Girls on Food

Wine

Food Coma History: Gettysburg, PA

Four score and seven hours ago I had the privilege of traveling to historic Gettysburg, the battle that has now come to symbolize the turning point of The American Civil War.  In light of an impromptu last minute journey to move my cousin into his freshman dorm at Gettysburg College, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring you all the history on this bourgeoning foodie paradise.

During wartime in the July heat of 1863, all the soldiers had for sustenance was the low hanging fruit of cherry trees. Now the town has contributed to the food tour nation and offers options for the eating adventurer such as their downtown food tour:

http://www.savorgettysburgfoodtours.com/tour-information-.html

Savory sweets tour:

http://www.savorgettysburgfoodtours.com/tour-information-.html

Wineries stand at attention on every corner for the true patriot. Conveniently, if you ask in any of the wine or specialty food shoppes, they will quickly hand you a foodie map detailing the different stores and locations. Gettysburg is about sooooo much more than Battlefields.

The Pub & Restaurant
20-22 Lincoln Square
Gettysburg, PA, 17325
http://the-pub.com

 On our first evening in this picturesque small town, we went as far as across the street to sample The Pub’s finest. The Pub, whose main slogan is Believe, has an owner that suffered many trials and tribulations including a devastating fire in February of 2001 that burned the restaurant to the ground but managed to survive. The Pub is now a successful and trendy spot right in Gettysburg’s main square.  The elaborate plate motif is very fetching to the eye, but the main delight and take away from this food explosion were the rolls of knotted pretzel bread that are served with every entree.  The portions are MASSIVE and have drastically more elevated flavors than my favorite big portion hot spot, The Cheesecake Factory.

Adams County Winery
25 Chambersburg Street
Gettysburg, PA, 17325

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Before traveling, be sure to check out their summer/fall concert series. Live music can be found on every corner and an excellent opportunity to check out some new sounds.

Adams County shop has a successful wine slushy.  They offer one of their reds and lighter varieties in a straight up 7-11 inspired Slurpee forms. In the beating sun at the end of August, this treat is a definite must have.

The Farnsworth House
401 Baltimore Street
Gettysburg, PA, 17325
http://www.farnsworthhouseinn.com

The Farnsworth House has been featured on all the ghost themed reality/re-enactment shows. Even taking a trip to the bathroom down a dark hall was creepy.  However, the al fresco dining is something that any diner would rejoice over. Nestled in this beautiful garden patio, The Farnsworth offers up a variety of aptly themed Civil War Cocktails that are worth a try.  I tried “The Third Battalion” a combination of champagne and whiskey.  I was terrified of this place, since it was so obviously haunted, so I needed a fast buzz just in case I stumbled on a paranormal experience.

  Because we had dinner reservations, we opted for lighter options that were available.  Most notable was the sweet breads which, were a delicious concoction of assorted pound cakes served with apple butter. Vacation eating at it’s finest: cake for lunch.

           Gettysburg: The Visitor Center
1195 Baltimore Pike
Gettysburg, PA, 17325
http://www.gettysburgfoundation.org

Although it’s not food related, I wouldn’t feel like a true patriot without telling everyone to go to The Visitor Center. Our tour had a two-hour battlefield tour and a screening of a documentary on the cause and effects of The Civil War. As you can see, there are many photo opp’s just waiting for you right outside of the door. I always like asking the statues of Abraham Lincoln advice; they’re so good at making me answer my own questions.  I even brought him coffee one day thinking that would open him up.

Reid’s Orchard and Winery
400 Baltimore Street
Gettysburg, PA, 17325
http://www.reidsorchardwinery.com

The second winery focused on darker and richer wines. If you enjoy a heavy red, Reid’s will have exactly what you’re looking for.  The owner intentionally uses less sugar because his wife suffers from migraines, which aides in creating a truly rich base that pairs nicely with cheese and savory desserts. They also feature one of my favorite vinos, a Zinfandel they call Zin on Skins. Their wine tasting is $3 if you just want to sample six wines, but $6 to take home the glass. I obviously needed the glass. I can’t wait to host my mismatched wine glass party!

Hauser Estate Winery
19 Lincoln Square
Gettysburg, PA, 17325
http://www.hauserestate.com

Hauser is located right in the middle of town and features not only wine, but also cider, hand crafted and pressed on site. Produced from apples native to Adams County, Pennsylvania, it helps create an out of body experience for cider drinkers. We did a tasting and found some amazing blends. Their Fireside is like a mouthful of Christmas, subtly spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and vanilla. I’m looking forward to ordering some over the holidays and heating it in my crock-pot for a winter treat.

Shown above is the lovely Grace, who can be found slinging samples in the shop in town. Treat yourself to a glass of their Cabernet Franc while you lounge on their patio. If you’re lucky you may see a reenactor elegantly sipping in his Blue Union Uniform (stud) and feel as though you’re transported right back to the days of the Civil War although now you have the luxury of plumbing.

Dobbin House Tavern
89 Steinwher Avenue
Gettysburg, PA, 17325
http://www.dobbinhouse.com

On our final evening in town, we ventured to another spooky stop on The Gettysburg Eats Trail. The Dobbin House, which is another haunted locale. Brimming with rustic and authentic mid nineteenth century flair, the wait staff dresses in period garb, rustles up food of the times and some very forward thinking alcoholic beverages. I feel like if the “Blue Martini” was served during The Civil War it would all have gone a little bit smoother.  I don’t remember the last time I saw orange roughy on the menu but, I have to say it did leave me intrigued.

We started our evening with a basket of warm breads followed by the “porridge of the evening” a delicious seafood bisque. The base was thick and chunks of seafood fantastically rested at the bottom.  I went for the James cut of the prime rib while, my mother got her favorite, the baby lamb chops with fresh mint jelly.

Ghost notes: it is suggested that a slave girl wanders the halls of the Dobbin House Tavern, because it was a location for tired travelers on the Underground Railroad to stop while heading north.  Filled with historical ambiance, this is a must eat in Gettysburg. However, make sure you make a reservation, this antique home fills up quickly and if you reserve too late you may end upstairs in the paranormal bedroom.

Gettysburg may be a town known for an epic three day battle that is a landmark of American History, but you won’t be warring with your tastebuds if you make this your next food destination. Filled with old world charm, history, and a community of young foodies exploring new wines, cider, and flavors it’s for sure another check mark to put in your foodie passport. Whatever you do, don’t let the ghosts sample your snacks….it will go right through them.

Sunday Funday: Brunch at Leona in Venice

NyeshaI had the pleasure of meeting executive chef Nyesha Arrington (of Top Chef and Knife Fight) at a party/tasting celebrating the opening of her new spot Leona, in Venice. The tasting was fantastic and had me salivating for the opening. When I heard it was going to be located on Washington Blvd, I was a little apprehensive about that. I’ve lived Venice over 2 years now and I can honestly say, I never make it past Abbot Kinney Blvd. If you’re on Washington Blvd and move east toward Lincoln Blvd, there is a decent amount of ethnically diverse restaurants, as well as foodie favorites, but towards the beach, there’s more of a tourist trap vibe (The Whaler, Cabo Cantina, Islands). Leona sits a lot closer to the beach than the usual food blogger havens, so I had my guard up. Especially since the beachside of Washington Blvd. can be a little overwhelming with traffic on the weekends.

Leona
123 Washington Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
310-822-5379
http://leonavenice.com

LeonaLuckily for us, Leona is a breath of fresh air for the beachside Washington Blvd scene. I hope Leona’s presence makes a big enough splash to bring in better culinary delights for this part of the block. My girlfriends and I went to the soft open for their brunch over the past weekend and it definitely met the Girls on Food standards for a solid Sunday Funday. Mimosas, great food and a laid back atmosphere. Nyesha defines Leona as “California Progressive Cuisine”, and I think that’s a perfect description for the menu. The brunch items are appropriate to the current season with a melting pot feel of flavors, Italian, Dutch and Korean are represented. I was bummed out the infamous Chicken Brick that I have read so much about online wasn’t offered during brunch. It’s becoming a signature item (according to my online stalking), so I would’ve loved to have seen it incorporated in this menu. Maybe next time?

peach mimosaMimosas are mandatory for a girlie Funday. I had their peach mimosa and I love that it was delicately peach flavored; it didn’t have that overkill-syrupy taste a lot mimosas have. One of my friends had the passion fruit mimosa, which had a beautiful magenta color and also scored points with me for not being too sweet. These were great sweet spins on a classic drink.

Latkes

We started with Korean Latkes, a Jewish potato pancake with a kick. If you’re sensitive to spices, you should dip it in the dollop of creme fraiche provided before a bite. I loved the kick personally. I also gushed over the presentation. I love the offering of herbs, fresh pepper and sea salt to sprinkle on it.

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bacon

After our savory start, we shared Brown Butter Pancakes and California Benedict. The pancakes were to die for. They have that sweet and savory flavor combination that brings this foodie down her knees. The whipped coconut cream and sea-salt vanilla butter on top melt and get soaked up by the pancake, so there’s a buttery flavor to every bite. If you really love that sweet and savory flavor, order a side of their bacon and add that on top of your pancake. It’s smoky, very thick and has the right amount of fat.

 

benedict

The California Benedict is aesthetically impressive plate and caters to coastal tastebuds. The fried soft shell crab rests on top an English muffin, with avocado and topped with poached eggs, then covered in a tomato hollandaise. I haven’t had soft shell crab added to a benedict before, so this was a unique treat for me.

I recommend all Venice locals give the brunch here a taste and I’m looking forward to coming in for dinner. There’s a variety of seating here, ranging from indoor, outdoor, wine bar and countertop. These options cater to pretty much anyone. The atmosphere is very “California”, it’s nice, but there’s no pressure to dress up. Be prepared to either ride a bike or take an Uber here. Parking can cost up to $25 and there isn’t a valet system set up there yet. This spot is still technically in a soft open, so there’s time for them to find their legs.

Click to add a blog post for Leona on Zomato

Hot Italian: Mazzaro’s Italian Market in St. Petersburg, FL

Word of mouth discoveries are always quite the adventure. My Aunt Karen and I were lying on Pass A Grille Beach about 2:00 in the afternoon Friday when we both started to hear a grumble. Though the weather was not looking too good and the dark clouds started to roll in it was not thunder, we were hungry! Already on an Italian kick from an earlier discussion, we agreed to try to find this Italian Market she had heard such good things about. I promptly asked Siri. After a few failed attempts Siri came up with Mazzaro’s Italian Market, “Yes!” my Aunt proclaimed, just like that we packed up and were in route.

Mazzaro’s Italian Market
2909 22nd Avenue N
St Petersburg, FL 33713
(727) 321-2400
http://www.mazzarosmarket.com

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Let me tell you, when you pull up to Mazzaro’s Italian Market you feel like you have been transported to Italy. The murals on and around the building are beautiful; Fiat’s outside lend authenticity as well as a quick photo op. When you walk in you are energetically consumed by the hustle and bustle of the market. To your left are fresh fruits and veggies next to a marinated olive bar. This being our first trip, we really just had to soak it all in like a fresh piece of bread dipped in herbs and olive oil. While we are talking about bread, it was amazing… made fresh in house everyday.

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The Market opened in 1993 and is truly an Italian Lover’s as well as any food lover’s, dream market. Mazzaro’s features freshly roasted coffee, over 75 prepared foods daily in their deli, over 1,000 wine selections and over 300 cheeses, fresh cut meat and seafood, homemade gelato, freshly baked bread and pastries, each in their own section of the market. You can order take out, catering or enjoy your food on their patio.

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I also tried, for the first time, a mammoth slice of Cannoli Cake at $4.00 that was out of this world!

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My Aunt and I pulled a ticket, ordered, and shared the Hot Italian (ham, salami, pepperoni,
provolone, shredded lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, Italian dressing) $5.50. The bread was warm, and soft like biting into a cloud; the flavors in the sandwich complimented each other so well all we could do was embrace our mouth full of food, goofy smile at each other from how happy that sandwich was making us.

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If you are every in the area, I hands down turn around and slap the ground, recommend you stop by Mazzaro’s. Even if you are not a crazy food person like me you will so enjoy all the collected Italian treasures they showcase in the store and the friendly employees. Next time we plan to stop there to grab lunch BEFORE we hit the beach.

Feeling Foxy at Foxen Winery in Santa Maria, CA

If you’ve never been to Santa Barbara wine country, you are missing out. It has all the amazing wine of somewhere like Napa or Sonoma, but with better prices and without all the crowds. Go watch “Sideways” and tell me you don’t want to hop on a plane to California’s central coast, I dare you.

Foxen Winery
7600 & 7200 Foxen Canyon Road
Santa Maria, CA 93454
http://www.foxenvineyard.com

foxenFoxen was one of the first wineries I ever visited in the Santa Maria Valley. My partner and I have visited so many times, most of the staff knows us by name and we have a wine club membership there. They have such a great variety of really fantastic wine, you’d be silly not to pay them a visit.

Foxen actually has two tasting rooms (so twice as much wine!). Both are about 12 miles down on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail (where you could spend all day tasting amazing wine) and since they are just down the road from one another, you have no excuse not to stop in at both. At the main tasting room you get to try some of the central coast’s most famous varietals- Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay. Head on down to Foxen 7200 (or “The Shack” as it’s called) to try some Italian varietals, ports, and some fantastic Bordeaux style blends. A $10 tasting gets you a flight of 6 at each tasting room, so it’s a steal as well.

rootstastingFoxen really shines when it comes to Pinot Noirs. They occasionally do Pinot Noir flights, highlighting different blocks and vineyards, and each is unique, complex, and just plain good (make sure you try the Julia’s Vineyard). One of my personal favorite wines is their Chenin Blanc, which is a great Chardonnay alternative since it has some barrel aging and it full of rich cream and butter. It is hands down one of my favorite white wines, as it’s extremely food friendly but stands alone well. If you make it to the tasting room in the summer, make sure you pick a bottle of the Rosé of Mourvedre. It’s perfect for sipping on a hot day or paired with a light snack.

groundsHead on over to The Shack to try their Guillermo Grosso- a 50/50 of Cabernet and Sangiovese blend. If you like big, herbacious food wines, this one is for you. Their Cabernet Franc is also an excellent example of the varietal and just really, really tasty.

Not only does Foxen has fantastic wines, but they know how to have fun! They frequently host dining events both on and off their grounds and have quarterly pick up parties for wine club members. They also frequently do specialty tasting events such as their Roots Tastings where you can try some of their older and vintages (they’ve aged perfectly by the way). They also have a host of adorable winery cats and dogs, some of which are very friendly and snuggly, so you might make a new friend!

All in all, Foxen is a standout winery in the Santa Maria Valley. Whether you like delicate Pinots, robust Syrahs or, you know, wine– Foxen deserves a visit (or three!) The staff is knowledge and extremely friendly, and the wine is delicious to boot! What more could you want in a tasting experience?

And get a picture with their famous hippie sign to show the world how cool you are.
And get a picture with their famous hippie sign to show the world how cool you are.

Tolosa Winery, San Luis Obispo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Acqua Al 2: A Taste Of Florence in San Diego

When I was offered the treat of a chef’s choice tasting at Acqua Al 2 in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego, I was quick to abandon my “no carbs, sweets, or booze until mom’s wedding” plan, because lets be honest spanx were invented for a reason.

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Acqua Al 2
322 5th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
619.230.0382
http://www.acquaal2.com

Acqua Al 2 and it’s sister restaurant located in Florence share an identical menu, and according to our waiter, the entire staff is very passionate about keeping things as truly italian as possible. The location has the most charming appeal, with customer decorated plates lining the walls, and a rustic Italian feel that makes you want to book a plane ticket as soon as you can.

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The meal began with a chef’s choice tasting of five signature pasta dishes, each cooked to a perfect al dente and smothered in the most decadent sauces. Pasta and I have a pretty complicated relationship, as I’ve abandoned it for years, but after this experience I vow to never make that mistake again.

1. Farfalle Alla Zucca: a bowtie pasta smothered in a creamy butternut squash, garlic, and rosemary sauce, this was both my friend and my favorite of the night. The sauce had a surprising little kick that came through, thanks to the garlic, and the butternut squash gave the sauce a rich flavor and smooth consistency that had would keep me coming back again and again.

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2. Lumaconi Al Broccoli: shell shaped pasta in a creamy broccoli sauce finished with parmesan. I have never been a giant fan of broccoli, I’ll tolerate it if need be, but this dish would have me ordering it willingly. The perfect amount of broccoli flavor and a creamy sauce similar to an alfredo that I am still dreaming about.

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3. Fusilli Corti Agli Spinachi: corkscrew pasta in a light and creamy spinach sauce. All of my distaste for broccoli is made up for my love of spinach, so it came as a surprise to me that this was not my standout. Still cooked perfectly, sauce containing just the right amount of spinach flavor, this is a killer choice if you’re staying on the green side of things, and can almost trick you into feeling like you’re not eating a giant plate of pasta….almost.

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4&5. Two different pastas with red sauce; the first a fusilli with a light and tangy red sauce that had a peppery kick and had a traditional and familiar flavor and the second a rigatoni pasta in a more rustic tomato sauce that had a zesty lemon finish that was so unexpected and served to brighten up the dish in a brilliant way.

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After making our way through some of the most delicious pasta I had ever encountered, we were struggling to figure out where we were going to fit our tasting of entrees. Acqua does an incredible job of catering to restricted diets, and was so willing to change up their tasting menu upon finding out my guest and I don’t eat red meat. Our three entree tasting included:

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Controfiletto Al Peppe Verde, traditionally served with a hand carved New York steak, our substituted with chicken version of this dish remained our standout. The creamy green peppercorn, brandy and dijon mustard sauce had a unique flavor, and it was such a star I imagine it could shine on any protein.

Petto Di Pollo Al Funghi Porcini, served in a porcini mushroom, white wine and garlic sauce, is reminiscent of chicken marsala. Unfortunately the first chicken choice was such a star that this one felt a little less special, although still delicious.

Petto Di Pollo Alla Grilla, though this is typically a chicken dish,  ours was served with salmon as a substitute protein. Now, I’m a fan of fish, but I adamantly have stood by my distaste for salmon (this makes me quite the unpopular Jew whenever lox enters the conversation) for my entire life, until I tasted this. Served on a bed of arugula with grape tomatoes and lemon, the crisp and salty crust of the fish turned me into a believer. Although it was a touch on the dry side, the combination of flavors had me coming back for more even after I was stuffed beyond belief.

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And then there was dessert…. a tasting of their four favorites and the most perfect end to what had been a weird 80 degrees with thunderstorms type of day. The selection included mini tiramisu, panna cotta with a blueberry compote, ricotta cheesecake with a walnut crust and raspberries, and floureless chocolate cake. Though I could probably never choose a favorite dessert, the ricotta cheesecake made me moan out loud, which is always a pretty great sign.

Acqua Al 2 is a stellar choice for a romantic date night, celebratory dinner, or end of week wine and pasta binge, and should not be missed. The entire chef’s choice tasting was rich, decadent and reminiscent of Italy, and had me moving Acqua Al 2 to my list of reasons to venture downtown…..or to Florence ;).

Classic Pub Eats Get Reimagined in Miami: The Local

What can I say about The Local 150, otherwise known as simply The Local? Situated in the quiet outskirts of Coral Gables, this restaurant boasts a rotating menu of down-home American food with a twist. I found myself at The Local a few weekends ago through the power of Twitter. After a series of tweets between The Local and GOF, a day and time was set for the culinary fun to begin.

The Local

150 Giralda Ave

Coral Gables, FL 33034

305.648.5687

http://www.thelocal150.com

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From the outside The Local looks more like a spot that would be known more for its drinks than food. That’s because from the outside, you can see that the bar is a focal point of the pub-style restaurant. It is an intimate venue, but big on charm and selection. The bar boasts at least 18 varieties of craft beers, along with a wine and cocktail selection that rivals any upscale Miami restaurant. I started the evening by ordering a Hawaiian Stone Sour which included a high west double rye, demerara syrup, fresh lemon juice and pineapple juice. It was delicious.

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My first course was the Bread and Butter plate. While it may sound like the basic serving of mass-produced rolls with factory made butter, it was not that. The staff brought out a serving of amazing fluffy southern-style cornbread and grilled bread that was toasted just right. The Local makes their cultured butter on-site and it was a delightfully whipped blend that went perfectly with texture of both the cornbread and grilled bread.

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But the star of the bread and butter show was the house-made watermelon jam. I have to admit that when the server introduced the idea of watermelon jam my first thought was, “watermelon doesn’t have enough flavor for jam.” Boy was I wrong! The cornbread and watermelon jam combination was so good I almost ate the entire portion while waiting on my friends to join me for dinner. I was generous and saved a piece for them though.

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When my friends arrived we ordered the Cornmeal Hushpuppies to share because we were determined to find any excuse to eat the remainder of the watermelon jam. The hushpuppies had a crispy shell with a warm cornmeal center that was reminiscent of the cornbread we inhaled just moments before. It paired nicely with the watermelon jam.

Sticking with the appetizers, my friend ordered a Grilled Wedge Salad and I was puzzled by two words: grilled salad. Like you, I have heard of grilled chicken or salmon on a salad, but not an actual grilled salad. I could not wait to see what the dish was all about. The salad was a combination of radish, celery, apples, spiced peanuts and blue cheese on a bed of lightly grilled arugula. Butter was the word of the day as the salad was topped with brown butter, which my friend requested be included on the side. The butter acted as the glue that melded the flavors of the salad together. Also, the salad comes with country ham but my vegetarian friend requested it not be included on her dish.

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our wonderfully friendly server brought out a favorite entree among the locals of The Local. The Steak Tartare sat atop a blend of deviled egg, chives and roasted garlic. I have to say the deviled egg gave the dish a unique flavor and I was surprised at how much the combination made sense. Kudos to the chef for such a bold plate that worked.

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After all the warm-up excitement, we were ready for the main course. I ordered the classic pub staple of Fish and Chips, while my friend ordered Smoked Beef Sweetbreads. From the menu, the sweetbreads entree was listed as a combination of stone ground grits, mushroom slaw and smoked mushrooms. That sounded simple enough but I could not picture what that dish would actually look like upon arrival. Good thing I captured a picture so you don’t have to imagine.

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My fish and chips entree soon followed. The golden crust of my catfish was fried just right. It adhered to the fish well but was light enough not to overpower its taste.

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I could go on and on about this dish but I have to switch gears to discuss the gem of all culinary gems that night: the Fried Chicken Leg.

I was prepared to eat my well-made and tasty fish and chips. I really was. But, then the server brought out the creme dela creme of The Local’s menu that night and it was a game-changer. As soon as I tasted the fried chicken leg, I had the server box up the fish and chips because there was no way I would be eating it instead of the chicken. This dish came on a bed of blended split peas that resembled mashed potatoes, topped with a bacon cornbread dressing and finished with southern-fried de-boned chicken leg cut into four pieces. My friend wanted to share the dish and I obliged but I was not happy about it. I wanted it all to myself. I highly recommend that anyone in the mood for good, down-home, hearty dish forgo everything else and order this instead. You will not be disappointed.

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After all that eating, me and my friends were stuffed. The server asked if we wanted to order dessert and, of course, we declined. However, our server told us about the hot sticky buns, and we couldn’t turn them down. As full as we were, we managed to devour the Sticky Buns topped with Miami’s own smokers bacon and homemade sweet potato ice cream.

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The Local is an excellent place to go when you want quality food by a chef and staff committed to using only the best locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients found in South Florida. The food and drinks are nothing less than amazing and for the price, they are almost giving it away. If you find yourself craving a bit of American comfort food in the heart of South Florida, visit The Local.

Rice to Meet You!: Sushi Song in Deerfield Beach

Meeting friends for sushi is brutal if you suffer from a shellfish allergy. However, I did not let my friends all the fun with their fancy rolls. I scored two scoops of heavenly Deerfield Beach Mud next door at Kilwin’s Ice Cream before they got there. The name of this flavor may sound a little unappetizing, but this sweet treat was exactly what I needed before heading to Sushi Song. A little ice cream before dinner has never hurt anyone, right?

Sweet before savory.
Sweet before savory.

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Sushi Song

123 NE 20th Ave.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

954.481.3883

http://www.sushisong222.com

This tucked-away restaurant is native to South Florida and offers three locations throughout the area. I happen to live right by this one in Deerfield Beach, FL. It is perfect for happy hour or even a date night and I have been here for both.

I met a group of friends here after work a few days ago and thought it would be great to spotlight the place. We were just in time for happy hour. Of course, sake is a house staple and while it’s not my cup of tea, they do have a fun selection for those who are into it.

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I started with my absolute favorite plum wine, Choya from Japan. Usually, I shy away from the sweeter, dessert style wines but I have a weakness for this one. When the waitress brought out the glass, I got a little surprise in my drink in the form of a small ume fruit. It is the attention to detail and little touches like this that make Sushi Song stand out among the sushi places in the area.

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Enough about the drinks. Let’s talk food! Because I cannot order much in the way of sushi, I was grateful to my friends who ordered some amazing rolls and allowed me to take a pictures before they dug in. Let’s face it – while my spicy tuna and California rolls were super tasty, they are not very exciting to talk about.

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I did want to capture this combination plate in full, which included the Dragon Roll, a shrimp tempura roll with cucumber, topped with avocado and completed with a drizzle of unagi (eel) sauce.

 

If there was one roll I was insanely jealous I could not eat, this was it. The Maine Lobster Volcano looked absolutely amazing. It features baked Maine lobster, set atop of a shrimp, cucumber and avocado roll, glazed with unagi sauce.

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Here’s another variation of Maine Lobster Volcano that the chef made special for another one of my friends. This one has barbecue unagi as well as lobster.

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This roll is Sushi Song’s Dancing Eel. This takes the California roll and turns it on its head by topping with barbecued unagi and unagi sauce. My friend thought she’d just eat one roll, but it was so good she ordered another.

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All of that unagi sauce action made my simple spicy tuna and California rolls seem not as fun. But, even my simpler rolls were delicious. If you are ever in the South Florida area, drop by one of Sushi Song’s three locations and tell them Girls on Food contributor Mo sent you!

#TankedTuesdays: The Anchor

I have to give a shout-out to The Anchor in Venice, it’s been consistently great. I used the Cover app a while back to find The Anchor, which is still somewhat new to the Main Street scene in Venice.

Please note: Always check in with theanchorvenice.com to see the most current Happy Hour menu and promotions.

The Anchor 

235 Main St

Venice, CA 90291

(310) 664-9696

theanchorvenice.com

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The Anchor’s exterior

 

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A bottle of their Sauvignon Blanc – 50% off on #TankedTuesdays

I was so lucky to come in on a Tuesday night at 5:50 PM. I landed just in time get happy hour items ordered and I got their promotion #TankedTuesdays where bottles of wine are half off at 6 PM. Perfect timing.

Daily Oysters
Daily Oysters

I loved the port vibe this restaurant has. It also helps that there was a perfect amount of sea breeze that kicked in right as I sat down. I was stoked to see all the draft beers were only $5, so I chose the St. Archer White Ale, which went with my oceanic treats perfectly. The daily oysters were Kumamoto, which came with a side of grapefruit vinaigrette, grapefruit lemons and horseradish. These oysters were fresh shucked, a little sweet and juicy in texture.

Mussels with Green Curry and Chinese Sausage
Mussels with Green Curry and Chinese Sausage

Seriously Foodies, the New Zealand mussels are so plump and juicy and they soak up the green curry sauce so well. There’s also a sweet Chinese sausage and tons of cilantro. The green curry sauce/broth is what really made it for me. It’s just amazing. This is the best mussel dish in Venice for sure. Be sure to order a side of bread to soak it all up.

Charcuterie Plate with Cheese Plate
Charcuterie Plate with Cheese Plate

 

The Happy Hour plates are $5 each. You can choose either Charcuterie or Cheese, I decided on both. If I see Truffle Tremor cheese on the menu, I have to order it. I discovered this cheese on my trip to Leavenworth, WA and I’ve been a fan ever since. I paired it with their Bresaola, which is an air-dried, salted beef. I pictured the truffle going better with duck or pork, but the server assured be it’d be great. He was totally right. I also topped the crostini with the cheese, bresaola and their berry compote. The flavors together were salty, creamy and tart. I also loved topping the crostini with the compote and jalapeños.

The Anchor Lobster Roll
The Anchor Lobster Roll

I was so glad to see their lobster roll is a little bigger than the ones I’ve eaten in the past. The bun is toasted soft, lightly buttered, then topped with lobster and shaved black truffle. It also has hints of truffle salt in the mix of the lobster. The lobster was fresh, has that traditional delicate texture and was a little bit sweet.

The Anchor is known for having a fantastic brunch, which I can’t wait to taste. I have heard that the chicken and waffles are bafflingly good so I will be back to review that. If you check out their website, theanchorvenice.com, there are a lot of promotions.

Anchor Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

VinoTapa in NYC

I found this gem before an exciting evening of competitive skeeball.  Located in Murray Hill, it’s a stylish pleasant discovery.

 

VinoTapa
201 East 31st Street
New York, NY
10016
(212) 725-8466
I was there during their happy hour which had an amazing selection of cheaply priced drinks.  Note, they have happy hour daily which some restaurants opt to not do on the weekend.  Always a winning choice.

Daily from 5pm-8pm this is sure to make anyone happy

My friends had the sangria and I opted for the standard red wine which was a nice rich flavor.  Normally, during happy hour you’re handed a disgusting house wine and this wasn’t the case.  They have a great outdoor seating area which is spaced out so I didn’t feel like I was a centimeter away from the next diner.  The waitress was pleasant and didn’t hover.  On a beautiful day it was a little piece of heaven.

We shared some marinated olives and brussel sprouts.  The brussel sprouts were marinated in honey and mustard which was a sup rising combination which I might have to make at home.

Tapa’s, flatbread, and wine oh my!

My friend ordered the flatbread with dates, honey, and mozzarella.  Blending the savory and sweet it looked delightful.  She gave it rave reviews all around.

Flatbread with dates, honey, and mozzarella
Brussels you won’t be forced to eat
I highly recommend stopping by this off the beaten path wine bar.  If it’s a gorgeous day out-side and you’re hankering for a chat sesh with the ladies or even going on a date this is a perfect spot.  Just make sure to get there before 6pm when all of the seats are taken.

VinoTapa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gottcha Cover-ed: Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here and… I’m sorry. Life gets in the way and I’m finally allowing myself to get back into full blown foodie mode.

I wanted to tell you all about this great event I went to that continues tomorrow, Sunday, 4/26/15, 11 AM – 3 PM. It’s through an iPhone app called Cover, which you can download in the app store.

At this event, if you download and pay for your bill with Cover, you get free Bottomless Mimosas, with a purchase of an entree (promocode is bestbrunchever). You can read more about Cover here: http://paywithcover.com. I’m really pumped on this app because they have events with great deals. It’s kind of like Pay Pal but for food and with cool promos.

I love that after you’re set up, you can just leave. There’s no waiting around for the bill, no worrying about splitting equally and no fumbling for cash. Great, cause I was in a rush to see a friend’s at UCB and I made it just in time.

 

Cliff’s Edge 

My girlfriend Jacqueline and I went this morning. We were so impressed with the food and atmosphere. We sat on the patio and the outdoor dining has a chic, somewhat safari feel that we loved. The interior dining has a camper/lodge feel to it, but in a hip way. After we checked into Cover, we were promptly served mimosas and they kept coming without us having to ask.

 

We started off with the Buttermilk Biscuits. Perfect for two to spilt. Loved the flakiness to it. The butter was also perfectly sweetened.
My entree was the Pork Belly Hash. The pork belly was simmered in a mildly spicy broth with brussel sprouts and potatoes. It was topped with feta cheese and a fried egg, garnished with cilantro and dill. Perfectly portioned and the fresh herbs are chunky enough to add unexpected pop of flavor. Plenty of broth to dip left over biscuit into, which I savored.
Jacqueline ordered the Smoked Salmon dish. You can’t tell from the picture, but it came with a potato pancake. It was wrapped in there. This was a unique dish, it was almost like a Lox Benedict.
Cliff’s Edge is a great location for those seeking more than a typical Silver Lake greasy spoon for Brunch. I look forward to trying them for Dinner as well. Just remember to come in tomorrow for Bottomless Mimosa Brunch via Cover, 4/26/15. 11 AM – 3 PM.

Click to add a blog post for Cliff's Edge on Zomato

The Catbird Seat

The Catbird Seat 
1711 Division Street
Nashville, TN
thecatbirdseatrestaurant.com
Your adventure begins thirty days out at midnight, when they open up the reservations online. Yes, you should wait up for this. The thirty-two seat restaurant fills up fast! Once you book all you need to do is show up a month later, prepared to be swept away by three hours of fabulous food, drink and five-star treatment by some of the best chefs on the planet.
The menu is ever-changing so your experience will be different but here’s a peek at the kinds of delights that await you from the night I was sittin’ pretty in The Catbird Seat…
Savory “Oreo”
porcini mushroom cookie with parmesan cream filling

For me, it was love at first sight. This grew stronger with the first bite. Apparently I’m a sucker for clever, delicious takes on popular snack foods because I fell hard for you right away with this one Catbird. And it just got better from there.

Left: Scallop Cone (parmesan cream, roe, chive)
Middle: Jelly Roll (jalapeno jelly, cream cheese)
Right: Hot Chicken (crispy hot chicken skin with Wonder Bread purée)

Picture a scallop, in every form you’ve ever eaten one. Now, picture turning it into a waffle cone. Insane, yes? And incredible. As was the whimsical jelly roll and their version of the Nashville favorite “hot chicken.”

Heart of Palm Salad
coconut, pineapple, habanero, nasturtium
  
Pairing: Joel Falmet Brut Rose – Champagne, France
Sake Cocktail
TY KU, gin, ginger, lemon

As you enjoy the last of your champagne a new cocktail promptly arrives to accompany the rich dish below. My favorite sip of the evening.

Monkfish Liver
steel head roe, spring onion, ponzu, cucumber, avocado
   
Shrimp & Onion
truffle, celery, crispy potato, lemon, tarragon

Pairing: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi “Podium,” Garofoli 2009
Grilled Chicken
red pepper, broccoli, oyster mushroom, pea purée

Pairing: Penner-Ash Pinot Noir 2010 – Willamette, OR

This was a crowd favorite. The chicken was deboned and pressed together mixing the white and dark meat so you get a bit of both.

Veal Tender
swiss chard, potato, oyster cream agnolotti, parsley, lemon 

Pairing: Le Grand Bouqueteau Reserve Chinon 2009 – France

I know the veal is supposed to be the star of the show here but the oyster cream agnolotti with lemon dots completely upstage it. Two of the most memorable bites of the evening.

Hudson Red
mustard seeds, fried shallots, cornichon, honey vinegar, 
beer & pretzel mustard
   
Pairing: Shneider Weisse, Hopfen-Weisse – Germany

This was the most stunning cheese dish I’ve had in quite some time. It’s a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese that is incredibly rich, elevated by all of the flavors on top.

Coconut
Coconut – Inside
milk chocolate ice cream, coconut, eucalyptus crisp,
sweet plantain, tangerine
Egg
bacon, maple, thyme, custard 
Bourbon
pineapple gelee, vanilla cake, cherry crisp, 
charred oak ice cream, bourbon beads
   
Pairing for Desserts: Royal Tokaji 2008 in a glass soaked with
Black Maple Hill Bourbon

The entire night I couldn’t help but feel that this restaurant just completely gets me, as if they had me in mind when designing the menu. This feeling grew stronger at the tail end of the dinner, when they served cheese followed by three courses of dessert.

The filling in the coconut, unexpected and refreshing. The bacon in the egg, paper thin and delicate. The bourbon beads, a playful surprise. And wine in a bourbon-soaked glass? Genius.
Sweet “Oreo”
chocolate cookie with espresso cream
Oh, and before you go they end the meal as cleverly as they began it – with a parting Oreo, this time sweet.

Meatless Monday: Brunch at Cafecito Bogota

Cafecito Bogota
1015 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Brunch in New York City is like buying a metro card, you just have to do it. I mean, don’t we all need a great excuse to why we’re stumbling down the street drunk at 5 pm from a “all you can drink” mimosa brunch? My boyfriend and I enjoy getting out once a week to do just this. And I have to tell you, NYC doesn’t come up short when it comes to brunch.
Cafecita Bottega 1

This week brought us to Cafecito Bogota, nestled in the quiet Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. For $16.50, you get two drinks (either a mimosa or sangria) and a bottomless cup of hot tea or coffee, AND your breakfast. Such a deal. They also have a selection of fresh juices made in house, today being guava, passion fruit, or orange/kiwi. I went with a guava mimosa, and my boyfriend tried their housemade sangria. The guava mimosa was a lovely change from boring old orange juice. The white wine sangria was fabulous as well, with passion fruit and crisp chunks of red and green apple. I enjoyed the fact that it was obviously made that day.

Cafecita Bogota

I had the Tortilla Colorada, which was a three egg omelet with corn and a harmonious mix of red pepper and paprika, topped with queso blanco. The corn was an unfamiliar but delightful addition. The eggs tasted like you would make them at home. En lieu of homefries or breakfast potatoes was a mixed green salad with a basic Italian dressing and chopped banana…AND and arepa…topped with cheese…YUM.

If you aren’t sure what an arepa is, it’s a Colombian staple made of ground corn dough. It kind of tastes like a crumpet made of polenta. There are arepa bars all over NYC, and they use it as sandwich bread. You can also buy them in grocery stores back here as well. I don’t hear much about them on the west coast, sadly. Here it was simply served as a side dish for my omelet. Delish.

Cafe Bogota2

Next we tried the Punta Verde, another one of their vegetarian options, which was caramelized tofu sauteed beautifully with string beans and pesto, all resting on top of an arepa. I was unsure what to expect when we ordered it, but it was a welcome surprise. It was absolutely delicious.Cafecito Bogota Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato