Violet's Tavern

Guess what? There’s another bar that has opened its doors in the Richmond. Violet’s Tavern, located on 2301 Clement, is serving up some American classics but the focus is seafood and drinks (plus, it's the team behind Fiorella!). 

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The inside décor is stunning, with deep blue marbled wallpaper from the same company who did Fiorella’s famous wallpaper – Brooklyn’s Flavor Paper. Plants hang from the bar shelves, giving it a very home-y & comfy vibe that makes you want to stay forever. 

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While we were there, the bar was buzzing with folks trying to get their hands on beautiful cocktails. Some of my favorites: Spindrift Cobbler - Riesling, Lime, Chareau Aloe Liqueur, Salted Nori Syrup and Lime Bitters, Stolen Tart – Tree Craft Gin, Christian Drouin calvados, rosemary, house-made raspberry cordial, lemon, Bolivar bitters and club soda, and Papi Suave – Plantation 3 Star rum, Cimarron Blanco Tequila, Ancho Verde liqueur, Merlet Apricot liqueur, lime, sage and Angostura bitters. 

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The cocktails had my attention from the moment we walked in, but let’s not forget about the food. The selection of East & West Coast Oysters, Baked Stuffed Clams and House-made chips & Dips (Roasted Onion & Duck liver) were top-notch. I am still dreaming about that Roasted Onion dip. 

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The space isn’t large, and it was hard to maneuver around, but, they are doing well with what they have. They have installed hooks all along the seating area for bags and purses, that way customers aren’t crowding floor space. 

Overall, I am excited for the Richmond and everything that is popping up – gives us an excuse to explore our city more – and The Pearl and Violet’s are amazing places to start. I look forward to visiting Violet’s again and trying their Fried Chicken with cheddar biscuits, macaroni salad and hot honey. HELLO. 

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Until next time, 

Halee

Pearl Restaurant

Pearl Restaurant, owned by and next to Pizzetta 211, has opened its doors in the Richmond District. They are currently serving breakfast (starting 6/4), dinner and brunch. Co-chefs Mel Lopez and Joyce Conway have created a menu that caters to the ingredients and produce in California seasonally. They are making everything in-house from scratch, with the exception of the bread they get from Acme.

I popped in to sample their brunch yesterday with a handful of others and it did not disappoint. Take a look!

 Stunning corner booth.

Stunning corner booth.

 Coffee using Andytown Coffee Roasters will be served during breakfast and brunch. 

Coffee using Andytown Coffee Roasters will be served during breakfast and brunch. 

 Coffee station.

Coffee station.

 Local Halibut Crudo - strawberry, marcona almond, serrano chili, nuoc cham and cilantro.

Local Halibut Crudo - strawberry, marcona almond, serrano chili, nuoc cham and cilantro.

 Coastal Scrub - gin, dolin dry, pamplemousse, citrus, honey and garbage tincture.

Coastal Scrub - gin, dolin dry, pamplemousse, citrus, honey and garbage tincture.

 Copa De Oro - rye, cream sherry, nocino, cherry and xocolate mole bitters.

Copa De Oro - rye, cream sherry, nocino, cherry and xocolate mole bitters.

 Eggs in Purgatory - lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta and house-made pita bread. 

Eggs in Purgatory - lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta and house-made pita bread. 

 Chicory Caesar - crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and garlic croutons.

Chicory Caesar - crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and garlic croutons.

 Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup - mint yogurt, pepitas and urfa.

Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup - mint yogurt, pepitas and urfa.

 Smoked Salmon Tartine + Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup

Smoked Salmon Tartine + Berre Berre Spiced Carrot Soup

 Omelette - herbed goat cheese, confit cherry tomatoes, fried shallots and home fries.

Omelette - herbed goat cheese, confit cherry tomatoes, fried shallots and home fries.

 Dutch Baby - strawberry preserve, almonds and whipped creme fraiche.

Dutch Baby - strawberry preserve, almonds and whipped creme fraiche.

For a peek at their list of menus, including brunch: Menus. 

Honestly, everything we tried was great, but if I had to choose a favorite dish from their brunch menu, it'd have to be the Chicory Caesar or Eggs in Purgatory. I don't really eat salad much but when I come across a salad like this one, it's one that I want to recreate at home and eat every week. SO GOOD. And for the Eggs in Purgatory, there isn't much to say.  Lamb sausage, spicy san marzano tomatoes, rosemary polenta AND house-made pita bread!! Sign me up. To top off brunch, breakfast is rumored to have coffee and fresh baked goods, including wood-fired bagels. Sign me up for that too. And for dinner, well there is fresh hand-made pasta and a Tomahawk Chop (chili-cheese polenta, cipollini onion, asparagus, sauce bernaise - may take up to 45 minutes) to share between 4 people. 

We had such a great time and can't wait to go back for breakfast or dinner (or both). If you're in the Richmond, make sure to check this place out, and grab a slice of Pizzetta after ;)

Cheers, 

Halee

Sun Basket Review

Sun Basket, an organic food delivery service based in the Bay area, reached out to have me review their product. I haven't blogged, let alone reviewed a product, in such a long time so I wasn't sure this was something I wanted to commit to. 

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After doing my research I learned a lot about Sun Basket and was very impressed: 

  • Sun Basket is a certified organic handler, and strives to source organic produce 100% of the time (currently over 99% of their produce is organic).
  • Organic ingredients are clearly labeled on delivery.
  • They work exclusively with ranchers and farmers who raise their animals responsibly and sustainably. 
  • All of their seafood is wild-caught, never farmed.
  • All of their fisheries are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a leading authority in sustainable seafood.
  • Their meal plans are dietitian-approved like Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, and more, which make healthy eating easy.
  • Their packaging is 100% recyclable and compostable.
  • Sun Basket works with local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and shops to offer the best ingredients each week. 
  • The executive chef/owner of Sun Basket, Justine Kelly, spent time at Slanted Door restaurant. She also was mentioned in Gourmet Magazine and had an appearance on Iron Chef.

All of these details about Sun Basket (+ many more) made me say "let's do this". I received my first week's meals this past week and will receive my second batch next week. Each box included 3 meals, of my choosing, to prepare. I chose Lemongrass Tofu, Salmon and Quinoa Bowls and Tomato-Coconut Shrimp this week. Out of the three, my favorite were the Lemongrass Tofu + Tomato-Coconut Shrimp. 

Lemongrass Tofu

 Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

This meal was so flavorful and fun to make! The process was simple enough for anyone to execute, whether you are comfortable in the kitchen or not. Starting with the rice, you let that cook for a good 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking, you are able to prepare and cook everything else. This made things almost effortless.

What was inside (serves 2): 

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  • Black Rice
  • Coconut milk
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Hodo Soy firm tofu
  • Onion 
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sun Basket Lemongrass paste (lemongrass, EVOO, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, ground turmeric)
  • Sunflower sprouts
  • Sun Basket stir-fry blend (gluten-free tamari, sesame oil, fresh garlic, fresh ginger)

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp

 Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

This meal, like Lemongrass Tofu, was bursting with the right amount of flavors that both Paul and I pleasantly enjoyed. The broccoli rice was a nice addition to an already healthy-ish meal. This is one I will gladly recreate again and am looking forward to the results. 

What's inside (serves 2):

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  • Broccoli rice
  • Wild gulf shrimp
  • Red chile flakes
  • Onion
  • Peeled fresh garlic
  • Lemon
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Coconut milk
  • Baby spinach
  • Shaved coconut

Things to know about Sun Basket:

  • Pricing does seem to be a bit steep; $11.99 per serving. Considering all of the local organic ingredients they use, it may be worth this price, especially if you don't have all the time in the world to go grocery shopping. The fact that they provide the exact measurements of what you need in each dish is convenient and makes things incredibly easy. (easy seems to be the constant word here). 
  • You can choose 2, 3, or 4 meals per week (depending on your menu plan) and can mix & match them (making some vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, etc.) within your meal plan (classic/family).
  • You can skip a delivery or cancel your plan at any time. 
  • Sun Basket ships to most zip codes in the United States, excluding AK, HI, MT, & parts of NM.
  • Your pantry should include olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil, plus salt and freshly-ground pepper. They occasionally call for wine or butter as an optional recipe item. You'll need basic pots and pans, a knife, and basic utensils.

I really enjoyed the first week's meal plan and am excited to try next week's! Check back in to see my thoughts when I review Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs, Bucatini Pomodoro and Saigon Noodles with Braised Tofu. 

 

Cheers, Halee

Sandgrens Clogs

Lately, I have been more into shoes than I have ever been. I've always been the girl that wears Birks in the summer and Docs in the winter. But, I have been wanting to expand my shoe collection for some time now, and make my outfits a little more fun. 

I collaborated with Sandgrens Clogs, a Swedish shoe company founded in the 19th century, to showcase my new clogs and talk about my experience wearing them. 

As you can tell from the pictures, I practically wore my clogs everywhere since I got them. I tried to coordinate them with every outfit. When we visited San Francisco, I wore them almost everyday; even days that we walked over 10 miles! They really are the cutest shoes I own, and very comfortable too! You can wear them with jeans to make a casual outfit have a bit more flare, or you can wear them with a dress if it's date night. They really are versatile. 

If you are interested in the same shoe that I received, here is the link: https://sandgrensclogs.com/for-women/brights/madrid-low/.

Until next time, 

Halee

Modkat Review

I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Modkat, who create modern cat litter boxes. I know, it sounds kind of odd, but I must say that these things are beautiful. The reason I was even considering switching Regina to a different box in the first place was because she started displaying signs that were abnormal to her everyday behavior. For instance she started kicking litter everywhere OUTSIDE of her box and that's when I started to do my research. A few sites had recommended Modkat (and another brand I forget the name of), who have litter boxes that are top-entry, meaning the cat has to get into the box through the top. After heading to their site and having a look around, reading their story, and taking a look at theor products, I knew I had to have one. At first, I was skeptical, and I wasn't sure if this was going to fix or help the problem, but it was worth a shot. We have been using the Modkat for only 4 days and she uses it as if it was her old one. She also doesn't leave nearly as much litter behind as she used to. 

As they say on their site, "the top entry-lid allows for a fully enclosed base, keeping the mess inside no matter how vigorously they dig or where they aim." Regina doesn't like to be watched when she is doing her business, so sometimes when I need to be in the same area, she scurries out in a hurry. Before with her old box, the litter would get EVERYWHERE, but now, it relatively stays on top of the box or inside. I also haven't seen her actually kick piles of litter outside of the box like she used to. I think a lot of that comes from the way it is made. It would almost impossible for her to do that because of how tall it is and how she has to get in to do her thing. The dimensions of the Modkat are 16" L x 16" W x 15" H. It comes with a reusable tarp liner that you can wash and use time and time again until it's on its last leg. It also comes with a scoop, that elegantly hangs on the side of the box. Right now it comes in 5 colors, but maybe they'll add more in the future :) Another thing that I really love about it, is you can technically put it anywhere, especially if you live in a smaller apartment or studio. It is actually nice to look at and it reduces odors, so you and your guests may not even know it's there. 

Overall, I am super happy to have collaborated with this brand. Even though it has only been 4 days, I have already seen signs of improvement, which was ultimately my goal in the first place. If you'd like to take a look at Modkat's site, read about how they got started, and/or look at some of their products, the website is https://modkat.com/.

 

Thanks for reading! See you guys soon.

LASIK Surgery

Recently the opportunity of having Lasik eye surgery came up and it was quite the experience! I’ve been wearing glasses since middle school, so they’ve always been a part of my life. Lately they’ve been more of an annoyance than help. I knew that Lasik was something that I wanted to do but it wasn’t really on the table until a close friend had the surgery and had very positive results. I looked into Parkhurst Nuvision, which is located right here in San Antonio, and scheduled my consultation!

 

Consultation day was a breath of fresh air. I’d always been a little put off with the idea of doing Lasik, just because I assumed that it hurt a little or I psyched myself out into thinking what if something went wrong during my procedure.

 

Throughout the entire experience, all of my questions and concerns were answered. If I forgot to ask a question, Amanda, my Lasik counselor with Parkhurst was only an email away.  After leaving the consultation, I felt good about everything. I mean, I was told I would be in the operating room for less than 10 minutes! That alone made me feel a little better about the surgery.

 

The day of surgery had arrived and this is when things really started to hit me. After my consultation, all of my worries were put at ease and I never really thought about anything after that day…until the morning of surgery! All of those worries came back to torture me and I started to think “What if I feel it while I am in surgery? What if the “happy pill” doesn’t work? What if something goes wrong after surgery and I get an infection?” I thought about anything and everything. My husband tried to calm me down but it’s all I could think about until they were ready for me. Luckily a few minutes before, the pill finally kicked in and I felt a little more at ease.

 

I made my way to the operating room (with the help of the staff and my husband since I couldn’t walk too well) and there were so many people there to make me feel comfortable. I was guided to the station and laid down at the table. I was given a blanket to stay warm and I even got to listen to a Pandora station of my choosing (I chose The Postal Service). As small as these things were they put me even more at ease and made me feel better. To top it off, Dr. Parkhurst was there to walk me through everything that he was doing. He told me what he was doing to my eye that way I wasn’t surprised or caught off guard.

 

The first machine that I was under basically created a flap on the surface of both my eyes (each eye took 10 seconds or less to actually do and it was completely painless!) so that the prescription could be put in. Then I moved onto the second machine (with the help of the wonderful staff), and that’s where the laser put the prescription in my eye. Dr. Parkhurst then used a tool that put the flap of my eye back over where it would seal up naturally. Again, this was another 10 seconds in each eye. After that I was done! I could actually see!

Next, my job was to go home and sleep (no problem doctor!), so that is what I did. I went back in around 3pm to have my same day checkup and everything looked good. I continued my medicated drops for another week and then they gave me artificial tears to use at least 6x a day to help with any dryness or irritation. I also was to wear my eye mask (looks just like something out of star wars so I was okay with it) for the first day, all day. Then, I only had to wear the mask at night for the first week.

 I just had my 1-week post-op check up and everything looks perfect. I am able to wear makeup again (thank goodness) and play sports.  

I would say the first couple of days were the most intense for me, and I wouldn’t even say intense. My eyes were definitely really dry the day of surgery and the following day, but after that they were relatively fine. I went to watch my husband play soccer on Sunday (surgery was Friday morning), and I felt great, and could see! I was constantly and religiously using my artificial tears and I think that helped. I was on top of my drops, and I think that helped my recovery time. Plus, I'm only 1 week out now and that's pretty much already over!  

 I honestly don’t know what I was worried about? If they say it’s painless, why would it be painful and why would they lie? It definitely was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I would recommend it to ANYONE. Seriously check them out at sanantonio-lasik.com if you’re even considering Lasik.  

 I know so many people that have done Lasik and not one person has anything bad to say about it. I can’t say one bad thing about my experience. I really think being in the hands of the Parkhurst team made things run more smoothly. They are a group of knowledgeable and friendly people that will squash all of your worries. I couldn’t be happier. I can’t wait to play in my next soccer game, to go hiking, to travel, and to see things that I never would have been able to see without my glasses.