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Five Things People Wish They Had in the 80’s

If you’re a middle-aged adult in your 50’s, chances are you’ve seen young people enjoying things you never could have back in the 1980’s. Besides making one feel old, it also makes you wonder what new things will be created in the next decade. Here are five things that middle-aged adults would have loved to have in the 80’s.

Cellphones

Most older adults can’t even imagine what it would be like if they had had access to cellphones back in high school. When you were a teenager, if you wanted to make a call you used a landline. There were no text messages. A video phone call sounded like science fiction back in the 80’s, but now it’s a realty. How different life would have been as teens.

Computers

Back in the 80’s, no one imagined that computers would grow into what they are today. Everyone has their own computer or laptop. Just the idea of internet when middle-aged folks were young is unfathomable. Add social media to the mix and you wonder how you ever survived without it. One can only speculate as to what high school or college would have been like with the help of the internet.

E-Cigarettes

More and more young people are using e-cigarettes opposed to regular tobacco. A 510 vape battery definitely didn’t exist in our parents times. A couple of decades ago, people didn’t even know the damages smoking would do. Heck, thirty years ago you didn’t have the option to vape. Today, people can use vaporizers with lower levels of nicotine than cigarettes and with aromas and vape oils such as Naked 100 ejuice that are much more pleasant than cigarette smoke.

Drones

Long gone are the days of almost total privacy. Drones are used in all types of surveillance. On the bright side, drones can take people places they never would have thought possible. Now you can experience the view over cliffs, waterfalls and inside volcanoes. Anyone can own a drone and film fascinating things.

Video Streaming

Back in the 1980’s, VCR’s were the rage. It was a dream come true to watch almost any movie whenever you wanted by going to the video store and renting one. Today, movies are literally at one’s fingertips with all the streaming services available.

A Simpler Time

The fact is that young adults today have an unbelievable amount of advantages to make their lives easier. Though many fantasize about how their lives may have been different with these gadgets and services, it’s doubtful they would change things if they could. There’s something to be said about a simpler time when things moved a little slower and face-to-face conversations were the norm.

#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!

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

The ultimate last-minute gift guide for the healthy foodies in your life

Procrastinator? Last-minute-thrill shopper? Made your list, checked it twice, and realized you still have some gifts to buy? You’re still able to order online and include a print-out confirmation in a festive card, letting them know Santa was a little overwhelmed this year and their gift is on its way!

Give the gift that will help your loved ones keep their New Year’s resolutions well into 2019 with awesome healthy foodie items they may not even know they wanted. And whether that resolution is related to self-care, eating more at home, trying the keto diet, or just treating their body better, we’ve gathered a list of our top suggestions to help you with the rest of your holiday shopping. If you are going to start the keto diet then you will definitely want to read this Purefit Keto Review. And if you decide to get these as a present for yourself, we promise we won’t tell.

Wild Foods Keto Essentials Box

Wild Foods Keto Essentials Box

The smell of small-batch Austin roasted coffee wafts out to the opener of this box full of wild goodies! Inside they’ll be excited to find a collection of low-to-NO-carb items to help support their keto or low-carb lifestyle, including Wild Cocotropic (Cocoa powder, maca, turmeric, Chaga, reishi), Raw Cocoa Butter, Fish Oil, MCT Oil, and Pink Salt Minis. Of course, you don’t have to be keto to appreciate these Wild Foods essentials. But if you are willing to find out more about it, doing some research into sites such as ketodietschool.com could be a start. Use promo code WILDDEC20 for 20% off your entire order for the month of December.

Any of our favorite items from Kiwi Importer?

Any of our favorite items from Kiwi Importer?

New Zealand, world famous for its beautiful beaches, snow-capped mountain ranges and sheep roaming rolling green hills, is also bursting with incredible organic, non-GMO and health food products. The Kiwi Importer, based in Houston, imports into the US some of the best gourmet and health food items New Zealand has to offer, including a wide range of manuka honeys, extra virgin olive and avocado oils, all-natural nut-butters, gluten-free pancake mixes and a wide range of specialty chutneys and sauces.

Tea Forté Tea Chest Tea Tasting Assortment with Café Cups?

Tea Forté Tea Chest Tea Tasting Assortment with Café Cups

The most expansive collection of black, green, white and herbal tea blends are included in this organic tasting assortment from our favorite pyramid-shaped tea brand, Tea Forté. The lid reveals a detailed tea menu for easy flavor selection (much like a good box of chocolates) and the tea chest contains 40 pyramid-shaped infusers, with two of each blend. We like to pair the assortment with the porcelain Café Cups (mostly due to our love of the fact they built in holes for the leaves to go through so that your tea stays warm and cozy).

D'Vash Date Nectars?

D’Vash Date Nectars

Dates are one of my favorite sweeteners, but dealing with the pits and stickiness often deterred me from using them. Once I discovered D’Vash, my cooking/smoothie/coffee life was forever changed! D’Vash Date Nectars and Syrups are vegan, organic, fat-free, 25% less sugar than honey, and a great source of antioxidants and potassium. While I’ve loved the original flavor for years, I’ve enjoyed the kick in the D’Vash Cayenne-Infused Date Nectar. The cayenne adds complexity and uniqueness to the already delicious date nectar flavor, perfect for anyone who enjoy spicing things up a bit.

The Instant Pot Bible Cookbook

For anyone on your list currently in possession (or looking to be) of the famous Insta Pot, the perfect gift to help guide them down their culinary journey is The Instant Pot Bible, equipt with more than 350 recipes for hearty and healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and even decadent desserts! These bestselling authors and pressure-cooking experts offer customized directions and timings for perfect results every time, regardless of the Instant Pot model.

Red wines from Winc
Photo courtesy of trywinc.com/girlsonfood?

Red wines from Winc

You can’t go wrong with the gift of Winc wines, the perfect box for all the tough-to-buy-for adults in your life. Red wine is high in resveratrol, which may offer various health benefits such as a boost in heart health and protection against some kinds of cancer. For an extra bonus, you can build your loved ones a custom assortment and receive $25 off and complimentary shipping on a box of 4 when using the trywinc.com/girlsonfood link (they’ll never know!)

Photo courtesy of Fellow

Matte Black Stagg EKG Electric Pour-Over Kettle

The most gorgeous of electric tea kettles, the Matte Black Stagg EKG is top of every caffeine-addicts Christmas wish list (including yours truly’s). With precision temperature control ranging from 135°F to 212°F, a hold mode and discreet LCD screen, finally there’s no more guesswork about degrees while brewing teas and coffees. After the water has heated, you can use EKG’s built-in Brew Stopwatch to time your extraction, while enjoying the sleek precision spout and counterbalanced handle.

Merry Christmas; I hope you enjoyed a few of my favorite things!

Cheers,
Meagan & The Girls on Food Team

Holly Jolly Food Truck Festival Recap

On November 24th and 25th, Laurita Winery hosted the Holly Jolly Food Truck Festival. It was my first visit to the winery and I can’t even tell you what took me so long to get there. This winery is incredibly beautiful, with the heart being its indoor event center/wine bar/shop which was built from two refurbished barns. The food truck lineup was impressive, featuring a wide array of the best eats you can find in Jersey. The first truck that caught my eye was Five Sisters Food Co. because burgers are my ultimate weakness. I started off with the Brie sliders, 2 Angus burger sliders topped with ooey gooey Brie cheese and apricot onion-bacon jam. I love unique combinations of flavors, and these sliders certainly delivered. After devouring my sliders in .002 seconds, I made my way to the Tacoholics truck. Upon seeing that they had a General Tso’s taco, I was sold (I had a long-standing love affair with General Tso’s pizza during my studies at the University of Scranton, s/o to CK’s Pizza ilysm). The sauce was mouthwatering, to say the least. I couldn’t possibly leave the festival without a lobster roll, no matter how much food I had already eaten. Luckily Cousins Maine Lobster was supplying. I opted for the Connecticut roll,with fresh, warm Maine lobster covered in butter and lemon, served in a New England style roll. Real quote from my experience, “it was so good I could cry.” I could have easily gone for another but I’m not a baller and lobster is expensive (*DM us if you’re interested in sponsoring a financially struggling graduate student, i.e., me). What’s a lengthy, gluttonous food truck experience without some dessert you might ask? We rounded out the day with a strawberry shortcake Belgian waffle from Dan’s Waffles and a cupcake platter from local favorite House of CupcakesIf wine and good eats still haven’t sold you, these reasons might:

  1. An inn stands on the property that offers full-service massage and spa services.
  2. If you’re interested in horseback riding lessons or trail rides, you can take part at the Laurita Equestrian center.
  3. Laurita produces 14,000-16,000 cases of wine every year that are exclusive to the winery!
  4. The structures on the winery were built from mostly recycled or reclaimed materials.
  5. The winery uses solar power to produce clean energy for heat, hot water, steam, cooling, and refrigeration.
  6. They offer free winery tours where you hop on a wagon and learn about the rich history and ecosystem.
  7. During the winter they have an ice luge you can actually ride on! Sign me up.

Laurita has something for everyone whether you’re a nature lover, wino, foodie, or accordion enthusiast. So grab your pals, your significant other, or throw on a kid leash for your little one and we’ll see you there this winter!

Jess @fatboitendencies

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

#girlsonfood Insta-Interview With @bethaneclair

Our hashtag #girlsonfood has nearly 13K uses on Instagram!

Thank you so much to our readers for using this tag!

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 a 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! I may need to use an insta bot to replicate their figures.

Through the uses of our hashtag, I found Bethany Richardson Webb of @bethaneclair, a St. Paul-based food scientist, world traveler and dog-mom to a beautiful golden retriever named Herby. I get to know Bethany a little bit better in the interview below.

GOF: Please tell me about being a food scientist! What is you day-by-day like?

BRW: Since finishing school I’ve had a few different positions- previously I worked at a food ingredient company developing custom color solutions for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. I now work in food safety & quality at a large CPG company. My main role is in labeling regulatory compliance- using my regulatory expertise to create ingredient declarations, nutrition facts panels, and claims that end up on packages. Additionally, I’m doing a stretch role into a food safety & quality product manager position where I influence to ensure that food safety requirements are taken into account, that quality is designed into a product, and that our manufacturing plants can meet that quality on a consistent basis. I love what I do- it allows me to use my technical expertise and problem-solving skills and what I am doing helps bring products into our consumers homes to feed their families

GOF: What kind of degrees/certifications do you have?

BRW: I received my BS in Food Science from Clemson University and my MS in Food Science from University of Illinois where my research focused on flavor chemistry of beets

GOF: What drew you to the science of food?

BRW: I’ve always loved food. When I was younger, I actually considered going to culinary school. However, I found food science through watching Unwrapped on the Food Network. I loved seeing all the science and processing that went into getting food onto our grocery store shelves. Even after having been to many food production facilities, I still find manufacturing so fascinating. It’s an incredible feeling seeing products you were part of on grocery store shelves. Eating is a very intimate experience, but most people likely don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the risks of what they might be eating and how to mitigate them.

GOF: Is there one food fact that you’re shocked more people don’t take into consideration before they bite into it?

BRW: Probably food safety? Eating is a very intimate experience, but most people likely don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the risks of what they might be eating and how to mitigate them. In full disclosure, I will on occasion eat raw cookie dough but will never touch raw milk.

GOF: I noticed you have a hashtag of your own going, #bethanys30by30. What does this hashtag mean to you?

BRW: Last December I turned 29- in the months before, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I really wanted to accomplish prior to turning 30 and this list of 30 was the output of that. Some of the goals are relatively minor, like learning how to do crow pose in yoga, while others are pretty big, like buying a house. Obviously there were some food-related items like cooking with a new ingredient monthly and learning to make bagels. I was a little nervous to post on social media about it, but I’ve actually found there’s been a lot of positivity that’s come from sharing. Several people have joined me on my goals and it’s even inspired some of my mentors at work to create 40 by 40 or 50 by 50 lists! The real purpose behind it was to be intentional with my goals and really to push myself to grow and progress, even if that didn’t necessarily mean accomplishing every last one of them.

Chèvre agnolotti with sweet corn, bacon, and peas.

GOF: When it comes to Instagram, would you say you post food for your following or for yourself?

BRW: I would say mostly for myself- I love sharing what I eat and took photos of food in the years prior to Instagram; however, I do love partnering with local businesses (we’re blessed with a wonderful food scene & community in the Twin Cities) so the intention behind some of what I post is to let others in the Twin Cities know about certain restaurants or products. At the end of the day, I want my Instagram account to be a reflection of me personally. I have intentionally chosen to only have one Instagram account, and while you’ll see a lot of food (because I love eating and am passionate about it!) there’s also more personal content like outdoor adventures and dog photos.

GOF: Let’s talk dog food – do you make your own or do you have a preferred brand?

BRW: Sometimes I do make homemade dog treats or cupcakes on birthdays! Herby also really likes fresh fruit and veggies so sometimes I’ll give him a bite when I’m in the kitchen. I recently switched to Hill’s Science Diet Senior per our vet’s recommendation.

GOF: Any food items you want to see less of on Instagram?

BRW: Foods that only look good but that only taste mediocre. There’s nothing more disappointing than visiting a place that’s been highly Instagrammed about and the food itself doesn’t live up to the pictures. I’d rather eat something that’s plain-looking but delicious. Also, “yolk porn”. I really don’t like eggs already, and these videos just gross me out.

GOF: Favorite St. Paul restaurants?

BRW: Mucci’s Italian- their food is delicious and the atmosphere feels like being at home. Plus they have excellent donuts on the weekends. I’m also happy to see that some of my favorite Minneapolis spots like Parlour and Revival have opened St. Paul locations. Stewart’s and the original Punch Pizza are both excellent and walkable from our place. In my opinion, the best Juicy Lucy in the Twin Cities is at The Nook in St. Paul- I take everyone who comes in to visit from out of town here.

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

Take Me, I’m Yours Morgan Street Food Hall & Market in Raleigh, NC

Recently, food halls have been popping up all over the country. When I heard Raleigh was getting not one, but two, my immediate reaction was “great, a glorified mall food court” because really, when was the last time you felt cool eating at the food court, amiright? But there are a couple huge differences at play here, so put your worries aside!

First, food courts are so often chains and standard fare. Morgan Street Food Hall & Market is, for the most part, neither. Rolled ice cream anyone? Poke bowls, empanadas, and ramen were the first things to catch my eye. Cousins Maine Lobster (the only option I would consider a chain) is slightly more accessible here, and with a lot more seating options! The line is still out the door but with a beer in hand and a bustling crowd, a far cry from the hot food truck rodeo lines you’re usually waiting in! Last time I tried that, I was “red as a lobster” by the time I ordered my Connecticut lobster roll!

Raleigh Rolls rolled ice cream, which is a treat for all! (yeah, I shared with the baby!)

When you first walk into Morgan Street Food Hall, you’ll see a bustling crowd and tons of seating options, from picnic tables to couches and arm chairs, and finally, 4 top tables with chairs. There are indoor and outdoor seating options, with a couple bars to frequent as thirst arises. There are 18 dining options, ranging from southern to Mediterranean to Asian; comfort food and hangover food and on to desserts and bubble tea. For our family, this is the perfect place for all of our meals out: we have 2 picky preschoolers who think the margarita pizza at Bella’s Wood Fired Pizza and Tapas is out of this world (and less than $10, thank you!).

For me, I get the “adventurous” foods I can’t talk the whole family into – ramen and poke bowls, while hubby gets to fill up on empanadas, which he loves! We have an Italian au pair living with us this year, and she has enjoyed working her way through the options Morgan Street has at her disposal. Currently, her heart resides in Raleigh.

I’ve now eaten at Morgan Street 3 times. Hubs and I met a group of friends here one night before an Umphrey’s McGee concert downtown. There were a lot of empanadas and some curry plates, a kick ass looking pizza, a whole lot of beer, and my amazing delicious tuna poke bowl, with fresh tuna on their California bowl (from The Bowls), loaded with amazingness and topped with avocado! It was incredible, and I couldn’t wait to go back!

So the next weekend, a girlfriend and I met up there, and she got ramen and I went back to The Bowls for round 2 – this time trying their spicy tuna on the Malibu bowl, which has spicy seaweed salad in it. The biggest difference was that the tuna was chopped up instead of chunks, so I would probably go regular tuna in the future.

We also ventured over to the bar, and I tried the Deep River Brewing Company’s (out of Clayton, NC) pumpkin pie porter, which was oh, so good and also very seasonal! It was delicious after a long afternoon of shopping and enjoying the suddenly cooler temps here in NC! Finally (maybe the first finally), we waited in line at Cocoa Forte Desserts for chocolate dipped cheesecake, which we were saving for when we got home, and then I talked my friend into trying out Raleigh Rolls, the rolled ice cream place! It’s a little bit Coldstone Ceamery (you get to choose 3 flavors that go into your ice cream, and then 3 flavors for the toppings) meets a sushi roll (because in the end, they hand you a bowl with 6 rolls of ice cream). So good news – you can sub flavors – I subbed in coffee flavoring for the graham cracker in my s’mores ice cream, and it was the.best.thing.ever! Little man ate way too much but also thinks I’m the coolest mom ever for sharing my ice cream with him, ha! (Verdict on cheesecake – its on a stick, so go ahead and eat it immediately. I waited a few hours to eat mine, and it fell apart really fast. Pretty sure it was user error though).

So the next day, my hubs was still out of town (he went on Phish tour last weekend), and I needed to provide food for my little ones for the 4th day in a row. So…I started thinking about that pizza, and the fact that cow burger has hot dogs. Surely they could find something to eat…

Here’s the deal – I was nervous to bring a 5 year old and a 3 year old and a 5 month old into such a busy place. But…they loved it! My son is begging to go back, my daughter can’t stop talking about the ice cream, and the baby slept thru the thing. We also found an awesome place for our family photos in 2 weeks. So all in all, a great trip. I will send you all day every day to Bella’s pizza – it was incredible, and the kids ate every bite of that pizza. I loved the portion size of the burgers (I got the classic cheeseburger) and I’d heard great things about it, but I would definitely trust your gut on that place. First, the line took F O R E V E R which I’m not really into, and wouldn’t have waited in it but our au pair and I both wanted a burger so we stuck with it. Second, we waited F O R E V E R for our buzzer to ring. Like it took the entire time the pizza cooked to wait in the line and order. Then the kids ate the whole pizza. And I took them back over to Raleigh rolls and waited for someone to turn melted ice cream into frozen ice cream rolls, and then the buzzer sounded as I was paying for them. So the burgers were delicious, great bun to burger ratio, and overall very satisfying, but with so many faster options, I’m not sure I would wait for it again.

Also, pro tip – if you have a picky child who only eats vanilla ice cream (I know, I know, its super weird but what I’m dealing with right now), there is another small ice cream scoop place in the food hall. Don’t waste your $7 on plain vanilla with a tiny sprinkling of rainbow sprinkles. Spend that money on the whole experience and all the toppings, and get Sir Picky something from the cheaper place!

So final verdict – run, don’t walk, to the Morgan Street Food Hall if you’re in Raleigh. Bring an appetite. Check out the unusual places, especially the bowls, the broth, and curry in a hurry, and take the time to wait in line for Raleigh Rolls! I’m looking forward to heading down there again next weekend after the International Festival to try out some new places!