Santa Barbara Thanksgiving Album . . .

Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara this year was perfect. Lots of family, lots of football, and lots of food. Hope you all had a super yummy and super relaxing holiday! 



Discovering Columbus . . .

Have you seen the scaffolding in the middle of Columbus Circle? Have you walked right past it paying little attention? Well that's what I did when it first went up. Turns out, it's not just a cleaning of the statue, but also a temporary art installation. Created by Tatzu Nishi - a Japanese artist known for transforming the human experience with monuments, statues, etc - this installation re-imagines the Columbus Circle statue to be the centerpiece of a fully furnished, modern living room. I went thinking the interior design would be spectacular. Not so much. But the views! They are totally worth the six floor climb. Plus it's a pretty neat experience. People go up there and just hang out with Columbus - read the paper in an arm chair, watch TV on the couch, flip through books on the shelves. It's equally cool as it is weird. And did I mention that it's free?

The exhibit has been extended two extra weeks through December 2nd. 
Reserve passes HERE

Photos: Tom Powel Imaging 


Little Black Tour Book . . .

Here's November's LBTB full of fall favorites.
Haven't posted one of these in a while!

Click the links below to be directed to each pick's site:

Brian Atwood
This is for all you shoe lovers around the city. Just recently our favorite model-turned-shoe-designer, Brian Atwood, opened his first stand alone store - selling both Brian Atwood and the more moderately priced B Brian Atwood. Located on Madison Avenue, this is a like high heel heaven, where the store is just as beautiful as each pair of strappy stilettos - think mirrored walls, marbled floors, velvet seats. You'll feel just as glam shopping for these shoes as you do wearing them. 

One of my all time favorite seasonal menus. Admittedly I have a friend with connections here but still, this East Village restaurant is the ultimate in fall indulgence. Appropriately named, Hearth is warm and welcoming and perfect for a chilly November evening. The food, contemporary American with hints of Italian influence, is consistently delicious, always fresh, and expertly prepared. Fall dinner must-haves: Warm Autumn Vegetables, Gnocchi, and Apple Cider Doughnuts. Yum.

This is the perfect bar for a cozy night of creative drinks and candlelight, just make sure you have a  reservation. Famed for it's simple interior and crafty cocktails, Milk & Honey serves up some of the best drinks in the city. If you're looking for something to warm your bones, I recommend the Hot Buttered Rum with honey, unsalted butter and tons of flavorful fall spices. Be warned: If you're an only-vodka drinker this is not the place for you - they don't serve it. 

Situated on a quiet, cobble stoned street in Soho, The Crosby Hotel boasts spacious and beautifully designed rooms. Pairing service and comfort with British luxury, this hotel is always a fabulous downtown stay. Plus the bar and restaurant area is a total hot spot where the Soho scene likes to socialize among the chic surroundings. 


War Horse at Lincoln Center . . .

Last night I braved the storm to go see War Horse. Such a good decision! I like to think that I go to quite a bit of theatre - whether or not that's true - I can honestly say that this was one of the BEST productions I have ever seen. The story was so sweet and moving, the set was incredible, the cast magnificent, and the puppets were lifelike beyond belief. Plus who doesn't love going to Lincoln Center for an evening out? I cannot believe it took me so long to see this show. 

If you've been wanting to see War Horse, now is the time to go. It's a winter show, so it feels appropriate to go when it's cold out. But more important, the play is due to close January 6th - so get your tickets before it's too late. I don't want to give any of the story away (I already feel like I've shared too much posting scene images, just couldn't resist) but I will say that this performance was without a doubt five stars in my book. The whole thing is just magical. I'm hoping to go again before it closes - that's how much I loved it!

Tickets available HERE and at TKTS

Photo © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg


Democracy Plaza . . .

This was my first time in New York for a Presidential election, and I can't deny that there is something incredible about being in Manhattan for big moments in history. The city just knows how to do things right - CNN used the top of the Empire State Building to display results. Times Square turned into a giant viewing party. And NBC transformed Rockefeller Center into Democracy Plaza, with two temporary studios hovering above the crowd, a map of the United States projected on the ice rink, and curtains climbing 30 Rock as votes were counted. 

After casting my vote I went to check it out. So impressive! There was a real electricity in the air - you could just feel everybody's excitement. I'll be honest, I had a moment of hesitation before going thinking that the crowds might be overwhelming. But I'm so happy I made it out - it was quite the sight. Here are a few pics I snapped with my phone: 


Time to Help . . .

I landed in NYC last night and was lucky to come back to an unchanged home/neighborhood post-hurricane. But so many around the city and the Tri-state area have not been so lucky. 
So now is the time to help! 

Here are five ways you can donate/volunteer to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy: 

American Red Cross
Providing shelter, clothes, food, supplies, and blood as needed.

Text: The word REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 
Call: (800) RED-CROSS

New York Cares
The city's largest volunteer organization is recruiting volunteers to help with relief efforts and raising money. 

Call: (212) 228-5000
Email: nycservice@cityhall.nyc.gov

Save the Children
Distributing blankets and baby hygiene items and creating child-friendly environments in shelters. 

Text: The word HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $10
Call: (800) 728-3843

Making sure the city's homebound elderly have access to food. 

Call: (212) 687-1234
Email: info@citymeals.org 

Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society's Animal Rescue Team is working to help pets that need shelter and rescue. 

Text: ANIMALS to 20222 to donate $10
Call: (301) 258-8276

Many more volunteer options listed HERE

Images from Refinery29.com


Happy Halloween . . .


Yesterday I made these cupcakes to get in the Halloween mood. They were yummy and slightly spooky. Tonight I'm going to a friend's party as an Olympic Gymnast. I haven't been in Santa Barbara for Halloween since I was in high school, but I'm excited to be here.
The town always gets dressed up this time of year!

Santa Barbara Halloween Hot Spots

For the little kids: 
Ghost Village Road
Sinaloa Drive
La Cumbre Plaza

For the big kids:
Isla Vista
Wildcat Lounge


Nobu Malibu . . .

Last night I drove down to Malibu to meet some friends at their new favorite hot spot - Nobu Malibu. I've been to a few Nobu restaurants around the world, including both in New York, so I'm already a huge fan. But I'm telling you, the new Nobu in Malibu blows them all out of the water - literally. 

Set right on the beach and exquisitely designed - think clean lines, wood paneling, white umbrellas, lampshade-covered heaters, white cushions, wicker chairs, fireplaces everywhere - the whole experience felt like being on vacation. The food, of course, was superb - consistently delicious, unique, and refined. (And if you're one for celebrity sightings, this is the place to be. We had Hilary Swank at the table behind us and Courtney Cox to our right.) 

All in all it was a picture perfect night, albeit a dangerous find. I have a feeling I'll be driving to Malibu for sushi more often than entirely necessary. 

Here are a few of my Nobu must haves:

Crispy Rice Cakes with Spicy Tuna
Lobster Tacos
Grilled Shishito Peppers
Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno (pictured below)
Artichoke Salad
Rock Shrimp Tempura with Ponzu & Creamy Spicy Sauce (pictured below)

2 Food Images, Credit: Foodie Dan


Postcard Weather . . .

Hello From Santa Barbara

Yes, I made it out before Hurricane Sandy could get in my way, but I feel a bit guilty. While most of New York is holed up in an apartment braving the storm - I'm in California enjoying the perfect weather. This was the view from my window this morning. It looked like a postcard. Couldn't help snapping a picture and sharing with you. I promise I won't let this weather go to waste, I've got lots of fun SB posts in the works for this week, so stand by.

Good luck to all my East Coast readers, stay safe and dry!



Alstede Farms . . .

If you know me, you know that I'm a total fall fiend - it's one of my favorite parts of living out East. So Tuesday my sister, mom, aunt and I drove out to Alstede Farms in NJ to indulge in the season. It was so much fun! And even though it rained for a bit, it still turned out to be the perfect fall day. We took a hayride and picked pumpkins, drank hot cider and frolicked in the foliage. There was a corn maze, but it looked far too daunting to attempt, so we admired it from the sidelines instead.

If you're looking for a fall weekend excursion, Alstede Farms is the perfect country escape. The setting is completely stunning, and the grounds are so expansive you could easily spend half a day there. My advice? Stroll around the entire farm picking vegetables, then head over to the farmstand and find some other goodies to take home. When back in the city, throw an impromptu farm-to-table dinner party for your closest friends, complete with farm-fresh flowers for your table setting.
Sounds lovely, right?


Sale Mail . . .

Yves Saint Laurent sample sale starts today, and I couldn't be more excited. I've heard rumors that this could be the last sample sale hosted by YSL, so we're not going to want to miss it. I'll warn you, this will probably be a crowded affair, but totally worth it. Go at off hours, put on your game face, and don't hesitate to grab anything you like!

Soiffer Haskin
317 West 33rd Street btw 8th & 9th
Women's Clothing and Accessories, Limited Men's Clothing
October 23rd - October 24th 9am - 6:30pm
October 25th 9am - 4pm
Credit Cards Only


Pizza A Casa . . .

Back in NYC for the week and catching up on blog posts, here's one from a few weeks back:

Early this month of my best friends from SB came to visit for the weekend and invited me to Pizza A Casa for a day of pizza (cooking and eating). Now I've been to my share of cooking classes, but this was so much more! It was like attending pizza school. 

We were taught everything that goes into making a perfect pizza. Decked out in our matching red aprons and lead by Mark, our "pizza professor," we learned all the ins and outs of pizza during the five-hour course. And with endless toppings to choose from, we concocted so many tasty combinations: smoked mozzeralla, sundried tomato & sweet sausage pizza, white pizza with feta, lemon zest & roasted peppers, even dessert pizza with banana, nutella, & toasted peanuts - just to name a few. All were beyond terrific. But my all time favorite - call me a purist - will always be Margherita, aka cheese. This Margherita was one of the best I've ever tasted.

 Here are some tips I learned when making your own pizza at home:

Don't overload the cheese and sauce. 
You want to achieve a perfect taste balance between cheese, sauce and crust

Top your pizza with basil after it's been taken out of the oven. 
Fresh basil taste so much better than burnt or soggy basil

Drizzle olive oil over your pizza before serving. 
It adds an extra layer of flavor that will take your taste buds straight to Naples

Try them at  your next make-your-own pizza party!


East Beach Grill . . .

Always when I come back to SB I try to detach as much as possible and leave my NY tendencies back East, embracing all that is the "California Lifestyle." Driving with the top down, flip-flops in October, afternoons by the pool, breakfast on the beach. And for me, the epitome of beach side breakfast is late morning pancakes at East Beach Grill. 
Wheat Germ Pancakes, to be exact. 

EBG serves up your typical beach grill favorites (omelets, burgers, burritos), but the pancakes are actually amazing. Beyond tasty and semi-nutritional (wheat germ is healthy, right?), it's the best way to start any west coast morning. The striped umbrellas, the clear view to the islands, the smell of salt water, and the best pancakes you'll ever have, it's just so SoCal. I recommend going during the week, when apart from the occasional surfer or runner stopping by for his morning cup of coffee you'll most likely have the place to yourself. In a setting like this, it's impossible not to be relaxed. 

Open 6am - 6pm
Breakfast served until 11am