Hey guys! I’m excited to share with you my experience at the Terranea Resort last weekend during a food blogging retreat with these lovely ladies – from left to right, Nikki, Megan, Lauren, Ashley, (me,) Liz, Amelia, and Lindsay!
Big blogging conferences are a great way to meet people you’ve known virtually for years face to face but, confession: as an introvert, they make me squirm…! That’s why I get excited about any chance to meet fellow food bloggers in a more intimate setting, like our Eat, Sea, Retreat hosted by the gorgeous Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California (my state spirit animal!)
This 100+ acre property has every amenity you could ever ask for including a working farm, hiking trails, a 9 hole golf course, restaurants galore, and a spa, just to name a few. It’s located just 35 minutes south of LAX and while it’s easy to get to, it kind of feels like you’re on a Hawaiian vacation or something!
Although our time together was short, it was packed with a great mix of work and fun. Including work-fun like making goat cheese stuffed zucchini blossoms (we are food bloggers afterall!) with the resort’s Executive Chef, Chef Bernard, who not only oversees all the restaurants at Terranea, but is super hands on at their farm, beehives, and salt salt conservatory. Here he is in action >
What made the resort so perfect for the group was its impressive foodie offerings including 8 (EIGHT!) restaurants ranging from a small deli to the ultra-decadent Mar-sel which features upscale California cuisine. I will never forget the multi course meal we had our first night with wine pairings ranging from sabered champagne to dessert wine. This is a must-try restaurant if you are ever in the area.
The whole property is one big postcard with views for days and fire pits sprinkled here and there complete with s’more kits for sale. Fancy or California-cool, there’s an experience here for any type of trip you’d like to have. Free sunsets for all, though!
Terranea offers traditional hotel lodging plus multi-bedroom villas for families and bigger groups like ours. The villas are great because they come with a full kitchen so you can save a few bucks and cook at “home” (wish my home was as nice as theirs – seriously contemplated contacting their interior decorator!)
Both days were filled with blogger-led sessions ranging from “Social Media Scheduling and Time Management” to “Getting Clear On Your Niche.” (I’m not sure how interesting this is to you – I know I’d probably fall asleep listening to someone in a different industry talk about their work conferences…zzz!)
You really learn so much more from connecting with people face to face though, rather than over email or text. That said, I walked away from the retreat mind brimming with ideas, and seven super-sweet new friends. They are fantastic!
As I mentioned, our villas were equipped with full kitchens so we took the opportunity to not only enjoy breakfast at home, but dinner on the second night too. On the menu? Taco Salads! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – food bloggers are not picky eaters. Feed us and we’re yours!
That said, we filled the kitchen island with a bounty of fresh lettuce, cherry tomatoes, black beans, tortilla chips, salsas, and the most buttery-tasting California avocados I have ever had in my life, then each went to town concocting our own custom taco salad.
The experience reminded me that dinner doesn’t have to be complicated to be completely satisfying (because, wowie wow wow, it was!) so I decided to make my own taco salad back at home, Shrimp and Avocado Salad to be exact, to share with you today!
Shrimp are the star of this scrumptious salad because I’ve been craving them for weeks and had a big bag in the freezer to use up. I thawed then marinated them in a simple yet scrumptious mix of extra virgin olive oil, honey, cilantro, lime juice, and chili powder to give them a tangy-chili-sweet-taste. Bonus? The same dressing used to marinate the shrimp is tossed with the salad saving loads of time. I mean, you don’t use the marinade as the dressing because, gross, rather the tangy dressing is divided in half killing two birds with one stone. I’ll take it!
Paired with crisp grape tomatoes, fresh lettuces, creamy avocado, and crunchy tortilla chips, this salad is going to blow all other taco salads out of the water. The crunch, the freshness, the flavor – ALL THE THINGS! But especially that dressing, man, I LOVED it!
This salad is a cinch to make, largely thanks to the fact that, as I mentioned, the shrimp marinade and salad dressing are one in the same. Simply combine 1/4 cup each extra virgin olive oil and fresh lime juice with 1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro, 1 Tablespoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small food processor or blender then process until smooth.
Scoop 3 Tablespoons of the dressing into a plastic bag with 1/2lb raw, peeled then deveined jumbo shrimp. I like to buy frozen raw shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined to save time. All you have to do is thaw in a bowl of water for 15-20 minutes then you’re ready to rock.
Pop the bag into the refrigerator then marinate for 10 minutes – no longer. If you leave the shrimp in the marinade for too long the lime juice will start to cook the shrimp ceviche-style. Delicious, but not what we’re going for here!
Once the 10 minutes is up, sear half the shrimp in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes a side. Finish with the other half then you’re good to go.
All together now! Divide fresh romaine lettuce and shredded red cabbage (love that color and crunch,) between plates then top with the sauteed shrimp, chopped avocado, halved grape or cherry tomatoes, and lots of blue corn tortilla chips. I like to crush ’em up with my fork to get lots of crispy crunch with each bite. Drizzle the extra dressing on top then dig in!
More Tasty Salad Recipes
- Italian Sub Salad
- Fall Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Vegetable Fajita Tostada Bowls
- Earth Bowl Salads with Smokey Candied Walnuts and Basil Vinaigrette
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Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad
Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad is a delicious gluten-free salad recipe with a shrimp marinade that doubles as the salad dressing. Fresh, easy, and filling!
- 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper
- 1/2lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 10oz chopped romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, chopped
- coarse sea salt (optional)
- blue corn tortilla chips, crushed
- Combine the first six ingredients in a food processor or blender then process until smooth. Place shrimp in a plastic bag then add 3 Tablespoons of the dressing and marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes (no longer.) Reserve remaining dressing for salad dressing.
- After the shrimp have marinated, spray the bottom of a skillet with extra virgin olive oil or nonstick spray then saute in two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, for 1-2 minutes a side, or until just barely cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly. Discard remaining marinade.
- Divide lettuce and red cabbage between plates then top with avocados, tomatoes, sauteed shrimp, and crushed tortilla chips. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired, then drizzle dressing on top and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
This filling entree salad is going to redefine taco salad night. Seasoned ground beef and cheddar cheese is all well and fine, but the light mix of shrimp, avocado, and that honey-cilantro-lime dressing with a pinch of chili powder is SO good! Can’t wait for you to try this!