Category Archives: Lifestyle

Top 10 {Things I Love} :: Winter 2015

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My Top 10 {Things I Love} list is back for Winter 2015 with some fun and interesting objets de desir, places, people, books, food and drinks that I’m currently crushing on – not necessarily ordered in terms of my favorite – but are all worthy of a huge shoutout for their awesomeness in my opinion… Happy Holidays and New Year 2016! 

magpie cookbook

Magpie Cookbook – Magpie Artisan Pie Boutique is a popular pie shop in Philadelphia, owned by Chef Holly Ricciardi. This book is full of her famous pie recipes, both savory and sweet – from luscious quiches, pot pies and hand pies, to fruity, creamy and nutty pies like her bourbon-infused Butterscotch Pie recipe passed down from her Grandmother. Great for any pie-obsessed person and includes tons of great techniques on how to make different types of crusts and decorative touches for a gorgeous handmade pie. Ah, PIE.
Get it on Amazon

aria wine bar

Aria Wine Bar, NYC – This trendy cozy place has 2 locations: one in the West Village, and another in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC. Offering Venetian-style Italian Tapas, the menu has a plethora of delicious small plates, appetizers, pasta dishes, and salads all created for sharing. They have a great wine list, and the atmosphere is romantic and buzzing and the best part is the wine list offers the fruits of the world’s foremost lady vintners. Try the Mini Meatballs drenched in homemade sauce and melted cheese, the Sautéed Mussels in wine, or the Truffle Mac & Cheese. You won’t be disappointed! Another NYC fave not to miss.
http://ariawinebar.com

bacon jam

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread – Who doesn’t love bacon? Well now you can have it anytime on the fly. This delicious Bacon Jam is made with real bacon, brown sugar, and onions with three varieties that can all be simply spread on crackers or bread, elegantly spread to elevate appetizers, grilled sandwiches, pasta or to add bacon to any of your favorite dishes. Try the Original, Black Pepper or Red Chile and Garlic. Delicious!
http://thebaconjams.com

Trimino Protein Water

Trimino Protein Water – With the popularity of vitamin waters and fruit waters abound, there’s a new and improved kid on the block. Trimino Still and Sparkling waters are infused with 7 grams of protein, are caffeine and sugar free, and only 28 calories. And lots of fun flavors too! Strawberry Lemonade, Mixed Berry, Coconut Pineapple, Peach and Watermelon. Perfectly light and refreshing for and after workout drink or as a base for a fruity beverage or cocktail.
http://drinktrimino.com

Gala Pork Pie

Parker’s British Foods – Brits Victoria and Damian Parker have a serious love for British food, and learned the crafts of butchery, meat curing and pie making from some incredible British butchers, combining those skills with the best meats and recipes the British Isles had to offer. Then they got married, packed their bags and set off for a new life in America. Now based out of Buffalo, NY, they offer genuine British food like Pork Pie, Sausages, Proper Fish and Chips and a variety of British sweets, condiments, drinks, snacks and gifts for sale in their online store. Check ’em out, Mate!
https://www.parkersbritishinstitution.com/shop-online

extra virgin nyc

Extra Virgin NYC – Extra Virgin is a great little neighborhood spot located in New York City’s West Village. They offer delicious Mediterranean food in a buzzing dimly lit atmosphere with a fantastic wine selection and different varieties of extra virgin oils from around the world. Try the Fritto Misto – lightly fried calamari, zucchini and shrimp as an appetizer..it’s light and crispy and perfectly fried to perfection. The Prosciutto-wrapped Sea Scallops are equally delicious, served over Cauliflower Puree and Porcini Sauce with a Apple and Celery Salad on the side. The Short Ribs are to die for, and literally melt in your mouth, served over Truffled Mashed Potatoes (try these with a side of Grilled Broccolini..super delicious!) They also have a great Sunday brunch and lovely desserts..Another NYC fave, don’t miss it.
http://extravirginrestaurant.com

Jan Burtz Gold Luster Plates

Jan Burtz Luster Ceramics – Offered exclusively at ABC Home in New York City, these ceramics have a handprinted metallic border that lovingly outlines their natural and irregular forms. Made by hand from creamy porcelain and homemade glazes, these pieces bring us back to the basics, accentuating the fluidity and grace of hand-formed wares. Made in Jan Burtz’s Connecticut studio, no two pieces are alike. Also offered in silver and a variety of bowls, trays, platters, vases, plates and sizes. Adds an elegant rustic touch to any table!

Get them on ABC Home

Maple Syrup Cookbook

Maple Syrup Cookbook – I recently got this cookbook and absolutely love it! Why? Because I’m in love with maple syrup and everything in here has a recipe made with it. I made the French Canadian Maple Sugar Pie with Walnuts and the Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts for Thanksgiving and they were both delicious hit at the table! If you love maple syrup as much as I do you can’t miss this cookbook..get it! Immediately.
Get it on Amazon

Raised Bloom Baking Set, Anthropologie

Raised Bloom Baking Set – Who doesn’t love a little bling for the holidays, and better yet who doesn’t love Anthropologie??? This adorable baking set is made of carved stoneware coated in a lovely iridescent glaze including a rolling pin, pie server, measuring spoons, pie plate, whisk and a muffin tin. Almost too pretty to bake with!
Get it on Anthropologie

cranberry sauce

Colors of Nature Cranberry Sauce with Rum and Orange – Colors of Nature is a small, family owned company based out of Brooklyn NY that makes beautiful small batch sauces, jellies and cakes full of fresh ingredients and flavors. Try the Cranberry Sauce made with Rum and Orange – perfect for the holidays!
http://www.colorsofnature.nyc

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Le District brings a taste of French cuisine to Downtown NYC

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Le District NYC

There’s a new foodie destination in town, and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. Welcome to NYC Le District, a massive gourmet French food playground that you’ll get absolutely lost in. It is similar in size and style to the well-known Italian marketplace, Eataly, boasting specialty food stations with fresh and prepared foods, two restaurants, a bar, as well as casual dining seating but with a modern, classy French vibe.

Located at Brookfield Place in Downtown Manhattan, this bustling gourmet food hall offers a bounty of French-inspired cuisine ranging from imported coffee and pastries, to fresh produce and handmade pasta and sauces. They also offer a vast array of other imported items including French-made condiments, gourmet salts, cheeses, specialty meats, fish, and charcuterie.

Owner Peter Poulakakos and his partners opened Le District in the Financial District, which has seen a revival with the opening of many new businesses, shops, and restaurants at a steady pace. The newly built September 11th Memorial and Museum has also attracted more tourists to the area, making this a prime spot to open a gourmet food market. They have created a French cultural dining experience with a community feel, similar to the small local markets you would find in France, except with specialty areas for customers to experience and explore all under one roof.

READ MY FULL STORY & SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE FOOD AND THE SPACE ON FOODABLE WEB TV

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Food Styling & Food Photography: New Client Work

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I’ve been crazy busy this Spring and Summer so far with new food styling and food photography client projects which is a great thing, but doesn’t leave me as much time for my blog as I’d like! Here are some new client shoots I’ve done over the past few months 🙂

Tavern on Jane Food and Restaurant Shoot  – NYC

Food photography for Tavern on Jane’s new website and marketing materials.

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Baum-Essex Private Label Product Packaging Shoot – NYC

Food styling and photography for private label product packaging and advertising.

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Country Crock Food Shoot – NYC

Food styling and photography for internal marketing materials and brand identity guides.

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Cloverleaf Tavern Food Shoot – NJ

Food photography for website and marketing materials and advertising.

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Kikkoman TV Segment on OK Television – NYC

Food styling for Father’s Day and July 4 TV segment with Kikkoman’s Head Chef Helen.

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Yura Bakery and Catering Food Photo Shoot – NYC

Food photography for website and internal marketing materials.

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Stay tuned for more new work and client projects – I’ll keep posting from time to time 🙂

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Top 10 {Things I Love} Summer 2015

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My Top 10 {Things I Love} list is back for Summer with some fun and interesting things/places/foods/drinks that I’m currently crushing on – they aren’t necessarily ordered in terms of my favorite – but are all worthy of a shoutout in my opinion… Happy Summer everyone 🙂

Herriot Grace Cake Pedestal

1. Herriot Grace 

Herriot Grace is a father and daughter-run company from Canada who makes a gorgeous variety of hand carved and handmade wooden objects: spoons, bowls, pedestals, candy dishes, serving boards, rolling pins, plates and mortar and pestle sets. Each one is uniquely made from salvaged chemical-free wood and they’ve also introduced a select line of exclusive porcelain dishware. The ceramic pieces are cast in small runs, and boast the rustic, tactile beauty for which their brand is known.

http://shop.herriottgrace.com

Cooking Class Cookbook

2. Cooking Class Cookbook

Of course being an advocate of fun, healthy cooking for kids myself as the host of Cooking with Color 4 Kids TV Show in NYC, I was impressed by this new cookbook by Deanna F. Cook. I love the visuals and step by step instructions and fun inventive ideas to make cooking for fun for kids!

It also teaches basic cooking techniques in kid-friendly language and offers recipes for making dozens of favorite foods from scratch, including French toast, granola, pancakes, sandwiches, smoothies, muffins, biscuits, applesauce, fruit leather, goldfish crackers, tortilla chips, Buffalo chicken fingers, pizza, sushi California rolls, pudding, and more. The recipes use fresh, healthy ingredients and feature imaginative presentations that kids will love to prepare (and devour), such as egg mice, fruit flowers, mini-meatballs, mashed potato clouds, and carrot coins. Includes fun stickers and other activities, and is super cute and fun for anyone with kids who love to cook or want to learn how to cook.

Get a copy on Amazon

Fig & Olive Oysters

3. Fig and Olive Restaurant NYC

My friend recently came for a visit from LA and wanted to try out some great food in the city while she was here. So of course, being the foodie tour guide extraordinaire that I am, had to find some cool new place to take her to. I found a place called Fig and Olive which I am absolutely in love with…the food and service were both amazing and I am definitely going back for more! They have an olive oil tasting served at the table you when you first arrive in all different flavors from different regions.

They specialize in Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and have tons of great choices on the menu including a Crostini Bar where you can choose from all different varieties to accompany your figs, cheese, olives and other small bites. We ordered the Lobster Bisque and fresh raw oysters for  starters, then had the Lobster Risotto and Seafood Paella for our main. Everything was beautifully displayed and tasted amazing. A must visit if you love Mediterranean food and are visiting in NYC..and they also have locations in LA, Newport Beach and Chicago.

http://www.figandolive.com

Coney Island Cheesecake

4. Coney Island Confetti Cheesecake

All I can say is – how fun is this? It’s a super cute confetti cheesecake I found on How Sweet It Is blog that was originally created by Rosie of Sweetapolita.

This gorgeous creation is colorful and sweet and made out of cheesecake, sprinkles, ice cream cones and nuts…just like a fun Summer day at the beach hanging at the amusement park.

Get the recipe: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2015/05/coney-island-cheesecake/

viniq

5. Viniq Shimmering Liqueur

When Summer arrives, I love to experiment with fun, fresh and new cocktail recipes. I received a sample of Viniq, which is a gorgeous  shimmering liqueur (yes, it shimmers when you shake the bottle)! A fusion of Premium Vodka, Moscato, and Natural Fruit Flavors, it’s refreshing and perfect for a cocktail out on the patio. I mixed the Ruby flavor with some Pomegranate Sangria Seltzer, a dash of fresh lemon juice and topped off the concotion with some fresh raspberries. Totally delicious and a great addition of sparkle for my 4th of July celebration. Comes in 2 flavors and lots of great recipe ideas on their website. Delicious!

http://www.viniq.com/

Lemoncello Restaurant

6. Lemoncello, Rochester NY

Everyone loves Italian food right? Well at least I do – it’s definitely one of my favorite foods to cook and eat on the planet. There’s an awesome spot in Upstate NY (East Rochester) called Lemoncello which is easy on the eyes as well as on the palate. Try the Veal French, a lightly egg battered fillet of veal (4 to be exact), with a gorgeous silky lemon butter wine sauce over linguine. Another specialty is their Lemoncello Veal (or Chicken) which is another light pasta dish served with sauteed veal, olives, artichokes, spinach and pasta in a lemon cream sauce. TO DIE FOR.

Chef Silvana Formoso is from Sicily which is reflected in their awesome menu. You can find a variety of salads, gourmet pizza, and delicious appetizers like Artichoke French, Calamari Fritti, Beef Carpaccio and Sauteed Greens and Beans. There’s plenty of amazing main dishes on the menu to choose from too – Cioppino, New Zealand Rack of Lamb, Pork Osso Buco, Stuffed Eggplant, Chicken Marsala and Milanese, Grilled Rib-Eye, Homemade Lasagna, Ravioli and Manicotti, Risotto and more. They even have BYOB on Tuesdays with no corkage fee, and you can enjoy the Summer weather on their outdoor patio and live music in the Summer. The decor is quaint and cozy, and the service is impeccable. They have a great wine list and all their bread is shipped in from Toronto and fresh baked in house every day so it’s still warm and crispy when it gets to your table! Owner Massimo Albano even gave us a shot of Limoncello for dessert on the house. Love this place and will definitely be back for more next time I’m in town! #delicioso

www.lemoncello.com

nature charm bracelet

7. Keith Lewis Studio

I recently went down to State College PA for a huge Summer Arts Festival at Penn State with some friends. It’s an annual show with amazing art, food, music and all the gorgeous jewelry, pottery, handcrafted gadgets and accessories a girl could want. One artist that stood out to me was Keith Lewis – he makes gorgeous handcrafted jewelry out of pearls and metal and precious stones that will make your eyes water out of pure lust.

www.keithlewisstudio.com

Flying Tiger camera bag

8. Flying Tiger Copenhagen

I recently discovered this groovy store a few weeks ago when I was strolling around the Flatiron District in NYC. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it but it reminds me of a cross between Target, IKEA, a boutique home / gadget store and flea market all in one space. They have all kinds of stuff for your office, home, kitchen, games, kids toys, party supplies, travel supplies and a million and one cool as can be highly designed, inexpensive gadgets. There’s only one store in NYC but you can always catch a flight to Copenhagen or Iceland or Japan if you feel the urge. If not, check out their cool stuff online. Unique, savvy and super fun.

http://flyingtiger.com/

 

crisco coconut oil

9. Crisco Organic Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is all the rage these days, because it’s great for cooking in high temperatures, it’s a good fat and has a gorgeous flavor. There’s a new kid in town from Crisco and I had the opportunity to sample some of their new organic coconut oil. It’s perfect for frying and roasting veggies, meats, and can even be used in baked goods.

Check out some of their recipes and videos online to get some creative ideas on how to use it and cook with it!

www.crisco.com

authentic-italian-gravy

10. Redpack Tomatoes

Redpack is one of the top tomato producers on the market and I had the opportunity to sample some of their Petite Diced Tomatoes with Garlic & Olive Oil and their regular Diced Tomatoes. Because they are fresh picked and canned immediately, the flavor is always fresh and juicy and the tomatoes are pre-cut right in the can, making them convenient to use in all of my recipes.

Redpack Tomatoes

They also offer canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes and Redpack Tomato Sauce which are great for making all kinds of dishes like salads, sauces, pasta dishes, tacos, casseroles and more.

Redpack is one of many premium quality brands under the Red Gold Umbrella, which opened its doors in 1942. Today they produce over 100 different styles and flavors of tomato products in 20 different sizes and containers.

Check out all their product varieties online and get some great recipe ideas there too while you’re at it!

http://www.redgold.com/redpack

 

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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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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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Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Holiday 2014

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Things I Love-holiday 2014

These are a few of my favorite things…food, wine, cooking tools, home and barware, recipes, cookbooks, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their awesomeness! And they make great gifts for the holidays as well..Happy Holidays everyone! 

Kitchen in France Cookbook

1. A Kitchen in France: A year of cooking in my farmhouse – cookbook by Mimi Thorisson

This is a gorgeous full color cookbook by Mimi Thorisson of Manger, one of my favorite food bloggers. It’s full of beautiful photos by her husband and lovely recipes from her farmhouse in France. Enough to make you want to quit your job and move there and bake tarts all day long.

Grab a copy on Amazon.com here.

west elm pillows

2. West Elm Velvet, Metallic and Mongolian Lamb Pillows

These beautiful pillows by West Elm are a great gift idea for that person who has everything – a little indulgent, but so pretty and festive for the cold Winter months.

Pick up a few of these beauties online here.

english toffee

3. English Toffee

English Toffee is one of those things I absolutely crave during the holidays! It’s rich, buttery, crunchy and chocolatey and makes the perfect gift, whether you make your own or get some pre-made it’s absolutely delicious and addicting. In fact, I’m planning to make some myself this year for stocking stuffers!

Here’s a great recipe for it on Food.com, or pick up a batch at Williams-Sonoma which comes in a festive holiday tin.

photo: Delicious as it Looks

holiday cocktail party set - Mouth.com

4. Holiday Cocktail Party Collection – Mouth.com

Everyone loves a cocktail party but sometimes it’s more work than  you expect it to be. Mouth.com, a specialty indie food store has a Holiday Cocktail Party set that has all the essentials packaged up by local food producers to get your holiday party in gear. It comes with a variety of cheeses, Ginger Caramels, Old Bay peanuts, Vanilla Pickled Cherries, Sesame Lavish Crackers, Dark Chocolates and more. YUM.

Pick one up online here, and check out their other fun collections while you’re at it!

beaded table linens Neiman Marcus

5. Capiz Shell Beaded Table Linens – Neiman Marcus

Absolutely love these gorgeous Capiz shell beaded table linens by Kim Seybert at Neiman Marcus. It comes in a table runner and placemats with matching napkin rings. Festive enough to feast at Christmas like Queen Victoria. LOVE.

Get them online here.

Il Buco Vita

6. Il Buco Vita 

Il Buco Vita is a hidden gem, above the Il Buco Italian restaurant in NoHo NYC. It’s a showroom full of gorgeous handmade Italian and Mediterranean ceramics, linens, glassware, home furnishings and antiques that will make you swoon.

Visit their store online here and their showroom at 51 Bond Street, NYC

Swedish Meatballs

7. Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are one of those appetizer dishes perfect for a holiday cocktail party. My Mom makes them every year for New Years Eve and I just can’t get enough of them. Try this recipe by BBCGoodFood, Bon Appetit or Food & Wine. For a cool twist, try this recipe for Nut-and-Seed Crusted Sausage Meatballs with Mustard Sauce. Totally indulgent and pure YUM.

Caramel Chocolate Tart

8. Dorie Greenspan’s Golden Caramel and Chocolate Tart

I love making tarts during the holidays, especially luscious ones made with caramel and chocolate. Dorie’s has a simple recipe for making a perfect tart dough, and the filling is perfect too, with melted bittersweet chocolate lining the crust with a silky, creamy homemade golden caramel on top. Divine.

Get the recipe here

foodie dice

9. Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice

As foodies, I know we all love to cook. But sometimes we get stuck in a rut and need a boost for some new creative ideas for our cooking. Same goes for cocktails – we drink the same old thing and how fun would it be to toss a few dice and get some fresh ideas for your mixology? Check out the Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice – with just a simple toss, you’ll get suggestions for making your own fab creations with fresh ingredients and combinations of your own.

Get ’em online here.

vintage champagne flutes

10. Vintage Etched Champagne Flutes – Williams Sonoma

What kind of holiday celebration would it be without some bubbly? Get these gorgeous vintage etched champagne flutes from Williams-Sonoma for the party, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up some bubbly to fill them with! If you’re in the mood to splurge, try a vintage 2004 Dom Perignon ($160), or try a Cremant de Bourgogne, a little less expensive than Champagne made in a Brut Rose, but just as tasty and bubbly ($24). Or try some sparkling wine (Blanc de Blancs) as an option- Gloria Ferrer has a great one from Sonoma CA.

 

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New episode of Cooking with Color 4 Kids® airing on cable TV May 24 at 9 am EST in NYC

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Stay tuned for my next episode of Cooking with Color 4 Kids® airing May 24 from 9-9:30 am on cable TV in NYC! Lots of colorful, healthy food and talented young chefs presenting the artful creations they submitted for the Michelle Obama & Epicurious’ Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids State Dinner recipe contest!

We are also looking for a few kids who would like to participate on this episode Cooking with Color 4 Kids® – we will be taping the show at BRIC Arts Center on Wed May 14 from -10 pm. We would like to call a few kids in to the show between 8-9 pm to ask the kids who are cooking their recipes a few questions via Skype. They will be on the show for about a minute interacting with myself and the kids during the live show taping on screen. The show will be airing live on the internet and on cable TV in NYC on Sat May 24 from 9-9:30 am. Send me a DM with your Skype address if interested and I will send you details on how we will Skype you in to the show and where you can watch it on the 24th!

View Cooking with Color 4 Kids® on BRIC Brooklyn Public Network Cablecasts:
Brooklyn Channels: Time Warner 34 / Cablevision 67 / RCN 82 / Verizon FiOS 42
BRIC Brooklyn Public Network cablecasts in all five boroughs exclusively on Verizon FiOS cable. Watch the program online on BPN Channel 3, by visiting:
http://bricartsmedia.org/community-media/watch-brooklyn-public-network

Cooking with Color 4 Kids® by Kristen Hess

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Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Winter 2013

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Here are a few of my current objects of obsession…food, wine, cooking tools and gadgets, restaurants, ingredients, props, styling and photography tools, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their wonderful-ness! Enjoy.

Rice Cube

1. Rice Cube Sushi Maker

Sushi can sometimes be a laborious and time consuming thing to make and messy at that. The Rice Cube Sushi maker is just a cool little plastic cube that makes it super easy to make cute and colorful sushi with rice, risotto, polenta, lentils and even falafel. Just add your proteins and veggies and seasonings to the rice, pop it into the cube and voila – you’ve got gorgeous bite size sushi cubes that will brighten up an party tray. Pretty Awesome. Click here for some fun recipe ideas too.

http://www.ricecube.net/

Woodstead

2.Woodstead Hot Anything & Everything Sauce

I’m a hot sauce addict, and have tried almost everyone one in the world..and this one is definitely one of my favs – it’s a little bit hot, a little bit sweet, and a little bit tangy and it does go on everything and anything! Originally developed for Autumn Pig Roasts held in the hills south of Naples, NY – it’s great as a marinade, grilling sauce for pork, chicken and beef, tortilla dips, pretzels, on eggs, homefries and for added zing to soups and stews. LOVE IT.

http://woodstead.com/

Verseur Wine Opener

3. VERSEUR 4-in-1 Wine Opener by Quirky

Perfect for the wine aficionado, Verseur 4-in-1 Wine Opener is not only gorgeous, but a convenient multi-tool that combines everything you need to open, serve and save your best wines. It has an easy to use corkscrew, foil cutter, pour spout and rubber stopper all in one nifty sleek-looking tool. Comes in black or metallic red and runs $24.99. Oh, and it was also designed by Angelo Cacchione of London – just a regular guy with a brilliant idea come to life with the help of Quirky.com and their community. Definitely a cool site to check out for fun, inventive items.

http://www.quirky.com/shop/74

 

maguey sweet sap

4. Maguey Sweet Sap

I first tried Maguey Sweet Sap at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC last year. It’s an organic, sustainable raw sweetener made with a varied sugar profile that comes from the maguey plant (similar to agave) from the deserts of Mexico. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and prebiotic soluble fiber and has a flavor similar to molasses but is less thick. Great sugar substitute for baking, sweetening drinks, yogurts, fruits, pancakes. Just might be a new favorite.

http://villadepatos.com/en/products/maguey-sap/

 

LEIF-Glitter-Collection

5. LEIF Glitter Collection

I don’t have much to say other than – who doesn’t love a little bling? These sparkling cuties will brighten up any party in a heartbeat, and come in silver, gold, pink and yellow. Just too fun. Plus, LEIF has a ton of other creative and unique tabletop items, jewelry, accessories, apothecary and other cool objets de désir on their site. Glam it up a little.

http://www.leifshop.com/collections/glitter

penelope logo

6. Penelope Cafe, NYC

Now I’m a sucker for homemade comfort food and especially Sunday Brunch – if you’re in this with me, you gotta check out Penelope in Murray Hill, NYC. It’s a charming cafe, bakery and bar on the corner of Lexington and 30th St – decked out in a tiny space with a blue and white striped awning, a buzzing, homey, interior with wood tables, coffee brewing, and a line out the door on Sunday mornings. Jennifer Potenza and her partner Michael Tsoumpas opened Penelope in 2003 with the goal of creating homey comfort food based on her Mom’s recipes and the cafes and bakeries Jenny has worked in throughout the years. Some of my favs on the menu are the Nutella French Toast, Penny Egg Sandwich, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Arugula with Warm Chicken Meatballs Salad, Joey & Jack’s Chicken Pot Pie, and the Sweet Peas Macaroni and Cheese is um, TO. DIE. FOR. Tons of great burgers, sandwiches and sides too with plenty of vegetarian options. Oh, and they named the cafe after their pet turtle, Penelope, who is seen by appointment only. I have yet to meet her.

http://penelopenyc.com/index.html

little ink nz

7. Little Ink, New Zealand

Little Ink is a New Zealand-based company with an online store full of great products for packaging, wrapping, baking, crafting and parties. A site full of crafty and colorful items for mixing and matching fabrics, papers, twine and all kinds of other DIY goodies. Mason jars, glass milk bottles, paper baking supplies, ribbons, bags, boxes, stickers, stamps, straws, decorations – you name it..they got it. And it’s all just fun. A creative girl’s dream come true.

http://www.littleink.co.nz/

Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Glasses

8. Gold Leaf Wine Bottle Tumblers – Nanda Soderberg

Nanda Soderberg is a glass fine artist who studied in Hawaii and Virginia, specializing in unique handcrafted recycled glass art – gold leaf glass tumblers made from old beer and wine bottles, recycled glass mirrors with gorgeous intricate designs, and other beautiful blown glass goblets and vases and bowls. Magical.

http://nandasoderberg.com/

Asselina Ristorante NYC

9. Asselina Ristorante, Gansevoort Park Ave South NYC

Asselina is a swanky Italian restaurant and bar located in the Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue South in NYC. Fireplaces, chic design and lighting, private lounges and patios, and oh, did I mention the FOOD yet? My last feast was a sampling off the lunch menu which was plenty of food for 3 or 4 people. We had the Wood-Fired Pizza with Black Truffle and Farmer’s Egg; the Baked Eggplant with Fresh Ricotta, Tomato and Basil; the House Meatballs with Tomato and Sugo; and the Baby Beet Salad with Cantaloupe, Mache and Ricotta Salata. I can only imagine how divine their dinner menu must be with their impressive wine list to boot. Three words: Rustic. Modern. Sexy.

http://togrp.com/togrp-asellina/

Mercantile & Trading Co

10. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.

There’s something beautiful about handcrafted wooden tools and servingware that I just can’t get enough of. Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. is a wood crafting studio located in Kingston, NY who make gorgeous, unique, handcrafted items. None of their items are alike, and they use only domestic hardwoods that are sustainably harvested. And I’m all for supporting local craftsmen and resources from NY State too. Simply lovely.

http://www.blackcreekmt.com/

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New & Notable Restaurant Openings & Food Events 2013

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It’s hard to believe that 2013 is coming to an end shortly. There’s been so many fun food festivals, events and restaurant openings this year that it’s been quite the whirlwind! It’s great to be in the food and hospitality industry and connected to some of the Best of the Best to experience new places, meet new people, try delicious food and cocktails and hob knob with some of the Top Chefs and Restaurateurs around the country. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite New and Notable Restaurants, Chefs and Food Events of 2013 that deserve a nod for their outstanding hospitality and efforts in the food world. Check it out and give these guys a go. Happy Holidays and may 2014 be filled with more fun, food and festivities to go around!

Metaphore NYC

I recently attended a fantastic event at Metaphore in NYC where we sampled delectable Gluten-Free dishes by Owner and  Executive Chef Jehangir Mehta. The event was in support of the national Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour in an effort to elevate the importance of food safety and promotion of gluten-free items in the restaurant and foodservice sector. Chef Mehta teamed up with GREAT Kitchens, a National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) to create the Chef’s Table Tour which features exclusive gluten-free dining experiences from executive chefs in fine dining restaurants, gluten-free cooking demos with local media and interactive educational experiences at partner universities. The 10-city Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour debuted this Fall in New York, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and will culminate in the spring with an open call for spring tour restaurants and institutions through January 2014. Check out some of the delicious gluten-free goodies we sampled in the slideshow below – Fresh Oysters with Cilantro Pesto and Tapioca Crisps, Foie Gras with Berry Jam on Gluten-Free Toast, Crispy Onion Ring, Pesto and Tofu, Seared Duck Breast with Pickled Onions, Mustard and Portabella Mushrooms, and a gorgeous Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sundae. click here to view the full Gluten-Free menu at Metaphore.

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San Diego Restaurant Week Taste 2013

One of my favorite events this year was out in California when I went to visit some friends for some sun, fun and R&R. I got invited to attend the 2nd Annual #SDRWTaste2013an event to kick off the start of San Diego Restaurant Week! The event was a super fun kick-off party and culinary adventure at the Broadway Pier where people from all over San Diego gathered to celebrate San Diego Restaurant Week and indulge in some of the finest foods and beverages! #SDRWTaste2013 showcased some of the top culinary talents of SDRW chefs from throughout the County. At this premiere tasting event, over 40 of San Diego Restaurant Week’s best restaurants served up samples of their house specialties paired with a unique beverage to enhance the flavors of each dish.

A special nod goes out to VinVillage, the online community for wine lovers, who sponsored my attendance to this fabulous event and who showcased a plethora of top notch wines for tasting to the event goers.  Check out their website to join the community and get access to their events, newsletters, forums, online store and wine tastings around the country.

The weather and the view of the ocean was amazing, and so was my company of good friends. I think it may have also convinced me to move to San Diego someday…what’s not to love?

100 Montaditos NYC

Another fun VIP restaurant opening event I attended was for 100 Montaditos, a new multinational franchise bringing unique Spanish cuisine to the West Village of NYC. The West Village shop specializes in tapas-sized sandwiches made with fresh-baked bread (mini-heroes!) with 100 unique filling combinations such as Chorizo and Manchego cheese,  Blue Cheese with Ham and Strawberry Jam and Serrano Ham with Tomato and Olive Oil. They also have “Americanized” versions such as the Philly Cheese Steak, Meatballs with Marinara, Hot Dogs with Bacon, Ketchup and Mustard and Pulled BBQ Pork. They even have some sweet dessert Montaditos such as Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Spread or Heavy Cream and Oreos – all served on CHOCOLATE BREAD. That’s right – CHOCOLATE BREAD. The atmosphere is casual and buzzing and the prices are reasonable at $1 to $2.50 per Montaditos so grab a plateful with some friends and sip a Sangria or two while you’re at it. Check out the goods in the slideshow below!

Relaix & Chateaux VIP Event NYC

I was recently invited to an intimate reception with the CEO of Grace Hotels at the Relais & Chateaux Maison to celebrate the launch of The Mayflower Grace. This summer, Grace Hotels acquired the iconic Mayflower Inn & Spa, the beautiful New England resort located in Washington, CT – which is undergoing exciting updates such as a room renovation and new restaurant.

Chef Jonathan Cartwright and his culinary team of chefs were in the open kitchen showcasing “Taste of Grace” canapés from the Grace Hotel properties around the world with samples of delicious cuisine from Central & South America, Europe & Asia and North America as well as wine and spirits. My favorite was the Wood-Smoked Lobster over Corn Puree with Butter Sauce, served in tiny smoke-infused pots. The most gorgeous, delectable thing I’ve ever tasted! Check out all the other beautiful canapés we sampled that night in the slideshow below.

The James Hotel Winter Art Garden NYC

I recently attended the fascinating unveiling of the new  Winter Art Garden at The James NY hotel. Curated by The James NY’s resident artist Matt Jensen and Recess Art, the installation titled Still Moving will feature the work of five (5) up & coming artists whose outdoor sculptures initiate a chatter of heat and motion in an otherwise still and icy winter landscape. Continuing The James’ commitment to providing a stellar art program and the SoHo neighborhood, the exhibit will be open hotel guests and the public just in time for the holiday season beginning on December 12th, 2013 through March 2014.

Garden Art Sculptures & Artist Biographies

Beth Campbell, “If it is possible it’s possible” 2013
Piece makes sculptural a quirky line drawing or diagram.  There is a sense of instability and indecipherability  in the meandering nature of the line and the movement in the multiple parts.  This is an attempt to get at the veiled instability or slippage of things.

Dave Hardy, Untitled, 2013
Balancing the precarious structures of interiority—from the physiological to the architectonic—with the brazen forces of externalized expression and brute will to form, Hardy’s sculptural works depict an unrelenting tension.  The work captures the paradoxical demands of contemporary artistic life, where each new gesture appears at the brink of collapse.

Marie Lorenz, Flotsam Garland, 2013
The flower garland is often a symbol of celebration but also of impermanence, temporality, the passing from life to death. In India, flower garlands are used in temples, designed with horticultural rules passed down from generations. These Flotsam Garlands are made from things found on the beach, already subject to the ravages of time and tide.

Alina Tenser, Untitled Screen II, 2013
Tenser’s Screen is to be simultaneously, looked at and looked through.  The surface is reflective and translucent, allowing the viewer to experience a polar state of their image being bounced back to them and their vision going past the image, essentially looking past themselves.

Jeff Williams, Supernatant Fossil, 2012
Williams sets up material experiments in which natural and industrial components interact to change or break down existing compositions and structures.  Here, a series of floor sculptures contain Central Texas fossils, resting on weathered plexiglass sheets.  The weight of the fossil produces a concavity in the plexiglass, which is filled with a puddle of calcium sulfate (gypsum).  The fossils slowly wick the chemical solution over time and accumulate gypsum deposits.

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Fogo de Chao NYC

Fogo de Chao is an authentic Brazilian steakhouse, and a new location just opened in Midtown Manhattan. At a VIP press event last week to celebrate the grand opening, I got to experience the Fogo “gaucho” way of preparing and serving meat as they do in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Their gaucho chefs expertly grill 16 cuts of meat served and cut fresh to order with continuous table side service. This is also known as Churrascaria – where the meat is roasted over charcoal or wood embers to give it a rich smoky flavor.

They have a gigantic gourmet salad bar with a plethora of fresh grilled veggies, salads and chartucerie, authentic Brazilian side dishes such as fried bananas and polenta sticks, and we sipped on Brazilian wines and cocktails all night long amongst great conversation and a buzzing atmosphere. The architecture is stunning too with high ceilings and dynamic design. You won’t walk out of this place hungry – I promise. Definitely worth checking out (on an empty stomach!)

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