Girls on Food

Wine

Sipping on Sauvignon Blanc by Hillersden Wine

Considering their cutting edge approach with a thoughtful touch, Hillersden is onto something big.

Hillersden Winery

Hillersden WineNew Zealand offers a cooler climate with clay and rocky soil. This combination, when executed correctly, gives Sauvignon Blanc its fruity aromas and crisp flavors. My first experience with a beautiful bottle of Hillersden Sauvignon Blanc proved this to be true. When first opened, the wine had subtle hints of eucalyptus, lemongrass and thyme — very refreshing and doesn’t immediately fall flat.

In the spirit of wine, I feel inclined to share that I’ve been studying to be become a sommelier recently AND I’ll be launching my personal wine blog this week! Go me, right? In all my massive studying, I’ve learned to be on the lookout for wines that may start out initially strong, but fall flat quickly. It’s more common than people realize and it’s super cool to see Hillersden avoid this common letdown. I’ve been sipping it for well over an hour now and it’s only changing for the better. The acidity is now at the forefront and I’m getting a bit more pear and apricot on the nose. This is a great transformation for such a young winery.

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My Yountville Live Diary: A 4 Day Adventure in Wine, Food and Music

Bobbi Hach-Jacobs and Claire Parr

Napa is known for offering the best in wine and food, but what some out-of-towners may not know, is that it’s also a valley rich with music and art. Yountville Live, an eclectic mix of events, organized by Bobbi Hach-Jacobs and Claire Parr, (the girl bosses and best friends behind the successful Live in the Vineyard events) delivered a unique experience that combined live music, and award-winning chefs paired with award-winning wines.

 

Yountville Live does not bring out food and wine snobs. It brings out epicureans who want to absorb as much knowledge as they can and cherish the delicious wine and food in front of them.

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Doi Moi: Southeast Asia Flavors Via DC

Doi Moi

1800 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
http://www.doimoidc.com

I’ve been dying to try Doi Moi since I moved to the DC area last year. It’s one of those restaurants you hear spoken about through the office, or during happy hour when your friends discuss their top 10 best meals (or do those types of conversations only happen when I’m at happy hour?). Finally, last week I was able to try out this DC gem and it was well worth the wait!

Doi Moi is a Southeast Asian restaurant located in the Logan Circle area of DC, specializing in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. Their name, which translates to “new changes” is meant to be symbolic of Logan Circle’s renewed neighborhood and the renovation of the historic building they are housed in.

Photo via eater.com

The space is beautiful! The restaurant decor is clean and open, with a large bar in the middle perfect for grabbing a glass of wine from their extensive drink menu.

Doi Moi’s dinner menu consists of small plates and shareable plates, including a fried whole branzino! Bonus: They offer a rotating selection of soft serve ice cream! Yes Lawd!

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East Coast and West Coast Rosé

Rosé after Labor Day? It’s ok. We won’t judge! 

Readers may not realize it, but, yes, we are actually all friends here at Girls on Food. Nikki (who lives in NYC) and I (living in LA) were recently messaging each other about our favorite Rosé bottles, and we decided we should probably share this conversation with our readers!

I gave Nikki my recommendation for a Rosé that is sparkles but is also deep in flavor (party-perfect) and she recommended the best “Netflix and PJs” blend for me. Our picks are below:

Nikki’s Rosé Pick: 
Luc Belaire Rosé
http://www.lucbelaire.com/

I recently popped open a bottle at a holiday party – Wine & Hip-Hop Holiday Soiree.
The effervescent, smooth but still berry-packed taste of this Rosé was the perfect bubbly to help spread the holiday cheer… and help break the ice to get us movin’ & groovin’ to those unconventional holiday tunes.
Julianne’s Rosé Pick: 
Cloud Chaser Côtes de Provence
When it comes to Rosé, I’m always looking for a dry, easy-to-drink bottle- you’d probably be shocked to hear I have a hard time with it! Many Rosés out there are too acidic or too fruity but after tasting around, I finally found Cloud Chaser, and I consider it my go-to blend.
A glass of Cloud Chaser is beautiful on its own; it’s smooth, refreshing and makes you feel like it’s summer (even as I prep Christmas presents). I recently discovered that it also makes a fabulous spritzer as well!
Raspy Rosé   
3 oz Cloud Chaser Côtes de Provence
3 oz Original New York Seltzer Raspberry Soda
1 Lemon Slice
Fill a wine glass with ice, then add chilled Cloud Chaser Rosé, top off with Original New York Seltzer Raspberry Soda and garnish with lemon slice.
Cheers!

Victoria Attends Spain’s Great Match in San Francisco

It was an ordinary Tuesday and I found that reason enough to wine taste my way through Spain’s Great Match. More than 200 wineries from Spain met in San Francisco’s Metreon to celebrate its 23rd annual event. Regional wines were showcased alongside their latest vintages.  Unique and enigmatic wines were paired with culinary treats, including delectable olives and cheese from Spain.

Spains Great Match
Pictured from left to right Victoria from Cookfor2ish and Melody Fuller of Oakland Wine Festival

Reading the Labels

Before I really started to learn about wine, I would stray away from regions I didn’t know anything about. In the new world, wine labels are explicit and clearly name the varietal, in the old world you rarely find the varietal on the label. I found it to be a little overwhelming so I came up with a cheat sheet to break down the details.

Spain Great Match

WINE LABEL:

Winery Brand

Producer – Name of Vineyard

Label Name

Year or Vintage (year of harvest)

DO : Designation of Origin – Geographical Area where Grapes were Grown (it could be a small village)

At least for Spanish wines, this method seems to remain somewhat consistent, as long as you know the varietal and where it is grown.

The Seven Wine Regions of Spain

Spain’s Great Match, literally covers wine from across the entire country. The areas are broken down into seven regions and further down into designation of origin.

Spains Great Match

The Seven Regions

Green Spain/ Duero River Valley/ The Mediterranean Coast/ The Meseta/ Ebro River Valley/ Andalucia/ The Islands

Spains Great Match

My Favorites

From a large array and extensive tasting booth by booth, I choose my 3 favorite varietals.

Technically, my technique of comparing Spanish varietals to American might not bode well with wine makers, but it’s only for the sake of understanding and learning. When I was new to these regions, I would ask if what I was tasting might be similar to say, a chardonnay. It helped me better grasp a general idea of these new, complex and infinite varietals.

Sorry in advance wine makers, I’m truly trying to bridge the gap between the two worlds for the young wine enthusiast out there!

If I could guess, there were probably around 20 different varietals at this event and only 3 really spoke to me.

Whites:

Albarino: Similar to Chardonnay, fresh, alive, light, with solid acidity that could even be somewhat tropical.

Verdejo: It reminded me of a crisp, non-acidic Sauvignon Blanc. Apricot and peaches on the nose, followed by a weightless taste.

Reds:

Tempranillo: From simple and modest to complex and rich, it immediately made me think of Pinot Noir.

Spains Great Match

Some of my favorite spanish wines at the match 

I won’t say I managed to try all 200 bottles, but I did make it to each table and these were my top picks for this lovely event.

Gran Resalte 2009, DO Ribera del Duero – Tempranillo $79.00 (red)

Dark, intense deep red, perfume, violets, flowers, balanced acidity, electric feeling in your mouth, solid grape flavors and extremely elegant. Superb finish dressed with mild tannins (dry).

Ideal for that special moment or proposal (even meeting the parents).

Spains Great Match

Resalte Crianza 2011, DO Ribera del Duero – Tempranillo $35.00 (red)

Cherry red color and aromas of stone. Wine is intense, vivid, expressive, light, clean, bright and leaves your empty glass filled with powerful black licorice aromas.

Best for hanging with friends and/or enjoying tapas alongside great conversation.

El Coto Imaz Reserva 2010, DO Rioja – Tempranillo $ 19.99 (red)

Oak and pepper blend in the nose. Light, but warm feeling on the tongue that vanishes immediately, leaving you with a “I want another glass sensation”

Spains Great Match

Best for movie day, chilling and/or cool Sunday fun-day afternoons.

Condes de Albarei 2015, DO Rias Baixas – Albarino $ 15.00 (white)

Attractive citric notes on the nose were followed by the saltiness of a oyster fresh out of the sea. Wine was bright yellow in color and finishes with a sense of satisfaction one can only get through experiencing themselves.

Spains Great Match

Obviously wine would be paired well with a fresh salad, ceviche or any fresh fish for that matter.

Fun Fact: More than half of the wine makers in this region (Rias Baixas) are women.

De Alberto Premium 2015, Hijos de Alberto Gutierrez DO Rueda – Verdejo $ 14.50 (white)

Stimulating beginning and highly expressive on the nose. Hints of apricot with soft acidity and finishes smooth.

Spains Great Match

Perfect by the pool on a hot day or a great start to your Sunday brunch.

Spains Great Match

Olives from Spain

I made a few trips to this booth for olives, olives and more olives!

A large portion of olives are used solely for the purpose of oil extraction, while only a select few are deemed suitable enough to be processed and eaten as table olives.

Spains Great Match

While Olives from Spain are strong and robust all on their own, their unique taste and texture can create more than just an impressive solo act. Thanks to the various types of processing methods used, there’s a wide range of table olives available on the market.

Black Olives:

The Ripe Black Olive is both mild and subdued and has a light, flexible flavor. Black olives are lighter than other snacks, yet big on taste. In fact, seven olives top out at 37 calories.

Green Olives:

The Spanish Green Olive is a year-round favorite. It’s beautiful in color and it’s robust flavor is enough to stand alone. They’re adaptable enough to make any dish even more memorable, bold, sharp, spicy flavor.

Stuffed Olives: Just Add Anything

Almost any food can be combined with this Spanish favorite. Garlic, blue cheese, jalapeños, capers, anchovies, artichokes and more.

It took a lot of self control to not consume every last olive at this event! From garlic, artichokes, pepper and spices, I was sold on them all.

Cheese from Spain

The booth was simple and focused on Spain’s best: Manchego.

Manchego cheese is made from the milk of the  Manchega sheep, breed on the center region of Spain, ” La Mancha”.

Spains Great Match

There were 3 types of Manchego; pasteurized (commercial), raw (farm style) and mixed (with cow milk).

The flavors were fruity with a tangy note, with a caramel and nutty after taste. All the cheeses had a distinct acidity and the Manchego sheep’s milk gave a pleasant, unusual aftertaste. The texture is firm and compact.

Spains Great Match

My favorite one was the farm style, when it comes to cheese, pasteurized paranoia doesn’t worry me at all!

Olive Oil From Spain

This event couldn’t be complete without the olive oil! There were several bottles from many producers perfectly lined up; spicy ones, fragrant, and dipping only. Too many to taste them all in one visit (Especially when you have a fresh baguette as the main tasting tool).

Spains Great Match

I’m a fan of strong ones, my favorite from all: Castillo de Canena; 100% from the “Picual” olive variety. The oil had a medium body, soft texture, sweet/buttery taste, at the end a strong peppery kick that gave me an extra savory bonus .

Spains Great Match

Spains Great Match 

Overall, this event was really eye opening to how many beautiful and eclectic types of wine Spain has to offer. The wines were a refreshing taste of something new for me.

Spains Great Match

Spains Great Match

Thank you to the organizers, sponsors, venders and all the individual people who made this great event possible for so many years. I look forward to attending again next year.

BOOzy Brunch Bunch: Caramel Apple Sangria

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dessertLike any good toddler mom, I head to Pinterest for basically everything party related! Every month or so, I host a “Boozy Brunch Bunch” because well, if you play with kids all day and never see your friends, there is a chance you will lose your sanity. With “Boozy” in the title, I like to have a couple of options available, so thanks to #itsfallyall and Pinterest, I can bring you today’s concoction!

 

This month, I decided to host a BOOzy Brunch Bunch, because of Halloween. Unfortunately, Raleigh got hit way harder than expected by Hurricane Matthew, and my freezer got wiped out, so I didn’t have most of my normal go-to’s, like all the mini muffins I’ve crafted over the years, or the tiny eggos the kids love so much. (I’m seriously not complaining about this; there are towns in North Carolina that people still can not get into their homes, so my freezer is the least of my worries right now). But since I couldn’t just defrost a handful of muffins and throw eggos in the oven, I started to think about my favorite breakfast foods and realized: toasts are so hot right now!

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My favorite restaurant up in Rhode Island is called Persephone’s Kitchen, and the owner, Persephone, has a delightful selection of toasts every morning that I decided to emulate. So for the guests at my home, there were avocado and cayenne pepper sprinkled with goat cheese toast, goat cheese and mini heirloom tomato toast, and the gold standard of Nutella and banana slices on toast! Of course, I provided mimosas and coffee, but I wanted to have a special beverage on hand as well. My sister-in-law and I had thrown a joint birthday party for our new one-year-olds at the beginning of October, and we tried this recipe for the first time then. I just knew it had to make another appearance this fall!

Caramel Apple Sangria

sangria-1This recipe is super easy and takes 5 minutes to put together! Deceptively sweet, so make sure kids don’t accidentally drink it (a valid concern) and make sure your adult friends know they just got sloshed before you let them hop into a car and drive home! It’s the perfect warm fall day beverage, as the sun is shining and you don’t want anything too heavy! Ideal for a southern fall day, for sure!

 

 

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The first step is to cut up 2-3 apples and add them to your pitcher! I started this in a juice jar, and realized I needed something bigger midway through and transferred! Next, add a bottle of your favorite chilled white wine (I used chardonnay), a container of apple cider (I prefer Trader Joe’s  version), and then the coup de grace, is one cup of Smirnoff’s Kissed Caramel Vodka.

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Everyone who has tried this loves it! I’m thrilled for the leftovers to share with my neighborhood tonight as the kids are out Trick – or – Treating!

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Catherine Takes a Seat at Andrew Tarlow’s Table

These days, I rarely have time to sit down and read a book. Let’s be honest, I am lucky enough to keep up with meetings, conference calls and only because of The Skimm am I well aware of what’s going on in the news. When I found out that Andrew Tarlow was making a trip to Nashville and partnering with one of my favorite restaurants in town, Rolf and Daughters, I knew this was an event not to be missed. I put aside the magazines, hit pause on the DVR, sat down and read Dinner at the Long Table from cover to cover.

Andrew Tarlow is the “unofficial mayor” of Brooklyn. This restaurateur is single-handedly responsible for transforming the New York borough into the world class dining scene that it is today.  His empire is vast and truly knows no bounds. Consisting of five restaurants ( Marlow and Sons, Diner, Roman’s, Achilles Heel, Reynard, ) a butcher shop (Marlow and Daughters) a bar (The Ides) a bakery ( She Wolf Bakery)  and a hotel (Wythe Hotel), Tarlow has most recently added handcrafted leather bags (Marlow Goods) to his list. I seriously want to know when this man sleeps!  What’s the latest with Tarlow? His Cookbook, Dinner at the Long Table, a collaborative effort penned with Anna Dunn. Dunn is yet another superstar who serves as the editor in chief of the famous Diner Journal, a magazine dedicated to art, literature, and recipes. Oh, and by the way, add that one to his list as well. This man is pure genius. Clearly, I am a huge fan 🙂

It’s no surprise that this “cookbook” reads more like a personal journal or book of short essays exploring family traditions and celebrating those that have shared dinner at the long table with Tarlow from the beginning.

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Tarlow and Rolf and Daughters carefully selected dishes highlighting multiple menus throughout this gorgeous book.

We started with Turnip and Apple, which was a slight variation of the Turnips and Oranges recipe under One Good Goose. This menu focuses on the importance of people and procuring ingredients from local purveyors. The apples were the perfect juxtaposition to the turnips. The heartiness of the dish was balanced out with local watercress and Gruyere cheese. A perfect opener for the evening.

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Anxiously awaiting our next dish, the Eggplant with Bone Marrow Agro Dolce was served from the section I love, you love, we all love bluefish. This menu pays tribute to those who enjoy and find pleasure in highlighting the unsung heroes of the sea. Speechless. I was left speechless after my first bite. This dish was the epitome of agrodolce. The richness of the broth provided balance to the sharp vinaigrette. And the marrow? Melted in my mouth faster than any M&M I’ve ever had.

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Basking in the deliciousness of my first two courses, the Agnolotti in Brodo was served. This dish comes from the Night Before a New Year menu. Dishes concocted for this meal are both elaborate and laborious, as what would be expected on New Year’s Eve. I enjoyed this dish and could taste the amount of effort that went into crafting each piece of pasta. The agnolotti was stuffed with a crumbled pork mixture, lighted covered in brodo and topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Confession: If I weren’t in public, I totally would have had every drop of that brodo. AMAZING!

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Wild Striped Bass with Polenta, Tomato and Mint highlighted in the Agro Dolce menu strives to find the balance between sweet and savory. The bass was placed atop a soft, creamy bed of polenta drizzled with olive oil and garnished with mint. The creaminess of the polenta played very well with the acidity of the fish.

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Ending the meal on a sweet note, we ordered Toasted Rice Ice Cream with Bitter Chocolate.  I could not think of a better conclusion to this flavor filled journey. The ice cream was both delicate and sweet, topped with crisps that provided that extra crunch with each bite. Maybe one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had. And yes, I realize what a strong statement that is.

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Tarlow and Dunn open with the poem, “Eat Sunshine.” This will speak to each person in different ways, but I wanted to share a few of the nuggets that sang to my heart:

  • participate in the timeless
  • never measure
  • make drinks
  • spend your life thinking about dinner
  • game changers
  • remember what you forgot
  • eat with your fingers
  • set off the smoke alarm
  • write a menu for every meal, even the small ones
  • find your heroes

Pour yourself a glass of wine and have a seat at Andrew Tarlow’s table. He truly is a hero and an innovator when it comes to American cuisine. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Get Cozy With This Easy Spiced Red Sangria Recipe

One of my favorite go-to cocktails is Sangria! You can have it red, you can have it white, you can have it sparkling, and you can have it all…year…long. With Fall finally here and temperatures dropping, a Spiced Red Sangria sounded like the perfect cocktail for the season!

Spiced Red Sangria

As soon as temperatures dropped past 65 degrees here in D.C., I knew it was time to get in the kitchen and do a little recipe testing for a delicious Sangria. I decided to use the tastes and themes of Fall as inspiration and create a Spiced Red Sangria.

This super easy recipe uses Red Table Wine, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Brandy and Triple Sec. The Spiced Rum and Brandy are what make this particular Sangria so comforting (caution: this recipe is strong). A little orange juice and fruits round it out to create a Sangria that will leave you feeling warm & fuzzy all over.
To start, cut up two apples, two oranges, and one small pack of blackberries. Add your fruit to a pitcher.

Then, pour in one 750ml bottle of your favorite red wine (Syrah, Spiced Red SangriaCabernet, and Pinot Noir work well).

Next add 1 1/2 cups spiced rum, 1/2 cup brandy, 1/2 cup triple sec, 1 cup orange juice and mix.

(*Please note: This comes out on the stronger side. Feel free to start with less rum and brandy and work your way up to your desired potency.)

Instead of orange juice, you can also try apple juice to give it a more spiced cider taste.

Once all ingredients are mixed well, chill the Sangria for 4 – 24 hours. When you are ready to enjoy, serve your Sangria over ice. For an extra level of classy, garnish your glass with an apple and orange slice.

Spiced Red Sangria

Sangria is such a versatile drink, and you can really make it your own. Plus, it makes a great pairing for any dish and can be a real standout at your next dinner party.

Sit down, relax and enjoy the cool Fall weather with a glass of delicious Spiced Red Sangria!

Girls on Food at 26 Beach in Venice, CA

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26 Beach Restaurant 
3100 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
http://www.26beach.com

I have waited way too long to show off my favorite Venice Beach restaurant, 26 Beach. Below are the favorite items from the video:

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The Peach Melba French Toast

The Peach Melba French Toast is hands down my favorite item on the menu. Unlike most traditional french toasts which are made with brioche, this bad boy is made with croissant. It manages to stay crisp even with covered in caramelized peaches, melba sauce and vanilla ice cream.

The Elvis
The Elvis

The Elvis is truly fit for a king! This French Toast is stuffed with Skippy’s peanut butter, blueberry jam and sliced bananas. Requires a glass of milk to wash down!

The Chef Katsu's Original California Roll Hamburger
The Chef Katsu’s Original California Roll Hamburger

I’ve had several of the burgers on 26 Beach menu, but this burger always intimidated me a little. I love burgers and I love sushi but would I love them together? This burger patty is topped with snow crab salad, avocado, sushi ginger, Boston lettuce, tomato, nori and a wasabi-shoyu-mayo.

I took one bite and I was in surf ‘n turf heaven. Lovers of a juicy, dripping burger must try this one. It’s tough to eat on camera cause it’s so huge (that’s what she said) but worth every bite.

I cannot believe it’s taken me so long to feature them here, but we love 26 Beach and can’t wait to come back and eat some more! We’re shooting a lot of video content in cities all over the U.S. so be sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel!

The Gallery Westlake: Keeping Us Very Happy in Westlake Village, CA

I’m a big fan of the happy hour concept. My budget is usually stretched pretty thin, so happy hours are the perfect time to get a deal on quality menu items for less money while mingling with a lively after-work crowd.

The Gallery is a hip spot in Westlake Village known for its gourmet New American cuisine and fresh seafood. It serves up a happy hour on weekdays from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm that’s not only friendly on the wallet, but is also super-delicious.

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The Gallery Westlake
30768 Russell Ranch Road, #C, Westlake Village, CA 91362
http://www.thegallerywestlake.com

the-gallery-interior

My friend Liz and I arrived right at the start of happy hour and took a seat at the bar, noting the elegant, yet inviting decor. I also couldn’t help but scope out the fabulous looking raw bar nearby. We visited on a Wednesday, but take note—during Thursday night football, happy hour includes .99 cent oysters!

raw-bar

Once we got settled in, Liz and I intended to make the most of our happy hour(s), so that meant drinks needed to be ordered straight away!

Liz ordered the gorgeous Violet Moon, which is a mix of Fords gin, Crème de Violette, and lemon juice, garnished with a caramelized orange wheel flambéed by the bartender with a torch.

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Her drink was as tasty as it was pretty, with smooth floral flavors leading to a tart finish.

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I decided to go with a good ol’ glass of wine. House wines are only $5 during happy hour, but I decided to upgrade to a Foley Estates Chardonnay which was still five bucks cheaper than the regular price. It was rich and buttery with hints of sweet caramel and toasty oak. It was so good, I could have guzzled several more glasses. (Don’t worry—I didn’t. Well… just a couple!)

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As we sipped, we chatted with The Gallery’s owner, Karim Megji, who showed us some photos on his phone from a local farm. He had just been picking tomatoes a short while ago and told us that many of the things grown at the farm are used in menu items at the restaurant. Always a good mark in my book—nothing beats fresh, locally grown produce!

My appetite was fully whetted, so we tried our first happy hour appetizer, an impressive mound of Champagne Shoe String Pomme Frites.

pomme-frites

They looked intimidating at first, but it’s ridiculous how quickly we devoured these. Made with Bouvet Sparkling wine and topped with lemon and cayenne, they reminded me a lot of my favorite potato chip flavor- salt n’ vinegar. Only, you know, more fancy—but equally as addictive!

Next, we tried the Ahi Tartare Tacos, with fresh and meaty chunks of raw tuna tossed with sesame, chili oil, and sriracha, nestled inside crispy wonton shells and topped with avocado. These were so good, Liz and I were side-eyeing the last taco until we finally agreed to split it.

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duck-egg-rollsNext up, based on Karim’s recommendation, we deviated from the happy hour menu to try a regular appetizer, Duck Eggrolls. (Even better, these were easily shared with two for each of us!)

I often find duck to be a little gamey for my taste, but these were fantastic. Maybe it was the delicious sweet chili sauce the meat was drizzled with, or the crunchy mix of veggies and herbs within, but it tasted tender and delicious and actually reminded me of pulled pork.

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Next, Karim suggested Roasted Bone Marrow, and how could I refuse his advice after he led us to the delicious duck egg rolls? I’d never tried bone marrow before but I was certain that if there was a place to try it, this was it.

When the plate arrived, I couldn’t help but think about how jealous my dogs would be if they could see me. But the question was… would I like it?

bone-marrow

The answer is a big YES. In fact, it might have been my favorite item of the night. Liz described the flavor as the “essence of beef”, and she was right. It was melt-in-your-mouth juicy and meaty and was even better spread on crostini. It was also seasoned really nicely with herbs and hints of jalapeño. If you like the fatty part of meat (i.e pork belly), you will love this. The only downside is that there wasn’t actually as much marrow as it seemed. It was gone far too quickly!

Liz and I were getting pretty full at this point, but we were still feeling meaty after the bone marrow experience, so we tried the short rib tacos to finish out our meal.

short-rib-tacosMade with tender braised short rib mixed with dijon aioli, cabbage, and queso fresco, these were another winner. Like everything else we had tried so far, the meat was tender and nicely seasoned, and the slaw added a nice crunch and a pleasant finish to our meal.

Did I say we were finished?

tania-at-the-galleryWell, not quite. We had to try dessert, obviously.

Apparently Peanut Butter Turnovers are a very popular item at The Gallery, and we could see why. The presentation alone made me forget that I was feeling full and I was eager to dig in!

The pastries were crispy and caramelized on the outside, and fluffy on the inside with just the right amount of warm, oozy, gooey peanut butter-chocolately goodness sandwiched within. The vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and strawberries drizzled with caramel were also a welcome addition. This was one of the more unique desserts I’ve had in some time, and I can see why people return to The Gallery for this treat alone!

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I’d say Liz and I had a very happy happy hour at The Gallery. I’d recommend going with friends and splitting several things—it’s definitely worth trying everything on the menu, and the prices are totally reasonable. Next time I’m coming back on a Thursday… those oysters are calling my name!

The Taste of Mexico Returns To LA

The largest all-inclusive Mexican tasting event The Taste of Mexico (TOM) returns on its 6th annual edition to Los Angeles and Girls of Food (GOF) was invited to the exclusive sneak peek event that showcased some of the food vendors that you would be able to try at the food festival.

Be sure to check out their site here.

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The first thing we tried was a sample of Los Javis Mezcal. It is a family owned Mezcaleria from Oaxaca, México that dates 3 generations back. This mezcal is incredibly smooth. It had a lot of flavor and body but it didn’t leave that burning sensation in your throat that you normally get from drinking mezcal.

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They also brought Chapulines (grasshoppers) and Sal de Gusano (salt with maguey worms).

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Then we tried Anepalco’s Baby Corn which is their version of the Mexican street vendor corn. The Baby Corn was smothered in a Chile de Arbol Aioli, topped with Cotija cheese and grind up Chapulines sprinkled on top of it. We’re excited to try their new spot Maestro, in Pasadena, which is coming soon.

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From Caló Provisions we got to see Ted Montoya in action and to try his Pozole. Ted’s take on Pozole has a twist he cooks it with Chicharron Dashi and adds an egg. I really like the egg, it gives an extra layer of complexity to the Pozole.

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Our pal The Choriman was also at the Taste of Mexico sneak peek and he was making Chori Panes. A Chori Pan is a chorizo sandwich. He made his with his Zacateca’s style Red Chorizo, roasted Corn Salad and Salsa Macha.

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We also got to enjoy the delicious pastries from La Monarca Bakery. We had the strawberry cake, the fruit cake, the orejitas cookies and my personal favorite de Guava cake.

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There will be plenty of drinks at the festival some of the ones we loved at the sneak peek were: The I Love Micheladas, Tepaches from Ancho Reyes a Chile Liqueor and Los Javis.

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There will also have aguas frescas vendors like the Agua Lucha guys. They have flavors like: Mandarin, Lemon, Hibiscus and Tamarind. Not only that they donate some of their proceedings to retired Luchadores (wrestlers) in Mexico.

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The 2016 Taste of Mexico will be the best one so far and it will take place under the stars in the beautiful courtyard of the Plaza de Cultura y Artes Museum in downtown LA. TOM has invited over 35 restaurants to cater the event and you’ll also be able to sample Tequila, Mezcal, Baja Wines & Spirits. And although the tickets might seem a little bit pricey keep in mind that it is an all you can eat and drink ticket so you only have to worry about what food vendor do you want to try next .The event starts at 7pm and ends at 11pm.