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 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


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!

{Things I Love} :: Summer 2016

My {Things I Love} list is back for Summer 2016 with some fun and interesting objets de desir, places, people, books, recipes, photography, food and drinks that I’m currently crushing on – not necessarily ordered in terms of my favorite – but are all worthy of a huge shoutout for their awesomeness in my opinion. Something that I love but could not add to the list, is playing videogames and using ELO BOOSTING services, but anyways, here’s the list, until next time, Happy End of Summer, and Bon Appetit!

fresh fish cookbook

Fresh Fish Cookbook

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

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

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coconut rose petal ice cream

Coconut and Rose Petal Ice Cream w/ Cardamom Crumble

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

Linda Lomelinos of Call Me Cupcake Blog

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Ken & Cook NYC

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

nora luther

Nora Luther Food Photography

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

blackberry crostata

Blackberry Chocolate Italian Tart with Coffee Creme Fraiche

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

pereg flours

Pereg Gourmet Alternative Flours

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

fried chicken gravy poutine

Fried Chicken and Gravy Poutine

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

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The Capital Grille #GenerousPour Summer Promo

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

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

peach burrata salad

Peach Burrata Salad

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

french country cooking cookbook

French Country Cooking Cookbook

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

lobster tails

Lobster Tails with Mojo de Ajo & Grilled Corn Salsa

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

caprese mac and cheese

4 Cheese Caprese Mac and Cheese

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


Olive Garden unveils delicious new menu items!


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


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


We enjoyed their private label wines out on the deck


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


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


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


We all love their classic breadsticks and salads right?


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


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


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


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


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

Visit Olive Garden on Facebook

Visit Olive Garden on Twitter

Visit Olive Garden on Instagram




Shrimp, Basil & Corn Zucchini Noodles w/ Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce

Zucchini Noodles 1

Hello Summer! And hello to the season for lighter food and flavors and quality time at the beach and the pool (READ: also time for shorts and sundresses and to lose a few to fit into the bathing suit!)

Zucchini Noodles 10

I’ve been craving pasta lately because i’ve been cutting down on carbs a bit, but I’ve had this cool Veggetti noodle tool in my pantry for a few months and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make some Zucchini Noodles (AKA “zoodles”), and tie in some fresh ingredients from the season such as shrimp and corn and basil.

Zucchini Noodles 8

This dish screams creamy comfort food, but is balanced out with a clean, citrus-y brightness with a Meyer Lemon cream sauce made with mascarpone cheese, Meyer lemon juice and zest, lemongrass chicken broth, white wine, sweet basil olive oil and garlic. The lightness of these zucchini noodles are also totally amazing, rather than a heavy pasta that will put you to sleep in .02 seconds.

Zucchini Noodles 3

I love Meyer lemons because they are delicate and less sour than regular lemons and almost mimic the flavor of lemon and orange juice mixed together, which you can absolutely do if you can’t find Meyer lemons or they aren’t in season. I ordered mine on Fresh Direct which always has everything in stock and delivers on top of that!

Zucchini Noodles

Prep your zucchini noodles with a Veggetti or Spiralizer on a cutting board or over a large mixing bowl. I suggest squeezing out any excess water from them before sauteing (you can let them sit in a colander to extract water for about 15 minutes or so). You might also want to cut the strand piles in half to make them easier to manage and eat. Sauté the noodles in some olive oil with red pepper flakes and garlic for a few minutes and set aside.


Zest and juice one Meyer lemon to add to the cream sauce. Look at that vivid color! LOVE.

Prep Shrimp

Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the shrimp and sauté in some olive oil for couple minutes until they are pink and set aside. Don’t overcook them though because you will add them back in to the sauce later on and you don’t want tough rubbery shrimp.

Lemon Sauce Ingredients

Prep ingredients for the Meyer Lemon Cream sauce and add the white wine, chicken broth, Meyer lemon juice and zest to the saute pan with leftover juices from the shrimp. Stir and simmer over medium heat for until the liquid reduces by half.

Meyer Lemon Sauce

Add the corn, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until heated through. I used frozen sweet corn but you can use fresh corn too which might take a little longer to cook (or you can precook the fresh corn and add the kernels into the sauce).

Add Mascarpone, Shrimp and Basil

Stir in the mascarpone cheese and blend together until it turns into a gorgeous, silky and creamy sauce. Toss in the shrimp and basil. Isn’t that pretty?

Zucchini Noodles 6

Serve over the zucchini noodles with additional basil and lemon zest and get ready to DEVOUR.

Zucchini Noodles 7

Alternatively you can toss the zucchini noodles in to the pan with the sauce and shrimp and corn and mix it all together to serve as a one pot dish. I prefer keeping the noodles separate from the sauce so they don’t get too mushy, personally.

Zucchini Noodles 5

Garnish with some extra basil and lemon zest and serve with a glass of white wine (I particularly like McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay who were kind enough to send me a sample which I LOVED), and some crusty bread to mop up that yum sauce, if you wish. Light, bright, healthy and delicious!

Shrimp, Basil & Corn Zucchini Noodles w/ Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Serving Size: 1 cup of noodles with sauce

This is a super healthy and totally delicious low carb option to pasta. It features sautéed zucchini noodles smothered in a Meyer Lemon cream sauce with shrimp, corn and fresh basil. It's light and bright and the perfect dish for Summer with a glass of white wine and some toasty bread to mop up the sauce.



  • Zucchini Noodles:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (7 Barrels Basil olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Shrimp:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Garlic salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Zest and juice of 1 Meyer Lemon
  • 1/2 cup white wine (Truvee Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (Pacific Foods Lemongrass Bone Both)
  • 2/3 cup Mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Basil, for garnish
  • Additional lemon zest, for garnish


  1. Make the Zucchini Noodles:
  2. Using a Veggeti or Spiralizer vegetable cutter, cut both zucchini into medium large noodles over a cutting board or large bowl.
  3. Form the vegetable pasta into two piles and cut each in half to create shorter, easy to manage strands.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic for a minute or so, being careful not to burn.
  5. Add the zucchini noodles, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes to your desired consistency.
  6. Remove noodles from the heat into a medium bowl and set aside while you cook the shrimp.
  7. Prepare the Shrimp:
  8. In the same sauce pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  9. Sprinkle some garlic salt and pepper on to the shrimp, and add shrimp to the pan cooking for about 3 minutes, stirring often so they cook evenly.
  10. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl while you make the Meyer Lemon cream sauce.
  11. Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce:
  12. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the same large sauce pan over medium heat.
  13. Add the additional garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  14. Add the lemon juice, zest, chicken broth and wine and let simmer down until reduced, about 3 minutes.
  15. Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper and heat through another minute or two, then stir in the Mascarpone cheese until you get a silky, creamy sauce.
  16. Add the cooked shrimp, zucchini noodles and basil; toss to coat. (You can also keep the zucchini noodles separate from the shrimp, corn and basil with Meyer Lemon sauce and spoon it over the noodles in bowls which keeps the noodles from getting mushy in the sauce which is how i prefer serving them.)
  17. Serve with additional basil and lemon zest, and a glass of Chardonnay or dry Italian wine and some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.


This would also be a delicious sauce over any pasta, and if you're a vegetarian you could substitute the shrimp for another vegetable or legumes for some protein. If you can't find Meyer lemons or they aren't in season, simply mix some orange juice into the lemon juice to give it a similar flavor.

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Zucchini Noodles with Shrimp, Basil and Corn in Meyer Lemon Cream SauceZucchini Noodles 9


Other similar recipes you might enjoy:

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Shrimp and Zucchini with Tomatoes 

Basil Shrimp Zucchini Pasta

Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto

Fettuccine with Shrimp and Zucchini

Note: I received a sample of McBride Sisters Truvee Chardonnay for tasting which inspired me to create this recipe and share with my readers. All opinions of the product are my own and I was not compensated for this post.

Sunday Supper: Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Rosemary & Caramelized Garlic | Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine


Rosemary Chicken AsparagusLast Sunday on a cold rainy night last week, I started craving some homey pan-roasted chicken. And since I had some fresh asparagus from the farmer’s market I wanted to make some roasted asparagus to go with.

I found a recipe on‘s website by Rachael Ray for Garlic Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon that looked pretty delicious and decided to make my own version by tweaking the recipe and the cooking method a little bit.

Pan-Roasted Rosemary Chicken

Rachael’s recipe uses boneless chicken breasts and lemon along with the rosemary and garlic, and is roasted in the oven for about 25 minutes. It’s a simple recipe but I wanted to change it up a bit by using boneless chicken thighs for a richer, meatier flavor, and I added some paprika and cayenne pepper for some extra zing and savory flavor. I started out by pan-searing the chicken and garlic cloves in a Rosemary-Garlic infused olive oil for 20 minutes until they got caramelized and browned, then added the rosemary and finished the dish in the oven for another 20 minutes or so until cooked through and a lovely, golden brown. Then I made a savory pan sauce made with chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and butter to top the chicken, giving it a silky luscious sauce to bathe in.

Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

I also made some lovely roasted asparagus to go with it simply made with olive oil, salt and pepper, some fresh lemon juice, sliced toasted almonds and a dash of dill seasoning and lemon zest to give it some bright flavor at the end.

The result? Crispy, savory chicken with tons of roasted caramel-y flavor and a fresh, lemony side dish of spring green asparagus topped with crunchy almonds and a hint of dill. Perfect for a Spring Sunday Supper!

Sunday Supper: Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Rosemary & Caramelized Garlic | Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4.


  • Pan-Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Caramelized Garlic:
  • 2 tablespoons Rosemary Garlic infused olive oil
  • 4-5 boneless chicken thighs
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine:
  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus, thick woody stems trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • White pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried dill seasoning
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almonds, thin sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


  1. Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Rosemary & Caramelized Garlic:
  2. Preheat oven to 475 degrees and heat olive oil in a cast iron or large skillet.
  3. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, cayenne and paprika, and sear over high heat skin side down for about 2-3 minutes. Lower heat to medium-high, add the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs; cook for another 10 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Turn off the heat, turn chicken over in the skillet, baste with some of the pan juices, and broil in the oven for another 10-12 minutes until chicken is crispy and cooked through.
  5. Turn chicken over once more (skin side up) and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.
  6. Remove chicken, garlic and rosemary sprigs from the skillet, reserving the drippings in the pan. Add chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until sauce has reduced by half. Swirl in the butter at the end to make a silky sauce. Serve sauce over the chicken and caramelized garlic.
  7. Roasted Asparagus Almondine:
  8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  9. Wash and trim asparagus and place on a roasting sheet or in a baking dish.
  10. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add lemon juice and dill. Add sliced almonds over the asparagus
  11. Roast in the oven for 7-10 minutes until asparagus and almonds are a toasty, golden brown. Sprinkle some additional lemon zest for garnish, if desired, and serve immediately with the Pan-Roasted Rosemary Chicken and Caramelized Garlic.

Rosemary Chicken and Asparagus

FLAVOURS Tasting Event with Paris Gourmet at Dream Hotel NYC

FLAVOURS Tasting Event by Paris Gourmet at Dream Hotel NYC
FLAVOURS Tasting Event by Paris Gourmet at Dream Hotel NYC

I recently attended a wonderful tasting event sponsored by Paris Gourmet at the Ava Lounge Dream Hotel in NYC. Although it rained, we still had a wonderful time sampling delicious gourmet food, champagne, wine and cocktails by Frederick Wildman and Sons, while meeting other professionals in the culinary industry. We sampled fresh homemade cheeses such as Burrata, Mozzarella and Ricotta, smoked salmon and caviar, fresh grilled pork by Iberico Fresco, Madrange French Ham, Rougie Foie Gras, fresh baked baguettes by Pain D’Avignon, and of course topped off our tasting with some gorgeous desserts!

Check out the great photos of the event below, and be sure to visit Paris Gourmet’s Twitter and Facebook pages for more info and photos of the event!

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!

Pan-Seared Scallops w/ Leek, Thyme & Wine Cream Sauce; Lemon-Leek Orzo & Sauteed Zucchini Squash

Pan-Seared Scallops with Leek, Thyme & Wine Cream Sauce, Lemon-Leek Orzo & Sauteed Garlic Zucchini & Squash
Pan-Seared Scallops with Leek, Thyme & Wine Cream Sauce, Lemon-Leek Orzo & Sauteed Garlic Zucchini & Squash

This dish is a special treat I created for a recent audition for a new cooking show for ABC – I decided to create a dish that would not only impress the food judges and producers but also one featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients and irresistible to the tastebuds! Fresh Pan-seared Scallops served in a Leek and Thyme Wine Cream sauce with a side of Orzo (a small rice-shaped pasta) made with Meyer lemon-infused oil, lemon zest, and leeks. Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash is a perfect accompaniment to the scallops and orzo; made with garlic, olive oil, herbs de Provence, and a touch of butter, topped with some Himalayan pink onion sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Lemon-Leek Orzo

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4


  • 1 tablespoon lemon-infused oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup leeks, trimmed, rinsed, sliced
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Italian Sea Salt with Lemon, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and leeks and saute for about 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add orzo, broth, wine, thyme, lemon zest, sea salt and pepper to taste; mix ingredients together and bring to a boil. Cover and immediately reduce to a simmer on low heat.
  3. Cook orzo for about 15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and stir ingredients together. Pasta should be al dente and will be an opaque color when done. (Read the package directions if adjusting quantity to ensure cooking time is correct).
  4. Set aside, covered, and keep warm. Serve with the Pan-seared Scallops and Leek-Thyme Wine Cream Sauce and Sauteed Zucchini Squash.

Pan-Seared Scallops in Leek & Thyme Wine Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, rinsed, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 pound jumbo sea scallops
  • Kosher or Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Saute garlic and leeks in olive oil over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn garlic.
  2. Add the wine, chicken broth, parsley and thyme, raise the heat to medium-high and let the liquid thicken and reduce to about half, stirring often (cook about 5-7 minutes until you get desired thickness).
  3. Stir in the cream, reduce heat to low and let simmer for another minute or so, mixing the sauce well.
  4. Rinse sea scallops and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat olive oil in a cast iron saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the scallops for about 3 minutes on each side, until a golden brown crust forms and scallops are no longer pink (do not turn scallops until each side is done).
  6. Serve scallops with the Leek and Thyme Wine Cream Sauce garnished with some extra parsley and thyme with the Lemon-Leek Orzo and Sauteed Zucchini (recipes follow). A crisp white wine such as a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc is the recommended pairing for this dish.

Sauteed Garlic and Zucchini Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and cut in half
  • 1 yellow summer squash, sliced and cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • Himalayan Pink Onion Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.
  2. Saute garlic for about 1 minute until lightly browned.
  3. Add zucchini, yellow squash, herbes de Provence, onion salt and black pepper; mix well. Saute for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini and squash are slightly browned and soft.
  4. Serve as a side dish to the Pan-seared Scallops and Lemon-Leek Orzo.


Top 10 {Things I Love} :: May 2012

Geronimo's, New Haven CT
Beecher's Handmade Cheese
Beecher's Handmade Cheese

1. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

I stumbled upon this handmade cheese-making mecca a few weeks ago while on a stroll to the Union Square Farmer’s Market in the Flatiron District in NYC and was blown away by the impressive facility and store/restaurant as soon as I walked in. Founded by Seattle cheese maker Kurt Beecher Dammeier, Beecher’s offers customers a full range of handmade cheeses and gourmet artisan foods and wines with a cafe, coffee bar and store. There’s a huge window as soon as you walk in where you can watch the cheese makers, well, making fresh cheese in their in-house facility all day long. You can also visit their cellar and taste a glass of wine and check out their “cheese cave” where rows upon rows of cheeses are being aged to perfection. They also have three cookbooks with their signature recipes, and are famous for their “World’s Best” Macaroni and Cheese recipe which is in the book and you can also purchase pre-made in their shop or cafe. The retail store offers a bountiful, well-curated selection of the “best of” American artisan cheeses and charcuterie. While visiting, they’ll introduce you not only to their favorite cheeses and meats but also to the talented producers they know and love. You’ll also be provided with fantastic accompaniments- antipasti, crackers, honey, pickles, etc- for your carefully chosen cheeses and meats, all true to their mission of natural, additive-free foods.

Check out their Pairings Recommendations

900 Broadway, New York, NY
(212) 466-3340


Veselka, East Village
Veselka, East Village

2. Veselka, East Village

I can’t believe I’ve lived in NYC for 7 years and haven’t been to this amazing place until last weekend when I stopped in for brunch. Veselka is a hopping little place in the East Village that specializes in Ukrainian foods and I had to stop in to sample their potato pancakes. Coming from a German-Polish family, my Mom used to make the best potato pancakes served with apple sauce and sour cream so of course I had to size these babies up to see if they compared, and I have to say they did. I had the brunch with a cheese omelette, a piece of their fresh made Kielbasa, rye toast and of course the pancakes. Bummer I forgot to order some of their famous Pierogies, Stuffed Cabbage and Beef Stroganoff – more family favorites I grew up eating..oh well, maybe next time! I’ll definitely be back for another foodie excursion to this yummy place. In fact, I just may grab a copy of the Veselka Cookbook to make some of these noms at home!

Veselka Restaurant was started in 1954 by Wolodymyr Darmochwal who had recently emigrated from the Ivano-Frankovsk region of Ukraine. In the early days Veselka was a humble neighborhood candy store and newsstand that had a small counter and a few tables where a small selection of Ukrainian dishes were served. The popularity of these homemade dishes helped Veselka to grow over the years and become a full fledged restaurant serving a large variety of homemade Ukrainian and American dishes. Some of their signature dishes include: Cabbage Soup, Pierogies, Kielbasa, Potato Pancakes, Ukrainian Borscht, Beef Stroganoff, Bigos (a hearty Ukrainian Hunter’s stew made with Kielbasa, Sauerkraut, Pork and Onions served with a side of mashed potatoes), Ukranian Meatballs, Veal Goulash, Stuffed Cabbage, Soups, Salads, Burgers, Brunch…the list goes on! The atmosphere is buzzing and busy, and the kitchen is open in the front near the fresh baked goods and desserts counter which you also should not miss.

View the Veselka menu

144 2nd Avenue, New York, NY
(212) 228-9682


Roebling Tea Room, Williamsburg
Roebling Tea Room, Williamsburg

3. Roesling Tea Room, Williamsburg Brooklyn

I don’t get out to Brooklyn as much as I’d like to and especially Williamsburg – a funky creative foodie part of town that has some great restaurants. I stopped in to Roesling Tea Room after visiting a photographer friend of mine looking for a small bite to eat and a glass of vino after our meeting. I ordered at the bar and sampled a side of their luscious Macaroni and Cheese which was oooey gooey layers of cheese and shells with a dash of hot sauce topped with some fresh parsley. It was the perfect size for a small bite of goodness and was only $10 to boot. Their cocktail menu is pretty cool too with unique drinks such as “The White Witch” made with Flor de Cana and Creme de Cacao and Cream, or the “Way Too Early” made with Earl Grey tea, Gin, Lemon and Champagne.

They do have a full dinner menu (see link below) offering Apps such as Grilled Razor Clams, Raviolo with Garlic, Ricotta, Chili and Squid and a hearty Lamb Ragu over Vermicelloni with ground hazelnuts. If you’re hungrier and want a full meal, try the Steak Tartare, “Cock-a-leekie” Chicken, Grilled Hangar Steak or Softshell Crab. The atmosphere is dark and moody, with an open wrap around bar and is perfect for a quiet, intimate dinner with friends or a date. They also serve lunch and brunch with burgers, eggs, salads and fresh sides and offer room for parties and events in this impressive cool space and location.

View the dinner menu

143 Roebling Street  Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 963-0760


Limelight Marketplace
Limelight Marketplace

4. Limelight Marketplace, Chelsea

If you’re ever in Chelsea in NYC, this is a must-see destination. The ultimate “Festival of Shops”, Limelight Marketplace is a theatrical and fun shopping experience, located inside the restored Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion of 1845, and the infamous swanky Limelight Nightclub that was hoppin’ in the 70’s and 80’s. Redesigned by Henry Bendel, it re-opened its doors in 2010 to reveal a 3-story grand emporium filled with shopping, food, fashion, restaurants, art and home furnishings, decked out with grand arched ceilings, and the recently uncovered huge stained glass windows and limestone arches from the original church architecture. Inside you’ll find some cool bars and restaurants like the famous Grimaldi’s Pizza, Cava Wine Bar (Italian Meats, Cheeses, Wines), Jezalin’s (artisan soups, sandwiches, salads and chartucerie) and soon Cross Bar. Upstairs on the top floor you can’t miss the Marie Belle Cacao Bar and Luxury Chocolates. They also have an outdoor garden atrium (which is currently decorated with Indian tents) where you can chill out and enjoy a coffee or just stare at the amazing grand old architecture in awe.

656 6th Avenue, New York, NY
(212) 255-2144


Geronimo's Mexican, New Haven CT
Geronimo's Mexican, New Haven CT

5. Geronimo’s Mexican, New Haven CT

Funny story how I ended up here in New Haven, CT for Cinco de Mayo…last Saturday I was supposed to go to the Foodstock Festival up at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT to see a great lineup of speakers and check out some amazing food vendors. So I rented a car online, took an early 2 hour train ride up to New Haven Union Station to pick up my rental car. Well, apparently even if you’ve pre-paid for your car  you still need a credit card to give them to take the car for the day. All I had was my camera, a Mastercard debit card and some cash – no go. Needless to say, my day in New Haven wasn’t all that bad. I walked around the beautiful campus of Yale University, went to the Yale Art Gallery, cruised around Chapel Street to grab a coffee and checked out the cute shops and boutiques. On my journey around town, I started getting really hungry for some Mexican and discovered a cool little place called Geronimo’s Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some margaritas and food.

I had a couple of margaritas since they were only $5 for Cinco de Mayo, and tried their Chicken Tortilla Soup which had huge chunks of white meat shredded chicken, fresh veggies and crunchy tortilla strips on top. The chips were handmade, and the salsa super fresh and chunky with lots of cilantro, just how I like it. For an entree I ordered the Pork Quesadilla which had shredded roasted pork bathed in a Chimayo chile sauce with chihuahua cheese and scallions; topped with fresh grilled corn salsa salad. Delicious! warning: just be super careful if you sample their homemade habenero pepper sauce – its super tasty but super HOT, believe me you only need a smidge to taste the heat!

My waitress was super cool and was patient with me as I ran around the restaurant taking pictures of all their cool Southwestern artifacts and cool interior design inside the restaurant. Chef Timothy Scott (Connecticut native who studied with Anne Willan at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy, France) and I chatted for a while as he showed me around the restaurant and told me about all the local, organic ingredients he uses and the South Dakota farms he visits to source all of his meats for some of their unique dishes as the Smoked Buffalo Brisket Tacos and Elk Chili. The menu has your typical Mexican dishes but they are infused with a “Santa Fe” New Mexican flavor, using traditional foods and flavors of the Native Americans, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-Americans that settled there. Its primary ingredients consist of corn, beans, chile peppers, rice, tomatoes, avocados, pork and bison. Slow-stewed meats and chilis, and natural heat from various chile peppers give the cuisine here a bold, rustic flavor that is distinct from other Mexican cuisine. Don’t miss it if you’re ever up visiting Yale or just cruising around New Haven for a day.

View the menu

271 Crown Street  New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 777-7700


Forager's City Grocer, Chelsea
Forager's City Grocer, Chelsea

6. Forager’s City Grocer, Chelsea

There’s a new kid in town – an amazing organic grocery market and restaurant called Forager’s City Grocer in Chelsea, sister to the Dumbo Brooklyn location. Everything inside the market is sourced from their local farms and made fresh daily on premises. They have a meat counter and prepared foods kitchen with fresh soups, salads, roasted veggies, house-cured pastrami, roasted chicken and herb-roasted porchetta (to die for!). Cruise towards the back and you’ll find a lovely cheese section, olives, cured and fresh butchered meats, and a full line-up of local, and more organic dairy products like yogurt, cream, butter and milk. They have plenty of spices, honeys, jams, imported pastas and other cool gourmet items. And in the front, you can’t miss the coffee bar and dessert counter where they have freshly baked cupcakes, croissants, and unique-flavored glazed donuts like Hibiscus and Blood OrangeOh my.

The restaurant inside the market has a clean design with an open kitchen and bar, high tables and stools and lots of natural lighting. The cuisine has an Asian flair, offering lunch, brunch and dinner. All the menu items are created with local, organic ingredients, house-cured meats and fresh veggies straight from their farm. They have great salads such as Raw Dayboat Salad with Yuzu Koshu and Crushed Lemon Oil, or Fermented Tea Leaf Salad with Dried Shrimp, Sesame, Peanuts, Crispy Garlic and Split Peas. Or try the Wok-Tossed Berkshire Pork Short Ribs or Crispy Whole Prawns with Chiles, Prickly Ash and Green Onions. Brunch is a new thing, serving up fresh omelettes, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, cinnamon french toast, house smoked pepper bacon and house made quinoa granola with fruit. And don’t miss the Forager’s wine store attached to the market next door where you can find organic wines from grape farmers all around the world.

The Chelsea location has also launched the debut of their expertly handcrafted cocktails along with a menu of beers and eco-minded selected wines on tap. The new, eclectic cocktail menu was designed by head bartender Aaron Polsky (also of Amor y Amargo). The menu is heavily influenced by the market’s hyper-local foraged produce and seasonally inspired house-made syrups and infusions. Some of the cool new cocktails to try are:

  • Gordon’s Healthy Lunch – made with Dorothy Parker Gin, Foragers Farm spicy baby lettuce juice, lime, meyer lemon oleo saccharum
  • Doug’s Spring MP – with Tequila Pueblo Viejo Blanco, rhubarb, tarragon, raspberry shrub, soda
  • Bruschetta – Thai basil and sun-dried tomato-infused Absolut 100 Vodka, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, tomato water, Bittermens Hellfire Shrub
  • Wisconsinite – Johnny Drum Bourbon, blood orange Oleo Saccharum, Bittercube Cherry Bark bitters

300 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-8888


Cupcake Cafe
Cupcake Cafe

7. Cupcake Cafe, Theatre District NYC

I recently went on a search of some pretty cupcakes for a photoshoot I am working on, and found this cute little place called The Cupcake Cafe in Hell’s Kitchen on 9th Avenue and 40th Street near Times Square. It’s a quaint little place with a tiny kitchen in the back where they bake and design their pretty floral cakes and cupcakes with great detail.  Anne Warren, co-owner, also designs custom wedding and personalized birthday cakes and offers cake decorating classes and film catering. The interior has a cute bench, a table and a few stools where you can sit and enjoy a coffee and a luscious buttercream-frosted flowery cupcake, just because. No frills, just a cozy spot to indulge.

View the menu

545 9th Avenue  New York, NY 10018
(212) 268-9975


Metaphore Europe
Metaphore Europe

8. Metaphore Eurostyle, New Haven CT

While on my journey around town in New Haven, I stopped into this cool, colorful store on Chapel Street called Metaphore -Eurostyle. I met the owner and artist, Liza Clayson, who showed me around her store full of custom art and gorgeous hand-painted furniture, shower curtains, linens, dishes, glassware, French pantry gourmet items such as sea salts, oils, honeys, vinegars, mustards, jams, teas,  and cookies. We had an even more colorful conversation about the town, restaurants, blogging and marketing and who knows what else. I couldn’t help but start dreaming up all the cool photography and food styling sets one could design with her pretty hand-painted and imported goodies. Liza also has plenty of unique and unusual European-imported goodies in the store, thus the name “Eurostyle”. Many of her items are things you won’t find here in the U.S. – she has customers that come in the store from all over to buy her unique things. You just have to check it out for yourself. If you can’t make it to New Haven, you can call her directly and place a personalized order. Now that’s pretty cool.

1020 Chapel St # 2  New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 752-1066



9. KyoChon, Fifth Ave NYC

If you like fried chicken like I do, great – but this is no ordinary fried chicken – this is Seoul, Korea-style fried chicken and a tasty one at that. Located on Fifth Avenue near the Empire State Building, KyoChon came to NYC from Korea, opened its flagship store here and never looked back. KyoChon has become a cult-like obsession with New Yorkers (including myself) with its fresh, crispy, juicy fried chicken and tasty dipping sauces. The Soy Garlic and Hot & Sweet Chile sauces are apparently are secret recipes that founder Won-Kang Kwon and his wife whip up in a secret room in the basement of their production facilities in Seoul. They claim to use only fresh, not frozen, chickens, and hand-trim and hand-brush each piece, which is apparent when you taste a piece of their crunchy chicken. This ain’t no Chicken McNugget, folks. They also have sandwiches, salads and wraps filled with fresh veggies and fruits and the interior is pretty cool looking too, with its bright red spiral staircase and clear acrylic Jetson-style chairs and tables. Oh, and the Sweet Potato Fries ROCK.

View the menu

319 5th Avenue, New York NY
(212) 725-9292


Rodeo Bar
Rodeo Bar

10. Rodeo Bar & Grill, Murray Hill

After living in Atlanta for almost 12 years, it was refreshing to find a honky-tonk fun place in NYC that reminded me of the South.Rodeo Bar & Grill is probably one of the ONLY places in New York that you’ll find local and regional country and blues musicians playing live, where you can sit and enjoy a Margarita and some chips and salsa. This Tex-Mex bar and grill is located on 3rd Ave in Murray Hill and serves a kickass portion of chile con queso and chips, and other Tex-Mex specialties such as Enchiladas, Slow-Smoked Texas BBQ, Quesadillas, Tacos and a nice selection of burgers, sandwiches, appetizers and soups and salads. The live shows are on pretty much every night with different artists, until midnight during the week and late on weekends. They have a great happy hour from 4-7 pm offering half price margaritas and bar food like wings, nachos and sliders. Grab your cowboy boots, get yourself some tequila and some live country and blues – too fun.

375 3rd Avenue  New York, NY 10016
(212) 683-6500

Moussaka + Memories of Greece

Classic Greek Moussaka

Classic Greek Moussaka, (pronounced moos-sah-KAH) is one of the most well known of all Greek dishes and a staple “comfort food” and main course meal in Greece (as is Lasagna in Italy). This tasty Greek delight is a culinary experience to those who sample it for the first time. I first tried it when I worked at a Greek diner in Buffalo, New York during college, and then once again on a trip to the Greek Islands a couple of years ago. Needless to say, the real Greek Moussaka blew the Buffalo diner version to pieces, so I decided to take a stab at making it myself for my Big Fat Greek Birthday dinner party.

One of the most delicious versions of Moussaka I tasted was in Santorini, Greece. It was served in a glazed clay pot, and had a perfect mixture of spicy meat at the bottom, layered with potatoes and tender eggplant, and tons of béchamel and gooey cheese on top. The vegetables were steaming as I dug into this gorgeous meat and vegetable pie – my mouth watered at the sight and smell of it.

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

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

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


3 large zucchini (or eggplants)

3 large potatoes

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 lg onions, chopped fine

1 lb ground lamb

1 lb ground beef

3 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup red Greek wine

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

1/4 lb butter

6 tbsp all purpose flour

1 quart of milk

4 eggs; beaten until frothy

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese

1 cup fine bread crumbs

1 cup grated parmesan cheese


Cut the zucchini and potatoes into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
 If using eggplant instead of zucchini, peel the eggplant first. Brown the zucchini slices quickly in 1/4 cup of the oil. Set aside.

Heat the 
remaining oil in the same skillet and cook the onions until they are
 golden brown. Add the ground meat and cook 10 minutes. Pour off excess fat.

Combine the tomato paste with the wine, parsley, cinnamon, salt and 
pepper. Stir this mixture into the meat and simmer over low heat,
stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the
 mixture from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Make a white sauce by melting the butter
 and blending in the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. Meanwhile,
 bring the milk to a boil and add it gradually to the butter-flour mixture,
 stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, remove 
it from the heat. Cook slightly and stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg and 

Grease an 11×16-inch pan and sprinkle the bottom lightly with
 crumbs. Arrange alternate layers of the zucchini and potatoes and meat sauce 
in the pan, sprinkling each layer with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Pour 
the ricotta cheese bechamel sauce over the top and bake 1 hour, or until top is golden.
 Remove from the oven and cool 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Cut 
into squares and serve.

Serves 6-8.

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