Category Archives: Adventures in Eating

Sprüngli – Zürich

The most heavenly place on earth…

So after my fiancé and I left Burgundy, we went on our adventure thru the French Alps, Turin, and came to settle for a couple of nights in Zürich, Switzerland. A friend of mine was born and raised there, and we felt like this was as good a time as any to see Zürich, and to catch up with my friend!

One of the first things she showed us was the Sprüngli (aka best truffles ever) shop. Wow. It will blow your mind, and frankly, I am shocked there are not a few within the whole vicinity of Los Angeles County…! The Swiss really know and love their chocolate. I mean, you have to see the gas stations there – they carve out entire aisles for all the various flavors of Lindt chocolate!

The best part about Sprüngli is definitely the quality –  the infamous Truffes du Jour – fresh made truffles every morning, and when they sell out, well, that’s all folks! The second best part about Sprüngli is the presentation, which you can see from the pictures…you can practically smell the chocolates. Ahhh, so many choices, so little time…

So many choices, so little time!

We definitely got those cute little boxes of "Truffes du Jour"!

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J’aime Paris

More pics from Paris:

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The Louvre

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Jardin des Tuileries

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Arc de Triomphe

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A statue of George Washington

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Eiffel Tower

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Seafood Tartare

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Pumpkin Soup

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Jardin du Luxembourg

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Eric Kayser

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Plié au Chocolat from Eric Kayser

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Food & Shopping in Paris…(just the beginning)

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La Maison Blanche (right by the Seine) after our engagement! Seriously, THE BEST escargots I’ve ever eaten- they definitely use a different kind of snail here in Paris!

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Happy Cappucino

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La Gourmandise (my favorite pastry so far!!) from Paul’s Patisserie

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Le Bon Marche

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Crazy Nina Ricci mini-exhibit at Le Bon Marche

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Eric Kayser for the pain au chocolat (I finished it before I even thought to take a pic!! Lol)

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Got tons of goodies from Etam Lingerie- highly recommend this shop! Very cute designs at an affordable rate!!

More later…!

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New Friends

Yesterday was the perfect Sunday afternoon. My sister and I both went over to my parent’s place and introduced our dogs/puppies. They became fast friends even though mine is about 4 and a half years old, and hers is 3 months. Here are some cool pictures of them together:

Hi, I’m Bella. Woof, I’m Luna!

Wow, you’re so BIG. C’mon, let’s play!!

Yippee!! This is fun!!

Whew that was exhausting. Let’s take a power nap so we can play again in 10 minutes!!

Needless to say, Bella and Luna are new best friends 🙂  It’ll be interesting when Luna grows into her full size…she’ll probably be about Bella’s size, or maybe a bit smaller.

In the evening, my dad whipped up some asparagus risotto (risotto is his specialty!) and we had some Italian wine to go with it. Delicious!!

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Tea, does a body good

I’m feeling a bit under the weather today, and there’s nothing like putting on sweatpants & a hoodie, snuggling in a big blanket on the couch, and sipping on a warm cup of ginger tea. I drink tea fairly often – my favorites are Yamamotoyama Genmai-Cha Green Tea with Roasted Brown Rice, Tazo Green Ginger (their site is cool too!!), Trader Joe’s Organic Ginger Pear White Tea, and Bird Pick Natural Ginger Tea. Can you tell I’m a bit of a ginger freak?

Anyway, all of these teas are bagged teas, except for the Bird Pick. One of my clients turned me on to the Bird Pick tea over a year ago – the opened up a shop at Santa Monica Place (complete with a tea bar!) and it’s super cool. The difference with this tea is that it’s an instant dissolvable tea. All you have to do is scoop up a tablespoon or two, pour it in your hot water, and stir. Also, the “natural ginger” flavor is much sweeter than some other ginger teas due to the honey that’s blended with it. For my boyfriend who is notorious for mixing in sugar with his teas (ew!!) he doesn’t need to do that with the Bird Pick. Try it out!

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Crème de la Crêpe!

Crème de la Crêpe is a delicious place to go if you’re into French foods and most importantly, crêpes. I’ve only been to the one located in the Redondo Beach Village, and I have nothing but compliments for the place!

Both times now we’ve ordered the 12 Escargots as an appetizer. In my opinion, escargot are fairly difficult to get right, and both times, they were superb here. They also bring out some delicious french bread to start, which I am always appreciative of. One thing to note is that their dinner portions are huge! I am used to crêpes being of similar size every time I order than, but the way their dinner portions come out here is like and enormous rectangle that fills up nearly the entire plate. I order the BOLOGNAISE (ground beef, marinara sauce, grilled onions, mushrooms & swiss topped with fresh basil) that also came with a small side salad, and it was very tasty. It was like a crêpe version of a meat lasagna. Sadly, I could not finish it…

For dessert, we ordered the GOURMANDE (melted butter topped with lemon & sugar), and although light and tasty, it was nothing compared to the same one we’d ordered a week or so ago at La Petite Crêperie

All in all, the ambiance is very french at this restaurant, dress is casual, if the evening is warm enough they open up the entire front of the restaurant (in Redondo Beach), and you will have a great time with your friends & family here.

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Yogaworks & Pork Chops

I recently bought a deal from DailyCandy for YogaWorks – $49 for an unlimited month of yoga and a $25 gift card for the shop. And I don’t regret it! Surprisingly, the yoga classes have all been highly satisfying, and was yet again, last night. The teacher I went to last night is Alexandria Crow, and she is INTENSE. In the best way possible. I have been attending all the level 2/3 classes at YogaWorks, which have been challenging me immensely, and Alex’s class in particular stands out. She never had us rest, never gave us any “easy poses” in between the hard ones, and always kept up the “fire” (to use her own terminology). She was AWESOME.

I thought she looked familiar!!!

Anyway, almost immediately after class, my boyfriend and I went for dinner at a good friend’s place. They love to cook and have guests, and the very talented Marc Smith made us a fabulously delicious meal. Although everything was over the top delicious and beautiful, I think my favorite part of the meal was the starter (I’m a sucker for a good soup!)…

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH DILL & BREADCRUMBS

PORK CHOP BRINED IN CINNAMON, MAPLE SYRUP, SALT & PEPPER

and BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH A KIMCHI PUREE

and NAVY BEANS WITH BACON

and JALAPEÑO CORNBREAD

APPLE BROWN BETTY & LEMON GINGER SNAP ICE CREAM

Needless to say, MAMBO is still very happy at the moment… 🙂

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Rainy Day in LA

It was rainy today. Which I LOVE. There is nothing better than waking up to the sound of the pitter patter, then putting a pot of coffee on, getting into some comfy workout clothes, and going outside. LOVE IT. My first client today was out in Silverlake, so we had a good time running a couple rounds of neighborhood stairs in a light drizzle, then heading under the garage port cover to do some strength circuits. Afterwards, I ran around the reservoir myself. Again, another HIGHLY recommended workout for those that live in the area. From my client’s house it is about a 2.7 mile run, so I’m estimating that around the reservoir itself is about a 2.25 mile run (give or take). There is a lovely dirt path around the reservoir to stay on, and lots of scenery as you pass by the water, a park, a preschool, a dog park, and numerous Silverlake-folk out for the day. Then, go to Lamill’s afterwards for a scrumptious omelet and Masala Chai Tea Latte (what I recommend). Here’s a pic of this morning in Silverlake:

This evening I was feeling lazy, so made a very EASY healthy dinner.

CHICKEN BREASTS WITH VEGGIE AND QUINOA

Frozen Chicken Breast Tenders from Trader Joe’s

Frozen Organic Vegetable Foursome from Trader Joe’s

Organic Quinoa from Trader Joe’s

EVOO, Balsamic Vinegar, Stubb’s Chicken Marinade

  1. Thaw frozen chicken breasts. I like to put them in a freezer bag, then stick the bag in a bowl of hot water.
  2. When breasts are partially thawed, add a generous amount of Stubb’s Chicken Marinade and let sit for at least an hour. (The longer the better!) Meanwhile, cook quinoa in the rice cooker (a cup will take approximately 20 minutes). In a small saucepan, add water, EVOO, and balsamic vinegar to the frozen veggies. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium/low and let sit until all the liquid has been soaked into the vegetables.
  3. Cook the chicken breasts on a George Foreman (or any other grill!) – be sure to pour all the marinade on top of the breasts before grilling 🙂 Cook for at least 5 minutes.

I particularly love Stubb’s brand of chicken marinade (among other Stubb’s products!!!)

For dessert, luckily recently on of my clients gave me a bar of chocolate made by her very talented chocolatier friend Katrina Markoff. Vosges Haut-Chocolat as they call it, is super-duper fancy, but equally super-duper delicious. My boyfriend and I both LOVED this one.

A HAUT CHOCOLATE DESSERT: VOSGES SMOKE & STOUT CARAMEL BAR

LOVED this so much.

The dark chocolate flavor is subtle (I’m not the biggest dark chocolate fan) and the caramel/ale center is so pleasing on the palate. Even though more expensive than other chocolates, I would definitely buy some as a great gift for family and friends.

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Food, Stairs, and More Food…

Today was a very foodie kind of day. This morning I met a friend for breakfast at La Petite Crepêrie – I’d never been there before, and it was DELICIOUS. There are a lot of hidden gems in the Mar Vista area. We both wanted something proper as well as something sweet, so we decided to split. We got the Saucisse et Oeuf (Brittan Sausage, Gruyère and Egg Sunny Side up) & the Citron (Lemon, Butter, Sugar). The sausage & gruyère were very satiating, while the citron was THE best sweet crepe I’ve ever had. It sounds simple with just 3 ingredients, but if you like a good lemon dessert (and I certainly do – my favorite pie in the world is the lemon cream cheese from Marie Callendar’s), you are in for a treat! I failed to take pictures this morning, but here is one taken of the outside of this lovely place…highly recommended both by me and my friend:

photo by: Mar Vista Mom

After a few more clients, I hit the Santa Monica Stairs. I have not run the stairs in months, and have recently been itching to get back into it. It is an incredible workout you can do 1) for FREE, 2) ANY time of day, and 3) in a short amount of time. The stairs will whoop your butt. I usually run up, and walk/jog/hobble down. I finished 10 up & downs with some jogging in between in about 40 minutes. A good place to start is 3 reps, and depending on your fitness level you can either walk them up and down, or try to run up and down. Trust me, you will still get a GREAT workout walking them. They are located on Adelaide, off of 4th St., and you can usually park on 4th. If not, there is plenty of parking on the streets just south of San Vicente, and what you can do is jog/warmup to the top of the stairs (what I recommend). There are also 2 sets of stairs. The set closer to 4th St. is windy and uneven, whereas the second set has much better footing and spacing. Obviously, it’s up to you! Message me if you need specific details on how to get there or what to do! Another pic that I failed to take:

photo by: Kelsey Wyatt

Finally, the last meal of the day!! I wanted to make a good Italian pasta dish (I am only a quarter Italian, but I eat & cook as though I’m full blooded 🙂 ) so I decided to whip up some gnocchi with homemade sauce, and a salad. I concocted a new homemade sauce that was absolutely delicious. I will list my ingredients, but I never measure my ingredients, so I will tell you approximately rather than exactly. Haha.

GNOCCHI & HOMEMADE SAUCE

*2  package (16oz each) imported Potato Gnocchi

1- 28 ounce can of tomato puree with crushed tomatoes

1/4-1/2 cup fresh cut basil

1 small chopped sweet onion

6-8 cloves garlic, minced

**1-2 roma tomatoes, chopped

8 ounces of LIGHT brie cheese (usually this is half of a pinwheel/cut), cubed (small cubes)

EVOO, Garlic Powder, Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Italian Seasoning (to taste! your preference!)

[*I only used 1 package today, but quickly realized I had way too much sauce in comparison. I added in mini bowtie noodles since I didn’t have another package of gnocchi, and it was a good mix.

**The roma tomatoes at the grocery store do not appear to be in season, so I used standard vine-ripened tomatoes & they worked well]

  1. Boil salted pot of water. Add in gnocchi. When gnocchi float up to the top of the pot, strain and set aside.
  2. Slightly sauté chopped onions in a large saucepan on medium heat. After a couple of minutes, add the entire 28 ounce can of tomato puree. Mix in basil, minced garlic, garlic powder, sea salt, ground black pepper, and Italian seasonings. Mix in chopped tomatoes, and cubed brie. Continuously stir until cheese is completely blended. Season freely, to taste.
  3. Mix gnocchi with the sauce on low heat. Keep warm until ready to consume!
SIMPLE HERB SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE BALSAMIC VINEGARETTE
Package of Fresh Herb Salad
1-2 Chopped Tomatoes
Sliced Almonds
Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt & Pepper
Grated Parmesan Cheese
YUM!!!!!

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