Good Eats: Impossible Burger

#foodiefriday entry

As a kid, I was a pretty picky eater. Didn’t like many sauces and wasn’t happy with spices or trying odd foods. As an adult, I am willing and wanting to try new foods and there are a ton of choices out there. I think it’s been a couple of years now when I first heard about a vegan burger patty that looked so much like a meat burger, people were making waiters take their food back to the kitchen because they thought the waiter got the order wrong. Turns out it just was that good of a meatless patty. I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try but just never got around to buying it in a restaurant or grocery store.

Yesterday, I was heading out to a happy hour at a wine bistro place in town. I saw that they do burger and wine deals on Thursdays and one of the choices was with the Impossible burger. I jumped for joy. (Not really, but was happy for sure seeing that). As soon as I got in the door and sat down to order, I pointed to the burger and said that was what I wanted.

If I hadn’t known that it was vegan, I would have thought it a good flavored meat burger. They had added aioli, greens, pepper jam, vegan mozzarella, crispy onions & avocado (I had it without the vegan bun). I recommend and it is definitely worth a taste, it was super yummy.

Find out more about the Impossible Foods here.  Have you tried it? 

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Throw a Surprise Party

My favorite so far is the surprise birthday party my sister and I threw for our mom a few years ago.

This was one of those milestone birthday’s (I won’t say which one so she can’t get mad at me) My sister and I wanted to make sure to do something special. Her birthday is at the end of July and there were several years she had to celebrate it at a swim meet.

I had gone to a friend’s wedding at a little winery not far from our house. It was super cute and their wines were pleasant to taste. I had the place in mind right away when we started discussing this. AND it would serve as a great cover of getting her to it, by using the excuse of wine tasting and then lunch.

We created a list of family and friends and sent out invites. This was my first time planning a big-ish event like this. Lots of little details became clear. Not to mention costs. There was the location, food, drinks, cake, decorations.

My uncle (her brother) was very helpful with the planning and when I became worried about having the money for it all, said he would be willing to help cover the cost of the food. My cousin was dating (and now married to) a very nice gal whose family managed a food place (Armadillo Willy’s). They talked and worked out that they would bring the food as a buffet. It was a perfect choice because it was food we knew my mom would enjoy, especially the coleslaw (side note: I am not much for coleslaw but this one is very yummy).

Next up was ordering a fruit basket cake from Whole Foods. That part wasn’t hard at all. The hard part was getting my sis here from Hawaii and making sure not to blow the party to our mom. I was living in an apartment at the time, so she was able to fly in and stay with me without mom being aware. She went to our house during the day, while mom was at work, and looked for photos to use as part of decorations. We found some fun ones of her throughout her life.

My sis thought she was being clever in setting up a call to mom to make it seem like she was still in Hawaii going about her daily routine. I just had to make sure not to say anything about the party when my mom was around.

We almost got away without her being completing aware, but then the winery made the mistake in calling her house phone instead of my cell phone. They wanted to make sure I was sending the final payment for the event. I was SOOOOO PISSED! It worked out in the end because, as my mom said, I didn’t need to come up with an excuse and she didn’t know what or who might be there.

The day of, we went to the farmer’s market to get a bunch of flowers. Then headed to the winery. Our uncle and family was there to help set up the food and when a few other guests got there a little early, gladly helped us finish setting up tables. We had bought glass jars from Goodwill that we filled with the flowers and then had the photos placed at the different tables. The winery had a table for the wines and set up another one for the cake and any presents people brought. I had a little stereo that had music, but it was small so people couldn’t really hear it (turned out to be unnecessary anyway). Being at the end of July, I wasn’t sure if it’d be super hot like it can often times be. Luckily it was only warm with a slight breeze coming over from the river nearby.

Then I went to go get the guest of honor.

One last thing, the week before my mom had gone out to dinner with a friend. They decided to get a bottle of wine and asked the waitress for a recommendation. She mentioned Scribner Bend to try. My mom came home to tell me that we have to check out this winery and that the wine was very nice. I almost said something then, but I was able to stop myself. Was very glad to know she would enjoy the wine.

So, I went and got her and came back to the winery. Now, where we all were was in the middle of some of the vines, so she couldn’t see it right away. She walked through the flower arch and everyone yelled, “SURPRISE!!” and she was. There were a few people she hadn’t seen in a while. But when she noticed my sister hiding in the back, she said “I KNEW you were here!” Later, she admitted she didn’t really, but had hoped.

In the end, it was a very pleasant afternoon and so fun. Definitely a surprise party to remember and cherish.

Have you thrown a surprise party or been the recipient of one?

I CAN Be an Artist

It seems there is a growing trend of learn-to-paint classes, which encourage novice artists to gather with a group of friends and create a piece of artwork, all while enjoying a cocktail or two.

This is not an item written down to check off my list, but it is something I’ve thought would be fun. March 2014, I went with a bunch of friends in my Active 20-30 Club to a place in town called the Painted Cork.

Have you ever felt like taking a painting class to unleash your inner Picasso, but felt as though you couldn’t even paint a stick figure? Are you looking for something different and new to do for a birthday party, ladies night out, team builder, first date, couples or even as a single person who is looking for some unique social interaction in the Folsom or Midtown Sacramento area? The Painted Cork “paint and sip” Art Studio creates a comfortable, fun, hip and exciting atmosphere where you and your friends can enjoy a fantastic time while a professional art instructor teaches you a step by step 2 to 3 hour painting classes. The Painted Cork offers a completely relaxed and social painting class/party where guests are allowed to bring with them their favorite wine or beer and delicious snacks to enjoy throughout the class!

I’m definitely not an artist, so I was guessing that my painting would turn out really bad. Got to the place and found the easels and paints all set up at tables. The artist instructor told me to grab an apron and then drinks, snacks, and a seat. I put down the bottle of wine and snack mix I brought and grabbed a glass and apron and a seat. The canvas had a penciled outline of the skyline we were going to be painting. Up front there were different paintings that were completed, the instructor told us to take a look at each one to use as a baseline for inspiration or ours. Then we started painting.

It was a very simple step by step processing. Mixing colors and watching what she did and then doing similar. By doing it this way, I realized that each person is different in how they paint the same object. This in turn means that no one is a bad artist. I don’t think I’d be able to do a painting like that without watching the steps to get it done.

Overall, it was a very fun evening and I’d totally do this again. I can see why it’s become so popular.

Permit Yourself to Like a Piece of Art Without Knowing Why

I have enjoyed several pieces of art without really knowing why. It truly is amazing the way artists can capture moments or inspire emotions with abstract. And the different types out there: charcoal, water colors, oils, photography, just to name a few mediums.

I wish I had a fun game room and could afford some paintings from Michael Godard. I first saw his olive and grape paintings on a cruise ship a few years ago. He’s my most recent favorite. The paintings are just so much fun to look at.Michael_Godard_I_Lost_My_MarblesDo you have a favorite artist? Own any of the paintings? Do you like a piece just because?

Go Wine Tasting in Sonoma County, California

The first time went wine tasting in Sonoma County I think was in 2009. My family rented a house in the Russian River area for the weekend. This was a lot of fun because a number of them had been living in other parts of the country and so it was a big family gathering. While visiting, I went with one of my cousins and his girlfriend (at the time) to a few wineries.P1010199The only one I know is Hop Kiln because I got the name in a photo. There were two other places that were beautiful and had tasting rooms outside, but I’ve forgotten their names. Guess I’m just going to have to go back to match the photo to the place and re-taste the wine.P1010203What is neat about Hop Kiln is that the tasting room is in a California registered landmark.

This structure served the important hop industry of California’s north coast region, once the major hop-growing area in the west. Built in 1905 by a crew of Italian stonemasons, it represents the finest existing example of its type. The building consists of three stone kilns for drying hops and an attached wooden cooling barn with a two-story press for baling hops.

I definitely want to go back and explore more and taste more of the wineries. I would say that Sonoma, especially the Russian River area, is more pretty then Napa. But I would bet the prices for tastings are about the same.

Have you been to wineries in Sonoma, Russian River, or Napa? How was your experience?