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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Brussel Sprout, Baby Portabello Mushroom and String Bean Sauté

I had a friend over for dinner Friday evening and I served this as a side dish with a whole roasted chicken.  What's great about this vegetable medley is it works with any type of meat or poultry i.e., veal, beef, pork, name it!  It's prepared with only one deep saute pan, which helps for the cleaning up portion of the evening.  I always like to try to keep that part as short as possible.  Just the thought of washing dishes makes me think twice about cooking sometimes. By the way...I can't believe brussel sprouts cost me $4 for a half a pint!  All the better reason to serve them with some more cost effective ingredients.  After all it is the holiday season! :)

Brussel Sprouts 1/2  pint washed and halved with the stems lightly trimmed
String Beans 1/4 lb  washed and halved with the stems trimmed
Baby Portabello Mushrooms  washed and sliced
Garlic Cloves peeled and minced
Olive Oil 2 tbsp
Fresh Ground Black Pepper 1/4 tsp
Iodized Salt 1/4 tsp
Kosher Salt to taste
(Serves 4)

Take a saute pan that is a minimum of 4 inches deep.  Fill it half way with water.  Add iodized salt. Cover and bring the water to a boil.  Place brussel sprouts only into the boiling water. Bring the water down to a simmer. Let brussel sprouts simmer for 4 minutes then add string beans.  Cover the pan and allow the vegetables to blanche for one additional minute.  Strain.  Take the same pan and coat it with the olive oil.  Place it on a medium heat.  Add the minced garlic to the pan.  Stir the garlic occasionally. Once garlic has turned a very light brown color add the portobello mushrooms. Stir occasionally.  Once the mushrooms are lightly browned (about 2 minutes), combine the brussel sprouts and string beans in the pan with the mushrooms.  Stir around mixing all of the ingredients together well.  Add fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt. Saute for 3 minutes.  Serve.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I love this place for a couple of reasons.  First the story, which you can watch the video of on their website at  This venue is owned by a couple who got started in the hospitality business by opening their home on a weekly basis to perfect strangers for a traditional latin inspired home cooked meal.  The health department sent them a notice saying they could no longer do this that lead them to a pop up restaurant, then into an actual real life venue located in Soho.  It's a quaint little space with a tiny exposed kitchen. The fare is savory and vibrant in flavor with a menu that comes straight from the heart.
Pao De Queijo $6
Calentado Duck Fat Fried Rice with Duck Breast Topped with a Fried Egg $14
Tacos BMT (Bacon, Smoked Mozzarella and Green Tomatillo Sauce) $9 

Braised Cochinita & Bacon Torta with Avocado, Mozzarella and Onions $11

Pork Belly Hash Cilantro Pasta Topped with a Poached Egg $15

Poached Egg on a Pao De Queijo with Avocado and a Cream Chipotle Sauce $14

58 MacDougal Street
NY NY 10012
Opened Daily 11:30am-12pm Lunch, Dinner, Brunch
Accepts Credit Cards

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Martini

Pumpkin Martini
I was at a little get together at a friend's place this past Friday night and she served these awesome fall festive concoctions.  A cocktail like this is just so perfect for the upcoming holidays! The original recipe calls for vanilla vodka, which she chose to substitute with Pinnacle whipped cream flavored vodka.   I suggest serving it as an indulgent after dinner cocktail treat for your upcoming Halloween party or substitue the cinnamon sugar rim with a crushed graham cracker crust rim for a new twist on pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving Day!

Pumpkin Martini
Serves 1
1 oz. pumpkin spice liquor
3 oz. Pinnacle whipped cream flavored vodka
1 tsp. Edy's pumpkin ice cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
cinnamon stick for garnish

Chill martini glasses by filling them with ice and a little bit of water. Let stand for 3 minutes. 
In a bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar and mix together.
Take a small plate (wide enough to fit the rim of your martini glass), cover with granulated sugar and cinnamon.
Empty ice and water out of martini glass.  Dip the rim in the sugar and cinnamon covering the rim entirely.
In a shaker filled with ice, combine pumpkin spice liquor, Pinnacle whipped cream flavored vodka and ice cream.  Shake thoroughly.
Pour martini mixture into the martini glass avoiding the rim and garnish with the cinnamon stick.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Goat Town

This cozy little East Village venue has a European countryside meets chic feel to it...  

As my eyes peer around the room I notice a lot of white tile, a long wooden bar and what appears to be barn doors leading to the bathroom that is filled with these cool rustic light fixtures...
The farm-to-table fare was fresh and prepared with care in a tiny little exposed kitchen to the back of the dining room. The dishes are plated precisely and are complimented with fresh herbs and vegetables from their outdoor garden...  

Pork Belly Lyonnaise Salad $12

Cast Iron Organic Chicken $22

Mussels and Fries $17

The chicken was a definite hightlight, cooked perfectly with the juice locked in!  The pork belly salad was extremely tasty, although, I didn't expect it to be plated the way it was. 

Goat Town
511 E 5th Street
NY, NY 10009
T. 212.687.3641
Dinner 5pm-12am  Sunday-Wednesday
           5pm-1am Thursday-Saturday
Brunch 10am-4pm Saturday & Sunday
Bar Menu 4pm-5pm Saturday & Sunday
Happy Hour 5pm-7pm Daily

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sir Kensington Ketchup

I have taken another lov-ah and his name is Sir Kensington!

This wonderfully vibrant and zesty flavored ketchup is such a great alternative to the everyday Heinz brand that us Americans are used to.  Another plus is it's all natural, sweetened with raw cane sugar and agave nectar.

I bought mine at Sarabeth's in Tribeca, however, I've seen it in Whole Foods as well.


Saturday, August 11, 2012


I have heard mixed reviews for the recently opened Rosemary's restaurant and I decided I had to go check it out for myself. It has the same rustic countryside feel of their sister restaurant Bobo with exposed brick and many of their dishes served on wooden boards.  What I love about this location is their beautiful exposed kitchen and their rooftop garden where they grow fresh vegetables and herbs.  This factor really enhanced the experience of the fare, for as far as freshness goes, it doesn't get any better then that!  

It was a really hot, humid and rainy day in the city this day and our appetites unfortunately did not lean toward their pasta or panini.  The foccacia was recommend to us so we gave it a shot. It was a bit doughy, although the mozzarella and tomato were very fresh.  I highly recommend the octopus!  It's a stand out dish served in an interesting presentation, complimented by a sun-dried tomato and hazelnut gardiniere.  

As for the service, we were well taken care of with our food served timely and I have to say their prices were very modest for a place like this in the West Village!

Rosemary's Enoteca and Trattoria is an enjoyable experience and even though is not ground breaking, I would recommend trying it at least once.

Octopus $9

Foccace Caprese $7

Beets with dandelions and hazelnuts $5

Radishes with butter, salt and thyme $5

Eggplant Caponata $5
18 Greenwich Avenue
(212) 647.1818
Serves Lunch & Dinner

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hearts of Palm Salad

I've been craving hearts of palm salad out of nowhere!  Maybe it's all of the episodes of Mad Men that I've been watching?  This really was a mainstream dish in the 60's. The old school American style calls for pimento peppers, however, mine is with an Italian twist, using roasted red peppers instead. I love this dish for those hot summer days when a salad is all I want to eat for lunch.  It serves beautifully over a bed of sliced leafy romaine (I like to add quartered olives when I eat it like this, black or calamata).  It's an excellent side salad to serve with a sandwich as well!

1 jar whole hearts of palm sliced 1/8" inch
2 stalks celery halved and sliced in 1/4" inch
2 scallion onions sliced 1/2" inch
1 roasted red pepper sliced julienne
1 handful of fresh parsley chopped
1 whole lemon freshly squeezed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Serves 2 main salad
Serves 4 side salad

In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix together well with a spatula.  Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Serve.
You can store this salad in the refrigerator to snack on throughout the work week!

Monday, June 25, 2012

High Fructose Corn Syrup: An inexpensive way to sweeten death

Now that there's proof that consuming high fructose corn syrup can lead to liver scarring, I guess it's time to try to start avoiding the stuff people! Think twice before downing that next Coca-Cola, unless you can find Coca-Cola that's manufactured in Mexico. It has the same delicious, refreshing taste and is sweetened with refined cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Another plus is it's kept in little 12 oz  glass bottles.  Gets us away from plastic and we could always use a little help with portion control so it's just better all around!  You can buy Mexican Coca-Cola at Costco:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sons of Essex

Sons of Essex,  located on Essex street in the lower east side, has a fun and trendy vibe.  It possess an interior that gives a clear nod to days of old when NYC really came to be. I'm told that the place is named after the "Sons of Liberty", a group of locals that fought off British occupation maintaining the rights of the people, very Gangs of New York esque in design.  Their drinks are hearty, the staff extremely welcoming and damn cute too!  I wouldn't recommend this venue to anyone who is looking for a quiet dinner; it can get really loud inside those walls!  I would explain this as a fun bar with upscale food.  A place to socialize and munch on some savory eats.

The style of the fare combines American deli meets the ethnic melting pot of NYC and has a mix of old and contemporary when it comes to the presentation of the food.  The Shepard's Pie Empanadas were my favorite!  Extremely juicy with a flaky crust.

You can't think deli if there aren't any pickles around!

Truffle Mushroom Pizza $16

Mac and Cheese Balls $16

Shepard's Pie Empanadas $14

Elderflower Infused Honey Shrimp $16

Roasted Brussel Sprouts $9

Sons of Essex
133 Essex Street
NY NY 10002

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Wednesday 5pm-1am
Thursday-Friday 5pm-4am
Saturday 11am-4am
Sunday 11am-1am

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy
This takes practically no time to make and compliments most proteins extremely well as a side (depending on the preparation of the protein of course).  I recommend eating it hot,  however, I happened to take a bite of it again the following day right out of the refrigerator and it is even delicious chilled!  Perfect to have on one of those hot summer days that will be upon us NYers very soon.


10 small heads of baby bok choy
1 large clove of garlic peeled and chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger peeled and minced
2 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp soy sauce
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Serves 4 (side dish)
Serves 2 (main dish)

 Julienne slice the tops of the leaves off of the bok choy. Then cut the bok choy in half down the center.  Cut the stalks in half diagonally.  Because this vegetable can be quite sandy at times, after slicing it I soak it by completely submerging it in cold water.  Strain the bok choy allowing all of the water to drain or speed up the process by pat drying it with a paper towel.

Coat a large non-stick stir fry pan with the sesame oil.  Add the chopped garlic, minced ginger and place the pan on a medium heat.  As the garlic and ginger is browning, add the honey, soy sauce and crushed red pepper flakes (optional). Once the garlic is lightly browned add the baby bok choy, raise heat slightly and stir fry for two minutes (make sure you don't over cook the bok choy, this vegetable has such a great texture served slightly al dente). Serve.

As a cold dish, spread bok choy on a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  Serve.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Caprese Mexicana

Caprese Mexicana

1 hunk Queso Blanco cheese (make sure the packaging reads "for frying or "para freir") 
1 handful fresh grape tomatoes sliced
1 handful fresh basil chopped
2 tbl spoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches kosher salt 
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Crema di Tondo balsamic syrup
1 baguette toasted and sliced
Serves 2

In a mixing bowl, combine sliced grape tomatoes, chopped basil, olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Mix ingredients together with a spatula and let it sit at room temperature while you prepare the cheese.

Take queso blanco cheese and cut it into 1/4 inches slices long ways and then in half down the center into a square shape.

Take a non-stick pan and spray it with non- stick spray. Place it on a medium heat.

Lay cheese in pan and brown on both sides. It should take about 30 seconds-1min to brown.

Place cheese on a plate and top off each individual slice with the tomato basil concotion. 

Lightly pour balsamic syrup over plate in a zig zag motion.

*If serving with a baguette, preheat oven to 350 and toast the baguette for about 2-3 minutes.

Friday, March 30, 2012


There is something really catching about Catch! For me it's naturally about the food, however, for my dinner guest, it was more about Kris Humphries sitting next to us lol. Love you she that will not be named! xo  
From start to finish it is an excellent culinary experience with impeccable service and perfect timing. They serve pretty much any type of seafood you may desire, prepared in numerous cuisines.  They started us off with warm pretzels served alongside butter that had been whipped with a grain mustard.  Really delicious!

Zulu Roll $16
 coconut shrimp, curry aioli, toasted coconut 

Scallop & Cauliflower $32
 pistachio, tamarind brown butter

Grilled Mahi Mahi $28
with lemon-herb olive oil

Applewood Bacon Brussel Sprouts $9
21 9th Avenue
NY, NY 10014
Open for dinner only!!
Sunday & Monday 5:30pm-10pm
Tuesday & Wednesday 5:30pm-11:30pm
Thursday & Saturday 5:30-12:30pm

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Dutch

The Dutch seems to be the restaurant of the moment.  As I stare around the room it is packed wall to wall with downtowners sipping on martinis eager to be seated.  Serving contemporary style American fare, it definitely has it's highs and lows.  The service is excellent as our waiter was extremely attentive, even offering to keep our food under the heat lamps as I left the table for a few minutes. However, our table was seated on the late side of the evening and our food was rushed out.  I could just hear the boys from the kitchen complaining about the staff taking late orders.  Our appetizers on the table when our entrees were sent out. The chef suggested medium rare for my duck, it definitely came out seared black and blue and completely cool in the center so basically it touched the grill for a few seconds.  It was loaded with raw pecans to the point that it was overwhelming.  I love pecans and they would have done justice to the dish if there were less of them and they could have been toasted a bit to compliment the dish better.   The wood grilled chicken was excellent!  Tender and very moist, not a big fan of chickpeas but to each his own I guess!   I do have to say that the banana cream pie was THE BEST I HAVE EVER HAD!!!  Served on a ginger cookie crust, it was a definite high light! 

Oysters $3 each

Pecan Duck $29

Wood Grilled Chicken $27

Bacon Button Potatoes $9

Banana Cream Pie $10

The Dutch
131 Sullivan Street
NY, NY 10012
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm-Midnight
             Friday & Saturday 5:30pm-1am
Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30am-3pm
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 10am-3pm
The Bar Room Open for drinks 3pm-5:30pm


Friday, February 10, 2012

Home Is Where the Heart Is On Valentine's Day

When I think of Valentine's Day, I think about spending time with someone I care about and I always find Valentine's Day dinner at home to be a hundred times more satisfying then dining out.  It just seems to be one of those nights that the dining scene always appears to be a hot mess!  That being said...I recommend a delicious meal at home and of little dishes that can be prepared in advance, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your loved one.  Here are some of my ideas...

A caprese salad to start with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh basil and turn it up a notch with Crema Di Tondo which is a decadent balsamic syrup that has a creamy sweetness to it. Crema Di Tondo can even be used on ice creams, mousses and cheeses.

It can make a simple caprese more luxurious with indulgent flavors and contains colors that are completely reminiscent of the holiday...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's Superbowl Sunday...dip the hell out of me!!

A friend of mine came up with a great idea (Stan Russo you're so savvy) that he incorporated into a little get together at his place over the summer...a dip contest! Everyone had to bring a homemade dip that would be rated first by the flavor and second by the name.  It is engaging, brings on a lot of laughs (some of the names were hilarious and at times downright offensive lol) and some of the dips were very creative! This can be an awesome way to spice up the upcoming Superbowl festivities!  Which is really important cause the NY Giants are going to kick some major ass this Sunday!

Have each guest write the name of their dip on a small piece of paper and tape it to the bottom of their bowl.  Number each bowl. Now get to dipping and let the games begin!!!

Once everybody has tasted all of the dips,  place an empty bowl on the table and have each guest write the name of their favorite dip on a piece of paper (you can't vote for your own), placing it into the bowl.  Have the guests gather around the table as the host of the party announces the nominees and finally...the winner!

The Winner!!  Mike and Jessica DeMarco for their dip "Porkylicious"! It contains 20 ingredients including freshly made pulled pork! TO DIE FOR!

Second runner up..."Taint Misbehaving"!  Homemade parmesan peppercorn dressing with crumbled blue cheese and sweet & spicy Doritos that were reduced to a complete powder.  It was experimental, tasty and had a zest to it!

Third place..."BBQ waist watcher"

Some of the other dips.....

I was out of town until the day of the party and I left the dip making up to my friend Michelle.  It ended up being more of a spread.  Blue cheese, cream cheese, butter and crushed walnuts whipped together and served with sliced granny apples.  I lovingly entitled it "dip into my blue nutz". :)
"Manna Bananas" with fresh mango, bananas and cilantro
"The Black Eyed Peas" a salsa of black eyed peas with diced roasted peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, red onion and lime juice
"The Red Hot Mexican!" puree of tomato, red onion, cilantro, jalapenos peppers and lime juice  

Hit me up if you would like to see the full recipes for any of the above!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Pippa is always consistent and the atmosphere never gets old.  With exposed brick and grand chandeliers,  it's has a romantic castle like feel to it. It's a great place for a date and an even better place  to come with a group of friends, sit at one of their communal tables and order a bunch of things for everyone to share from their Spanish tapas menu.  The food is well seasoned and robust with all different sorts of savory and sweet flavors.  This actually is even a great place to stop in just for some drinks with friends.  The bar is set up really nicely and gets packed with a good afterwork crowd.

Sweet corn soup with skewered grilled shrimp $7
Crispy calamari rings with smoked paprika aioli $13

Garrotxa, aged manchego & pata cabra cheeses $14
Serrano ham, prosciutto & coppa $16

Diver scallops with manchego cream, sauteed spinach, carmelized onions and crisp serrano ham bits $16

38 East 19th Street
NY, NY10003
Lunch Monday-Friday 12pm-5pm
Brunch Saturday & Sunday 11am-5pm
Dinner Monday-Wednesday 5:30pm-11pm
           Thursday-Saturday 5:30pm-12pm
           Sunday 5:30pm-10:30pm