Pop-Up Italian Style: SAOR Project in LA

A trend in the Los Angeles foodie culture is the concept of the pop-up restaurant which offers a limited time dining experience in a temporary space with a specific focus on a particular type of food.

SAOR Project, started by Gianluca Zago and his wife Alessandra Manias, take the pop-up concept and aim to make it more of a permanent fixture, with monthly intimate meals and special dining events celebrating the best of classic Italian cuisine.

SAOR PROJECT
Private Residence, Sherman Oaks
https://www.saorproject.com

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the experience. But the word “experience” definitely sums up the evening. This was one of the most memorable dinners I’ve had in a very long while, and not just because of the excellent food.

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Burger City Grill in Torrance, CA

Do you ever wonder where the word burger derived? I decided to look it up and sure enough Hamburg, Germany is the home of the first hamburger, made from a Hamburg steak (this blend consists of three muscles: chest, shoulder, and back). German immigrants in New York brought the steak into restaurants, then it naturally took a turn during the Industrial Revolution and became more Americanized. It was served first to industrial workers as a “steak” from a food cart. Workers found it hard to eat while standing so this unknown innovator decided to put the meat between two slices of bread. How ingenious, right?

My milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard…

Growing up burgers have always been revered as America’s favorite food. I grew up first with Mc Donald’s, In-N-Out, Carl’s Junior, Jack In The Box, Burger King and Fat Burger. I thought those were the best back then. Then over the years Umami, Fuddruckers, Five Guys, Smashburger, Steak N’ Shake and Shake Shack emerged and elevated the burger game.

Now there’s a new player in Southern California that has been around for seven years, Burger City Grill. I went to their newest location in Torrance, which has been open since January 2017. What’s great about this fast food restaurant is that you have the choice to build your own Hamburger or to choose from the preset menu. Always good to keep options open.

 

Burger City Grill
3605 Artesia Blvd, Torrance, CA 90504
http://burgercitygrill.com/

After a carnivorous trip to Texas, I laid off meat for a week to be sure I would really savor the burgers here. So, when I took that first bite of that juicy burger, it was extra special.

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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

Continue reading “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”

17th Annual All-American Summer Rib Fest at Lucques in LA, Sunday, 8/13

If you’ve been paying attention to my posts, you know I’m a fan-girl for The Lucques Group (owners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne) who own LA spots I’ve blogged about in the past, like Tavern, Larder Baking Co and even the catering at The Hollywood Bowl. But Lucques is the only spot they own that I haven’t dined at yet, but I’ve been dying too.

Recently, I had time to kill before a dinner near by, so I bellied up to the Lucques bar for a glass of wine. I sipped on a lovely pour of Paul et Jean-Marc PASTOU Sancerre Blanc ‘La Côte de Sury’ Vieilles Vignes (it’s a must order!) and I was in awe over the beautiful fine-dining atmosphere, which is becoming a rarity in LA. As I read over their dinner menu, I was a bit envious of the diners and wishing my dinner was there.

But, one way you can experience dining at Lucques, (with a relatively less expensive pre-fixe menu), is their upcoming 17th annual All-American Summer Rib Fest, Sunday, August 13, 2017, Noon – 9 p.m.. This feast features slow-cooked ribs, hot wings, and sides that have become a Lucques tradition since 2000.

Photo by Kristen Honey Photography

Although Lucques has a refined atmosphere, you are more than welcome to sport your favorite cowboy hat, Wrangler jeans, and Stetsons. You won’t look funny; you’ll fit right in!

The Lucques dining room and patio will completely transform into a family-style summer BBQ, with butcher-papered tables and wet-naps, since eating with hands are strongly encouraged. The menu will feature Saint Louis-Style Pork Ribs; Braised Beef Back Ribs; Spiced Lamb Spare Ribs and Too-Hot-To-Handle Chicken Wings. 

Also included are sides of Cole Slaw & Baked Beans; Long-Cooked Collard Greens; Buttered Corn-On-The-Cob; Tomato & Watermelon Salad; and Grilled Cornbread & Wonder Bread (just to keep it real!). A mouth watering dessert of Warm Peach Cobbler with Strawberries & Buttermilk Ice Cream by Executive Pastry Chef Sahar Shomali completes this yearly Rib Roundup. I have had this dessert at Tavern’s Low Country Boil this past summer, and it was fantastic! Totally worth going back for!

Photo by Kristen Honey Photography

Head Barman Christiaan Röllich’s Cowboy Cocktails, including the Longhorn Lemonade and a “Beer in a Can,” will also be served. There’s also a promise of old school country jams, like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Willie Nelson playing through out, so my inner-cowgirl is so excited for this!

Pricing for the dinner is $55 per person, exclusive of beverages, tax, and service.

This is a ticketed Sunday supper event, advance ticket purchase is required. Tickets are available by calling the restaurant directly: 323.655.6277. For further information and full menus at Lucques visit www.lucques.com

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!

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Sloan’s Ice Cream Santa Monica and Girls on Food Host #GOFxSloansIceCream

Right when you walk into Sloan’s Ice Cream in Santa Monica, you enter a world of pure imagination. Sloan’s invited Girls on Food and a few of our influencer pals in to taste and photograph a few of their favorite icy concoctions.

Sloan’s Ice Cream 
1315 Third Street Promenade Unit A, Santa Monica, CA 90401
http://sloansicecream.com

Sloan’s Adorable Interior
GOF blogger Carla and Jenn Denault set up the shot

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Weekly Wanderlust 7/21/17: #GOFxHOOCH at Harlowe in LA, Din Tai Fung in Santa Clara, CA and Bettolino Kitchen in Redondo Beach

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

Julianne here:

Come join Girls on Food and HOOCH Cocktail Society at Harlowe! $1 Admission will include a premium cocktail made for you gals. For the public event page, go here

Date: Sunday, July 23rd 5:30pm-7:30pm 

Location: Harlowe in West Hollywood, 7321 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046.

Ladies – Wear a LBD and you’ll be featured on the Girls on Food Instagram stories with your handle tagged!

Harlowe is offering a choice of 2 premium cocktails: 

\\\ Bontanist Elevated Gin & Tonic: A Scottish classic cocktail, with sweet, minty, and herbal undertones. 

\\\ Mount Gay Rum Dark & Stormy: A bold, sweet, and spicy rum cocktail.

Continue reading “Weekly Wanderlust 7/21/17: #GOFxHOOCH at Harlowe in LA, Din Tai Fung in Santa Clara, CA and Bettolino Kitchen in Redondo Beach”

Grilled Avocado is the New Avocado Toast: Spartina in LA

I love nothing more than a brunch that’s delicious and comforting with an innovative twist. As much as I love classic American brunch cuisines, it’s easy to grow a little tired of them. I was invited in to taste brunch items at Spartina, in Los Angeles recently. Spartina offers Northern Italian inspired dishes with a SoCal twist. After this brunch, I believe I found the next “it” brunch items that could spawn many copycats.

Spartina
7505 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
http://www.spartina.la/

Spartina opened in 2015 and is owned by Chef Stephen Kalt, well-known for stints at Le Cirque in NYC and Caulfield’s in LA. Executive Sous Chef Gary Caldwell started cooking here last September. He comes from the Las Vegas scene (having met Chef Kalt from his stint at the Sinatra in the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas).

This atmosphere feels relaxed with the amount of sunlight and use of sky blue tables. I’m already itching to come back for dinner and seeing if it feels a bit more formal in the evening. Pricing wise, I’d say it’s pretty reasonable for the LA dining scene.

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The Perfect dineL.A. Dinner at Firefly in Studio City, CA… According to Julianne and Christina

From Friday, July 14th – Friday, July 28th, many of the best LA restaurants will be participating in dineL.A. with set pre fixe menus. dineL.A is very dear to my heart; it’s a great way for Angeleno epicureans to dine at higher end restaurants on a smaller budget. For someone like myself, who has champagne taste a beer budget, these two weeks are a gift from the gods. In addition to fine dining, a lot of the local/family owned restaurants participate as well, which allows you to taste more of their options as well. These menus vary in timing, prices, and number of courses depending on location, so be sure to do your research here before making a reservation.

When GOF blogger Christina and I were invited to Firefly in Studio City for a preview of the dineL.A. menu, I immediately jumped at the chance to go. It’s been on my bucket list for a while, since I knew of Firefly’s Executive Chef Perry Pollaci from his stint at The Royce in Pasadena. The Royce is one of the best fine dining steakhouses in LA, so I was excited to see what he would bring to an established modern American bistro setting.   

Firefly
11720 Ventura Blvd, Studio City CA 91604
http://fireflystudiocity.com

When I first entered Firefly, it has a very dark, somewhat brooding atmosphere at the bar. It’s the kind of spot perfect for a date but not so perfect for a photographer. Luckily, as you make your way in, there’s an old school library-themed lounge with a lighter disposition. Then when you make your way to the patio, it’s suddenly Instagram-friendly with lots of natural lighting and spacious seating. There are even a few private booths that would be fun to have a party in.

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Weekly Wanderlust 7/7/17: Five-Course Dinner at Nerano in Beverly Hills, Paula’s Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries and The Ainsworth in NYC

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

The BG Lounge | photo credit Rob Stark

Julianne here:

I am so excited for Nerano and Marchesi Antinori‘s Italian Wine Dinner in Beverly Hills. For this dinner, Executive Chef Michele Lisi and Sommelier Samantha Johnston of Nerano team up with Wine Ambassador and Sommelier Alessia Botturi of Marchesi Antinori. 

This five-course dinner tasting menu paired with Italian wines by Sommelier Samantha Johnston will commence on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at 7 PM, in The BG Lounge. 

Pricing for Nerano’s Antinori Wine Dinner is $140 per person, inclusive of the wine and menu, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Advance reservations required and there is limited seating available for this event, make a reservation here: 310.405.0155 

Nerano & The BG Lounge
9960 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Here’s a sneak peek at the menu for the evening:

The evening reception begins with Stuzzichini – Crostino Di Pomodoro Verde with Apulian Burrata & Green Tomato Marmellata and Bruschetta with Grilled Rustic Crostino, Diced Campari Tomato, Arugula & Parmigiano Reggiano paired with Col de Salici Rosé Brut NV.

Followed by Antipasti  Crudo Di Ricciola with Pacific Yellowtail, Crispy Capers, Fresno Chili Peppers, Rainbow Micro Greens & Citronette paired with Tenuta Guado Al Tasso, Vermentino 2015and Burrata Caprese with Heirloom TomatoesApulian Burrata, Tomato Confit & Arugula-Pesto paired with Castello Della Sala, ‘Cervaro,’ Chardonnay 2014. 

Next is the Pasta course of house-made Orecchiette with Colorado Lamb Ragú, English Peas, Tuscan Mint & Fiocchi di Burrata paired with Guado al Tasso, ‘Il Bruciato’ 2015. For Secondi – the main course – Tagliata di Manzo, USDA Prime New York Steak with Yukon Gold Potato Focaccia & Sautéed Spinach paired with Antinori ‘Tignanello’ 2014.

Completing the dinner is a Dolci of Panna Cotta e Frutti di Bosco – Tahitian Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Wild Berries, Orange Zest & Vin Cotto paired with Fattoria Aldobrandesca, ‘Aleatico’ 2011.

I will be on our Instagram @girlsonfoodblog providing stories and live content, so make sure you’re following us!

Continue reading “Weekly Wanderlust 7/7/17: Five-Course Dinner at Nerano in Beverly Hills, Paula’s Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries and The Ainsworth in NYC”

Chang’an Restaurant and Bar in SGV

One of the best things about living in the San Gabriel Valley is the sheer abundance of Chinese food (which just so happens to be my favorite cuisine!)

So I was more than excited to have to opportunity to attend a tasting at Chang’an Restaurant and Bar along with some other LA foodies.

Chang’an Restaurant and Bar
227 West Valley Blvd, #358 (Hilton Plaza Top Floor), San Gabriel, CA 91776

Chang’an is literally a hidden gem, tucked away on the 3rd floor of an unassuming strip mall. I had a little difficulty finding it at first, and I hope others won’t be discouraged by its elusive location, because this place is certainly worth seeking out!

Upon entering, I was greeted by Minda Zhang, who along with her husband, Hao, runs the place. Her enthusiasm and passion for her restaurant was evident in every dish that I tried, as you’ll soon see.

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Girls on Food Hosts an Influencer Tasting at Wood & Vine in Hollywood

Many have deemed Hollywood Boulevard “the boulevard of broken dreams”, but on Sunday, June 25th, the energy on this iconic street was anything but broken.

Girls on Food teamed up with Wood & Vine, a restaurant and cocktail bar that rests on the legendary corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in LA, for our first (of many) social media influencer tastings. These tastings bring social media awareness to restaurants on social media platforms. At the last event, we kept it limited to GOF bloggers, but for this one, we decided to get a little more social and invite some of our favorites Instagrammers to come out.

W&V particularly wanted us to give feedback on Bar Manager Katy Nichols‘ new summer cocktail menu items. We were definitely up to critique the sips provided and taste their shared plates.

Wood & Vine
6280 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
http://woodandvine.com

From left, clockwise: Mallory (@couchpotatocook), Caroline (@dinewithcaroline), Evi (@evseats), Libby, Sara, Rebecca (@grubfiend), myself (@girlsonfoodblog), Kathy (@redcarpetreport), Tintin and Noriko (@koko_roy)

Girls on Food bloggers in attendance:
Sara
Libby
TinTin
Me!

Influencers in attendance:
@losangelesfoodie
@grubfiend
@couchpotatocook
@dinewithCaroline
@Evseats
@kimlaiyinling
@koko_roy
@redcarpetreport

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