butter and strawberry jam, egg,
strawberries, tater tots
strawberries, mangoes, vegetable roll,
buttered corn, chocolate cookie because it's shark week

Tropical Salad

I'm no cook. I've been known to throw anything and everything I can find into 1 disastrous dish, but sometimes it works. In this instance, it works really well. This is so easy, so nutritious, and so good you must try it.

1 banana
1 kiwi
1 avocado
1 Manila mango
juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 4 tbsp water for 10 minutes

Cut the banana, kiwi, avocado and mango into cubes of roughly the same size and combine them in a bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the fruit. Add the coconut milk and chia seeds. Toss and enjoy!

How perfect would this be after swimming on a summer afternoon?

Orange you smoothie?

My smoothies are normally green because I like kale in them. Smoothies are the best way to get veggies in without feeling like you're eating vegetables. Today I am out of kale, but I have carrots so I'm throwing them in to get at least 1 veggie in there :)

1 medium carrot
1/4 cantaloupe
1/2 cup coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
1 cup of ice

Lately I've been adding chia seeds to my smoothies because they are high in fiber, antioxidants, minerals and satiety. Soak 1 tbsp chia seeds in 4 tbsp water until the water is absorbed, then add to your smoothie.

Blend on liquify setting for 45 seconds. Enjoy!

Picnic Perfect Sandwiches

For our concert at the park, I wanted to pack a picnic that did not require a cooler or extra stuff to carry. I ended up making 2 kinds of sandwiches, which couldn't be easier to make and turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

CC&A SANDWICH - cream cheese & apple is as easy as PB&J


Ingredients: raisin walnut bread, cream cheese, apple

slices, and lemon to keep apples from browning.


Spread cream cheese on the bread.


Place apple slices on top of cream cheese.


Voila! I told you it was easy. Just be sure to use kinda fancy

bread. This won't be as good on plain old wheat bread.

APPLE SANDWICH - way better than it sounds


Ingredients: almond butter, chocolate chips, granola, apple,

lemon to keep apples from browning, and a cookie cutter.


Slice apple horizontally and core it using the cookie cutter.


Spread almond butter on apple slices.


Add granola. I used cherry vanilla granola because I like its

pink color and it even tastes good. Sprinkle in chocolate chips.


There you go! By the time we ate our picnic, the granola has softened the

tiniest bit in the almond butter, making an almost nougaty filling. This

turned out much better than I expected.


July 4th Cupcakes

How to make my 5-minute, no-bake, fat-free July 4th Cupcakes

tools and ingredients:
paper baking cup, round cookie cutter, watermelon,
blueberries, toothpick, strawberry

Find a circle cookie cutter that's the same size
as the paper baking cup. Cut a 3" slice of
watermelon and use the cookie cutter to cut
out a circle. Insert the watermelon into the cup.

Arrange blueberries on the edge of the
watermelon top.

Insert the toothpick in the strawberry and
place it in the center of the “cupcake.”

 Enjoy! Happy 4th of July, everyone!