Making Time Stand Still

Let’s talk family. My family is pretty awesome with a good sprinkling of crazy for added interest. I would encourage  you to celebrate the crazy in your life in all it’s glory. Take a deep breathe in and say “Thank you God for the people you have blessed with me with however different, silly, loud, eclectic, batty, nutty, off-color..without them life would be so dull. Without mine I wouldn’t have this amazing post. Thank you family for being so uniquely you!
Yes, I’ve been absent from this blog for another month but that’s because I’ve been busy living it up, going on trips and visiting family! After my last post from Cincy I almost immediately left for California for a couple weeks. My sister flew back home with me and brought little MacDizzle with her and they stayed for a fun-filled 8 days. The last week or so I’ve been finishing up adoption documents but that is all for another post.

Let’s just focus on my first few hours after I stepped off the plane from SFO in this post. I arrived around noon and my Sis picked me up so we decided to FINALLY go visit my Grandpa Lee  at his house in San Mateo. I probably hadn’t seen him in a couple of years and he had never even met little Macaroni girl! He always has an excuse for us not to come but we were determined and so we did. This post is all about the mausoleum which is his home. My dear Gramma Lillian, whom he called ‘Doll’, died when I was nine. The house is almost exactly the same as the day she passed away and there is a gold mine of conversation pieces my friends. I truly feel like this house was and is well loved. It’s contents are authentic to the people who inhabit it. They were not pretentious or buttoned up tidy people. They were an animated couple who loved to eat and drink and have their good friends over to do both all the time. Politically correct was not a term they were familiar with and swearing was as comfortable as the full length night gown my gramma lived in.

The very first photo with Mac and her Great Grandpa upon their first meeting!

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When we first arrived she was looking around so confused and somewhat terrified. I don’t blame the kid…you’ll see why when you scroll down. I wish I would have taken a better photo so you could see the giant tapestry hanging above my sister with a life size California bear.

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These photos have been above my grandpa’s fireplace since 2000 when I graduated high school. All things considered, relative to the rest of the house, these are still very new. Don’t know what’s up with the coat of arms

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Ok, so here’s a good one! These scary wall-mounted heads are located by the full bar set up in the family room. They spit at you when you walk by…yes that’s right, they spit. There’s a string you can pull and it makes the eyes roll back even more creepily and it laughs at you.

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I’m not sure which one is worse? I call them Hanzel and Gretel. They are so awful I kinda love them and I grew up with these bad boys so they are sentimental eye rolling, spitting mounted heads. I think they are from the 70’s.

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There are, shall we say, very eclectic signs posted all around the bar area and family room. I think of my 8-year-old self reading these signs like it ain’t no big thang.

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Martini time is the Hughes and Hankins family honored tradition. When my brother, sister and I were small we called it “olive and onion time”.  Skewering all the cocktail garnishes was a fun game and thus cementing my love for all things pickled and garnished. I still snack on those damn onions.

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My grandpa must have been playboy of the year in the 30’s? Haha. Parents today would probably not let their children set foot in this house filled with phallic things and foul language. Those were the days.

The “Oh Shit” cat has always been one of my favorites.

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Look closely…didn’t think this blog was X-rated did you?

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Their yard is quite the departure from the inside. It’s lush with fruit trees like these oranges. He also has a really cool cherry tree that we would get sick off of eating so many.

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We picked an orange for Mac but she wasn’t a fan. I think she is too used to canned mandarins.

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What I think I’m really fond of at their house is the humor. Everything is an opportunity for a joke, especially the bathroom!

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This is a photo of my great grandmother who was a Zigfield Folly girl. That’s about all I know about her. I just let my mind run wild of all the Great Gatsby stories she must have had.

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And here’s my Gramma Lil. She was a woman who did what she wanted and loved what she did until the end. Smoking and drinking I’m sure were the direct cause of her young departure from this earth but it made her happy. At least I can thank her for being the reason today I neither smoke or drink. She would definitely call me a party pooper.

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My mom is the naked baby in this photo. What a happy family!

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Some how she got away with wearing kimonos and night gowns as legitimate day time wear.

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Everyone needs this kind of bathroom accessory don’t you think?

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Gramma loved everything Asian. All these figurines are still on display in the dining and living room.

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Moving on to the kitchen area: My grandpa said I could take all the cookbooks I wanted! I was so happy at this offer I practically started to cry. I’m obsessed with cookbooks as you know but doubly obsessed with my grandma’s cookbooks and anything that has old notes in them. I shipped a huge box of them back home and it cost a pretty penny but so worth it. I even shipped boxed sets of recipe cards that I’m pretty sure were subscription based. There are tons of them but I need to come up with a creative way to put them to use.

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Well, hello there random thing hangin on the door which has no purpose at all…are you a pot holder? Stop staring at me!

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And hello there Mr. Chicken hanging upside down above the sink.

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Everyone should have such a potholder collection! A good mix of cute and inappropriate brings balance in life.

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Hmmm, the better to eat you with my dear? This is sitting underneath his coffee maker and it scares me, a lot.

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This scares me too….I think my mom made this in the 80’s. Can’t be too sure. It could have also been one of her fabulous garage sale finds.

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You know I want all of this stuff for my house because it’s all so awesome and weird. Some of these Asian pieces are probably worth quite a bit.

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Yes! An elephant flower pot!

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These zebra, snakeskin or whatever chairs are the bees knees.

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Ceramic cat, bowl of plastic fruit and a floral sofa. Genius.

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Jonathan Adler has nothing on this lamp.

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My grandpa still sleeps in this bed. The ruffles make it.

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These hanging fake plant things must have been all the rage because they are in every room!

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Hey look, that’s me. Aren’t I cute? I was 4 in that picture.

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Another hangy thing. What is this? It’s made of shells and in the spare room/office.

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Oh look what time it is! Olive and onion time! Actually I’m just holding my dad’s martini for the photo op. Wa wa wa.

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My Uncle Ronnie, yes he is wearing a shirt with Mickey Mouse on it. Ronnie still lives with Grandpa and will until the end of days. I have extra prayers for Ronnie.

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Ronnie killed this fox (I think he said it was a fox) which is lovingly adorning my grandpa’s vintage slot machine. Those two things totally go together.

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Oh, too much sharing? Sorry.

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Mac is afraid to venture down the hallway…

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so we went outside for a quick roll down the hill out front. That hill always entertained me as well!

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While the men of the house enjoyed some more martinis. Cheers!

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Then we got hungry and there was only one place to go: Fernando’s! This is a Mexican restaurant that my grandparents went every Wednesday to drink with friends at the bar and eat chile rellenos. My grandma loved them, my mom loves them and I also completely love chile rellenos. It must be hereditary.

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When we were little and picky eaters we always got tortillas with butter on them and rolled them up into little cigars.

This is the free happy hour plate….they gave us three of these!!! I almost couldn’t fit in my chile relleno.

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Then for dessert I went into this place which as been there a very long time but I never went to before. Their cannoli’s were the best I have ever had and I got a a whole box to take back to Monterey with us and ate one for breakfast over the next 3 days with my morning coffee.

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How’s that for a walk down memory lane? I hope you were entertained by my quirky family. That was only Day 1 of my trip, there’s so much good stuff to write about that I can hardly write anything at all! Check back in soon!

My family to yours,

Kendra

Cake and Babies

CAKE!!!!!!….CAKE!!!!!…..MORE CAKE!!!!!

MacKenzie turned 1 and we had a super fun beach party for her on a very windy yet sunny Saturday afternoon. Chris and I had flown in the night before and it was the first event of the 12 day trip back home to Monterey. I felt the party to be such a momentous occasion since Mac is the first baby in my immediate family and now that we live all the way across the country these kind of family gatherings just mean a lot more in general. When we first drove out to Cannery Row to help set up around noon the wind was making me cranky and I thought Kimberly had lost her mind having a party on the beach for a 1-year-old. Once we got things set up and the wind died down I got a little less judgy and just went with it. I can be a real uptight jerk when I can’t control the elements. So I removed the pole from my butt about an hour or so into it and actually admired all the work and planning my little sister had put into her baby’s first birthday. I was impressed…minus the melted cake and cupcakes…

Fish shaped cupcakes
These were way cuter before they semi melted in the car, ackk! They still tasted awesome though. Kimberly made vanilla and chocolate because you can never go wrong with the classics. She arranged each individual fish cupcake into a school of fish in a giant shape of a fish (does that make sense?)
cake and cupcake casualities
The transportation of meltable goods was not so brilliant for the event. Leaving the icing to melt in the car while setting up tables makes for sad cakes. The octopus is still smiling though, poor guy!
MacKenzie's Octopus Birthday Cake
See what I mean? His tentacles started to melt off…it was the cutest cake ever too before it got all jacked up. The designer is a friend of Kimberly’s named Luz and let me tell you she is exceedingly talented. I so wish I could have photographed the pristine version of this cake.
MacKenzie with her Daddy
No she’s not having any fun at all! Hahaha
Octopus Dip
What a clever idea! Kimberly made hummus and used a bell pepper to make an octopus.
The Beach Party Setting
Not a bad location eh? What my dad is sneakily doing in the background I have no idea, plotting to take of the universe I think!
MacKenzie goes for a walk
MacKenzie just started walking about a month ago. It’s so crazy how much different she is since I last saw her only a couple months before.
She has her eyes on that pigeon.
Big Girl Chair
I feel like she is about to demand a beer or something. Definitely a classy baby. What do you think the caption for the photo should be?
MacKenzie's Great Grandma arrived
This was such a cool moment. My grandmother, who’s 90th birthday we would be celebrating the next day, has arrived and all the kids are running over to greet her! She is a great grandma now 6 times over and they all call her GG Ma. It’s pretty darn cute.
Mac Surrounded by Presents
Spoiled much!? Well, duh!
Ryan and Nancy
My cousin Ryan the Rocket Scientist…yes he really is and that is how I always refer to him now. I told him his status as a rocket scientist has both dwarfed all of our accomplishments and yet elevated the coolness status of all the rest of us in the family just because we are related to him. He will soon be moving to New York so hopefully I will get to see more of the guy and brag to random strangers about my cousin the rocket scientist. My Aunt Nancy (on the right) is exceedingly happy he made it to the party. He took the train up from Santa Monica just for the day. That’s like 8 hours of traveling for Mac’s birthday. He’s pretty cool even if he wasn’t a rocket scientist!
The fam bam
Good times, good conversation. I imagine my brother is telling Ryan right about now about his new truck and his sick new gps system thingy….he was talking about his truck a lot that day. Thanks Cameron, we know you got a new truck, cool, happy for you….
Oh what funny skin you have GG Ma!
Birthday Princess Throne
Mac is set upon her princess throne and commences royal cake devouring
Cake Smash
just getting started, think it tastes good but not sure yet
Are you sure this is allowed?
“Are you sure this allowed mommy?” Hahaha, face full of cake
East some more cake
Yes it does taste good.I think I’ll have some more, please and thank you.
Sugar High
…..and the sugar high commences! “Arggghh, this is the stuff!”
save some for us
Thank God she saved some cake for us. Look at that deliciousness!
Tutu time
After the cake Mac put on her new tutu over her bathing suit. She is real fashionista that one. She had so many gifts she didn’t know what to play with first!

Chris and I gifted her the book Madeleine, which I remember loving when I was a little girl. Mac already loves books, the cardboard kind anyway. I think she’s gonna be a reader! Among many other talented things. It was a fun day! After the party us adults needed a drink and so Chris, my brother, sister , my cousin the rocket scientist and my bestie Ashley all went over to Baja Cantina for dinner and Margaritas. Whew! The next day I woke up with a headache for my grandma’s 90th birthday, oopsie! So that and the following 11 days I will tell you about in future posts! Wishing you all good cake and happy babies!

My Beautiful Baby Niece: MacKenzie is Almost 1-year-old!

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Macaroni takes a bath

I’d like to take a moment and introduce you to the first baby on my side of the family: MacKenzie Marie. She is my little sister Kimberly’s baby and she is going to be 1-year-old very soon: August 9th to be exact! Almost a year since I was in the room helping to deliver her into the world. Almost a year since her big head scared my sister half to death, haha! Almost a year since I held her for the first time with great trepidation as she stared into my eyes in awe.

It’s still very strange to me that my sister has a baby, like woah. When did any of us become adults ready to have children? I still remember making mud pies and pine needle forts like it was yesterday. I still get a kick out of the memory making Kimberly sick twirling her around on the tire swing. Now here she is pushing a stroller and dressing her little girl up in her baby doll outfits. I guess it’s like being kids all over again in a lot of ways.

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Baby Bunny Mackers in the Woods
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Maczie really likes bunnies!
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Mischievous MacKenzie
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Frilly Foo Foo Mac-A-Doo
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Smiley Mac Smilerson
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The High Flyin MacDoodle and Papa Geoff
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Mackabee and Mommabee
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Mac Blue Eyes
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Mackers Goes On a Photoshoot
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MacKenzie Marie, how lovely can you be?
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Macdizzle’s duck face
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Miss Mac Goes to the Monterey Aquarium
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Goofy Auntie Kendra and Princess Prima MacKerina Ballerina on Halloween
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Mac Attack, you’ve been baby dialed

This one makes me smile so much. She loves to hold the phone when I FaceTime with her. She often hangs up on me or has her thumb over the camera but everything she does is pretty funny and cute!

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Her momma teaches her “Why stop and smell the flowers when you can eat them?!”
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Moppy Mackeroo
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Surprised or hypnotized?

Is she seriously not the most expressive baby you have ever seen? Those eye brows kill me.

My sister is a photographer in the Monterey Bay/Northern California area. You can visit her website to see more of her work at www.cypressphotogallery.com

She specializes in Fashion Editorial since we also own a women’s boutique selling mainly special occasion dresses. Kimberly has a natural talent for style and fashion and she does the majority of the photography for the store.

Since she’s a mommy she has developed a beautiful portfolio with other babies as well and shot family portraits, pin-up portraits as well as bridal and wedding events.

You can also view the website and/or follow the blog for our cute little sassy store, Girl-Lee Boutique, which my sister also maintains: www.girl-lee.com

Califoodication: Part 2

After sitting at Baja Cantina for over 3 hours eating, drinking and making fun of each other I asked my mom what she would like to do for the rest of her Mother’s Day. She couldn’t think of anything. I gave her the mother’s day present I told you about in my last post. I love this little oinker and totally want it for my kitchen. My mom told me she put it on her bar and put all her bar accessories in it. Bacon flavored martini anyone? I got it at Pottery Barn in Monterey and I have to say they had the WORST customer service I have ever seen, my brother and friend Ashley were witnesses to the whole thing. I almost returned it on the spot because they were soooo rude but Chris said he could not endure searching for anything else so that was that.

I fell in love with this so I knew my mom would love it too

I suggested wine tasting since we were already in the heart of wine country. My dad chimes in and says “oh I have these complimentary tasting cards for two at Bernardus. I’ve been carrying them around forever.” Then my mom’s light bulb goes on, “oh I have one of those too!” So off we went to Bernardus with our free wine tasting cards that have been so lovingly held on to for what looked like years the state the tattered coupons were in. We arrive excited to sample the chardonnays and pinot noirs (those are the varietals best grown with the climate of the area). Every local in the area must have had the same idea as us that day. The tasting room was packed full of red-faced, stuffy nosed wine snobs and wanna be’s. My family and I just waited nonchalantly for our turn for some glasses. We browsed their clothing display with the Bernardus label and my mom and I picked out matching denim shirts, all the pourers were wearing the same one. A particularly funny Bernardus staffer (I don’t believe they are sommeliers) comes over from behind the bar and says “ah yes that’s a fine choice, we call that the Canadian Tuxedo”. Then he gave us all wine glasses and my dad hands him our VIP cards. The wine guy as I will call him announces at the top of his lungs so everyone in the room can hear “Looks like you’ve had this since the dawn of time!” Then he says we will get the “premier tasting”. Sweet, no complaints here, give me the good stuff. By this time some people cleared a few spots at the bar and my mom and I cozied up to it.

Cheers to you and cheers to me, Cheers to my happy family!

Then in walks this LA chick wanna be Jersey guidette, fake boobs, fake eyelashes, caked on make up and shorty shorts with her Louis Vuitton bag smacking her gum. The bar is at capacity and she basically starts bullying people out of her way. “I need my wine” she yaps like an annoying chihuahua. This biotch bumps into my mom trying to push her to the side and my mom whips around and scolds her “Excuse me but we waited 30 minutes to get up to the bar, you can wait too!” This scolding did not phase her one bit. She sticks out her boobs and learned one of the pourers names and calls to him, trying to be all sweet and flirty, batting her ridiculous eyelashes. I wanted to rip those eyelashes off of her face! My mom was even more perturbed. We joked about tripping her in her hooker heels. Some guy she was with lingered behind her slutty shadow. 5 minutes later she guzzled down her glass of wine and was gone, thank you Jesus! I was just about to ask her for her autograph, or take a picture with the Snooki. Darn.

Now that we could enjoy our wine without being elbowed I really enjoyed two of the five wines we tasted. Of course my favorite was the most expensive at $80 a bottle, I didn’t like it that much to lay down that kind of money though.

The first wine we tasted was the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. Knowing my mother and her inclination towards more oak flavored whites I knew this fruity wine would not be her taste. I found it quite palatable and I drank my generous portion. Secondly we tasted their 2009 Chardonnay, I didn’t care for it as much as I anticipated and neither did the rest of the fam. Then we moved on to reds. I have learned that I am more of a red fan and oddly enough, it doesn’t seem to trigger my migraines as much as the lighter white wines do even though people are always saying the sulfites in red wine is what does it. The 2008 pinot noir was everyone’s favorite by a landslide, it was so drinkable and interesting. It would pair perfectly with seafood or a nice steak, or just by itself for enjoyment. Lastly we tried the Marinus, a signature wine of theirs that is a combination of grapes. This is the bottle that was so pricey but I could see how people would get into collecting wines and springing for it. Check out their website www.bernardus.com/winery

Chris and I were wiped out after that so we went back to the hotel. Chris had a few hours of work to do and dinner time came and went and we were both so tired and feeling so lazy that for dinner I microwaved a bag of popcorn. I layed down in the comfy Marriott bed and read my book “A Homemade Life” until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. Chris passed out with his glasses on and the tv on laying on top of the covers, he does that A LOT. I turn the tv off, take his glasses off and tuck him in.

Day 3: Monday, May 14

This was my favorite day of being home. Chris took the car to work and my mom came to pick me up to go have brunch in Carmel. I threw around a few ideas before deciding on La Bicyclette, the most adorable little French Bistro in Carmel-By-The-Sea. It oozes french charm, old world character, and fatty goodness. We are seated right away at small wooden table for two overlooking the brick pizza oven and charcuterie station.

La Bicyclette, magnifique

The air is filled with the scent of fresh-baked bread. A cute couple across from us are ladling their soup into/ bowls from a copper pot. The very French chef is adding to the authenticity of the atmosphere as he talks to himself about a meal he is preparing, or maybe he was talking to us but I don’t know, he was speaking French. My mom orders a bottle of Schramberg Champagne. We toast to each other and our mother-daughter day out. It’s her first time here and she’s excited because she doesn’t go out much (besides the Fish house).

I can’t have enough beets, I LOVE BEETS!

Everything on the menu sounded divine. Both my mother and I hadn’t eaten since 3:00PM the day before and it was almost noon. We both ordered this gorgonzola beet salad to start. We should have split it, the blue cheese was so rich and creamy contrasted by the crunch of the crispy fried onions and earthy beets. We barely talked while eating this salad, it required all of our attention.

For our entree’s again we both wanted the same thing: eggplant parmesan. This was no regular eggplant parmesan and I wish I could describe it the way they did on the menu. I do remember the words “goat cheese fondue” and “sweet tomato jam”. SOLD! There were so many awesome sounding things though on the menu that I felt it was a tragedy to order the same thing again. I dutifully picked something else. I went for the oyster poboy. I had one in New Orleans last year that was superbly amazing and I wanted to jog that memory back.

The real star after all was the eggplant parmesan. I took one bite and wished it was mine. Unfortunately for my mother she long been afflicted with GERD, reflux disease, and all things fried, super acidic things like tomato can trigger and instant reaction. The eggplant parmesan was both of these things and therefore I had to be a good daughter and trade.

Freshly baked bread was killer with a dynamite aioli sauce
The best and most beautiful eggplant parmesan there ever was and ever will be

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a lovely brunch. We didn’t’ even finish our entrée’s so dessert was out of the question. There is always room, however, for coffee.

While my mom finished the champagne off I ordered a cappuccino and what a perfect end to a perfect meal it was. The presentation made it the most visually appealing coffee I have ever had.

I get a poem with my coffee

Califoodication: Part 1

For Mother’s Day I went back home to Monterey, California. I was there for 6 glorious days of fun, family, friends and of course all my favorite food. I knew it was going to be too short, there is too much that I love there to do everything I wanted to do, eat and see in 6 days. What follows is my abbreviated version of the past week and I will warn you now it involves copious amounts of alcohol. After all it’s not a vacation if you don’t have a few cocktails.

Day 1: Saturday May 12- East Coast to West Coast

We left at 9am. Our flights from Charlotte to Atlanta and then Atlanta to San Francisco were relatively painless (aside from my 6’4″ husband not getting his usual exit row/extra leg room aisle seat- seriously they should have special seating for Big and Tall people, it affects the comfort of all on board. On the short leg of the trip I was dealt my usual middle seat and thus wedged between my lanky husband and another  woman who was more horizontally challenged and really needed two seats to spill into. Luckily that part of the flight was less than 45 minutes so that’s that.

On our two hour drive from SFO to Monterey I contemplated dinner. Seafood, need seafood STAT! At first I suggested Phil’s Fish House in Moss Landing. They were made famous on Bobby Flay’s show Throwdown in the Cioppino battle, Phil won. Moss Landing was a bit out of the way though and after a long ass day of traveling that was sort of a stretch. Better idea: Go to Salinas Fish House!!! Yes, brilliant Kendra, you are so smart. I knew my mom and dad would want to meet us there, it’s their go-to spot. The Salinas Fish House is like a shiny jewel in a worn out dusty town that boasts of not much at all. In fact, Salinas is the butt of many a joke on the Monterey Peninsula. Only two things come to mind when most people think of Salinas: Gangs and Lettuce (and a third, for those who are literate, would be John Steinbeck novels) so needless-to-say when one thinks about seafood, Salinas does not even register as an option. The Salinas Fish House is an exception of which I am a proud patron. We arrived there around 7PM which was already 10PM on our stomach clocks so we were STARVING. I had my heart set on cioppino.

As a concierge I was always surprised at the droves of people who have never had and/or didn’t even know what cioppino was. I would describe it to the would-be eaters as the kitchen sink of the sea in a deeply flavorful tomato red broth. It’s an oceanic symphony of jumbo shrimp, muscles, clams, squid, snapper or salmon, cracked crab legs and scallops in a giant bowl made even better with a big honkin slice of garlic bread to slurp up the soupy sauce.

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Doesn’t it look amazing? Click the link below to watch a video of Phil at the Phil’s Fish house making his famous Cioppino in his restaurant, sharing all his “beautiful” secrets. He thinks everything is beautiful but hey don’t blame the guy, it’s a beautiful life.

Phil’s Cioppino

Before ordering my cioppino first things first, I needed a cocktail. Tequila sunrise if you please. When you want to cut right to the chase tequila is the way to go and I went. Everyone who knows me well knows that I am a cheap date when it comes to alcohol. One and done. If that’s all it takes then mission accomplished, no need to make myself ill trying to keep up with the big guys. My vodka martini parents out do me every time. My dad doesn’t even take an olive anymore, that’s more space precious vodka could be. Our servers and the owner are our friends. They know my parents drinks by heart and ask only what they would like out of duty, not for lack of knowing.  Rum and diet for my mom, more rum less diet. My husband orders a beer, he’s a beer guy and rarely anything else except when I inevitably do not finish my cocktail he drinks the rest. I like my drinks pretty because I’m a goober girly girl like that and I always get a giggle from him drinking my ultra girly drinks. “Hey babe, want my cherry?” Yep, I’m that girl when I drink, all kinds of cheesy and slightly inappropriate even in front of my parents.

To Make Tequila Sunrise:

Stir or shake together 1 jigger  tequila and 3/4 cup orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed). Fill a chilled 12 ounce glass with ice cubes; pour in orange juice mixture. Slowly pour in 1/2 jigger grenadine, and allow it to settle to the bottom of the glass (be patient). Garnish with a slice of orange, and a maraschino cherry.

To be clear I’m not recommending this combination of Tropical fruity drink to go with cioppino. That’s just wrong, really. Tequila just sounded good at the time. A proper person would pair a nice glass of pinot noir. In Phil’s video at the end he recommends Hahn pinot noir, what a smart guy he is. Hahn is a favorite of my mine and one of my best friends brother, Brian Peverini, is a manager on their vineyard. Next time I am there I fully intend on making him give me an ATV tour of the grounds. The place is really beautiful and many weddings and cool foodie events are hosted there. Above all though it’s their wine which is really special for under $20 a bottle. http://www.hahnestates.com/

Day 2: Sunday, May 13th Mother’s Day

It has been a family tradition for the last 4 years to have lunch out on the patio at Baja Cantina on mother’s day. It’s everybody’s favorite place to go, it’s instant vacation. Baja in Carmel Valley, where it is always a good 10-20 degrees warmer than anywhere else on the peninsula and sunny when the coast is still laying under the covers of thick fog. Baja Cantina is one of my happy places, nothing but good memories and what’s not to love? Amazing rosemary chicken enchiladas, enormous margaritas, usually good live music and always interesting people watching. I once sat next to Bill Murray there during AT&T pro-am week. Yes I’m a terrible brag. I’m gonna name drop all kinds in this blog, haha.

This place has personality!

We arrived to Baja about 1:00, but not all at once. As per usual with my family several of our party was fashionably late, some showed up an hour or so later. My mom, and my brother showed up first and garnered our prime location of patio table for 10 people. My husband and I were slightly behind them since I was indecisive on what present to give her that day and then on our way we decided we needed cash and Chris will never stop at an ATM that is not our bank, he hates ATM fees, hates them. Rue the day when he see’s a transaction fee show up on our statement because I opted for convenience. I am a terrible person…. So anyway we were 10 minutes late which was equally both our faults, me in my shopping tizzy and him on his bank quest. My father was quite late, he was at my grandmother’s house planting flowers in her front yard. This is not unusual, the planting flowers for my grandmother part that is. Well okay the late part too, unless he has a tee time, that he is early for. Meanwhile I am trying not to ruin my appetite eating their house made tortilla chips. I think our table has gone through 4 baskets at this point. Then around 2:00 my sister, her boyfriend and their 8 month old baby arrive. We regail them. MacKenzie always steals the show these days in her cute little dresses and bloomers and matching flower bow in her non-existent hair. She has the biggest smile, clear blue baby eyes and the most expressive eyebrows she uses to get what she wants. I call her Mackers, my mom calls her Macaroni, she has a million adoring fans and nicknames. It’s appropriate for the first baby in the family, it’s appropriate for every baby in the world, they’re fascinating. That morning they took MacKenzie to her first trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I wish I had gone, the pictures are so cute! They were late since they had spent a few hours there and it takes longer to do everything with a baby.

I ordered the halibut tacos. These are my favorite thing on their menu tied with the rosemary chicken enchiladas. These are healthier though so I thought I would behave myself. The tacos are piled with yummy veggies: artichoke hearts, red pepper, onions and mushrooms. Winning combination! The coconut rice it’s served with is pretty much heaven sent. I am an a mission to replicate these at home. Okay,  it’s on my list of missions anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are a family of last minute thoughtfulness. Right before heading over to mother’s day dinner my brother and I scower the racks of the Hallmark store to find the perfect cards for our mom, grandma, and my sister since she’s a brand new mom.  We found some great cards, funny ones and sappy ones…however we neglected to locate any kind of writing utensil to make the cards slightly more personalized, at the very least sign “Love you”. My brother just gave them all blank cards because he is so awesome like that. I, however, stole a broken crayon from one of kids at a table adjacent to us because I am awesome like that. I proceeded to scribble out something witty and sentimental in my best childish crayon penmanship. It was a classy moment. I signed it at the table in front of them both and told them not to look, gave the envelopes a good lick, sealed em up and drew big fat hearts on the front. They laughed and then opened them.

MacKenzie started to get a little “fussy” as my sister calls it. I held her for a little bit and did my little photo op with her. She ate a few grains of rice and some beans too. She only has a couple teeth. She got passed around in everyone’s laps for awhile until she had had enough. Then my sister and Geoff had to bring her to the next party at Geoff’s family’s house with a whole gang of kids.I’m sure it was a really long day for her…and her parents. So while they went and had kid time my parents, my husband and I went wine tasting which i will tell you all about on the next post.