Girls on Food

Los Angeles

Poke is the New Black: The Poke Shack in Los Angeles

IMG_9476The Poke Shack
7257 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
http://www.thepokeshack.com

Shops bringing us traditional Hawaiian poke have been sprouting up on (what feels like) a daily basis in Los Angeles. I think the craze can be attributed to the food being perfect for warm weather, fresh, associated with fun flavors and healthy ingredients. Having already been open in Venice for a year and a half The Poke Shack can be considered one of the OGs before the craze took off. Well, lucky for all you mid to east-side city dwellers, they just opened a new spot on Melrose so you can visit this awesome little poke spot without trekking to the Westside.

IMG_9425The prices are fantastic and at their Melrose location, you can choose unlimited toppings for no additional charge. We put together two bowls to enjoy. Bowl one was tuna with crunchy garlic sauce, kimchi, edamame, misugi, seaweed, and jalapeno. Bowl two was tuna with wasabi shoyu, mango, avocado, and jalapeno. Each bowl also comes standard with cucumber, ginger, onions, sesame seeds and red chili flakes. I also had to try their acai bowl for which you can choose your base juice; I chose mango of course! It came topped with granola, fruit, coconut, and a drizzle of honey.

 

In my humble opinion, my avocado topped creation was the best. The fish is fresh and not “fishy”, I loved the play of spice and sweet between the toppings. The servings are hearty and beautifully assembled. IMG_9472   IMG_9473Also of note is the cute little back patio where you can enjoy your poke in the open air. It’s in the back so don’t worry about being bothered by Melrose traffic. They also have the perfect photo opp with some fishy wings and their very own snap chat filters. Perfect little lunch stop while doing some Melrose shopping? We think so!

Brunch at Spear Steak & Seafood House in DTLA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adoboloco: Pour, Taste & Repeat!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Smorgasburg LA: The Ultimate Sunday Funday

The Brooklyn-originated “flea/food market”, Smorgasburg, launched for food, interior design, art, fashion and events at ROW DTLA in Downtown Los Angeles.

ROW DTLA originated as the LA Terminal Market from 1917 to 1923 along the Southern Pacific Railroad. This was a major hub for produce across Southern California. Since then it has gone through “historically sensitive renovations” while maintaining an old-school elegance. Over 100 shops and restaurants will start to pop up in this district.

Smorgasburg LA will be open every Sunday, 10am-6pm. And you could easily spend all of those hours here!

Below are my favorite vendors:

Ichicoro
http://www.ichicoroya.com/
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I fell in love with the CuBaoNo, a Cubano but with a bao bun instead of panini pressed toast. The bao bun is stuffed with citrus chasyu (pork belly), ham, swiss, pickles and spicy yuzu mustard. I can’t believe someone hasn’t thought of this sooner! I used to consider Cubanos to be overrated sandwiches, cause the toast would scrape and irritate the top of my mouth. No longer. This was a beautiful food find, hands down my favorite item there.

Phil RosenthalFun fact: Phil Rosenthal of I’ll Have What Phil is Having was there. I got star-struck and asked for a picture with him. Which I’m usually way too embarrassed to do. He was so sweet to take one with me, and he forever has a fan in this Girl on Food!

 

 

 

 

 

Todo Verde
http://todoverde.org
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It was a hot afternoon and after some savory treats, we needed to quench our thirst. My favorite beverages there were the Todo Verde Agua Frescas. I tried two flavors:

Amorcito – (left) Strawberry, rose, chia seeds and maple syrup
Naranjada – (right) Orange, orange blossom, maple syrup and chia seeds

They were both perfection, but if you held a gun to my head, I would choose the Naranjada. I loved the citrus and floral flavors together.

Todo Verde also gets high fives for being a female run business! Nothing like Girl Power!

goa taco
http://goataco.com 

Gao Taco 2

Have you ever tried a paratha taco before?

It’s ok; I hadn’t either.

goa taco is an Indian take on tacos. Instead of the traditional tortilla shells, gao tacos uses paratha flatbread. This makes for a more flaky, croissant-like shell. The filling options range from Mexican, Indian and even Vietnamese influences.

To the left is the tofu banh mi taco, with shiitake mushroom pate, crunchy veggies, and peanuts.

 

Gao taco

This was my favorite goa taco, slow roasted pork belly, pickled red cabbage, chipotle mayo, and cilantro.

goa taco also created these cool cardboard boxes that hold the filling in better than traditional wax paper and tin foil. You just fold the top pointed flap back and chow down.

Ramen Burger
http://www.ramenburger.com

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Ramen Burger is always a favorite of ours! The buns are made out of ramen noodles, and they hold together a juicy  shoyu-sauce glazed burger patty, arugula, and green onion.

It’s one of those “so strange, you gotta try it” except unlike a lot of novelty items, it’s a consistently great burger.

Look who I ran into! Our buddy Galen Howard of music video fame. He dug the burger just as much as I did. We also tried Bruce Tea, tao flavor, to cool off. So light and yummy.

 

 

Raindrop Cake
http://raindropcake.com

raindrop cakeHere’s the thing about this beautiful, gelatinous dessert: the raindrop cake itself doesn’t actually have a standout flavor, it relies on the sauces to blend with it.

This was a funny vendor booth to observe. I noticed a lot of (dare I call this out?) white people (ooooh… I’m waiting for some hate mail) disappointed in this dish and saying it’s “tasteless.” I don’t think they realized you’re supposed to blend the sauces in with it.

Since I grew up with a Filipino Grandma, I was raised on halo-halo and other gelatinous/jelly based desserts that have a lighter flavor. I guess I just naturally knew what to expect.

I was torn on what flavor to try, so they recommended I get mine “animal style,” a mix of both flavors: Black sugar cane and green tea match. It’s a lighter treat which I appreciate- just don’t go into it expecting a standard slice of cake.

Ugly Drum
http://uglydrum.com 

IMG_8421I finally hit that part of the day where I couldn’t load on carbs anymore. So I had the lovely folks at Ugly Drum serve me a single portion of their pastrami with a little mustard to dip it in.

Perfect decision. Their pastrami is so meaty with that perfect fat to meat ratio.

The papaya slushee is also a great quencher. It’s tart, fruity and icy which really hits the spot!

 

 

AmazeBowls
http://amazebowls.com

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I predicted this pretty treat would have the longest line, and I was correct- but it was worth the wait. I got the Instagram-ready Coconut Bowl, a half coconut filled with acai, granola, banana, strawberries and blueberries. Topped with shaved coconut, chia seeds, edible flowers and a dehydrated lemon. This was the perfect way to end the night. Chill and refreshed.

Check out a full video of the event here: 

I’ll probably be here every Sunday from now on. I hope to see you there!

Follow us on Instagram @girlsonfoodblog and see our full videos at http://nom.com/girlsonfood

A Sweet LA Highlight: Happy Days Cafe in Sherman Oaks

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Happy Days Cafe
14552 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
http://happydayscafe.com 

I discovered this cute cafe walking down Ventura Blvd with Christina B. Even though our tummies were already stuffed with ramen from down the street, how are we supposed to turn down churros? Especially churros with ice cream? I don’t know anyone with the willpower to reject that.

happy days 2These aren’t your arena churros. Made to order, so be prepare to wait about 10-15 minutes for yours to arrive and believe me, it’s well worth the wait. The churros come piping hot, and the crispy dough tastes super fresh.

Christina ordered the plain churros with a scoop of vegan coconut ice cream on the side. That’s my fresh cup of black coffee on the right. The churros are the star of this dish, but the vegan coconut ice cream was also splendid. It managed to have a traditional milky flavor that some vegan ice creams have a tougher time emulating.

happy days 1I ordered the Churro Waffle as an ice cream sandwich. This was the perfect menage a trois of 2 hot churros and one scoop of ice cream. I kept it simple and chose vanilla with a Nutella drizzle. The ice-creaminess with the churro, Nutella drizzle, and that extra sugar- let’s just say it’s pretty much an orgasm on a plate.

Even if you have to take the 10 to the 405, it’s worth the commute to come out here. They even have gluten-free churros and a full espresso bar.

Christina and Julianne’s Brunch at Cuvee in Beverly Hills

Christina and I had a beautiful brunch at Cuvee in Beverly Hills, and I wanted to share that experience with you! If this place looks familiar, it may be because it has been featured on Dancing with the Stars, Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Hills.

Cuvee
145 S. Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90048
http://mycuvee.com

 

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CuveeBrunch (22 of 27)One thing I really appreciate about Cuvee is that right when you walk in, not only are you greeted by a lovely hostess, but there is a decent selection of retail bottles of rosé wine to take home! They also had my personal favorite rosé, Whispering Angel, which I made sure to purchase a bottle of before leaving.

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The inside has an adorable shabby chic vibe, but it was such a beautiful day, we decided to sit on the patio.

CuveeBrunch (23 of 27)They also have a full deli counter with goodies to take home as well.

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In classic “ladies who brunch” style, we started with a round of mimosas.

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We decided to split the Breakfast Chicken Tamale. Which came with two ample sized chicken tamales and two sunny side up eggs, the Ancho sauce was perfect because it had a light kick that didn’t overwhelm the dish. And of course, I love adding an extra egg yolk to make it even more decadent, so the eggs were a great pairing for me.

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Then we decided to split something sweeter. The Blueberry and Lemon Curd French Toast is considered one of the favorites here and I can taste why! It’s buttery, tart and sweet. So amazing. And the crispiness from the fried edges with the sweetness makes it even more tantalizing. So good.

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In addition to these items they have a full menu featuring more traditional Brunch item but these are our top choices. This is a perfect place for a #sundayfunday Girl’s Brunch! Can’t wait to come back!

Cuvée Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Santa Monica’s New Classic: Ingo’s Tasty Diner

ingos signPhotos from Ingo’s Tasty Diner have been popping up on our Instagram feed a lot lately. And I’ve been salivating over their posts. I have always been a fan of traditional American comfort food so to see their menu items and how they incorporate ingredients fresh from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, I knew I had to make a stop in there, so I popped in for their weekend brunch.

Ingo’s Tasty Diner
1213 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403
http://ingostastydiner.com

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Fun fact, this is Historical Landmark for Santa Monica, dating back to 1946

While the name Ingo’s Tasty Diner may have you thinking of a “greasy spoon”, that is so not what you’re walking into. The interior has that American diner feel, but with a modern somewhat minimalist touch. It’s kitsch but not in a cheesy way, in the way that makes me look up and think “I’d love those lights in my house.” It’s a similar feel to their sister restaurant The Misfit in Santa Monica. They’re perfectly neighbored to longtime Santa Monica favorite Vienna Pastry, which has been in business since 1957.

 

Top 3 Reasons To Adore Ingo’s Tasty Diner 

ingos ophir
One Night in Babylon

1.) The first thing you have to know about Ingo’s is that they have a happy hour every day until 7 PM. This happy hour knocks the price on their signature cocktails down to only $6. That’s BONKERS! In the best possible way.

2.) The second factoid is that while you’re dining if you post an image of one of their cocktails on Instagram (with tag and check-in) they will bring you another cocktail on the house. I put that to the test, and it worked! So this was the boozy brunch for me! I recommend showing the server proof of the post on your IG.

3.) And for a limited time, if you tell your server you heard about Ingo’s from Girls on Food, they will bring you a complimentary Grilled Cheese Sandwich of the day (with the purchase of a meal)! So you better be sure to note that Girls on Food sent you, or you’re going to miss out!
(Offer expires 6/10/16) 

ingo grilled cheese

Foodies, their Grilled Cheese sando is off the hook! The one I had (rotates different toppings daily) was with rustic seeded sourdough bread. It had gooey, melted Wisconsin cheddar cheese and housemade strawberry preserves in the middle. Like most Americans, a grilled cheese just really reminds of my childhood, and I feel like when I take that bite, I’m a kid again! But the ingredients are elevated, so I’m like a more sophisticated version of childhood me.

ingos bobbyThe first cocktail I ordered was the Bobby Love: St. George green chile vodka, green juice, and lime. Since all the items are farm to fork, the green juice was made to order, so be prepared to wait a moment longer for this one. It’s one of the freshest cocktails I’ve ever had and that slight kick from the chile solidifies the awesomeness of this drink. Cheers!

Since I was juicing with my cocktail, I decided to have a healthy start and the Caramelized Grapefruit just spoke to me. My mom used to bake a grapefruit half in the toaster oven when I was a kid but (not offense mom) this is such an improved version. At Ingo’s, the sugar on the grapefruit is torched to that famous creme brûlée stiffness and adds a sweet smokiness to it.

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My second cocktail was the One Night in Babylon: Ophir gin, cucumber, and Za’Atar. This was another light refreshing cocktail, but I wasn’t expecting the tang that the Za’Atar (a Middle Eastern herb) garnish provides.

The Crispy Chicken and Crepes on the menu caught my eye right away. I’ve noticed LA spots are stepping up their “Chicken and (insert carb here)” game, so I obviously had to give this one a whirl, and I’m blown away with this dish.

ingos chickenandcrepes

As opposed to other LA “Chicken and (insert carb here)” dishes, this one doesn’t aim to be savory. It’s a sweeter dish; it’s topped with fresh fruit and honey. But the thin crepes are pretty genius because they don’t leave you with an awful overstuffed feeling in your gut. The portion size is perfect and kudos to them for really trying something different. The fried chicken breast is crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. This dish is a must-try!

Ingos shak

ingos shak 2I also ordered the Shakshuka, another item I’m starting to see on many LA menus. For those not familiar with Shakshuka, it’s a Middle Eastern dip dish. It is served in a hot cast iron skillet, a tomato based sauce and is baked with eggs; you consume by dipping toast and scooping out the gravy and toppings. At Ingo’s, the Shakshuka is topped with lebni (kefir cheese) and their housemade merguez (lamb sausage). It’s a savory dish; the tomatoes are plump, and the lamb is mild.

 

And because it was a true #SundayFunday, we had to get dessert. My boyfriend’s all-time favorite dessert is the Banana Cream Pie at The Apple Pan, so when he heard they have one here too, we had to try and compare.

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Conclusion? They’re different but equally great. I prefer Ingo’s banana cream pie because I prefer a graham cracker crust over a traditional pie crust. The chocolate shavings were also a bonus for me.

There you have it. I think this is the one restaurant that hits that “comfort food” sensory in me and each item takes me back to my roots in a lovely way. With its old school vibe, farm to table freshness, American diner-inspired dishes and a happy hour till 7 pm daily; Ingo’s will be a fun one to watch gain a cult following in LA.

To see a video of my brunch experience at Ingo’s Tasty Diner, go here and SUBSCRIBE!

Ingo's Tasty Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Top 5 Reasons We LOVE 365 by Whole Foods in Silver Lake, CA

If you subscribe to our new Nom Channel, then you watched our live feed from the opening of 365 by Whole Foods. If you aren’t subscribing to our new Nom Channel, then get on it! Our videos take you on a tour of this fabulous (and more affordable) grocery store.

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GOF blogger Libby at the opening

365 is like Whole Foods’ less pretty, but nicer younger sister. This 28,000 square foot location doesn’t have the same bells and whistles the traditional Whole Foods are known for, but, on the upside, it’s more affordable.

Top 5 Perks of shopping at 365 by Whole Foods in Silver Lake, CA

punch card 365MY 365 REWARDS – Whole Foods would scoff at the idea of a rewards program, but 365 by Whole Foods has one, and it’s gleefully promoted by staff. The My 365 Rewards Program is digital loyalty program where users sign up online to receive deals based on their shopping preferences.

  • “Gimme 10 Deals” provide 10% off products featured on the end caps throughout the store and select items chilled and frozen.
  • Digital “Punch Buddy Cards” offer “buy 10 and get one free” on favorite items.
  • “Yay for You!” offers complement shoppers’ product preferences.
  • Shoppers can sign up online and can use their digital membership card or phone number at checkout.
flash finds
Image by blogger Libby

FLASH FINDS – New and unique products exclusive to 365 by Whole Foods, that are only available for a limited time. Of course, the bummer is that you have to get them while supplies last, but it’s cool that they are teaming up with some of the big names (CoolHaus Ice Cream, Pop Art Popcorn, Momofuku) to bring more affordable options to the public. BONUS! We’ve got a bottle of Ssam Sauce by Momofuku that we’re giving away on our Instagram page! See Ssam Sauce post for details.

by. CHLOE – by. Chloe is a dining space in 365 that opens after Memorial Day. The menu will be vegan signature items from the NYC based acclaimed Chef Chloe Coscarelli of the by. Chloe restaurant in NYC.

teabotteaBot – This is the first teaBot to hit North America and you can watch a demo here. teaBot is a loose leaf, single serve tea making machine. The best part is, you get to customize your serving! As you can see in the video, I prefer my tea moderately hot, so I was able to adjust the temperature. Since I had a blend of 2 teas, I was able to decide that percentage of portion size as well. And it’s only $3 a cup! That’s cheaper than getting tea at a coffee shop. This is a start-up company out of Canada but teaBots will be added to all 365 by Whole Foods locations, and I predict long lines for them, cause it’s so cool!

Allegro Coffee CRAFT BREW BAR – 8 AM – 9 PM, seven days a week, you can have a beer or wine at 365! You know how much we love day drinking and shopping at Girls on Food (back me up on this one ladies!) and what’s better than day drinking and shopping? I vote NOTHING! There is also a happy hour in development, and when we get details on that I will update you!

Head over to our Instagram to ENTER TO WIN A BOTTLE OF SSAM SAUCE BY MOMOFUKU! 

SIP Awards at Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

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This past weekend I attended the SIP Awards at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. Now in their 8th-year SIP is the largest consumer based spirit (read booze not high school enthusiasm) competition. Over 400, different brands from around the world are entered, and customers taste and judge them in 7 rounds of 5 (or in the case of my table we had an eighth round of 1). Everyone is encouraged to practice restraint when deciding whether or not to drink each entire sample and to get a cab if needed. I believe the event was also offering cab vouchers if needed. However, I decided to go the responsible route as I knew drinking all that alcohol would have killed my taste buds long before the last round.

 

 

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Table 3, my spot for the day!

The Hyatt Regency was a beautiful setting for an afternoon tasting; we were in a covered outdoor setting with warm sun and a light breeze.  Light food was served throughout the event; favorites included some tasty bacon wrapped dates and caramelized onion flatbread. Music was provided by DJ Mike Soltani who did a fantastic job mixing a variety of music to keep the day fun!

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My table tasted vodkas, one cachaca, one aquavit, and reposado tequilas but every spirit possible was represented at the event. The tasting is blind so participants should be sure to check in later to see what their favorites were. Tasting is based on an A-F scale based on Aroma, Taste, and Finish. We were given a tutorial on proper tasting technique using the NEAT tasting glasses that were provided. NEAT glasses are the official glass of the SIP awards and give you a fantastic nose (or aroma) before even sipping at the alcohol it contains. Some tables even tasted cocktail mixers and mixes as well as spirits.

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Careful tasting and grading in progress!

If you’re able to attend next year I highly recommend it! The SIP Awards are held in a beautiful setting with lots of fantastic tastings and small bites, I enjoyed getting to know my table mates, and even came home with a bottle of tequila!DSC05197

Birdies LA: Chicken ‘n Donuts in DTLA

Fried chicken and waffles will always be a match made in heaven and one of my favorite dishes. But Birdies LA, which opened about a month and a half ago just challenged my perception. Let me introduce to you the concept of fried chicken and donuts.

Birdies LA 
314 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015
http://birdiesla.com

Oreo Cream Donut
Oreo Cream Donut
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Lemon Thyme Pistachio

Birdies has a variety of fresh fried small batch donuts and fried chicken. You can order fried chicken by the piece or in a combo with your donut. But I decided to go the route of donuts and fried chicken sandwich, cause I kept seeing it floating around on Instagram. Fried chicken sandwiches can be haunting.

One thing you should know (even though this is info their adorable staff will volunteer) is that you can sample ANY of the donuts before committing. Of course, in total fat kid fashion, I tested all of them. After trying them all, I decided on the Lemon Thyme Pistachio.

This donut is so fresh fried to perfection. The actual donut was not too dense but not too airy and had a slight sweetness to it. The frosting was also just right and didn’t overkill or get that weird stiffness from sitting out too long.

 

birdies la 3
Birdies Spicy

For my sandwich, I ordered the Birdies Spicy, a fried chicken breast sandwich: coleslaw, ghost pepper mayo, Tillamook pepper jack & cured pickles. Then (again, I’m a total fat kid) I added a fried egg to it. It’s yummy, messy and hot. All the flavors work beautifully together, and that fried chicken held it crispiness even when drenched with the sauces. I’m beyond impressed with this sandwich, and when I finally work out the kinks on our “Best of” page, this sandwich will be front and center!

24K Gold Donut
24K Gold Donut

The Sous Chef Jake also let me pick his brain about an item on the menu: The infamous 24K donut, you may have seen floating around on our page. That donut is REAL! It’s actually 24K gold crusted and will set you back $100. I am a hood-rat that can’t afford such luxury but if I could…

birdies 5For those of us who are all about champagne wishes and caviar dreams but on a tight budget, there is a more approachable option. Birdies offers a lightly speckled 24K crusted donut option for $9.50. Today it was on a Red Velvet donut. I had a taste, and I cannot tell you how amazing the red velvet is. It doesn’t have that food coloring taste I usually complain about. Just fresh sweet and creamy goodness.

 

 

 

birdies 6Birdies LA is in DTLA, but it’s in an area with a decent amount of street parking, so if you don’t want to pay for an all day lot, you should be fine. It’s casual, so you do order at the counter, and there’s counter seating. It may be tough to accommodate a large group here at this moment, but you could always eat curbside too.

Birdies is an LA must try! Get in there now before the lines are around the corner!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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