Full of Life Flatbread, Los Alamos, California

17 07 2012

Full of Life FlatbreadChalboard Menu of the DayFront Porch Dining 1Front Porch Dining 2Indoor Lighting Detail Over the BarFresh Flowers 1
Fresh Flowers 2LGTeddy Bear SunflowerBicolored SunflowerFoodie FriendsFront Porch Dining 3
Reflecting on the GardenDelicious Salad SpecialCavalo Nero SaladSunday DriveWood Fired Local Sand DabsChalk Board Special Flatbread
Roasted Summer Squash & Eggplant FlatbreadBoth of the Daily Flatbread SpecialsHoney Pot de Crème with Lemon Infused Summer BerriesAlmond Crusted Blueberry Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Headed out a couple of weekends ago with LG and @LuvenRN to Los Alamos on another foodie adventure at one of our favorite dining destinations…….

Fresh Lychees

13 07 2012

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Fresh Lychees, a set on Flickr.

One day on Facebook a good friend posted something about fresh lychees being so delicious. The only time I had eaten lychees was as a child, and they were out of a can. I had remembered not liking them at all. I thought to myself “Since when was anything very good out of a can?” So the next time I saw fresh lychees at Trader Joe’s I decided to purchase them and give them a try. I must admit I wasn’t in love after the first bite; my negative memories of them surely were tainting my experience. I wanted to give them a fair chance, so I continued to eat them. They had a very different exotic and perfumy flavor. It was a bit of an acquired taste, but by about the fourth lychee I actually liked them, and I like them more the more I eat them!

My New Photography Web Site

20 06 2012

It’s fairly basic, but my new professional photography web site, Michelle C. Torres-Grant Photography,  is up & running!

San Miguel, California

14 05 2012

So after 4 straight days of being on-the-go I’m taking a break in the middle of my east coast vacation and working on some old photos (I’m always backlogged!). This set was from almost a year ago. After hiking the Balconies cave and cliffs loop at Pinnacles National Monument, we stopped in San Miguel for a quick visit to Mission San Miguel and dinner at the Basque Tenth Street Cafe. Click here to see my complete Flickr photo set.

Lunch Break at Jack Ranch Café ~ Chalome, California

27 03 2012

Today, my work took me out into the roads of eastern San Luis Obispo county. I had previously stopped a couple of times at the James Dean Memorial in Chalome, which is 24 miles east of Paso Robles on Highway 46, but I had never stopped to dine in the little cafe next to the memorial. So I decided this was as good a day as ever to try it out. It’s a little diner that is housed in an old building that has served food since the early 20th century. I seated myself at a booth in the really casual, old style roadside diner, and asked the waitress what the best thing on the menu was. She suggested the bacon cheeseburger. For the sake of health I usually avoid such an item, but I figured I was way out there, and wouldn’t be back anytime soon, so I may as well get the best thing! I ordered it, without pickles as per my usual, and I added grilled onions and peppers. I had meant the ortega chiles that I had seen on the menu, but I guess I didn’t say that specifically, and I got jalapeno peppers instead. It was just as well, as it turned out to be one of the most scrumptious burgers I ever had! All the contents of the creation tasted very fresh, and both the burger and the bacon had a nice, slightly crisp texture. Juicy and not too greasy! The only thing I regret is not having paid fifty cents extra for the free range organic Hearst Ranch beef. I didn’t notice that option until my order was almost ready! Served along with my burger were some mighty delicious seasoned fries. The portion of fries was generous, but I could only eat a handful before I was full, and I took the rest home. I highly recommend a stop at the Jack Ranch Café, and especially if you’re a James Dean fan as well. The memorial is of a tasteful and minimalist modern design.

Patina Restaurant & The Walt Disney Concert Hall

26 10 2011

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We were staying in downtown Los Angeles because my husband was attending the Urban Land Institute Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. As is usual on my husband’s business trips, I accompanied him. My job is to make his business fun by planning social engagements, activities and interesting culinary adventures as a break between his many business obligations.

The first evening I decided it was a perfect opportunity to use the gift certificate we had obtained by using our American Express Membership Rewards points at the acclaimed fine dining establishment, Patina, located within the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. I was just a little concerned, because a few weeks before I had read on my FB feed that someone had less than a stellar experience at Patina. I already had the gift certificate, however, and so I decided we may as well use it and form our own opinion of the restaurant. As I often do, I made my reservation through OpenTable.com (more points earned!) and called ahead to see if it was okay if we brought our own bottle of wine. We were in luck; normally they charge a corkage fee of $30.00 (the highest I’ve ever encountered), but Tuesday evening there was no corkage fee whatsoever! Things were going in the right direction already.

I won’t go into greater detail here ~ I’ll let the photos tell the story ~ but our dining experience there was top notch. We received courteous, attentive, competent, yet unobtrusive service. Everything we ate was creative, artistically presented, absolutely fresh and delicious. Kudos to executive chef Tony Esnault and general manager Christian Philippo. Mr. Philippo came to our table several times throughout the meal to make sure everything was perfect…and it was!

Los Angeles, California ~ 25 October 2011

Dynamo Donut, San Francisco, California

14 10 2011

Mecca for Donut Lovers2760 24th StreetAlmost there.......Flavors of the DayAnticipationSticky Bun
Maple Glazed Bacon ApplePassionfruit Milk ChocolateCoconutSpiced ChocolateQuince CrumbVanilla Bean
Cormeal Rosemary CherryDaily Requirement

I usually avoid donut shops like the plague (because I love them), but I make an exception for my favorite donut & coffee shop whenever I’m in the City. They make the most interesting varieties and flavor combinations. Enjoy the photos…they’re calorie-free!

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