Archive | July, 2011

SLOW – Berkeley, Calif.

27 Jul

You have got to go here…SLOW – Berkeley, Calif.

I have lived my whole life in California and only until this summer did I ever venture into Berkeley – and I am sure glad I did.  My husband and I vowed to try to not plan everything on our trip so when we arrived in this beautiful college town we parked the car and started off on an adventure.

We didn’t get very far before I discovered an absolute gem.  It was on our way to the visitors center to get some maps that I found SLOW.  The simple yellow building with inviting smells and an amazing menu lured me in.

When I walked in I knew that this place was for me, it was a comfortable homey environment with a fresh menu.  There were so many options but I finally decided on the Caprese Puffed Pastry, Chick Pea Salad, Peanut Butter Cookie and Raspberry Lemonade.  Excuse my language, but OMG…the pastry was so light and amazing and had the perfect amount of toppings…the salad was super fresh…and the lemonade and cookie were the perfect sweet ending to my savory lunch.  I wish that I had more room for all of the yummy delights on the menu as everything looked delicious!

In addition to the fabulous food options, you may also choose to eat your meal in their dining room or relax outside in The Rose Garden.

I am a wimp and chose to eat inside and watch the chef prepare my meal.  Another very cool thing about this restaurant…you can actually watch your chef prepare your meal.  It was like watching an artist, I felt like I was in a five-star restaurant. I was AMAZED that the whole meal for both my husband and I cost under $13, considering the quality of the food and the high-end presentation I was shocked!

If I wasn’t so eager to explore more of Berkeley I would have stayed here all day.  I was so lucky to have found this great lunch or dinner spot right when I got into town.  My suggestion is to make time to eat one meal here. SLOW is located at 1966 University Ave and is not far from the entrance to CAL.  There is plenty of public parking around, but bring quarters as you may need them for the meter.

Finding SLOW is a true testament to why it is so fun and exciting to get out and explore a new city.  You just never know what you may find, especially what you may find to satisfy your tummy:)

Happy Eating,

Crystal

Elephant Butte Inn and Spa, New Mexico

3 Jul

You have got to go here…Elephant Butte Inn and Spa, New Mexico.

I don’t know about you, but when I stay at a hotel I like to be comfortable, feel special and eat GREAT food, well you are in luck – the Elephant Butte Inn and Spa has all three!

If you are looking for a place to get a way and relax outside of the big cities of Albuquerque and Las Cruces, New Mexico, you must visit this quaint inn and spa owned and run by the LaFont family.   Yes, the town is small, but the inn has plenty of things to keep you occupied, such as a full-service spa, an outdoor-heated pool, and fantastic food (for me this was the best part-the food was fresh and they used local ingredients…the use of New Mexican green chiles was superb!)

Not far from the Inn are other attractions which make it a great weekend destination.  Visitors can spend the day playing at Elephant Butte Lake State Park, shop in the cute neighboring town of Truth or Consequences (yes that is really the name and it has some very cool unique stores), or soak in relaxing hot springs ( I visited some while I was there and was in heaven.)

The Elephant Butte Inn and Spa is such a versatile hotel, it is fitting for a girl trip, romantic weekend or family vacation.  There is something for everyone.  If you want an action packed weekend it can be accomplished or if you just want to to veg out, that can be arranged too!

Another thing I loved about the inn is that it is off the grid and somewhere the normal traveler might not know about.  I understand that it may not be a week long vacation destination – although once you visit you may change your mind, but if you are heading that way, give it a shot.

One last thing, the hospitality of the LaFont family was very welcomed as a lot of businesses these days don’t seem to care about their customers – but I was always greeted with a smile and treated like they knew me for years.  With the state of the economy these days, the value at this inn is fantastic at approx. $119 a night (they also offer a AAA discount along with others.)

So get out there and try something new as this summer, you will be glad you did!

Happy Inning,

Crystal