Edibles | Risotto with Smoked Eel and Poached Egg

After noticing how much Arborio rice I had that needed to be used up soon, I finally found a recipe that didn't have the usual creaminess but still used what I have in the pantry! Definitely give the below recipe a try (adjustments made) if you are looking for a less creamy and more healthy version of risottos!

3 cups dashi (made with dashi powder)
1 tbsp butter
1/4 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup Arborio rice
2 tbsp cooking sake
2 tbsp dried wakame
2 poached eggs
pepper to taste
frozen smoked eel

cook the stock with the dashi power and water (usually I put about 1/2 tbsp per cup of water)
add the dried wakame to the dashi stock and cook for about 7 minutes
heat the oil and 1 tbsp butter and add the garlic and onion
cook until translucent
add the rice to the garlic and onion and stir until all the rice grains also look translucent (about 3 minutes)
add the sake to the rice and stir until absorbed
next add the dashi stock with wakame in spoonfuls to the mixture (only add the next spoonful when the previous spoonful is completely absorbed by the rice)
slowly add in the dashi stock along with the wakame and stir occasionally
once you have finished cooking all the dashi stock, add 1 tbsp of butter to the rice and stir until the butter is completely melted

smoked eel
buy frozen smoked eel from the store and microwave about 10 minutes (medium high heat) until cooked
cut the eel into small slices to add onto the rice

poached egg (see below link for poached egg recipe)

add 1 - 2 spoonfuls of rice topped with the smoked eel and then the egg
sprinkle with pepper as necessary


Luncheons | Cielito Restaurant, Santa Barbara

If you need somehwere to have a quick bite near La Arcada, I recommend Cielito Restaurant tucked away at the back of the area. The patio is absolutely adorable with amazing dishes that will be sure to satisfy your appetite. Definitely try their gucamole and salsa because it is definitely delicious!

Left | Cielito Signature Gucamole
Center | Sopa de Tortilla Oaxaca
Top Right | Torta de Carne Asada
Bottom Right | Blackberry Margarita 

Cielito Restaurant
1114 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
lunch: tue - sun 11:30am - 2:30pm
dinner: tue - wed & sun 5pm - 9pm
thu 5pm - 10 pm
fri & sat 5pm - 11pm


Oasis | La Arcada, Santa Barbara

Tucked away on one of the streets off of State, La Arcada Court is a cute little area with lots of antique shopping.

If you're looking for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd on State Street, definitely take a look at La Canada!

La Arcada
1114 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101


Visuals | Personalized Treats

I'm currently obsessed with personalized treats. More specifically, personalized m&m. They look adorable! I ordered them to celebrate Chinese New Years and I hope they will be a big hit with the kids!

Edibles | Spinach, Corn and Feta Cheese Galette

This recipe was adapted from here. The original recipe used kale but for me kale is just slightly too expensive so I switched the kale out for spinach. The galette still tasted just as amazing!

dough (I left mine to chill all day and baked it at night)
2 cups of flour
1 stick of unsalted butter cut into cubed pieces
dash of salt
1 egg
1/4 cup of chilled water

In a mixing bowl, put the flour and cut butter together and dash of salt. Mix together with your hands while slowly kneading the flour with the butter.

Once the butter is incorporated with the flour, add the egg and water and mix with a wooden spatula. After the mixture has come together, gently knead the ball to form a big lump of dough.

Separate out the dough into small disks (I mad mine into 6 disks) and flatten it slightly with your hand. You can either wrap the dough in plastic wrap or put the disks into a Ziploc bag (make sure to squeeze out the extra air)!

Let the dough sit for at least 1 hour or until needed.

oil (for entire pan or about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 onion diced
5 - 6 clove minced garlic
2 bunches of spinach chopped roughly
canned corn
dash of salt
black pepper
crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large skilled, heat the oil and add garlic and onions until onions are translucent.
Stir in the chopped spinach and cook until the spinach is softened.
Once the spinach is well cooked, add in half of the canned corn.
Add some salt and pepper.

On a floured chopping board, roll out the disks into thin circles to your liking. Place the disks onto the cookie sheet.

Divide some of the spinach mixture onto the disk. 

Fold the edges of the dough over the filling.

Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese on top of the galette and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until the crust is slightly browned.


Luncheons | Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

After a quick stroll on the wharf I recommend going to Santa Barbara Shellfish Company for a quick bite. Make sure you put your name down first (or arrive early) because seating is limited! I wouldn't say the clam chowder was incredibly good (sorry, I think I have my heart set on Seattle's amazing clam chowder) but definitely give the crab cakes a try!

Left | Clam Chowder
Top Right | Crab Cakes
Bottom Right | Lobster Bisque

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
230 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
mon - sun: 11am - 9pm


Oasis | Stearns Wharf

My first trip to Santa Barbara and I decided to go to Stearns Wharf. It is a nice wharf similar to Santa Monica Pier etc., but with one distinct place that I have yet to find somewhere else. The place is called Deep Sea Tasting Room and the best part is that you can get a tasting while looking out into the ocean. This is absoluetly one of the most beautiful locations to do a wine tasting. Truly one of the most enjoyable spots in Stears Wharf so definitely give Deep Sea Tasting Room a try!

Stearns Wharf
Stearns Wharf, 219 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93109
mon - sun: all day


Visuals | Flowers

Using flowers to take photographs is brilliant. The middle are made of paper flowers -- makes the delicacy seem even more hard to obtain. Using water to expose the flower and Eiffel Tower is a great way to resemble reflection.


Edibles | Pasta Alla Norma

A super simple dish to cook up on a busy (or lazy) night. I used a lot of ingredients I already had on hand and created a version adjusted from here. No worries, the website translates into English!

1 Japanese eggplant
Canned dices tomatoes
3 - 4 minced garlic cloves
pasta shells/bows
dried basil leaves
Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt, pepper, sugar
basil leaves

Pasta Sauce
Cut eggplants into quarter bite sizes
Heat some oil in the pan and fry the eggplants to slightly browned on each side and put aside
Fry the garlic cloves for 5 seconds and add in the diced tomatoes (you can use fresh tomatoes but I happened to have some on hand)
Add the eggplant into the mixture and cook for about 10 minutes
Add in the balsamic vinegar
Add some salt, pepper, and sugar
Sprinkle some basil leaves and Italian seasoning to the dish and stir occasionally

Pasta Shells
Cook according to instructions

Add sauce to the drained pasta shells and add fresh basil leaves to the dish


Luncheons | Hog Island's Oyster Bar

Another great place to luncheon in Napa would be Hog Island Oyster Co at Oxbow Public Market! Make sure you arrive early as they do sell out of their delicious oysters!! It is also a great place to look at other items in the market and enjoy some ice cream before heading back to the city.

Hog Island Oyster Co.
610 1st Street, Oxbow Public Market, Napa, CA 94559
mon & sun: 11:30am - 6pm
tue - sat: 11:30am - 8pm


Oasis | Del Dotto Winery

If you need another winery to go to in Napa, I recommend Del Dotto. It is very secluded inside a cave and is also a great alternative from the Napa heat during the summer. They also give cheese and chocolate tastings in the end and it is amazing!

del dotto
1055 Atlas Peak Rd, Napa, CA 94558
mon - thu & sun: 11am - 5pm
fri - sat: 10am - 5pm


Visuals | Colored Vases

Currently coveting all sorts of colored vases/bottles etc for my beach decor. I'm still in the process of decorating, but it seems to work very well with what I am expecting. I think it gives a nice pop of color within the room to complete the white/beige feeling that has been flowing through the room.


Edibles | Linguine with Avocado & Arugula Pesto

I finally have a blender that I can use to make pesto so I went and tried Giada De Laurentiis's recipe with a slight twist. See below for my detailed instructions but honestly this is such a simple recipe to keep in your recipe box! You can also replace the linguine with shell pastas (which I felt worked out slightly better).

2 - 3 handfuls of walnuts
3 ounces of arugula
2 avocados
2 bunches of basil
1 handful linguine
Parmesan cheese

Put walnuts (as much as you like, remember, they will be chopped) on a baking sheet with preheated oven at 350 degrees F. If you like the walnuts toasted longer, go for 10 minutes (I usually judge by the smell when I open the oven).

Bring large pot of water to boil (add some salt) and let boil based on box instructions.

Avocado & Arugula Pesto Sauce
Scope out 2 avocados and put in the food processor (might take awhile). Slowly add in the 3 ounces of arugula bit by bit interchanging with the 2 bunches of basil. Blend until smooth.

Mix the avocado & arugula pesto sauce with the linguine. Top with walnuts and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.


Luncheons | ad hoc

This is an amazing place to make sure you book when you next visit Napa. I won't go through what I had because Thomas Keller is a genious that all these items will most likely never be repeatd. I would love to try French Laundry next but ad hoc is just as amazing. It is definitely more low key and very laid back.
ad hoc
6476 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94559
mon: 5pm - 10pm
tue: closed
wed - sat: 5pm - 10pm
sun: 10am - 1pm, 5pm - 9pm


Oasis | Domaine Carneros Winery

It's been about two to three years since I last went to Napa. I didn't know this place existed before (thanks, Yelp!) but this time around I went to three of my favorite people and it was really fun! I highly recommend arriving early, taking your time to enjoy different types of champagne. Although I was only in Napa for one full weekend (including driving to and back from LA) it was the best part of the trip. I would not mind going back soon. It was exactly what I was looking for in a relaxing trip.

Domaine Carneros Windery
1240 Duhig Road, Napa, CA 94559
mon - sun: 10am - 5:45pm