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Food Reviews

Exploring Solvang & Santa Barbara With Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento Road Trip With Teens

It’s been on my mind to want to take the kids to more places and do more exploring in our glorious state of California.  There are many places the kids have never been and I’m making a min-bucket-ish-list of places to take them before they graduate high schcool and are on their own.  Both are teens now and I know this time from now until 18 will zoom by.  Once they are adults and in college and working I know there will be less time for this, and they might want to do more things with their friends instead as family trips.

On my list are Northern California, like Humbolt, Hurst Castle, Cambria, & Sacramento, Catalina, Pismo Beach, and more.  The problem is my car has almost 200,000 miles and I try to keep it more local in case I have any problems.  But sometimes the stars align perfectly.  This week with a 2016 Kia Sorento SX I had for the week to review.

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The car was extremely comfortable and seated 7, or in our case three plus luggage.  Both kids (one over 5’10 and one over 6″) fit in the back seat and still had leg room.  The stereo system was equipped with GPS, Sirus Radio and I was able to connect my cell phone to it to answer incoming calls.

2016-01-18 12.52.18 It even had settings  on the steering wheel for the phone.2016-01-19 12.18.37 HDR

So, with this awesome car we were off and did a road trip to explore California.

I took the kids up north about 1 1/2 hours to Solvang.  It is a small Danish village with lovely shops and the friendliest people.  Cars stop to let you cross the street.  A lot of visitors go shop-to-shop on foot.  If I needed directions everyone was friendly and helpful.

A shop of bowls and hanging lights

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We stayed at the Atterdag Inn, a newly furnished hotel just off the main street.  Close to all the shops but away from the noise of cars on the main road.  We had a room that had a king-sized bed (for me) and a bunk bed the kids shared.  There was also large windows letting in the sunlight, a mini-fridge, table and chairs and a nice sized bathroom.  It also had a beautiful private courtyard.

Beautiful Red and White decor; Twin bed and table with four chairs.

2016-01-20 14.11.48 King size bed with special gift bag for me from the City of Solvang.

(Yes, they made me feel extra special).
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Besides Danish shops Solvang also has antique and tourist shops, a weekly farmer’s market on Wednesdays, five museums, some statues, five windmills and a mission.  They also have American cuisine, where burgers and fries are on the menu.

Sunset on one of the Solvang buildings as we were getting ready to head to our hotel room for the night.

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While there we tried to see it all, including the farmer’s market, the Hans-Christian Anderson Museum and the Santa Inez Mission.

Fresh produce, honey, candles, kettle corn and more at the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday.

2016-01-20 16.00.09 Giant Red Clog that has its own hashtag.2016-01-20 15.29.32 One of many beautiful windmills.2016-01-20 15.20.27

We also dined for lunch at the Green House Cafe, a modern Nordic bistro. Nordic foods are considered a blend of: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.    Traditional foods are are: seafood, pork, cheese and bread.  The Green House Cafe is open daily for breakfast and lunch. We tried a variety of their most famous dishes, including the Nordic Combo, Open Face Combo and Kaela had a Nordic burger, which had a soft toasted bun and caramelized onions inside. I tried the first two dishes, and loved the variety of meats and cheeses.  This is a great place to dine if you want a nice sit-down place to try traditional foods and still have items on the menu for picky eaters.  They also had soups and salads.

Traditional Nordic Cold Plate of Open Faced Sandwiches

2016-01-20 14.46.52 Traditional Nordic Hot Plate With Meat, Pan-Fried Potatoes, Red Cabbage and Gravy.2016-01-20 14.47.32 Cheeseburger with Caramelized Onions and Fries.2016-01-20 14.44.16

We stayed over night at the Atterdog Inn and explored Solvang more the next day before heading home. The hotel even offered free bike rental for guests.

2016-01-21 12.42.38 On our way out of town we stopped by the Santa Inez Mission.  I thought it was a great way to add some hands-on education to our trip. We’d visited a few of the California missions a few years ago as a part of 3rd grade social science so the kids were familiar with them and their history.   It cost $5 per person for a self-guided tour of the museum and outside grounds, which included a large garden and a cemetery.   We also saw the large fields where orchards or olive trees used to grow.  The mission would harvest olives and sell the olive oil, which they still sell in the gift shop.

Stone floors, tall ceilings, a cemetery, garden and even olive orchard at the Santa Inez Mission.2016-01-21 13.18.32

 It was really windy standing over the top of the Mission’s Olive Orchard.2016-01-21 13.27.27 HDR

I was on a quest to get a ’13-16″ cheese danish by the big windmill’ for a friend, with no other directions and found it on the third windmill with help from the local shopkeepers.  We also bought some baked goods to take home.

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We made it home the next day, driving past the beach on the way through Santa Barbara and Ventura.   When on the 154 highway I was reminded of an abandon castle in Santa Barbara.  I took the kids up there a few years ago and we couldn’t find it.  So on Saturday we drove back up there and explored the castle. With detailed directions and pictures found online we easily found it spent a few hours there.  The castle is actually an abandon mansion that caught on fire a few decades ago and never repaired.

2016-01-23 14.41.10-1 We had to park on the side of the canyon road, in the dirt and the car handled everything smoothly.
2016-01-23 14.23.00 HDR Gorgeous roads with trees sometimes meeting in the middle to create a canopy of shade.
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The Kia Sorento took the bends of the road nicely as we drove a few miles into the canyon to get there and back.  We were have an amazing adventurous week and created some lifelong memories.

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Disclosure: I received one or more products for review purposes only. Despite the free item, my opinions remain 100% Honest and my own.This post may contain affiliate links, if clicked I may receive compensation. If a giveaway is being held: No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. Giveaways on this blog are in no way affiliated with Facebook or any other social media networks.

The Pub At Chino Hills- Gourmet Sports Bar

The Pub At Chino Hills Bar & Restaurant

5771 Pine Ave, Chino Hills, Ca. 91708.

 

Dining out is great when with friends or on a date.  I was recently in Pomona for the L.A. County Fair and while fair food can be exciting (who doesn’t want to try deep fried pickles infused with peanut butter) it isn’t something to fill up on or fine dining.  When we left the fair we went to The Pub At Chino Hills for a nice dinner and dessert while watching Sunday night football.  The atmosphere is a mix of people going there to eat out and some to have some drinks and watch the game.  The establishment specializes in gourmet food items at affordable prices and while they also have a bar it is still more of a nicer establishment for people that want high quality food.

We started out our dinner with a garden salad and appetizers.  Chris Garcia, the general manager, brought us an appetizer sampler of all their favorites.

Fried Pork Belly Bites with creme fraiche sauce

These were crispy and had a rich mouth feel to them.

z 4 Duck Chorizo Tacos

I’ve had beef and pork chorizo before but never duck.  Added in a tortilla with a delightful pear & ginger cilantro slay with manchego cheese.  I could totally order a few of these as a meal instead of an appetizer.z 1

Delicious Wrapped Melon with sprinkled herb seasoning

This is a great summer appetizer.   Cool and refreshing to eat and full of flavor in every bite.

z 2

Flat Iron Steak Cooked Medium

Served on a piquillo pepper confit, topped with chimichurri sauce and fried onions with a side of sauteed spinach. This was a fantastic dinner full of flavor and texture.  I’m not a huge spinach fan but having it sauteed made all the difference and it is what I finished first.  The mean was well seasoned and easy to cut.

z 6

Heath Bar Brownie A La Mode

Start with a brownie freshly made and full of chocolate.  Top with ice cream and sprinkles of Heath Bar with some chocolate drizzle everywhere.  Definitely a star stopper dessert.  Over a dozen items on the dessert menu to choose from, all scrumptious and worth every calorie.

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This is a great place to go if you are in the neighborhood or want to get out for some gourmet food without having to dress in diamonds.  All of the staff was friendly and courteous and fast to clear plates and refill drink orders.

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Disclosure: I received one or more products for review purposes only. Despite the free item, my opinions remain 100% Honest and my own.This post may contain affiliate links, if clicked I may receive compensation. If a giveaway is being held: No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. Giveaways on this blog are in no way affiliated with Facebook or any other social media networks.

Chop It Up- New Salad & Wraps Restaurant; Simi Valley

I love finding healthy places to eat and salads are my favorite dish.  I normally have a salad with lunch and dinner at every meal and sometimes the ones I made at home get boring.  I went to check out this new place, Chop It Up, in Simi Valley for lunch and received delicious food with oversized portions.  Options on the menu include salads, wraps and bowls in adult and child-sized servings.  Patrons can choose from creating their own (pointing to food items and saying ‘yes, no, no, yes, etc.’  or choosing signature dishes.

chop

We ordered The Southwest Chop, The Tri Tip Wrap and a Mediterranean Bowl.

All were made to order in about 15 minutes and we were able to customize each one (I had the grilled pobalano peppers excluded and added bacon too my Southwest Chop).

While not everything is organic it was all fresh and the meat was tender and well seasoned.  The kids devoured the Tri Tip Wrap and had wished I had ordered two (they shared one).  If you want a healthy choice for kids that aren’t big fans on greens then then the wraps are a great choice. For me since salads are a favorite go-to for lunch and dinner they were definitely up my alley to choose to choose from them so many.

I would love to see this place expand and offer some healthy dessert choices and make more of their salad greens organic to cater to people that like salads and healthy food.  I think this will be a fabulous place to eat for lunch or dinner with a group of friends or to take the family.

Disclosure: I received one or more products for review purposes only. Despite the free item, my opinions remain 100% Honest and my own.This post may contain affiliate links, if clicked I may receive compensation. If a giveaway is being held: No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. Giveaways on this blog are in no way affiliated with Facebook or any other social media networks.

Solita Tacos; Casual & Fine Dining In Valencia

Solita Tacos For Lunch & Dinner

We recently went to Solita Tacos in the Valencia Mall for lunch and were welcomed by a delicious cusine for lunch and dinner or even brunch.  The menu is created by executive chef Deborah Schneider.  She also teaches classes and has written some cookbooks.

Where: 24201 Valencia Blvd #3470, Valenica, Ca.

Some signature dishes included Grilled Corn Elote.

Whole ear of sweet corn roasted and grilled with butter, chipotle sauce, California chilies, cotixa and green onions. (this is on the appetizer menu).
I love how the manager of Solitas Tacos gave us a full background to the brainstorm of the restaurant and talked about the establishment and menu with passion for her work and what she does there.  Everyone puts a lot of effort into all they do and it shows in the quality of service.

f 2While we decided on what to order our server came out and prepared the corn for us to try.f 1

I ordered a sampler of tacos.  The El Primo Taco Taster Plate is $14.75  and comes with a choice of 4 tacos and one side (I got black beans).  I chose a chicken, pork, fish and carne asada taco.  The fish was my favorite.f 3

They also have a kids meal for younger ones.  This is Kaela before diving into her food meal.f 4

Carne, Spinach & Corn Quesadilla.

Flour tortillas with carne asada, garlicky spinach, melted mexican cheese and grilled corn. Served with sour cream, guacamole, chipotle sauce, xotixa cheese and salsa.f 5

I also ordered a salad, my norm for lunch and dinner is to have a salad with my meals.  This one was so large it was a meal in itself.  Had plenty of left overs from the large-sized servings.

Ensalada Ranchera

Wood-grilled chicken, avocado, black beans, roasted corn, salsa, carrots, cotixa cheese and tortilla strips on mixed greens and a choice of two dressings.

The chicken was tender and moist and everything on the salad was fresh.  I like the added tortilla strips.  They added a nice crunch to the salad.f 6

We ordered dessert.  We had to.  Really. Someone was twisting our arm.  Okay, not really, but the options looked so good that we each ordered our own.

Hot Churros with chocolate dipping sauce.

Kaela planned to save half of this for her brother but it was a little less since they were so good.  Pipping hot and full of flavor and texture when dipped in the chocolate sauce.f 7

Deep fried Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce

I’m glad I left a little room for this because there was no way it wasn’t going to be devoured.  The extra touch of the chocolate sauce just made the dish over the top.f 8

They also offer events for private groups.  While we were there we saw a Speed Dating group.  It was need to see how they interacted and rotated about ever 2 minutes.  f 9

 

Solita Tacos is also a great place to go for a weekend night out.  They offer a full bar with mixed drinks and handmade margaritas as well as an array of appetizers. 

Disclosure: I received one or more products for review purposes only. Despite the free item, my opinions remain 100% Honest and my own.This post may contain affiliate links, if clicked I may receive compensation. If a giveaway is being held: No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. Giveaways on this blog are in no way affiliated with Facebook or any other social media networks.

Organic Vegan Meals Shipped To Your Door

Fresh Food Delivered To Your Door

Fresh N Lean have the right idea when it comes to having healthy food at home that is quick and easy.

With premade meals and side dishes that just have to be heated up and they are ready to serve!

All of their foods are vegan and organic.  They come cuisine style with lots of delicious dishes from all over the globe.  Not only are these fabulous and health, they also taste great!

  • Freshly Prepared Meals.
  • Vegan.
  • Organic.
  • Never frozen.
  • Gluten-Free.
  • Plant based.
  • Low Fat.
  • Low Sugar.
  • Low Sodium.
  • Not GMO’s.
  • No artificial ingredients, flavors or preservatives.
  • No MSG.
  • No dairy.

I might be busy all the time but doesn’t mean that we can’t have healthy, already made meals at home for less than eating out. Fresh N Lean has a nice selection of meals to choose from at under $10 a meal, including shipping.  The containers said 1 serving size but each one was enough for myself and both kids so these are lasting nicely.

I received 8 awesome meals to try out at home 5 good for lunch or dinner and 3 breakfast items.

Fresh N Lean Meals

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Penne Primavera

Great pasta dish with lots of veggies.IMG_2154

 

Ginger ‘Fried Rice’ Bowl

This was my favorite.  I love the texture and the season was fabulous.IMG_2156

 

Wild Berry Almond Muffins.

Awesome for breakfast.  The almonds were huge and blueberries delicious.IMG_2162

Hearty Granola

I put with some peanut butter on banana slices for a quick snack.
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Meals can be ordered a la cart, by the week or by the month.  Choices of low fat, low carb, senior meals, etc. can be chosen and meals can be customized.

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Disclosure: I received one or more products for review purposes only. Despite the free item, my opinions remain 100% Honest and my own.This post may contain affiliate links, if clicked I may receive compensation. If a giveaway is being held: No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. Giveaways on this blog are in no way affiliated with Facebook or any other social media networks.