A couple weekends ago, London and I hit the road for an overnight camping trip.  After 3 hours of driving, we finally arrived to the Malibu Creek State Park campgrounds.  We pulled in the line to enter the park when the young ranger (age identified after I saw the braces) informed us that Reserve America moved our campsite to Pismo Beach.  WHAT!!!!! London and I looked at each other in disbelief, like what the hell.  Lucky for us this little lass was playing a joke, and we were able to enter and set up our camp with limited sunlight left.


As I set up the tent, London popped open our hydroflask filled with Saint Archer’s Blonde Ale.  Trying to capitalize on the last few minutes of light, we went for a little hike around the campgrounds.  We found a little path that we followed until I grabbed London in reaction to a snake.  However, she proceeded to step on it’s HEAD and then stumble back and fall on her butt (which bruised quite nicely).  We continued to walk and experience the wildlife, which included a deer (that I thought had no horns, but indeed did have horns).


When we returned to the campsite, we decided it would be a good idea to TRY and start a fire.  Good thing we started when we did.  We got a little too excited with the first sight of a flame (yay for camp hacks — hand sanitizer and lint for fire starters) and quelled the fire by shoving too much brush on top of it.  Luckily from the help of our neighbors we were able to get enough of a fire going to cook dinner and play bananagrams until it died around 8:30pm and were forced to retreat in the tent.

It was a cold night, and I didn’t sleep too well.  And it didn’t help we didn’t have any fire to look forward to in the morning.  But luckily when we woke up, the sun was shining high above and it was warm enough to brew a couple cups of coffee and start cooking our gourmet breakfast.

After breakfast we packed up our camp and headed out for a hike.  Originally I had several hikes in mind (see here and here) but we ended up coming across Sandstone Peak in Sunset Magazine earlier in the morning, so we decided to give it a try.



Our short but fairly vertical hike ended up being pretty eventful.  Sandstone Peak is the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains (From overcast and windy, to raining to sunny skies and double rainbows, 4 miles was fairly thrilling.  We didn’t end up going to the very top of the peak because the rain made the stone slick, and after London’s fall the day before I didn’t want to risk it.


By the time we finished the hike it was already late afternoon, so we were aching for some good (real) food afterwards.  We ended up at Malibu Farms Cafe on the edge of the Malibu Pier.  SO SATISFYING!!!

Camp pizza & breakfast recipes to follow!

Where to stay:
Malibu Creek State Park
1925 Las Virgenes Rd
Calabasas, CA 91302

Where to hike:
Circle X Ranch/Sandstone Peak
12896 Yerba Buena Road
Malibu, CA, 90265
Sandstone Peak Trailhead: 1 mile north of Circle X Ranch contact station on Yerba Buena Rd. Parking lot is on left.

Where to eat (real food):
Malibu Farms Pier Cafe
23000 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90265



My Instagram post (which is the only paragraph caption I think I’ll ever write) basically sums up this race to the best of my ability — “Today I ran with no plan. After the summer off and only 2 months of training my goal was to make the ‪#‎tcsnycmarathon‬ as enjoyable as possible…and to have fun! I ran by feel, determination and some personal competition.  I stopped every time I felt like I needed to pee (3x) and filled my water bottle up at several stations.  The weather was perfect and the experience was unbeatable! I finished strong with an official time of 3:50:26 and I feel very lucky and inspired to have been able to run with ‪#‎teamCAF‬! *end paragraph*”

But if that’s not enough, here’s the full scoop:

The New York City Marathon is hard to describe. It’s something that should be on your bucket list one way or another (lottery, qualification or fundraising). The opportunity we had was unquantifiable. Jen and I fundraised and went as part of team CAF (Challenged Athletes Foundation).

I was nervous about the late start (10am) because I am the type of person that wakes up, shoves a bar in my mouth, and heads out to line up for a race. I didn’t know how eating and pooping (to be completely honest) would work with such a lull in time. However, the delayed start also made the race seem like a long run without all of the anxiety and anticipation that comes when you have to wake up and immediately run.


CAF partners with FDNY and subsequently NYPD, and as part of our team perks, we received SUPER VIP treatment. Race morning we were instructed to meet in front of Park Central Hotel at 6am for the special shuttles that would take us over to Staten Island. Because Jen and I registered so late, normally we would have had to take the ferry over. Luckily we didn’t have to deal with any potential seasickness and were able to travel by land. The bus left around 7am and we arrived to Staten Island around 8am. At this time we thought we would be placed in the Charity Village, however, we were dropped off at a completely separate area reserved exclusively for Team FDNY/NYPD with heated tents, food, coffee and porta-potties.

Here’s how my wake up/eating schedule went down:
5:15 wake-up
5:30 eat buttermilk biscuit with strawberry peach jam and drink cup of coffee
5:50 walk over to Park Central
6:45 get on shuttle
7:00 depart for Staten Island
7:45 wake up from brief shuttle nap and eat larabar
8:00 arrive to Staten Island
8:15 drink cup of coffee
8:30 eat first half of almond butter & strawberry peach jam sandwich on a mini brioche loaf
9:10 eat second half of sandwich


The morning was warm for being New York in November. There was no wind (even compared to the day before) and I felt fine in my sexy Target throwaway sweats. I ended up wearing my race day outfit (tank, shorts and compression socks) layered with an old stained lululemon tech longsleeved top (to also be tossed), and sweatsuit, plus gloves if necessary.

Around 9:10am we left this staging area and walked towards where we would line up for our corrals. Even though my wave didn’t start until 10:15am, the wave 2 corrals opened at 9:15am and closed at 9:40am. I split up from the rest of the group as I headed towards blue start. I shed my sweatpants. Then slowly my other garments. I kept my gloves on just incase the bridge was exceptionally cold, and in that case at least my extremities would be warm and help make everything else feel ok.

The race is divided into 3 different colors — green, orange and blue. These 3 groups start in different areas, and merge together after mile 2. The difference is how the 3 groups run across the Verazzano Bridge. I was in blue and we crossed over the top. Jen was in green and ran underneath.

The first half mile I was seriously worried. My legs felt heavy and I was worried this was going to be the longest, slowest and most miserable race of my life. I was worried that, even though I tapered the week before, maybe I didn’t take it easy enough the week before (post half-marathon when I only took 1 day off from running).

After the Verazzano Bridge you enter Brooklyn from mile 2 to 12. I knew this going in and kind of just wanted to get out of Brooklyn ASAP because I knew it would take up a good portion of the race.  However, the crowds were robust and I found myself scanning the sidelines in the off chance I might recognize someone (haha).

It’s hard for me to write about the rest of the race because as much as I tried to pay attention, it now all seems like a blur. The second bridge, Pulaski Bridge brought us over to Queens where you spend miles 13 to 15 (I believe).

Mile 15 to 16 is supposed to be the hardest over Queensboro Bridge because it’s an incline and no crowds are allowed on the bridge.  However, I am weird and almost preferred running on the bridges, because it would knock out 1 to 2 mile sections at a time. For instance, I preferred the silence of Queensboro Bridge over First Avenue, even though First Ave was probably the most populated area next to Central Park. But I felt like it just went on and on and on into infinity.

After spending about 3.5 miles on First Ave, you cross Willis Ave Bridge into the Bronx, where you’re in and out within a mile and a half. I knew mile 21 we would enter back into Manhattan via 138th Street Bridge. We passed by one side of Central Park on Fifth Ave and my goal was to just keep moving. This drag lasted from 21 to 25 before you round the corner onto Central Park South, around Columbus Circle and back into the park.

I stopped for the bathroom at 4, 10 and 20. I also stopped for water, and at first I would just grab the cups and drink them, but it worked out better for me to stop off to the side for a couple seconds and refill my bottle. Because honestly I didn’t care about my time. I was also worried stopping in the later miles would make it hard to get going again, but I ended up feeling so much better and refreshed after every stop. My goal was to get to mile 10, to get to mile 18, and to get to mile 20. At 23 I knew just a 5k more, and at 24 I was ready to be done but knew I could make it 2 more miles. I started picking up the pace, bobbing and weaving and just flying by everyone. It felt pretty empowering and exhilarating!

I have read a good number of recaps that consider the bridges hills, but honestly, I can’t really remember any of them being “hills.”  They were more like ascents followed by descents (on which I told myself to stretch my legs out).  It’s not necessarily a hard course, just hard in terms of humanity and obstacles (water cups, banana peels, sticky gus, etc.) Because there were ALWAYS people. I would look ahead and think that it would come to a complete gridlock. But it also gave me chills and motivation to know that there were that many people running the race and “I CAN DO THIS TOO!”

I ran based on feel, but after running M2B significantly faster, I knew my threshold. The last two miles I really pumped it, dropping my pace down to 7:44, 7:38 and 7:23 for my last half mile. I’m glad we walked/ran the finish line area before because the finish line was kind of inconspicuous and I knew to expect that the downhill in Central Park would be followed by a subtle incline to the finish line (which I literally picked up my feet and felt like I was climbing with large strides).

After the finish line, rather than having to walk to 77th Street (where people who opted for ponchos got to exit) or 81st Street where the rest of humanity got to exit, we got to exit with team FDNY/NYPD at 69th Street. Afraid I was going to miss my exit, I asked the first policeman I encountered, and he told me I had 2 more blocks to go up, and that I still needed to get my medal. Oh yeah! That thing!

I grabbed my recovery bag and headed out. My question for everyone was “how do I get out of here?” I also walked past Marcus Samuelsson (from the Food Network) who I didn’t recognize or realize at the time besides the fact that his bib said “MARCUS” and I remembered seeing a sign during the race that said “Go Chef Marcus S” (I just assumed it was a local chef). Later, cross-checking on Instagram I confirmed it was him.


I headed towards the family reunion section “A” where I thought I was going to meet Jen’s daughter, Tyler. I was walking along with the walking dead until I got really tired of walking so slow. And being an annoying and crazy maniac I started to power walk and weave around everyone. I think this helped to keep the blood flowing in my legs… I mean I just ran 26.2 miles…I have no patience!! 😛 When I got to “A” it was around 2:11 and I projected that I would get there around 2:15. But I didn’t see Tyler and couldn’t remember if I was just supposed to meet her back at the hotel. So I kept moving and followed the crowd out of the family reunion section until I realized that it was heading back into Central Park and towards the race. Not seeing an exit that way, I found the next policeman (again, full of so many questions!!) and said “I just need to get to 54W St, how do I get out of here?” She looked at my bib and said, right this way, and let me walk through the center of Columbus Circle that was blocked off to all traffic and everyone else!!!! It was insane.

This race was FILLED with inspiration. I don’t think at any time I wasn’t surrounded by someone from a different country. There were people from Achilles running with guides which provided additional inspiration. It was a great way to experience the entire city of New York, and to see all of the boroughs, especially for my first time. It ended up making the run feel just like a long exploration of the city!

My official time was 3:50:26, but I stopped my watch every time I stopped for a bathroom, so my watch recorded 3:47:49.

All in all it was a great experience and I feel so fortunate to have been able to run the NYC Marathon!


Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (3:47:49):
1 – 8:46
2 – 8:06
3 – 8:27
4 – 8:28
5 – 8:27
6 – 8:35
7 – 8:32
8 – 8:41
9 – 8:53
10 – 8:37
11 – 8:42
12 – 8:40
13 – 8:58
14 – 8:45
15 – 8:46
16 – 9:57
17 – 8:40
18 – 8:36
19 – 8:47
20 – 8:44
21 – 8:54
22 – 8:30
23 – 8:39
24 – 8:39
25 – 7:44
26 – 7:38
Last .46 –3:23



Since this trip was primarily focused on the marathon, we stayed pretty close to the hotel/Central Park. Each day seemed to pass by quicker than the next and in the guise of saving our legs, we stayed pretty local. The only time we somewhat ventured out was for the expo at the Javitz Convention Center and concurrently Chelsea Market, and the CAF Luncheon (also located a couple blocks from the expo).

I have never been to New York before and had no concept of the city, what I wanted to do/see/eat. I received several recommendations from Evann but didn’t put together an official itinerary (are you surprised?!).

However, as we ran through the different Burroughs, specifically Brooklyn, I saw a lot of restaurants (including Sweet Chicks recommended by Evann) that would have been fun to visit if we were visiting for other than the marathon. This just leaves me wanting to come back to New York for another trip and for another reason.




Arriving on Thursday late afternoon and departing Monday after breakfast, we experienced 5 days and 4 nights in NYC. The first night I found Trattoria Dell’Arte where we would also end up spending dinner the night before the marathon and then night after. The first night we dined in the regular dining room, but the next 2 nights we sat at the Antipasto Bar, receiving special treatment (complimentary Prosecco, etc.) and entertainment from the waiters.  The night before the marathon we wanted to go with something we knew, and instead of chancing it at a different Italian restaurant, we decided to go back with something we knew worked (and was delicious!). Post-marathon I was ravenous (talk about finishing a marathon at an awkward time…think 2-3pmish) I was too hungry to think/pick a new restaurant, and while hesitant to spend another night where we had already visited two times before, we returned. What we ordered: Burrata & Prosciutto Di Parma, roasted halibut with polenta, salted broccolini and olive tapenade, grilled vegetables & pecorino cheese thin crust pizza (with sausage added), limoncello dessert and cannolis (with added ice cream lololol).


Post dinner night one, we went over to Momofuku Milk Bar for dessert (a familiar name from my baking/Tastespotting days of seeing the cornflake cookie and the compost cookie). I ended up getting a mixed soft serve with crack pie and cereal milk ice cream, with chocolate chips and crushed cornflake toppings. The ultimate breakfast for dessert flavor!


Ok, so now that I’ve covered night one and taken up 3 out of 4 nights/dinners, lets retrace our steps back to Friday morning. After a light jog around Central Park and to check out the finish line, we were all pretty hungry.  I found Blue Dog Kitchen — a small and communal style restaurant serving up homey but not greasy/diner-ish food. What we ordered: roasted avocado benedicts, DIY omelette with mushrooms, goat cheese, spinach and sausage.


After visiting the expo, we decided to walk down on the High Line down to Chelsea Market. We had planned to have high tea at the Plaza hotel, but adhering to an itinerary was not fitting with our non-schedule so we ended up canceling this. We ended up just grabbing a pick-me-up and snack inside Chelsea Market. My iced latte from Ninth Street Espresso was super smooth (and maybe consumed too late in the afternoon — but well worth it). At Sarahbeth’s we got buttermilk biscuits and raspberry/strawberry jam. These absolutely hit the spot, and Jen decided to get a couple biscuits and a jar of strawberry peach jam for our pre-race meal.

For dinner we took a tip from our Concierge at the Warwick Hotel who recommended Il Gattopardo. This was the only night we stepped away from Trattoria Dell’Arte but not from Italian Food. We had an amazing dinner, sharing a couple bottles of wine, Burrata (again), halibut (again) and beignet style desserts. Notice a trend? If it’s not broke don’t fix it!!


Saturday morning I slept in a little later than the others. We had a couple hours before our lunch, but not enough to have a decadent breakfast. We ended up just picking up some coffee and packaged to-go breakfasts from Le Pain Quotidien (which is like one of my favorite chain-style cafes) and headed over to Central Park. We sat atop a huge rock formation, which seemed so weird and surreal to actually exist in the middle of the city.

Soon it was time to get ready for the CAF Luncheon held at Clyde Fraizer’s Wine and Dine. After hearing inspiring talks from some of the athletes who have been helped and granted by CAF as well as some of the members of the board, we had a well catered lunch. I was surprised with how good the food was — mixed greens salad, grilled chicken sandwich and sorbet dessert.

After lunch we had a couple hours before we knew we wanted to get dinner to stay on track for an early night. So the hunt for the perfect pre-race breakfast was on. I think that was one of the weirdest things about the race — starting after 10am. I ended up getting a couple of bananas (which I didn’t end up eating), a mini brioche loaf from Bouchon Bakery (small enough to split it in half and make one sandwich) which I ended up covering with almond butter and some delicious Sarahbeth’s jam.


Dinner was at Trattoria Dell’Arte, and the next morning was race day! And since the race traversed the morning/afternoon, we ended up not eating out until dinner, which was once again at Trattoria Dell’Arte. Fast forward to the morning after the race where Jen and I indulged in breakfast at Sarahbeth’s Central Park South (the actual sit-down restaurant). We shared a mix of salty and sweet breakfast dishes, satisfying me to no end because I woke up feeling completely famished. What we ordered: lemon & ricotta pancakes, spinach & goat cheese omelette, pork & apricot sausage, and three-pepper home fries.

I didn’t take a whole lot of food pictures because I either 1. forgot because I was so hungry and dug in, or 2. didn’t feel like it was the time or place to had a food photoshoot.

Restaurant list:

Trattoria Dell’Arte — 4 stars $$$ Italian
900 7th Ave (between 56th St & 57th St)
Neighborhood: Midtown West

Momofuku Milk Bar — 3.5 stars $$ Bakeries, Coffee & Tea
15 W 56th St (between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
Neighborhood: Midtown West

Blue Dog Kitchen — 4 stars $$ Sandwiches, Breakfast & Brunch, Cafes
308 W 50th St (between 9th Ave & 8th Ave)
Neighborhood: Theater District, Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West

Ninth Street Espresso — 4.5 stars $ Cafes, Coffee & Tea
75 9th Ave (between 9th & 10th Ave)
Neighborhood: Meatpacking District, Chelsea

Sarahbeth’s Bakery — 3 stars $$ Bakeries
75th 9th Ave (between 15th St & 16th St)
Neighborhood: Meatpacking District, Chelsea

Il Gattopardo — 4 stars $$$ Italian
13-15 W 54th St
Neighborhood: Midtown West

Le Pain Quotidien — 3.5 stars $$ Bakeries, Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch
922 7th Ave (between Central Park & 58th St)
Neighborhood: Midtown West

Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine — 3.5 stars $$ American (New), Sports Bars
485 10th Ave (between 38th St & 37th St)
Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West

Bouchon Bakery — 4 stars $$ Bakeries, Sandwiches, French
1 Rockefeller Plaza
Neighborhood: Midtown West

Sarahbeth’s Central Park South — 3.5 stars $$ Breakfast & Brunch, American (Traditional)
40 Central Park S
Neighborhood: Midtown West


And we’re off! This morning we’ll be taking the streets of San Francisco. Make sure to follow along on Snapchat as Fit Andy and I will be taking over the @finishlineusa account!  Here’s the gear I’ll be wearing (and don’t make fun of my Hokas!!!).


Skinfix  Rash Repair Balm
–CLIF Shot Blocks
Garmin 620 Forerunner
–Ipod shuffle
Stance Run Threshold Crew
Body Glide
–Lululemon Turbo Run Shorts
–#FNLRunsSF tank (similar style here)
Hoka One One Huaka



Hi hi.  If you know me and/or you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I’m kind of insane when it comes to traveling and eating.  Like if it’s not the best thing, earth shattering, insta-worthy meal, don’t put it near my mouth.  Jusssssst kidding….kinda.  That’s why 30 different eating options and itineraries are key!!!! 😉

So as we travel to SF this weekend, I put together a list of “must-eat” places in SF.  Make sure to check it out and give me any other suggestions/restaurants/tips.  Also, same goes with NY because I’ve actually never been there before!




Last Tuesday my boyfriend and I had the best date night ever! By far the best week night combo — dinner and a show. We started the night at West Coast Tavern, an urban tavern set in a historic theater that also houses the Observatory North Park.

This was my second time going to a show at the Observatory (see Jungle for previous visit). It’s a cool, old venue that has really good shows for not too much $$. We were excited to be going to Tame Impala, a show that sold out within the first hour couple of minutes of ticket sales!


Since it was a “school night” we kept it safe with a couple of beers. I got the rotating handle, which was the Stone Delicious IPA. We began our dinner with the Charred Bacon Brussels Sprouts—balsamic oil, bacon, chili flakes, shaved parmesan reggiano. The sprouts were perfectly charred and crisp, complimented by bits of bacon (because bacon compliments everything!). You could taste the acidity of the balsamic, which made it seem like there was a hint of citrus. The cheese added a bit of saltiness and rounded out the dish nicely.


Keeping it southern, we went for the Pork Belly and Waffles and Shrimp and Grits. The Pork Belly and Waffles—bourbon smoked syrup, garlic butter, bacon— seriously made me smile ear to ear. The pork belly was so soft, rich and buttery, the combo on the waffle literally sent good feelings everywhere.

The Shrimp and Grits — sautéed shrimp, jalapeño, red onion, chorizo soft grits, cilantro, lime — had a bit of spice and a little kick with the incorporation of chorizo in the grits. However, the shrimp were plump and large, and cut down some of the spiciness.


Tame Impala is an alternative, psychedelic-pop band from Australia.  The show started at 10pm and lasted a good hour and a half.  It was nice to see them at a local venue because it was one of the bands we wish we could’ve gone to Outside Lands to see.  Overall, if you’ve looking for the perfect date night, I highly recommend dinner at West Coast Tavern followed by a show at the Observatory North Park!  You can check out the full schedule and line-up here.


West Coast Tavern / Observatory North Park
2895/2891 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92104


Thanks to West Coast Tavern and Observatory North Park for hosting us!

This post is sponsored by Hawaiian Tropic and Walgreens, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


“May Gray” has FINALLY parted just in time for June (hopefully no gloom)! It’s time to hit the beach and bring back the tan that has been slowly fading ever since I came back from Mex. Every day is pretty much an #EscapeDay when you live in San Diego. However, Saturday’s are for sure my Escape Day. They’re the perfect day to let loose, relax and do exactly what you want to do, nothing else and nothing more.

My Saturday Escape Day’s kind of go like this >>



To prepare for the ultimate Escape Day, I stopped by Walgreens to pick up the new line of Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Clear Spray and Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Lotion. It offers the perfect protection for outdoor activities, which pretty much make up the majority of my Escape Day.

For my Saturday morning runs I apply Hawaiian Tropic Sport Clear Spray because it offers a quick and convenient spray of sunscreen for some sweat-resistant protection.

For the beach, the Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Lotion is non-greasy and oil-free, giving you a nice coat of protection that stays on, whether you’re laying out or jumping around in the water like a breaching whale (aka “playing shamu” 😉 ).


Here are my recommendations for some essentials to plan your own Escape Day >>

Sun hat


Whether you’re running endless miles, hanging at the beach, hiking, biking or doing it big outdoors, #HawaiianTropic has you covered, literally. Protecting your skin from the harmful rays, while leaving it looking and feeling beautiful.

What is a must have for your Escape Day? Share your photos using #EscapeDay and #HawaiianTropic!



Buy One Get One 50% off all Hawaiian Tropic clear sprays from 6/28-7/4 at your local Walgreens.

I did it!!!!  My second marathon is complete, and I couldn’t be any happier about the results.  I surpassed my own expectations and came out with a HUGE PR and ran a time fast enough to qualify for Boston.  Recap and more to come!


Lululemon Power Y Tank
Lululemon Seek The Heat Short

-Ipod shuffle
Garmin 620 Forerunner
Strawberry Lemonade Nuun
-Breakfast: Quest bar (ended up just eating a banana and almond butter)

Stance Fusion Run Crew Cut Socks (ended up trading these out for Injinji Trail Socks at the last minute)
Body Glide
Gu: Carmel, Macchiato, Salted Caramel & Chocolate Peanut Butter
Amphipod Profile Lite
Hoka One One Huaka


My trip to #HOTLANTA last week was less than eventful.  Stuck inside for conferences all day, not able to even get a run in, what I thought would be a centralized downtown filled with plentiful food options (think SF-style) was far from it.  However, the nice restaurants we eventually visited were really good.  Here are some recommendations if you ever find yourself in the ATL.


White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails – 4 stars $$$ Southern, American (New)
270 Peachtree St
Neighborhood: Downtown

What we ordered: 

  • Beignets – rock shrimp and chive, white barbecue sauce
  • Shrimp – black-eyed peas, spinach, ham hock, sherry butter, crispy okra




Miller Union – 4 stars $$$ Southern, American (New)
999 Brady Ave NW
Neighborhood: Westside/Home Park
*Chef is James Beard Award Nominee*

What we ordered: 

  • English pea hummus, housemade lavash
  • Braised rabbit, caramelized fennel, english peas, vidalias, olives, rabbit bacon
  • Beeliner snapper, butter poached potatoes, radishes, leeks, radish pistou
  • Pasture-raised chicken, lemon, quinoa, golden beets, feta, almond
  • Caramelized banana tart, pecan linzer, bourbon ice cream




The Optimist – 4 stars $$$ Seafood
914 Howell Mill Rd.
Neighborhood: Westside/Home Park
*Chef is in the running for Food & Wine’s “The People’s Best New Chef: Southeast”*

What we ordered: 

  • Peel & eat shrimp, “come back” sauce, lemon
  • Duck fat poached swordfish, crispy pork belly, FL strawberries, pickled red onion, basil
  • Monkfish, tomato fumet, squid, octopus, clams
  • Corn milk hushpuppies, “beignet style,” cane syrup butter
  • Confit fingerling potatoes, pork belly, chile oil, scallions



Ixtapa, Mexico Pt. 1 continued…



On Tuesday I competed in an “iron woman” competition which required swimming across the pool, chugging a beer, running back across the pool with your arms up, blowing up a ballon, and swimming back to the other side. Unopposed by any other females, I ended up beating the “iron man” winner (male competition) based on time too. For my prize, instead of a beach tote or tshirt, I requested a Russo blanco. Shortly after, Tyler and I took a walk on the beach and stumbled upon a puffer fish on shore. We kept trying to get it out into the water, but it just wouldn’t un-puff or swim away. So I decided to pick it up between our 2 emptied drink cups and walk it out far enough where I could chuck it out into the open sea. However, as I started walking out I saw 2 string rays riding in with the wave, immediately turned around, ran and screamed! Around 4pm we were called to our new afternoon ritual, 300 peso massages.




After our hour of relaxation, we cleaned up nicely to celebrate Tyler’s birthday at the gorgeous and rich La Casa que Canta, rated multiple times in both Travel + Leisure and Conde Naste for being in the top 20 best hotel’s in the world. The location was impeccable and the food spectacular! The hotel itself had the most desirable infinity pool and an additional “salt water” pool.





Wednesday we were unable to run due to a burning fire in the mountains and the residual smoke that was encompassing the shore. Down at the beach I made friends with one of the workers who runs the rentals — parasailing, sailing, etc. I had originally told him I thought parasailing was “peligroso” so this day he offered ty and I a free ride on the sail boat. I even got to man the sail briefly!  For dinner we traveled back into Zihuat to Paty’s, because if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it– and the shrimp fajitas were definitely a universal favorite!








On Thursday the smoke was still thick, and there was a rainbow as I awoke. For this day, we had our sights set on Ixtapa Island. A taxi/bus ride to Playa Linda and then a small fishing boat ride across, we made it to the island. This island is made up of 5 or so little restaurants that each have their own lounge chairs, massage areas, activities, etc. you basically just pick one and post up all day. Our day went some thing like reading, swimming, drinking “Coco Locos” (aka gasoline, which I quickly replaced for a piña colada), Tattoos, massages. We walked to the back side of the island that was called “coral beach” and it was just filled with bits of coral-looking coral on the beach (go figure :-P). After spending the whole day out we wanted something simple for dinner. So we walked into town to Soleidades, a French restaurant.  On our way home we had to stop by Alex’s Sports Bar, a bar built out of the concession stand on the side of a dilapidated stadium.  The tradition is to write something on the wall, so I wrote in a big heart “pienso que asheejojo es la mas chica bonita en todo el mundo!!!” lol because I could 😛 😛 😛




Friday was filled with many activities!  My goal was to do another activity for free, and my little sailboat buddy ended up coming up and offering for us to ride in the speedboat while he towed someone else parasailing.  Then Tyler and I engaged in a whipped cream fight with a bunch of 5 year olds.  Our last activity for the day was competing in a “Triathlon” where Tyler sprinted on the beach, I swam out to the buoy line, and señor Douglas kayaked.  This night ended some-what anti-climacticly and I got sick from from what I’m guessing was some sketchy pina colada mix and getting a little too lax in terms of germ standards.


Saturday we had a full day of traveling, making our way back to LAX and then SD.  And now I’m back to reality, in unbelievably warm temperatures and not-so-warm ocean water.  But stay tuned as Jen and Ash take #HOTLANTA this week 😛



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