A good day to you, sirs and ma’ams. How are you on this fine Tuesday? I am feeling very excited today because…tomorrow Justin and I are going to California!!!
I’m a little less excited for the 6am flight, but I’m hoping the early wakeup call will help me to sleep through the 5 hour flight..fingers triple crossed. While this isn’t my first trip to Cali—I’ve been to L.A. a few times—it will be my first time visiting the Sans (Francisco and Diego, that is).
Some of the things I’m excited to do in the Sans:
- 3 words: San Diego Zoo
- Seeing my first real-life panda at the zoo!!!
- Beach time
- Hiking in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
- Eating delicious food, naturally
- Touristy stuff like seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Warf, Alcatraz, etc.
Any suggestions you guys have on must sees & dos in the Sans would be greatly appreciated!
Speaking of taking trips to awesome places, Justin and I took our 2nd annual trip to Scottsdale, AZ this past March. While there, we visited many places that we enjoyed during our visit the year before, including the below awesome restaurant, Olive & Ivy.
While there, I ordered their Mediterranean Salad and was greatly impacted by it, as I often am by good food. Upon eating the salad, I declared, “I shall recreate this salad at home, so that I may enjoy it whenever I very well please!”
Olive & Ivy’s Mediterranean Salad
Well, 4 months later I finally got around to fulfilling my declaration of salad. Upon tasting my creation, I declared “Tis delicious!” to which Justin concurred, adding that it was in fact “one of the best salads he had ever eaten”. I have to agree with him that this salad rivals any salad that I have made thus far. There are so many amazing flavors going on at once–the rich nutty taste of the toasted almonds, the crisp tomato and cucumber, the creamy couscous, and tangy feta–all brightened with the lemon and oregano from the dressing. Top with whatever protein you desire, if you desire–we’ve tried both grilled shrimp and shredded rotisserie chicken, which were both awesome.
Inspired by Olive and Ivy’s Mediterranean Salad
for the salad:
5 cups spring mix, roughly chopped
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, chopped
8 oz grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths
1/2 cup crumbled feta
for the couscous:
1 cup uncooked couscous
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp oregano
salt & pepper
for the dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste
Dressing: Whisk together all ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Couscous: Heat the 1 tbsp. of olive oil and garlic in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous and cook until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth, oregano, and a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the couscous is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool while you prep the rest of the salad.
Salad: In a large bowl, toss together the prepared spring mix, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, toasted almonds, and couscous. Toss with desired amount of the dressing if desired (I like to just drizzle mine on each serving).
Top with protein of choice, if desired: grilled shrimp, chicken, or tofu are all great options! Tip: If grilling shrimp or chicken, season with olive oil, 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic, a pinch of oregano, and salt & pepper before grilling.
I will try my best to pop in and say hello from CA! Enjoy the rest of your week!
Ever been to California?
Recommendations for things to do in San Diego & San Francisco?