Food & Drink
Every now and then I get a really fun date night with my hubby. Since my mother in law happened to be in town for my hubby’s bday I put her to work to watch our son while we went to dinner at Roku. Yay for adult time! Roku is located on Sunset on the Beverly Hills and West Hollywood border. It’s new and trendy and fun and filled with lots of pretty people and great food. We were lucky enough to be invited to try the new menu items they just launched. (I have a terrible job- I know) We had some exceptional dishes that were unique and bursting with flavor. Just take a look at the drool worthy photos below. This is great place to go when you want to get dressed up for a date whether it’s with your honey or your besties. We’re looking forward to bringing our son back to experience the Teppanyaki bar- which I’m told is a fancier version of Benihana and that kids LOVE it.
*Images provided by restaurant PR
My family and I hadn’t been on a proper trip together at all this year. (Going home to the Bay Area or Chicago where my hubby is from doesn’t count in my book!) There are a few American cities left that I’ve been dying to visit and Portland was one of them. We decided to fly from LA to Portland and spend a week driving through an area of the country none of us had explored- the North West. Our final destination was Bozeman, MT and we had tons of ground to cover in between. For starters, Portland is SO GREEN. As a Californian I’ve been deprived of grass for such a long and I didn’t realize it until I saw how lush Portland was. The vibe was so chill and I felt like the people were totally laid back and super cool. Below are some of the highlights from our trip. Keep in mind I was almost 7 months pregnant on this trip and traveling with a two year old. I can’t wait to hit up Portland when I can drink and do some fancy dinners, but even in my current “condition” I had a freakin blast and so did the fam.
We chose the River Place Hotel for a few reasons. It was historic and beautiful, had great reviews online and was along the river with easy access to everything. Every time we travel to a new city we check to see if our American Express offers rewards or perks at properties we’re interested in- sure enough River Place was one of them. I’ve mentioned my love for Amex perks several times in the past, but just to remind you, I love it because you can get room upgrades, food credits and sometimes spa credits (my personal fav).
When I posted on my Instagram account that I was in Portland I got a ton of recommendations on where to eat. There was one particular spot that EVERYONE agreed on: Voodoo Doughnuts. I’d heard of this place before and I knew I had to go. I’m not a donut person, but hot damn these were delish! Like SO SO good. Luckily the line was only about 20 people deep, so it wasn’t a nightmare trying to get our grub on. I was pleasantly surprised to see their huge variety of vegan donuts as well. A+ Voodoo Doughnuts. Totally worth the hype! Also, how do you actually spell donuts? Or is it doughnuts?
Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ: Umm. Wow. Just wow. I had a life changing burrito at their little food cart. It was definitely a trek from where we were staying, but so worth it. I got the “Buff Burrito” (thanks Margaret!) I was in heaven after the first bite. It had freakin mac and cheese in it!? Say what!?! Yup, and totally vegan. You guys may know I’m actually pescatarian, (a fish eating vegetarian- not a religion) but I can certainly appreciate when something is 100% plant based.
As I mentioned above I was traveling with my two year old son who, like many two year olds has an obscene amount of energy and it is of the utmost importance that he get’s his wiggles out. We headed to the International Rose Garden that was equipped with the most breathtaking roses I’ve ever seen AND a playground. Win win. Definitely pay this place a visit whether you’re rolling with a toddler or not.
Splash pads: This has been the summer of the splash pad for my family. From LA to Chicago and now Portland. After a hot day of exploring the city is was time once again for Idris to get his wiggles out in the water. Enter: splash pad on the river. Perfect!
Over the next few weeks I’ll continue to share my road trip of the North West. Stay tuned!
TWO INGREDIENT VEGAN COOKIES!?! Say what!? Yes, it’s true. They are also VERY Weight Watchers friendly. The best part about these bad boys is they are easily customizable. On the latest episode of My Dancing Kitchen my mom and I made tons of varieties and variations- experimenting with banana to oatmeal ratios and adding other ingredients like cinnamon, peaches, peanut butter- the list goes on. We played with egg whites one day and turned them into pancakes and topped them with fresh berries- AMAZING! Obviously if you add egg whites they are no longer vegan, but still super Weight Watcher friendly and delicious. Have fun with your creations and let me know if you make any at home or have a version that’s particularly BOMB.
This is SUCH an easy recipe. It’s RAW, VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE and ZERO smart points on Weight Watchers. Hello perfect dish. I promise it’s tasty and the best part is you can customize it to your liking. This is a great staple in the summer. I hope you enjoy it and please let me know if you make it.
This is what I did and it made enough for about 4 people.
3-4 cups watermelon or 1/2 of a small/medium watermelon
1 Persian cucumber to be blended
1 Persian cucumber to be diced and added to the soup
1/2 Red Onion to be blended
1/2 Red Onion to be diced and added to the soup
Jalapeno if you like heat!
Dill (as much or as little as you want)
Salt/Pepper and Lemon to taste
The last few weeks have been rough with the passing of my uncle. I don’t think I’ve ever been this drained in my life- dealing with a death while your pregnant is a roller coaster ride I hope never to be on again. When the Four Seasons Westlake and the California Health & Longevity Institute invited me to experience their Taste of Wellness “Relax & Rewind” package I jumped at the chance. It included a massage, Soma Dome, life strategies consultation and a sustained living lunch in the Lobby Lounge. Yes please!
Spending the day getting my mind off of everything and being pampered was EXACTLY what I needed. My morning kicked off with a life consultation session with Dr. Illana Kukoff, Ph.D. The last time I spoke to a professional about my problems I was an angry brat in Jr. High. I had no idea what to expect when I walked in this time. After some brief introductions we began with an actual session. I started by telling her what my family was going through followed by my current ups and downs with work and then venting about my level of exhaustion. In a short period of time we covered everything from dealing with the loss of a loved one to career advice. I left with an action plan for my life and was super pumped. It was equal parts therapeutic and motivational. Thanks Dr. K!
After lunch it was time to experience the Soma Dome. I’m a hug fan of unique beauty and wellness treatments. (If you’ve seen my show The SASS than you know what I’m talking about!) What is a Soma Dome you ask? It’s a meditation pod that you relax in for about 20 minutes. It is designed to help you get rid of all the noise and distractions in your life, all while sitting under healing light. You can have a voice guide you through a variety of mediations or you can guide yourself. I chose a guided manifestation session. I’m not sure if I was actually meditating, but I can tell you I was in a peaceful place and it went by way too fast.
The maternity massage was nothing short of amazing. I’ve been lucky to have several maternity massages in the past and I always favor the ones that have a special pregnancy pillow so I can lay on my stomach as opposed to my side. I was in such a mellow state of relaxed bliss when I left the FS Westlake.
If you need to hit restart on your life for whatever reason, I urge you to check out the wellness packages offered at FS Westlake. For even more of a wellness geared individual they offer a ton of programming options and are the only Four Seasons with a full dedicated medical center on site. You can receive anything from a full physical, your teeth cleaned, a mammogram, a massage and end the day with a Wine Wed cooking demo in the Wellness Kitchen.
Good things are bound to happen when you combine a Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen with My Dancing Kitchen! Recently my friend Kathy Patalsky came over to share this easy, delicious vegan chocolate pudding recipe. It’s SO SO SO freaking good. My fam and I love this guilt free treat. Kathy is one of the top (if not THE TOP) vegan influencers on the internet and dare I say the WORLD. She has a vegan cookbook with killer recipes and multiple websites about all things vegan. She’s such a pleasure to collaborate with and her dance moves are always on point. Check out all her info below including this fabulous recipe.
Here is the RECIPE:
Double batch Easy Chocolate Avocado Pudding
4 avocados (medium), peel removed
1 cup maple syrup (add about another 1/3 cup to taste if desired)
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (add 1/3 cup more for extra chocolate-y results)
2 Tbsp Virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean pod, scraped) – optional
Salt to taste (1/8 tsp is minimal)
Add avocado and maple and vanilla to blender.
Melt chocolate and coconut oil together in microwave until silky smooth (heat at 30 second intervals and stir).
Add chocolate mixture to blender.
Blend until silky smooth.
Salt and add additional sweetener to taste.
Serve warm and freshly blended or chilled!
Consume within a few days – slight darkening will occur next day as avocado oxidizes.
Hola! Como Estas? My fam and I headed to Puerto Vallarta last month and I wanted to share some of my favorite places. I’ve been going to PV for a few years now, but this was my first time going with a toddler so my activities changed a bit. There was still tequila, just not as much ; ) Below are some pics and my recommendations whether you’re traveling with kids or not. Enjoy.
For a beautiful (more touristy) beach side dinner head to La Palapa. Great food, good vibes and an unbeatable view!
For something super kid friendly and very lively (and not so touristy) check out PiPi’s. They have exceptional service, big portions of yummy food and live entertainment.
Cafe Des Artistes is romantic and beautiful, but not-so kid friendly.
Walk around the Art’s district and pop into some of the cool galleries.
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens was such a treat that I’m dedicating a separate post just for that. Check back again soon to see those pics!
Walk on the Malecon and see all the wild street performers. If you are traveling with kids, definitely rent one of those little remote control cars for a few minutes. Your kid will be in heaven!
For an unique, non touristy experience, check out Hotel Conchas Chinas. You can reserve a room from the hotel or rent from an owner. Many of the places (like the one pictured with a private pool) are listed on AirBnB.
*The bottom 4 pics were shot by my awesome dad, Mansur Kiadeh.
Sick of reading? Watch the video below instead!
The Lobster in Santa Monica is a Pescatarian’s dream. (Pescatarian is not a religion fyi!) I’ve been coming to this historic beach side staple for a few years now. In fact it was one of the first restaurants I went to with my now husband. I’ve always been a fan, but lately they’ve done some super sexy renovations and added some delicious new things to the menu. I enjoyed a massive lunch the other day… okay, maybe I went a little wild- but it was to die for. Excellent work Chef! Can we say location location location? Hello perfection. It’s on the beach overlooking the iconic Santa Monica Pier and stunning Pacific Ocean. This is a great place to bring out of town friends and family, it’s perfect for date night, or a beautiful lunch with girlfriends. Basically, just go there if you want a lux beach side experience, extremely fresh seafood and an incredibly friendly staff. (Hi Lobster Lynne!)
They also offer happy hour M-F from 4:30pm-6:30pm & Brunch on Sunday’s until 2:30pm
New Zealand King Salmon Sashimi, Avocado Horseradish Puree, Ponzu & Coleman Farms Radish Salad
Japanese Hamachi Sashimi, Jalapeño, Lime & Cilantro Salsa with Flowers
Peruvian Scallop, Yuzukosho Vinaigrette with Poblano Peppers, Sweet Onions, Tomato & Chili Oil
Oyster with Spicy Tomato-soy salsa
Schaner Farms Tahitian Squash Soup
Pumpkin Seeds, Vadouvan & Yogurt
American Lobster Salad
Avocado, Little Gem Lettuce, Schaner’s Citrus Vinaigrette & Crispy Leeks
Sauteed Blue King Prawns
Brandy, Garlic, Shallots, Italian Herbs & Shrimp Butter with Toasted Ciabatta
Seared Rare Yellowfin Tuna
Charred Leek Vinaigrette, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Taggiasca Olives & Garlic Chips with Horseradish Crushed Potatoes
Shortbread Crumbs & Torched Merengue
Warm Chocolate Pudding
Caramel Corn & Vanilla Ice Cream
Are you drooling yet!?!
Where to stay: I LOVED my experience at The Grand America. It’s a luxury hotel walking distance from downtown. They have a fantastic spa where I received a TWO HOUR massage. (#Heaven) There are multiple dining options in the hotel, including a lobby bar with live music on the weekends. (Yes, you can drink booze in Salt Lake!) They also have a toy store, pool, gym and even a French Patisserie.
Where to eat/drink: I had a few meals at the Grand America but I also wanted to explore the city. The Copper Onion came highly recommended for brunch. My girls and I had a great time there. We also LOVED the speakeasy inside Bodega. (aka The Rest) That was by far my favorite place. Definitely check it out if you find yourself in Salt Lake. Tons of people told me to eat at Red Iguana and sadly I didn’t get a chance to. Next time!
What to do: Other than the staring at the stunning mountains, one of the main attractions is the Mormon Temple/Temple Square. The building itself is beautiful from the outside. Because it is considered a sacred church you must be a member to go inside. City Creek Mall is a few blocks away and requires no membership! It’s a nice indoor/outdoor shopping center with great retailers and restaurants.
Watch my Salt Lake City video below!