LA Food Fest 2017: A Coliseum of Culinary Delights

One of the best parts of summer in Los Angeles are the outdoor festivals. This month, LA Food Fest had its eighth incarnation at the spectacular LA Memorial Coliseum amid the gloomy June morning, and I was ready with a pair of #stretchypants and a dream to consume as many foods as possible.

Lines are a big part of this type of event, from the line getting in, to the lines waiting for vendors. Patience and a sense of adventure are musts for those excited for the opportunity to sample so many different types of foods.

The crowds weren’t too crazy because of the ample space the location offered and the strategic organization of the vendors by the event organizers.  There were lots of folks, but for the most part, it wasn’t overwhelming.

I decided rather than attempt to feature every single morsel of food, a task that could make a nice relaxing day overwhelming; I would try to find my top five favorites.

Curried Shrimp Soup from Soup Bazaar

First, on the list, the was the Curried Shrimp Soup from Soup Bazaar, a Downtown LA spot which had recently revamped its menu and will be opening a new location just off the busy Spring Street. Soup Bazaar was one of the first vendors I tried, and I was blown away by the flavorful curry coconut milk base against the tender shrimp.

 

Breakfast isn’t my favorite meal. I know, I know, I’m a monster. And of all the fast breaking fare, pancakes are my least favorite. That’s why when I tried the Oatmeal Pancake from Breakfast by Salt’s Cure, I knew it had to be good because it was one of the best things I ate all day.  Light, but substantial, covered in butter and cinnamon sugar, I decided right then and there that I would be visiting for breakfast very soon.

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Local Fixture Coffee Bar in Whittier, CA

Coffee anyone?

I have to be honest, I do not know anything about the city of Whittier, but by the looks of it, it seems like a small humble town with lots of potential. Local Fixture is just what this town needed.

Local Fixture Coffee Bar
6728 Bright Ave, Whittier, CA 90601
https://www.localfixture.com/

You can also follow them on IG @localfixture_coffee

Inside Local Fixture, you’ll notice a lot product selections throughout the store that is thoughtfully put together. (Note cards, candles, trendy mugs, socks, jewelry, back packs, and other novelty items)

The star of the shop is their coffee bar, serving up Stumptown Coffee and The Art of Tea. Clean and simple decor. Their coffee is amazing, and the staff is absolutely wonderful. If you have a sweet tooth, they also have yummy pastries to go along with your coffee.

One thing I like about this place is that it feels cozy. It’s spacious, it’s trendy, it’s unique- it’s a place i can find myself coming to everyday. There’s a succulent wall outside that’s very Instagram-worthy, and plenty of space inside for you to either catch up on work, or chit chat with an old friend. The people here are very welcoming, and they have great taste in music!

I’ll be sure to come back here for seconds.

Mi’hito Sushi Laboratory: Toronto’s Pioneer in Sushi Burrito

Mi’hito Sushi Laboratory
285 College St, Toronto, ON M5T 1S2
https://mihito.ca/
https://www.instagram.com/mihitosushi/

Menu board
Display Table

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.

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Boxwood on the Roof at The London in West Hollywood

When you’ve got a hankering for rooftop fabulousness and world class bites; get in your car and head over to The London. Do not pass go or collect $200. Valet park, get in the elevator and push the button for the rooftop bar, Boxwood. 

Boxwood on the Roof
1020N. San Vincente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
http://www.thelondonwesthollywood.com/

Even though my recent dinner at Boxwood on the Roof was haunted by fog that would not burn off, I was kept warm and cozy by heat lamps and the incredible company of my fellow diners. I can only imagine how gorgeous it would be on a clear night! Executive Chef Anthony Keene sent us a number of tasty morsels from his new menu that is largely New American with some fun street food inspiration.

The cocktail list is inspired by English rockers such as The Who. Their coordinating cocktail, “Behind Blue Eyes”, a concoction of fresh blueberry, mint, lime, and vodka. My favorite was the unlikely “Rebel Rebel,” a margarita with a float of Pinot Noir wine on top.

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Dine-N-Dash DC: The Yummy Recap

This past Wednesday, over 2,600 DC foodies, including myself, flooded the streets of 14th St and Penn Quarter to participate in José Andrés’ Dine-N-Dash charity event. The event raised over $543,000 for his non-profit World Central Kitchen, which helps fight poverty and hunger internationally through the power of food.

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Happy #nationalroséday From Girls On Food!

From Editor-In-Chief JULIANNE:

Dear Rosé,

Although I had tasted you several times in my early to mid 20s, honestly… I just wasn’t that into you…until I picked up a cheap bottle of you at Trader Joe’s in West Seattle back in 2012. Over the next 5 years, I’d grow quite fond of you; sipping on a glass of you pretty much everywhere I go. 

Everything about you is a delight to us here at Girls on Food; your pale pink color, your dry, light-to-medium body and that fruity aroma. If this we were together in a movie, it would be Love, Actually and we’d all confess our love to you the way Andrew Lincoln’s character did to Kiera Knightly. To us, you are perfect.

My favorite rosé is Cloud Chaser. It’s my go-to whether I’m watching Real Housewives of… well, Anywhere, or enjoying a home-cooked meal. It’s one of the most versatile rosés I’ve ever come across.  

With #nationalroséday approaching tomorrow, a bunch of the Girls on Food wanted to share our favorite rosé bottles and recipes.

Congratulations to your growing success!

XOXO,

Julianne

VICTORIA: The Rose scene is new to me. I wanted to get into it like five years ago when I became a Bravo Housewife junky. I couldn’t find any unless it was a champagne version. Nowadays it seems like it’s EVERYWHERE.

Vinudilice caught my eye from the artistic label and the fact that it’s grown in the highest vineyard in Europe. The small (.35 hectare) vineyard is more than a century old and it’s on the side of a volcano named Etna in Sicily. It’s an up and coming area in Europe and the producer Salvo Foti is truly gifted in every aspect of the wine making process. I was lucky enough to meet him last year. He’s an incredible person and makes incredible wine. He uses old school techniques and even has a donkey working in the vineyard!

Fun fact: No refrigeration, yeasts or filtration are used in the winemaking process.

This bottle is acidic with a hint of tangerine and grapefruit. I’m not shy about being hard on wines and I can’t seem to complain about this one. It’s balanced, refreshing and sexy. A totally different style than the norm of rosé today.

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Taste of The Deck at Hollywood & Highland

Located in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Hollywood is the Hollywood & Highland shopping complex. Full of superhero impersonators and street vendors, it’s a fun spot to hang out, and people watch. But tucked away on the third level is an area called The Deck that’s brimful of delicious eats.

The Deck at Hollywood & Highland
6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028
hollywoodandhighland.com

During my recent visit to The Deck, I had the chance to experience several different eateries including Jinya, Pokinometry, Fist of Fusion, and Mamacita.

Photo: Vannessa Sanchez

Jinya
This build-your-own ramen spot pleasantly surprised me. I’m pretty picky when it comes to ramen and was skeptical about the idea of creating my own ramen to eat on the go. But the broth was good, and the sauces and toppings were tangy. I also tried the rice bowl but preferred the ramen. The rice bowl certainly had its merits (and the fried chicken was delicious), but this is definitely a ramen spot. PSA: you can add the fried chicken to the ramen!

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Let’s Get Messy: Tavern’s 4th Annual Low Country Boil

If you keep up with my posts here at GOF, you know that Tavern was one of my old stomping grounds when I lived in Brentwood. Tavern has one of the most beautiful patios in all of LA, but it maintains an easy-going vibe. The Larder at Tavern, their cafe, serves coffee, tea, pastries and grab-and-go items. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite or having a dinner date with your significant other, Tavern is one of the most consistent restaurants in LA. Today, I explore a different side to Tavern, a more down home cooking side.

Tavern
11648 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
http://tavernla.com/

Recently I attended an exclusive media preview for Tavern’s 4th Annual Low Country Boil, which will take place Sunday, June 25th. Chef de Cuisine, Amy Deaderick hosts this boil which the Tavern owners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne fully endorse. This annual boil is very personal to Deaderick, who grew up in South Carolina. Memories of her childhood and the Carolina culture inspire every course.

Isle of Palms & Boiled Peanuts

For $65 per person, this one-time event will be set in The Larder at Tavern, serving up three courses and dessert. South Carolina-based musicians Josh and Leslie Roberts will be providing live acoustic folk-country tunes to really set a “dining by the shoreline” ambiance. The Communal tables are covered with newspapers and -warning- you may get wet, so come out in your “eatin’ dress”.

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Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in Santa Monica

When I hear the word “tavern”, my mind takes me back to a bar scene from the TV Show, Cheers. Picture a dimly-lit, confined space with bar stools that make you slouch and not much else to look at. While there’s certainly a time and a place for divey spots like this, there’s also a time and a place to step it up a notch.

Case in point: recently opened Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, a modern neighborhood restaurant. The spacious, extended patio overlooks the Loews Hotel, JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot and Santa Monica Pier. I checked out JFAT on Ocean Avenue’s Day at the Races earlier in May and tasted the Southwestern Dip and Mint Julep. This time around I tasted a lot more.

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern 
1733 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401
http://j-fat.com/locations/santa-monica/ 

Spicy Ahi Poke

Poke is a personal favorite of mine. I have flashbacks of being in Oahu and walking along the beach. The addition of papaya to this Spicy Ahi Poke added more island flair to this appetizer. After one bite I found myself compulsively searching airfare prices to Hawaii.

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Oh, Yes!: Brunch at O + O Sicilian Kitchen in Santa Monica

Last year, when O + O Sicilian Kitchen opened in Santa Monica, Girls on Food (and our pal Meagan, aka @caffeineaddictfoodie)  had an absolute blast there. I love that the atmosphere is beachy and laid-back, but the food and drinks are high quality. We’re happy to let you know they now have a weekend brunch!

O + O Sicilian Kitchen 
1705 Ocean Ave Suite #11, Santa Monica, CA 90401
http://oosantamonica.com

On the last visit, Meagan and I pestered Head Bartender Sam into creating a caffeinated cocktail for her. Sam took us up on this challenge and instantly concocted the Caffettoso: espresso, Amaro Averna, Kahlua, and vodka with lemon zest. We’re very pleased to see this drink, which will keep you wide awake during your boozy brunch, has since been added to their brunch menu!

Bottomless Sparkling and Spritz’s – Mimosa, Aperol Spritz, Bellini

O+O’s Bottomless Brunch Menu (Saturdays and Sundays 11 AM – 3 PM) might just be one of the best damn brunch deals in all of Los Angeles! For $20 per person, not only do you get bottomless Mimosas, Aperol Spritzes and Bellinis, but your table also gets one tasting platter, including an ample amount of Italian cheeses, olives and other delicious starters. It’s one per table, but that’s still a fantastic package that’ll keep you full if you’re sipping the day away.

Bottomless Brunch Menu – Antipasto Tasting Platter

Their mimosa is a combo of prosecco and blood orange juice, while the bellini is prosecco with peach puree… but the Aperol Spritz is my favorite. Nothing beats this combo of prosecco and blood orange juice with a bitter Aperol kick.

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Check Out Thanksgiving, A Comedy By Tiffany Cascio At Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017

Ah, Thanksgiving. Some of us love it, some of us dread it, some of us decided to stop celebrating over political differences with family members.

Either way, there’s something for everyone to relate to in Thanksgiving, a comedy performing as a part of Hollywood Fringe, LA’s favorite annual, open access theater festival.

Image by Cali Bloomfield – (left) Sharon Spence as Lily, Allison Youngberg as Chloe

Thanksgiving follows Chloe Patterson, who invited her perfect fiancé to what she what she hopes is the perfect Thanksgiving, despite her very imperfect family. She’s got a solid plan in place to combat any and all hints of dysfunction, providing for every possible contingency — except the unexpected dinner guest: a very unfiltered, Las Vegas stripper. Scabs are picked, secrets are revealed, and fights erupt as this group struggles to make it through another holiday unscathed.

I attended the preview for Thanksgiving, and that alone was a packed house, so make sure to purchase your tickets now! The actors in this show are all from Samovar Subway Ensemble, and I thought the casting was fantastic. Each actor held their own with their performance, but the chemistry they all brought amongst each other is what made it so special to watch. The writing of this show is not only full of belly laughs but full of heart as well. All around, this is a very solid production.

There are only going to be five performances for this show-
Saturday 6/3 at 7:45 pm
Friday 6/9 at 9:45 pm
Sunday 6/11 at 3:45 pm
Saturday 6/17 at 1:45pm
Friday 6/23 at 7:45 pm

Image by Cali Bloomfield – (left) Sharon Spence as Lily, Asia Lynn Pitts as Starr, Trip Langley as Max, Gary Pux as Luke, Allison Youngberg as Chloe and Susan Louise O’Connor as Victoria

Thanksgiving is written by Tiffany Cascio (an OG Girl on Food), directed by Kitty Lindsay and produced by Allison Youngberg. Runtime – 90 minutes without intermission.

Meatless Monday: Jackfruit Tacos

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!

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