Friday, October 30, 2015

The Hyatt Carmel Highlands, a Location of Details

Welcome to living the High Life!  Edible Skinny was up in Carmel last weekend for a night at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands.  This charming rustic retreat is surrounded by the inspiring crisp freshness of pine trees (absolutely nothing smells cleaner, there’s a reason why we use this smell in all our cleaning supplies…) while overlooking the Big Sur coastline with epic views of the Pacific Ocean!

So let’s get this out of the way: YES! The Highlands is definitely the perfect place for a small intimate sunset wedding ceremony.  It’s absolutely gorgeous during the magic hour!  And this is a venue that thrives on making each couple’s special day perfect (and their booking schedule reflects such…).  But there’s so much more to the Highlands than a fantastic place to wear a white dress…

There’s the award winning Pacific’s Edge restaurant (of which you’ll hear more about from Kelly).   There’s complimentary Bianchi bikes you can take down to Point Lobos (also more on this one coming up).  There’s S’Mores kits in the gift shop and fire pits every few steps.  Complimentary binoculars allow you to get a closer look at the seagulls drifting on the gusts echoing from the cliffs below.   The saltwater pool is heated to exactly 82 degrees and three outdoor Jacuzzis are strategically placed around the property for those chilly Carmel evenings. 

The Highlands is a location of details.  When we arrived at this picturesque hideaway we were quickly greeted with a welcome glass of Prosecco, not one but two roaring fireplaces, and a view you will never forget.  Each of the 48 rooms also has a fireplace (whose chimneys are the originals of the 100 year old property) with preset kindling in the hearth so all you need to do is light a match.  There’s intimate boardrooms with view inspiring vistas for an intimate corporate retreat of thirty or less.  When showing us our room our bellman recommended we leave our balcony open at night, allowing us to hear the Pacific’s melodic waves crashing below when drifting off to sleep. 

And with the potential for bottles of wine, plates of cheese, and fabulous Monterey Meringues strategically placed around the room, it’s the perfect retreat for a couple looking to drive up the coast for the weekend.  Or to return once again!  Along with the hotel, Hyatt offers a timeshare side of the property for those who want to return year after year, a popular choice for those wishing to celebrate their wedding anniversary in the same location they got married at!

The Hyatt Carmel Highlands, a great choice for a romantic getaway, an intimate corporate retreat, and yes a charming boutique wedding. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Garlic Lovin' in Gilroy

Last week Edible Skinny was lucky enough to visit the “Garlic Capital of the World” Gilroy, California.  The majority of garlic (90%) grown in the United States comes from California and Gilroy is ground zero for this pungent member of the onion family! 

Gilroy, the southernmost city in Santa Clara County, has a love for all things garlic, and not one thing vampire.   Famous for its world famous Gilroy Garlic Festival (held in July in case you were wondering) that has an attendance reaching almost 100,000 people!   The restaurants lining this sleepy little town feature dishes such as garlic soup, garlic mac and cheese, and garlic ice cream.  So while there we had to swing by The Millas Restaurant to had to have their (off menu) garlic fries. 
The Millas Restaurant was founded in 1922, has been simply known as “The Milias” ever since.  Across the street from town hall, the restaurant has remained an anchor in Gilroy’s downtown district.  Their popular lunchtime menu has been for decades a favorite with local businessmen and shoppers, while the unique, cowboy-motif horseshoe cocktail lounge and adjoining, spacious dining room have served generations of Gilroyans along with a few choice celebrities such as Clark Gable and Will Rogers.

The fries were perfection!   Crispy, brown, and covered in the best that Gilroy has to offer!
Hoping life is delicious and your Gilroy garlic is plentiful, unless you’re a vampire! ;-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Off the Hook: A Sampling of Sustainable Seafood

Photo by Spin PR Group
By Kelly Grace Thomas

Edible Skinny has always been a sucker for fresh, delicious seafood, but as conscious consumers we have concerns about the sustainability of our oceans' cuisine. Thankfully this weekend everyone can enjoy unlimited seafood samplings, guilt free, at the first-ever Off the Hook Santa Monica Seafood Festival on Saturday October 17.  Created in accordance with National Seafood Month, Off the Hook hopes to raise community awareness regarding sustainable seafood while showcasing some of Santa Monica’s finest coastal cuisine.

Photo by Spin PR Group
Held on the Santa Monica Pier from 3pm to 7pm, this delicious event includes all-you-can-eat seafood tastings, beer gardens, live music, interactive displays, cooking demos, oyster shucking competitions and educational programs. The aim of the of the event is both education and appreciation with talks such as What is ‘Local’ Seafood,” “History of Fishing on the Pier,” How We Can Support Local Fisherman” and “Understanding Where Your Fish Comes From,” as well as other marine-inspired activities. This is an opportunity to be educate yourself on sustainable seafood, teaching you where, when and what to buy and enjoy.

“We need to eat more of the right kinds of seafood to support human and ocean health,” said Kim Thompson, Program Manager for Seafood for the Future. “We are delighted to partner with Off The Hook to highlight and celebrate the important role that local seafood from well-managed wild-capture fisheries and environmentally responsible aquaculture play in the bigger picture of responsible seafood!”

Photo by Spin PR Group
A portion of proceeds will benefit Seafood For the Future, the Aquarium of the Pacific’s nonprofit seafood advisory program. Seafood for the Future works closely with aquaculture producers seafood supplies, fisherman, chef and restauranteurs as well as representatives from the government, academia, and NGO sectors to promote healthy and responsible seafood choices.

And who better to showcase these succulent sea samplings than Santa Monica’s finest. Each of these local restaurants will be preparing a dish that represents the diverse talent, and innovative style of each individual eatery. Participating restaurants include The Lobster, Geoffrey’s Malibu, Del Frisco’s Grille, FIG Santa Monica, The Farm, Il Grano, Gladstone’s, James’ Beach, Bubba Gump, Manchego, Whiskey Red’s, Rusty’s Surf Ranch and more. Other exhibitors include Santa Monica Seafood, Santa Monica Aquarium, Bulletproof® Coffee, Boxed Water, The Jolly Oyster and Moet ICE.

Photo by Spin PR Group
Tickets are $60 in advance, and include unlimited food tastings, beer, wine and champagne, You can also enjoy live music and talks at the educational pavilion. The Sustainable Seafood VIP Lounge tickets are $90 in advance and include access to the VIP Lounge presented by Santa Monica Seafood, ATOD Magazine and Fresh Wata with reserved seating, curated cocktails by Green Bar Distillery, beer, wine, raw bar, chef demos and more.

Off the Hook is sponsored by Shock Top, Spin PR Group, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Santa Monica Daily Press, LA Weekly, ATOD Magazine, Time Out LA, Angeleno Magazine, Yelp, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Santa Monica Free Ride, Bulletproof® Coffee, Fresh Wata, Boxed Water, Cheeky, Green Bar Distillery, Santa Monica Seafood and Moet & Chandon Champagne.

So if you're like us and you go crazy for crustaceans, or your mouth waters at a grilled piece of Mahi, look no further than the Off the Hook seafood extravaganza, a chance to appreciate and educate yourself on delicious, eco friendly seafood.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bubbles Fit for a Baron: Sipping Champagne Barons de Rothschild at the Longines Masters

Photo by eugeneshoots
Edible Skinny was lucky enough to experience the Longines Masters last weekend as a guest at the table of Champagne Baron de Rothschild; and if you’re going to be the guest of anyone’s table at the sold out Los Angeles leg of a three part indoor show jumping Grand Slam featuring horses that cost upwards to 50 million dollars, one of the newest and most delightful champagnes in the luxury market is the way to go! ;-)

Photo by eugeneshoots
The Longines Masters was a display in lavishness.  The horses were divine (my Black Stallion novel loving inner child was giddy beyond belief!), the food was exceptional (Yves Mattagne, 2 star Michelen Chef, was flown in for the event… he made great veggie dishes and has a penchant for pouring sauces tableside), but the Baron’s best bubbles were what made the event!

Our host of our tour into the world of affluent effervesce was Monsieur Frédéric Mairesse, Managing Director of the Champagne Barons de Rothschild.   A former winemaker, Frédéric had previously worked for such champagne powerhouses as Champagnes Mumm et Perrier Joüet, Danone Champagne Pommery & Lanson, and LVMH.  In 2003 the Rothschild family decided to take on the challenge of crafting the perfect champagne label (the family had entered the winemaking business 120 years ago and have mastered such favorites as Opus One in Napa).   Their first release was in 2009 and five years later you can find the family’s 300,000 plus Champagne bottles per year in more than 82 countries around the world.  

Frédéric spends most of his time as a Negociant (French for purchaser of grapes) vying for the best Cru grapes (French for the best grapes possible) in an area where there is a finite number of Cru grapes because there’s a finite amount of land (most of these farmers live in tiny houses with a few rows of grapes in the backyard… and a Lamborghini in the driveway).  But Frédéric is a wunderkind of a negotiator as their Brut Multi-Vintage contains 60% Chardonnay grapes that are primarily Grand Crus from the Côte des Blancs.  Champagne Barons de Rothschild focuses on multi-vintage for their Champagne line (due to the exclusivity of the grapes nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests).  

The Rothschild’s approach is their champagne label is a family affair; they look at their fizz as an investment in their children’s future.  The bottle’s symbol of five intersecting arrows represent the 5 sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the original patriarch of the Rothschild dynasty, who in the 1700s sent his five sons out to the countries of Europe but advised them to always unite and work together as family.  A philosophy that allowed the Rothschilds to become the wealthiest family in human history.  And now they’re taking the philosophy into the world of Champagne. 

The results are a Brut Multi-Vintage ($99.99) a rich bubbly nectar that that sips with the lightness of the spark of a new idea.  Wine Spector called it, “well-knit, integrating a firm backbone of acidity and a fine, lightly creamy texture with flavors of patisserie apple, pastry, blanched almond and meringue. A smoky hint of minerality gains momentum on the finish.” 
While at the Longines Masters,  I was also lucky enough to get to sample the Rothschild’s Rose Multi-Vintage (of which only 5,000 bottles are made a year).  As every blissful sip of silky splendor swirled on my palate complimenting the spectacular event before me, all could I think was this is what precision of craft is all about.  

Here’s to life being delicious, sipping the finest of Champagnes, and having grapes in the backyard and a Lamborghini in the driveway! ;-)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Workin' The Tease at the Oaks at Ojai

My burlesque brand Workin’ The Tease was at the all inclusive spa the Oaks at Ojai last weekend for a body empowerment seminar Beauty is an Inside Job– How to LOVE Yourself Naked and our presentation and accommodations were simply fabulous!

It was a fantastic weekend of sharing all the amazing lessons we have learned from interviewing women, and men; of all shapes and sizes comfortable enough to take off their clothes for perfect strangers.  Beauty is an Inside Job's seminar aims to empower you to in the real world, the bedroom, and everywhere in between!  We spent the weekend discussing body image, confidence and beauty with women almost three times our age in the most beautiful setting: The Oaks at Ojai! 

Nestled in northern Ventura County, a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles, the Oaks at Ojai is a peaceful, healthy fitness retreat offering guests everything from guided hikes into the mountains, to aquatic workouts under the warm Southern California sun, and winding down the day with calming restorative yoga.  The Oaks was voted by Refinery29 as one of the “20 of the Coolest Spas in the States” along with being “One of the top five destination spas in the U.S.” by Conde Nast Traveler. 

Founded by internationally known fitness expert Sheila Cluff, who began her career as a Sonja Henie professional showgirl skater.  Cluff, known as the Grandmother of Aerobics, is a wellness visionary who created cardiovascular dance in the 1950s, later known as “aerobics,” and pioneered the concept of the modern destination spa in the 1970s.  Long before the fitness industry came up with the term “aerobics,” Cluff drew from her choreography as a professional ice skater to create “cardiovascular dance,” adding a spark of fun to exercise. 
In the ’70s when those seeking to lose weight on vacation had little choice but to trudge off to the grim “fat farm,” she conceived of a contemporary spa that combined luxurious European body treatments with exciting exercise and healthy delicious food. Thus was born The Oaks at Ojai, which would come to be declared the best destination spa in the United States by Spa Magazine.

In 2005 after a 45-year absence, Miss Shelia Cluff returned to figure skating as Mrs. Santa Claus in Holiday Magic on Ice and helped raise thousands of dollars for Ventura County Foster Children, a role she reprises each year. Since 2006, Cluff has competed in the Ice Skating Institute Adult Skating Championships and in 2011 she swept the competition by skating to perfect scores and wins in six events.

Here’s to life being delicious, ice skating at any age, and always remembering Beauty is an Inside Job!