Tag Archives: Travel

California Cuisine

CA food

Oh the food…

In case you couldn’t tell, I just love good food. Of course the eating part is fun – but that’s not even it! I love reading about it, talking about it, shopping for it, cooking it, following foodie trends, watching cooking shows, researching recipes, finding new restaurants,  just everything. It’s creative and passionate and beautiful and since you need food to live, I can always justify spending way too much money on it all :).

So one of the reasons I love Northern California so very much is that not only are you surrounded by awesome food, everyone seems to enjoy it just the same. Not in a pretentious way, just like enjoying good food is a part of loving life…and I think it really should be.

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My usual strategy is to eat to feel my best (mostly healthy and sometimes decadent). But when in California, on vacation, I say live it up! I don’t know when I’ll be back and there is so much great cuisine to explore.

And explore we did. Foodie highlights include:

  • Tartine Bakery in San Fran for flaky almond croissants and creamy fish bowl-sized lattes
  • Cafe de la Presse in San Fran for chewy-sweet French toast (pictured)
  • Kuleto’s in San Fran for red wine, pillow-soft gnocchi and decadent chocolate dessert (pictured)
  • The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma for well, everything <- best ever
  • Sunshine Caffe in Sonoma for bacon-studded waffles and fresh fruit smoothies
  • Oakville Grocery in Healdsburg for the classiest “boxed lunch” you will ever see
  • Chalkboard in Healdsburg for incredible cheese and super creative – did I mention to die for – dessert
  • Moustache Baked Goods in Healdsburg for wine-drunk mid-afternoon cupcakes

I realize not everyone can eat this well – and I certainly don’t everyday! Which is what made California so special. I feel very lucky to have been able to enjoy a wonderful vacation full of beautiful scenery, a best friend, amazing wine and outstanding food. California was a fabulous reminder to feel thankful for every delicious part of this very happy life. And I do.

So that’s it California! Normal Cleveland blogging will resume next.

xo Beth

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Sonoma

And then we travelled to Sonoma.

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I mean, can you be unhappy here?

As you might guess, we drank a lot of wine over the course of the week. We also ate a lot of food, which could explain the lack of give in my jeans this week (oops). But let’s save all that glorious California cuisine for another post, another day.

For now, let’s explore!

Sonoma

Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves is my absolute favorite. We were introduced to it on a bike tour during our last visit and it’s one of the few wineries that we made a repeat visit to this time. I just cannot resist! It’s absolutely majestic inside the caves, absolutely beautiful outside and so very welcoming. And of course, the wine’s not too bad either ;).

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We enjoyed this lovely view from atop Copain Wines before indulging in a long, leisurely afternoon of tasting, talking and nibbling on their patio. Copain’s Anderson Valley Pinot Noir is stellar.

Also of note: Amista Vineyards for beautiful scenery, delicious wines and super friendly atmosphere, Kokomo Winery for chill staff and another amazing Pinot and Bouchaine Vineyards for a delightful taste of Napa without any of that Napa stuffiness.

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And when we needed a break from all that wining (tough life), a day of spa service and sunbathing at Calistoga Hot Springs. Swimming in their pool is like a good soak in one very giant bathtub, which I will definitely be needing in the backyard of my future home :).

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Plus a little hiking in the outskirts of the Redwoods, a breathtaking must-see…and we didn’t even get to the biggest trees.

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Love, love, love. From the wine to the scenery to the people to the activity, wine country was perfection. Food next time? Well this is meant to be a food blog after all, so I think so :).

xo Beth

San Francisco

San Fran

It’s official: our much-anticipated California vacation has come to an end. But what a vacation! I have so much to share, we’ll just have to take it a bit at a time. Starting with: San Francisco.

Although I swear up and down I’m all done with big city life and so happy to be back in Cleveland (and it’s true), I cannot deny that San Francisco is just incredible. What an amazing piece of the United States! I love the food, the wine, the coffee, the people, the atmosphere, culture, even its usually foggy-cool weather.

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And so before heading to wine country for the bulk of our CA trip, my travel buddy and dear friend Jackie and I spent two days soaking in all that San Fran has to offer. Well, mostly all that San Fran has to offer that we didn’t get to during our last visit, two years ago.

Including: Tartine Bakery for flaky almond croissants and creamy fish bowl-sized lattes, Dolores Park for sunshine, long catch-up conversation and sneaky sunburns (ouch), Clock Bar for super-creative, super-potent cocktails, Avant Card to indulge our mutual/odd love of beautiful cards, Kuleto’s for red wine, pillow-soft gnocchi and decadent chocolate dessert.

And for a glimpse of the past, Alcatraz.

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A beautiful boat ride, amazing new perspective of the city and a whole lot of history. But oh shiver, it was a cold one (in June!). I can certainly see why you’d never want to end up there. Well you know, as much as any lucky tourist can :).

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A great California kick-off. Just enough time to soak in the city before heading off to the real relaxation vacation, Sonoma. Let’s chat more about that next time we meet.

xo Beth

California Love

California

I’ll be back in 8 days!

Can’t tell you how excited I am for this week of wine-soaked fun with one of my favorite people in the universe :).

xo Beth

Canada

Canada

There are some places in this world I love, mostly just for the people. Ontario is a fine place, but the reason I just can’t keep away is because I met some of my favorite people in the world there, who remain today.

10 years ago (what.) I started college life at the University of Western Ontario and met my lovely roommates and soon-to-be life long friends on our dorm floor. I didn’t know a single person in the country when I arrived, so how lucky am I to find people who made settling in so much fun.

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This weekend – a roommate reunion! Mostly a whole lot of white wine, homemade food, hanging out, soaking up the outdoors and laughing our faces off. And maybe a little arm wrestling, a tradition we began 10 years ago and refuse to break even though the results are always the same and my right arm is now very sore :).

Food pics are hard to come by this time, but Saturday night we enjoyed the BEST last supper: Orzo, pancetta, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, olive oil and fresh basil. Simple and full of awesome ingredients, which made for one very delicious dish.

Much like our simple weekend, full of very awesome people and one very delicious round of roommate fun :).

xo Beth

Washington, DC

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This weekend I paid a visit to my last life, in Washington, DC. Although I’m on to more Clevelandy things these days, it’s nice to return to old friends and favorite spots every now and then. Most especially my sister Louisa and kitten niece, Amelia Bedelia.

It was a great mix of good friends, outdoor playtime, indoor swanky gym time, cooking, wining, dining and when Saturday’s endless rain got tired, a whole lot of not-so-intelligent Netflix watching. Oh my helicopter.

Some food?

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Cheestique for wine and cheese

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One of the BEST meals in recent history at the very excellent Curious Grape

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Spring vegetable salad on the Flying Fig patio, back in Cleveland on Sunday night. Well okay, that has nothing to do with DC but I just can’t resist that photograph :).

An all around, exceptionally delicious weekend. Easy travel, great food, excellent company and a whole lot of laughing. There is no kind of weekend that makes me happier.

xo Beth

Columbus

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Another road trip! After NYC I was definitely in need of a few quiet weekends in Cleveland. But I can’t believe it’s already been a month since! So this weekend I got back on the road, this time for a short trip to Columbus to visit my darling friend May.

Starting with a Short North neighborhood brunch to kick off our Saturday morning. After an extra early wake up call to make the two hour drive, this meal was a very welcome treat!

We dined at ZenCha Tea Salon. A million kinds of tea, lots of creative pancake creations…what else could a girl want? I had the Earl Grey’s Choice – layered with baked apples, topped with raisins & walnuts served with house made earl grey tea syrup.

And then we jumped back into the car and headed south, to spend the day in Hocking Hills. It is just too gorgeous there. Although it was a bit freezing when I first arrived in Cbus, by the time we got to our hiking destination the day had turned absolutely lovely! We spent all day hiking around and soaking up the spring sunshine, stopping at three different trails along the way.

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After driving back into the city and a quick change, it was most definitely time for dinner. Admittedly, until recently I didn’t think much of Columbus. Most of my experiences there were in college visiting various friends at OSU and those visits mostly involved a whole lot of cheap drinks at dirty bars (oh college). But now that I’m the ripe old age of 28 and have been back to see May a few times, I’m realizing what a little gem it is! So many adorable neighborhoods and shops and restaurants to enjoy. Including last night’s stop at for some genuinely yummy cocktails and chewy gooey pizza.

First, we sipped sweet little cocktails at Curio. I was so in love! The vibe is much like a speakeasy, with a full menu of potent, thoughtful libations. Followed by salad and pizza across the way at Harvest Pizzeria. We shared a Mushroom – Gouda, variety of Athens county mushrooms, truffle, herbs. Yes, I was in heaven. We closed out our evening at Brother’s Drake Meadery where we tasted our way through flights of local mead. Something a bit different and a whole lot enjoyable.

The highlight of my trip had to be our ah-mazing brunch this AM at Pistacia Vera, “the dessert boutique”. May had me at dessert boutique and it only got more wonderful from there. Just look at these gorgeous French pastries.

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I die. For brunch, TOMATO PROVENÇAL BAKED EGGS – two eggs baked with cream, herbs, parmigiano-reggiano, garlic and tomato fondue. served with a toasted croissant and house made preserves. I also bought a few lovely little macaroons to bring home and share. They had to ride in the backseat as if I wasn’t careful, 2 hours alone in the car would inevitably lead to 4 macaroons in my tummy. Probably worth it :).

And so that’s Columbus! Nothing makes me happier than good food, good drinks, good friends and good fun. This trip included all of those and so it was Saturday-Sunday perfection.

xo Beth