Here we are in the middle of February, and I am officially feeling the pressure of graduating in May and leaving the most beautiful campus on earth, LMU. These days, it seems like every conversation somehow finds its way back to the dreaded topic that second-semester seniors hate to hear: plans after graduation and the big scary world of adulthood. I’ve become surprisingly good at skirting the subject and blurting out a nondescript cliché like “I’ll go wherever the wind blows me!” Instead, the wind blew me into yet another amazing Happy Hour with one of my best friends and roommates, Meghan. When you’re feeling the weight of the world, sometimes the best solution is chatting with a good listener over tacos and margaritas.
From growing up in San Diego, Mexican food is my comfort food. In my opinion, even the worst days can be turned around with some refried beans and rolled tacos. So Meghan and I went to La Sirena Grill & Cantina in El Segundo, a hip little “Mex-eco” restaurant that offers pretty good Happy Hour prices from 4-6pm on weekdays. But the real star of the show is their Blackberry Margarita: a perfectly mixed margarita garnished with whole blackberries and served on the rocks. In fact, our waiter shared with us that La Sirena “does not believe” in blended margaritas because it dilutes the flavor of the drink. I’m assuming they know their stuff because the flavor was out of this world. Let me tell you, this Happy Hour really changed my mood. Thank goodness for friends like Meghan who let me blow off steam and relieve some stress because after our meal, I was feeling 10 pounds lighter (which is surprising considering the amount of guacamole I ate). The future can be scary, but every once in a while, you have to stop and smell the tacos.
Happy birthday to me! I turned 22 last Tuesday and it’s already looking like a great year. This year, I was lucky enough to spend the entire day with my friends, family, and enough food to keep me full for a week. My parents live in San Diego, the best little city on Earth, and the perfect distance away for me to live an independent life, while knowing that they are only a couple hours away (depending on traffic). So naturally, I asked them to celebrate with me because they are the most incredible people I know and have great taste in food (runs in the family).
The three of us had an EXCEPTIONAL dinner at The Bazaar by Jose Andres in the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. It was one of the most amazing culinary experiences I have ever had, so I’m going to give you the dirty details. The Bazaar is a tapas-style restaurant that combines incredible flavors, outstanding service, and décor that made me weak in the knees. For our table of three, we ordered 11 dishes, 3 desserts, and one Japanese Peach bellini for the birthday girl. Drinking a bellini always makes me feel like a lady, but this bellini had me feeling like a queen. Put me in a swanky restaurant, with a bubbly drink, in the middle of Beverly Hills and I’m feelin’ 22 (Taylor Swift can agree). The highlights of the meal were jicama wrapped guacamole, seared scallops, bagel and lox cones, modern and traditional olives, eggplant tempura, “philly cheesesteaks”, King crab steamed buns, and stuffed piquillo peppers. For dessert, I had the Nitro Coconut Floating Island. I can’t even begin to explain the magic that existed in this meal. All I know is that I would eat and drink at The Bazaar everyday if I could. Oh, the harsh realities of a college budget. But all in all, this birthday was one for the books. I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing people, whether they are wishing me a happy birthday on my Facebook wall, Instagram-ing a collage of embarrassing pictures (you know who you are), or buying me a peach bellini. Being 21 was great, but I have a feeling this year is going to be even better.
Well, I know I CAN’T speak for all of my friends when I say I had an awesome Super Bowl Sunday! YAY SEAHAWKS! I’m not a football fan, but I would root for Seattle any day. My older sister Katie, who is my best friend and one of my greatest role models, graduated from UW and was on the UW pom squad for 3 years, enough time to turn me into a Husky fan (Go Dawgs!) and make me fall madly in love with the city of Seattle. So when the Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl (and the Chargers were out of the running), I was ready to rock green and blue on Feb. 2! And what goes better with football than beer, finger foods, and a great spot on the couch?!? Nothing.
Since the Seahawks took an early lead, I was able to enjoy my Super Bowl meal leisurely from kickoff until the confetti flew (unlike, the Broncos fans in the room who let their bowls of chili get cold while they were pulling out their hair). There was hummus, guacamole, prosciutto, cheeses, flatbread, and Keystone light. Let’s remember that I am a senior in college, so please excuse the choice of beer.
Being a dancer all my life, I was never one to sit down and watch a sporting event, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized it’s an opportunity to hang out with friends, or in this case, to be teased and taunted by a room full sore losers;) While I wasn’t the most popular girl in the room, I had a great time. All joking aside, it was a blessing to be able to crowd around a tv, drink cheap beer, and double dip in the guacamole with a group of great people. I know that I promised myself more Happy Hours, and though these drinks weren’t order off of a menu or served at a bar, they were sipped among very joyous people and good sports (pun intended).
I’m not normally the first girl to jump on the healthy foods bandwagon, so I am just noticing the surge in ginger’s popularity. Ginger is included in juice cleanses, desserts, and has always been a delicious compliment to sushi. But the best way to enjoy ginger (in my opinion), is mixed up in a cool cocktail. You’re talking to a girl whose drink of choice is a Moscow Mule, and not just because I like drinking out of cute copper cup. Last week, I grabbed an early bite with my friend, Kaytlyn, at Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City. Chef Ben Ford, the son of the great Harrison Ford, has created a laid back, but very trendy, environment in downtown Culver where you can find “fuel, no gas.” But most importantly, you can find a delicious and very unique ginger cocktail. It’s called Ginger All The Way, a name I couldn’t resist because who doesn’t love a good Christmas reference?
The drink is a mix of Deep Eddy Ruby Red vodka, Ginger Liquer, sage, bitters, and a little bit of carbonation. Swirled together, poured in a tall glass, and served with a cube of candied ginger, and I’m one happy camper. The drink was delicious and sophisticated, staying true to the familiar and relaxed environment that Kaytlyn and I stayed in for hours. I rarely get to hang out with Kaytlyn, but when I do, I am reminded of how genuine and absolutely hilarious she is. There are few things I enjoy more than sipping a good drink with a great friend. As I head into the last semester of my college career, I am promising myself to spend more hours being happy with the people that have made the past four years so incredible.