Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Crave Wednesday: Steak Baguette with Pesto Mayo

Thatboy, knowing how important my birthday is planned a special celebration for just the two of us.   I knew about it for a while, or at least that he was doing something and I needed to keep a Saturday in June free.

On my birthday, things became a little more clear.  My present was a beautiful perfume bottle.

Thatboy told me that in addition to the beautiful bottle, for my birthday I was going to be creating my own signature scent.  We were going to a perfumerie.

On a bright and sunny Saturday, Thatboy and I headed to Tijon Fragrance Lab in La Jolla.

When we got there, we met with Vanessa.  She sat me down and asked a bunch of questions about scents I was drawn to.   Then she disappeared, leaving me with a bunch of bottles I was free to smell to see if they swayed me one way or another.

Vanessa reappeared with a selection of scents she had selected based on my responses.  Lots of citrus notes, some fruit, and what she felt were "clean" scents. 

Some missed the mark, while others hit it out of the ball park.  Eventually we were left with a nice collection of scents I liked.  That's when the fun began.  Vanessa took those scents and combined them to create two different perfumes.  She let me smell with each addition and we decided whether to add more or leave it as it was.

When she was done, I had two distinct perfumes, one a light and fruity scent, the other a more subtle, deeper scent.  I joked that one was young and carefree and the other was older and more worldly.   I ended up bottling the second - a blend of oak moss, green apple, and dune grass. 

With some time to kill before our dinner reservation, Thatboy and I took a walk down to the coast.  It's been a while since the two of us spent some time without the kids and  we enjoyed every minute of it.

After a bit we headed to Whisk n Ladle for dinner.  We started with the cheese and charcuterie plate and a couple of cocktails.

Then moved on to wine and dinner.    Thatboy had fried chicken, while I had gnocchi with spring peas.

What I love about Whisk n Ladle is that the menu changes almost daily to capture seasonal menu items.  Which is what I ideally love to do at my own house.  This is made easier when my neighbor brings over a flat of produce from his garden.  Bright summer tomatoes, grapes, passionfruit, and basil.   Fresh basil doesn't last long, so my solution is always to turn it into pesto.  Which freezes well, but is also a big hit in our house. 

Homemade pesto, paired with red ripe tomatoes is such a great summer treat.  And when paired with fresh crusty bread and steak, it makes sandwich perfect for days at the beach, or summer concerts under the stars.  Both of which we take advantage of during the summer.

Steak Baguette with Pesto Mayo (From Cooking Light)
12 oz boneless beef irloin steak
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp canola mayonaise
2 Tbsp pesto
1 baguette split in half horizontally
1 cup packed arugula
3 slices red onion
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat.  Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper.  
  2. Add steak to the pan and cook 2 1/2 minutes per side or until done as desired..  Remove steak from pan and let stand 5 minutes,  Cut steak across grain into thin slices.
  3. Combine mayo and pesto, stirring until well blended.  
  4. Spread pesto mayo over cut sides of bread.
  5. Layer bottom half of bread with arugula, red onion, steak, and tomato.
  6. Top with top half of bread.  Cut sandwich diagonally into 4 equal pieces.


  1. Happy Belated! Sounds like a fabulous day. How did I not know about Tijon?! I'll have to try it out. Whisk is one of our go-tos on La Jolla. Have you been to the wine bar at We Olive? My little sister and I went Tuesday and discovered their back patio - gorgeous view of the ocean!

    1. I didn't even know We Olive had a wine bar! Truthfully, I still haven't made it to the San Diego branch, but I used to love the one in San Luis Obispo!

  2. OMG - that sounds like the PERFECT birthday gift (the perfume). What a cool idea!!