Tagged Beach Town

Hello Betty Fish House Celebrates a Great Year of Amazing Food

By Andrea Verdin

I love birthday parties. There’s something great about celebrating achievements that have occurred throughout the year, and the Hello Betty Fish House celebrated all of its accomplishments at its birthday in style: Beats ~ Boards ~ Bites ~ Brews.

As a part of the beautiful Oceanside landscape, Hello Betty Fish House is more than just an adorable restaurant — some serious eats can be had here.

While the downstairs restaurant features more formal dining options, such as whole fried fish, Betty linguine, and a whole seafood boil, I was instantly drawn to the upstairs patio. This patio has a great view of the Oceanside Pier, and guests can sit back in the open air deck, grab a drink, eat some tacos, and watch the sun set.

Shrimp skewers
Oyster shucking presentation
Oysters freshly shucked by Executive Chef Nick Schultz
Chicarones
The Open Air Deck of Hello Betty Fish House
Smoked Octopus
Caramel Panna Cotta
Chips and smoky salsa served in campechanas
Fabulous crab cake sliders
The set is gorgeous
Mexican Brownie

If you ever get a chance to head to Hello Betty Fish House after work, I highly recommend coming on an empty stomach and gorge on tacos. eat the calamari, eat avocados, and devour the mahi mahi.

For more information on Hello Betty Fish House, head to their website.

Nick’s Cove tempts with oysters, sustainable seafood menus and romantic cottages this Valentine’s Day

Romantic cottages on Tomales Bay at Nick’s Cove. Photo courtesy ©2012 frankenyimages.com

Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos courtesy of Nick’s Cove

I’m a HUGE fan of oysters. I can’t eat enough of them and if I had it my way, I’d eat them every night with my hunny. While it’s known that oysters are an aphrodisiac, I childishly laughed to myself when I found out about Nick’s Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar & Cottages in Tomales Bay. Seriously, why aren’t there more oyster bars within walking distance of romantic cottages?!

Cocktails, oysters and the Tomales Bay. What else could you ask for? Photo courtesy of Mike Norquist

Read more

A look back: San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting

Sunny skies and full belies at the Embarcadero Marina Park North

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting is not only an afternoon full of delicious bites, great wineries and fun spirit purveyors. But rather, the characters and chefs in attendance and on display are just as entertaining and interesting as the event itself. I had my fill of nibbles from San Diego’s top chefs and the sunny, 75 degree weather had me searching for white wines and gin cocktail concoctions.

Here’s a look back at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting.

My favorite bites

Jake’s juicy and perfectly seasoned ribs.

I’m a sucker for some good ribs and while I don’t eat them often, I know when I find a good one. Jake’s Del Mar was serving up some delicious dry rubbed pork ribs. Go into their beautiful ocean front restaurant and you’ll find them on the appetizer menu.

Richard Blais and fresh uni is the perfect combination.

Richard Blais is one of San Diego’s top celebrity chefs and he’s climbing the culinary totem pole everyday. His chefs from Juniper & Ivy served up a beautiful dollop of Catalina uni paired with an essence of sunchoke, sunflower seed and smoked black trumpet mushrooms. It was absolutely heavenly.

A first look at Catania, opening March 2015.

The Whisknladle and Prepkitchen restaurant group is opening their newest venture, Catania, in March 2015. The restaurant is coastal Italian inspired and if it tastes anything like the Smoked Duck Liver Mousse I tried at the event, I’m all in. In keeping with the seasonal menu inspiration, the mousse was covered with a persimmon, almond, date and red onion salad.

Javier Plascencia’s Pork Tamalito from Romesco.

I’m a huge fan of anything Javier Plascencia and I was thrilled to see that his restaurant, Romesco, was serving a Pork Tamalito (tamale) with all of the Mexican fixings. The tamale was delicious and by the looks of his menu, everything else looks equally amazing.

Rock Shrimp Ceviche from The Shores, La Jolla.

Seafood and ceviches were welcomed on this warm November day and the Rock Shrimp Ceviche from The Shores in La Jolla was wonderful and beautifully presented. The shrimp was seasoned with a bell pepper citrus soy and topped with a taro crunch and micro cilantro.

Bacon-wrapped shark from Tavern in Pacific Beach. I feel like this should be hitting the county fair circuit any minute now.

Pacific Beach gets a bad wrap but is adored by 20 somethings for the Vegas-like bar scene. I vaguely remember dining at Tavern during my 20s but apparently they’re upping their restaurant game. They served up a bacon-wrapped shark, because anything wrapped in bacon will attract the masses. Mako shark marinated in a sweet asian sauce was wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and topped with a creamy sriracha and chili whiskey sauce. After spending some time on their website, it doesn’t look like this dish can be readily ordered at the restaurant so ask ahead if you want to try this out.

The Patio on Goldfinch’s grilled clams.

I’ve recently discovered The Patio on Goldfinch as it’s become just one of the handful of new restaurants to take over the booming Mission Hills area. They served up a Grilled Cherrystone Clam with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette, guanciale and pickled cucumber gremolata. These aren’t always on the menu so call ahead if you’re searching for them.

By far, the longest and continuous line at the event went to La Jolla’s Roppongi. They served a spicy Togarashi Crusted Seared Sea Scallop served on a bed of cold green tea soba noodle salad and ginger-miso vinaigrette.

my fAVORITE POURS

The Coin-Op guys bringing some serious flair.

The bartenders from North Park’s Coin-Op were really bringing it in terms of flair and cocktails. The Pear & Loathing cocktail consisted of gin, pear brandy, cinnamon, fresh lemon and bitters. More so, the guys brought their own arcade games and music so their tent was continuously busy and packed.

Martini Wines was pouring their Italian sparkling wines and kept the party going with music, tastings and education. How could you not love their bottles?!

Temecula Valley Winegrower’s Association brought their A-game to the event.

I was pretty happy to see that my friends from the Temecula Winegrowers Association was pouring some of the Valley’s best varietals. They had a nice selection of wines from Baily, Doffo and others from the association. Wilson Creek, Ponte, Callaway, Europa Village, South Coast, Monte de Or, and others also had their own tents.

MY FAVORITE PRODUCTS

Find these gourmet salamis at your local health food store.

If seafood, pastas, poultry, fresh salads and sandwiches weren’t enough for the thousands of guests in attendance, plenty of gourmet food vendors were showing off their best products. I especially loved all four organic salamis from Olli, which can be found at local health food grocers and gourmet food shops.

Loved sampling all of these tea liqueurs from Tatratea.

Tatratea is something that should be on your radar if you love making your own cocktails at home. Tea-based and inspired cocktails are quicly gaining steam and these tea liqueurs are great for mixing into your favorite concoctions.

Bourbon barrel aged maple syrup? Yes, please.

How could you say no when someone offers you Bourbon barrel aged maple syrup? These small batch, individually numbered bottles of pure maple syrup from Bissel Maple Farm should be on everyone’s table.

We are extremely lucky to be invited to food and wine festivals in San Diego and the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is one of our favorites. Not only is this five-day event providing education and excellent food and drink to consumers, but it’s also just one of the more unique ways to experience our beautiful city. Where else could you bask in the sun and indulge in the city’s best food right before Thanksgiving?

For more information, visit www.SanDiegoWineClassic.com.

Santa Barbara’s epicure.SB celebrates all that is local and seasonal in the food and wine industry

Written by Nadia Ibanez

As I sit here writing this on the official First Day of Autumn, it pains me to have to rummage through my closet seeking winter sweaters, or admit to myself that the season is changing. While I’d rather spend my every waking moment at the beach and writing under the sun, the one great thing about the changing season is all of the delicious Autumn harvests that will be showing up at our local farmer’s markets and restaurants. I’ve already picked through the first crops of apples and spaghetti squash and now it’s time to praise a city that’s emphasizing local and seasonal food and wine for the entire month of October: Santa Barbara’s epicure.SB.

Expect locally-sourced crab on some of the special menus during Epicure.sb. Photo by Jay Sinclair

I’m no stranger to all that is wonderful within Santa Barbara but I had no idea that this beach town offered 90 different ways visitors and locals can experience local food, wine, lifestyle and culture. In its sixth year, epicure.SB attracts food lovers from across the state for a month long festivity highlighting the town’s food and libations. Restaurants, tasting rooms, museums, hotels and locals will convene to promote 54 events, 26 special menus, VIP events, behind-the-scene experiences, secret menus, and so much more. Here are just a few of the notable events happening during Santa Barbara’s epicure.sb.

An Evening with Cat Cora (Oct. 1): Insanely talented chef Cat Cora will discuss her life as a chef and love for Santa Barbara at the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. The discussion will be followed by a reception with seasonal canapés and Notary Public wine.

Santa Barbara’s Avocado Festival. Photo by Erin Adams

2014 California Avocado Festival (Oct. 3-5): This free, three-day festival highlights this delicious fruit with live entertainment, arts and crafts, contests, kids block party, and more.

Sideways10 Screening (Oct. 5): This Oscar-winning film continues to bring fans to Santa Barbara wine country. Come down to the Arlington Theater for a free screening and special guest appearance by Director, Alexander Payne.

Health & Wellness Yoga Series: Full Moon Yoga (Oct. 8): How could you say no to yoga underneath the moon and stars, with the sounds of the ocean no less, at Ambassador Park?

Cardinal Sin (Oct. 9): Visit the Santa Barbara Public Market as chefs bring a recipe to life in a live performance and pay homage to Julia Child’s passion for fine dining.

2014 Celebration of Harvest Weekend (Oct. 10-13): The annual celebration of the year’s bounty will be held at Mission Santa Ines during the Grand Tasting event. Over 100 wineries will be pouring their wines and select wineries will be hosting their own events throughout the weekend.

Funktober Festival (Oct. 11): The Funk Zone in Santa Barbara is ever-expanding and this event promises an afternoon of art, food and culture.

Seasonal and local, what more could you ask for? Photo by Ron Berg.

If you’re looking to spend a few days in town, hotel and resorts like the Bacara, Hotel Santa Barbara, Belmond El Encanto and The Fess Parker are offering special epicurean hotel packages for your enjoyment. For the full lineup and more information, visit www.santabarbaraca.com/epicuresb.

The Royal Pita Maha in Ubud, Bali is ethereal beauty in the forest

There’s something to look at and feel everywhere you turn…at The Royal Pita Maha in Bali

Written by and photos by Nadia Ibanez

It’s hard to sum up my Bali trip in a few sentences. I’ve been back from traveling abroad for a few days now and whenever friends ask about my trip, I can only say that it was magical. Bali’s ethereal beauty really took my breath away from the moment we landed, to our stay in the forest, from our days on the beach and the hours walking by myself in the streets. The traditional Balinese food, sightseeing, wood and stone handicrafts and the entire Balinese culture promised to keep me busy throughout my stay. But one of my favorite parts of my trip to Bali was my stay at The Royal Pita Maha.

An enormous Thank You to the King of Ubud for allowing us to stay at The Royal Pita Maha

Situated about an hour outside of central Bali and within a stone’s throw of Ubud’s Arts District, The Royal Pita Maha is integrated into the natural landscape, rice terraces and forestry atop the Ayung River. The King of Ubud, Tjokorda Gde Putra Sukawati, is the owner of the property and we had the unbelievably fortunate opportunity to meet and share a cup of tea with him.

He generously offered a night’s stay in the Royal Pool Villa at The Royal Pita Maha, along with another two nights at sister resort, The Pita Maha. Although our stay was short, I could immediately feel a sense of peace and a complete change in energy as soon as I stepped foot onto the property.

Have you ever seen such an ornate elevator button?
Inside the Royal Pool Villa at The Royal Pita Maha in Ubud, Bali

Exploring the Royal Pita Maha in Ubud, Bali

Take a walk through the resort and you’ll find this rock formation along the Ayung River.

Bali is renowned for its beaches and holy grail surf spots, but Ubud is surrounded by forests, mountains and rivers. The Royal Pita Maha was constructed with the natural habitat in mind so don’t be surprised when you see farmers harvesting the rice paddies above your personal infinity pool or when you find geckos and giant katydids in your garden and walkways.

Walk to the bottom of the resort and you’ll find the outdoor yoga and meditation compound

No matter the length of your stay, you’ll probably find yourself spending most of your time walking around the property. There are plenty of walkways that lead you to the outdoor yoga studio, self-sustaining organic farm, restaurants, or one of the several Balinese statues found all across the resort. Don’t forget to take a dip in the Holy Spring Water Pool, which is believed to heal the mind, spirit and bodily ailments.

One of the many Balinese statues you’ll see on the property
Greeters at the Holy Spring Water Pool
Cleanse your mind, body and spirit at the Holy Pool

Dining at The Royal Pita Maha in Ubud, Bali

The fruit is unbelievable in Bali! Make sure to pick up a few pieces for the day ahead.

Even if you have plans to venture out into Ubud for your meals, you must absolutely have breakfast at the Ayung Valley Restaurant. Traditional Indonesian and other global dishes are served alongside fresh fruits and juices with spectacular views. You definitely won’t want to miss having your morning coffee with a bird’s eye view of the resort and forest below.

The views with breakfast are absolutely breathtaking.

There really aren’t enough words — or photos — to show how amazing the island of Bali truly is. A single week is nowhere close to the appropriate amount of time to spend exploring this magical island. It really was a life-altering trip and I believe my stay at The Royal Pita Maha had a lot to do with it. I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to visit and looking forward to planning a return visit. For more information, visit http://www.royalpitamaha-bali.com.