Category Archives: Restaurants

Juice Ranch

image9Are you in Southern California, and thirsty for 100% organic, locally-sourced, glass-bottled, cold-pressed juice, in bountiful blends?

What you COULD do is mosey on over to Juice Ranch!

image2Recently, I visited the Westlake Village location (twice) and tried some of their “beverages with benefits.” These drinks are green-based, fruit-based, carrot-based, beet-based, or nutmilk-based.  Sooooo many choices…so little bladder capacity…*sigh*

image5Yeah…I did that.  The folks at Juice Ranch support sampling, and are generous to boot!  Notice the number of empty sample bottles in the above pics…*hangs head in shame*

image1I love how they organize their menu!  You can pick your potion based on the blend or the benefits.  This, combined with samples, makes the decision process a little easier.  Greens N’ Ginger, Jalapina, and Strawberry Pearl are just a few of my faves.  YAY and YUM!!!

Juice Ranch also offers a variety of shots and cleanse packages, to help meet your health needs, all served with a smile.  And, when you consider their glass bottle credit offer…

Y’all have to go back now, ya hear?

XOXO

 

 

 

Seek the Unique

Daring enough to decorate differently, and in search of something special?

What you COULD do is bypass the beaten path, and seek other sources for home goods.

Here are 3 places that I turn to for unique pieces to add to my home:

1. Travel: I love finding decorative objects, while exploring other countries, and bringing them home with me. They add interest to my space, and serve as a souvenir from my trip.  Love that!

IMG_8896While vacationing in Greece, I found a ceramics shop in Chania, Crete, where I purchased this little lady…

IMG_8893She currently lives in my master bathroom, along with some other Mediterranean and Moroccan treasures, for an exotic spa feel.

2. Independently-owned import stores:  I love supporting small businesses.  Oftentimes, the owners will personally travel to specific countries to select the ethnic handicrafts that fill their stores.  I can get lost while shopping at these types of places because I feel like I’m treasure-hunting in foreign lands!

IMG_8898I long to return to Morocco.  Until then, I live vicariously through the Van Lith family; and explore their showroom at Tierra del Lagarto.  As I drooled over the contents of their most recent Moroccan container, I was fortunate to find this beautiful plate in a rare teal color.

3. Ethnic restaurants:  On more than one occasion, my husband has taken me out to dinner, and I’ve fallen in love with the decor.  He usually ends up negotiating the sale of an item with the owners, and having them add it to our bill.  Poor Hubby!  Lucky me.

IMG_8331 After dining at a Kurdish restaurant in Agoura Hills, California, I was convinced that I needed one of their beautiful table cloths…

IMG_8409What can I say?  I love ethnic textiles…*sigh*

So, the next time that you’re looking to add some accents to your abode, think outside of the big box stores, and seek the unique!

XOXO

 

Travel Tips: Las Vegas

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Ravenous for a romantic getaway?

Longing to luxuriate in Las Vegas?

Eager for engaging entertainment?

In search of a veg-friendly vacation venue?

What you COULD do is cut the Craps, hit the Strip, and go for the Wynn!

The majority of my trips to Vegas have been for business purposes.  Recently, I returned for a romantic weekend getaway with my husband.  This was my Mother’s Day gift, and I had a FABULOUS time!  Here is a rundown of recommendations, based on my visit:

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We thoroughly enjoyed our accommodations at the Wynn Hotel.  Spacious suite + vegetarian/vegan menus + spectacular spa = WYNN-ING!

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One of my favorite meals was on the patio at La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway.  Here, I ordered the vegan Mushroom Tortellini with Arugula and Cashew Cream Sauce.  Sooooo good!

Other noteworthy vegan meals included:  Le Cirque at Bellagio (we splurged on their Vegan Menu, with wine pairing); Botero at Encore (we ended one of our evenings here with a vegan dessert); Terrace Pointe Cafe (Wynn) for breakfast; and Tableau (Wynn) for brunch.  It was nice to not have to stress-out over where to eat, or agonize over the menus.

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Ooooo YES I DID!!!  I finally got to see “O” by Cirque du Soleil, and I loved it!  This was the second part of an amazing date night with my husband, after dinner at Le Cirque.

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During our romantic getaway, we treated ourselves to 80-minute Custom Massages, and marinated for more than half of the day at the Wynn Spa.  The facilities were beautiful, and the amenities were plentiful.  As someone who worked in the spa industry, with a passion for all things spa-related, I appreciate that.

Shop

The primary focus of our trip was experiences, versus stuff.  However, I had the opportunity to pick up a couple of items while exploring The Shoppes at The Palazzo and The Shops at Crystals.  I received excellent customer service in both places.

During this romantic getaway, we were inspired to plan a kid-friendly Vegas summer vacation.  Stay tuned for more details in another post.

It’s great to be back on the blog.

Thanks for reading!

XOXO

 

 

 

 

Travel Tips: London

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Are you looking for a more urban, international travel experience?

Are you lousy with languages, yet longing for a taste of Europe?

What you COULD do is visit London!

I have visited this fashion capital and economic epi-center twice; and there is still sooo much more to explore.  Here are some of my recommendations, based on my most recent trip:

Eat

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Flat White – This is a cool little cafe with good coffee in the SOHO area.

Busaba Eathai – Here, they serve tasty Thai in a modern-ethnic setting.

Princi – A Milanese bakery and pizzeria, serving Italian dishes, baked goods, and delicious desserts.

Brown’s Hotel – Choose from a variety of teas, pastries, and sandwiches, for a traditional afternoon tea experience, in an old-meets-new setting.

Pray

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St. Paul’s Cathedral

Westminster Abbey

Look

National Portrait Gallery

National Gallery

Tate Britain

Watch

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Queens Theatre – It was a short walk from my hotel, and Les Miserables was playing.  I HAD to go!!!

Shop (window or otherwise)

Harrod’s

Harvey Nichols

Oxford Street

Bond Street

Stay

Soho Hotel – An urban retreat with cute decor, cozy atmosphere, and a convenient location.

How do you like to experience London?  Please comment and share!

Cheers, and have a great week!

XOXO

 

 
 
 

 

Frida’s Deli

*singing*

“Meet me in St. Louis, Boo, we’ll

Eat some veggie fare.”

Are you in “The Lou,” and in search of healthy food?

What you COULD do is head over to Frida’s.

A lot has changed over the past couple of years, since my first round of meals here.  They’ve expanded their dining area and modified their menu.  The space looks great, and the food is delicious.  It’s ALL good!

IMG_5156Who IS this Frida?  And why should you patronize her vegetarian deli???

IMG_5157Well, actually, Frida’s is owned by Natasha and Rick, who named the restaurant after their cat.  But enough about that.  They serve a variety of flavorful options, and can accommodate a wide range of dietary preferences and/or restrictions.

*singing*

“You can have some farm-fresh vittles,

Have a lot, or just a little.”

IMG_6664I recently enjoyed an order of their gluten-free, vegan, Spring Rolls and a vegan Caesar Salad.  I was in the mood for a lighter bite that day, and this hit the spot.  You can take a look at their menus here.

Frida’s is located at 622 North and South Road, University City, MO 63130

*singing*

“Check out Frida’s in St. Louis,

You’ll see why I had to share!

 

 

 

 

With Gratitude

During a recent trip to California, I dined at Cafe Gratitude. Previously, I had only patronized their Bay Area locations.  So, I was grateful for the opportunity to enjoy some heart-healthy food at this organic vegan eatery in Los Angeles.

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I AM…sooooo glad that I wore my Madewell Afternoon Dress in bright cobalt.  In doing so, I was *ahem* prepared to enjoy an abundance of vegan creations from their affirmation-filled menu…

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I AM…COMPLETE.  I love fresh juices.  For me, this blend of kale, pineapple, celery, cucumber, lemon, and turmeric, was the perfect “sweet green.”  Aaaaah!!!

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I AM…PRESENT.  How could I refuse the bruschetta when my friend passed the plate?  I must admit that it was hard to eat just one.  However, I felt the need to pace myself during our feast.  There was more to come.  Le sigh…

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I AM…DAZZLING.  I’m still thinking about this simple, savory, and satisfying caesar salad; and plotting to re-create the magic at home.  Yum!!!

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I AM…BLISS.  You didn’t think I’d leave without having dessert, did you?!?!  I’m convinced that this dreamy raw chocolate cream pie is one of the best I’ve ever had.  In fact, my son and I stopped short of licking the plate.  More, please, and thank you!!!

Cafe Gratitude is located at 639 N. Larchmont Blvd in Los Angeles.

Try it.  I AM…sure that you will like it.

Have a wonderful week, with an attitude of gratitude!

XOXO

 

5 Green Things I Did During Earth Week 2014

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1. Livin’ la vida local:  I love supporting “mom and pop” establishments in my area. My car, body, and garden thanked me for it too!

2. Drink my greens:  I enjoyed a Skin Rejuvenator juice, along with a vegan strawberry scone, at the inimitable Pomegranate Cafe.  This mother-daughter-owned vegetarian eatery is one of my faves!  And dining al fresco was the perfect way to spend the day.

3. Say “gracias” with green: Why not honor the Earth by showing some love to those with whom we share it?  I made a deliberate effort to give cash tips to all of the service providers who worked hard to make my life a little easier.

4. Grow some greens: I’m really excited about my Spring garden, and spent some quality time planting, seeding, pruning, and nurturing. Best. Therapy. Ever. *sigh*

5.  Grab and go:  When I purchased this cute top and scarf from Anthropologie for my Spring/Summer wardrobe, I declined a shopping bag and hand-carried my items.  Every little bit helps…

Truth be told, every week should be Earth Week.  However you choose to celebrate it, be creative and have fun!

Take care and have a great weekend!

 

My Moroccan-Themed Birthday

So, what does a world traveler with a baaaaad case of wanderlust do to celebrate her birthday?  She picks a destination that’s high on her bucket list, and lives it up locally until her desire manifests.

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A day trip to Tangier, years ago, has me longing to return to Morocco; and I have yet to do so.  My birthday theme was driven by my desire to check out Joya Spa at the Omni International Hotel Montelucia Resort in Paradise Valley, AZ.  Joya Spa is the only Arizona spa to offer a hammam-inspired treatment.  So, I booked their “Hammam Experience,” and added 50-minutes of massage to it.  BAM!!!

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Before entering the spa, I had fun setting my intentions by placing three stones in the blessing bowl.  Unable to settle on just one, I chose rhodonite (work), rose quartz (love), and hematite (health).  What can I say?  I have a lot going on…

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Then, I placed my hand on the crystal just outside of the spa entrance and said, “Buh-bye” to any and all negative energy, as I made my way closer to bliss…

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Here, I was slathered with a soap that felt like melted butter, then scrubbed with a Kassa glove and black soap.  Afterwards, I was doused with 3 buckets of warm water.  My skin felt sooooo smoooooth…

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After doing a circuit from the steam room, to the cold deluge, then the sauna, I entered this room.  Here, my massage therapist worked her magic with a flower essence-infused oil that helped me to put things into perspective.  Zzzzz…

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Shhhhhh…this is the Whisper Room, where I luxuriated on one of these beds, underneath a cozy throw.  I need some of these linens in my life…

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“Cheers!”  The staff at Joya Spa offered me a complimentary glass of champagne, in honor of my special day.  How could I refuse?!?!  I graciously accepted, retreated to the spa terrace in my swimsuit, and “marinated” poolside.  I was able to soak up some much-needed vitamin D, while chatting with other patrons, and enjoying this view.  Ahhhhh…

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There…that’s MUCH better!  If you are in the Phoenix area, and looking for an exotic spa experience, with lots of amenities, then jump for Joya!

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After an awesome experience at Joya Spa, I drove over to this Phoenix gem for lunch. Don’t let the humble exterior fool you!  Owner, Zhor Saad, of Alzohour Market & Restaurant offers authentic Moroccan fare that will transport you to Marrakesh in a matter of minutes.

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For my birthday lunch, I ordered the Kashkbadem (roasted eggplant sauteed with garlic and mint), Harira (traditional hearty soup with tomatoes, lentils, garbanzos, and cilantro), homemade Moroccan bread, and pita.  LOVED IT!

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Of course, I had to order dessert, riiiiight?!?!  I splurged and chose the Kunafa, which was rich, sweet, and creamy, with tons of texture.  Mmmmm…

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And here I am with my lovely hostess, Zhor.  She works hard (often by herself) to serve home-style cooking that is fit for a king.  Just like my day trip to Morocco, I enjoyed my visit to her restaurant, and I look forward to returning.

Shokran to Joya Spa and Alzohour Market & Restaurant for making my birthday special!

 

 

 

 

 

Turkish Delight

No, I am not referring to the starch and sugar-based, cube-shaped confections.  I am describing my long lunch filled with awesome culinary creations and great conversation with Chef Sureyya Gokeri at Cafe Turko, in Seattle’s Queen Anne District…

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The menu has lots of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.  YAHTZEE!!!  I was in the mood for mezzes, so Sureyya customized an Orient Express platter just for me.  *happy dance*

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Kisir from Eastern Turkiye, Wholesome Aegean Musakka, Beet Hummus, Spinach Hummus, My Mom’s Dolmas, and (my fave) Yam Hummus.  That’s right, I said Yam Hummus!  Some pita for dipping and Sureyya’s pickles completed this savory sampler…*drooling*

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I mentioned in a previous post that I no longer drink coffee on a regular basis.  However, I couldn’t pass up the Turkish Coffee here.  Don’t judge me…

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I should have called for back-up because there was no one to save me from indulging in all of these Turkish treats.  I was in mezzes heaven!

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Aaaaand I wasn’t about to leave without trying Sureyya’s No Guilt Baklawa.  It practically melted in my mouth.

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Part restaurant, part bazaar, Cafe Turko is filled with Turkish handicrafts and food products, which are available for purchase.  The open kitchen is no exception.  You can, literally, shop and sup at the same time!

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Here is my hostess, the inimitable Chef Sureyya!  Her hospitality and passion for her craft are second to none.  The food, atmosphere, and her stories provide a rich cultural experience.  And did I mention that Sureyya offers Turkish cooking classes, as well as traveling Turkish lessons?  I love one-stop shopping!  If you’re in Seattle, check out Cafe Turko.  You’ll be transported to Istanbul in an instant!

Afiyet olsun!

 

Wayward Vegan

“C” is for comfort.  That’s good enough for me… *singing*

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Located in Seattle’s U-District, Wayward Vegan Cafe is my go-to place for breakfast (served all day).  I have enjoyed many meals here.  Now, it’s time for me to give them their props.

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Led by Colin and Tami Blanchette, the all-vegan crew is friendly and accommodating.  This unapologetic group of enablers will not hold you back when it comes time to choose from the plethora of options on their extensive menu.  In fact, they will often validate your choices, and acknowledge that you have a tough decision to make.

REALLY??? I thought that we were friends!!!

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We are.  And this is how my friends at Wayward Vegan say, “We love you.”

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A Breakfast Biscuit with a side of Garlicky Steamed Greens wins my heart every time. *sigh*

My other menu favorites include: Country Bumpkin, Biscuit Minimus, and Mac Daddy.  Yum!

Wayward Vegan Cafe is located at 5253 University Way NE in Seattle.

Oh, comfort, comfort, comfort starts with “C!” *singing*

 

 

 

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