{Things I Love} :: August 2017

Things I Love August 2017
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Hey guys! Can you believe Summer is almost halfway over (or more??) Time really does fly when you’re having fun, doesn’t it!¬†Summer is truly my favorite season and as August rolls in, I’ve had a great one so far! Lots of trips to see family and friends in Upstate New York, my guy down in South Florida and West Coast Florida to St Petersburg and Clearwater Beach, and fun weekends in the city and beaches in NYC.


As much as I love the beach and warm weather and sunny days, I start thinking about the crisp Fall days ahead – and all the delicious comfort food recipes and seasonal produce coming into play that makes my heart skip a beat..cozy soups, fresh gorgeous salads and hearty casseroles and pies and roasted dinners..mmmmm. But wait..it’s only August…

So to celebrate the season, here’s a few shoutouts to some of the amazing and fun places, people, recipes and things I’ve been loving on this Summer – it’s not quite over yet! Hope you’re having a fantastic one yourselves and getting plenty of delicious bites and drinks, travel, quality time with friends and family, and some sun, sand and surf in too.

Cocktails at Sandbar in the sun…and gorgeous sunsets on the west coast of Florida…and that’s just the beginning.

Sunset

So here’s a salute to the best Summer ever and a few of my favorite things worth a shout out….

Sandbar Delray

Boston’s Sand Bar, Delray Beach

I recently visited Boston’s Sand Bar in Delray Beach with my boyfriend after a day at the beach and what a fun place this is! They have great happy hour specials everyday with 1/2 price beer, wine and cocktails and beach bar bites like Smoked Fish Dip, Conch Fritters, Peel and Eat Shrimp, Mojitos and Margaritas.

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Definitely a fun casual spot with a Tiki Bar and beach vibe for a relaxing weekend afternoon in the sun on the patio…cornhole, music, beach, cocktails, sun, loungy couches…what else can you ask for?

Edna Lewis's Peach Cobbler

Edna Lewis’s Peach Cobbler

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing better in the Summer than a baked fruit cobbler – especially fresh peaches topped with crisp buttery pastry and vanilla ice cream – definitely something to scream about and a fav refreshing, juicy Summer dessert!

Kingsley Street Soaps

Kingsley Street Artisan Soaps + Candles + Lotions, Syracuse NY

I am such a sucker for Summer Arts Festivals and I found this awesome soap, candles and lotions company at the Park Avenue Festival in Rochester, NY last weekend! The scents are amazing and made with all natural ingredients – I absolutely LOVE their Sandalwood soap and Tobacco Leaf & Amber candle. Divine.

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Harpoon Harry’s, Punta Gorda FL

My boyfriend and I stopped in here last minute on our way back home from St Pete, FL one night to take a quick break from driving and make a pit stop. We stumbled upon the town of Punta Gorda, a sleepy little marina town in Florida and discovered the Fisherman’s Village on Charlotte Harbor, where this place is located, and it had the most stunning sunset and waterside views I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s a fun, casual bar and restaurant (think Popcorn Shrimp, Crab Cakes, Raw Oyster Bar and Grouper Sandwiches – yum!) and definitely worth a stop if you’re driving down the coast of West Florida. They even have this amazing Sea Foam sugar scrub in the bathrooms to add to the ambience.

yeahhhhhh…I think I could live here ūüėČ

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

Balsamic Tomato Basil Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

This is one of my favorite Summer recipes ever. I created it for my client 7 Barrels, with their delicious Sweet Basil Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar to make a gorgeous fresh tomato sauce with garlic and onions and then topped it the pasta with fresh basil, ricotta and parmesan cheese. So easy and light – it’s truly Summer in a Bowl.

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The Classic East concert, Citifield NYC

A few weekends ago my Sister came to town for The Classic East concert which was amazing! All the classic 70’s bands were playing over 2 days out at Citifield stadium. We saw Journey, The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Earth Wind and Fire, Steely Dan and The Eagles! All my favorite bands on the planet!!!

Visit our Facebook page with more fun concert photos and live videos from the event!

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Dim Sum at Grand Restaurant, Flushing NY

On Sunday that same weekend, we decided to meet up with my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jim for some Dim Sum at the Grand Restaurant in the New City Mall in Flushing, (Chinatown in Queens). If you have never had Dim Sum before, you’re in for a treat! They basically sit you down at a big table and the servers come by with rolling carts full of Chinese appetizers and small plates and you order whatever you want off the cart and they tally up your bill as you go! We had delicious dumplings in all flavors, fried shrimp, saut√©ed Bok Choy, a delicious Coconut Gel, Mango Rice Pudding and Custard Egg Tarts for dessert. So delish and fun! But beware, all those small bites add up fast!

green chili chicken lasagna

Green Chile Chicken Lasagna, Son of a Southern Chef

I just discovered the awesome food blog, Son of a Southern Chef, who is nominated for a Saveur Blog Award this year – I love his Southern comfort food recipes, writing style, graphics and sassy voice and attitude! This Green Chile Chicken Lasagna is definitely on my list of recipes to try, along with his Mac & Cheese, Shepherd’s Pie, etc..yum!

Love Ceramics

Love Ceramics @love_ceramic

I just stumbled upon this Instagram page of Love Ceramics today and absolutely love their gorgeous colors and patterns! Perfect props for my food photography and just all around artsy and cool. LOVE is right ūüėČ

No Bake Super Muesli Protein Bars

No Bake Super Muesli Protein Bars, Evoke Muesli

I recently discovered these guys at the Park Avenue Festival in Rochester NY last weekend too and love their organic muesli..especially the Cocoa Cherry Chai flavor! This recipe for no-bake protein bars sounds awesome for the Summer for a quick high protein snack when you need some energy.

Chocolate Cherry Pisco Sour

Chocolate Cherry Pisco Sour, Drinking with Chickens

I have not made this drink yet but I absolutely love Pisco Sours and anything made with chocolate and cherries. So there ya go. On my bucket list to make before the end of summer. YUM. And Drinking with Chickens is the funnest name EVER for a cocktail blog so you need to vote for them in the 2017 Saveur Blog Awards for best cocktail blog because – the chickens. #OMG.

Hot Chicken Sandwiches with Pickles and Slaw

Hot Chicken Sandwiches with Pickles and Slaw, Rachael Ray Show

Hello, spicy chicken sandwich on steroids. I think I love you. 

Pincher's Crab Shack

Pincher’s Crab Shack, Naples FL

Another fun place my BF and I discovered on our little road trip down the West coast of Florida a few weeks ago for his birthday. It’s a fun crab shack nestled on the coast of Naples, where you can eat to your heart’s content a massive amount of fresh seafood at Happy Hour from 4-7 pm. 1/2 price drinks and super cheap goodies like peel & eat shrimp, clam chowder, crab legs, and raw oysters for $1 with a killer view on the water? Fork, yeah.¬†

Peachy-Chipotle-Chicken-Tortilla-and-Avocado-Rice-Salad-with-Pan-Fried-Halloumi-1

Peachy Chipotle Chicken Tortilla and Avocado Rice Salad w/ Fried Halloumi, Half Baked Harvest

Um, yessss. More peaches. Mixed together with tons of lovely ingredients to make a super delish salad – cilantro, lime, fried halloumi cheese, chicken, greens, all tossed in a vinaigrette dressing and topped with tortilla chips and jalape√Īos. Could this be the perfect salad in my life? Yeah, I think so.

Grilled Flatbread recipes

5 Grilled Flatbread Recipes for Summer, Culture Mag

OK so Summer isn’t over yet right? And let’s not put away the grill too soon either! Culture Mag does it again with these five awesome grilled flatbread recipes – Corn Chowder Flatbread, Eggplant Relish and Ricotta, Shrimp and Mixed Herb Pesto, Prosciutto-Melon, and Tomato-Peach with Blue Cheese and Basil. YUM!

Check out my Instagram feed to see some more fun photos of my food, music and travel adventures ūüôā

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my Artful Gourmet Facebook page too for more adventures and photos and videos. Hope you guys are having a rockin’ Summer! Stay tuned for my Fall favs next month ūüôā

{Things I Love} :: Summer 2016

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My {Things I Love} list is back for Summer 2016 with some fun and interesting objets de desir, places, people, books, recipes, photography, 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…until next time, Happy End of Summer, and Bon Appetit!

fresh fish cookbook

Fresh Fish Cookbook


Jennifer Trainer Thompson‘s new cookbook¬†has gorgeous photography, amazing seafood recipes and great stories of her living¬†along the New England coast, all the while demystifying how to cook fish simply and deliciously. You’ll find recipes for soups and chowders, shellfish, fish entrees, side dishes, desserts and beachy¬†cocktails for your next Summer seaside feast.

Jennifer is the author of over 20 books, a self-professed hot sauce maker and chicken chaser, and author of the blog Jump Up and Kiss Me, where you can find more of her food stories and recipes.

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https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Fish-Fearless-Grilling-Shucking/dp/1612123376

coconut rose petal ice cream

Coconut and Rose Petal Ice Cream w/ Cardamom Crumble

Not only is this a beautiful Summer dessert, it’s vegan, made with coconut milk and vanilla, fresh rose petals and a cardamom and oats crumble topping. ¬†A dream come true.

Linda Lomelinos of Call Me Cupcake Blog

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Ken & Cook NYC

It’s currently #NYCRestaurantWeek, and we all know what that means. Bingeing on some of the most delicious food and drinks in NYC, without guilt of course, at $42 per person for dinner and $29 per person for lunch including appetizers, entree and dessert. I recently visited Ken and Cook with a friend for dinner the other night and I¬†had a glorious feast of Ahi Poke Tuna, Seafood Ceviche, Filet Mignon with Basil Pesto Mashed Potatoes with a Chocolate Lava Cake¬†w/ Salted Caramel Ice Cream¬†and Tiramisu for dessert. With unlimited Prosecco on the house, at that. The atmosphere was lovely, the staff super attentive and gracious. In a great location in SoHo on Kenmore Street at the best table in the house. Must try¬†–¬†100% delicious!

http://www.kenandcook.com

nora luther

Nora Luther Food Photography

Being a food stylist and photographer myself, of course I’m obsessed with all things food photography. I discovered Art Director Nora Luther’s food photos from another food blog I visit frequently and was blown away by her photos of food literally flying in the air. ¬†So creative and very cool way to present food in a unique way.

blackberry crostata

Blackberry Chocolate Italian Tart with Coffee Creme Fraiche

OK. I absolutely love fruit tarts in the Summer. But blackberries and chocolate in a whole grain coconut flour crust? Topped with coffee infused creme fraiche? And what a gorgeous presentation at that, by Valentina of Hortus food blog. yes, please. 

pereg flours

Pereg Gourmet Alternative Flours

We all know that gluten-free is all the rage, and Pereg Gourmet just launched a new line of alternative flours this year to give consumers more cooking and baking options for gluten-free diets. They have 6 new varieties including Almond flour, Banana flour, Buckwheat flour, Chickpea flour, Coconut flour and Farro flour. All are gluten free except for the Farro, and are 100% natural, non-dairy and certified kosher. I was fortunate enough to get some samples myself, so it’s time to experiment with some fun recipes for Fall – hmmm, I’m thinking pizza, tarts and pies, homemade pasta..let’s see what I can come up with – stay tuned!

fried chicken gravy poutine

Fried Chicken and Gravy Poutine

O.M.G. – 5 words: fried chicken. gravy. fries. cheese curds. BACON. #yum

http://realfoodbydad.com/fried-chicken-and-gravy-poutine/

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The Capital Grille #GenerousPour Summer Promo

My friends and I visited The Capital Grille the other night on 42nd St in NYC to take advantage of NY Restaurant Week (yes, once again!) and to partake in their #GenerousPour Summer promo. For only $28,¬†were able¬†to taste a variety of 3 whites and 3 reds, handpicked by The Capital Grille to accompany our dinner menu. We had the¬†Clam Chowder (super good!), Dry Aged NY Strip and Grilled Shrimp, Beef Tournados, and¬†Pan-Seared Salmon (all amazing!)¬†with Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes (to. die. for.) and an amazing Creme Br√Ľl√©e (my favorite!!) for dessert.

My favorite wines were the Provenance¬†Sauvignon Blanc from Napa CA, and the Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Cabernet (a bordeaux blend), also from Napa. We managed to stay for a few hours with full bellies and lots of generously poured¬†vino and escaped for less than $100 each, including tip. Now that’s a delicious steal.

http://www.thecapitalgrille.com/events/the-generous-pour-wine-tasting

peach burrata salad

Peach Burrata Salad

This fresh summer salad¬†is the perfect recipe for a light lunch or side dish for dinner.¬†The¬†saltiness of the prosciutto with the subtle heat¬†of the red onion and the creaminess of the burrata is a seriously magical combination. And it’s stunning to look at too, is it not? I’m thinking a side of sparkling rose would just top it off beautifully.

http://www.designlovefest.com/2016/08/peach-and-burrata-salad/

french country cooking cookbook

French Country Cooking Cookbook

Another lovely cookbook from one of my favorite food bloggers, Mimi Thorisson of Manger. Filled with gorgeous as ever French styling and recipes and photos that will make your mouth water and wish you too were living in the countryside of France. Available Oct 25, and for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online…can’t wait to get my hands on it!

lobster tails

Lobster Tails with Mojo de Ajo & Grilled Corn Salsa

I love anything grilled, and this recipe absolutely screams Summer. Grilled lobster tails with garlic, chipotle, cilantro and lime marinade and a side of grilled corn salsa with more spicy flavors like jalape√Īo, onions, and basil. Sounds divine. Must make tonight.

http://www.upcloseandtasty.com/blog/2014/july/lobster-tails-with-grilled-corn-salsa

caprese mac and cheese

4 Cheese Caprese Mac and Cheese

O.M.G. Pasta. Heirloom tomatoes and basil. All baked into a bubbly pot with 4 melty cheeses Рcheddar, havarti, mozzarella and brie. Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest does it again. Gorgeous and delicious as always.

 

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 Рwe 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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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‚Äôs foremost lady vintners. Try the Mini Meatballs drenched in homemade sauce and melted cheese, the Saut√©ed 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‚Äôs 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

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

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 ūüôā

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

 

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

Tavern on Jane NYC
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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.

Who’s down to roll up their sleeves and take down a few orders of chili crab? #tuesday #AllYouCanEat #jonahcrab #chilicrab #westvillage #HowManyCanYouEat

A photo posted by Fatty Crab (@fattycrab) on

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

Moussaka and Memories of Greece

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Greek Moussaka

Classic Greek Moussaka is one of the most popular¬†Greek dishes, and a staple ‚Äúcomfort food‚ÄĚ and main course meal in Greece (as Lasagna is in Italy). This tasty Greek dish¬†is a culinary delight¬†to those who sample it for the first¬†time,¬†and I experienced¬†it when I went on a trip to the Greek Islands a few¬†years ago for my birthday.

oia greece santorini


Some friends and I were in Santorini, a beautiful island in Greece in the Aegean Sea with pastel colors and gorgeous views, eating at a restaurant in Oia called Pelekanos, nestled up in the hills overlooking the sea.

Pelekanos

The sun was setting, the relaxing music was playing softly in the background and the atmosphere was just perfect. The waiters graciously came over and attended to our every need, and made our dinner a spectacular night with their attention to detail not only in the food and wine, but our dining experience overall.

waiter

The table was elegantly set, with fine china, white tablecloths, crystal glasses and silverware with beautiful flowers as a centerpiece. The waiters filled our glasses with water and wine, lit the candles on the table and gave us recommendations of the specials and enlightened us on some of their popular Greek dishes on the menu.

Fava Bean Dip

As we joyously dined, they quickly cleared our plates when we were finished eating, filled our glasses when they were half full, and stood by the table a few feet away with a watchful, attentive eye, to let us know they were on stand by for service, but just far enough away to not be obtrusive on our dining experience.

table setting

They always had a smile on their faces and let us stay at the table long enough to enjoy our dinner, engage in great conversation, take photos of our food and engage in the gorgeous bright red sunset that was going down over the ocean as we sat and viewed it in awe. I felt like I was sitting in a little piece of heaven up there and never wanted to leave.

Sunset

One of the most delicious dishes I ever tasted was the Moussaka, which I ordered that night. It was a perfect mixture of spicy meat at the bottom, layered with potatoes and tender eggplant, and tons of béchamel and gooey cheese on top. The vegetables were steaming as I dug into this gorgeous meat and vegetable pie Рmy mouth watered at the sight and smell of it. I became so obsessed with this luscious Greek dish that I decided I needed to make it for my big Greek birthday party when I got home from vacation.

moussaka

Moussaka can be made in many variations, but the classic recipe uses layers of eggplant, potatoes, a spicy meat and tomato sauce with a touch of cinnamon and a rich and delicious béchamel sauce and bubbly kefalotyri cheese on top. Other variations are Moussaka with zucchini or artichokes instead of eggplant, ground lamb instead of ground beef, or vegetarian-style with zucchini, eggplant and potatoes without the meat. Either way you make it, with its warm and rich flavors and gooey cheese you’ll be hooked.

I made this recipe with zucchini and potatoes, and combined ground lamb with ground beef together. The combination of all the spices from the meat and seasonings soak into the vegetables and once you layer some creamy b√©chamel and gooey cheese on top, you’ve got yourself a delicious heartwarming dish. Be careful to pat dry the vegetables though before layering in the baking dish, as you don’t want the liquids to make the Moussaka too watery as they are cooked down in the oven.

You’ll need a lot of time and kitchen space to make this dish, and if you’re cooking for a crowd, you’ll be safe to double the recipe and make two large rectangular baking dishes of it, as it won’t last long. The flavors in this dish really improve if you 
make it a day ahead. It’s also a very filling dish, so you may want to serve it as the main course, and accompany it with a Greek Salad, some Stuffed Grape Leaves and Tzaziki for a light side dish along with some Garlic Lemon Hummus and grilled pita. Serve with a red Greek wine and a shot of Ouzo as an aperitif.

Oia Santorini
Oia Santorini

Moussaka and Memories of Greece

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients

  • Zucchini/Eggplant Potato Mixture:
  • 1/2 cup Greek olive oil
  • 3 large zucchini (or eggplants), sliced
  • 3 large potatoes, sliced
  • Meat Sauce:
  • 3 onions, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves or garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup red Greek wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Bechamel Sauce:
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 quart of whole milk
  • 4 eggs; beaten until frothy
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Zucchini/Eggplant Potato Mixture:
  2. Cut the zucchini/eggplant and potatoes into slices about 1/2 inch thick. If using eggplant instead of zucchini, peel the eggplant first. Brown the vegetables quickly in 1/4 cup of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until lightly golden brown, transfer to paper towels to drain and set aside.
  3. Meat Sauce:
  4. Heat the remaining ¬ľ cup of oil in the same skillet and cook the onions until they are?golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground meat, tomato paste, cinnamon, cayenne, and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Pour off excess fat through a strainer and return meat mixture to the pan. Then add the wine, cooking until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato puree to the meat mixture and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer over low heat;?stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Remove the?mixture from heat.
  6. Make the Bechamel Sauce:
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  8. Make the white sauce by melting the butter?and blending in the flour, stirring with a wire whisk until smooth. Meanwhile, bring the milk to a boil and add it gradually to the butter-flour mixture,? stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, remove ?it from the heat. Cook slightly and stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg, lemon zest and ricotta.
  9. Assemble the casserole:
  10. Grease an 11x16-inch baking dish or casserole dish and sprinkle the bottom lightly with?breadcrumbs.
  11. Arrange alternate layers of the zucchini/eggplant and potatoes and meat sauce?in the pan, sprinkling each layer with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
  12. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top and sprinkle some additional Parmesan cheese on top. Bake 1 hour, or until top is golden.
  13. Remove from the oven and cool 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
  14. Top with additional chopped fresh parsley. Cut into squares and serve.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/04/06/moussaka-and-memories-of-greece/

  • Want to meet purveyors who are making a difference with their customers? Check out¬†BonAppetit.com‚Äôs¬†‚ÄúOut of the Kitchen‚ÄĚ, an ongoing exploration of the relationships that build and sustain the food industry. See how hyper-local food markets operate and how their focus on quality and service keep customers coming back for more.

 

Tavern on Jane unveils a new menu and revamped space in the West Village NYC

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Tavern on Jane Restaurant

Tavern on Jane is a quaint restaurant and bar in the West Village on the corner of Eighth Ave and Jane Street, a fun, cozy space I visit often, and a gathering place where everybody does know your name. I recently did a photo shoot for the owner Michael Stewart of their new revamped space and some of their hot food items on their newly redesigned menu. 

Burgers
Burgers

They have always had amazing food, but I have to say their new lineup is super tasty and you have to see the new burgers they have on the menu now!

Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips

They also have some fantastic new dishes like the Beer Battered Fish and Chips; Short Rib and Butternut Squash Risotto; Steamed Mussels; Beet, Arugula and Citrus Salad and so much more. Delicious, high-end comfort food and the portions are unreal.

Steamed Mussels
Steamed Mussels

They also have a new Executive Chef, Josh LaBadie, who has brought a variety of new flavors and inspiration to the restaurant from his seasoned experience at top NYC restaurants including Terroir, Central Park Boathouse, and Capitale Grille.

Beet Arugula Orange Salad
Beet Arugula Orange Salad

Check out the photos I shot of their newly redesigned space and delicious¬†new items on the menu below. And definitely stop in for a burger and a beer, or for a nice intimate dinner with friends in their back room, fireplace and all. You’ll surely be welcomed by Mr. Stewart and his friendly staff, and most likely will be back for more. Again and again.

 

 

Tavern on Jane

31 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10014

212.675.2526

www.tavernonjane.com

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All recipes, photographs, copy and content on this post and website are copyrighted © 2010-2015 by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet. Please do not use, share or distribute this content in any way without expressed permission from me first.

Roadtrip! Food, Cocktails & Rodeo fun in Houston Texas

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houston-thegirls

One of my favorite things to do in the world is traveling – especially with my group of awesome girlfriends. We usually do a few group trips a year as we all live in different parts of the country: Nashville, NYC, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, LA..etc.

Rodeo Houston


We decided to do a road trip to Houston, Texas this time around for a fun weekend of awesome food, cocktails and a trip to the annual Houston Rodeo! What a blast we had! I have to admit I’ve never been to a rodeo before but it was truly impressive watching those cowboys riding bulls and cowgirls racing around the rodeo field.

Rodeo Houston

We even got to see the country star Billy Currington perform live, fireworks and all!

IMG_0990

Another fun experience was the¬†Pedal Party around the Montrose area of Houston – there was 15 of us on this big mobile beer wagon with music, a tour guide, bartenders, lots of beer, and we pedaled our way around this fun neighborhood bar hopping and drinking, eating…and drinking some more…

Pedal Party Bar Hopping Houston TX

..so much fun!!!

Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette

Of course one of my missions on any trip is finding amazing food in each town we visit Рand we had plenty of it! We had a truly delicious brunch at Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette Рa great place with an outdoor patio and great food!

Executive Chef Travis Renig and Me

I got to meet Executive Chef Travis Lenig which was a delight. We ordered a feast fit for a king and his crew! Lobster Mac & Cheese, Buffalo Mac & Cheese, fresh Gulf oysters, pitchers and pitchers of Mimosas, Bourbon Maple Bacon, Eggs Benedict, Southern Biscuits, Tuna Tartare, Homemade Bacon Jam, Crispy Fish & Chips and were treated to Coconut Cream Pie and Bourbon Bread Pudding for dessert, compliments of the house! Click here to check out their awesome menu.

Gosh we are a spoiled crew. And we laughed our heads off with great conversation and autographed the menu (as we always do on our girls trips) for a fun keepsake. Such an awesome restaurant sitting outside on the patio in the sunshine and excellent hospitality and service..highly recommend a visit there if you’re ever in Houston!

Irish Stout Beef Stew

We also decided to cook for St. Patty’s Day at my friend Pam’s house – I made a delicious Irish Stout Beef Stew, (click here for the recipe!)

Dinner on the patio

a lovely fresh salad with greens from her garden, along with some Sourdough bread and red wine (and Guinness Stout!) to accompany…

Butterfinger Pie

with Butterfinger Pie for dessert! O.M.G. How delicious that was with a warm chocolate fudge sauce on top! YOWZA.

Such a great group of girlfriends and it was awesome making new friends too in the friendly state of Texas! Next on the map? The Hamptons in July and Austin in October! Stay tuned!

Check out more fun photos below from the trip! 

Irish Stout Beef Stew

Irish Stout Beef Stew Recipe

1 cup seasoned pan-searing flour
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 pounds boneless chuck beef or sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large onions, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 bottles Irish stout beer (like Guinness)
1 14-ounce can low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste, mixed with 1/4 cup of water
2 cups baby carrots or large carrot chunks
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into chunks
4-5 turnips, cut into large chunks
¬ľ cup corn starch or roux thickener and water slurry (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Sourdough or Irish Brown Bread and butter, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron enamel braising pan or Dutch oven.

Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes, dredge with seasoned pan-searing flour and brown in 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add sliced onions to the pan along with another 2 tablespoons of canola oil and saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and saute another minute.

Add Guinness beer and cook with onions for a few minutes, stirring and scraping pan to loosen the brown bits. Add the beef broth and cook for another few minutes.

Return the seared beef to the pot, add the tomato paste mixture, baby carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil.

Cover and place the pot into the oven and let the goods simmer for about an hour. Remove from oven, stir and reduce heat to 300 degrees. At this point, if the stew is not thick enough for your liking, add a slurry of starch or roux thickener mixed with some water (about 1/4 cup) into the stew and stir well throughout. You can also smash a few of the potatoes to thicken it up a little bit.

Add the turnips and place the stew pot back in the oven to braise for another 30 minutes to an hour.

Let the stew cool on top of the stove uncovered for about 15-20 minutes to let it thicken. Serve with Sourdough or Irish Brown Bread and butter with a fresh green salad and a glass of Guinness Stout or red wine.

Serves 6-8.

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