VISITING JESSICA BIEL'S AU FUDGE

Mila and I had a girls' lunch (just the two of us) at Au Fudge, Jessica Biel and Estee Stanley's restaurant and creative space in West Hollywood. I think I can safely say that I've never seen the combination of kid-friendly and great style done so well. 

Let's start with the creative space. Here's Mila in the tree house. How fun is that?

Would be such a fun place for a birthday party.

The concept is that you're able to have your kids participate in an activity, game or craft in the playroom, while under the supervision of their professional au pairs (at $15/hr), so you're able to have lunch with the ladies or a mini date with your man.

So now onto the restaurant. In additional to the dining room and bar, there's a small but beautiful patio, that makes you feel like you've "gotten away."

Crayons, colored paper and clay delivered to the table to keep busy while waiting for food.

Searching for those last bits of fries.

Mila's outfit: top by Louise Misha via Thumbeline; jeans by Gap; sandals by Pepe via Elias & Grace.

WILDWOOD KITCHEN IN SANTA BARBARA

Our dad takes pride in knowing what's happening on the food scene and we're always happy to follow along on his adventure. So we were thrilled to hear that Wildwood Kitchen had opened it's doors at The Mill in Santa Barbara.

It was so lovely to spend a "wintery" afternoon, bundled up in jackets, as the sun lowered behind the building wall. 

As the mother of a toddler, I love nothing more than having an early dinner. And we're always on the hunt for good BBQ so this was such a great find.

Nothing like some good fries.

This is a BBQ Sampler with smoked chicken, pork ribs, tri tip and coleslaw -- all so good (as you can see, we dug in before the picture was even taken). And I think the chili was the best I've had.

Their signature BBQ sauces, one beer-based and the other with hints of coffee.

And we, especially Mila, loved exploring The Mill's beautifully landscaped courtyard.

See you again soon, Wildwood

STRANDS BEACH IN DANA POINT

I had forgotten that Strands Beach in Dana Point (also known as The Strand, Salt Creek Beach Park and Strand Vista Park) is one of my favorite places in the world, until Mila and I visited last weekend. It's a bit of work to get down to the beach, but wow, is it worth it. This is the beach my dreams are made of.

The waves are big but there's lots of shallow water for the kids to sit and play in before that point.

Beautiful path along the beach.

Looking out at the ocean from Strand Vista Park, the funicular on the left and stairs on the right, both lead down to the beach.

After leaving this glorious place, we ended the day with dinner at Gulfstream and dessert at Sprinkles Ice Cream. Perfect summer day!

MONTECITO'S THE HONOR BAR

Nothing makes me happier than a daycation to Montecito (Santa Barbara), and The Honor Bar (from Hillstone) is a favorite spot for lunch. It's a small setting with a small menu (which is always a good sign).

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The Macho Salad (chicken, avocado, almonds, dates, goat cheese, corn) and Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri. Toddler hand not included. 

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Some great chairs to lounge in while having something refreshing to drink.

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Really a pleasant setting to get you into that daycation state of mind.

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STUDIO CITY'S GIRASOL

The Valley is ever-so-slowly coming up in the food arena. With Girasol being at the forefront of this (opening almost two years ago), it is one of the best restaurants the area has to offer.  Executive chef and "Top Chef" alum CJ Jacobson, created a menu that they describe as refined-rustic California cuisine. And I have to say, some of the prettiest dishes around. Here's our recent meal.

Swirly greys, inspired by the sunflower - their namesake, cover their walls and ceiling.

Peach and Burrata Salad

Pan Roasted Mary's Chicken

Sea Bass (Fish Special of the Day)

Smashed Potato

Fresh Strawberries & Donuts and Chocolate Brownie Cake with Salated Caramel Gelato and a cappuccino for dessert. Forgive the dark shadowy pic and focus on the yumminess. 

If you are looking for an elevated dining experience in The San Fernando Valley, this is a good one. xx

Girasol is located at:

11334 Moorpark Street

Studio City, CA 91602