Love is all you need. And a good pair of shoes. And a great bag. And some great sunglasses. And Camo (everything).
John Kelly Chocolates are simply the best. Fair warning, it is hard to enjoy other chocolate after trying them. They have a boutique in Santa Monica that is right near my bank, so I find myself there frequently for a treat. They make great gifts by the box and I have been the lucky recipient more than once. The pieces are generous and that allows one to be very satisfying. I was talking about how much I love them when I was in the store a few weeks ago and they suggested that I visit the factory.
The factory is on Hollywood and also has a boutique. It is a bit off the beaten path and was originally only the factory. They had so many people stopping by wanting to buy chocolate that they added the boutique. They also ship nationally (you can order here) and are featured in a number of gourmet markets and fine hotels. You can search for a location near you here.
The Hollywood Boutique
The Cacao Bean
The process starts in a 150 pound kettle. Each truffle fudge batch is 150 pounds. The truffle fudge is cooled and cut. The bottom and top are coated separately. Then either a hand drawn letter or salt is added. They use six different artisanal salts. They were one of the first chocolatiers to use salt with chocolate in a major way. They are included with not just caramels as you may have tried elsewhere. The Peanut Butter with Himalayan Pink Salt is one of my absolute favorites. You can read more about the ingredients they use here.
The belt moves at a nice pace for all the handmade work. It did make me think of the “I Love Lucy” episode which is noted in several fun posters. The staff of artisans all took happy pride in their work.
It was such a treat to see the artisans at work. My family was happy that I made a purchase in the boutique.
Hairnet issued by John Kelly
Enjoy some handmade truffle fudge chocolates today!
It has been a while since I did my first and only “Out and About” post. I am only inspired to post about places that are unique that I really love. My previous “Out and About” post is here. I happened upon Bondi Harvest through Instagram (this best source for finding things in cities you plan to visit and in this case, my own home town) and immediately wanted to share my find. Bondi Harvest is tucked away in a corner of Santa Monica in a parking lot among several production companies.
They are also known for their coffee which is Vittoria. It is the largest coffee company in Australia and is in several restaurants in the US. The story of Vittoria is an interesting three generation success story that you can read about here.
It has a great laid back Australian beach vibe that suits the healthy, but super yummy menu. It is very comfortable and serene.
Their shelf game is strong and includes Organic Vittoria coffee, tea by Art of Tea, spices and every surfer’s best friend Dr. Zog’s sex wax (which really reminded me of my high school days and the surf crowd).
They serve breakfast and lunch and are open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 4 pm with breakfast all day. I opted for one of their tartines and a green smoothie. The smoothies are not huge (and are also at a reasonable price) so they are perfect with a tartine. The Sweet Halloumi was my tartine of choice. It combined avocado toast with grilled halloumi cheese, pistachios and a touch of wild honey I am always disappointed when places only have huge smoothies and you just want something a little extra with your smaller meal. When I ordered, I considered the Peanut Butter Bomb, but was encouraged to get the On the Green as it would taste great and I would leave feeling healthy. That was 100% correct. The combination was perfect!
I left already thinking about my next visit and, in fact, came back the same day with my son to try the Peanut Butter Bomb. He was fresh from camp and already in swimwear, so he fit right in with the decor. He is always happy to help with blog post research when it involves trying new treats. We both liked it, but I prefer the On the Green as it is packed with greens and still tastes amazing.
My visits to Bondi Harvest helped to satiate the wanderlust I mentioned last week in this post. Australia is definitely on my travel list. It was nice to see a different corner of Santa Monica and feel like I had a taste of Australia. The sign on the fruit basket says it all. It was real, healthy whole food that left me feeling great and was delicious.
1814 Berkeley Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Here’s to eating healthy whole foods that taste amazing and finding hidden gems in your own neighborhood!
I celebrated my birthday last weekend. Birthdays used to give me a tremendous amount of anxiety. I started my own personal life performance review about a month before. There was
some, a lot of crying, soul searching and angst. A lot of that had to do with where I was in life in terms of marriage and children (and the lack thereof) through most of my thirties. I met my husband ten years ago about a month before my birthday. He definitely witnessed a few crazy tears leading up to my birthday and he did not run for the hills. He planned a nice dinner and showed up with flowers and a great gift. It was a great birthday then.
This year was also a great birthday. I started the celebration with my son and my parents in San Diego with breakfast (and a fun dinner with a view the night before). My son and I went to visit them as soon as school got out. We drove back to Los Angeles and arrived home to a decorated house with flowers, balloons, a lovely lunch of my favorite gourmet sandwich, Harry’s Berries, mini cupcakes and cards laid out.
After this celebration that my husband planned so that our son would not feel left out when the babysitter (yes, babysitter!) arrived. We headed out for one of my favorite activities, you guessed it, shopping. We went to Calypso and he took a comfortable seat while I tried on a bunch of new arrivals. I bought a couple of dresses and even wore one out of the store.
A friend had recently celebrated her birthday at Capo in Santa Monica. I mentioned it to my husband and, to my surprise, he was able to get a reservation. But first, margaritas at Casa Del Mar (where we had our first date). The margaritas were house made and delicious.
Capo exceeded our expectations from the great service to the amazing dinner and decadent chocolate soufflé. I had calamari al forno and an amazing pasta sampler.
Best of all, no tears – well almost. There were a couple of tears of joy and gratitude. I am lucky to have a husband who makes me feel so special on my birthday. I also appreciate having each birthday. Life is short and precious. It is a privilege to get older and one that I do not take for granted.
Calypso Clutch (similar here)
Here is to the privilege of getting older.