Spaghettini, Now that’s Amore!

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As an Italian American, I am always striving to find the perfect place for Italian in California, a state where the Italian culture is not as embraced as the North East. Where I’m from and where I’m moving back too! If you’ve noticed on my blog, I’ve never done a review on an Italian restaurant because I would say I’m a bit picky. Not only does Spaghettini have great Italian food, but they encompass the Italian hospitality, which is what a lot restaurants lose when they are too focused on their brand versus connecting to their guests. In my first experience with the restaurant, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner Carey who made sure everything on our table was cooked and seasoned to perfection, in addition to keeping the wine glasses flowing. Co-owned with partner Laurie, Carey informed me that family is everything to them. During his visit with us he even informed me that he takes some of his dedicated staff to Italy every year! They even discuss this on their website, but they want to make sure the employees  familiarize themselves with the culture and food so they can bring the same compassion back to Southern California.

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img_9424Located in Seal Beach, Spaghettini is not only known for their food and friendship, but their happy hour specials and live entertainment! With happy hour Tuesday-Friday 3-6pm, and all day on Monday, guests can enjoy discounted prices on their famous food items such as their bruschetta (pictured here) and brick oven margherita pizza. They also have nightly 3-course specials at $35 per person which I feel is a steal in this area. For $35 you get a salad option, dessert option, and each night the main dish varies with a premium menu item such as their Classic Prime Rib or Chicken Parmesan, drool! For a girls night out, you can enjoy Wine Wednesday, with half bottles off and live entertainment, when scheduled. With everything from soul to pop music, Spaghettini is host to some of the most popular local music vendors around. Make sure to check out their schedule here, they sometimes sell out for certain bands and you need tickets. In addition, they also host a very popular Sunday Brunch which also has live music.

img_9423When I came to the restaurant for a styling shoot, I had the pleasure of enjoying my time with long time employee and fellow blogger Diana, al fresca. Their newly renovated patio is so cute and cozy. Perfect setting for a date night with lounge furniture and fire pits. I highly recommend for a night with friends as well! Some of my favorite items was the Sea Bass (cooked to perfection) and the Butternut Squash Ravioli, which had such a delicate taste of sage and brown butter. Mom will be mad, but I have to admit, I love their big meatballs!

I want to end by saying how appreciative I am for the Spaghettini family. When they heard I was leaving SoCal for a new adventure, they offered to host myself and fellow Blogger Babes for a going away dinner. It was incredible. I didn’t even take pictures because I was enjoying myself so much. Note: there is a highlight of this night on my IG page if you want to check it out. They also sent me off with a wonderful gift box filled with their infamous Spaghettini Champagne, red wine, and their cookbook (which I had been wanting for awhile). You can find their cookbook and other gift items here.

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Stay Sippin!

 

 

 

 

Pali House: Where Central Coast meets Anaheim

I just love when I am introduced to new hidden gems, especially when they are right in my neighborhood and in the vicinity of one of the most traveled cities in the world: Anaheim aka the home of Disneyland! Pali 10 As a food and wine lover, I am always so excited when new places open up in an area where that was much needed. Just 5 years ago, Anaheim was known solely for being where Disneyland was located. However, with the opening of the Packing District, rooftop bars, breweries, speakeasys and the new MAKE building, Anaheim is shaping up to become more than a family destination. I was blessed enough to be hosted by Visit Anaheim for a staycation with the SoCal Blogger Babes and they had us check out this cool new winery in the OC!

Pali 17Pali House, located in the brand new MAKE building (which is walking distance from the Packing District FYI), allows you to taste wine al fresco, featuring Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from the central region of California (Santa Barbara and Lompoc for you wine lovers). Formed in 2005 by best friends and business partners Tim and Scott, Pali Wine Co. is named after their hometown, Pacific Palisades. If you are familiar with that area, pay attention to their wine labels, as they incorporate names of neighborhoods in Pacific Palisades.

For the past 2 years, I’ve really been concentrating on white and rose varietals, so I was pleased to find out that the Pali House Rose was delicious and is perfect on those hot summer days. If you have ever sipped wine with me, you know I am not a Chardonnay fan, however I did find that one of them was dry enough for me to enjoy! One of the best parts of this winery is their charcuterie boards! Some wineries don’t serve food at all, so it’s good to know they have some small bites to choose from. Pali 6

With tasting rooms now in Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Anaheim, and San Diego-Little Italy (yes Mom, close to you!), Pali House will ultimately become a new hip California winery staple! Similar to Ballast Point and their success in breweries, they no doubt will add more locations soon for us to enjoy. P.S. may I suggest Newport Beach or the new Lot 579 in Pacific City?  Regardless, I look forward to seeing where this company goes in the coming years!

For Pali House Anaheim’s hours and events Click here!

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Rainstorm Wines

Rainstorm 7Being Full of Sips, I am always in search of new wines to try so when Rainstorm Wines reached out to me to review their ever-so-popular Pinot Noir, of course I jumped at the chance. When it comes to buying wine, I am definitely one of those people that have their “go-to’s” and for the past few years now Matua and Kim Crawford have been my favorites. Although it’s been extremely cold in California recently with record breaking low temperatures, white wine still is my favorite.   However, after trying the Rainstorm Wines Pinot Noir, it got me in a “red” sort of mood and I’ve now been mixing red wine into my weekly wine rotation.  The issue with red wine is that you genuinely need to drink a good bottle. We’ve all been there when we’re broke and make the mistake of buying a too cheap wine. Take for example the “Two Buck Chuck” from Traders Joe’s that everyone loves. I personally can’t stand it…it gives me a headache and it tastes grainy. Red wines like these are what ruins your taste buds for exceptional wine. Luckily, I had Rainstorm Pinot Noir to bring me back!

Rainstorm 1At only $18 a bottle, this elegant red blends a 50/50 varietal of grapes stemming from the Willamette and Umpqua Valleys of Oregon, right outside of the funky and well loved town of Portland. As Rainstorm strives for character, relevance, attitude, style, elegance, and that funky Portland vibe, it was no surprise to me that I received a bit of everything when I tasted the Pinot Noir for the first time. Not as bold as a lot of reds, this Pinot was easy to put down and left a fruit forward flavor in my mouth afterwards. This particular blend is grown on a ridge which is something Oregon is insanely proud of as the ridge gives the water a place to drain which moderates the vine’s healthiness and produces smaller amounts of crop that yields quality over quantity.

 

 

 

In addition to the Pinot Noir, Rainstorm also carries a brand new Pinot Rose along with a Pinot Gris. I highly encourage you to check out their wines on their website (linked here) as their opening video quickly catches your attention!  It’s clear that this company not only believes in great taste, but attractive labeling, bottling, and marketing – which makes it all that more fun to drink! I was immediately excited to try their wines after watching the video which gives a sensual edge to wine tasting and encompasses their 6 wine characteristics they strive for, which I mentioned previously.  I was sad to hear that they do not have a tasting room in the Portland area as of yet, but it is in the horizon as well as more labels to come!

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Keep Sipping!

 

Where to Mingle When You’re Single on Valentines Day

PH 17Whether in a relationship or not, the big V Day always comes with pressure to either find the perfect place to spend the most romantic night out, or a fun atmosphere to mingle while you’re single! Although Valentine’s Day has always been an American staple, I love that many events, bars, and restaurants are also embracing Single Awareness Day. And why not?! I feel that people who are single have just as much right to celebrate as couples do being in a relationship. It’s been fun the past few years watching what different venues come up with to attract single patrons over couples looking for a romantic dinner. If you think about it, this really needed to happen as some restaurants are getting ridiculously expensive the night of the 14th and surrounding weekends. Most high end restaurants in the Socal area typically offer a set menu at raised “all inclusive” prices that could be as high as $150+tax and tip per person! Ok so wait, not only are you inflating your prices over the holiday, but now I can’t even eat what I want?! No, thanks.

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Luckily, in the beautiful city of Huntington Beach, we have options! At The Shorebreak Hotel right off of Pacific Coast Highway and in the heart of Surf City USA, is the best craft cocktail bar in Orange County, the Pacific Hideaway.  As you should already know, I am a craft cocktail enthusiast, and love tasting and learning about all the various and creative ways to make one particular drink. I’ve come to learn that a real craft cocktail should technically take at least 5 minutes to make, and sometimes up to 8 minutes if it’s a complicated recipe! Although I don’t believe it takes him quite as long, Lead Bartender Casey Lyons has come up with the most spectacular and  cutting edge cocktail menu in our area including the infamous Dazed and Confused which comes with a sage “joint” smoking on the side. Of course, the upcoming V-day event is no exception to his innovation!

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Lead Bartender of Pacific Hideaway and Craft Cocktail Connoisseur, Casey Lyons

Along with Director of Food and Beverage, Blake Mathias, they have come up with the most appropriate and exclusive cocktails to honor what they refer to as Single Awareness Night. “I wanted to give local Huntington Beach a place to not only enjoy an amazing atmosphere and incredible cocktails, but where singles can come to mingle and feel comfortable without romantic pressure,” Mathias says of his take on the reverse holiday.

With 3 brand new craft cocktails created by Lyons especially for the occasion, they certainly succeeded! I had the opportunity to go with one of my friends Felicia, (aka PrettyPoorThing) to taste their new creations and I was not only satisfied but completely impressed. With names such a 99 Problems and Swipe Right, Pacific Hideaway definitely embraces singles and encourages bad, yet mostly good decisions.

Can you guess which one is which from the above? My favorite was definitely the Pears & The Bees, which was a concoction of Sky Pear Vodka, Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup, Apple Juice, and Aperol and tasted like heaven in my mouth. Let me tell you, if you’re single and have a few of these, you may not be single by the end of the night!

Even if in relationship,  if you’re looking to get away from the cheesy romantic nuances that come with the most dreaded holiday ever, Pacific Hideaway at the Shorebreak is the place to check out! If you’re single, then go just to tag yourself with a drink that says “Swipe Right” because, well, it’s better to drink then actually swipe right…PH 13

 

 

@Fullofsips

Take the Tapas by its horns and head to Pueblo!

Pueblo 21Have you ever been to a Tapas bar? Although becoming more and trendy, Tapas bars are still not as popular as I wish they would be in the states, however, I do see a growing trend which I’m excited about! The reason I feel they haven’t flourished as much as they could is because of the trained american appetite of always eating more than the stomach can handle. Tapas are considered to be “small bites”, so I feel that people associate these with being hungry after the experience.  First of all, lets clarify the word “Tapas”. Tapas are considered to be Spanish appetizers that are specifically served with cocktails and before a meal, although many of us consider an array of tapas just enough! In the US, this has become a sophisticated way of getting together for appetizers and not over stuffing yourself and I love it!

Last month, I had the pleasure of enjoying a “staycation” with the SoCal Blogger Babes in Costa Mesa. During our amazing stay (not to mention the fun sips I had all weekend), we had the opportunity of having our last night dinner at this amazing new restaurant called Pueblo, known for their Tapas and family style atmosphere. Fact: Pueblo in English means Town. After researching the culture and experiencing the hospitality of Pueblo, I find that this meaning is derived from the aspiration of creating a place to make memories around good food, good drink, and good company…my motto!

 

Although clearly sophisticated in style and taste, Pueblo strives to create a classy, yet affordable experience. Their menu consists of everything from a charcuterie board to heavier bites, to full dish paellas, one of their specialties! Unfortunately, they currently do not have the licensing fees to have a full bar, and serve liquor, however they have come up with amazing innovative cocktails using a wine based alcohol that even non-wine drinkers would enjoy. The first drink I had I didn’t even know wasn’t hard alcohol!

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One of Pueblo’s delicious wine based cocktails:  The Palomarita- Sabe blanco, grapefruit sour mix, agave, and of course a salt rim!

Pueblo 22We tried many of the tapas on the menu, however I’d have to say my absolute favorite was the Montadito de Costillo which is short rib cooked two ways: braised and crudo (raw). It’s one of those bites you have to eat all at once to get in all of the flavors and it’s honestly one of the most delicious combinations of flavors I’ve ever tasted! I also highly recommend getting a charcuterie board as their cheese and meat selections are suburb and in compliments of one another no matter the selection. If you know me, you know I hate goat cheese (and blue cheese, but irrelevant at the moment). Although not pictured, one of my other favorite items on the menu was the Queso Fundido which actually had a goat cheese base but was mixed with so many delicious flavors it was unnoticeable!

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My favorites from the charcuterie board were the Pan con tomate which was a tomato spread with roasted garlic and olive tapenade on ciabatta bread and the 
Jamon Serrano  which is 8 months dry cured ham

Whether for a date night with your sweetie, or a fantastic dinner before a show at the Segerstrom Center for Arts, Pueblo should definitely be your next excursion into the Spanish culture of Tapas! Allow yourself to relax, enjoy the company, and allow Pueblo to immerse you into the trend of making memories amongst eclectic food in small bites.

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@fullofsips