The Mansion Restaurant in NYC

The temperature here in New York City has finally begun to cool down, and this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some seasonal favorites. Soups are a sure bet to help keep your body warm, and your soul happy. Chicken Noodle Soup is a favorite everywhere, but given NYC’s large appreciation for Jewish delis & cuisine, Matzo Ball Soup is a widely popular item across the city. Mansion Restaurant, in NYC’s Upper East Side neighborhood, is famous for their rendition of this iconic item.

The Mansion 
1634 York Ave, New York, NY 10028
http://mansiondiner.com/

Unfortunately, when I went to Mansion, it was still quite warm outside, so I didn’t opt for soup. The atmosphere of Mansion is warm & inviting, exactly what you’d expect from your favorite neighborhood Diner. The staff is friendly, and the food is great. Diner food doesn’t necessarily Instagram the best, but it always hits the spot, and that’s why you love it.

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Ideas For a Vegetarian Friendsgiving

Veggie Friendsgiving!

Carla here! Thanksgiving season is here and it’s my favorite time of the year! Halloween is a close second but there’s just not enough savory foods involved. I’ve been a pescetarian for 7 years, and while I never impose my diet on anyone, I just serve awesome meatless meals that I would enjoy and after a few bites, my friends eventually forget about having meats as mains.

Thanksgiving is a great time but Friendsgiving is equally important. To celebrate all of the amazing friendships in our lives, I scoured the internet high and low to find out what the best dishes for this year’s Veggie Friendsgiving feast. There are so many delicious options that bring all the flavors and feels of the season without meat! Try them one or try them all!

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Our Spot: The Kit Kat Italian Bar and Grill in Toronto


There are not many things in my life that would label me as a creature of habit. But every year for our wedding anniversary, we make the trek to Toronto and hit up our favourite restaurant.

The Kit Kat is in the heart of Toronto, in walking distance to theatres and concert venues, sports stadiums and all the major hotels. It’s been a busy restaurant for almost 30 years. I remember being a little kid, walking downtown and seeing the Kit Kat sign lit brightly above this tiny venue and of course, I made sure as an adult, that this would become my regular spot.

The Kit Kat Italian Bar and Grill
297 King St. W., Toronto, ON, M5V 1J5
http://www.kitkattoronto.com/

As one would expect from a classic Italian eatery, you’re greeted with traditional red and white checkered linens, energetic pictures of everyone and anyone along the walls, and there is a tree that grows through it in the kitchen. It is a hustle and bustle kind of spot, with athletes, actors, theatre goers and locals indulging in their Italian feasts. It goes from quiet and romantic to a full packed place in 2.5 seconds.

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When the Wabi House in Dallas is Rockin’…

I’ve heard rave reviews about Wabi House for some time now. The loudest reviews have been from my twenty-something daughter and her friends who visit Wabi House no less than once a week. Located in the Lower Greenville area of Dallas; not exactly my neck of the woods. Last week I made the trek to Lower Greenville to meet the twenty-something gang for dinner. It was worth every mile of the drive. 

Wabi House
1802 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75206
www.wabihouse.com

The entrance is decorated with a vibrantly decorated mural and outdoor seating with an open bar…weather permitting of course. The interior of the restaurant is decorated with punches of framed color set against pale walls with Edison bulbs hanging from a dark, wooden-beamed ceiling. The long, narrow dining room is filled with comfy booths and a few seats overlooking the kitchen.

Sweet Corn Fritters

We started with a couple of small plates. The first was the plate of Sweet Corn Fritters. These amazing morsels are made with niblets of corn cut fresh from the cob which is perfectly seasoned with salt and sansho pepper then drizzled with a spicy aioli. These babies were heavenly. The corn was sweet and savory with just enough breading to hold it all together. The drizzle of aioli was just the right amount of heat. Did I mention we devoured three orders!

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Belle Vie is Serving up the Fanciest, Frenchiest Mac and Cheese in Los Angeles!

Last week, French bistro Belle Vie opened it’s doors in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Being a Westsider myself, I can confirm that we are a little bit lacking in French restaurants (unless you counting the endless supply of Le Pain Quotidiens around) so I was beyond thrilled to try a this new neighborhood spot.

Belle Vie 
11916 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
http://www.bellevierestaurant.com/ 

The team behind Belle Vie, Owner Vincent Samarco and Head Chef Cedric Nicolas‘ (who met when working together at Michelin-plated restaurant Le Trianon) aim was to provide locals with classic French comfort food with hints of California flavors: mission accomplished.

My inner Fracophile was geeking out right when I walked in, because the design, decor and the littlest details are spot on Parisian. French restaurants may have a reputation for serving up smaller portions, but at Belle Vie the portions are more generous. This spot is perfect to bring a friend and share a few plates.

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Healthy Cioppino with Jammy Roasted Tomatoes

Up in the Pacific Northwest, we are officially entering the gray monotony of wet, cold, and miserable weather until spring. Which means its time for foods that warm me up! This usually puts what I am craving and what I should eat at a crossroads.

Carb-y creamy things may be delicious, but what about all those veggies I should be eating? Is anyone else feeling big time comfort food cravings as soon as the weather turns??

Instead of choosing between comfort food and health, I’m combining them with this cioppino! Its packed full of veggies, fish, fresh herbs, the most luscious broth, and an amazing secret flavor bomb ingredient: slow roasted cherry tomatoes! They are jammy and umami rich in the best possible way! They add incredible complexity and richness to the soup!

It’s the perfect light – yet filling – way to warm up on these cold wet days!!

Now, to the recipe!

Note: The soup is dairy free and gluten-free. The olive oil crostini is optional for serving!

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My Cuban Spot: Authentic Cuban Cuisine in NYC (FINALLY!)

As a proud Cuban-American, I am obsessed with my culture. It’s crazy that a place I’ve never been to holds such a special place in my heart. Cuban culture is unlike any other. I dream of one day visiting Cuba, but for now, I can only go by the stories I was told as a child and the delicious meals I grew up on, living in a Cuban household in Miami.

After all, food brought us together. Between my abuela’s best arroz con pollo on the weekends, sipping a Materva (Cuban soda) and feasting on the lechon (pork)  during noche buena (Christmas Eve), and pastelitos and croquetas from the Cuban bakery that were present at every one of my birthday parties—I was raised on Cuban cuisine!

Now that I am living in New York City, finding authentic Cuban food has been not just a challenge, but downright impossible. Everyone knows NYC is a melting pot of cultures and offers a plethora of cuisines. The best chefs, restaurants, and food in the world can be found here. But my biggest complaint—and that of any Cuban living in New York—will always be that you can’t find Cuban food like the kind you find in Miami in New York City. The places that try to come close are nowhere near as authentic. Needless to say, I have been disappointed in not being able to find these Cuban bites that I grew up on… until now!

My Cuban Spot
488 Carroll Street (Third Avenue) in Gowanus
Follow the fun on Instagram: @MyCubanSpot

I was skeptical of trying this new spot, given that every “Cuban” place in NY has been nothing short of a disappointment. But when a friend who was visiting NYC from Miami said one of our own (Miami people) opened it up and raved about it, I knew I had to check it out. So I made the trek to Brooklyn, with my Miami crew, to see how authentic this place really was. Continue reading “My Cuban Spot: Authentic Cuban Cuisine in NYC (FINALLY!)”

Julianne’s Post-Workout Cornish Game Hen With Fox Run’s Vertical Poultry Roaster

I’ve been increasing my visits to the gym as of late, trying to work off all of those calories from restaurant tastings. While my body and mind feel clear and great, I’ve been getting so hungry after all that stair climbing and cycling. Since I have a somewhat fast metabolism, I have to have a full meal after I do cardio heavy workouts.

When Fox Run Brands reached out to me to try a product-test on their Vertical Poultry Roaster, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! Although most owners of this product use it to roast their full-size chickens, I’ve been wanting to experiment in the kitchen with one of the more underrated birds out there- Cornish Game Hen.

Nutritionally, these portion perfect hens (minus skin and bones) are packed with 57 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat, making them a great post-workout beastmode treat. But how does it compare to the traditional roast technique over my new roast technique with the Vertical Poultry Roaster?  Follow the recipe below to taste for yourself!

Julianne’s POST-WORKOUT Cornish Game Hen

Tools Required:

Fox Run Brands’ Vertical Poultry Roaster

Baster

Tongs

Baking pan

Aluminum foil (optional)

Ingredients:

1 Cornish game hen patted dry

1 thin slice of room temp salted butter

4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 slices of quartered fresh lemon

3 garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to taste (I prefer Himalayan pink salt)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Take your Fox Run Brands’ Vertical Poultry Roaster and stuff the middle with rosemary sprigs, lemon quarters and place garlic cloves at the top.
  3. If your hen is coming from a sealed package, rinse off with water. To get that perfect crispy skin, make sure to pat and dry the hen thoroughly with a paper towel before moving forward.
  4. On a clean cutting board, lay your hen out (see image above) and use a small knife to get that top skin loose, then place the thinly sliced butter on the two breasts, you can maneuver it closer to wings too. If you have additional rosemary, feel free to stuff some here also, for extra herbal flavors.
  5. After you’ve stuffed your hen, gently place the hen on top of the Fox Run Brands’ Vertical Poultry Roaster through the cavity. Place stuffed hen on a baking pan. It’s effortless!
  6. Optional – If you want to retain a little more moisture, wrap hen in aluminum foil before placing in the oven.
  7. Otherwise, bake in oven for 25 minutes.
  8. After 25 minutes at 450 degrees F, remove hen from oven and turn the heat down to 325 degrees F.
  9. While the heat is cooling down, glaze your hen with the juices with a baster. If you used aluminum foil, remove it for the next step so that it can crisp up.
  10. Bake at the pre-heated 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, and continue to glaze a couple of times throughout.
  11. Remove baking pan from heat. Then carefully remove the hen from the vertical roaster with tongs. Let it cool, and it’s ready to serve!

Looking for a low-carb side dish? Check out my recent Just Beet It recipe on our Instagram page and make sure you’re following us too! Be sure to check out other fantastic Fox Run Brands products here.

This post is sponsored by Fox Run Brands; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

Lounge Here - East Dallas - Culture Map - The GG List - Girls on Food Blog

Lounge Here in Dallas

When I saw that a hip bartender friend of mine checked into a place called ‘Here’ last year –he intentionally misnamed the place to maintain secrecy– a place with a name that begs the question, “Where?”, I was instantly intrigued. Since then I’ve been to Lounge Here many times, sometimes twice in one week because I love it so much but was hesitant to write about it because I too, wanted to keep this little East Dallas gem all to myself!

Lounge Here
9028 Garland Rd., Dallas, TX 75214
www.theloungehere.com

What’s so special about Lounge Here? For starters, it’s easy to overlook its plain, white exterior among the vibrantly painted shops adjacent to it. Second, it’s nestled in a neighborhood known for housing more mature and laid back residents (think Austin vibe before it was overrun with hipsters!) than flashy Highland Park or Uptown neighborhoods.

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Cristina’s Mayan Riviera Tour

Last month my boyfriend and I went on a tour of the Mayan Riviera. We flew to Cancun, rented a car and explored as much as possible in one week. We visited Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Xel-Ha, Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza and Valladolid. We even managed to squeeze in one night in Bacalar enjoying one of the most beautiful lakes in the world: La Laguna de Siete Colores. We explored many cenotes, attended Cirque du Soleil and went scuba diving where we discovered a couple of turtles.

The love of this part of the world has drawn many people to leave everything behind and open shop in Mexico. You will find numerous diverse and delicious restaurants. Even smaller towns like Puerto Morelos where we dined on delicious guacamole and ceviche on the beautiful beach of Playa Moroma.

One of the first places that really caught my attention was Mar-Bella Fishmarket. The entrance looks like a 7-Eleven, not kidding. As you climb up a tiny, metal stairs you find yourself in a spacious, wooden restaurant with an amazing view. In the market you can choose from fresh fish, lobster, shrimp…whatever you’re in the mood for. They will prepare and cook to your specifications. Quite magical! One tip: make friends with your waiter; he will be a lifesaver as you navigate the market.

Marbella Fishmarket
Carretera Cancun Puerto Juarez,
Sam km 2
Cancun, Quintana Roo

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The Brunch Bunch: A Midtown Manhattan Brunch Preview of Juniper Bar

It isn’t often I head to Midtown Manhattan, but when Food and City (@Foodandcity) comes calling telling you there’s a crazy new brunch menu, you stop what you’re doing and rush over.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of joining some of my fellow foodie influencers for a morning filled with delightful drinks, fantastic food and just a few extra calories. Juniper Bar, a cute and cozy spot near Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, now offers some of the best brunch menu items I’ve ever laid my eyes on!

Juniper Bar
237 W. 35th St, New York, NY 10001
www.juniperbarnyc.com

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Hermosa Beach Favorite Unveils New Fall Menu: The Rockefeller

Just in time for Fall, The Rockefeller in Hermosa Beach has a new seasonal menu!  The Rockefeller is a modern-meets-rustic gastropub with craft beer and boutique wines served alongside American fare, located up the hill from Hermosa Beach pier!  With the expert opinions from Chef Michelangelo Aliaga of Primo Italia, the new additions will give you yet another reason to travel down to the South Bay of Los Angeles.

Rockefeller

418 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

https://eatrockefeller.com/

1. Char Grilled Octopus Lollipops, with Basted Potato, Rocoto Peppers, Salsa de Panca, Microgreens, Kalamata Aioli, and Lime
Hot, hot, HOT!  Spicy-food fans, listen up, and don’t let the charred black exterior of the octopus fool you; it’s perfectly cooked with amazing texture!  While the octopus is fully charred on the outside, it’s extremely moist and tender inside, and is perfectly complemented by the basted potato.  You can tell it’s extremely fresh by the lack of salty/overwhelming-seafood taste that can accompany less-premium octopus.  If you want it as an appetizer for yourself then you can simply eat it on the stick, as you would a corndog or lollipop, but it’s also easy to cut and share with a friend.  Even as someone who doesn’t typically go for octopus, this is a strong recommend.

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