Strawberry Vanilla Bean Sparkling Lemonade

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Are you suppose to completely stuff your face before you go wedding dress shopping? Is that a no-no in a  wedding rulebook somewhere? Because that’s exactly what I did a couple days ago. I headed out to LA to visit the offices of Katie May Collection and meet with Katie May herself and what did I do the second I got there…I ate a gluten free donut from Sidecar Doughnuts. And you know what flavor it was? Butter and salt. Butter and freaking salt, people. You know what that means? It was the best damn gluten free donut I’ve ever eaten in my life. Brian thinks I say that about every place I eat, but he’s wrong. This donut was outstandingly, outlandishly, insanely delicious. I was in absolute awe with every bite. I positively hate the saying ‘food orgasm’ because first off it’s gross, and secondly because it’s gross, but I really do think I had one. It felt like a giant picked me, named me his dolly and took me on a magical adventure. Yep, that’s what it was like.

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But LA wasn’t JUST for donuts. I had lots of other food too. If you missed it on my instagram, I must update you. If you didn’t miss it, I must remind you. Because this food really was awesome. So after drowning in my donut, I needed something salty. Like veggies. So we stopped by Arc Restaurant to have some of their flame food. Flame food is a weird way to put it but they really make sure everything has a little char to it. It’s divine. We ate up some brussels sprouts that we blackened to perfection, then had some roasted asparagus with a little parmesan and an egg on top. It was wonderful. After our appetizers, we wanted to try a different restaurant. Why just go to one when you can go to two, right? Right. So we tried to check out 3 other restaurants, all of which were closed on a Sunday (which is the worst business model ever, just FYI – I NEED RESTAURANT FOOD ON A SUNDAY OK?!) and ended up almost running into Chapter One. And man am I glad we found this place. Seriously, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. EVER. My friend got the gluten free bun and it actually tasted good for once. This place was on point.

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But wait, there’s more. After veggies and a big dinner, I needed sweet again. Ok, needed is the wrong word. But I wanted ice cream real real bad. And my wonderful girlfriends knew exactly where to take me. We headed to a la Minute for some liquid nitrogen made ice cream, which is the creamiest, tastiest ice cream you’ll ever have. We used to have a restaurant that made that kind of ice cream and then they closed down and I cursed the day the owner was ever born. I got the salted caramel and it had huge chunks of salt on top. It was the best ice cream I’ve probably ever eaten.

That was all I ate that day. Just a small amount. All that the day before I tried the dress of my dreams on at Katie May. It’s official, I have a wedding dress. We have a date, we have a venue, we sent out our invites, and now I have a dress. I can’t wait to show you the little project I worked on with Katie May. It’s so dang exciting. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so good in a dress. Ugh, I wish I could show you now.

But wait, that wasn’t the only food I ate while in LA. After many many recommendations for Bottega Louie in downtown LA, we gave it and went straight there after my dress fitting. That place is freaking cool. Not only is it huge with incredibly high ceilings, but when you walk in, you first are welcomes by mountains of french macarons. Every color, every flavor; they just sit there and smile at you, welcoming you into the building. Along with pastries, and breads, and the most beautiful cakes and tortes you ever did see. But we came for the dinner. I had my eye on the short rib, but decided to first start my meal with an almond milk cappuccino since I hadn’t had a coffee that day. You guys, this cappuccino was AMAZING. It was so silky, so smooth, and not bitter whatsoever. Then we had some brussels sprouts with pistachios before I went HAM on my short rib that was topped with polenta. I can’t even. It was all so beautifully delicious. Of course, we tried a couple macarons and I thought they were decent, nothing to write home about. And then we ended our night going to Venice Beach to stop by Saints & Sinners to try some of their gluten free cookies, cupcakes, and cheesecakes. The cookies and cupcakes were out of this world. I know, I’ve said that about everything, but it was unreal. I could just do a little jig, it was that good.

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Who knew people in LA like to eat too? Now I REALLY hope my book tour stops in LA because I’m ready to eat more!

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Strawberry Vanilla Bean Sparkling Lemonade

  • Yield: 4 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 1 cup hulled and sliced strawberries
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half, beads removed with the back of a knife
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup sparkling water
  • extra strawberries, to garnish
  • lemon slices, to garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, place the water, maple sugar, strawberries, the beads from the vanilla bean that are removed with a knife, then add the vanilla bean pod into the saucepan. Place over medium heat and let simmer for no longer than 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean pod.
  2. Place mixture in a blendtec and blend until smooth. Then add lemon juice and lemon zest and blend for a couple seconds. Pour mixture through a strainer into a bowl then add sparkling water and stir.
  3. Pour sparkling lemonade mixture into glasses filled with ice and garnish with strawberries and lemon slices. Drink up!

PaleOMG Strawberry Vanilla Bean Sparkling Lemonade

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.

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7 thoughts on “Strawberry Vanilla Bean Sparkling Lemonade”

  1. Yay! So glad you had a great time in LA, and that you stopped by Bottega Louie. The BEST macaron selection. Can’t wait to try this sparkling strawberry lemonade, it sounds delicious and I’m always looking for drinks that I can bring to a BBQ that don’t necessarily involve alcohol. Hopefully your book tour stops in LA! (:

  2. PLEASE come to LA for your book tour! I love Sinners and Saints! I go there all the time. Best GF bakery in LA!!! Glad you were able to make it there. LA does have a fair amount of decent places to eat and you seemed to have found them! YAY!

  3. Long time follower– never commented before. But I just have to point out that most of the restaurants you mentioned are in ORANGE COUNTY, not LA! That’s a big pet peeve of folks who live here. 😉
    Glad you enjoyed what our county has to offer in the way of food!

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