Coffee and Croissants

coffee-and-croissants-headerI love any excuse to have a couple of friends over. Coffee and croissants paired with good company make me one happy California girl.

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Though I spent most of my life in Canada, I’m a sunshine girl at heart, and with the Indian summer we’ve had, I was longing for warm cozy scarves and a pair of socks. It’s finally cooled down enough for us to sip on belly-warming drinks and dress in layers. To celebrate the crisp cool autumn, I wanted my friends over for some coffee and croissants. It’s always fun to entertain now that we have a larger space here in California. While we were living in Canada we had an apartment with not much room to move about.

The true star of the show was the new Nescafé Dolce Gusto we were sent to try out. I’m not a coffee connoisseur by any means, but I do know a good vanilla macchiato when I taste one, am I right? Along with the warm fresh croissants I had a big bowl out, of the sweetest strawberries that has ever been on your tastebuds. They’re grown locally, about an hour away in Salinas. The produce here in California is unreal. I can’t get enough fruits and veggies, everything is delicious.

We sat around the kitchen while we all caught up on everyone’s lives. Spending time with my husband and our friends makes me appreciate the little moments. We’re expecting three sets of visitors between now and Christmas, and we can impress them with fancy warm drinks. Layered vanilla macchiato, coming right up. Instant gratification. I am talking fast — it takes no time to heat up the machine. First time testing that flavour out, I had no idea that it required two pods to make the one beverage, thinking I had poured myself an espresso sized drink. Depending on which coffee drink you want, you will use one or two of the capsules.

Our Dolce Gusto Genio is perfect for our family, simply for the fact that we drink coffee as a special treat, and making a huge pot of it would only go to waste. You can see it doesn’t take up much counter space, it’s stylish, makes great coffee, and the pods are easily stored inside a drawer or up in the cabinet. For the health nuts like ourselves, we’re pleased to see that hydrogenated oil isn’t used in the pods.The only drawback to the machine is that when you take the pods out, they’re piping hot and trail liquid out the bottom; especially if you have a drink that requires two pods — you have to drop them into the garbage quickly in order to get your second pod brewing.

What is your favourite type of warm drink to have during the cooler months?

I was sent the Nescafe Dolce Gusto in exchange for my review. Opinions are my own.

PHOTOGRAPHY by my friend Jessica Doll.

Pom Friday . 2

Alfie is a weird Pomeranian. All my life I’ve had medium sized mutt’s, so having a tiny pup like Alfie is always an adventure. He’s full of energy most of the time, and he’s always checking out new places. When I’m getting ready in the morning he whimpers to get into the bathtub. Occasionally he’ll jump in there himself, but when we moved to the town home the tub’s edge must be intimidating to him. He gets a boost up and walks around in the tub like he’s King of the Castle. Figures. He always acts like that.

So for Halloween, I thought I’d dress him up like he was getting a scrub down in one of his favourite spots. We don’t bathe him often, because we don’t want his skin to dry out, plus he doesn’t get incredibly dirty anyway. It’s not like we’re taking him in the mud and dirt for him to roll around. He much prefers to do that in grass, or snow. Not going to be seeing that for a little while, buddy.

When I placed my shower cap on his head, I couldn’t hold my BlackBerry up without shaking my hands from laughing so hard. Oh the uncontrollable later had me falling on my butt trying to get Alfie stabalized, not looking all around the tub, so I could snap a few treasures.

Lil guy will do anything for a treat (chip off the ol’ block). Watch out, the first few he’s giving you a little leg action there — what do you think, Next Top Dog?

Happy Halloween! Enjoy the photos.Alfie-shower-cap-1

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Wine Walk Tour, Carmel

Wine-Walk-Tour-headerIf you love wine, you are in for a treat when you visit Carmel-by-the-Sea. With 12 wine tasting rooms all within walking distance of one another, you can have your pick of four 1oz pours at your choice of any 9 of the 12 tasting rooms on the Wine Walk Tour.

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Flights-of-wineThe Guy and I were lucky to experience the Carmel Wine Walk Tour that Carrie from Hofsas House provided to us. From the 12 wine tasting rooms around you can sample local estate-grown still and sparkling wines. The wine passport is convenient for us, as it doesn’t expire. Since we are so close to Carmel, we can go on the self-guided wine walk tours for many weekends to come. Each ticket allows for a flight of wine, while you sip and mingle either with the locals already hanging out or visitors doing exactly what we were doing, trying out the different wines available.

De Tierra was our first stop and we spent a long time there, since the wine connoisseur was so welcoming and the guests who were there sampling were chatting with us. There, I realized I wasn’t a pinot noir fan from the start, but rather a fan of the smooth merlot which was much easier to get down. The Guy on the other hand liked the more spicier wines with a little smokey flavour to it, it was one of the pinot noir’s.

We admit, we’re not huge drinkers, and we know little about wine. All my knowledge of wine comes from simply knowing that my Father makes both red and white wines that are known to please a diverse palette. However we knew it was going to be a good night when we met up with a couple who were not too far from our new home, they brought their Vizsla pup to the wine tasting with them. Jamieson, an awesome and appropriate name don’t you think?

If you do find a wine you enjoy on the tour, you can purchase it and bring it with you to one of the participating restaurants and have the corkage fee waived.

Participating wine tasting rooms include: Caraccioli Cellars, Figge Cellars, Galante Vineyards, Vino Napoli, Silvestri Vineyards, Dawn’s Dream Winery, Scheid Vineyards, Manzoni Cellars, Blair Estate, Shale Canyon, Wrath Wines, and De Tierra Vineyards.

Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea
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To learn more visitwww.carmelwinewalk.org

Wine Walk Passports were provided to us at no fee. All opinions are my own.