#GOFPoutineParty! Smoke’s Poutinerie in Hollywood Hosts Girls on Food For Our First Blogger Tasting!

Since August of 2012, Girls on Food has grown from a team of 2 bloggers to a team of over 40, all over USA, Canada, and Mexico. My goals are to host someday a GOF convention, where we can all hang out but in the meantime, your favorite girl-gang will be hosting foodie events regionally.

Our first ever blogger meet-up was hosted by Smoke’s Poutinerie (thanks to our friends at All Points Public Relations) in Hollywood.

For those not quite sure what poutine is, it’s a French-Canadian dish that originated in Quebec; French fries get topped with cheese curds and a light brown gravy. It’s a hot, savory and cheesy dish. And while a lot of Americans aren’t familiar with it, it’s growing in popularity after being referenced on South Park and now with Smoke’s Poutineries popping up nation-wide in the US.

Smoke’s Poutinerie 
1552 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
http://smokespoutinerie.com/

Tania won a prize for being Best Dressed! A cut-out of the Smoke!

The owner of this Smoke’s franchise location, Alan Goldstein admits he’s been educating LA-locals on poutine, since the opening in 2015 but that’s all right with him. Even if some of the newer customers walk in a little confused, they walk away educated, full and happy.

GOF bloggers who attended this party were TinTin, Tania, Sara, Christina, Julieta, and Libby. Now usually, we’re a little more demure with our wardrobe choices, but considering Smoke’s is all about 80’s glam rock and flannel, we decided we’d take a more fun approach with this one. Nobody wants to chow down on poutine in Herve Leger. And besides, who doesn’t love an 80’s/flannel party?

From left: Christina, TinTin, Julieta (back row), Julianne, Tania (back row), Libby and Sara

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Ocean Avenue’s Day At The Races

Ocean Avenue’s Day At The Races, was a culinary walking tour jam-packed with food, drinks and entertainment. Select Santa Monica restaurants, located within walking distance, such as Del Frisco’s, Red O, O+O Sicilian Kitchen and Bar, Chez Jay, Jimmy’s Famous Tavern, and Herringbone and also the Loews Hotel come together and celebrate the Kentucky Derby. Proceeds went to the Surfrider Foundation, which is an organization that is dear to me.

Ahi Tacos by Del Frisco’s

Surfrider Foundation helps protect our beaches and to keep our waters clean. I was fortunate enough to meet and speak with three core volunteers Summer, Josh and Graham from the West Los Angeles Malibu Chapter. My son has participated in beach clean ups before for Dock Weiler (#proudmomma!) so I was happy for him to meet others who are noble in their care for beaches as well.

We were given a card that mapped out all 7 places we needed to visit and had to have checked off on our list. Once you complete the card, you have the opportunity to bring it back to the main booth at Del Frisco’s and be entered in a drawing to win a night stay at The Shore Hotel. Who wouldn’t want to win staying at a cool, chic and hip hotel right on Ocean Avenue?

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Hermosa Beach Fish Shop: Fast-Casual With Something For Everyone

I always feel my best when I’m following a pescatarian diet. I may post the best burgers in town, but in my off time, I try to limit my proteins to ocean and plant based ones. When I was invited to taste items from the Hermosa Beach Fish Shop menu I was relieved, cause after so many meat-packed tastings, I was excited to try some lighter bites.

Hermosa Beach Fish Shop 
719 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
http://thefishshophermosabeach.com

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Hopdoddy Burger Bar: An Austin, TX-Based Concept Taking Over the West Coast

The concept of Hopdoddy Burger Bar is all about feeling good about what you’re biting into. Their main staples are their all-natural, humanely-raised, house-ground burgers that arrive on fresh baked brioche buns and washed down with craft beers. The atmosphere is lively with service that is fast-paced but still takes time to be friendly. Hopdoddy Burger Bar is also a bit of a do-gooder with one particular menu item, which I’ll tell you about below.

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Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill in San Diego

This weekend, a friend and I left our little Ocean Beach bubble down here in San Diego and ventured over to Mission Valley for dinner and drinks at Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill. The whole experience from drinks to dinner to dessert (which we were way too stuffed to finish) was excellent. I will definitely be back to visit whenever I have meat-loving visitors in town!

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill
7510 Hazard Center Drive #215, San Diego, CA 92108
http://www.woodranch.com

Tennessee Peach

After being seated, we followed our waitress’ drink recommendations, as we both had a hard time choosing. I opted for the Tennessee Peach which combined Gentleman Jack, peach schnapps, house-made simple syrup, mint, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. This drink was perfectly sweet and refreshing and really hit the spot. I also loved munching on the alcohol soaked peach once I reached the bottom!

 

 

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Speakeasy to Me: The BoardRoom in DTLA

Kendall’s Brasserie (Patina Restaurant Group) has been serving up traditional French cuisine to DTLA eaters inside The Music Center for 14 years now. This past month, they opened a speakeasy in the back called The BoardRoom, and I can assure you, the meetings held there will be nothing like the meetings at your 9-to-5. Think of The BoardRoom as Kendall’s artsy, Francophile little sister.

The BoardRoom at The Music Center
135 N. Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
http://patnagroup.com

The BoardRoom has the speakeasy essentials- a slightly tricky to find front door, dim lighting, live performances (Thursday – Saturday nights), cushy seating in booths (intended for large groups) and a menu offering updated classic cocktails and sharable foods. From the moment I walked in through what seemed like Kendall’s back office, I could hear singer Melissa Morgan crooning to a standard jazz tune with her band.

Front: Tennessee Williams (yes, it comes with a macaron), which is their take on the Ramos Gin Fizz. Back: Gertrude Stein, similar to a Pimm’s Cup

Our blogger Christina Russo, is currently the bar manager of The BoardRoom and has created a cocktail menu inspired by the arts. I always love seeing punches on a menu (they serve 4-6 drinks), not only are they trending, they’re perfect for larger groups. But what separates her menu out from others in LA is the Tripple Tipple, her 3-course cocktail tasting menu. This menu is looking like it’ll be changing bi-weekly to weekly and consistently inspired by the arts. It truly is the crème de la crème of the cocktail menu.

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Sugar Factory Las Vegas

Sweet and Savory: Sugar Factory in Las Vegas

Sugar Factory
3200 S. Las Vegas Blvd #1240., Las Vegas, NV 89109
Fashion Show Mall
https://sugarfactory.com/location/fashion-show/

Sugar Factory Las Vegas

When people visit Las Vegas, they aren’t looking for words like “moderation,” and that’s where Sugar Factory comes into play. I was invited to try some of their menu items to share with my foodie fun loving friends–Girls on Food readers! This gorgeous flagship store recently opened on the Las Vegas Strip at Fashion Show Mall, featuring the luxe Chocolate Lounge upstairs and a beautiful dining room downstairs, complete with a great patio space.

Sugar Factory Las Vegas

Don’t worry, I’ll get to the decadent drinks and desserts, but let’s start with an appetizer, shall we? The Fried Macaroni & Cheese Pops are incredible. Homemade macaroni and cheese is battered, deep fried, and served on a stick with a creamy tomato-herb sauce. If you like macaroni and cheese, don’t miss this appetizer! The creamy tomato sauce will make you think of grilled cheese and tomato soup… except this is way better!

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Public School in Culver City: An Education in the Art of Food and Beer

“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” – Andrew “The Breakfast Club”

Public School
9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
http://www.psontap.com/locations/ps310/

Time for class!

Whether or not your high school experience was your glory days or you were an outcast, it’s tough to not appreciate Public School’s “stroll-down-memory lane” theme. Everything, from the happy hour called “Recess”, to the Mead composition notebook-inspired menu design, the times tables wall decor in the bar, is all reminiscent of your average American high school.

Is Public School a chain-restaurant? Considering it’s owned by Grill Concepts (Daily Grill and The Grill On The Alley) with physical headquarters in Woodland Hills, CA and they have 4 different restaurants with over 30 locations, I think it’s safe to place Public School in this category.

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Let Them Eat Steak: The Capital Grille Opening Week – Raleigh, NC

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The Capital Grille
4242 Six Forks Road, Raleigh, NC 27609
http://www.thecapitalgrille.com/

cg6“The best steak I’ve had in a decade” was the description a friend used after visiting The Capital Grille earlier in the week. No doubt, when my husband and I arrived we had been excited for days! Not only was the steak incredible, the service, atmosphere, and all the sides complimented it to a tee!

The restaurant was bustling, the hostesses were cheerful, and our waiter was so friendly! We had a table dead center in all the action – the kitchen is open the length of the restaurant; flanked by booths. When you first walk in, the glass wine cellar separates the entrance from the tables. They have over 350 wines, with an in-house sommelier and extensive info on each wine.

CG1bOur server, Scot, was incredible! He immediately greeted us with an iPad in hand – chock full of all the wines, cocktails, desserts…and told us about their signature martini – the Stoli Doli. The Stoli Doli is a delectable beverage created with Stolichnaya Vodka infused with fresh pineapple, chilled and served straight up. He then reviewed the iPad menu with us – this is neat – you can peruse all the wines they have in-house, and when you click on the name, it gives you more details about it. If you order and love one, or are interested in learning more about one, you can just select the “email to me” button, and send yourself the bottle details with a photo of the wine! I know I could have used this in the past, and was excited to scroll through it while at the table.

cg2bAs we were scrolling through the iPad and reviewed the menu, Scot surprised us with two tiny sample glasses of the Stoli Doli pineapple martini. It was a dangerously good drink! Chilled perfectly; the fresh squeezed pineapple juice was the perfect complement to the vodka. Simply delicious! Next, they brought out a bread basket, with a great variety of bread with a pad of freshly salted butter! We ordered two glasses of wine (both cabs; my husband got a full bodied Concha y Toro, and I ordered a lighter Avalon) and we ordered our appetizers. We debated between the Pan-Fried Calamari with Hot Cherry Peppers, the Jumbo Lump Crab Cocktail, and the Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella. When asked his opinion (without offering our debate) Scot immediately suggested the calamari and the prosciutto, so we were happy to oblige! So glad we did!

 

cg7The calamari was perfectly cooked, and the hot cherry peppers added an unusual, but delicious, flavor! It had a little kick, but more noticeable the first bite than subsequent ones! The prosciutto was fantastic. The mozzarella made fresh, in-house, daily, and they wrap it with the prosciutto and then grill it before serving! Add a bit of tomato and basil, and wow! Just Wow! I’ve never had fresher mozzarella; it was so much more flavorful than what I am used to!

 

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Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella

I am not a huge red meat eater, but at a restaurant with an in-house butcher, figured steak was the way to go! My husband loves a NY Strip, and he ordered that, medium, with a Kona coffee rub on top. Scot suggested I try the porterhouse steak, so that is what I ordered, medium-rare, with the Kona coffee rub as well, topped with shallot butter. Come on – there is no way I wasn’t trying that coffee rub, too! Just a quick side comment, for the reader: if you like a “closer to medium medium-rare” order the medium. I love a good rare, medium-rare, so I was thrilled when it came out like that! If you like it more well done, order up!

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These steaks were incredible! The rub was delicious, the steaks tender, and the shallot butter was out of this world good! The menu offers a la carte family style sides (full and half size portions on many), and we ordered the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, and a half order each of the fresh creamed spinach and the soy glazed brussels sprouts with bacon. The sides probably need a paragraph to themselves! 1. All 3 of these sides, while typical, were all different (better) than previous versions I’ve had before. 2. Unlike other steakhouses we’ve been to, the fresh creamed spinach is, well…fresh! They make it in-house with béchamel sauce. I mean, good-ness. It was incredible! 3. I usually don’t order lobster mac ‘n’ cheese because it is too sweet for me. This one was a typical pasta that happened to have huge, delicious, fresh chunks of lobster meat in it. Everything blended so well, but I never got sick of eating it! 4. The soy brussels sprouts. I mean. Oh. My. Gosh. I don’t like Brussel sprouts. We ordered it because I write a food blog, and they’re trendy. But yowza! I liked these! They had been flash fried before cooking, and were so much sweeter than usual sprouts! Add the glaze and the bacon, and run doesn’t walk to making this your extra side!

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Now, I feel like I’m raving, and have written more than I ever do. But I haven’t even gotten to dessert yet! By now, the floor manager, Chris, and the sommelier, Blake, have stopped by our table to welcome us to the restaurant. (The Capital Grille has a few more than 50 restaurants nationwide, and from what I’ve read on various review sites, this is not unusual behavior – this restaurant is known for treating everyone like royalty!) We were directed back to the iPad and flip through the dessert options (there are pictures, so we’re done for!). They have a flourless chocolate espresso cake that looks amazing, their cheesecake has a crème brulee finish, and they even have a healthy option with fruit and yogurt! I am a sucker for ice cream, so chose to go with their handcrafted ice cream dessert: 3 separate scoops of dark chocolate, raspberry sorbet, and caramel ice cream, with two cookies on the side! Phe-nomenal.

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Finished everything off with a decaf cappuccino that was served with some rock candy on the side. Perfect ending to this delicious meal! As we were leaving (with big smiles on our faces), my husband asked if we could make this our new “special occasion” restaurant! Looking forward to many more meals here at The Capital Grille!

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