LG Supports Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” at Taste of the Nation Charity Fundraiser Event in NYC

Did you know that more than 16 million American children are affected by childhood hunger? It’s a staggering number, and the reason why Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” Taste of the Nation culinary series exists – to help raise awareness and support in tackling this imperative issue. The Taste of the Nation series takes place in various cities across that nation, and last week, many of NYC’s top chef’s and mixologists came together for NYC’s Taste of the Nation fundraiser. As one of Share Our Strength’s premier national partners, LG had an exciting presence at the event – if you didn’t know, earlier this month LG Electronics USA announced their unique partnership with Share Our Strength, which is committed to help end childhood hunger with No Kid Hungry.

LG Taste of the NationLG No Kid Hungry Event

Thanks to LG, I was able to attend Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Taste of the Nation Charity Fundraiser. LG had setup what looked like a small restaurant in the space, complete with a menu, and a preview of LG’s line of Black Stainless Steel kitchen appliances. In between bites, we were able to put LG’s Virtual Kitchen Design tool to work – the design tool helps visualize how LG’s Black Stainless Steel works in every kitchen environment and design. I also had their 100 Mile NY Filet Mignon which was served with Yukon gold gnocchi, upstate NY spring onion relish, Catskill asparagus, and red pepper coulis.

LG Farm to Table Filet Mignon

It was so good – the filet mignon was perfectly tender and so delicious, I would have kept ordering it if I didn’t have over 30 other restaurants to sample from! Here’s what else I ate:

Sexy Taco Dirty Cash Taste of the NationPublic Restaurant Taste of the Nation

Sexy Taco/Dirty Cash’s Chef Brian Washington-Palmer treated guests to Chile Braised Pork Tostadas with Jicama-Cumin Slaw – I’m adding this spot to my need-to-eat-at list, these tostadas were ridiculously good. I am not a big fan of vegan desserts, my experience with them has been unexciting. However, Public Restaurant’s Chef Brad Farmerie served up a Vegan Dark Chocolate Oat Tart that was shockingly decadent – I was certainly a fan. One hot spot at the event was Chef Jessica Weiss’ (Marta & Maialino) assorted biscotti buffet. Guests were loading up on a variety of her cookies – and I definitely appreciated her salted chocolate cookies the next day!

Marta & Maialino Taste of the Nation NYCUnderwest Donuts Taste of the Nation

Underwest Donuts’ Chef Scott Levine was turning out extremely popular Halva Donuts next door to Root & Bone’s Chef Romina Peixoto’s Kentucky Donuts with Bourbon Cream – they were both the stuff of dreams. The Kentucky Donuts were served warm, which only heightened the experience for me.

OddFellows at Taste of the NationSherry B Dessert Studio Taste of the Nation

OddFellows Ice Cream Co. had an amazing Neopolitan Sundae – I’ve actually never been to OddFellows so this was a real treat for me. It was so good, now I know that I HAVE to go! Sherry B Dessert Studio had an all-star lineup featuring Fluffernutter on Banana Bread (classic peanut butter and marshmallow fluff reimagined as an ice cream, sandwiched between layers of banana bread), Suzy Q (an ice cream sandwich take on the infamous snack cake with Sweet Cream Ice Cream and Devil’s Food Cake), and The Tipsy Lux (Luxardo Maraschino Cherries soaked in maraschino liquor and blended with swirls of Amaretto fudge and Amaretto Candies Almonds, all piled high on a Maraschino Cake).

I went back for seconds thirds of Sessanta’s (Chef Paul DiBari) Spiedini of Marinated Octopus with Chermoula. I even snapped up their last serving. ICE also served up an insane pasta that I unfortunately cannot remember the name of.

Sessanta Taste of the Nation NYC

I almost had to roll myself out of there, haha! There was so much great food, and it was so nice seeing the nation’s top chefs and restaurants get together for a great cause. LG’s partnership with Share Our Strength is a perfect fit, seeing as how LG is a brand that is really dedicated to bringing families together in the kitchen, they hold family mealtime at the core of its values so dedicating themselves to helping make sure that more kids across the country are getting access to the healthy meals that they need makes perfect sense!

To learn more about LG Electronics and No Kid Hungry’s partnership, click here.

Recipe: Scallops in Lemon Vermouth Butter Sauce

Easy Scallops Recipe, Scallops, Recipe

I’ve loved scallops for as long as I can remember – in fact that goes for most seafood. I like to blame my mom for this, she introduced me to the best food early on in life and I never looked back. Because of this early intro to seafood, I’ve had quite a while to explore how to cook and consume them. My most favorite scallop recipe has to be this one, the lemony butter sauce with most definitely have you licking your plate and the scallops turn out tender and delicious.

Scallops, Lemon, Butter, VermouthScallops-in-Lemon-Butter-Vermouth-Sauce
This easy recipe makes for a great birthday or date night meal – I tend to think these size scallops make for “special” meals because they are rather expensive (I picked up four for about $15 at Whole Foods), however you could always try the recipe with the more affordable smaller scallops and just coat them entirely before frying them. You can serve these with yellow rice and salad, or creamy mashed potatoes and steamed veggies, or crusty bread – whatever you like best.

Scallops in Lemon Vermouth Butter Sauce
Serves 2
Probably one of most favorite dishes, serve these scallops alongside mashed potatoes or even pasta! It's amazing!
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Ingredients
  1. 5 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
  2. 4-8 Large Scallops
  3. 1 1/2 Cups of Breadcrumbs
  4. 2 Cups of Vermouth
  5. 3 Tablespoons of Chopped Fresh Parsley
  6. Juice of 1 Lemon
Instructions
  1. Take your scallops and coat both sides with breadcrumbs. I prefer to use Italian style breadcrumbs, but plain works just as well too.
  2. In a small skillet melt two tablespoons of butter, and fry your scallops at medium heat until golden brown on both sides. To ensure your scallops are not overcooked I usually remove the scallops from the heat right when they’re about to be cooked through.
  3. After you’ve removed the scallops from the pan, add the remaining three tablespoons of butter, 2 cups of Vermouth, and juice from the lemon. Stir and allow to simmer for about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in two tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley, reserving the third tablespoon for garnish.
  4. Serve your scallops, pour the sauce over them, garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, and enjoy!
The NYC Talon http://nyctalon.com/

Restaurant Review: Dinner at Grace’s Trattoria

I recently had the pleasure of joining Grace Balducci Doria as well as key members of her staff for a press tasting of some exciting dishes on their menu. Having never been to Grace’s before I was completely blown away with how delicious the items on their menu were and am really looking forward to the next time I return! To see a complete recap/review of my whole experience as well as plenty of pictures click on over to From Val’s Kitchen where the full article is!

Graces-Trattoria

If you live in or visiting NYC, I highly recommend that you stop by Grace’s Trattoria!

Grace’s Trattoria
201 E 71st St, New York, NY 10021
(212) 452-2323

Smashburger Hits Manhattan!

There is nothing like a good burger, and no city knows this more then NYC. Just recently, Smashburger has put roots down in the city that never sleeps with it’s first location in Manhattan. I have always been a fan of a good burger, however I had never had the pleasure of actually having Smashburger before – that is until this week, where I attended a media preview of Smashburger’s NYC menu.

Smashburger, Manhattan, NYC

Located next to the Empire State Building, Smashburger’s 10 West 33rd St. location offers plenty of seating and captures the spirit of the city with the use of local reclaimed brick, as well as soft lighting to highlight and contrast with bright colors and localized art. We were joined by Tom Ryan, Founder & Chief Concept Officer of Smashburger, for a tasting tour of Smashburger’s New York Menu.

Smashburger, Manhattan, NYC

In honor of their new location, Tom said that Smashburger wanted to create a burger that really would appeal to the New Yorker – sophisticated, while being extremely flavorful, and so the “New Yorker” was born. The New Yorker can be prepared as either a Smashburger or Smashchicken and features NY cheddar, garlic grilled onions, spinach, tomato, and peppercorn garlic aoili on a brioche bun. I loved it, I found it sort of creamy and decadent – I know, bizarre words to describe a burger- but it was really, really tasty!

Smashburger, Manhattan, NYC

I also tried a Classic Smash – after which I totally understood why Smashburger has grown by leaps and bounds since it was founded back in 2007 – it really is delicious. Also on our tasting menu was the Bacon Cheeseburger, Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger, Avocado Ranch Veggie Black Bean, Spinach, Cucumber and Goat Cheese burger, and the Avocado Club, as well as Smashfries, Sweet Potato Fries, Haystack Onions, and Veggie Frites. And it wouldn’t be a Smashburger tasting without those Hand-Spun Shakes, we tried Chocolate Oreo and Salted Caramel. I know I was full to bursting when our tasting was over, haha!

Smashburger, Manhattan, NYCSmashburger, Manhattan, NYC

I really wanted to pick favorites with the Smashburger menu, I mean, you can’t do everything right can you? Apparently you can. I freakin’ loved everything that I tried – and although I haven’t tried everything on the menu (I would love to give those salad’s a go!) I think it’s safe to say that you can’t go wrong by stopping in by Smashburger’s Manhattan location! By the way, if you do, do not leave without trying the Veggie Frites and Smashfries – they’re both insanely good. I’m obsessed.

PeachDish Review!

I have always been really sceptical about those monthly food services. I always feel like either the food will be bad, or the recipes complicated, and it all just seemed like an expensive hassle. Well, I finally bit the bullet and tried PeachDish. I had a coupon code from an amazing food & editors event called Food Fete (look out for a recap!) that I attended, I quickly submitted my order and was pleasantly surprised when my PeachDish box was delivered shortly after.

PeachDish Review

My box included everything I needed to make two dinners, one being Lemon-Dill Chicken and Orzo Soup with Homemade Pita Chips with Herb Goat Cheese, and the other being Kale Salad with Pecans and Kumquats, and Pecan Crusted Mahi Mahi with Potato and Turnip Mash with Horseradish. I made a quick video of the cooking process involved with the first dinner so you can see how ridiculously easy the recipe was and just how tasty the soup looked!

I was so surprised with the Homemade Pita Chips with Herb Goat cheese, it was a really simple throw together part of the meal so I know how ridiculous it sounds but really, the pita chips were easy to make, crunchy, and so perfect with the goat cheese. The Herb Goat Cheese is actually from Vermont Creamery. I actually never been a big fan of goat cheese until now – it was really creamy, bright and tart without being overwhelmingly so. I’ve already hunted it down at Fairway so I can make the meal again.

Vermont Creamery Herb Goat Cheese

The soup! I swear I’ve made the Lemon-Dill Chicken and Orzo Soup at least four times since I tasted the first one. So good! I know the recipe by heart now, I mean, you could seriously stop me in the middle of the street and I could tell you how to make it right off the top of my head. I never thought I’d say this but it’s even better then Panera’s Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup – by far! The crazy thing about it is that it has so much great flavor – the leeks and carrots, chicken, and the lemon and fresh dill – it tastes like a hug from inside, and it’s insanely easy to make.

Lemon Dill Chicken Orzo Soup RecipeLemon Dill Chicken Orzo Soup

Unfortunately I wasn’t as thrilled with the Pecan Crusted Mahi Mahi. Maybe because I was spoiled by the soup, but I just didn’t get a lot of exciting flavor from the Mahi Mahi. However, the Potato and Turnip Mash was good, I would definitely make it again – maybe with some steak and a salad.

Pecan Crusted Mahi Mahi

Speaking of salad, I really liked the Kale Salad with Pecans and Kumquats. I made the mistake of not cutting off the kale stems so my jaw got one hell of a workout, and I didn’t let the salad sit long enough to let the kale soften. But other then that it’s a very healthy, bright salad that’s easy to throw together.

Kale Salad with Pecans and Kumquats

I would definitely order another PeachDish box – it was so exciting learning new recipes and discovering a couple favorites. I love that they packaged each dinner’s ingredients seperately and with care and feel like if you’re single or living with a roommate or are even just interested in learning a few new recipes, PeachDish is the way to go!

They deliver weekly, and you can even pay via amazon! Click here for more information on PeachDish as well as all the recipes they’ve already featured!

Picnic Pick-Ups at Duane Reade!

cbias-disclosure
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Spring! One of my favorite things to do is to grab a friend and picnic in the park. I’m lucky enough to live in a city where my park of choice is the ever-gorgeous Central Park, and there is nothing more lovely then a Spring picnic in Central Park. While it’s still too cold out to dig my picnic blanket out of storage, I did want to share with you guys my picnic picks from Duane Reade.

#DRSpringTime, #shop, #CollectiveBias

Duane Reade’s fresh foods section always offers snacks that are perfect for dining alfresco. Recently, I swung by Duane Reade, where Spring has already made a welcome entrance, and made a few (and I use that word loosely) snacking selections.

#DRSpringTime, #shop, #CollectiveBias

#DRSpringTime, #shop, #CollectiveBias
Salads are a great option for picnics in the park (or wherever), and Duane Reade has a ton to choose from. I chose Marinated Mozzarella & Tomatoes in Pesto and Mini Ravioli with Sundried Tomato in Pesto – oh my goodness they were both ridiculously tasty, I had to stop myself from eating all of both! The Marinated Mozzarella really has that great, bright Spring flavor. Love it.

#DRSpringTime, #shop, #CollectiveBias

The Prosciutto & Mozzarella with Fig Spread on a Cranberry Fig Ficelle was a new discovery for me and a happy departure from the standard ham and cheese. I was so worried that this was going to be dry and plain, instead it was surprisingly full of flavor. The mozzarella was creamy and the cranberry fig ficelle was a perfect bread choice for this sandwich. If Duane Reade sold the ficelle separately I’d be first in line to buy.

#DRSpringTime, #shop, #CollectiveBias

There are so many amazing foods to choose from, and I love that Duane Reade is so convenient. I can’t wait to for Spring – I know where I’ll be picking up all my picnic essentials from!

Cold days, and Greek Pastries…

I must be the only New Yorker that loves grey weather. I love when it rains (so long as it isn’t humid) and I love quiet snowy days. I dream of cool weather all year. I actually end up spending more time exploring the city and outdoors when it’s cold as opposed to when it’s warm. One of my favorite places to go, and one that I’ve stopped by frequently in this cold weather, is Poseidon – a Greek bakery at 629 Ninth Ave that’s been around since 1923.

Poseidon-Greek-BakeryTheir spanakopita is just what spanakopita should be – a crunchy phyllo shell with soft feta and spinach inside. Simple and reliably delicious.

Greek-Spanakopita-NYC
One sweet I can’t go to Poseidon and leave without is the galaktoboureko, a semolina custard pastry that’s both creamy and sweet and fairly drips of honey.

Galaktoboureko-Poseidon-NYC
We also had Trigona – an almond paste pastry surrounded by phyllo and honey. It wasn’t particularly memorable – but I’ve never been a big fan of this particular pastry.

Kourambieles-Greek-Cookies-NYC
I’m a die-hard cookie lover. I will try most any cookie – but this time it was actually my mom who introduced me to Poseidon’s delicious Kourambieles cookies. Almond butter cookies coated in a generous amount of powdered sugar make this Greek treat perfect for coffee, tea, or when you need a sugary fix. And yes, they do melt in your mouth.

Lemon Basil Bow Tie Pasta Recipe!

This recipe is one of my favorites, it’s creamy and tasty and just generally amazing! What’s really great is that it’s actually a very versatile recipe, for example you can change out asparagus for sauteed spinach if you prefer, or add more lemon zest and grape tomatoes for a more bright spring-like flavor. I just love it – the flavor of the lemon and the basil play wonderfully together. It’s a simple pasta that’s filling and flavorful, what more could you ask for?

Lemon Basil Bow Tie Pasta

Lemon Basil Recipe

12oz of Farfalle (Bow Tie) Pasta (about 3/4 box)
3 Garlic Cloves – minced
1 lb Asparagus Spears – cut into 1 inch segments
1 Small Onion – finely chopped
2 tbsp of Olive Oil
Zest of 2 Lemons
Juice of 1 Lemon
8 oz of Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise
Bunch of Basil, about 21 leaves – chopped finely into strips
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Boil the pasta until al dente, drain and let cool in a bowl. Add zest to the pasta and set aside to cool.

Farfalle

2. Chop up garlic, onion, and asparagus. Pour olive oil into a small pan at medium to low heat. Saute onions until they are translucent. Add garlic and chopped asparagus. Place lid on pan and let the mixture sweat until the asparagus looks bright green. Remove from heat.

3. Add asparagus mixture to the pasta and mix well. Allow to cool.

4. Once pasta is cool add the juice of one lemon, the Greek yogurt and mayonnaise. Mix in chopped basil and add salt and pepper to taste.

Oikos Yogurt RecipeBasilPasta Recipe

Drop me a comment and let me know if you try this recipe out and what ways you make it your own!

 

 

Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square!

Last night my sisters, brother, and I attended the annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square. We’ve actually been going every year since I was in high school, so it really has become one of my favorite family holiday traditions. While we all love the festive fun activities like the tree lighting ceremony, and the crafts for kids that are offered in many businesses from the Time Warner Center to 66th street, the highlight of the evening for us is the food!

We always start from Time Warner Center and work our way up to 66th street, they do offer a trolley but we just walk up. This year it’s estimated that around 20k people turned out for Winter’s Eve – the sidewalks were packed, but New Yorkers kept it moving. Winter's Eve Columbus Circle So basically, NYC’s local restaurants and bakeries sell small bites at $1-5 each at three different locations – Time Warner Center Columbus Circle, Lincoln Square Restaurant Row on Broadway between 62nd & 64th, and Richard Tucker Park on Broadway between 65th & 66th street.

We lined up at Sapphire Indian Cuisine and Asiate at Time Warner – they always have ginormous lines, and they also sell two of our favorites every year. Asiate does a delicious Beignet that is simply magical – we all bought our own because when something tastes that good, you just don’t share.

Asiate at Winter's Eve

Saphire Indian Cuisine serves Tikka Masala every year – and it is a hit every time. Seriously, the line there can get insane but the portion size is decent and the tikka is warm, delicious, and not too spicy. Sapphire Indian Cuisine at Winter's Eve Arpeggio Food & Wine had an amazing Panettone Bread Pudding, Rosa Mexicano had Mexican Hot Chocolate – they also do this every year and we love love love it! We also bought the Pasta e Fagioli and Chocolate Mousse from Cafe Fiorello, and Banana Bread Pudding from Magnolia.

Atlantic Grill served up an insanely delicious Mini Carrot Cheesecake with Winter Fruit Compote. Atlantic Grill is one of my favorite restaurants, so I was really happy to see them there. The tarty citrus flavor of the compote really went well with the creaminess of the cheesecake and warm flavors of the carrot cake. Atlantic Grill at Winter's Eve Landmarc served up a tasty Orrichette alla Norcina, and Gourmet Garage had my favorite Tomato Cheddar Soup. Francesco’s Pizzeria had delicious Zitti and Penne Alla Vodka – one of the more generous portions of the evening. La Boite En Bois served insanely good Mushroom Ravioli with a Light Cognac Sauce. The ravioli was one of my favorite dishes – it had surprising depth of flavor, and the cognac sauce was plate-licking good.

I’ve never been to Andanada, but based on what I had last night they are next on my list. I had their Campiñones rellenos de jamon, and Pulpo A La Gallega. The Campiñones rellenos de jamon had great flavor and was pleasantly salty, but the Pulpo is what really sold me on Andanada. Pulpo A La Gallega is octopus seasoned with olive oil and pimienton de vera served under mashed potato puree – and their’s was so good! The octopus was tender, and the mashed potato puree was creamy and played well with the flavors of the dish. Andanada at Winter's EveWinter's Eve PuppetsBar MASA at Winter's Eve We ate quite a lot, but it was so great being surrounded by fellow NY’ers and being able to try so many great dishes. We loved listening the the live music, and taking part in one of our favorite holiday traditions!

NYC Wine & Food Festival: Day 2

*This post is a part of my work with Progresso, however all opinions are completely honest and my own. For more information please see the PR tab above. Thank you!

My second day at the NYC Wine & Food Festival was pretty eventful – I definitely ate more, haha! There was less of a crowd, and I was able to actually stop at different places rather then being pushed along by a massive swarm of people. Here are some of my memorable eats:

NYCWFF FoodMore food from NYCWFF

My favorite was the smoked salmon from Domain NYC. They smoked the salmon right there and were drawing a curious crowd. They plated it in these little plastic orbs so that when you opened the lid your nose was flooded with the mouthwatering smoky scent of the salmon.

Domain NYC at NYCWFF

Another favorite was from Chipotle. Confessesion: I’ve never ever had Chipotle before – I know, I know, shame on me. However, if they turn out food as good as the carnita tacos I had from them at NYCWFF then they’ve won a new customer.

Chipotle at NYCWFF

I also had a great clam chowder – however, I had been eating for a few hours straight and was too full to finish it.

Clam Chowder at NYCWFF

In between eating I did manage to win a Rachel Ray grill set from the Progresso Artisan stage! I was so excited – I told you guys how I saw all these people on day 1 walking away with cool prizes, well, I absolutely did not expect to win one myself!

Progresso Artisan Giveaways

I have to say, one of my favorite moments from NYCWFF was meeting Ed Levine of SeriousEats.com. I’ve been reading Serious Eats since I was in middle school, and it was definitely a source of inspiration as both a writer and a eater. How much of an inspiration you ask? Well, between reading Serious Eats and Ruth Reichl’s books, I went from wanting to be a doctor to wanting to be a food writer, and I even went so far as to start my own NYC food blog while I was still in high school.

Progresso Artisan Stage Serious Eats Ed Levine and Kenji

Anyways, Ed was on the Progresso stage with J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (Serious Eats & The Food Lab – we’re also massive Kenji fans at my house), as well as other chefs who were dishing up their own soups as well as engaging NYCWFF attendees with tales of their favorite soups, ingredients, and techniques. Good times. Check out what the chef’s created!

Soup Number 1Soup Number 2

Later on restauranteur Joe Bastianich (Eataly, Del Posto, etc.) regaled the Progresso Artisan audience with everything from soup and wine pairings to stories of how he personally identifies with the Progresso brand, and more specfically their new Artisan Soup line!

Joe Bastianich at NYCWFF with Progresso Artisan SoupsI have to say, being a Progresso Artisan ambassador was awesome, and I can’t wait to share with you all what I thought of each of the soups – so stay tuned!