Girls on Food

DTLA

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

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…

(more…)

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

James Beard Foundation Presents Taste America: Los Angeles Dinner 2017

On Friday, October 6th, 2017, Vibiana, the former 19th century Cathedral turned prominent event space in Downtown Los Angeles, was taken over by the national non-profit culinary arts organization, the James Beard Foundation and the best in the LA culinary scene. Taste America, the foundation’s 5th annual ten-city touring event, celebrated prolific stars of the food scene.

(more…)

Join Julianne at The James Beard Foundation’s Fifth Annual Taste America!

 * Image – Avocado Tartine from Redbird
Calling all LA food-lovers! On Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, the James Beard Foundation will touch down on the West Coast for the Fifth Annual Taste America, the Foundation’s culinary tour through some of the country’s most exciting food cities. The festivities will begin at Vibiana and will celebrate Los Angeles’ food culture with esteemed local chefs and one national all-star, Barbara Lynch of Boston’s Gruppo, who will create a multi-course collaborative dinner with fellow James Beard Award winner Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie and Ted’s in Los Angeles, pastry chef Shannon Swindle of Craft Los Angeles, and host chef Neal Fraser of Redbird in Los Angeles.

But before getting seated for dinner, guests will snack on an amazing lineup of bites from some of the finest local chefs, including Amanda Chapman and Johnny Ray Zone of Howlin Ray’s in Los Angeles, Evan Funke of Felix in Venice, Justin Hilbert of Maude in Beverly Hills, Sara Kramer of Kismet in Los Angeles, and David Schlosser of Shibumiin Los Angeles.

This event will celebrate LA’s culinary arts scene and raise money for the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Scholarship Fund during a silent auction and an exciting live auction.

Want to get dapper and celebrate with us? Tickets are still on sale here.

Weekly Wanderlust 8/4/17: Get $5 off Thrillist’s Taco Knockout Event in LA, Manresa Bread in Los Gatos, CA, Renegade Chocolate in Uxbridge, Ontario and Happy Hour at answer. in Nashville

Every Friday here at Girls on Food, we bring you Weekly Wanderlust, featuring the best our in cities, recipes, videos and advanced notice on events we’ll be appearing at.

TinTin here:

Thrillist’s 5th annual Taco Knockout is Saturday, August 12th, 1 PM – 4 PM at Lot 613, 613 Imperial Street, Los Angeles, CA.

This event is going to be packed with the most popular tacos SoCal has to offer, including Aqui Es Texcoco, Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, La Carmencita Restaurant and many more. There will also be chilled cervezas from Estrella Jalisco and a live DJ set from Electric Taco.

South Bay favorite The Standing Room will be serving an original creation, Tako Poke Tacos, which we’re the most excited for. We predict this taco—a blue corn tortilla topped with smoked octopus, tobiko, ikura and chives—will be the most innovative bite there.

General admission per person is $35, but if you use the discount code THRILLISTVIP at check out, you get $5 off. Just a little gift from Girls on Food. #yourewelcome

Traditionally this event takes place in NYC but it’s about time Thrillist brought it to LA! Not trying to start a Tupac vs Biggie feud here, but SoCal really is the home of the best Mexican street food in the U.S. 

For out-of-towners, I will be live on our Instagram stories feed providing you with footage of the event. But if you’re in LA and at the event, be sure to say hi!

For more info and to purchase tickets, check out:

http://events.thrillist.com/tacoknockout2017

(more…)

AltaMed East LA Meets Napa & La Rioja + OC Meets Napa & Mexico

After much debate and consideration I was able to narrow down the awesome (pescatarian friendly) bites and beverages from AltaMed’s East LA Meets Napa & La Rioja as well as OC Meets Napa & Mexico. The events were incredible fundraisers with proceeds supporting health care for uninsured patients (from AltaMed). I couldn’t believe how huge the event was and was happily jumping from one table to the next in my attempts to try everything.

My Favorite Food Picks!

(more…)

Pacific Dining Car: LA’s Only 24/7 Fine-Dining Restaurant Since 1921 Offers New Specials

Since 1921, Pacific Dining Car, Los Angeles’ only 24-hour fine dining establishment (7 days a week) has been serving their loyal customers the best in steakhouse cuisine. Now on their fourth generation of family-ownership, and spearheaded by Chef Mark Kalenderian, PDC is breathing some new life into their menu, while maintaining all the favorites.

 

Pacific Dining Car
1310 W. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017
http://pacificdiningcar.com
* Santa Monica location: 2700 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

You may remember seeing PCD in many films and TV shows. Most notably, the 2001film Training Day. Denzel Washington’s character, Alonzo, tells Ethan Hawke’s Jake “Get yourself a Baseball Steak.”

Yes, cinephiles, the Baseball Steak is currently on the menu, you can dine like Denzel.

The second I stepped into this spacious, wood-paneled dining car, I felt like I had stepped into the pages of a vintage Los Angeles-based pulp novel. The lighting is dim, the seating is plush and the décor is old school- my kind of place.

The Astor Room
Main Lobster Tail with a side of Creamed Spinach

There are 6 different rooms at PDC to dine in, I was arranged to taste their new specials in the Astor Room. I was immediately struck by the elegance of this room; everything from the velvet chairs, white linens, fine china and Wallace silverware. I felt a little guilty for not rocking one of my Unique Vintage dresses to dine but the maitre d’ didn’t flinch at my appearance.

Although this is a fine-dining, the dress code is flexible. All walks of life are welcome to dine at PDC- you could be Joe Schmoe and you’ll receive the same high-class treatment as Johnny Depp.

(more…)

LASA Takes Over Unit 120 in Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA

When it comes to the LA food scene, pop-ups are how many of the most innovative chefs have brought their unique cuisine to the public. Many of the most successful new restaurants can trace their origins to this style of experimental restaurant development.

LASA is the most recent Los Angeles pop-up success story.

LASA
727 Broadway Ave. Unit 120, Los Angeles, CA 90012
http://www.lasa-la.com

(more…)

Bowing Down To Baobab in Little Tokyo Galleria, DTLA

Little Tokyo is LA’s cultural center for their Japanese-American population. Being only five blocks (long blocks to be fair) it manages to pack in many merchants. The Little Tokyo Galleria is a stand alone of its neighborhood. This three story building is beloved among LA-locals with it’s famous Little Tokyo Marketplace, many department stores, and restaurants. According to Urbanize LA, expansion on the Little Tokyo will continue upwards, if you will, with a series of high-rise buildings. I can’t speak for the other businesses of the Little Tokyo Marketplace; I know owner Chef Eric Baker, of the self-proclaimed “gourmet fast-food” pan-Asian stand BaoBab, is excited about this development.

Eric told me “I think the new development is great. It’s going to bring a more diverse group of people to our small shop and hopefully help us grow. As far as the decision to come to little Tokyo it was mainly the location. We took the challenge to open up an entirely new concept in the area.”

BaoBab
333 S. Alameda St. #100 E, Los Angeles, CA 90013
https://www.facebook.com/BAOandBAB/

(more…)

A Rant on LA Food Blogging and Brunch at Redbird in DTLA

Over a year ago, when I heard a few of my food blogging peers were invited to the Carondelet House for a 5-course meal, a Culinary Exploration by Chef Neal Fraser, I eagerly awaited my invitation. After all, an episode of Masterchef Junior, where I served as a guest judge just aired. How could they not want me to attend?

Days went by and no invite arrived. I tried to reassure myself, “sometimes invites to tastings are last minute”. When more time passed, my thoughts turned into “maybe I’ll be a back-up blogger in case someone can’t make it, I’m sure they’ll rush me out.” The day of the event came and an invite never came through.

I was stumped as to why Girls on Food wouldn’t get an invite. We have the expected amount of followers required to be considered a “social media influencer” and we have great relationships with LA PR and marketing. I felt like the kid in class not invited to the most popular girl’s party. Is my blog just not cool enough?

(more…)

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.

(more…)