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There are very limited choices up here on the hill overlooking the ocean. There are a few fast food chains, or very mediocre expensive places, but a glimmer of good cooking using organic and farm fresh ingredients recently opened in the Promenade Shopping Center called Once Upon A Table. They are so new they don’t even have a Yelp listing yet (but I am sure that they will after this blog post goes live).

Brenda, the owner/chef, is a caterer who decided to open up a brick and mortar location, and although she is still catering, this set-up allows for a source of new clientele and a place that gives her the space to showcase her talents.

The tomato soup was so good that I came back for a bowl after having a cup with a sandwich on my first visit. It is a nice balance of acid and sweet tomato without any need for the addition of cream. It would be a perfect pair with their grilled cheese sandwich on a cold day (yes, they do have a grilled cheese sandwich on their menu).

I chose the pastrami sandwich for my first meal. Served hot on grilled rye bread, with coleslaw and cheese on rye, this was a bastardization of my beloved NY classic, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, which says a lot about the place that even the pickle was excellent:) Everything on the menu is around $10, so the prices are extremely reasonable for the quality of ingredients.

Another day, another sandwich, this time a grilled vegetable sandwich on focaccia. I liked the way the vegetables still had body and some texture, and the flavor of their essence was maintained. A wonderful choice for vegetarians and vegans.

This hearty and wonderful bowl of cobb salad to go was beautiful, and if the romaine had not been so bitter, I would have enjoyed it tremendously. Unfortunately it is not possible to control the bitterness or peppery flavor of certain ingredients, so they get an absolute pass on that because the other ingredients were superb, from the perfect avocado to the crisp bacon, the moist chicken, and the ripe tomatoes.

My favorite choice (so far) is the turkey sandwich, with moist perfectly sliced breast meat so perfectly balanced with ripe tomato, avocado, and a a thin slice of cheese to add a nice mouthfeel on toasted sourdough. It is a very hearty portion for under $10 including tax and tip.

I think I may have found my go to spot up on the hill for lunch 🙂

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I admit I am an addict; I can not say no to either great champagne or great chocolate.

Last night, the gracious Madame Chocolat (aka Hasty Torres), invited me to her Decadent & Delicious event to introduce her new champagne truffles. Her new milk chocolate truffles are infused with Domaine Carneros Champagne, a winery whose founder, Eileen Crane, thought she knew me from one of my former lives on the East Coast. As women who follow their passions, it is very fitting that they have now combined their talents into a new unique treat for the senses just in time for Mother’s Day, the day of celebration for women who create and nurture new lives.

The truffles are dusted with gold glitter which add a very festive note reminiscent of the bubbles in sparkling wine. I’m normally not a milk chocolate fan, but the the smooth creamy 43% Belgian chocolate ganache filled truffle was a smooth compliment to the balanced brut champagne. I ate two in about two seconds and had to move away from the table to restrain myself from eating the entire tray.

Gift boxes with 12 champagne truffles and a bottle of 2007 Domaine Carneros are available for delivery on Mother’s Day (or any other day) for only $55 and will begin shipping May 4, 2012, so place your order here now.

It was fun to be behind the counter of the shop for the first time! The new glitter heeled shoe chocolates were also beautiful to behold (they had literally just been finished that day).

The heavy duty machines kept working even though all the guests were drinking and eating chocolate!

There were delicious savory bites catered by Chris Brugler which were not only beautiful to behold but delectable to eat. The Watermelon Feta Mousse Bites with Aged Balsamic was both refreshing and rich with complexity.

The Sesame Encrusted Ahi Tuna Topped with Sweet Chili Avocado Mousse was one of my favorites.

The Sweet Potato Cake with a Black Bean Salsa and Chipolte Aioli was a surprisingly sweet and savory delight with a nice smoky flavor.

My favorite of all the small bites was the aged Prosciutto with Burrata served on Crostini finished with Aged Balsamic. I loved this so much I ate three!

I didn’t taste the Black Mission Fig Challah Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion & Thyme with Brie Cheese, but it looked amazing.

Chris is the Challah King and sells his breads at Nate n Al in Beverly Hills, but his catering is impeccable and professional.

Thank-you and gros bisous to Hasty and Eileen for a fun, festive, and fantastic event launching their new joint venture of decadent and delicious champagne truffles!

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