Love and Food Trucks at Pride Toronto

When I think of Pride Toronto, I think of love, acceptance, and freedom. There is so much love and unity in the air that it is mesmerizing and intoxicating. One little-known gem about Pride is the abundance of gourmet food trucks and stations dishing out mouth watering meals. They are serving up everything from baked goods to fish tacos to every kind of poutine you can imagine! I obviously had to grab my friends, make my way down the line and try a little bit of everything!

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Restaurante Esmeralda in Acapulco

Acapulco located only three and a half hours from Mexico City is one of the biggest destinations for “chilangos” (people who are from Mexico City) and also for international travelers. Back in the 1950’s, Acapulco was huge for Hollywood elite, even Frank Sinatra included it in his famous single “Fly Me to the Moon.” Other notable characteristics of this charming city are the views of the bay:  “La Quebrada,” a tall cliff where divers throw themselves into the sea (with the only protection of their knowledge of the tides) and over three hundred days of sun and warm ocean. The average temperature is between 78 and 89 degrees throughout the whole year.

Acapulco has many different ways to entertain its visitors including; the longest zip line above the sea opened earlier this year, chic nightclubs, delicious restaurants, bungee jumping, fishing, all of the water sports one can think of and so much more.

Restaurante Esmeralda

One of these water sports is what brought me to Restaurante Esmeralda. After water-skiing we were famished so our captain took us here where we got to eat the most amazing “Pescado a la Talla”, enjoy beautiful views of the lagoon and the ocean, relax in hammocks and look at the amazing nature all around the island, including a baby alligator.

Restaurante Esmeralda
Pie de la Cuesta, 40981 Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico

This restaurant is located on Montosa de Cocuya Island it is close to where Cocuya lagoon and the South Pacific Ocean meet. (a 40-minute boat ride to get there from where we were water-skiing) There’s a legend revolving around this island and the ones next to it; people say there was a man here once that had a hundred wives and they all lived there together. The rumor is all the local women here, that serve and prepare the food at Restaurante Esmeralda, are his descendants or ex-wives.

So this island belongs to the staff of Restaurante Esmeralda. 

 

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Madrid Musings: Street XO

As you all know by now, I am notorious for planning all of my vacations around food. Before I even made flight or hotel reservations for Madrid, I checked to see what Michelin star restaurants were in the area. Imagine my excitement when I discovered that there were 14 different restaurants with Michelin star rankings, and that doesn’t even include the World’s 50 Best list! Seeing how Diver XO and Alinea recently collaborated, it was one of the first places to research. Months in advance of my trip, I reached out to Diver XO inquiring about reservations. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that they don’t accommodate parties with less than two guests. Dammit. Rather than brooding over the fact that I would not be able to experience the culinary creations of the mohawked, Michelin star chef, David Muñoz, I decided I would check out the next best thing, Street XO. And so the journey begins.

Street XO
Calle de Serrano, 52, 28001 Madrid, Spain
Website

Planning my itinerary, I decided that Monday would be the ideal day to visit as I had read numerous articles talking about the wait. I grabbed my things from the hotel and off I went. Starting my day with a quick bite at Arzabal, I then spent a few hours wandering through the Reina Sophia and then decided to make my way to Street XO. I grabbed my phone and input the address. I was a little over a mile away and would arrive as soon as they opened. Perfect timing, right? As I made my way down Calle de Serrano, I kept looking for building 52. 60, 56, 48, where the hell was 52? Trying to avoid being the typical American tourist, I popped into a few stores asking if anyone knew where it was and all I received were blank stares until the last store where the kind gentleman told me it was located in El Corte Ingles. I had only walked past that place at least 6 times during my search.

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Summer Loves Sunshine Package at SLS Hotel Beverly Hills

I recently checked out The Bazaar by José Andrés, at SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills (read about it here) and I had such a magical experience, I have to share with you the SLS Hotel’s Summer Loves Sunshine package, available today through September 30.

SLS Hotel let me come in for a tour of this fantastic offer. After this tour, I’m dying to escape and seek refuge at the SLS Hotel! I always recommend the SLS to my friends when they come in from out town. But if you’re an LA local looking for leisure, this hotel package is arranged perfectly for those looking to recharge.

Premium Suite

The Summer Loves Sunshine Package includes:

  • Overnight accommodations in a premium Suite – these suites are so luxurious! Everything from the furniture to the lighting to the decorative accents are methodically thought out by designer Philippe Starck.
  • $100 Ciel Spa credit – $100 here can cover a blow-dry, hair treatment, manicure or pedicure, foot or hand massage. This is perfect for a little pick-me-up. 
Altitude Pool Cabana
  • Altitude Pool Cabana (including food & beverage by José Andrés and a welcome bottle of cava) – Swim or tan rooftop with marvelous views of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.

    Altitude Pool Cabana
  • The Pool Menu offers renewing treatments – includes a Chair Massage or a brightening Eye treatment.
  • Sunshine Dreaming Tote packed with:
    • SLS-branded water tumbler
    • SLS-branded hat
    • Sun Bum sunscreen spray
    • Pair of Toms sunglasses
    • Sunshine Dreaming pillow
Tres by José Andrés

This package is priced starting at $2032/night (plus taxes) and subject to availability. Bookings for SLS Beverly Hills’ “Summer Loves Sunshine” Package can be made online or by calling 866-716-8136 (ask for Rate Plan LTPKG1). 

Let me know in the comments below if you book this package!

My Favorite Nashville Farm-to-Table Spot: EiO and the Hive

I have found my personal heaven on earth in EiO and the Hive. Owner and Wellness Entrepreneur, Jennifer Masley, has brought her expertise and poured it lovingly into every square inch of this restaurant. She focuses on local and sustainable products, keeping a healing, worldly menu for us to enjoy!

Along with Jennifer is Chef Dale Levitski. From competing on Top Chef to working in some of the finest restaurants in Chicago and now Nashville, I am so excited to have him in my neighborhood!

 

One of my favorite features of this new hot spot is that EiO has a small farm with veggies, bees and chickens. The plan is to start doing education and private meals in the garden.

EiO and the Hive
5304 Charlotte Ave, Nashville TN, 37205
Eioandthehive.com

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Joey Wölffer’s The Road We Travel Pop-Up Shop at Platform LA

A couple of my favorite things: Wölffer Rosé, Wölffer No. 139 Dry Rosé Cider and jewelry!

Whenever I’m in NYC and dining out, I always order a glass of Wölffer Estate’s Rosé and/or my absolute favorite, the No. 139 Dry Rosé Cider. It’s very common to find in NYC restaurants and bars. I’ve always wanted it to come over to the West Coast though!

While Californians still can’t purchase Wölffer Estate wines in their own state, we do have time to shop for new clothes at Co-Owner Joey Wölffer’s pop-up, The Road We Travel at Platform LA. Joey curates a Hamptons-meets-boho collection from an array of her favorite luxe designers.

If we can’t sip on a glass of Wölffer Estate Rosé in LA, we can at least dress like we do! I had a moment to chat with Joey about this pop-up among other things.

Joey Wölffer and myself!

Joey Wölffer at Platform
8830 Washington Blvd, #101, Culver City, CA  90232

JG: How will this pop-up be different from your Sag Harbor and Nantucket locations?

JW: My ascetic is always the same. But LA is sophisticated and glamorous, so for this pop-up, I added a little sparkle to my boho ascetic. I haven’t been able to showcase here, so I’m very excited for that. When Platform reached out to me, I thought “to be amongst these other brands is so great.”

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The Taco Stand in La Jolla, CA #tacotuesday

If there is one thing you all know about me by now, it is that I love tacos, and luckily here in San Diego, the next taco is never very far away. It can almost be overwhelming, how do you choose?!? I have had my eye on one place in particular for quite some time though, and that is The Taco Stand! They have several locations around San Diego and are slinging some authentic and truly delicious tacos, so I was super excited to finally give it a try! My friend Mary Bradlee came out to visit with her adorable baby, and since La Jolla is where she used to live, I thought a La Jolla Taco Stand day was just the thing.

The Taco Stand 
621 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037
www.letstaco.com

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Doma Kitchen in Marina Del Rey

Although the Westside of LA has plenty of restaurants to choose from, there is a lack in restaurants not owned by corporate chains. I was craving some serious comfort food with that “made from scratch” taste. When I read about Doma Kitchen, I knew it be a great spot to check out, cause “doma” translates into “home” in Slavic. I decided to drop by and taste their take on Eastern European and Central Asian inspired dishes.

Doma Kitchen
4325 Glencoe Ave #8, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
http://www.domakitchen.com/

Owner Angelika Corrente and her little Doma baby

What I love about the space is that it has a duality in character, it has a rustic and a modern feel. The main room gives off a casual vibe with small tables and one raised communal table. In the second room, you feel like you’re in someone’s home.

I am so glad to have met the owner Angelika Corrente because you get to understand the reason and creation of how and why Doma came to be. Chef Kristina Miksyte is a Lithuanian native who supplies Doma Kitchen with all their fantastic dishes.

 

 

Chicken Pelmont Soup

I was there at lunchtime and you can choose from either the brunch menu or the regular menu during that time. If you want to try the best dumpling soup (that I now crave constantly!) order the Chicken Pelmont Soup. These ground chicken dumplings are in a delightful, savory broth topped with fresh dill. It’s the type of soup that makes you just want to drink the soup from the bowl and forget the spoon!

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Wine, Music & The New York Skyline: The Crown at Hotel 50 Bowery 

Summer is almost here and nothing is more synonymous with New York City and summer than a classic rooftop with panoramic views of the city. It’s rooftop season and I’ve been ready for it since I swore I’d put away my sweater for the last time (which was literally less than two weeks ago – I swear). But alas, it seems as though the warm weather is finally here to stay! Let’s sip some Chardonnay, shall we?

The required elements to create a perfect rooftop are unobstructed city views, plenty of comfy couches, great music and an incredible crowd. That’s what I found when I stopped by The Crown in Lower Manhattan, Hotel 50 Bowery’s awe-inspiring rooftop, for the kick off of The Good Measure Tour II this past Wednesday, June 14.

   

The Crown at Hotel 50 Bowery 
50 Bowery, New York, NY
http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/new-york/new-york-city-hotels/50-bowery/

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The Chef’s Tasting Menu at Alexander Steakhouse in Pasadena

As your editor-in-chief, I have a new goal here at Girls on Food: I want to make steakhouses and haute cuisine well… hot again.

I’m not saying steakhouses and other fine dining establishments suddenly became passé, but my Instagram feed is inundated with rainbow/freak/junk foods and I’m just over it.

I believe the reason these foods are so popular on social media is because they’re cheap and easy to obtain. They photograph well with their bright colors and craziness. An influencer can budget out their Instagram shoots easily. I get it. I respect it, I just want to deliver our readers a different perspective.

But while I set the bar a little higher for myself and continue to grow my palate more into the world of finer dining, I promise to not get too bourgeois on anyone. I will never forget my McDonald’s roots. And don’t worry, we’ll maintain plenty of comfort food content here at Girls on Food. (holla at Fatboi Tendencies)

I had just gotten out of a foodie event (I wouldn’t dare say which one) with a lack of fantastic bites. I decided I just wanted a steak and glass of red wine. So I went to Alexander’s Steakhouse in Pasadena on total whim and my evening was redeemed times infinity.

Alexander’s Steakhouse
111 North Los Robles Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101
http://alexanderssteakhouse.com

The Alexander’s Steakhouse mini-chain has locations in Pasadena, Cupertino, San Francisco and Tokyo, with Patisseries in Cupertino and Mountain View; they also own By The Sea in Palo Alto. Alexander’s Steakhouse serves classic American steakhouse cuisine with a Japanese influence. The San Francisco location was at one time a Michelin-starred location, but has lost the star since. (inspectors, get back in there!)

The Pasadena location is a posh, dimly lit spot, tough on me as a blogger for photos (I did my best here at the last minute!), but fantastic for a date night. Right when I walked in, the service was very attentive and precise, without a stuck up attitude.

I wanted to go all out and try The Chef’s Table Experience ($200 per person), a custom tasting menu, but that is quite the endeavor as it’s intended for a party of four guests. This option requires a reservation (by phone or in person) in advance. Sure, it would’ve been fun to have Executive Chef Matt Bata all to myself, but the Chef’s Tasting ($175 with an optional $75 wine pairing) was the next best available option and I was so happy I went with this 8 course tasting.

I opted to not sip the night away with the wine pairing, since I drove out from Culver City. But next time, I’m taking an Uber out to be safe! I had a glass of Robert Foley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011. Perhaps not the perfect pairing with seafood and lighter courses, but boy was it beautiful once the steak came out.

  • Editor’s note – the Chef’s Tasting menu could have slightly changed with the season, but they told me it doesn’t change up that much. So if you’re reading months later, the menu may have altered.

 

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Cristina’s EuroTrip: A Taste of Kraków, Berlin, Saint Petersburg, Brussels and Amsterdam

Tiptoe through the tulips… With Mom at Keukenhof Tulip Festival

Let me just start by saying my mom is awesome! She booked a trip to Europe and took me as her plus one! For 18 days we got to experience some of the most amazing cities in Europe: Kraków, Berlin, Saint Petersburg, Brussels and Amsterdam. It was a magnificent learning experience and a multifaceted trip. Of course food was amazing! You’re about to find out which restaurants stuck out in my head not only for their food but for their ambiance and hospitality. Lets go!  Continue reading “Cristina’s EuroTrip: A Taste of Kraków, Berlin, Saint Petersburg, Brussels and Amsterdam”

#NationalLobsterDay in Boston with James Hook & Co.

It is impossible to spend any length of time in Boston in the summer and not indulge in one of New England’s most lauded sandwich: the lobster roll.

James Hook & Co.
15-17 Northern Ave.
Boston, MA 02210
http://www.jameshooklobster.com/ 

The lobster roll is an institution. There are two (very opposing) schools of lobster roll thought: Connecticut likes theirs hot, drenched in melted butter, and Maine likes theirs chilled with mayo. Boston apparently likes both, for you can find them either way in the city. Having grown up with Maine style, the lightly-mayonnaise dressed cold roll seems more classic IMHO, but honestly, who in their right mind would pass up hot buttered lobster? I’m an equal opportunity lobster enthusiast.

James Hook & Co–a wholesale and retail seafood market

To satiate my lobster roll craving just in time for National Lobster Day on June 15, I head to James Hook & Co., a tiny shanty on the waterfront of the Seaport district. James Hook sells wholesale and retail seafood (live lobsters, crabs, an impressive array of fresh fish) as well as a limited menu of grab and go items like rolls, crab cakes, and chowder. It’s an unassuming trailer on the waterfront of the Boston Harbor. Don’t expect table service, and be prepared to wait in line. Fortunately, the line moves quickly thanks to the seasoned pros working the counter.

Large Lobster Roll, James Hook & Co

Lobster rolls come in large ($23.99) and small ($18.99). For both, a generous helping of chilled, lightly mayonnaise-dressed lobster salad nestles within the belly of a toasted, split-top hoagie roll. James Hook serves a lobster roll in its most unadulterated glory. There is absolutely nothing attempting to compete with the succulent lobster or crusty bread; no herbs, no celery, not a leaf of lettuce–not even butter, which I’ve always thought essential to the bun but I didn’t even miss. (I can’t believe I just said that. Butter is my jam.) It’s just pure lobster heaven. If you’re ever in the Boston area in the summer, treat yoself to this purist lobster roll.

Happy National Lobster Day!