Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Focusing on Authenticity: Cornerstone Vietnamese Cuisine with Chef Hang Truong’s Noodle Girl

Focusing on Authenticity: Cornerstone Vietnamese Cuisine with Chef Hang Truong’s Noodle Girl

By Kat Thomas

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.”

—Thomas Keller

Consider a kernel of corn, Chef Hang Truong sure has.  

When Chef Hang’s company, Noodle Girl, recently released their Vietnamese Corn Snacks, there was quite a discourse on kernel size.  Turns out American kernels are just all wrong.  “We tried using them but the kernels were too large and not sweet enough to be authentically Vietnamese.”  Naturally the only logical solution was to start importing Vietnamese corn to America, because for Chef Hang this dish's savory soul is found in the authenticity of its ingredients.  

And Chef Hang should know what makes this dish authentic as these Vietnamese Corn Snacks were one of her favorite bites growing up in South Vietnam.  During the Vietnam war, her uncle grew maize, as it was the cheapest food people could afford at that time.  With this corn, Chef Hang's mother developed her Corn Snack recipe.  The perfect nosh, composed of fried Vietnamese corn and then tossed with a mixture of chilies, salt, and sugar.  This mouth-watering recipe then migrated with Chef Hang from Vietnam to the Bay Area to evolve into Noodle Girl’s first snack option. 

Noodle Girl is a Bay Area catering company providing fresh, modern Vietnamese food with garden-fresh produce, bright flavors, and high-quality, local organic ingredients.  Traditionally the Vietnamese cuisine is prepared with minimal use of oil and dairy and relies more on the light, fresh flavors of herbs and vegetables.  As a result, Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

Noodle Girl was born out of the San Francisco based food incubator program: La Cocina. This non-profit program is designed to support low-income entrepreneurs, mostly immigrant women and women of color.  It provides affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance, and access to market opportunities.  

Since opening its doors in 2005, La Cocina (Spanish for “The Kitchen”) has had a hand in helping launch almost 120 food businesses, whose entrepreneurs have gone on to open more than 30 brick-and-mortar locations.  They’ve boot-strapped such diverse budding food businesses as an Arab bakery, an Algerian restaurant, a Cambodian bakery, a Gumbo joint, and a Nepalese restaurant.  La Cocina helps the underutilized carve out their niche in the Bay Area’s culinary landscape; and Chef Hang Truong of Noodle Girl is one of their shiniest success stories. 

Chef Hang has a deep connection with the noodles and soups of her native country. Growing up in the South of Vietnam, Hang began working in her mother’s noodle shop when she was just ten years old. Each morning was focused on serving noodles and as Hang painstakingly learned, the art of creating appetizing noodle dishes.

Chef Hang’s love of cooking became a cornerstone of her life as she married and moved to the U.S.  But it was the necessity of caring for her husband during serious illness that prompted her to explore healthy cooking like never before, combining the nurturing dishes she had learned so early in her life with fresh vegetable-forward, highly nutritious ingredients.

When Chef Hang's husband passed away two years after she moved to San Francisco, she suddenly found herself in need of a way to support herself and her young daughter in the most expensive city in America.  Her nostalgic memories of her mother's cooking, her passion for creating dishes from fresh ingredients, and her deep roots to Vietnam inspired her in 2016 to start Noodle Girl.  Three years later, Hang was nominated in 2019 for a James Beard Award, the food equivalent of the Academy Awards.  

Noodle Girl’s dishes are now served at Golden State Warrior games. Chef Hang’s recipes were featured in La Cocina’s first cookbook:  We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream.  Her Noodle Club serves a bi-weekly rotating selection of truly authentic Vietnamese style noodles and noodle soup dishes with choices including Noodle Bowl Salad with Five Spice Lemongrass Chicken, Vietnamese Style Pork Baby Back Ribs, and Blue Pea Flower Rice Bowl with Chicken.  And of course, there’s those authentic Vietnamese Corn Snacks!

So here’s to life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and every day being the perfect pairing of sweet and spicy as authentic as Chef Hang’s cuisine. 

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy.  When not on an investigative culinary adventure, she is the Creator of This Way Adventures, a Creative Media Company focusing on Peter Pan Ideas and Pixie Dust Magic.  

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Searching for Less Stress in a Can with Zenify

Searching for Less Stress in a Can with Zenify

By Omid Vojdani, Edible Skinny

I’ve been fairly absent from the blog for a while. With trying to keep up a thriving therapy business during a pandemic, buying a home, starting a 3 year program to become a holistic healthcare practitioner, and as of 6 months ago becoming a father, life has definitely been a whirlwind. Time as well as simply brain bandwidth has become an incredibly important resource (as well as sleep with a 6 month old), and I had resided myself to putting aside product reviews for a time to catch up on life. 

Until I was told about Zenify

What is Zenify?

Zenify is a beverage that touts being able to keep you alert yet calm with zero caffeine and no drowsiness. They achieve this with all natural ingredients, including a helpful dose of a variety of B vitamins for energy. But the magic of Zenify comes from the combination of L-Theanine, GABA and Glycine, all three of which have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. The LA based company says the drinks have the antioxidant equivalent of 25 cups of green tea with zero of the caffeine. 

What’s even better is Zenify has a zero sugar option for people like me who want to keep blood sugar spikes to a minimum. They achieve this by switching out the 13g of Non-Gmo Crystalline Fructose with a combination of Erythritol, Stevia and Monk Fruit, all of which do not raise blood sugar levels. And while the original flavor is only 50 calories, the zero sugar option is only 10 calories, so I can have multiple in a day without feeling calorically guilty. 


I want to start out by saying both the original and the zero taste excellent, but the taste is quite difficult to describe. Some people say it has a mild citrus taste, but I don’t feel like that’s an accurate description. Before I became a health and wellness guy, I had a bad habit of enjoying Red Bull energy drinks a little too much. I loved the effects, but hated the chemical taste. Zenify does have a slight ‘unnatural’ taste to it like those other energy drinks, BUT in a slightly sweeter, more pleasing way. It’s sort of like the difference between eating watermelon and a watermelon flavored something. It’s never going to be watermelon, but it can still be very enjoyable. 

The effects of the drink for me were honestly slightly mixed. My busy dads-life self was hoping for an antidote to stress, almost like ‘Zen In A Can.’ The reality was that these antioxidant beverages really only rounded the sharp corners of a stressful day. But honestly, that’s more than enough for me. We all know what it’s like to be so wound up that even just a small amount of tension release can be the difference between making it through the business meeting and burning the building down. 

Lastly, I did notice that the zero sugar was slightly better when it came to the wind down effects. Both have the same amounts of L-Theanine, GABA and Glycine, all which are supposed to promote Serotonin and Dopamine. But I ended up finding that the original with 13g of sugar was better as a post lunch drink, and the zero sugar was better with or after dinner. 


I can’t describe Zenify as the anti coffee, but I definitely can say Zenify fulfills its promise of being a drink that helps reduce stress. The taste for me is amazing, just sweet enough without being candy. The effects are just enough to take the edge off and wind down from a stressful day, and even make that slog after the 2pm slump more enjoyable. 

While you can find Zenify in some grocery retailers and amazon, is the best place to go for all the information and occasional sales on the original and zero sugar. Also be sure to check them out on socials @zenifydrinks as well. They do partner with the Coexist Foundation, and post many helpful tips to increase a little bit of Zen in your life. 

So, if you’re feeling stressed at all in life, which is pretty much everyone during a pandemic especially, give Zenify a try, and see if you love it as much as I do! 

Omid Vojdani is a health and wellness expert with over 10 years of hands-on experience focusing on injury rehabilitation, postural alignment therapy, relationship counseling, and spiritual growth. You can find more info at

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Event People Launch Party!


Talk about Socially Distanced parties done right!  CHECK OUT this fun video highlighting The Event People’s Launch Party on November 20, 2020.  This Las Vegas Creative Co-Op’s artfully Socially Distanced private networking picnic featured Edible Skinny’s Sister Brands: BlingOSaurus' Mowgli the Dinosaur and typewritting poets The Zelda Fitzgeralds!

The event included so many other amazing Professional Artists including:
—Live Entertainment by the Swing It Girls & Becky Fullington
—Build-Your-Own Flower Crown Station by The Petal Pushers (Sponsored by Do Right Industries
—WineStation by Napa Technology 
—CBD Cocktails by The Green Light District 
—Vegan & Gluten-Free Food Options by Debois Tacos 

Thanks for inviting us to the Swinging Party!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Solving the World in Solvang, One Glass of Wine at a Time!

Solving the World in Solvang, One Glass of Wine at a Time!

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

“Travel brings power and love back into your life.”


Some say a vacation isn’t defined by the length of the distance you go, but the ability to allow yourself to step into another world.  And with Covid severely restricting airplane expeditions, the day-trip adventure has become the way to hack travel in 2020.  Which is why Edible Skinny delighted in voyaging to the perfect Los Angeles Stand-In for Europe: Solvang, CA.  The trip might have been just two hours north of the City of Angels, but it sure felt like a world away.  

As Psychology Today reports, “vacations allow your body to “re-set’ and to be more present in the moment.”  Even if we can’t escape to Europe we still need to escape.  “Worry ages a person and vacations, whether around the globe or around the backyard fire pit, allow you to turn off the worry and allow your mind to shift into neutral.”  A couple hours in the car and Kelly and I were overnighting to a drivable fantasy: exploring old-world European architecture, savoring Burgundy quality wines, and reveling in food experiences that rival the Food Halls of Italy.  

Solvang is a little slice of Denmark in Southern California.  Known as the Danish Capital of America, this tiny hamlet has the quaintness of Carmel, the wine quality of Sonoma, and the foodie experiences of Napa.  The town, of course, is housed in the middle Santa Barbara wine country.  This expansive wine region is composed of a patchwork quilt of micro-climates and terrains, resulting in one of the most diverse grape growing regions in the world.  That’s 275 plus wineries in the seven approved American Viticultural Areas (AVA) harvesting a total of 16,166 acres of land.  If you close your eyes you’ll think you’re in the south of France.  

So in preparation for your own great escape, the following are some places of note to explore when you want to discover yourself in your backyard.  Here’s to life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and power and love returning into your life.  


Upon arrival in Solvang we contactlessly checked-in to The Hamlet Inn.  It’s a simple hotel, but it’s simplicity done right.  

For a wandering traveler, a hotel space that incorporates specific individual distinctions will completely transform their time from a “hotel stay” into a “hotel experience.”  All of The Hamlet Inn’s 15 Danish-inspired rooms are Scandanavian in design and decor from an offset sink allowing for easier access to your toiletries to the plethora of hooks to hang your clothes on to the red and white colored Danish flag bedspread.  Instead of having these rooms just be a place to sleep, each space also includes a dining area, with a coffee maker and fridge, and a workstation/productivity area with lots of plugs.  The free Wi-Fi was perfect for a traveling telecommuter like Kelly.  On the entertainment side, the hotel offers free use of their bicycles providing guests with alternate transportation to nearby shops and wine tasting.  And for those who just want to chill and drink some of the wine they bought during their day’s tastings, there is an outdoor gazebo.  Added bonus, vouchers at Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery for a breakfast pastry the next day!  


Louis Lucas and Royce Lewellen met in 1975.  Louie was a third generation grape grower who had been supplying premium wine grapes for reputable Napa and Sonoma wineries for decades, while Lewellen was a Superior Court Judge who was a passionate wine enthusiast with a vision for the future of the Santa Barbara County wine industry.  Over time their friendship blossomed into a 25 year old business, 400 estate acres, three major wine labels, two popular tasting rooms in downtown Solvang, and a state of the art winery.  

Kelly and I sat down for some delicious wine with Michael Lewellen, Managing Partner, Sales and Marketing Director, and son of founder Royce Lewellen.  2020 was quite a year for Lucas & Lewellen.  Besides the issues with the Vid, this summer was one of the hottest on record in Santa Barbara County (115, not ideal for grape growing).  And then there were smoke issues from the fires in Napa and Sonoma (once again, not ideal for grape growing).  But positivity prevailed and the harvest was successful!  Plus the city of Solvang closed the street that their two downtown tasting rooms are located on.  This allowed Lucas & Lewellen to create a patio experience tasting room so their wines could still be discovered in an al fresco environment.  It’s been quite a wild ride, but Lucas & Lewellan’s steadfast focus has allowed their brand to have one of their best sales years to date.

Lucas & Lewellen have been crafting wine for generations, and you can taste it.  All of Lucas & Lewellen wine is made with 100% estate fruit (which means the grapes are grown solely on their property) from three different vineyards from three of Santa Barbara County’s separate and distinct climate zones.  Each property creates a different style of grape, that when blended with an alchemist style of attention to detail create some fantastic wines for an amazing price point.  And with 24 grape varieties, the permutations are endless.  This is a brand where creativity is embraced.   

One standout wine for Kelly and I was their “High 9” Pinot Noir.  This is a limited vintage from the highest nine acre block of the Goodchild Vineyard, which also happens to be an outstanding location to grow the superior clone 667.  The wine is then aged in French oak barrels, creating bright red fruit flavor and a lingering finish.  As Kelly said, “It’s like it’s saying ‘I’m here’ with a lot of pucker; like it’s the wink on a semicolon.”  An opinion that’s echoed in the 91 points rating they received in the July 2020 edition of Wine Enthusiast.  

Another amazing discovery was their “Cote del Sol” Cabernet.  The “Side of the Sun” is Lucas & Lewellen’s reserve level-Cabernet crafted from a combination of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah.  This bottle toys with the aspects of time.  The Cabernet grapes are first harvested from the “sunny side” of their Valley View vineyard.  Once these grapes are grabbed, Mother Nature puts her time and effort into energizing the grapes on the more shaded side of the mountain.  After a week or two these shadow grapes become more complex in nature, they too are then harvested.  And while this is happening, the winery is also delaying the harvest of the 8% Syrah grapes for an extra 2-3 weeks.  Even though these two varietals are not traditionally harvested at the same time, through the magic of creative farming Lucas & Lewellen make it so.  Thus allowing for them to be crushed together so that the grapes, and their juices, can co-ferment.  The result is a wine that hints at the secrets of dark plums and garden herbs with a subtle softness that begs for a sunset to toast to.  


Once we finished up at Lucas & Lewellen, Kelly, Michael, and myself crossed the street directly to their sister brand the Toccata tasting room.  The old world meets the new world at Toccata, which pours estate-grown classic Piedmontese varietal wines.  But there’s no bad blood here.  In the spirit of sibling harmony, if you purchase a wine tasting at one tasting room Lucas & Lewellen will take half off the regular tasting fee at the other tasting room.  

All this attention to detail has created quite a following for these brands.  In Santa Barbara wine country the average wine club retention rate is 2 ½ years, but for Lucas & Lewellen it’s double that.  Speaking about their wine club, it is a total steal at its price point.  It includes bi-monthly releases of 2-3 wines to compliment each season.  Wine club members automatically get 25% of the wines in the shipment and a 20% off savings on all non club wine purchases.  And for those fussy drinkers, the brand will tailor your shipments to match your preferences.  Their events include experiences such as the ability to prune a vine, opportunities to participate in (pre-Covid) wine cruises, and of course parties!  You could say it’s totally La Dolce Vita.  


After sipping the high life, it was time for some Eats, Industrial Eats that is! 

Industrial Eats is a quality focused dining experience tucked away in a repurposed warehouse on Industrial Way in Buellton, California.  As its Instagram bio explains the restaurant was “born on december 9 2013 with one big ass fan and two wood fired ovens.”  Owners Jeff and Janet Olsson, who have operated New West Catering since 1998, said their intent with creating Eats was to open a restaurant that they themselves would want to frequent.  The result was a foodie wet dream built on prices and flavors that speak to the masses.    

Details matter here.  The space is tattooed with graffiti of produce on its exterior walls, there’s a craft butcher counter filled with house made treats, and multiple dishes unexpectedly involve caviar.  Kelly and I started off with one of their “Get In My Belly,” aka salads, which consisted of Smoked Pheasant, Basil, and Citrus. This lettuce had the Bliss Point perfection of the richness of a smokey gamey meat and the healthiness of farm to table veggies.  One bite and we knew: this is the type of place where skilled chefs have just plain mad respect for honest ingredients grown in their backyard.  

Eats’ two wood fired ovens churn out thousands of seasonal dishes every year, all sourced from sustainable farms and food pioneers.  So Kelly and I went for their best selling Fennel Sausage Pizza.  This was no hum-drum pie, this was a lesson in gastronomy.  The crust was thin and crispy, the fennel sausage was homemade, and the crispy basil on top was the piece de resistance!


The next morning, I rolled out of bed and strolled over to The Good Seed Coffee Boutique.   This micro-roastery is owned by Brad and Leyla WIlliams, whose mission is to create coffee for a thoughtful life.  As both a Q Grader (someone who ranks coffee quality similar to a wine comelier) and a roaster, Brad is intimately attentive to each new batch of coffee seeds for their coffee house guests and club members.  The barista explained to me, “he’s like a mad scientist when it comes to roasting.”  Dedication is what transforms dreams into a reality and when that dedication is directed toward the perfect cup of coffee the result is a cup of joe where just one sip can transport you to another universe.  And just to add a bi
t more quickness to their tale, Brad’s wife Leyla crafts and sells 8 different types of sourdough bread loaves made per pre-order, with a 3 day fermentation process beginning on Wednesday for Friday pickup.  Swing by and sample one of their Superfood Lattes!   

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at:

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Pain-Doughlorian from One House Bakery

The Pain-Doughlorian from One House Bakery

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

In October, I was lucky enough to be in Benicia, CA during the town’s annual Scarecrow Contest where one edible scarecrow was creating quite a bread buzz!

One House Bakery took Benicia's straw mannequin game into hyperdrive with what they referred to as the “Pain Doughlorian,” a series of baked life-size replicas from The Mandalorian made from everyone’s favorite carb to love-to hate-to love.  

"I Have Spoken!"  Named for “pain,” the French word for “bread,” the collection included three full-sized recreations: Din Djarin’s “Pain Doughlorian,” “Baby Dough-da,” and “The Pandroid,” the bounty hunter lethal-android-come-retooled-babysitter IG-11.

"Don't Eat That!"  The immersive art installation took two weeks to create by One House owner Hannalee Pervan and her staff and family.  The Pain Doughlorian’s armor was crafted entirely of bread, Baby Dough-da utilized bread while floating in mixing bowls, and the Pandroid consisted of “pans and other kitchen tools'' from One House's bakery.  

The result was magically awesome!  The perfect fusion of Star Wars nerdiness blended with Cordon Bleu culinary prowess.  This was the a fun time!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at:

Monday, February 8, 2021

Keep Summer Blue: Lake Tahoe, the Perfect COVID Vacation - Part Two

Keep Summer Blue: Lake Tahoe, the Perfect COVID Vacation - Part Two

By Kat Thomas

Part Two in the Adventures of Tahoe Summer for the Thomas Gals!  When we last left our fearless sisters they were living the lake life while residing in the teeny tiny town of Tahoe City, CA.  We will now continue on the epic greatness that was their six-day summer vacation!  

Tahoe in the summer is all about water sports and thus Kelly and I, ocean babies that we are, were about to become something we would have dreamed possible: River Rats.  But there’s a first time for everything!  So we signed up for a Truckee River Rafting trip, the IRL equivalent of a waterpark’s lazy river!

The Truckee River Rafting trip is a self guided raft trip offering commercial grade rafts (2, 4, 6, and 8 person in size) allowing adventurers to idol the day away on the Truckee River.  The 2-3 hour trip floated us through tranquil stretches of scenic meadows, mountains, and small rapids.

We began our leisurely float in Tahoe City, along a peaceful stretch of the Truckee River, ended at the River Ranch Restaurant.  The website suggested you bring a small cooler with snacks and drinks (but no styrofoam or glass) for impromptu picnics along the way! 
I ate one too many edibles at the beginning of our ride and as a result my cat-like reflexes were not up to snuff.  READ: we hit a fallen tree because I was too Stoned.   Rest assured we were fine as we were in an inflatable rubber tube going a maximum boat speed of 3 miles per hour…  Let’s just say hilarity ensued and it was hysterical both in physical reality and the altered state of consciousness I was in! 

Luckily the edible’s effects lessened, allowing me to more consciously experience the numerous impromptu photo shoots of the Thomas Gals.  Adventuring included: pulling over to a side bank for our picnic lunch, swimming in a giant natural whirlpool where we lazily spun circles, pulling over for an al fresco glass of wine in our matching Seafoam Yeti cups (so Bougie, but at the same time such an amazing cup!), joining an impromptu riverbank dance party (a direct byproduct of a couple stationed at the water’s edge with a table, two beach chairs, a bottle wine, and a massive old school Boombox).  All of it was Absolutely Fabulous!!!

The ride finished with a bit of Level One Rapids (truthfully I’ve seen scary drops on the Log Flume ride on the Boardwalk, but it’s still fun to boast you did some Level One Rapids...).  This water adventure was fantastically fun with hints of Tom Sawyer, J. Crew, and a Moveable Feast.  

I guess you could say, it’s a Waterful Life!

Marg my words, after all the bumper boat adventures, it was time for Happy Hour! 

So for our post-tributary libation we headed over to the Pioneer Cocktail Club, a rustic-chic tavern serving innovative cocktails and an eclectic bar menu, including Amazing wood-fired pizzas.  Yummm!  This is as Hipster Bougie as Tahoe City (with its population of 2,100 people) gets.

Pioneer Cocktail Club’s cocktails are divinely simple.  Each craft cocktails is made with artisanal spirits (including Tahoe Blue vodka), fresh juices, and house-made syrups.  For our imbibing adventure, Kelly started with an Autumnal Mexicano cocktail: the Spiced Pear Mule crafted with Tito Vodka, Spiced Pear, Ginger, and Lime.  I chose something more Mad Men Hipster: the Oaxacan Old Fashioned made with Mal Bien Mezcal, Chocolate Bitters, and an Orange Twist.  The next round included the delightful Ta-Hoe’s crafted with Gin, Watermelon, Lime Juice, Apricot, and Serrano for Kelly.  Totally summer in cocktail form!  I went for the Tree Hugger’s Gimlet composed of Gin, Douglas Fir Brandy, and Fresh Lime.  (I told you it was Hipster Bougie…!)

Kelly and I went Halvies on the dinner splitting two showstoppers from the menu.  The Derby Burger with Pimento Cheese, House Pickles, Garlic Mayo, and BBQ Fries was the perfect blend of Americana and Down Home Southern.  We complimented it with one of Pioneer Cocktail Club’s famous wood-fired pizzas: Bitches Love Burrata concocted from Basil Pesto, Tomato, and Burrata Cheese.  They say money can’t buy you happiness, but those people have never had burrata pizza under the redwood trees while watching the sunset reflected in Lake Tahoe.  

The inside scoop on feeling like a kid again!  After discovering that Pioneer Cocktail Club didn’t offer dessert options (too Hipster Bougie to care about losing out on the dessert market share), Kelly and I sauntered next door to Poppy’s Frozen Yogurt & Waffle Shop for a summer ice cream nightcap (a rite of passage at the Jersey Shore).  Like every perfect cone shop, Poppy’s has a walk-up window for ordering and outdoor seating.  Their ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet comes in a variety of flavors that change daily.  A few examples of their playful options include blackberry, cake batter and sparkling pink lemonade.  It turns out life is better with sprinkles!  

Home is where the sailboat is! Kelly and I finished out our Tahoe Summer Adventure with a sunset cruise with Tahoe Sailing Charters.  With a slogan of “turning winds into smiles,” we knew the two of gals were in for a fun time with this one!

They say that life is just a series of obstacles preventing you from sailing, which a philosophy the Thomas Gals thoroughly embrace having grown up on the shores of Long Beach Island, NJ. (Tahoe, with its plethora of water sports activities, constantly reminds us of a freshwater version of Barnegat Bay!) 

I like big boats and I cannot lie... At 5:30pm, we boarded the Santa Cruz 50 aka the “Tahoe Cruz” and headed for a sunset cruise on The Hoe’s blue waters!  Although there was not a ton of wind, just being on the water was the perfect cap to a delightful Covid-y socially distanced vacation. Plus, the bottomless Costco Champagne didn’t hurt either!

As Kelly and mine toes skimmed the sapphire blue water, Tahoe Sailing Cruises First Mate spun us tales of local Tahoe lore such as where Marilyn Monroe REALLY died (Hint: it was on Lake Tahoe) and whether or not there’s a fully preserved elephant from the 1940s named Mingo at the bottom of the lake.  BTWs, the later lore is a total falsehood (later Googled), as after residing in the area for a few years Mingo the Elephant returned to his first home in Woodside, CA because it did not like Tahoe’s mountainous elevation and hated to be away from his zebra love.

What a picture perfect way to finish off the Thomas Gals magical Tahoe adventure, gliding on towards a rose quartz sunset sky with the wind at our back and the waves playfully kissing our feet!  Here’s to life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and summer adventures that go on forever!  

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Keep Summer Blue: Lake Tahoe, the Perfect COVID Vacation - Part One

The Thomas Gals!

Keep Summer Blue: Lake Tahoe, the Perfect COVID Vacation - Part One

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

This summer multiple members of the Edible Skinny family were lucky enough to vacation in Lake Tahoe, CA!  As anyone in 2020 knows, COVID-19 was the hurdle to this year’s summer, with many metropolitan dwellers searching for the perfect relaxable place, ideally somewhere that was easily drivable so you could nix a plane ride and embraced the world of social distanced activities.  And thus Lake Tahoe, with the pine-scented atmosphere and its multitude of summertime water sports, became the perfect solution (as if it wasn’t already) for anyone living in the Bay Area. 

Lake Tahoe, located 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, is widely considered one of the most beautiful places in the world.  Nothing can diminish the first impression of driving towards the lake and seeing this giant pool of indigo-blue water cradled between mountain ranges.  The lake is located 1,897 meters atop the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range on the California and Nevada border (2/3 in California and 1/3 in the state of Nevada).  The clear, cobalt blue lake welcomes about three million visitors annually while the year-round resident population is about 53.000.

Tahoe City View!

First there’s the Lake itself at a depth of 1,644, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America.  Having been on this earth for 2 million years, the lake is considered an ancient lake.  It is the second deepest lake in the United States (Crater Lake is the winner winner chicken dinner!) and one of the deepest in the world.   The most popular visual image used for contexts is that you could completely submerge New York’s Empire State Building, which stands at 1,454 feet at the tip, and you wouldn’t see it at all.  At the longest and widest, Lake Tahoe measures 22 miles by 12 miles, with a shoreline circumference of 72 miles.   

Then there’s the water in this lake; it’s as pure as drinking water.  The water in Lake Tahoe is 99.994% pure, according to the Tahoe Fund, making it one of the purest large lakes in the world.  For comparison, commercially distilled water is 99.998% pure, so it’s pretty darn close!  Pretty much everywhere you dine urges you to kick your bottle water habit and replace it with Tahoe Tap! 

I had visited Tahoe once in the winter for a skiing adventure (which was simply fabulous and rightfully so as this location hosted the Winter Olympics in 1950), but this was my first time at the Lake during the summer.  Now I knew I was in for an entirely different experience, but truthfully I hadn’t fully comprehended the Perfect Storm of water sport activities that is Lake Tahoe.  The lake is the perfect excuse to get out and enjoy the 300 plus days of sunshine:  sailing, standup paddle boarding, and river rafting.  No wonder it had become one of the Bay Area’s favorite playground’s even before a certain buzzkill disease!

So with that in mind, here’s some fabulous things we experienced during our times in Tahoe this summer (there were enough, we broke it into 2 articles)!

Here's to life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and 300 plus days of sunshine allowing you to do every watersport under the sun!  


The areas of the Lake itself are as varied as the activities you can do upon it.   The south shore is more popular among those looking for socialized entertainment and nightlife experiences such as bars, restaurants, and casinos, but not during the time of COVID.   

Sitting on the Dock of the Lake!

Instead the Edible Skinny crew stayed in the small town of Tahoe City on the north side of the Lake (mainly because that is where the house we were staying at was located).  Overall, north Lake Tahoe is more known for its quieter, more laid-back atmosphere.  On this side of the Lake, the towns are smaller in size and most businesses have earlier closing hours, resulting in visitors experiencing a quaint community feel.  And the shining star of the north Lake Tahoe experience is Tahoe City!

Located at an elevation of 6,250 feet, this small mountain town has a quiet relaxed hamlet feeling as the town’s population is only 1,557 people.  The city’s heritage dates back to the Gold Rush, when fortune hunters passed through on their way to mine for silver in the Comstock Lode.  Tahoe City is perched on the north shore of Lake Tahoe at the headwaters of the Truckee River, the Lake’s only outlet.  The walkable downtown is four city blocks long, yet despite its size contains a vibrant mix of recreation, innovative cocktail culture, and breathtaking natural beauty.  That along with the night sky make it a five billion star vacation!  


We like big boards and we cannot lie!  The best experiences at Lake Tahoe are on the water so to ensure a constant smile, Kelly and I rented 2 paddleboards from Tahoe City Kayak.  Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) offers a fun way to play on the water, with the added benefit of a full-body workout to boot!  And, since you (eventually) stand at full height on your board, it gives you a unique vantage point for viewing what’s down under the water and out on the horizon.   

Kelly Blue Crushing the Lake!

The calmest water for paddling is in the morning, so it's ideal to paddle early in the day.  And the ladies and gents of Tahoe City Kayak made it super duper easy with a water launch site located right at Commons Beach, the public beach in the four block town.  Opting for the half day experience, Kelly and I packed sandwiches for the ultimate waterfront dining experience on Carnelian Bay.  Up close and personal the water of Lake Tahoe is amazingly clear, and more than a bit chilly billy!  A plunge into Lake Tahoe can literally take your breath away.  Lake Tahoe’s average surface temperature in the summer is 63 Degrees, and can drop to 53 Degrees just 18 inches below the surface.  But that didn’t stop the Thomas Gals from jumping in multiple times to experience some of the freshest water in the largest plunge tank on the planet.  

Kat Headstanding it Up!

Girls just want to have sun!  Now anytime Kelly and I vacation together we always decide to make some of our adventures epic photoshoots!  What do you expect from two sisters who spent all their time pretending to be Madonna when they were kids?  Especially considering the backdrop it couldn’t get better!  The beautiful hues of emerald, green and blues, shorelines peppered with massive boulders, and multiple costume changes.   Once we got the basic poses, I started experimenting with some simple yoga poses.  Humble never felt so crisp and refreshing as I fell into the water an infinite number of times.  In the end, we had hundreds of shots to remember the perfection of this day for years to come

Endlessly Blue!


They say you should never chase anything but drinks and dreams!  And the perfect place to do both is Jake’s by the Lake with a Kimo’s Mai Tai, one of Jake’s signature cocktails from the shores of Lahaina aka “Aloha in a Glass.”  Family owned and operated since 1978, Jake’s On The Lake is the ultimate lakefront dining experience in Tahoe City.  Now I have to admit, I was a bit surprised that Mai Tais would be a “Lake Thing,” but it turns out Jake’s Tahoe dining philosophy is: “come to altitude and let Tahoe change you with Jake’s Mountain Aloha.”  

Wooden Menus!

Jake’s restaurant menu is inspired by California and Hawaiian flavors.  Our entrees reflected this island's vibe!  I sampled the Macadamia Nut Halibut, where the fish was wild line caught and paired with Black Forbidden Coconut Sticky Rice, Asparagus, and Passion Fruit Beurre Blanc.  With every bite I felt like I should be on the shores of the Maui instead of the middle of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Kelly had the Pacific Sea Bass with Ginger Saffron Coconut Risotto, Summer Squash, Pancetta, and Sweet Chili Pineapple.  All she could say was Mahalo Jake’s!  

Lovebirds Kelly and Omid!

But the shining moment of the meal was Jake’s famous Aloha Pie.  As we sat down to dinner, a slice of it caught my eye from across the (social distanced) aisle and right then and there I declared by the end of the night that pie would be mine!  Hula Pie originated at Kimo’s in Maui and has since spread to other restaurants across Hawaii and the mainland.  It even makes an appearance at a few restaurants like Jake’s and Sunnyside the shore of Lake Tahoe.  This pie is so famous it comes with its own special pie plate and although it is portioned for sharing, it rarely goes unfinished.  

Hula Pie on its Special Plate!

Hula Pie is made with macadamia nut ice cream stacked high on a scrumptious chocolate cookie crust.  A layer of cool chocolate fudge sits atop the ice cream giving form to this delight.  Whipped cream that is carefully applied to resemble a hula skirt dances at its base before decadent hot chocolate fudge is poured over the top and drizzles to each side.  Finally more toasted macadamia nuts fall and cling to the hot fudge bringing together everything your taste buds need for a vacation.  The tip of the Hula Pie is always pointed towards the “I” on their signature plate because first impressions are everything when it comes to something as serious as dessert.  

Just Hum the Jaws Theme While Looking at This...!

All I can say is A Hui Hou Jake’s (Translation: Till We Meet Again)!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at