Jenna & The Fig

Usually when I plan a vacation, I spend a good amount of time researching the best spots to eat and shop. My favorite places are the hidden gems, the places off the beaten path, maybe only popular by locals. Sometimes you need to try the places that are popular and well-known because there is usually a reason they are labeled as such. The Girl & The Fig is one of those places. Yes, it is popular and well-known and a little trendy, but the food is really good….like really good.


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After ordering a bottle of Grenache, our starters arrived. First up was the Fig & Arugula Salad. This baby was topped with toasted pecans, goat cheese, pancetta, figs, & a port vinaigrette. We could not stop eating it. It was one of those dishes where every flavor was perfectly balanced that every bite was better than the first. I could have just eaten this for me meal. Delicious.



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Next , we had the Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto topped with an Egg, Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese, and a Black Truffle Sauce. This was a simple dish but executed perfectly.


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My husband ordered the Wild Flounder which was cooked in a light, creamy butter and caper sauce and served with sauteed spinach, and the creamiest whipped potatoes I have ever had. The fish was cooked perfectly, with the edges having just the right amount of crisp from all of that lovely butt-ah!



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I ordered the Sauteed Bay Scallops which was served with an incredible parsnip purée (must try to replicate this at home), beech mushrooms, green garlic & a veal reduction. I usually prefer the larger scallops but these were incredibly fresh and sweet. The star, for me, though was the parsnip purée. I couldn’t get enough!



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We somehow saved room for dessert (for the blog, I argue)! The Lavender Creme Brulee was calling my name and I am so glad we ordered it. The lavender flavor was truly subtle but with the perfect amount flavor. And the custard itself was light, delicious, and cooked perfectly. I highly recommend saving room for this baby!

Bottom Line: The food is incredible. There was not one dish we were “meh” about. We cleaned every plate and know exactly what we want to try next time (ahem, cheese cart). My only reservation about this place was the service. Our server was aloof, pretentious, and sort of awkward– which is so not the norm of Wine Country. Yes, there are some of the best restaurants around (French Laundry, anyone?) but in my experience people just really love food here, without pretension. Anytime this happens, I always keep in mind that it could have just been a bad day for him but I think it is only fair to mention that if the service was a little warmer, I would have given this my highest recommendation.

I have more Wine Country posts coming up but I have been busy adding tons of new pieces to my etsy shop. 🙂


Until next time,

xo

Jenna

On The Road Again


We stopped at local diner Jim-Denny’s for breakfast before leaving for wine country. Jim-Denny’s is a sort of institution in Sacramento, known for its solid, American food. There are about 10 seats in the whole restaurant. My favorite part though, is the no nonsense woman (whose name I unfortunately did not catch) takes your order and cooks your food right in front of you.

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My handsome breakfast buddy. 🙂


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The original restaurant phone. I took this picture because I love old telephones but what made this one hilarious is the note directly on it’s left. Scroll down a bit more to see what I am talking about…


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Love this! So sassy! Too bad no one called while I was there. I was going to rock that order!


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I ordered a half order of biscuits and gravy. I should probably mention that everything here is LARGE. So tell them how hungry you are before you order so you don’t waste a bunch of food. In our case, she asked us right away and we received the perfect amount of food.


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My hubs ordered one of their famous pancakes and it did not disappoint. Thick and fluffy, this pancake was the size of my head–and if you have every see me try to put on a turtleneck, you know that it is huge. Did I mention this was the Jr. size pancake?

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Side of scrambled eggs and crispy bacon for my man.


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One egg over medium for me, please!


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Oh and boat loads of this stuff. I have not really mentioned it here yet but I love coffee. Really, really, love coffee.


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We had some final meetings for work and then it was time to hit the road. Wine country is only an hour away from Sacramento. If you are visiting the Valley and want to know what airport to fly into, do not even think about San Francisco or Oakland unless it is much cheaper. Sacramento is by far the most convenient and just as close to Napa or Sonoma, if not closer with a much smaller crowd.


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Side note: These last two shots are a bit “distorted” on purpose. Reg bought me some Diana+ lens adaptors for my SLR so I spent the drive playing around with them. I love how dreamy they make the images look.

By the time we arrived in Wine Country, it was just about lunch time and I was ready to…


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I knew exactly where I wanted to go too. I went to Taylor’s Refresher years ago in St. Helena and knew I had to try it again on my next visit. This time, we checked out the Napa outpost and the food was still fresh and delicious. The name, however, has now changed to Gott’s Roadside. Honestly, I think the name change is a crazy idea. It is part of the charm! The food was still really good, which is the most important thing, right?


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It was really hot out so we decided 2 beers was the most appropriate way to begin our lunch. We ordered the North Coast Blue Star Wheat. Perfectly refreshing.


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Then it was time for the main event. Last time I visited Taylor’s/Gott’s I ordered the special which was a turkey burger topped with cinnamon apple onion chutney and it knocked my socks off. Other people must have liked a lot too because now it is on the menu full time.


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My husband ordered the Patty Melt. I didn’t try it but he said it was super delicious. Since his nickname is The Burger King, I am inclined to believe him.


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Here is my lovely Turkey Burger. They serve most sandwiches on toasted egg buns. I have to learn how to make them at home! When I do, I will share them with you because they really elevate the sandwich to a whole new level. This was delicious. We also split an order of garlic fries that were good but really buttery so I only had a few. Don’t worry nothing was wasted though because Reg demolished the rest of them.


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It happened to be Cinco De Mayo when we were there so they gave us these little sombreros which I think are really for salting the rim of your margarita glass but I am very mature and decided to put it on my (large) head.


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I heard great things about the Obxow Public Market, which is like a mini version of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. However, I had no idea it was that close to our lunch spot so we happily walked over after our lunch. We were not disappointed.


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A grocery area full of local produce!


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Oysters, anyone?


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Spices from all over the world


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Locally made chocolates

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Organic Ice Cream–don’t mind if I do!


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For me: Rice Milk Horchata and Je Ne Sais Quois (I don’t know what) Strawberry. The horchata flavor was creamy but super light and dairy free! The strawberry had a touch of balsamic vinegar to it—very creative and rich without being heavy. I really wish they had this in Southern California!


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For him: Rice Milk Horchata and Chocolate Peanut Butter. Also, very delicious and had that same rich but light quality.

If you are ever in the Napa area, I highly recommend visiting the Oxbow Market. There is something for everyone there, including a wine and cheese bar that was not photographed. It is a cozier version of the Ferry Building with incredible local finds. I will definitely be going back!

Until next time…


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Jenna

Hello I Love…Ella Dining Room & Bar

So I realize that my blog has become not only a place I can share my jewelry but also my foodie adventures. I really love traveling and finding new restaurants so from now on I will be focusing on food a lot more. In general, I am trying to blog more but honestly I spent the last few days in Wine country after Sacramento using every moment to eat explore, thus I was too full to blog. Seriously. I love my life.

Now that I am home, I cannot wait to share the restaurants I enjoyed. But first, let’s complete that trip to Sacramento. I did a lot of Yelp research before making a reservation for our final night. With the plethora of good restaurants in Sacramento, I wanted to make sure I picked somewhere special. Ella Dining Room and Bar seemed like the perfect choice. I know it seems that I love and gush about every place I talk about here, but seriously–this place was amazing! From the decor to the service to the spot-on execution of fresh dishes, the entire experience was magnificent.

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Ready to go!

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State Capitol Building on our walk to the restaurant.

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Love the outside seating here. One thing I noticed about Sacramento though–where are all of the people? It seems like no one lives downtown at all. No biggie, I just thought there would be more “action.”

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Old pastel shutters lines the bar and the ceiling. It was like having dinner in an Anthropologie store–and I mean that as the highest compliment.

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How cool is this?! Not only was it beautiful and creative, the stacked tables were highly functional. Love!

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I started with their signature cocktail, a Gin & Tonic. This is no ordinary Gin & Tonic though. They combine their own Homemade Rainforest Qui Ni Ne Tonic, 209 Gin, Sugar Cane Syrup, Sparkling Water and Fresh Citrus Juices. This baby is so good that even if you are not normally a fan of Gin & Tonics, this version just might convert you. It happens to be my favorite cocktail so I was in heaven.

*Fun fact–Our server told us that the powder used to make the homemade tonic is normally used to cure Malaria!

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Lovin’ it!

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Wood Oven Meatballs with Roasted Tomato Sauce and Sheep’s Milk Ricotta. This appetizer was spectacular. The meatballs were perfectly moist and actually very light. The sauce had an amazing depth of flavor (three cheers for roasting the tomatoes!) and the sheep’s milk ricotta was fluffy, creamy perfection. We could have ate just these for the entire meal.

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This salad was a mixture of Watercress, Endive, Pancetta, and Point Reyes Blue Cheese. I have had a love affair with blue cheese since I was about 6 (no joke) so this salad was perfect for me. The salty pancetta paired nicely with the sweet strawberry-rhubarb dressing and the watercress and edive were chopped perfectly.

I don’t know about you but, for me, there is nothing worse than receiving a salad with giant leaves and then making the awkward attempt to fit the entire leaf in my mouth in a polite way. I always look like I have never eaten in public before. Hot! I suppose I could cut it up, but that would take away from my eating time and at the end of the day I just believe every salad should be chopped, thank you very much.

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My husband ordered the Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Sauce Diane, Pommes Parisienne, and Creamed Blomsdale Spinach. The beef was cooked perfectly (Medium Rare, please) and the sauce was rich without overpowering the meat. Honestly, the highlight of this dish was the little potato pillows from heaven on a bed of creamed spinach. Amazing!


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I ordered the Pappardelle, Poached Egg, Crispy Prosciutto, and Preserved Lemon Butter Sauce. After snapping this photo, I cut the egg, allowing the yolk to mix in with the rest of the dish. I have to be honest. As much as I love to eat, I rarely finish my entire plate because most restaurant servings are too large for me. I always end up taking the rest home, because I hate waste but this time was an exception. I cleared my plate. Everything about this dish was executed to perfection. The pasta was homemade (makes all of the difference in the world). The lemon butter sauce combined with the egg to make a sweet, light, and creamy sauce which combined magnificently with the salty prosciutto. My husband and I both agreed this was the best dish of the night.

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We ended the night with the Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart with Homemade Coffee Ice Cream. Incredibly rich and “disappeared” before I knew it. What. A. Meal.

Bottom line: Ella is a restaurant where simple, fresh food is done flawlessly, without pretension. Please visit this lovely establishment if you are ever in the area. You will not be disappointed.

I can’t wait to share the other places I tried! Stay tuned…

xo,


Jenna


P.S. I am thinking of compiling mini guides to different cities and the restaurants I have visited. Is this something you might be interested in? Let me know!

I left my heart in…Sacramento?

I have to tell you, I am loving Sacramento! I never really had an opinion about our lovely state capital but… now I kind of want to move here!?

I am serious.

Let’s start with our fabulous home for the week:


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Built in 1926 in the historical Cal Life Western Building, The Citizen Hotel is incredible beautiful and charming. The decor is ornate and a throwback to the time of building’s origination. The rooms are incredibly luxurious, filled with modern charms, many of which strive to be as eco-friendly as possible. And the staff is helpful but authentic–always a big plus in my book.

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Loved this bar above reception. Such a cool place to grab a cocktail during happy hour. Gin & Tonic for me, thanks!

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The decor itself is not the only charming part of The Citizen. In an homage to the political nature of being a state capital, the ambiance of the entire building is special because of the little details. Think framed cocktail napkins “autographed” by notable politicians.

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And framed political cartoons next to the bed and in the hallways.

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Though a bit pricey, this hotel is worth every penny. I highly recommend staying here if you are ever in Sacramento!


Now, onto yoga. If you follow me on twitter, you know that I was really excited to take some Hot Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes (Baron Baptiste style) while in Sacramento. (Side note: I used to go to Core Power Yoga, a lovely studio in Huntington Beach but since I moved to the South Bay, I have not been able to go. There are no Baptiste style studios in the area. Please open one…please!) Okay back to Sacramento. I found a studio close to our hotel that had a great 10 days for $10.00 special going on AND the classes were heated vinyasa yoga classes! Zuda Yoga has two locations in Sacramento. Reggie and I hit up the Midtown location for a 12:00 class with Kate and we were not disappointed. The class was crowded and I love that! There is nothing like 40 people taking deep Ujjayi breathes in unison. The class was perfectly challenging and I left feeling refreshed, energetic, and hungry (big surprise there)!

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I used my Yelp application on my iPhone to find a fun place to grab some lunch. We were thrilled when we pulled up and saw this row of restaurants and bars.


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After taking a couple deep breathes (umm yea, I get really excited when I find fun new spots to eat, drink, hang out, and did I mention eat?), we found ourselves at Magpie Cafe .

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Magpie is committed to using high-quality, sustainable, and organic ingredients. I am now committed to going to this restaurant as much as possible.

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We both started with a Honey Lemonade, which featured local honey. This was incredible delicious and refreshing. Perfectly balanced being tart and sweet. In fact, my husband downed his and then asked me, “there are free refills, right.” Nope! Sorry about your luck buddy. Fortunately for him, though, I paid attention in Kindergarten and shared. 😉


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My life/lunch partner. Love him. ❤

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Their menu changes daily, which is always fun! I ordered the mushroom panini which featured a white bean spread, portabello mushrooms, and arugula on focaccia. It was served with a side salad but the star of the show was the panini. I sensed hints of truffle oil in the white bean spread, and I couldn’t have been happier. If it wasn’t such a large portion, I would have ate the whole thing!

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Reggie ordered the Natural Pulled Pork Sandwich. It was served with an incredibly light potato salad and a tangy (Carolina style?) BBQ sauce. I am not a huge meat eater but I had to try a bite of this sandwich. It was one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I have ever had. The pork was incredibly tender and served with just the right amount of BBQ sauce. I LOVED this sandwich!

*I have to apologize for the giant shadow in the picture. I was just really excited about eating and I took this picture really fast. Oops!

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The excitement clearly continued here because this picture is not the best either. Truthfully, this asparagus salad was so good that I am not sure a picture could have done it justice. The asparagus pieces were marinated in a delicious sesame sauce that was also incredibly light and not oily at all. Reggie and I were both huge fans of this dish!

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I have a thing for Whoopie Pies (I also really loved Oreos as a child) and when I saw this one, I knew I had to try it. Meet the Carrot Cake Cookie. Two carrot cake cookies sandwiched between cream cheese icing. Unreal. I loved the chew of the cookie and the creaminess of the icing without being sickeningly sweet. Well done Magpie, well done. I will definitely be coming back.


Yea, so like I said, I love it here. 🙂


Have you ever been to Sacramento? What are some other “can’t miss” spots?


xo,


Jenna

Buttermilk Truck

In the Los Angeles area, food trucks have dramatically increased in popularity. However, the days of the basic taco are long gone. We are talking about some serious eats here. Just by utilizing twitter , you can find just about any kind of food in a gourmet lunch truck. Locations and sometimes menu items change daily but the food has always been delicious.

I love the concept so I have decided it is only right for me to try all of the trucks in the area. I started with Kogi BBQ–which is amazing and yesterday morning I finally tried The Buttermilk Truck. Think breakfast comfort food with a Hawaiian Twist.

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I checked out some reviews on Yelp beforehand to see what items should not be missed. The red velvet chocolate chip pancake bites were popular–and for good reason. Check these out!

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That would be (what tasted like) cream cheese whipped cream on top and it is even more fabulous than you can imagine. The pancakes themselves were incredibly light too. Completely lived up to the hype.

We had to try the blueberry pancake bites too and they were equally as lovely. The blueberries were fresh and abundant. Yes, we ate them all too!

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As if you need more of a reason to visit this truck, the breakfast sliders should also not be missed. Not as aesthetically pleasing as the other items but every bit as delicious. Shoyu scrambled eggs, portuguese sausage and caramelized onions on 3 hawaiian sweet rolls. Not too greasy, as a lot of portuguese sausage can be in my experience and disappeared before I knew it. 😉

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Finally, the chicken apple sausage biscuit sandwich. The biscuit was buttery and flakey. One of my favorites for the day. Per-fection!

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We ate every last bite and it was so worth it! Everything in moderation is my motto. I highly recommend tracking down this truck if you are ever in the LA area. Follow them on twitter here.

How was your weekend?

xo,


Jenna