Asparagus

Rest and Revive at The Oaks at Ojai

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Travel

Rest and Revive at The Oaks at Ojai
The Oaks at Ojai encourages the youthful tranquility within

The Oaks at Ojai

A quick jaunt away from the hectic pace of Los Angeles rests a wellness oasis called The Oaks at Ojai. Located in the heart of the quaint town of Ojai, The Oaks at Ojai is spa, fitness, and wholesome food, all in one. Founded in 1977 by the forward thinking health advocate, Sheila Cluff, The Oaks at Ojai has become one of the most well-respected and often visited destination healing spa and wellness resorts in America. Going beyond a respite for weight loss, The Oaks embodies total wellness.

SheilaCluff doing pushups at age 80

SheilaCluff doing pushups at age 80

Cluff herself was not immune to weight gain having been a former champion ice skater. Upon retiring from professional skating, Cluff found her diet to be calorie high for the reduced exercise intensity. With a weight gain of 20+ pounds, Cluff decided to create a safe haven where women and men could experience healing rejuvenation, a restored sense of well-being and get on track with their health and fitness goals. “Whether it is to reboot healthy living practices or get started with a new regime,” shares Cluff, “It is my hope that guests take away a motivation and inspiration to make lifetime behavioral changes for healthy living.”

Hiking trails at The Oaks at Ojai

Hiking trails at The Oaks at Ojai

A pioneer in the healing health movement, Cluff was serving Potassium Broth for morning breaks from the get go, a tradition that continues to this day. “The fundamental values and core concepts of sound nutrition have always been a governing factor of The Oaks food philosophy,” Cluff explains. “Though there is nothing magical about our broth, it is a nutritionally dense snack to keep energy and satiety steady.”

Upon arrival, guests receive daily menus and an outline of fitness classes which begin each morning at six-thirty and continue until five each afternoon. Among the fitness activities are morning hikes into the Ojai mountains, aqua, dance, QiGong, yoga, and cardio sculpt classes. An on-site health director can provide a complimentary general wellness evaluation that includes weight, cholesterol check, and heart monitor and a personal journal is included to assist with goal setting, keeping track of spa appointments, fitness classes, and health and wellness lectures.

Pool at The Oaks at Ojai

Pool at The Oaks at Ojai

If resting is the priority, relax poolside, read underneath a tree on the resort lawn and visit their award-winning on-site spa for a total body treatment. Featuring a complete spa menu, choose from signature treatments such as a variety of massage, scrubs, and facials including Skin Authority “Fit & Firm” selections like the Fit & Firm VitAD Fortified Lifting Facial with AHA. Skin Authority’s skincare coaches follow-up after treatment to assist with personal skin care needs – an added bonus.

Chinese Chicken Salad at The Oaks at Ojai

Chinese Chicken Salad at The Oaks at Ojai

No wellness spa retreat would be complete without wholesome food. Executive Chef Christine Denney aims to help people “change their focal point” about food. “I strive to give a visual of what a healthy plate should look like and here, I serve the food in a way that guests don’t have to think about what or how much to eat,” shares Denney. Chef Denney enlists a “no added salt” attitude towards her menus, uses all-natural sugars in sparing quantities, and has expanded her selections to provide more options appealing to different groups including gluten-free, dairy-free, and adding items such as black bean noodles and quinoa. “It is appealing to be in a place where health and well-being is a priority,” says Chef Denney of her 10 years at The Oaks. “I, too, have lost over 50 pounds during my tenure just by creating a wellness focused practice daily.” Menu favorites among guests include Chef Denney’s famous Barley Burger, a vegetarian burger like no other, No-Cream Creamy Asparagus Soup with Lemon Pesto, Gluten-free Granola, and The Oaks Spa Bark – YUM!

Spa Bark at The Oaks at Ojai

Spa Bark at The Oaks at Ojai

An exclusive and affordable spa and wellness resort designed to promote a sense of youthful tranquility, The Oaks at Ojai features 46 rooms and suites available at private and shared rates. Special pricing packages and day spa programs also available. Visit the website at OaksSpa.com for details.

The Oaks at Ojai fig trees

The Oaks at Ojai fig trees

The Oaks at Ojai
122 East Ojai Avenue
Ojai, CA 93023
(805) 646-5573
oaksspa.com


Sofitel Wine Days : A Month of French Wines

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

SOFITEL WINE DAYS: A MONTH OF FRENCH WINES |FOUR REGIONS IN FOUR WEEKS began Monday, September 29th and runs through Thursday, October 30th, 2014.

French champagne being served at Sofitel for Wine Month

During #SoWineDays, guests and everyone can visit the Sofitel L.A. at Beverly Hills to celebrate French elegance, wine and food. Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, the French brand’s flagship west coast property participates with more than 120 other Sofitel hotels in a global celebration of French vintners. The program is dedicated to the wine harvest that takes place in the Northern Hemisphere each year, a French tradition called “vendanges.” The month-long celebration showcases French “Art de Vivre”, “Wine Down Wednesdays,” weekly wine pairing restaurant menus, wine-based cocktails in the bar, and a culminating a winemaker dinner. Each day from Monday to Sunday, a Sofitel sommelier will be on hand to guide visitors on a journey through the featured wine-producing regions.

Sofitel Wine Days will feature an exclusive sampling of wines, a tour of some of France’s best known wine regions, in “WINE DOWN WEDNESDAYS” occurring each week (Oct. 8, 15, 22 and 29) from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., with Sofitel’s
Sommelier in the hotel lobby.

In the lush Riviera 31, guests are invited to visit the lounge|bar for wine tastings and wine based cocktails from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

French wine month at Sofitel

The gorgeous Estérel restaurant offers a modern French offering menu from Chef Blin. Chef will be highlighting new menus each week during #SoWineDAys to complement the wines which will cover numerous regions and locales beginning on October 5th with Burgundy, then Alsace, Champagne, and closing in the last week with Bordeaux. Some of the wines include Roederer/Maisons Marques, Domaines, USA, Palm Bay/Esprit du Vin, and Trimbach.

Menu pairings with the weekly wines feature a diverse offering of appetizers to desserts:

Burgundy – week of October 5th

• Sweet bread bourguignon, pearl onion, button mushroom, brioche
• Roasted duck breast, truffle celery puree, Weiser farm fingerling potato, golden parsnip, tiny carrots
• Red wine poached pear, pear sorbet, raspberry almond croquant

Alsace – week of October 12th

• Seared diver scallops, cannellini beans, shaved heirloom carrots, brussel sprouts leaves, garden coriander
• Espelette shrimp white asparagus risotto, ricotta salata, green pea shoot
• Warm Laura chenel goat cheese salad, frisee, grapes, fennel, caramelized walnut

Champagne – week October 19th

• Half dozen California oysters, champagne apple mignonette
• Crispy skin Loup de mer, fondant potato leek, tomato concasse, local caviar
• Strawberry basil sorbet, almond meringue, hibiscus flower, micro mint, macaroon shell

Bordeaux – week of October 26th

• Roasted marrow bone, chanterelles, garlic puree, persillade toast
• Ribeye bone in (for 2), truffle mashed potato, grilled asparagus, bordelaise sauce
• California cheese platter, Schloss Marin farm (cow), Bay blue Pointe Reyes farmstead (cow), San Andreas Bellwether farm, honeycomb and more

The grande finale will occur on Monday, October 27th in Estérel restaurant with a Robert Parker Winemaker’s Dinner. For costs, menu and other details, please contact Esterel restaurant at 310.358.3979.

Christophe Bouskela, Director of Food & Beverage, has meticulously choreographed with Executive Chef Marius Blin a masterful matrix of unique and exclusive wines to this area. Bouskela says, “We welcome guests to an interactive week to learn, taste and experience wine not available elsewhere in Los Angeles. The Sofitel Wine Week is designed to accommodate the most discriminating connoisseurs palate while simultaneously providing a sensory awakening for the novice.”

For more info on Sofitel go to www.sofitellosangeles.com and for more info on Sofitel Wine Days, #SoWineDays.


Laguna Beach Oceanfront Dining at Driftwood Kitchen

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Laguna Beach Oceanfront Dining at Driftwood Kitchen
Driftwood Kitchen
Summer may have ended but the ocean views and summer weather sparkle nearly year round at the recently opened Driftwood Kichen, the newest oceanfront dining experience in Laguna Beach from well known Sentinel Restaurant and Hospitality Group. Sentinel is the team behind The Deck on Laguna Beach and Fireside Tavern in Costa Mesa so it is no wonder the group chose Driftwood Kitchen to cozy up next door to The Deck.
The Deck at Driftwood Kitchen
Leading the team at Driftwood are restauranteur, John Nye, and Excutive Chef Rainer Schwarz who are also founders and partners, along with Colby Durnin, of Sentinel Restaurant & Hospitality Group. As you can see, before you even enter the rustic beachy oceanfront restaurant, you are in good hands. Chef Schwarz brings an extensive, acclaimed culinary experience to life at Driftwood. Having begun cooking at age 15 in an old Austrian castle, Chef Schwarz has cooked around the world in five-star hotels and restaurants in Switzerland, Germany and France. Interestingly, I discovered that Chef Schwarz’s culinary travels led him to work with the esteemed Chef Joachim Splichal at the Von Pfyffer in Switzerland and before long, Chef Schwarz waved goodbye to Europe and traveled to Carmel and then Los Angeles working with Chef Splichal at what has become Patina Restaurant Group. But Chef Schwarz achievements don’t stop there. He had much success in Vail, Colorado before returning to Los Angeles and launching Public Kitchen and Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Now, Laguna Beach is thrilled to have his talent behind the fresh, delicious, inspiring coastal cuisine at Driftwood Kitchen.

Seared Ahi at Driftwood Kitchen Seared Ahi at Driftwood Kitchen

When I asked Chef Schwarz what influence his culinary journey brings to Driftwood Kitchen, he explained, “I draw inspiration from many places for this menu. Here, the menu features diversity and freshness the ocean provides.” Sounds good to me and I couldn’t wait to dive right in to sample some seafood and steak selections. To my delight, fish is prevalent on the menu which includes Whole Fried Branzino, Soft Shell Crab, Surf and Turf with Maine Lobster Tail and Petit Tenderloin that features a Bearnaise sauce, Zuckerman Farms jumbo asparagus, and Yukan Gold mashed potatoes, and a mouth-watering New York Steak with Peppercorn Sauce and homemade French Fries.

Seabass with Tomato Halibut with Roasted Tomato

But this coastal cuisine inspired menu with a touch of “turf” is not all that will inspire you, the craft cocktails are bottoms-up some of the best I’ve tasted.

Tenderloin with Pepper Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce

Shares Director of Operations, John Nye, “Our Cocktail Program at Driftwood Kitchen pays homage to the location’s rich history. The Stateroom Bar presents a cocktail menu featuring classic libations reminiscent of the historic tenants.” And who were those tenants? One unforgettable Hollywood actor, Slim Summerville had his home library there and he may have enjoyed a fine whiskey or bourbon, too.

Cynar Town cocktail at Driftwood Kitchen Cynar Town cocktail at Driftwood Kitchen

Among the classic cocktails are selections such as “Cynar Town”, gin with sweet vermouth, cynar artichoke liqueur and orange bitters, “Salad Bar”, sage liquor, kale, sweet red pepper, and lemon sour – almost sounds like one of my cleanse drinks minus the liquor, of course, and “Rock My World”, your own customized Manhattan with a lunardo cherry that is worth the bite and the drink and they pair perfectly with culinary sensations such as Oysters on the Half Shell with Uni (shown below).
Uni Oysters at Driftwood Kitchen

Whether you opt for the mesmorizing oceanfront deck views or the cozy al fresco patio with oversized couches and firepits, Driftwood Kitchen is a Laguna dining experience unmatched by any other.
Deck view from Driftwood Kitchen
Driftwood Kitchen front patio
Driftwood Kitchen
619 Sleepy Hollow Lane
Laguna Beach, CA
Open daily: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
visit: driftwoodkitchen.com
(949) 715-7700

Mac 'n  Cheese at Driftwood Kitchen

SMores deconstructed at Driftwood Kitchen SMores deconstructed at Driftwood Kitchen