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.
Three forces collaborated to produce one heck of an event dubbed Kaizen & Cocktails. The Uchi Dallas team brought their culinary smarts to the Parliament team of all-star Adult Beverage Chefs (I suspect they hate being called mixologists) for Japanese-inspired cocktails and food all in the name of charity. A $25 ticket gave guests a choice of one out of five out-of-this-world cocktails and unlimited bites from Uchi. While that price seems quite high for one cocktail – additional drinks only cost $5 each – 100% of the proceeds went to an outstanding non-profit, Promise of Peace Gardens (P.O.P.), a group that transforms unwanted land into thriving gardens.
Additionally, P.O.P. teaches low-income families about sustainable living and portions of produce grown in P.O.P. gardens supply several Dallas-area food pantries. Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, the mega-star Dallas bartender with a personality to match tells it better here.
How did this idea come to fruition? Hold on tightly…Elizabeth Dryer, founding director of P.O.P. tells me that Alex Astranti, current Chef de Cuisine at Uchi Dallas leased two garden plots from P.O.P. when he worked at Top Knot. According to Dryer, Astranti and his team would come to garden while his wife and baby sat on a picnic blanket. Astranti then moved to Uchi and met current Uchi Sous Chef Chad Graybill, who falls in love with Parliament upon moving back to Dallas. Listen to Graybill describe the rest of the story here.
Last weekend I went to Guadalajara, one of the biggest cities in Mexico. Filled with culture amazing food and lots of tequila, this city is a true Mexican gem. Tequila region is just an hour away from there and you can actually ride a tequila train that leaves from Guadalajara. A cousin of mine lives there and since he knows I’m a food blogger he picked a special restaurant so that I had the chance to blog about his city, he took me to M Cocina Creativa, which means “creative kitchen”. This restaurant totally justifies its name. It’s a Mexican-Vietnamese fusion restaurant that implements ingredients you wouldn’t normally see in a menu in Mexico, like pork stuffed squid (which were delicious).
Another thing that makes the place unique is the really big two story indoor patio with a rustic feel, a fountain made out of half a tree, really tall ceilings and filled with plants. It’s not only relaxing and romantic but it really makes you forget you’re in the city.
Many have deemed Hollywood Boulevard “the boulevard of broken dreams”, but on Sunday, June 25th, the energy on this iconic street was anything but broken.
Girls on Food teamed up with Wood & Vine, a restaurant and cocktail bar that rests on the legendary corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in LA, for our first (of many) social media influencer tastings. Becoming a social media influencer takes a lot of hard work, although the process can be simplified if you go to Buzzoid to buy followers on Instagram. Who knows, this could lead to you going out doing tastings like this in the future. These tastings bring social media awareness to restaurants on social media platforms and help them out with some instagram bio ideas. At the last event, we kept it limited to GOF bloggers, but for this one, we decided to get a little more social and invite some of our favorites Instagrammers to come out. It’s nice to pretend we’re a real influencer marketing agency!
W&V particularly wanted us to give feedback on Bar Manager Katy Nichols‘ new summer cocktail menu items. We were definitely up to critique the sips provided and taste their shared plates.
This May, the Fatbois were STAYIN’ IN PARIS (s/o to The Chainsmokers, more specifically, Drew) TO GET AWAY FROM OUR PARENTS (like… sort of… we still live at home… don’t judge). As we embarked, baguettes, blocks of cheese, and croissants can-canned through our heads.
Upon arrival to our hotel, Opera-Daunou, we ditched our luggage and ventured out into the city. We stumbled onto La Colombe, a cozy café, located on 2 Rue de la Paix. We were greeted by the friendliest staff, who excused my pathetic attempts at speaking French. One thing we’ve noticed is that Europe does coffee very differently from the states. It is typically stronger, poured into a smaller serving. Discovering the equivalent to our medium Dunkin iced coffees became a series of trial and error. The key to success is to order either a caféau lait or a café americano. We topped off our café with chocolate-filled croissants, which easily became an everyday staple.
As you all know by now, I am notorious for planning all of my vacations around food. Before I even made flight or hotel reservations for Madrid, I checked to see what Michelin star restaurants were in the area. Imagine my excitement when I discovered that there were 14 different restaurants with Michelin star rankings, and that doesn’t even include the World’s 50 Best list! Seeing how Diver XO and Alinea recently collaborated, it was one of the first places to research. Months in advance of my trip, I reached out to Diver XO inquiring about reservations. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that they don’t accommodate parties with less than two guests. Dammit. Rather than brooding over the fact that I would not be able to experience the culinary creations of the mohawked, Michelin star chef, David Muñoz, I decided I would check out the next best thing, Street XO. And so the journey begins.
Street XO Calle de Serrano, 52, 28001 Madrid, Spain Website
Planning my itinerary, I decided that Monday would be the ideal day to visit as I had read numerous articles talking about the wait. I grabbed my things from the hotel and off I went. Starting my day with a quick bite at Arzabal, I then spent a few hours wandering through the Reina Sophia and then decided to make my way to Street XO. I grabbed my phone and input the address. I was a little over a mile away and would arrive as soon as they opened. Perfect timing, right? As I made my way down Calle de Serrano, I kept looking for building 52. 60, 56, 48, where the hell was 52? Trying to avoid being the typical American tourist, I popped into a few stores asking if anyone knew where it was and all I received were blank stares until the last store where the kind gentleman told me it was located in El Corte Ingles. I had only walked past that place at least 6 times during my search.
Summer is almost here and nothing is more synonymous with New York City and summer than a classic rooftop with panoramic views of the city. It’s rooftop season and I’ve been ready for it since I swore I’d put away my sweater for the last time (which was literally less than two weeks ago – I swear). But alas, it seems as though the warm weather is finally here to stay! Let’s sip some Chardonnay, shall we?
The required elements to create a perfect rooftop are unobstructed city views, plenty of comfy couches, great music and an incredible crowd. That’s what I found when I stopped by The Crown in Lower Manhattan, Hotel 50 Bowery’s awe-inspiring rooftop, for the kick off of The Good Measure Tour II this past Wednesday, June 14.
When you’ve got a hankering for rooftop fabulousness and world class bites; get in your car and head over to The London. Do not pass go or collect $200. Valet park, get in the elevator and push the button for the rooftop bar, Boxwood.
Even though my recent dinner at Boxwood on the Roof was haunted by fog that would not burn off, I was kept warm and cozy by heat lamps and the incredible company of my fellow diners. I can only imagine how gorgeous it would be on a clear night! Executive Chef Anthony Keene sent us a number of tasty morsels from his new menu that is largely New American with some fun street food inspiration.
The cocktail list is inspired by English rockers such as The Who. Their coordinating cocktail, “Behind Blue Eyes”, a concoction of fresh blueberry, mint, lime, and vodka. My favorite was the unlikely “Rebel Rebel,” a margarita with a float of Pinot Noir wine on top.
This past Wednesday, over 2,600 DC foodies, including myself, flooded the streets of 14th St and Penn Quarter to participate in José Andrés’ Dine-N-Dash charity event. The event raised over $543,000 for his non-profit World Central Kitchen, which helps fight poverty and hunger internationally through the power of food.
If you keep up with my posts here at GOF, you know that Tavern was one of my old stomping grounds when I lived in Brentwood. Tavern has one of the most beautiful patios in all of LA, but it maintains an easy-going vibe. The Larder at Tavern, their cafe, serves coffee, tea, pastries and grab-and-go items. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite or having a dinner date with your significant other, Tavern is one of the most consistent restaurants in LA. Today, I explore a different side to Tavern, a more down home cooking side.
Recently I attended an exclusive media preview for Tavern’s 4th Annual Low Country Boil, which will take place Sunday, June 25th. Chef de Cuisine, Amy Deaderick hosts this boil which the Tavern owners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne fully endorse. This annual boil is very personal to Deaderick, who grew up in South Carolina. Memories of her childhood and the Carolina culture inspire every course.
For $65 per person, this one-time event will be set in The Larder at Tavern, serving up three courses and dessert. South Carolina-based musicians Josh and Leslie Robertswill be providing live acoustic folk-country tunes to really set a “dining by the shoreline” ambiance. The Communal tables are covered with newspapers and -warning- you may get wet, so come out in your “eatin’ dress”.
When I hear the word “tavern”, my mind takes me back to a bar scene from the TV Show, Cheers. Picture a dimly-lit, confined space with bar stools that make you slouch and not much else to look at. While there’s certainly a time and a place for divey spots like this, there’s also a time and a place to step it up a notch.
Case in point: recently opened Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, a modern neighborhood restaurant. The spacious, extended patio overlooks the Loews Hotel, JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot and Santa Monica Pier. I checked out JFAT on Ocean Avenue’s Day at the Races earlier in May and tasted the Southwestern Dip and Mint Julep. This time around I tasted a lot more.
Poke is a personal favorite of mine. I have flashbacks of being in Oahu and walking along the beach. The addition of papaya to this Spicy Ahi Poke added more island flair to this appetizer. After one bite I found myself compulsively searching airfare prices to Hawaii.