Today is My Blog-aversary!

18 Jul

I can’t believe it’s been a year already since The Husband’s needling me about starting my own blog finally sunk in, and Tiny Kitchen Stories was born. And thanks to all of you who have nicknamed it “TKS” and read, like and comment often. It is truly, deeply appreciated.

So instead of a round-up of the year, I thought I’d round up my little jaunt up to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles for my birthday, which was full of fun, lots of eating and friends old and new. I was eating for gold that week, as I knew when I returned I was going to do a seven-day raw food cleanse and then change my diet. Right now I’m off gluten, corn, grains, potatoes, eggs, soy, dairy….yes, some of you may ask—What the hell is left? What will happen to TKS?

Well, it is a rather restrictive diet, but (a) I’m hoping to drop a few pounds from the Not-So-Tiny Kitchen Cook’s Ass and (b) won’t it just make me more creative? Duck carnitas will be featured in a future post, and yes, I had my tacos in lettuce wraps instead of tortillas. I didn’t mind at all. Sure, those handmade tortillas I got at the Mexican market looked good, but I didn’t cheat….although I’m surprised none of my guests commented on how I was staring as they ate. But at least I didn’t punch anyone.

But back to the trip, and the eating.

The hot shellfish platter with Clams Casino, Oysters Rockefeller, beer-boiled peel-and-eat shrimp and mussels.

As mentioned in a previous post, we like to hit Brophy Brothers as soon as we get to Santa Barbara. We have to sit at the bar, and we have to eat shellfish while drinking beer and tequila shots. There’s nothing better than gazing up at SB’s beautiful mountains while enjoying these things. Nothing. Then you can check into your hotel with a lovely buzz and get your vaca really rolling! Julienne was dinner on our first night, but you know about that already.

Drink the two-for-one Happy Hour margies, but do not, and I mean DO NOT, miss the tacos.

The next day we hit one of our favorite taco places, and not just because they have a full bar (but it helps!) but mainly because their tacos ROCK. Plus, the place’s name is El Taco Tequila Taqueria, and you can’t beat that with a stick! A family-run and operated business, these people pump out some seriously delicious tacos, and in all flavors—vegetarian, fish, chicken and beef. Oh, did I forget pork? Their pork tacos are TO DIE for! Plus they have all of this Day of the Dead decor that is just irresistible.

The little homemade yogurt “amuse bouche”.

Breakfast was at Scarlett Begonia—a lovely place, but don’t go there if you have anything to do for the next two hours. Food is da bomb—bacon-maple biscuits and breakfast pizza, YES!—but service is slllllooooooowwwww. And I don’t mean part of the Slow Food movement, either.

Isn’t he cute?

And then it was my birthday. The Husband had heard me mention that I liked a silly, stripy sock monkey in a store near the hotel, and ran down while I was in the shower to buy it for me. Isn’t he adorable? (The correct answer here is “Yes”. I don’t care if I’m a grown woman with a stuffed animal.)

I also had a wonderful afternoon with my dear friend Rose, who I hadn’t seen in about 15 years. Which is ridiculous, because Rose has such a calming influence on me, I need to bottle her and keep her in my purse. I got to introduce her to the love of my life (The Husband, natch) and we got to catch up on years apart. She also put out the most amazing spread of vegetarian goodness—we were wondering when the rest of the lunch party was going to get there, she made so much food. Seeing Rose was the best birthday gift I could have imagined!

Birthday martini at the Marquee before dinner with dear friends at Bouchon (where we snuck more fois gras…after the ban! Shhh!).

Raw granola with bananas and strawberries.

A much needed raw breakfast with liver-cleanse juice at Alchemy to ease the pain of a hangover.

Michelada—it’s like a beer with Bloody Mary mix thrown in. YUM.

We started celebrating the Fourth just a little early, on the 3rd. We found the Boathouse, a replacement for the Brown Pelican at Hendry’s Beach, where we drank the afternoon away and mooned over the dogs running willy-nilly without leashes on the beach—we had to leave our dog at home, thanks to a wedding we had attended early in the trip.

Here we met Stephen, the bartender (and his family’s delicious tequila, La Carreta de Oro), an oil-baron who had a house in Montecito and a penchant for buying the whole place shots, and adopted the hostess as she’ll be attending CSU Fullerton in the fall and knows not a soul in the OC. Until now. She’s cute as a button and will dog-sit for us! Result! Didn’t get a pic of Mary though. Hope to this weekend when she makes her first visit behind the Orange Curtain. (Oh, and Stephen makes an excellent michelada, BTW.)

It’s old-school at Joe’s.

A trip to Santa Barbara is not complete without a martini at Joe’s. Only have one if you can hold your liquor—why? Look at the picture. Beyond the awesome retro checkered napkin and the petite martini glass, see the glass with the cocktail strainer on it? Oh yeah, that’s parts two and three of your martini. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Always be nice to a man who is good with a knife.

Looking for a lighter meal on our last night in town, we headed to Arigato, where our sushi chef was a fish-slicing, fun-loving maniac. Just how we like ’em.

Our view during our charcuterie and cheese plate.

Oysters, cocktails and sunshine.

Every hotel room should have an elephant on a bicycle.

Then down to La-La for a wonderful room on the same floor as the awesome pool deck at Petit Ermitage. This hotel rocks—it’s totally reasonable in price (for West Hollywood, that is) and is only four stories. With a pool on top. Did I mention that? Also, they have a wonderful little restaurant up there with tables tucked in amongst lots of greenery with stunning views.

Not the shrimp-toast sandwich, but the fried-chicken sandwich. Make a reservation at Son of a Gun now just to have one.

Our beautiful and ridiculously talented friends C+E joined us for a few drinks by the pool before we all got dolled up for an evening at Son of a Gun, the sister restaurant to Animal. OH. MY. GOD. This place is off the charts delicious! Especially the prawn toast sandwich. We all shared two. We all secretly wanted two whole ones for ourselves. Or maybe that was just me and C?

Lamb and all the fixin’s!

The next day they took pity on us and cooked us two wonderful meals. One was their famous fried eggs a la pimenton with toast and salad for breakfast, and for dinner they whipped up some lamb chops for me and “Fred’s tips” for everyone else—some sort of Sonoma, CA delicacy. To me, it was like beef pretending to be bacon. I could only have one bite, but it was delicious, as was my lamb. These guys fly all over the world for work, so getting them for a whole day and a bit was dee-lightful!

Spicy pork dumplings—you can’t get them in your mouth fast enough.

After picking up our leftovers the next morning from C+E and a quick hug goodbye, we raced down the freeway to get back to the four-legged kids. Well, we did make one stop, for the pork dumplings at the very strangely named Guppy House in Irvine. This Taiwanese place has a long menu of great-looking stuff, and I accidentally found out about this place through a business meeting. You get 15 dumplings for about $8, which is crazy for something off the “snack” menu, and the leftovers were met with great joy by The Husband. Hence the stop on the way home. It was worth it.

Home to the kiddos!

Sigh. So there you have it. It was a fantastic birthday vacation, and thanks to all of you who commented on my posts while I was away. Next blog will be recipes, I promise! No more travel blogs—until Fiesta weekend in Santa Barbara next month. You’ve been warned…


27 Responses to “Today is My Blog-aversary!”

  1. Lauren Bair July 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    YAY!!! Congratulations TKS!!! That’s amazing! So excited for this next year for you 😉 And holy bejeebus, your vacation pics are amazing! Love the oysters by the pool (fabalusss!) and now I must make 50 reservations to re-eat everything you ate. Like, in a good way that doesn’t involve any regurgitation. Y’know. Toasting you some champers for your blog-aversary, bday and new healthful eating plan (which I totally wanna see recipes for!)! XO

    • tinykitchenstories July 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      I’m still pining for that pool deck and their cucumber/lime/gin cocktails…and THANK YOU for the compliments on my pics! I realize I rarely take pics of people, which I should remedy. And get yourself down to Son of a Gun—but not when you have a model/actress gig coming up because you will PIG OUT. Thanks for the champers, and some healthy recipes should be on the way! YAY! xo

  2. Anastasia July 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Congratulations! Plus congrats on the diet – it looks scary! But that’s what I thought when we decided to go vegetarian – you can always turn it into an adventure! On that note, I think I’ll go make myself some real corn tortillas 😉

    • tinykitchenstories July 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

      I’d be so happy vegetarian, or even vegan, but the no grains thing is scary. I mean, I love eating and baking bread. Most sweets I can do without, but bread? And eggs? Kill me now. Enjoy those corn tortillas and I *will* turn this into an adventure! Thanks for your support! 🙂

  3. An Unrefined Vegan July 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    My kind of birthday celebration! Belated wishes. And congratulations on going strong at one year for TKS!

    • tinykitchenstories July 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

      Thank you!! And so happy to see you back online. You were sorely missed!

  4. lorrielorrieb July 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Happy Anniversery!! Congradulations! Here’s to many more!!

  5. Colin Chapman July 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Not only did it make me drool, but this post made me miss you and my ‘home in a previous lifetime’ (California) so much.That triple martini has my name on it xxx

    • tinykitchenstories July 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      Sweetie, I miss you all the time. I’m still kicking myself I didn’t burn your passport during your visit! London doesn’t deserve you! Come home! (And bring those two cuties you live with too!) xoxoxo

  6. Talon Sims July 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    OH MY GAGA!!! Looks SO good all the food, and then the cool deco of the “Day of the Dead” stuff AWESOME!!!! Lenn!

    • tinykitchenstories July 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

      Thank you, my darling sis-in-law!! We can’t wait to cook for you again! xo

  7. girlinafoodfrenzy July 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    I know I write this a lot, but I’m a little in love with that fried chicken sandwich. I’ve never seen anything like it, (it’s a bit insane) but I’ll bet it’s mighty tasty!

    A big congrats especially on your first year as a blogger. Just think, you’ve gone from TKS, to the not so Tiny Kitchen now! Enjoy all the years to come in your future foodie stories too.

    • tinykitchenstories July 19, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      I think you would love that sandwich so much you’d want to marry it. It was incredibly tasty!!

      And thanks for the congrats, and all your comments over the last year!! It’s much appreciated! 🙂

  8. Meenakshi July 19, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Hey a very happy blog-versary to you! Looks like you had a whale of a time. I love the bicycle riding pachyderm! And it’s always fun to try out a ew food routine…and if you can lose a few pounds along the way, why not? My favourite pictures are of the oysters, the beer-bloody mary drink and the blueberry amuse bouche! I made me hungry so I am eating some vanilla yoghurt.

    • tinykitchenstories July 19, 2012 at 10:43 am #

      Thanks, Meenakshi! I also loved the pachyderm on the bicycle—I was so tempted to steal it. And yes, the new food routine will be interesting, and hopefully a few pounds will disappear in the meantime. That will be quite welcomed. 🙂 I appreciate the congrats and the comments!

  9. thegrubbyhen July 19, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Happy Blogiversary TKS!!! Here’s to another year! Great photos by the way, the food all looks amazing and i’m loving your new little sock monkey friend 🙂

    • tinykitchenstories July 19, 2012 at 10:44 am #

      Thank you, thank you, Hen! My little sock monkey is sitting next to my computer at my office. If there’s anything better than a sock monkey, it’s a striped sock monkey! Glad my photography skills are improving–cheers for that! 🙂

  10. Laura July 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    I am so happy you had a wonderful birthday and a trip away from home. I LOVE your monkey – I need to get one for me too! Love ya Sis!!

    • tinykitchenstories July 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

      Thank you! I love him too! I hope you can find one. They’re made by Ty, the beanie baby company. And it was a wonderful trip! xoxo

  11. Jeff Koegel July 21, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    Wow, a culinary tour de force! Happy birthday Jenn! and congratulations on your year.

  12. Somer July 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    Birthday and blog-aversary all in one! It’s almost too much. I LOVE the sock monkey! And my mom has that wall hanging Liberace looking angel thingy in her house (for reals)

    • tinykitchenstories July 21, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

      Holy crap, there’s more than one? Frightening. Thank you, thank you! 🙂

      • Somer August 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

        For reals….

  13. The Mouse July 24, 2012 at 2:10 am #


Does it make you hungry, baby?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: