Living on The Strand, Manhattan Beach

Imagine a town where you can walk the streets at any time of day and feel safe, where real life (not movie) surfers hike barefoot up and down steep California hills during sunrise and sunset,  where incredible chefs come to hide out from “LA,”  where boutiques have one-of-a-kinds, where you can bike along the Pacific Ocean (for exercise or bar hopping or both), and….

…where life just feels good.

This is my ode to Manhattan Beach.

4 years ago the most I had really heard or seen of this town was the beach scene with George Jung in the movie Blow. Not the best advertisement for the city, but that was the late 60’s.

In October 2007, I had the opportunity with my company to open an office in Los Angeles. Upon arriving in LA I drove straight towards the water and  two miles later stumbled upon the most charming town. If you happen to end up in Manhattan Beach around sunset, drive West on Rosecrans straight towards the Pacific Ocean. First you will see gorgeous landscaping, well-kept houses, a mexican joint, 2 yoga studios, and a few bars. Once you top the hill you will then see steep sloping hills with stacked “Full House/San Francisco” type houses crunched together, every one of them trying desperately for the view of the last second of today’s sun.

The closer you get to the water along the famous Strand the houses are upwards of 10 million dollars and many look more like 5 or 6 houses together, not single family homes. If you are in the market for one I say go for it.

In 3 years living in Manhattan Beach Peter and I conquered “it’s like riding a bike again” with our beach cruisers, savored restaurants that I will forever crave,  and we got our “California Fix.”

Most people who live in Los Angeles feel that the South Bay isn’t really LA. I just loved being outside the mix of the craziness that is LA, 1 block from having my feet in the ocean, and yet still able to head out to a bar in Santa Monica when we’d like.

Here are a few of my suggestions if you end up in Manhattan Beach:

Sashi: This sushi restaurant was our go-to every Sunday for Sunday Funday and really any other time we ate out. The Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna is insane, I haven’t been able to live with the Taiwan Ramen Noodle Soup (I even tried to make the recipe at home!), and I always had a hard time deciding on the Lychee Martini or the Strawberry Mojito. (Update: Sashi is now closed! Chef Makoto has a restaurant in Miami now called Makoto in Bal Harbour. He is following me of course!)

Simmzy’s: One of the only bars with an outdoor area in Manhattan Beach (unbelievable I know). They have an ever-changing chalkboard of beers and on weekends they have a flavorful peachy White Sangria. We usually stopped here on our weekend bar crawl bike rides. The pulled pork sandwich is well worth the stomach ache.

Side Door: Ivy covered hole-in-the wall gem that I stumbled upon one of our first nights out in MB. It is a super tiny lounge with live music many Friday nights house music others. It is here I found a love for Grey Goose Orange served ice cold with a sugared orange wedge. The food is even good, though I didn’t realize they had any the first few years. They have a members only club upstairs which just leaves you wondering…

Local Yolk: The best lazy weekend breakfast. They do have a small area of outdoor seating. Large portions, family feel, only open for breakfast and lunch. Everything tastes great, especially the corn beef hash.

Shellback’s: I think my MB friends will be surprised I am putting this on “the list,” but I had to. We ended up here every time we went out at the very end of the night. Rico and Joe the bartenders became our friends that I looked forward to seeing. This is a “small plastic cup” type of bar that gets wild at night. It has one of the only panoramic views of the Manhattan Beach Pier out of restaurants or bars on Manhattan Beach Blvd. The chicken tenders for lunch are beer battered and so good.

Spa Elegance: Small garden spa with a beautiful storefront. Rarely have I found an esthetician I could not replace, but I did here. Emily is incredible and she does the best brows in the world. I’m really picky too because wax usually irritates my face. The massages are wonderful, the facials use incredible smell good/feel good  products, and everyone is very nice and helpful. Book a massage in the garden with your honey.

:::Manhattan Beach Sunset:::

:::don’t come without your board:::

:::The Strand:::

:::The Manhattan Beach 6 Man:::

We hosted barbecues almost every weekend, looked forward to fireworks before Christmas rather than the 4th, and we grew to love (ok maybe not) being able to overhear our neighbor’s conversations since the houses were so so close.

I can’t say I was ever ready to leave Manhattan Beach, but I was ready to be near home (friends and family in Florida). We left knowing we’d miss it and never being able to forget it.





Weekend Breakfast ::: Easy Egg Bake

What’s a lot more fun than scrambled eggs and bacon on a Saturday morning?

An Egg Bake!

I created my first egg bake when my Mom was in town Easter weekend. I woke up thinking I’d like to make breakfast for the family since they were in town visiting, but I was bored of the simple scrambled egg idea. I still wanted something quick and easy. After searching the fridge I saw we had some rye bread, eggs, a bunch of veggies, cheese etc. I thought “what if I put these into a bake”?

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Tonight’s Dinner ::: Balsamic Drizzled Scallops with Spaghetti Squash

Thanks to everyone who voted on my post First RecipeBalsamic Drizzled Scallops over Spaghetti Squash was the winner (by far). I also realize I called them “balsamic glazed,” but in reality they are “balsamic drizzled” not glazed. Either way they are so delish!

Once upon a time I was trying to find the perfect recipe for scallops.  I checked  the Food Network (which is usually my “go to” place first for recipes), then Epicurious, then oodles of food blogs. Somewhere along the line (and I can’t remember where because this was probably 2 years ago now) I found one that called for shaking the scallops in a  mixture of flour and seasonings then pan searing them in a small amount of olive oil. I thought this was a fabulous idea so I attempted my own “flour mixture.”

A few notes that are crucial to this dish’s success:

  • Fresh sea scallops work better than frozen as the frozen ones retain too much water and do not hold the flour coating when pan-fried
  • Sea scallops are better than bay scallops as they are larger and better for searing (and to me tastier)

The balsamic drizzle adds an addicting flavor to the dish and the spaghetti squash is such a healthy alternative to a carb in this meal. Feel free to drizzle away! 

Balsamic Drizzled Scallops with Spaghetti Squash

For the Scallops ¤

  • 1 lb or about 18 scallops (serves 3-4)
  • 4 heaping tbsp All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the Spaghetti Squash ¤

  • 1 nice & plump spaghetti squash
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic

For the Balsamic Drizzle ¤

My way:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cup sugar

Quick fix:

You should start with the squash as it takes about 30-45 minutes depending on the size. Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Cut the squash in half, length wise. Careful girls… I always have Peter do this part so I don’t chop my hand off! Scoop out all the yuck (seeds) with a spoon.

Add about a 1/4 inch of water in a baking sheet then place both halves of the squash in the water flat side down. Season the water with the minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Stick it in the oven and set the time for 45 minutes. I usually check it at about 30 minutes to see how it is doing. {If all the water is gone (it shouldn’t be) you should add a bit more. You want to be able to stick a fork in it, but it shouldn’t feel too soft on the rind.}

Pat dry the scallops with papers towels and lay them out to dry. Grab a plastic zip lock baggie and fill it with the flour, salt, pepper, marjoram, paprika and garlic powder. Close the baggie and shake it really good to mix the ingredients.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat in a saute pan big enough to fit all the scallops. The oil should start bubbling as you put in the first scallop, if it does not it’ s not hot enough yet.  Sear the scallops for 3-4 minutes on each side.

For the drizzle put the balsamic and sugar in a pot, bring it to a light boil, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. It can get very thick so watch it.

When the squash is done, take a fork and scrape out the squash into a serving bowl. It should come out in strings like spaghetti. To plate I usually lay down a  heap of squash and then set the scallops on top. Then drizzle with the balsamic drizzle and voilà!

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::: keelymarie :::

Montreal ::: some Frenchy love to prepare for Paris

In May my boyfriend Peter and I took a trip to Montreal for the weekend. I am in Canada all the time for work, but have rarely taken the time to stop and actually see the cities I am working in so I  loved the chance to do this in Montreal.

Writing this post is my little way of prepping for our upcoming vacation to Paris! We are staying at the Mandarin Oriental Paris right around its grand opening as they are one of Peter’s clients. I really cannot wait….the spa is supposedly to die for, Thierry Marx is the culinary director (French/Asian infusion maybe?), and it is smack dab in the center of Paris on rue Saint-Honoré. Ok clearly I am excited…back to Montreal.

Continue reading “Montreal ::: some Frenchy love to prepare for Paris”

The First Recipe

Not that I have that many readers/followers yet, but I wanted to test out a poll.

Please vote for which recipe I should blog first. I can’t blog one yet because I will need to make it this week and take pictures of the process.