food

My Cats are International Rock Stars B.F.F. OMG! @weruvapets #weruvagrade

Posted on August 29th, 2017 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, Product Reviews

My cats think they rule our house. And perhaps they do. There are some special accommodations they get just because they are cats. So, when International Cat Day became a thing, and they had a chance to get presents from a pet food brand – they got a little carried away. Okay, I admit – I got a little carried away! My cats became International Rock Stars!

I received a box of B.F.F. OMG! Bundle of treats, samples of cat food, and a few toys for my cats to try from WeRuVa. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. See my disclosure for more details on why I post articles like this on my blog.

They have always been Divas!  #weruvagrade

 

Oh My Gravy! Weruva BFF OMG! ‘People Food for Cats’

When the box arrived, Noche was very curious about it. He loves to explore the packages I receive. I usually do not let him get involved in the unboxing, so I think he knew this was special. The first thing out of the box was a colorful ball for him to play with. He loves to chase balls and fetch. As I took things out of the box, he jumped inside the box! Then Sid came to see what the fuss was about.
I took out one of the pouches and opened it, immediately they wanted to eat it! They could smell the deliciousness. I had to get their dish and serve it right away, they couldn’t wait! They licked their plate clean and were so happy. It made me happy knowing I was giving them something they enjoyed so much and that it was good for them.
I want to share with you Weruva’s educational tips on how to give your BFF the nutrition they need to thrive like my Diva Cats!
With International Cat Day happening on August 8, and Happy Healthy Cat Month in September, now is the perfect time to address the ‘cat in the room’—and that’s your feline friend’s diet. I’ll be the first to admit my own cat’s diet isn’t ‘purr’fect. Sid’s problem is he loves to eat and even though he doesn’t seem to eat more than my other cats, he is much heavier. He is also very demanding and wants food all the time. I struggled to understand how I could address these issues. But then I realized I wasn’t alone—my cat was just experiencing one of the three most common cat concerns: picky eating, weight gain, and urinary tract issues.
I learned about the Big 3 by partnering with Weruva [http://www.weruva.com/]—a luxurious, natural pet food dubbed “people food for cats” which is launching a full line of gluten, grain, and carrageenan-free cat food in honor of International Cat Day. It’s called B.F.F. OMG! (that stands for Best Feline Friend, Oh My Gravy), and it’s all about preventing these Big 3 Cat Concerns.
If your cat has any of these, you might want to consider changing their diet:
>> Is your cat picky? Picky eating is usually a problem with texture, since cats are carnivores whose tongues and teeth are perfectly evolved for meat-eating. It’s easy to see why a cat might dislike something without real shreds of meat—would you eat a steak with the texture of tapioca? Weruva’s food features these shreds of real meat right off the bone, which is why my cat took to it like a duck to water (or a cat to gravy)!
>> Got a fat cat? Sid doesn’t think he is fat – he is just more huggable and “puffy!” The problem is in the kibble. It’s filled with unnecessary carbs, which are almost impossible for cats to process (they don’t produce amylase, an enzyme which helps humans digest their food). Weruva’s B.F.F. OMG! has no kibble to worry about because it’s 100% real meats in their true form. Sid really enjoys it!
>> UT-why? Urinary tract issues often stem from dehydration—even if you’re giving your cat plenty of water. In the wild, cats stay hydrated through the food they eat instead of what they drink. Cats are used to ‘eating’ their water—but most wet foods don’t have nearly enough hydration to keep them satisfied. All of the products in Weruva’s B.F.F. OMG! line are over 85% hydration, which satisfies my cat’s hydration needs.
I love Weruva products because they are considered ‘people food for pets.’ I love to spoil my cats but I don’t feel comfortable giving them actual people food. I want to give them some chicken or tuna occasionally but I feel guilty about it. I don’t know what is healthy for them. The new line of B.F.F. OMG! cans and pouches feature land proteins like boneless and skinless white chicken breast, salmon, beef, duck, lamb and more. All recipes are grain, gluten, and carrageenan free. And if you are a BPA-free home, check out the pouches because they are are BPA-free. Best of all, my kitties love it!
Health isn’t just for humans, and I’m glad I took the time to learn how to feed my BFF properly. Even better, in the process, I found my kitty’s new favorite food. Sid especially likes Weruva’s Beef & Chicken Dinner in Gravy flavor, which you can read about at http://www.weruva.com/. You can also explore the whole B.F.F. OMG! lineup there, and find a flavor your cat will ‘paw’sitively adore, at Chewy.com
Has your cat experienced one of the Big 3 Cat Concerns? Share your experience in the comments!
If you liked this article and you want to try B.F.F. OMG! Please tell WeRuVa that you heard about it from MizMeliz and use the hashtag #weruvagrade and tag @weruva (Instagram) or @weruvapets (Twitter)

Food, Family and Fun @JohnnyRockets #ShakeMonth

Posted on September 8th, 2013 by & filed under Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Raising a family is . . . fun!  I bet you thought I was going to say . . . difficult, or challenging, or even . . .  scary!  It is true; being the mom of three teenage boys is ALL of those things.  However, for the most part it is really fun!  My husband and I enjoy our kids and have a lot of fun with them. We get to go to lots of football games and concerts.  We take them camping, to the lake and the beach, to amusement parks and museums.  This time in their lives is all about sweet sixteen parties, dances, proms and graduations.  There is always a celebration happening.  One thing we love doing is eating out with our boys. (Well, I admit I was going to say, eating, period.  Yeah – eating is a big deal at our house!)

From watching the Food Network together, grocery shopping, cooking and going to restaurants – food seems to be a big deal for us.  I am sure this is the case for all families.  One thing we enjoy doing with our kids is eating at restaurants that cater to families.  I am so excited to say that I have rediscovered such a place and it is all about food, family and fun!  For so long, my husband and I have told our kids about the fun times we had at places like Farrell’s and Bob’s Big Boy that were around when we were kids.  We have tried to reenact those memories and never came close, until we went to Johnny Rockets.

photo copyright 2013 Melissa Reyes http://mizmeliz.com

Thank You Johnny Rockets for the Fun Time, Shakes, Burgers, Fries and Smiles!

Johnny Rockets opened in Los Angeles in 1986 the same month I graduated from high school.  I recall going there a few times with friends in those first few years of college.  It was a fun place to go after a concert or before a show.  My husband remembers that, too and he also went there for lunch a few times when his office was located nearby Johnny Rockets.  Honestly, after that I am sad to say we forgot about it.  We never realized what a great place it is to take the kids.  Until now!

Johnny Rockets has it all.  They serve quality food that is amazing and yummy.  The atmosphere is friendly, clean, exciting, and retro.  The 50’s style soda shop motif is a classic.  The staff is well-trained and takes pride in providing a memorable experience for their customers.  They not only serve the food with a smile, they dance and entertain their guests!  Yep, every half hour the music is turned up and they do a little dance!  Getting people to smile and enjoy a great meal is their mission at Johnny Rockets.

My husband, all three of my sons, and I had the chance to attend a private event at Johnny Rockets where we were treated to free samples of their burgers, fries, and shakes.  We received much much more than the complimentary sodas and food – the experience made the biggest impression.  Fantastic service, entertainment, and the best shakes ever!  The kids loved the burgers, my husband loved the prices, and I loved the fun family time.

Next time we are trying to think of a place to eat after the game, date night, or for a special birthday – I have a feeling Johnny Rockets will be our first choice.  If you want to learn more about Johnny Rockets, see their menu and find one near you, check out their website: JohnnyRockets.com  They even have a new shake flavor, Candy Shake, which is made with M&Ms and is beautiful and YUMMY!  

Get a free shake via http://mizmeliz.com

 

The Yard House

Posted on December 4th, 2012 by & filed under Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz, Foodie Reviews

The Location

We are lucky to have some good restaurants in Northridge and most of them are near or at the Northridge Fashion Center.  This week marks the opening of a wonderful chain restaurant at the mall.  It is located where the Cost Plus World Market has been for the past several years.  I was saddened by the closing of that store and many others in the “new” section of the mall which is adjacent to the movie theaters.  I am now hopeful that having the Yard House there will bring more new stores and restaurants to that part of town.

The Yard House is on the Plummer Street side of the mall and the closest parking is near the movie theaters.  Parking is free, but they do provide valet parking.

YARD HOUSE NORTHRIDGE

9301 Tampa Avenue
Northridge, CA 91324
818-721-0085

HOURS OF OPERATION
Open 11:00 am daily

Food Last Call
Sun-Thu 12:30am
Fri-Sat 1am

Alcohol Last Call
Sun-Thu 1am
Fri-Sat 1:20am

The Yard House

The Restaurant

The Yard House has a Facebook Page that has pictures and events posted.  It seems like a great place to work and the staff appear to enjoy being part of a community.  Their online presence makes you feel like a part of something and I liked that.

The service is very good.  I have eaten at the one in Lancaster, CA and I enjoyed it.  I went there for a late dinner with my nephew after a photo shoot.  We drove out of our way to eat there and I was so hungry.  I thought it might be out of my price range that evening and they had a huge menu.  I just wanted a quick bite!  I was pleasantly surprised that they had a late night happy hour!  We ordered and appetizer and sliders.  We also did a sampler of their brews.  Everything was terrific and very affordable!

The Food

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a VIP party at the Yard House in Northridge which preceded a “Soft Opening.”  What does all that mean?  It means free food and drinks!  I had the unique opportunity to try samples of many of the menu items as well as awesome full size cocktails from the bar.  I want to thank the Yard House and their marketing team for having this event.  I was so pleased to be able to share with my online community by Tweeting and posting pictures to Instagram about the event.  This is why bloggers are invited and a friend from my So Cal Lady Bloggers group on Facebook was nice enough to include me.

As soon as I walked in the door, servers were offering me samples of food which were served in bite sized portions on small plates.  Here is what I got to try:

  • FIRECRACKER WINGS boneless chicken, tossed in a spicy sesame garlic plum glaze garnished with green onions, the
  • BLUE CRAB CAKES with mango papaya chutney, passion fruit beurre blanc and tomato oil
  • SHIITAKE GARLIC NOODLES tossed with butter, garlic & shiitake mushrooms, topped with parmesan & chives
  • GINGER CRUSTED NORWEGIAN SALMON wasabi mashed potatoes, snow peas, carrots and spicy peanut vinaigrette topped with fried carrot strings
  • MINI CREME BRULEE with vanilla bean custard and chocolate topped with caramelized bananas

My son (who was graciously my “plus one”) and I made our way through the very large restaurant and found an open table outside on the spacious patio.  It was drizzling but there were large umbrellas over all the tables and powerful heaters so we were very comfortable outside.  Our server, Sean, came by and asked if he could bring us anything and took our drink orders.  He answered our questions and made us feel right at home.  He brought me my first of the two free drinks that were included for the VIP event.

Here are the drinks that I tried from the Specialty Drink Menu:

  • ESCALADE MARGARITA 1800 silver tequila, cointreau, hpnotiq, sweet & sour, fresh lime & orange, sugar rim
  • SOUTHERN BELLE jeremiah weed sweet tea vodka, lemonade, fresh strawberries and pineapple
  • MOJITO cruzan citrus rum or traditional |  mango • pomegranate • strawberry

I give the Yard House in Northridge an A+!  Everything was wonderful!  I really liked the Margarita.  I didn’t finish the Southern Belle because it was too fruity and sweet for me.  Sean offered me something else to try and I asked for the Mojito.  Also a bit sweet, I added some water and ice and it was perfect.

The music they played was fantastic, I loved it because it was mostly 80’s music and I thought I must fit the demographic for this place perfectly!  My teenage son enjoyed the TV screens all around (yes, even on the patio.)  When the event was over and we had finished our second serving of the Banana Creme Brulee, Sean told us that we could stay and were welcome to order off the menu if we wanted to pay for a meal or any more drinks.  We decided to take a look at the menu.

The Confession(s)

Confession #1, I ate too much!  I tried all of those samples and because they were mini versions I felt like I had eaten a small amount.  I realized that I was full just about the time our entrees arrived!

Confession #2, I drank too much!  I didn’t drink all three drinks, but they were full size drinks with a lot of alcohol and fruit.  Too sweet for me being a Diabetic.  My bad!  Slap my hand, please!  I should have had a glass of wine.  The Yard House has a great big menu with lots of choices, an extensive wine list and a beer menu.  They also have a FRESH & SKINNY drink menu!  The next time I go there, I will be sure to try a cocktail from that menu.  The Yard House caters to an eclectic crowd and has specialty menues to serve any taste.  In addition to the “skinny” drink choices, there are full menues for the vegan, the gluten sensitive, the health conscious, the gourmet and even kids!

My son and I enjoyed the foods we tried.  Here is what we ordered from the menu:

  • (MAC + CHEESE)2 chicken breast, applewood bacon, wild mushrooms, cheddar, parmesan, campanelle pasta and truffle oil
  • CHICKEN ENCHILADA STACK pasilla peppers, garlic cream, jack cheese, corn tortillas, pinto beans, tomatillo, red chili sauce and sour cream

Luckily, Dan (our second awesome server, yes we were there for a long time!) brought us a “doggie bag” to take home our left overs!

My nicely packaged left overs

My nicely packaged left overs

Melissa Reyes Miz Meliz http://mizmeliz.com

Miz Meliz Likes It!

With two yummy sauces "you could drink"

With two yummy sauces “you could drink”

A Juicy Mojito goes well with the Enchilada!

A Juicy Mojito goes well with the Enchilada!

photo by Melissa Reyes copyright 2012 Yard House #MizMeliz http://mizmeliz.com

The food samples were awesome!

Spaghetti and Marshmallows: Post Thanksgiving Blues

Posted on November 26th, 2012 by & filed under 30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Everything Miz Meliz

Thanksgiving.  It was really great!  I enjoyed having the family meal at my home.  I loved cooking food from scratch for my kids, my husband, my brother and my sister-in-law.  I worked hard.  I spent too much money.  It was relaxing and mostly stress-free. After the meal, football, games, and naps, we went to see the film Skyfall.  I do not remember the last time we all went to see a movie together.  Watching a 007 flick was a perfect way to end a splendid day.

In the morning, I woke up thinking of the Madonna song, La Isla Bonita.  I actually felt like I had visited my “special place.”  Every single thing that we do this year is amplified in my heart as super special because it is a “year of lasts” for my oldest son.  He is a senior in high school and plans on going away to college.

Our Thanksgiving Day was so good. . .

“I prayed that the days
would last
They went so fast”

I was beat on Friday!  I was so tired and sore from the marathon cleaning and cooking the prior two days that I could barely walk.  Yet, I still felt good.  I was satisfied with how everything went.  I was looking forward to spending the next few days preparing left overs in creative ways and kicking back.  The main thing I had planned to do was not blog or spend too much time on social media and watch a few seasons of the West Wing.

Saturday I had a migraine.  It was horrible.  It didn’t keep me from doing anything I planned on doing, since I planned on relaxing anyway. But I did get frustrated that I had gotten off schedule with my meals, my medicines, and my diet restrictions.  I ate way too many sweets and too much of a lot of things that I should have eaten more moderately.  It was like having a hangover without having the fun of drinking any alcohol.  I need to plan to have more healthy snacks around for the days after a big event next time.  Next time.  That reminds me, the countdown to Christmas has begun!

Here is a little Anatomy Chart that I made, as suggested by WEGO Health’s 30 posts in 30 days prompt:

Property of Miz Meliz, #MizMeliz, http://mizmeliz.com Photo by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2012

One of the fun things that I want to remember about this Thanksgiving is the participation of all the people who read my “Thanksgiving Checklist” post.  It was nice to plan out some new traditions and talk about what things we like to do as a family.  My brother kept asking me, prodding me, “Is this it?”  He wanted to know what was the “one thing” that I would write about in my post Thanksgiving blog.  I did challenge myself to make one thing stand out, to make something extraordinary to remember.  Well, what I realized is that thing is different for each person.  For the kids, it might be that my sister-in-law managed to wow them with eight amazing pies (technically one for each person!) For me, it might be that I bought a pre-cooked turkey from Whole Foods and it was pretty darn good.  Or, that the no sugar added Cranberry Chutney and the Quinoa Pilaf that I made quickly became new favorites.  Or, that I wanted to have everything ready to eat and on the table by noon and my gosh – it was 12:01 PM! For my husband, it might have been his awesome carving skills.  For my brother, it might have been the phone calls he received from his children to wish us all a “Happy Thanksgiving!” I know one thing for sure, it was a really great Thanksgiving and I will always remember it. . . as my Isla Bonita!

To me, the Thanksgiving holiday is like a tropical getaway that I can always visit in my mind.  It has become a blend of all the wonderful memories, smiles, hugs, tastes, and smells of all the years combined.  I am so blessed!

If you haven’t read the Checklist for Thanksgiving post, here it is:  http://mizmeliz.com/2012/11/16/miz-meliz-checklist-for-the-thanksgiving-feast/

Tell me. . . what is your favorite “go to” memory

of the Thanksgiving Holiday?

Miz Meliz’ Checklist for the Thanksgiving Feast

Posted on November 16th, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

Thanksgiving @MizMeliz http://mizmeliz.com Copyright Melissa Reyes 2012

The Reyes Family, Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving Planning Checklist:

  1. decide on the menu
  2. clean the house
  3. buy the groceries
  4. make something memorable
  5. plan a game
  6. don’t throw out the traditions with the dish water!

Decide on the Menu

That’s easy!  It’s Thanksgiving!  We will have turkey for sure!  With all the trimmings.  We must have the lime jello with cottage cheese and pineapple that my mom always made.  We must have the candied yams.  And we can’t forget the raisin pie!  Wait a stinkin’ minute!  That’s my mom’s menu!  I do not have to make those things anymore.  Come to think of it, my mom made those things to suit the tastes of her guests and none of them will be at my house on November 22nd.

Who is coming to my Thanksgiving Feast? My brother and sister-in-law and my nieces and nephews.  My brother likes rich gourmet foods, my sister-in-law likes him to eat heart-healthy foods that are low in salt.  Tough, but I can think of something!  My niece eats gluten-free foods, so I will be sure to have something amazing for her.  I am Diabetic, so I want to have plenty of low-sugar options.  I polled my boys and they requested my potato salad and a few other favorite dishes.  No one asked for green jello or candied yams! Cool.  I can rock this!

Clean the House

This requires a strategic plan.  It is SIX days to the big event.  I do not have a housekeeper.  I work today, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and a half day on Wednesday.  Our family has a big event to attend on Saturday.  This is one reason that if I were the President, I would change Thanksgiving to a Sunday. But, that’s me!

I am going to break the house down into five sections.  There are five inhabitants vested in a nice Thanksgiving and five evenings in which to beautify the establishment.  We will each take a section.  We will do what we can do, and hope for the best.  Wednesday night will be for prepping and pre-cooking as much as possible and the boys will have to do their part to make everything look spic and span.

Buy the Groceries

I am the Queen of Lists when it comes to meal planning.  I will decide on the foods I want to make, check the pantry for what I already have, and make a list of everything I need to buy.  Then I will list the items by the stores where I want to get them.  I will set out to do the main shopping on Sunday night.  I will get the fresh stuff on Monday or Tuesday.  I used to know when the best times to go shopping was, avoiding the crowds and getting there before everything was sold out, but now I am at the mercy of my available time.  So, I will have to muster the energy and fight the crowds.  Lucky for me, I have my best friend, the iPhone with me.  I can Tweet when I am in the long lines!

In a perfect world, I would get up early on Saturday morning and get many of the ingredients for my Thanksgiving dinner at the Farmer’s Market.  I would also engage the expertise of my close friend, Chef Holly Markman to help me choose the fare.  However, the world is not perfect and my friend will be out of town and will not be at my disposal.  (I bet she is relieved about that!)  My meal won’t be “gourmet” but it will be all homemade and delicious.  It’s just what my family needs right now.

Make Something Memorable

There has to be that one thing that everyone will be talking about for years to come.  Well, at least I think it makes things extra special.  I want to think of something that will knock their socks off!  Perhaps I will give my attention to making one dish really stand out. But what?  I have some ideas, but I don’t know for sure yet.  It might be a quinoa side dish or grilled asparagus, or a sweet potato souffle.

It doesn’t even have to be something edible.  I will make things special by using my nice dishes and setting a beautiful table.  When I was a little girl, I was in charge of setting the table when Thanksgiving was at my house. My mom would help me come up with creative ways to fold the napkins and we always made place cards.   There will be candles on the table and a nice centerpiece.  I believe it is important to make the table special and even if the setting is casual, as I plan it to be this year, it will have that special feeling.  This is a day of thanks and I want everyone to know how much I care for them.

Plan the Game

Our family likes to play games together. But, if there isn’t anything planned it doesn’t always get going right away.  We have done “Minute to Win it” games at family gatherings in the past.  We have also played board games, even Poker! This year I am planning a competition called “Spaghetti and Marshmallows” where two or three teams will compete to make the tallest structure using uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows.  It should be fun!  I promise to post pictures!

In addition to Spaghetti and Marshmallows, I have planned this year’s Thanksgiving event around football.  Not just watching it on TV but, weather permitting we will walk to the park and play a game of touch football.  I have never played a game of football in my life!  But my kids love football and I have seen this tradition in movies and heard that many families do it.  Why not give it a try?  It will do us all some good to get a little exercise after eating a big meal.  But more than that, I want to have some contact with my boys.  They are big and even though we do hug and kiss our kids a lot, it is not like it was when they were little and we could tickle them and play around with them.  It will be fun to run around in the grass and play a game with them.  If it goes well, it could be a new tradition.  I have invited another family to join us.  They will meet us at the park after they eat their dinner with their guests, then we will share dessert together.  I think it will help knowing another family will be there to keep us faithful to the plan.  This is the kind of thing that we could easily talk each other out of!!

http://mizmeliz.com Photo By Melissa Reyes Copyright 2012

The Cousins playing board games, Thanksgiving 2011

Don’t Throw Out the Traditions with the Dish Water

Even though I plan to start some new traditions this year and do things a little more casually than we are used to, I don’t want to forget the traditions of the past.  We will have a Blessing before the meal and thank God for all that we have. Each person will have the chance to state what they are thankful for.  We will take pictures of the turkey and my husband will have the honor of carving it.  We will raise a glass or two and toast to the good times we have had together and we will honor those who are no longer with us.  We will sing some songs and share some tears.  I am so thankful that I have this holiday to spend with my family and I look forward to making it another great one!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Inn at the Seventh Ray

Posted on October 22nd, 2012 by & filed under Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz, Foodie Reviews

I can’t say enough about how wonderful I think the Inn at the Seventh Ray is.  I am glad that after all these years it is still a top notch restaurant.  The reviews are all impressive and their reputation has withstood the test of time.

I love to tell people my story of going there with my hubby when we were just dating and thinking he was going to propose to me when he gave me a beautiful little box to open on my birthday.  It was a lovely pair of crystal earrings from the shop at the restaurant, The Spiral Staircase.  Disappointed and wondering if our relationship would ever progress, I ate my very garlicy shrimp scampi silently.  Lucky for me, my relationship and the restaurant have flourished since then!

Recently, I asked my friend, Holly to have dinner with me.  We hadn’t gone out in a few weeks and we wanted to catch up with each other.  I was thinking sushi, when she suggested The Inn at the Seventh Ray.  “Yes!”  I said enthusiastically!  I just got paid and it will be quiet and something different.  I totally deserve a nice night out with my friend.

When I told my hubby that is where we were going, his voice went up an octave  “The Inn at the Seventh Ray?”  I think he wanted to join us, and I said, “Yep,” gave him a kiss, and happily skipped out the door.  I didn’t invite him because it was a girl’s night.  If he wants to take me there again, he can invite me!  (I’m still a little bitter about the almost-proposal after 22 years, I think.)

The Location

Nestled in the center of Topanga Canyon, the Inn at the Seventh Ray is on Old Topanga Canyon Road.  There is self parking around the area of the restaurant.  There are steps down to the seating area.  The tables are mostly outdoors.  There are heaters everywhere, so do not worry about getting a chill.  There are larger tables under a large canopy that feels like a gazebo.  Tables for two and four are located along the side of a small brook.  Even though the brook was completely dry at this time of year, there was the babbling sound of water from the fountain under the canopy.  The ambiance of this dimly lit five-star restaurant is elegant and romantic.

The Restaurant

The Inn at the Seventh Ray is well-known for its exceptional organic food.  They used to have a Sunday brunch that was out of this world.  I have been to a wedding there once and it may have been because I was pregnant at the time, but I had the most Heavenly salmon mousse that I will never forget! I read up on the current head chef, Bradley Miller. I expected to have a delightful meal and I was not disappointed.

The Food

Here is my confession, I don’t like to eat red meat.  I didn’t even expect to find red meat at the Inn at the Seventh Ray because at one time I had heard it was completely vegan.  But there is one thing that my mouth waters for, beef short ribs.  I love pork ribs, too.  But I recently had my mother-in-law’s short ribs and they were so good, when I read the description on the menu, I knew I was going to order it!  And, I digress, I had them again on Thursday at Grandma Kim’s.  Beef.  Me.  Three times in one week!  But nothing compared to the beef short rib at the Inn at Seventh Ray!

I had the Miso Braised Short Rib with Kimchi, Smoked Shiitake Mushrooms, Fingerling Potato, and Wagyu Jerky.  The rib meat was delicate, fall off the bone, tender, and divine.  I almost barked at Holly when she asked for a taste.  Of course she wanted to taste it, she is a chef and my best friend and part of what we do when we go out together is share things. But, I would have growled at anyone who came near my plate at that moment.  I must admit, I didn’t even try the fingerling potatoes or the jerky.  I was full from Maggie’s Farm Greens ( a large salad of Organic Baby Greens, Spiced Walnuts, Fig Crouton and Lemon Thyme Vinagrette) and the amazing appetizer we had shared, it was a Smoked Yellowtail Spread with Radish, Red Onion, Smoked Sea Salt, on Grilled French Bread and a Tabasco Pipettel.  We ate every last bit of that spread!  It was so yummy!

My meal was worth every penny and I have no regrets.  Being that I have no reasonable excuse to spend this amount of money on dinner, it wasn’t a birthday or an anniversary, tells you that I regard having dinner with my best friend pretty high up there!  It wasn’t outrageous and I will justify by saying that I might have spent the same amount on sushi, some Saki and a few Saporros, just saying! With a glass of Shiraz, my meal topped off at about $75.  The experience. . . priceless!

http://mizmeliz.com review of the Inn at the Seventh Ray, My Culinary Confessions

My dinner at the Inn at the Seventh Ray

Food + Lab

Posted on October 20th, 2012 by & filed under Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz, Foodie Reviews

First off, if I am writing about it, I liked it.  I don’t write bad reviews.  If an experience was poor, I will tell the manager and/or owner.  Hopefully it will help them to improve.  I had a great experience at Food + Lab and I want to tell you about it!

I went to Food Lab yesterday for lunch with my friend, Holly.  It was Holly’s choice and I had never heard of the place or been there before.  Holly had seen it and wanted to try it but had never been there either.  Holly is a chef, so I enjoy going out to eat with her.  She knows her stuff!  I can ask her anything.  She is discriminating about food and restaurants, understandably so, and she has a love of food that I can appreciate.  Yesterday was fun!

The Location

Food + Lab is on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. They have another location in Silverlake and they do catering.  There is parking in back.  They have a few sidewalk tables on the street side, seating indoors and a lovely patio in back.  We sat in the patio.

The Restaurant

I really liked what I saw at the Food Lab!  I was impressed with the lunch menu and I wanted to try everything!  You order at the counter and they bring the food to your table.  There is a case of cold salads and the kitchen is visible.  They have shelves of candy and nuts that they prepare and package there.  Everything is in little tubs and bottles and I thought it was clever, food and a lab.  I get it!  The counter service was helpful and charming.  Everything was clean and inviting.  I ate my share (plus one or two) of the sample chocolate covered fruit and nuts while I ordered and waited for my receipt.  Yum!

The Food

I really did want to try everything!  The first thing on the lunch menu sounded amazing to me,  ORGANIC CURRIED CHICKEN WITH LINGONBERRY CHUTNEY ON RAISIN WALNUT.  OMG.  My mouth was watering.  I always like to read the whole menu before I decide.  It was a good thing I did.  Because after reading about the TURKEY BREAST WITH BRIE, PEAR, and HONEY, the CUBAN STYLE PORK LOIN, GRUYERE, HAM, PICKLES & MUSTARD ON CIABATTA, and the SMOKED SALMON WITH CREME FRAICHE, CUCUMBER & LIME ZEST ON WHEAT, I saw it all the way at the bottom of the menu.  I will admit, I am a sucker for grilled cheese.  Any grilled cheese.  My brother makes the best.  I make the second best.  I died and went to Heaven when I tried the “Brie Melt” from The Grilled Cheese Truck (it comes with Double Cream Brie, Bourbon Chicken, Maple-glazed Yams, and Candied Walnuts on Rosemary Bread.)   So, I had to try this . . .

GRILLED CHEESE: GRUYERE, TALLEGIO & RACLETTE ON 5 GRAIN W. CARAMALIZED ONION & GRAINY MUSTARD!

It was amazing!  I must confess, I was talking so much with Holly that I only got one bite in when it was warm and gooey.  It had just enough of the rind from the brie in it to suit my taste, but Holly didn’t like that.  It was heavy on the carmelized onion, which was fine with me!  The five-grain bread was sliced thin and lightly toasted to perfection.  The grainy mustard was served on the side, which made me happy.  I didn’t end up trying it with the mustard, it was so good and I talked so much, I forgot.  I ate half of the sandwich there and took the other half home.

The salad we tried was off menu, it was chopped kale with shredded cheese.  I thought it was yummy and had a nice zest to it.  It was very fresh and colorful.  It was a good pair with my sandwich.  Holly had a chicken sandwich with a buffalo sauce on a ciabatta (I think, because I didn’t see this on the menu) that I tasted.  It was good, just enough spice for me.  But nothing prepared me for the experience I had yet to come.

I took the long way home on my trek back to the Valley from Hollywood.  While I was driving through the canyon, I reached over and opened the little Food + Lab box that I had on the passenger seat.  I reached in and grabbed a quarter of my sandwich.  It was surprisingly warm from sitting in the sun, I guess.  Just a bit warmer than room temp.  So, the cheese was a good consistency and was just a bit chewy.  To my delight, just a smidge of the grainy mustard had grazed the side of the crust.  I took the perfect bite.  In my mouth danced all the flavors that had been marinating together in that box.  I was blown away by the sweetness of the carmelized onions, the creaminess of the brie and other cheeses glued together, the tanginess of the mustard and the nuttiness of the seeds in the bread (reminiscent of pine nuts) and the way everything melted in my mouth was like rich butter.  I savored every last bite of that sandwich on my ride home through the canyon. Those flavors enhanced an otherwise perfect sunshiny top down ride on my favorite road!  It was so unexpected and thoroughly sinful!

http:mizmeliz.com MyCulinaryConfessions Food+Lab MizMeliz

Quick Dinner: Green Chile Turkey Meat Loaf

Posted on July 9th, 2012 by & filed under Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Here is a quick dinner that everyone loves, my Green Chile Meat Loaf.  My hubby actually bought the ground turkey for this and asked me to make it for him.  You know it’s good when they ask for it!  It’s so easy to make, the prep takes about 15 minutes.  You can put it in the oven and get some side dishes ready and have everything on the table with plenty of time to sit down and relax while you watch The Bachelorette.  Well, that’s my plan anyway!  See my weekly recap of the show at http://californiamomblogs.com/2012/07/10/the-bachelorette-weekly-recap/

I eyeball the seasoning measurements as follows:

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano (rub in palm of your hand as you put it in to release the flavor)

3/4 cup dried Italian bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped green onion (or white onion)

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

5-6 green chiles, chopped

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast

Mix the dry ingredients; bread crumbs, chopped green onion, chopped garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, white pepper, black pepper. . . just use your favorites to suit your taste. . . with a beaten egg and a half a cup of milk.

Chop up some whole green chiles.  I use canned whole chiles when I can’t get the fresh roasted green chiles from New Mexico.  They are very mild and just add a bit of tangy flavor to the meatloaf.  I never get chopped canned green chile because I believe the more processed the chile, the less heat.  My family likes the  slow burning, melt in your mouth, heat from the New Mexico chile.

I chop the chiles coarse and throw them in the mix of ingredients.

With a gloved (or very clean hand) mix the ground turkey in with the rest of the ingredients.  I always mix this with my bare hand.  I need to feel the consistency of the meat.  At this point, I add more bread crumbs or milk based on how it feels to me.  Over the years, I have learned how my family likes the meat loaf.  I stop mixing when it just barely looks and feels like a paste.  It is moist, but not runny.  The wetness matters when using a lean meat like ground turkey.  When I use ground beef or pork, I will make the mixture a little dry because the juices of the meat will moisten the meatloaf when cooking.

I “pour” the concoction into the baking pan and shape into a loaf.  Pop in the oven at 350° for one hour.

Yum!  The outside looks crunchy and the juices are running clear.  It’s ready!  But don’t slice yet, let it sit for about 10 more minutes.  If you wait, the slices will  not crumble when you slice them.

Tip: try to make the slices thin or cut some ahead of time for left overs.  You will want a meatloaf sandwich tomorrow for sure!

Serve with some rice or mashed potatoes and gravy and some veggies or a salad.

Note:  With green chile as an ingredient, I usually add some small chunks of jack cheese into the mix.  It is so tangy and gooey that I don’t make a sauce or ketchup to pour over the meat.  It really doesn’t need it!

Quick Dinner the Boys Love

Posted on June 11th, 2012 by & filed under Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

This one is quick and easy and tastes oh so good!  Everything is done on the stove top and takes 45 minutes from start to finish.

Image

Start out with simple ingredients.

 

Dredge your pork chops in dijon mustard and then cover in bread crumbs.  Set the chops in a preheated skillet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil that heated in the pan while dredging.

Pork Chops Breaded with Dijon Mustard and Italian Style Bread Crumbs

 

Bring to a crisp and flip, then cover and heat on medium while making the side dishes.

While the chops are crisping in the skillet on high heat, rinse the asparagus and break off the woody ends.  Throw them in a pan and cover with water.  Add a little salt and bring to a boil.

Boiled, steamed or grilled, the secret to making asparagus that everyone loves is adding a pat of butter and herbs. Today I used garlic and pepper – right in the water.

Get a spatula and slide it under the chops trying not to scrape off the breading.  Flip again or just loosen from the pan.  Turn the heat to low and cover with a lid.  Fill another pan with water, salt and butter according to the directions on the package of “faked potatoes.”  (I often make white rice in the rice cooker for this meal – even easier!)

 

They are real potatoes and they come back to life in water. They aren’t bad for a quick meal.

While the potatoes are fluffing up, I remove the chops from the pan and deglaze with a little water or wine. . .

Scrape the stuck on goodness from the bottom of the pan, turn up the heat and add some wine to deglaze. A little butter and milk, some more herbs and you have some yummy sauce to pour over the chops!

 

Once they are fluffed in salt, milk and butter, they are delish!

 

Pour the sauce over the chops.

 

And you’re done! Time to kiss the cook!