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Starting Your Own Food Business From Home

Are you growing bored with your current day job? Starting your own business is a highly desirable career path. You can set your own schedule and be your own boss, all while making a profit that will allow you to sustain a comfortable lifestyle.

Choosing to open your own food business from home is a particularly smart entrepreneurial move. It allows for a certain aspect of creativity that an ordinary job can lack. With your own food business, you can make money while creating something you’re efficient at and passionate about. Doing so from home will give you an even greater degree of independence and convenience. Here’s everything you need to know about starting your own home-based food business.

Choose a Desirable Product

Have you noticed a lack of tasty, gluten-free French fries available in your area? Have your neighbors raved about your homemade blueberry peppermint syrup? Get your business plan started by determining a marketable product that you will be able to sell a lot of.

You can accomplish this step by conducting research and talking with focus groups to settle on what will sell. Make sure you are passionate about the product and are able to dedicate the time needed to successfully experiment with and develop your product to one that consumers will want. 

Get the Right Equipment

Don’t use your grandmother’s beloved mixing bowl to mass-produce your business’s peanut butter and banana cookies. Invest in the right kitchen equipment, like mixing bowls, baking dishes, spoons, and pots. The equipment you invest in will depend on what you will be producing.

Owning the proper equipment isn’t just about having fancy new cooking materials. It will increase productivity and allow your business to thrive. Keep your professional food equipment and ingredients separate from the ones in your personal kitchen. This will reduce confusion with inventory and potential issues with allergen contamination. 

Officially Establish Your Food Business from Home

Once you’ve figured out what you want to cook and have the equipment to prepare it, your next step is officially setting up your endeavor as a business.

As comfy and laid-back as a home business can be, you should consider establishing it as a separate entity. Whether you set up as a corporation or a smaller limited liability company, you will be doing yourself a favor. This crucial step lets you distinguish your personal and professional lives. If you establish a separate entity, any problems that arise with products or employees will not leave you personally liable. Prevent stress and establish your business as a separate entity of your choosing!

While covering the legal issues, it is important to note that you should research your state’s regulations for conducting business involving food production and distribution. You want to provide your product using clean, healthy practices that comply with state requirements. Don’t risk your business or your customers’ health by failing to follow essential regulations.

Set Up Your Professional Image

Create a website, business cards, blog, and flyers for your new food business. This will help validate your endeavor as a reputable company and will encourage fellow foodies to try your product! Consider alternative ways to reach audiences, like the development of a mobile app. Ordering food on mobile devices has become increasingly desirable amongst consumers. We all need to eat; make it easy for your customers to get access to your product! Let them explore the various types and flavors of your product and place orders in one convenient place.

Starting a home food business has the potential to provide you with extra cash or even become a full-time job. Allow the process of establishing your home food business to run smoothly by considering these tips!

Media Tasting: Los Balcones Brings Mestizo Dishes to Studio City

Spoiler alert: Los Balcones’ new location in Studio City is way worth the drive for a Westsider.

The Hollywood-based Los Balcones team (Brothers Jorge, Eduardo and Walter Rodriguez) recently took over the fine dining Girasol space, a beloved spot that just wasn’t able to make it in the long run. It’s always tough taking over a treasured spot but I believe the Peruvian brothers will win the locals with their diverse dishes. This Los Balcones location features mestizo (Spanish for mixed race) dishes by veteran Girasol chef Polit Castillo, and creative director Ricardo Zarate of Rosaliné.

Upon checking out the menu at Los Balcones prior to dinner, I have to admit I was a little stumped with some of the descriptions of the items. My server, Tomas admitted he learns something new about this modern cuisine daily, so I felt a little less guilty about my lack of mestizo knowledge.

If not just for the fun presentation of it, I recommend starting with a glass of their house white, the 2017 Bodegas Gaintza Txakolina. This Txakolina (pairs well with the seafood-based appetizers) arrives in a porron, a wine pitcher commonly found in Spain. This was a first for me, since I’ve sadly never been to Spain. Tomas pours the Txakolina from the porron (see image below) at your table, which gives the wine a natural effervescence. This is such an Instagramable way to begin dinner!

Fun fact: porrons are often used at Spanish weddings to pour wine directly into guest’s mouths.  

Tomas and the porron service

For those of you on the progressive wine-train, all of the wines by the glass are made from organic grapes. In addition to the boost of girl power from their Somm, Sarah Jones, 40% of the wines by the bottle happen to be produced by female vintners.

Pan de la Chola

I love that Los Balcones focuses on refreshing seafood dishes to start and works their way into meatier, richer dishes for main courses. I started with the Pan de la Chola (a crusty, dense potato bread on a tasting plate), Oysters (1/2 dozen topped with uni ponzu, popped quinoa, charred aji oil, and garlic chips) and Salmon Tiradito (salmon thinly sliced with an orange miso rub in a citrus and beet sauce). All three of these starters were complex but not in a way that’s pretentious. Every unique flavor is robust and feels purposeful. All three of these starters were fantastic but I have to give extra props to the Salmon Tiradito, cause the earthiness of the beets worked so well with the miso and citrus flavors.

Oysters
Salmon Tiradito

For a second course, I went with their Italian-Japanese creation, Quinotto. This one is a quinoa risotto with shimenji shitake, trumpet royale, maitake, pecorino and truffle essence. I am a big fan of quinoa used as a risotto substitute, so this one was a major win for me. The mushrooms are buttery and pack an umami flavor. The use truffle flavor is light, which is a nice change of pace from many LA restaurants.

Quinotto

My compliments to Somm Sarah, who is super knowledgable on the wines but also very approachable. At this Los Balcones location, don’t feel guilty about tasting more than one wine, they want you to be happy with your choice. As you can see from the image below, I tasted 3 wines before choosing a glass of 2014 Celler Pinol “Ludovicus”, a jammy Garnacha with a lingering smoky finish. Those of you who love a strong tannin profile will love this glass, it pairs well with many of their meatier dishes. The house red, 2017 Vinos del Atlantico “Flaco”, a Spanish Tempranillo is juicy with light tannins, a great lighter option to pair with meatier items (and also only $12 a glass).

Wine sampling with Somm Sarah Jones

With my glass of Garnacha in hand, the time came to feast my eyes upon one of Los Balcones unique dishes. The Costilla de Short Ribs comes in a stainless steel box, taking a nod to Korean culture. This concept is known as a Lunch Box and many people shake this container mixing all the flavors together before eating. I decided to keep it intact (for the ‘gram!) and savor each item one by one. The tender braised short ribs are topped with a runny sunny side up egg, paired with a lima bean and rice patty (another Korean-inspired item) and also paired with banana topped with salsa criolla. Those not down for mixing textures and temperatures should steer away this one. But those of you who love to mix foods together, like me, this will be a treat for you.

Costilla de Short Ribs

The final feliz will have me driving from Culver City to Studio City more often! You must order the Lucuma Bundino, a pudding made with lucuma, which is like an avocado mixed with a mango, chantille cream and topped with salted feuilletine (crispy crepe pieces) crumbles. When you order this, tell them to add extra crumbles because the saltiness is so tasty with with sweetness of the pudding and cream. I even told them Tomas they could’ve layered the pudding like a parfait with the crumble and that would be even more delightful. Fingers crossed they listen to me on this before you get there!

Lucuma Bundino

Additional items I’m looking forward to coming back and devouring are the Locro Pappardelle (with pumpkin ragu and goat cheese) and the Seco de Pato (duck two ways, confit and roasted) and the Lomo Saltado. I’m more of a wine drinker but those of you who love cocktails should sip on the Chilcano made with Pisco and ginger.

I am very excited to see watch this Los Balcones location flourish among the Studio City scene. With a unique takes on traditional Peruvian and flavors familiar to LA locals, I have no doubt guests will be coming back for more!

Come Indulge With Us At The 6th Annual Los Angeles Magazine’s Top 10 Best Restaurants Event

ATTN: LA FOODIES!

Are you ready to indulge in one of LA’s best annual food celebrations? Get your tickets for the 6th Annual Los Angeles Magazine’s Top 10 Best Restaurants Event now!

Our friends at Los Angeles Magazine are hosting this food and beverage packed evening, Tuesday, January 29th, 7-9 PM at Rolling Greens in DTLA.

Confirmed participating restaurants include:

alta

Bavel

Freedman’s

Hayato

Hippo

Ma’am Sir

majordomo

And more to be announced soon!

BUT FIRST! HOP OVER TO OUR INSTAGRAM BEFORE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16TH AT NOON PST, TO ENTER TO WIN 2 FREE TICKETS TO THIS EVENT! 

When: Tuesday, January 29th, 7 PM 

Where: Rolling Greens, 

1005 Mateo St,

Los Angeles, CA 90021

Tickets sold here.

Early Reservation Tickets are already sold out!

If you can’t be there, be sure to follow along with us @girlsonfoodblog, where I’ll be posting live stories from this demo!

CHEERS!

Girls on Food And Tlayuda LA To Host Brunch For Butte: A Fundraiser For The North Valley Community Foundation

Girls On Food Hosts A Brunch With Tlayuda LA To Benefit The North Valley Community Foundation

Where: Tlayuda LA, 5450 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

When: Sunday, January 20th, 10 AM – 2 PM

Girls on Food, in partnership with Tlayuda LA, will come together to raise funds for the entire community affected by the Camp Fire in Butte County. 

Tlayuda LA owners Laura Guerrero and Alex Tinoco are generously donating 50% of all brunch sales at this date and time to the North Valley Community Foundation, assisting the many community organizations serving evacuees and first responders.

Girls on Food founder, Julianne Gabert, will also be on-site collecting cash, check or online donations for NVCF. Attendees who donate $50 or more will receive a special gift- a bottle of Domaine Saint Nicolas Blanquette de Limoux, 2016, to take home.*

The Camp Fire in Butte County has claimed 85 lives and is now the most destructive and deadly fire in state history. Cal Fire says the destructive blaze burned 153,336 acres.

Please help us spread the word on Facebook by sharing the invite link here.

*21 and over only

The ultimate last-minute gift guide for the healthy foodies in your life

Procrastinator?  Last-minute-thrill shopper?  Made your list, checked it twice, and realized you still have some gifts to buy?  You’re still able to order online and include a print-out confirmation in a festive card, letting them know Santa was a little overwhelmed this year and their gift is on it’s way!

Give the gift that will help your loved ones keep their New Year’s resolutions well into 2019 with awesome healthy foodie items they may not even know they wanted.  And whether that resolution is related to self-care, eating more at home, trying the keto diet, or just treating their body better, we’ve gathered a list of our top suggestions to help you with the rest of your holiday shopping.  And if you decide to get these as a present for yourself, we promise we won’t tell.

Wild Foods Keto Essentials Box

Wild Foods Keto Essentials Box

The smell of small batch Austin roasted coffee wafts out to the opener of this box full of wild goodies!  Inside they’ll be excited to find a collection of low-to-NO-carb items to help support their keto or low-carb lifestyle, including Wild Cocotropic (Cocoa powder, maca, turmeric, chaga, reishi), Raw Cocoa Butter, Fish Oil,  MCT Oil, and Pink Salt Minis. Of course, you don’t have to be keto to appreciate these Wild Foods essentials. Use promo code WILDDEC20 for 20% off your entire order for the month of December.

Any of our favorite items from Kiwi Importer

Any of our favorite items from Kiwi Importer

New Zealand, world famous for its beautiful beaches, snow-capped mountain ranges and sheep roaming rolling green hills, is also bursting with incredible organic, non-GMO and health food products. The Kiwi Importer, based in Houston, imports into the US some of the best gourmet and health food items New Zealand has to offer, including a wide range of manuka honeys, extra virgin olive and avocado oils, all-natural nut-butters, gluten-free pancake mixes and a wide range of specialty chutneys and sauces.

Tea Forté Tea Chest Tea Tasting Assortment with Café Cups

Tea Forté Tea Chest Tea Tasting Assortment with Café Cups

The most expansive collection of black, green, white and herbal tea blends are included in this organic tasting assortment from our favorite pyramid-shaped tea brand, Tea Forté.  The lid reveals a detailed tea menu for easy flavor selection (much like a good box of chocolates) and the tea chest contains 40 pyramid-shaped infusers, with two of each blend. We like to pair the assortment with the porcelain Café Cups (mostly due to our love of the fact they built in holes for the leaves to go through so that your tea stays warm and cozy).

D'Vash Date Nectars

D’Vash Date Nectars

Dates are one of my favorite sweeteners, but dealing with the pits and stickiness often deterred me from using them.  Once I discovered D’Vash, my cooking/smoothie/coffee life was forever changed! D’Vash Date Nectars and Syrups are vegan, organic, fat-free, 25% less sugar than honey, and a great source of antioxidants and potassium.  While I’ve loved the original flavor for years, I’ve enjoyed the kick in the D’Vash Cayenne-Infused Date Nectar. The cayenne adds complexity and uniqueness to the already delicious date nectar flavor, perfect for anyone who enjoy spicing things up a bit.

The Instant Pot Bible Cookbook

For anyone on your list currently in possession (or looking to be) of the famous Insta Pot, the perfect gift to help guide them down their culinary journey is The Instant Pot Bible, equipt with more than 350 recipes for hearty and healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and even decadent desserts!  These bestselling authors and pressure-cooking experts offer customized directions and timings for perfect results every time, regardless of the Instant Pot model.

Red wines from Winc
Photo courtesy of trywinc.com/girlsonfood

Red wines from Winc

You can’t go wrong with the gift of Winc wines, the perfect box for all the tough-to-buy-for adults in your life. Red wine is high in resveratrol, which may offer various health benefits such as a boost in heart health and protection against some kinds of cancer.  For an extra bonus, you can build your loved ones a custom assortment and receive $25 off and complimentary shipping on a box of 4 when using the trywinc.com/girlsonfood link (they’ll never know!)

Photo courtesy of Fellow

Matte Black Stagg EKG Electric Pour-Over Kettle

The most gorgeous of electric tea kettles, the Matte Black Stagg EKG is top of every caffeine-addicts Christmas wish list (including yours truly’s). With precision temperature control ranging from 135°F to 212°F, a hold mode and discreet LCD screen, finally there’s no more guesswork about degrees while brewing teas and coffees. After the water has heated, you can use EKG’s built-in Brew Stopwatch to time your extraction, while enjoying the sleek precision spout and counterbalanced handle.

Merry Christmas;  I hope you enjoyed a few of my favorite things!

Cheers,
Meagan & The Girls on Food Team

Holly Jolly Food Truck Festival Recap

On November 24th and 25th, Laurita Winery hosted the Holly Jolly Food Truck Festival. It was my first visit to the winery and I can’t even tell you what took me so long to get there. This winery is incredibly beautiful, with the heart being its indoor event center/wine bar/shop which was built from two refurbished barns. The food truck lineup was impressive, featuring a wide array of the best eats you can find in Jersey. The first truck that caught my eye was Five Sisters Food Co. because burgers are my ultimate weakness. I started off with the Brie sliders, 2 Angus burger sliders topped with ooey gooey Brie cheese and apricot onion-bacon jam. I love unique combinations of flavors, and these sliders certainly delivered. After devouring my sliders in .002 seconds, I made my way to the Tacoholics truck. Upon seeing that they had a General Tso’s taco, I was sold (I had a long-standing love affair with General Tso’s pizza during my studies at the University of Scranton, s/o to CK’s Pizza ilysm). The sauce was mouthwatering, to say the least. I couldn’t possibly leave the festival without a lobster roll, no matter how much food I had already eaten. Luckily Cousins Maine Lobster was supplying. I opted for the Connecticut roll,with fresh, warm Maine lobster covered in butter and lemon, served in a New England style roll. Real quote from my experience, “it was so good I could cry.” I could have easily gone for another but I’m not a baller and lobster is expensive (*DM us if you’re interested in sponsoring a financially struggling graduate student, i.e., me). What’s a lengthy, gluttonous food truck experience without some dessert you might ask? We rounded out the day with a strawberry shortcake Belgian waffle from Dan’s Waffles and a cupcake platter from local favorite House of CupcakesIf wine and good eats still haven’t sold you, these reasons might:

  1. An inn stands on the property that offers full-service massage and spa services.
  2. If you’re interested in horseback riding lessons or trail rides, you can take part at the Laurita Equestrian center.
  3. Laurita produces 14,000-16,000 cases of wine every year that are exclusive to the winery!
  4. The structures on the winery were built from mostly recycled or reclaimed materials.
  5. The winery uses solar power to produce clean energy for heat, hot water, steam, cooling, and refrigeration.
  6. They offer free winery tours where you hop on a wagon and learn about the rich history and ecosystem.
  7. During the winter they have an ice luge you can actually ride on! Sign me up.

Laurita has something for everyone whether you’re a nature lover, wino, foodie, or accordion enthusiast. So grab your pals, your significant other, or throw on a kid leash for your little one and we’ll see you there this winter!

Jess @fatboitendencies

Vino Bistro: Hollywood’s New Destination For Cicchetti

Family-owned-and-operated Osteria Mamma, continues to serve Larchmont with authentic Italian dishes since 2010. Not that I’m aligning myself with the “authenticity police” but every pasta dish I’ve had at Osteria Mamma has legitimately tasted like the house-made pasta I devoured on my trip to Italy. 

The Osteria Mamma family just opened their latest endeavor, Vino Bistro on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. While Osteria Mamma remains the perfect location for a family-style dinner, Vino Bistro is a perfect precursor for a night out in Hollywood. The spacious location has a metropolitan vibe with brick walls and subway tile. There’s lots of bar seating as well as tables, so you have options. 

Somm Filippo Cortivo has curated a diverse wine list, featuring old world and new world wines. Currently, Vino Bistro offers many wines by the glass but the bottle selection is impressive and includes includes an orange wine for those of you who love this trend. 

Vino Bistro specializes in Cicchetti, which translates to Italian tapas with a menu by Alfonso Reyes, Fabio Di Stasi & Osteria Mamma (who’s matriarch-restaurateur Loredana “Mamma” Cecchinato, sadly passed in December 2015). Although Vino Bistro offers bites from a broad range of Italy, I became familiar with Cicchetti in Venice along the touristy canal pubs. And if I’m being totally honest here, I wasn’t really into them at the time. Although I loved the social aspect of these pubs (and I always enjoy an Aperol Spritz) the fried items that were hyped up didn’t knock my socks off. Fast forward to this week when every bite I had at Vino Bistro brought their own improvements on Venetian-style tapas that align with my taste buds.

​​​​​​​The Taglieri, an Italian-style charcuterie board packed with imported meats and cheeses is a fantastic way to start. Unlike many other LA spots, there are 3 different sizes to choose from, depending on the size of your party. A party of 2 can stick with the small at $12.95 and it’s an ample portion size and you get to choose your own cheeses. 

Taglieri 

Those of you trying to keep it light-ish will appreciate the Melone con Branzino e Salmone. This dish is slices of juicy melon and soft Brie topped with branzino and salmon and topped with a light creamy sauce. Fans of sweet and savory will love this items and again, the portion is large enough to share with a group. Those of you looking to indulge in Venetian classics, I recommend ordering the Frittura di Seppie e Sardine. This shared plate is a mix of fried squid, sardine, zucchini and polenta. If you tasted fried sardines in Venice and wasn’t as hyped up on them as you thought you’d be, order them at Vino Bistro to compare. The batter here is so much lighter which makes for a much more crisp sardine. 

Melone con Branzino e Salmone
Frittura di Seppie e Sardine

My favorite item from the menu is the Carbonara di Calamari. This was a first for me! I eat pasta carbonara typically once a week (I know… it’s a problem), I’m obsessed with it. But I have never heard of anyone attempting to create a carb-free carbonara before so I had to give it a shot and it exceeded my expectations. The calamari is lightly pan fried then tossed in the traditional pancetta and egg mixture, coating the calamari evenly, so it’s not drowning in the mixture. Trust me, you’re going to want to taste this one!  

Carbonara di Calamari

It just wouldn’t be an Osteria Mamma endeavor without pasta, so I had to taste the Gnocchi all’Ossobuco. This veal shank is fall-off-the-bone tender,  and the gnocchis are heavenly little pillows in a chunkier but still brothy mix. 

Gnocchi all’Ossobuco

The desserts will be changing daily, so you may not be able to order the Semifreddo Pistachio, that I inhaled. Which is a shame, because it was so rich, frothy and nutty. I have my fingers crossed for you, that you will be able to taste the greatness of this dessert.   

When in Hollywood you must stop into Vino Bistro for a glass of wine and Cicchetti. There are a couple of great deals currently offered on their Yelp page as well, be sure to take advantage of those https://yelp.to/qTKq/ZmdO5JHBCS while you can! 
​​​​​​​Vino Bistro – 6266 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

Summer Recreates Chris Pratt’s Cucumber Egg Rolls #WHATSMYSNACK

I’m just a girl who loves food, making food and getting inspired by food I see on social media—especially when the food is being eaten by my favorite hero, the adorkably charming Chris Pratt. He has been posting his snacks on Instagram in a funny, tortured cause he has to get in shape kind of way, which I of course couldn’t help but watch. If you guys are not familiar with his little #WHATSMYSNACK videos then you need to go watch them like now. I’ll wait.

Now that you are all caught up with what I am talking about, the snacks he is posting actually look pretty tasty. I was drawn to the cucumber egg roll. Now I have no real idea what is in his but I figured I could recreate a version and make my own #WHATSMYSNACK.

Without further ado… Here is my Chris Pratt-inspired cucumber egg roll snack.

(more…)

Summer’s Roasted Pears with Cranberry Goat Cheese

Well we are officially half way through the holiday season, and I don’t know about you, but I have already eaten my weight in ALL the sweets and treats. (Which is pretty weird for me since most of the time I tend to lean more towards the savory). Anyhow, I have come to realize I have a very serious seasonal sweet tooth. What can I say, Christmas time is my jam! Since I am not going to give up all the yumminess, I decided to make a dish that leans a little more towards the healthier side. Roasted pears. Cranberry goat cheese stuffed roasted pears to be exact. I also realize that I post ALOT of stuffed recipes. I don’t know where my obsession with stuffing things comes from; I just know it tastes real, REAL good. So without further ado here is the recipe.

Roasted Pears with Cranberry Goat Cheese

4 medium sized pears (I used d’anjou)

Cinnamon

Cranberry goat cheese (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)

Walnuts, chopped

Honey

pears-ingredients

Preheat your oven to 375

Halve your pears and slice a little teeny bit off the back, so they lay flat in the pan.

how-to-cut-the-pears

Once you have done that take a spoon, any kind will do, (I used a sugar spoon) and scoop out the core of the pear to make a nice little bowl for the cheese.

pears-being-scooped

Sprinkle the pear with a generous amount of cinnamon. I wanted to also use some nutmeg, but I didn’t have any.

Once you have that done, take that same spoon and pop a hefty amount of the cheese into the middle of your pears.

pears-being-stuffed

Sprinkle the chopped walnuts (pecans are also an excellent option) and drizzle the honey. I probably put about a teaspoon of honey on each pear.

pearsin-the-pan

Pop those bad boys in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Once they are done, let them cool for a few minutes and serve.

Enjoy!

finished-pears

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant
2328 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E 1G9
https://www.facebook.com/isabellasboutiquerestaurant
https://www.instagram.com/isabellasbeaches

Exterior family shot courtesy of Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant

Interior

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant is a new boutique restaurant that has opened in “The Beaches” neighborhood in East Toronto. Isabella’s is such an amazing and cozy restaurant owned and operated by an equivalent amazing and sweet couple. This lovely couple met in Japan, and now they are in Canada to offer us authentic, homey Japanese style dishes. This boutique restaurant is named after their bubbly daughter, Isabella, and you can tell where she gets her charm from! It is only the owners that work here but yet they are so attentive to every guest in making sure that you’re as comfortable as you can be.

Now onto the food! We’ve been here numerous times to try their various dishes from breakfast to lunch/dinner to their sweet treats. Below are (most of) the dishes that they currently have on their menu, but there are other surprises that they always have in store.

BREAKFAST

Mochi Mochi Pancakes with Nutella sauce, banana and chocolate chips
Mochi-Mochi Pancakes with Nutella sauce, banana and chocolate chips

Mochi-Mochi Pancakes
These pancakes are so thick, but still fluffy! Plus, Nutella sauce all over these?! Serious, real eats, and treats right here! These Japanese style pancakes are a unique take on your traditional pancakes.

Tamagoyaki
Tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki
A stuffed Japanese omelet (contains onions, mushrooms, cheese and bacon). If you have never tried one, you gotta try this one! The way they prepare the omelet creates such a fluffy and lush texture that you’re eating a fluffy egg cloud.

Breakfast sandwich
Breakfast sandwich

Breakfast sandwich
The breakfast sandwich may sound like your ordinary thing, but you can taste the freshness of every ingredient. The egg is perfectly cooked and round (c’mon! Round egg!) and that thick cut bacon … C’mon, BACON! They also offer a breakfast combo for $5 (taxes in!) which includes a breakfast sandwich and beverage; perfect for busy mornings.

LUNCH/DINNER

Omurice before cutting
Omurice before cutting

The filling inside!
The filling inside!

Omurice
This was my first time having omurice, and if I could, I would be making this every day. It is another version of a stuffed omelet. This one is stuffed with fried rice, mushrooms and a protein (this one is beef). Traditionally, the omurice is topped with a ketchup type sauce but Isabella’s classes it up by topping it off with a homemade demi glaze. So heavenly!

Snack size chicken terriyaki
Snack size chicken teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki
Can you believe that they make their teriyaki sauce in house?! Fresh, from glorious scratch sauce! Also, if you are not feeling rice, then you can also get this beaut in a sandwich form.

Japanese Curry
Japanese Curry

Japanese Curry
This curry is not your stereotypical spicy curry, but it is still rich with that familiar curry flavor. It is smooth and silky that you just want to lick up the whole plate!

Yaki Udon
Yaki Udon with Bonito flakes

Yaki Udon
Who doesn’t love them some noodles?! This yaki udon is a fried udon dish, very simple but delicious. It does come with an option for a protein, but we went simple and got the plain yaki udon which is topped off with some savory bonito flakes.

SWEET TREATS

Nutella macarons and cherry blossom macarons
Nutella macarons and cherry blossom macarons

In the picture are their classic sweet treats that will continually be available. These are their macarons and fluffy cotton cupcakes (also available in a full cake form). The macarons pictures are their cherry blossom (the pink), and a Nutella (brown). These macarons are a delight! They are not cloyingly sweet and are the perfect texture; a perfect portion of the shell and the filling.

(left to right) Nutella macarons, Matcha fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom macarons
(left to right) Nutella macarons, Matcha fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom macarons

Now for their fluffy cotton cupcake. These are my personal favorite. Not only are the ones above matcha iced (green) and cherry blossom iced (pink) but the main base is perfection. They are just like their name, fluffy. These cupcakes are not your typical cupcake taste or texture either; more like a cross breed between a light, airy angel food cake and a flavor-packed dense cake. I realize that doesn’t make much sense, but you have to try it! If you were to visit The Beaches, Toronto area just drop by here to grab a free sample (if available) of their fluffy cotton cake, and you’ll see what I mean!

There is always something new to try at Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant, and I have yet to try everything! If you’re looking for somewhere cozy and relaxing to enjoy a meal, this is the place to be.

Philanthropic Fun: 7th Annual GLIDE Legacy Gala in SF

I am way too excited to be attending the 7th Annual GLIDE Legacy Gala at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom this Saturday, August 13. Each year, GLIDE brings together Bay Area young professionals and philanthropists to celebrate the year’s most accomplished entrepreneurs.

GLIDE_LegacyGala_logo_2016_draft03_1

About GLIDE

GLIDE, a non-profit org located in SF’s Tenderloin, works to serve the homeless, low-income, and disenfranchised by providing helpful programs such as free meals, HIV/Hep C testing and counseling, assisted living, domestic violence counseling and abatement, substance abuse recovery, and even childcare and youth educational programs.

This year, GLIDE recognizes three unique individuals who’ve contributed to breaking social marginalization barriers throughout our Bay Area community.

Van Jones

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Van Jones is the President and Co-Founder of Dream Corps, which promotes initiatives that “close prison doors and open doors of opportunity.” Current initiatives include #cut50, decreasing the current prison population; #YesWeCode, assisting under-privileged men and women in finding work in the tech industry; and #GreenForAll, which works to take money from the big market polluters and put it into the hands of those who need it most.

Sarah Shourd

Sarah ShourdSarah Shourd is an author and prison rights advocate. After being held in solitary confinement for 410 days in 2009 – 2010 under the Iranian government, she now writes, speaks, and advocates against the use of prolonged solitary confinement in the U.S. You can read her story in The Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran.

Felicia Horowitz

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Felicia Horowitz, the 2016 Janice Mirikitani Legacy Award recipient, is a human rights advocate dedicated to LGBTQ rights, food justice, harm reduction, and violence prevention. She’s worked with marginalized communities all over the world and seeks to unite people through tech, community, and culture.

But ‘Why So Serious…?’

Yes, these philanthropists may be working to cure very serious social justice issues, but remember this is a celebration of their achievements thus far and encouragement for future movements. The event will also feature live music, DJs, and dancing.

Atmosphere

And luckily for foodies like me, there’s a whole host of local vendors to provide tasty treats and winning drinks:

Cityscape

KC Catering

25 Lusk

Aventine

Cumaica Coffee

Judy’s Breadsticks

Limon

PF Chang’s

Semifreddi’s Bakery

Woodhouse Fish

Barefoot Wine

Epidemic Ales

More Info

Atmosphere

Want to hang out with some of the Bay Area’s most innovative minds and hearts? There are still tickets available for both general admission and VIP access until August 13.

Can’t make it to the event, but want to contribute to a good cause? The GLIDE Legacy Committee will host an online fundraiser. Visit ebay.com/glidesf to bid on music, food, travel, sports, and lifestyle experiences.

Learn more about GLIDE, its work, team members, and celebrated philanthropists at http://www.GLIDE.org. The event is produced by White Rain Productions. Direct questions can be addressed by calling (415) 674-6060 or emailing youngprofessionals@glide.org.

Hope to see you there… Cheers!

You Had Me At Hello: Hi-Lo Diner in Minneapolis

Hi-Lo Diner

4020 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Diners make me think of classic, hearty, stick to your ribs, enjoy the grease and eat with gusto meals. I think of worn-in but loved counter stools, servers who have seen years come and go and know all the regulars by name.

And when I heard that an original 1957 Fodero Diner had traveled from Gibsonia, PA to Minneapolis, MN, I had to check it out! The hype around Hi-Lo Diner had Minneapolites lining up around the block.

Hi-Lo Exterior

Lucky for us, we ventured in a little after the regular dinner hour and found seats right away. I loved the crisp, clean feel of the interior with the turquoise blue booths. It may lack that worn in feel, but it’s a diner alright! A diner whose weekly specials are heavily influenced by classic movies.

Hi-Lo Specials

Name that movie anyone?!

They also have a fun cocktail, beer, and wine list; and by fun I mean ICE CREAM Cocktails! What could be better on a summer night? We ordered the Periscope Down, which is Fernet Branca, 1919 Root Beer, and cold press.

Hi Lo Ice Cream Cocktail

The mint wasn’t overpowering, and all the flavors blended nicely.

To start, we went with the “Also” portion of the menu, the only item there being the Hi-Lo Wings.

Hi Lo Wings

I could smell these babies coming. They were some of the most fragrant wings I’ve ever had. They brought back memories of eating Jamaican jerk chicken. They are a must try.

Next, I went with one of their Hi-Tops. What is a Hi-Top you ask? Well, apparently it’s like a donut, but, not a donut. Fresh, made to order, fried dough topped with sweet and savory items. I ordered the Gary Coop’er, which had me falling in love at first sight. It’s a beaut!

Gary Coop'er

This Hi-Top with buttermilk fried chicken, bourbon maple syrup, country gravy and micro arugula was a sweet and savory match made in heaven.

Finally, the country style meatloaf is exactly what comes to mind when I think of diner food. With notes of thyme, onion, garlic and dried cherries; the meatloaf comes with mashed potatoes, beef gravy, and asparagus. This is a hearty, stick to your ribs, eat with gusto type of a dish! I almost wished my dining partner and I had switched plates; this was delicious!

Hi Lo Meatloaf

There are a number of other items I’d like to try, and we did not even get to the pie menu! Next time, the peanut butter chocolate pie will be all mine 🙂 Check out Hi-Lo for a Minneapolis diner experience!