Thursday, July 25, 2013

A fantastic Farmer's Market Frittata at LYFE Kitchen

The other morning Hubby needed a ride to work which gave me the perfect opportunity to have breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants: LYFE KItchen.

From their summer breakfast menu I ordered the Farmer's Market Frittata which is made of Organic Egg-Whites, Avocado, Spinach, Scallions, Cheddar, and served with Fingerling Potato Hash, and a mildly spicy Salsa Fresca Sauce ($6.49).

It was FANTASTIC and by fantastic I mean incredibly delicious and healthy.

This was one of the best meals I've ever had at LYFE Kitchen.

The meals at LYFE are so balanced you don't have to worry about consuming a day's worth of calories or sodium in a single meal. It was only 343 Calories and contained 568 mg of sodium.

But here's what I couldn't get over. Look how vibrantly green the baby spinach was. I've never seen spinach in a frittata, omelet, or scramble that was so beautifully green before. Usually spinach looks boiled, cooked, and kind of muddy greenish-brown or just a very dark opaque green which isn't nearly as appetizing as seeing it so fresh you're startled by its color.

And the avocado added more green and a richness to the texture of the frittata.

And the potatoes with their spicy sauce and grilled onions were the perfect accompaniment. The portion was almost too large for me to finish.

But that may have been because I also ordered the Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Water.

If you looked closely you could see the chia seeds suspended in the liquid. The flavor was a little tart and sweet, but not cloyingly sweet. I found it to be refreshing and would definitely order it again, especially on a hot day.

But my eating there isn't all the news I have to share. Another new LYFE Kitchen just opened in Tarzana, CA this week! If you live nearby you should go and try the Farmer's Market Frittata! I know I'll be going back for another at the Palo Alto location before too long because it was that yummy!

For more information about their new product line of grocery store entrees you can visit their website:

Or one of their restaurants:

LYFE Kitchen Tarzana, CA
18700 Ventura Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 91356

LYFE Kitchen Palo, Alto CA
167 N. Hamilton, Palo Alto, CA 94301
650-325-LYFE (5933)

LYFE Kitchen Culver City, CA (Read my Culver City location review)
9540 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232

LYFE Kitchen Chicago
419 N. Clark Street in River North, Chicago

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's National Ice Cream Day!

My recommendation? You have less than two hours left to go here:

They close at 5:00 PM on Sundays

And order this AMAZING Affogato made with Front Coffee Roasters espresso ground coffee poured over a scoop of house-made caramel ice cream. The depth of flavor from the caramel ice cream (imho) far surpasses traditional American affogato interpretations made with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Even though I don't like coffee, I've been a fan of Affogato for years and years. This, this is the best I've every had.

Chocolate Lab
801 22nd St (at Tennessee St.)
San Francisco, California 94107
ph: 415.489.2881

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A new banner image for The Flirty Blog

Well, it took me long enough. I finally updated the banner image at the top of the blog to include The Glampette :)

Over the past seven years it's evolved at its own pace, basically when I felt there was a reason to spruce up the graphics or the message behind the blog's focus. I hope you like the new design. It makes me smile every time I see The Glampette whether as an illustration or hitched to the back of my car.

With the addition of The Glampette the blog is becoming more travel centric as I'll be covering more ground and venturing further afield than I have in the past. Basically I'll still be taking lots of pictures, enjoying desserts from time to time, and also visiting more wineries :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Celebrate Spanish style at Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma this weekend

Looking for something to do this weekend? Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards is hosting their:

July 20 - July 21, 2013

"Enjoy the soul of Spain in the heart of Carneros at the 21st Annual Catalan Festival on Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21, 2013. This year, the Catalan Festival benefits the schools of Sonoma Valley"

Gloria Ferrer is located on the Carneros Hwy (121) in Sonoma County just 12.6 miles east of downtown Petaluma.

Last year I was invited as media to attend my first ever Catalan festival. My foodie friend Carl also attended. We arrived early and picked up our wine glasses, drink and food tickets at the registration booth.

The name Catalan comes from Catalonia Spain. From Wikipedia"Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the center of one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe."

I definitely felt transported from my day-to-day life in San Jose.

One of the first things we saw that day was a paella demonstration hosted by none other than "The Paella Guy." Using Thai peppers, onion, garlic, pork, chicken, chorizo, sofrito sauce, 26 spices, rice, saffron, stock, lemon, and a pineapple the audience was enthralled with his very detailed instructions. While it could inspire you to make paella at home, all of those ingredients and prep work probably made more people realize they should just call Chef Jose Castenada and hire him to come make paella for them at their next special event.

Chef Castenada gave us a step by step demonstration and explained the seasonings, rice and ingredients that go into making paella.

Even though the whole thing was impromptu I was able to find some nice, almost staged looking, close up shots using my telephoto lens.

What I took away from the lesson was to have the right ingredients and plenty of them!

Can you imagine how wonderful the aroma was as the paella cooked? It was fantastic. He also made a second vegetarian style pan.

Next we enjoyed the highly charged performance of the members of Sol Flamenco Dance Troupe. The colorful mermaid style skirts turned into whirlwinds of ruffles as they spun on stage.

Inside the wine tasting room things were crowded but very well organized.

Food stations were set up around the perimeter of the room with offerings from several Bay Area restaurants. I think the skewers, and I know the piquillo peppers were from Thirsty Bear in San Francisco. The peppers were stuffed with crab and shrimp then drizzled with a sherry reduction. I sampled and loved The Paella Guy's vegetarian paella and Sonoma's The Girl & the Fig's fresh corn, goat cheese tartlets topped with a piece of dried tomato were divine.

Everything I sampled was delicious including The Girl & the Fig's gazpacho!

And you can't have a wine festival without cheese. That afternoon we sampled three Spanish cheese including Manchego cheese with a small square of quince paste from La Espanola.

I had a nice cold glass of ice water with  my lunch.

Of course Gloria Ferrer's famous wines were available both out on the patio...

And in the tasting room.

And I was thrilled there were other beverage options. Serve yourself ice water dispensers were set up on a table and sodas were available to purchase with a drink ticket.

Sam Simone gave us an outstanding demonstration on how to uncork (or make that un-top) a wine bottle using a Sciabola del Sommelier wine saber.

Carl got a picture of the cork flying off the bottle. I was able to get a nice shot of the aftermath before the pour.

All of a sudden we noticed people turning their heads... We were in the presence of royalty!

The King and Queen added some cultural drama to the event. Beneath their garments a single person walked inside while others assisted from the outside.

As the afternoon went on. . .

The crowds watching the cooking demos, dancers, and musicians only got larger.

Group dance lessons were just one of the many activities we saw that day.

And then came the grand finale. A real live grape stomping contest.

We met David early on. He was quite a character who shared with us his plan on how he was going to win the competition. Carl and I had every confidence he would because he seemed to know what he was doing.

Each contestant also has an assistant whos job it is to keep the grape skins clear of the screen that filters the juice out of the barrel.

Ah, sweet victory.

Mary and David Celebrate

Or perhaps I should say the thrill of victory! David had to compete in two rounds, the first to qualify, and then the final. He won by a huge margin as far as I could tell with far more grape juice in his bucket than his worthy competitors.

If this looks like an afternoon you would enjoy tickets are still available for this coming weekend July 20th and 21st, 2013.

CLICK HERE to view the ticket purchasing page which lists several different types of tickets including General Admission, The Bubble Lounge, and how to enter the Grape Stomping Contest.

Last year's event was an international affair:

And last but not least, it's all for a good cause:

"Our Partnership with the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation With the purchase of every ticket, you are supporting the Growing Great Minds mission of the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation. Gloria Ferrer is proud to be part of this partnership creating great schools in Sonoma Valley."

Monday, July 15, 2013

My latest M Magazine feature: Frozen Treats

It's summer and things are heating up. When I was kid there were two dessert choices to cool down: Ice cream or Popcicles. Now? The possibilities go on and on.

It was a cold and delicious job but someone had to do it. For my Good Taste feature in the July issue of M Magazine I  photographed (and of course consumed) over a dozen frozen treats. Above are the ones that made the cut. CLICK Here to view the feature online. If you wait just a few seconds the page will load in and you can magnify to read the descriptions.

Included are: Frozen yogurt in Mill Valley, artisan ice cream imported from Ohio, artisan ice cream made in Santa Cruz, Mochi Ice Cream and Hawaiian Shaved Ice in San Jose's Japantown, Taiwanese Snow Ice in Cupertino, a strawberry frost drink with pearls in San Jose, kiwi sorbetto and a coffee gelato bar from the East Bay, and ice cream made with Liquid Nitrogen in Hayes Valley, SF.

Do you read M Magazine? It's a regional, Bay Area magazine "for the woman in every mom."  It also happens to be the first publication for which I've become a published food photographer and writer contributing to their "Good Taste" feature.

You can pick up a copy at various locations around the Bay Area including Whole Foods (It's a complimentary (free) magazine. You'll probably spot it near the door on your way out. For moms, moms-to-be, and foodies who don't live in the Bay Area you can view the magazine online by CLICKING HERE

Friday, July 12, 2013

4974 miles later our adventure comes to an end

At the end of the journey Kitai and I had traveled 4,974 miles going to Michigan to pick up The Glampette. It's definitely the furthest I've ever driven. I think before that the longest drive I'd ever been on was just over 900 miles (round trip) from San Jose to Palm Desert for an INXS concert.

This is a dramatized odometer reading of how far we'd traveled.

Our final leg began in Sutherlin, Oregon at the Hi-Way Haven RV Park and ended back home in San Jose, CA.

The day was gorgeous and began driving over the river. . .

And through the woods. . .

To the Wild Rose Vineyard we went.

I hadn't done too many touristy road stop things on most of our journey so I decided a wine tasting would be a good distraction from spending the entire day in the car again.

As soon as I parked my car I was greeted and invited into the tasting room.

I'd read online that Wild Rose Vineyards had a Late Harvest Pinot Gris. I was curious to try it as I'd loved the LH Pinot Gris at Balletto Winery in Santa Rosa, CA. It turned out they were completely different. The Balletto had been a very sweet dessert wine, and the Wild Rose Vineyards was a semi-dry wine. It was dry, but not too dry. I could enjoy this wine with a meal the way other people drink the very dry wines. I was so happy I'd stopped I purchased a bottle to add to the two I'd bought at Burr Oak Winery in Wisconsin a couple of weeks earlier.

The rest of the morning I spent driving Grants Pass. It was long but no problem for my car or The Glampette. I am so relieved that my car has been able to deal with the passes. I'll admit I was concerned they might have been too much for it with the trailer in tow. When I got home I had an inspection done and it turned out everything had held up quite well on the trip, including my transmission. YAY!

A brief stop at an agricultural check point and we were on our way.

When possible I would let Kitai out to stretch his legs after filling the tank at a gas station. Usually I'd just pull up along the lot on one side and let him out for a bit. Every now and then there just wasn't anywhere to park or there was no grass or dirt anywhere. Then I'd stop at the next rest stop.

Can I tell you that I was really careful about the rest stops? Fred had warned me that not all of them are safe so when I would stop I'd make sure to look around. If there were a lot of people of all ages and both genders milling about, and the parking area was easily visible from the HWY I didn't feel unsafe taking Kitai out. There was one stop in Minnesota or South Dakota that was off the interstate with dense trees and shrubs all around it, 2-3 vehicles in the parking lot, and only one guy in sight walking around. I got a bit of a creepy feeling there so we pulled in and pulled right back out onto the highway.

And then came what turned out to be my most favorite view on the entire trip.

Mount Shasta: The second highest peak in the Cascades and the fifth highest in California.

As I drew closer I was more and more captivated by it.

When my friend Keith asked if I'd seen amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties on my trip I quickly replied "Yes! I did."

It was so beautiful I actually pulled off the Interstate to take this picture and just gaze upon it for a bit. Now I want to buy some acreage with a view of the peak and make it my getaway spot where I can leave the Bay Area behind and decompress. The funny thing is it's about a five hour drive from San Jose. Before that would have seemed too far. Now? It's nothing. It's a drop in the bucket. I could leave home at 5:00 AM and be in Shasta in time for breakfast. LOL

As I continued on my way I felt conflicted. I was glad to be going home. I love being at home where hubby, our cat Squash, and my many dear friends are and everything feels safe and familiar. But I was equally sad that my trip would be ending. Despite a few bumps along the road the trip changed me. It definitely tapped into a more adventurous side (of me) that hadn't seen the light of day before. Well, except for that time I moved to Los Angeles when I was 19 with no job, no car, and about $75 in my pocket. But other than that, I've lived a pretty sheltered life. LOL

It was weird. The closer I got to home the more sad I felt that my trip was ending. Somewhere after Colusa, where hubby and I love to go photograph birds, I saw several sun flower fields in bloom. I have to say they did cheer me up. I felt rather tickled to see them and took this picture for my friend Judy who loves sunflowers.

While merging between interchanges I looked over my shoulder to change lanes and saw that Kitai had finally gotten the hang of relaxing in the car. The first day he never laid down or stopped peering ahead, not once in 12 hours. Here we were weeks later and he was sprawled on his back with his hind legs splayed. LOL He was probably snoring too.

I knew we were back home when we hit a traffic jam. It gave me time to think about all I'd seen and how I wasn't even home yet but I missed the adventure of looking forward to the next day on the road. I missed the places I'd visited, my family I'd left the day before in Washington, the old friends I got to see and the new friends I'd made. But in the back of my mind I felt like it was ok. Now that I have The Glampette all of those people and places are all only four days away or less from San Jose. It made me smile at how funny it was that now distance was something I measure in hours or days, not airline ticket prices and 14 day advance reservations.

When I pulled onto our block hubby was standing on the curb in front of our house waving to me as I came down the street. It was a perfect homecoming.

It was dark so I backed into the driveway because I wanted to wash The Glampette before putting her away. This is the final shot of my trip. It's me backing The Glampette into our garage the next morning.

Thank you again to everyone who made my trip so special. Some of you made a huge effort to come see me, to feed me, some of you trusted me even though you really didn't know me, and some of you gave me the reassurances I needed that both The Glampette and I were going to be ok together. It wouldn't have been the same without each and every one of you.

If you've been reading each post day by day I want to say thank you for coming along with Kitai and I. I hope this trip inspires you to take one of your own. You don't have to have a trailer or leave for a long time. I'm willing to bet that within an hour or less of your house there's a park, restaurant, museum, shop, lake, hiking trail, pond, city, town, or place that you've never visited before. So what are you waiting for? Go forth and discover new places, meet new people, and make an adventure for yourself.

The end.

To follow my Michigan or Bust road reports here they are:

Days 1-3: Picking up my tiny travel trailer: 2364 miles to happiness :)
Day 4: Be still my glamping heart: The cutest vintage grill ever!
Days 4-8: Meeting Fred and The Glampette for the first time
Welcome to The Glampette: A peek inside
Day 8 Part 2: Around the lake and on to Wisconsin Wine Country
Day 9: A suspenseful night at the Kennebec KOA
Day 10: It could have been worse
Day 10 continued:  Overnight at a Walmart, a traveler's rite of passage
Days 11: Montana to Washington car don't fail me now!
And my favorite RV Park was: Hi-Way Haven in Sutherlin, OR
4974 miles later our adventure comes to an end