Sunday, July 18, 2010


The other day my mom came home with cactus from the mexican market. I did a bit of research and learned that the type of cactus she brought home is native to Mexico where it is called nopales, and comes from the leaf of the prickly pear cactus. Never having tasted cactus before, I decided to experiment and make a side dish of nopales & zucchini for family dinner. The nopales tasted similar to green beans and were a great compliment to the zucchini. I learned the basics on how to prepare nopales on this site.

1. Take a razor blade or sharp knife & remove stickers

2. Cut cactus pods in bite-size pieces

2. Put in pan & cover with water, cook until tender & then drain.

3. Saute in pan with garlic, olive oil & chopped onions. Add zucchinis, I used yellow and green zucchinis that I had already steamed a bit beforehand.

4. Season w/ salt & pepper and serve with dinner!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ace Hotel & Swim Bar

Wow it has been a long time since I have posted! I've just been having too much fun enjoying summer. Let me share some of the great eats I enjoyed in Palm Springs about a week ago when James and I stayed at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club for a night to celebrate our anniversary. This boutique hotel was amazing! What a find! It is a renovated motel that has kept a lot of it's original features from the 60's and has added lots of cool retro touches. Plus is eco-friendly & green, with most of the materials & furniture being recycled or vintage. On top of it all the prices are really reasonable, especially for the food.

These communal out door fire pits were everywhere along with barbecues where you can order fresh meat and vegetables from the hotel and have your own cookout.

The hotel lobby where there was a nearby photo booth.

Our room that was done to look like we were camping w/ tent blinds and an Ace Survival guide describing all that the hotel has to offer.

Since it was 110 degrees almost all of our time was spent by the pool, drinking cocktails, reading, floating around on rafts and playing with water guns, and lounging on hammocks in the shade when it got too hot.

My personal favorite drink was the 'adult' berry flavored snow cone

We enjoyed lunch by the pool too. I order the "ALT" sandwich w/ avocado, butter lettuce, vine ripe tomato, & sprouts on wheat toast w/ what I think was a jimica side salad.

That night we decided to venture out of the hotel and went to a nearby mexican food restaurant that the concierge recommended. I ate every last bite of the enormous vegetable burrito that the served me. I'll admit it's a little sad when you eat twice the amount as your date, but the grilled veggies inside were just too darn good to resist.

Look at the size of this hot sauce bottle! I was in heaven. Sadly I cannot remember the name of this restaurant, sorry : (

The next morning we enjoyed brunch at the King's Highway inside of the hotel. The picture I took is a bit dark, but I can tell you that it looks exactly like an old school diner.

I loved that they had a bloody mary bar; I stuffed my bloody mary to the brim with jalapenos.

I ordered the couscous salad with arugula, carrots, and raisins.

Even though the weather was ridiculously hot, we had an amazing time celebrating our anniversary and the Ace Hotel has now become my new favorite place to stay in Palm Springs.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Native Foods, Mexican Food & Art & Water Parks & Corn

On Thursday I was soooo stoked to go visit my favorite vegan restaurant of all time, Native Foods at their Aliso Viejo locations, w/ my Grandma, mom, & James. I'm on a mission to try everything on the menu, so I was happy to see that they had recently added a few new items to their menu. I tried the new tempeh salad w/ quinoa, green salad, & kale and white bean hummus. I was sadly let by this new item, the salad was dry & the hummus and tempeh were a but funky. The only thing I really liked was the quinoa.

Everyone else ordered the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger w/ "sliced seitan, melted cheddar, caramelized onions, tempeh bacon on a bun slathered w/ BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, lettuce, carrots, onion, and tomato and topped with crunchy battered dill pickle chips". As always, it was insanely delicious. Of course we also drank a redonkulous amount of watermelon juice.

I munched on some sweet potato fries and Native Chicken wings with ranch that we ordered as an appetizer. Few things in life can compare to the yumminess of these chicken wings; crispy warm batter on the outside with a chewy texturized soy on the inside dipped into creamy ranch. We also gulped down redonkulous amounts of watermelon juice & lavender lemonade.

That night since it was the first Thursday of the month we took the trolley downtown for art walk , and enjoyed looking at art & drinking free wine.

The whole lot of us walked over to El Ranchito to enjoy some Mexican food. If you can believe it, it has been a month since I have enjoyed Mexican because of the utter lack of Mexican food in Australia.

I decided to much on everyone else's food knowing that I would OD on chips, salsa...

and guac!
I also tried their new skinny margarita made w/ agave.

My expert opinion says that this margarita is even better than regular margaritas.

On Friday we woke up to a thick layer of fog. While it's nice living at the beach often times the thick marine layer means that when it's sunny inland it's freezing on the coast. Last minute my family & I decided to chase the sun inland and go to Wild Rivers for the day. After downing some coffee I packed myself an arugula smoothie for the trip.

About 1/2 cup ice, almond milk, water, as much arugula as I could stuff into the bullet, 1/2 apple & banana, and a tablespoon of hemp protein. If you like arugula than I would try this smoothie; it was fruity but the arugula gave it a bit of a bite.
I wasn't able to grab any picks of food @ Wild Rivers but I snuck in a veggie sandwich from Subway & had some roasted sweet corn w/ garlic salt.
Wild Rivers was waaay too much fun! I haven't been here since I was ten for my elementary school graduation party, but It was even more fun than I remembered it being. James and I went on every ride in the first couple of hours and then lounged in the lazy river & watched the kids play. I can still say that the wave pool is the scariest, even w/ a floaty tube I got worked in the waves.

Exhausted & sunburnt when we got home we had a simple BBQ. I grazed and had some watermelon...

more corn (and maybe a few french fries ; )...
and some pita chips w/ TJ's Mediterranean & basil hummus.

Wild Rivers got the best of me, I was passed out by nine-thirty.