My Expert Interview on!

Kristen Hess Interview Foody Direct


I was recently interviewed by Foody Direct as part of their Expert Interview program. Read the full interview on the Blog!

FoodyDirect is an online marketplace bringing the most delicious food in the country right to the doorstep of your home or office.


The restaurants and artisan producers featured on their site are a highly select group. Each has won awards, garnered high praise from critics and blogger and, most important, gets rave reviews from passionate and loyal customers. Each prepares and serves up a menu of mouthwatering dishes and is equipped to ship their sensational food anywhere in the USA.


Kosher Food, Gluten-Free, Turkey and Chicken, Desserts, Cheese, Meat, Vegan Food, Seafood, BBQ, Chocolate, Fruits and Veggies – you name it – they’ve got it!

Apple Walnut pie

FoodyDirect is a curated national restaurant row. Learn about their Partner’s rich and colorful histories, which you can savor and enjoy in the comfort of your home or office.

kristen hess

In the interview, I discussed my views on how i celebrate the art of food and cooking through my blog with colorful recipes, stories and photography as well as some tips on how to follow your passion and what helped me succeed in the food industry.

Chicken French

and my favorite recipe for Chicken French!

Click here to view Foody Direct’s online store and enjoy the interview!

Sunset Wine & Dine KitchenAid Cook for the Cure Event in Support of Susan G. Coman

Sunset Wine & Dine Rooftop Event

Hey folks! We’re throwing a big rooftop party for a good cause!


miditto + the artful gourmet present:

Sunset Wine & Dine KitchenAid Cook for the Cure Event in Support of Susan G. Coman Foundation for Breast Cancer Research


Event Details: 

Thursday, July 26th 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Limited to 40 people only – tickets $30 per person

Private rooftop with panoramic city views (The Monterey Rooftop on E. 96th St)

Wine provided by miditto wine clique, business member Pierre Loti Wine Bar and Restaurants

Food created by The Artful Gourmet (stuffed mushrooms, caprese cocktails, mini skewers and more!) – that’s ME!


We’re championing the health benefits of good life, good people, good food and wine.

Join us in our efforts to raise a toast AND exceed our fundraising goal of $500


This is how you can help the cause, while you are enjoying the fiesta!

1. Tip the Tip.  Ayza Wine Director, Lea Williams, will be present to answer questions about wine and food pairings.  All we ask is that you “Tip the Tip” jar, which will ALL be donated to the KitchenAid Cook for the Cure Charity.

2. Tip and Be Merry.  For every glass you drink, we ask you to consider tipping the Tip Jar.  ALL funds will be donated to the KitchenAid Cook for the Cure Charity.


Everyone who tips and attends will be eligible to win a special gift from miditto business member sponsors:

Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar – Worth $100+

Pierre Loti Wine Bar and Restaurants and Bar Chevere – a case of wine!


Space is limited to 40 people. Support the cause and purchase your tickets.

RSVP by 7/25 at

Join the Conversation on our Event Facebook Page!

Top 10 {Things I Love} :: April 2012

ABC home, nyc
taproom 307
taproom 307

1. Taproom 307, NYC

I happened to stumble upon this place on my way home one night, lured in by its moody lighting and buzzing atmosphere. Taproom 307 is a bar and restaurant with over 40 varieties of local and domestic craft beers, beer cocktails, wine, unique artisan cocktails and amazing food. I tried their Hawaiian wood-fired pizza which was delicious, served on a wooden board, crispy crust, savory ham, gooey cheese and juicy pineapple. They also have delicious burgers, sandwiches, salads and bar food appetizers, which I”ll be sure to go back to try next visit! Beer Sommelier Hayley Jensen curates at Taproom No.307 – she fell in love with beer after college, and has been obsessed ever since. She discovered old world ales and went abroad to learn more. After moving to London and working in the craft bar scene there, she came back to NYC and joined famed Chef Daniel Boulud, as Beer Sommelier at DBGB Kitchen & Bar. They serve brunch, lunch and dinner every day of the week. Perfect place for happy hour after work with a group of friends!

307 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10010
212 725-4766


marimekko nyc
marimekko nyc

2. Marimekko Home, NYC

The name Marimekko is a play on words, yet completely descriptive. ‘Mari’ is an anagram of the first name of the company’s founder, Armi Ratia,while ‘mekko’ means ‘dress’ in Finnish. And it was indeed  Mari’s dresses that started it all in 1951. This place is a must-see if you ever come to visit NYC. The store in Flatiron District next to Eataly on the corner of 5th Ave and 23rd Street is a mecca full of beautiful, bright patterns and totally irresistable. They have a full line of dining and kitchenware, pillows, clothes, fabric to make your own custom items. Everything in the store is sleekly designed and fun – if you’re a stylist? its a dream come true.

200 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010
(212) 843-9121


todaro bros nyc
todaro bros nyc

3. Todaro Bros., Murray Hill NYC

Todaro Bros. is a small, local market in Murray Hill that specializes in Italian imported goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, imported cheeses, epicurean delicacies and fresh prepared foods. There’s also handmade fresh pastas, olives, an extensive range of imported olive oils, sauces, spices and freshly prepared breads. It reminds me of a place you’d see on the streets in Italy and it’s my failsafe place to go when I need fresh meats and fish, fruits and veggies or just some downright delicious food for dinner or a party.

555 2nd Avenue # A 
New York, NY
(212) 532-0633

zengo nyc
zengo nyc

4. Zengo, NYC

Located in Midtown on 3rd Ave and 40th St, Zengo is my new favorite local hotspot for happy hour. The decor is vibrant and dramatic with decorative full length windows, hardwood floors and contemporary lighting and the cuisine is a lovely mix of Latin-Asian styles and flavors created by Chef-owner Richard Sandoval, whose accolades include Bon Appétit Restaurateur of the Year and Mexico’s Toque d’Oro. Chef Sandoval spins regional ingredients into beautifully balanced dishes designed for sharing – you’ll find small plates on the happy hour  menu such as Sushi, Shrimp-Vegetable potstickers, an assortment of flatbreads and churros. The beverage menu features innovative, hand-muddled cocktails as well as Latin wines, Japanese sakes and over 400 Tequilas. There are three bars inside – one in the main level and one downstairs, and their Sake & Shochu lounge upstairs is a great place for groups or private parties where you can experience a tasting of their many varieties of imported Sake or Shochu.

622 3rd Ave (btwn 40th St & 41st St) 
New York, NY 10017
(212) 808-8110


ABC carpet & home, nyc
ABC carpet & home, nyc

5. ABC Carpet & Home, NYC

If there was ever a store I’d like to just move right into, this is the one. Yep, don’t even need to pack my things – they’ve got everything in there imaginable to live a deliciously luxurious life. If you’ve never been to ABC Carpet and Home in NYC you MUST visit next time you’re here. All I can say is when you walk in the store you feel like Alice in Wonderland that just fell down the rabbit hole into a beautiful, glittery, artistic place that you’ve never experienced before. Or got swept away to the Land of Oz like Dorothy did, minus the  midgets and ugly witch. All joking aside, this is probably my favorite home store in NYC – there’s homemade pottery and glassware, linens, pillows, jewelry, soaps and candles, fabrics, rugs, furniture – you name it. And everything in the store is artisan-made (which yes, lends to its hefty prices) – even if you just buy ONE thing, you’ll make your kitchen or home that much more beautiful. THE BOMB.

888 Broadway
New York, NY
(212) 473-3000


stuzzi ristorante nyc
stuzzi ristorante nyc

6. Stuzzi, Flatiron NYC

I have been going here ever since I lived in NYC and its still one of my favorite Italian restaurants in the city. Located centrally in the Flatiron District, Stuzzi is an authentic Italian restaurant that specializes in Italian cuisine from all different regions and has an amazing bar and a daily happy hour from 4-7 pm – buy a drink and you get a small plate for free! Chow down on some Crostini with Ricotta and Honey, Meatballs, Risotto Balls, Cheese plates, Salumi plates with Soppressata and Parma Prosciutto, Flash-fried Roman style Artichokes, Battered Cod with Lemon Aioli…and the list goes on. My go-to drink is an Aperol Spritz made with Prosecco, Aperol bitters and a lemon twist – perfect pairing with the delicious appetizers! Of course they have an extensive Italian wine and beer list too. It’s never too crowded and the atmosphere is beautiful with gorgeous lighting, dark wood and brass. There’s a larger dining room in the back or you can just sit near the bar or outside patio and enjoy a drink and a quick bite. One of the best and reasonably priced for a great Italian place in the city.

928 Broadway
New York, NY
(212) 780-5100


fishs eddy nyc
fishs eddy nyc

7. Fishs Eddy, NYC

Fishs Eddy is a purveyor of Dinnerware, Glassware, Flatware, Serveware, & Sturdyware, born in 1986 by the owners finding antique goods in Upstate NY and hauled them back in a van to the city to open this awesome shop. Millions of edgy, unique and incredibly fun dishes and glasses have come in and out of their doors. Retro patterns and prints, bright colors, classic styles and fun unique kitchen items are what you’ll find here. The best part is you can buy one-off items if you wish – a single piece of flatware, a fun kitchen towel, quirky straws, canning jars – you name it, they got it. And you won’t find this cool stuff anywhere else but here. As a food photographer and stylist, I’m in heaven in this store – and I guarantee you won’t walk out of here with a million fun and cool gadgets for yourself, without breaking the bank. Talk about FUN!

889 Broadway
New York, NY
(212) 420-9020 


la esquina nyc
la esquina nyc

8. La Esquina, Nolita NYC

So if you’re in the mood for some amazing, authentic Mexican food in NYC, this is the place you need to be. Located in Nolita; you can’t miss the old movie theatre style sign on the corner of Lafayette and Kenmare with its bright neon lights. Think street-style Mexican – grilled fresh corn with spices and cojita cheese, lovely tacos in every flavor, homemade guacamole, tortas, quesadillas, ceviche, grilled chorizo, chile relleno, tortilla soup, fresh salads- all made with fresh tasty ingredients. The Taqueria in front has a few bar stools and offers takeout, or you can sit in the Brasserie or Cafe for a full meal. Definitely top on my list for the best tacos in town – and its fairly priced too! Oh, and you just might happen to run into a celebrity while you’re here – Claire Robinson, Chef on Food Network, was enjoying lunch and margaritas right outside on the patio while I was there! Awesome grub for an awesome price – don’t miss this one!

106 Kenmare Street
New York, NY
(646) 613-7100


MOMA design store SoHo
MOMA design store SoHo

9. MOMA Design Store, SoHo

Now here’s a cool place I discovered recently – who would have ever thought that the MOMA Design store would have such cool stuff for the kitchen and a serious cook? An extension of the Modern Museum of Modern Art, the store is a mecca for high design. Kitchen tools, glassware, silverware, dishware, cookbooks, bowls and baskets made of modern metal design, funky kitchen gadgets, all brightly colored and sleekly designed with modern materials (metal, plastic, glass, silicone, etc.) by notable artists and designers. I wouldn’t go here to stock up your kitchen though, as the prices are a bit steep – but if you’re looking for a collectible kitchen or home item that you can actually use and proudly display, this is the place to go.

81 Spring Street
New York, NY
(646) 613-1367


le labo nyc
le labo nyc

10. Le Labo, Nolita NYC

Last but not least, is a really fun place I discovered down in Nolita – Le Labo fragrance lab. Originating in France, this store makes high-end custom fragrances in the store based on your preferences and desired scent. Made from natural ingredients and essential oils like lavender, vanilla, lemon, bergamot, rose, patchouli, orange blossom –  each fragrance has a unique scent. They do have about 10-15 pre made fragrances to choose from too but its too cool that you can make your own – and they even print your name on the bottle label so its truly a personalized scent! Check out their online store if you can’t make it to NYC. Too cool to ignore.

233 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10012 
(212) 219-2230


Fabulous Food Finds @ NY Restaurant & Food Show

Grand Queso, Wisconsin Cheese
Int'l Restaurant & Foodservice Show NY
Int'l Restaurant & Foodservice Show NY

Last week I attended the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show in New York City, an annual event put on by the New York State Restaurant Association. The show took place in the massive Jacob Javits Center and was a mecca of amazing food, restaurant interiors and equipment, local and artisan food vendors, master chefs, professional restaurant marketing experts and industry speakers. Highlights of the show were: the New York Wine Expo showcasing some of the top wineries and wine producers from around the world, the Japan Pavillion showcasing the latest equipment, liquors, foods and cooking techniques from Japan, and the New Product Showcase which highlighted some of the newest and coolest food products to hit the market. The Pride of New York showcase had amazing local and organic food producers and farmers, wineries and snack foods from around New York State.

There was a live Pastry Chef Competition, Master Chef demos by Chef Fritz Sonnenschmidt and Chef Kevin Cottle, a Healthy Foods Pavillion, Ultimate Barista Latte Art Challenge, and the best part – Gourmet Row which was an endless row of delicious food suppliers, producers and vendors showcasing and sampling all of their amazing goods. Many of the show’s sponsors had special cooking demos and tastings around the convention center: NespressoNordic Spring Water, Kikkoman and Medallion Foods, Taft Foodmasters, SPE Certified, Marlisa Brown – The Gluten-Free Gourmet, Pastry Chef Larissa Raphael of Telepan Restaurant, Executive Chef Kazutaka from Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, talks on restaurant marketing and video by Branding Shorts, and more. Super fun show, and inspiring for Chefs and Restaurateurs alike.

Now for my favorite food finds at the show (see below) *** also check out the SLIDESHOW of more tantalizing food and photos from the show!

GranQueso, Wisconsin Cheese
GranQueso, Wisconsin Cheese

Nespresso Zenius
Nespresso Zenius

Stella Fontinella
Stella Fontinella

Karl Ehmer Sausages and Meats
Karl Ehmer Sausages and Meats

Gorgeous Pasta
Gorgeous Pasta

Yakisoba Noodles
Yakisoba Noodles

Specialty Oils & Vinegars
Specialty Oils & Vinegars
Gourmet Flavored Sea Salts
Artisan Salt Company Gourmet Flavored Sea Salts

Iichiko Shochu
Iichiko Shochu

Finger Lakes Harvest Wine Cake
Finger Lakes Harvest Wine Cake

Bonewerks Demi-Glaces
Bonewerks Demi-Glaces

La Panzanella Crispbreads
La Panzanella Fieri Crispbreads

Japanese Carrots
Japanese Carrots
Gourmet Teas
Gourmet Teas by The Teaologist

Baked in Brooklyn Pita Chips & Flatbread Crisps
Baked in Brooklyn Pita Chips & Flatbread Crisps 

Pig Roast
Pig Roast

Blue Marble Ice Cream
Blue Marble Ice Cream 

Red Jacket Orchards Apple Juice
Red Jacket Orchards Apple Juice

Cowbella Dairy Garlic Herb Butter
Cowbella Dairy Garlic Herb Butter

Ginger Ale 1776 Beverage Co.
Ginger Ale 1776 Beverage Co.

Edgy Burgers

Portal Los Andes Chilean Wine
Portal Los Andes Chilean Wine

Buy online at Valley Wine and Spirits

Death by Chocolate
Death by Chocolate
Taleggio Cheese - Alma Gourmet Foods
Taleggio Cheese - Alma Gourmet Foods

Rick's Picks Artisanal Pickles
Rick's Picks Artisanal Pickles

Ciro Italian Foods
Ciro Italian Foods

Gelato and Frozen Pops
Gelato and Frozen Pops
Hammer Stahl Knives
Hammer Stahl Knives
Local New York State Canning
Local New York State Canning


Bel Gioioso Crescenza-Stracchino

Juice Poppers
Juice Poppers


Bubbly and Bacon :: Barmarche, Nolita

Barmarche, Nolita
Barmarche, Nolita

Last week I was looking for a fun place to go for happy hour with some friends, particularly one with some food and drink specials that didn’t look like a college fraternity party just swooped in with beer and peanut shells on the floor. I found Barmarche, a lovely little fusion place on the corner of Spring Street and Elizabeth Street in the heart of Nolita.

Barmarche Interior
Barmarche Interior

When we arrived around 5 pm, it was still a bit early so the place wasn’t crowded at all. The waiter immediately greeted us and offered the best seat in the house at a corner nook near the window. The interior was impressive with its crown moldings around the bar and windows, its antique chandeliers and whitewashed tin ceilings – almost a bit fancy for my taste, but charming all the same. The tables were donned with small votive candles, and the music and dim lights gave it a cozy, romantic ambiance – like the bistros you would find on the streets in Paris.


The happy hour drink menu had a great selection of $6-7 wines, bubbly and cocktails, and offered a variety of Italian, French, Mediterranean and Mexican small plates to choose from.

Bacon Hummus
Bacon Hummus

We shared the bacon hummus which was absolutely delicious – smooth and creamy, topped with chunky bacon and whole chickpeas, lemon and parsley, served with a side of homemade crispy tortilla chips. (It tasted a whole heck of a lot better than the picture looks too – the lighting wasn’t ideal for shooting!)

Popcorn Shrimp w/ Chipotle Aioli
Popcorn Shrimp w/ Chipotle Aioli

The popcorn shrimp was nice too – it came out steaming hot with a crispy, light batter (similar to tempura) and was served with a spicy chipotle aioli for dipping on the side. More nibbles on the menu included mixed olives, charcuterie and cheese, spicy guacamole, salads and calamari. If you want more of a meal for happy hour, they also offer shrimp or bass taquitos or a classic grass-fed beef cheeseburger and frites. The dinner menu offers the same small plates and salads but with a larger selection, and also includes entrees such as Truffle Shrimp Risotto, Roast Chicken, Rib Eye Steak and Frites, or Mediterranean Branzino served over sauteed greens.

Barmarche bar
Barmarche bar

Overall I was pleased, but think it might be a nicer place for a romantic dinner or cocktail brunch on the weekend than for happy hour with friends.

Cocktail Brunch
Cocktail Brunch

Barmarche is open for brunch from 10 am to 4 pm on weekends, mid-day from 4 pm to 6:30 pm on weekends, happy hour from 5 pm to 6:30 pm everyday (except Saturday), and dinner from 6:30 pm – 11:30 pm Sunday through Thursday and through 12:30 am on Friday and Saturday.

View the happy hour menu.

View the dinner menu.

Make a reservation online.

14 Spring Street  (at Elizabeth St)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 219-2399


Top 10 {Things I Love} :: March 2012

Anthropologie Home
Anthropologie Home

1. Anthropologie Home

I don’t know about you, but I am completely obsessed with Anthropologie. Everything in that store has a handcrafted, creative, bohemian feel that makes me want to throw on a pair of sandals and a sundress and move to California. The home store is a mecca full of beautiful dishes, plates and table settings and the kitchen and cooking area is a must-see for the foodie and cook in the house. Gorgeous hand-painted plates and ceramics, cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, pottery, linens, and oh my, the cute aprons! Totally love this place. Find this fun, cool stuff online or in retail stores.


buon Italia
buon Italia

2. buon Italia, Chelsea Market

The next time you’re in New York City, you must visit the Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District – if only for the FOOD!! My favorite place in there is buon Italia, an Italian food store that sells fresh cheese, butter, meat, fish, olives, bread, and pasta. Inside is every Italian imported foodstuff you could ever dream of: truffles and capers, olive oils and vinegars, coffees, teas and chocolates, sauces, spreads and preserves, pastas, grains, nuts and spices…you name it, they got it! It’s a foodie haven and impossible to pass by (or leave once you enter!) Everything in the store is fresh and authentic Italian, and reasonably priced too. You won’t walk out of there without an Italian feast ready to be made at home – this I promise you.

buon Italia, Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave, New York NY 10011 | 212 633 9090


mina harissa spicy
mina harissa spicy

I discovered these lovely sauces when I attended the Just Food Conference in NYC and love the tasty flavor and heat. Harissa is a traditional Moroccan red pepper sauce made with red chiles, red bell peppers, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and salt. Creator Mina, a native from Casablanca, learned how to create this luscious spicy sauce from a neighbor when she was 16, and experimented over the years to develop her own recipe. This sauce is delicious as a condiment with a kick – pair it with lamb, BBQ chicken, or grilled scallops, or use it as a base in a tagine (a North African meat and vegetable stew served in an earthenware pot) served with couscous or rice. The sauce comes in mild, medium or spicy (my favorite!) and can be ordered online at Abe’s market.


Annas Thins
Annas Thins


4. Anna’s Thins

I found these delicious little treats on a recent excursion to The Cellar at Macy’s on 34th Street in NYC. Anna’s Thins are crispy, thin and come in four flavors: Ginger, Orange, Chocolate Mint and Almond. They have just the perfect amount of sweetness, are delicate and crunchy, and totally melt in your mouth. I dipped the Ginger thins in a vanilla latte which was delicious – another tasty idea would be to crumble them over butternut squash ravioli for a touch of some sweet crunch, or use them to make a cheesecake or pie crust. According to Anna’s and Swedish tradition, these crunchy thins can bring you good luck too. Simply place one of the cookies in the palm of your hand, then make a wish. Tap the cookie in the middle with your index finger – if it breaks into three pieces, your wish will come true. Sweet!


34 degrees crispbreads
34 degrees crispbreads

5. 34 Degrees Crispbreads

I love these fun, clever crackers by 34 Degrees! Super light and crispy, these flatbreads are also made with all natural ingredients. They have 6 different flavors: lemon zest, whole wheat, cracked pepper, rosemary, original and sesame. Great with cheese and are an awesome alternative to bread – pair brie with prosciutto, arugula and fig for a great snack. Top the crisps with smoked salmon, an herbed chicken salad or southwestern shrimp salad. If you want a mini-dessert, try layering mascarpone cheese and lemon curd topped with a mint sprig or spread them with peanut butter, honey, and almonds. I really love how light and airy they are…they really let the toppings shine and are also great on their own. Cute design too!


Honey Hazelnut Cocoa Cream
Honey Hazelnut Cocoa Cream

6. Le Querce Honey Hazelnut Cocoa Cream

I found this delectable chocolate spread when I was at Buon Italia (see store info above) in Chelsea Market. It’s kind of like Nutella, but even better! It’s made with Acacia Honey, Piedmont hazelnuts and cocoa and has a sweet, creamy, chocolate-y, nutty flavor, with a hint of honey – this stuff is addicting! Delicious on toast, crackers, pancakes or simply by itself. Beware: don’t try this stuff at home alone.


Friedmans Lunch
Friedmans Lunch

7. Friedman’s Lunch, Chelsea Market

On a recent trip to Chelsea Market, my friend and I were in search of a healthy lunch and a glass of wine. We discovered Friedman’s Lunch – a great little spot inside the market that serves up fresh, local and organic food. Friedman’s Lunch was named after Milton Friedman, the famous economist, who popularized the expression “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. And while the lunch there isn’t free, it’s certainly delicious and reasonably priced.

Friedman’s has a fun, buzzing atmosphere with an open kitchen, friendly waiters, music, large mirrors and chalkboard menus making it a welcome spot for a cozy lunch while shopping at the market. The menu has a great assortment of comfort food including down-home favorites such as buttermilk fried chicken, beef brisket burgers, two-bean turkey chili and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.

Friedman’s Lunch is committed to using organic ingredients, mostly from local food purveyors around New York. Their brunch and dinner menus offer a wider variety of salads and breakfast dishes and delicious all the same. They’re open 7 days a week and also deliver with online ordering. Definitely worth a trip (if only for the gooey grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup!)

Friedman’s Lunch
Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Ave, New York, NY 10011 | 212.929.7100


NY Gourmet Coffee
NY Gourmet Coffee

8. New York Gourmet Coffee

I discovered this great line of handcrafted artisan coffees at the Coffee and Tea Festival last weekend in NYC. With all the coffee and tea brands overwhelming me at the show, this one particular brand stood out. Why? First off, they have about 100 different flavors that will knock your socks off: Vanilla Macadamia, Banana Caramel, Chocolate Irish Cream, Crème Brulee, Holiday Sugar Cookie, Kahlua Cappuccino, Jamaican Me Crazy…and the list goes on. They also offer a line of specialty and organic/fair trade coffees (Costa Rican, Brazilian, Kenya-AA, Sumatra, Columbian, etc.) The best part of all is that it’s a local New York brand originating in Long Island, and the owners are passionate about making fresh roasted coffee on a daily basis and handcrafting all of their unique flavors. You can purchase their coffees online and at several retail locations in LI, NJ and CT. Next stop is Manhattan!



9. Falksalt

I don’t know about you, but I love salt. Not overdone, of course, and not just regular table salt. I’m talking REAL salt. Big, flaky, sea salt. The GOOD stuff. Falksalt is a Swedish brand that has been making this good stuff for over 180 years, and is made with the advice of professional gourmet chefs. This is serious salt, folks. Big, chunky, crystal flakes; so beautiful you almost don’t want to take it out of the package. Falksalt has a line of flavors that will knock your socks off: Wild Garlic, Wild Mushroom, Smoked, Citron, Rosemary, Red Chili, Chipotle, Black and Natural. Perfect for sprinkling over fresh or roasted veggies, rimming a fancy cocktail or for crusting a beautiful piece of fish or steak. This is not your everyday table salt – save it for a delectable occasion.


Joseph Joseph Bowls
Joseph Joseph Bowls

10. Joseph Joseph

Joseph Joseph is a cool brand I discovered that makes fun, colorful, modern kitchen and cooking tools. With their bright colors and sleek, edgy designs, you can’t pass these up. I bought the 5-in-1 Unitool – which basically gives you well, 5 utensils in 1: slotted spoon, turner, cutting tool, solid spoon and spatula. Even better, it’s safe for non-stick cookware and heat resistant up to 480 degrees. Love it! I also got the Nest 6 Multicolor Prep Bowl Set that comes with six kitchen items in one: 4 measuring cups, and a small and medium mixing bowl, that fit nicely together and come in gorgeous bright colors to brighten up your kitchen.  Check out their other cool tools online, or find them at Sur La Table or The Cellar at Macy’s. Fun!


Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Ricotta Gnocchi and Wild Mushroom Sauce (Gnocchi di Ricotta Con Sugo de Funghi)
Ricotta Gnocchi and Wild Mushroom Sauce (Gnocchi di Ricotta Con Sugo de Funghi)

As far as I’m concerned, gnocchi are little pillows of love, goodness and deliciousness. Especially when they are homemade..that is a true labor of love. It’s not that they are difficult to make, but definitely time consuming, but with a little patience the end result is worth the wait! Gnocchi (Italian plural for gnoccho) are basically homemade dumplings that can be made from flour and potatoes, or in this recipe made with ricotta, parmesan cheese and flour. These dumplings have a thick and creamy consistency with grooves for holding a rich sauce made with cream and cheese, or a chunky meat sauce such as a bolognese or a luscious wine and wild mushroom sauce made with porcini, cremini and chanterelles in the recipe below. The gnocchi can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer and then boiled just before serving with the sauce of your choice.

To make the Gnocchi:

2 c ricotta cheese
1 c grated parmesan
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
Sugo de Funghi (recipe follows)
4 tsp fresh tarragon leaves
1 c grated parmesan cheese

Ricotta and parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl combine the ricotta and parmesan.

Mix flour into ricotta and parmesan

Gradually stir in the flour, adding more if necessary, until a soft dough results.

Knead and form the dough

Turn the dough out and knead until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough becomes sticky while kneading, add more flour.

Divide and cut the dough

To form the gnocchi, divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 3/4 inch thick and cut each into 3/4 inch lengths.

Make ridges in the gnocchi with fork tines

Dip a fork in flour, and holding the fork in one hand, roll each piece of dough over the back of the tines to form ridges.

Freeze the gnocchi for 30 minutes

Refrigerate the gnocchi for 30 minutes or freeze.

Cook gnocchi until they rise to the surface

To cook the gnocchi, bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi, stir in 2 tablespoons of salt, and cook until the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well, toss the gnocchi with the sauce. Garnish with tarragon leaves and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 8.

Wild Mushroom Sauce (Sugo de Funghi)

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine
6 tbsp butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb. chanterelles or other wild mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 tbsp tomato paste
4 c chicken stock
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream

Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in Marsala wine

In a medium bowl, combine the dried porcini and Marsala with enough hot water to cover and allow the mushrooms to soften about 30 minutes.

Strain the porcini and reserve the liquid

Strain the porcini through dampened cheesecloth or a coffee filter, reserving the liquid. Rinse the porcini to remove any sand deposits and chop roughly.

Chop the cremini and chanterelle mushrooms

Meanwhile, chop the additional wild mushrooms and place in a large mixing bowl.

Saute mushrooms, onions and garlic

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the cremini, chanterelles and porcini, and saute until cooked through about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add tomato paste to liquid and mushrooms in pan

Add the tomato paste to the reserved soaking liquid and add this mixture to the mushrooms.

Add stock and bay leaves and seasonings

Add the stock and bay leaves, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and simmer gently until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Add the heavy cream

Add the heavy cream.

Reduce by half

Reduce by half, about 10 minutes

Until sauce is thick and creamy

Until sauce is thick and creamy..

and completely delectable!

and ready to serve over the gnocchi.

Toss the gnocchi with mushroom sauce

Serve the mushroom sauce over the gnocchi. Toss with parmesan cheese and tarragon. Serve with a green salad and a robust red wine. Enjoy!

Makes about 3 cups.

Recipe from the Institute of Culinary Education

Top 10 (Things I Love) :: 2011 / Happy New Year!

New Year 2012


Well the end of 2011 is finally here. WOW. What a crazy, awesome, long year it’s been! I started my food blog last year around the holidays, and since then I have met so many amazing people in the food industry, learned amazing skills in my cooking classes, food styling and photography and food writing classes that I feel like a whole new person and am so happy I have paved new paths and opportunities in my food media career. Hoping everyone has also had an amazing year, with lots of love, laughter, cooking and eating – wishing you all a prosperous and Happy New Year 2012! 

Here are a few of my favorite posts, recipes, people and more from 2011 ::

IACP Conference, Austin TX

Food Network Wine and Food Festival, NYC

Tasting Table/KitchenAid Event in Soho, NYC

Favorite Recipes

Favorite Culinary Markets

Favorite Culinary Tools

Favorite Cooking Spices, Oils and Sauces

Favorite Cookbooks

Favorite Restaurants

Favorite Cooking Websites and Blogs

Of course there is plenty more things I loved in 2011, but this is just a list of my favorites. Wishing all of you a happy and prosperous New Year 2012. Happy eating, cooking and living! ~AG

Spezzatino D’Agnello E Finnoccio (Lamb and Fennel Stew)

Lamb and Fennel Stew


In the dead of Winter, there’s something comforting about cooking on those cold, dreary days. One-pot dishes are ideal when you don’t want all the fuss and they’re easy to make too. Just throw all your ingredients in a big pot on the stove, and then cook slow and low… the end result is a big pot ‘o goodness to warm up your toes. This lovely dish is a slowly cooked Italian stew made with lamb and fennel, onions, garlic and wine – it’s also perfect for the holidays to feed a big crowd..enjoy!

Spezzatino D’Agnello E Finnoccio (Lamb Stew with Fennel)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces (can substitute beef if desired)
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
3 fennel bulbs, quartered
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a heavy casserole, heat ¼ cup of the oil over high heat. Add the lamb and brown on all sides, 5-7 minutes. Transfer lamb to a bowl.

Add onion to casserole, reduce heat to medium and sauté onion until softened, 7-10 minutes. Return lamb and its juices to the casserole, add the wine and deglaze until reduced. Season the meat and onion with salt and pepper, transfer casserole to the oven, cover and braise for 1 hour.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add fennel and sauté until browned, 10-15 minutes. Transfer fennel to a plate, add the garlic to the skillet and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar and mix well.

After meat has braised 1 hour, add the fennel mixture to the casserole. Cover and braise until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

Serves 6. 

Recipe by Institute of Culinary Education, NYC

Top 10 (Things I Love) :: Oct '11

Smorgas Chef, West Village NYC

1. Smorgas Chef, West Village

Nestled on a corner in the West Village, Smorgas Chef is a cozy, authentic Swedish restaurant that I discovered last month when a friend was in town. I have heard good reviews but haven’t had the chance to try it yet, and am I glad I did! Their food style is labeled “New Nordic Cuisine”, and everything on the menu is locally sourced and organic. The interior is small but has a large bar, and has a warm, ambient lighting that is cozy and romantic. They also have outside seating on their front patio as well as wrapped around the side of the building which is really nice on a crisp Fall night. We started our evening with Lingonberry Margaritas (quite potent I must add!) while we waited for our seats. We nibbled on some delicious Gravlaks Croquettes, which has generous pieces of luscious smoked salmon atop crispy potato cakes with chives and horseradish creme fraiche.

For our main dish we had to try their infamous Swedish Meatballs – WoW. Party in your mouth! The dish is almost enough for 2 people – you get about 10-12 decent sized meatballs slathered in a creamy light brown gravy, with whipped garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed julienne vegetables. The key to this dish is not only try them with the tangy and tart Lingonberry Preserves, but also ask for a side of Cloudberry Preserves (another delicious golden berry used in Swedish cooking that tastes like raspberry, strawberry and mango). For dessert, we ordered strong espressos and a pot of one of their many signature Swedish herbal teas. If we had more room, we might have tried the Scandanavian Soft Vanilla Waffles with Cloudberry preserves and Chantilly cream or the Honey Milk Chocolate Mousse but we were just so damn full from the Meatballs that we almost took a nap right there on the table. Love this place, will definitely be back for more Swedish yummy yums! They also have locations in the Financial District and in the Scandanavian House on Park Avenue.

Smorgas Chef, West Village
283 W. 12th St | New York NY 10014 | 212.243.7073

Check out Smorgas Chef online

Pane Panelle

2. Pane Panelle @ Stuzziceria, Tribeca

Pane Panelle is the new sandwich shop attached to Stuzziceria in TriBeCa that was just voted #2 Best Sandwich in NYC by New York Magazine in August ’11. I had to try this place out for myself after all the good reviews and my office being across the street from both places! I tried the Meatball and Mozzarella Panini which was perfect in its crispy grilled exterior with savory meatballs and sauce with tons of gooey cheese on the interior. They also sell meatballs and sauce by the pint if you want to just take them home and throw them over some fresh cooked pasta.

The sandwich shop and restaurant is run by Chef Paul di Bari, with a variety of other Sicilian-style sandwiches including a muffuletta with salami, provolone and an olive salad and their namesake sandwich with chickpea fritters, caciocavallo and ricotta cheese on Grandaisy bread. The price is a little steep at around $8-9 per sandwich, but they are so good you just can’t pass them up!

Pane Panelle TriBeCa
305½ Church St. between Lispenard St. and Walker St. | 212.219.2357

Check out Pane Panelle online

Mexicue Food Truck

3. Mexicue Food Truck

I remember not too long ago complaining about how there are very few affordable lunch options in the TriBeCa area, most restaurants being a bit more on the shi-shi side and a bit more than I’d like to spend on a daily basis when I’m just looking for some quick, good grub for lunch. Alas, the Mexicue Food Truck appeared on Church Street and I got really excited! The brand name says it all – their delicious sliders and tacos are a perfect mixture of BBQ and Mexican flavors all rolled into some really tasty morsels. I sampled the Smoked Short Rib Slider – full of super tender smoked short ribs slathered in a Memphis Mole sauce, topped with pickled onions, romaine lettuce and cojita cheese. The Burnt Ends Slider is almost like a super fancy Sloppy Joe, but mini-sized and fantabulous flavors – the chili is made of pulled brisket mixed with ground beef, then topped with a cilantro lime crema and house pickled jalapenos. These guys definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to flavorful fast food. I haven’t stopped dreaming of the next time I can get my hands on some these notable noshes! Besides their mobile food trucks, you can also find these guys in Midtown West on 7th Avenue and on Forsyth St on the Lower East Side.

Check out Mexicue’s menu and locations online

Wafles & Dinges

4. Wafles & Dinges Food Truck

Now here’s something worthy of talking about. I’m not one to have much of a sweet tooth, but last month I was swayed by a friend (as well as the friendly food truck guy) at Wafles & Dinges to sample some of these luscious golden crisp Belgian Waffles slathered in Spekuloos spread, bananas and powdered sugar. I have always loved Belgian Waffles – but Spekuloos spread? What the hell is that? I had to try it. All I can say is its a cross between a butterscotch and hazelnut flavor and has the consistency of a creamy syrup (almost like a melty Nutella) and is completely divine. Nothing like I’ve ever tasted. That’s it. I’m officially hooked.

They have a ton of toppings (dinges) which you can get UNLIMITED for $2 extra. They refer to this as WMD, or Wafel of Massive Deliciousness. Dulce de Leche, Belgian Chocolate Fudge, Maple Syrup, Whipped Cream, Ice Cream, the list goes on. You can even get some savory Wafels like BBQ Pulled Pork (next on my list) or de Bacon Syrup Wafel which sounds pretty darn cool too. Chow it all down with a hot Belgian Cocoa or Coffee with a shot of hazelnut – you’ve got the perfect sweet snack in the middle of Central Park (or wherever you might discover them on the streets of NYC!) Awesome. Just sayin’.

Check out Wafels & Dinges online

KitchenAid Appliance Demo

5. KitchenAid 3-Speed Hand Blender

So I found a new toy to play with. A serious cooking toy, that is. I had the opportunity to attend a product demo with KitchenAid at SeeFood media kitchens on the Lower East Side – one of New York’s premiere food photography and video studios. Not only did we get to preview first hand some of KitchenAid’s new products, but we were served delicious nibbles from local food purveyors such as Katz Deli, Doughnut Plant, Russ & Daughters, Yonah Shimmel Knish Bakery, Boubouki and Bisous Ciao. We sampled Pastrami Sandwiches, homemade doughnuts, smoked salmon, knishes, spanakopita and yummy macarons…too much good food to even talk about!

KitchenAid has a great new line of stand mixers, food processors and a 3-speed hand blender that does all the chopping, crushing, whisking and pureeing you’ll ever need in one handy little tool! This probably has become my favorite all-purpose tool with its handsome design, lightweight body and smart precise mechanics that is totally portable and actually fits perfect in my small NYC kitchen! It’s perfect for chopping herbs and veggies, mixing soups and pureeing food right in the pan. It’s super quiet and has a soft grip handle making it comfortable and easy to use. Love it!

Thanks to everyone at KitchenAid and SeeFood Media for a great event and even greater gift to make my cooking faster, easier and more delicious!

Check out KitchenAid products online

Check out SeeFood Media online

Antique Garage, Soho

6. Antique Garage, Soho

Now if there’s a cool place in Soho, this is it. This eclectic, funky and elegant little place is a gem located in lower Soho on Mercer Street. They specialize in Mediterranean cuisine and have antique furnishings, live music and gorgeous chandeliers to match. Their menu is an infusion of French, Moroccan, Turkish and Ottoman cuisine and they have great small plates (Mezes) such as Hummus and Tzatziki, marinated octopus, fried calamari and eggplant salad if you just want to snack with a glass of wine. I stopped in solely for drinks and had an interesting mint, rum and cucumber concoction that knocked my socks off! Their Grilled Turkish Meatballs are a specialty, and they have other Mediterranean yummies such as Shrimp Casserole and Grilled Veggie Skewers and Pan Seared Tuna. The atmosphere is warm and dimly lit, the music is authentic Turkish (and live!), and the whole gorgeous setting is inside an old garage – they keep the front garage door open so you get a nice breeze and a nice view. Very lovely. Very romantic. A nice place for a dinner date and some great food. I’ll definitely be back for some of those Grilled Turkish Meatballs and fresh made Tzatziki!

Check out Antique Garage online

da Mikele, TriBeCa

7. da Mikele, Tribeca

I stopped in here the other day for a quick lunch at the bar and for the life of me couldn’t decide what to order. Not that that’s a bad thing – just too many damn good choices on the menu! da Mikele is owned by Michele Iuliano, owner of Luzzo’s in the East Village, and Ovest Pizzoteca in Chelsea. Their menu is Neopolitan-inspired and the best thing to try is one of their oven fired pizzas. Old Fashioned Square pizza, Cone Shaped Pizza, Oven baked Neapolitan pizza, homemade Focaccia bread name it, they got it. And they got it good. I had one of their “pizzettes” which is a thin crust oblong shaped pizza that was topped with Spicy Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Mozzarella – just enough for lunch and it came with a mixed greens salad. The crust is perfectly cooked, crunchy on the outside and chewy with lots of gooey melted cheese – delicious! They have a nice selection of Antipasti – the Polpette (meatballs in tomato sauce) are really good with a side of crusty bread and their Italian soups are delicious too. I haven’t tried the Pasta dishes yet, but they look amazing (yes, I was eyeing the Pesto Shrimp Risotto on the plate next to me) and are on the list for my next visit (which will be very soon!). Check it out.

275 Church Street, New York NY 10013 | 212.925.8800

Check out da Mikele online

Kelley + Ping, Soho

8. Kelley + Ping, Soho

I stumbled across this cool Asian noodle shop one night when I was strolling through Soho after work and felt like having an appetizer and a drink, and that I did. I sat down at their cozy bar in the front and ordered a Ginger infused Vodka drink that was cool and fresh and spicy, topped with some fresh mint. While I was looking at the menu, the bartender put out these amazingly addictive asian spiced nuts in front of me – in a cute bamboo basket with a cover! I think there were cashews, wasabi peas and some crunchy coated spicy peanuts in there – not sure but I think I ate at least two baskets of these before I actually ordered something off the menu. So I ordered some of the Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce which came with another clear sweet and spicy dressing with peppers in it. Pretty darn good! I’ve only actually eaten here one other time and had the traditional Pad Thai but they have tons of other interesting noodle dishes and Asian dishes including Vietnamese style on the menu that I’d try next time around. Nice atmosphere, good service, and oh, did I mention the asian spiced nuts? It’s worth a visit just for those lovely things and a house infused vodka.

127 Greene St. Soho NY 10012 | 212.228.1212

Check out Kelley + Ping online

The Lot, High Line

9. The Lot, High Line Park NYC

Situated at the base of the entrance of High Line Park at W. 30th St and 10th Ave, The Lot is really just that – a (parking) lot with free events, an outdoor bar, picnic tables and umbrellas all inside a circle of cool food trucks. But these aren’t just any food trucks, we’re talking awesome coffee and ice cream bar Van Leeuwen, Korilla BBQ, The Taco Truck, and an outdoor bar by Colicchio & Sons with craft beers on tap. After some good grub and a beverage, you can hike up the stairs to the gorgeous High Line park situated on an old railroad line that spans from W. 30th Street all the way down to Greenwich Street in the Meatpacking District. If you haven’t checked out this beauty, you must, must do so. Being up so high is a breath of fresh air from being in this crowded city and the views are absolutely amazing to boot. Gardens, sculptures, art, and really cool buildings along the way. When you’re done, stop at The Porch on W. 15th Street for a great sammie and fresh fruit from The Green Table located in Chelsea Market. Oh, and make sure to get an artisan fruit ice pop or shaved ice from People’s Pops on the way out for dessert!

Check out the Lot and the High Line online

Papatzul, Soho

10. Papatzul, Soho

OK. Last but not least. Papatzul. Set in lower Soho on Grand Street, this is one of my new favorite spots. Good Mexican food is sometimes hard to find in New York (at least compared to L.A. or Texas) or you have to go to an overpriced chain for some decent guacamole and enchiladas AND pay an arm and a leg for it. Papatzul is first of all charming with its creative and colorful signage outside. The interior is just as colorful and buzzing with energy when you walk in.

The chips are deliciously homemade and the salsa is super fresh (and no they aren’t free with your meal, but worth the $5 for some of the best authentic salsa you’ll have in NYC). Since I went for lunch, I ordered the Braised Chipotle and Oregano Beef soft Taquitos, topped with Queso Fresco, Chipotle Salsa and Crema – d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. – and a perfect size for lunch (didn’t even need the chips but they were worth it!)

Papatzul is actually a term used for special food that the Aztecs made for their Spanish conquerors (who they thought were the Gods). Special food you’ll find here indeed, with a menu created by Chef Thierry Amezcua, a native of Coyoacan, a small borough of Mexico City. The atmosphere is fun and lively and the food is fresh, authentic and very special.

55 Grand Street, New York, NY 10013 | 212.274.8225

Check out Papatzul online

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...