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SUNDAY BRUNCH: Sixteen Trump Tower, Chicago

I didn’t travel to Chicago for brunch, I rarely make my way out of Southern California these days, but I did this summer. And of all the places I could have found myself in, I had the opportunity to brunch at Sixteen at Trump Tower in the middle of Chicago. If I thought jealousy was good thing, I’d encourage you to be jealous right now…

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The view itself is breathtaking, with tall skyscrapers all around and the flowing river below. Also, do you see that chandelier? I kind of want to dance in the middle of it. I don’t know how I’d do that but my hopes are high. It may or may not have happened in my dreams.

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I don’t think I’ve ever tasted more delicious berries. OMG, they were good! I can still taste them. I would be happy only eating these berries for the rest of my life, and coffee, always coffee. They also serve fresh, hot scones with house jam to every table. They’re like the chips and salsa of the breakfast world.

I was most excited about the grilled tomatoes atop my house potatoes. And the frittata. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I am a sucker for a frittata. I order it whenever I have the chance. This baby was topped with grilled tomatoes, onions, and fresh arugula. Yep. I can die happy.

Then there was the french toast. It was thick and fluffy with just enough crisp along the edges…or so I was told by multiple people. I still don’t eat sugar or white flour. Thank goodness so many places are gluten-free friendly these days and that I rarely brunch alone.

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It looks a little fancy but it is kid-friendly. I didn’t eat the cereal but the 5-year-old I was with said they were the best “krispie rices” he ever had. They did “snap, crackle, and pop” a bit louder than they do here is California.

Dear Windy City, I like you and your brunch. Thanks for the adventure outside of my usual Orange County walls.

Where did you travel this summer?

WEBSITE

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SUMMER FRUITS

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Who doesn’t love Summer fruits? They’re colorful, sweet, delicious, and only come around once a year. Supply and demand my friends!

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I’m an apple and bananas kind of girl. They’re just so easy, always available, and they don’t have to be cut up. So, I’m also a lazy kind of girl. Oh, well. But when Summer comes, and I take a few minutes to slice and chop and chunk, it’s go time. Like eat an entire watermelon for breakfast time.

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Before summer ends, I just wanted to take a moment to love on these fruits. What? I know, time flies (whether you’re having fun or not). With Summer’s setting sun, Autumns warm, welcoming libations are on the horizon. Goodbye refreshing, tropical fruit salad and hello pumpkin spiced lattes.

Go get your hands on a sweet watermelon before they’re all gone…

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SUNDAY BRUNCH: Carson Kitchen

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I’ve decided I’m moving into the Carson building. Delicious juices, decadent doughnuts, adorable shops and now Carson Kitchen. I don’t care if there isn’t any residential space. Someone get me a tent.

We’ve visited Carson Kitchen twice in the past month because we genuinely just can’t get enough. You know things are going well when you spend half of your first meal exclaiming, “Oh ______ would love this! We should tell him/her about this dish/drink/place!”

Sharing really is caring.

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Service was excellent on both visits, it’s a small space, but it fills fast! Our servers were quick to make recommendations and nailed it every time. If you’re a social eater, nab a space at the bar overlooking the kitchen. If you’re extra lucky you might snag the seat by the expeditor. Suddenly you’ve got brunch and a show!

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They’ve curated a small yet thoughtful beer and wine list, but the true stars fall under their “Shaken and Stirred” heading. Per our server’s recommendations I tried the  ”Town’s End” and “Drinks with the Ms.” Both were delicious, with the later being a lighter option for those not interested in boozing it up during the middle of the day. Not an issue? Well then, carry on with the “Town’s End” friends.

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After spying their Butter Burger on our first visit I had major food envy. So when we went for round two it was the first thing on my mind. It’s basted in butter and served with boursin, cheddar, lettuce, and tomato. Yes. Yes. A thousand times Yes.

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Other standouts included the Wild Mushroom Flatbread, Bacon Jam, Short Rib Sliders and Rainbow Cauliflower. I don’t even particularly like Cauliflower but with their simple and refined recipe the colorful little veggie really shined!

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If you’re looking to host an end of summer soiree this would be our pick for the location. With a cozy courtyard and spacious rooftop patio (with full bar!) we’d definitely RSVP.

So if you’ve heard of Carson Kitchen and just haven’t gone, consider this your motivation. And if you hadn’t heard of Downtown’s newest gem, well, you’re welcome.

All ready a fan? Send them a welcome or show them some love!

WEBSITE . FACEBOOK . INSTAGRAM . TWITTER

STESHABYE

LOCAL LOVE: The Marjorie Barrick Museum at UNLV

During the summer months I have a hard time filling the space between brunch and dinner. You’re all ready dressed up, you’re full and unless you’re planning to nap (granted a worthy option) you’ve got a good five hours to kill until your next meal. If it was Fall we’d have a ton of outdoor options to fill the void, but let’s face it, unless I’m in the water I want nothing to do with the great outdoors when the thermometer reads 100+.

Enter the Barrick Museum at UNLV. With a full calendar of events, gorgeous space and thoughtful exhibits it is totally worth a midday stop. In cooler weather months you could even stroll around UNLV afterwards and burn off those croissant calories!

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Park near the library and it’s a very short walk from your car. Admission is FREE, although they do recommend a donation, ideally $5 for adults and $2 for children. It’s absolutely worth it, plus you’re helping fund a true oasis in our little dessert community.

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Have an event coming up? How cool would it be to rent out the Museum? Such a different venue!

If you were paying attention to the event’s calendar you may have noticed that tomorrow is the third Saturday of the month, so they’ll be hosting a “Get Creative” event. Take inspiration from the current exhibit and make your own art!

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Speaking of the current collection, right now they’re showcasing ”Painted Pictures,” an exhibition of original photographs by famed actor/director/comedian/singer/ philanthropist, Jerry Lewis. It’s easy to get lost in the petite pieces and I loved how due to their size you had to really focus to appreciate each image.

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Once you’re done browsing through the main portion of the gallery sneak across the lobby and into the theater to enjoy one of his films.

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As a UNLV alumnus I was thrilled to be back on campus, especially this time of year. There were tours buzzing around and you could feel the energy as new students roamed the grounds for the first time.

So what are you waiting for? Consider attending one of their Date Night, Critique and Conversation, or University Lecture Series events! And don’t forget to mark your calendar for October 3, 2014 when they debut their newest exhibition “Panorama.”

Learn more about the Barrick Museum: WEBSITE . CALENDAR . FACEBOOK

 

STESHABYE

 

SUNDAY BRUNCH: Michael’s Pizzeria

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We headed to Michael’s Pizzeria on a particularly hot day. Maybe not Vegas hot, but definitely Southern California hot. This didn’t stop us from taking advantage of the patio seating. It was too good to pass up. Absolutely worth the sweat…sorry.

Brunch is offered on Saturday from 11:30AM-2:30PM AND Sunday from 10:30AM-2:30PM. Basically, Michael’s Pizzeria creates brunch and lunch options from their specialty pizzas. For example, you can order a frittata for brunch, a sandwich for lunch, and a pizza for dinner with the same ingredients. Pretty nifty.

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The vibe is hip. The chefs have a sense of humor. The service is friendly and speedy. Our waiter, ironically named Michael, never hesitated to make a recommendation…I’d say the best sign while dinning out. If a waiter doesn’t have an opinion, I get a little worried.

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I’m a bit biased with the color scheme. I heart me some orange and orange is everywhere! The restaurant welcomes everyone with happiness and lots of natural light. It’s just a cheery place with good food and good people.

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We started with mimosas and the insalata di finocchi (shaved fennel, confit artichokes, goat cheese, pine nuts, and arugula salad).

We moved on to the gnocchi con coda di bue (potato dumplings with braised oxtail and fontina cheeses), which I wanted to take a bath in. I can still taste it just looking at the picture…holy cow!

Then we had the squash blossoms. And I will eat them every single time I go back.

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Again, I would take a bath in this gnocchi. I’ve said it twice. Go try it for yourself!

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Our main course was the caprino e carciofi woof-fired cast iron frittata (2 eggs, pesto, baby artichokes, fingerling potatoes, mozzarella, and goat cheese) served with brioche toast and the house jam. By this time we were feeling a bit full. OK, a lot full. I will let you in on an embarrassing secret: myself and a good friend ate all of this food. We could not help it! I look forward to ordering the pizza version of this scrumptious frittata in the future.

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We ended with the cinnamon rolls (cast-iron baked with rosemary syrup) and espressos. Italian coffee has my heart. And the gnocchi. I will never forget the gnocchi.

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We left full of the most delicious food. I felt a little richer leaving Michael’s Pizzeria. Their cuisine is delightful, just delightful. Ask anyone in my life, I’ve been raving about it for days!

C/O Michael’s Pizzeria however, all opinions are my own and entirely truthful. Michael’s Pizzeria rocked my socks!

TWITTER . FACEBOOK . INSTAGRAM . WEBSITE

If you ever want to eat some good eats and want company, I’m your gal! I will seriously join you.

R4

 

LOCAL LOVE: Healthy Junk’s Vegan Faire

It’s always exciting to witness firsts. I’m sure all you moms can relate to that. A tiny human’s first smile can melt anyone’s heart, am I right? I was thrilled to walk the streets of Healthy Junk’s 1st Annual Vegan Faire on July 26th. Live music, vegan vendors galore, random yoga posers, delicious eats and drinks…sign me up!

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We met Lynda, the lady behind Healthy Junk, earlier this year and just love her and her vision. She is one determined lady…having a vision is an entirely different ballgame than witnessing that vision in action. A huge part of the 1st Annual Vegan Faire was to set a world record. I mean, seriously? She went for it! AND the worlds longest line of humans in yoga warrior pose 2 was set. Woot! Woot!

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Greenbird Anaheim made quite the statement. Downtown Anaheim was a bit cleaner this day thanks to the Greenbird team. Thanks for your hearts and hands behind the motto of “keep clean, keep green.”

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Just a couple crazies practicing yoga warrior 2 pose. No big deal. A world record was just being set. Also, free hugs? Sign me up! Thanks to The Yoga Mat for your hearts and arms!

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I’m a sucker for outdoor fairs, markets, events…how about you? I think it might be all the vitamin D flowin’???

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A trip to Healthy Junk’s 1st Annual Vegan Faire wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Junk Bar. I’m pretty happy that sangria is Vegan. This sangria was like fruit and alcohol gazpacho. Yep, I went there. Oh, and that adorable pup was up for adoption. I sure hope some kind soul scooped him up. Just look at his face!

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Then there were the random yoga pose demonstrations. Talk about intimidation. I had to practice my warrior 2 pose before that above picture was taken…Let’s just say I have a lot of room for growth in the yoga realm. And on that note, I know exactly where I can go to work on my yoga skills- The Yoga Mat! They have locations in Anaheim and Orange. They’re lovely people. They really are.

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So, will you trek out next year for the 2nd Annual Vegan Faire? I sure hope so. In the mean time, take a trip to Healthy Junk and The Yoga Mat.

Happy Friday,

R4

SUNDAY BRUNCH: OFace Doughnuts

August marks the ten year anniversary of my move to Las Vegas. It’s been ten years. Ten. Years.

I survived the first day of college, the last day of college, meeting the man who would become my husband, marrying my husband, buying a house, selling a house, having a baby and watching him grow into a toddler. Ten Years.

And it all started in a little studio apartment downtown on 8th and Bridger.

Both Downtown Vegas and I have come a long way. Thanks to a group of committed individuals and companies the Downtown scene is starting to take on a new vibe. Trendy little restaurants are moving in, small businesses are planting roots, classic hotels are remodeling, and it’s blooming into the “place to be”.

Ten years ago it was not blooming. Nor was it the place to be. But I was there and I wished to be anywhere else. Now I wish I could be right back there. After all, it’s only a short walk from my old apartment to the John E Carson Building. This revitalized relic is now filled with some of our favorite spots including the uber delicious OFace Doughnuts!

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Tucked into a little suite, their petite kitchen is churning out fresh, seasonal doughnuts that’ll have you making all kinds of OFaces. Toss in some brilliant branding and a fun space and you’ve got the ingredients for a perfect morning routine.

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It’s about more than just doughnuts too. Seattle’s Caffe Vita supplies all of the coffee beans for their delicious caffeinated concoctions, so even if doughnuts aren’t your thing (blasphemous!) you can still score one of the best cups of Joe in town. Oh and yes, that’s a GROWLER. A grolwer for your Cold Brew! You bet your sweet sugary bum I talked the husband into bringing one of those home. With a chocolatly smooth cold brew in our fridge I enjoyed OFace all week long.

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The Potato is quite the fan too, not of the coffee, what kind of parent do you think I am? But the very berry doughnut filling was a major hit!

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Now I know what you’re thinking, “Oh that Stesha, throw some sugar at her and she’s happy”. If you’ve been around Breakfast Banter for a while you’ve heard me profess my love of doughnuts. Doughnuts people! Sugary Gems from the Heavens! But hear me out, these littles goodies are about more than fried sugary delight (although they’ve got that too). With their made in-house  fillings, creams and curds these babies were EXPLODING with flavor. Plus they have a slew of Vegas options.

Mind blown.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, we strongly suggest their Nutella Glazed, Mexican Chocolate and Fritter anything. Oh and coffee. Did we mention the coffee?!

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If you’re like us, you might be so high on the awesome experience you feel like strolling around Downtown. If you’re smarter than us you’ll wait until Fall for that adventure. So. Freaking. Hot.

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Thankfully OFace is only a block from The Container Park where Bennett was able to barrel through the mister heavy playground. Does your playground have misters? I didn’t think so. Another gold star for Downtown Las Vegas.

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On second thought, maybe it’s a good thing OFace wasn’t around ten years ago. I’m pretty sure I’d be in Doughnuts Anonymous by now.  If DA becomes a thing I’m blaming you OFace.

Of course now that I’ve added a weekly growler fill up to my list of errands I think they’ll be seeing a lot more of The Potato and I. Hopefully you’ll join us too and don’t forget to show off your OFace!

WEBSITE . FACEBOOK . INSTAGRAM . TWITTER

 

STESHABYE

SUNDAY BRUNCH: Mother’s Market & Kitchen

Mother’s Market & Kitchen has numerous Southern California locations, Huntington Beach being the one I frequent most and the location with a sit down restaurant. I usually just grab a juice, one with lots of ginger, and call it a day. Not this time. We decided to go a different route and actually sit down and enjoy some breakfast…at lunch. So, brunch.

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If you’re a big multi-tasker, Mother’s Market & Kitchen just might be your best friend. You can grab some dish soap, bacon (because who doesn’t keep bacon stocked?), and fill your bellies. Drag some friends or your entire family along…this place is definitely family-friendly.

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We tried to be different, we tried to branch out, but we both ended up with Celia’s Breakfast Bowl with one minor twist: one had scrambled eggs and one had eggs over-easy. We’re adventurous, I know.

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Celia’s Breakfast Bowl is full of organic brown rice, organic black beans, 2 eggs, cheddar cheese, avocado, and fresh cilantro. Oh, and salsa on the side. This dish is this Southern California girl’s breakfast dream come true.

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Then of course there were corn tortilla smiley faces and coffee. Lots of coffee.

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Do you have a one-stop breakfast/grocery pit-stop?

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What are you doing today?

I’m going to Healthy Junk’s 1st Annual Vegan Faire.

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Let’s go set a world record! Join me?

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PERUSING PCH: Table Rock Beach, South Laguna

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I have always loved Laguna Beach yet I never made it to South Laguna until I moved back from Seattle two years ago. I’m excited to tell you about the loveliness of this beach.

2 Once you hit Table Rock Way while heading south on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), look for parking; there is plenty of FREE street parking. Search for that before you even think of using your hard earned coffee money! Also, crossing PCH can be a bit of a pain if there isn’t a stoplight near by. Keep this in mind if you have little humans with you or a lot of stuff to carry. If you can, park between Table Rock Way and 2nd Avenue. 5

Like Newport Coast, South Laguna is off the beaten path and down a whole lotta steps, no matter what specific beach you go to, but totally worth it. The steps you take down to the beach determine what beach you’ll end up at. You can go here to see a map of all the beaches. Again, we went to Table Rock Beach, which is in a little alcove. When I’m there I feel like I’m at a private beach. So fancy!

If you play your cards right, you’ll pass by Zinc Cafe and Market. It’s the perfect pit-stop to grab a simple yet fancy beach picnic…breakfast, lunch, or brunch.

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I think we sometimes think about Southern California beaches covered in modelesque people in tiny swimsuits. It’s just not the case. People of all shapes, sizes, cultures, etc. gather at the Pacific Ocean to enjoy the beauty and fun of nature. I say this from experience, don’t let misconceptions keep you from experiencing the fullness of whats around you. Get in that swimsuit and dodge some waves!

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Between sunbathing, cooling off in the ocean, and daydreaming about living in the homes on the cliffs above, take a look at the sand. You might catch a glimpse of some beautiful, whole seashells before they turn into sand. Although shells are still beautiful as sand, I prefer to find them whole. They’re like a gift from nature. I just love them!

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There are more than 15 beaches in Laguna. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The good news? Southern California beaches are open all year long; perusing PCH won’t end as Autumn comes around. We’ve got all the time in the world to explore!

Where is your favorite beach?

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