Elle MacPherson & Mango Sorbet

While I was on vacation, away from my day to day reality, my life turned into one big cheat week.

I had deliciously greasy Mexican food in fab, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and super rich Greek food at Petros in Manhattan Beach (If you are ever in the neighborhood, sit at the bar and order the prawn saganaki, greek salad and the organic California Pinot Gris. Amazing!).

Enchiladas, burritos, fish tacos, calamari…On and on it went. Occasionally I would throw a cold-pressed juice, salad or big, juicy watermelon into the mix but mostly I ate whatever the heck I wanted with zero guilt.

But America is different than Canada. Admittedly, we have big portions here but the US of A takes it to another level with Godzilla size meals. I noticed this daily as I ate my way through Southern California. Especially, when on the way home from the beach one day, my friend Tammy did an ice cream run. I asked for a small chocolate and she returned with a huge, two scoop cone. When I questioned her about the size of my ice cream cone, she said that it was the smallest size. Oh God! I thought and then proceeded to eat it all.

I came back to Canada full, sluggish and wearing uncomfortably tight jeans.

And then I saw this:

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If I look at pictures of when I was young, my smile wasn’t even genuine, because I was so wracked with self-consciousness. Now I look at my pictures and I think, “Yeah, that’s where I’m at. That’s who I am. I’m not 20, I’m 50. I’m comfortable.” – Elle MacPherson

Read article here.

Okay, I realize Elle MacPherson has super-gorgeous, super-model genes. But she’s 50 now and great genes will only take you so far. Elle is a woman who looks like she’s been taking wickedly good care of herself for a long, long time. It’s not that we should all aspire to look just like her but I love seeing people in the media who prove that we don’t have to fall apart as we age. Especially when they do it without any trips to the plastic surgeon’s office. I saw an interview with Elle M. on TV shortly after reading the above article and she looks seriously un-botoxed. Her face is showing a bit of aging but it just makes her look like a lovely, natural, sexy surfer girl of a certain age…which is exactly what she is.

Anyway, this photo has inspired me to get off the enchilada train and back onto my healthy eating path with a mini, juicy cleanse. And while I’m cleansing, Elle’s bikini photo is going to be on my fridge for inspiration.

Another thing that is going to be on my cleanse is this delicious mango- banana sorbet.

Mango Banana Sorbet

  • 1 cup of frozen mango
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Splash of coconut milk

banana mango sorbet

Place all of the above in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Because, even on a cleanse, a girl can’t live on liquids alone.

 

 

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Yoga & Martinis

Shade Boutique Hotel in Manhattan Beach was my home away from home in California and I feel like I could have happily stayed there forever. I truly mean that. When I was a teenager the most glamorous life I could imagine, and would constantly daydream about, was the life of a writer, in a big city, living in a luxury hotel room. I still think I would be incredibly happy living that life, especially since it includes daily maid service.

My dog and I both enjoyed Shade’s perfectly glam roof deck. I loved the morning yoga classes…

And the Nickster enjoyed lounging by the pool, drinking cucumber water and deciding if he should bark at the other guests.

pool dog

The daily, complimentary breakfasts were amazing…

smoked salmon bagel

But the real jewel of this hotel is it’s lobby bar-restaurant, Zinc. This is a cool little spot where you can end the day sipping a craft cocktail, chatting with the bartender and getting to know the other guests. My favourite fellow guests were two sisters from Atlanta. They were drinking wine and laughing every time I saw them and were in town to get a little botox and fillers in Beverly Hills. Just a touch so they could go back home looking “refreshed”.

There were a lot of delicious cocktails at Zinc but my absolute fave was the sweet and cool Cucumber- Pear Martini.

The Drink at Zinc

  • 2 oz. Grey Goose pear vodkamartini
  • 1 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • one peeled slice of cucumber, muddled in the glass
  • lemon lime juice (organic citrus fruit, agave syrup and water to taste)

Instructions:

  • Muddle cucumber in the bottom of a martini glass
  • Shake (or stir) remaining ingredients with ice
  • Pour over cucumber

Voila! A perfect cocktail.

Oh, and then there was the food…

Shade Hotel

Fishing with Dynamite

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Urban Dictionary – fishing with dynamite: Phrase used to describe anything that can be accomplished easily.

My LA friends were buzzing about a restaurant called Fishing with Dynamite and told me that it was a “must visit” while I was in town. Sue of Birgerbird happened to be one of these friends so we decided that lunch at FWD would be the perfect way to meet up in the offline world.

The morning of our lunch I was flipping through Angeleno magazine and saw that an FWD platter called The Mothershucker had made their top 10 list of dishes to try in LA. A good sign. A little later someone I was chatting with on the beach also told me how amazing the restaurant is and that I had to try their raw scallops. I had never had a raw scallop in my life so I smiled and nodded but thought….maybe.

That afternoon I strolled into the restaurant full of anticipation and I found a cozy, comfy room, full of light and filled with the scent of delicious seafood. The restaurant also had a cute sit down bar area where one of the patrons had brought his parrots in to have a drink with him. I bee-lined to the parrot.

After hanging out with my new parrot friend for awhile, it was time to find my table and Sue and get down to the serious business of eating.

The menu was divided into an old school section of traditional seafood dishes and  a new school section of either unusual items from the ocean or fusion dishes for the adventurous palate. I was craving raw oysters (which are full of anti-aging zinc btw) and feeling adventurous, so it was new school for me. To start, I had sweet, succulent Kusshi oysters from my very own province, BC. Then came the adventure. Apparently sea urchins or “uni” are all the rage in California and our server raved about the dish. So I ordered uni along with the raw scallops my beach friend had recommended. And this is what appeared…

uni and scallops

When I posted this photo on Facebook, my friend Tammy commented. “I saved one of these the other day by helping it back into the ocean. Never did I imagine, at that time, that it could be lunch.” Fair enough. It’s appearance does not make you immediately think “Food!”

So, the scallops were sublime with a ceviche-like flavour and the urchin was very interesting with both a buttery texture and seafood flavour. Definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a new taste sensation.

Lunch at FWD was everything I had hoped it would be. A lovely atmosphere, delicious, exotic seafood and a chance to get to know a very lovely and talented online friend in real life. What more could I ask for?

Fishing with Dynamite

1148 Manhattan Avenue Manhattan Beach CA 90266 – 310.893.6299

 

El Matador Beach, Malibu

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malibu

 We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, we are going back from whence we came. – JFK

beach

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 There is a magic about the sea. People are drawn to it. People want to love by it, swim in it, play in it, look at it. It is a living thing that is as unpredictable as a great stage actor. – Cecelia Ahern

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california cave

 I’m always happy when I’m surrounded by water, I think I’m a mermaid or I was a mermaid.

The ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean. – Beyoncé

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Project Save our Surf

California

My little furry sidekick and I just got back from a week of sun, sand and surf in California.

It was just what I needed with a ton of beach time, listening to the waves and feeling the amazing power of the ocean, a couple of days in Malibu with my friend, Tammy, and a lot of eating and drinking (I had my must-visit restaurants and farmer’s markets all lined up). I met up with one of my favourite food bloggers, Sue of Birgerbird, for lunch. And I even spotted Gene Simmons of Kiss, filming an episode of Family Jewels on the rooftop patio of my hotel. Since Kiss was the first rock concert I ever saw, when I was 14, I was maybe a little overly excited to see this now reality tv star.

Another thing I did on this trip was continue to unplug from my beloved Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram, and Pinterest (whew!) by leaving my laptop at home. Although I could still access my social media loves from time to time via my iphone, I was hardly online at all for the whole vacation and it felt amazing, like a true break. I spent my down time reading (no kindle, just old fashioned books) and writing (old school, with a pen and paper journal) and daydreaming on my balcony, watching the waves of the Pacific crash against the shore.

So, now I’m back home sweet home with a bunch of photos, a recipe or two and a few stories to tell…

pacific

the pier

sand in your toes

pink hibiscus

Beast the chihuahua

El Matador Beach Malibu

Krokodile Pear

There’s a new juice bar in town and the sleek, all white space has become one of my favourite places to hang out and sip a delicious, organic smoothie or cold pressed juice.

It’s name is a play on words taken from a Mexican slang for avocado. In parts of Mexico avocados are referred to as alligator pears, so the owners changed the nickname slightly and Krokodile Pear was born.

Whenever I’m on my way to the beach and find myself in need of a raw, organic thirst-quencher, I stop by 1st and Cypress and get a juice or smoothie to go.

When you order a drink to go, for an extra dollar, it comes in a mason jar embossed with the beautiful Krokodile Pear logo that you get to keep and use over and over again. One of the reasons I love this establishment is their zero plastic policy. Unnecessary plastic is my number one environmental pet peeve (we all know about the Texas size plastic garbage patch floating in the Pacific, right?) and I love supporting businesses that care both about our health and the health of our planet.

But what I love them for maybe even more is their Capilano Smoothie. I can only describe it as bliss in a mason jar. It’s a combo of cucumber, celery, beets, apple, pineapple and lime juice blended with avocado and banana. Yum.

Capilano Krokodile Pear Smoothie

So good and so good for you. If you live in Vancity, check out Krokodile Pear at the corner of 1st and Cypress for some natural, cold pressed, juicy goodness.

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True health is more than the absence of disease. Natural, organic food makes your skin sing, your sleep deeper, your waistline slimmer and  your mind clearer. – Krokodile Pear window art quote