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Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe | Los Olivos, CA

after our full day of vineyard adventures in santa barbara, we decided to have dinner at los olivos wine merchant & cafe (after reading a bunch of reviews).  immediately fell in love with the place just from the outside!  we had to wait 15 minutes for our table so we roamed the streets and found awesome lawn chairs.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & CafeLos Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe

i ordered the ravioli, which they make in-house.  mushrooms, ricotta, cream and parmesan ($16, a steal!).  it was delicious! it’s on the hardy side given the creamy sauce but it hit the spot after a long day. this was the best thing we ordered. you have to get this.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & CafeLos Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe

skuna bay salmon – grilled, ricotta-butternut pot stickers, shiitake mushrooms, roasted brussel sprouts.  the fish was very well cooked. $27 though? not worth it.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe

kyle and goldman got the orecchiette with roasted garlic, house-made chicken sausage, oven dried tomato, parmesan, fresh herbs.  this was good but nothing out of this world.  i wish it had stronger flavors.  in my opinion, $18 was a little on the high side but this dish is large.  i’d go with the ravioli.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe

  • food: food is middle to high price range.
  • atmosphere:  very nice, classy restaurant.  white table cloth. large wine selection although we didnt order any.
  • service: pretty good.  attentive
  • parking: ample street parking on a very quaint street
  • overall: i would come back.  it was a lovely place to end a wonderful day at the vineyards.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café
2879 Grand Avenue
Los Olivos, CA 93441

Los Olivos Cafe on Urbanspoon

By |March 22nd, 2013|California, Food, Restaurants, Santa Barbara, Travel|0 Comments

Wine Tasting | Santa Barbara, CA

so when it got a little sunnier, warmer…we took a mini trip to santa barbara to go wine tasting. first stop: paula’s pancake house in solvang for some breakfast.

Paula's Pancake HousePaula's Pancake House Paula's Pancake House Paula's Pancake House

we ordered the ortega special.  roast beef, jack cheese, green chili on a sourdough bread.  it was ok.  we also ordered the paula’s special danish pancakes topped with apples and fresh whipped cream.  this was my first time eating a danish pancake.  it was pretty much a lighter pancake! i really enjoyed the texture.  wished the the whipped cream was a little sweeter (it was on the bland side) and next time would definitely order berries…not apples.

Paula's Pancake HousePaula's Pancake HousePaula's Pancake House

paula’s pancake house
1531 mission dr
solvang, ca 93463

Paula's Pancake House on Urbanspoon

based on a brochure we picked up and some good ol’ interest research, 4 vineyards per day was considered plenty.  4 vineyards was definitely the magic number.  it was the perfect amount of time at each one just lounging and learning about wine.  here’s where we went:

  • imagine wine
  • carr winery
  • roblar winery (because it has some food)
  • brander winery

first stop: imagine wine.  met ross.  learned about wine, his family, his start, local art, and drank some pretty good wines.  we loved it.   the tasting room looks like an art gallery.  lots of natural light. wine tasting is $10  and you get to try 5 wines.

fell in love with the chadonnay and bought some bottles.  oh, one of their wines is called the panty dropper (we know, we felt the same way)  this was a great start to the day.  we would recommend coming here for sure.  say hi to ross for us.

Imagine Wine Santa BarbaraImagine Wine Santa BarbaraImagine Wine Santa Barbara

imagine winery
3563 numancia st #103
santa ynez, ca 93460

next stop was next door to carr winery.  wine tasting room was darker, colder, dark woods high ceilings and a shuffleboard (yes!).  our host was pretty awesome.  wine flights were $10.  not to mention, they also have wine on tap. a pretty cool place (also on the younger side) to just hang out and enjoy wine with friends.

Carr Winery Santa Barbara Carr Winery Santa Barbara

carr winery
3563 numancia st. #101
santa ynez, ca 93460

Carr Winery on Urbanspoon

we picked roblar because they had food w/ wine pairing. we definitely needed food at this point. gorgeous place.  we sat next to the fire place on some comfy couches and enjoyed some food and wine.

Roblar Winery Santa BarbaraRoblar Winery Santa BarbaraRoblar Winery Santa BarbaraRoblar Winery Santa Barbara

we went with the trio package ($20) – tastings of three featured wines paired with three hors d’oeuvres.  we liked the wonton, pork was dry and the pears were ok.  for the four of us, we just ordered two packages.  this was definitely enough.

Roblar Winery Santa BarbaraRoblar Winery Santa BarbaraRoblar Winery Santa Barbara

we couldnt resist.  we had to take jumping pictures in the beautiful vineyard.

Roblar Winery Santa Barbara

very pretty winery.  would we come back?  probably not because there are so many other wineries we would want to try.  the wine was ok.  nothing very memorable (we didnt buy any here).  food was ok.  you would definitely be going here for the atmosphere.

roblar winery
3010 roblar ave.
santa ynez, ca 93460

Roblar Winery on Urbanspoon

last stop: brander vineyard.  we spent quite some time here taking pictures because the property itself is very charming. classic flight with a logo glass $10.

Brander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa Barbara

we loved the staff. very friendly and helpful.  wine was good.  they are known for their sauvignon blanc.  we were fans.

IMG_0722Brander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa Barbara

i would definitely come back to you, brander vineyard.

brander vineyard
2401 refugio road
los olivos, ca 93441

Brander Vineyard on Urbanspoon

it was nice getting away…and wine is always better with friends.  thank you, santa barbara.

By |March 18th, 2013|California, Food, Friends, Restaurants, Santa Barbara, Travel|0 Comments

Bludso’s Bar & Que | West Hollywood, CA

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came here opening weekend.  we have had bludso’s on our list (the compton location) but have never tried it.  we obviously expected a long wait and huge crowds.  we were sat in 45 minutes.  not bad.  the meat came out fast and piled on a tray. oh yeah, it’s amazing.  we were not disappointed.  they have some pretty dang good bbq here.  we liked the ribs (especially with the spicy bbq sauce) and the mac and cheese.

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not fans of the corn bread and the brisket is definitely a hit or miss.  some of the pieces were uber soft…others were very dry.  our damage:

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  • pros:  wait was long but food came out fast.  we loved our waitress.  great service – prompt, enthusiastic, great water service, and great recommendations.
  • cons: parking isnt the greatest.  the bartender is extremely slow.

bbq is definitely good here.  in my opinion, better than baby blue’s bbq and gus’.  fall off the bone?  No, not really.  are you going to be mind blown?  no.  is your tummy going to be happy?  we think yes.

Bludso’s Bar & Que
609 north la brea ave
los angeles, ca 90036

Bludso's Bar & Que on Urbanspoon

By |March 6th, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants|5 Comments

M.B. Post | Manhattan Beach, CA

oh mb post, i cannot tell you how long we have waited to try you. so here’s the deal.  the restaurant is medium in size with a bar and dining room.  there are only a few tables designated for reservations and the rest is mostly communal seating for walk-ins.  knowing that we would be rolling 9 deep (which sadly later ended up being 6 deep), we made a reservation two months in advanced (overachievers much? yeah, probably) so here is what we ordered (keep in mind that the menu changes regularly):

  • bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits w/ maple butter
  • roasted brussel sprouts
  • farro, butternut squash, hen of the woods mushroom, parmesan, pepitas, sage
  • fontina and parmesan mac & cheese
  • spaghetti squash, yam puree, cider gastrique, pecans, apple chips
  • steamed mussels, green curry, chinese sausage, coriander rice
  • thai marinated shrimp ceviche, coconut, cucumber, pineapple, shrimp chips
  • vietnamese caramel pork jowl, green papaya salad, lime
  • white oak grilled skirt steak, grilled broccolini, red chimichurri
  • bbq moroccan lamb belly, harissa caramelized onions, japanese eggplant
  • pork baby back ribs, korean chili glaze, scallions, thai chili, lime
  • chicken pot pie
  • duck meatballs, marinated cucumber, hummus, garlic yogurt, mint
  • valrhona chocolate & salted caramel tart, vanilla whipped cream
  • keylime custard, vanilla soft serve, graham cracker, burnt meringue

MB Post | Manhattan Beach

everyone was right!  cheddar biscuits were bomb.  maple butter…we are believers. ceviche with shrimp chips. never ever thought of this combo but so wonderful! we loved everything about this dish.

MB Post | Manhattan BeachMB Post | Manhattan BeachMB Post | Manhattan Beach

brussel sprouts, you impressed us.  a definite must order when you visit.  duck meatballs were ok in my opinion.

MB Post | Manhattan BeachMB Post | Manhattan Beach

mussels in curry were delicious!  ribs were on the salty side.

MB Post

farro and spaghetti squash.  general consensus was that both were just ok.  i personally did not love this dish.  it was on the bland side and on top of that…a little too mushy a texture.

MB Post | Manhattan BeachMB Post | Manhattan Beach

vietnamese caramel pork jowl (pig cheek) over a papaya salad.  freaking awesome.  we all loved this.  great flavor combo.

MB Post | Manhattan Beach

despite having one person in our party who simply just doesnt do pot pies (we know. she’s pretty awesome despite it), everyone agreed that it was good but it was just a chicken pot pie.  i personally really enjoyed it, especially the crust.  this picture does not do it justice.  its pretty gigantic.

MB Post | Manhattan Beach

we were a fan of the mac & cheese.  dont expect to have your mind blown.  its just creamy goodness that was a nice combo with everything else we ate.

MB Post | Manhattan Beach

lamb belly.  no one liked this one.  it was extremely salty.

MB Post | Manhattan Beach

this is the skirt steak with broccolini, topped with a red chimichurri.  steak was very tender.  the kicker is the chimichurri since its a little spicy.  kyle loved this one.

MB Post | Manhattan Beach

because our dessert came after the sun set, i dont have a single picture of any of it! we all shared the chocolate tart and the keylime custard.  i can only (personally) speak for the keylime custard since i dont eat chocolate.  it was pretty extraordinary!  definitely my top 10 desserts! please make sure you order this!  from the rest of the group, the tart was pretty awesome too.

  • ambiance:  love the space, theme (think urban postal).  near the beach (not on the beach).  nice kitchen that you can see through glass walls. ps. your menu comes in an envelope!
  • service:  our res was at 5pm (sunsets 5:40pm).  i’m pretty annoying with my giant camera at restaurants but everyone at mb post was amazing and tried their best to get as many dishes out to me by the time the sun fully set.  awesome, huh? i thank you, mb post.
  • parking: we didnt have a hard time finding a metered spot.
  • conclusion:  two hours later, $336 spent, uncomfortably expanded bellies…all worth it.  we were pretty happy with our food adventure.  mb post, i will be back.  maybe next time, i will get 2 keylime custards for myself!

enjoy your weekend!

photo

Manhattan Beach Post
1142 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

M.B. Post on Urbanspoon

By |March 1st, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants|5 Comments

Our Adventures in Bangkok – Part I

i finally got around to sorting through photos of our time in bangkok! we were only there for two nights.  we flew in from chiang mai in the morning and spent the day taking a boat ride down the chao phraya river, visiting the grand palace, wat phra kaeo (temple of the emerald buddha), wat pho (temple of the reclining buddha), wat arun (temple of dawn), and getting to know the skytrain (the most efficient, well-air conditioned transportation system, ever).

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we tried to get fresh coconut every where we went.

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seeing the reclining buddha was amazing but beware that it gets extremely crowded!

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the emperor’s palace.  the palace was beautiful but keep in mind it is really strict inside and also at the entrance gate as well (understandably).  i was yelled at since i was wearing tights, which apparently are not allowed so i had to buy a cover.  then i got yelled at inside the wat phra kaeo for exiting the wrong door!  it was definitely not my day…but it was still beautiful!

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the view from wat arun!  this was definitely our favorite temple!

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By |February 18th, 2013|Food, Restaurants, Thailand, Travel|3 Comments
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