Extraordinary Desserts.

If you're anywhere in the greater San Diego area, and you have a sweet tooth, it is worth your while to find Extraordinary Desserts.

Earlier this month, I was in San Diego and my friend Michael (who knows I like to eat) took me to this place. He has a friend who works there, so he has an "in" when it comes to fancy feasts.

Since we were just stopping in for a mid-morning snack, we decided to share a pot of tea and a dessert. Michael advised we get the Birthday Cake tea ("Reminiscent of a warm out-of-the-oven cookie with strong caramel and vanilla notes. Delicious with milk."). We ordered it as a milk-tea served over ice and added simple syrup for sweetening. Now, before we ordered I was skeptical of Michael's advise because 1) he usually makes bad decisions, and 2) I don't like vanilla, cake-like flavors. But! I loved it! It was light, but creamy, sweet and a little floral and it was perfect for my mid-morning snack.

There were PLENTY of gorgeous looking desserts to choose from, all sitting behind the protective glass so I couldn't maul them. Seriously, if you like beautiful, decadent desserts, this is your place.

We ended up going with the Lemon-Blueberry Streudel. Unfortunately, it's not listed on their online menu, so I can't tell you exactly what's in it. But I can tell you it's MOTHERFUCKINGDELICIOUS and I may or may not have eaten a greater portion than just my half.
Worth noting: This crazy-good dessert was only $8.50 and enough for two people to share.

The streudel is served up with a drizzled design of fruit syrup on one side and a fluffy dollop of freshly whipped cream on the other. They also decorate each dessert before it's brought out to the table, adding flowers, designs, and even edible gold leaf.

Extraordinary Desserts also has a breakfast and appetizer menu, but I didn't try either since I was busy inhaling my dessert. But if it's anything like the quality of the strudel I had, this place is a MUST for anyone in the San Diego area.

Extraordinary Desserts has two San Diego locations: (Little Italy) 1430 Union Street, and (Balboa Park) 2929 Fifth Avenue.

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The Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar.

On my last visit to San Diego, Morgan arranged a dinner for a group of BlogHer attendees. Somehow, I lucked out and made it into the group.

We took a couple of cabs from the downtown Marriot and about ten minutes later we arrived at The Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar. When the first half of our 11-person reservation arrived, the waitstaff was a little confused. When the second half of our reservation arrived, the waitstaff was a little frantic. From what I could tell, it seemed like maybe someone forgot to make a note in the RSVP book about our group.

Fortunately, the manager came straight out and got to work. She apologized to every one of us and offered us complimentary drinks. Thankfully, the wait wasn't very long and we ended up getting the whole bar-room area to ourselves.

The exterior, and even interior, of Red Door looks like a house. It's broken up into three separate rooms- the first is the bar/ dining and the other two are just dining. The overall decor is very cozy, lots of natural lighting, and has a feel like you're sitting in someone's living room. It's on the small side- I would say maybe 10 or 12 tables max. This would be a great place for a quaint, intimate meal and also possibly if you're looking for a small venue to rent out for a cocktail party (or something like that).

Because our reservation was a prearranged event to showcase Red Door's new happy hour menu, our food consisted of appetizers and cocktails. -Which totally worked for me.

Appetizer #1: Red Door Sliders

"char grilled meyer natural ground beef on ciabatta buns, american cheese
lettuce, tomato, carmelized onions, house burger sauce with shoestring fries - $8"

This burger was good, but I think it may have been too toasty for me. Most of the buns were blackened and I'm not really a fan of char-grilled flavor, in general. Keep in mind, this all comes down to personal taste. I'm sure this burger would be perfect for many people, but I don't think I'm really a "fancy burger" kind of person.

Appetizer #2: Steak Skewers

teriyaki glazed charolais ny steak - $5

Again, these weren't really my thing. They seemed a little... overcooked, in my opinion. The teriyaki glaze was flavorful and sweet, but I just wasn't a big fan of how the steak was cooked. Too tough and chewy.

Appetizer #3: BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadilla

"mozzarella, parmesean and romano cheeses housemade bbq sauce
and onion straws - $5"

Now this.... THIS is where the money's at. These quesadillas were by far my favorite item that night, and to this day I cannot stop thinking about them. The craziest part is, I don't really eat pork very often (unless you count my bacon addiction) and I can't believe I almost passed on this appetizer all together.

The cheese combination creates this great, salty-yet-mellow flavor. The pulled pork is moist and not overpowering. They use corn tortillas, which is less commonly seen than its cousin, the flour tortilla. -But definitely much better, in this case. And it's fried perfectly so the edges are crisp, while the center still has a bready texture. Finally, the bbq sauce is sweet and tangy- a great topper for this delicious plate. I would strongly recommend ordering the BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadilla if you try this place out.

Appetizer #4: Shrimp Creole

"mexican white shrimp sautéed with onion, celery, green bell pepper, garlic.
cajun spices, white wine & cream served over crispy polenta - $8"

I don't have too much to say about these guys because I'm pretty weak when it comes to spicy food. I only had one bite, just to get a feel for what I was missing out on. Based on my one taste, I can tell you the shrimp was perfectly cooked, not gummy at all. The shrimp itself tasted great... but those creole spices were a bit too spicy for my fragile palate. But for people who like spicy food, I would recommend these.

The Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar is located at 741 West Washington St., San Diego.
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The Latest with Me.

I feel like I've been phoning in my recent blog entries. Which is unfortunate because I'm always getting ideas for topics throughout the day or taking pictures of things I want to share. But when it comes down to getting it out on paper (see: keyboard), I just haven't been able to do it.

So, I'm going to try to update you on what I've been up to lately. In bullet-point format, of course.

-After BlogHer, I came back with millions of tidbits I wanted to share. I met some VERY cool people, experienced a summer-camp-like whirlwind vacation, and had somewhere near 100 pix to prove it. By the time I was able to get my thoughts in order, enough time had gone by for everyone to say "BlogHer...? That's so six months ago." I kind of dropped the ball on that one. But don't be surprised if more random pix (and videos) show up in a future post. BTW - for anyone who went to BlogHer, I posted pictures (and have more to add shortly) on my Facebook TILTE page. If I took a pic of you, it's probably there.

-I got laid-off. (Everyone give a collective "Awww..." and share some words of encouragement that will lift my spirits. -Like giving me totally exaggerated compliments or telling me Red Robin is having two-for-the-price-of-one lunch entrees.) It wasn't really a surprise since basically 90% of the company had already been let go. But it was still stressful time, mentally and financially. I didn't want to tell you right away because I was still high off BlogHer. Then my days were crazy busy hunting for jobs, filling out stupidass, pointless online applications, and meeting with employment recruiters. I was actually working harder as an unemployed person than I had been as an employed person.

-And the whole "unemployment" thing kind of cramped my style in the "food blogger" department. With a tight budget, there was no room for fine dining or trying out new recipes. My meal options mostly consisted of pasta, Uncrustables, and ham/ cheese sandwiches. -Which is not horrible if you ask me (because I like to eat that kind of shit), but they're not exactly notable delicacies.

Other little random things that have been going on lately...

-Boyfriend's daughter Pearl spent some extra time with us these past few weeks AND she just started kindergarten this past Tuesday.

-My family is planning my grandma's surprise 90th birthday party, which isn't actually until next April, but my mom is pretty excited about it and wants to get the ball rolling. (Also, I'm not sure if the "surprise" part of that title refers to the fact that it's a "surprise party" or the fact that my grandma is probably going to be surprised that it's her birthday.)

-Biscuit got into a naughty funk and kept getting into the trash every time we left the house. One day there were even day-old stinky, rotting chicken guts all up and down the hallway. Boy, that was fun and appetizing to clean up. Fortunately though, we were able to find a Biscuit-proof trash can. No more chicken guts problems.

-Lastly, I was lucky enough to get some short term employment through my friends, Rob and Bao. So far it's been a dream job. The team is all work AND all play, which are my two favorite things. (Just kidding. My two favorite things are frozen yogurt and cupcakes.) I will bring my extensive blogging knowledge to the table as the one-and-only Copywriter. I KNOW! I'm totally big time now, guys. Anyway, hopefully this shit pans out and I get acknowledged as a permanent full-time employee.

-But this Copywriting gig pretty much means I'm using up all my writing juice during the day. And when I get home to blog, it just turns into a bunch of useless drivel. So don't expect anything earth shattering over the next few weeks.

So that's it for my updates. I'm sorry I haven't been able to comment on all of your blog entries. I'll make it up sooner or later.

Is there anything important I've missed since I've been MIA?? Do tell.


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Double Trouble at Sprocket Ink.

Hello friends!

Today I posted TWO articles at Sprocket Ink. Make sure to check them out. (And comment/ Like/ Tweet/ Stumble as you see appropriate. Thanks!!)

Paula Deen vs. Anthony Bourdain: Who's team are you on??
No really... who's side are you on...?

A Review of (locally made) Indie Film: Bellflower
A must-see film.

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Santa Barbara.

The weather was beautiful this weekend, so Boyfriend and I decided to go up to Santa Barbara for the day on Saturday.

This post is going to be picture heavy because it's basically a visual recap of our day in SB.

Starting the day off on a walk at the beach.

One of three weddings we saw getting set-up. I tweeted this pic saying I was at the Kardashian wedding. FYI: Nobody believed me.

Sunny, perfect weather. Lots of palm trees.

A path down to the water.

Lots of families riding rental bikes. Probably tourists.

I'm pretty sure I caught Biscuit mid-shake with this pic. Usually her face isn't this crazy looking.

My favorite shot of the day.

After the beach, we headed down to State St. For those of you who have never been to Santa Barbara, a walk down State St. is kind of like LA. -Minus the plastic surgery and nannies. -And with more granola-crunchers, rich white people, and spoiled college kids. I know what you're thinking. And yes, I fit right in.

I like the details around this hotel doorway.

Theatre marquee.

This was right after we saw David Spade and he pointed at Biscuit saying "Hey, look at that dog". Thankfully, Biscuit wasn't doing anything embarrassing at the time, like mauling small kittens, so I took it as a compliment.

We decided to stop for drinks and appetizers at Holdren's. By the way, if you're ever in Santa Barbara and you're looking for great food (on a fancier budget), GO TO HOLDREN'S. Hands down, the best steak I've ever had.

All orders come with complimentary bread. I'm not sure what the white bread was, but my guess would be a light sourdough. And the dark bread, I think, was a honey wheat. But the real magic comes in the dipping sauces. You get the standard butter, but then you also get this cracked out version of olive oil that makes you want to chug it by the gallon. Word on the street is, it's a special combination of cayenne pepper, garlic, and red wine that they add to it. It was so good, I was *this* close to throwing it back like a shot of Vodka.

Boyfriend ordered a Cucumber Martini, which uses Hendricks Gin (his favorite). I ordered a Blood-Orange Margarita, which comes with a salt/ sugar combo on the rim (a very nice touch). I can't vouch for the martini, but the margarita was very fruity and refreshing. A perfect drink for day out in the sun.

We ordered the Spicy Spinach and Artichoke Dip, which was served with homemade pita chips. This dip is very chunky and hearty. If you like big bites of artichoke, this is the one for you. Also, it doesn't seem very spicy in the first few bites, but trust me, the spice is there. I went at it like I was trying to win 1st place in an eating competition, only to come to a screeching halt when my mouth felt like burning hot lava.

We also ordered the Crab Cakes. I've only tried crab cakes once before, so I'm not exactly a crab cake connoisseur. But I can tell you that these cakes were fried and crisp on the outside, it broke apart easily with my fork, and the inside was moist, with the flavors of the ingredients all blended together perfectly. So I'd say they were pretty great. Also, the cakes were served on a bed of rice pilaf and came with a light and tangy sauce on the side.

Worth Nothing: Both times I've been to Holdren's, I had the same server. His name is Trevor and he is fantastic. If you end up going here, make sure to request his section. He is very happy and helpful, two great qualities that you want in a server.

One more important piece of info... I just learned this weekend that Santa Barbara has passed some kind of city code making all restaurants with outdoor seating "Dog-friendly". Crazy, right? I know, I'm really excited about this. Biscuit especially loved this when it came time to sniffing the edge of our plates and trying to sneak a stray bite.

Me and Boyfriend!

Until next time, Santa Barbara...

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My Acting Credits.

I have nothing to share on the food front.

Instead, I'm going to tell you about my short-lived career in the show biz industry.

When I was in high school, I got really into the whole acting thing. And by "really into the whole acting thing", I mean I had mega crushes on famous dudes and was sure that acting was my ticket to stardom. Even though my family was dirt poor, my mom managed to save up enough scrilla to get me in acting classes. I started off with a weekly children's acting class taught by a former "stage dad". I don't know how much I really "learned" in that class, but I know it made me feel less like an awkward, self conscious weirdo. Also, I do remember one nugget of wisdom he taught us: "Scenes with no dialogue are much harder than scenes with dialogue. Work on conveying emotion without using words."

Soon after that class ended, I signed up for another class with one of those "We'll Make Your Kid a Star!" agencies. You know the ones. They usually advertise in the local paper and set up shop in an executive suite. And they have a line out the door of ugly brats whose parents swear they're the next Mary-Kate and Ashley.

Yep, that's where I went. But to clear my name (if possible), I wasn't going because I thought I was hot shit. I was going to take acting courses.

So, I took a few classes there at the knock-off agency. We practiced improv and working in front of the camera. I don't remember anything remarkable from this place and now I'm beginning to question their true intentions...

Anyway, when I was around 18, I got my first paid acting job. I wasn't the starring role or anything. But I was just as important. Because everyone knows Extras totally make the scene. The job was a TV show pilot that was to air on the WB channel. I was instructed to be at Warner Ranch by 7:30am and bring "party" clothes.

I arrived on time. Which was a fucking miracle because it's nearly impossible for me to be anywhere on time, much less somewhere that involves LA rush hour traffic. I spent the day with a herd of about 100 other kids hanging out on the WB lot. It was boring as hell because apparently actors mess up their lines a lot. And if there's one little tiny thing that's off with the set/ film/ cast, they cut that shit and start all over.

Things got really unfortunate when it started to rain. They moved our herd into one of the empty houses on the neighborhood lot (it was actually the house from Lethal Weapon). But that wasn't really any better because these houses are set houses, you see. And they don't have furniture or heating or walls or fucking ANYTHING inside them. We were like well-dressed squatters.

So the main scene I was in was at a house party. I was with a group of people in the backyard and we were supposed to silently mime and silently laugh and silently drink non-existent booze like we were really at a party. In reality, it was just awkward and totally unnatural. The day finally ended around 7pm and I was stoked because as a non-union extra you make a set amount of money for the first 8 hours of work, and then anything over that is overtime. My favorite part about this job? Craft Services.

By the way- that show? Got pulled before it even aired.

My next job was through my friend Jessy, who's stepdad was a fairly popular make-up artist in the industry. It was on a Showtime series called Resurrection Blvd. It was a mostly Latino cast and the show was about Latinos living in LA. Jessy and I were in a few scenes- the day time one was at a park. Nothing exciting. But the night time one was set in a dance club and we were told to wear "sexy club" clothing. I wore a tight, red, leopard print cocktail dress (because I'm ghetto and tacky like that). And seeing as how this was a "sexy club" environment, I even busted out the big guns: My clip-on fall. Because apparently nothing says "Latina" like a leopard print dress and big hair. (What. It was the 90's, okay.)

This job was even more difficult and awkward than the last because in the "club" we were instructed to "dance to music". Only there was no music. Because then the mic's wouldn't be able to pick up the actor's voices. So me and my clip-on fall and some random dude pretended to salsa dance. Without making a sound. And without music.

There wasn't too much I learned from this job other than not to date Production Assistants. Especially if they're ten years older. Because it's just creepy.

After that job, I pretty much hung up my acting boots and decided to retire. I figured I wasn't cut out for something that takes that much effort and patience. I was never going to make it to mega-stardom, or be in a music video.

Or was I...?

Flash forward to last year. My friend Danielle and I went to a bowling/ karaoke get-together thrown by her friends Ming and Ping.

It was officially the first time I'd met them, but Danielle had shown me their website and some YouTube videos. This was basically a recipe for me to get super nervous and make an asshole out of myself.

Which obviously happened.

But the great thing about it was, everyone was pretty drunk and having a great time and nobody made any comments about me acting like a leper with Tourettes. And to top it all off, Ming and Ping used film footage from that night's events for their next music video, Bridge and Tunnel Music.

And guess who made it into the video!


So, it looks like my big dreams came true afterall. It's probably because of all those acting classes I took. Or maybe it's just my natural talent.

Also, did you watch the Ming and Ping video? Were you able to spot me??? I have a few quick appearances, as do my dancing feet. FYI: Most of the people in the video are Asian. So what I'm trying to say is, it's basically like playing my own personal version of Where's Waldo.

So that's the story of how I got über famous.

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Green Beans with Bacon.

I'm sure you all will agree with me when I say that pretty much everything tastes better with bacon. Which is why Boyfriend decided to try out this recipe for green beans with bacon. Only he kind of made it his own by omitting half of the ingredients. We work with what we have, okay.

Our Version of Green Beans with Smoked Bacon

-Green beans
-Bacon, cut into half inch pieces
-Olive oil

If you've never made green beans before, let me tell you, they're pretty foolproof. Just rinse, snip the ends off, and boil in heavily salted water (with a little olive oil for taste) until tender- approx 3 minutes. Transfer beans to a bowl of ice water to "shock" the hell out of 'em and prevent them from getting mushy. Drain and set aside. Fry up your bacon until it's just about to your liking, but not quite. Drain the grease. Add green beans to the bacon and saute until everything is cooked the way you want it.

I'm sure this recipe will work just as well if you substitute turkey bacon, or even tofu bacon.

And by "I'm sure", I really mean I have no idea because I've never tried it.

Do you have any green beans recipes you'd like to share?


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BlogHer Part II

As many of you know, BlogHer was this past weekend and I was lucky enough to experience it. If you don't know what BlogHer is (and clearly didn't see my last vlog post), it's a big convention for women bloggers. This year it was held in San Diego and over 3,600 bloggers attended.

Since there's TONS of material to cover, I'm going to *try* to make this as cohesive as possible. However, I'm totally aware that this post may just end up being an endless pit of pointless rambling. Thankfully, I have low standards and that's pretty much how all my posts end up anyway.

I arrived in San Diego on Thursday night and had dinner with Erin and Christina. This was our first time meeting IRL, and everything went totally smoothly like we'd known each other all along. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to check out the The People's Party and Queerosphere. I had high hopes for both because The Bloggess was supposed to be at The People's Party and Queerosphere was a disco-themed gayfest, two things I love, natch. Unfortunately, neither party was very exciting. Maybe it was because it was just the first night and technically the "conference" hadn't really started yet. Regardless, I think I would probably skip the first night's parties next time.

If you remember from my vlog, I was going to stay at Morgan's house. Plans changed at the last minute when I received a text from Mandy offering the extra bed in her hotel room. So that's what I did.

Anyway, Friday was filled with convention stuff and I felt like I was on the go nonstop. Breakfast was served from 8-9am. First session started at 9:30, the last session started at 4:45, and there was a 1.5 hr lunch break in the middle. After 15 minutes of sitting through my 1:15 session, I didn't feel like I was getting much out of it, so I went back to the room to rest. I headed back down to the convention center for my 2:45 session because you better believe I wanted to learn the move to the Single Ladies dance (a class on losing your inhibition). That night, Erin and Christina and I went to the Sparklecorn party, an event that nearly everyone was at. We danced and snacked and I called it a night when my feet had turned into burning hot lavaballs.

Saturday was my "free day" because I only purchased a one-day ticket for the conference. I grabbed some free breakfast at the convention center, made my rounds to grab free shit in the expo hall, and then spent the day with my friend Michael who lives in the area. That night, a group of us had dinner at The Red Door thanks to Morgan's networking talents.

After dinner, we went to the Aiming Low party, which was supposed to be a relaxed, low-key getaway from the rest of the BlogHer parties. Unfortunately, there was too much going on for it to be "relaxed", but not enough for it to be a real "party". It wasn't really my thing, so I went back to my room. After reading some tweets about how great the Cheeseburgher party was I decided to check it out. Pretty much everyone was there and the dance floor was packed. This party was sponsored by McDonalds and they had hot cheeseburgers and fries on hand all night long. :::WINNING:::

-Great speakers who made you feel like they were casually talking to you one-on-one.
-Plenty of blogging topics to choose from at each session.
-Tons of swag.
-Breakfast, lunch, midday snacks, and party admission included in the price of ticket.
-Food options offered Vegan and Gluten-free.
-Opportunity to meet people whose blogs you follow and/ or who follow you.
-Opportunity to meet completely new bloggers who you may have never heard of before.
-Reliving the "sleepaway camp" feeling (unless that feeling was awful, in which case, it was nothing like that).

-Seemed like the "speed dating" thing was poorly organized. (It was supposed to be a quick introduction between two bloggers, switch business cards, and then move down the line. In reality, our line never moved.)
-Not enough down-time planned into the day. The conference was non-stop, but I had to make my way back to the hotel to rest twice because it was exhausting. My first "nap" only lasted a few minutes though because I felt bad for wasting my precious BlogHer time.
-Breakfast at 8am? Next time, let's move it back an hour.

Knowing what I know about BlogHer, would I do it again? Yes, definitely. Would I go to next year's BlogHer? No, because it's in New York and that's a bit too far (see: pricey) for me.

Favorite part about BlogHer: A certain blogger I met told me I'm just like I seem based on my blog. This was really great to hear because I always wonder what people think I'm like. So basically, if you think I'm annoying on my blog, chances are you will think I'm annoying in real life.


The main registration area.




Midday snacks.

"Speed Dating", the first event at BlogHer.

Favorite speaker Ananda Leeke, during the Wellness session

Practicing stretches and breathing exercises.

Learning the moves to the Single Ladies video thanks to Jenny Eckton.

Blogger dinner at The Red Door: Mandy, Morgan, Jules, Lexa, Kristine, Carrie, Stacy, San Diego Momma, and two others whom I didn't get to meet (we were at different tables).

MegaSwag thanks to all the generous sponsors at BlogHer.

My business card thanks to the wonderful design talents of Mr. Boyfriend.

So that's it for the second installment of BlogHer11. I think I'll probably give it a few days and then post some pix of what people wore. And maybe even a video of the Single Ladies dance.

Stay tuned.

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Here's a little video I just whipped up. It's about BlogHer.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

(Since I can't preview the video before posting, I'm not sure if it's going to be all glitchy and possessed looking. If so, I'm blaming it on Blogger.)

Also- Are you going to BlogHer???

For more BlogHer intro videos, visit the blogs below.

Musings of a Madwoman

The Sweetest
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Velveeta Cheesy Skillets.

The other day we were at the grocery store and something caught my eye: Velveeta Cheesy Skillets. I'd never tried one of these before, but the image on the cover sold me. Plus, they were on sale for like $5 at Vons.

This dinner kit includes: Pasta, Velveeta cheese sauce, salsa mix, and spices. All you need to add is water and 1lb. of ground beef. And if you want to make it fancy, just top with crunched up tortilla chips.

So we followed the directions. And added tortilla chips because we were feeling especially chefy.

And guess what.


Not the best picture I've ever taken, but you get the idea.

It's kind of like the best combination of enchilada casserole/ lasagna/ nachos. It was cheesy and gooey and crunchy. And when we reheated the leftovers for lunch the next day, it was just as good as it was the first time around. But trust me when I say ADD THE TORTILLA CHIPS. I was doubtful that they would make any difference, but it ended up that I wanted some chips in every bite.

The spices are very mild, so if you like your Mexican food espicy, I would season the ground beef a little before adding it to the rest of the meal. Or maybe top with hot sauce. I don't know, I'm not a spicy person. To my mouth, it was pretty fucking tasty for a boxed meal, not to mention super easy to make. I will definitely be keeping this on my shopping list.

And if you're looking for a new drink to add to your summer bar menu, check out this week's post at Sprocket Ink.


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