We just had to let our readers know that Falasophy, a modern Lebanese street food kitchen, is celebrating their grand opening at the Irvine Spectrum Center, this Saturday, September 8th, and the first 100 people in line get a FREE Falafel Pita Sandwich!
Falasophy started as a food truck in 2014, catering to SoCal under the hashtag #FalafelChariot. Their menu is focused on falafel, hummus and Lebanese street favorites, influenced by Southern California flavors.
Doors open at 11AM, so make sure to get there early!
Falasophy in the Irvine Spectrum Center – 670 Spectrum Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618
DaiLo means ‘big brother’ in Cantonese and DaiLo pays tribute to this in the sense that their dishes pay tribute to traditional Chinese dishes but with a modern update. You may be familiar with DaiLo as their Chef de Cuisine, Chef Dennis Tay, was on Top Chef Canada and Top Chef Canada All Stars! If you have never watched Top Chef Canada, then you must know that DaiLo ranks 18 in the 2017 Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants! Even prior to all of this, I had heard many beautiful things about this spot and was super excited to go!
We started out our meal with their Octopus Tacos and Hakka Brown Wontons. These tacos were prepared with super tender fried octopus, red braised pork belly, sambal aioli, jicama shell. Tender pieces of octopus and melt in your mouth pork belly wrapped in a paper thin jicama shell, provide a great combination of texture. While throwing in the slightly spicy but creamy sambal aioli, helps balance out the flavours and adds that extra oomph.
While their Hakka Brown Wontons were a play on traditional pork and shrimp wontons. These wontons were covered in their house xo sauce and toasted sesame oil; every bite was wonderfully coated in the sauce that when you would pop in a wonton, it would just explode with flavour.
The first entree we ordered was a special of the day, their Steamed European Sea Bass. This is another traditional dish that even Filipinos dine on as well! It is one of my favourite ways of consuming fish! Traditionally, steamed fish has a sauce mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil; this steamed fish is in a soy sauce glaze with boiled sesame oil poured over. When they poured the sesame oil table side, you just get such a beautiful scent of sesame oil and hear the sizzle as the oil hits the fish and garnishes. The sea bass was super tender that the meat pulled away so easily and would melt in your mouth. The soy sauce glaze and sesame oil add a bit of sweetness and a nuttiness to the otherwise simple, clean flavours of the sea bass.
Next is definitely a pleaser, their 90 Day Dry Aged Rib Eye. This beautiful cut of meat is from a local butcher shop, Olliffe’s, that source their meat from local farmers within Ontario, Saskatchewan and PEI. This rib eye was is presented along side bok choy, radish, pickled mushroom and black bean bagna cauda. The rib eye, itself, was super tender and melted in your mouth with every bite. Having a bite of the rib eye along with the savoury black bean bagna cauda could prove to be too rich, which why the pickled mushrooms and radish are there to help cut the richness and help balance the dish.
Of course, a staple in Asian cuisine is the rice! You must have rice with your meal in order for it to be complete! Welcome the Truffle Fried Rice. This fried rice consists of black truffle, egg, carrots, edamame, puffed rice and a side of xo sauce. I definitely wish there was more xo sauce of this plate of deliciousness! This dish starts off to taste like your usual fried rice, until you get little crispy bites of the puffed rice, the earthiness of the black truffle and top off the bite with the flavour packed xo sauce. So addicting, so good; has the most difficult time trying to not devour the entire plate myself.
I know I said that your meal is not complete without rice, but let’s be real, even though the rice would complete my meal I always have room for dessert! This dessert is a play on a Filipino dish called, Champorado. Now this dish is traditionally a rice chocolate pudding and is typically eaten for breakfast but can definitely be consumed any time of the day. DaiLo’s take on champorado consists of chocolate pudding, cocoa crispies, chocolate polvoron (Filipino shortbread), white rabbit candy ice cream and salted caramel. This is a chocolate lovers dream while combining all good sweet things of my childhood. This dessert does get a tad bit sweet but consuming some of the polvoron helped to balance out the sweetness. Maybe textures were at play and provides a very pleasing experience while indulging on your sweet tooth.
I highly recommend DaiLo, not only for it’s Asian flavours and French twist but also because it is a local restaurant that is doing it big
Last week, French bistro Belle Vie opened it’s doors in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Being a Westsider myself, I can confirm that we are a little bit lacking in French restaurants (unless you counting the endless supply of Le Pain Quotidiens around) so I was beyond thrilled to try a this new neighborhood spot.
The team behind Belle Vie, Owner Vincent Samarco and Head Chef Cedric Nicolas‘ (who met when working together at Michelin-plated restaurant Le Trianon) aim was to provide locals with classic French comfort food with hints of California flavors: mission accomplished.
My inner Fracophile was geeking out right when I walked in, because the design, decor and the littlest details are spot on Parisian. French restaurants may have a reputation for serving up smaller portions, but at Belle Vie the portions are more generous. This spot is perfect to bring a friend and share a few plates.
Last month my boyfriend and I went on a tour of the Mayan Riviera. We flew to Cancun, rented a car and explored as much as possible in one week. We visited Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Xel-Ha, Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza and Valladolid. We even managed to squeeze in one night in Bacalar enjoying one of the most beautiful lakes in the world: La Laguna de Siete Colores. We explored many cenotes, attended Cirque du Soleil and went scuba diving where we discovered a couple of turtles.
The love of this part of the world has drawn many people to leave everything behind and open shop in Mexico. You will find numerous diverse and delicious restaurants. Even smaller towns like Puerto Morelos where we dined on delicious guacamole and ceviche on the beautiful beach of Playa Moroma.
One of the first places that really caught my attention was Mar-Bella Fishmarket. The entrance looks like a 7-Eleven, not kidding. As you climb up a tiny, metal stairs you find yourself in a spacious, wooden restaurant with an amazing view. In the market you can choose from fresh fish, lobster, shrimp…whatever you’re in the mood for. They will prepare and cook to your specifications. Quite magical! One tip: make friends with your waiter; he will be a lifesaver as you navigate the market.
Carretera Cancun Puerto Juarez,
Sam km 2
Cancun, Quintana Roo
Wilbur Mexicana is where a group of friends can meet for drinks and a taco or even going out on your own for time alone. This is a spot where anyone and everyone is welcomed, while also offering cheap downtown eats with big flavour. Wilbur Mexicana is named after the chemist that discovered the Scoville scale of spicy heat, Wilbur Scoville. They offer an upscale but casual atmosphere serving up fast cheap eats that you would not expect in the downtown core.
Once you enter the restaurant there is a sign up on the menu board that states, “Wilbur first timers, grab a menu at the door”, when you read this, you look to your left and see some menus hanging off the side rack. Once you figure out what you want to indulge in, you simply order and pay at the cash where you give you a numbered placeholder that contains a photo of a cartoon pepper. If you are dining in, just grab a seat at a table to you prefer and sit pretty; if take out, sit comfy on a stool right next to the cash.
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!
Acapulco located only three and a half hours from Mexico City is one of the biggest destinations for “chilangos” (people who are from Mexico City) and also for international travelers. Back in the 1950’s, Acapulco was huge for Hollywood elite, even Frank Sinatra included it in his famous single “Fly Me to the Moon.” Other notable characteristics of this charming city are the views of the bay: “La Quebrada,” a tall cliff where divers throw themselves into the sea (with the only protection of their knowledge of the tides) and over three hundred days of sun and warm ocean. The average temperature is between 78 and 89 degrees throughout the whole year.
Acapulco has many different ways to entertain its visitors including; the longest zip line above the sea opened earlier this year, chic nightclubs, delicious restaurants, bungee jumping, fishing, all of the water sports one can think of and so much more.
One of these water sports is what brought me to Restaurante Esmeralda. After water-skiing we were famished so our captain took us here where we got to eat the most amazing “Pescado a la Talla”, enjoy beautiful views of the lagoon and the ocean, relax in hammocks and look at the amazing nature all around the island, including a baby alligator.
Pie de la Cuesta, 40981 Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico
This restaurant is located on Montosa de Cocuya Island it is close to where Cocuya lagoon and the South Pacific Ocean meet. (a 40-minute boat ride to get there from where we were water-skiing) There’s a legend revolving around this island and the ones next to it; people say there was a man here once that had a hundred wives and they all lived there together. The rumor is all the local women here, that serve and prepare the food at Restaurante Esmeralda, are his descendants or ex-wives.
So this island belongs to the staff of Restaurante Esmeralda.
If there is one thing you all know about me by now, it is that I love tacos, and luckily here in San Diego, the next taco is never very far away. It can almost be overwhelming, how do you choose?!? I have had my eye on one place in particular for quite some time though, and that is The Taco Stand! They have several locations around San Diego and are slinging some authentic and truly delicious tacos, so I was super excited to finally give it a try! My friend Mary Bradlee came out to visit with her adorable baby, and since La Jolla is where she used to live, I thought a La Jolla Taco Stand day was just the thing.
Welcome Mi’hito Sushi Laboratory to downtown Toronto! I was given the privilege to attend a media event hosted by DKLO Events to explore this new sushi joint and all their offerings. Mi’hito opened up their first location in Mississauga (right next to Toronto) and were the first to bring the sushi burrito craze to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area)! I have actually dropped by this downtown location during their opening week and had the chance to try a few of their varieties but this event allowed me to try more.
There’s almost nothing more exciting for me than creating new recipes! I’ve seen jackfruit on cooking shows and on the internet and have always been curious about it. I have to admit, I am not sure if I can get a whole jackfruit in Nashville. Luckily, Trader Joe’s sells it so, on a whim, I bought one!
I’m so glad I impulse buy! This stuff fooled my husband into thinking it was chicken and it was absolutely perfect in tacos. I will say it doesn’t exactly taste like chicken. It has a slightly sour taste, but in a taco, with lime juice, it works well. It’s a perfect way to turn tacos vegan! I also made pico de gallo, quick pickled purple onions and topped it all off with sour cream (use dairy free for vegans), cilantro, jalapeño, and avocado!
Meatless Monday doesn’t have to be all salads and fruit bowls. A vegetarian diet does not have to be boring and feeling hungry. I’m not vegetarian, but many of my meals end up being meatless simply because I enjoy eating that way. Cutting out meat occasionally from your diet has many benefits such as increased energy, improved digestion, and a detox boost. Not only is your body not having to break down meat, but it also forces you to get more veggies in your diet which is always a good thing!
In the north end of Orange County lies the beautiful city of Fullerton. While this opinion may be slightly skewed since I’ve lived here for more than half my life, Fullerton really is pretty. This time of year the Jacarandas are in full bloom so Downtown Fullerton looks extra gorgeous with all the purple trees against the old historic buildings. Slidebar is one of those buildings and is filled with musical history from OC. Memorabilia from tons of huge rock bands pepper the walls and give the place a cool vibe.
Tickets are still on sale for the LA Food Fest! Check out their site here. We hope to see you there!
We were given a glimpse at all the goodies that are in store for the LA Food Fest, June 10th, 2017, 2 – 7 PM at LA Memorial Coliseum, 3911 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90037.
Get out those #stretchypants! The LA Food Fest always features award-winning chefs and restaurants, plenty of food stands, food trucks and carts, a beer garden, cocktail bars, coffee, desserts… basically everything under the sun!
For the $65 general admission ticket, LA Food Fest offers 100+ food and beverage vendors. For the $95 VIP ticket, attendees are given early entry and access to the VIP Lounge.
We were at LA Food Fest last year and this year, we’re even more excited because many foodie businesses we’ve featured on GOF in the past are going to be there serving up bites. It’s always good to see your friends! There will also be some new faces, and we’re excited to see them as well.