John’s Grill & Final Bridal Shower Touches!

Happy Monday Friends!! Hope all you beautiful mommas had a wonderful day yesterday!!! Y’all are rockstars! I so wish we could have celebrated with our own today– they are truly the most incredible women we know <3

DJ had a long weekend, and we’ve been trying to make the most of it since I start my next semester this week. I am hoping to catch up on posts to present day. I’ve got on NYC Housewives on in the background to keep me company (judge away, lol).

Hur. we. goooo.

On April 26th, I went on a walk in the morning after catching up on some blogs with breakfast and answering e-mails.

44c1119c-16c1-4617-ad25-632d6d3f3d14-1In the afternoon I picked up the final templates from Staples. Here is a preview of the spread- her invitation, bridal shower bingo, and True or False questions about her and her fiancé! I also had wedding movie charades, but wasn’t sure how feasible that would be with space and people moving around. I know when I go to these things I like to just chat and eat, hah.

261101fa-a91a-49c3-9fc0-c59cb1c486b5-1I forgot to share this sweet picture one of my kiddos drew me at B+G club.6f851544-0651-4327-aa83-98663b2d5b4c-1

So, somewhat funny story- I was at a table with a couple third-grade girls after they finished up their homework, and they were trying to decide what to draw. I asked them what they were doing for Spring Break and one of the girls said going to the beach, so I suggested drawing the beach they imagined. The other girl turned to her and said very seriously, “Make sure to put trash in the ocean so it’s realistic”. I couldn’t help but giggle (although I recognize the seriousness of the issue), but I was sooo taken aback by this third graders concern for the environment. At least they’re learning young!

In the evening, DJ had to work, but I was still excited to enjoy some quiet time at home. Any semblance of down time is about to be a very foreign concept. I decided to make wine from a “Make Your Own Wine” kit we received for Christmas! I had been saving it for a date night, but since we are moving soon (and it takes four weeks to ferment) I figured I should get started so we don’t have to lug it all the way to Texas with us. I put on a podcast and got to work!


It was a lot of fun to make, although I’m not sure I did it 100% correctly. I couldn’t get the bag of fruit open at the suction cap, so I used a knife- pretty sure that broke sterile field. Oh well! On May 10th, I clarified the wine and in two weeks I will bottle it! This is a great gift- I’m realllly excited to see how it turns out!


On April 27th I was invited to a food shoot by John’s Grill– one of the oldest restaurants in SF established in 1908. It actually is considered “Home of The Maltese Falcon“— the setting of the novel written by Dashiell Hammett. I’ve never read this literary piece, but after visiting the restaurant I’m adding it to the list. If you’d like to read more about its history and the famous patrons that have visited the restaurant see this link. 🙂


I went with my friend from my nursing cohort, Cynthia, who lives in the city! You may remember when I last met up with her for some of the best pizza of my life in Noe. Anywho, when we entered the manager kindly walked us over to our seats. Since the meal is complimentary, there is a preset menu of their favorite items! I love this because it helps greatly with my indecision. They did say if there was anything else on the regular menu we wanted to try to let them know which was incredibly generous.


They even gave us a little keychain gift to take home (it’s in the black bag!).


We decided on their Private Label Cabernet. At tastings like this usually we get a glass- but this time they gave us the whole bottle! I was excited to take it home to have DJ try some too because it was phenomenal cabernet…Easily some of my favorite house wine I’ve tried!!


Since there was an option for each course, we opted to each try one of each dish. For starters was Jack Lalanne’s Favorite Salad with seasonal greens, crab, shrimp, avocado, mushrooms and tomatoes tossed in their famous creamy bleu cheese vinaigrette dressing.


WOW. That salad was fresh as can be!!! The seafood to the avocado was all just bursting with flavor.

And this clam chowder was maybe our favorite of all the food (dessert in a separate category of its own 😉 ). It had a bit of a kick which is a huge plus for a spice-lover like myself. Mmm mm!


Cynthia tried their New York Steak. It was perfectly done to order.


I tried a little bite with their peppercorn sauce and their bearnaise sauce… both wonderful accompaniments too.

For my main dish I had the Petrale amandine with sliced almonds and sweet butter sauce. Oh my goodness this was delicious!!! It had a bit too much butter for my personal preference, but the flavor was tremendous and the lemon helped cut the thickness of the butter. I still think the Petrale I had at Alfred’s was better, but this steakhouse overall I prefer.


The dessert also took the cake!!! (or shall I say cheesecake). Holy. stinking. smokes. This may be my favorite dessert from a restaurant I’ve ever had. The only contenders from another restaurant are the Carrot Cake from Gasoline Alley (A home staple in Ohio that I don’t think anything will ever beat) and the desserts we had in Florida at Il Mulino.


I have had a craving for really good cheesecake lately, and this 100000% satisfied it. This is as close to legit NY Cheesecake as it comes.


Now, for this chocolate mousse torte– gooodness gracious- so light, yet rich, decadent, indulgent, and luxuriously delicious.


We also took a little tour around their upstairs floors where they host parties.


The history and elegance is enough to make you swoon!


Such a lovely and delicious meal! Thank you, John’s Grill, for hosting us!

Before heading home I spent some time on the Embarcadero- probably my favorite place to just “be” in the City. I tried to soak up every moment. <3


On April 29th, I went to Marine Layer on Santana Row in order to participate in their T-shirt exchange Respun program! Thank you tons, Emily for the info! If you turn in 5 shirts, you get $25 of credit in return. It was easy peasy. I was in and out within probably 3 minutes.


On April 30th I finished getting gifts for the bridal shower. Since it’s a nautical theme I included Mermaid Crunch Popcorn, a water bottle, tropical gummies, and a candle for the game winners (thank you all for your suggestions!). All this is from TJ’s and the candles are from Target!


For dinner I made purple sweet potato, tofu curry, Fage, and cinnamon.


Aaaand as promised, I made DJ my homemade chicken curry he loves with jasmine rice and the naan bread from Trader Joe’s.


Since I was going to be leaving for Ohio, I wanted to make sure DJ had enough in the fridge for the weekend so I made him some healthy pasta to have along with the chicken curry and enough naan bread and rice to feed an army.


I went on a little walk in the morning of May 1st and loved how these flowers cascaded over the walkway.


In the afternoon, I made a sweet potato with beets, artichoke hearts, and Fage to enjoy before packing to leave the next day for Cincinnati.


I’ll recap my sister’s graduation & her shower in the next post!

Questions for you:

  • What is the best, most memorable dessert you’ve ever had (can totally be your own/ a family recipe!).

PS. I am SOOO mad at Dany in GOT. I won’t post spoilers, but if you watched this episode- leave me your thoughts in the comments. I am not about the way she “handled” things.

xo <3

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61 thoughts on “John’s Grill & Final Bridal Shower Touches!

    1. Thank you so much! That really means a lot<3

      It was such a good whirlwind of a trip... but I think I'm still recovering from time changes haha. Thanks for reading!

  1. Oh my word! Those desserts are incredible. I’m gushing!!! 🙂 Mermaid popcorn is such a cute idea. Nice gift bag. 🙂

  2. That’s hilarious about the one third grader saying they need to draw trash in the ocean. Obviously a very serious matter but it seems so random to me to say that for a drawing haha.

    Let me know how the wine kit turns out! I’ve always been curious about that and think it would make for such a good gift.

    That is so nice you were invited to John’s Grill. The food looks so tasty but that chocolate mousse tort. I need it 😉

    The bridal shower goodies and games are so cute! I love the nautical theme for it.

    Girl…that episode. It took me about an hour to fall asleep after it ended. So many thoughts but I don’t want to spoil it right now since people may not have watched it last night!

    1. hahah I felt the same wayyyy. Like I was just so shocked at both the way she said it and what she was saying- it just cracked me up.

      I absolutely will!!! I am soooo eager to see what it tastes like (especially because I’m convinced I messed it up a little along the way lol)– I just hope I don’t get sick or something from it- fingers crossed!! I have it on my calendar – May 24th it will be ready to go!

      YESSS the chocolate mousse torte was out. of. this. world. My friend Cynthia said, “This is one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth” hahah.

      Thanks so much!

      ME TOO. I was thinking about it allll night and all Monday too. And still today if we’re real haha. Is it Sunday yet? I cannot believe Sunday is the last one- Imma go through a depression. But at least then we have the spinoffs to look forward to! Thanks for popping in, Maureen!!

  3. Planning showers can be so much fun. Hope it went well. I don’t think I can pick a favorite dessert. Most desserts have a special place in my heart (stomach) LOL.

    1. Thank you so much, Ruth! It was truly a blast planning. I am sad it’s over, but now I am in bachelorette planning mode, which is so much fun too!

      Haha- yess, I totally am with you!!! It depends on my mood too- sometimes I crave chocolate, sometimes lemony or fruity, and sometimes something more like a cheesecake! Thanks for stopping in 🙂

  4. Third graders, man. Lol

    And GOT!!!! Ah! I was so disappointed. I honestly wanted to cry. I mean the show is famous for doing what you’re not expecting but that just made me sad.

    1. Hahah I just love them & watching their minds work. Such a funny age, but I just adore them!

      Girl, I KNOW!!!! I felt the same way. I told DJ that the only way I could describe how I felt after that episode was “disheartened”..but you are soo right- they definitely live up to shock/unexpected factor. And I’d lie if I said I wasn’t counting down to Sunday again. We’ll have to chat after the finale!

    1. haha I think you’ve just spoken the thoughts of majority of the viewers. DJ and I were saying we can’t decide if it was a phenomenal last episode or one of the worst. I just cannot wait for Sunday – seriously counting down. I feel like they’re gonna do something to really just rattle us. Some speculate the white walkers really aren’t dead, but I feel like they couldn’t play out that story line in one episode. Guess we’ll see!

  5. Ahhh I love the little sneak peak of the spread for the bridal shower. SOO cute! This makes me so anxious for my shower which is a complete surprise so I am clueless when it is. I’ll just keep getting myself psyched up over here 🙂

    That is so crazy that a third grader acknowledged the fact that our oceans are filling up with trash. You know it’s a serious issue when even young kids are aware!

    I can’t wait to hear how your wine turns out! Such a cute gift idea!

    How awesome that you keep getting invited to try food and take pictures! Do you reach out to the places or do they reach out to you? I think the fact that they gave you a keychain is so sweet! That salad has my mouth watering! I could go for that whole dessert plate right now!

    I’m so excited that you participated in the t-shirt exchange! I’m glad to hear it was just as easy peasy to do in person as through the mail. I had never heard of Marine Layer before this but now I want almost half of the store haha.

    I’d have to say one of my most favorite desserts is the skillet cookie from a place near me called Charlie Brown’s. What made it so memorable was the fact that I thought it was just a regular chocolate chip cookie but then there were little pretzel bites in it. SOO delish! I could probably think of a ton more that I love but we’d be here all day 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Aww thank you, Em!!! Oh my gosh- that is soo fun, I love that you have no idea about any of it!! When is it? I can’t wait to hear all about it! No doubt it will be awesome 🙂

      Right?! And she was soooo dead serious- I appreciated the conviction!

      Thanks so much- I am super curious if it will be good … I was telling Maureen I just hope I don’t get sick because I’m pretty sure I wasn’t 100% sterile in certain points- eek. We’ll see May 24th, lol!

      So with the food events they reach out through Instagram! Some are the restaurants themselves, some are their social media managers, and some from other foodies. It has been so much fun, but I know I’ll have to take a bit of a breather since school starts back up tomorrow.

      Ahh seriously thank you again for telling us about it! It’s just such a brilliant idea. I hope more stores do something similar! (speaking of helping out the environment 😉 ).

      Oh yummm!!! That skillet cookie sounds insanely good!! I loveee anything with pretzel so the thought of that is truly heavenly!! I wonder if it similar to the BJ’s Pizookie?! Mmmm mm. Either way , I have to add it to my foodie bucket list. Thanks for your comment, Em ! Hope you are having a great week 🙂

      1. I don’t even know when it is, which totally adds to the excitement on my end!! I’m sure the wine will be great! I can’t wait to hear about it after May 24th 🙂

        I’ve never heard of Bj’s Pizookie but I will definitely be looking into it! I hope you have a great semester!! 🙂

      2. Ohhh you would love it, Em!! It’s a chain restaurant- so I bet they have one near ya 🙂

      3. I thought the name sounded familiar so I looked it up. There is actually one out by my old college! I was looking at the menu and oh. my. goodness. those pizookies look AMAZING!!!

      4. Yessss 😍 😋I bet you could find one near ya sometime . Have a great weekend Em!

  6. Another wonderful post Mackenzie! Everything about this post was amazing and that cheesecake…my goodness it looks delicious! I too would like to know how you get invited to do a photo shoot at these restaurants. The food you make for DJ looks a delicious as the restaurants do! Lucky man!

    1. Hi, Diane!! Thank you so much 🙂

      I am still dreaming of that Cheesecake!!

      Oh so I was telling Em that many times the restaurants will reach out via direct messenger on Instagram (or their social media manager/ another foodie that collaborates with the restaurant). I usually just have to make a post on my Instagram in exchange for a free meal. Sometimes there is no stipulation, it is just “understood” that I will promote them. It’s a blast, but with school starting up again will probably have to take a bit of a back seat unfortunately. Do you have Instagram? And thank you for your sweet words about my cooking- so appreciated especially coming from youu, one of my cooking idols! Have a great rest of your week, Diane!

      1. You are so sweet! I have a daughter in law that just finished NP school last year. My daughter is in school to get hers as well, she is currently an RN and charge nurse, so I totally understand how precious your time is. Yes I have Instagram.

      2. Aw congrats to her!!! Being a charge nurse is such a huge responsibility of its own! I admire that. And do you mind if I friend you on it? My food handle is mackncheeeesy !

  7. How observant that the two third-grade girls said to throw trash in the water to make it realistic. SMH. That’s some vibrant artwork there. Everything on the menu looked wonderful, but especially that juicy-looking steak and baked potato – it’s been awhile since i had either. The salad looked good too and I don’t have to tell you how good the desserts looked – especially the cheesecake. I guess my most-memorable dessert was on a cruise I went on with my parents to the Bahamas. It was an Italian ship, a four-day cruise, and one night we had Baked Alaska.

    1. Right?! She knows what’s up, haha. I have a feeling we have a little politician on our hands. I haven’t been able to go for two weeks, so I’m counting down to Thursday when I can see them again!

      Oh my gosh that Baked Alaska sounds phenomenal- food always tastes just the best on vacation, especially when you are relaxed! Time to go get ice cream after this convo 🙂

      1. If not a politician, an environmentalist. Wonder if they is something learned at home or in school? Maybe you’ll find out this Thursday. Yes, you can savor food on vacation more and enjoy it for sure. Get some more ice cream before it is just a memory!

      2. Totally!! I think that’s the more logical route.

        Aw definitely! I have a few more Ice cream stops we want to make before moving too!

  8. That make your own wine kit looks so fun, haha. I can’t wait to hear how it turns out! I love the look of John’s Grill on the outside and inside! The building looks so cool. The food all looks so yummy too! I love cheesecake and that cake looks amazing. I love the bridal shower gifts!

    1. I will definitely letchya know!! I am able to open it on May 24th!! I’m excited/nervous lol.

      Thanks, Ashley- so glad you enjoyed this post! 🙂 Hope you are having a great week!

    1. It was probablyyy my favorite part of the meal! I had a hard time choosing between that and the cheesecake (of course both sweets, lol!)

  9. We eat a lot of desserts in my family. We actually have a family recipe for boiled custard that we have every Christmas which is delish!

    1. Hi, Katy!! We love our desserts too- we call it “Sugar time!”. And that boiled custard sounds PHENOMENAL!! I just recently became obsessed with custard everything- so this is kinda funny you mention this! Mmm mmm! Hope you are having a great week- thanks for stopping in!

  10. You have had a fabulous couple of days! You did well with the shower gifts! Way to be awesome! And I bet the shower was wonderful.

    That dessert plate was amazing!! Holy. Stinkin.Smokes! (Just using your words to emphasize how good it looked here on my iPad) Wow!

    My most favorite dessert has to be my banana cake I make with chocolate buttercream frosting. Sounds simple but it decadent.

    Enjoy the rest of your week. Hugs!

    1. Thank you so much, Nancy!! I can’t wait to share the shower with ya!

      hahah yesss sit was that good!!! The chocolate mousse torte may have been my favorite part of the meal, but hard to choose.

      Ooooo the sounds of that banana cake is making my mouth water!!!! YUM! Buttercream frosting sounds absolutely scrumptious with that too! Thanks for stopping in, Nancy! <3

    1. yesss!!! Mmmm I could go for it again right now! Thanks for stopping in Stephanie & Sydney 🙂

  11. Oh my goodness. I wish I could reach through my phone and eat everything you dined on. Your curry looks amazing. I’m still searching for a good recipe.

  12. I love that those kids are already learning to be more conscious about the garbage ending up in the ocean! Wow! A lot of people older than them don’t even understand the problem, lol.
    Also, what a cute nautical theme! I love all the items you chose, they went with it perfectly!!

    1. Right?! It is CA, but I was still impressed haha.

      Aw thank you so much, Courtney!! 🙂 It was fun putting it all together for sure!

  13. I have never read the book “The Maltese Falcon“,but I once caught the the original 1941 film on TCM and really enjoyed it. Perhaps I’ll watch it again with some Carmel creme brulee my favorite made by my spouse whose a chef 😊

    1. Ohh I actually didn’t know there was a film, but I’m so glad you told me about it!! Thanks for that! I’ll have to check it out.

      Oh my! That Carmel creme brulee sounds like a dream—I bet you eat some really good food all the time!! MMm mm!

  14. Posts like this always make​s me feel so happy and cosy! I hope your wine tastes as delicious as it looks. Its safe to say, I feel very hungry now haha, thank you for sharing!xx

    1. Aw I’m so glad, gf 🙂 It was soooo good! I was so shocked they let us have the bottle, but definitely not gonna argue ! Haha. Hope you got some good eats after reading this <3 Thanks for stopping in, Chloe!

  15. Your food looks delicious, and your pictures of it are beautiful – as always! I can’t wait to see pictures of your sister’s bridal shower! It looks like it was SO cute and you did a great job!

    1. Hi, Taylor! Thank you so so much-it makes me feel good you think it came together well- it was all so fun to plan & I can’t believe it’s over!! Next up: Bachelorette party plannin’! Hope you have a great weekend 🙂

    1. Hi, Bernice! That’s the perfect way to describe those desserts… uh oh.. my sweet tooth is acting up again just thinking about them! Thanks for stopping in 🙂

    1. Ahh it was seriously some of the best I’ve ever had, and easily the best I’ve had in CA. Mmmm mm!

  16. Hi Mackenzie, you and DJ are blessed to have such great Mom’s ! I have seen both in your posts and how much love is generated by you towards them. It seems like fun bridal shower games you set up! Lovely B&G club picture , they appreciate you !It is good that they are concerned about the earth at that age. How fun to make your own wine , I didnt know it would be so simple to do. John’s grill seems a really nice restaurant. The salad looks so tasty! All the courses are mouthwatering . I don’t know whether to thank you or scold you for putting up those yummy desserts!! That is a great system getting $25 credit for a t shirt return. Such nice gifts you picked up for the game winners! It looks like DJ was well looked after food wise in your absence ! Those flowers are so pretty by the walkway! Thanks for sharing, Terri xo.

    1. Aw thank youuuu!!! That makes me happy that our love for them really shows through these posts 🙂

      Definitely good to know they are creating awareness so young!! I wonder if that’s just in CA or if that’s everywhere too.

      So the steps involved were actually pretty tedious (I’m pretty sure I messed it up!), but I was so surprised it was possible to even make your own wine at home! I am able to try it on the 24th when it is done fermenting- I’ll letchya know how it tastes !!

      The salad at John’s would easily be my go-to there I think! And lol- those desserts… I might I think about them everyday hahah.

      Thanks for reading, Terri 🙂 I saw you have a post published! Can’t wait to read ! Have a great week.

  17. If you blog about the bridal shower I cannot wait to see everything you’ve made!!
    And omg! How sweet of them to draw something for you! I love how the other girl just told her to not forget to add trash 😭 omg I love that they’re so knowledgable at that age! Its best if they start young. I’m gonna make sure my kid knows that kind of stuff too. They’re the future.
    I didn’t know there was such a thing as make your wine. Cant wait to hear how that turned out.
    Whoa immediately that restaurant just sounds so lovely! They gave you a whole bottle and all the food looks good! I would love to try that salad!!
    Omg no the dessert!! I want some!!! I have been wanting cheesecake for a long long long long long time!!
    And that mousse torte looks fantastic too! Ugh no lol.
    The prizes you’ve put together for the winners are perfect!!
    So your sister is graduating from college? AND she’s getting married? I’m confused lol. Sorry.
    Best dessert I’ve ever had… idk. I’ve had so many good ones lol.

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