Summer Sunday : Afternoon Tea

My idea of an ideal Sunday afternoon is getting my closest friends together for an English inspired afternoon tea session.

Conversations and the aroma of baked goodies filling the air. It wouldn’t be tea time without an elegant selection of tea cups and fresh cut flowers from the garden!

 

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Here is whats on the Menu:

  1. Daarjeling, Masala Chai | My grandmother brought loose leaf Daarjeling tea from a tea plantation in Daarjeling, India. This tea was so fragrant and infused with spices such as whole cinnamon and cardamom for an added warmth.
  2. Cucumber Tea Sandwiches | thinly sliced cucumbers, pepper jack cheese, lemon-dill mayo
  3. Chicken Cranberry Sandwiches |oven roasted chicken, cranberries, smoked chipotle gouda, sourdough bread , dijon mustard
  4. Personal Chicken Pot Pies | Chicken, carrots, peas in a creamy Alfredo sauce, topped with crust
  5. Cinnamon Streusal Muffins | These are from a boxed mix, but are delicious!
  6. Sparkling White Grape Cider | Passionfruit Italian Soda 

 

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This is from another tea that I hosted with Zaina. We switched things up a bit and added homeade vanilla bean cupcakes with chocolate frosting to the menu. Strawberries and nutella, meringue cookies from a local bakery, added more sweetness to the table.

The understated yet elegant runner is from Crate and Barrel. Crate and Barrel has fantastic dining decor items.

We added a string of Christmas tree lights for some fun.

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This comforting and light pumpkin spiced cake is an amazing fall addition to an Afternoon tea. I added some color to the platter with some fresh sprigs of rosemary from the garden. 

Scones are traditionally the heart of an English Afternoon Tea. The Tea parties depicted above did not have them. But, I do love make lemon blueberry scones. I use Tiffani Thiessan’s recipe – https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/blueberry-lemon-scones

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They are super easy to make and always come out spectacular. I serve them with raspberry jam and Devonshire clotted cream from Whole Foods. Clotted cream can be difficult to find in the States; the one I buy is the real deal and imported from England.

 

XOXO,

Shiza

 

 

Holy Trinity: Carbone, Bardot Brasserie, and Julian Serrano Tapas| Aria Hotel, Las Vegas

The Aria Hotel at the City Center, Las Vegas, is one of those places that has all of the best  offerings for European Cuisine. It has my favorite Italian, French, and Spanish Restaurants – Carbone, Bardot Brasserie, and Julian Serrano respectively.

These three restaurants are not ordinary in any way. They offer a stylistic and modern yet traditional take on its cuisine. Everything about this holy trinity is divine. Hands down the best Spanish tapas that I have ever had! and the most similar to France, French food! Carbone is truly old world Italian.

Carbone | Italian 

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We ordered the lobster ravioli , fettuccine con funghi, and Branzino. All were impeccable.

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I love the retro, glamorous ambiance of this restaurant. It reminds me of 1950s New York. The plates are Italian ceramic and very reminiscent to the ceramic plates in Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

 

Bardot Brasserie by Micheal Mina | French 

 

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We started our meal with a cheese board. The cheeses were imported from France, grilled crostini, candied hazelnuts, grapes, whole grain mustard, jam, and currants. You can choose from an array of cheeses which one you prefer. We opted for a Crémeux de Bourgogne, triple cream brie like, a goat cheese, and hard cheese recommended by the restaurant.

 

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I had the LOUP DE MER AU FENOUIL which is a mediterranean sea bass with caramelized lemon, fennel, and fingerling potatoes. The sea bass was so juicy and emanated an earthy fragrance of fennel.

My dad had the 8 oz Filet Mignon served with Frites and béarnaise sauce ( I tried the sauce and its the best béarnaise I have had in the States)

Julian Serrano Tapas |  Spanish 

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Their non-alcoholic, virgin Sangria is hands down the best drink ever! I don’t know what they put in it but its a symphony of perfection.

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My favorite tapa to order is their Bronzino Donostiarra which has the a crispy skin and sits atop a medley of tomatoes and olive tapenade.

Not depicted because they were too beautiful not eat first are the desserts. My favorites are the Molten Chocolate cake topped with vanilla bean ice cream & the Crema Catalana which is an orange blossom creme brûlée.

 

XOXO,

Shiza

 

The Perfect Weekday

I love a casual weekday where I can do things that I love. These ideal weekdays are a rare treasure. However, when they do occur, although understated, they are beyond special.

I started the day poolside with a homemade breakfast parfait. It had greek yogurt, fresh berries, granola, almonds, and a drizzle of honey.

 

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After this delightful breakfast, I went to Rolling Greens, a local nursery, to get some indoor trees for our house.

This was an adventure in itself. I love Rolling Greens.

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I ended up getting this tree for our living room. It adds so much freshness and a splash of color to our otherwise monochromatic living room.

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They had some rustic flowers laying out on the counter.

For lunch, I decided to make a Cleo inspired Grilled Halloumi, Watermelon Salad on a bed of lettuce with a light vinaigrette. Halloumi is a Mediterranean semi-hard cheese and its flavors are released when grilled.

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This was scrumptious.

Afternoon snack

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Would it even be a relaxing weekday, if you didn’t watch your favorite tv show? I had to make some stove top hot chocolate with dark chocolate, some half & half for added creaminess, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I also cut up some fresh strawberries and had a mini chocolate croissant from Whole Foods.

Ramekins make everything better, right.

 

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For dinner, I arranged a cheese board with three types of cheeses, grilled crostini, fresh grapes, walnuts, raspberry jam, and a drizzle of honey.

 

XOXO,

Shiza

 

Shakshuka : A Mediterranean Breakfast

 

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This is my signature and go to breakfast dish – Shakshuka. A Mediterranean staple, I fell in love with this in my travels to Israel and Arabia.

Shakshuka is essentially eggs that are cooked in a homemade,stewed tomato sauce.

I serve cucumbers and feta on the side. Sprinkle a little Zaa’tar (Middle Eastern dried herbs- thyme, oregano, etc.) on top for an earthy finish.

I also serve with some warm pita bread or buttered well done, English muffins.

 

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Shiza’s Shakshuka

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Step 1: sautee in olive oil

  • 1 minced onion
  • 1 minced green or red bell pepper
  • A few cloves of minced garlic

Spices:

  • Ras El Hanout, sold at World Market, healthy amount (few tablespoons) | this adds an incredible layer of warmth and fragrance
  • cumin powder (about a teaspoon)
  • red chilli powder or paprika depending on how spicy you want it to be
  • salt to taste

Step 2:

  • 1- 35 ounce can of Whole Italian Tomatoes (chop these canned whole tomatoes yourself prior to putting in the pan)
  • After adding in the spices, if the sauce tastes acidic add a little bit of sugar to offset the acidity – this depends on how it tastes after adding in the spices. You have to taste the sauce and decide for yourself.
  • Harissa – morrocan tomato paste , sold at world market ( a few tablespoons); deepens the flavor of the sauce ; can substitute tomato paste

Step 3:  in a separate ramekin, crack each egg one by one and then start placing the eggs directly into the sauce one by one. I add as many eggs as I think will fit into the sauce and the pan. Typically about 8-10 eggs are added.

  • Once all of the eggs are in the pan of sauce, sprinkle a tiny bit of salt and pepper over the eggs
  • Place the Pan of Shakshuka into the oven to cook for 30-40 minutes.
  • You know it is ready when an inserted wooden toothpick into the egg comes out clean
  • Garnish with some chopped cilantro for added freshness

 

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Fresh flowers are completely optional, but I think it makes all of the difference to the aesthetic of the table. I arranged these bouquets with flowers from our garden. All of the flowers are different and even though their sizes vary greatly, I still love the look of it together.

Bon Appetit!

XOXO,

Shiza

Malibu Farm + Zuma Beach// Pointe Dume

Cruising down PCH, wind in hair, Lana del Rey’s 13 Beachesplaying boldly in the background. This is my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning.

My first stop: Malibu Pier, to have an iconic California breakfast at the Malibu Farm restaurant. Everything about this place makes me happy.

From the rustic decor, the plants hanging from the ceiling, the rooftop terrace, and most importantly, the spectacular food!

Not to mention they make the best iced lattes + homemade watermelon juice.

 

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Their Swedish Mini Pancakes are my absolute favorite!

An artful juxtaposition of the most perfectly complementing flavors. The thin, soft yet subtly crisp pancakes, are topped with a tart medley of cooked berries, and then finished with a dollop of light homemade whipped cream.

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I also adore their fried egg sandwich. I ask to sub the bacon for avocado.

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Farm fresh vegetable stand on the Malibu Pier.

 

A quick, breezy drive down PCH later…….

Stop 2 : Zuma Beach : A secluded haven 

 

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Hike trails to Pointe Dume

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Sand in my toes, a breathtaking view- I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

XOXO,

Shiza

Jaleo Restaurant by José Andrés

One of my favorite things about Las Vegas is its radiant and refreshing dining scene with so many different restaurants to choose by world renowned and celebrity chefs. The glamorous and upbeat vibe at the Cosmopolitan Hotel makes it one of my favorite hotels to dine at and the lovely Spanish Tapas restaurant , Jaleo by the talented Chef, José Andrés offers a truly unforgettable dining experience.

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Gorgeous ambiance of layered chandeliers surrounding the hotel bar

Tapas are small plates of Hors d’oeuvre style dishes that can be shared. What I particularly love about the tapa dining experience is that you are trying several dishes and sharing with others which makes it so much more fun to eat because you are not “stuck” with the dish that you ordered. It is exciting to try the different flavors and dishes of tapas that are ordered. Everything that we had at this restaurant had a unique flavor profile and was truly amazing. It also had fast and friendly service which makes it even better. Definitely a restaurant on the top of my list.

All the pictures are shown below. Lastly, the featured image of this blog post is the Garlic Chilli Shrimp which was also excellent.

Bon Appetit, Shiza

 

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 upbeat and vibrant atmosphere at the restaurant

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Ensalada Remolacha , scrumptious confit beets are balanced with refreshing segments of citrus and the crunchy pistachios and pearl cheese add flair to the Ensalada

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Delicate flounder fish on a bed of roasted squash and zucchini 

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Helado de aceite de oliva cítricos texturados Interestingly delicious olive oil ice cream ( new favorite) on a bed of the refreshing grapefruit granita and segments of grapefruit all drizzled with honey to add a hint of sweetness

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Patatas Bravas // Crispy Potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce and garlic aioli on top

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Croquettas de Mariscos are filled with a creamy lobster and shrimp filling and served with a garlic aioli on the side

Killer Cafe

Hey guys! 

Killer cafe is a small coffee house/ cafe. Located on 4213 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. Store hours are super convenient as well, 24 hours a day. Killer cafe is actually an add on to the main restraunt Killer Shrimp, it’s next door. Great place to take after brunch pictures, in the marina harbor! ( me and the girls always do it!)


  • Full table picture, we always order the same things whenever we go lol. 

(Left to right) buttermilk pancakes, huveos rancheros, fresh strawberries, French fries

buttermilk pancakes


3 layer banana spilt😍

animal style tots

heuvos rancheros

June Favorites by S

Hello summertime. Goodbye real life.

It has been so invigorating relaxing this past week. I have set aside this week, the first week of my summer, to doing what I want. This means not touching my tons of AP summer homework stacked up on my desk and neglecting studying for the SAT’s for just this week. I really wanted to destress and have time for doing the things that I love the most. Anyways, with that being said, this week I have had plenty of time to catch up with old friends, shop, and have a spa day… something that I needed very much after the hectic month of May. How has everyone else been doing?

With that being said, let me get into my June favorites.

Lately, I have been loving the 80s fashion trends. I had such a fun shopping day with my mother on Monday and I picked up a few 80s inspired things from my favorite shop, ZARA.

Here’s a mini haul as to what I purchased, and I can honestly say that they are my current fashion favorites

  1. Bomber Jacket

Don’t hang clothing off of chandeliers , not a very good idea, but you got to do what you got to do for the blog, right? Anyways, what i particularly love about this jacket is that it has the cute green stripe through the sleeves and also the “Don’t grow up” message on the back of the jacket adds extra flair to it. I love the color scheme of the jacket and it can easily be paired with a simple crop top and some jeans. It can also be worn with a light colored dress and I wore this with my baby blue halter maxi dress.

2.  Simple tops

I got this sparkly grey crop top with patches on it. Patches were a major trend from the 90s and they are in right now. The patches on this top make it more interesting and fun. I also bought this peachy pink top and I love the material of it and the contrast with the white.

 

Also, in this shopping trip, I went to Topshop , and picked up some ballerina-esque black tie up heels. They are my ultimate favorite heels right now.  I literally could not resist them. I have been loving the Ballerina trends right now from tie up heels/sandals to wrap tops. This trend is by far my favorite.

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Beauty favorites:

  1. I have been loving the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Aquacealer Concealer. This is the best concealer of all time. With dark circles caused by finals and stress, this concealer has been my go to. A little tiny bit goes a long way to cover up the darkness under my eyes and brighten them immediately. Although this is not a permanent solution to getting rid of dark circles, this concealer does an excellent job in concealing them. Definitely worth it. I got mine from Sephora.

 

 

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2. My second favorite of this month has been the Bath and Body Works Italian Citrus Sun Body lotion. It has a sweet and citrusy scent to it which makes it smell divine. I can’t get enough of this flavor. I have also been loving the perfume , Chance by Chanel, that I recently got. It has an energetic and floral scent which I love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3. My last but most favorite, beauty favorite of June is the Rosewater Aromatherapy Mist from Target and the California Rose Sea Salt Souffle from Whole foods. The Sea Salt Souffle is a 2 in 1 bath soak and body scrub. It has dried rose petals in it and smells like a rose garden which is incredible to bathe in. The aromatherapy mist is a great facial toner and I love spritzing it all over my body, face, and hair after I shower . Its a great addition to your post-shower routine before putting on lotion. Rose water is an excellent toner and keeps you hydrated.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous Favorites:

  1. Chocolate covered Stawberries are the best fruit and chocolate combination there is. I have been making them so often this month and they are my favorite thing to snack on. It is so simple and easy to make all you have to do is melt some semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler ( a pot filled halfway with  water, boiled, and then place a stove proof bowl on top of the pot and let the heat of the water underneath melt the chocolate. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water or you can just melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the chocolate melts). It is super easy to make these. Or if you are really lazy, you can always by them from Godiva because Godiva is the best Chocolatier there is. There truffles are my absolute favorite.

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2.  Room DIY. My cousin got me this cute wooden heart for my room. It was blank and I decided to paint over it in some shades of emerald green and paint the word “live” on it in a cursive font. This has been my favorite room decor item so far and it is so easy to do yet so cute.

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That sums up my favorites of the month, so far, considering its only been half the month. Hope you all have an adventurous summer filled with happiness and positivity.

XOXO,

Shiza

 

 

 

 

Brunch Party

Hello everyone, so last month , we threw my dad a birthday brunch in our backyard and I can honestly say that it was perfect. My dad is the kind of person that doesn’t like to go out on his birthdays and would much rather spend the day at home with his family and friends because he goes out to eat so often that he is literally tired of restaurant food. Therefore, my cousins and I decided to throw him this surprise brunch party.

To throw a birthday brunch you need a plan and the first step to your plan is the menu. Get together with your cousins and/or parents and map out a menu. Divide and conquer is the strategy. Have one person make the eggs dish, one make the sweet breakfast dish such as (french toast, homemade waffles, pancakes, or crepes) , and one person make the sides such as (breakfast potatoes, hash browns, fruit salad, and sausages). A fun way to serve the sweet breakfast dish is to have a toppings buffet with all of the yummy treats we all love such as whipped cream, nutella, strawberries, caramel, etc.

Remember to keep the menu short and simple because less is more. Here is our menu:

 

Birthday Brunch Menu

Italian Frittatta  cherry tomatoes, basil, mint

 Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

 Italian Breakfast Potatoes onions, bell peppers, garden rosemary & thyme, jalapenos, cheese

 Mango Cake

 Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca

 

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Set the table with your prettiest plates and cutlery. We used our Portugese printed plates from the World Market , oversized water goblets, and plain cloth napkins. Set the table with your favorite tablecloth, this one is a new satin sheet we had lying around the house. Its fun print and soft fabric made it a perfect tablecloth. A runner also makes for a great decor piece and this floral one is perfect for the summer. Last but most importantly, have a bunch of fresh flowers in the center of the table as the centerpiece.

 

 

 

 

 

Ferry Building Marketplace

The Ferry Building Marketplace is a haven for food lovers. It has numerous local eateries and cafes that create artisanal, organic food that is scrumptious and sustainable. From cheese shops with local cheeses, handmade pastries, organic coffee houses, and other breakfast/lunch time eateries – The Ferry Building has something that will satisfy any palette. It also has some cookware shops, small grocery shops, and flower shops of the garden. This place is THE food lover’s sanctuary in the heart of San Francisco with a view of the gorgeous Bay.

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Outside the Ferry Building

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Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

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Soft Scrambled Eggs with herbs

 

Bon Appetit,

Shiza