Since 2015, Belcampo has supplied Santa Monica locals with classic Californian farm-to-table dishes and a local butcher shop. With a recent remodeling, Belcampo is looking fully refreshed and ready to cater to the Westside brunch crowd.
Belcampo practices Regenerative Farming, meaning their approach is holistic, rejecting pesticides, artificial fertilizers and aims to enhance ecosystem services. All of the meats and eggs served are organic, grass fed, from their farm in Yreka, California, near the Shasta River. They raise their animals on their own farm, operate a USDA-inspected and Animal Welfare Approved processing facility, and sell their meat in their own restaurants and butcher shops.
The colorful bar brings instant feel good vibes when you arrive. There’s an ample selection of cocktails and creative non-alcoholic beverages too.
Looks are very deceiving with their Bloody Mary (I recommend celery infused vodka). As you can see, it’s not that canned tomato juice base, it’s actually a clarified tomato juice, giving it a thinner appearance, but it’s just as flavorful and more refreshing than a traditional BM.
The Santa Monica Egg Cream is their dreamiest, creamiest beverage. Although it’s called an egg cream, there’s actually no eggs, the foam is made with coconut cream for a rich texture. This beverage will make you feel like you’re drinking a Pina Colada and want to get caught in the rain.
The Classic Beef Tartare is a must-order item. Start by dipping grilled bread into the egg yolk custard, then top with minced beef sirloin and greens. If you’re dining solo, I recommend making this your biggest priority.
For those of you with a sweet tooth, the Pancakes, which happen to be gluten-free, will be right up your alley. Topped with a citrus jam, strawberry butter and fresh fruit, these cakes are so fluffy and are perfect to pair with any meatier dish.
For those of you on the Keto diet, Belcampo has you covered. The Keto Breakfast Bowl packed, with bacon, 2 fried Belcampo farm eggs, kale, avocado, tomato is dressed with pistachio dressing. It’s high fat, low carb but it’s a larger bowl to keep you full.
Other fantastic items include their BLT and their Greek Yogurt. The butcher shop at the front entrance also serves up fresh bone broths for those of you looking for additional protein power.
Whole roasting a fish intimidated me for a long time. Clean out the insides? No thanks. It sounded a little too chef-y. Far beyond my capabilities. Or, so I told myself.
But, a few years back, I was craving a dish my family made for years. So, I decided if my Nonni can do it, so can I. Now whole-roasting is one of my absolute favorite ways to prepare multiple types of fish! Overcoming kitchen fears is the best!
If you are new to whole roasting fish, branzino (also, called Mediterranean sea bass) is a great place to start! It’s small in size and has a wonderful flaky white flesh! Due to prevalence on restaurant menus and increasing popularity, its easy to find at fish markets and specialty grocers year-round – regardless of where you live!
Branzino are native to Mediterranean waters although most of what’s available in North America is farmed off the coast of Greece. Nonetheless, this fish and method of preparation are extremely popular throughout the Mediterranean region – including where my family is from in Sicily! Using a simple salt crust technique to lock in the moisture, we can roast a moist, tender, flaky, and flavorful result every time! Gorgeous, healthy, flavorful, and roasts to perfection in only 20 minutes; what’s not to love?
Lets get started! The video shows the step-by-step method, and the full recipe is listed below!
Whole Roasted Sicilian Style Branzino
35 minutes, 2 servings per fish
For the Branzino:
1 – 1.5 lb. whole branzino (per 2 persons)*
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ sliced small lemon
½ small shallot, thinly sliced
2 fresh mint sprigs
parchment lined baking sheet
For salt crust:
2 large egg whites
~ 1 lb. kosher salt
2 tbsp. balsamic reduction**
1 tbsp. + drizzle high quality extra virgin olive oil (about 1 tsp.)
2 tbsp. freshly chopped mint leaves
juice from ½ lemon, divided
zest from ½ lemon
freshly cracked black pepper
½ tsp. plus more for seasoning
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
½ lb. asparagus spears, ends trimmed
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
mint leaves for garnish
*At most seafood markets and specialty grocers, you can request that they gut the fish for you. Just make sure that they leave the tail and head alone! The fish must remain whole to lock in moisture!
**To make balsamic reduction, place ¼ c. balsamic vinegar on stovetop over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium, swirling every minute or so, continue to simmer for 4-5 more minutes until balsamic has reduced by about half (this will yield 2 tbsp.). Immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl and set aside. This can be done up to 2 days ahead if desired. Store in an airtight container if making ahead.
Arrange oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
If your fish has not already been gutted: make an incision from the belly side beginning just below the head and continuing to the tail end. Remove all guts and organs. Rinse inside and outside of the fish clean.
Once your fish has been gutted, season the inside of cleaned branzino with salt. Arrange slices of lemon, sprigs of mint, and thin slices of shallots inside each fish. Secure by wrapping fish with kitchen twine. (This step can be completed up to 2 hours ahead if wrapped and refrigerated.)
On a separate rimmed baking sheet, place trimmed asparagus, 1 tbsp. olive oil, ½ tsp. kosher salt, minced garlic cloves, and the small sliced shallot. Toss to coat asparagus. Set aside.
To make the paste for the salt crust, use a fork to combine about 1 lb. of salt with enough egg white to form a paste in a bowl. For me, this was 2 large egg whites. Spread a thin layer of the salt paste on the parchment paper lining the prepared baking sheet. You only need to cover the surface area where the fish will lay. This should use about 1/2 of the salt paste. Then place fish on top of salt paste layer and arrange remaining salt paste over the top of the fish in a thin layer. You want to cover the entire surface area of fish because the paste forms the crust that locks in both flavor and moisture.
Transfer both baking sheets to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes. Roast fish on top rack and asparagus on bottom rack. After 20 minutes, remove fish from oven! Give asparagus a turn and roast 5 minutes longer.
Allow fish to rest for 4-5 minutes before removing the salt crust. Use your hands and dull knife to peel away the salt crust. It should come off very easily and often in large sections. Discard salt crust.
Remove asparagus form the oven.
Remove the twine and try to remove as many additional bits of the salt crust as possible from the fish. Work carefully so that the fish doesn’t completely fall apart.
Transfer branzino onto the baking sheet with the asparagus. Working with one side at a time, make an incision down the spine of the fish and near the fish’s tail, so that the skin can easily be peeled and rolled away from the meat. Roll the skin away until you reach the fin/gill region. The fish’s skin worked hard to lock in the fish’s moisture and flavor in the oven. The combination of the steamed flesh and the skin’s contact with the salt paste will make it very easily peel off of the fish’s tender flaky tasty flesh. Carefully flip the fish over and repeat this step on the other side.
On a 1 – 1.5 lb. fish, the meat from one side of the fish is about one serving.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice, drizzle of olive oil, pinch of kosher salt and Himalayan pink salt, chopped mint leaves, lemon zest, and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with roasted asparagus and crispy shallots. Garnish with slice of lemon and a few mint leaves.
“No thanks, I don’t care for chili.” – Sad, unenlightened me
After years of turning my nose up at bowl after bowl of those ubiquitous beef, bean and (heaven help us) green pepper concoctions, this recipe totally flipped the script on chili for me (as did realizing that chili provided an excellent opportunity to eat Fritos for dinner #winning). Many will argue that without beans or beef this isn’t really chili, that it is instead some kind of unholy union between chili and soup, or maybe stew. To them I say, it must be wonderful to have so much free time.
As soon as the holidays are over, the seasonal aisle is letting us all know Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. While I’m not much for Valentine’s Day, I don’t know what I would have done without my best ladies these past couple years! So, I’ll be celebrating them this Galentine’s Day!
I can’t think of a sweeter way to spread a little love to my best gals than French Macarons (or Macaroons).
Arepa Guys is run by two buds, Moises and Jorge, who currently serve up arepas on the weekends. Situated within a local convenience store, Arepa Guys offers authentic Venezuelan arepas with their own twist. Although they have a set menu, they also offer a special every week which is updated on their Instagram account. HINT: go follow them now. The specials give you a different treat each time you visit. You can also mix and match different fillings to create your own custom Venezuelan creation!
Up in the Pacific Northwest, we are officially entering the gray monotony of wet, cold, and miserable weather until spring. Which means its time for foods that warm me up! This usually puts what I am craving and what I should eat at a crossroads.
Carb-y creamy things may be delicious, but what about all those veggies I should be eating? Is anyone else feeling big time comfort food cravings as soon as the weather turns??
Instead of choosing between comfort food and health, I’m combining them with this cioppino! Its packed full of veggies, fish, fresh herbs, the most luscious broth, and an amazing secret flavor bomb ingredient: slow roasted cherry tomatoes! They are jammy and umami rich in the best possible way! They add incredible complexity and richness to the soup!
It’s the perfect light – yet filling – way to warm up on these cold wet days!!
Now, to the recipe!
Note: The soup is dairy free and gluten-free. The olive oil crostini is optional for serving!
I finally made it over to East Nashville to go to Cafe Roze and let me tell you, I was not disappointed! From the outside, the building is unassuming with only a small neon sign alerting you to the restaurant’s presence. Opening the door you immediately feel at ease thanks to soft pastel decor and lovely kitchen smells. We sat at the bar and despite a packed house we were immediately attended to. The menu is the perfect size, with plenty of options without being overwhelming. First, we turned our attention to the drink menu which has an assortment of coffee and teas as well as spritzers, steamers, and cocktails.
I recently had the opportunity to test out a new line of knife sharpeners from Work Sharp Culinary. In case you missed my previous post on how to create the perfect cheese board, I utilized the Work Sharp M3 manual knife sharpening system.
Work Sharp Culinary has also released an electric sharpening system that is easy to use, and creates professional results. Work Sharp Culinary provided me with a knife sharpening system to try out and review for our Girls on Food Readers! Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.
Stone fruits are my favorite seasonal produce! So juicy and sweet! Not to mention versatile! I’ve spent the summer adding them to salads, cheese platters, cobblers and crisps…. on repeat! And, I will keep going until the final peaches, plums, and apricots fall from the trees!
I say its my favorite season, yet somehow always forget about the smallest member of the stone fruit family. Cherries! Maybe its because they don’t fit the mold? Or maybe because they actually grow in my home state of Washington, but as sure as the sun shines, cherries are a stone fruit – a sweet, juicy, portable one!
When the weather is hot, the last thing I want is to make my house—or myself—hotter. Turn on the oven? No thanks. A million different varieties of salad are a culinary snapshot of my summer.
Anything quick with light, fresh, and bright flavors is right up my alley in the warm summer months. Coconut, ginger, and lime dressing on chilled rice noodles with shrimp, cilantro, and cool crunchy veggies? A little bit of summertime heaven! I want to dump this dressing on everything. If carrying a bottle of it in my purse wasn’t frowned upon, you better believe I would be doing it!
One of my favourite things about living just outside of the city limits is all of the wonderful little restaurants and cafés I get to indulge in every so often. One of the most important things I think we all try to achieve is eating healthy and reducing our ecological footprint. Not easy to do in today’s busy world with fast food so readily available at our little finger tips. It’s refreshing to find a spot that is organic, fresh and locally sourced. And did I mention food that is ridiculously full of delicious flavour?
When I walked into The Bar Café, the owner and foodie extraordinaire, Trisha Bush, was helping and greeting her customers with a warm smile. Trish and I go way back as I am her hair stylist and she is my vegetarian food guru. She told me she would be right with me and to go have a seat in the back by the Mandala. Nothing gets you more visually into the zone of peace and tranquility like a beautiful Mandala.
The Bar Café serves all types of foods and the Mediterranean influence is strong. Not only are there plenty of protein options, they can accommodate various types of diets including gluten free, vegetarian, vegan and raw.
Megan: Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend one of the most insider food experiences that anyone in the industry could wish for… Summer Fancy Food Show. Here, vendors from around the world journey to the Javits Center to peddle their wares to bloggers, restaurants, and distributors. Move over Costco, the free samples at this place are bringing all the bloggers to the yard.
Happily, fellow NYC GOF-Foodie, Marcie and I were able to attend together. Here’s our take on the epic and always classy Fancy Food Show, Summer edition.
Bare in mind, I attended this while on Day 23 of the Whole 30 diet, so my perspective was super focused on what I was able to actually put in mouth while sauntering up and down the endless aisles.
Marcie: Running a bar program, I’m always looking for fun, new exciting products to use in cocktails. I’m also on a hardcore gluten free paleo diet, and it’s great to see how many cool and delicious options there are now!
Marcie: First, we started at the Calabria Di Gusto booth, and sampled some amaro and amaretto. All spirits are coming from Calabria in Italy. My favorite was the Vecchio Amaro del Capo. It’s a beautiful spirit distilled from sugar beets and 29 herbs and spices. And they were kind enough to send me home with a bottle, and I made an incredible Negroni with it!