Girls on Food

Julieta

Dine, eat, cook, drink and eat some more! I’m originally from Mexico City and as love would have it, I met a gringo and moved to Los Angeles in 2005. Even as a kid I was always curious about food: the good, the bad and the ugly. There was always some new street food vendor, restaurant and good eats around my home. Food felt comforting and a natural thing to love and enjoy. When I moved to LA I quickly realized that the comida I loved so much was virtually impossible to find so my love for cooking was born. I recreated all the Mexican food I loved and missed. I even started baking. I grow my own vegetables and get the biggest pleasure of cooking with them. I absolutely love trying new restaurants and I am obsessed with churros. I look forward to sharing with you my recipes and my favorite spots in Los Angeles and Mexico. Besos!

The Taste of Mexico Returns To LA

The largest all-inclusive Mexican tasting event The Taste of Mexico (TOM) returns on its 6th annual edition to Los Angeles and Girls of Food (GOF) was invited to the exclusive sneak peek event that showcased some of the food vendors that you would be able to try at the food festival.

Be sure to check out their site here.

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The first thing we tried was a sample of Los Javis Mezcal. It is a family owned Mezcaleria from Oaxaca, México that dates 3 generations back. This mezcal is incredibly smooth. It had a lot of flavor and body but it didn’t leave that burning sensation in your throat that you normally get from drinking mezcal.

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They also brought Chapulines (grasshoppers) and Sal de Gusano (salt with maguey worms).

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Then we tried Anepalco’s Baby Corn which is their version of the Mexican street vendor corn. The Baby Corn was smothered in a Chile de Arbol Aioli, topped with Cotija cheese and grind up Chapulines sprinkled on top of it. We’re excited to try their new spot Maestro, in Pasadena, which is coming soon.

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From Caló Provisions we got to see Ted Montoya in action and to try his Pozole. Ted’s take on Pozole has a twist he cooks it with Chicharron Dashi and adds an egg. I really like the egg, it gives an extra layer of complexity to the Pozole.

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Our pal The Choriman was also at the Taste of Mexico sneak peek and he was making Chori Panes. A Chori Pan is a chorizo sandwich. He made his with his Zacateca’s style Red Chorizo, roasted Corn Salad and Salsa Macha.

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We also got to enjoy the delicious pastries from La Monarca Bakery. We had the strawberry cake, the fruit cake, the orejitas cookies and my personal favorite de Guava cake.

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There will be plenty of drinks at the festival some of the ones we loved at the sneak peek were: The I Love Micheladas, Tepaches from Ancho Reyes a Chile Liqueor and Los Javis.

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There will also have aguas frescas vendors like the Agua Lucha guys. They have flavors like: Mandarin, Lemon, Hibiscus and Tamarind. Not only that they donate some of their proceedings to retired Luchadores (wrestlers) in Mexico.

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The 2016 Taste of Mexico will be the best one so far and it will take place under the stars in the beautiful courtyard of the Plaza de Cultura y Artes Museum in downtown LA. TOM has invited over 35 restaurants to cater the event and you’ll also be able to sample Tequila, Mezcal, Baja Wines & Spirits. And although the tickets might seem a little bit pricey keep in mind that it is an all you can eat and drink ticket so you only have to worry about what food vendor do you want to try next .The event starts at 7pm and ends at 11pm.

Brunch at Spear Steak & Seafood House in DTLA

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast, but I never have time to eat a proper breakfast during the week because I’m too busy. I always look forward to the weekend when I can indulge in a savory or perhaps a sweet breakfast. So when I found out that Girls on Food got invited to the preview the new brunch menu at Spear Steak & Seafood House, I got pretty excited.

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Spear Steak & Seafood House
800 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017
http://www.spearrestaurant.com

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Spear Steak & Seafood House is located in the heart of the Financial District in downtown Los Angeles. The restaurant has high ceilings, and the décor is modern and stylish with a beautiful open kitchen. The outdoor patio has a very inviting and relaxed vibe. It feels like a lounge ideal to hang out and catch up with your friends.

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Spear Steak & Seafood House is now offering a super delicious brunch. The portions are generous, so it is perfect to order a couple of dishes and share a meal family style with your friends. They also have bottomless mimosas at a very reasonable price, and they keep their promise I was never able to see the bottom of my glass.

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For our brunch my friend and I decided to share the Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes and as you can image they were so good. You could taste the Ricotta and blueberries, and best of all the pancakes had a perfect consistency. They came with Berkshire maple syrup and a fruit salad.

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We also had the Crab Benedict. This was not your average Benedict, it came with poached eggs, a lovely hollandaise sauce and jumbo crab cakes. The crab cakes which are made with real fresh crab meat were perfection. The Benedicts came with a side of roasted fingerling potatoes.

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I enjoyed the brunch at Spear Steak & Seafood House, and I would gladly come back for brunch or dinner to continue exploring the menu. The servers were super friendly as well and next time I come back, I will sit on the patio to enjoy the DTLA view.

Adoboloco: Pour, Taste & Repeat!

A few days ago we got a little package at GOF headquarters. Adoboloco, a Hawaiian company that specializes in making homemade sauces, sent us their top sellers so we could give them a try. Naturally this package made it to my hands because I love salsas after all I am a Mexican. They are ingrained in my DNA. I am like a sommelier of sauces and let me tell you I was very impressed with Adoboloco.

Adoboloco
http://www.adoboloco.com
800.281.0232
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Adoboloco is a family run business that was born out of a homeschooling garden project. Their sauces are made with lots of love. How do I know that? Well, their products are all natural and non-GMO. On top of that, they don’t put any fillers, refined sugars or oils in their salsas.
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The sauces are naturally preserved by its own ingredients and best of all they only have 4 to 5 ingredients; ingredients that you can actually read and understand like habanero peppers and sea salt. They came in a multi-pack package that has a super cool design, and I really mean that! Somebody took the time to create and label the box. Inside the box were three salsas: Mangoes! Bumbye!, Pineapple and Hamajang.

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All of the sauces were super tasty. I tried them at home first on their own, then I had them on chips and finally on popcorn… yes I love to pour sauces and salsas on my popcorn. But I wanted to taste them in an appropriate environment, so I took them to my favorite taco truck. There I had Pineapple on my chorizo tacos and the Hamjang on my suadero (brisket) taco.

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Then I smothered my potato gordita with the Magoes! Bumbye! It was spicy and sweet. You can immediately taste the sweetness of the mangos. This sauce made me think of fresh and light meals like a ceviche, or any seafood dish would be perfect for it.

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Then I tried the pineapple sauce, and I really enjoyed this one. I would say that this one is hot for the average user but to me it was delicious. There is such a good balance between the habanero peppers, the pineapple, and the apple cider vinegar. I could see me using it with carnitas, Easter Carlona BBQ and well basically anything with pork. Somehow I feel that pineapple and pork are a match made in heaven.

And last but not least I had the Hamajang. This was my favorite one. This one is definitely on the hotter and very spicy side. When I read on the label that it had ghost peppers, it made me so happy. The Hamajang has a complex smokey flavor, and I could pour this baby on nearly everything: eggs, popcorn, steak, pork, fish, etc. The sky is the limit!!

Adoboloco is a hot sauce company that is 100% made in the Hawaii, that supports clean labeling and that also partners with small local farms to source some of the ingredients for their delicious sauces. Mahalo Nui Loa!

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Make Out in Culver City: Our Favorite Plant-Based Cafe

To the surprise of some of you I truly and madly love vegetables. It almost feels funny to say it out loud; I know you guys don’t picture me as the kind of girl that eats her greens but because my favorite plant-based restaurant is celebrating their first year I wanted to share with all of you this little piece of healthy heaven.

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Make Out Culver City
9426 West Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
http://www.makeouteveryday.com

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Make Out is located in a 1920s building in the heart of Culver City. The place is modern chic and what I like the most is that it has a very inviting café vibe. It has an array of big tables and -be warned- once you hit the couch you will not want to leave. The menu is full of healthy nutritious food mostly vegan and raw, and you will be able to enjoy juices, smoothies and/or a full meal. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t matter what you eat either way you will be doing your body a favor.

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To start my meal, I ordered the Kombucha. It was fizzy, refreshing and came in a bunch of flavors I had pineapple. And the special of the day: the Nachos Fiesta. The Nachos were made with blue corn tortillas, vegan cheese and pico de gallo. I think that they should add the Nachos permanently on the menu because they were so tasty.

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After that, I wanted to try some of the soups. And because I’m a good Mexican, the first soup I tried was the bean soup. Let me tell you it was so comforting; there is nothing like having freshly made bean soup when it’s cold in LA. Then I had the Squash soup. It had crunchy pepitas on top, and it was so incredibly creamy that it is hard to believe that it was dairy-free.

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From the small plates section on the menu, I decided to have the Spicy Carrot Roll made with nori better known as seaweed, jalapeño “cream cheese”, cucumber and avocado. What an inspiring take on sushi! It was soft on the outside and crunchy on the inside. The plate was not only beautiful, but the roll tasted splendid.

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I proceeded to try the flatbreads. I went with the Pizza flatbread that has Sundried Marinara, Pistachio Pesto, and Macadamia Ricotta. I’m telling you that Ricotta tasted like the real deal!! Followed by the Fennel flatbread. This one has baba ganoush, mint, lemon, and capers. Both of the flatbreads were delicious, but I was particularly taken with the Fennel flatbread. I I have never had a flatbread like that, it was good simple ingredients in a very innovative way.

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To end my meal I wanted to try the Kelp bowls. So what is this Kelp thing? It is a kind of brown seaweed that is super high in nutrients. Best of all it is fat-free and gluten-free. Kelp is typically referred as noodles although they don’t taste or feel like pasta. I love them, so I tried the Almond Kelp bowl that comes with kelp noodles, carrot, lime, ginger and spicy Almond. As soon as I tasted it, the first thought that crossed my mind was Pad Thai. It tasted like the healthy version of that. Then I had the Pepper Kelp Bowl. It has black pepper, olive crumb, and snap peas. I had not had this one before, and it was delicious. It tasted like the best Alfredo pasta (minus all the fat and carbs) that you’ve ever had; it was creamy, complex and so savory. I was so impressed with this bowl.

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I was super lucky because I got to try the new desserts that are coming soon to the menu thank you Make Out. First, I had the Raw Cheesecake Fudge. This little beauty is dipped in raw cacao. And it tastes just like it sounds: amazing. And then I had the Coconut Chocolate Hazelnut Mouse. Creamy, chocolaty, nutty…it was gorgeous. I can only describe it by how I felt and I was invaded by deep sadness when I had the last scoop. I just didn’t want it to end.

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As you can see, I completely pigged out at Make Out. To be honest, there is not a thing on the menu that isn’t exciting. The food is healthy, flavorful and very creative. Best of all you are doing something good for your body every time you eat like this. I am so happy that Make Out is celebrating its anniversary I wish them many successful and healthy years!

Best Carnitas in Mexico City

IMG_5946Growing up in Mexico City I was always surrounded by amazing food and even more amazing tacos. But when it comes to tacos there were always some legends: who was the best? Who did this or that style better? I always heard about this joint that made the best carnitas in town: El Rincón Tarasco. The first time I visited the place I was a teenager and I fell in love with it. So for good all times I decided to go back and treat myself to some tacos.

 

El Rincón Tarasco
Av. José Martí 142
Col. Escandón
11800 México, D.F.
http://rincontarasco.mx

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The place is exactly the same as I remembered it. It hasn’t changed one bit. Somehow El Rincón Tarasco has found the way to stay old school in the most extraordinary way. The food is precious and it’s one of those places that closes when the food is gone. The restaurant itself looks a little bit sketchy but don’t be discouraged you are in for a treat at this  little hole-in-the wall with a huge reputation.

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To begin my meal I had the taco dorado de sesos, that is the pork brain taco. I know some people may feel intimidated by the word brain but there is nothing to fear. The brains are perfectly cocked with epazote, tomatoes and onions and it tastes smokey, creamy and flavorful. This taco is deep fried at el Ricón Tarasco and I particularly love this because it adds that extra layer of crunchiness to the taco.

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For my main meal I had the carnitas tacos. The carnitas at el Rincón are made Michoacán Style and they are its signature dish. The carnitas are pork that has been braised and slow cooked for hours. When it is ready the meat is so soft that it melts like butter in your mouth. The carnitas taco is a big hardy taco , you can easily make two tacos out of it and the carnitas portion is very generous. It is soft, salty, piggy and so tasty.

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For my dessert I had the taco de Costilla (the rib taco). Yes, that was my dessert because the rib tacos are super special. This is an item that you can only get if you show up early enough since it’s one of the first items to ran out. The ribs are perfectly braised. You know crunchy on the outside but perfectly soft and juicy in the inside. They have a smokey flavor and the meat is so soft that it falls of the bone.  It is absolutely delicious and a most try if they have it available.

I was so happy to see that this place continues to be legendary. The staff was so friendly and accommodating and  the food was exactly as I remembered it: humble and just plain good, without a doubt it still has the best carnitas in town….

Spanish Bikinis at BCN in West Hollywood

BCN (the airport code name for Barcelona) is serving beautiful Bikinis in WeHo.
These Bikinis are not the swimwear that you have in mind. A Bikini in Barcelona is a softly pressed sandwich and also the specialty at BCN among other traditional and vibrant Spanish street foods like Cocas and Bocatas.

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BCN West Hollywood
8719 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA
http://www.eatdrinkbcn.com

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BCN is located in the heart of West Hollywood. The place is cozy with a minimalist and modern vibe. The staff is super friendly, and it has an inviting terrace on the front that makes it the perfect spot to catch up with friends while enjoying delicious food and some virgin sangria.

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We ordered the Patatas Bravas as an appetizer. Let me tell you that this was not your ordinary potato fries. The patatas came with a zesty tomato sauce and aioli. They were crispy but still soft inside and very well seasoned. The tomato sauce sits on the bottom of the plate so you can smother your patatas as much as you’ll like.

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It wasn’t quite dinner yet, but we were able to try the Saltwater Prawns Coca that was only served on the dinner menu. The Coca is not soda it is a stone baked flatbread. The Saltwater Prawns were cooked to perfection. I absolutely loved this dish. I would have eaten the whole thing by myself.

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After that, I had to try the itsy bitsy Smoked Tuna Bikini. The Spanish Bikini is an adaptation of the croquet monsieur without the béchamel, in other words, a softly pressed sandwich. Smoked Tuna is such a Spanish thing that you typically don’t see in LA not even in WeHo so I couldn’t resist. It was delicious. Although it was smoked, the Bikini was light and flavorful.

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BCN is the kind of easygoing everyday Spanish spot perfect for the neighborhood. They use high-quality ingredients imported from Spain and from local vendors that support sustainable practices so if you are in the area make sure to stop and get yourself a bikini and don’t forget to try the desserts.

 

It’s a Date: Romancing the Bean Cafe

Romancing the Bean Cafe is a family own and run cafe that fits perfectly with its neighborhood. Located in the super cute and community oriented Magnolia park in Burbank. Kerry Krull’s is the owner and chef. Her son Ramsey set up the computer system of the place and from time to time acts as a barista and her daughter Kendra decorated the place. The atmosphere at the cafe is very chic. It has an upscale vibe with a warm welcoming décor.

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Romancing the Bean Cafe
3413 W Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505
romancingthebeancafe.com

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GOF, Girls on Food, got invited to sample the new menu at Romancing the Bean. The point of the event was to showcase the exciting new food and drinks that are currently being served. They are proud to use the freshest organic ingredients available to them and to support local farmer markets. Their menu has been crafted with a little bit of something for every taste including gluten free bread for the gluten free Angelinos.

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They welcomed GOF with a beautiful and delicious table spread that included some of their best selling items that you can get in their sammies, wraps and salads. We had samples of their famous chicken curry, salmon tartare, tuna, Italian chop salad, the superfoods salad and amazing cheese and cold cuts plates with a variety of bread.

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I particularly liked the superfoods salad. It was so tasty and full of good foods like kale, almonds, cranberries, blueberries and goat cheese.

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I also enjoyed the tuna, but then again I’m a sucker for tuna. It was flavorful and lite. It is made with albacore, capers, red onions, lemon zest and tomatoes. So good!

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Romancing the Bean cafe is the perfect place to catch up with friends, meet people for business or just to have a little bit of me time drinking an amazing cup of coffee. They’re open 7 am – 7 pm during the week and 8 am – 5 pm on the weekends.

Romancing the Bean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen: A Mole Oasis In Bell Gardens, CA

I discovered Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen almost by chance. We were looking for a location in Bell Gardens and I was terribly hungry. All I could find was fast food which I refused to give into that and just like an oasis in the desert, there was Rocio’s: a true culinary gem.

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It is a small restaurant that can easily be missed if you don’t know where you are going. The building sits alone on a little asphalt island. The decorations are Mexican modest and the place is cozy with five tables inside and a couple more outside. We walked in and it was empty, but amazing hypnotizing aromas were coming out of the kitchen so we decided to stay.

Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen
7891 Garfield Ave
Bell Gardens, CA 90201

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A super friendly staff member greeted us. He explained that the restaurant is kind of new to the area and that the specialties of the house are moles. I couldn’t be happier to hear that -insert angelical chanting here – first of all my blood sugar was dropping so just the word mole made me happy, but more importantly good moles are hard to find in Los Angeles. He immediately brought a basket of chips smothered with all the moles that they make. We were so hungry the chips alone could have been our meal. We ate the whole thing and asked for seconds. #noshame

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There was no exaggeration about their moles, they were so good that we ordered the chicken Mole Enchiladas. Instead of going with a whole order we had a mole Oaxaqueño enchilada. This mole is almost black looking, very chocolatey, smokey and savory; and a Pipian Verde enchilada. Although Pipian is considered a mole most of the times it doesn’t have chocolate. It is mostly made with pepitas (pumpkin seeds), chiles and peanuts. The enchiladas were delicious. The moles were smooth, silky and so flavorful that I like to imagine that an ancient Mayan princess would have gladly bathed herself in it.

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Once I realized that their moles were legit. I decided to try the Enfrijoladas con Cecina. The Enfrijoladas are very much like a cheese enchilada. The difference is that they are made with a bean sauce. Sounds simple but it is not. The Cecina is a steak that has been salted and sun/air dried for flavor. I know it sounds a little bit like beef jerky, but I promise it has nothing to do with that. The one at Rocio’s was perfection. The Cecina was incredibly soft and very tasty. The plate was beautifully decorated and came with a big side of guacamole.

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I was so impressed with this little unpretentious restaurant in the middle Bell Gardens. You can taste the love in the high-quality food that is being expedited from the kitchen and the welcoming staff would make you feel like you are in Mexico. I can’t wait to go back and try more dishes from their exciting menu.

Rocio's Mole de Los Dioses Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Once Upon a Time in Mexico City: Seafood at Contramar

When I was a young jr. producer I was lucky that the company associates would always take me to the nice events and to the expensive lunches so I could learn the business. I must have been 22 years old the first time I went to Contramar. Back then they didn’t take reservations and yet all of these important businessmen were willing to wait as long as it took. I remember my boss saying “we are going to wait and then we are going to eat amazing seafood”.

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Contramar 
Durango 200 Colonia Roma, Del. Cuauhtémoc, México D.F.

Contramar is located in the ultra chic La Roma neighborhood. The decor is classy with a beachy vibe, perfect lighting and crisp white tablecloths in what was once a high ceiling bodega. Although Mexico City is inland, the restaurant gets fresh seafood delivered daily from both coasts. It has a top quality menu and attracts beautiful wealthy crowds. Even after all these years it is still a coveted lunch place and the place to see and to be seen.
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For our first appetizer we ordered the Aguachile Campechano. Aguachile is a dish made by submerging seafood in a lemon spicy brine. This particular one was marinated in a salsa verde broth and had fish, shrimp, octopus, scallops, pickled red onions and cucumbers. It was so refreshing, citrusy and mildly spicy. We gobbled it right up!

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Then we had the Tacos de Pescado Al Pastor. These are a version of the upscale fish tacos marinated in an Al Pastor adobo. They come with handmade corn tortillas. Al Pastor is an adobo made with a bunch of dry chilles, spices and achiote paste. The tacos were fantastic. They had the perfect balance of Al Pastor flavor with a sense of seafood.

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Our main entrée was the Pescado a la Talla Contramar. This is the restaurant’s specialty. It is a split red snapper, half of it is covered with a red spice rub and the other half with a green rub.  The green rub is made mostly with parsley. No wonder this is their signature dish, the snapper was cooked to perfection.

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And last, but not least, we had the Merengue con Fresa for dessert. This is a merengue cake with fresh strawberries in the middle. Just when I thought our meal couldn’t get any better along came dessert. You have never had anything like this. It was decadently amazing so good it should be forbidden.

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Contramar remains the standard for impeccable fish in Mexico City. That is why it is treated with some serious respect among national and international foodies. A must try in Mexico City but remember they are not open for dinner.

Indian Taco Tuesday: California Chutney in Pasadena

I have a confession to make and I must come out clean about this so there are no questions about it in the future I’m addicted to tacos: soft, fried, corn or flour. I am a tacoholic at heart. I love them in all of its forms and presentations. So when I heard that California Chutney was serving naan tacos I had to have it.

California Chutney
45 N. Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA
(626) 396-6947
http://www.calichutney.com

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California Chutney is located in the heart of Old Town Pasadena just north of Colorado Blvd. The place is modern, bright and minimalistic. It is introducing a new approach to traditional Indian food by adopting the “ordering in line” kind of method that we all know so well. You stand in line and order exactly what you want in your naan taco, bowl or roti burrito.

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I had the Cali Naan Duo and for my first taco I went with the braised chickpeas and tandoori chicken with cucumber yogurt raita. It was so flavorful. The tandoori chicken was spicy and well balanced with the cucumber raita. For my second taco I had the Paneer Tikka with the roasted chili chutney. I was delightfully surprised to see that the Paneer had kale instead of spinach. The chutney was spicy almost like a Mexican salsa. It was delicious.

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One of the things I liked the most about this place is that they make naan to order. They have a modern tandoor oven where they carefully bake the naan for the tacos. You can see the whole process through the glass window.

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The place also has a chutney bar. There you can help yourself to all the chutney that you want I certainly spend some time trying all the flavors. My favorite chutney was the fresh cilantro and the mango ginger.

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California Chutney is a nice alternative to Indian food in Pasadena. There is nothing like this in the area and the food has all the Indian flavors you want with a modern twist. The place is vibrant, the servers are super friendly and most importantly the food is really good at a reasonable price. Who knew that naan tacos could be so yummy definitely a good option for taco Tuesday.

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California Chutney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Around the World in 80 Sips: Galco’s Summer Soda Tasting in LA

Girls on Food got invited to celebrate the 5th annual Galco’s Summer Soda Tasting. Although it was raining, crowds of people attended the event and got ready to do some serious soda sampling. The point of this event was to invite soda-lovers of all ages to try a wide selection of delicious bubbly soft drinks.

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Galco’s Soda Pop Stop 

5702 York Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90042

323-255-7115

Homepage

The event itself is a fundraiser for the Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition that is working to re-open Los Angeles’ first museum. So all the money went to a good cause and all the sugar went to my head. It was a challenge I was willing to accept.

Galcos2Galco’s is located in hipster central Highland Park. But don’t be fooled by it coolness, it has been a small family owned grocery store in Los Angeles since 1897. It became a specialized soda stop in 1995 when John Nese took over his father’s business. John has been fascinated with soda since he was a child so when he became Galco’s owner it was only natural that the soda stock increased in the store. It became a goal of his to support small soda makers and not only that John is also a member of the Highland Park Heritage Trust. You can always find him in the store recommending exactly what you need.

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The store is about the size of a small super market and filled with a wide selection of pops, beers and candy from all around the world. It has over 550 sugar cane glass bottle sodas and 550 craft domestic and international beers. This year’s theme was “international sodas” and we jumped right into it. The countries that were participating in the soda sampling were England, France, Italy, Greece, Republic of Georgia, Romania, Japan, Australia, Cuba, Peru, Hawaii showcasing 71 one exciting flavors and the state of California and New York were also featured with 9 fantastic sodas.
galcosfranceMy first stop was France. They were showcasing Lorina’s flavors: coco lime, lemon and strawberry. I really enjoyed the strawberry soda. It was like drinking a sparking rosé wine without the alcohol.

 

 

galcosenglandAnother favorite was England’s Belvoir. They were featuring the Elderflower Lemonade and the Elderflower & Rose Lemonade. I particularly liked the Rose lemonade. It was refreshing, exotic and aromatic all at once.

 

 

 

 

 

galcosromaniaRomania’s Sweet Blossom Florals were such a nice surprise. Who knew Romania had such good soda! They had Rose, Elderflower, Lavender and Mr. Q Cucumber. I liked all of these sodas especially Mr. Q Cucumber. It really tasted like a cold pressed cucumber juice with sparking water and a hint of sugar.

 

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Representing Japan was the always fun and super tasty Ramuné. All the kids were super excited by the cool design of the bottle and the marble inside of it. The tasting flavors were: Original, melon, strawberry and plum. Ramuné is one of my favorite sodas and even with all the competition out there it didn’t disappoint.

 

galcosguavaMy favorite soda of the whole event was Australia’s Bundaberg Guava. You are reading correctly, the guava soda was amazing: sweet, refreshing and bursting with guava flavor.

 

 

 

 

Around the world in 80 sips was such a fun event. There was live music and all kinds of couples and families enjoying a sugar loaded and rainy afternoon at the one soda pop stop: Galco’s.
Galco's Old World Grocery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taqueria El Califa in Mexico City

When it comes to tacos in Mexico City everybody has their favorite spot; funny enough, most of us share the same feeling. Just ask anyone -and I mean anyone- where to find the best tacos and they will direct you to my personal favorite: Taquería El Califa.

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IMG_5730Taquería El Califa 
Altata # 22
06100 México, D.F.
elcalifa.com.mx

The place is located in the heart of La Condesa, one of the oldest and also trendiest neighborhoods in Mexico City. It has been there for over 20 years redefining the traditional concept of what a taquería should be. What sets El Califa apart from any other taco joint is that it specializes in serving full filet tacos with handmade tortillas. I’ve been coming here for the last 15 years. It used to be a small colorful restaurant that was always crowded. Although the crowds have not changed, a few years ago they expanded and renovated the place into a more vibrant and modern atmosphere. The only façade that remains from the old days is a memento of what was and what continues to be amazing tacos.

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We started our meal with the chicharron de queso. They fry Manchego and Chihuahua cheese on the grill and then roll it into the ultimate cheese wave. Once you’ve had it you can’t stop eating it. It is like the best chip you have ever had: cheesy, crispy and crunchy. This is a must-try appetizer.IMG_6148
Another famous appetizer is the jugo de carne. This is a beef broth/soup that has been cooked for hours. It has all the goodness of the beef. It is thick, strong and has a complex almost caramelized flavor. Specially made for all the beef lovers. Squeeze a lemon wedge and drink it up. It will make your belly happy, I promise.

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After that, we had tacos al pastor. The pork is lustily marinated in their secret sauce and then cooked over a vertical trompo (charcoal grill) until they are ready. Al pastor tacos are my favorite tacos and the ones at Califa are sublime, no exaggeration here.

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The bistec taco was what followed. Grilled tender flank steak on top of a fresh homemade tortilla. The steak is thin and cooked to perfection. Simplicity at its best!

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Then came the taco de costilla con queso. They add cheese on top of the rib taco and do a light burn on the cheese creating this cheesy crust on top of it. I like to eat this taco with freshly grilled green cactus. The costilla taco con queso is soft, fatty and tasty almost like having queso fundido on your taco.

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For our last taco we had the taco de gaona campechano con queso. Let me explain this taco since it has more moving parts than your average taco. The gaona is Califa’s signature cut. It is a high quality steak that is so soft it melts in your mouth. The term campechano means “with a little bit of everything” and the “everything” at El Califa is blood sausage, crispy pork chicharron and chile morita salsa. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a taco that measures up to this one. It is the king of all tacos.

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For dessert we had the pastel tres leches. A traditional old school Mexican cake that takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen when she used to bake it for us. It is made with three kinds of milk: whole, evaporated and sweetened condensed milk. It is covered with dulce de leche icing. It is decadent. Prepare yourself for sugar shock that’s  #totallyworthit.

What makes El Califa’s tacos so good? It is all about the ingredients. They use high quality cuts of meat and local produce. They also make their own cheese, salsas and handmade tortillas. El Califa has an amazing and professional staff of taqueros, cooks and waiters that make sure that the customer experience is like no other. El Califa is a Mexico City food landmark. Everybody knows it, everybody loves it and they all aspire to be like El Califa.