Girls on Food

Julianne

Actress and Founder of Girls on Food: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Sacramento, California. I grew up a typical “McDonald’s kid”. I was very picky about what I ate and refused to try new foods. No fun, I know. My Mom started taking me on trips to Europe when I was a teenager and that’s when my palate for finer foods began to develop. Some of my most memorable favorite meals include Veal Bolognese in Rome, Gyros in Athens, Paella in Lisbon and Duck L’Orange in Paris. While this helped me grow out of a fast food phase, I still eat out quite a bit. I know I should be at home cooking, but I love dining out. I started working in restaurants in various front of the house positions at age 15. Since my start, I’ve worked in every casual restaurant setting you can think of: a teriyaki stand, brewery, sushi nightclub, trendy Mexican, family-style Italian, American diner, pizza parlor and even a BLT themed food truck. I can't help but notice that many of the LA food bloggers don't have any sort of background working in a restaurant. A lot of my perspective on food and dining out comes from my years of experience in the biz. Since starting this blog, I have shot appearances on a couple of cooking competition shows as a taster (including MasterChef Junior and another upcoming show). We have also started producing a Youtube Channel. IMDb page here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2023647/ For this site I contribute content from all over Los Angeles (and the world) to showcase my favorite fine-dining spots, steakhouses, exclusive supper clubs, Hollywood nightlife and our very own #GOFx events, which I plan and coordinate.

Live Life Extra Bold

Take a walk on the wild side. Don’t be intimidated, be intimidating. Take life by the horns and choose extra bold coffee. It will jump-start your morning and prepare you to tackle the day.

Extra bold coffee may not be the right choice for everyone, but if you give it a chance, we think you’ll love it.

What is Extra Bold Coffee?

Extra bold coffee is a way of indicating more concentrated coffee in your brew. For K-cups, extra bold means there’s more coffee flavor in the cup than in a regular K-cup. If you’re brewing extra bold coffee at home, try adding an extra heaping scoop of grounds to the same amount of water.

You’ll find that the taste is a bit stronger, and you’ll catch more glimpses of some of your favorite flavors, as well as some subtle new flavors you never noticed before.

Why Choose Extra Bold?

Giving extra bold a chance may open your eyes to the complex flavors and aromas you never knew were there. Even if you don’t like the stronger flavor, you may discover hints of other flavors you like that you could experiment with in other coffee blends.

Extra bold coffee is also a great way to start off your afternoon and give you energy for the rest of the day. The boost in caffeine may be just the kick in the pants you need to finish strong.

Thick, Rich, and Smooth

Extra bold doesn’t always mean darker. The color of an extra bold cup of coffee will vary just like every other blend. But one of the most surprising things you might notice is how thick your coffee is.

The mouthfeel is fuller than a regular cup of coffee, leaving you feeling more satisfied. The enhanced flavors make your coffee richer and smoother. It’s a decadent way to enjoy more flavor without more calories.

Keep in mind that extra bold does not mean dark roast. There are plenty of light and medium roasts that have extra bold varieties. It simply means more coffee grounds are used in the brewing process, so you can add extra coffee to any roast and it becomes magically extra bold.

Good for More

If you’re constantly brewing large to-go cups in the morning, consider using extra bold K-cups. You can choose the larger mug sizes on your Keurig or single cup brewer and still experience plenty of flavor.

Your extra bold K-cups won’t taste diluted by the extra few ounces of water.

You might also consider brewing your iced coffee using extra bold K-cups. Often, adding ice to your coffee dulls the flavor or waters it down. By using extra bold coffee, you won’t miss out on the bold flavor just by pouring it over ice.

Give extra bold coffee a try and see the delightful difference. Choose an extra bold variety in your favorite brand or branch out and try something new. 11th Street Coffee has all of the extra bold K-cups you need in every flavor you want.

5 Eco – Friendly Food Storage Options to Try

Plastic storage containers, plastic baggies, and plastic wrap come in every shape and size. Many of these plastic options are single-use and quite harmful to the environment in the long run. If you are aiming for a greener lifestyle, eliminate these wasteful storage practices by being eco-friendly instead.

From mason jars to burlap sacks, storing food in a sustainable way reduces the amount of plastic you depend on. This will decrease your carbon footprint over time and help your personal well-being as you feel the impact of healthier practices.

Here are 5 ways to bring eco-friendly food storage into your daily life!

Beeswax Wraps

Beeswax wrap allows you to cover up food without using a storage container. It is a sustainable alternative to aluminum foil and plastic wrap. It is designed to mold around the tops of bowls, cut up fruit, and more. Half-cut onions and avocados thrive with beeswax wrap and tends to last longer than if you used plastic wrap. It can even be folded into a snack pouch! Beeswax wrap can be washed and reused continuously!

Most types of beeswax wraps are made from simple, natural ingredients like organic coconut oil, beeswax, and tree resin. The tree resin is key because it is antibacterial and antimicrobial, so it keeps your food both fresh and clean! Read more information on tree resin to see how beeswax wrap can make your life greener.

Mason Jars

Mason jars are both eco-friendly and cute! They are cheap, especially when buying in bulk, and very versatile. Large jars can be used for flours and grains while a medium jar can be used for a to-go salad. Small jars are great for breakfast parfaits or single-serve desserts. Mason jars can also be used for smoothies, dried herbs, cut veggies, and storing soups.

Every time you opt for a reusable, washable mason jar, you reduce plastic dependency. Plus, you will spend less money over time as you reuse mason jars instead of continuously buying plastic baggies.

Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bags 

If you like sandwich and snack bags, you can find reusable versions that are cost-effective and fun. Most of these reusable options are made of organic cotton or cloth, which are safe for storage and food transportation, washable, and biodegradable. You will save money in the long run since you are not continuously buying the plastic products.

Stainless Steel and Glass Food Storage Containers

It might be hard to part from snap-on lids and stackable containers, but an investment in new products can fix this. Stainless steel and glass food storage containers are sustainable alternatives to plastic. They will be pricier than the plastic counterparts, but they will last longer. The key is tempered glass and food grade steel. Both of these alternatives will be dishwasher safe, and glass containers are microwavable.

Burlap Sacks 

Garlic, onions, potatoes, and other veggies do not need to be stored in plastic bags. Burlap sacks are both functional and eco-friendly for these foods. They provide a dark, dry environment that keeps root veggies fresh for a longer time. Since burlap sacks are made of woven plant fibers, you can compost them when they wear out. For easy cleaning, opt for sacks with removable cotton liners.

Bonus Tip: Commit to Change

Plastic food storage is the default setting for many people. It takes time and thought to transition to any of these eco-friendly options. Keep in mind the long-term impact your short-term decisions will have on the surrounding environment. Committing to this change in your daily life will reduce your overall ecological footprint and support your personal well-being.

Fill Your Body With Anti-Aging Fuel

If you have been paying more attention to how your reflection looks in the mirror, it could be that you are seeing something you don’t like. Perhaps a few gray hairs have sprouted over the last month or there are some fine lines starting to develop around your eyes. You don’t even want to mention the words, but could it be that old age is catching up to you? Before you panic and run to the cosmetic counter for some retinol, consider filling your diet with anti-aging fuel as a way to slow the hands of time. You could introduce magnesium orotate into your diet to keep your teeth strong rather than heading to the dentist for a cosmetic procedure, or even start taking Vitamin C supplements to have radiant skin once again rather than heading for a facial. Here are a few other key products to put in your grocery cart if you want to encourage healthy, glowing skin.

Red Bell Peppers

If you love adding color to your dinner plate, red bell peppers bring more than just beauty to the party. These sweet veggies are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. While vitamin C improves your body’s natural collagen production, antioxidants called carotenoid help kill off free radicals that weaken your immune system. The carotenoids are the colored pigments of fruits and vegetables, but the anti-inflammatory properties are useful in fighting off environmental toxins, pollutions, and sun damage. You’ll notice that many of the foods mentioned on this page have anti-inflammatory properties, which is important as they help to keep your digestive system in full working order and avoid uncomfortable swelling. If you do ever consume trigger foods that cause discomfort, a quick fix is hemp terpenes or any other cannabis-based product, as they also act as anti-inflammatories.

Watercress

Leafy green vegetables have always been considered extremely healthy, but this hydrating green leafy vegetable is able to fill your body with manganese, potassium, phosphorus, potassium, and a range of vitamins from A to K. While this veggie is also full of antioxidants, when watercress is broken down by the digestive system, it works like an internal skin antiseptic. It also boosts the circulatory system and delivers more oxygen to the skin. This can help keep the wrinkles away. Rather than eat a salad of spinach or kale, throw in some watercress for a tasty but healthy change, as it aids in digestion and potentially offers thyroid support.

Papaya

Sweet and juicy, papaya is a superfood rich in nutrients known for improving skin elasticity. In addition to high levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, K, and E, papaya contains the enzyme papain. This enzyme is considered one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory elements. The combination of other nutrients helps your skin slough off dead skin cells, giving papaya a reputation for its exfoliating properties.

Dark Chocolate

It is hard to believe that something so good could be so healthy, but dark chocolate is earning a reputation as a rich source of minerals and antioxidants. Although it had previously been snubbed as sweet, dark chocolate, whether in its raw form or included in cocoa flavanol capsules, has the support of scientific research in matters of health and aging. There is research suggesting that including moderate amounts of dark chocolate into the diet can help reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease, improve cognitive functions, and provide insulin resistance.

Blueberries

If you want to add more antioxidants to your diet, consider throwing a handful of blueberries into your smoothie, salad, or eating them for an afternoon snack. Blueberries contain high amounts of vitamins A and C, but it is also a fruit high in an antioxidant called anthocyanin. This element has been known for its ability to protect the skin from damaging UV rays, stress, and environmental pollution. It has also been effective at slowing collagen loss.

Broccoli

As the body ages, skin loses elasticity and flexibility, creating unsightly wrinkles or lines. With the anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties of broccoli, you can fortify your skin against breakdown. Broccoli is rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, calcium, lutein, and folate, helping increase the body’s production of collagen, reducing bone loss, and improving cognitive functioning.

Don’t wait until the mirror is grabbing your attention and pointing out your age. Fill your diet with anti-aging foods and improve your resistance to skin decline.

4 BBQ Tips That Will Make Your Food Taste Great!

There aren’t many people out there who can say no to a good BBQ. From encouraging group hangouts to filling your plates with delicious, smoky food, BBQs are a great way to celebrate warm weather; something everyone tends to agree on. Sites like BroBBQ, which specialize in BBQ equipment, techniques and technology, all agree and recognize that a good BBQ requires nuance, taste and culture to uphold.

There are many tips and tricks out there to ensure that your BBQ goes amazingly. But, when it comes down to it, the art of the successful BBQ lies in the quality of the food. So, here are some tips to ensure that, at your next BBQ, you can make sure that your food tastes great.

1.     Grill but don’t overdo it.

There’s a science behind delicious food; especially when said food is grilled to perfection. When grilled, the flavor of food is deepened. Meat becomes more savory, enhancing the saltiness of the natural flavors; vegetables become caramelized and sweet, enriching the natural tastes. 

But the main satisfaction from grilling food stems from smell. So, you know when you’re grilling correct when the scents which reach you make you positively salivate! The connection between scent and taste is so important- it accentuates the experience of eating. 

Make sure you don’t over-grill, rendering the scent of your food as burnt like charcoal. Use your senses and play it safe, if you have to! 

2.     Add spices to your meat

Adding flavor and spices to your meat before you cook it is an ideal way to make your food go from 0 to 100. A nice, smoky marinade can really make your BBQ pop. 

A fool-proof method for marinating your meat is foresight. Make sure that, two to three hours before grilling, you take your meat of choice and baste it in whatever seasoning you desire. Try any of these for great flavor:

  • Simple salt
  • Chili
  • Paprika and cayenne mixture
  • Garlic
  • Chili powder
  • Rosemary
  • Pepper
  • Classic BBQ sauce

Whatever marinade you choose doesn’t matter, but don’t compromise on the process. Keep your marinated meat in a nice plastic sandwich bag and let it sit for those few hours. 

3.     The sides you choose are important

Never compromise on your sides- they’re just as important as the meat! 

  • Corn on the cob
  • Coleslaw
  • Salad with a nice lemon or caesar dressing
  • Mac n Cheese
  • Greens

Whatever sides you choose, make sure you select with care. Always assess the quality of ingredients! Usually, a nice full-fat coleslaw complements the smokiness of your meat a lot better than the thinner, lower-fat kind. 

And remember: if you’re doing burgers, give your mayonnaise an extra kick by mixing it with some chili, ketchup and paprika to give it that extra kick.

Don’t forget to pay attention to your grilling techniques when grilling corn or vegetables; your sides are just as important as your meat and require the same amount of care and consistency. 

4.     Get your heat right

This seems obvious, but it’s an important point to note: make sure that the heat of your BBQ is just right, so you can grill without over or under-doing it in the amount of time you have.

Grilling over hot coals is key to ensure you have an overall grill over the surface area of your food. So, don’t grill over a direct flame!

Overall, the key to good BBQ is preparation beforehand. This will ensure that you get the best flavors out of your food. It will also ensure that you can relax, take it easy and enjoy yourself on the actual day, Have fun!

#girlsonfood Insta-Interview With @waystomyheart

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has over 15K uses on Instagram!

I have been looking through all the images and saw that there were so many bloggers/photographers/influencers that I wanted to get to know a little better. So, I created this column, where I interview the folks behind some of most the interesting pages. Many of the people that I will interview have exceptional Instagram followings that are making me a tad jealous!

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Laura Doerr of @waystomyheart, a Minnesota-based food blogger who’s serving up some delish bites out of her own kitchen.

Picture courtesy of @waystomyheart
  • What is the recipe creation process like for you?
    • I get a lot of inspiration from dining out in restaurants and watching a lot of cooking shows! If I love something I order at a restaurant I make a note of what I think the ingredients are and try and recreate it at home. I have a growing list, or you could say an electronic notepad of recipe or meal ideas that randomly come to mind. I always try and make a quick note when things come to mind before I forget! The creation process for me is really trial and error, which is kind of how my blog started. I would always be posting on social media, a dish that I created for dinner, and friends and family would ask for the recipe…well my response would be I don’t have one! So I would attempt to just tell them what was in it until I actually started writing down measurements and creating recipes. I am all about just trying different seasonings, tasting, and then adjusting until I love it!
  • What was your favorite childhood meal that your mom would make?
    • Having a favorite of anything is so hard for me! I would have to say anything “hotdish” related. I was born and raised in Minnesota so any kind of chicken and rice, tator-tot hotdish, or pasta casserole was always my favorite. Anything comfort-food related! Oh…and meatloaf…LOVE a good meatloaf.
Picture courtesy of @waystomyheart
  • Can you tell me one kitchen tool you think is underrated and deserves more love?
    • I absolutely love my garlic press! It’s quick and easy, and I just love the semi-mashed juicy garlic you get from it vs. knife minced garlic. It’s probably my most used tool aside from the trusty cutting board and knife!
  • Do you create recipes with your Instagram audience in mind, or is it all based around what you want out there? 
    • I cook what I love to eat. I try and create a wide variety of foods to appeal to a wide audience, but that is also how I like to eat, variety! I certainly can’t eat pasta every day (although I wish I could) so I try and balance comfort foods with healthy options just as often. I also try and make detailed recipe notes within my recipes for alternative ingredients to adapt to various tastes. A lot of my meals use interchangeable ingredients in order to use up different veggies and proteins that you have on hand.
  • Is there one food item on Instagram you’d like to see less of?
    • No, bring on all the good eats! Avocado toast will never get old, yum!
  • How active are you in the Twin Cities foodie community? Are there meet ups or do you tend to shy away from the scene?
    • I’d consider myself a Twin Cities foodie. Dining out and trying new restaurants is a passion and hobby, just as much as cooking. I am often a go-to person for friends, family, and co-workers when someone is looking for a great recommendation. I’ve been taking food pictures since maybe middle school. I have old school scrapbooks of food pictures from various travels, I like to consider it my original Instagram account. I’ve gotten a little more involved over the last year, and have met a great bunch of other local Twin Cities food bloggers. I am actually quite shy when meeting new people so attending various events is sometimes out of my comfort zone. I’m always VERY glad that I attended after the fact though. I wouldn’t have met any of the other local foodies had I not pushed myself…to go by myself…to some of these events. Friday night date night is our (me and my husband Erik) weekly tradition, and try to visit new restaurants as much as possible, although its so hard not to go back to old favorites!
  • When I think of Twin Cities, I think of the Juicy Lucy, have you ever attempted to recreate it?  
    • Of course! I don’t have a burger version on the blog…however I did turn a version of my meatloaf into Juicy Lucy style mini-meatloaf muffins, yum!
  • You’ve mentioned you cook a lot for husband, which I think is very sweet (I could be better about that myself!) Is he a picky eater?  
    • I would actually consider my husband Erik to be one of the least picky eaters when it comes to my cooking. He is always willing to eat ANYTHING I make, and he only recalls not caring for maybe one or two things…and neither of us can even remember what they were! The only thing I cannot get him on board with is brussels sprouts…like even really really good brussels sprouts…not deep fried…not with bacon…nothing! Although I give him credit for still trying them any time I make or order them just in case something has changed. He’s just not a seafood guy so that is one thing I do not cook often, but again he is always willing to try it! I absolutely love cooking for Erik and am grateful that he is not a picky eater, that would be challenging!
Picture courtesy of @waystomyheart

Be sure to follow @waystomyheart, @girlsonfoodblog and be sure to use that hashtag #girlsonfood to possibly be featured someday!

8 Popular Superfoods that You Might Want to Try

An increasing number of people nowadays are becoming more health-conscious. One of the biggest ways we’ve been able to notice this as a society is through the food market’s options. Health food stores are popping up all around and are doing well, especially among vegetarian and vegan consumers. Various superfood crazes have developed as well. These are foods and supplements that are rich with essential nutrients, many of which are also really delicious. Read on to learn about 8 popular superfoods that you might want to try.

  • Turmeric

Turmeric is a popular spice that is native to Southeast Asia and is particularly prevalent in a lot of Indian cuisine, especially in curries. Turmeric is considered by many to be a superfood because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It also possesses antioxidant properties for fighting thing like cancer and other diseases.

  • Haritaki

Haritaki is another widespread superfood that people have been talking about. It comes from the terminalia chebula tree which, like turmeric, is found widely throughout Southeast Asia. The benefits of Haritaki have been utilized by those in Eastern medicine for hundreds of years. Haritaki is known to improve cognitive function, digestion, and more.

  • Hemp

Although hemp comes from a strain of the cannabis sativa plant, it does not contain the THC that you would find in marijuana. Growing this with information found by looking at weed-seeds.ca is a popular option for those that find continued benefit from using hemp. Hemp can be used for a variety of purposes, including textiles and food. Hemp seeds are a superfood. Because it is a superfood so many people enjoy growing it and adding it to all sorts of recipes. These seeds contain approximately 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons. When made into CBD oils, it can help with treating things like pain, anxiety and insomnia. Nowadays, you can buy CBD oil from places like cbdvillage.co.uk. Unlike marijuana, CBD is legal in most places due to the health benefits (though many believe that marijuana should be fully legal too) and you can even buy it over the counter in health food shops, though make sure that you read the Reviews you can find online thoroughly before partaking in any cannabinoid products. If this is something you’d like to try then it comes in a lot of different forms depending on what you are using it for. You can get it as oils & ingestables, or you can even buy CBD vaping products.

  • Matcha
Matcha!

You may have seen that the matcha trend has found its way into popular coffee establishments, such as Starbucks. Matcha is kind of like green tea in a powder form and can be added to foods and drinks for its unique taste and texture. It is also full of antioxidants that help fight things like heart disease and viruses.

  • Flax Seeds

One reason that flax seeds are a highly praised superfood is because they are easy to add to any dish, smoothie, baked item, and more. Flax seeds contain a lot of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. The seeds can also be used to create flaxseed oil. Flax has been thought to help lower your cholesterol.

  • Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are full of fiber so they do a great job of keeping you full and focused. Chia seeds can be consumed a lot of different ways. They go well in breakfast items like oats, smoothies, yogurt, and more. They absorb a lot of water so some people add them to drinks as well.

  • Acai
Acai

Acai berries are a type of berry that can be found throughout South America. They have become a common addition to many dishes like granola bowls, smoothies, and more. The number of fun recipes out there for this little berry continues to grow. Acai berries have been praised for their abundance of nutrients such as heart-healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants.

  • Garlic

Many people are surprised when they hear that garlic is a superfood. Garlic contains many different nutrients and compounds, such as its various sulphur compounds. Garlic has been thought to help the immune system fight common sicknesses. Garlic has also been shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Now that you have read about 8 common superfoods, go out and try them! You can be sure to find plenty of new recipes that feature some of these foods as key ingredients.

In addition to these popular superfoods, there are many other foods out there that are nutrient rich or have special health benefits that you can pair with these easy to blend superfoods.

Importing A Little La Dolce Vita Into My LA Life!

This post was sponsored by the Italian Trade Agency as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own

A few weeks before my month-long trip to Italy, I learned I had una pagnotta nel forno (translation – a bun in the oven). I was over-the-moon on a personal level but on a self-centered level… how was I going to enjoy all the wine, non-pasteurized cheeses and cured meats Italy is known for? Since Italian wines (red, white and everything in between) happen to be my favorite out of the old world regions, this really hit me hard. With over 20 wine regions, Italy has so much diversity in grape varietals, so much history behind the wines. Plus, I find them to be more budget-friendly.

How could I really spend a month in Italy and not indulge in La Dolce Vita?

The answer: I just indulged differently. I savored every moment with my husband, soaked up all the culture surrounding me, feasted my eyes upon art, roamed historic stairways and devoured an endless supply of pasta.

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Although I felt a little left out during prosecco toasts, I took pictures of all the wine lists from restaurants we dined at, this way, I could catch up responsibly after my baby was born. I found many varietals on menus that I could purchase from my local wine shop. When I stopped breastfeeding, I decided to make up for lost time and see if I could emulate an Italian vacation through my wine tastings.

Even though I wasn’t sipping on the wines while I was in Italy, tasting them at home still reminds me of so many vacation memories. With the right bottle of wine, the type of a varietal can bring you right back to specific places: a glass of Sangiovese reminded me of twirling spaghetti carbonara with my fork in Rimini, a dry Pecorino took me to a beautiful wedding in a small Tuscan town called Pienza, and a Frizzante wine, meaning “effervescent,” transported me to the iconic Portofino harbor. My tastings at home really reminded me that you can actually taste the passion the winemakers add to every bottle. 

After tasting so many different varietals in my own osteria (ok, fine, my kitchen) I decided it could be fun to bring that sense of La Dolce Vita into my own life with California culture-inspired pairings.  

One of the most versatile Italian wines for pairing with LA-centric dishes is definitely Pinot Grigio. Sure, it’s often labeled quaffable by wine snobs, since there are many producers all over the world (in Italy, you’ll find this varietal in multiple regions, but it flourishes particularly in Trentino-Alto Adige.) My challenge to you is to hit up your local wine shop and invest in a DOC labeled Italian Pinot Grigio (usually over $15) for your next dinner party. I guarantee once they get hit with the light fruity and floral notes, you’ll be asked, “what bottle is that?” 

My favorite pairing so far is Pinot Grigio and ceviche. A good Pinot Grigio delivers a punchy acidity that works beautifully with the mix of tart, salt, and seafood flavors that a ceviche packs. A refreshing Pinot Grigio can work well with many other Latin dishes as well, especially items that have a lot of heat to them.

Bonus: if you’re making ceviche at home, try adding a splash of Pinot Grigio to the mixture for a little extra zest.  

Being more experimental with my wine tastings has expanded my foodie horizons. For more information on the Italian wine regions, check out Extraordinary Italian Wines. I encourage you to add a little #LaDolceVita to your meals as well but please, drink responsibly. 

Any upcoming Italian wine pairings you want me to taste? Let me know in the comments below! 

Yountville Live 2019 – Our Favorite Luxury Food, Wine And Music Weekend Returns

Duck Confit by Bottega from Yountville Live 2017

Julianne here- I am so excited for the 5th annual Yountville Live, featuring world class food, wine and live music, that I will be driving up from LA to bring you coverage. This year, the ultimate getaway takes place March 14th – 17th, 2019 with events all over Napa Valley.

Image provided by Yountville Live

Many beloved Napa Valley wineries including Handwritten Wines, Jessup Cellars, Regusci Winery, AXR Napa Valley, Vineyard 29, Mersenne Wines, Whetstone Wine Cellars, Stewart Cellars, Robert Mondavi Winery, Y. Rousseau Wines, Azimuth Estate Wines, Anthem Winery, Peju Province, Trefethen, Harumph Wines, Hewitt/Provenance, Beringer and more will be providing wine tastings for attendees. The four day exclusive event will feature food by favorite Napa Valley restaurants including La Toque, Las Alcobas, Bounty Hunter, Angele, Tarla, Mustards, Zuzu, Basalt, Bistro Jeanty, Ottimo, Kollar Chocolates, Bottega and more. Confirmed culinary talent participating this year are author, chef, cyclist and philanthropist, Chris Cosentino, award-winning chef and restaurateur Timothy Hollingsworth and host of NBC’s Health + Happiness, Joy Bauer.

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth

Having attended the 2017 event myself, and scoping out GOF blogger Brianna‘s coverage of last year, I know how incredible this experience is, and every year keeps getting bigger and better. Also, very happy to see one of my favorite LA chefs, Timothy Hollingsworth, getting in on the fun, I’ve been to Otium more than a handful of times now.

From 2017 Yountville lIve at Brix Restaurant and Garden

Yountville Live is a 4-day event celebrating everything that shapes Napa Valley into the culture we know and love: wineries, exceptional cuisine, music, and art. I’ll be attending several of the tastings, concerts and cooking workshops and providing the live coverage on our Instagram, @girlsonfoodblog, so make you’re keeping up with our stories.

Ahi Tuna Poke from Celadon at Yountville Live 2018

Although the foodie in me is salivating over the chefs involved, the soft rock enthusiast is also thrilled for music and food pairings. Here are some of the key events for the Yountville Live VIP:

The Eight at Eight Dinners on Thursday, 3/14 are private dinners held at a select Napa Valley winery. Each dinner will be coursed out, feature a wine pairing and live music. I cannot wait to reveal which dinner I will be attending!

Master Class Experiences on Friday, 3/15 are one of my favorite parts of this event. Local chefs and restaurateurs teach attendees the tricks of trade with cooking classes at some of Yountville’s favorite spots.

Chef Graham Elliot at the 2017 Red Carpet Gala

The Red Carpet Gala also on Friday, 3/15 is gourmet food lovers paradise. The 4 course, star-studded gala in 2017 was such an extravagant event, I cannot wait for this year.

The Taste of Yountville and Grand Cru Wine Tastings, Saturday, 3/17 at the Pavillion and the Social at The Estate Yountville will be featuring tastings of some of Napa Valley’s most beloved bites and awarded wines.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken by Smoke Catering, 2017

This event concludes Sunday, 3/18 with a Bubbles Brunch.The live music will be presented by CMT Next Women of Country, featuring performances by Kelleigh Bannen, Ingrid Andress, Natalie Stovall and Lauren Duski as we enjoy a brunch of open-fire cooked foods.

There’s still time to get tickets! Check out the schedule here to purchase, earlybird tickets are sold out but individual tickets are on sale now for $195 per person. If you’re there, please be sure to say hello, and we can sip some wine together!

Bubbles Brunch, 2017

To keep up with this me at the event, be sure to follow @girlsonfoodblog for live stories and pictures. A full post is coming next week! CHEERS!

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

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