[Giveaway] “Smallfoot” DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack

The Little Birds are taking over the blog! Today, they are sharing their review of the movie, “Smallfoot,” AND giving away a Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital download combo pack.

In case you don’t follow Baby Birds Farm on Instagram yet, Little Bird has been asking to start her own blog. We let her take a baby step as she staged an Instagram “takeover” to cover the opening of a new movie about Volcanoes at the Fleet Science Center. She did so well that she and the Littler Bird were asked to takeover again to share about “Smallfoot.”

Smallfoot DVD Giveaway

Digital downloads start December 4th in the United States. The DVD and Blu-Ray versions will be out December 11th. And YOU can win a combo pack right now. Enter below and one winner will be sent a combo pack directly to their home (US only please.)

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Brunch in the Garden: El Jardin San Diego

Have you been to El Jardin in Liberty Station? Claudette Zepeda-Wilkin’s new restaurant opened this summer. My mom took the Little Birds and me there for brunch a little while ago. The chef grows much of the produce right on the restaurant’s lot, and the breezy garden patio is comfortable and beautifully decorated.

El Jardin in San Diego is now serving brunch out on their garden patio

Refined Abuela Cooking

Chef Zepeda-Wilkin’s roots are here in San Diego and across the border in Mexico. She brings the comfort and satisfaction of her grandma’s recipes and traditions to current day presentation and surprises.

El Jardin in San Diego is now serving brunch out on their garden patio

The highlight of our brunch was the Chilaquiles Divorciados. Given the choice, I usually pick a green sauce for my chilaquiles or enchiladas. But I was happy to taste both homemade sauces. Divorciados means two different sauces side by side, making me think of a couple that are not quite divorced, but living separately in the same house.

All in the Details

Both the outside patio and the indoor dining room are decorated thoughtfully. I loved the utility of a stand near our table meant to hold bags. As a mom, I totally appreciated that there was a changing table in restroom stocked with Honest diapers and wipes. I mentioned it in my Instagram story, and the chef responded that the men’s room had the same set up!

The best restaurant changing table in San Diego

The Tastes

el jardin restaurant san diego

We started with hot chocolate, which was mixed (batida) table side, and cafe de olla. They mix the coffee with piloncillo sugar. I found it too sweet, especially along side the sweet entrees.

el jardin restaurant san diego

If you have seen my cajeta recipe or caramel torte with cajeta, chocolate and pecans (you have to click through to see the picture!), then you know I am obsessed with CAJETA. The Little Birds liked the pancakes with cajeta. Mom tip: have the kids split the sweet dish and order them each a side of eggs.

Cajeta and strawberry pancakes at El Jardin Restaurant in San Diego

One to Watch

I first met chef Zepeda-Wilkins in 2015. That summer, Specialty Produce held a tasting night a week before Javier Placensio’s Bracero opened. Zepeda-Wilkins, as that restaurant’s chef de cuisine, prepared Yucatan-style cochinita pibil sopes topped with heirloom beans and fermented pineapple. I really enjoyed hearing about the food from her. When her more famous boss came over, I asked to take a picture. She humbly stepped out of frame, and I insisted she get back in the photo. “Me?” she asked. “Yes!” I blurted, “I like you.” Because, sometimes I go with my gut, you know?

Tijuana chef, Javier Plascencia, and Bracero chef de cuisine Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins.

Since then, Zepeda-Wilkins starred in TV projects such as Top Chef in the US and Mexico. And in the time it has taken me to finish this blog post, El Jardin and the chef have been nominated for several restaurant awards. Yet, she still takes the time to bring the food to guests herself!

Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins of El Jardin Restaurant in San Diego

One More Tip

Top the chilaquiles with short rib, please! You’re welcome.

Chilaquiles Divorciados topped with short rib at El Jardin in San Diego

El Jardin

2885 Perry Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 795-2322
eljardinrestaurantbar.com

6 Tips for a Southern California Edible Garden in the Summer

Hi! Abby here. You may have noticed in my Mother’s Day post that I mentioned we moved. It’s true! We no longer have a third of an acre on a canyon as our backyard, playground, and chicken farm. It was a fast move, and our edible garden was just getting good on the day we moved. 

edible garden

Our new backyard will have room for some small garden boxes. Which brings me to the question: can you plant new vegetables in the heat of a San Diego summer? Guest blogger, Emily, recently reached out wanting to share some of her knowledge of gardening and conservation. She put together this guide for us with her best tips for planting edible summer plants in Southern California. 

Best Edible Summer Plants to Grow in Southern California

Southern California is a unique area with a climate that is varied, ranging from Mediterranean to desert-like conditions. Summers in SoCal are warm and dry with infrequent rain, so growing during the warmest days can be a bit of a challenge. However, overall, Southern California has an amazing climate for growing almost anything.

The average temperature in July is 92 degrees with only .04 inches of precipitation. Fortunately, there are still a number of edible plants that do well in this type of warmer weather and will thrive for you. There are also tweaks you can use to help plants grow better or take root when you transplant them.

1. Choose Plants that Take Heat

anasazi green beans

The harsh summer sun cooks delicate plants. In the summer, focus on plants that withstand heat, such as sunflowers, beans (like the Anasazis, pictured above) and corn. There are some additional things you can do to help these plants withstand dry conditions, such as regular watering and installing an irrigation system in your garden. Make sure you water early in the morning or early in the evening, so the water doesn’t heat up and further cook your plants.

2. Shade Transplants

When first moving plants to a new edible garden, they are particularly vulnerable. Use screens or taller plants to create shade for these transplants until they fully take root in the soil. Remember that the sun is harsher from June until August, so anything you can do to reduce the intensity a bit, without completely taking it away, will help your new plants. The key to planting in the summer is to do it in the morning or evening when temps are cooler.

3. Plant Melons

Melons tend to love the heat and absorb the sun. While they do need some water, they do okay in drier conditions as long as you give them water occasionally. To see if they need watering, pay attention to the vines and make sure they aren’t drying out too much. The first thing to suffer if the plant gets too dry is the edible part of the plant, or the melon. You can also purchase water stakes that deliver water to the roots of the plant throughout the day.

4. Pick Heat Tolerant Greens

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to grow your own organic salad? Unfortunately, many varieties of lettuce or vulnerable to heat and wilt in the summer sun. There are some heat hardy varieties, such as magenta spreen and calaloo amaranth. Choose varieties that do better in the sun both for garden décor and to make a salad for your next dinner.

5. Start Your Winter Vegetables

In August, start your winter vegetables. Some varieties that do well in the area include cabbage, broccoli, kale, leeks, onions and fava beans. If you’re worried cool weather will arrive sooner rather than later, plant in pots or above ground gardens, so you can easily cover and protect from the cooler nights.

6. Choose Everbearing Strawberries

strawberry picking

Southern California grows about 80 percent of the strawberries in America thanks to the perfectly suited soil that drains quickly. Even though it is ideal to plant in cool weather, so that the blooms develop properly, everbearing plants will bear fruit all summer long, giving you fresh berries to enjoy during the warmest days of summer.

Growing Your Edible Garden

Summer is a good time to enjoy the fruits of your edible garden labor. You don’t need a lot of acreage to grow your own garden, either. Even a patio will suffice if you’re willing to go vertical or put plants in pots. Although you’ll need to pay particular attention to how much water plants get, overall the milder weather of Southern California allows you to not only grow fabulous crops in the summer, but to enjoy fresh foods all year long.

About Guest Author, Emily Folk:

Emily Folk, guest author on Conservation and Sustainable GardeningEmily is passionate about gardening and is currently working on a three bin composting system. You can read more of her work on her blog, Conservation Folks.

Emily on Twitter

Emily on Google+

Emily on LinkedIn

Brunch at Herb & Wood

I hope you all enjoyed Mother’s Day! What did you do? Papa Bird makes a great breakfast. But with our new house still filled with boxes, I thought going out would be more relaxing. So we had a delicious brunch at Herb & Wood in Little Italy.

Herb-and-Wood-Brunch San Diego Eggs Benedict

If you follow our family on Instagram, you will know we often eat breakfast at Herb & Eatery, which is the casual market/cafe side of Herb & Wood. Papa Bird and I have had the pleasure of a night out at Herb & Wood, but we’ve never gone to brunch. In fact, they just started serving brunch last month!

The Sweet Verdict

Herb-and-Wood-Brunch - Monkey Bread and Dutch Baby

We love the croissants and pastries at both places. In fact, their pastry chef, Adrian Mendoza, is currently my favorite in town. Stand-outs for us were definitely the sweets.

Herb-and-Wood-Brunch - Dutch Baby Soufflé Pancake

We would 100% order the Dutch Baby Soufflé Pancake again. The table side presentation includes topping it, fresh from the oven, with huckleberries, lemon curd, and chantilly cream.

Herb-and-Wood-Brunch - Monkey Bread - San Diego

I’d say we would order the Monkey Bread with caramel, sesame seeds, cashews and tahini gelato again…. but we already did! It was my choice to start us off and Papa Bird ordered a second round for us to finish our meal. It’s a definite winner — and tip, only limited quantities are made each weekend, so order early. If the place weren’t so fancy, I would’ve definitely licked the plate.

Herb-and-Wood-Brunch - San Diego

Herb & Wood Restaurant

Speaking of fancy, the restaurant is full service, meaning multiple waitstaff attended on us, clearing dishes and silverware between courses. Herb & Wood is probably one of the most beautiful spaces in town. It used to be an art gallery (I remember attending openings in the space’s past life) and is a place “to be seen.”

Herb and Wood Restaurant in San Diego

Brunch options

To be honest, I thought we ordered a lot of food, between the French Onion Omelet, the Jamon Iberico Benedict, an Avocado and Burrata salad, and all the sweets. However, after leaving, I realized we never got to try their breakfast or brunch pizzas. You can see the current brunch menu here.

Herb & Wood Brunch in San Diego

The Extra Touches

In addition to the attentive service, they went above and beyond with extra touches for Mother’s Day. Our friend Nikki, who we know from frequenting the market side, made dozens and dozens of paper tulips to give to all the mamas. Our server delivered the flower at the end of the meal with a pair of perfect macarons packaged to take home.

Herb & Wood Restaurant in San Diego

Tips and Suggestions

  • Since brunch service is still new, reservations are a must. But if you do procrastinate, you’ll have the best luck finding a table when they first open at 10am.
  • Parking is really not that bad on Sundays and the meters are free.
  • Dress to impress. Even brunch is a scene to be seen. I would say rock your own style, whatever you feel that is, but don’t phone it in. You don’t want to get there and feel underdressed.
  • Only limited quantities of the Monkey Bread and Pastry Basket are baked each day, so put those orders in early.
  • The orange juice is freshly squeezed – ambrosia, as my dad used to call it.

Herb & Wood Restaurant in San Diego

Go!

2210 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA
619.955.8495
herbandwood.com
IG

Eggs Benedict with Jamon Iberico at Herb & Wood in San Diego

Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller Giveaway

Happy Spring Break! I love this time of year… perfect for new beginnings and babies. Today I’m sharing a new product from my friends at Ergobaby: the 180 Reversible Stroller. And guess what? They are sharing a brand new stroller with one of you.

Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller Giveaway

I’m a fan of Ergo, their baby carriers, and their whole business. In fact, they are one of the few businesses I’ve joined as an affiliate, which means I receive a commission if you purchase anything of theirs through a link on this site, like this one. If you do, thank you! It helps support our hosting and keeping Baby Birds Farm going.

Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller Giveaway

Sadly, our Baby Birds are not so baby anymore, if you saw them cutting and cooking in the our last recipe post. So we asked our friends Sarah of a House in the Hills, Lou (a #dadgonemild complete with bunny) and Teo to stroll for us. Our daughters have pretty much adopted Teo as their honorary little brother. Such a kind and wise baby… and couldn’t be cuter.

Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller Giveaway

As the name suggests, the 180 Reversible switches easily between baby facing the world and baby facing you. Sometimes your kid is inquisitive and soaking it in, and sometimes they want the reassurance of you.

Sarah shared: I love how lightweight it is, and that it’s so perfectly suited to transition from infant to baby to toddler.

Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller Giveaway

Want to Try the New Ergobaby Stroller?

And now: how can YOU get one? As of this spring, US customers can purchase online on ergobaby.com.

Feeling lucky? For a chance to win a new stroller, enter through the box below. The primary means of entry is by providing your email address to the sponsors: Baby Birds Farm, Burd Psychotherapy, Ergobaby and a House in the Hills.

Not into more emails? No problem! You can instead enter through Instagram @BabyBirdsFarm or @BurdTherapy (no emails needed). Or do both to maximize your chances!

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Dad pushing the reversible 180 stroller