Tag Archives: Review

Los Angeles, Part II

So much packed into 3 days (and 2 posts!)

:) :)

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

For lunch one day in LA, Allison and I tried out Hinoki and the Bird – I had read about this Century City eatery on one of my favorite blogs, Oh Joy!, and knew that if it was good enough for Joy, I wanted to try it as well ๐Ÿ™‚ So try it we did! Both Allison and I have some dietary restrictions so after having checked out the menu online, we were game (plenty for us allergy prone folk to nosh upon!)

Hinoki and the Bird is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the streets, but was PACKED when we rolled up for our lunchtime reservation. It’s right across the street from CAA (Ari Gold, anyone?), so I’m certain it was packed with plenty of lunching agents! Anywoo, we opted for some fresh mocktails to start us off as we enjoyed the lovely late winter afternoon at our outside table.

Interiors of Hinoki and the Bird

Interiors of Hinoki and the Bird

Delish mocktails

Delish mocktails: Cucumber Jade and Grapefruit Rickey

For our lunch, we gamely decided to split the grilled mix mushrooms – then Allison opted for theย BBQ jidori chicken accompanied by a green papaya salad, while I ordered the coconut-curried mussels, sausage, and cauliflower. Nom nom nom!!

The mushrooms and my mussels topped with greens

The mushrooms and my mussels topped with greens

BBQ jidori chicken and papaya salad

BBQ jidori chicken and papaya salad

photo 82

Hinoki and the Bird infuses traditional Thai and Japanese delights with a fun, modern twist (whether it be a unique spice or an unexpected side item). Further, the ingredients are incredibly fresh (the mussels were incredibly tender and the mushrooms so earthy); indeed, although our portions were fairly generous, we walked away from the restaurant feeling light and satisfied. It was definitely a “treat” kind of lunch, but one I would absolutely advise you to test out for yourself should you find yourself in LA!

Following our lunch, we headed to the Getty Museum (for all the time I’ve spent in LA – even an entire summer – I had never been to the Getty – the shame!) for an exhibit on Queen Victoria. I had mentioned that I was reading a biography of the monarch, so the timing was great! The exhibit centered around Queen Victoria’s passion and support for photography throughout her reign – many of the photographs were generously lent to the museum by Queen Elizabeth herself! Quite a thrill for me because, if you know me, you know that I love all things British royal family.

The exhibit aside, the Getty offered some fabulous views of the city:

Los Angeles as seen from the Getty Museum

Los Angeles as seen from the Getty Museum

I left on the red eye from LA to Nashville, Tennessee later that night, bummed to leave, but feeling so blessed to have such good friends to host me. Thanks Mike and Allison – yall are the best ๐Ÿ™‚ The departure wasnt all sad…because I was then on my way to a bachelorette party! More to come, yall! Until next time…

Advertisements

AD Birthday for AB

On our wedding day, I felt sick to my stomach. No, I wasnt nervous about who I was marrying, if it would rain (okay, I was a little worried it would rain), nor was it cold feet: I just really dont enjoy being the sole center of attention. Following the ceremony, I was just fine – it was just the thought of walking down the aisle, all eyes on me that freaked me out. The same anxiety kind of comes with my birthday. Don’t get me wrong, of course I love celebrating and hearing from those I love (this year more than ever!), but the idea of the attention being on me is very daunting! I’m a weirdo, right? Oh well.

Well, in the aforementioned event of our wedding, I definitely made the right choice as my husband was the best ever on my 27th birthday! ๐Ÿ™‚ He planned such a fabulous weekend in Abu Dhabi, leaving no stoned unturned – not to mention the hotel was immaculate! We hit the road to Abu Dhabi (“AD”) after the work day was done (an easy hour drive), heading to the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort (those Starwood points do pay off!) Here are some initial shots:

Would you look at that turquoise water!?

Would you look at that turquoise water!?

View from the balcony in our room

View from the balcony in our room

Saadiyat Island is being tapped as Abu Dhabi’s cultural center, with a Louvre and Guggenheim museum both under construction on the island. There are also commercial and residential buildings in place and under development as well, and I’ve got to say, it is a little paradise in Abu Dhabi!

DSC_0662

We arrived at the hotel just in time for cocktail hour, but first dropped by the room to freshen up, and lo and behold, the room’s butler was already on the ball, having decorated the room with balloons, signs, flowers and cupcakes (gluten free, of course!) That husband of mine – such a planner! ๐Ÿ™‚

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

The service was beyond fabulous at the hotel – I can’t rave about it enough. That brings us to the food ๐Ÿ™‚ We had a celebratory cocktail at the Manhattan Loungeย (did you know that the original St Regis hotel in NYC invented the Bloody Mary cocktail? Each St Regis has its own signature Bloody Mary, in fact!) in the hotel before our dinner reservation at Koi (on the island, adjacent to the hotel).

Cheers!

Cheers!

Koi: the food was out of this world. The rolls were delicious, the lobster tacos were unreal delicious, full of lush cuts of lobster – in fact, all the dishes were chock full of the fresh fish, and each bite better than the next. I’ll admit that we were a tad disappointed with the service at Koi; we felt that the food and drinks were a bit rushed – we didnt have time to enjoy even a sip of our drinks before the food was upon us – a bummer as we would have preferred a more leisurely meal whilst on vacation, but c’est la vie! We had a no cell phone rule at dinner, so unfortunately no shots of the food this time around.

DSC_0639 DSC_0645 DSC_0636On Friday, we decided to flashback to our honeymoon and do exactly NOTHING – and we loved it! (In actuality, the Captain of Industry did churn out some emails poolside), but with scenery like this, who can complain?

Where we posted up for most of the day!

Where we posted up for most of the day!

Saturday were our individual personal days – golf for him, spa for moi! The spa was lovely, and Barr deemed the Saadiyat course one of the most beautiful he had ever played.

DSC_0655 DSC_0638 DSC_0652 DSC_0658Not to shabby, eh? Next time, I want to play the course as well! The St Regis at Saadiyat was one of the best hotels I have had the privilege to stay – no stone was left unturned.

All in all, it was such a spectacular birthday week: so chill, beautiful, and lovely – Barr put a lot of thought into the weekend, and I couldnt have felt more blessed by his love or by the influx of emails, Facebook messages, and texts I got over the weekend. It makes me miss everyone even more! ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s to my 27th year – toot toot. Until next time…

Pantry Cafe

I know, I know…radio silence, again. Last week was a bit hectic between some meetings with the All 4 Down Syndrome group, an interview with a local celebrity (I can’t disclose all the details yet, but hopefully soon!), and the week culminated in my 27th (!) birthday and a trip to Abu Dhabi to celebrate ๐Ÿ™‚ ย All in all, a fab way to start February…a month that will continue to pick up steam…and I cant wait!

The relaxed interior of the Pantry Cafe in Al Wasl Square

The relaxed interior of the Pantry Cafe in Al Wasl Square

So I’ll rewind a week or so to a great lunch I had last week when I visited Safa Park; I finally tried out Pantry Cafeย in Al Wasl Square, just adjacent to the park. Like Comptoir 102, this was another great lunch spot. The ambience was exceedingly relaxed, with lots of natural light spilling in from the primarily glass building, overlooking the busy street and park nearby. There were only a handful of patrons eating inside the day I stopped by, all of whom we’re enjoying a leisurely lunch, coffee, and presumably, a bit of work.

Next time, I'll be stopping by for their breakfast!

Next time, I’ll be stopping by for their breakfast!

The front page of the festive (and extensive) menu

The front page of the festive (and extensive) menu

In addition to the extensive menu (breakfast, all day dining, coffee, drinks and sweets), the Pantry Cafe also boasts a fabulous selection of takeaway items in the deli counter – I’ll definitely be returning to bring home a macaron or 2…ahh who are we kidding…definitely 5 (I’ll share, I swear!)

Back to this meal. I was feeling a bit vegetable deficient and for some reason was craving mushrooms, so I opted for the Paprika and Rosemary Chicken Salad with a side of the sauteed mushrooms, as well as a skinny latte for a mid afternoon caffeine fix. The coffee was served promptly and festively, I might add:

My lovely latte...was feeling the birthday love

My lovely latte…was feeling the birthday love

I enjoyed one of the Hello! magazines from the rack while I waited for the main event, and was not disappointed with the generous salad (mixed lettuce, tender chicken strips, asparagus, tomatoes, kidney beans, and ย peppers) and extra yummy sauteed mushrooms (served simply, and topped with a bit of grated cheese)…nom nom nom:

photo 5 photo 3Following my meal (I unfortunately couldnt make it through more than half of each dish – guess my eyes were too big for my stomach!), I perused the cookware and unique food items that the cafe offered, reminiscent of a smaller Dean & Deluca. The only downside to this spot I can mention would be the service – it was a tad subpar, particularly given that I went at a very slow time of day; I had to flag someone down several times to get the bill.

That being said, I’ll definitely be back to Pantry Cafe, as I find myself in that area of town more and more, and there were many items that I wanted to try on the menu, service notwithstanding. And now that I’m hungry (again) after posting these pictures and writing about food, I’m going to try to recreate the salad above (though it inevitably wont compare!) Until next time…

My little place mat which outlines some of the food tenants of the cafe

My little place mat which outlines some of the food tenants of the cafe