Well this post has been a long time coming, but I have plenty of Pantry Doctor shenanigans, travel, and foodie love to share. I have spent the past couple of weeks tromping around Southern California, and it was so absolutely fabulous to run away from all the snow and ice for a bit! Hello California!
I spent some time in Huntington Beach for a meeting, and while I was there I ventured to Dukes on the pier at Huntington for some amazing Ahi Poke sashimi which happened to be music in my mouth.
Speaking of music and foodie love, we shared clams in green curry that left me wanting to drink from the bowl.
We arrived for happy hour and a sunset, so I ordered one of the fresh pineapple martinis which went down way too fast. Warning! I heard nothing but good things, and it was a great spot to catch up with friends and enjoy some amazing food.
I visited a great local spot while staying in the South Bay called Poulet Du Jour. I have been obsessed with Mediterranean food since the time I lived above a Mediterranean restaurant in college. I ordered Baba Ghanoush for an appetizer because I just can’t enter a Mediterranean restaurant and NOT order this. This baba ghanoush, however, did not come out of a can. It was some of the best I have ever had and I had a hard time not eating the whole plate! If it weren’t for all the pita it would have taken, I might have!
One of my favorite Mediterranean dishes is Majadra, which is lentils and rice with caramelized onions. At Poulet, it came with a side of Mediterranean cole slaw. The majadra, was not as flavorful as I remembered. In my memory, the caramelized onions were so burnt it almost tasted sweet. This dish was lacking in some flavor, but after the baba ghanoush, who cares? The Mediterranean cole slaw was amazing so I mixed it all up with the rice and beans to give it more flavor, and added a monstrous amount of chili sauce to do the trick.
During my time out here, I enjoyed some time with the girls by doing a wine tour in Temecula. We had some great weather for this, and lots of energy as you can see. Below is a picture of us at our first stop. I’m sure the headstands would have been much worse after the fourth winery so we had to get them in while we could!
Our limo driver was so sweet. He opened the doors and helped us in and out of the vehicle, bought us a round of tastings, and had this surprise for us when we came out. Who wouldn’t love this sweet man that brought us grapes, cheese, pita and hummus, pistachios, and chocolate covered strawberries?!
This was one of the best days of the trip. Temecula is a cute little town outside San Diego with several wineries surrounding. It has some great little shops and restaurants to check out.
Back in the South Bay, I stopped in to Petros for some Greek food in Manhattan Beach. This was our dip platter. The dips pictured below are: fava bean, eggplant, roasted red pepper, lemony caviar yumminess, and feta. My favorites were the caviar and the eggplant. They all had Greek names, but I am not even going to try to remember what those were, much less try to spell them. We were set up on the patio, and were placed in the middle of what appeared to be a company dinner so I felt like I was in a banquet hall, but the food was fabulous!
One afternoon we took to a path in pallos verdes so I could capture these views. I ask myself: Why am I flying home into another snowstorm?!
We had brunch at a place in Redondo called HT grill. I don’t know what I was thinking when I ordered the shrimp and grits in California. I was really wondering how this would pan out, and I figured anything, and I mean ANYTHING with chorizo incorporated into the dish would be a knockout. Maybe I am a harsh judge, maybe I’ve just had on too many trips to the grit bar at our local Sunday brunch spot, The Nose Dive. In any case, this dish fell flat. It looks beautiful, but it tasted like shrimp in tomato sauce. I added a little sriracha because that balances anything out and makes it doable. On the positive side, who wouldn’t want to enjoy brunch on a beautiful patio by the beach?