One of my best friends, S of Fork & 5th, decided that she wanted to escape frigid NYC and spend last weekend in wine country prior to our annual bonding week in SF for work. We decided to do the girls weekend Healdsburg rather than Sonoma or Napa this trip to give ourselves the opportunity to explore a new area a bit further northwest of our usual wine country haunts, and IT WAS PHENOMENAL.
We stayed at an adorable Airbnb in Glen Ellen given that we’d planned to stop over at Ad Hoc in Yountville, where the daily-changing menu included a fried burrata we had to try.
Our itinerary included some lovely new wineries including Jordan Winery located on 58,000 beautiful acres and Lambert Bridge winery, which was amazingly pet-friendly for Baloo (my 3 month old puppy).
The tasting at Jordan Winery had lovely food pairings with their Burgundy style Cabernet & Chardonnay.
Walking around the Jordan estate is a must. The main building pictured below is where the end-to-end winemaking happens – grapes come in, bottles come out.
I was lucky to spend Thanksgiving week in the French Riviera or Côte d’Azur with some of my family this year – and it was such a magical time! Here’s a quick post to share some photographic highlights and quick tips from the region:
Gorgeous beaches like this line the coast, steps from the Promenade des Anglais (above); here’s my father enjoying the lovely Mediterranean Sea.
Everyone in France seems to have a scooter – it sure made me miss mine.
Le Negresco is a lovely hotel situated right on the Promenade des Anglais – common to spot celebrities like Madonna, Julien Lennon, Prince Albert, Elton John here. I really loved their holiday décor!
| minnie rose fringe poncho | boots from italian shoemaker in venice (similar) |
Le Chantecler is “worth a detour” per Michelin review sites; I’d especially recommend it though if you get excited about food adventures and gastronomic experimentation. My wonderful parents took me to a belated birthday dinner here – such a treat!
Quick tip: Not likely one is thinking about frugality in a restaurant as this, but a bottle of water costs 12E here, so might as well drink champagne and opt for that wine pairing to enhance the culinary experience ;P
The Musée Massena is located on the Promenade des Anglais – right next to Le Negresco, actually. It’s filled with ornate art and artifacts of the French Riviera and houses Napoleon’s death mask.
The Musée Matisse was one of my favorites in France. Not only do they have a great exhibition of every imaginable media of Mr. Matisse’s work, but the building’s façade and grounds are a beautiful site to admire as well.
The Musée d’archéologique de Nice-Cimiez is a a nice stop after the Matisse Museum – after being indoors enjoying artwork, it’s a nice break to explore the archaeological site outside! By the way, it’s definitely worth getting the French Riviera pass if you’re into site and museum hopping around the region – it grants you access to a lot of these cool places (kids are free, students discounted).
Saint Paul de Vence
One of the oldest towns on the French Riviera, Saint Paul de Vence is a must-see for art-lovers. It is full of history and seemingly endless art galleries. Many well-known artists – including Marc Chagall, Jacques Raverat, and Gwen Raverat – spent parts of their lives and are buried in the local cemetery here.
Here’s a photo of my father with our friend Stephane outside of a gallery. Stephane who is from Saint Paul de Vence & showed us around the area. He runs a private car service across the Côte d’Azur, and I’d highly suggest booking his services if you’re in the area; he’s extremely knowledgeable, honest, kind, and accommodating.
It’s easy to get lost along the cute cobblestone streets here!
This beautiful “bonsai” iron sculpture was actually created by Stephane’s friend and is exhibited outside of a historic church on the street in Saint Paul de Vence.
Wondrous and opulent Monaco features many of the lavish experiences one stereotypically expects – luxury boutiques, incredible cars, beautiful casinos (below is a photo of the world-famous Monte Carlo casino).
What’s also rather amazing – and family-friendly – about Monaco are the many sites to visit, including the Musée Oceanographique de Monaco (below) where you can get lost among the large aquariums and learn some cool things about marine life for a few hours
karen walker harvest with mirrored lenses, soldout (similar with regular lenses)
There are beautiful views along the walk up to the Place du Palais where you can go see the royal guards.
The family was actually in Monaco for american Thanksgiving, so we celebrated a French brasserie-styled Thanksgiving with a feast at the Cafe de Paris on the Place du Casino.
Cannes & Iles de Lérins
I snapped this shot of my parents at sunset in Cannes after we returned from the touring Lérins Island off the coast. They’re hands-down the best people I know. Their love inspires me. And they are just so adorable. I love them to pieces.
Getting the kids into Céline early 😉 special edition navy/tortoise color (similar)
By the way, if you enjoy seafood, it’s AMAZING on the French Riviera. I had so much fresh, tasty sea urchin.
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild: OMG this gorgeous pink mansion seems unreal and gave me a whole new appreciation for the color pink. Definitely a place one should stop for a few hours to tour the extravagant history and take in the beautifully manicured gardens whilst listening to beautiful symphonies timed to the water fountains in the courtyard.
Ok guys, I’m exhausted for now.
Tell me: have you been to any of these places on the French Riviera? Let me know what you think! I’m definitely going back to the Côte d’Azur sometime soon and am open to more recommendations <3
eep… back to reality… it’s been a great #HuckInEurope #eurotrip (you’d know if you’ve been following my Insta-diary), but alas, I have to return to #realLife :'( I owe y’all some post details, but until then, I spent my last evening in Berlin trying to get myself back into the shakes and grooves of creative things that make me feel good – no matter where in the world I’m at – like songwriting…. #SorryForTheSlurs #enjoy #loveYou #byeFelicia
Lush recently released in a solid bar formula of one of their best exfoliants, Rub Rub Rub. In its solid form, Rub Rub Rub is the best exfoliant I have ever used. I loved the original tub form of Rub Rub Rub – it works so well and smells amazing; but the solid version is super easy to use, still smells amazing, and….look how pretty (!)
Sure, there is value in complexity, though if you can achieve a goal via a simple solution, why not?
Here’s a fool-proof recipe for one of my favorite breakfast snacks: avocado toast.
Even if you’re a complete meshugenah
it’d be hard to mess this one up!
Avocado Toast Recipe:
First, identify a ripe avocado. (Good trick is to not simply fondle its sides but also to check if its stem-nub pops off easily as well…then, you’re probably in good shape. You know, like if I was to actively agree to make plans to get smooshed with you, I’m down.)
Then half and pit the avocado and slice it up into a bowl (because what other next step would you take here? #basic)
Add the juice of one lime (And honestly this is semi-optional. I’m only asking for a toothbrush, not for a key to your apartment. You can toss it when I leave. Don’t make a bit deal about it.)
Add a sprinkle of maldon sea salt (aka thoughtfulness #basic)
Add a crack of black pepper (also optional… if you’re feeling ‘serious’ about our connection) and smoosh it all together!
And if you want to really go for the gold… a sprinkle of crushed red pepper.
(Clearly you paid attention that one time at dinner when I ordered a spicy dish; and obviously, I won’t notice that you just opened a packet of dried peppers from the delivery pizza you had last week).
It’s not like I’ve ever expected 1989 roses to celebrate my album release, ya putz.
Earlier this year, my absurdly stylish and smart fairy godmother told me that in relationships that truly matter, in the big picture, there should be no reservations nor doubts in my mind; though things will never be perfect in any relationship, it doesn’t mean that there should be uncertainty. And tonight I saw the light. #wwmdd
Like many beings trying to find meaning and happiness in life – I have been struggling a lot with a number of uncertainties, and I have come to realize it’s because I am a “creation-perv”: I want to touch all of the parts… in creating things that I find meaning in. Before you get creeped, hear me out…
#anecdote-alert: I’ve always been passionate about fashion. I taught myself how to sew as a kid, and after college – in lieu of taking on $300k in debt for matriculation into the Masters program I was looking into – I spent months working at a small sweatshop in Nha Trang, Vietnam to learn the technical fundamentals of patternmaking and garment construction. And while working in Vietnam, I learned the skills that I’d sought out to, spent time with relatives, enjoyed some dank food….ROI, baby.
The light, this night in August:
While heading home after dinner, listening to Taylor Swift, I realized something:
I would not want to design something without knowing how to create the pattern for it, and I would not want to create a pattern for something without knowing how to construct it myself; because having to rely on others to architect and build things I’ve designed with so much of my own blood, sweat, and tears would feel so much less meaningful. I want to touch all of the parts.
This is not to say that I’m necessarily a control-freak. I believe in and understand the values of the division of labor, specialization, and collaboration, and I do not necessarily want to do all of the things, let alone do them myself. But I need to know how. Because then perhaps I could do it – or at least communicate those segments to others, as impassioned as I am, about specifics part of the creation process. And this is where I realized this evening where so much not-rightness, doubtfulness, and uncertainty has been bubbling up for me.
I so deeply value all of the parts that lead individuals along the path of creating – turning ideas into realities, and I believe that in order to most effectively communicate details following deep ideation is to understand all of the pathways through architecture and construction.
So then I went home and practiced my if else loops.
I was feeling a bit lost the other day, so I stumbled into a restaurant in San Francisco’s Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood that I’ve been wanting to try for a while per the suggestion from a serious food-appreciator I know [#acinader]. It’s called Kiss Seafood (1700 Laguna St. (at Sutter), 415-474-2866).
The small 11-ish seat, truly “mom-and-pop”, restaurant is run solely by a husband and wife couple – Takao and Yoko Nakagawa, where he prepares the food, she serves the clientele. They’re in their 60s now, cutting back hours from 6 to 4 days a week… “almost retirement,” I overheard them say in the most modest and genuine way. The couple moved to the United States after about 30 years in Japan – where Takao had been working in “less ingredient-focused” restaurant atmospheres. Takao mentioned that he was excited to open a restaurant where he could really focus on the best ingredients – from their produce and tofu to where their fish was sourced from. The care for the food they served was so apparent with the first appetizer (a small bowl of crisped tiny anchovies tossed with mirin-marinated threads of daikon skin). I had the “special omakase” – a version of their chef’s tasting with their favorite fish choices for the evening; and I’d have to say that I’d without a doubt give it a 5 of 5 stars. I dined alone; the entire experience was surprising, enjoyable, and delightful. I took a few of the following snaps to share my experience and highly encourage not only awesome sushi-appreciators but also those of you looking for unique intimate dining experiences to go by to check them out! (There were only 2 couples there while I dined – one couple on a Tinder date seated at the modest bar and a friend-duo at an adjacent table.)
Here’s the first appetizer course of the special omakase – the crisped tiny anchovies with daikon threads – that I enjoyed with a nice dry Asahi!
Next was a three part appetizer (left to right), a cold salad of Japanese mustard spinach with tofu (very mild and refreshing), a pickled cucumber salad (also mild and refreshing), and one of THE BEST ankimo (or steamed monkfish liver) with daikon I’ve ever had.
Here’s a zoomed in look at that ankimo with shaved daikon, thinly sliced scallions, and ponzu sauce.
Following was the sashimi plate – chockful of their best fish of the night! The toro (fatty tuna) was some of the best I’ve ever had.
The next dish astounded me with its creative use of ingredients, preparation, and cohesive depth – a ground fish sausage in a fried tofu skin, with ponzu-marinated radish, seaweed, soy-marinated green onion accoutrements, and a tasty miso dipping sauce:
Next was a piping hot ceramic crock of chawanmushi – a version of a delicate egg custard flavored by mirin, bamboo shoots and exotic mushroom. Yoko made sure to warn me that there was perfectly cooked halibut at the bottom and to “enjoy scoop by scoop”, not to mix – and oh boy, did I enjoy scoop by scoop
The beautiful nigiri plate was next wherein the marinated tuna, abalone, and wild sockeye Alaskan salmon really stood out to me.
Finally, the cleanest, most delicate yet powerful mushroom soup ended the omakase on a perfect note!
This was not a part of the omakase, though on the specials menu, a wild uni (sea urchin) fresh from Hokkaido that evening, I just had to try. It was absolutely perfect.
The meal ended with a sliver of the perfect melon that I saw Takao delicately select to serve for the evening. So scrumptious!
I left this meal full, satisfied, and a bit more comfortable with the environmental lost-ness I’d entered the experience with. I’d highly recommend trying this restaurant before the Kiss Seafood team fully retires
A friend introduced me recently to the wonderful merits of a classic dirty martini. The basic recipe for a dirty martini includes: vodka, olive brine, dry vermouth, and a green olive garnish (see following).
…though I’ve never been the most keen of basic..recipes. So a few days ago I soaked 6 green olives, a slice of pickled jalapeño, and a slice of pickled beet in about 1.5 cups of Hangar1 vodka. It gives the vodka a lovely blush color!
And this is the recipe I came up with after a few nights of experimentation for my ideal super dirty martini.
Huckleberry Kim’s Super Dirty Martini
4 oz. of soaked dirty vodka
2 oz. dry vermouth
1 oz. olive brine
olives to garnish (I like 3 olives in my dirty martini because yum.)
Good tips for mixing your drink:
Vigorously shake the ingredients with ice for no more than 45 seconds; if you’re going to stir, use a large hunk of super cold ice so it doesn’t melt too fast; don’t stir for more than 30 seconds.
Freeze your martini glass ahead of time to keep it all super cold.
Use a fine strainer when pouring the drink from the shaker into your glass; lots of olive/pickley gunk should be filtered out
New favorite Major Lazer jammy; thanks for the share T.