Tuesday, August 31, 2010

St. Regis Hotel (San Francisco)

The exterior of the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco is rather unassuming and discreet.  In fact, unless you are actually looking for the hotel you can easily walk right past it.  However, if you are lucky enough to step foot inside you will find that there is a whole other world waiting for you.  The public areas on the ground floor are very sophisticated and chic without being pretentious.  Think lots of zebrawood paneling, herringbone wood floor and lots of reflective surfaces like glass and mirror.  Oh yeah, and who can forget the amazing glass chandelier above the bar. It's gorgeous.  Overall the hotel is very comfortable and the bar service in the lobby is always impeccable.  Mr. B and I try to jet set up to San Francisco at least once per month.  We joke that it is our home away from home.  The bar at the St. Regis is always on our list of places to stop by.  It's an oasis in the middle of the city.

More on the St. Regis tomorrow. Stay tuned for something really special.
My drink of choice at the St. Regis: the "Ginger Pom Cosmo" made with ginger beer and pomegranate juice. It's no longer on their drink menu but just ask for it and they will be happy to make it for you.
Don't feel like you have to come to the bar just for cocktails because the food is pretty amazing.  The sweet corn chowder had me wanting more. 
The pork bun trio satisfied my craving for dim sum.  These are fairly new to the menu and are incredibly delicious.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It was the cake's fault...

What I am about to say may shock those who do not know me. I do not cook. There. I said it. It's on the table and out in the open. To say I have never cooked is unfair. But I can count the number of times I have cooked on one hand. No exaggeration. In some cases the food came out great (roast pork tacos) and in other cases it was pure disaster (baked pasta casserole). Needless to say, Mr. B and I eat out a lot.

I read a story in the LA Times entitled "Historic Appeal" that talked about Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections who attempted to recreate the Grapefruit Cake from the now defunct historic Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood.  Gordon's recipe accompanies the article which states that she "...worked hard to research the confection’s history. Eventually, she honed in on a recipe that both honors the spirit of the classic while adding new vitality with fresh ingredients." 

The photo of the grapefruit cake in all its pastel glory called to me. The article intrigued me.  And it got me thinking, as it did with Valerie, about other historic recipes that were lost at the close of many other legendary L.A. restaurants.  So what happens when you are home recuperating from surgery? With the internet and a credit card you go shopping. And that is exactly what I did. I located a couple of vintage cookbooks and at the click of a button later they will be arriving on my doorstep in a few days. My goal is to make that grapefruit cake.  Maybe it will inspire so much more. Maybe it won't. I will keep you posted.

Grapefruit cake photo by Amy Neunsinger via LA Times

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Friday - Random Photo of the Day

I love how these vibrant blue bistro chairs coordinate with the exterior of this San Francisco cafe. I wish I could be sitting here with Mr. B watching the world go by.  Isn't it funny how you can have the best time with someone even if you doing nothing.  

Have a fabulous weekend.   

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wishful Thinking

This may be optimistic but I am hoping I will be feeling well enough to travel a few days after my surgery even though my doctor said to expect a week to recover.  I figure if I won't feel up to doing much of anything, how about doing nothing at a fabulous resort.  However, I don't know if going back to work with a tan after being off sick for surgery is such a good idea.  Probably not.

Last year I spent some time at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Surprisingly, it was one of the best trips I had.  I swam under the stars, hiked up a mountain at 5 am in a million degree heat, went to the spa almost daily, and slept like it was going out of style.  I think I even read a book or two.  I haven't read one since. I always considered myself to be one who likes active vacations.  Who knew I would actually enjoy doing absolutely nothing. 

A beautiful sunset at the Four Seasons Troon North Resort in Scottsdale, AZ.

Aren't the hand painted sinks and bath accessories a nice touch? I think recuperating in style may actually make me feel better.  I can even send myself some "get well soon" flowers!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In Need of Comfort Food

Soup is definitely a comfort food.  And that is what I will be needing over the next week since I will be having surgery tomorrow.  I have been very apprehensive about the surgery for the last few weeks and I just want to hurry up and get it done.  When I started this blog, I wanted to post pretty pictures...not bore you with the details of my problems.  After all, I am sure you have your own things to worry or be concerned about.  

What are your favorite comfort foods?

Do you have a favorite soup? Do you have any great (easy) soup recipes you can share?

Potato and bacon soup from Delius Restaurant in Signal Hill, CA.
Yes, it was delicious!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sweet Treats

Mr. B and I walked past a cupcake shop this weekend. I could not walk by the window without stopping and looking at these sweet little treats. I never really got into the whole cupcake craze but I do think that these edible delights look inviting.  And once we walked passed the shop I wondered....is the cupcake craze at its peak? Has it fizzled out already? Does it depend on what part of the country you are in?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pretty in Pink

Mr. B and I have not entertained in a long while since our place in the midst of being redone, renovated and redecorated....one room at a time.  However, seeing this tablescape with the bright pink tablecloth makes me want to have a party for my gal pals.  I envision us sitting around the table talking, laughing, gossiping (did I just say that?) eating, and just having a plain 'ol good time. 

Tell me...when was the last time you entertained? Did your party have a theme? Do you like entertaining or do you consider it just too much work?

This is a tablescape from a Georgetown, Washington DC. boutique.  I fell in love with the color and the oversized red lantern.  The setting is classic and clean, yet very feminine. This color of pink makes me feel happy.

These flowers were find from a recent farmers market visit. I would love these to be the center of attention in the middle of the table.

Source unknown

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Friday - Photo of the Day

Every time Mr. B and I have a bottle of champagne we always keep the metal cap. We didn't plan on starting this collection.  It just kinda happened.  And it all started with keeping one cap from a bottle of our wedding champagne. We don't display them or do anything special with them. In fact, they sit in a zip lock bag stored in a kitchen cabinet.  I pulled them out today and realized that some of them are quite interesting.  Almost little works of art on metal.  They make me happy because they remind me of good times shared with the Mr. 

Now it's your turn.  Tell me... what do you collect? Do you display your collections?

A few of our champagne caps.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remembering Venice

A few months back I took a trip to Venice, Italy.  I stayed in a great central location at the Starhotels Splendid Venice which is just a 5 minute walk from St. Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge.  I had a beautiful room overlooking the intersection of 2 small canals.   The location could not be beat.  I have stayed with this chain before so I knew I would not be disappointed with their Venice location.  And even though it is a chain hotel the design of each is unique to their location.

It is not unlike me to take pictures of the hotels I have stayed in.  I take pictures of everything.  I managed to take a few not so good pictures of my room and the view but forgot the public areas of the building.  As I sit here dreaming of Italy, I cannot forget the wonderful place I called home for 6 days.

Photos via Starhotels Splendid Venice.

The main dining room is a focal point of the hotel.  The glass ceiling lets in wonderful light during the day.

There is a small bar and  lounge off the entrance. I love the juxtaposition of the wicker chairs in a contemporary  setting.  It provides the space with a more relaxed feel.

A secondary dining room with views of a small canal.

The main lounge is a comfortable spot to mingle with friends and have a drink. I adore the colors of the room.

Sit back and relax....stay a while.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sweet Treats in San Francisco

Schoggi (meaning "chocolate") is a wonderful find in the South of Market (SOMA) district of San Francisco.  Over 80 varieties of handmade sweet treats (chocolates and petite pastries) using 100 year old Swiss recipes are served up in a clean, modern storefront located in a pedestrian only promenade accessible from Market Street.  A nice variety of teas and coffees are also available.  
A variety of milk chocolate truffles and a "Noisetta" (pictured center), a milk chocolate cup of crunchy roasted hazelnuts.
A chocolate sampling and petite pastries. 

Schoggi Fine Swiss Chocolates
87 Yerba Buena Lane
San Francisco, Ca 94103
(415) 243-4444

Monday, August 16, 2010

Inquiring Minds Want to Know...

Monday.  It is the start of a new week and this is going to be a very long day for me at work.  But for now sit down, read the paper (or whatever you do in the morning) and join me for a cup of coffee and a warm apple tart.

Tell me...what do you eat for breakfast? Do you have any breakfast rituals?
Warm apple tart with a light flaky crust.  Photo taken with my Olympus point and shoot
When I started this blog I would have never thought that I would have received comments and numerous private emails inquiring about my camera. I use a Nikon DSLR and use 2 different lens depending on what I am shooting.  However, I also have an Olympus point and shoot that is usually with me wherever I go.  And on one particular morning while having an apple pastry and a cappuccino I was glad I had my trusty friend with me. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Friday - Photo of the day

Sometimes it is the simple things that can put a smile on my face....like a refreshing glass of fresh brewed ice tea.

Tell me...what simple things put a smile on your face?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bottega Louie (Downtown L.A)

Bottega Louie is a gem in Downtown Los Angeles and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It has has a cool, glamorous vibe with its soaring high ceilings and touches of gold gilding. Not only is Bottega Louie a chic restaurant, it also incorporates a small gourmet market and bakery.

The gilded gold desk is a nice decorative touch and serves as a hostess station. The open kitchen is on the right and bar is to the far left.  Photo via Yutjangsah
The Bib Salad was very light and refreshing. A great choice for a warm summer day in L.A.
Pan sauteed trennĂ© pasta with braised prime, rib eye beef, Tuscan black kale and shaved Parmesan cheese. 
My dessert  was every bit as good as it looks! The gold embossed napkin with the restaurants initials is a nice touch.
Fresh baked bread is artfully displayed.

The raspberry and blueberry mini tarts are just too good to resist!

Bottega Louis
700 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017

(213) 802-1470

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gamberini Pasticceria (Bologna, Italy)

I received a bit of bad news yesterday that continues to haunt me so I thought I would do a quick post about something "happy".  And I thought what can be more exciting than an eyeful of delicious treats? My eyes about popped out of my head when passing the Gamberini Pasticceria in Bologna, Italy. I love this place...you can see why. 

Enjoy the sweet treats.....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Thank You, KatieDid

Katie: Thank you for your amazing post about Dining and Decor. It's interesting how the blog world brings people together. I only wish you lived closer so I can present you with a beautiful bouquet of flowers!

The flowers are a find at the Farmers Market yesterday.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday at the Farmers Market

Did you know last week was National Farmers Market Week?  I read that fact somewhere and that's what prompted me to visit my local farmers market this morning.  It is held near the bay so being outside near that water was a perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.  I didn't buy any fruits or veggies but brought home some beautiful flowers. 

Here are a few pictures from this morning.

I love the eye catching rainbow of colors. 

The potatoes have a wonderful texture.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the day.

Do you frequent farmers markets? What do you usually like to buy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy Friday - Photo of the Day

On Fridays I will feature a random picture to help kick off the weekend. So here's my first Friday Photo of the Day. 

...my Tanqueray gin & tonic before dinner on one particular evening in San Francisco. This is one of my favorite drinks.

Now tell me....what is your drink of choice? Alcoholic or not. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer BBQ with Brooks Brothers

Mr. B and I went to South Coast Plaza this afternoon. If you aren't familiar with this mall let me put it to you this way...it is considered by many to be the Rodeo Drive of Orange County, California.  Yes,  Rodeo Drive as in Beverly Hills.  And yes, the same O.C. as in the Real Housewives of Orange County fame (or whatever you want to call it).  We walked past the Brooks Brothers store but I stopped dead in my tracks and realized I must go back. The summer BBQ window display at Brooks Brothers caught my attention. I am a sucker for a great display. Retailers love me....

So this is funny...after taking several pictures I was approached by a mall security guard who informed me that "pictures in the public areas are not allowed". For crying out loud...we are in a mall not a museum with national treasures. But I respect the mall rules and I politely turned my camera off and walked away. Plus, we were hungry and it was time for lunch.

Sorry for the glare in the pictures but shooting pictures in mall is sometimes tricky with different light sources.

The artwork is what first caught my eye.  I was secretly wanting to take home the crab painting to hang him (maybe a her?) in the lovely Cape Cod cottage I would so love to have.  Cliche, yes, but who cares. Maybe someday...
I love how the window designers incorporated the Brooks Brothers logo and the company's trademark seersucker fabric into the throw pillow design.  
The faux food and drink are amusing. 

The vintage Woodland Jug is a nice touch to help add a bit of authenticity to the display.