A Polished Palate

Living a tasteful life

Saturday, November 11, 2017

It's My Birthday!

Whit and I have escaped on a quick getaway this weekend to celebrate my birthday and I couldn't be more excited. Given that we just got back from Italy, we decided to go somewhere close by. So, we hit the road to Savannah, GA! I haven't visited in years, and I'm looking forward to exploring the city and seeing how it's grown.

This year's birthday celebrations are much more low key than last year, and rightfully so. Last year I celebrated the big 3-0 in Florida with some of my closest girlfriends. Here are a few pics from our trip. It really was one of the best Birthday celebrations I could have asked for. Cheers to great memories and a new year of making more!








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Monday, November 6, 2017

Erno Laszlo Vitamin C Peel | A Review

I've tried several facial scrubs over the years but never any vitamin c peels. I'm not even kidding you when I say that after one use of the  Erno Laszlo Vitamin C Peel, I was hooked. I have the Erno Laszlo White Marble Dual Phase Vitamin C Peel, which consists of a two-step peel. packed with  super-nutrient vitamin C which exfoliates, brightens, and moisturizes skin.  Some of these skin treatments can be too harsh and feel as though your scrubbing your face with sandpaper, but this one doesn't at all. Don't get me wrong, it's still a scrub so you do feel the abrasion, but its not a bad feeling. The application and whole process takes just a few minutes. First, you rub your face with the peel for up to three minutes and then mix in the peel activator for another minute. Then rinse your face with warm water and val-ah! My skin has never felt so soft and smooth. And did I mention that it smells amazing?!
This is good for gently polishing your skin and fading away dark spots and discoloration. I felt like my skin has been dull lately and I really wanted something to brighten it up and get that flow back again. I can't honestly say that I felt like this product did the trick. My complexion will appeared to be silky smooth and illuminated after just one use. I can't wait to continue it on a weekly basis to get the full results. I'm typically not one to invest a whole lot of money in beauty products, but the older I get, the more important I realize it is to use things that are safe and provide results, even if that means splurging a little. I was fortune to receive this product free for testing purposes but I will be adding it to my regular skincare routine moving forward. It really is a amazing! If you're interested in reading more about it or purchasing some for yourself, you can do so here

Also, in the photo below, you will see little cream packets. Those were samples but I'm using them sparingly because I love it so much. It's the perfect finish for your face after the peel. The way your skin feels after is the equivalent of using paraffin wax during a spa treatment. Erno Laszlo has several other products that I'm now eyeing after using these. I would love to try the Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar, White Marble Sheet Mask, and the Firmarine Lift Face Mask

What are some of your favorite scrubs and peels? Have any of you ever tried any of these products? If so, what are your thoughts? 


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Monday, October 30, 2017

Thai Fried Riced Cauliflower

I've been spending a little more time in the kitchen lately and it feels good! It always seems like that happens in the fall. When the weekend afternoons become too chilly to be outside, I find myself indoors, trying out new recipes. I made this recipe last night and wanted to share it with you. I was sipping my cup of coffee, watching The Kitchen on Food Network, per my usual weekend morning routine and they were making this Thai fried rice cauliflower. I immediately grabbed my computer and searched for the recipe so I could save it for later. I had purchased some cauliflower rice the other day because I had been wanting to try it, so this seemed a good opportunity. 

I tweaked the original recipe just slightly and I thought it turned out really well. I left out the Thai chile pepper mainly because I don't care for the heat and I always forget and rub my eyes when I cut peppers. It never fails. So, I just decided to avoid this altogether. I also doubled the recipe because Whit and I like to have leftovers. Oh and if you follow along on my insta stories, you will see that there was a toasted peanut incident so we were without those last night. But I bought some today to top the leftovers we are having tonight. Also, I think I think adding a fried egg to it would be really good as well.



Thai Fried Rice Cauliflower
Ingredients
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin slices
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 small yellow onions, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons ground ginger
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Thai chile pepper, thinly sliced ( I omitted this)
2 12-ounce packages frozen riced cauliflower with lemon and garlic, defrosted
1/2 lime
4 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped toasted peanuts
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves


Instructions
1.     Cut chicken into thin slices and toss in a large bowl. Add cornstarch and mix together.
2.     In a separate bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce.
3.     Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the chicken stirring until cooked thoroughly, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate.
4.     Add the onion and red bell pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.
5.     Next add the ginger, garlic and Thai chile pepper (if you so choose) and cook for another minute.
6.     Stir in the riced cauliflower and cook for another 1 minute.
7.     Stir in the oyster sauce mixture and continue to cook until the cauliflower is cooked throughout, another 1 to 2 minutes.
8.     Transfer to a serving bowl and finish with a squeeze of lime juice. Garnish with the scallions, toasted peanuts and cilantro leaves.
Recipe adapted from: The Kitchen on FoodNetwork
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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Italy Recap: Capri

Bonjourno! We're back from an amazing, dream vacation in Italy and I can't wait to tell you all about it! Whit and I take a trip every year to celebrate our anniversary and this year we decided to go with our good friends, Melissa and Jay. We normally choose tropical regions but Europe was calling our names. We were gone for a total of ten days, and traveled to Capri, Positano, Tuscany and Rome so I have a lot to share. I've gotten several requests about our itinerary and how we went about planning this trip so I thought I would break it down into multiple posts. There is so much to do and see in Italy, making it difficult to narrow down only a few places to visit. While I'm the type of person that wants to see it all, spreading yourself too thin when traveling is not a good approach. In an effort to make the most of our time there, my friend Melissa and I did tons of research regarding places to eat, places to see, things to do, etc. We started off with a packed itinerary but ended up doing some minor edits along the way. I was overall very pleased with everything we did and the places we saw. So let me start from the beginning.

HOW TO GET TO CAPRI

We left Charleston on Thursday afternoon and drove to Atlanta. From there we took a direct flight into Rome which was around ten hours but went by quickly since we slept most of the time. We arrived in Rome Friday morning and began our long day of continued travel. We hopped on the airport train (Leonardo Express) for a thirty minute ride to the Roma Termini railway station. From there we had an hour and ten minute train ride to Naples. From the train station in Naples, we took a quick cab ride to the port where we then took a forty-five minute ferry ride to Capri. I think we took every form of transportation known to man that day. Once we arrived at the marina in Capri, we took another taxi to our hotel.The roads there are so steep and narrow that the cabs can only get you so close to your destination. The four of us weary travelers drug our heavy luggage through the cobblestone streets to our hotel. Tips: Be sure to plan enough time in between all the forms of transportation you take in order to avoid missing any connections. Thankfully we made all of ours. Also, call your hotel before you arrive and they will send a porter to get your luggage from the marina when you get off the boat. We were exhausted and running on adrenaline by the time we got to our hotel.

WHERE TO STAY

We checked into Hotel La Vega, a small but beautiful boutique hotel, situated on a little side street in Capri, offering picturesque sea views from the private balconies in each of the rooms. When searching for places to stay, we were looking for a place with a nice view, in a good location for a reasonable price. This hotel checked all of these boxes.

We stayed in one of their deluxe rooms, which was very spacious. The room was elegantly furnished, decorated with hand painted tiled majolica flooring from Vietri and had a great view from the balcony.

And we were welcomed with champagne and potato chips. I soon learned that potato chips are brought to the table at almost every restaurant you visit. It's kind of like the way we do bread. I think I like the chips better.


WHERE TO EAT & THINGS TO DO

We probably would have planned for a low-key evening on the first night, but there was a restaurant we really wanted to go to and Friday was our only option. We had the most amazing dinner at Da Paolina Restaurant. I first spotted this place on someone's Instagram story and just knew we had to go. Imagine walking down a dim lit walkway that leads to an outdoor space with beautifully set tables, underneath a dense forest of lemon trees. Are you with me? The atmosphere of this restaurant was a dream. And what's better than a restaurant with good ambiance, a restaurant with even better food! We had the parma ham with buffalo mozzarella and a plate of the grilled mozzarella between lemon leaves to start. For main main course, I went straight for the gnocchi. Cheesy and full of flavor, this was one of my favorite meals on the trip.
A sweet lovers dream. They also had a dessert buffet! If I hadn't been so stuffed from dinner, I probably would have sampled one of each.
After dinner we headed back to the Piazzetta, otherwise known as the small square in the heart of Capri, with far-reaching views and a number of cafes and bars. A nightcap at Pulalli Wine Bar and a few dances at a local club, and we called it a night.

A self-serve cappuccino maker and a buffet of croissants, assorted meats and cheeses that the hotel offered, brought us back to life the next morning. Our original itinerary had us beginning the day with a two-hour boat tour to the Blue Grotto, but mother nature had other plans. We had to cancel our trip due to heavy winds. Our whole day had been planned around this boat tour but we made the best of it and went exploring on our own. The chairlift in Anicapri was also on our list, but that's not a risk I was willing to take with the wind gusts.
We had lunch at Terrazza Brunella, a local restaurant with gorgeous views overlooking the Marina Piccola serving gourmet cuisine. I highly recommend going here during the day so you can enjoy the breathtaking views.

We continued the afternoon getting lost along the streets of beautiful Capri, admiring all of the luxurious stores, hotels and restaurants the beautiful island has to offer.
Pre-dinner cocktails (and potato chips) and a few photo opps at the hotel and we headed out for the evening. Dinner reservations were at Aurora, one of the oldest restaurants on the island, specially known for their pizza and their walls lined with photos of celebrities who have visited. If I'm being one hundred percent honest, it wasn't the best pizza I've ever had. I think this is in part due to the difference in the way pizza is done in Italy vs the U.S. Melissa definitely won for best dish that evening, pappardelle pasta with mushrooms and black truffles. We all had dinner envy.
Obsessed with their blue and white tableware.
We finished off the evening at a cute little piano bar and lounge in the Tiberui Place Hotel an d had some amazing cocktails.
Sunday we were up bright and early for our rescheduled boat tour.
The island is evening more stunning by boat.
Our guide took us around the island and to the Blue Grotto. Once you are at the grotto, your boat must wait it's turn in line for passengers to get into a smaller boat that takes you into the actual cave. There was over an hour wait that date due to all the cancellations the day before. So unfortunately we didn't have time to actually go in.
Once the tour ended, we headed back to the main marina to catch the ferry to take us directly to Positano. Stay tuned for the second part of our trip! Capri, you are so pretty!


ADDITIONAL ITINERARY NOTES

We had a few additional things on our itinerary as back up options in case we changed our mind on dinner reservations or if we just felt like switching things up. I like to have backup options. I also like to see places in person such as restaurants, which assists in the decision making process.  Here are a few other places that were on our list. 

Anema e Core- According to the website,  it’s not unlikely to run into world famous celebrities like BeyoncĂ©, Mariah Carey and Naomi Campbell here. After the restaurant service, the place transforms into a club and everyone dances on the tables, even to traditional Neapolitan music! We attempted to go here but decided we didn't feel like paying the 45 Euro cover charge. But I'm sure it's a great place for nightlife on Capri.

Beach Club il Riccio- This spot was on our list to stop at for lunch after our boat tour. Given we had to switch our boat days, unfortunately we didn't have time. It looks super cute, bright and airy- "where the colors blend with the sea." It seems like the perfect place to pop in for a refreshing drink after a day on the boat. 

La Capannina- Another restaurant with great reviews that's also known for celebrity sightings. Now that I think about it, a lot of places seem to mention that. 

Villa Verde- This restaurant came highly recommended. I also read great things about their pizza. 

Mount Solaro- As I previously mentioned, the chairlift was on our list but the wind got in our way. This is suppose to offer one of the most breathtaking views of Capri, for those of you that can tolerate heights that is. It was highly recommended and if you get the chance, you should definitely do it.


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