Girls on Food

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#girlsonfood Interviews Kat Peterson of @kmlpeterson

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 12K uses on Instagram! 

Thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created a column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages.

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Kat Peterson of @kmlpeterson. With her incredible photography skills and impeccable taste in food, I had to pick her brain on food photography! I have a feeling we’re going to see more of her images on more professional sites soon. 

GOF: When did you start your Instagram page?

KP: I first started Instagram back in June of 2015 when I got my first smartphone. I was really late to the technology game!

GOF: Why food + craft beer?

KP: Around the same time (2015), I went to my first taproom and feel in love with the craft beer culture. While I don’t post as many photos of beer as I once did, it’s still something I really enjoy. As far as food goes, it became a way for me to connect with other people when I was going through a difficult time in my life and in a sense, reinventing myself. Having group dinners with friends and exploring new restaurants was my way of practicing connection, relationship, and friendships.

GOF: What camera do you usually shoot on?

KP: I use a Canon 6D. I started with a borrowed Nikon about two years ago and then switched to a borrowed Canon Rebel before finally purchasing my own camera back in December. It’s been a big learning curve with the new camera and sometimes I feel like I haven’t even tapped into half of what it’s capable of. So LOTS of practice!

Fried Potato Hash from Hai Hai

GOF: What do you think separates the Minneapolis food scene from others?

KP: I don’t have any personal knowledge on other cities around the US but as far as the Twin Cities go, I see a lot of connection and collaboration between restaurants and people. The chefs are approachable and responsive to curiosity about the industry and although we have chefs that are probably considered local celebrities, they are still down to earth and seem to love interacting with guests in their restaurants.

GOF: Are there any St Paul/Minneapolis feuds?

KP: Ha, definitely! Until a few years ago, Minneapolis was the hot spot for dining and there weren’t a ton of great places in St Paul. The St Paul dining scene has since exploded and there are now so many restaurants worth crossing the river for.

GOF: Was being a “foodie” always a part of your life or did it come later?

KP: I’ve always had a love for food and remember trying to cook my way through my Mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook one summer. But I didn’t realize how crucial food had become or how pivotal Instagram has been in changing my life until this past summer.

GOF: Is there one item of food you’d like to see less of on Instagram?

KP: Not really. Even though “food porn” isn’t my style of photography…the drippy, gooey, 5,000 calorie meals… I still like to look at it! A photography trend that I’d love to see end is the over saturation and sharpening of images. If it doesn’t look like food anymore, I don’t want to eat it.

GOF: Do you prefer cocktails, craft beer or wine with a meal?

KP: That depends on the meal! In general I’d say that I prefer beer but I’ve had a lot of fun trying new wines. I’ve discovered that I’m definitely a fan of Cabernet . I’ve also been practicing cocktail photography, which is probably the most challenging thing for me to photograph.

GOF: Do you give restaurants a heads up you’re coming in or do you prefer anonymity?

KP: I get this question a lot and it bothers me to think that there are actually people that inform a restaurant that they are coming in. I’m not a celebrity or a food critic and I don’t want a dish that isn’t available to the general public so there’s no reason for me to contact them. With the exception of events, all the food on my feed is available at the restaurant for anyone to enjoy and I want to showcase the same dish that they would be served.

GOF: What’s one of the coolest experiences that’s come from your food photography?

KP: Last Fall the Arizona office of tourism invited me out and took me around the state to various restaurants, farms, and breweries. It was so awesome! I learned so much about agritourism, met some amazing people, and of course, ate a lot of food! This has led to other opportunities and I just recently shared this experience on Ready & Roam.

Be sure to follow @kmlpeterson and @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday! 

#girlsonfood Interviews Stephanie Chen of @sugarbearbakes

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 11.9K uses on Instagram! 

Thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created a new column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages.

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Stephanie Chen of @sugarbearbakes. I was in awe of how visually delightful her bakes are! I was also blown away by her level of accomplishments:

I decided we needed to get to know her a little better, since she’s the ultimate Girl on Food! 

GOF: What was the casting process like for GABS?

SC: The casting process was very exciting and an illuminating process! I’ve watched my share of Great British Bake Off and Top Chef and I remember always thinking, there’s NO WAY I could ever get on one of those shows. Haha. It was really fun to see how everything worked and I felt honored to be selected from thousands and thousands of applicants!

The process itself happened over a month or two and involved lots of rounds including a lengthy application, phone interviews, Skype interviews, in-person taste tests of your best sweet, savory and bread recipes. There was even a mini timed baking challenge where we had to bake in a kitchen and talk to cameras to see how we would fair under pressure. It was a demanding process but I’m so glad I did it!

GOF: Did you have any big learning experiences or epiphanies during the filming?

SC: Going on The Great American Baking Show was one of my best decisions in my life. It was also the most stressful and challenging thing I’ve ever done. It’s rare that people get the opportunity to challenge themselves in a way where you are 100% reliant on your personal performance and intuition. No one is telling you when to take something out of the oven. You can’t just go online and google “how to fix meringue”. On the show, all the bakers are dealing with ovens, ingredients and an environment that is completely new and unknown and under extreme time constraints and an audience of producers and camera men. Imagine someone standing next to you documenting all of your mistakes! I learned that I’m more capable than I ever thought and really tested my ability to manage my stress in a whole new way.

Before I went on the show, baking was a hobby. Something I did late at night to relive stress and an outlet to allow me to make something special for people I cared about.  When I made it all the way to the finals, I realized that this is more than a hobby and I might actually want to do this for REAL. Since the show ended, I haven’t gone back to my full-time corporate job and have started my own cake & pastry business popping up in cafes across LA, teach cake decorating classes privately and at local cooking schools and found part-time work with pastry teams in Santa Monica bakeries that I’ve admired for years. The show gave me the confidence to propel me into a whole new career that I would not have had the confidence to pursue without it.

GOF: What is the recipe creation process like for you?

SC: My recipe creation process is driven by seasonality and what I’m in the mood to eat! Sounds simple but my cravings are often so specific, it’s easy to hone and be creative when it’s something I love to eat.

Growing up in Southern California, I’ve been fortunate to have fresh produce and farmer’s markets within a stone throw. I love roaming the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmer’s market, talking to farmers to see what they’re excited about and letting that influence my palate. I also pull from my Chinese heritage and the melting pot of flavors in LA that I grew up eating so my pantry is a mixed bag. It’s not rare that I’ll just go around my kitchen and just start pulling different spices and ingredients, smelling them together to see if I can create something new and delicious.

GOF: What was your favorite childhood meal?

SC: Wow. I don’t know if I could only pick one! My mom was a really great cook and would always make delicious Chinese food every night growing up. My maternal Grandmother opened a Chinese restaurant in New Jersey when she first immigrated to the US in the 70’s. My mom helped her run the restaurant so we always had really good Chinese food at home. If I had to narrow it down, I’d pick her Zha Jiang Mian. (Soybean paste noodles with fresh sliced cucumbers.) Yummm. Now I’m craving it!

GOF: What advice do you have for anyone who may be considering leaving their day job to pursue a job in the culinary arts?

SC: My advice to someone who wants to pursue a career in food, is to go and talk to as many people in the industry as possible! I met with all sorts of friends, acquaintances and even strangers when I first flirted with the idea—A gal who owned a wholesale online cookie business, coffee shop owners, a multi-restaurant/bakery owner, pastry chefs, etc. Listen to their stories, how they got started and what to watch out for. This can also help you figure out what path you want to take. Working in food is not for everyone.. but, I can’t begin to describe how rewarding my journey has been and it continues to fill my heart in ways I never knew “my job” could. If you can, try to stage at a local bakery/restaurant you admire. Baking at home for loved ones vs. baking in a high functioning kitchen is completely different. I’ve gathered some of the most valuable training and learnings from my time working with the pastry teams at Huckleberry and Milo & Olive.

GOF: Do you have one kitchen tool you think is underrated and deserves more love?

SC: The one kitchen tool I cannot live without is my mandolin slicer! I don’t have a fancy knife skills so my mandolin has come in and saved me on many occasions when I’m baking or just cooking dinner! It’s an easy way to make your dish look elevated with perfectly sliced pieces.

GOF: Favorite LA high end spot and favorite lower end spot?

SC: My favorite high-end spots in are Bavel in DTLA and Felix in Venice. You seriously can’t go wrong with anything on the menu in both places. For lower end, I love Ma’s Chinese Islamic Restaurant in Anaheim. I grew up eating here and they have really great Beef Noodle Soup and scallion pancakes!

GOF: What is it like to organize your time between Huckleberry, M&O, pop-ups and trying to maintain a personal life?

SC: It definitely keeps me on my toes and I would die without my calendar! I’m always bouncing around all over the city and love that I’m always learning and challenging myself in different ways depending on what I’m doing. I love being at Huck & Milo because it keeps me sharp, fast and love all the people I bake with. Pop-ups are a lot of work but I feel so much joy in feeding people and it helps me test what Sugarbear Bakes can become. I love teaching classes because I’m helping people learn something new and giving them an avenue to explore their creativity! Sometimes my personal life does suffer (especially my sleep!) but it’s a small price to pay for really loving what I do. I’m also blessed to have a very supportive and loving husband who helps me keep my sanity.

GOF: What’s the most ambitious/interesting cake you’ve ever baked? Any crazy themes or challenging décor?

SC: One of the most fun and tedious cakes I’ve been asked to make was a pancake cake made completely out of buttercream! Every layer of “pancake” was piped (over 25 layers!) and then I went through and painted every single layer to give it the effect of pancakes. Then it was topped with caramel and a fondant butter slab. It was a smash cake so it was fun to see the photos of the baby smashing into despite all the hours it took to make it. Haha.

The Pancake Cake – Image via Stephanie Chen

Be sure to follow @sugarbearbakes and @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday! 

Citizen In Beverly Hills Has A Dish For Every Type Of Gal Pal

Organizing a girl’s night out, no matter what the celebration is, can end up being stressful. From constant text alerts, to catering to different dietary needs, to considering your friend’s budgets, it’s tough to find a place that can cater to everyone. But after re-discovering Citizen in Beverly Hills, now under Chef Seth Greenburg, I believe this is the perfect spot for a GNO.

Chef Greenburg, an LA native, served as opening Executive Chef at the Dakota Restaurant in the Roosevelt Hotel and then went on to work as Executive Chef at The Penthouse in Santa Monica for a number of years.

His menu at Citizen offers a variety of dishes inspired by the diverse LA food scene. The dishes are then paired with both tiki and updated traditional cocktails. Don’t worry, all your friends will find what they are looking for here.

Citizen
184 N Canon Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90210
https://www.citizenbeverlyhills.com/

For the Fitspo Obsessed

The Watermelon Salad, a nod to fruit stands of LA, is perfect for your friend who’s Instagramming her fitness journey as we speak. This light salad bursts with fresh flavors from the watermelon, cucumber and tomato but has that chili kick and tart lime that stands are famous for. She can live a little and wash this one down with a glass of ’14 Schramsberg Blanc De Blanc for less calories than a cocktail.

For the #TacoTuesday Devotee

You can’t draw inspiration from LA and not have tacos on the menu! Start with the Albacore Tacos (loved the pineapple kimchi) then move onto the more ample portioned Tacos made with fresh corn tortillas (comes with your choice of 3). My favorite taco was the flat iron steak with cojita cheese and topped with chimichurri. Other options are shrimp with green papaya slaw for a Thai taste or fried chicken with sweet chili for a Chinese flair.

For those of you who are looking for a non-alcoholic beverage, the Blueberry Mint Faux-Jito, with citrus agave and ginger beer is perfect for sipping the night away on the patio.

The Traditionalist

Not every single friend of yours may be as epicurious as you are, so I recommend the more comfort-type options, inspired by classic American cuisine.

The Cheddar Biscuits are buttery, soft and come with a chive butter so fantastic, you might pester the server to take some home.

Chef Greenburg takes it back to the old school with a Halibut in Parchment, and I loved that. A creamy dill butter sauce is poured on top as a part of the presentation. The halibut is tender and thanks to the parchment cooking process, this dish is very aromatic as it arrives. I was reminded of the halibut dinners my mom would cook for me growing up. It would be very rude of me to confirm if this was better than my mother’s… so I’m just going to stop while I’m ahead.

Cocktail-wise I’d recommend the Strawberry Fields cocktail, coined after that classic Beatles jam. It’s a vodka-based cocktail with fresh mint and strawberries.

The Fieri Fanatic

For that friend of yours who can’t turn down a SoCal dive, opt for the Short Rib Fries. The pickled carrots and jalapenos add a fun taco truck flavor to this dish. Be sure to pair it with Babe Rosé With Bubbles for juicy, bubbly fun.

GOF Tip: The Lucky Seven, 7 dishes, for $7 until 7 PM is a great deal and it’s availability is extra generous on Monday nights, 2:30 PM – 10 PM.

The Friend Who’s Still Recovering From Last Night

There’s always one! Since the only cure for alcohol seems to be more alcohol, send her a Detox/Retox. This Tito’s vodka based cocktail has fresh blueberries and chareau aloe, which is an all natural aloe liqueur. And according to boozy folklore, aloe is a great remedy if you’re not feeling 100% after a wild time. She’ll thank you later.

Although this tasting was comped by Citizen, all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.  

Bed Bath & Beyond (Probably) Doesn’t Want You To Know This Wine And Beer Secret

Since 2012, select Bed Bath & Beyond locations have been offering food and drink through their merge with World Market. The merge always seemed a little odd to me (can’t quite put my finger on it) and I’ve spent many years shopping at BBB but not exploring the specialty foods aisle.

Then it randomly dawned on me- since they sell wine and beer in a BBB… why couldn’t I use my coupons on it? I scoured my coupons to see if there were any restrictions listed on alcohol. There has to be a regulation here, right?

Nope.

I was still skeptical, so I even asked the floor sales associate to confirm and I got a green light.

I even asked if customers do this a lot and she replied “nobody ever thinks of it”.

For those of you out there who don’t believe me, I come with a receipt!

Although the wine selection at BBB is pretty accessible with many mainstream selections, it’s a perfect for old standbys and bottles to take to parties. I love La Vieille Ferme Rosé so I made sure to grab a bottle. I have also been seeing Love Noir Pinot Noir pop up on my Instagram, so I decided to try one out. I’m a sucker for a sultry label.

I’m off to BBB to stock up on more!!!

Staying At The St. Jane Hotel And Dining At Free Rein In Chicago

My annual summer trip to Chicago was met with a big first for me – it would be the first trip with my 4-month-old daughter Marie! Usually, on my trips, I freely roam the city, restaurant to restaurant doing whatever I please… those days are over.

Now that we’re traveling as a family, I have a lot to consider when looking for a hotel. I wanted to make sure my stay was comfortable for baby Marie, charming to the eye for my husband and food-centric for myself. I was a little nervous about staying at a boutique hotel because I wasn’t sure how baby friendly it would be. Many boutiques I’ve stayed in, tend to be a smaller in bedroom size, with more sophisticated furnishings – great for adults but I need to consider the little one.

We decided to book a junior suite at the St. Jane Hotel, which opened in July, and it delivered on all 3 counts.

This boutique hotel is located in the 37-story Carbide and Carbon Building, built in 1929. The outside maintains an art deco flair with its black granite and gold accents and the moment you walk in, it feels half Great Gatsby half Lana Del Rey – Jazz age meets hipster chic.

Carbide and Carbon Building
Baby Marie loves the art deco style!

The Premiere Junior Suite is a bit of splurge, but it’s so perfectly spacious that it’s worth it or a family vacation. The astonishing views of the city, a roomy shower (that also has a beautiful city view!) and a big comfy bed are worth the upgrade. Bonus: the toiletries are products by Mason Margiela’s ‘Replica’ Jazz Club line, my all time favorite perfume!

A view from our room at night

St. Jane Hotel’s key restaurant is Free Rein, a modern French brasserie led by chef Aaron Lirette, who obtained a Michelin star for GreenRiver. Free Rein serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offers a coffee shop, full bar and provides the hotel room service. Here’s how I savored the hotel with an ultimate epicurean stay.

I started the bright and early at their café, which is separated from the main dining room. The coffee is provided by Chicago fan-favorite Dark Matter and pastries by fellow Michelin star collector, pastry chef Evan Sheridan of Sixteen.

The Ham and Cheese Croissant, although not shaped in the classic crescent style, the Ham and Raclette is still flaky, buttery and I loved the addition of mustard on top. I loved my Dark Matter lattes every morning too, but with the time changes and general baby exhaustion, I did fuel up on their Nitro Cold Brews as well.

Ham and Raclette Croissant
Latte

Later on, Chicago Girls on Food blogger Hilary met up with me for lunch, where I was able to get a little break from the family and do what I love to do the most – explore a new restaurant. Highlights from this lunch included:

Sweet Corn Soup– corn, scallion, and coconut

I always love a presentation of soup pouring! 

Kanpachi Crudo– English peas, heart of palm, citrus, caviar 

Soft Shell Crab BLT– Bacon, gem lettuce, Old Bay aioli

Saffron Spaghetti – tomato, fine herbs, parmesan

I loved all of Chef Lirette’s artful takes on American classics for lunch. If I had to choose tops spots, my number 1 was definitely the Soft Shell Crab BLT. This succulent sandwich is paired perfectly with the crispy Old Bay seasoned fries. The Kanpachi Crudo is a close second, it felt like a spot-on execution of “summer on a plate”. For lunch, I recommend washing it all down with a glass of Virtue’s Rosé Cider, it’s crisp, lightly floral but pairs perfectly with any of the dishes above.

Virtue Rosé Cider

For dinner, the lights dim down and it feels a little fancier at Free Rein. The menu expands out to a number of new options, including large format items, intended for sharing.

I started with a glass of Clos des Papes “Le Petit Vin d’Avril” a rich, Rhône blend to pair with decadent dishes. The absolute favorite item was the Foie Gras Tourchon with black truffle, Marcona almonds, cherry compote and summer berries. This item will be available on the Fall menu, so make sure you pop in there soon!

Foie Gras Tourchon

My other favorites included the Tomato Salad, with black garlic, cucumber and sourdough and the large format Dry-Aged Slagel Farms Ribeye with chanterelle mushrooms, potato puree, and beef jus.

Tomato Salad
Dry-Aged Slagel Farms Ribeye

Staying in a very touristy part of town and relying on the hotel to have extraordinary food sets a bar very high and sometimes isn’t realistic, but Free Rein and the St. Jane Hotel exceeded my expectations.

GOF Tip: The room service menu offers some items from the Free Rein menu – go for the Smoked Whitefish Toast. Since I was watching Marie, it’s nice to have an easy-to-eat but still gourmet meal around!

Baby Marie admiring the gold elevator doors

Although the lunch portion was provided by Free Rein, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

#girlsonfood Interviews Jeanne of @jeanne.eatsworld

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 11.7K uses on Instagram! 

Thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created a new column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages.

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Jeanne of @jeanne.eatsworld. Jeanne was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia and moved to Minneapolis at the age of 15 years ago. She works a 9-5 desk job at American Express Global Business Travel and based off her Instagram feed, she savors every minute of her travels. Whether it’s a shot of cup of coffee to go or a shot of her traveling, the world through her eyes looks pretty incredible!

GOF: When did you start your Instagram page?
JH: I started my IG page about 4 years ago mixing between my love for food, for travel and just life in general in Minneapolis. I started to focus on food around 2016. I still post about travel but mostly food.

Jeanne

GOF: Favorite food city, outside of Minneapolis?
JH: My fave food cities are New York and Seoul. I travel to NYC about 1 or 2 times a year to eat. They have so many options that I am not able to find in Minneapolis.

GOF: What’s tougher to get in Minneapolis?
JH: I love Oysters but they are pretty expensive here. Between $3-4.50 each so whenever I can find $1 oysters I am there! At The Mermaid Inn in NYC they offer $1 oysters for Happy Hour.

Happy Hour oysters from The Mermaid Inn photo by @Jeanne.eatsworld

GOF: Was being a “foodie” always a part of your life or did it come later?
JH: I always love to eat and even before IG I was already taking pictures of my food- especially when on vacation. Being raised in Indonesia, I was exposed to many different varieties of food. I’d eat anything from street food, like frog legs, all the way to finer Michelin Star restaurants. So I guess it is always been a part of me and now thanks to Instagram I am able to showcase that.

GOF: I notice a lot of espresso and teas on your feed, what’s your all time favorite caffeinated beverage?
JH: My fave caffeinated beverage will be any kind of latte but I do love a good Matcha latte.

GOF: Do you give restaurants a heads up you’re coming in or do you prefer anonymity?
JH: No. I don’t give them a heads up. I usually just come and eat anonymously and review it based on my personal experience.

GOF: What’s one of the coolest experiences that’s come from your food photography?
JH: I love meeting other foodies who have had the same passion for food and photography but most importantly become real life friends with them. I also do get invited to some restaurant openings and events.

GOF: What’s the furthest you’ve traveled for food?
JH: I did travel to Singapore earlier this year because I want to try the best durian and my friends called me crazy!

Be sure to follow @jeanne.eatsworld and @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday! 

LDH Kitchen The Robata Brings New Elements To Santa Monica

LDH Kitchen The Robata, a new restaurant in Santa Monica, integrates modern technology into the fine dining experience. LDH Kitchen The Robata is a part of LDH restaurant group, known for 14 established restaurant locations in Japan, ranging from shabu-shabu to coffee shops, this is LDH’s first venture into the North American dining scene.

LDH Kitchen The Robata
2518 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403
https://www.ldhkitchen-la.com/

Fire Apple Cocktail

The ambiance is based on the idea of projection mapping- a projection technology used to turn objects into a display surface for video projection. Think legit TRON vibes. In the front of the restaurant, there is a display of fire as well as at the bar area. The front of the house, including the bar, represents fire.

The private VIP room is very calming, since it represents water. When you walk in, there is a long turquoise table, with images that resemble fish projected onto it. When you place a glass on the table, ripples of water react to the cool temperature. A plate being set down entertains with fish swimming around it. The wall also projects an underwater world, giving guests legit The Little Mermaid vibes. Additional seating includes a beautiful Omakase bar, that seats about eight people and another private room that can also be opened up for a bigger party.

Executive Chef Makoto and Sous Check Sato

This spot practices robata, the classic Japanese method of cooking meats and vegetables over hot charcoal. Cold appetizers, sushi dishes are also options. Executive Chef Makoto and Sous Chef Sato prepared many different items for the private dining event I attended. There were twelve dishes prepared and three desserts. Items included: the Dome Salad, Sashimi Plate, Salmon Carpaccio, Shishito, Dashimaki-Tamago with Blue Crab Sauce, Corn Kaki-Age, Chicken Nam-ban served with Tartar sauce, Robatayaki (Japanese Charcoal) Kobacha with Butter, Broccoli, Asparagus, Chicken Thigh, Wagyu Sirloin Prepared Sukiyaki Style Topped with Uni, Truffle Takikomi-Gohan served in Japanese Style Clay Pot, Sweet Potato Crème brûlée, Chocolate (Vegan) cake, and Japanese Style Rare Cheese Cake.

Chicken Thigh

My favorite dishes were the Dome Salad, the Salmon Carpaccio, the Robatayaki Vegetables and the Wagyu Sirloin topped with Uni. See the full menu here.

Wagyu Sirloin Prepared Sukiyaki Style Topped with Uni
Sweet Potato Crème brûlée, Chocolate (Vegan) cake, and Japanese Style Rare Cheese Cake

Mixologist Eric Jas made two outstanding cocktails that are showstoppers. The first one he created is called the Fire Apple- Pinot Noir, Apples Juice, and Cinnamon. Then there’s the Water Berry-  Blueberry, Butterfly Sake (one of my faves), Soda Water, Mint spray, Blueberry garnish. Visual bonus: once you add lemon, it turns purple.

Water Berry

LDH is my new favorite restaurant this year, and I think it will be the hottest spot to check out in Santa Monica! Be sure to reserve a table in advanced here.

Myself and Veena Crownholm

Although this tasting was comped by LDH Kitchen The Robata and Creative Director Nelson Diaz, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

My Top 10 Favorite Bites From Stu And The Kids 2018

The fifth annual Stu and the Kids fundraiser showcased some of the best Thailand-inspired bites by over 25 LA restaurants. Held annually, by Stu and the Kids founder Chef Stuart Skversky and Redbird’s Neal and Amy Fraser at Vibiana, this event brings an incredible turnout of food and beverage vendors as well as epicurean guests to help raise funds for the organization.

Stu and the Kids provides scholarships for poor and orphaned Hill Tribe children for continuing their education in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This one fundraiser raised over $106,500 throughout the whole day.

Myself and guest Sara Mayer-Fried

I’m a tough critic on food events and this one did not disappoint!

What makes Stu and the Kids better than most?

  • If you weren’t able to bid on high ticket items, there was also a vending machine for guests to donate what they can (brilliant idea and I hope more fundraisers take note).
  • None of the food/beverage vendors ran out of food and drinks (to my knowledge- and I was there all day)
  • Putt putt golf! The Tourism Authority of Thailand was there and supplied putt putt for prizes. Not to brag, but I got a hole in one my first try!
  • This event is on a hot summer day, Vibiana, a cathedral turned event space, stays cool inside. There was also plenty of shade for the outdoor portion.
Coconut Tapioca by Patina Catering

My top 10 favorite eats from the event are below!

Chef Jet Tila – Grilled Pork Neck with Sticky Rice

Same Same Thai –  Papaya Salad

Tender Greens – Chicken Wings

République – Grilled Shrimp With Thai Curry 

Chichen Itza – Red Curry Mussels

Patina Catering – Ahi Tuna

Redbird – Local Calamari

Ayara Thai – Northern Pork Curry 

Chef Jason Fullilove from Barbara Jean – Thai Fried Pork Belly

Herb + Orchard – Strawberry Thai Basil Rambutan Infused Water Pop

Please follow @stuandthekids on Instagram to keep up with next year’s event!

Winc’s Folly Of The Beast Pinot Noir Paired With Barbecued Lobster Tail

When I think of Pinot Noir, I can’t help but think of the pivotal scene in the 2004 film Sideways as seen below. Paul Giamatti’s performance in this scene epitomizes how romantic one can get when talking about this extraordinary red wine.

Although sipping on a beautiful bottle of Pinot Noir is fantastic itself, with National Pinot Noir Day coming up here on Saturday, August 18th, I wanted to try something on the unconventional side with our friends at Winc.

Since Winc’s most popular Pinot Noir, Folly of the Beast, is coined after the famous Moby Dick quote “For there is no folly of the beast of the earth that is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men,” I wanted to play around with the idea of pairing it with one of the tastiest beasts of the sea- lobster!

Pinot Noir cultivates in cooler climates, especially around the west coast, I got inspiration for this Folly of the Beast pairing from my idea of a perfect whale watching barbecue. Note: sand and sea are not required for this pairing.

Take $25 off of your first purchase with Winc courtesy of Girls on Food.

Some of you out there may be scratching your head, wondering how a Pinot Noir would pair with anything seafood related. Lighter bodied reds, like this Pinot Noir, pair well with grilled fish and crustaceans, due to the smokiness from the barbecue process, which plays with the notes of spice from the oak aging process.

In addition to my instructions for barbecuing lobster, I have also included 2 different butters to either spoon on while you’re cooking, or to keep handy on the side to dip the meat in. Both butters will pair with the Folly of the Beast Pinot Noir as well.

Barbecued Lobster Tail

  1. Purchase lobster tails from any market that follows safety and HACCP regulations. My local butcher butterflies the lobster for me, but if you’re not able to have them do it, cut the shell with a pair of kitchen shears.
  2. Heat barbecue grill to a medium-high heat.
  3. Open the lobster and grill directly onto heat for 5 minutes each, flesh side up. I basted each lobster meat with one of the 2 different butters below.
  4. Remove from heat and pair with roasted potatoes, dipping butters from below and a bottle of Folly of the Beast.

For the butter recipes below, combine specified melted butters with the ingredients and mix. Easy!

Classic Lobster Butter

1 cup of salted butter

2 tbsp of minced garlic

2 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley

Zest of lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

 Smokey Lobster Butter

1 cup of salted butter

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and thinly sliced

1/2 tbsp of minced garlic

1 tbsp finely chopped green onion

1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

Zest of lime

Salt and Pepper to taste

One of the many things we love about this wine club is the mix in selection. Winc offers a variety of higher and lower priced bottles of wine and none of them skim on quality. Lobster may be a pricer crustacean, but a bottle of Folly of the Beast is only $18 through Winc (and between us, that’s less expensive than Whole Foods’ price) so you can keep your backyard barbecue party within your budget.

When it comes to pairing foods with your Winc box, think outside the box!

Take $25 off of your first purchase with Winc courtesy of Girls on Food.

#girlsonfood Interviews Kyley McGeeney of Mission Michelin

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 11.6K uses on Instagram! 

First off, thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

Second, I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many  bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So I created a new column where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages.

Through the hashtag, I found Kyley McGeeney (@missionmichelin), who runs her own blog, Mission Michelin. I checked out her project and was excited for the premise behind it – she ate her way through the entire D.C. Michelin Guide and blogged all about it. Kyley and I discuss the world of blogging and fine dining below.

GOF: How long did it take you to eat through every Michelin Star/Bib Gourmand/Michelin Plate restaurant in DC?  How did you prioritize what restaurants you dine at? 

MM: A little over a year and a half. I started in December of 2016 and completed my mission in July of 2018. I started with ones I was most excited about (e.g. Rose’s Luxury, Tail Up Goat) as well as radiating out in concentric circles from my office especially for lunch.

Kyley McGeeney

GOF: Do you give the restaurants a heads up you’re coming in as a blogger, or do you prefer enominity?

MM: I used to not tell them but eventually starting giving them a heads up. It made it easier to get my chef picture and have them sign my Michelin Guide!

GOF: How do these restaurants/chefs/servers react to you photographing the experience? 

MM: Sometimes they’re really supportive: they offer to take pictures of me and my dining companions or I can tell they’ve purposely seated me by a window to have good light for the pics. The only times I’ve ever been told “no” were two different chefs/owners who said food was fair game but they didn’t want to be photographed. Also at Komi, where you can’t photograph the food.

Jamón Ibérico from Del Mar

GOF: What DC Michelin spots are in your top 3?

MM: This is tough! minibar is my number one and I always joke there are about 17 places tied for second. I really like Rose’s Luxury, Pineapple & Pearls, Himitsu, Thip Khao–there are so many more! Two that are too new to be in the guide but I really love are Del Mar and Bresca.

GOF: Was fine dining a part of your up-bringing or did it come to you later in life? 

MM: Part of my upbringing. We went out to dinner about six nights a week growing up and for my 10th birthday I asked to have a ladies luncheon. In Ithaca, where I’m from, the fine dining options are more limited but in NYC for college our go-to was The Four Seasons.

GOF: Was it tough to budget this project out? 

MM: Honestly budgeting my time was a much bigger issue than money. I’m married with two little kids so it wasn’t an option to go out spontaneously or too many nights a week. Everything was planned weeks in advance. I also mainly eat dinner at 5:30pm to be home for bedtime!

@missionmichelin in Portugal with Chef Jose Avillez

GOF: When are you coming to LA to see if we’re Michelin-worthy?

MM: I’ve actually been to LA in the past year! I LOVE Night + Market Song (haven’t been to the other two yet). Thai cuisine is one of my favorites. Gjusta for breakfast is also my go-to. Cassia and Bestia were also great and I am dying to try Somni!

GOF: Now that you’ve reached your goal, what’s up next for you? Any other new projects?

MM: I’m still continuing with food but without necessarily a list to check off. The point of all of this was ultimately to re-acquaint myself with the DC food scene after moving to the suburbs. Just because I’ve eaten at all the restaurants in the Guide doesn’t mean there aren’t new ones, ones not in the Guide, and repeat visits!

Be sure to follow @missionmichelin and @girlsonfoodblog and use that hashtag #girlsonfood to be featured someday! 

Come Rosé All Day With Us At wineLA’s Rosé & Bubbles Festival

ATTN: LA Oenophiles!

Are you ready to taste the very best in rosé and bubbles with us at wineLA’s Rosé & Bubbles Festival?

We’ll be at this event and hope you can join us!

BUT FIRST- HOP OVER TO OUR INSTAGRAM BEFORE FRIDAY, AUGUST 17TH FOR A CHANCE TO WIN 2 TICKETS TO WINELA’S ROSE & BUBBLES FESTIVAL! 

I attended my first wineLA event last month for the 4th Annual Stars of Pinot event and now I’m hooked!

When: August 25, 2018

2 PM – 4 PM for the Afternoon Session

7 PM – 9 PM for the Evening Session 

Where: Leica Store & Gallery
8783 Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

Ticket Prices: Check out ticket options and buy your ticket here.

BONUS: USE PROMOCODE “ROSE10” TO SAVE $10 OFF 

Tickets are selling quick, so get on it!

Image via wineLA

Both afternoon and evening session tickets include:

  • Unlimited tasting of wines in the beautiful Leica Space. Confirmed reps that’ll be on site to pour include:      Domaines Ott, Scharffenberger, Champgane Henriot, Fleur De L’Amaurigue and many more!
  • Unlimited tastings of appetizers provided by Petrossian West Hollywood.
  • A chance to bid on wine, tours and more luxurious items through a silent auction, benefiting the TJ MARTELL FOUNDATION.
  • Awards given for best dressed male and female to the Rosé Theme- no idea what’s in store for this, but it’ll be fun to see what attendees come up with!

Check out ticket options and buy your ticket here.

Be sure to follow along with us @girlsonfoodblog, where I’ll be posting live stories from this event!

CHEERS!

Brunch Is In Session At The Old School in Nashville

The Old School
5022 Old Hydes Ferry Pike, Nashville, TN 37218
Website and Instagram

As much as I love to travel and explore new things, I can sometimes become a creature of habit. I tend to revisit my favorite local restaurants and cocktail bars that I know won’t disappoint. Imagine my reaction when one of my dearest friends wanted to brunch “outside the city” in Scottsboro, Tennessee.

“Scottsboro, Tennessee. Where is that?”

“It’s only twenty minutes or so outside the city, like Bells-Bend area. I’ve heard there’s a great restaurant out there. Come on, let’s check it out! ”

(Shaking my head) “You seriously want to leave the city for brunch? Ok, but this better be worth it and you’re driving!”

To this day, my friend continues to give me a hard time about this. Especially given the fact that I have gone subsequent times and The Old School is now one of my favorite Nashville establishments.

The Old School is located approximately twenty minutes outside Nashville and I promise, it’s absolutely worth the drive (and that’s coming from a girl who detests driving). Led by executive chef, Kristie Bidwell and Pastry Chef, Danielle Veit, all of the items at The Old School are sourced directly from The Old School farm or purveyors within a 25-mile radius.

While farm to table is one of the most popular trends in the restaurant industry, I assure you, this is not your typical farm to table restaurant. The Old School “is a unique, historic, culinary destination experience.”  In addition to the farm and restaurant, The Old School has a lovely event space that is perfect for just about anything. From weddings and flower crown making to goat yoga, they have literally done it all.

The Old School supports local farmers and encourages sustainability through an ever-changing menu that highlights hyper-seasonal fruits and vegetables. Aside from sustainable sourcing, they pride themselves on their environmentally conscious practices as The Old School is a prominent member of the Nashville Food Waste Initiative.

After road-tripping an entire twenty minutes (does that even qualify as a road-trip?), we arrived at our destination. Given the fact that we didn’t have a reservation, we made sure that we were approaching the doors exactly at 10:00 a.m. Escorted to our table, I was in absolute disbelief. Is there such as thing as farmhouse-chic? If so, The Old School would receive top prize.  From the sweet bouquets of field flowers, the quaint tables for two and the melodious music from the bluegrass band, everything was just perfect.

Bloody Mary

Given that The Old School uses such hyper-seasonal ingredients, it’s highly unlikely that brunch dishes will remain the same from week to week.  Heck, if a brunch dish is uber-popular on Saturday, there could quite well be small substitutions made on Sunday. It changes THAT much. Heed my advice, if there’s something that you want to try, order it. While there could be a variation of the dish, it’s possible you won’t see it again.

The Old School has a fully stocked bar with several beers on tap as well as classic brunch cocktails. If you only take one thing away from this post, I hope it’s this. ORDER THE BLOODY MARY. It’s bloody BRILLIANT! The bartender uses the seasonal vegetables which range from tomatoes, peppers, onions, you name and then roasts them with various spices to concoct this mix. Once you’ve had this bloody, you won’t want to drink anything else….I don’t.

Goat Cheese Beignets

Pastry Chef Danielle Veit is an absolute mastermind of all things sweet. Before I learned about the Baker’s Basket, I would order small treats like the Goat Cheese Beignets or Cinnamon Roll to snack on throughout the meal. However, after seeing the Baker’s Basket for the first time, I forever changed my ways. This basket is filled with bites both sweet and savory and rest assured you will have a smile on your face. The best part, if you don’t finish you can get a box and enjoy them later.

Baker’s Basket

Take it from this Southern girl, there’s nothing better than The Peach Truck peaches. I have been fortunate to enjoy two dishes created by Chef Bidwell this summer. First, Grilled Peach Truck Peaches with Endive Frisée and secondly the Peach Truck Panzanella. I thoroughly enjoyed both dishes, but if I had to choose a favorite, I’d lean towards the Panzanella. It had these crispy fried red onions that were out of this world. Which dish would you choose?

Grilled Peach Truck Peaches with Endive Frisée
Peach Truck Panzanella

If you don’t have a penchant for peaches, there are plenty of other items on the menu. The Old School offers several smaller dishes in the event that you went a little too crazy on the Baker’s Basket or perhaps just want a lighter meal.

During my last visit, the server recommended the Marinated Baby Heirloom Carrots. Normally, this is not a dish I would gravitate towards, but with his recommendation, I knew it was worth a try. O.M.G. I was a little surprised that the dish was served cold but I really enjoyed the amazing flavors and freshness of the dish.

Marinated Baby Heirloom Carrots

If you prefer sweet over savory breakfast dishes, I can’t recommend the Pain Perdu enough. Talk about a little bite of heaven. These pillowy pieces of bread are covered in blackberries and bourbon powdered sugar and topped with Asiago cheese. I was a little perplexed when I saw that flavor combination on the menu, but it was love at first bite.

Pain Perdu

From brilliant bloody marys, Peach Truck peaches and a Pain Perdu that will leave you speechless, it’s evident why brunch at The Old School is a must. Word on the street is that dinner is just as incredible but for some reason, I’ve only made it for brunch. I totally blame it on the bloodys.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and check out The Old School. It’s sure to become one your Nashville favorites

**GOF Tip: Swing by Opentable and make your reservation today. Brunch fills up quickly. Click here for reservations.**