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Chef CJ Jacobson has worked in the kitchens at Axe, Campanile, Mercantile and restaurant Noma in Copenhagen but is best known for his appearances on Top Chef Season 3 and Top Chef All Stars....until now! This past summer, Chef Jacobson has been putting his professional melting pot of experiences in his own restaurant in Studio City, Girasol. Girasol, meaning sunflower in Spanish, is the inspiration behind the design of the restaurant's aesthetics (which, from the tables to the ceiling, looks like a giant sunflower) and is consistent with the influence of environmentally sustainable dishes.   The chef's mission was to create something organic that allowed the restaurant and farmer to come together in showcasing the freshness of seasons and local ingredients. In fact, Chef Jacobson has a forager, Pascal Baudar, on his team who regularly combs through nearby Angeles National Forest for seasonal ingredients. The result is a colorful menu full of flavor. 
Dark and sexy, Expatriate, owned by bartender Kyle Linden Webster and his wife/partner Chef Naomi Pomeroy, is one of the hot new restaurants of 2013 in Portland. Offering a menu of South Asian-fusion snacks, the flavors are not for the timid. The food is bold, spicy, sweet and full of flavor. We were 4 people, foodies who like to try as much as possible.  So, the small plate menu was perfect. Ore Dungeness Crab Rangoon (Wontons Filled With Crab Meat & Cream Cheese, Curried Corn Cream, Crispy Maitakes & Thai Chili Slaw) - This was one of my favorite dishes. The fresh crab meat and cream cheese were well balanced with the spice from the curried corn cream.
Owner and Chef John Gorham, spent time in Spain exploring the cuisine, before opening Toro Bravo (the Brave Bull). The result is a menu that is influenced by the many regional cuisines of Spain, ranging from the northern Basque area to Catalonia. The menu is divided into Pinchos, Tapas, Paellas, and Desserts. We stuck with the Pinchos and Tapas selections and, along with a glass of wine, were transported to Spain where is food is meant to be enjoyed and shared with friends. Radicchio Salad with green olive toast & manchego vinaigrette