Friday, June 21, 2013

Oyster Trip Summer 2013

It seems an entire year went by with nothing exciting to post, but I’m back! Summer 2013 has just begun & I celebrated it with friends on a day trip for Oysters, Ocean & Sun…2 outta 3 ain't bad.
None of us had ever been to the Point Reyes part of California, home to many Oyster farms. My love of these delicious little delicacies inspired this excursion where our first destination happened to be the Marin French Cheese Co.  Little tasty samples of their cheese were placed about and we sampled & bought for a later picnic lunch. Try the mild & buttery Petite Breakfast….my favorite by far. We continued on to Hwy 1 towards Marshall, home of the Marshall Store & the most delicious Oysters I have had to date. In planning this trip, I was torn between the popular Tomales Bay picnic area, Hogs Island & the ever famous Drakes Bay. Well, as it turns out a lot of Yelping and Googling goes a long way & I unexpectedly came upon this gem! The Marshall Store had great reviews on service and location and they were right on. About 15 minutes North of Tomales Bay (which was insanely crowded) we pulled into the little market & quickly took our place in line. We were lucky enough to find a picnic bench right away & we parked it and waited (only about 7-10 minutes) for the plates of oysters to arrive. I chose the ½ dozen BBQ with Marshall Store Special Sauce and the ½ dozen raw served with the house mignonette. We sipped beer and slurped shell fish, taking in the view and the occasional sun. It was amazing! This little shack met every expectation I had and more.

A while later we headed back on Hwy 1 towards Stinson for some relaxing and well deserved beach time. I needed the sand between my toes like a hermit crab needs a shell…you get my point. Careful not to run over any of the hundreds of bikers on the road, we safely made it to the beach and spread out for some napping, eating, drinking and dog watching. I have mentioned before my love of Stinson! My soul was calmed, at home with the ocean; I swear I was a mermaid. To end our day venture we bellied up to the bar at the Sand Dollar to listen to some piano and grab a cocktail. It was just what we needed to end our summer kick off and it definitely won’t be the last road trip I take for oysters! 
Raw with Mignonette

Dog Days of Summer


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cocktail Friday Presents: The White Linen

hi·a·tus -/[hahy-ey-tuhs] noun, plural -tus·es, -tus.

  1. A break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.
No need to fear, the hiatus is over - for now anyways! Summer has been a whirlwind full of fun activities & it seems it's over before I really got to enjoy it. In a last ditch effort to keep fall from closing in, I encourage you to find a cool location this weekend and treat yourself to cocktail hour – using of course this delicious recipe I am about to share with you!

A fabulous chicky at the bar I occasionally work shared this recipe with me; & boy am I happy she did!! Normally I am not a gin lover. In fact, I rather despised it until this fancy lil' drink made me a #1 FAN!! I'd rate this drink a 10 all around. The no hassle recipe & little prep makes anyone look like a pro. Combinations of  lemon & cucumber are pure bottled sunshine & I added a small sprig of mint because I think it's delicious! But it's how these elements work with the natural flavors in the gin that makes this hand crafted cocktail so genius.

Essence of pine & mint instantly transport me through a forest of eucalyptus and red woods. I imagine I'm winding through the roads of Muir Woods ~ it's like vacation in a glass.....oops, caught in a day dream! Shake it off! Okay, I'm back. But of all these yummy ingredients, it's the Elderflower liqueur that really gives this drink its name. In other words, White Linen - St. Germain = Not a White Linen. Capeesh?

Time for one more day dream! I want you to close your eyes and envision yourself tangled in freshly washed sheets, hung out to dry. The sun is tingling on your skin, the coolness of the sheets give a slight chill over the warm breeze. Now, take a deep breath...can you smell the crisp fresh clean of the linen? It's an unmistakable scent most love, but wait until you taste it…freshly washed sheets never tasted so good! I know it sounds funny, but you'll see exactly what I mean after you try this baby out & you won't be disappointed! So with no further a due ~ Ladies' & Gentlemen….
The White Linen

· 1 ½ oz gin – I prefer Nolet's Dry Gin
· ½ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liquor
· ½ oz Simple Syrup
· 1 oz Lemon Juice
· 5-6 thin slices English cucumber

 & 1 Mint sprig (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and muddle to break up the mint and cucumber - shake well. Strain into a highball glass with ice, top with soda water and garnish with a cucumber . Sip and enjoy. Clinky! (also read as Cheers!)


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Love the Beach!

I celebrated the long weekend by heading to the ocean! It couldn't have been a more beach-perfect day! I live in the Sacramento area of California, so the beach isn't exactly in my backyard. But I love it so much that during the summer I try to go at least a couple of times a month. My favorite Nor Cal beach is Stinson. This beautiful treasure is located just above Marin on Hwy 1, on the outskirts of Muir Woods. The drive in is scenic and a bit curvy (beware those that get carsick), but who would trade the views! This little town is in no way short on character. You'll find a few small hotels to accommodate travelers, a liquor store with a coffee cart stationed outside, a library and two fabulous little restaurants (The Sand Dollar and Breakers) right on the main strip. Visit the Sand Dollar, for great food, friendly bartenders who craft awesome drinks and a warm patio.

Try the Fish Tacos!

Best (& possibly the only) breakfast in town

Stinson Beach looking South to Muir Beach

Stinson Beach looking North to Bolinas

The beach is pristine! The sand is soft and the water is clean, great boogie boarding conditions. Unless it's a super hot day though, that cold Nor Cal water is sure to shock you. I prefer the beach closer to the beach houses as it is dog friendly! All kinds of pooches running around, fetching balls and Frisbee provide endless hours of entertainment for me (and my little pup too!)

So, for all of you beach people in Nor Cal, I highly suggest a visit to this California gem; you will not be disappointed!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

The 4th of July was always a special holiday for me growing up. On July 3rd, we would arrive at my Grandma Vera's to find our new red, white and blue outfits hanging neatly in the bedroom. A basket full of fried chicken, potato salad and brownies packed, we loaded on a bus to the annual Hollywood Bowl July 4th spectacular. The Los Angeles Philharmonic would play an array of wonderful nostalgic songs, and some years, they featured a Disney theme which was always a treat for grown-ups and kids alike. As it turned to dark, the music became patriotic and fireworks ripped through the sky. It was and still is my fondest memory of this holiday.
The next day we were at the park with all the family from my Mothers side. Cousins, aunts and uncles would pair up for the balloon toss followed by the infamous egg toss. There was rarely a year that my cousin Katie and I didn't take first place! We filled our bellies with more fried chicken and deviled eggs (my favorite) while the men played horse shoes and the women chatted and all the kids played in the shade. I sometimes find myself wishing those days weren't just a memory.
Now all grown up, July 4th is a simpler day. One thing still remaining is the desire to celebrate our Countries independence with friends we love. We gather with beers in hand and BBQ's blazing to enjoy the freedoms so many have sacrificed for us to have. So CHEERS to friends, family and freedom. May you all have a wonderful and memory filled Fourth of July!

Here are pics of my favorite things on July 4th...

Hollywood Bowl July 4th Celebration


I <3 Fireworks



I <3 America

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cocktail Friday Presents: Carolina Peach Sangria

Welcome to Cocktail Friday everyone! I have been in the restaurant business for quite some time now and have spent some years behind the bar. It's a great feeling to create cocktail and watch the satisfied face of a customer as the yummy liquor hits their lips; I'm parched just thinking about it! Also, for all you entertainers, it's wonderful to have a repertoire of tasty drinks to whip up for thirsty guests or even for just yourself after a long week.

 I came upon this delicious recipe surfing around one of my all time favorite sites, MyRecipes.Com. It was love at first sight! I can't think of a better way to celebrate summer than with a pitcher of this sensational sangria. The combination of peaches and raspberry's is genius (and beautiful) and the addition of vodka brightens this mix to its fullest Summer time potential. But beware; this one will sneak up on you!

Carolina Peach Sangria Recipe
Southern Living June 2010

Carolina Peach Sangria
Yield: 9 cups Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 8 hours
1 (750 ml) bottle rose' wine
¾ cup vodka*
½ cup peach nectar
6 tablespoons thawed frozen lemonade
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lb. ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups club soda, chilled
Combine first 5 ingredients in a pitcher; stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peaches and raspberries. Cover and chill 8 hours. Stir in chilled club soda just before serving.
*Peach-flavored vodka may be substituted. Omit peach nectar.
**1 cup frozen raspberries may be substituted.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wine Time

It's sexy. It's naughty. It's Civello! Last year, I had the privilege of discovering this delicious wine and being that it's nice and summery these days, I thought I would share it with you! My love of wine could be its very own blog, but what I will say is that I love all wine…but not equally. I am not a passionate lover of white wine, but when I find one I do love…it's coming home with me! Civello is many things, but dull and boring is not one. She is complex with aromas of spice, and invigorating with flavors of white peach. She is crisp, full and refreshing - the perfect summer time wine. Civello is a blend of Pinot Gris, Verdehlo, a splash of Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and occasionally they even add Muscato Fruliano or Albarino. That is one complicated lady! But your night won't be a bore when you pair her up with some creamy cheese and warm baguettes. Or, make it one on one – Civello is a great wine to drink alone. I hope you will check out their website and give her a try. And, if you are the type to judge a book by its cover….

Label reads:"Sexier than Pinot Grigio, Naughtier than a Chardonnay."
* Photo Courtesy of's a pretty good one! Clinky! (Also read as Cheers)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Love a Picnic

Most recently, my day dreams are filled with an array of cheeses, fruits, baguettes and a crisp white wine all neatly stuffed into a timeless picnic basket. What says summer like a good ol' fashion picnic? Not much! If your a picnic people pleaser like me, you may find it hard to plan a menu, especially with smaller, more picky eaters (also known as children). Problem solved! While scanning my favorite magazines on line, I found this  fabulous site full of tasty morsels to satisfy an array of taste buds. It even includes a PDF shopping list for your convenience! 

But alas, there shall be no picnic! Not until that beauty of a basket arrives neatly packaged on my doorstep. Thank you Amazon! I do find myself a bit overwhelmed by the selection though. I've included some photos of my most favorites, but who will the lucky winner be?? We will know soon enough!