Things I Love :: Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Holiday Gift Ideas for All Your Favorite People

The holidays are rapidly approaching and we all need a few fun ideas for gifting, now don’t we? This hot list below is full of great holiday gift ideas and things I love, perfect for your friends, family and coworkers – whether they love pampering, cooking, or just relaxing and having a cocktail by the fire, there’s a gift on this list they’re gonna love too!

Monogrammed Cocktail Glasses

Monogrammed Cocktail Glasses

Perfect-sized lowball glasses for whiskey and mixed cocktail drinks monogrammed with gold metallic vinyl will look stunning on display on your holiday table or bar cart.

seoulscrub set

SeoulScrub Mini Mix Body Scrub Set

Seoulscrub’s collections – defined by all-natural ingredients, fragrant scents and nourishing benefits are crafted to stimulate circulation and leave skin with a spa-fresh glow. The set includes 5 assorted scrubs including: Lemon Blossom, Creamy Coconut, Peppermint, Sea Mist and Suede Vetiver. YUM!

holiday sparkler set

Holiday Sparkler Set

This gift-worthy Sparkling Cocktail Kit includes a beautiful sparkling wine, craft gin, Washington D.C. limoncello and a bittersweet, floral liqueur. Basically everything needed to mix up swanky cocktails like a French 75, floral Spritzer or Limoncello Sparkler.

It also includes a set of four stemless shatterproof Champagne flutes from Govino, designed with a divot for your thumb – perfect way to celebrate the holidays!

Polaroid Cube+ 1440p Mini Lifestyle Action Camera with Wi-Fi & Image Stabilization

Polaroid Cube Mini Camera with WiFi

The black CUBE+ Lifestyle Action Camera from Polaroid makes it easier than ever to record and share all of life’s adventures. It has a built in video camera that shoots 1440p video at 30 fps, 1080p video up to 60 fps, and 720p video at 120 fps for slow-motion capture. Additionally, the camera captures up to 8MP still images. The CUBE+ also adds image stabilization for smoother looking video and built-in Wi-Fi for syncing with the CUBE+ app for iOS and Android devices. Super cool for any adventure loving photography buff!

Baked by Melissa Cupcakes

Baked by Melissa Mini Cupcakes

Six handcrafted cupcakes made from recipes in Melissa’s new cookbook! Includes Electric Tie-Dye, Ice Cream Sundae, gooey S’mores, Babka, toasty Caramel Coconut & sweet Sugar Cookie. The Dream Team is an exclusive first taste of a few favorite recipes from CAKES by Melissa! cookbook.

faux fur pillow

Fireside Faux Fur Pillow, Anthropologie

Because who doesn’t love a big, plush fluffy pillow by the fireplace? Yes please.

Boska Mini Fondue Pot

Mini Fondue Pot, Boska

Their ceramic mini fondue is perfect for sharing a quick fondue or tabletop tapas for two. Dunk rustic bread into melted cheese, swirl fruit in chocolate or enjoy a breakfast fondue of waffles dipped in warm syrup. Made of ceramic with a rubber wood base, it includes two stainless-steel fondue forks with wood handles and the pot is microwavable making it easy to melt chocolate or cheese.

Harry and David Gift Box

Holiday Wine Box, Harry & David

For someone special, send them this awesome box of gourmet treats in a festive gift box including Harry & David 2014 Ross Lane Blend Red, mulling spices, cheese, mixed nuts, Moose Munch popcorn, cookies, crackers and jam for this you can use a good blender from the best blender under 100 list so is affordable to you.

Cozy Fleece Robe

Cozy Fleece Robe for Him

Because what guy wouldn’t like a plush, cozy fleece robe for lazy holiday mornings?

Jacques Torres Chocolate Holiday Gift Box

Jacques Torres Chocolate Gift Box

A mouth-watering selection of premium chocolate bonbons packed in Jacques’ custom-made signature gift boxes. There is something for everyone with flavor schemes ranging from caramels, pralines, fruits, wine, teas, along with special edition holiday bon bons and a Happy Holidays Sleeve. Gorgeous flavors inside too: Spiced Wine (Milk), Swirls of Spiced Wine in Milk Chocolate, Merry Mint (Dark) , Mistletoe Mint in Dark Chocolate, Eggnog (White,  and Creamy Eggnog in White Chocolate. YUM.

rose-gold-cake-knife-set

Rose Gold Cake and Knife Set, West Elm  

Perfect for special occasions, this imported Rose Gold Cake + Knife Set adds simple elegance to any table. Use it for your next celebration, or gift a set to a friend. Great for pies, quiches and cakes! And well, rose gold is just super cool and pretty too.

bartender prep board

Personalized Cutting Board, Mark + Graham

Made for the cocktail connoisseur or the amateur mixologist, this personalize cutting board is crafted from solid maple wood, and answers all your cocktail glassware, quantity and garnish questions engraved on the board. Made by J.K. Adams, who, for more than 65 years, has been handmaking beautiful, sustainably harvested wood pieces in Vermont.

Beechers Cheese Set

Beecher’s Classic Cheese Collection

For the cheese lover in your family, try sending them this classic cheese collection from Beecher’s Cheese – one of my favorite places in NYC! These three cheeses have been part of the Beecher’s repertoire since the beginning. Enjoy them all side by side for a perfect, full-flavored cheese plate. Includes
Beecher’s Flagship 1/3 lb, Beecher’s New Woman 1/3 lb, Beecher’s Marco Polo 1/3 lb, and Beecher’s Original Crackers. Perfect with wine for a holiday gathering!

Bath and Body Works Candles

Yummy Holiday Candles, Bath and Body Works

The holidays are the perfect time for candles! And the candles at Bath and Body works are not only inexpensive but they have tons of yummy scents like Hot Cocoa and Cream, Spiced Apple Toddy, Campfire Donut and Vanilla Spiced Pear. Perfect way to spend a chilly evening cozied up by the fire with a cocktail.

Dr Smood Red Maca Superfood Powder

Superfood Powders, Dr Smood 

Dr Smood Superfood Powders would make a wonderful gift for the health and wellness-obsessed foodies on your list. They’re full of health-boosting goodness and are easy to use (they can be easily mixed into smoothies or juices, on yogurt or cereal or added to energy balls and no-bake treats).

There are a total of 13 beautifully packaged superfood powders, including Raw Cacao Powder, Spirulina Powder and Red Maca Powder. Each powder comes with an information packet, including a recipe and serving suggestions, and can be purchased at one of the five Dr Smood cafés in NYC or Miami.

Whiskey Chilling Stones Set

Whiskey Chilling Stones Set

This set of 6 handcrafted stone chillers comes in a hardwood tray with 2 tumblers and is perfect for chilling fine spirits without diluting them with ice. Fancy and perfect for the Scotch and Whiskey connoisseur in the family. 

faux shearling throw

Faux Shearling Throw Blanket

Cozy up with this sumptuously soft faux shearling throw and pillow set from Frontgate. Reversible with a down insert, is plush, soft, smooth and cozy… and great for movie night indoors with a hot chocolate or hot toddy!

CScents Candy Girl

CScents

My old friend and college roommate has just launched a new perfume line called CScents…she is a singer and musician, she even own a fender telecaster modern player, and has cleverly named all her scents around old classic songs like Juke Box Hero, Candy Girl and Strawberry Fields..brilliant!

spice and salt tower

Spice & Salt Tower

Simple unscrew each of these containers (12 grams each) of salt varieties from the larger tower and get seasoning. Try them on their own, or mix and match the following flavors: Fennel Thyme Salt, Porcini Salt, Sagemary Salt, Caraway Salt, Vanilla Salt, Sumac Pepper Salt, Aleppo Chile Salt, Smoked Paprika Salt.

PLAY! By Sephora

PLAY! By Sephora

These PLAY! by SEPHORA boxes includes a selection of subtle-yet-stunning makeup and skincare. A curated assortment of five trial-size samples, plus a beauty bonus, all in a collectable bag. Plus a PLAY! BOOK including how-to information and tips on the samples in your box and a PLAY! PASS redeemable for 50 extra Beauty Insider Points when used with a full-size purchase inside a local Sephora store. You can also subscribe to a $10/month subscription to receive different PLAY! boxes each month if you choose. FUN!

Beaujolais Nouveau Georges Duboeuf

Beaujolais Nouveau, Georges Duboeuf

This Beaujolais Nouveau is fruity, with aromas of red berries and cherry. It is fresh, flavorful, round and unctuous and perfect for the holidays and Thanksgiving dinner! This wine pairs well with tapas, cheese, charcuterie, poultry and salmon. Recommended to be served slightly chilled.

Georges Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau is mainly sourced from the southern part of the Beaujolais region, which is a patchwork of terroir ranging from sand, clay and limestone to granite and schist. The difference in altitude and latitude can influence the style of wine. Georges Duboeuf and his team tasted more than five thousand samples over two weeks to craft this cuvée. Harvesting of this wine is done manually, in whole bunches, from vines that are over 20 years old.

This wine pairs well with tapas, cheese, charcuterie, poultry and salmon. Recommended to be served slightly chilled.

Table In A Bag Food 52

Table In A Bag, Food 52

How cool is this foldable, packable pine table? It literally does come in a bag, and stretches out into an al fresco tabletop ready to host an entire picnic spread, whether at an outdoor concert, the park, the beach, or your backyard. Summer can’t come too soon 🙂

Slate Board Lazy Susan

Slate Board Lazy Susan

Perfect for the holidays to display all the gorgeous appetizers you are serving. And it’s made of slate, so you can personalize the message or label the food on the board. Love!

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings + Spicy Micheladas

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

Summer is here and almost half way over at that! I love grilling anything and everything during the warm weather months so I’ve created a super delish recipe for Sriracha Mango Chicken Wings with a Ginger-Lime Sour Cream dipping sauce and a Spicy Michelada to pair it with.

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

Once again, I’ve used a fantastic infused balsamic vinegar from Seven Barrels, one of my favorite clients ever. The Sriracha Mango vinegar is delicious on chicken so I made a glaze with fresh mango, sriracha, vinegar, fresh lime zest and orange juice to toss the wings in after I grilled them a bit, then glazed them again for extra flavor at the end.

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

They’re spicy and sweet, and oh so good. And I made a lovely Ginger-Lime Sour Cream dipping sauce to cool off the heat a bit, along with a Spicy Michelada made with Mexican beer (Corona) and a dash of the Sriracha Mango vinegar, a dash of salt, and a fresh squeeze of lime juice.

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • Sriracha Mango Lime-Glazed Chicken Wings
  • Chicken Wings: 
  • 2 pounds chicken wings (24 wing pieces)
  • 1/4 cup Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil or spray, for grill
  • Sriracha Mango Lime Glaze:
  • 1 cup mango, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Sriracha Mango Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 small red chile pepper
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Ginger Lime Sour Cream Dipping Sauce:
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • Michelada:
  • 1 (12 ounce) Corona Beer
  • Fresh lime juice from ½ a lime
  • 1 tablespoon Seven Barrels Sriracha Mango Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Lime wedges, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat (spray or brush pan with a light coat of cooking oil). Toss the chicken wings in 1/4 cup Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook wings on the grill for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until no longer pink and skin starts to get charred with grill marks.
  2. To make the glaze, add the mango, orange juice, Sriracha, Seven Barrels Sriracha Mango Vinegar, Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil, honey, soy sauce, garlic, chile pepper and cilantro into a food processor and process until smooth. Place the sauce into a saucepan over medium-low heat and let simmer until warmed through while the wings are cooking. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Once the wings are finished cooking, toss them gently in the Sriracha Mango Lime glaze and let them marinate for about 5 minutes or so. Return wings back to the grill for an additional 5 minutes, flipping over once. Remove wings from the grill on to a large platter and let them cool to give them a nice caramelized glaze.
  4. To make the Ginger Lime Sour Cream dipping sauce, stir together the sour cream, Seven Barrels Lime Olive Oil, garlic salt, lime zest and grated ginger in a bowl and serve with the wings with celery and carrot sticks.
  5. NOTE: Alternatively, you can bake the wings for 1 hour at 3Seven5 degrees on a large baking sheet covered with foil (and toss them in the sauce at the end).
  6. Makes approximately 24 wings, 1 cup of glaze and ½ cup sour cream sauce.
  7. To make the Michelada: stir all the ingredients into the beer and garnish with a lime wedge.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/08/02/sriracha-mango-grilled-chicken-wings-spicy-micheladas/

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

This really is the quintessential recipe pairing for Summer now, isn’t it?

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

You can also try the glaze on pork chops you can learn to cut with this blog post about knife or even add some grilled shrimp – it’s absolutely delicious and you can always adjust the heat by adding or removing some of the Sriracha hot sauce. Or maybe making it even hotter by adding in a dash of habanero hot sauce to the mix – now, this recipe is on FIRE!

Sriracha Mango Grilled Chicken Wings

Perfect for a lovely evening outside with friends, watching the sun go down…that’s #howisummer 🙂

Celebrate National Pi Day w/ some PIEHOLE Whisky Cocktails

Pi Day

Pi Day, the mathematical holiday, is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

And even though it’s a less common holiday to be celebrated, it’s simply another great reason to whip up a cocktail. And what better to include in your Pi(e) Day drink than PIEHOLE Whiskey?

Piehole Sweetheart Brooke

In honor of the occasion, I’d like to share three delicious spring cocktails, created by the National PIEHOLE Sweetheart (and New Orleans Bartender) Brooke Flaherty.

Piehole_Lucky_Apple

Lucky Apple

1.5 oz. PIEHOLE™ Whiskey with Apple Flavored Liqueur

3 oz. Ginger Beer

A splash sour mix

A splash of lemon-lime soda

Garnish with lime wedge

Piehole_Cherry_Punch

Cherry Punch

1.5 oz. PIEHOLE™ Whiskey with Cherry Flavored Liqueur

4 oz. Ginger Ale

.5 oz. Pineapple Juice

.5 oz. Orange Juice

Juice from half of a lemon

Garnish with a cherry and orange

Piehole_Pecan_Sweet_Tea

Pecan Sweet Tea

1.5 oz. PIEHOLE™ Whiskey with Pecan Flavored Liqueur

1 oz. Orange Juice

Top with Iced Tea

A dash of bitters

Lemon juice

Garnish with lemon wedge

————————-

Find more fun PIEHOLE cocktail recipes online at https://www.pieholewhiskey.com

Food Styling & Photography: #DineintheDarkNYC Event @CitizenM!

#DineintheDarkNYC @citizenM

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

Cherry Coconut Key Lime Fizz Cocktail #SunsOutRumsOut

Captain Morgan Rum

Key Lime Cherry Coconut Fizz Cocktail

So it’s that time of year again…Memorial Day weekend has arrived and the beginning of Summer is not too far away!

Key Lime Cherry Coconut Fizz Cocktail

It’s time to soak up the sun, hit the beach, break out the grill and have a cookout and a cocktail on the patio or the beach with friends and family..my favorite time of year!

Key Lime Cherry Coconut Fizz Cocktail

I was lucky enough to be a part of a Captain Morgan Rum promotion this year to sample one of their new flavors and design a cocktail recipe featuring their delicious new Coconut Rum.  It’s a little bit sweet, creamy and has hints of citrus and tropical fruit with a hint of molasses flavor.

Key Lime Cherry Coconut Fizz Cocktail

I wanted to make a cocktail that was refreshing and flavorful but not too sweet and came up with this fun Cherry Coconut Key Lime Fizz cocktail. It’s made with the Captain Morgan coconut rum, tart cherry juice, key lime seltzer and a splash of fresh Cara Cara orange juice, key lime juice and a few slices of orange and lime for garnish.

Key Lime Cherry Coconut Fizz Cocktail

Kinda like lying on the beach soaking up the sun in the Caribbean – just my style.

Cherry Coconut Key Lime Fizz Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 part Captain Morgan Coconut Rum
  • 1 part tart cherry juice
  • 3 parts Key Lime Seltzer
  • Squeeze of fresh key lime juice
  • Squeeze of fresh Cara Cara orange juice
  • Key lime and orange slices, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place a generous amount of ice into a glass.
  2. Pour the rum, cherry juice and seltzer into the glass and stir well.
  3. Squeeze the fresh lime and orange juice into the glass and garnish with extra limes and oranges.
  4. Makes 1 cocktail.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/05/25/cherry-coconut-key-lime-fizz-cocktail-sunsoutrumsout/

Now get out in the sun and enjoy a cocktail or two! And check out their other two great new rum flavors – Grapefruit and Pineapple!

And just remember, when the #SunsOutRumsOut and it’s time to celebrate the beginning of Summer with the Captain!

Follow Captain Morgan on Facebook

Follow Captain Morgan on Twitter

 

Cocktails for Spring!

Bulleit-Smash

springflowers

Now that Spring has officially arrived, I’m looking forward to warmer weather and sunny skies. If only the blizzards would stop in NYC! I’ve rounded up a few great cocktail recipes for Spring that I think you’ll enjoy – perfect for lounging around on the patio with some small bites and a group of friends. The cocktails are made with Bulleit Rye, Crown Royal Regal Apple, and the new Captain Morgan Grapefruit Rum. Not a spirits drinker? I also included a wine spritzer recipe with the recently launched Chateau La Paws Chardonnay, an offering for wine lovers that gives back to rescue dogs. How cool is that?

Now, snow snow, go away – come again another day! Enjoy. 🙂

 

Bulleit-Smash

Bulleit Rye Smash

1.25 oz. Bulleit Rye
1 oz. simple syrup
3 wedge(s) lemon(s)
3 piece(s) mint sprig
3 dash(es) bitters

In an ice filled shaker combine all the ingredients. Shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.

 

Golden-Delicious

Golden Delicious

1.5 oz. Crown Royal Regal Apple
1 oz. Pineapple Juice
1 Dash angostura bitters

Add ingredients to high ball. Top with ginger ale and lemon garnish.

 

Palomahola
Palomaloha

1.5 oz. Captain Morgan Grapefruit Rum
Juice of ½ lime
Grapefruit soda to top

Fill tall glass with ice. Pour in Captain Morgan® Grapefruit Rum, lime juice and grapefruit soda. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

 

Spritz Tsu

Spritz Tzu

3 oz. Chateau La Paws Chardonnay
1 oz. Elderflower Liqueur
2 oz. Club Soda
Lemon Twist
Fill rocks glass with ice. Pour in Chateau La Paws Chardonnay, elderflower liqueur and club soda. Garnish with lemon twist.

 

Get more great Spring Cocktail recipes online!

www.bulleit.com
#bulleit

www.crownroyal.com
#regalapple

us.captainmorgan.com
#captainmorgan

www.chateaulapaws.com
#clpwines

Food Trends of 2014 + Flavor Forecast for 2015

2014 Food Trends

As the year 2014 is coming to an end, it’s always interesting to see what was hot and what was not in the culinary world and what new food and flavor trends we will see in the New Year 2015. Popular trends seem to come and go each year affecting everything we see: restaurants, blogs, online stores, magazines, TV shows, and even fast food and packaged goods and advertising.

2014 had plenty of interesting ones that went big this year:

Culinary mashups: Cronuts (croissant donuts), Wonuts (waffle donuts), Quesarito (a quesadilla rolled into a burrito), bananas fosters pancakes, bagel burgers, ramen burgers, pretzel subs, Chicken waffle sandwiches, you name it – crazy Frankenfood dishes hit the scene this year.

Spicy burgers: burgers went nuclear this year with everything and anything spicy – Sriracha mayo, poblano peppers, jalapeño peppers, spicy onion rings, melted pepper jack cheese, harissa, ancho chipotle sauce, Mexican burgers with spicy ranch sauce…the list goes on.

Bahn Mi – a traditional Vietnamese sandwich made with roasted pork, marinated vegetables, and herbs on a baguette

Savory Jams – fig jam, pepper jellies, lingonberry jams topped creative sandwiches everywhere this year.

Paleo Diet – this meat-heavy, vegetable-laden, dairy and gluten free diet went crazy. Huge protein portions, cookbooks, blogs and new restaurants opened with a core focus on MEAT.

2015 Food Trends

And here is the flavor forecast for 2015:

Middle Eastern mezze: hummus, pepper spreads, herb-marinated olives

Creative cookies: decadent makeovers on classic cookies

Umami veggies: savory flavors will infuse new recipes such as tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce, nori, sweet potatoes

Smoked spices: deeper richer flavors for foods through smoked spices

Sour notes: coarse salt with sour notes from sour cherry, pickled ginger, mango and lemon zest add zing and bling. Burgers topped with kimchi. Shrubs (preserved fruits with vinegar and sugar) will show up in cocktails.

Liquid revolution: juice blends from fruits and vegetables to make healthy flavorful sauces

Global blends: Japanese 7 spice (aka shichimi togarashi) combines chilies, sesame, orange zest and nori. Shawarma Middle Eastern blends made with cinnamon, cumin and black pepper are also going big.

Tacos: regional and modern taco joints and pop ups are going to be everywhere

Scrambled eggs: forget poached and deviled – scrambled eggs for dinner with savory sauces and ingredients are hot.

Spicy flavors: Sriracha will still be in style, as well as international spices like Thai bird chiles that give a serious kick.

Flavor without fat: Chefs are now infusing meats and vegetables with flavor by grilling, rotisseries and smoke.

Meat spreads: Nduja is an Italian meat spread made with ground pork and spices, great for spreading on toast or filling ravioli.

Artisanal candies: Bourbon and sea salt caramels, ice cream gummies and other creative confectionaries will be everywhere.

Soft serve ice cream: seasonal flavors and innovative sundae creations are another hot item in the dessert scene.

Spanish cuisine: Tapas and small plates from the Spanish region will be hot in the fast-casual restaurant world.

Savory pancakes: think potato pancakes on steroids – infused with different vegetable flavors and creative toppings and sauces.

Patty melts: this classic diner dish heats up the food scene with innovative twists on this half burger / half grilled cheese sammie.

Mini cocktails: smaller versions of cocktails served in half portions are popping up to give customers the opportunity to taste more varieties

Artisanal hard cider: move over craft beer, the new trend is using artisanal hard cider to create libations with unusual ingredients such as bourbon, house-made Dijon syrup and thyme.

Gin: new places opening up that solely serve the classic Gin and Tonic in different ways

High-end daiquiris and frozen drinks: new twists on the daiquiri and slushie drink infused with fun flavors and alcohol combinations

Meals to go: restaurants and food brands understand the consumers shrinking leisure time by creating high end meals to go making it easier to eat gourmet food without spending hours eating out or cooking at home.

Family-style dining: more restaurants will be serving meals family style with larger portions to share around the table.

Sources: McCormick and National Restaurant News

 

Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Holiday 2014

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.

 

Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Spring 2014

Here are a few of my favorite things I am crushing on – some new and notable, and others just downright awesome and worthy of a shout out – people, places, things that are just absolutely THE BOMB.

Chez Josephine

Chez Josephine

If you’re looking for a magical place to wine and dine near NYC’s Theatre District, this is the place you must see and experience before or after a night on Broadway. Chez Josephine, owned by Jean-Claude Baker and Jarry Baker, is located on 42nd Street and 9th Avenue. This beautiful restaurant is in tribute to Jean-Claude’s mother (adopted) Josephine Baker, and a vivid return to 1920s and 1930s Paris – the city she loved and thrived in during her career as a premiere entertainer and stage and screen star. It’s a great place to relax with a cocktail and live music – the jazz piano and singers located in the center of the dining room will entertain you as you dine in this enchanting place. The decor is elegant and charming, with its ornate blue tin ceilings,  red velvet walls,  black glass chandeliers and life-sized vintage portraits of Ms. Baker throughout the restaurant. The French Bistro-style cuisine is delightful in every way with elegant cocktails, salads, entrees and desserts. On a recent visit I experienced a truly delicious and enchanting dinner here with a friend. We started out our meal with some lovely French Sauvignon/Semillon wine and an appetizer of Sauteed Jumbo Sea Scallops wrapped in crispy flavorful Prosciutto with a gorgeous sauce over the top. For our entrees, we ordered the Amish Roasted Chicken, over a bed of crushed zucchin, garlic and fresh goat cheese and their spectacular Lobster Salad. For dessert, we sampled the elegant Peach Raspberry Melba Ice Cream, Creme Brulee and Cappuccino before another cocktail to finish off the evening as we listened to the beautiful jazz music in the buzzing dining room. They also have a weekly Prix Fixe Sunday Brunch for $20 including a Soup or Salad for starters, a main Brunch item such as French Toast or Spaghetti Bolognese, and coffee or tea and a dessert. You don’t want to miss this place the next time you visit NYC. It will take you back in time and space to a beautiful early century Paris and envelop you with all the glitter and drama and beauty of Ms. Josephine Baker herself.

http://www.chezjosephine.com/

https://www.facebook.com/chezjosephine Facebook
https://twitter.com/chezjosephineny Twitter

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photo credit: Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet

Paella
Paella

Tio Pepe

I recently visited this awesome Spanish restaurant in the West Village called Tio Pepe – and had an amazing meal there. We started out with some lovely Rioja wine and Stuffed Piquillo Peppers and Gambas al Ajillo — sauteed shrimp with garlic, olive oil, and Albarino wine for an appetizer, then had the Entrecote a la Parilla — grilled choice sirloin steak with garlic, olive oil and sea salt served with sauteed julienned vegetables and a potato cake; and Paella Valenciana — Saffron laced Bomba rice with clams, mussels, shrimp, chicken, and chorizo for our entree. For dessert, we had the luscious Flan al Caramelo — a traditional Spanish custard topped in caramel sauce to finish off our meal. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!

It’s in a gorgeous elegant space, with a back sun-lit patio area with a wood burning oven where they make their own pizzas and other main dishes on the menu, including the Paella. Tio Pepe is the only restaurant in New York – and one of the only in the US – to use this type of wood burning oven when preparing traditional Spanish fare. The oven was installed this year as a new addition to Tio Pepe, a cornerstone of the West Village for 44 years. Chef Jose Zamora joined Tio Pepe as part of the restaurants commitment to authentic Spanish cuisine.

The owners of Tio Pepe are Jimmy Sanz and his family. Originally from Spain, the Sanz and has been serving NY locals and tourists traditional Spanish and Mexican cuisine for over four decades at their stable of NY restaurants including: Tio Pepe, Casa Pepe, Las Ramblas, Burrito Loco, The Taco Shop and Da Rosina. Chef Jose Zamora is a native of Tarragona, Spain. He began his career working at a family friend’s restaurant. He received two culinary degrees, one from Le Cordon Bleu in the U.S. and one from the Institution Culinario de Cambrils in Spain. His cooking is inspired by both Spanish and French cuisine. He is devoted to using the best ingredients and implementing a simplistic stylist technique with dynamic presentation. As the new executive chef at Tio Pepe, his goal is to provide memorable dining experiences through passionately created culinary dishes.

http://www.tiopepenyc.com/

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photo credit: Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet

YOTEL NYC

YOTEL

There’s tons of cool hotels in New York City – but I recently discovered one that is not only super cool but gorgeous inside with its modern design and rooftop patio deck outside.

YOTEL New York collaborated with NYC-based custom bike company Mott Street Cycles Customs (formerly STRADA Customs) in honor of Bike Month in May.  I got to preview these cool cruisers at the YOTEL X MSC: The YOTEL Cruiser Launch Event earlier this month for cocktails & light bites from China Grill Management’s brand new menus for this season at The Terrace at YOTEL New York. They had a live DJ and raffles to to win an MSC Customs bike while we sipped cocktails on the roofdeck.

The YOTEL x MSC Customs partnership provides a fun and eco-friendly experience that is integral to the New York City lifestyle and offers hotel guests specially designed bikes to use as a complimentary amenity throughout their stay.  The 2014 fleet of bikes feature three color variations – purple, green and white –along with the YOTEL logo, hand-painted wood grain fenders, leather grips and leather saddles, creating a distinct look exclusive to YOTEL and brand new for this year.  Guests can book their bike reservation through the concierge desk who will direct them to Bike and Roll at Pier 84, along 12th Avenue to pick up their custom cruisers.

http://yotelnewyork.com/

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photo credit: Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet

 

Mouth

Mouth

Mouth is a really cool online foodie store, but it’s not your average online shop, it’s only indie food by indie artisan food producers and everything is handmade, small batch, and made in the USA. Mouth curates and hunts down the coolest new indie products on the market and then curates all these goodies into cool gift packages based on a holiday, occasion, or gift ideas such as: Birthday in a Bag, Breakfast in Bed, Bring Home the Bacon, Bee Happy Taster, or Brooklyn Taster, just to name a few. Maple Bourbon Bread and Butter Pickles, an endless array of honeys and jams, cheese, chocolate, sea salts, salami, cookbooks, herbs and spices, jerky, caramels, condiments, and the list goes on and on. This is a foodie’s dream come to true, and their site makes it super easy to search for and buy super cool gourmet artisan food to your favorite foodie friends and family. I could just shop here all day long.

http://www.mouth.com/

photo credit: Mouth

Bacardi Mango Fusion

Bacardi Mango

Bacardi just released nationwide the newest addition to its flavored rum family: Bacardi Mango Fusion. The new flavored rum fuses refreshing juicy mango and orange flavors and can be consumed as a shot or mixed with fruit juices, lemon-lime soda, or sweet-and-sour mix as a cocktail. It has a light, crisp flavor profile and is perfect mixed with OJ, or angostura bitters, or with Bacardi Coconut Rum and a splash of grenadine. Check out some of their new Cocktail Recipes!

http://www.bacardi.com

photo credit: Bacardi

SmashBurger

Smashburger NYC

If you haven’t tried a SmashBurger yet, well, you need to. They just opened a new location in NYC near the Empire State Building, and I was able to attend their Grand Opening not too long ago where they gave out free burgers all day long to New Yorkers to sample their goods. Their handcrafted burgers are smashed, seared and seasoned to order, using our fresh, never frozen 100% Certified Angus Beef. They have tons of amazing sides to go with of course, I tried the Signature Smashfries which are hand-tossed with garlic, rosemary and olive oil – and absolutely DELICIOUS. They also have fun menu items like hand-breaded haystack onions and fried pickles, hand-spun shakes, grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, split and grilled hot dogs, crisp entrée salads and black bean veggie burgers with tons of fresh toppings including Truffle Mushroom, Avocado, and Spicy Jalapeno. This is no ordinary burger joint – it’s outta control super good.

http://smashburger.com/

photo credit: SmashBurger

Cherry Pom-Maia

Maia Yogurt

Maia is more than just delicious Less-Sweet Non-Fat & Low-Fat yogurt. It is packed with 25+ Billion strands of live active probiotic bacteria, Prebiotic Fiber, Protein, and all the other goodies you need to empower health & wellness. Maia’s  grass-fed milk comes from local dairy farmers (never giving their cows hormones) so every cup is fresher and friendlier to the environment.  Maia is Gluten-Free too! They have eight delicious flavors: Plain, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean, Raspberry Lime, Peach, Pineapple and Pomegranate Cherry. This Greek yogurt is rich and creamy and perfect for making Fruit and Granola parfaits, topping Quesadillas, or making a delicious low fat yogurt dip for crackers and fresh veggies. Delicious! Click here to see what all the buzz is about!

http://www.maiayogurt.com/

photo credit: Maia Yogurt

wonuts

The Wonut – Waffle Cafe, Chicago

First we had donuts, then we had croissants, then we had cronuts. Well here;s the coolest new food fad by a place in Chicago called Waffles Cafe  who’s created the WONUT. A cross between a waffle and a donut – these babies are made with a thick waffle batter in either chocolate, vanilla or red velvet. Then they are poured into an iron press and then deep-fried until they are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Then the fun begins – they are glazed and topped with all kinds of gorgeous toppings – chocolate, sugar, maple, sprinkles, pistachios, cocoa, granola, dried fruits, marshmallow, chopped nuts, you name it. These sweet treats are selling for $2.35 a piece and yes, they’ve been selling like hotcakes since they invented these gorgeous things. I’m sure it won’t be long before they hit the streets of NYC. At least I’m hoping. Otherwise, it’s a great excuse to take a roadtrip to Chicago for one for these delightful creations.

a thicker version of their signature waffle batter. Red velvet, vanilla and chocolate batter get poured into the iron press and cooked to the perfect crunchy-on-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside texture. Next, the wonuts are dipped and fried in vegetable shortening, then covered in gobs of marshmallow, glaze and sprinkles.
Read more at http://www.foodbeast.com/2014/04/24/wonuts-waffle-donuts/#PhUiKMfIQYRxoMXA.99
a thicker version of their signature waffle batter. Red velvet, vanilla and chocolate batter get poured into the iron press and cooked to the perfect crunchy-on-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside texture. Next, the wonuts are dipped and fried in vegetable shortening, then covered in gobs of marshmallow, glaze and sprinkles.
Read more at http://www.foodbeast.com/2014/04/24/wonuts-waffle-donuts/#PhUiKMfIQYRxoMXA.99

https://www.facebook.com/Waffleschicago

photo credit: Waffles Cafe

The Redhead NYC

The Redhead NYC

This is a groovy little place I stumbled upon in the East Village one night when I was looking for a quick bite and a cocktail. It’s cozy, busy (in a good way), and the moody lighting and delicious wafts of the food will draw you in – just grab a seat at the bar and be prepared to swoon over their awesome menu of Southern comfort food and cocktails. Must try the fresh baked homemade pretzels with beer cheese, the redhead buttermilk fried chicken over creamy grits, with a soy-molasses jus, sesame, ham, b&b pickles. Other favorites are the cheeseburger with homemade waffle chips, the homemade bacon peanut brittle, stout braised short ribs, and the brussels sprouts seared in duck fat, wine and apples are to DIE FOR. And you can’t leave this place without trying their signature cocktail –the redhead fizz made with orange vodka, elderflower cordial, fresh lemon juice. This has to be one of my favorite finds yet.

http://theredheadnyc.com/

photo credit: The Redhead

Bocca di Bacco

Bocca di Bacco, NYC

Bocca Di Bacco is an Italian restaurant with six locations in NYC, their newest one opening on the Upper West Side on W 85th Street. It’s a favorite spot for celebrities, tourist and native New Yorkers and they are famous for their Sunday Brunch. Their top-notch Italian cuisine is designed by Food Network Judge Chef Kristin Sollenne, and they also have an excellent wine selection with 500 of the best wines from renowned Italian wineries. I recently went to the 7th Ave & 21st street location for dinner and sampled the Eggplant Involtini, made with fresh buffalo ricotta, fresh eggplant and mint served in a gorgeous red sauce. For dinner my friend and I had the Braised Short Ribs over Stewed Cabbage and the Roasted Pork Chops with Rosemary Potatoes. We finished off our lovely meal with a boozy dessert made with Prosecco, Mango Puree and Whipped Egg Whites topped with a sprinkling of ground espresso. Delicioso!

http://nycrg.com/bocca-di-bacco/

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photo credit: Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet

Spring is here! Spring Canapes & Cocktails Party with KitchenAid

Spring Canapes & Cocktails!
Spring Canapes & Cocktails!

Spring is here, and there’s nothing better than gathering a few friends together for a casual get together with some canapés and cocktails featuring the fresh produce of the season. Fava Beans, Baby Garden Peas and Strawberries are a few of my favorites that start popping up in April and May with the first bloom of Spring.

I love to use my KitchenAid® 13-Cup Food Processor for making quick and tasty dips and spreads – I simply toss all the ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and give it a few whirls to make easy canapés and appetizers for sharing with friends.

An easy, fun idea is to serve crostini with a spread made of baby garden peas and fava beans, mixed with roasted garlic, mint, greek yogurt, feta cheese, lemon zest and olive oil. The flavors are bright, and it’s a light and healthy appetizer, perfect for spreading on toast and serving with fresh veggies for dipping. I love to serve them with some light Spring cocktails made with vodka, lemonade, fresh strawberries, mint and soda – perfect complement for the bite sized crostini! You can also make crostini with different veggies such as roasted red pepper, artichokes, avocado, olives – whatever you’re in the mood for!

The Pink Confetti product line over at Paper Eskimo makes a wonderful addition to any Spring Party! You can view the entire Pink Confetti Product line by visiting: https://www.papereskimo.com/product-category/shop-by-color/marshmallow-pink/.

Check out my post on KitchenAid’s Kitchenthusiast Blog for recipes, party ideas and how-to’s to get your Spring party started!

Spring Ingredients
Spring Ingredients
Minted-Pea-&-Fava-Bean-Crostini
Minted Pea & Fava Bean Crostini
Strawberry Mint Vodka Lemonade Cocktails
Strawberry Mint Vodka Lemonade Cocktails
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