Monday, May 21, 2018

A DTLA Adventure with Bulletproof Café and King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

A DTLA Adventure with Bulletproof Café and King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh
By Kat Thomas

Last week Edible Skinny was lucky enough to experience at day in Downtown Los Angeles at the Bulletproof Café and King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at California Science Center

The day started with some DTLA butter coffee at Bulletproof Café in the Arts District!  Similar to it’s Santa Monica location this coffee shop a unique café and restaurant experience, complete with everything to biohack your way to higher performance!  This tech friendly stylish space offers coffee drinks with added grass-fed butter or oils that aim to boost energy.  While there we grabbed some Vanilla Lattes comprised of Espresso, Steamed Coconut Milk, Brain Octane, Grass-Fed Butter, and Vanilla Max.  The result: a brain that was running on full throttle!

With our brains buzzing, it was then off to the California Science Center to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb!  King Tut: Treasure of the Golden Pharaoh, is the largest King Tut exhibit that has ever toured!  Organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the management company IMG, the new exhibition has about triple the number of objects that have previously toured, many leaving Egypt for the first time, along with advanced display technology and new science about King Tut's life, health, death and lineage.  In curating new material for the exhibit, organizers said they aimed for intimate objects like the gold sandals on the mummy's feet when it was discovered, and a pair of worn linen gloves he may have used in real life.  As Steve Martin would say, “How'd you get so funky?  Did you do the monkey?”

So make sure to check out the Treasure of the Golden Pharaoh while it’s in LA as it bound to be the last time!  The exhibition will appear in 10 cities internationally over seven years, then the objects will go to the still-under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where they will remain permanently.

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Vegas Uncork'd - Burgers and Beats with Black Tap

On Saturday night Edible Skinny kicked it late night at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer for a night of burgers, beats, and of course, shakes during Vegas Uncork'd

Attendees sampled mouthwatering Black Tap Las Vegas snacks, burgers, and signature cocktails with a live DJ spinning tunes to keep the vibes pumping.  Chef/Owner Joe Isidori was master of ceremonies at chow time!  Samplings included Zesty Cheese Queso and Chips, Shrimp Tempura with Sweet Chili Lime, The All American Burger comprised of Prime Beef, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, American Cheese & Special Sauce, and (my Fav) The Greg Norman composed of Wagyu Beef, House Buttermilk, Dill, Blue Cheese, and Truffle Mayo.  Can we say Yummm (with 3 Ms)!

The Sweetest Thing!!!  The highlight on this party was the "one-time-only opportunity" to create your very own CrazyShake milkshake.  With a curated list of specialty “Vegas Uncork’d” ingredients, guests were able to let their imagination and taste buds go wild with a custom shake. 

And Hello Bell Biv DeVoe!  There was also a lip-sync battle where guests could wow the crowds with their favorite 80s pop and 90s hip hop.  You can see Matt in action on the last photo of pack!

Here's to Life Being Delicious, all your Moments Being Postcard Worthy, and creating your very own CrazyShake!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Vegas Uncork'd - The Grand Tasting

Last Friday night Edible Skinny was lucky enough to visit Caesars Palace for Vegas Uncork'd: The Grand Tasting at the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis. 
This is Vegas Uncork'd's BIG EVENT!  The 12th annual Grand Tasting gave guests the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to taste a staggering variety of the world’s most coveted dishes from the most famous restaurants around the globe, while rubbing elbows with their favorite chefs. 
The Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis was home for the evening to more than 2,500 festival-goers who sampled signature dishes prepared by 50+ award-winning chefs and sipped on samplings of 100 of the best wines from around the world.  It was an Epicurean Bacchanalia!

Some of our favorites included:
  • Yucatan Chicken Taco with Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto & Pickled Red Onion Slaw from Mesa Grill 
  • Umami Quail with Jalapeno Dressing from Nobu Restaurant & Lounge.
  •  The Bam Bam Shake from Black Tap.  A Fruity Pebble Shake comprised of Vanilla Frosted Rim with Fruity Pebbles, Topped with a Fruity Pebbles Rice Krispy Treat, Strawberry Pop-Tart, Laffy Taffy, Whipped Cream, & a Cherry on top!
Here's to Life Being Delicious, all your Moments Being Postcard Worthy, and Epicurean Bacchanalias!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Vegas Uncork'd Saber Off with Masaharu Morimoto

Edible Skinny was lucky enough to attend 12th annual Vegas Uncork'd Saber Off.  Hosted by Bon Appétit Magazine presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Southern Glazers NV of Nevada. 

The festivities began with a pop as some of the biggest names in the culinary world united in Las Vegas for a weekend of festivities at Bellagio, Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay, MGM Resorts' The Park, The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas.  Joined by more than 20 legendary chefs including Guy Savoy, Shawn McClain, Timon Balloo and Stephen Hopcraft, chef Masaharu Morimoto ceremoniously sabered a bottle of Prosecco (after quite a few attempts) at The Park, MGM Resorts International's outdoor dining and entertainment district.

Check out our photos below!


Fit For A Queen - A Mother's Day Product Review Guide

A Mother's Day Product Review Guide for Moms Everywhere — Fit For A Queen
Moms are like buttons-they hold everything together. --Unknown

With the BIG M-DAY on Sunday we here at Edible Skinny thought we'd celebrate your number one FAN in style. So here's a couple of suggestions for that last minute gift, because Life doesn't come with a manual, it comes with a mother! ;-)

For the Glam Mom - FOREO LUNA GO
Every Mom wants to look their Best-est! Well let her embrace flawlessly beautiful skin with the FOREO Luna Go. This facial cleansing brush combines T-Sonic cleansing and anti-aging technology in a device no larger than a cotton pad. The newest, and smallest, addition to the Foreo family the Luna Go is 100% waterproof with a sealed charging port so you can use in bath or shower. It fits in a makeup bag seamlessly. Perfect for traveling, as it takes up just about ZERO room in a suitcase (perfect since it's filled with everyone's overflow items....)

For the Techie Mom - Skyroam Solis
Give Mom the gift of WiFi, virtually anywhere! The Skyroam Solis is a dual 4G LTE global WiFi hotspot and power bank. With instant access to secure, unlimited data in more than 110 countries (THAT'S RIGHT I JUST WROTE 110 COUNTRIES),, it offers the convenience of going from one country to another without configuring local SIMs, updating plans, incurring roaming charges or overage fees, shareable on up to five devices simultaneously. Skyroam products seamlessly connects users with mobile WiFi on the go through its proprietary global WiFi network powered by patented virtual SIM (vSIM) technology. It satisfies the most significant needs of travelers with super fast LTE speeds, long-lasting battery, and mobile charging that will keep users powered up all day long.

For the Active Mom (Part 1) - BUFF Headband
No Mom like flyaways in her face at yoga class. Enter BUFF Headbands which offers technical headwear for yogis, runners, and Lightning In A Bottle Attendees. COOLMAX PRO quick-dry fabric wicks away moisture and blocks UV rays and helps you keep cool as Vanilla Ice serving ice cream! ;-)

For the Active Mom (Part 2) - 5.11 Cascadia Windbreaker Jacket
After traveling to Amsterdam and back I can accurately say the Cascadia Windbreaker Jacket is the perfect lightweight, go-anywhere piece. AND you can pack into its own pockets making it easy to take on any adventure! Perfect for those days when the wind and temperatures can change in minutes (READ The North Sea). The Cascadia features venting just behind the shoulders and a durable polyester fabric with a DWR finish, along with two-way YKK®-zippered front hand pockets that are perfect for essentials like your keys, phone, or Skyroam Solis so your phone's never below 30% battery!
For the Protein Shaker Mom - BlenderBottle

Radian's BlenderBottle is all about the shaking, to the point of T Swift status! These bottles are constantly voted the best protein shaker cups for a reason. Their premium materials, leak-proof seal, and superior mixing regularly bring praise from the likes of Men's Fitness, Self Magazine, ESPN W, professional sports teams, and many others. The superior mixing of the BlenderBall is due in large part to its free flowing, "springy" nature; unlike stationary mesh grates or other in-lid elements, the BlenderBall whips around inside the bottle as you shake, bouncing off both the top and bottom and working against the liquids. No batteries, no cord, no hassle. The density of the stainless steel and the tried-and-true whisk design allow it to literally cut through powders and liquids. Double-wall vacuum insulation keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours. So shake it off!!!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Discovering the Other Side of The Red Light District: Amsterdam Exposed by David Wienir

Discovering the Other Side of The Red Light District: Amsterdam Exposed by David Wienir
By Kat Thomas

As you'll see from this interview, timing is everything in life. And so it was absolutely fitting that within hours of heading to Amsterdam for the first time, I sat down to interview David Wienir for his upcoming book: Amsterdam Exposed.

Welcome to an intimate look at the world's oldest profession! Wienir's latest book, Amsterdam Exposed: An American's Journey into The Red Light District, is an original and provocative travel memoir detailing his time in Amsterdam as an exchange student from Berkeley Law in the late 90's. Amsterdam Exposed tells the true one-of-a-kind story of an innocent exchange student who moves to Amsterdam hoping to write a book about The Red Light District and everything that ensues. While abroad Wienir befriends a prostitute named Emma, forever reshaping both of their perspectives on intimacy, commerce, sexuality, one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world, and the women who work there.

David Wienir is a business affairs executive at United Talent Agency and entertainment law instructor at UCLA Extension. Before UTA, he practiced law at two of the top entertainment law firms where he represented clients such as Steven Spielberg and Madonna. His previous books include Last Time: Labour's Lessons from the Sixties (co-authored with a Member of Parliament at the age of 23), The Diversity Hoax: Law Students Report from Berkeley (afterword by Dennis Prager), and Making It on Broadway: Actors' Tales of Climbing to the Top (foreword by Jason Alexander). Educated at Columbia, Oxford, The LSE, Berkeley Law, and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, David is married to Dr. Dina, a pioneer of the medical cannabis movement and the inspiration for the Nancy Botwin character in the show Weeds.

How did you get into this story?
I was on this path to being a lawyer, but I've always been artistic. Yet, I never thought about being an author till I became one. I studied Philosophy as an undergrad, so I'm a searcher. I'm looking for answers to questions. I think sometimes as an author you get tapped. You become a vehicle for sharing a story or conveying a message or opening up a world because you're uniquely situated to do so.
Ironically yesterday, I found the journal of the first time I backpacked through Amsterdam at age 20. It was kind of devastating to see how threatened I was by the space; what my preconceived notions were about that world. My first time there, Amsterdam was a place that when I got there I wanted nothing to do with it. I remember bragging in my journal to myself, how I went to these coffee shops and only drank that coffee and let everyone else smoke "the weed" because that wasn't the world I was brought up in. Fast forward my first year of law school where, I went to the Mustang Ranch briefly. There I spent a few hours just talking with one of the woman who worked there. That encounter really changed my understanding of prostitution. It dawned on me, she's really she's no different than I am. These are issues we're entrenched in. It took me time to to figure it all out, which I think shows there's hope for all of us.
And I think that's one of the major premises of the book. We often hear about women who are prostitutes and we want to label them. We want to judge them. We want to turn them into these two-dimensional beings and stick them on the lower tiers of society so we can be superior to them. I think that's one of the main problems when it comes to prostitution. We're not going to change industry, it's the world's oldest profession, but we can do a whole lot better as a society to recognize them as human beings.

What's one of the preconceived notions of The Red Light District you'd like to change?
Often it doesn't have to do with sex. Yet because people perceive that it's all about sex, they see it as such a threatening world. This book is surprisingly provocative by showing innocence in this space. It's challenging by talking about the the place sexuality holds in people's lives. Prostitution in Amsterdam has gone on for hundreds of years, but there's only been a couple little pamphlets and guidebooks written about The Red Light District. It's almost like they're completely forgotten the women working there. I think most people look at The Red Light District as either hating it as this evil thing or they romanticize it. The thing that I think is probably the most threatening about this book, and the thing that I'm the most proud of, is how non-judgmental the book is towards the concept of The Red Light District and prostitution.
How has The Red District changed since you were there?
It's a very different Amsterdam than was in this book. Today, the District is fighting for its survival. It's the subject that people are really wrestling with. When I was there in 1999 there were 520 windows in Amsterdam, as of 2016 there were 324. That's a 25% reduction. In Arnhem, where Emma started, their Red Light District used to have 300 windows when I was there, now it no longer even exists.

What do you think is the bigger perspective of this book?
The fact that we had a human connection in a place where that wasn't permitted, that really took me off guard. To be able to build trust with one of these women in the windows is unheard of, it doesn't happen.
At the end of book I reference the idea from Eastern culture called "The Red Thread of Fate," which is the idea that this energy connects two people together. They are meant to be in each others life for a reason and change each other for the better. It was something that was definitely there. The way I connected with Emma was I bought all these flowers and presented them to her. In that moment, almost with a sense of desperation, I felt I had to give them to her. I needed to change her day, to brighten it just a bit. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. It lead to something pretty spectacular and I hope that that moment is inspiring. Not just to people who go to The District, but to human interaction overall.

What do you make of the fact that you didn't write this book for 20 years?
This book for me is about providing voices to the women in the windows, but even so it took me a long time to get to be able to do so. It was about getting to a point where I was able to share myself.
Early in my career I was working at a big formal international firm. This was followed by working at the two top talent boutiques representing Madonna and Steven Spielberg. That was an environment where I felt I would be judged. It wasn't until I got married a couple of years ago that I could fully put myself in the book and realize it was as much about my transformation as it was about Emma's. I really acknowledge my wife for allowing me, and pushing me, to finally embrace this story.

What do you think this book says about sexuality?
It's not a sanitized book. Sex is a very taboo subject; it's a world that most people don't want you talking about it. It's obviously respectful, but I didn't let the PC culture make me write a PC book about a non-PC world.
It's not a scientific book, it's about opening up a world and telling one tale behind one of those windows. Even though I have a background in public policy from the London School of Economics, this book is not trying to be social science. I'm not trying to speak for every women in Amsterdam who works in a window, as I shouldn't.
At the end of the day, it's a sweet simple platonic love story between a 26 year old law student and an Amsterdam prostitute.

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Monday, April 30, 2018

Let's Getaway: Dutch Edition Travel Product Review

 Let's Getaway: Dutch Edition Travel Product Review
By Kat Thomas and Matt Bourquardez
Recently Edible Skinny was lucky enough to spend 8 days in The Netherlands. Between the canals of Amsterdam and the windmills of the North Sea, we discovered this country far and wide. And while on our trek of this Dutch wonderland, we utilized our time as kickass reporters to test out some travel items, Welcome to: “Let's Getaway: Dutch Edition Travel Product Review.” So Cheers to exploring the globe! Or as they say in The Netherlands... Proost!

Dank je! On our way to discovering Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (aka the Kingdom of the Low Countries), we decided to learn some of the language basics. Enter online language course Babbel... the comprehensive learning system combines effective education methods with state-of-the-art technology. This isn't just about listening, interactive online courses improve your grammar through playing with your computer's microphone. Within days our vocabulary and and pronunciation skills were amped up to 11. Which was about the number of words we remembered when we got over to the Netherlands. But Hey, we said them like an authentic Hollander! ;-)

It sucks to get sick when your traveling, and unfortunately this happened to Matt on our trip... Luckily we had some Olbas Oil on hand to speed up the process of healing. Originating in Basel, Switzerland over 100 years ago, Olbas Oil is a blend of six essential oils made from healing herbs. These kickass oils are pure plant remedies (some of the nature's secret weapons in maintaining wellness). Olbas contains essential oils of peppermint (aromatic stimulant), eucalyptus (promotes oxygen absorption), cajeput (sinus soothing), wintergreen (warm soothing effect when used in massage), juniper (stimulated metabolism), and clove (strong stimulating aromatic). Since Kat didn't succumb to the sniffles, we deemed this the “good stuff” to prevent and protect yourself from those common cold breeding airplanes!

Kat LIVED in Cotopaxi’s Kusa Hybrid Jacket while in chilly Amsterdam... And not just because it’s made with llama-fleece (cause who doesn’t LOVE some llama LOVE...). This Hybrid features some SUPER technical things like 20D ripstopnylon fabric, which is finished with a DWR to create a light, durable, water-resistant outer shell. And below this technology Cotopaxi has applied their unique llama-fleece insulation to keep you nice and warm when the mercury dips. Plus it’s a Do-Goodery company! Cotopaxi designates 2% of their revenue to help alleviate poverty around the world. Their products are guaranteed to last 61 years, the average lifespan of a person living in the developing world! So stay European warm in Llama style!!!

THIS BAG WAS A LIFESAVER! The Moshi Tego Sling Messenger blends functionality with a sleek Asian minimalist design. The Tego was PERFECT for biking the streets of Amsterdam. The cross body messenger, is wearable on the left or right shoulder, features a quick-release strap for easy access, and an ActiveStrap for added stability on the move. Smart yet refined, each bag in the Tego series is constructed with concealed rear zippers for added security when we hit the streets of Europe. Crafted from a lightweight and durable fabric, this messenger bag is cut-proof and weather-resistant to keep your belongings secure and dry. Plus it's SUPER DUPER sophisticated looking making you look like you're wearing a bag from the FUTURE! ;-)

This is life hacking at its best! This lightweight collapsible water bottle can roll up to the size of an orange when your done using it! The bottle loops around your wrist for easy carry or attaches to your bag for quick access. Nomader is rated for temperatures of below 4 degrees to 248 degrees, making it safe to use for boiling water, hot beverages, and frozen margarita drinks. This space saving water bottle is perfect a post TSA filler up!!!

If your a fan of Edible Skinny, you know we are FANS of Ashley Black’s FasciaBlaster®!!! So we were delighted to test drive the FaceBlaster™ while voyaging in the North Sea. The FaceBlaster™ is a completely new fascia straightening design with 3 tiny, dainty claws that employ the same benefits of the FasciaBlaster® for smaller, delicate areas. It was specifically designed for the face and can help release tension, fascial adhesions, and tightness between the smallest joints and bones in the hands, feet, and neck. So for anyone with tight necks from carrying bags (READ US) or have TMG for stressing over delayed flights (also READ US): THIS IS THE PRODUCT FOR YOU!!!

Hollerback! This anti wrinkle button down has the ability for any traveler to go from Backpacker to Business Casual in 5 minutes! Ministry of Supply interviewed dozens of women to understand their clothing demands...they then went to into the laboratory and got to work. The result is their Easier Than Silk Shirt: machine washable, wrinkle-resistant, and as flexible as Kayne West's politics... ;-)

Orthotics with soul! When walking upon cobble-stoned streets, taking care of your toesies and feetsies becomes a priority! But Hallelujah, Soul Insole’s minimalist and flexible design works with your shoes, not against them. The biomechanically designed shape of the Soul Insole effectively redistributes pressure evenly across the foot to relieve pressure from the heel and forefoot. An arch booster that can be added to a full length insole or placed in any shoe. Soul Insole uses the medial wall and existing structure of the shoe to increase support to your arch (which means it will feel different in each shoes). Soul Insole prevents overpronation while training the foot to maintain proper alignment and gait, helping to relieve symptoms of Plantar Fascitis. Hip Hip Hooray for feetsies so happy they can dance the night away!!!

Never been disheveled again! The TravelWise 5 Piece Packing Cube Set is a travel essential that allows clothes to stay folded and neat when packed in their own "small drawers". These cubes have been featured on PopSugar, Marriot Traveler, and Reader's Digest and are FANTASTIC for staying organized. Constructed of lightweight, durable nylon, these multi-sized cubes compartmentalize similar items such as shirts, pants, swimsuits and electronic accessories to streamline packing. They are FAB for staying organized on both short and long trips and help travelers avoid over packing. The open mesh top makes searching for misplaced items a thing of the past. Travelwise is available in nine colors (including PINK)! Each set includes 1 small, 2 medium, and 2 large cubes to organize different sized items when traveling.

These were our GO-TO bars on this trip. Many protein bars on the market are a blend of sugar, more sugar, and artificial ingredients. Not KIND, this 12g of protein bar comes primarily from nuts such as whole peanuts, almonds, and soy. For that long train ride from Amsterdam to Eemshaven (8 hours) their Double Dark Chocolate Nut Bar was PERFECT solution to tiding us over!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Matt Bourquardez is a Writer for Edible Skinny. He has traveled the globe and rarely sees his house.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Father/Daughter SoCal-ing It Up with the Conejo Valley

Father/Daughter SoCal-ing It Up with the Conejo Valley
By Kat Thomas
Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny

A few weeks ago Edible Skinny was lucky to spend a few days exploring Conejo Valley for a Father/Daughter Getaway. Now we (sheepishly) admit up until this time we had only driven through this area of SoCal on our way to more “well know” (READ: overcrowded) vacation destinations. But with a few days of R&R on the docket, we decided to catch a break in Conejo Valley.

Known as a home away from home, Conejo Valley is located less than 30 minutes from the beaches of Malibu and 45 minutes from Los Angeles. It's the ultimate drivable daytrip! It's all the fun of Santa Barbara or Paso Robles, yet none of the crowding of nearby destinations.

Conejo Valley is a multifaceted gemstone full of majestic views for hiking (or just enjoying while sipping a glass of wine), eclectic dining venues for the foodies (minus spending 30 minutes in line parking your car), and boisterous breweries to have a good fun time (perfect for Pappa Thomas)! So here's a few experiences we had while discovering Conejo Valley!

BTWs: in case you were wondering (because we were) Conejo means “Rabbit” in Spanish! ;-)

The first stop on our visit to Conejo Valley was the brewery and showroom, 14 Cannons in Westlake Village. Constructed in 2017, 14 Cannons produces beer by award winning brewer Nic Bortolin while also showcasing the industry’s leading vendors. Full of “Independent Spirit,” the name 14 Cannons is a tribute to the owner Marshall Haraden's great, great, great, great uncle, Jonathan Haraden who captained the American war ship Tyrannicide in 1777. The ship was part of the Massachusetts State Navy fleet and was infamously armed with 14 Cannons. This spot was the perfect place to christen the weekend! In between games of Skeeball (a Ab Fab favorite of the New Jersey native Thomas Gals), we sipped on some Bestlake Blonde (their version of a Blonde Style Ale that is perfect for 365 days of Sunshine) and Peanut Butter Cup Dessert Ale (a Sweet Stout that reminds you of the day after Halloween).

Lure Fish House
It was then off to Lure Fish House, a restaurant that was recommended to us by three separate Locals! East coast class with a relaxed California vibe, Lure Fish House featured fresh and sustainable seafood right from the ocean. Lure prints their menus daily to reflect availability and guarantee freshness. With four locations (including the Thousand Oaks space we dined at), it featured a full bar with specialty cocktails along with an oyster bar serving mollusks galore! While there we ordered multiple bottles of Wente Chardonnay, which paired perfectly with our seafood smorgasbord of Calamari, Fanny Bay Oysters, and 3-lb Lobster we dined on!

Westlake Brew Co.
After the rocking meal we had a Lure Fish House, it was off for some live music at the Westlake Brew Co., aptly names as they were also in Westlake Village! ;-) With live music every Friday and Saturday night, the brewery offered libations for those looking for live music and the craft beer culture in a modern warehouse location. Their philosophy: to always be in pursuit of something better. Something they must be doing pretty well as the packed space had the ultimate good night vibe with cover band jams, shuffleboard games, and craft beer suds.

That night we settled our sleepyheads at the fantastic Marriott Courtyard Thousand Oaks. The newly renovated Courtyard by Marriott Thousand Oaks, CA hotel is TripAdvisor Award of Excellence winner. It's located off US-101 for super duper easy access. Their spacious lobby, which includes media pods and a full bar, was the perfect place for people to chill on a Friday night (it was definitely kicking when we returned from Westlake Brew Co. around midnight). And unlike Los Angeles hotels parking was included. The Marriott Courtyard Thousand Oaks' outdoor heated pool and spa, surrounded by lush landscaping, were perfect for hours of entertainment Saturday morning. There's nothing Pappa Thomas enjoys more in hanging out in a hot tub while playing tunes on the speakers. Needless to say they were, extremely accommodating... it's definitely a hotel that allows you to have fun and doesn't get in your way!

After a delightful nights rest, we were ready to hit the deck for Day Two of Visit Conejo. We were off to experience a bit of American history at the renowned Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is one of Conejo Valley's most unique and treasured attractions. Located in nearby Simi Valley, visitors can step aboard Air Force One used during Reagan’s presidency and view an exact replica of the White House Oval Office.

Perched on a mountaintop with sweeping views of Conejo Valley, the Library's 300 acre site, represents the "shining city on a hill" often referenced by President Reagan. Air Force One, a 2700 Boeing 706, guards a 65-foot window with views as expansive as the legacy of this eight term president. The plane was the official travel of seven US Presidents - Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, W. Bush. The Reagan Library received 27000 in a decommissioning ceremony on September 8. 2001 at the San Bernardino International Airport. It was disassembled over a nine-week period by nine-person crew from The Boeing Company into the following sections fuselage, tail, stabilizers, engines, main landing gear, and wings. It is now celebrated at the Gipper's library as a monument to the location that also serves as the final resting place of the nation's 40th President.

Along with taking a fabulous tour of Air Force One (a favorite of Pappa Thomas) exhibits are presented at the library throughout the year, their newest arrival and only Southern California stop: Genghis Khan! The Genghis Khan exhibit showcased hundreds of artifacts from Genghis’s 13th century Empire, the largest collection ever to tour. The one-of-a-kind exhibit portrayed Genghis’s reputation as the greatest conqueror in history as he dominated three times more land in his lifetime than Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great.

Finney's Crafthouse &Kitchen
Our final meal of this fabulous two day Father/Daughter Getaway was at Finney's Crafthouse & Kitchen in Westlake Village (and coming soon to Santa Barbara!). With a slogan of “Craft Beer Spoken Here,” the combination of chef-inspired food and their craft bar makes the space an inviting gastropub that attracts guests of all types, especially the locals. It's the perfect place for day drinking on a Sunday or a afternoon Saturday date night. Offering 30 craft beers on draft, a full bar featuring hand-crafted cocktails, fine California wines, and a menu to die for (Get the Bacon Blue Burger: Roquefort, onion strings, bacon, house-made BBQ and a pretzel bun – Super Duper Yummm!). Keeping it fresh, flavorful and at times, unexpected, Finney's Crafthouse & Kitchen hit it out of the park!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Edible Skinny’s Girls Getaway Trip to the Willamette Valley

Edible Skinny’s Girls Getaway Trip to the Willamette Valley
By Kat Thomas
Editor in Chief, Edible Skinny

The second part of Edible Skinny’s Girls Getaway trip brought us to the Willamette Valley for a day of whimsy, wine and waxing poetic of the expanding state of Oregon vineyards.

A few years ago was the 50th anniversary of the first planing of grapes in the Willamette Valley by Eyrie Vineyards David-Lett. Today this wine region is home to 530 wineries and almost 20.000 acres of planted vineyards. It’s been quite the evolution, leading to Wine Enthusiast naming Oregon’s Willamette Valley as its “Wine Region of the Year” in 2016.

Hey, Locally Produced, Hey! If you’re looking wine snobbery don’t stop here! Pretentiousness is out the door in the WIllamette Valley. The soul of the area is really a farming community, according to Dave Specter, owner of Bells Up Winery, a community that embraces the soil, weather, and people to create wine full of craft!

All the wineries Edible Skinny visited were in the Chehalem (pronounced “Sha-HAY-lum”) Mountains AVA.  Located between Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and the Coast Range, this AVA is more than 100 miles long and spanning 60 miles at its widest point. This area is defined by Laurelwood soil, a basalt base covered with ice age windblown sedimentary soils. It is superb for the cultivation of Pinot Noir, contributing rich and intense flavors to the wine.

Our first stop was the micro-boutique estate winery Bells Up. Making just 400 cases annually, Dave Specter left his Cincinnati legal career in the Midwest to put down winemaking/growing in the Valley in 2012. Bells Up composes handcrafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir with grapes sourced primarily from the northern Willamette Valley. Dave, a former french horn player, names all their wines after french horn dominant musical pieces. The winery name references the music term of lifting up of the french horns, a bells up movement.

Bells Up is 100% self funded with Dave and his wife Sarah running all the tastings. Dave quickly notes, “it’s not about volume; it’s about creating an experience. Tiny producers are the soul of the Willamette Valley.” Their slogan: micro-boutique un-domain. Bells Up focuses on versatile wines that are food friendly. “The best compliment I can get is that it’s really yummy. We have one customer who’s favorite food pairing with our Rosé is Doritos.”

Our Favorite Recommendations:
  1. Seyval Blanc (Not Available Online) - The only varietal planting in the Willamette Valley and only the second planting in all of Oregon this wine was developed in New York for cold tolerant climates. A teeny tiny harvest, “I created one jug,” exclaims Dave, the flavor is bright earthiness. As if you played in mud, and then took a shower.
  2. 2017 Prelude Rosé ($22) - Sourced from the first-ever harvest of Bells Up's estate vineyard, this fuller-bodied rosé is named for Franz Liszt’s “Symphonic Poem No. 3: Les Preludes.”  With a nose of fresh strawberry, “bada-bing” cherry, and sunshine, it’s the perfect late afternoon patio wine. A white eyelet dress with silver bangles catching the low sun over Aix-en-Provence.
  3. 2015 Titan ($40) - Named for Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Titan tastes of bebop jazz and a brown leather couch. Created during the hottest year in the Valley in decades, the taste is a juicy winner. Oh and it received a Wine Enthusiast score of 90.  
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Our next stop was a stone’s throw away from Bells Up Winery (literally up the hill) at Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast for a scrumptious lunch. Set on a hill overlooking the Willamette Valley, this upscale 10 year old bed-and-breakfast is within 10 miles of a dozen or more wineries. With decks overlooking the stunning mountainside and a view that’s the ultimate Selfie backdrop, Kelly and I thought we might never want to leave.

Owner Kristen only uses handmade and local ingredients, down to special jams and jellies you won’t find anywhere else. The day we dined there our two spread options were Pear Cranberry jam and Grape Jelly made from Pinot Noir grapes from Bells Up Winery. Kristin, a Cordon Bleu school trained chef, usually offers up a fruit dish, bread dish, and an entrée to her guests everyday, with dishes that are familiar but, “tweaked a bit.” She even won a Bed & Breakfast award for being the most accommodating B&B-er to food allergies. First of the menu was hearty Pumpkin Scones with the aforementioned jams and jellies. Then onto Kiwi Parfait with Vanilla Yogurt and Homemade Hazelnut Granola, naturally made with local Oregon hazelnuts. This was followed by a Cheese Souffle with Tillamook Cheddar and Thyme from the garden, paired with a Fennel Orange Salad. Can we say Yumm!!!

Afterwards we got a tour of the 5-bedroom property. Staying in a B&B is slightly adventurous in nature, and with that in mind Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast inspires its guests to explore, both the local area and the other guests that are residing inside its walls. There’s a common area to meet people and no TVs in any of the rooms. The cozy rooms have themes inspired by the state itself from the Oregon Coast to Oregon Wine Country. Go green, there’s a 20,000 kilowatt array, that creates 80% of electricity. Oh and did we mention there are fresh baked cookies everyday? This is a the B&B you want to retire to!

To Book a Room:

Our next winery to experience was Alloro, which set it sights on bringing Old World allure to Oregon.  Alloro’s 80-acre estate is an homage to Italian tradition, from its Tuscan farmhouse and culinary gardens to the heirloom sheep that graze the vineyard. The word Allor is Italian for Laurel Leaf, a reference to the Laurelwood filled soil upon the winery resides. This winery sides on the boutiquey side of producing around 3,000 cases a year of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Alloro’s wines are 100% Estate Grown from one vineyard site.

Our Favorite Recommendations:
  1. 2013 Pinot Noir ($35) - This wine tastes like an Ivy League college interview with a black headband and string pearls. This wine has what is considered a classic Oregon profile with expressive aromas, elegance, and great balance. It’s a blend of the most important blocks from the Alloro Estate, showcasing their site’s distinctive personality including flavorings of Black Cherries, Oregano, and Rose Petal Aromas.
  2. 2014 Pinot Noir ($35) - This was a warmer and earlier harvest than the 2013, making it riper in style. The result was a more masculine wine with a velvety savory palate profile.
  3. 2014 Reservata ($45) - A special barrel-selection that delivers darker fruit, more mid-palate weight, and finer texture—with persistence on the palate and a classic take on the flavors of their site. It tastes like a leather booth lean-in on a captivating conversation.
Along with their wines Alloro is also known for their Whole Farm Dinners. Open to the public, this intimate 40 person event pairs delicious food with Alloro wines at their long farmhouse table in the fermentation cellar. 95% of this 5-course dinner is sourced on Alloro property. The winery works with a particular chef in the Spring, planting what they will serve in September.

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Our final stop was Ponzi Vineyards. This founding Oregon Winery has been a leading producer of benchmark American Wine for nearly 50 years, crafting some of the world’s finest cool climate expressions of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. In the late 1960’s, Disney Imagineer Dick Ponzi, along with his wife Nancy, uprooted their young family from their home in California to pursue their dream of producing world class Pinot Noir. After many research trips to Burgundy and an extensive search for the ideal location, they purchased 20 acres on small farms southwest of Portland, Oregon. Contrary to the existing school of though, the Ponzis believed the climate, soils, and vineyard site met every need of noble cool climate grape varietals. The Ponzi family planted their first Pinot Noir cuttings, and in 1970 Ponzi Vineyards was founded.

Today the winery makes 55,000 cases a year. The Ponzi sisters (who were some of the first females educated on wine in France) continue a half-century legacy of winemaking excellence, innovation and community.  In 2013 Ponzi’s 30,000 square foot tasting room opened. Set atop a Northwest facing Chehalem Mountains slope, surrounded by the majestic Avellana Vineyard, the faculty houses a state-of-the-art winery and modern tasting rooms. Designed by Dick Ponzi himself, this facility is the realization of a 40-year-old-vision with fireside seating, covered terraces and bocce ball courts.

Our Favorite Recommendations:
  1. 2014 Tavola ($27) - Ponzi’s everyday table wine is made entirely from Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, aged in French oak barrels and blended for a delicious early release. A blend of younger vineyards, this cuvée present a nose of graham cracker and lavender and a palate of salted caramel, black tea, and strawberry balsamic.
  2. 2015 Pinot Noir Reserve ($65) - Created to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Ponzi Vineyards. This cuvée showcases the finest fruit from Laurelwood soils in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. With aromas of cinnamon bark, chai tea, maple syrup, and baked apple with a palate of light tannins and notes of black licorice and vanilla powder.
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Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at