Girls on Food

Julianne

Actress and Founder of Girls on Food: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Sacramento, California. I grew up a typical “McDonald’s kid”. I was very picky about what I ate and refused to try new foods. No fun, I know. My Mom started taking me on trips to Europe when I was a teenager and that’s when my palate for finer foods began to develop. Some of my most memorable favorite meals include Veal Bolognese in Rome, Gyros in Athens, Paella in Lisbon and Duck L’Orange in Paris. While this helped me grow out of a fast food phase, I still eat out quite a bit. I know I should be at home cooking, but I love dining out. I started working in restaurants in various front of the house positions at age 15. Since my start, I’ve worked in every casual restaurant setting you can think of: a teriyaki stand, brewery, sushi nightclub, trendy Mexican, family-style Italian, American diner, pizza parlor and even a BLT themed food truck. I can't help but notice that many of the LA food bloggers don't have any sort of background working in a restaurant. A lot of my perspective on food and dining out comes from my years of experience in the biz. Since starting this blog, I have shot appearances on a few cooking competition shows (including MasterChef Junior and another upcoming show). We have also started producing a Youtube Channel. For this site I contribute content from all over Los Angeles (and the world) to showcase my favorite fine-dining spots, steakhouses, exclusive supper clubs, Hollywood nightlife and our very own #GOFx events, which I plan and coordinate.

Los Angeles Mom-To-Be: Julianne’s Top Pregnancy Picks

I’m officially 39 weeks down and I’m ready to pop!

Prepping for the birth of my first baby (it’s a girl!) was already pretty stressful but I wanted to share some of my discoveries that made my LA pregnancy relatively smooth.

BEST BABY PREP AND EDUCATION

Even after I read What to Expect While You’re Expecting, I still felt so overwhelmed about my upcoming birthing process. Like many others, I tend to learn better by having a teacher go through everything with me. I won’t mention the name of my health insurance provider, but after taking one of their complimentary workshops, which consisted of watching a dated promotional video with a nurse who just seemed “over it,” I decided I needed to find something more welcoming.

Photo by Morgan Pansing

I heard about Loom, a childbirth education center, from a friend of mine, who even after her childbirth still takes development classes there. After touring the minimalist (but still warm and welcoming) center in the Mid-Wilshire part of LA, I instantly felt so much more comfortable here.

I have taken both the Prepped and Accelerated classes and the Infant Feeding Basics class. What I like about these classes is that the instructors teach in a way that’s approachable, there’s no such thing as a “stupid question” and you’re encouraged to share what you’re going through. The sharing is is building the growing parent community there.

From taking these classes I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m so much more prepped for the big push!

Use promo code GOFXLOOM10 to deduct 10% from the cost of any class or service, valid until 5/16/18

BEST ONLINE MATERNITY SAVE AND SPLURGE 

Ingrid & Isabel, my favorite maternity clothing, has 2 different lines available. The line that I would consider a “splurge” is available at select boutiques (like Mom’s The Word, in the Beverly Grove area) and the “less expensive” but still super stylish line is available at Target. I stocked up on items from both and had plenty of chic but comfortable options.

My favorite items are in the image above
Cozy Wrap
Active Legging with Crossover Panel

BEST BABY SHOWER LOCATION

So here’s the thing—I did not plan my baby shower—it was a total surprise! I don’t have much to compare baby shower locations to, but I can note that this beats any baby shower at a house. This surprise party planned was by my mom, my best friend Marcie and #plusonebae and they nailed it with the location at The Culver Hotel. I’m a regular here, so I was stunned that they were able to keep it so secretive!

The party was held in The Studio, a part of the Parisian Room, which is elegant and perfect for a smaller gathering. The food and beverages were served buffet style with bottomless mimosas for everyone (except me!). The brunch service was prompt and attentive, and our server was kind enough to take many pictures of the whole gang together without

BEST FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE 

I decided to test out a couple of delivery box services and my favorite so far has been one of the leading services, Blue Apron. Meal prep boxes are great for busy weeknight meals, especially when it’s just me at home cooking for one. It’s also a great way to shake up your cooking routine, cause as much as I love being in the kitchen, I suffered from “pregnancy brain” during all of this! I just wanted to pick something up and eat it rather have to come up with a menu—but with Blue Apron, that’s taken care of for you!

Whole Grain Pasta & Beef Bolognese with Romaine Salad (relax, that’s just juice to the left)

My favorite meal that I cooked from this box was the Whole Grain Pasta and Beef Bolognese. The serving size says 2, but it was much more ample than that.

I realized from testing Blue Apron during pregnancy that my husband and I will be using this delivery system when I’m nursing, cause I’m positive I will need a break from coming up with my own recipes!

 Blue Apron- Get $40 Off Your First 2 Boxes!

BEST SWEET TOOTH CURBER

I picked up my first batch of Bare Snacks at my local Target and fell in love with all the different flavors! These treats are oven-baked when the fruits are at their ripest, bringing out the best flavors. They’re also non-gmo and B-corp certified. My favorite fruit chips were the Chocolate Coconut Chips, made with unsweetened coco powder and sweetened with coconut nectar. The Granny Smith Apple Chips were also tart perfection.

BEST ITEM I HAD NO CLUE I NEEDED

I learned (from my Prepped and Accelerated class at Loom) that it helps during labor to utilize a balance ball. Upon a run to T.J. Maxx, I got lucky and found a Gaiam Balance Ball Chair and I’ve been straightening my core and pelvic floor while running Girls on Food during the day.

Image via Amazon

It’s very easy to start slouching during pregnancy, since you’re carrying so much more weight than usual and I would say that this helped prevent my posture from getting too slouchy. I also didn’t struggle with my back as much as other moms have complained to me about.

BEST FACE OIL

I wish I could give my baby girl the credit for my glow, but I should actually credit Josie Maran’s Argan Moonstone Drops Makeup Priming and Highlighting Oil. I started using face oils when I noticed my usually dewy skin was getting a bit dry (common in pregnancy).

Image via Sephora

Not only is the lemongrass fragrance lightweight and doesn’t clash with my other perfumes, the holographic glow didn’t break me out at all! My skin texture has improved a lot since I started using this oil, and I plan to continue use after pregnancy.

BEST “SOFT COCKTAILS”

Peter Piper

First off, major props to Nomad Hotel for not calling them “mocktails”! LA’s latest renovated historical landmark (love the art deco) has a fantastic array of soft cocktails in addition to their fantastic bites. There are 6 different soft cocktail options and my favorite was the Peter Piper, with pineapple, lime, black pepper, passionfruit and white balsamic vinegar. It was everything I’d imagine a pregnancy craving cocktail would be, due to the tartness of it. So if you have a mom-to-be in your life, you must take her here!

 Be sure to follow Girls on Food on Instagram @girlsonfoodblog

S&W Organic Black Beans with Ancho Chiles Mushrooms and Garlic

This post was sponsored by S&W Beans as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Being a pregnant foodie is tough! Upon finding out I was pregnant, I was shocked to learn how many foods I would be discouraged from eating. I’ve been working on finding substitutes for items like pasta, which is full of carbs but lacking in nutrients. I’ve been replacing the pasta in some of my favorite recipes with healthier starches likes beans.

One of my favorite recipes is from Lesley Téllez’s Eat Mexico cookbook, her Pasta with Ancho Chiles, Mushrooms and Garlic is fantastic with fettuccine noodles, but I decided to try it out with S&W Black Beans instead.

First off, cooking with canned beans is so much easier than cooking fresh pasta, the time shaved off made cooking this dish speedier. Also, S&W Black Beans are versatile as a good carbohydrate category and as a source of protein (8 grams per serving). These beans are also rich in essential nutrients, such as fiber (9 grams per serving) and folate (40% daily value). They have different varieties in their black beans including their main black beans and low-sodium. I chose to use S&W Organic Black Beans specifically because I feel good about eating food that is sourced in natural soil.

S&W Beans have been in my life since I was young. My mom cooked with them when I was a kid and now I’m passing these beans onto my kid. The quality of the beans from their cans have always been solid, beans are in full form with skins still on and never have I gotten a can of mushed beans from them. So not only are they tasty and nutrient-packed, they make every dish look Pinterest-ready.

Get $1 off 2 cans of S&W Beans in any variety here

This recipe can be made as a side dish, but it also makes a great vegetarian cool-down meal if you’re hungry after a workout.

S&W Organic Black Beans with Ancho Chiles, Mushrooms and Garlic

Ingredients

large dried ancho chiles
11 cloves of garlic
1 can S&W Organic Black Beans
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra if needed
1 large bunch (about 13 1/2 ounces) oyster mushrooms, torn into very thin strips (any mushrooms work here)
1/2 cup chopped, lightly briny black olives
1/2 cup grated queso añejo for garnish
Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Snip the stems off the anchos and cut an incision in each. Scrape out the seeds and veins with a spoon or knife. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let sit for about 20 minutes, until the flesh has softened.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves and slice thinly.
  3. Cut the softened chiles into 1/2-inch strips—I do this by rolling them up like a burrito first, and then chopping width-wise.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the chiles and stir quickly, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Lower the heat if you need to.
  5. Once the chiles have become aromatic, stir in the mushrooms and cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes, adding salt once the mushrooms have released their juices.
  6. Drain 1 can S&W Organic Black Beans and add to your mushroom mixture, with a little extra oil if you like. Serve immediately in shallow bowls, topped with chopped olives and a dusting of cheese.

See additional recipes from S&W Beans here.

Check out S&W’s site to see if you can find them at a grocery store near you.

Basic Invite: The Perfect Cards For Any Event!

I’ve been looking for the perfect birth announcement card for when my baby girl makes her debut and I found it!

Basic Invite is a small custom print company out of Saint George, Utah offers cards for nearly any event. The best part is, you can preview them online to make sure you love it before you commit!

Events Basic Invite covers range from customizable graduation announcements, to birthday events, wedding invitations, nearly every event under the sun! 

Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51 

What separates Basic Invite from the rest? 

Nearly Unlimited Colors and Instant Previews – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. Basic Invite is just as colorful with our envelopes as they are with our invitations! Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of the envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed. Foil holiday cards are also available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

Custom Samples – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order. This is perfect for wedding invites, I know what it’s like to be a particular bride! 

Address Capturing Service – Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. So you can basically build a rolodex and keep it within Basic Invite for your next milestones. 

 

Check out Basic Invite on Facebook and Instagram to keep with up with specials and promotions. 

This post is sponsored by Basic Invites; however, all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own

Spumoni Mama Lactation Bites

Holy moly, I’ve finally hit 37 weeks of pregnancy (insert the nervous looking emoji here).

After reading the research on how oats, flaxseed and brewers yeast are considered active ingredients to help boost lactation in nursing moms, I wanted to come up with a quick bite that was tasty and full of nutrition. Bake-free “balls” and “bites” are trending (do you want to be baking with a newborn?) but I wanted to add a little variety of flavor to the mix. I’ve noticed many of these recipes use dark chocolate and dates as the sweet flavors.

This time around, I went in a more Spumoni ice cream-inspired route with pistachio butter (in addition to peanut butter, cause it’s expensive), dried cherries and milk chocolate. Spumoni is a famous gelato, a gift from Naples, but many Americans will recognize this frothy treat as the palate cleanser from The Old Spaghetti Factory, and that is where I fell in love with it. #noshame!

Please note: if you’re looking for an Instagram-ready, beautiful ball shaped bite, this isn’t that recipe. Frankly, bless those women who have the time and patience to make them so picturesque but I can’t imagine having the energy to make them that perfect when I start feeding.

Spumoni Mama Lactation Bites 

Makes 25 medium-size bites

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons brewers yeast
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal
  • 2 teaspoon coco powder (extra for garnish, to taste)
  • ½ cup organic Italian honey
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup pistachio butter
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup dried Montmorency cherries (much healthier than Maraschinos)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In the 10.75 qt. Culinary Junction Steel Mixing Bowl combine the oats, brewers yeast, flaxseed meal and coco powder.
  2. Mix in the Italian honey, peanut butter, pistachio butter and coconut oil.
  3. Fold in the dried cherries and chocolate chips.
  4. Spritz hands with a coconut oil spray and roll 2 tablespoons of mixture into balls.
  5. (optional) Dust a little coco powder on top of bites if you’re craving it.
  6. Place bites on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with coconut oil, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set.
  7. Pop them in your mouth and enjoy!

I’ll be coming up with more lactation-boosting recipes soon, so stay tuned for those!

I also wanted to note that you don’t have to be a mom-to-be to enjoy these! My husband couldn’t stop eating these too!

The Best Ricotta Pancakes in LA: Brunch at Odys + Penelope

Last year, while scrolling around on the Renzell app, I discovered the high ranking spot Odys + Penelope, a modern-American Churrasco in the La Brea area of Los Angeles. Girl on Food Cristina and #plusonebae Devon joined me for a fantastic dinner packed with fresh grilled meats and cocktails. When I was recently invited in to taste their brunch offerings, I knew if it was just close to being up to par with the dinner menu, I’d be in hog heaven… but did it come close?

Odys + Penelope
127 S La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Like The Mighty, which I recently stopped into for dinner, O + P (mysteriously named after Greek mythology characters) is also owned by culinary husband/wife team Quinn and Karen Hatfield. This power couple definitely knows how to build a solid spot with great food, consistent service and a busy customer base in LA, which is not easy.

I’m also never one to ever notice really famous people, but just like at The Mighty, I noticed some familiar faces, including one key cast member of The Big Bang Theory. So I do recommend bringing a pal or family member who geeks out over that sort of thing. Bazinga.

Frisee Salad

While the dinner menu focuses on Brazilian Churrasco style meat main dishes, the brunch here is a little more of a North American-meets-South American melting pot.

Chicken Adobo Fried Rice

For the mains, I decided to start with Chicken Adobo Fried Rice—with my mom being half Filipino and all, I’d feel wrong not tasting this dish of adobo-marinated chicken lightly fried with soft poached eggs, radish salad and a mild sambal hollandaise. This isn’t quite the chicken adobo that I remember from my childhood, but is a tasty, lighter take on it. I’m used to a more vinegar heavy adobo chicken, but the flavor is played safely here for the more mainstream LA crowd, which may be a smart move on their end. The Frisee Salad, with grilled salmon, warm fingerling potatoes, avocado and potatoes is like a California take on a nicoise salad, minus the mercury content of tuna and a sunny-side-up egg instead of hard boiled.

Cornmeal Ricotta Pancakes with Pudwill Farms Blueberries

My favorite item was the Cornmeal Ricotta Pancakes with Pudwill Farms Blueberries. I know ricotta pancakes are trending in the LA brunch scene, but I haven’t been this blown away with them before. O + P also manages to get the same lightly griddled pancake that my dad made me. They’re beautifully crisp on the outside but maintain a soft fluffiness on the inside. Savory from the salted butter, fruity from the blueberries, these are the best I’ve had in town. The side of maple syrup is only optional, it doesn’t necessarily need it.

To answer my question from earlier: yes, O + P’s brunch program is 100% on par with their dinner. I will be returning to Odys + Penelope for those pancakes and other brunchy items soon. I can’t wait to see what other programs they come up with!

Kinilaw For a Mom-To-Be

I’ve finally hit 35 weeks of pregnancy and I can confirm the fast food and other gluttonous urges are hitting me pretty hard! But I have been in the kitchen creating recipes that are meat/poultry-free, clean and using sustainability conscious ingredients.

When asked to develop a recipe with Blue Harbor Fish Co I jumped at the chance!

Their products tuna is MSC certified sustainable and dolphin-safe. Plus, I love the pouch option, they save so much room in my well-stocked cabinet.

Kinilaw is traditionally a Filipino dish similar to poke or ceviche. I wanted to create a pregnancy-friendly recipe for those of us out there who are missing our raw fish.

Kinilaw For a Mom-To-Be

1 serving

In a small mixing bowl, combine the following:

1 3 oz. pouch Blue Harbor Wild Albacore – No Salt Added

2 tablespoons Calamansi juice

1 tablespoon grated ginger

3 tablespoons thinly-sliced red onion

1 tablespoon coconut vinegar

1 Thai chili sliced and de-seeded

1 tablespoon coconut milk

Pinch of fresh cilantro (extra sprigs for garnish, if you like)

Salt and pepper to taste

Serve alone or with tostadas for a crunch.

Enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Blue Harbor Fish Co; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

Dinner in DTLA: The Mighty

The intersection of 2nd and Main in Downtown Los Angeles is becoming quite the foodie stretch with The Edison, Badmaash, Redbird and now, The Mighty.

From the moment you walk in, it’s tough to not acknowledge that owners Quinn and Karen Hatfield (Odys + Penelope, The Sycamore Kitchen) have one of the most Instagram-able restaurants in LA. The tiles are so cute, it’s impossible to keep your phone down when you’re here, but I had to focus on the food and stop taking pictures of my feet…eventually.

I have this thing with floors…

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Island Mama Lactation Bites With The Culinary Junction’s Stainless Steel Bowls

Being a 31-week pregnant lady, I’m hitting that point where I’m realizing:

A) “pregnancy brain” is very real

B) waddling isn’t exclusive to penguins

C) everything is just becoming so much harder.

Not only am I carrying more weight than I am used to, but carrying items of heavier weight has become tougher for me. Even everyday kitchen items like my standard glass mixing bowls are becoming a pain to carry.

When our friends at The Culinary Junction reached out to me to product-test their 6-Piece Stainless Steel Nesting Bowlsthe timing couldn’t be more perfect! I had an inkling to get a head start on prepping my recipes to help boost lactation (for when the time comes), so I knew I’d make great use of these bowls.

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Interview with Chef Derrick Fox on His “Dinner on Ice” Pop-Up at ICE Santa Monica

Dinner on Ice—a pop-up dinner (presented by Capital One Cafe) featuring five-courses from MasterChef Finalist Chef Derrick Fox, cocktail pairings, ice skating and more—will take place at ICE at Santa Monica on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

A limited number of tickets are available for $100 in advance, and all inclusive of skate rental fee, dinner and open bar. Guests are encouraged to dress in cozy winter attire.

Buy tickets via Feastly here. Want to get 20% off the event? Enter promo code GIRLSONFOOD at checkout! 

This dinner offers a preview of Chef Derrick’s delicious and visually impressive dishes, which will be available at his new residency at Ma’Kai Santa Monica later this month. 

Deconstructed Watermelon Salad with Citrus Compressed Watermelon, Shaved Cucumber, Goat Cheese Mousse, Toasted Pepitas, & Leek Vinaigrette – to be served at Dinner on Ice

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Testing Fox Run’s Garlic Keeper With My Just Beet It Recipe

Could you even imagine a life without garlic? I absolutely can’t! I pretty much add minced and sautéed garlic to everything that isn’t a dessert. I always crave that intense blast of pungent flavor- there’s never a bad time for it.

Since I live in LA, my kitchen gets sunny and toasty during the day, which makes keeping garlic the old fashioned way (hanging from a ceiling, or just in a ceramic bowl on the counter) not so ideal. I’ve been keeping garlic in the fridge, and I get so bummed out when it begins to sprout, due to moisture. I was asked to test-drive Fox Run’s Garlic Keeper, and I’m so glad I did. I’m always excited to prevent any chance to avoid food spoilage and save a little cash.

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LA Hot Dog Stand Sumo Dog Begins Chef Collaboration Series

Sumo Dog, an Asian-inspired hot dog stand in Los Angeles, kicked off a series of chef collaborations this week. Each collaboration is scheduled to rotate every 2 weeks.

Sumo Dog 
516 South Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90020

First up is a collaboration between Chef/Owner Jeffrey Lunak and Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo  (owners of LA favorites Jon & Vinnys, Animal, and Son of a Gun) which is currently available until December 22nd.

The Jon & Vinny starts with a grilled American wagyu all beef dog, then topped with chow-chow relish, pimento cheese spread, spicy Jewish mustard and green onion, for a mix of New York deli and Southern potluck flavors.

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Renzell: The Perfect App For Fine Dining Lovers

The world of foodie apps is like the wild west right now. Developers are striving to become the next big thing, but few apps offer anything unique to stand out from just being a local restaurant directory. I thought I had seen it all with these apps, until GOF blogger Marcie told me to check out an app called Renzell and it has since become my go-to restaurant directory app.

Cocktail from Redbird in LA, a restaurant you can survey on Renzell

Why Renzell?

It’s for those with impeccable taste –  What separates Renzell out from the other apps is a restaurant directory that is specifically hand-picked by Renzell staff of fine dining establishments in major metropolitan cities. This app isn’t here to help you find a new coffee shop, it’s to help you find the perfect special occasion spot. Think Marea in NYC, Redbird in LA and Alinea in Chicago.

Be undercover –  Members can rate restaurants anonymously through their surveys, which are scored based off overall numbers, no long write-ups required. Their surveys are broken down into categories like ambiance, service, food and cocktails. What I love about this so much is that it’s not public what scores users gave, so I can quietly and candidly score spots. See full list of restaurants here.

Prove it – There is also more accountability in the scores than other review apps. Members are encouraged to show proof of dining by providing a receipt from their visit. This makes me feel better when I read the scores, cause it’s lessening the likelihood of fake reviews.

Get rewarded! – The more you survey and/or provide proof of receipt, the more goodies you can get! Recent rewards include Starbucks gift cards, SoulCycle classes, a month of free Spotify premium and so much more.

With membership benefits, secure anonymity and consistent app functionality, I will consider myself a “lifer” Renzell member.

  • Featured image – Strozzapreti from Marea in New York, a restaurant you can survey on Renzell