Mimi’s Nails – Castro Valley, Ca

The spot where I have been going to for nine years is consistently good. That is Mimi’s Nails in Castro Valley, California. Located in a little strip mall with Nation’s, Subway and Little Caesars, it is the only nail shop in the center.

Hello, my friend. How come you have not come to see Mimi?” Mimi knows when you haven’t been in awhile.

Before my week-long #OBBRoadTrip across the country, I knew I had to get a pedicure as I was going to be wearing my Reef slippahs everyday. Though I was sitting on my bottom for at least seven hours a day, I was able to get seven miles in Washington, D.C. so these toes were exposed.

TIP: Bring a check or cash. They appreciate it. Bank of America is across the street if you forgot cash.

I think the below check-in may be inaccurate but I have been trying to save money. But I am still the Mayor! Mimi also asked for an updated review. I can’t believe it has been six years since I did.

Let’s be friends on Yelp

Another tip: Rose is my girl! She takes care of my shellac tips.

Get your wedding nails, special event or pretty nails for a girls’ night out. Call for an appointment. They also can do waxing.

Skyline Chili > Lawrenceburger

I have already had two coffees from Dunkin’ Donuts in my 36-hour stay here in Indiana/Kentucky. The donuts, I don’t really care for. Stan’s Donuts in Chicago or your good ol’ Krispy Kreme, that’s more my jam. Just don’t put jam or jelly in my donut. Another discovery in the food offerings in this part of the world is that Skyline Chili is better than Lawrenceburger.

Skyline Chili was recommended by my Uber driver early yesterday morning. The spaghetti on the bottom reminds me Jollibee. I just don’t do it. Today I did because when in Rome, or in Lawrenceburg. I ordered via the drive-thru and they stayed true to the fast food expectation. The bag containing a container of spaghetti and chili was in the bag, along with a container of chopped white onions and a bag shredded cheese. The nice young lady also mentioned she added some hot sauce in there for me. I told her she was the best.

First impressions were questionable. I added the cheese and onions and had my first bite. It was hot and not bad. I added a packet of hot sauce and it made it better.

For lunch, we picked up burgers and fries at Lawrenceburger. The floor was greasy and the mat just inside the door definitely needs a thorough wash or be completely replaced. My Michael Kors flats were sinking into them.

I ordered a Lawrenceburger with bacon and blue cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. It was only $6.95. For $3 more, get sweet potato waffle fries. While waiting, the small restaurant and bar was a bit. As the smoke filled the room, I turned around to discover the grill was in the same room. Well, I knew what I was going to be smelling like to the residents I was going to come across at the long-term facility: dinner!

Unfortunately, this thick patty’d burger was not appetizing. There wasn’t any flavor to the meat and the bun just soaked up all the grease. The sweet potato fries were also not very crispy or salted. I took one bite of the burger, took off the bun and tried to eat the meat and nuked bacon but I couldn’t. I barely ate the fries, which helps me out in the end anyways. Friendly staff so it’s definitely not their fault. I’m sure my coworker tipped well for our to go orders. Do keep in mind that they do not have avocados or gluten free buns. Watch out for us Californians wanting these things.

Sorry, Whiskey City, it just wasn’t a good day in food options. Will try again tomorrow.

Puerto Paraiso – Cabo San Lucas

Going to a mall isn’t even on my list when I travel. To be honest, I would stop into the Mall of America if I ever found myself on that side of the country. During my second visit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in November 2018, I found myself at the Puerto Paraiso next to marina. It was the meeting place for a Cookin’ Cabo cooking class, which I highly recommend.

Tour the shopping area for clothing, jewelry and restaurants; some with views of the marina. I sadly left my entire Stella & Dot make up bag at home and I needed make up. I went from MAC eyeliner and more to Shiseido and Lancôme products.

It paired well with the beautiful JW Marriott Los Cabos.

I just happened to be in Los Cabos during the International Film Festival. I have been to the Sonoma International Film Festival a couple of years ago so why not do it internationally? Showings were taken place at the movie theater on the top floor and there were interviews being done. I purchased a ticket to see Feral, a movie about a fire that took the lives of a priest trying to prepare three wild children suitable for society. What happened was shown thru video tapes the priest made and thru interviews. It was really interesting. I should see more foreign films. Do you enjoy them?

After shopping and a movie, I dined on the patio at La Central Cocina and Bar. I had a nice view of the marina and very attentive service. I had to get the grilled corn on the cob and the Lobster Salad. It came with watermelon, avocado, edamame beans, spring onion and a tequila lime vinaigrette. The food was delicious and the size of the salad was perfect.

Complimentary chips and a variety of salsas

You will have to pay for parking or if you’re staying at a local hotel, this is a great place to stop in for shopping, entertainment, a rooftop bar and dining.

I will be returning to Cabo San Lucas for the third time for more research, this time with ACT Language Schools. Check them out if you’re looking to learn or improve your Spanish. Please follow us on social media for posts while we are there!

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One Busy Bee Enterprises LLC
ACT Language Schools

Seattle, Washington – May 2019

Keep Going

I am again drafting this blog post from the stationary bike at the gym. I am getting warmed up for chest day and ideally 45 minutes on another cardio machine. This One Busy Bee woke up this morning seeing some progress in the mirror. My blemishes on my face is another thing. I am clearly not perfect or claim to be, but it is ok to recognize when results appear due to your hard work.

Post-workout photos I share with my fellow gym-goer to show we put the work in. They should too.

Approaching 40 and Mexico, Las Vegas and Hawaii in the near future, I felt there was a need to step it up. Things don’t tighten as quickly as they used to. Let’s see, what have I been doing differently? Well, maybe not differently. More like reminding myself and sometimes we need that.

DIET

Oh man, yes, I did enjoy those delicious fries at Quattro at the Four Season Palo Alto this week but I also had their roasted chicken, have had salads and green tea. A Vitality Bowl is also delicious and customizable. I usually have my Shredz supplements but I haven’t been taking them. I also bought a set of Elemis supplements while on the Golden Princess cruise ship but I haven’t even begun. I need to continue to eat better and make healthy choices. Buying a new car will also help you from going out and spending money on drinks with friends and coworkers, so I guess that helps too.

WORKOUTS

Yes, I have signed up for another half marathon. So much for saying, “Nope, never doing that again. That hurt.” This time will be at Disneyland Paris on my 39th birthday in September. I am doing more cardio to keep control of those heart problems and attempt to burn more calories than I take in. I still love to hit those weights and you burn more calories at a resting heart rate when your body fat is low and are muscular.

I am also starting to pick up more Wag walks (Use code Bernadette9307 for a free walk) that the weather is better. I get paid to walk people’s dogs, get some steps in and there are studies that a dog in your life has health benefits. I sure to do miss my Bevo.


PRIORITIZE

I am trying to keep my usual schedule of going to the gym or for a run in the morning before work. It helps me get the day started. However, those days I have to be at work early, I have made it to the gym after work. It’s funny to check into the gym via Yelp and Foursquare in less than 12 hours. But it had to get done.

Foursquare

MAKE IT FUN

We already did our half marathon at Walt Disney World. Nelly and I will be doing another run in June at Mare Island. I hear there’s a beer waiting for you at the finish line. If that’s not motivation…

My first half marathon at Walt Disney World.

Fitness is better with friends. Though my running friends know that I don’t really talk when I have a running goal in mind, it is fun to train together some way. Whether it’s a hike, yoga or walking the streets of new cities.

Trail waking in Santa Cruz, California – March 2019

Hiking in New Zealand – March 2019

Wandering around Hobbiton, New Zealand – March 2019

Yoga at Wild Canyon Adventures with my Cugina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
November 2018

Thanks for reading! I hope this post encourages you to keep going with whatever fitness goals you may have. Fitness is a lifestyle and it will have its ups and downs. Just roll with it…on a foam roller. Kill two birds with one stone.

Friend me on my fitness apps:

‘Bappletree’

Bodyspace
MyFitnessPal
RunKeeper
Fitbit

OBB Weekly – 4/2/19

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

The OBB Weekly has returned! I spent majority of March disconnected aboard the Golden Princess in the South Pacific. WiFi was iffy in Melbourne, Australia and at ports in New Zealand. I welcomed the new experience of not needing to check my phone and being interested in what’s happening on social media and being in the moment. With it being a new month and new season, what is presently happening?

TRAVEL

Well, the current US President wants his wall. There goes the avocados! AZ Central, a part of USA Today Network, says it should close the border on trade and travel too. This opinion piece says they should so we Americans can see what a day is like without Mexicans. Tavo from Cabo, running a trivia session on the cruise ship recently asked what is the biggest export out of Mexico. He joked that it wasn’t people. I guessed avocados. It was automobiles. Shocked and recalling the name brand of vehicles I saw on the road in Cabo, I don’t recall seeing them in America. But it’s true. The other thing is that Americans travel to Mexico. “Billions worth in tourism” apparently. I was one of them. I have been to Cabo San Lucas twice and am going again in June. Right, Mr. Trump? Will I be let back into the country if I go?

Tavo fr Cabo, Princess Cruises

My plan on going back to Cabo San Lucas is to take advantage of a week long stay my good friend, Nikki, and I earned via a timeshare presentation. We signed up at the Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival and met up in Napa last summer for this presentation. For nearly three hours of our time, we said no to their offering and walked away with a voucher. During this time in Cabo, she and I are going for business. She start ACT Language Schools and I will be her Travel Agent. Our plan is to put together tours where you can learn a language while being immersed into the culture. With my previous experience in Cabo and the dates lined up, we are headed down for research, yoga and meetings to plan our offerings. Stay tuned for that!

SF Segway Tour with ACT Language Schools

Planning on going to Mexico soon?
Tell me a good story of a Mexican in your life.

CONCIERGE

Part of plan for Cabo and possibly tours to other Spanish-speaking locations is to have you gain authentic and positive impacting it’s workers and the community. Concierges and Travel Agents can aid in that. I booked my honeymoon couple to visit an elephant sanctuary in Phuket, Thailand. It was the ONLY thing they wanted to do that was scheduled on their honeymoon so I had to deliver. And what a beautiful thing to experience. They have been saved from performing and abuse in these sanctuaries. And Dumbo just happens to be the #1 movie right now. Other places where you can see elephants would be the Melbourne Zoo where they have successfully bred four Asian elephants in hopes to fight extinction. Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom has African elephants and partners and supports conservation organizations. I was able to see both. Thailand, someday.

Melbourne Zoo, Australia
Elephant at the Melbourne Zoo trying to break up that wood block
Elephants at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

If there was an endangered animal you would save in particular, which would it be?
Would you stop using a product or a service if a high level executive of the company was photographed for shooting an endangered species?

EVENT PLANNING

“Royce.” I had no idea that Prince Royce and Emeraude Toubia of the show Shadowhunters were even dating! Now they’re married post a ‘ultra private ceremony in the heart of Mexico. Funny how Mexico keeps coming up. They must be important to us Americans. I love his music and would love to see him live. And I only started watching Shadowhunters because I know a gal that is also on the show. Congratulations, to Mr. & Mrs. Royce! I was excited when my Bride last year was thinking of getting married in Oaxaca, but San Francisco worked out well too.

Name your favorite Prince Royce song.
What is your favorite thing about the character, Isabelle, on Shadowhunters?

FOOD

Chef Traci des Jardines’ passion is moving her to Mexican food. “Jardiniere, a Pioneer in High End Dining and Design, Will Close” – The New York Times, March 25, 2019. Jardiniere has been open in San Francisco for 21 years ago in Hayes Valley. It has become a destination for theater guests before a performance. My first experience was just that. We sat at the bar before seeing my first opera, The Barber of Seville, and had dessert after we dined at Absinthe. Women History Month has ended but if you can dine at this popular, woman-owned restaurant before they close their doors on April 27th, please do.

Have you dined at Jardiniere?
Do you have any favorite female chefs?

MOTIVATION

Another woman that has made history is our former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. I have completed “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” book while on the cruise ship. At the Melbourne Airport, I decided to add the weight of my Michael Kors bag and purchase Becoming and The Honey Factory, Inside the Ingenious World of Bees by Jurgen Tautz and Diedrich Steen. I was never really a reader. Even in 2016, I made a goal to read more, starting with the stack of magazines that were stacked high on my nightstand. Now three years later, I am revisiting that goal. For Lent, I was going to do something good for myself for 40 days. I was going to read for at least 30 minutes a day. I will put the phone down, not think about work or what I needed to do and get lost in a book for a few minutes. It would give my brain a change of pace and be able to escape. I can honestly say I have not read every day since the beginning of Lent, but I have made up my time. You need to keep yourself accountable and have that integrity. I am actually excited to read these books and have decided to read The Alchemist next. My inspirational friend, Nikki, who will be joining me in Cabo is currently reading that in her Book Club class for her business. It sounds like it would be right up my alley and my desire to travel. LIKE her Facebook page and tune into #SpanishSaturday to hear parts of the book in Spanish. I can honestly say that I can understand what she’s saying during these videos. It’s great practice if you are interested in learning a new language.

Currently reading
ACT Language Schools at Ferrari Carano Winery in Sonoma County, California during the Winter Wineland event by Wine Road.

What books do you recommend?
Do you have a favorite author?

Taverna – Palo Alto, CA

You have 10 minutes.” A harmless threat to leaving the office and facing traffic of the Dumbarton Bridge to the East Bay if he wasn’t done ‘seeing what kind of trouble’ two other coworkers were getting themselves into. Before I could pack my Burberry, he finished in record time and we were off down the street to Taverna.

I have only seen this restaurant on my walks around town to get my daily steps in and those rare time I went to what my friend calls “Whole Paycheck”, aka Whole Foods. Ivan said Taverna was a bit higher priced but one of the top restaurants in Palo Alto. Wanting a unique glass of wine, I voted Greek. Having been to Greece a couple of times and a former write up on Orexi in San Francisco, I thought it’d be nice to change things up a bit. The owners are also associated with Kokkari in San Francisco, a popular restaurant I often tried to get my hotel guests a reservation. Book yours ahead of time.

Not terribly hungry, we were looking for something light to go with our red wine, a Xinomavro. The two items that caught my eye was the tzatziki and the octopus. They are common dishes and thankfully Ivan’s favorites as well. Sometimes, it’s easy with this guy. Both dishes were ordered. Two glasses were enjoyed, bread and butter arrived and friendly faces greeted my new boss who used to work for me. My, how the tables have turned.

A mound of firm yogurt and olive oil with grilled, seasoned pita bread appeared at our section of the bar top. It looks like a lot of dairy for four pieces of pita. I agreed to the extra slices of cucumber as a side to help finish it off. The side of bread also played a part.

Before the tzatziki was finished, the long grilled octopus tentacle appeared with a squash mash, capers, sausage, sauteed greens and a sort of chutney. I recalled the huge order of octopus I had placed in front of me while in Thira, Greece. It was the first time I couldn’t finish my octopus! This time, it was a perfect size to share between the two of us. It was perfectly cooked and the citrus flavor to the veggies added acidity to the dish.

The restaurant of maybe 40 seats was buzzing for a Thursday night. Apparently, it’s common and have successfully made it past their one year with expansion plans next door. People we were waiting just inside the door to be sat. Unfortunately, it was not quite warm enough that evening to sit outside lining the sidewalk. We came at just the right time. With that, we chatted with our bar neighbor, a local and friend of the owners. We shared laughs, the ‘what do you do?’ exchange and he convinced the restaurant to give us a taste of the wine he was having. It was a fruit bomb of a Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite a difference from our Xinomavro, which was easily drinkable. Perhaps it was a better pairing with his burger.

Not intending on having more to eat, I couldn’t turn down checking out the dessert menu. Before having a thorough look, Marlena highly recommended the bougatsa. Ivan described it was a baklava with custard. It was made with phyllo dough, custard, pistachios and ice cream. And it was warm. Not bad, but now I want a baklava.

It made me miss Greece and needing to go back to visit Mykonos. I love the white buildings, blue doors, the islands. Taverna also has a blue door and is a white building. The inside has clean walls, an darker blue-green accent wall, subtle Greek type on their white curtains, colorful but a bit muted and imperfectly shaped vases above the windows and very comfortable furniture. The staff is friendly, obviously appreciative of their best customers and the service was timely and well-organized. I’m sure we’ll be back.

Related articles:
Taverna brings warmth of Greek isles to downtown Palo Alto – SF Chronicle

OBB Weekly – 3-5-19

Two months down for 2019. How would you say your year is going for you so far? February was full of travel for me. March, I’m headed back down. Down under, that is. Have you been? What are you down for? What downs have you come up from?  Like a basketball, you’re bound to come up.

TRAVEL
Almost a year after I completed the Princess Academy with Princess Cruises, I have selected my graduation gift: a free 13-day cruise from Melbourne, Australia and around New Zealand. My roommate is pretty excited. We both haven’t been down under. We will be flying direct on Qantas, thank goodness. We will spend at least one full day in Melbourne on both ends of the trip. She wants to hold a koala (still working on that). I want to go to their rooftop bars and eat at their nice restaurants. I am glad we both agreed to a spa day before we head back in time for our return flight to San Francisco. Then again, my roommate is down for anything.
We have ran across the below articles on what to do in Melbourne. If you have any recommendations, please do share! Follow via the links at the bottom of this post to see what I’m seeing as it’s happening! Our hashtag: #KimNBernGoDown (Under).
CONCIERGE
If you know me, I’m always down for a Los Lonely Boys concert. I have been a fan of theirs for 13 years. I just went to my 73rd concert. Of course, I was down front. My friends and I that travel with to see these shows have a saying, “There’s no place like front row.”  If you haven’t seen them live, please check them out when they come to your town or see my videos on YouTube. There are plenty.

Met this beautiful gal thru an LLB concert and it’s nice to keep in touch with her thru the years.

Front row, Baby.

As a Concierge, I was happy to get my hotel guests tickets to basketball and baseball games and concerts as down close to the front as possible. We have partnerships with companies that can get you down front or pretty close. Just be aware that there may be a service fee and you will most likely be paying a premium. I recommend planning ahead and getting tickets as soon as they are released. 
EVENT PLANNING
The early reservation of your private event venue is just like securing tickets. Expect to pay immediately with a down payment to lock in your date, time and location. The cost varies based on the venue. The same is true for vendors like caterers, DJs and photographers. If you need assistance, I can recommend vendors as your Event Planner. Some venues you will love to put down a deposit for are at the below locations.
The Cape, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

The Inn at Pasatiempo, Santa Cruz, California

Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, California

Pacific Star Winery, Fort Bragg, California

FOOD
Let’s be real here. I gained almost four pounds after a week of traveling in New York and only able to get one so-so workout in. I put down a lot of delicious food. “You can eat!” is a common comment lately. But hey, it makes my tastebuds happy. I would really regret not having that New York Strip at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe and get hit by a taxi as I left the restaurant. I am not promoting you to be obese. I am promoting enjoying the moment and balance. Understand there’s a cost associated. I have been back a week and knocked down two of those four pounds. It’s work but damn that steak was tasty. 

Other dishes put down in front of me were from
Russ & Daughters, New York City – Pickeled veggies. The best pickeled tomatoes I have ever had. Mouth is watering now.

Russ & Daughters, New York City – Pickeled fish

One Dine, New York City – 100 floors up and this is their branzino.

My second set of tots and caviar in NYC. Union Square Cafe. First time having this was at Please Don’t Tell.

Bacon from Tavern on the Green, New York City
MOTIVATION
Failure is a part of life. But so are successes, no matter how small. I still have two pounds to go to be pre-New York weight. A bigger failure is not being back down to 18% body fat by this cruise on Sunday. I am no where close to that. I get it. I failed in reaching that goal, but I’m chasing it. This Event Planner may always be on time but there are some things I will be late to party for. The point is, don’t give up. Refocus. Continue the work.
One thing I feel I can be proud of is my roommate reaching her goal weight before this cruise. I invite her to early morning workout sessions, I aim for her really ‘sexy’ gym face and we did two yoga videos this weekend instead of one. As mentioned, she’s down for anything. This weekend, she also discovered that she and I are the same size jeans now! She was ecstatic. Hard work pays off. She rewarded herself with new bikinis! Thanks, Seafolly. We’ll be rockin’ your products on our vacation and with a little more confidence.
Keep at it!

“Are you sisters? You  have the same smile.” – Captain America. Swooon.
Disneyland

Style Sunday: My First Burberry

My new pretties! This was my first Burberry experience and I bought three pieces. My Hawaiian Airlines credit card loves me. I purchased these beauties at the SoHo store in New York City last week. I was looking for the Stella & Dot Design Studio on Spring Street and decided to pop in. I had an ex that loved Burberry so I wanted to touch and feel what all the fuss is about. I totally get it, Bro.

 

I walked in in my Makers Mark beanie, The North Face jacket and my yellow Michael Kors backpack. Don’t I paint the picture of a girl with money to spend and knows fashion? I walked in and got smiles from the two ladies at the front of the store waiting for buying customers to greet. No ‘Welcome.’ Was this about to be The Pretty Woman scene waiting to happen? I walked a bit further into the store and was smiled at by an Asian sales person busy with another customer.

 

Browse. Browse. Browse. I came across the sunglasses display. I liked the ex’s new Pradas I basically took over during our stay in Monterey. I’ve had my Pradas for 12 years and they are a little beat up. I tried on a few. I found one like his. I also found a fun red pair that would be great with my Fenty Beauty and Kat Von D red lipstain.


The tall gorgeousness with long dark hair, Fatima, approached me. I asked how much they were. Doable. I said I would take both of them. With no intentions of spending more, I said I would browse. She escorted me upstairs to see what else they had to offer. Fatima showed me the Burberry way. I found my way to an area near the front of the store.

 

And then I found this amazing “B” print (because, y’know 🐝 #onebusybee). The print was on smaller pieces like a crossbody, wallet, phone case, etc. The crossbody was more than I was willing to spend for something not as functional. Fatima showed me my next purse. Go big or go home.

 

It was nice to clear the shelves and call this beauty mine. It’s new and from the latest fashion show. New York Fashion Week took place earlier that month. All of my handbags that are worth anything are special to me. I don’t buy bags just to have them. I am not a collector. My bee Gucci and red alligator skin Georgio Armani I purchased in Milan were exclusives too. I don’t like having things everybody else has had at the time. 

 

Can you tell I’m happy with my purchase? And damnit, I deserve it!  I continued my shopping spree with matching Tiffany & Co. apple earrings from the iconic store on 5th Ave  This ‘bappletree’ needed it. The sales person loved that the apple was tattooed on me. That was my first tattoo. OK! No more shopping! I want that house in Maui!

 

Are you a Burberry fan?

Do you love shopping in SoHo New York?

If you have designer handbags, do you use them everyday or save for special events?

HFWF18 – Chef Stephen Pyles

That Southern Hospitality is real! And you’ll feel it the instant your eyes meet Chef Stephen Pyles from Dallas, a fifth generation Texan. I have a love for Texas. My dog is named Bevo after the Texas Longhorns and my favorite band is from San Angelo, Texas, the Los Lonely Boys. I just returned from visiting five cities in the South. I fell in love with Charleston. And you’ll feel warm and welcomed when you sit across the table from Chef Pyles if you have the chance. I can still vividly remember his smile.

Comfortable with sitting across from this talented chef on Media Day at the Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival on Maui, we get to it. This is a man that has a weakness for travel. Inside I scream, “Me too!” Fellow Chef Wolfgang Puck also encouraged him, he says. Chef Pyles has opened 22 restaurants in five cities and has a new partnership with Delta Hotels by Marriott. His partnership with Benchmark Hospitality also has him running a culinary program. Benchmark works with a Woodside Hotel Group location, Dream Inn, in Santa Cruz, California, where I will be touring next month as well as the Menlo Grill in Menlo Park, California. I visit my Cugino aka cousin that works there every so often. I will be asking if his program has rolled out to the West Coast.

When asked if Chef would consider opening a restaurant in San Francisco, he was confident in his answer. He stated that San Francisco is a mecca, has a bit of everything but it’s so expensive. As a former San Francisco restaurant co-owner, we discussed just how expensive it is – rent, labor, insurance and more! Goodness. Unfortunately, the Founding Father of Southern Texas Cuisine will not be coming to the City by the Bay. I guess I need to plan a trip to Dallas. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Texas.

Just as Texas is big, as some chefs carry salt (and chili flakes), famous chefs tend to give back. The entire HFWF is a program of the non-profit Hawaii Ag and Culinary Alliance. Chef Pyles is in the board of Goodwill Industries and The Art Institute. Funny, as The Art Institute in San Francisco seems to own the most property here. I wonder if he could get a deal on space here with that relationship. I can wish. The lease itself and dining at his restaurant, Flora, also benefits the Arts District. It’s a win-win for sure. It was recently named one of the top 20 restaurants in Dallas by Conde Nast Traveler.

With so much success and sitting pretty on top, I asked my usual question as to if there were any women in the industry we should be on the look out for to possibly follow in his footsteps of growth and accolades. As a man that Julia Child ‘scared the hell out of’ when Chef met her in France, this Chef of the Year (2006, Esquire Magazine) says the name Misti Norris. Chef Norris was named the 2016 Chef of the Year by Eater. She left Texas to stage in New York. She returned and opened Petra and the Beast in Dallas. Lauren S. of Columbus, Ohio on Yelp says “The chef, Misti Norris, is truly creative and a master of her craft.” It’s great that women from across the nation are supporting lady chefs. We need that. And thank you, Chef Pyles for spreading the word all the way in Maui and to me here in San Francisco. This 49ers fan hopes to visit both, Flora and Petra and the Beast, on my first trip to Dallas.

Related articles:
Chef Misti Norris Returns to Dallas  — 2016 Eater Chef of the Year Dallas  — now opens Petra & the Beast – Eater –
Benchmark Partners with Acclaimed Chef Stephen Pyles to Create Ground Breaking Culinary Program

Related posts:
HFWF18 – Spiked!
HFWF18 – Chef Rick Tramonto

HFWF18 – Keiki in the Kitchen
HFWF17 – Jennifer Ackrill of SKY Waikiki & Top of Waikiki
HFWF17 – Chef Floyd Cardoz of Paowalla
HFWF17 – Chef Chris Kajioka of Senia
HFWF17 – Hank’s Haute Dogs & Chef Henry Adaniya

The Charles Dickens Christmas Fair – San Francisco, California

“We’re watching Mickey’s A Christmas Carol,” says a friend while being a good daddy. This Disney Certified Travel Agent hasn’t seen it, but I have been to the Charles Dickens Christmas Fair. Tickets were given to myself and colleagues thanks to a vendor of ours. The tickets were only good for the first two weekends so I made a point to make it happen during the long holiday weekend.


Do you like fish and chips?” This was the response to asking the gent that took my $12 cash to park my car at the Cow Palace of what to expect at this fair. Beyond stuffed from eating Filipino food nearby at Goldilocks, I rubbed my tummy knowing there wasn’t any room. Hey, men like women with a healthy appetite. Right? I didn’t think this would be the reason to come to this fair but he did add that if I did want to experience their fish and chips, I should go early. This is because as the day goes on, the pieces get smaller and smaller.  We did see a mom carry a tray full and they didn’t look good. 

Thinking we were early, one parking lot was already full and there were folks directing us to park as if were planes at the airport. Folks in the dressed to the nines in period costumes, top hats, feathers in their bonnets, big cloaks and cinched waists. The closest I could get to dressing up was wearing my long black, floor-length DKNY coat and to the knee Cole Haan black boots. 

Walking across the pedestrian bridge, we thought the entrance would be right under the words that said “COW PALACE.” Nope. Before moving on, we posed for a picture with the name behind us. “Say ‘Mooooo.” Kim took direction well and I should have kept the photo. I laughed all the way to the entrance.

To the right, along that building, down the ramp and to the left was the entrance. Past the ticket booth, I noticed these tickets were $30 per adult. Was it going to be worth it? Obviously this fair happens every year and there were already tons of folks there. We shall see.


Our tickets were scanned and were handed an old newspaper of events. With small print! Oh, goodness. This seems a bit intense. In the middle of the paper was a map. It was massive with shows, stores, places to eat and drink! Can you guess where our first stop was? Yes, the bar.

In the line, we observed the bartenders in their costumes and the way they communicated. They had English accents, were polite and incredibly expressive. It was going to be fun talking to all the workers here. You can’t help but smile. Given that it was a Saturday morning, we were thinking a mimosa. But the pour was the same amount of Mumm as a shot in a cocktail then filled with orange juice out of a gun. We decided to go with the red wine once I knew the white wine was a Chardonnay. I couldn’t imagine the Chard they would serve would be anything I liked. The bartender put two plastic cups in front of us and they were the size of shot glasses used for party. Can you imagine the look on my face? I paid the man $6 for our shots of red wine and tipped him $2. I know he has no control over the pour amounts. We definitely were not going to go for seconds.

The area was a bit dim, like you’re walking the streets of an English town filled the street lamps, trees and stores from hats and dresses, jewelry, places to eat and drink and even a kids’ area. One of the first stores we went into was inviting guests to send a telegram. You fill out a form, they write it out and they walk the streets looking for this person. If Kim, my roommate, wasn’t the only one with me, it’d be fun to have someone call their names throughout the venue. 


You could get old school black and white photos done, your profile drawn (including your dog’s via a picture) and even get your hair braided. It’d be great to have my hair braided but I’m sure it would cost $65. I sent a Snap (@bappletree) to my Hairstylist and friend, Justina. If she ever wanted to play with my hair, it’d be fun to get an intricate hairstyle done for the day.

For couples getting married and are Game of Thrones fans, this would be a great gift for them.

I personally enjoyed the hat stores/booths. I would have bought one but I didn’t need to spend $85.


We went down each row once and decided to head home. It was an experience and if I was in more of a festive mood I would probably enjoy it more. But go see it for yourself! The fair runs now thru December 23rd from 10 AM – 7  PM at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.


God bless, Everyone!