Girls on Food

fried chicken

Hamming It Up At The Haam in Toronto

The Haam is the place to dine if you’re feeling adventurous and want to try unique mashups. Situated in the Entertainment District of Toronto, the vibes here are cool and homey while still pumping out the beats for a meal right before you hit the streets. In Korean, “haam” means to add more, additional to make the best (hence the plus symbol in their logo); they definitely add that extra oomph to make their dish the best that it can be. Keep in mind, that The Haam does love to experiment with different dishes and techniques, so they will be having a rotating menu and these dishes may or may not be available; which does make it even more exciting to visit!

The Haam
342 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1R7

Seabass: gochojang, cucumber, extra virgin olive oil, fish skin

The mixture of the balsamic vinaigrette and gochugang (Korean red chilli paste) gives you a nice combo of sweet and spicy that complement the clean seabass crudo. Grab a complete bite of the sauced up seabass with the refreshing cucumber, and crunchy fried fish skin; it’ll hit all the taste buds and provide all different textures that will leave you satisfied.

Scallop: ikura, red onion, yam, avocado, shallot

This scallop plate is super refreshing with a light and citrusy dressing. The fried shallots provide a bit of crunch, the ikura (salmon roe) gives a little bursts of flavour and saltiness and the yam smear ties the entire dish together with a bit of sweetness.

Macbokki: gochujang, cauliflower, smoked cheddar, provolone, gruyere, za’atar

The Macbokki, is probably my favourite item we had. This is a tteokbokkif (Korean rice cake) version of mac and chesse but gochujang style. So creamy with the just right amount of spice (from the gochujang), not too rich with all the cheeses but there is a slight sweetness that just rounds out the dish. To top off the dish are the huge taro chips that are just so much fun to eat with.

Fried Chicken: curry, sambal, mint

Now, who doesn’t love fried chicken?! For those that are a bit uncertain of the dishes above, this one will soothe your soul. Hearing of the combination of the three sauces may sound strange but amazingly enough the three combined create a symphony of sweet, minty and spicy. Alternatively, all three sauces are just as magnificent on their own! Also cannot forget about the super crunchy chicken that is perfectly friend and is straight up KFC (Korean Fried Chicken).

Holy Crab!: Soft shell crab, scallop, shrimp, squid

This rice dish simply reminds me of a seafood paella. My most favourite seafood paella that I had had a sweetness to it that just combined the seafood along with the rice in a way that I just wanted to keep on eating it; this dish plays that exact same role. There’s just a sweetness that just makes you want to keep eating until every last grain is complete. To help balance the sweetness is the fried soft shell crab that provided a bit of saltiness and that crunch factor that is needed in all rice dishes.

Aburi Chirashi: uni, tuna, salmon, shiso, ikura, garlic mayo, truffle

To wrap up our entire meals is the final touch of the Aburi Chirashi. A traditional chirashi consists of sushi rice and fresh raw fish. This dish consists of a bed of the sushi rice with fresh uni, tuna and salmon laid at top of the rice, topped with garlic mayo and torched to perfection (aburi). Aburi (torched sushi) is a very popular style here in Toronto and this dish is definitely a unique and different take on it. The torching provides a melt in your mouth feel that just with every bite you feel like you are eating something so decadent and it feels so wrong but tastes so good.

The Haam makes you feel like you’re at home and your mom/dad decides to come up with an experimental meal to wow you; except, that The Haam does wow you every time without fault. They have only been open for a bit over a month now and I can tell you that you can expect some fairly unique (and even daring) dishes coming out of this little spot. I cannot wait to see what other creations they have in store!

Clucking Around in Lewisville, TX: Prohibition Chicken

Prohibition Chicken is the collaboration of Josh Babb and Sean Clavir (formerly of Musume, The Chop Shop and Chop Shop Live) and Chef Roger Kaplan (Restaurant Innovations). In addition to its great location, they chose Lewisville for the restaurant’s site because it lends itself to the old country vibe they were seeking.

Prohibition Chicken
201 W. Church Street, Lewisville, TX 75057

The dining room is wonderfully rustic yet chic. The walls are covered in wood and the comfy booths are covered in flour sacks.

Rustic interior with natural lighting. Check out the phone booth door leading to the speakeasy.


Rice and Shine! Chef AC Boral Serves Up His Filipino Brunch via Feastly

Good food is all the sweeter when shared with good friends.

To get $10 in Feastly credit, use this link:

I was invited to try Feastly, an online marketplace connecting epicurean customers to pop-up events hosted by their choice in a chef. Being a “Feaster”, I hopped onto their site and found a brunch that peaked my interest. I had already heard of Chef AC Boral’s Rice and Shine Brunches, he’s established a cult-following all over the country, so when I saw he was one of the chefs I could purchase a feast with, I was beyond giddy. The pop-up was easy to book on their site and I looked forward to his Filipino-American brunch.


KABOOM Chicken: The REAL KFC in Toronto

KABOOM Chicken
722 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H2

KABOOM Chicken is one of the newest and hottest Korean street food spots in Toronto! Starting from various food festivals over Summer 2016 to now a brick and mortar shop at a new and upcoming block, KABOOM Chicken is definitely exploding out in the Toronto food scene. They definitely define and bring out the REAL KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) to Toronto.


Make a Dash to Holler & Dash in Celebration, FL

Holler & Dash Biscuit House
6288 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy., Celebration, FL 34747

On a recent trip to Florida, I stumbled upon Holler & Dash Biscuit House…a quick glance at the menu and I knew I needed to put some south in my mouth! The brand currently has 4 locations in Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee, and is a fast-casual concept from parent company Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc.
Holler & Dash Biscuit House
Tucked inside a small shopping center, Holler & Dash is conveniently located near Orlando-area attractions and theme parks, while being off the beaten path.

They serve up a variety of Southern-style biscuit sandwiches, and other specialties like grit bowls, tot bowls, and beignets. While hearty options abound, they also offer lighter options, such as half biscuits, or a bed of kale in place of biscuits on their signature menu.


Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton in Toronto

Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton
2439 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4P 2E7

Exterior photo courtesy of Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton

Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton roughly translates into Indonesian Small Family Restaurant at Eglinton. You can find this restaurant a couple of blocks north of a relatively busy business area of Yonge and Eglinton. They serve Indonesian style food in a comfortable and homey environment and prepare their food from scratch to order which allows you the time to just relax in the atmosphere. Recently, my boyfriend and I were invited to a media tasting of this restaurant from DKLO Events and had our first try of Indonesian food!

Toronto is a fairly multicultural city. However, it ‘s hard to come by new cuisines if you are not already familiar with it or if not recommended. This Indonesian restaurant specializes in providing their customers with customized meals. What do I mean by that? They offer a “Set Your Own Meal” option where you can choose two veggie appetizers, one veggie appetizer, and one entree served with rice. This tasting provided us with this opportunity to set our own meal!


Right Proper Brewery’s Shaw Brewpub & Kitchen: DC’s Neighborhood Pub

There are so many little gems in the Shaw neighborhood of D.C., and it’s quickly becoming my favorite place to eat, drink and play.

On a HOT 90 degree day last week, my original dinner plans fell through, and I found myself wandering the streets looking for an alternative. Luckily, I spotted Right Proper’s Shaw Brewpub.


Right Proper Brewing Co. – Shaw Brewpub & Kitchen

624 T Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

The brewpub is easy to miss if you’re not looking. It’s located on a small side street off the main road and next to the iconic Howard Theater. From the entrance, it seems small but inside is a large bar and tons of seating space. You can choose from a more bar-standup-table feel in the back, or sit in the restaurant and enjoy both private and communal dining.

Led by Executive Chef Jonatan Bohr, expect to see many southern staples coming out of his beer-rightproperkitchen like Fried Okra, Fried Chicken, Fried Green Tomatoes & Grits and of course Baked Mac & Cheese. The dessert was the only slightly disappointing part of the menu, except for the “Messy Ice Cream Sandwich.” I’ll come back for that.

Lastly, of course, since it doubles as a brewery, make sure to try one of their craft beers! Right Proper has a 5-barrel brewing system, which is small enough to allow them to experiment with new beers, so expect the beer offerings to change almost daily.

Food rundown

Cheese Plate

You can order a plate with 3 or 5 kinds of cheese and choose from a list of 15-20 options.


Baked Six Cheese Mac & Cheese

It should be a rule of thumb that you never pass up Mac & Cheese when it’s on a menu. This Mac & Cheese was a bowl of ooey gooey cheese-y perfection and the perfect portion for one.


Housemade Hot Wings

Made with their house wing sauce, these were crack!


Southern Fried Chick-Filet

Of course, no Southern-inspired meal would be complete without fried chicken. The chicken was moist on the inside and extra crunchy on the outside, just like I like it. The addition of Boursin cheese created a mouthful of flavor.


Right Proper’s Shaw Brewpub felt very much like a neighborhood bar/restaurant, where the staff is chill and laid back, welcoming you into their “home” and hosting you as an esteemed guest. The “southern hospitality” vibe is real here, which pairs well with their southern comfort inspired dishes. Can’t wait to come back!

Blue Door Kitchen & Garden: Southern Bites In Chicago

IMG_0852Chef Art Smith, former personal chef to Oprah (swoon), recently revitalized his highly successful, Chicago restaurant TABLE fifty-two and has turned it into Blue Door Kitchen & Garden. Art has always had a farm-to-table mindset and has kept that as a theme for this new spot.

I don’t have a reference for what TABLE fifty-two was all about as sadly, I never made it in (give me a break, I live in LA!). I was able to make it into his reconstructed new restaurant for Southern bites in a rustic atmosphere.

Blue Door Kitchen & Garden
52 W. Elm Street, Chicago, IL 60610


IMG_0853The ambiance aims to be laid-back and have a southern comfort feel to it. Being from LA, I’m used to dining out in jeans and a shirt, even in finer dining. I felt a little out of place here. Maybe Chicago just hasn’t caught up to the casual West Coast wardrobe mindset?  Maybe I was slightly out of place but for good food, I can deal. IMG_0854To start, you are given complimentary Sweet Potato Chips and Hummus. Such an upgrade from bread and butter and great one at that.

I started with a glass of one of the best rosés I’ve ever had, Angels & Cowboys, a Grenache blend from Sonoma County. This pale pink wine is dry and has a very faint fruitless to it. This glass paired perfectly with all of my food. Fans of  cult favorite Whispering Angel would love this rosé.


IMG_0855IMG_0858We started with a couple of great bites. The Little Farm on the Prairie Deviled Eggs (left) vary daily. The batch we had were topped with broccolini, almonds and a lovely soy based glaze. Then we had the Charred Eggplant Pierogis, which were crispy with a creme fraiche sauce underneath. I loved the smoky, savory eggplant on the inside. Yum!


The Brussels & Kale Salad was one of this table’s favorite. The sweet and garlicky maple tahini vinaigrette works well with the kale and brussels, and the bacon provides a meaty punch.

IMG_0857Aren’t these bad boys pretty? This is the Purple Potato Gnocchi with Parmesan, peas, pickled carrots, tarragon and mint. Loved the presentation and the gnocchi was deceptively filling. This is a great side to go with my next item…




The Buttermilk Fried Chicken is an item that Art Smith kept on the menu from TABLE fifty-two and I’m thankful he did. The battered skin is crisp to perfection, the meat is plump and juicy, this is hands down dome of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. The flaky batter to meat ratio was on point.

IMG_0861Then we decided to cool off with the Raspberry Rosé Vacherin. It starts at the bottom with a Vacherin cheese meringue crisp, topped with a raspberry rosé granita, then topped with more meringue, bee pollen, tarragon and candied ginger. I was a little worried the meringue would get soggy, but it actually held a hard shell through the melting granita. These flavors all played beautifully together. I especially loved the tarragon pop in there. Even though we left in a rush to catch a movie, I had the server bring me a little container for the meringues on top that I couldn’t get to. I was not going to let those go to waste.

All of the items ordered tasted fresh off the farm. The great flavors, filing portions and Southern charm will have me coming back for more (especially since I need to try that Chicago Cut Ribeye). If you’re in Chicago, be sure to check out Blue Door Kitchen & Garden.

Roister in Chicago: Southern Girl on Food Approved!

951 West Fulton Market Place, Chicago, Illinois 60607

When the Alinea Group announced in 2015 that they were introducing a casual dining concept, people were waiting with bated breath to see what would develop, myself included. Well known for its innovative and provocative spin on food, the group boasts quite the list of high-caliber restaurants and bars within the Chicago area.  Roister was no exception.

The definition of the word roister is enjoying oneself or celebrating in a loud or boisterous way.   As soon as you enter the restaurant, you feel a sense of revelry and can immediately tell that this place is going to live up to its name.

As we were escorted downstairs, “Girls just wanna have fun” was blaring through the speakers. It set the tone for the evening.   I was already singing along and dancing in my seat.   To start, the chef presented us with Aged Cheddar Rillettes.  Such amazing cheesy goodness.  Typically, rillettes are a meaty pate made of pork, but this was a melt in your mouth cheddar cheese combination served over hearth roasted sourdough bread topped with cauliflower and onion.  Knead I say more?!?  Cheesy, I get it.   🙂

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IMG_6351Following that little palate teaser, we had the “choose your own adventure” course: green tomato gazpacho. Normally, I am not one for cold soup. I have nothing against it, but not my go to. Chef presented us with our bowl of gazpacho along with three different toppings to make it our own: charred avocados, green tomato salsa, and a creamy Greek yogurt. Holy Flavor Batman.   The creaminess of the Greek yogurt combined with the acidity of the gazpacho created this perfectly textured soup. Delish!



While I could go course by course, I will cut to the chase and get to what this southern girl had been reading about for weeks, the Whole Chicken and Chamomile.  Literally, the week before, I read an article about Roister having the best fried chicken in Chicago.  Sure, I thought. It may be the best in Chicago, but can it withstand some of the mouthwatering chicken produced in my hometown?   I had been watching the chefs make this dish all night long.  The anticipation was killing me.  Finally, chef presented us with this heaping pile of fried chicken garnished with these dainty little daisies.   On the side were two different sauces:  chicken gravy and a sunchoke Habanero hot sauce.   I eagerly tried both sauces.  I chose to keep it classic and went with the chicken gravy.  As I pulled over one of the pieces of chicken to my plate, I drizzled the white gravy on top and began to feast.   The flavor was NOTHING like I had ever experienced in my life. I couldn’t put my finger on it, so I called the chef over for a little help.  I asked “what is this flavor? It’s ridiculous!”  Chef replied that it was the chamomile tea and buttermilk marinade. The chicken was melting in my mouth. The perfect combination of sweet and savory.  While I was drowning in this sea of deliciousness, “Some Kind of Wonderful” started playing.  How apropos. Needless to say, even the smallest crumb was gone from the plate, and I joked with the chefs asking if I could get some of the chicken gravy to bring back to Nashville.


The Alinea Group has knocked it out of the park, yet again. Roister is a seamless transition from kitchen to dining room encouraging guests to interact with the chefs as dishes are prepared and revel in the dining experience.

Just for fun, some of the other dishes that were served.  Enjoy!


Top: Strawberries and Milk: Mint cake, Kosher salt with Strawberry jam and Strawberry pearls
Middle: Whole Chicken and Chamomile
Bottom: Smoked Island Creek Oysters with Parmesan, Yuzu and Horseradish on top of a bed of seaweed and wood chips.

Birdies LA: Chicken ‘n Donuts in DTLA

Fried chicken and waffles will always be a match made in heaven and one of my favorite dishes. But Birdies LA, which opened about a month and a half ago just challenged my perception. Let me introduce to you the concept of fried chicken and donuts.

Birdies LA 
314 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Oreo Cream Donut
Oreo Cream Donut
birdies la 2
Lemon Thyme Pistachio

Birdies has a variety of fresh fried small batch donuts and fried chicken. You can order fried chicken by the piece or in a combo with your donut. But I decided to go the route of donuts and fried chicken sandwich, cause I kept seeing it floating around on Instagram. Fried chicken sandwiches can be haunting.

One thing you should know (even though this is info their adorable staff will volunteer) is that you can sample ANY of the donuts before committing. Of course, in total fat kid fashion, I tested all of them. After trying them all, I decided on the Lemon Thyme Pistachio.

This donut is so fresh fried to perfection. The actual donut was not too dense but not too airy and had a slight sweetness to it. The frosting was also just right and didn’t overkill or get that weird stiffness from sitting out too long.


birdies la 3
Birdies Spicy

For my sandwich, I ordered the Birdies Spicy, a fried chicken breast sandwich: coleslaw, ghost pepper mayo, Tillamook pepper jack & cured pickles. Then (again, I’m a total fat kid) I added a fried egg to it. It’s yummy, messy and hot. All the flavors work beautifully together, and that fried chicken held it crispiness even when drenched with the sauces. I’m beyond impressed with this sandwich, and when I finally work out the kinks on our “Best of” page, this sandwich will be front and center!

24K Gold Donut
24K Gold Donut

The Sous Chef Jake also let me pick his brain about an item on the menu: The infamous 24K donut, you may have seen floating around on our page. That donut is REAL! It’s actually 24K gold crusted and will set you back $100. I am a hood-rat that can’t afford such luxury but if I could…

birdies 5For those of us who are all about champagne wishes and caviar dreams but on a tight budget, there is a more approachable option. Birdies offers a lightly speckled 24K crusted donut option for $9.50. Today it was on a Red Velvet donut. I had a taste, and I cannot tell you how amazing the red velvet is. It doesn’t have that food coloring taste I usually complain about. Just fresh sweet and creamy goodness.




birdies 6Birdies LA is in DTLA, but it’s in an area with a decent amount of street parking, so if you don’t want to pay for an all day lot, you should be fine. It’s casual, so you do order at the counter, and there’s counter seating. It may be tough to accommodate a large group here at this moment, but you could always eat curbside too.

Birdies is an LA must try! Get in there now before the lines are around the corner!


New York State of Mind: The Big Apple Part 1

I went to New York City to visit my BFF Marcie and watch my pal Molly Ryan ( record songs for an upcoming album. It wouldn’t be a fun trip if I didn’t try the affordable Bourdain’s list spots ( and other spots in between. Here are the food highlights from my trip in a 3 part post.

Russ & Daughters
179 E Houston St
(between East Houston St & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10002
Marcie lives in East Village and one day when she was working I decided to wander the streets myself. I didn’t know I was going to stumble upon the place, I remembered Tiffany posting in the “Bucket List” so it was perfect timing!
Hmmm…. Where I have I seen this place before? Oh yeah, I saw Parker Posey feed Louis C.K. a sliver of smoked salmon on the show “Louie”. It’s cramped like a traditional NYC place. There is an overwhelming selection of smoked fish here. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out what I wanted. I finally asked the counter guy his favorite and I went with that.
I had the pleasure of eating my Norwegian Smoked Salmon on a Bialy with cream cheese and capers with a fantastic view….
Trash bags aside, the smoked salmon had a smokey and buttery taste that puts it on a whole other level of amazing. I want to go back and try the Pastrami cured salmon.
 Sylvia's 1

Sylvia’s Restaurant
328 Malcolm X Blvd
New York, NY 10027
Walking around Harlem was so much fun. I went to the Harlem market, grooved to an Ella Fitzgerald tribute band and saw the Apollo theatre.
  Slyvia's 2
I stopped into Sylvia’s, a popular Soul Food spot in Harlem. I was a little concerned when I sat down and noticed a hot sauce bottle with Sylvia’s face on it- did I accidentally stumble into a chain restaurant? No, her hot sauce is just that popular/amazing and has been sold to the masses. Phew!
I got the fried chicken with collard greens and mac ‘n cheese. The greens were a little soggier than I prefer and the chicken could’ve used more spice (Sandra Dee’s in Sacramento has the best spices for their fried chicken).I’ve eaten a lot of mac ‘n cheese in my lifetime and this was the creamiest, dreamiest kind I’ve ever had. Made the trip in there well worth it.