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”

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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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Il Vecchio in Pacific Grove, CA

Our first stop after unpacking in our rental was for dinner at Il Vecchio. Il vecchio is Italian for “the old”. This place screams old, but not in a bad way. It screams old world…Rome to be exact. The decor, the people and the food all have a familiar and comforting feel to them…like an old tradition.

Il Vecchio
110 Central Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
http://www.ilvecchiorestaurant.com/

pane e olio

For a starter, I ordered the pane e olio (bread and oil). It arrived at the table on a wooden cutting board branded with the restaurant’s name. The ciabatta was fresh and perfectly complemented the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and the sweet roasted peppers. The key here was the vinegar and oil; both were the best quality. The vinegar was aged and thick. The oil green with a rotund flavor.
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17th Annual All-American Summer Rib Fest at Lucques in LA, Sunday, 8/13

If you’ve been paying attention to my posts, you know I’m a fan-girl for The Lucques Group (owners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne) who own LA spots I’ve blogged about in the past, like Tavern, Larder Baking Co and even the catering at The Hollywood Bowl. But Lucques is the only spot they own that I haven’t dined at yet, but I’ve been dying too.

Recently, I had time to kill before a dinner near by, so I bellied up to the Lucques bar for a glass of wine. I sipped on a lovely pour of Paul et Jean-Marc PASTOU Sancerre Blanc ‘La Côte de Sury’ Vieilles Vignes (it’s a must order!) and I was in awe over the beautiful fine-dining atmosphere, which is becoming a rarity in LA. As I read over their dinner menu, I was a bit envious of the diners and wishing my dinner was there.

But, one way you can experience dining at Lucques, (with a relatively less expensive pre-fixe menu), is their upcoming 17th annual All-American Summer Rib Fest, Sunday, August 13, 2017, Noon – 9 p.m.. This feast features slow-cooked ribs, hot wings, and sides that have become a Lucques tradition since 2000.

Photo by Kristen Honey Photography

Although Lucques has a refined atmosphere, you are more than welcome to sport your favorite cowboy hat, Wrangler jeans, and Stetsons. You won’t look funny; you’ll fit right in!

The Lucques dining room and patio will completely transform into a family-style summer BBQ, with butcher-papered tables and wet-naps, since eating with hands are strongly encouraged. The menu will feature Saint Louis-Style Pork Ribs; Braised Beef Back Ribs; Spiced Lamb Spare Ribs and Too-Hot-To-Handle Chicken Wings. 

Also included are sides of Cole Slaw & Baked Beans; Long-Cooked Collard Greens; Buttered Corn-On-The-Cob; Tomato & Watermelon Salad; and Grilled Cornbread & Wonder Bread (just to keep it real!). A mouth watering dessert of Warm Peach Cobbler with Strawberries & Buttermilk Ice Cream by Executive Pastry Chef Sahar Shomali completes this yearly Rib Roundup. I have had this dessert at Tavern’s Low Country Boil this past summer, and it was fantastic! Totally worth going back for!

Photo by Kristen Honey Photography

Head Barman Christiaan Röllich’s Cowboy Cocktails, including the Longhorn Lemonade and a “Beer in a Can,” will also be served. There’s also a promise of old school country jams, like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Willie Nelson playing through out, so my inner-cowgirl is so excited for this!

Pricing for the dinner is $55 per person, exclusive of beverages, tax, and service.

This is a ticketed Sunday supper event, advance ticket purchase is required. Tickets are available by calling the restaurant directly: 323.655.6277. For further information and full menus at Lucques visit www.lucques.com

The Top of Dallas: Mirador Restaurant

The question I’m asked the most is “What’s a good new restaurant in Dallas?” Fortunately for Dallas residents and visitors alike there are usually at least two new options every 6 months. In this case my new favorite spot is in downtown Dallas on the top floor of a very posh boutique (Forty Five Ten) with a terrace that overlooks the art piece that locals call “The Eyeball”.

The Eyeball.

Mirador
1608 Elm St., Dallas
www.mirador-dallas.com

I had a feeling that Mirador would be great simply because of the culinary backgrounds of the two collaborating chefs, Josh Sutcliffe (executive chef) and Nilton “Junior” Borges (executive chef of The Joule Hotel). Sutcliffe, most recently, was executive chef at Filament and before that worked at FT33, both led by Food and Wine’s Best New Chef-Southwest and James Beard nominee, Matt McCallister. Borges also had a stint at FT33 as an executive chef. Prior to that, he was executive chef at Uchi when they earned 5 stars from the Dallas Morning News. Uchi, by the way, is also owned and operated by another James Beard winner, Tyson Cole.

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Comida como debe de ser! Angelopolitano and Nómada Heladería

One of the most iconic neighborhoods in Mexico City is La Condesa-Roma, which used to be a hacienda during colonialism but in the 20th century started to change along with the fracture of the hacienda and the expansion of the city. Its narrow streets are filled with small businesses and a combination of tourists, hipsters that live in the area, and the old timers, which combine to make this area of the city feel vibrant, fun, diverse, and forever changing.

You can now find libraries, art galleries, bars, nightclubs, antique stores, offices, and of course, hundreds of restaurants. Mexican, Italian, German, ice cream shops, vegan, French, Japanese, Chinese, American, Spanish, bakeries… that’s just a few examples of the cuisine you’ll find here! They’re also almost always great and no chains. The owners might be in the restaurant, and a lot of them like to get creative with their business. You can find amazing experiences in this area.

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Christmas in July: McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar and Fegley’s Bethlehem Brew Works

I headed down to Pennsylvania to catch The Three Musketeers in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival playing now through August 6th. It was a spirited evening of Muskateering which turned out to be a super funny and well produced show. Anyone in the area should swashbuckle over to the PA Shakes Center at DeSales before they close and be sure to bring a bottle of wine and picnic for outside beforehand- there’s a lovely seating area to partake in. You shall notethhhh be diappointedettthhhh (see what I did there)

Of course, all of this theater-ing made me hungry and I headed back to Bethlehem, PA which I had visited on the holidays a couple of years back. This time, I fully experienced the quaint Celtic eatery McCarthy’s which was definitely way more than we bargained for.

McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar
534 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA, 18018
http://www.redstagpub.com

The first notable item to catch my eye on the menu was the House Made Banana Whiskey. They had a ginger version too but how could I say no to banana? I feel like the minions could get really into this. O-M-G…..SO GOOD. I want a bottle. Seriously, I want a bottle….but that would be bad news.

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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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Weekly Wanderlust 7/28/17: #GOFxHooch Event at Harlowe in WeHo, FM Kitchen and Bar in Houston, Burger Parlor’s Portland Burger in OC and Paula’s Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

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 Botanist Gin and Tonic

Julianne here: The #GOFxHooch event, referenced in last week’s WW column was a blast! Friends of GOF were hosted by the Hooch app at Harlowe in West Hollywood for an evening of drinks and bites!

The favorite cocktail of the evening was The Botanist Gin and Tonic. This G&T incorporates fresh muddled cucumber for a very refreshing taste! Favorite treats included Mary’s Fried Chicken Strips, Margherita Flatbread, Vegetarian Flatbread and the Mushroom and Mozzarella Flatbread.

We’re already in talks to host another event with them, so stay tuned to the Weekly Wanderlust Column for the next collaboration with Hooch!

Margherita Flatbread

Ginger here: Every time I visit Houston my friends take me to wherever Chef Ryan Hildebrand is behind the pass. That place used to be the upscale Triniti restaurant, but since it recently closed Chef Hildebrand has gone in the opposite direction, to the land of burgers and brews (or what I’ve seen described as “road trip inspired food”). But please don’t confuse FM Kitchen and Bar with your average gas station and roadside diner food! The food at FM is leaps and bounds above quickie road-side fare!

Behold the Double Burger with Shhh sauce.

In fact, the burger is so mouth-watering that it won a blind taste-test conducted by staff at the Houston Press, and if you think that’s fake news then consider this: I prefer not to eat burgers often for health reasons and yet I ate this burger twice in a 3-day period (the second time in my car during the 3.5 hour drive back to Dallas) and my nephew dragged his father to FM four times in one week for the burger while mother was out of town.

Order your burger as a single or double with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and secret Shhh sauce (so darn good!) and, instead of the standard fries, pair it with a side of hush puppies or tater tots. I think the burger is a must, but there are plenty of other tasty non-beef items like the fried shrimp and hush-puppy plate (add a side of smothered green beans for some veggies) or the lemon-thyme brick chicken.

You can’t leave without trying one of the cocktails (all under $9), like the strong but refreshing Watermelon Mule made with melon vodka, fresh watermelon and ginger beer or the Farmhouse Tea with TX Ranger whiskey, lemon and tea.

Have room for dessert? Then try a virgin shake for the kiddos or a loaded shake with shots of alcohol for the hard-working adults. You can work off the calories by playing yard games on the patio while listening to live music.

Portland Burger

Carla here: Hey all! I’ve been a pescetarian for more than 7 years now and yet my love for burgers has never left my side. Burgers without meat are always better since they have to try a little harder. #fact. 

I am beyond blessed to have the absolute best vegetarian burger in OC down the street from my home. May I present to you… Burger Parlor’s Portland Burger. Contrary to most vegetarian options, a veggie doesn’t replace the meat patty. At Burger Parlor, a square of fried mozzarella is the patty that brings envy to all your pals eating cows. The pickled carrots, sprouts and arugula are great companions as well, but the marinated beets really get you to flavor-town.  

Friends, please don’t be scared of beets — they are amazing when done right! The onion rings here are beer battered, which make them of the softer variety and beautifully melt in your mouth. If you want to be a little healthier Burger Parlor allows you to get any of their burgers in salad form or, if cheese isn’t your thing,  you could also sub any of the patties for a portobello mushroom. Also, try the shakes, they get slept on way too often! 

Paula here: We are now officially in the middle of summer, which means we are embarking on fresh delicious veggie season! Beans, corn, sugar snaps, and of course… zucchini!

Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable. You can make anything with it! From sweet zucchini breads to my personal fave Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Zucchini. Luckily, it’s super easy to make and a perfect addition to any summertime BBQ.

Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Zucchini 

Ingredients 

-2 large zucchini sliced thin and length wise

-1/4 cup basil pesto

-1/2  cup goat cheese

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-salt and pepper to taste

-toothpicks

First either fire up your BBQ or start heating up the grill on your stove. Brush the zucchini with olive oil, both sides and place on the grill. Make sure you get those beautiful grill marks. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium high then flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer to a cool plate and set aside for 10 minutes until it has cooled down.

Next, spread a good amount of pesto over each zucchini slice. At the thicker end of the zucchini place some goat cheese. Don’t be shy, goat cheese is life. Once all of that is done start rolling the slice, starting with the goat cheese side, and secure each one with a toothpick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then chill in the fridge for an hour. Such a great little appetizer! Enjoy!

Stay tuned for next week when we feature a Bay Area Bakery and an upcoming event from our friends at Thrillist.

Food Truck Rodeo at the Rochester Public Market

Though it is among my favorite culinary cities, most people don’t associate Rochester, NY with farm to table dining, haute cuisine or award winning farmer’s markets. They should.

A hub of Rochester life for more than 100 years, the Rochester Public Market was voted Best Public Market in the United States back in 2010, beating out the market in Davis, CA. Today it’s more popular than ever, thanks in part to a year round calendar of events that offers something for everyone.

Among my favorites is the monthly food truck rodeo which is held on the last Wednesday of the month starting in April and running through September. The event draws huge crowds for the more than 20 trucks routinely in attendance offering everything from French macarons and sushi to that Rochester staple, the garbage plate.

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cheese and fruit tray

Cheese Board 101 With Work Sharp Culinary

cheese board fruit meat

Cheese boards are perfect for Summer entertaining. With endless options, preparing a board at home can seem overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be. All you need to prepare a beautiful board at home is a platter, a sharp knife, and your food items.

Work Sharp Culinary
Work Sharp Culinary has created a new line of knife sharpeners, the E5, an electric sharpener, and the M3, a manual sharpener. In celebration of being picked up by Williams Sonoma, they generously sent me both these new sharpeners, along with their MicroForged Japanese Knife, and tons of other goodies to review for our Girls on Food readers!

To prepare the items on this cheese board, I used the Work Sharp Culinary M3 sharpener to sharpen my favorite paring knife. Since I use it so frequently, the blade on the knife was quite dull, using the M3 was easy, and restored my blade to it’s original sharpness (maybe even better than new!) I used the diamond rod to shape and restore the blade, and followed up with the ceramic rod to create a razor-sharp edge.

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de Vere’s Lighter Side of Ireland + Thursday Specials

Thursday is the new Friday!

Well, at least if you live in Sacramento and visit de Vere’s, they sure are. And unless you live under a rock and have never been to de Vere’s Irish Pub, not even for one St. Patrick’s Day!

de Vere’s Irish Pub // 1521 L Street – Sacramento, CA 95814 

Last year I brought you Chef Wes Nilssen’s Lighter Side of Ireland and apparently it wasn’t a one-summer wonder, because he’s back at it AGAIN! And thankfully for all the Sacramentans! Most people think of this as the place for beer + footy (soccer for you Americans), but Chef Wes has been consistently working his magic in the back, creating dishes on dishes of goodness that seem to be under ordered, in my humble opinion.

A group of Sacramento’s best and most active food photographers and myself (not one of those said cool photogs) were invited to de Vere’s to try the newest Lighter Side of Ireland menu, the Thursday burger of the month special, and the Thursday Moscow Mule specials. Seriously, ALL three of those things were graciously provided for our group to try, salivate over, and snap some serious food porn.

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