Category Archives: Events and Awards

Olive Garden unveils new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean” menu

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Olive Garden Tastes of the Mediterranean Menu

I had the opportunity to attend a special preview tasting of Olive Garden‘s new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu this week at a lovely event held at Haven’s Kitchen in NYC with a group of other food bloggers, writers and journalists.

Media Preview Haven's Kitchen

Olive Garden Team

We sampled a (generous!) variety of delicious food and wine, and learned more about the new menu ideas and inspiration from the Olive Garden team and Executive Chef, Jim Nuetzi

Olive Garden Tasting Event

Inspired by the flavors of Italy’s Mediterranean Coast, Olive Garden is evolving its popular Lighter Italian Fare menu to the new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu, which celebrates the flavors and cooking styles from the popular Mediterranean region of Italy with all entrees under 600 calories.

Chicken Margherita

Beginning Jan. 2, two new entrees – Chicken Margherita and

Linguine Di Mare

Linguine di Mare – will be available in restaurants. Following, the fully evolved ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ rebranded menu section, which includes guest favorites as well as the new entrees, will be introduced on Jan. 23.

Executive Chef Jim

“Healthier dishes at restaurants can often be perceived as boring or unsatisfying. However, our Mediterranean-inspired Shrimp Scampi with its flavorful ingredients was our second most popular entrée on the entire menu last summer,” said Jim Nuetzi, Executive Chef for Olive Garden. “The positive reaction from our guests further showed that we could create indulgent and craveable entrees that just happen to have the added benefit of lower calorie counts.”

Shrimp Scampi

The guest-favorite Shrimp Scampi, which was introduced to the Olive Garden menu last year, has exceeded any other Olive Garden lighter fare entrée in popularity. Many guests were surprised that the flavorful and satisfying dish was only 500 calories.

Grilled Chicken Parmigiana

The guest reaction to the Shrimp Scampi inspired chefs to explore additional ingredients that would excite guests in the same way, leading them to the cuisine of Italy’s Mediterranean coast. The region is long known for healthier lifestyles and cooking with light, flavorful ingredients such as seafood, olive oil, fresh vegetables, whole grains and Italian spices.

Chicken Margherita & Zucchini

Chicken Piccata

Herb Grilled Salmon

The ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu features:

Olive-Garden-Chicken-Margherita

  • NEW! Chicken Margherita: Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto and a lemon garlic sauce. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Olive-Garden-Shrimp-Scampi

  • Shrimp Scampi: Shrimp sautéed in a garlic sauce, tossed with asparagus, tomatoes and angel hair pasta.

Olive-Garden-Linguini-di-Mare

  • NEW! Linguine di Mare: Shrimp and mussels sautéed with homemade pomodoro sauce and whole grain linguine.

Olive-Garden-Herb-Grilled-Salmon

  • Herb-Grilled Salmon: Filet grilled to perfection and topped with garlic-herb butter. Served with parmesan-garlic broccoli.

Olive-Garden-Chicken-Piccata-Dinner

  • Chicken Piccata: Grilled chicken topped with a lemon garlic butter sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Olive Garden Tilapia Piccata

  • Tilapia Piccata: Delicate white fish baked in a lemon garlic butter sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Entrees on the rebranded menu start at $14.29.

Warm Chocolate Baci Cake

And last but not least, we enjoyed a gorgeous dessert, Warm Chocolate Baci Cake with coffee..simply divine. 

Olive Garden

..and got some take home goodie bags with a bottle of wine and some wine glasses!

 ———–

ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 35 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country.

Guests can join the conversation and connect with Olive Garden at Facebook.com/OliveGarden, Twitter.com/OliveGarden and Instagram.com/OliveGarden. For more information and to find your nearest Olive Garden restaurant, visit OliveGarden.com.

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Olive Garden unveils delicious new menu items!

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I recently attended a super fun event to celebrate the delicious new items that Olive Garden has introduced on their menu.

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I joined the Olive Garden team along with several other local journalists and bloggers at Elevated Acre in Downtown Manhattan which is a beautiful outdoor space overlooking the East River with views of the Brooklyn Bridge.

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We enjoyed their private label wines out on the deck

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(I love their new Tuscan Red table wine!) and then all sat down at a huge table to start the festivities and get first dibs on the menu tasting. #NeverEndingTable

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We met the Olive Garden marketing team and their Executive Chef who told us about their new menu innovations,

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and then we got to taste all of them over a few hours, which of course was the fun part!

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We all love their classic breadsticks and salads right?

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Well you have to try their new Breadstick Sandwiches – we tried the Eggplant Parmesan and Spicy Calabrian Chicken..delicious!

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The coolest new items we tried are their new Deep Dish Spaghetti Pies..they’re like spaghetti quiches baked in a shell with all kinds of yummy fillings but in pie form! The Chicken Alfredo Pie was amazing…

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and so was the classic Spaghetti and Meatballs Pie made with 7 cheeses, bacon, meatballs and homemade sauce.  So good and totally fun.

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And we can’t forget dessert – they served us an incredible Chocolate and Caramel Lasagna – layers of gooey caramel, chocolate and cake similar to Tiramisu..OMG. TO. DIE. FOR. And the perfect ending to a perfect Italian meal!

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Check out the great photos of the event below and visit their website for more info on these awesome new menu creations and specials in your area.

Visit Olive Garden on Facebook

Visit Olive Garden on Twitter

Visit Olive Garden on Instagram

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National Concert Day & Pringles Summer Jam in NYC!

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National Concert Day

I recently attended a super fun concert – Live Nation’s Pringles Summer Jam for National Concert Day on Tuesday May 3, 2016 at Irving Plaza in NYC.

Dierks Bentley
Dierks Bentley

The house was packed full and we had a blast seeing some live music with old time and new superstar artists such as Snoop Dog and Wiz Khalifa, Dierks Bentley, Cheap Trick, and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Nick Jonas, Goo Goo Dolls and more!

Joan Jett
Joan Jett
Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick
Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa
Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa
Dierks Bentley
Dierks Bentley
Nick Jonas
Nick Jonas

National Concert Day 2016 was brought to fans by Citi and Pringles. Citi is the preferred credit card of Live Nation, offering Citi debit and credit cardmembers access to presale and preferred tickets for select tours throughout the summer via Citi’s Private Pass Program, the bank’s entertainment access program. Last year alone, Citi worked with more than 1,400 artists ranging from preferred tickets and early access to concert tickets, to curated special events and VIP experiences.  For more information, or to purchase presale tickets to the after show on May 3, Citi Presents AWOLNATION, visit www.citiprivatepass.com.

Pringles is helping fans celebrate summer with music and memories, kicking off at Live Nation’s National Concert Day. For those looking to make the most out of summer, head to LiveNation.com/Pringles for the Pringles Summer Jam offer – score four tickets for the price of three! Share all of your summer fun and check out the memories from other fans across the country by following #PringlesSummerJam.

Live Nation

From experiencing live music under the stars at an outdoor amphitheater to rocking out at an arena or taking a road trip to a music festival, this summer 2016 will bring millions of music fans together to see their favorite artists.  From Country, Indie & Alternative Music, Classic Rock, Rock, Metal, Hip-Hop, Electronic Music, Comedy and Pop – there is something for everyone. For tickets and more information, visit www.livenation.com

Pringles Summer Jam 2016
Pringles Summer Jam 2016

CHECK OUT THE VIDEOS OF JOAN JETT AND CHEAP TRICK PERFORMING LIVE BELOW!

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Designing Dining Workshop at Bard Graduate Center NYC

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I’m excited to announce that I will be participating in the Designing Dining Workshop at Bard Graduate Center in NYC on Saturday April 16th! This three-session workshop (over 3 weekends, see schedule above) investigates the visual design, materials, and traditions of presenting creative tablesettings. Participants experiment with table stylings, craft their own metal spoon, and learn how best to photograph food and drink.

I will be teaching the Session 3: Framing Food workshop where I will be discussing the principles and history of food styling and photography, with a hands-on workshop experience for participants to style and photograph their own culinary masterpieces at the event.

We are currently raffling off one (1) free ticket (worth $250) to the workshop to all three sessions! All you have to do is leave a comment below on why you would like to attend the workshop and I will be choosing a winner randomly who will be contacted by email before the event by March 25th. Make sure to include your email when you comment below!

The Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture is a graduate research institute located in New York City, offering exhibitions, degrees and research initiatives exploring new ways of thinking about decorative arts,
design history, and material culture.

Click here for the full schedule and details for the Designing Dining event

Follow Bard Graduate Center on Facebook

Follow Bard Graduate Center on Twitter

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Food Styling & Photography: #DineintheDarkNYC Event @CitizenM!

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Dine in the Dark Experience - CitizenM + The Artful Gourmet

I recently hosted a super fun Dine in the Dark Event at CitizenM hotel in Times Square NYC. They invited me to host the event by presenting some delicious nibbles and foodie creations to serve to a great group of food bloggers to do a blind tasting.

Food Blogger doing blind tasting

The idea was to pair flavors and tastes that the bloggers had to experience and guess, which were all revealed at the end of the dining experience by me.

Dine in the Dark Experience

I made 7 different small bites for the bloggers to do the tasting of: Blue Cheese, Apple and Walnut Salad in Endive, Manchego & Fig Jam Tarts, Sesame Sriracha Chicken Bites, Prosciutto, Melon & Feta Mini Skewers, Strawberry-Watermelon Coconut Rum Shooters, Smoked Salmon with Chive Sour Cream & Dill on Cucumber Rounds, and Tart Cherry Pistachio Honey Energy Balls.

CitizenM rooftop CloudBar

CitizenM is a lovely modern hotel in the heart of Times Square, who let us have the space to do my event. They provided us afterwards with cocktails and more nibbles up on their rooftop CloudBar, where I gave a food styling and photography discussion and Q&A with the bloggers.

Food Styling + Photography Q&A - The Artful Gourmet

Everyone had a fantastic time and got the opportunity to learn some of my tips and tricks on food styling and food photography and how to break into the business. The group got to sample some tasty food, sip some delicious cocktails and meet new blogger friends from the city. All and all we had amazing views and it was a fun, lively evening for all.

CitizenM NYC Rooftop CloudBar

Thanks to CitizenM for being such a lovely and accommodating venue! And thanks to all the bloggers* that came and made the event a smashing success! *see list at end of post

Dine in the Dark NYC - The Artful Gourmet

Happy Summer and Cheers to all! Enjoy some photos from the event below and I’ll post my recipes soon – stay tuned! 🙂

All the Food Bloggers — thanks for coming and making the #DineintheDarkNYC event at #CitizenMnyc a fun time for all 🙂

@citizenM

@mealsandreels

@mizchefcooks

@NewYorkcliche

@_theblvd

@msrenelevyabdo

@maryinmanhattan

@PrettyPri

@spersaud04

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How 3 NYC Restaurants are using Social Media creatively to break through the clutter

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Most restaurateurs are beginning to understand the power of social media and online marketing.

Running a print ad or spending money on television ads is expensive. Smart operators realize the importance of connecting with consumers and influencers, and how positive online engagement can affect their brand, business, foot traffic and reputation. Social media can be an effective communication tool to inform customers of daily specials, promotions, events, menus and more. But in a crowded online marketplace, how can you break through the clutter?

The three New York restaurant owners/marketers below give us real-world examples of what’s working for them, what tools they’re using, and successful campaign ideas they’ve implemented to increase online visibility and engagement.

Want to build customer loyalty and brand buzz? Here’s some inspiration.

Read my full story on Foodable: http://www.foodabletv.com/new-york-city/2015/6/23/how-3-nyc-restaurants-are-breaking-through-the-social-media-clutter#BYzSALiH8PWQbkbm.99

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5 New Good Food Companies to Watch in NYC

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Foodstand Event

On Monday, June 1st, Foodstand partnered with Slow Money NYC to host a special event called the Foodstand Spotlight Series, featuring five budding ‘good food’ entrepreneurs. Each took to the stage to share their business ideas and work, where in return they got advice from a panel of experts including investors, marketers and innovators.

Sweetist Co

The audience also provided the entrepreneurs with live feedback — advice and creative ideas to help them grow their businesses — via text polling. This will be an ongoing monthly event that will feature five of the newest and brightest in the food industry and help them shine.

Foodable Food Spread

The event was very inspiring and highly recommended for anyone in the food industry looking to expand their food companies, business networks, share new ideas and support ‘good food.’

Read my full story and meet the Food Stars on Foodable TV Network:

http://www.foodabletv.com/new-york-city/2015/6/4/5-new-good-food-companies-to-watch-in-nyc

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Cooking with Color 4 Kids TV Show wins ‘B Healthy’ B FREE Award

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BRIC B Free Awards

It gives me great pleasure to tell you that my Cooking with Color 4 Kids cooking TV show was selected as an honoree for this year’s BRIC B Free Awardsand was a finalist of three for the award. We didn’t win the overall category but we DID win   “Outstanding Program Feature/Segment” for the “B Healthy” category which was quite the honor!

BRIC’s second annual B Free Awards took place Saturday, March 21, 2015 at BRIC Arts | Media House to celebrate the diversity and excellence in Brooklyn Free Speech television programming. David Hillman, my Producer and Co-Creator and I had a great time at the awards show and met other honorees and award winners on the red carpet at the after party. Congratulations to all and a big thanks to BRIC, our production crew and everyone that has helped make our TV show a reality and success. #DREAMBIG 🙂

WATCH THE SPRING 2015 EPISODE BELOW!

SPRING 2015 EPISODE

For my new Spring 2015 episode, I came up with some great recipes that celebrate the vibrant light and bright colors of Spring: greens and yellow, red and pink, blue, etc.

I made three colorful and healthy recipes including Ham, Cheese, Asparagus and Spinach Quiche with a Quinoa Crust, a Spring Mixed Berry Salad, and Black Bean Raspberry Brownies for dessert.

We also included some fun video footage from the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami this past February, and interviewed some kids and cooking instructors at one of the local HealthCorps after school cooking programs at a high school in Brooklyn.

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