Tag Archives: Santa Monica

Life Lately

Major Life Updates: We’re Married & We’re Moving!

Hey guys, it’s been awhile! And A LOT has happened in the last few weeks, so it’s about time that I get you up to speed.



Travis and I were married in Boston on Labor Day weekend! Our wedding day was everything I dreamed of and more. It felt so special to be married in the city I grew up in, and to celebrate with our closest friends and family. Once I receive the professional photos from the photographer, I will write a full wedding recap. In the meantime, here are a few photos I collected from our guests.

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com


Two full days after our wedding, Travis and I flew from Boston to Greece for our honeymoon! We visited Athens for two days, Mykonos for six and Santorini for another six. It was a perfectly long and relaxing vacation with my favorite person and travel buddy. Since we had plenty of time in each location, we never felt rushed and we were able to take our time exploring each area.

Mykonos Honeymoon ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I have so many photos and Greece travel tips I want to share with you all, but in effort to keep this blog post a reasonable length, I’ll save all that for another day.

Honeymoon in Santorini, Greece ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

And lastly…we’re moving!

And finally, our new BIG piece of news. We’re moving to NYC! Travis accepted a job in New York that we really could not pass up. The role combines two of his favorite things: sports and media, so I’m thrilled for him. Everything is just moving so fast! We just got back from our honeymoon and now we’re in the midst of packing up our apartment here in Los Angeles and trying to find an apartment in New York.

Santa Monica Boardwalk ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This move is certainly bittersweet. When I first moved to Los Angeles five years ago, I regularly told Travis how much I would love to move back east to be closer to our family and friends. But now, five years later, I finally feel settled in Los Angeles. We’ve both made incredible friendships and love the sunny, healthy and active lifestyle here. Los Angeles, specifically Santa Monica, is where Travis and I have spent the majority of our relationship and built our first “home” (ahem, one bedroom apartment) together. It’s where we fostered over twelve dogs and ultimately found Bessie, our favorite furry family member. It’s where I taught myself food photography and decided to turn my blog into a little business. We are really going to miss this city.

Bessie ll Chihuahua Terrier Mix Rescue Dog from Los Angeles, CA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

There are, however, SO many things about New York that I am looking forward to. I can’t wait to be just blocks or a quick subway ride away from so many of our friends. I look forward to countless dinner parties, holidays, birthdays, and many other celebrations with people we love. We’ve had to miss out on many of these events over the years while we were on the west coast. I also look forward to being able to take public transportation just about anywhere and not sitting in traffic on a regular basis.

A few people have asked me if I am ready to go back to the cold winters. The short answer is not so much, but I do look forward to having seasons again. I think having seasons makes you appreciate the good weather days even more. In Los Angeles, I rarely check the temperature because it’s pretty much 75 degrees and sunny every.single.day. I will miss being able to jog to the gym at 7AM on a January morning in just leggings and a thin long-sleeved top.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This has been an absolutely crazy, fun, exciting year for us. From quitting my job, to traveling throughout Europe, to getting married, and now moving across the country, I can honestly say that 2017 was our best year yet.

Thank you for reading and following along. I appreciate it more than you know! I’m looking forward to getting back on a regular schedule with you guys. Stay tuned for some delicious recipes coming atcha this month!

Life Lately

Friday Photo Dump

Hi there! Happy Friday! We made it!

I am popping in this gorgeous Friday to share a recent photo dump. I am constantly snapping photos on my iPhone, but so many of them never make it to social media or my blog. So without further ado, here are a few very random photos I snapped throughout the last week!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

We took Bessie with us to New Jersey last weekend. When we go away, we typically leave her with friends, but this time since we were just staying at Travis’ house (rather than a hotel) we knew bringing Bessie wouldn’t be a problem. She’d flown once before with Travis last Thanksgiving, but traveling with a pet was new to me! I am proud to say that our little Bessie was an angel on both flights. We gave her half a Benadryl to make her drowsy, and that definitely helped. Towards the beginning of the flight, all she wanted to do was poke her head out and take everything in. It was adorable. We also lucked out that both women we sat next to on each flight were dog lovers, so they didn’t mind when I kept Bessie out on my lap.

Bessie United Airlines

The Sunday of our trip, we took NJ Transit into NYC to meet up with Travis’ siblings for dinner. We had plans to meet at ABC Kitchen (I was SO excited to finally try this place after hearing rave reviews from all my friends who live in the city). On our walk over to the restaurant, I stopped in front of a building that looked somewhat rundown, but very rustic, and said to Travis, “I LOVE that building! I would want to turn it into a restaurant.”

Well, lo and behold, that storefront was actually ABC Kitchen – it just had very minimal signage! Looks like someone had the same idea as me.

ABC Kitchen NYC

Our meal was INCREDIBLE. I tried the pizza, fried chicken and salmon. I honestly can’t decide which dish was my favorite. I wanted to eat #ALLTHEFOOD.

Dinner ABC Kitchen NYC

Given my obsession with Eataly, we had to stop at the NYC location again because it was walking distance from ABC Kitchen. I loved this sign they had right in the main entrance. We were in NYC the Sunday after the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, so the city was celebrating in full swing. I couldn’t get over these adorable pasta people – go Eataly!


Fast forward a little less than a week was my friend Paget’s (in the middle!) birthday in Hollywood! I love Kelly and Paget so much – I have no clue what I would do without these two ladies in Los Angeles.

Paget's Birthday

On Saturday, July 4th, we BBQ’d at home. Afterwards all I wanted was ice cream. I NEVER eat ice cream because I am semi-lactose intolerant, but I was having a serious craving. Travis and I went to Beachy Cream up the street because I knew had dairy-free ice cream.

To make it even better, Beachy Cream even had FREE doggy fro-yo, so of course I grabbed a cup for Bessie. At first she didn’t know what to make of it, but when she finally got in there, she looooooved it. I had to take it away from her before she devoured it all. Sorry Bess!

Doggy Fro-Yo

I couldn’t help stopping to take in the scenery during my run yesterday morning. I was jogging on the path overlooking Santa Monica Beach and I was amazed by how calm and peaceful the beach looked. There wasn’t a soul in sight (not even any surfers that I could see). We gotta appreciate what’s around us, right?

Santa Monica Beach


That’s it from me! I hope you have a great weekend and I will see you early next week with some delicious new recipes!

Life Lately

Valentine’s Weekend Recap

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend spending time with people you love! I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day – any excuse to celebrate love is a win in my book (yea, I’m as sappy as they come).

Our Valentine’s Day celebrations began on Friday night. Travis had plans to beat me home and surprise me with flowers and a glass of wine waiting for me, but unfortunately (for him) I beat him home, thus foiling his plans. Nevertheless, I was thrilled by my beautiful bouquet and loved sipping on a delicious glass of wine before dinner.

Flowers, Wine

We had a reservation at The Little Door, in Santa Monica. You probably recognize the name because I’ve talked about it on the blog a lot – it’s my favorite restaurant in LA! Over the holidays, my brother and sister-in-law gifted us a very generous gift certificate to the restaurant, so Travis and I were excited to use it for our special meal.

My favorite dish on their menu is the Mezze plate. It comes with one million different tips and small bites of Mediterranean goodness. The bread basket contains pita bread, falafel and spanakopita. Lots of different small bites is my favorite way to eat. YUM YUM YUM!

Mezze Plate The Little Door

iPhone photos taken in dark restaurants always make food look just delightful, don’t they? Nope. Not at all.

Saturday morning I was woken up to Travis carrying in breakfast into the bedroom. He made me our favorite Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes and a big mug of coffee. I was half awake, but I still managed to let out a good squeal out of pure delight. I felt like a very lucky girl that morning.

Breakfast in Bed

The weather was beautiful on Saturday afternoon, so we decided to maximize our time outside and took Bessie on a long walk down the Santa Monica promenade. We stopped at Burger Lounge for a quick bite to eat. I wasn’t too hungry, so I opted for their Fresh Vegetable Salad, while Travis splurged for a burger, fries, and onion rings. While I don’t usually go for fried things, you can bet I helped him finish some of those onion rings!

Burger Lounge

I just love Burger Lounge – it’s a great local spot. For being a fast casual restaurant with a relatively young staff, the service is A+! The staff is all very friendly and attentive, making it a pleasure to dine there. One of the busboys brought us a bowl of water for Bessie to sip on because it was so warm outside. Small gestures like that go a long way in my book.

(Yes, I am wearing shorts and sandals in February).

Burger Lounge

Sunday morning, I walked into the dining room to find the newspaper and freshly picked flowers waiting for me. Travis picked them when he was walking Bessie that morning (sorry neighbors!), and they made me so darn happy. I was definitely feeling the love all weekend long.


One of Travis’ best friends from college was in town, so we met up for brunch. Afterwards the group came back to our apartment to hang out. It was so great to see our friend, Dan, and meet his new girlfriend.


Since the majority of our closest friends live on the east coast, the time we get with them is always so special.


Dan and Alexis


Yagna and Aneesh (+Bessie)


Bessie had a great day, too. She loves finding new people to pet her.

Santa Monica Pier

I couldn’t have asked for a better Valentine’s weekend. I’m not off from work today, but Travis is. It’s always tough to head back into the work week after such a great weekend, isn’t it?


What was the highlight of your weekend?

Eats Lately

A Weekend of Delicious Food and Even Better Weather


It was a gorgeous weekend in LA. I made a concerted effort to stay inside as little as possible so I could soak up all the sun. Because of that, time in my kitchen was minimal, and Travis and I ate a few delicious meals out.

Saturday night, we made reservations at Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza in Culver City. I’d heard great things about this place, so I was really excited to try it. As the name says, they make their pizza crust with sourdough, which I thought was really cool. We tried their Veggie pizza. It had shallots, mushrooms, caramelized onions, garlic chips, peppers, and more.  We also ordered their garlic knots and chopped salad. In conclusion, everything was delicious.

image (3)

My only tiny qualm was that the pizza dough wasn’t very crispy at the bottom, so I think next time I would ask them to keep it in the oven for an extra minute or so. This girl likes burnt crust…I know, it’s strange.

image (5)

(Sorry for the AMAZING dark restaurant photo…)

Even though we lost an hour of sleep on Sunday morning, I luckily woke up ready to tackle the day. In the morning I spent a few hours cleaning and doing laundry. At around 10AM, I finally sat down to a batch of my favorite protein pancakes with Justin’s Maple Almond Butter and a great cookbook. I perused through it, looking for recipes to make for dinner this week.

image (4)

It was such a gorgeous day and after the rest of our laundry was done, Travis and I walked to the nearby Whole Foods to pick up some groceries. It was one of those days that I was feeling rather inspired, so I wanted to throw everything into my cart.  Luckily, we were walking home, so I eventually snapped back into reality and realized that buying the entire store was probably not the best idea.


After grocery shopping, Travis suggested we go grab lunch somewhere outside. We decided to go back to a little spot we’d tried once before, Courtyard Kitchen on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica.

image (1)

One of my favorite aspects of the LA food scene is how many restaurants offer outdoor seating. Sunday, in particular, the weather was so gorgeous that I truly felt like I was on vacation. I was just in pure relaxation mode.

Travis and I both ordered the chicken salad sandwich. It was served on a dark raisin bread that reminded me so much of my favorite bread they serve at the Cheesecake Factory. The chicken salad at Courtyard Kitchen is delicious and they make it with NO MAYO, so that is a huge win in my book.


Sunday was also the LA Marathon and the finish line was only a few blocks away from our apartment. After lunch, we went to go check it out, but I almost immediately regretted it. Most people already finished the race at that point, so it was a zoo with everyone trying to find their families and get home. There were runners, families, police, and cars everywhere. I felt that no matter where we stepped we were getting yelled at by the police to “stay inside the lines!” or “not cross the street!” I appreciated that there was tight security, but it was certainly exhausting trying to walk even just a block.


When we finally got out of the chaos, we took a moment to walk along the path that overlooks the ocean. It was such a gorgeous day, and I don’t even think this picture does it justice. I feel very lucky that I live in such a beautiful place.


I spent the rest of Sunday cooking a yummy Mediterranean dinner.

Travis’ sister, Justine, came over and it was so nice catching up with her. Whenever Justine comes over she always brings the best desserts, but this time I insisted she just bring herself. Of course, she didn’t listen to me and brought a box of Magnolia Cupcakes! Let’s be honest, I could NEVER say no to a good cupcake. She is always so thoughtful.

Here is a peek of one of Sunday night’s recipes:


Muhammara: a delicious roasted red pepper dip served with warm pita. Check back in later in the week for the recipe!


What did you eat this weekend? Did you try any new restaurants or recipes?