A Brazilian Dining Event at Fogo de Chão

It is not often that my husband and I get the chance to have a nice date night. Last night, we were invited to eat at Fogo de Chão, a Brazillian Steakhouse located in Downtown LA. If you have never eaten at a Brazillian Steakhouse, then you are in for a foodie experience.

Fogo de Chão is a Brazilian steakhouse, or churrascaria, which has specialized for more than 36 years in fire-roasting high-quality meats utilizing the centuries-old Southern Brazilian cooking technique of churrasco.

On Sunday, May 8th Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse welcomes families to celebrate Mother’s Day with a culinary journey through Southern Brazil. As a special gift, Moms who dine on Mother’s Day weekend will receive a Dining Card good for a complimentary lunch or dinner on their next visit*.

Once you sit down and hear the history of the churrascaria, you can begin the experience with a drink and these delicious, light Brazilian Cheese Bread or Pao de Queijo. As much as you don't want to fill up on these, it's hard to keep your hand out of the bowl. 

The dining experience is two parts. Fogo offers a gourmet Market Table & Feijoada Bar, which includes seasonal salads, soup, fresh vegetables, feijoada (traditional black bean stew with rice, fresh orange and yucca flour), and much more. Above you can see some of my selections, including my favorite part; shavings from the wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. 

The side dishes are served family-style and are endless. Which means, the minute one of these plates go empty, a server will be there to bring you a fresh portion. Southern Brazilian side dishes include crispy hot polenta sprinkled with parmesan, caramelized bananas and garlic mashed potatoes.

Okay, now on to the meat. Each time I've visited Fogo, I've had a different favorite. Last night, my favorite was the lamb chops. At Fogo, they are cooked perfectly. With a delicious crisp on the outside and moist and tender on the inside, it is just perfection. 

You can smell these pork ribs coming at you from across the room. And when they arrive at your table, you can't pass these up. 

So the deal with a churrascaria is they give you a little card at your table. When you flip it to the green side, the servers will come to you and offer you the cut of meat that they are carrying. Once you've had enough options for the moment, you can flip your card over to red and they will give you a chance to catch up. 

Guests can enjoy selections such as the house specialty picanha sirloin, filet mignon, ribeye, lamb chops, center cut bone-in pork chop, and chicken wrapped in bacon. All the options are delicious and you can choose whether you want it rare, medium or medium well. 

Fogo welcomes families of all sizes to celebrate their Mothers on May 8th. 

All locations will extend their hours, opening all day with seatings from 11am to 9pm. Meals for children six years of age and under are complimentary, and children seven to 12 years of age dine at half price for the Full Churrasco Experience. For information about specific locations or regarding group and private dining, visit fogo.com.

For more information, visit Fogo.com or FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Where A Kid Can Be A Kid!

Recently we were invited to Chuck-E-Cheese to try their new pizza recipe and since I always have my kids in mind (and I'm the best mom in the world), I gladly accepted. Also, because I'm always up for trying some pizza, how could I say no? 

To be perfectly honest, my girls ask if we can go to Chuck-E-Cheese at least once a month. We don't go nearly that often because I'm terrified of crowds. Okay, not so much terrified as I just hate crowds. But then I realized that the perfect day to visit is when they have a day off from school! The day we went, we went during lunch time and we were one of the few families there. It was great. Actually, I was able to get some work done while the kids ran off to play. 

I had to call them back when it was time to eat and once they saw the thin crust pizza make it's way to our table, they came running. Chuck-E-Cheese has a new thin & crispy pepperoni pizza that beat Pizza Hut’s thin & crispy pepperoni pizza in a nationwide taste test! That's pretty impressive. I also heard that they have an alfredo sauce with sausage pizza that is super tasty. We will have to try that on our next visit. 

This is our pizza coming right out of the oven. Oh man, I love pizza! 

I also really love when places have salad bars. I know I can eat all the pizza all day long but I have to balance it somehow. I love when I can personalize my own salad and have something refreshing on the side of my pizza. I remember LOVING the cakes from Chuck-E-Cheese when I was a kid. I don't know why, they were just so delicious to me and I remember them always being cold. I didn't get to try the cakes on this day, so I don't know if they've changed the recipe since the 90's. 

The kids had a blast at Chuck-E-Cheese and I must admit I was really impressed with the quality of games they had available. I loved coming home with all the photo souvenirs from the rides that take and print photos. At this location in Pasadena, CA they had bumper cars too! 

Oh and when Chuck-E came out to say hi, the girls were able to dance with him and then he threw up tickets for the kids to catch.  If you haven't visited recently, it's time to go back and check it out. The food is getting better and better and it's a good way to spend some time and have the kids work off some energy. You can find more information on their

website 

and follow them on

Twitter

 for more updates. In fact, I heard that during the month of October, if you're child is in costume, you get 50 free tickets! 

So Cal Dining- Maro Wood Grill, Laguna Beach

Disclaimer: I was invited to a tasting event at Maro Wood Grill, all opinions and photos are my own. 

One of the most beautiful places in Southern California is Laguna Beach. My husband and I used to hang out in Laguna when we were first dating, this beach city has a lot of special memories for me. Recently, I was invited to a tasting event at Maro Wood Grill in Laguna Beach and it was hands down, the best food I've ever eaten. 

Maro Wood Grill is inspired by Argentina's appreciation of the pure simplicity of the lost art of cooking over open fire. Sourcing local produce, grass fed beef and making everything from scratch, you can taste the inspiration and culture in every bite. 

 Maro Wood Grilled opened its doors in March 2010, in an intimate friendly space, just a few steps from the ocean. (I took this photo after taking a 5 minute walk from the restaurant.) The interior accommodates 8 bar height guests around the exhibition kitchen and the covered outdoor heated patio sits 28 guests. I really enjoyed the dimly lit patio, it is the perfect date night spot. Okay, so let's start talking about the food. 

Mushroom Ceviche & Grilled Sourdough

A delicious way to start your meal at Maro. The Mushroom Ceviche has surprising hints of lime and jalapeno and is such a hearty bite for an appetizer. 

 Okay, I'm going to try and explain the flavors on these appetizers to the best of my ability. I know I won't do it justice, because even looking back at these photos I can still taste the amazing aroma from the wood fire grill. The mushroom and spinach empanadas were delicious, but the smoke and sea salt flavor on the edamame and green beans took these natural flavors to the next level. It's the kind of stuff you dream about. 

The Wood Grilled "Oysters Rockerfeller" with a Burnt Lemon Wedge was my first time having oysters. The oysters with smokey lemon zest and the grilled sourdough went together so good for a crunchy bite. One of my favorites of the entire evening was the Ricotta Noquis and Grilled Tomatoes. Noquis is a traditional Argentinean meal, that was commonly served at the end of the month, when just before payday, potatoes were the only food left in the house. Maro maintains this tradition and in fact on the 29th of every month, $1 is placed under each plate of Noquis. 

The protein, left to right: Flat Iron and Chimichurri, Mesquite Lamb and Baba Ghanouj and Short Rib with Roasted Veggies. 

 Before I start talking about the amazing, mouth watering protein that is served at Maro Wood Grill, I have to tell you that everything is organic and grass-fed. I had no idea how much better organic grass-fed protein would taste. I mean, of course, Maro is responsible for the amazing wood grill flavor, but all of the protein was just so tender and mouth watering, and cooked to perfection. Seriously, the best piece of meat I've ever eaten. 

When I tell you that this dessert at Maro Wood Grill is not only delicious but award winning, I'm not exaggerating. The Banana Bread Pudding is the Golden Foodie Award Winner for “Most Delicious Dessert” in Orange County. Executive Chef (pictured above) Debra Sims proudly shares their Golden Foodie Award with restaurant goers, because, well the customers are the ones who voted right?

When thinking of the perfect night out or date night spot, Maro Wood Grill is perfect. Romantic, quiet atmosphere, delicious food and great location. Oh, and the house sangria was really good too, almost too good, if you know what I mean. 

You can find Maro Wood Grill on:

Yelp

,

Tripadvisor

,

Facebook

,

Twitter

,

Instagram

 and 

Foursquare

1915 South Coast Highway Laguna Beach, CA. 92651 | 949.793.4044 |