Saturday, June 29, 2013

Napa Rose: Chef's Counter

For Nick's birthday, we went to the Chef's Counter at Napa Rose during our Disneyland trip.  I was so excited to go after reading other reviews and a little scared about the possibility of what I might be presented with!

We arrived 30 minutes early (Chef's Table has two seatings- 5:30 and 8:30), so we were seated in the lounge to drink some water and relax.  Promptly, at 5:30, we were taken to the counter. Each side has 4 seats facing directly into the kitchen, and then another row of seats on the side (6-8).  We shared one side with a couple celebrating their anniversary.  Even though we were all right next to each other, it was really spacious and not cramped at all.

Our waiter came over and presented us with our options:

  • Order off the regular menu.
  • Order the Vintner's menu.
  • Allow the chef to write our menu for us.
We already knew that we wanted to go with the last option, so the sous chef came over and asked if we had any dislikes or allergies.  Nick said he was up for anything and I requested no fish.  Nick also ordered the wine pairing and I decided on a glass of the Lassiter since I had it previously at Carthay Circle and loved it.

Course 1: Amuse Bouche- Crab wrapped in pineapple with a red pepper sauce.
I had my camera ready to go... but we both popped these into our mouths without hesitation!  So, I got a picture of the sauce on the plate and then snapped one of some that were going out to other guest's.  It was so good!  Literally all I tasted was the fresh pineapple mixed with the creaminess of the crab.  All four of us received this dish.

Course 2:
Angelica- Citrus Salad with beets and radish.
This salad was really good.  It had a balance of citrus and bitterness from the radish.  It wasn't very exciting, but I definitely liked it.

Nick- Trio 
We can't quite remember what was what on the plate but the first part was salmon with salmon roe.  I had a bite of this and actually liked it and I hate cooked fish.  It had crunchy scales, the roe was salty and the meat didn't taste fishy.  The second was a sushi type of mix (cucumber, fish, radish, etc.)... Nick ate it before I could try some!  The last was raw salmon with spices dashed on top.  This one was a bit bland, but I may not have gotten any of the spices.

Course 3:
Angelica- Scallop in Lobster Sauce
Holy crap.  I had a feeling I was going to get this... I'm not a big fan of seafood, but have recently started eating shellfish, some sushi, etc.  I have never had a whole scallop to myself before and this one was HUGE.  I definitely did not want to insult the chef's, so I just went for it.  The sauce and scallop combo was actually amazing.  It also came with potato chips on top which was interesting, but also complemented the course.

Nick- Tiger Salad
I was really jealous that Nick got this and I didn't!  The salad was literally like fireworks in your mouth.  Beef, sriracha, cilantro, mint, arugula and lobster tempura.  Words can't even describe how much I loved this salad!

Course 4: 
Angelica- Mushroom Risotto 
Mmm mmm.  This course was so me.  But, it was also the point where I was hitting the wall of fullness because I typically only eat small meals, multiple times a day.  The cheese in this dish melted in perfectly and the mushroom pieces were huge!

Nick- Rabbit Stew and Polenta
Nick was so happy with this dish!  He forced me to take a bite (even though I was not excited about eating rabbit- sorry Mr. Fuzzlebun's)!  I have to admit that it was not bad and it was very flavorful.  The meat was tender and not taste like game meat, like I expected it to.  Another hit from the chef's!

"Gift" from the Chef's:
This course was unexpected, but just what I needed.  I almost wonder if was a pallet cleanser to prep us for our main courses...?

Angelica- Mushroom House Soup
Yeah, I basically slurped this down like it was nobody's business.  Light and frothy mushroom soup- so good!

Nick- Seasonal Soup
Another dish full of flavor for Nick!  This had shrimp, scallions, lemongrass in the broth.

Course 5:
Angelica- I could kick myself for not listening more closely to the descriptions... mine was a filet (medium) with asparagus and tomatoes.  I wish I could remember what the sauce was, but it was delicious with the meat.  I did not like the tomatoes though.  Ek.  Haha.

Nick: Lamb belly and shank.  The lamb belly tasted super fatty to me, but it reminded Nick of osso buco.  The lamb shank had a parmesan herb crust.  The green sauce was a mint sauce.  Overall, an interesting dish.  I think I might have cried if it had been served to me!  

Course 6: 
Angelica- Cherries, Pistachio and Chocolate Cherry Gelato in filo dough.
I must admit, while this dessert was really very good I wanted a dessert that stood out to me since I have a major sweet tooth.  This was subtle and would be perfect for those who like something not so sweet.  I also think the presentation was amazing!

Nick- Pineapple Empanada with Vanilla Ice Cream
I actually liked this better than my dessert!  It had that home baked feeling and was melt in your mouth good with the cinnamon sugar, tangy pineapple and creamy ice cream.

Overall, we definitely plan on returning to the Napa Rose and dining at the Chef's Counter again!  

At the end of our meal, we were able to watch Executive Chef Andrew Sutton plating some mushroom ravioli right in front of us.  He even wished Nick a Happy Birthday twice and we had a small conversation with him about Father's Day and the ravioli (that looked so delicious... even though I was full, I wanted to eat some)!

Our Wedding Planning Channel.

So, if you're reading this... you probably already know about our upcoming Disneyland wedding!  However, if you want to hear me blab about it in addition to this blog, I would love it if you went over and subscribed to my new YouTube channel.

I feel like it's important not only to document the process so we can look back on it some day, but for others to be able to just see what it is like to have an Disney wedding!

Plus, I'm addicted to the YouTube's!  :)

Click here to head over and subscribe.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

disneyland savings: the magic of ebates.

Planning a trip to Disneyland can be expensive... especially when you go every 3 months and still have not invested in an annual pass.
I discovered ebates a few months ago on someones blog post about grocery shopping.  Yep, I live fast and hard.  

Basically, when you sign up you are able to shop through their links and earn cash back.  This cash back is then deposited to your PayPal account or via a paper check.  Cash back can range from 1% and I've seen it as high as 26%.  It just all depends on the store.  I mostly earn 3-5% back which is actually huge on big purchases!  I have verified that this works and there is no scam behind it, which is why I am comfortable with sharing.  I'm sure that ebates gets a cut of money from the company you purchase from for sending you to the website to shop, which is how they stay in business.

Anyway, my point is that with a lot of research, I found a way to save money on my Disneyland trip.  Orbitz is currently running a promotion for 4 day park hopper tickets for the price of a 3 day park hopper.  On top of this, you can earn 5.25% cash back by using the ebates link. If you're a big family, or even just two people... the savings is worth a meal or even 2 days of parking cost at Disneyland!  You also receive a $10 gift card from ebates (there are a few stores to select from, such as Target) after your first purchase through them.

I have some other tips and tricks for saving money when planning your Disney vacation that I need to confirm before I post about them!  Seriously, every penny counts... who knows, maybe I can save up enough cash back to suck it up and buy an annual pass.

If you decide to sign up, please use my link HERE.  It works like any other referral link and you will be able to share yours as well when you create an account.

This post is not sponsored.  I am merely sharing my wonderful, new discovery!
Friday, May 31, 2013

an update!

It's been many a sleepless nights around these parts of town (i.e. our house) due to the kitten who believes that sleeping is for the dead!  To pile on some more excuses... work has been really busy, all I want to do is eat and pass out during the week and I have also been endlessly addicted to the DISboards.

But, my new addiction is for a very good reason!  We have decided that we will be getting married at Disneyland, followed by a honeymoon in Walt Disney World... and then we will return home and have a reception for everyone we could not invite.  The planning is still in the very early stages, but I am incredibly happy and cannot wait to share the journey!  I am considering making some YouTube videos about it and have also started a Planning Journal on the DISboards.

I've also been working on some fun DIY projects for the house, but everything is a bit crazy because we are also planning a trip to Disneyland (yes, again) for Nick's birthday and to tour the wedding venues.  Yay!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Oliver is the sweetest little terror you will ever meet.

I am sleep deprived and cannot wait for the weekend to arrive.

Oliver requires constant attention while he is awake or he will cry incessantly.
He has the gnarliest kitten farts and poos.
He tries to beat up the big cats and runs up and down the stairs incredibly fast for something that weighs just over 1 lb.
He likes to stalk my fingers while I am typing and reset my Internet preferences as he does a little jig across the keyboard.
He wakes up at the crack of dawn and will not stop yowling until we let him out so he can climb all over our faces.
But, he sure is cute when he's sleeping!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

our new friend.

What should we name him???  When I first picked him, I knew he was the perfect one for me.  But, then we got in the car and he was a little nightmare!  He cried for a good 30 miles on the freeway to the vet's office... but then he melted my heart once we got in for his exam.  Poor baby was just stressing out over all of the change and leaving his litter mates.

When we got home he ate a ton of kitty food (wet + dry mix), pottied in his litter box, played, purred and cuddled... then finally decided to take a nap! 

Don't worry, his prominent third lid was checked out by the doc and it's just due to his age.  I'm so excited to watch him grow and I hope our other cats will love him too (in a few weeks once they meet face to face)!


Saturday Instagram Recap {week 17 link-up}

Happy weekend!

Pearls and Curls

  1. After weeks of procrastinating, I finally got my nails done and it feels so good to know that they look nice!
  2. Mmm cereal.  I also love the bowls that I bought from Home Goods.
  3. Turkey BLTA's for dinner post-gym.  Does the fact that they're made from turkey bacon make it healthier???
  4. How cute are these two cats? :)
  5. Chorizo, eggs and rice for dinner.  I'm not a huge fan of eggs, but everything else is great!
  6. Sushi for Ariella's birthday!  I ate a big lunch, so I couldn't put away too much. :(
  7. Haven't had In N Out in FOREVER.  I don't recommend the regular cheese fries though.  
Overall, it was a long work week... super excited for this upcoming week though.  I cannot believe that it's already May!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

degrees of friendship.

The topic of friendship has still been weighing pretty heavily on my mind.  I was just thinking about the term "best friend".

I hate it.

It's almost protective and makes friendship competitive sometimes, in the mind of some people.  Tonight, I went to dinner because it was one of my best friend's birthday's.  Her other friend who I had never met before seemed to be clearly marking her territory.  My friend was her best friend.  But, can she be my best friend too?

I have a handful of best friends, who are not at all the same as one another which is what makes them my "best friends".  I know that they too have other best friends to a "degree" and I don't feel jealous of them because I know those other friends fill in the holes that my personality cannot.

I love having so many best friends (just wish they lived closer *cough*).  It's so strange to me that none of them really run in the same circle of friends, or know each other at all (but they will come wedding time)!  And just because I love them so much, I now present to you... the BFF's.

My "Lover" and best of bests: Ashley

While all of my best friends are my best friend... Ashley is my "sister from another mister" or whatever you want to call it.  She was 15, I was 16... and we met at lunch one day through my other best friend.  We forged a friendship through our adventures on Dance Team and never looked back!  I remember the first time we hung out was for a car wash fundraiser and Ashley was waving her sign around (like a crazy lady) in the middle of the road.  I knew right then that she was nothing like me, but every bit someone I wanted as a best friend.  And now, she's my MoH and I couldn't be happier!

My Diary and Confidant: Jaci

Jaci- Lower Right

She's seen me through nerdy glasses, blonde hair, electric blue eye shadow and my Lizzie McGuire days (you know- floral capris and crimped pieces of hair).  She literally knows every single last deep dark secret of mine.  I've known her since we were in middle school and we bonded over dance team and theater class as awkward 13 year old girls.  I have to admit that I used to get jealous of Jaci's other best friend all the time in High School.  But, then I realized that we were a different kind of best friends, which was a great thing!  The two of us could probably write a book about our outrageous memories...

My "Yin": Ariella

The "Yin" to my "Yang", Ariella and I first met right before our trip to S. Korea two years ago.  We balance each other out perfectly.  If I am freaking out over something, she will take my side or bring me to my senses, always.  We love the same things (except for movies) and can do just about anything together and be as happy as two peas in a pod!  I sometimes wish we had met earlier in life, but everything happens for a reason.

My Forever Friend: April

I've known her since we were 10... a good, solid almost 16 year friendship is what we have.  April moved away when we were about 13, but before then we were inseparable on the weekends (forced to go to different schools during the week really sucked).  I was heartbroken when she moved away, and then half way around the world as adult, then back again but still too far for my liking!  But, handwritten letters and emails kept our friendship alive, beyond the "normal" means of contact via social media.  From about the age of 14 to present day, we have written to each other at the very least once a month.  Our friendship exists because we put forth the effort to keep in touch and love one another as family.  I don't know what I would do without her, because she knows a part of me that nobody else ever can and vice versa.

Do you have more than one best friend?  What makes someone a best friend to another person?

GFC Lovin

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

workin' for the weekend.

we're almost half way there!  my week has been full of meetings, documentation and running around trying to celebrate all of the end of April and early May birthday's (there are a ton)!

I absolutely cannot wait for the weekend because we have a special surprise that will be arriving on Saturday!  I can't wait to share it with everyone!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Instagram Recap.

I used to be a lot more interesting on Instagram.

I promise.

Cat napping in my (still) unpacked office.

Spaghetti and homemade meatballs night!

Here's to a more exciting week to come!

Follow me on Instagram: gelfarrar

Pearls and Curls

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Addictions...

Here are just a few of the things that I am currently obsessed with...!

1. I recently purchased two eclairs from Glaziers food market a few days ago... and I scarfed them both down within, well- two days!  Now they are all I can think about!  Thank goodness I've implemented a 5 days a week at the gym routine into my life, or I would be in trouble since my self control is slim to none.

2. I used to watch Switched at Birth when it first debuted, but then I stopped near the end of season one.  I am a sucker for ABC Family shows and decided to pick up where I left off when I saw they had season two on Netflix!

3. It might sound strange, but I am obsessed with drinking water.  Actually- I have always been!  Since I work in an office that provides free soda, coffee and tea- the temptation is always there.  But, I hate the feeling that drinking things other than water, juice or coffee gives me.  So, everyday on a continuous cycle, I keep a big cup of water at my desk.  I literally drink about 7 cups throughout the workday.  I am convinced that my co-workers think I'm crazy when I get up to pee every 30 minutes!  In the end, the pay off for my skin is amazing!

4. Oh Wedding section of Pinterest.  You suck up so many of my daily hours!  Only a few more weeks until we can lock in our date!

What are some of your current Spring Addictions?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Friend Needy.

Do you ever get into a funk where you feel like you have no friends?  I mean, of course you really do... but something feels off.

You text, message and constantly ask your friends to hang out, but they're too busy or fail to respond.

All of your best friends live in different states.  And you just found out that the one who does live nearby is probably moving away in two months.

Your fiance (who feels like your only friend, besides the cats) could potentially be gone for 6 months leaving you all by your lonesome.

And you're convinced that your house is haunted.  Maybe the ghost can be your friend?

You're friend needy and having a pity party about it.  Cue the world's smallest violin.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekend Recap: Hiking, Naps and Chinese Food.

I have not "slept in" in over two weeks... I miss it.

Saturday morning we got up around 6:30 am to head out to Red Rock Canyon to do some hiking before it got too hot out.  We decided on the Calico Tanks trail which is listed as moderate on a scale of difficulty and was 2 hours, round trip.

I am not much of a hiker/outdoor person, so I didn't really know what to expect.  I was thinking that trail markers would be everywhere and it would be a nice straight path to our final destination.

I was wrong.  So so wrong.  At some points we were climbing up rocks, scaling ledges and squeezing through jagged rocks.  Here are some of the beautiful highlights of our hike...

We finished up our hike and grabbed lunch at Subway which was delicious since we were exhausted!  And then I had the most glorious of naps.  You know the kind where you sleep for 2 solid hours and wake up thinking it's morning so you're confused?

I've noticed that since we have moved into our new place, Nick and I are able to spend more time together. I can plan things when we have days off together, plus we cook together and are going to the gym 5x a week now (still going strong and sore with that).  We decided to make orange chicken and rice for dinner, but bought some Thai takeout egg rolls since we didn't feel like frying anything in the kitchen.  I also discovered a new favorite wine... that doesn't make me break out in hives!

And so another weekend flies by...

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hi there!
i'm angelica. a twenty something, newly engaged, lover of literature and coffee.
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