James Beard Foundation Presents Taste America: Los Angeles Dinner 2017

On Friday, October 6th, 2017, Vibiana, the former 19th century Cathedral turned prominent event space in Downtown Los Angeles, was taken over by the national non-profit culinary arts organization, the James Beard Foundation and the best in the LA culinary scene. Taste America, the foundation’s 5th annual ten-city touring event, celebrated prolific stars of the food scene.

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Thai-Mexican Fine Dining in Acapulco: Zibú

In the middle of one of the most dangerous roads in Acapulco sits one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to Zibú, Thai-Mexican fine cuisine with the most beautiful Caribbean like atmosphere. The mesmerizing views of Acapulco Bay, fantastic service, and delicious food makes going to this place a memorable experience that you’ll want to repeat as much as possible. I’ve been quite a few times myself and even spent New Year’s Eve that at an awesome party. 

Zibú
Avenida Escenica S/N, Fraccionamiento Glomar, Pichilingue, 39887, Acapulco, Guerrero

This last time I went for a romantic date with bae. He had never been before, so I took him by the hand and guided him through the most delicious dishes of Zibú. The entrance of the restaurant is hard to find because the only thing you see, even more so if you go at night, are a few steps, the sign of the restaurant, and the valet. As you take a few steps down, you meet with the hostess under a beautiful palapa, right next to a rustic bonfire. I would suggest making a reservation, they are on Open Table, and they tend to book quickly, they also host events as well, so sometimes half of the restaurant is unavailable. For instance, the time I went, there was a wedding reception. But as a customer, you would never know, the only reason I knew was that my sister was a part of the wedding. As I said before the restaurant has different sections and private rooms that the regular customer would never be aware, once I saw one of their smaller rooms filled with roses and candles for a proposal once, so special.

Anyway back to me! As I was trying to show my boyfriend the best of the best we had quite the big dinner. We started with the amazingly delicious Camarones Sol y Sombra (Sun and Shadow Shrimp), it consists of six grilled shrimp placed on top of a mirror of mango sauce, the sun, and tamarind sauce, the shadow. It was not only delicious but amusing. As you can tell from the picture, it comes with veggies, mashed potatoes, and rice which is mostly carbs and neutral flavored so that they absorb the sauce to give the protein a beautiful complement. It can be sweet or sour or mix both sauces and get the best of both worlds. It’s a very well rounded dish, just delicious.

Camarones Sol y Sombra
Arroz Oriental
We then ordered Arroz Oriental and the Chicken Pad Thai. The rice has a colorful seasoning, ginger butter, and Thai red pepper, also a variety of seafood: shrimp, octopus, calamari, and lobster. If you like paella this is an interesting twist. It was delicious. Next up the chicken pad Thai, personally I love the texture of noodles and these were just perfect, the flavors of this dish were less bitter and more sweet with a hint of spice. Honestly, the food and the service were so good that we were planning on when our next visit should be.
Chicken Pad Thai 
Selva Mextai
As full as we were we could not miss dessert, this is one of those places that you can’t leave with out trying to fill your body with the biggest amount of food you’re capable. After a few minutes, we both agreed on getting the Selva Mextai. The description of the dish leaves out an ingredient on purpose, and even if you ask the waiter what it is, he won’t tell you, he will tell you though that you’ll have to guess after you try it. It was fun, we have no allergies, and we were curious, so we got it without fully knowing what to expect, and I’m glad we did. The coconut ice cream was fantastic, buttery and tasted just like an iced coconut. It did not have a hint of artificial flavors, and the dulce de leche made up for a great companion to eat. The mystery fried vegetable surrounding our dessert, well I can’t tell you, you’ll have to guess once you’re there!

Promise of Peace Gardens Presents: Okrapalooza in Dallas

Brussels sprouts—smoked, charred, covered in bacon. It doesn’t matter how they are prepared; they remain the darling veggie. But one non-profit, Promise of Peace Gardens (P.O.P.) gives the spotlight to another veggie: okra. That’s right, okra.

Photo by Allison McClean

September 17th P.O.P hosts its 8th annual fundraiser, Okrapalooza at the dog and kid-friendly The Lot in East Dallas. From 11am – 2pm twenty celebrity chefs will create their best okra dish for guests to taste.

Chef Uno Immanivong (left) Guest (right)
Photo by Allison McClean

The Chefs include last year’s winner, Chef Peter Barlow of Flora Street as well as Chef Graham Dodds, The Statler; Chef Mark Wooton, Garden Café; Chef Thomas Archer, 3015 at Trinity Groves; Chef Daniel Pittman, Luck; Chef Anastacia Quinones; Chef Ryan Barnett, Lark on the Park; Chefs Noelle Hendrix and Nick Amoriello; Chef Uno Immanivong, Chino Chinatown and more!

Five celebrity judges will choose one top chef while guests will award the People’s Choice award. And in case you were wondering if there will be anything else to eat besides okra, Elizabeth Dryer, founder of P.O.P. promises me that we can expect much more!

Okrapalooza supports P.O.P. Gardens and its comprehensive programming aimed at restoring urban communities while making sure that all have high quality nutritious food on their plate. P.O.P. transforms unwanted land into thriving gardens and teaches low-income families about sustainable living. Portions of produce grown in P.O.P. gardens supply a few Dallas-area food pantries.

Purchase tickets online for $50 in advanced or $60 on the day of the event. Entrance to the event includes live music, all food and beer from Lakewood Brewery. Cocktails will be available for purchase. Get the discounted price of $40 by purchasing your ticket in person at North Haven Gardens.

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”

Poppin’ Bottles in NYC: Air’s Champagne Parlor

Champagne is the unequivocal celebratory drink! And, let’s face it — during the not so celebratory times, a Champagne-filled flute somehow makes everything better.

New York City is the one city in the world where you can find any kind of specialty. You like macaroons? There’s a bakery just for that. Are bagels your thing? You can find virtually any flavor at a specialty bagel shop. Amused with the science behind sex? There is a museum dedicated to that too! Is bourbon your drink of choice? There are bourbon bars galore. Cocktail bars? One on every street corner. But a space solely dedicated to the tasting, enjoyment and (education) of my favorite drink: Champagne? Genius!

Naturally, when I heard such a whimsical place existed, I knew I had to check it out. At Air’s Champagne Parlor, you can pop bottles from across the globe, without ever leaving their adorable spot in the West Village.

Air’s Champagne Parlor
127 Macdougal Street, New York, NY 10012
www.AirsChampagneParlor.com

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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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Nerano Hosts Their Inaugural Monthly Wine Dinner

Nerano, an upscale Italian restaurant owned by the Toscana Restaurant Group in Beverly Hills, hosted their first in a series of monthly wine dinners.

For this inaugural dinner, in their swank BG Lounge, Nerano’s Sommelier Samantha Johnston and Executive Chef Michele Lisi teamed up with Marchesi Antinori Wines ambassador Alessia Botturi to pair their wines with a five-course dinner.

Nerano & The BG Lounge
9960 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
http://www.neranobh.com/

This dinner was what dreams are made of for an Italian food and wine aficionado. Not only does Nerano have a solid reputation in LA as one of the favorite eateries among Hollywood power-players, but Antinori is also a company that can trace their history back to 1385, making them one of the oldest Italian wine producers. This Italian wine powerhouse is 26 generations owned and popularized in the US in the “Super Tuscan” boom of the 1970’s.

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The Bar Café in Uxbridge, Ontario

One of my favourite things about living just outside of the city limits is all of the wonderful little restaurants and cafés I get to indulge in every so often. One of the most important things I think we all try to achieve is eating healthy and reducing our ecological footprint. Not easy to do in today’s busy world with fast food so readily available at our little finger tips. It’s refreshing to find a spot that is organic, fresh and locally sourced. And did I mention food that is ridiculously full of delicious flavour? 

The Bar Café
2 Brock Street West, Uxbridge, ON Canada
https://www.facebook.com/thebarcafeuxbridge/


When I walked into The Bar Café, the owner and foodie extraordinaire, Trisha Bush, was helping and greeting her customers with a warm smile. Trish and I go way back as I am her hair stylist and she is my vegetarian food guru. She told me she would be right with me and to go have a seat in the back by the Mandala. Nothing gets you more visually into the zone of peace and tranquility like a beautiful Mandala.

The Bar Café serves all types of foods and the Mediterranean influence is strong. Not only are there plenty of protein options, they can accommodate various types of diets including gluten free, vegetarian, vegan and raw.

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The Gramercy Garden Eating Club in NYC

It’s difficult to focus on how you are eating when you are so much more focused on what you are eating. Steph Jensen, whose background is rooted in health and wellness, is well aware of this. In an effort to educate others on why focusing on how you eat is important, she started a whole dinner series focused on mindful eating called The Gramercy Garden Eating Club.

For her club, she teams up with local New York City chefs to bring her guests a “mind-to-table” experience right in her own private NYC patio. The dinner I attended was cooked by Micah Fredman who has cooked in incredible NYC restaurants including Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park. The night was full of an incredible paleo/pescatarian menu, approachable guests and eating tips that are simple enough for any foodies to follow.

All ingredients used for this dinner were picked from the farmer’s market the morning of the dinner, so the freshness of the vegetables really stood out during the meal.
Chilled squash soup- The chilled squash soup was perfect for a hot summer night, with its smokey finish from spices. It was a great opener to the rest of the courses leaving you not too full but instead, excited for what’s to come.

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M Cocina Creativa: A Mexican-Vietnamese Birthday Dinner in Guadalajara

Last weekend I went to Guadalajara, one of the biggest cities in Mexico. Filled with culture amazing food and lots of tequila, this city is a true Mexican gem. Tequila region is just an hour away from there and you can actually ride a tequila train that leaves from Guadalajara. A cousin of mine lives there and since he knows I’m a food blogger he picked a special restaurant so that I had the chance to blog about his city, he took me to M Cocina Creativa, which means “creative kitchen”. This restaurant totally justifies its name. It’s a Mexican-Vietnamese fusion restaurant that implements ingredients you wouldn’t normally see in a menu in Mexico, like pork stuffed squid (which were delicious).

M Cocina Creativa
Av. Aurelio Ortega No. 611, Seattle, 45150 Zapopan, Jal., Mexico
http://www.mcocinacreativa.com/

Another thing that makes the place unique is the really big two story indoor patio with a rustic feel, a fountain made out of half a tree, really tall ceilings and filled with plants. It’s not only relaxing and romantic but it really makes you forget you’re in the city.

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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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