Our balloon 'Unicorn' getting ready for first flight of the day.
This was a long time in the works. Thanks to multiple cancellations due to our schedules and weather conditions, what was essentially my birthday gift from the husband ended up being an experience four months later closer to his birthday! The hot air balloon rides we opted for were available in Perris, California through a company called Adventure Balloon Rides. At $129 per person, we thought it was a decent birthday celebration for both of us to enjoy that didn't interfere too much with our work schedules. Since this was an early morning sunrise ride, we needed to be on location 6am. Perris is 2 hours away from Los Angeles so we drove in the previous evening and spent the night in an AirBnB property in the area. Folks at the home were great, we found a pretty nice Mexican place to grab dinner and we slept early so we don’t miss the alarm to wake up first thing!
A Grain Conference isn’t exactly how one envisions spending a beautiful Sunday morning in Los Angeles. Received an invite to this daylong event and thought it was intriguing – a whole day’s worth talking about grain? Then they added this was only the second year but the first time they were opening attendance to consumers. Any time a trade event opens doors to consumers – they are looking to educate and make aware. So I signed up!
Held at Verlaine, the event was a lovely evening do with some appetizers and drinks to start the networking hour followed by a sit down dinner hosted by the Greater Palm Springs CVB. The drink of the evening was an apt Oasis Blisstini with vodka, lime, yellow chartreuse and orgeat. While everything from the Soft fried black bean to the Melting chocolate cake was simply lovely for dinner fare on a pleasant L.A evening, the corn cake was the best part for me! Enjoy the pictures and video, and let me know what your favorite at Verlaine is, or if you have any recommendations for a trip to Palm Springs. Meanwhile, read all about my visit to Palm Desert here and all the things to see, do and have on your itinerary!
Beginning this Sunday, September 10, Ventura Boulevard’s new steak and seafood destination, SOCA, debuts a handcrafted Weekend Brunch ($9-22*) from Valley-based (and L.A.-lauded) restaurateur, Chef Aaron Robins. The new selection of bold and adventurous plates include French toast, flatbreads, and egg dishes accented by hatch chilies, chile verde, and house-made breads, for a diverse array of vibrant flavors every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-3pm.
Photo credit: SOCA
Menu highlights include: Jewish Brisket Sandwich ($20) – house-made brisket, corn rye, horseradish mustard, and Russian dressing
House-Made Smoked Lox Plate ($22) – freshly baked bagels, cream cheese, red onions, and capers
E.L.O. ($16) – house-made ocean trout lox, onions, and eggs
Honey Greek Yogurt ($9) – house-made granola and seasonal berries
Chocolate Babka French Toast ($14) – dulce de leche
Photo credit: SOCA
Also launching this weekend at SOCA is Sunday Dinner Service, which offers a three-course prix-fixe menu ($36) alongside half-price select bottles of wine from 5:30-10pm every week. Courses include Herb-Roasted Half Chicken with chimichurri roasted potatoes; as well as a Petite New York Steak dressed in sautéed wild mushroom demi-glace, among others. Boneyard Bistro’s sister restaurant, SOCA (standing for Sherman Oaks, CA), brings globally-inspired steak and seafood to the heart of Ventura Blvd.’s restaurant row. The newly-opened dining destination from Valley veterans Executive Chef/Owner Aaron Robins and General Manager/Partner Rory Snipes offers a front row seat to the recent cultural and culinary resurgence of the San Fernando Valley with floor to ceiling glass windows opening to a 28-seat patio overlooking Ventura Boulevard. The coastal resort-style restaurant features distinctive Asian and Latin influences—including Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, French, and Peruvian flavors—complemented by an ever-evolving gin-centric cocktail program and an extensive, predominately French wine list. Guess you know where I'll be Sunday!
*Assistance for copy and images provided by Wagstaff Worldwide*
It isn’t even the 10th of the month yet and I already have a never-ending list of place to check out…including this! Restaurateurs and chefs Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts have opened a second Small Batch artisanal ice cream shop on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles’ burgeoning Mar Vista neighborhood.
The new shop is just a few miles from the couple’s other local concepts--Hudson House in Redondo Beach; The Tripel, the four-in-one beachside complex Playa Provisions, and Tripli-Kit in Playa del Rey; and Da Kikokiko in Playa Vista. They specialize in house-made, nostalgic ice cream flavors and novelties with a twist, with the new Mar Vista shop offering safe-to-eat cookie dough scoops, pints to-go, and fresh pastries from Playa Provisions.
Menu highlights include Birthday Cake, Banana Cream Pie, Vegan Chocolate Coconut, Fresh Sweet Corn, Lemon with Strawberry Pop Rocks, and Cereal Killer (a frozen take on Lucky Charms), alongside frozen novelties, such as Mint Oreo Ice Cream Pie, White Chocolate Thai Tea Pops, Fresh Raspberry Popsicles, and Chocolate Dipped Bananas with sprinkles. Custom sundaes, milkshakes, ice cream sandwiches, and slices of birthday cake are also available. For a real indulgence, order the Unicorn Sundae, inclusive of TEN scoops of ice cream, a variety of toppings, whipped cream, hot fudge, a cherry, and to top it off, a “uni-cone,” a chocolate dipped waffle cone with a sparkler on top, reminiscent of a unicorn’s horn. Cookie dough scoops include Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Chip, while soft-serve flavors will soon be added to the menu. I need to find a friend with a birthday, and a party, to attempt eating this thing!
*Assistance for copy and images provided by Wagstaff Worldwide*
The Los Angeles Times The Taste happened this past weekend at the Paramount Pictures Studios. I was told it was a highly anticipated weekend event but had no clue the crowd that would turn up! The studios were turned into a day and night festive venue – barely recognizable…and the number of participants and attendees was simply unbelievable.
At LAX International, grabbing a bite at one of the lounges pre-flight so I don't have to wake up every time crew decides to serve food.
It has been exactly one week since I returned from my trip to India to see family there. This is my first time flying from the west coast and the first time flying through Seoul/Singapore as a transit connection to my final destination in Chennai. I am not sure why but this trip has turned into a bit of a jet lag nightmare for me.
Henna, from my last trip to India, during another wedding!
I am off to my trip to India today and I have been looking forward to it! The last time I saw my family was in early 2015 so it has been a good while since I got to hug mom, sis, dad and bro. Speaking of which, this trip also includes a special event - my brother is getting married! So if you'd like a dose of South India, Chennai specifically, (and from a local's pint of view might I add) and like to check out a South Indian Muslim wedding, follow here on the blog. I am also excited to fly Singapore Airlines for the first time, if memory serves me right I've never flown that airline so hoping to experience the great quality of service everyone talks about. There will be a short trip to Mumbai as well, and possibly a trip to a third location that I am going to have to keep undisclosed for the moment!
Heading home is always a thrill, and to have a wedding in the family added to that is simply wonderful. I look forward to showing you more of the city where I was born, studied some in, and finally worked in for a bit before I moved to the US. I can't wait to see what's new and what's changed. I can't wait to meet some of my friends who are still there. But, most importantly, I am just thrilled to pieces to see my family and hold them and love them and have long nights of conversation and food and fun.
I will be gone for a month so rest assured there is a lot that you will have to keep abreast of. Follow me on Instagram mostly as I will be posting tons there. And sign up for my newsletter here or check in frequently to read more about my India adventures. Off I go now!
I’ve been a member of Travel Massive while I was in Atlanta and decided to join the group here in L.A as well. Much as I’d like to be a regular attendee, life takes over and the number of events I’ve been able to attend have been few and far between. This month’s event though was held a few blocks from where I live at posh co-working spot NeueHaus and I couldn’t miss it. Especially since the destination is Buellton, CA which is just about 2 hours’ drive from L.A and considered an underrated but promising area for wine lovers, city escapes and such.
I loved the cloth map bag attendees received at the entrance. A great idea and a useful conversation starter as well. On the rooftop at NeueHaus, the event was set up such that wineries, breweries and distilleries had sampling stations where you could meet the makers behind these fantastic libations. I met a couple of interesting businesses and the images should cover a few – doubt I made the rounds to all to learn about their offerings.
The best part of the evening though – for me – was winning the grand prize via their Instagram contest onsite! I am now the happy chica who won the 2 night stay at their new Santa Ynez Marriott property along with a Bottlest winery tour and dinner as well as an area winery tour and ostrich farm visit. If you know me, you know how happy this makes me. Another travel adventure awaits. Stay tuned here to read all about that trip. Probably in a few months’ time!
Another fantastic event pulled off by the International Spa Association team! Attended as their guest for the first time last year and loved the experience. Was happy to be invited back again this year and got to try some of the treatments offered onsite by several spas and resorts. Not only is it a great experience meeting spa professionals in a casual setting but you are also in an event space and not at their workplace which gives you a whole other perspective on the folks that take care of your wellness and health, and the opportunity to converse with them at leisure, which might not necessarily be an option when you are at the specific spa or resort. Got to learn about new programs, treatments, industry trends and more. Read on!