Girls on Food

Cocktails

SF Eats: Nopalito

 I’ve lived in California all my life. This has influenced me in many ways: I talk fast, say the word “like” more times than I’ll ever admit, and I have a deep, undying love for Mexican food. It makes up a solid 60% of my dining out experiences as it is and if I lived a little closer to this place, that number would skyrocket…
306 Broderick St. – San Francisco
nopalitosf.com
It’s a quaint, casual spot with a menu meant for sharing and a small but potent cocktail list. The margaritas are a given but I found this little gem to be the perfect way to kick off the meal:

 

El Diablo
Pueblo Viejo Blanco, Cassis, Bundaberg Ginger Beer, Lime

 

Totopos con Chile
Tortilla Chips, Salsa de Arbol, Cotija Cheese, Crema and Lime
It’s hard to go wrong with their sustainable, organic menu but there are two things you shouldn’t skip out on. The first is this incredible take on “nachos.” The chips are drenched in the fiery salsa and the cool sour cream with fresh lime is the perfect complement. You’ll be tempted to resist this one so as not to “fill up” before the main courses, but my advice? Just come hungry! You won’t want to miss out on anything because it’s all spectacular…
Ceviche Verde de Pescado
Marinated Fish, Lime, Tomatillo, Jalapeno, Cilantro, Avocado

 

Empanada con Desebrada de Res
Fried Masa Pastry, Grass-Fed Beef, Tomato, Jalapeno, Cabbage, Avocado,
Queso Fresco and Salsa Frita de Guajillo

 

Carnitas
Braised Pork, Orange, Bay Leaf, Milk, Cinnamon, Beer, Cabbage Salad,
Pickled Jalapeno and Salsa de Tomatillo
Carnitas is basically my favorite thing on every menu it makes its way onto, and it’s especially good here. The same goes for ceviche. I’ve ordered both every visit and plan to continue this trend.
Whatever you choose though, be sure to pace yourself because the second thing you mustn’t skip out on (no matter how much you’ve had to eat or drink) is dessert.
Mexican Coffee: Siete Leguas Anejo, Araku, Whipped Cream, Orange, Canela
Popsicles: Cafe con Leche & Dark Chocolate Cinnamon
The popsicle flavors rotate but the dark chocolate cinnamon has been on the menu every time I’ve been and it’s incredible. They also serve Blue Bottle coffee, which is fantastic by itself but I highly recommend the tequila spiked version above. I’m not really a “dessert cocktail” type of person, shy away from the sweet drinks for the most part, but this is one I could begin AND end every day with.
Mexican Wedding Cookies

Oh, and did I mention dessert comes in two courses? They save their amuse-bouche for the end of the meal! This single, perfectly crumbly bite will put a smile on your face as you walk out the door, already dreaming about your next trip back.

Nashville Eats: City House

Juno – Junipero Gin, Blanc Vermouth,
Prosecco, Grapefruit
When I first started traveling to Nashville for work I wasn’t quite sure what to think. It’s not exactly a “foodie” city and I’m not a country music fan. Two strikes. It did surprise me though. First, you have to love a city with live music at the airport. Second, you have to love a city where cute, gentlemanly boys can refer to you as “sweet love” and it’s charming, not offensive. (West Coast Boys: This is not recommended, possible drink-in-the-face results.) And the final thing that made me do a complete 180 on this city was the discovery of one of my favorite restaurants in the country…
City House
1222 4th Ave N.
Nashville, TN 37208
cityhousenashville.com

Reservations are recommended but if you show up and there’s a long wait, sit it out at the bar and enjoy one of their fabulous cocktails! They are all incredibly intriguing and fun but my favorite is the “Juno.” Close runners up include the “Bandit” (Averna, Grapefruit Juice, Ginger Ale, Lime) and the “Moose” (Cynar, House-Infused Lemon Vodka, Peach Bitters, Bitter Lemon Soda).

Frico – Montasio Cheese, Potato
It’s a shared plates type of dining experience and they’re all good so you can’t really go wrong but I feel compelled to share the staple items we just can’t bring ourselves to skip no matter how many trips we make back here. The “Frico” above is the first and simplest dish, cheese on potatoes, but it’s not to be taken lightly. The seven year old inside you will scream with delight at the first bite. My feeling, you have to admire a restaurant of this caliber serving fried cheese with confidence.
House Made Garlic Sausage, Lemon, Red Onion, Parsley – with Cheesy Grits
Another favorite is their sausage – always different, always incredible. It comes with your choice of sides and while all have sounded great we always seem to go with the cheesy grits. Without regret.
Pizza – House Made Belly Ham, Mozzarella, Grana Padano, Oregano, Chilies – with a Sunny Side Egg
When you’re scanning the menu choose your pizza first, it’s what they do best. Then factor in the egg you’ll have to add on top because, trust me. And build the rest of your menu around that. The egg option isn’t on the menu, you have to ask. Definitely ask.
With one more trip out on my calendar I’m looking forward to finally trying out their “Sunday Supper,” a special menu designed to test out new dishes. I’m especially intrigued by the entire section labeled “Pork Snacks”! Oh City House, you get me.

Valentine’s Day in NYC

Oh Valentines Day…you either love it or you hate it. But either way, it’s a great day to overindulge. Two of my favorite things to overindulge on is cheese and chocolate. Throw a couple glasses of wine in there, and we have the perfect evening. Luckily NYC has some amazing places to choose from. If you’re looking for a practical present this year, take a look at these cheap life insurance quotes.

Beecher’s New York
Flatiron District
900 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

Beecher’s is a homemade cheese shop upstairs, and downstairs in The Cellar, is a small dark restaurant and lounge area. We arrived around 6pm, and for only being open one hour, was completely packed. The hostess told us it would be about 20 minutes for a table. Something I thought was interesting is that we were ID’ed upon walking into the restaurant. Only 21 and over allowed? Oh, yes please. We walk over to the bar, and order two glasses of wine. They have $6 wine specials for happy hour which was awesome.

We tried a few of their cheeses and a vegetarian flatbread, but one thing that stood out was their homemade penne mac and cheese with curried cauliflower and sweet onions. It was rich, creamy, fresh, and so so SO delicious. I could of eaten an entire bowl of the curried cauliflower with cheese sauce. One order of the mac was about $16, and more than plenty to share.

Beecher’s also has a smaller cheese shop at Pike’s Place in Seattle for my west coasters.

Max Brenner
841 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

After dinner, we walked across Union Square to Max Brenner, which is a chocolate restaurant with chocolate everything. They even had a separate bar for just chocolate-related non-alcoholic beverages. We went for a fondue sampler, which featured their housemade white chocolate, milk chocolate, and caramel fondue. For dipping, they provided us with strawberries, bananas, cookies, and pound cake. We paired our fondue with a glass of Columbia Crest Sauvignon Blanc and a Tiramisu inspired cocktail, garnished with a lady finger.

The beehive looking ceramic pots were awesome and practical way to keep the chocolate warm. I’m hoping to find one of these to make some fondue at home!

Yuppie Moonshine Diary: Chapter 2 (The Chocolate Experiments)

Three more concoctions were sealed up in jars yesterday. Some girls have a closet full of shoes, some have a closet full of booze…

My first recipe called for a whole coconut. I had never cracked a coconut before. This did not go well. I’m positive this is NOT how it should look when you “tap it with a hammer along the equator and pry it apart with your hands.” (Sounds simple, right?) This is the result of whacking away at it with a hammer (both sides of the hammer!) like a mad woman and then struggling to pry it open further and failing. I don’t even want to admit the amount of time it took me to get this little coconut into pieces in a jar. (Hour and a half, maybe two. Yikes!)

CHOCOLATE COCONUT LIQUEUR

750 mL vodka
1 whole coconut
1 cup cacao nibs

The inspiration for this one is Zico’s Dark Chocolate Coconut Water. I crave that stuff day and night, it’s a little ridiculous.

The plan for this is to let it steep for 8 days. Then, I’ll make a simple syrup with vanilla and add it to taste. Excited for this one!

CHOCOLATE CHAI LIQUEUR 

750 mL vodka
6 tbspn chai tea
1 cup cacao nibs
2 cinnamon sticks

I realized I made a mistake right after I poured the vodka into this jar. Tea isn’t supposed to steep for very long but the cinnamon and cocoa nibs need more time. So, after a day I strained the mixture through a coffee filter and added new cinnamon and nibs.

In a week I’m going to split it up and try a few different creme liqueur versions – testing out heavy cream/milk with simple syrup, sweetened condensed milk and dulce de leche to see which works best.

CHOCOLATE JALAPENO TEQUILA 

375 mL silver tequila
2/3 cup cacao nibs
1 jalapeno

This one gets a lot of funny faces. It’s admittedly a little strange but I have high hopes for it. I got the idea when I discovered Tanteo’s “Cocoa” tequila. I’ve never tried it but it gave me hope that it could be great! They also have a “Jalapeno” flavor… so I added that too. I may have gone too far with that part. We’ll see. If all goes as planned this will make a legendary Mexican Coffee Cocktail.

With these, I now have five spirits in the holding chamber (my closet). A little more time, some final tweaks and I’ll deliver the (hopefully good) results along with some fantastic food and drink recipes for them!

Yuppie Moonshine Diary: Chapter 1 (Ginger Brandy + Vanilla Fig Bourbon)

My new obsession = Homemade Liqueurs & Alcohol Infusions
This is the result of a recent fascination with Discovery’s
“Moonshiners” + the discovery of some fabulous homemade liqueur recipes on
Pinterest. I’ve made Limoncello a couple times for Christmas gifts with much
success for very little effort so I’m back at it and upping my game.
DIY GINGER LIQUEUR 
4 oz. ginger, sliced thin + vanilla bean, split
add to 3 cups water, 2 cups sugar. boil then simmer, 20 min.
zest 2 oranges, add to sealable glass container
once cool, add ginger syrup to zest
add 3 cups brandy (I added 4, we’ll see how that goes), seal and shake.
place in a cool, dark spot.
still to do: 
remove vanilla bean on day 2
strain mixture through a coffee filter on day 3
taste on day 4!
VANILLA FIG-INFUSED BOURBON 
1 pound fresh figs
750mL bottle bourbon
1 vanilla bean, split
figs are out of season so I’m trying dried, stems removed. we’ll see.
pour bourbon over figs and vanilla bean, seal.
place in a cool, dark spot.
still to do: 
check to see if it smells like figs on day 14. if it doesn’t, check again on day 21.
when it smells like figs, strain it through a small sieve and enjoy!
I’ll report back about how these concoctions turn out and share my favorite recipes to use them in. In the meantime, check out our Pinterest page for more liqueur & infusion inspiration!

Champagne Cocktail Time!

French 75

I’m hosting a bridal shower pretty soon so the menu planning
begins… with cocktails! We’re doing brunch, which of course calls for champagne, but I refuse to serve mimosas when there are so many more exciting options. Below are my favorite finds so far, please comment and add to the list!

French 75
gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, champagne (garnish with a
lemon peel)

This is my favorite cocktail of the moment. It’s admittedly
strong for brunch, probably more appropriate to sip over oysters later in the
day, but we’re celebrating!


Missy Bell
St. Germaine, grapefruit bitters, champagne (garnish with a
grapefruit peel)

This one is named after a friend who invented it at The
Shady Lady in Sacramento. It’s highly addictive.


Kir Royale
Crème de Cassis, champagne (garnish with a citrus peel)


Lavender Sparkler
lavender simple syrup, champagne (garnish with a lavender
sprig)



Ginger Sparkler
ginger simple syrup, champagne (garnish with a lemon peel)


Cranberry Sparkler
cranberry, Cointreau, champagne (garnish with an orange
peel)



Pear Sparkler
pear brandy, champagne (garnish with a thin pear slice)


Rosemary Lemon Sparkler
rosemary simple syrup, lemon juice, champagne (garnish with
a rosemary sprig)



Classic Champagne Cocktail
sugar cube soaked in bitters, champagne (garnish with a lemon
peel)

When I throw parties I love to offer a fully stocked bar complete with handwritten cocktail menu cards to inspire guests to be creative with their beverage selection. Flavored simple syrups are the most inexpensive way to create an impressive bar, especially when you put them in antique thrift store bottles with handwritten labels. They’re incredibly easy to make too! It’s just equal parts sugar dissolved in boiling
water and left to cool, with any flavoring you like. If you have a lot left
over it’s great with iced tea and sparkling water, or if you’re a baker it
works miracles on layer cakes! In bakeries it’s standard procedure to brush the
cakes with simple syrup to keep them moist. It’s the best kept secret that you
won’t find in recipes and when you use the flavored syrups your cakes will
taste even better!

Cocktails & Cubanos in Midtown, Sacramento

First Stop: Pour House (Q & 19th)

After work cocktails arrived to mixed reviews. We ordered
adventurously and couldn’t really decide how we felt about them. It was the
cocktail equivalent of “I love you but I’m not in love with you.”
My Drink: “Whisky Fig”
Glenfiddich 12 Year Scotch, House Made Fig Jelly, Simple
Syrup, Squeezed Lemon, Angostura Bitters
I’d order it again if I sat at the bar and the bartender
didn’t look at me funny when I asked for it with “less lemon, more fig.”
I did like my friend’s drink more than mine. (Don’t you hate when that happens?!) 

“Smoked Apple”
Red Breast Irish Whiskey, House Made Smoked Apple Butter,
Apple Liqueur, Squeezed Lemon, Simple Syrup, Topped w/Wheat Beer
Second Stop: Fat Face Café (19th & R) 
Just down the block we stroll through vintage clothing shop Bows & Arrows, past the art class sketching live costumed models (precious), to the adorable cafe in the back with fantastic gourmet noshes.
 To start:
White Peach Sangria – described as “Sweet & Flashy” on the menu, which I love
Roasted Chipotle &
Honey Almonds
Both refreshing and delightful.
A perfect summer supper:
Sweet Corn Soup with a pressed Cubano
“Sammich” – Smoked Ham, Roasted Pork, Swiss, Fermented Pickles, and I ordered
it with the optional pineapple, which I recommend! A delicious version of one
of my favorite sandwiches on the planet.
As a rule I almost always save room for dessert but tonight, I just couldn’t do it. I’m drooling just thinking about the flavors now though so I will be back.
The Kaffir Lime + Avocado has my name on it.

An Afternoon in Ballard: The Walrus and the Carpenter and D’Ambrosio Gelato

Although I’ve lived in Seattle (West Seattle to be exact) for about 6 months now, I still feel like a tourist. I only recently saw the infamous “Gum wall” in Pike Place and I still haven’t been to the Woodland Park Zoo or had a cocktail at Knee High Stocking Co. I’m trying to kick my “bucket list” so this is the start of that.

The Walrus and the Carpenter 
4743 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, Wa 98107
(206) 395-9227
Daily: 4pm – Late
Price Range: $$$ ($30-50 per person)

wal 1
 I tried to not read too many reviews on this place because I wanted to go in with my own blank slate. My mother read about it online and decided we should get there very early. Good choice, Mom. We got there at 3:30 PM (they open at 4 for happy hour) and there was already a line of people leering at the staff.
wal 2
The space itself is very quaint and seating is very intimate. The staff brought us to a table and since we didn’t want to bump elbows with anyone else, we decided to take a seat at the bar. Awesome choice, I got to watch hipster oyster schucking! I love the white on white interior, it’s somewhere in between shabby chic and beach theme.
wal 4
This was not my order 🙁
wal 5The cocktail list was extensive. I ordered a Mustache Ride (get on it!) which was bourbon, cynar, all spice liqueur, maple and lemon. It was perfect blend of sugar and spice and the marinated cherry on top was… well… the cherry on top.
We cut to the chase and got a plate of each available oyster. Each oyster…hmmm… how do you really describe an oyster? It’s like a refreshing burst of the ocean that caresses you tongue. That’s the best I’ve got. The Treasure Cove Oyster from Case Inlet, WA in particular was the most “sea like” one of the bunch. I get why they’re an aphrodisiac, now if only Mom wasn’t my date…
wal 6
After the oysters we moved onto the butter lettuce, so we wouldn’t feel like total fat kids. It was crisp, topped with a lightly melted slice of morbier cheese with hints of black truffle.
wal 7
As if fresh oysters weren’t enough for me, I had to try them fried. The fried oysters are heavenly here. The outside is perfectly crisp, without scratching the top your mouth. The inside is soft and buttery but still maintains a sense of refreshment to it. The cilantro aioli was also the perfect match for a dip, I even had some leftover for my bread.
Fried Oysters with Porch Swing cocktail and bread
wal 9
The innards. Heaven.
 wal 8
Speck. I saw this listed on the menu and honestly had no clue what it was (I’m not a chef or an expert) but we decided to order it anyways.wal 10
Glad we did. It was sliced smokey prosciutto with preserved pumpkin, ricotta cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinegar reduction and topped with mint. This was like all good types of flavors in one: salty, sweet, fresh and creamy. I want to copy this at home so bad but the preserved pumpkin aspect of it makes it seem too timely. I guess I’ll just have to keep coming back.
wal 11
The finale was the smoked trout, topped with a pickled red onion and rests on a bed of creme fraiche with lentils and walnuts. This dish may look diminutive, but it’s so rich, two people can share it. The smoked trout is the best I’ve ever had and the creme fraiche blend with so chewy and flavorful. I don’t even like uncooked red onion and this won me over.
We wanted to stay for dessert but we decided to take a walk around Ballard, which is a very cute neighborhood. There are lots of bars, plenty of shopping and sadly a lot of construction right now. Makes it tough to shop when you’re worried about not having a hard hat. We walked a couple of blocks to:

D’Ambrosio Gelato
5339 Ballard Ave NW
(between Vernon Pl & N 22nd Ave)
Seattle, WA 98107
Hours: Mon-Thu 12 pm – 11 pm
Fri-Sat 12 pm – 12 am
Sun 10 am – 11 pm
Price range: $ (1-10 per person)

D'ambrosio 1
I am missing an Instagram image of the sign 🙁

I haven’t had cantaloupe gelato since my mother used to
take me to the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas. It’s one of those food items I put on a pedestal and assumed nothing could live up to it. D’Ambrosio had it as an option, so I had to try it.

D'ambrosio 2
I tried a sample of it and was instantly taken back to being 18 and not able to gamble in Vegas. It was fragrant, but not too sweet and watery. So good. I got that with a scoop of the salted caramel gelato which is also pure awesome. Perfectly salty and sweet. The interior to this place is very Euro-hip, it was very quiet on a sunny day, I think the construction scares people away.I’d come back here for sure though.

The Walrus and the Carpenter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato