leaving on a jet plane

I think I should leave a suitcase permanently packed.  I was in Chicago three weekends ago, then Orange County the weekend after that, and now I’m back in Orange County again, leaving for Ireland tomorrow with mum, then to Paris and back to OC for Thanksgiving… that’s a lot of flying in a short period of time!!

I do want to make sure I give you a recap from my first trip down here, especially since I may go radio silent on you all for the next couple of weeks…. I’ll try to check in as much as possible though!

In regards to traveling… my ipad (thanks D, best pressie ever!) saves my life when it comes to flying.  I no longer have to cart around books & magazines as I always have something to read digitally now… how good do these sausage burgers look btw?

and, although off-season, I love the idea of grilled fruit bruschetta

and these salty sweet candied nuts

(ipad had to be put away at this point…

but Southwest’s magazine is always really good to read)

So, when mum picked me up we headed to 118 Degrees for lunch…

…aaaaand, I was tricked.  She told me we were going to a new “healthy, organic” restaurant.  Sounds good, right?  Well little did I know but I was being treated to a raw lunch… the funny thing is I didn’t even realize it until after we finished our meal, ha!  Obviously I was having a blonde moment, since the name of the restaurant is the maximum degrees you can cook raw food to…. helllooooo, earth to niki.  It was surprisingly good though.  I really was quite pleasantly surprised with our choices… like the cucumber salad with corn, quinoa, tahini cheese with lemon vinaigrette.

I think the “fried” avocado tostados was our favorite appie

(avocado saves raw food btw)

The mole enchilada was pretty good as well… spicy tomato coconut wraps with mole chipotle cheese, marinated Spanish squash, carrots, avocado, spicy enchilada sauce and salsa.  The cheese is not really cheese though… they make it out of nuts, herbs & seeds.  Honestly I wasn’t able to figure out where it was in the wrap, but the concept is interesting.

The dessert was awesome though… this was the raw chocolate ganache and it really was tasty.

There was a group of Japenese culinary students visiting, so they all came over to take a picture of our chocolate dessert.  They had just flown in that day!

We also had a couple of bites of their apple pie… it was okay, but we both felt it would have been greatly improved if it was heated above 118 degrees.  But then it would no longer be considered raw, ah well.

Final verdict on raw food?  I’m glad we tried 118 Degrees but raw food is not for me.  Well, not unless it is served along side a juicy steak!

The next day we were running errands in Laguna so we popped by our longtime favorite, Cafe Zinc, for lunch.  We originally were going to grab sandwiches to-go, but since it wasn’t busy we decided to sit and stay.

Funny how such yummy food comes out of such a tiny kitchen… and it’s all vegetarian!  omg, geez you are going to think we are health nuts… raw food one day, then vegetarian food the next!!  And we had  green drinks that mum juiced in the car!

they have a fab egg salad sandi

but this time I tried their composed salad…

fennel salad, egg salad, beet salad w/ greens & a side of brie

they also have a great takeout marketwith lots of yummy to-go itemsand desserts

and baked goods

and really fabulous cakes if you are not in the mood to bake

I also went to Palm Springs for my friend Dani’s Bachelorette party… how amazing is this view?!

we went for a ride on a golf cart in the afternoon

nicki is a crazy driver… we had to hold on for our lives


well, slightly kidding

we stopped to pick lemons

nicki did a sun salutation

we snapped pics w/ pretty backgrounds

and I drove a golf cart for the first time in my life…

it’s really not hard, see… I can even take pictures of the Ni(c)ki’s

We then head back to the party to do bachelorette-type things that I can not discuss here…

sorry, what happens in palm springs, stays in palm springs


back to the oc…

Mum & I were able to meet our friend Cheryl for lunch at Marche Moderne, one of our absolute favorite spots to eat.

I had the potato leek soup to start

mum had a smoked salmon appetizer

cheryl had the cheeseburger

the knife is a bit scary, but the burger looked delicious

I had a beet salad with burrata and a fancy goat cheese panna cotta

mum had the skate wing

we shared an amazing beignet

And we also tried the pumpkin cheesecake. but really it was overshadowed by it’s warm-fried-sugar-coated counterpart.

On our last night we ate in… of course we had to have our favorite salad.

D was in town as well for the SC game so he was able to join as well!

We barbecued chicken that had been marinated in a really yummy lemony herby mixture.

as well as some filet mignon and new york strips

and my dad made some jacket potatoes

we also lit up the halloween decorations… spoooooky

The next morning we had a couple of boiled eggs with soldiers before hopping on our flight.

During the week that I was back in SF Starbucks came out with their red cups… how are we back in holiday cup season already!?

I went for a windy run down by Crissy Field

battled a sand storm

my chives regrew after I killed them

helicopters hovered overhead because of Occupy SF

crosswalk signs were damaged, I assume by Occupy SF protestors…

(thankfully the SF protests are nothing like what is happening over in Oakland)

I became obsessed with a new song

organized my closet… yay for hangers that match!

we drank one of our Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant Wine Club wines…

tres bon

see, I’m practicing my French!

and went on a date w D to Terzo

you definitely have to try their meatballs with polenta

We also tried the buffalo mozzarella w marinated peppers, olive vinaigrette and fried parsley.

and the chicken spiedini… grilled chicken breast & bread skewers

So now I’m leaving again… I’m not sure what my internet situation will be yet, but I will try and check in as much as possible!  I’m so excited to see all my family in Ireland, and then top it all off with three days in Paris… I can’t wait to share it with you all.  See you in a few!

sunrise from SFO, out the window of the plane

chitty chat with me

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