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 


California Avocados . . .

My sisters have always scorned me for not dying over avocados. The truth is - it's not that I don't like them, it's that I prefer to eat them when they're grown in California. Call me picky, but there're just better here, there's no arguing that. So whenever I return home, to remind myself (and my sissies) how much I actually do enjoy everybody's favorite green "vegetable," I go out to our tree and pick avocados to use for assorted lunchtime bites. Today I decided to make a simple, yet hearty treat.

Avocado Toast
Prep is quick & extra easy: 

To start, make an avocado mash with avocados, lime, salt and pepper. 
Half a lime for every avocado and enough salt and pepper to taste. 
Don't worry about smoothing it out, it's best with a bit of texture. 

Next, toast up a few slices of your favorite multigrain bread. 
Spread the mash and top with a sprinkle of chili flakes for a hint of spice. 

If you're not keen on heat, 
try topping with lemon pepper, crumbled feta, or crushed pistachios - all are super tasty!


Sale Mail . . .

Tomorrow (10/4) is the last day of the Loro Piana sample sale at Soiffer Haskin. So if this icky weather has you craving cashmere, I'd definitely head over to check it out. Now be warned: thousand dollar sweaters at 50% off still come out pretty pricey - which is why I prefer to go on the sale's final day, hoping to score on extra discounts. And lucky for us, I got an email this morning that prices will be further reduced - hurray!

Soiffer Haskin
317 West 33rd Street btw 8th & 9th
Women's & Men's Apparel and Accessories
October 3rd 9am - 6:30pm
October 4th 9am - 5pm
Credit Cards Only