Strawberries and Cream Cocktail

Strawberries and Cream Cocktail | The ELL Blog

Strawberries and Cream Cocktail | The ELL Blog

Strawberries and Cream Cocktail | The ELL Blog

Strawberries and Cream Cocktail | The ELL Blog

Strawberries and Cream Cocktail | The ELL Blog

Strawberries and Cream Cocktail | The ELL Blog

Strawberries and Cream Cocktail | The ELL Blog

Strawberries and Cream Cocktail | The ELL Blog

I don’t know about you, but I think one of the best parts of summer is being able to find the freshest, juiciest strawberries at the farmer’s market. Elliot and I love using them for everything — with waffles for breakfast, muddled in mojitos, and, of course, on top of angel food cake! Now, if you’re as big of an angel food + strawberries fan as my husband, then you will LOVE this new recipe. The strawberries and cream cocktail tastes just like the airy cake in a glass, complete with a perfect frothy top and just a hint of sweetness.

For this recipe, I used Green Hope Organic Cane Vodka  since it’s the perfect accompaniment to the organic farmer’s market strawberries! Green Hope Vodka is 100% USDA Certified Organic, non-GMO and gluten free, so you can feel even better about drinking a cocktail. I always prefer to use locally sourced liquors, too, and all of their vodka is hand-bottled in California and ethically sourced from responsible farming. And if that wasn’t great enough, Green Hope also gives back 1% of sales to the Organic Farming Research Foundation. So basically this vodka is a win-win all the way around 😉

As you probably know by now I’m a pretty big fan of pink drinks (see herehere and here for more pink cocktail inspo), but I personally think this one actually TASTES pink! Hope you enjoy!

Strawberries and Cream Cocktail (makes 1)

3-4 strawberries

3/4 oz. Cream of Coconut

1.5 oz. Green Hope Vodka

3 oz. Club Soda

Ice

Place strawberries and cream of coconut in a shaker and muddle for at least 30 seconds. Add vodka and ice; shake well. Strain into glass, and top with 3 oz. of club soda. Garnish with a strawberry and enjoy!

This post was sponsored by Green Hope Vodka, and all opinions are my own. 

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two

If you’re looking for some of the most fun and instagrammable spots in Paris, you’ve come to the right place. The second half of my “How to Spend 5 Days in Paris” guide is here, and it’s full of fun spots to eat, drink, and see in Paris’ most picturesque neighborhoods (see the first part of the guide here).

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL BlogHow to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris: Days 4-5

The second half of our stay in Paris contained even more rosé, cheese, and amazing meals than the beginning! Here are some of my favorites that I highly recommend adding into your itinerary if you’re visiting the city.

• Stroll the shops and cafés on Rue Montorgueil: This pedestrian friendly area in the 2nd arrondisement was by far my favorite part of Paris! Rue Motorgueil is foodie heaven, filled with adorable cafés, shops, restaurants and bars that make you feel like a local. We ended up in the area 3(!) times on the trip since we loved it so much. Some of my favorites include: Matamata Coffee Bar (coffee, sandwiches, and tropical wallpaper), Miss Bahn Mi (a pink Vietnamese sandwich shop), Filakia (amazing Greek souvlaki), and La Maison Stohrer (oldest patisserie in Paris). On certain days of the week, the beginning of Rue Montorgeuil also has an open market.

• Get in line for dinner at Ober Mamma: While researching for our trip, I came across several recommendations for this Italian restaurant in the 11th arrondisement. Ober Mamma is extremely popular with the locals (as are the rest of the Big Mamma group’s restaurants), so waiting in line before it opens is standard practice. Since we were spending just 5 days in Paris, we wanted to make sure and get in on our first try, so we showed up at 6:30 (doors opens at 7). The line was already about 30 people deep, but we were able to get in and grab a table in the front bar area. The food was absolutely incredible, and the staff were fluent in Italian which made ordering so much easier for us after studying abroad in Italy! Homemade pasta is served in copper pots, while their tiramisu is scooped right from it’s baking dish table side. This restaurant is not to be missed if you’re looking for an amazing dinner. The group’s newest restaurant Pink Mamma just opened a few weeks ago, and I’m already dying to go back and try it!

• Head out of the city for tropical drinks at Polpo Brasserie: This oasis on the Seine is definitely worth the bit of a trek outside central Paris. To find out more, read my post on it here!

• Have a balcony picnic with finds from the grocery store: While traveling, one of my all time favorite activities is going to the grocery store. It might seem strange, but I have my reasons! Grocery stores are typically for locals and aren’t catering to tourists, which means the prices are great  and you get to see what it’s like to be a local. We stopped in at one near our hotel and managed to get tomatoes, cheese, bread, and wine for about $12! After grabbing ice at the hotel bar, we took our spread out onto our balcony and people watched. Whether or not you have a balcony, you can easily grab these items and find any nearby park to sit at.

• Find the flamingos along the Seine at Rosa Bonheur: After visiting the Musee d’Orsay (which I recommend if you love impressionist art, or if you just want to see the gorgeous train station), we walked along the Seine and found a bar on the bank with the cutest pink sign. Naturally we had to go in, and grabbed a bottle of rosé and some patatas bravas to have on the deck. This was my favorite rosé memory of the trip since the prices were fair (I think the bottle of Le Saint Andre was about $18) and the wine was amazing — I just wish they sold it in the US! There’s another floating barge with a bar next to Rosa Bonheur too, and they both turn into Parisian night clubs when the sun goes down. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon break or an evening out, definitely check out this spot.

• Discover the islands in the Seine: If you visit Notre Dame, you might not have known you were actually on an island. The chapel sits on Île de la Cité, one of the two natural islands that are in the Seine. My favorite one, however, is it’s next door neighbor, Île Saint-Louis. This charming little area in the 4th arrondisement is connected to the rest of the city via four bridges, and feels as if it is stuck in time. The calm and historic streets are lined with several local shops, including ones that sell cheese, pastries, and speciality foods (where I found the best French olive oil). We grabbed sandwiches and found a group of benches near the water to have lunch. There was a live band playing in the streets above, and it all felt perfectly Parisian.

• Buy fresh flowers at Marché Bastille: This open market has an incredible array of vendors selling fresh produce, meats, breads, cheeses, and flowers. There are strawberries set in pink tissue paper baskets, endless cheese wheels, and tomatoes in every color — definitely a bit of heaven. I also found a bouquet of coral peonies here for just 6 euro, which was half the price of any other penoies we’d found in Paris! The area around the market is filled with specialty shops and cafés too, so I would really recommend visiting if you’re trying to find a local experience.

•  See the colorful houses on Rue Cremieux: Near the Marché Bastille, Rue Cremieux is a narrow street lined with pastel colored houses. It’s incredibly charming, and definitely worth a stop for some vibrant pictures. Get there early if you want the street to yourself since it’s a pretty popular spot to visit!

Fill a box with macarons at Ladurée: A trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without macarons, and there’s no more iconic spot to get them than at Ladurée. Their Champs-Élysées location makes you feel like a princess, where you can sit and enjoy their signature desserts on a street side patio with a glass of champagne in hand. They also offer a full menu as well, but I prefer to just visit for a box of their perfect macarons.

Skip the metro at the end of the day and walk home: At any time of day, I prefer to be above ground seeing the beauty of Paris rather than in the metro. This is especially true at night when you get the chance to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle! Since the tower is visible from almost everywhere in Paris, I recommend walking back to your hotel at least one night to see the city light up.

Hope you enjoyed this guide to 5 days in Paris! Still more to come on our final days in London, including the incredible hotel we stayed in!

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try In July

My monthly guide of San Diego happy hours is back (see here and here for previous guides)! For July, I’m highlighting some favorites in Hillcrest, La Jolla, Mission Hills and South Park. Read below to find out where to get the best fish tacos on happy hour, which place in San Diego is making cocktails with their own fruit wines, and where to stop in South Park with the pup for a glass of wine!

1. Hundred Proof

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try in July | The ELL Blog

This brand new bar concept is located just down the street from the group’s first restaurant Trust (one of my go-to favorites for brunch). With a modern-meets-woodsy vibe, Hundred Proof is a great spot to grab craft cocktails and bites. From 3-7pm during the week, they offer $7 craft cocktails, $6 wines and $5 beers, plus $3 off all food. Their fish tacos were some of the best I’ve ever tried, and they were only $6 for a plate of three! Their marble bar and jackelope wallpaper make it a pretty fun spot to Instagram, too.

2. Fruitcraft

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try in July | The ELL Blog

Recently re-conceptualized from a winery to a fermentery, FruitCraft in Hillcrest is making some of the most interesting cocktails in San Diego. All of their wines and spirits are made from a range of fruits other than grapes, such as pineapples, pomegranates, cranberries, and mangoes. FruitCraft then uses these to mix up a range of unique cocktails, such as their take on a Moscow mule made with pumpkin wine! While they don’t currently offer a traditional daily happy hour, stop by on the weekend for Sangria Saturdays and get discounted red and white sangrias.

3. Bar by Red Door

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try in July | The ELL Blog

Located in Mission Hills, Bar by Red Door is the sister concept to their adjoined farm-to-table restaurant, Red Door. The space is filled with hanging plants, modern seating, and plenty of natural light, with a bar menu written out on an entire wall-length mirror. Happy hour runs daily from 5-7, and includes $8 cocktails, $6 wines and $5 beers. They also offer food on happy hour as well, with farm fresh offerings like caprese lettuce wraps and mixed vegetables.

4. Whisknladle

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try in July | The ELL Blog

Happy hour at this La Jolla gem is everyday from 4-6, making it the perfect spot for a drink near the beach. All libations are $5.55, including select cocktails and house sangria. Small plates are also on happy hour, including a bowl of local mussels and garlic toast. Weekend happy hours are especially hard to come by in La Jolla, so definitely keep Whisknladle in mind if you’re around on a Saturday or Sunday!

5. The Rose Wine Bar

5 San Diego Happy Hours to Try in July | The ELL Blog

South Park is full of great local spots for food and drinks, and The Rose Wine Bar is no exception. The bar has a patio perfect for pups, and they offer an extensive wine list for anyone’s palette. During happy hour (Monday – Wednesday from 4:30-6:30 and Thursday-Sunday from 11:30-6:30), glasses of wine and flatbreads are $2 off, and beer & cider are just $5. Corkage is also reduced to $5 during happy hour, too, so you can pick out a bottle in their shop to share!

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One

Oh how I miss this city so much already! Paris in the early summertime is a dream, and I can’t stop obsessing over all of the memories from the trip. We spent 5 days in Paris, and managed to experience more of the city than I could have imagined. I’ve broken the trip into two parts, and am sharing my favorite highlights from the first few days below!

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

Where We Stayed: The Amastan Paris

Since this was only our second time to Paris and we didn’t know the city as well as London, we wanted to stay in a fairly central location. After some research, we found the the darling  Amastan Paris located a few blocks off Champs-Élysées. This boutique hotel had everything we were looking for and more. The rooms were designed in a navy and white color palette with modern wood and gold accents. Our room also had doors that opened to a balcony overlooking the streets, from which you could even see the Eiffel Tower. One of my favorite memories from the five days we spent there was celebrating our anniversary on the balcony with fresh macarons and champagne, and watching the top of the tower sparkle.

While the room was definitely on the small side compared to any of the other places we stayed, the design, location and price made it completely worth it. Downstairs, the Amastan had an interior courtyard bar which was the perfect spot to grab a drink when we arrived. I was obsessed with the communal marble table and the garden patio tucked in the courtyard of the building.  If you’re looking to stay in central Paris with easy access to all of main sights, I would really recommend staying at the Amastan!

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris: Days 1-3

Our first few days in Paris were spent walking around and getting our bearings for the city. We barely used the metro at the beginning of the trip since we wanted to see everything above ground! Because this was a return trip for us, we didn’t feel the need to do some of the main attractions again. So our time was spent wandering, sitting at cafés, and taking in all of Paris’ beauty. Based on my favorite parts of the trip, here are some suggestions for the first few days!

Picnic beneath the Eiffel Tower: Picnicking in Paris during the summertime is a must. We wanted to find a local market to pick up some items, and we stumbled upon the perfect street near the Arc de Triomphe. Markets filled with fresh produce spilled onto the streets, and nearby shops sold bread, cheese, and yummy pre-made French dishes. After picking out some items –French potato salad and rosé were my favs — we headed straight for the tower and ate in the late evening sunshine (the sun doesn’t set till almost 10pm in the summer, so there’s plenty of daylight!)

• Stroll Rue Cler: We loved charming Rue Cler last time we were in Paris, and we loved it even more this time around. The street is full of cute cafés, markets, and flower shops, making it the perfect stop between our hotel and the Eiffel Tower. L’Eclair is one of our favorite spots on the street, where we ate a late night meal of salmon tartare and rosé on our first day there.

• Sip mojitos in the Latin Quarter: When Paris is over 90 degrees and equally as humid, frequent stops for something cold were necessary. We were so happy to find out that mojitos are really popular cocktails at cafés, since they are our favorite summertime sip! Maison Sauvage near Boulevard St. Germain was a perfect spot to grab one, where you can sit beneath fringed umbrellas and people watch in the Latin Quarter.

• Walk Champs-Élysées towards the Tuileries Gardens: Staying steps away from Champs-Élysées meant spending quite a bit of time on the boulevard. While the shops and cafés that line the street are a huge attraction (and the Arc de Triomphe is pretty gorgeous), I felt like the area was a bit too touristy for my taste. However, the grandness of the street is a sight to behold, especially when you walk away from the shops and head down towards Place de la Concorde.  This huge public square filled with gorgeous fountains leads directly to the beautiful Tuileries Gardens. Here you’ll find plenty of outdoor seating, perfectly manicured paths, and even a charming carousel.

• Wander the streets of Montmartre: The winding alleyways through the hills of Montmartre are some of my favorite streets in Paris. The area seems to preserve the idyllic romantic history of Paris, which I adore. While we were there, we grabbed a sidewalk table at Le Saint Jean for lunch, where I had the best fresh chicken salad filled with hard boiled eggs, fresh tomatoes, and beets. We actually found ourselves back in Montmartre on our final day of the trip too, and stopped back at the same café for their live jazz night. There’s something special about sitting at a street side cafe listening to live French music! If you’re in Montmartre, don’t forget to head up to Sacre Cour to see the sweeping view of Paris. Once you’re there, you can find another one of my favorite spots nearby, Grenouilles Paris. This small shop specialized in Parisian beer and amazing sandwiches made on fresh baguettes, and is worth a stop if you’re looking for a quick lunch!

• Walk across Pont Alexander III: This is by far my favorite bridge in Paris. Not only is it featured in one of my all time fav movies Midnight in Paris (go watch it now if you haven’t seen it!), I think it perfectly captures everything that is beautiful and romantic about Paris. The black ornate street lamps, gilded details, and grand statues at each end make it so easy to photograph. Honestly, I almost preferred walking on the bridges on either side of Pont Alexander just so I could look at it!

Coming up in the second portion of the “5 days in Paris” series, I’m sharing where to find the best collection of local restaurants, how to get into one of the most popular Italian restaurants, and where to go for flamingos and rosé on the Seine!

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie

Summer’s finally here, so I figured it’s the perfect time to share some tropical Paris inspiration from our recent visit! I found Polpo Brasserie while researching for our trip to Paris and London, and immediately put it on the top of our list of must-see spots.

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

Boho Tropical Paris at Polpo Brasserie

Boho Tropical Paris Inspiration at Polpo Brasserie | The ELL Blog

While Polpo is not exactly in central Paris (it’s technically in Levallois-Perret), it’s completely worth the trek to the end of the metro line. We actually ended up going twice — the first time we tried, they were closed for a special event — so trust me when I say it’s worth it!

I fell in love the moment we walked in the door. The space is decked with bohemian soft seating, rattan furniture, hanging rope lights, and a plethora of tropical plants. Since the restaurant is on a floating barge docked in the Seine, all of the windows and the patio look directly onto the water. Once we sat at the bar, I couldn’t stop looking around at the entire space. I mean, green and white striped booths mixed with wicker lanterns? Peacock chairs and potted palms? Come onnnn.

Even though I was happy enough just getting to see Polpo in person, trying out their drink menu just about as fun. They make an amazing tropical sangria, which was perfect since it was about 90 degrees out.  Their paloma was excellent too, and their dried grapefruit garnish made me want to add a bowl dried of citrus slices to our bar cart. While we didn’t stay for dinner, we did try their tuna tartare which was sublime.

If you’re planning on being in Paris anytime soon, you reeaally should check this spot out in person – it’s even better in real life. Now that we’re back, I’m trying to figure out how to bring these boho tropical Paris vibes into our apartment and keep reliving it all year!