Tuesday, November 22, 2011

San Diego Wine & Food Festival

Hey There:

Last weekend I was part of two events of the 8th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, a weeklong wine & culinary classic. This year it was held from November 16th to the 20th in several venues throughout San Diego.

The first event I went to was at Macy's School of Cooking located at Macy's Home Center in Mission Valley mall. This event was very interesting called "Super Chefs All Stars Presented by Alaska Seafood.
"The Challenge: Two former and one current Top Chef participants have collaborated to prepare a mouth-watering wine paired tasting menu exclusively for you. They each have 20 minutes to teach you the techniques to prepare their recipes at home, and then wow your taste buds with a sampling of the dish prepared during the class."
It was great to see the chefs in action, including Chef Brian Malarkey, former contestant in Top Chef. As we waited for his delicious salmon dish to be ready there was some Top Chef trivia, prizes and of course we got to eat and drink wine. We sampled Anglim Grenache Blanc Red Cedar Vineyard, Paso Robles 2008 and Anglim Grenache Vista Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles 2008 both provided by Anglim Winery.

At the Macy's School of Cooking

Watching the Chefs in Action

Salmon "Pizza" Tomato/Basil Pesto/Goat Cheese
prepared by Executive Chef Brian Malarkey

Alaskan Milk Poached Black Cod, Dukkah Tomato Broth, Squid Spaetzle,
Rapini, Ricotta Salata Cheese and Toasted Hazelnut
prepared by Executive Chef Kenneth Gilbert

Cured Alaskan Salmon, Beet Salad, Tahini Cream
prepared by Chef Eli Kirshtein
The second event was the Reserve and Release Tasting at the San Diego Air & Space Museum
"From the art deco walls of San Diego's famous Air & Space Museum to the jumping jazz of the 30's and 40's and vintage aircraft at every turn, this year's Reserve & New Release Tasting event transports you to a gilded age where premium libations flow and legendary winemakers step into the spotlight."
This event was very fun with most of the museum open and full of exhibitors with wines, vodkas, tequilas, beer, cider, port, more wine, cocktails, and don't forget the food, chocolates, breads, soup, oysters, sushi, desserts and wine. I think I don't need to explain more about the event...just check out the pics:

I feel in love with San Pellegrino Aranciata

A little bit of everything...who can resist??

Sangrita shots with a lime foam on top, tasted great!


Stella Artois was present with very good cheeses

The Vya exhibitor preparing my cocktail

The cocktail was very good, the recipe is in the bottom of this post

About to try Wild Hibiscus, Flowers in Syrup

These Sadie Rose breads are amazing, they're sold at grocery stores
mostly in San Diego North County
Thank you @DarleneEats for the tickets and be sure to get check her blog My Burning Kitchen for all the foodies out there. These are the links of some of the exhibitors I sampled:

Joyce Vineyards in Carmel Valley, CA

Sangrita Mix: The perfect pairing for your tequila (soooo good!)

Combine in a shaker with ice:
2 oz Dry Vya
1 oz Sweet Vya
Shake well and serve - either on the rocks in a bucket glass or strained and straight up in a martini glass.
Garnish with a twist of orange.

Chuao Chocolatier (amazing truffles!! Especially recommend Firecracker Truffle)

Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup

SanPellegrino Aranciata (sparkling water with a taste of orange, I loved it!)

And many, many more!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Freaking Birthday to Me!

Hey There:

It's that time of year again....my birthday is a few days away and as tradition, I'm slowly jumping into the dark mood I get each year.

Don't know when it started but when I come near my b-day I'm not happy because it's my day, I don't feel grateful to be blessed with a good life, good friends and family, I don't look forward to the next year. NO, I obsess over everything I haven't accomplished, I compare myself to people who became millionaires by age 21, or 31, or 35, doesn't matter...I ain't me!

For the longest time I thought it was only me until I read a non-fiction book from my favorite author Marian Keyes, where she mentions she's the same. So there might not be too many of us out there, but I'm not the only one who wants to strangle the first person to say "Happy Birthday" to me.

This year I planned throw a House-Warming/Birthday party, but I cancelled it two weeks ago. First of all I know my apartment wouldn't be ready to...the unpacking has been a nightmare! And second, I don't want to be among people.

A friend of mine said I should have had the party anyway, since it's easier to hide in a crowd. What he said does have some logic, except when it's supposed to be "Your Day" and any frown is met with people trying to force you to be happy. Which really, it's awesome that I have friends that care for me, but I just want them to shut the hell up! In this case...it's not them, it's me.

Birthday #37 - No Pics exist

That year my b-day fell on a Saturday. And that day I was forced by my Mom to attend a cousin's wedding and I don't even like this cousin, but I went...I had to....my Mom said so.....yeah, I know I'm an adult that has lived outside the parental home for over a decade....but my Mom said so.

That day I had a trim and hairstyle done to look nice, and the girl did a horrible job! She didn't trim my hair, she chopped it with I'm assuming were rusted scissors since it took me almost 6 months to outgrow that haircut.

All pictures I took that day, I looked awful! There were all erased, have tons of pics of my friends and family at the after-party we had. But none of me, I was not a happy b-day girl.

Birthday #38 - Vegas, Baby!

For the first time in my adult life I decided to forgo the obligatory celebration with my loved ones, instead I took my sister and we went to Las Vegas for the weekend since my b-day would be on Sunday.

It was great, it wasn't a crazy drunken weekend or anything like that. Just me and my sis, spending time together, having fun and avoiding any mention of the "b" word.

On Sunday as she drove back I received phone calls, answered friends e-mails and Facebook posts, but was feeling very happy to not be physically around any of them....it was an awesome B-Day!

Vegas = Elvis...and Austin Powers, I guess

Didn't get drunk, at least not that I remember

Those were just fun people

Birthday #39

This year, though the b-day falls on a Monday, I still feel obliged to do something over the weekend. On Friday a girl friend and I are going to a metal concert, I plan to dress up nicely, might even use my red corset.

Saturday I plan to get drunk with a Russian friend, just because I haven't gotten drunk, not even once, this whole year.

Sunday, hopefully I'm too hungover to even care it's the eve of the b-day.

And on Monday I only have planned to go to lunch with a girlfriend and spend the rest of the day in bed with my cats answering Facebook well wishes and the ocassional phone call.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day of the Dead in San Diego

Hey There:

After Halloween, we have el Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. I'll be lazy here and just copy and past what's written on Wikipedia click on the link to read more about it:

"Day of the Dead (SpanishDía de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in many cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1–2, in connection with theCatholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skullsmarigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts."
Now for my part, on November 1st I went to Chicano Park for their celebration, which was very subdued, a big altar at the statue of Emiliano Zapata and several smaller ones at the center kiosk. What I liked about it was a an old lady telling stories to people around her, signing and giving prayers. I gave several of the names of my own relatives for the prayers.

I went to Old Town on November 2nd and it was way different, about 40 altars inside the restaurants, stores and museums. Lots of people walking around with their faces painted as Day of the Dead skulls and some dressed in Victorian style dress. In one of the museums a lady agreed to let me record her explanation of the celebration.

In this video, you'll get to hear the explanation and signing, as well as the altars and part of a candlelight procession which started at the Whaley House and ended in el Camposanto

Now this video was totally by chance, I had no idea they had tours, as I was walking by The Cosmopolitan Hotel I noticed a group going into a tour and I got in it! The tour is about 15 minutes and this clip is longer than what I normally add, but the ghost stories are very cool!

And this is a clip of the Ghost Adventures mentioned at the Tour:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Minus 30 lbs and counting

Hey There:

Over the past five months or so, I've been going to a nutritionist in Tijuana. This was a guy recommended to me by two people who don't know each other, but even after the recommendations it took me months before I decided to go. I just wanted to lose weight on my own, I mean everyone who watches The Biggest Loser or any of those shows knows you need to eat well and exercise. No magic formula or shortcuts about it.

But in spite of my "eating well" and exercising I went up to 215 lbs and that was it! I had to go, I know a lot of people who know me personally will be surprised at how much I weighed because I'm blessed with a body that can hide that much weight. I mean I didn't look skinny, but I still had a waistline with a bit of a tummy and looked proportionate with a big butt and big boobs. And I know how to dress myself to hide imperfection. This picture is me with a weight over 200 lbs.

As I said, don't look skinny, but don't look morbidly obese (me thinks), I looked like a gal with meat on her bones. But no matter how I put it to myself, the scale didn't lie and worse of all, it didn't go down. So finally I went to the Doctor and even though part of the treatment consists of an appetite suppressant and an injection to boost fat burning, I have done a lot of sacrifices and it's been hard work to loose all that weight.

Among the sacrifices? I stopped drinking alcohol for the first three months, not a drop, even though I've been to events with "Free Bar". Especially hard was the summer months were everyone was with a nice cold one and getting drunk. More than once I had inner thoughts like "Gee, this guy/gal is a sloppy drunk! How come I never noticed it before??....Oh wait, I was just as drunk as he/she was!"

I don't have a set diet or calorie intake, I just follow guidelines on food intake and once in a while let myself eat some junk food. The way I see it eventually I'll be out there without appetite supressants or a Doctor checking me once a week, I might as well learn to eat bad food moderately. The only thing I refuse to give up is my daily can of Coca-Cola....I just need it!

Exercise also changed from doing mostly weights to doing mostly cardio with only upper body strength training. So far I'm amazed how much more cardio I can tolerate and for now I'll stay on the treadmill, elliptical and stairmaster.

Now the thing that has kept even more motivated is the way guys have been reacting. See, my bubbly flirty self hasn't changed. I still consider myself Hot no matter the size, but apparently size does matter, since now guys who have known me for months are now suddenly flirting or inviting me out. So, of course, that flatters the ego and keeps me going!

Still, with the 30 lbs loss I'm still not even on my half-way point, I'm only at 185 and my Doctor wants me to be at 140 - 150 lbs in order to be at the right amount for my height and build....that means I have to continue for 65 - 75 lbs, which seems insane to me. Not sure if I'll go all the way, but for now I know I still have to keep on, this morning I tried on some of my old skirts and I can finally zip them up, but they're still a little too tight.

All I focus on is my 2 lbs a week, I don't think of the total and of course, I do feed on male admiration since I can't feed on tortillas, quesadillas, pizza or beer. Here's a pic of how I look now!