#WorldsLargestBakeSale with Sandra Lee hits NYC! #cbias

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This past Wednesday I headed out to support No Kid Hungry and the Food Bank of New York City at Sandra Lee’s (Food Network) World’s Largest Bake Sale! The bake sale was being held in Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central, and featured a slew of celebrity guests as well as about 30 of NYC’s finest restaurants and confectioneries  I knew it was going to be a hit, but I was totally unprepared for the crowds of people waiting to get their hands on some treats!

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The lined looked pretty daunting, but as in NYC, things moved surprisingly fast. You had to get stamped to get in, and every item being sold was $5 each – with proceeds going to the No Kid Hungry campaign and the Food Bank of NYC.

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Fat Witch Brownies and Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar were present!

You guys know I’m already a massive fan of Fat Witch brownies, so I was more than eager to get my hands on some. For $5 Fat Witch had a stack of three mini brownies wrapped prettily up in cellophane and ribbon.

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I also got my hands on both a passion fruit cupcake and a champagne cupcake – it was super crowded so I was thankful for the spill-proof packaging.

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My favorite purchase was probably the caramel s’more tartlette from River Cafe – it was so pretty, totally worth every penny, and tasted so good! I feel like this event was not just a great cause, but it also was such great publicity for all the restaurants involved – I’ve discovered so many great places, and am determined to at least take my mom to the The River Cafe!

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Many of my family members have altruistic professions, and my mom brought me up believing that you absolutely must give back. I love to volunteer and donate regularly – so helping to support a worthwhile cause like that of No Kid Hungry and the Food Bank of New York City – which is to combat childhood hunger – was a no-brainer, especially when all I had to do to show my support was to purchase loads of sweet treats, lol!

At the Worlds Largest Bake Sale I ended up spending $45 on everything from cupcakes to macarons and brownies. While that may seem like a small contribution, $5 is equivalent to 50 meals, and in a country where an estimated 16 million children go to bed hungry every night – even our smallest efforts can make a difference.

I loved how many fellow NY’ers turned up to support No Kid Hungry, now you can show your support too! From now until May 31st, Kmart will donate $1.00 to Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry (up to $10,000) every time you spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, or share a Sandra Lee recipe card with friends and family.

To find out more about how Kmart and Shop Your Way are supporting the Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry, check out the links below:

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Kmart and Shop Your Way for Sandra Lee’s World’s Largest Bake Sale.  #WorldsLargestBakeSale #cbias #SocialFabric

Momofuku Ramen – it’s what’s for lunch

It was years ago when I first read about momofuku on my favorite foodie site Serious Eats, and it wasn’t until recently during a lunch with my friends Cinny and Dana that I actually had a chance to try it.

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We were there at the 1st Avenue noodle bar location during lunchtime hours and sat next to the window (glass storefront) at the bar/counter area, it has a really nice atmosphere – although it can get really hot in there.

First of all, if I could change anything, it would be the seating. The bar stool and picnic table-like seating seems overly structured and not comfortable at all. But this is a small insignificant gripe, when what we’re really talking about here is the noodles – so here they are:

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We all three ordered the Momofuku Ramen, which features pork belly, pork shoulder, and a poached egg. Simply put, I loved it. The noodles were perfect and had a great springy consistency, the broth was tasty – if not a little salty, the egg was poached flawlessly, and the pork – I can’t say enough about the pork – it was insanely yummy, I would’ve been happy with a plate of that alone it was so good.

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The prices are a little steep – but the service was great, and the quality of food was worth it. I know there’s this raging debate among foodies about whether or not momofuku’s noodle bar is worth its weight in noodles, but I didn’t go there expecting fireworks or a luxury gourmet experience, I was just looking for a good lunch to have with friends and that’s exactly what I had. I definitely plan on returning, this time with my brother Shawn who is more of a ramen connoisseur than I am – and I have every intention of trying their famous pork buns.

Do you know of any good ramen places in NYC? Let me know in the comments below!

Red Carpet Ready Movie Night & Giveaway with Wholly Guacamole & Daily’s! Ends 2/28

You all know I’m a movie loving lady, so a couple of nights ago I had a little movie night get together in order to get myself psyched up for the Oscars – which are on in only two more days (depending on the time you read this post, lol)! wholly7

Wholly Guacamole & Salsa products are all natural, gluten free, contain no preservatives,

are non GMO, and are Kosher Certified.

Of course, no movie night party is complete without chips, salsa, and guacamole! Wholly guacamole makes my most favorite salsa so I was really excited to get my hands on some of their creations. I love how their salsa always tastes really really fresh – the flavor of the tomato really comes through, and it always delivers that really great spicy kick that I just love. Seriously perfect dipping salsa.

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I made some super yummy ham and provolone quesadillas to dip in our Wholly Salsa!

And no proper party is complete without some Daily’s, and it only seems appropriate to have champagne at a pre-Oscars viewing party! Daily’s has loads of tips and recipes that make entertaining a whole lot easier on their site here, and for the recipe for the (seriously) delicious celebratory drink – Peach Party Champagne click here or on the image below.

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And while I normally don’t cook at all for movie night, I just had to try Wholly Guacamole’s Guacamole Deviled Eggs (recipe here). Instead of using the basic guac, I used spicy guacamole – which added a welcome kick to the filling.

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These were surprisingly delicious and even more surprisingly- easy to make! I loved loved loved them and so did my movie-watching buddies!

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So because Joaquin Phoenix is nominated for Best Actor in a Leading role, we decided to watch (drumroll please)… The Village! Woohoo! The Village is one of my all-time favorite movies, I love the suspense and the relationship between Lucius (Phoenix) and Ivy and well as Lucius and his mom. However, our party lasted a little longer than I had expected and we also ended up watching another Joaquin Phoenix film – Walk the Line, which is also another all-time favorite! I own the soundtrack, and know the whole movie line for line and it never gets old. Phoenix does an amazing job as Johnny Cash to Reese Witherspoon’s June Carter Cash. It was a totally eventful, fun night, fueled with yummy snacks and drinks!

Now it gets even better, the wonderful folks at Wholly Guacamole not only invite YOU to join us at an exclusive “Red Carpet Ready” twitter party during the Oscars on February 24th! Just follow along with the hashtags #Oscars and #RedCarpetReady — share your movie night photos, dish on the Red Carpet fashion, and share your opinions on the winners and losers!

And in addition to your #RedCarpetReady invite, Wholly Guacamole will also be gifting one of my lucky readers with their own Red Carpet Ready prize pack including Wholly Guacamole and Wholly Salsa products, promo items from Wholly Guacamole and Daily’s, AND a $20 Walmart gift card! How awesome is that?!

To Enter, Please Leave One Comment PER Entry!

Mandatory

1. Like Wholly Guacamole on Facebook

2. Like Daily’s Cocktails on Facebook

3. Like The NYC Talon on Facebook

Optional, but much appreciated! Also leave one comment per entry for these as well!

1. Follow Wholly Guacamole on Twitter

2. Follow Daily’s on Twitter

3. Follow The NYC Talon on Twitter

4. Retweet this tweet:

Giveaway Ends on 2/28/12 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

*I was provided with product samples from Wholly Guacamole in order to facilitate this review. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Skeeter Snacks Review and Giveaway! 2 Winners, Ends 2/1

I’m an avid snacker, but more than anything I love having cookies and milk. Nothing beats the classic after-school snack, one of my all-time favorite cookies are from Skeeter Snacks. Perfectly buttery, yummy, and crunchy their cookies are simply put, amazing. One of my most favorite treats, Skeeter Snacks are more than just yummy cookies, they are actually peanut and tree nut free cookies!

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Right now an estimated 4% of American adults and 8% of children suffer from food allergies. With peanut and tree nut allergies affecting the majority of this population, an average of about 6 million adults and children have a peanut and/or nut allergy. So chances are you’ve probably heard about the precautions that must be taken for those that have such allergies. Maybe your child’s school no longer allows peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or maybe your kid isn’t allowed to bring in peanut M&M’s – the fact is is that something as harmless as a peanut can in fact end a person’s life. There are those who are severely allergic, and unfortunately many many snacks, treats, food, and sweets are made in facilities that process nuts and therefor make their product inedible for those adults and kids who are allergic to them.

There are brands and products out there that produce peanut and tree nut free snacks, but all too often they taste well, tasteless, and cost an arm and a leg. Skeeter Snacks is completely different, they’re reasonably priced and taste absolutely amazing! I would have never guessed that they were nut free if the adorable little Skeeter Squirrel’s (the only squirrel with a nut allergy) placard hadn’t suggested it.

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Skeeter Snacks comes in Chocolate Chunk, Golden Oatmeal, Skeeter Doodle, and Chocolate Cubed. I don’t have any nut allergies, but I’m in love with these cookies! They are all seriously delicious, and they have the approval of both the kids and adults in my family. In fact we’ve already decided to switch from our mainstream well known popular brand of chocolate chip cookies and buy Skeeter Snacks instead. We all love that Skeeter Snacks as brand not only produces an amazing product, but that they provide resources and information for kids and adults wanting to learn more, or who are looking for support in being proactive about peanut/tree nut allergies.

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Now about those cookies, I tried to find a favorite but I really just couldn’t choose. The Golden Oatmeal was just this warm mellow sweet oatmeal-y cookie that brought me right back to my childhood, when my mom used to give my sister and me oatmeal cookies while we did our homework. The Skeeter Doodle’s were super yummy – they had crystallized sugar on top, were super buttery, and had this great crunch. I’d say they are the ideal tea or coffee cookie. The Chocolate Chunk was really good – the perfect crunchy CCC.  And the Chocolate Cubed delivered some serious chocolate flavor – I loved how the cookie was crunchy but the chocolate chips were melty, I don’t know how the folks at Skeeter managed to do that but it was so good! And yes, all of them make a perfect afternoon snack with a glass of cold milk!

Now here’s that giveaway you’ve all been looking forward to, lol! Skeeter Snacks had been kind enough to offer TWO of my lucky readers and chance to try each of Skeeter Snack’s cookies! How cool is that? Here’s how to enter to win:

Leave ONE comment PER ENTRY!

Mandatory

Follow Skeeter Snacks on twitter

Like Skeeter Snacks on facebook

Optional

Like The NYC Talon on facebook

Share this giveaway via social media (twitter, facebook, etc.), and leave a link!

*I was sent a product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own, and not influenced in any way. This giveaway is only open to those who are 18+ residing in the USA. The prize will be sent by the sponsor at their expense. This giveaway ends at 2/1/2013 at 12pm. For more info, please see my PR tab at the top of the page- thanks!

Petit Amuse: December 2012

I know this is late, but I thought I’d post my review of the December Petit Amuse box – now you guys know how much I love this foodie box, and I was particularly excited about their December box because that seems like the time of year that most subscription services pull out all the stops. Also, it gave me a chance to shoot a couple pictures using the new food-themed background that I created as a canvas for photos – let me know what you think!

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Petit Amuse is curated artisan treats box – they don’t offer as many product samples as Love with Food, but what they do offer is a chance to try and support small-batch food processors. I’m not going to compare the two, because I love them both and I feel like they offer two completely different foodie experiences.

In December’s box I received a jar of Champaign Valley Apiaries Crystallized Honey. I was super excited about this – not only was the sample significant, but I’m also a major connoisseur of honey (or most anything sweet & tasty) so getting to try a new kind was pretty exciting.  Crystallized honey is a thicker form of honey, nutty and sweet, Champaign Valley Apiaries Crystallized Honey makes an exceptional spread (seriously, get yourself some honey, a baguette, and some jam and you’ll be all set!).

I also received a pretty little tin of Coco-Zen Chocolates – I love that Coco-Zen is not only made from organically grown cocoa but they are also a fair trade certified product. Unfortunately I never had a chance to try them because, in keeping with the season, I gifted the chocolates to a family member – however, she told me that they were amazing!

I’ve never been much of a nougat fan, so this is in no way a bad review. The Va de Bon Coeur Nougat was packaged prettily, but it just didn’t do it for me. However, Va de Bon Coeur nougat has received glowing reviews from Gourmet Weekly and Edible Green Mountain – and it’s reasonably priced!

Interested in trying out Petit Amuse for yourself? Click here to subscribe, for only $10 a month (plus $2 shipping) you can try seriously decadent treats, and support small, local, brands!

*I was not compensated in any manner for this box. I bought the box, and I blogged about it – thanks for reading!

Love with Food: December 2012

I was super happy to receive my December Love with Food box! Love with Food was so on the money this month- I even ended up discussing LwF and their December box in the middle of a twitter party the other day. Suffice it to say, LwF has many fans in the twittersphere.

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So here’s what was in this month’s box: Honey Cinnamon Almonds from Nunes Farms, Holiday Salt Water Taffy from Taffy Town, Belgian Milk Chocolate-Dipped Nutter Butter from the Big Chocolate Dipper, Candy Cane Truffles from Kara Chocolates, Mocha Mint Cappuccino from Hills Brothers, Gingerbread Boy from Nikki’s Cookies, Chocolate Tasting Squares from Madecasse, Fleur de Sel Caramel Popcorn 479 Popcorn.

Now I totally get that the Honey Cinnamon Almonds from Nunes Farms is a simple treat – but oh boy did those almonds pack some seriously yummy flavor. They seriously tasted like a warm bowl of cinnamon oatmeal or avena (a Hispanic version of oatmeal). I definitely see myself buying these in the near future, and would gladly swap in these almonds as a healthy breakfast alternative!

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My younger brother (Shawn) ate up all the salt water taffy, and he’s a super picky sweets eater – so they must’ve been amazing! I was not a big fan of the chocolate tasting squares from Madecasse, maybe it was just the one that I tried – it didn’t have a lot of chocolate flavor and felt like it was high in cocoa butter. However, my older sister loved the squares so I’m willing to give Madecasse the benefit of the doubt. The candy cane truffles from Kara Chocolates were soooo good – I already purchased some from the LwF store!

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I’ve always been a massive fan of Nutter Butter, so seeing one dipped in Belgian milk chocolate pretty much did it for me. I loved it, and am totally planning on purchasing some in the future (I think they’re already sold out on the LwF shop). I’m saving my Mocha Mint Cappuccino mix for Christmas vacation, but it sounds amazing. The whiter chocolate gingerbread boy was also delish – the white chocolate base melded deliciously with the spicy kick of ginger. It would be absolutely perfect with a cup of tea in my opinion.

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The 479 Fluer de Sel Caramel Popcorn was one of my favorite items from the box – everyone in my family are now massive fans of this light, sweet & salty treat – I can hardly believe that popcorn this yummy is only 100 calories! If you see it in any store near you, please please please try it I promise you won’t regret it!

So what do you think? Have you tried any of these products before? Do you subscribe to LwF? What did you think of this month’s box?

If you don’t yet have a Love with Food subscription and would love to try it out please click here for more deets and to subscribe! For $10 a month you not only get a box full of yummy treats, but for every box purchased LwF donates a meal to hungry children in America! Makes a great holiday gift as well!

Enter to win a Navoh Emily Tote (ARV $100) from Linger Rose! #holidaygiftguide

My most favorite seasons of fashion are fall and winter, but I absolutely love when I find a piece that is so versatile that it’s appropriate for every season. So when I received my Navoh Nicky crossbody bag in yellow from Linger Rose I was super excited. First of all, I think I should point out that the bag was carefully wrapped and shipped wonderfully – in fact, I even received it right after hurricane Sandy and the package was in perfect condition.

Anyways, I absolutely loved the bag – the bright yellow really pops against darker winter outfits and compliments both the lighter and brighter hues that are bound to show up come spring and summer. The Navoh Nicky was very fashion forward, and I should mention also photogenic. I had such a great time shooting photos of the Navoh Nicky for the Linger Rose pages in The NYC Talon’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide – which you should totally check out by clicking here! If you follow me on twitter, or on instagram (if you don’t please do! My user name is nyctalon, or just click here) then you might have seen some fashionable sneak peeks.

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As a part of Linger Rose’s feature in the gift guide, they’re also giving away a gorgeous Navoh Emily Large Top Handle Tote valued at $100!!! How exciting is that?! To make entering the giveaway even easier, I’m giving you the entry code right now! All you have to do is click the image below to get taken to the rafflecopter form and use the entry code “Linger2012”!

Click this image to be taken to the rafflecopter for to enter to win!

Click this image to be taken to the rafflecopter for to enter to win!

Good luck! For more giveaways, please check out The NYC Talon’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide – we’re giving away loads of gifts this year!

Click to be taken to the gift guide

Casting Call: Are you the next XSRE girl?! Find out this Saturday at the Paramus Towne Square XSRE Store!

Attention all fabulous fashionistas!!! Are you model material? Do you have serious style? Do you take zillions of fashion related instagram pics? Or do your friends always ask you for outfit advice? Then you might just have what it takes to be the next XSRE girl!

This Saturday only Paramus Towne Square new XSRE Store is hosting an open casting call for their next XSRE girl. One lucky fashionista will win a six month modeling contract and become the face of her store!!!

All guests will have the chance to giftcards through XSRE’s facebook promotion, and the chosen XSRE girl will not only win a 6 month modeling contract, become the face of her store, but also be feature d on XSRE’s website and ads, receive an all-expenses paid trip to NY for photo shoots, and receive monthly $100 XSRE giftcards!

So if you’re heading out to Paramus Towne Square to do a little holiday shopping this Saturday – then get glamorous and stop by XSRE’s store between 2-4 pm and have your photo taken by a professional photographer and maybe you’ll be the lucky fashionista to win!!!

Here are all the details- and good luck!

Love with Food: November 2012

This month’s Love with Food box was curated by TLC star Amy Roloff (of “Little People, Big World”) and was fairly packed with some pretty darn good treats! This box had a Thanksgiving theme that was pretty cute, and included 8 product samples – which is more than most boxes will include. Anyways, without further ado, here is what was in Love with Food’s November box:

A Dark Chocolate Truffle Piglet from Hagensborg Chocolates, Inka Corn from Inka Crops, Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Skeeter Snacks, Mango Pear Pineapple squeezable snack from Fruit.o, Mini Blueberry Almond Crunch from Mrs.May’s, Turkey Bak Kwa Jerky from Little Red Dot Kitchen, Original Mulling Spices Blend from the Aspen Mulling Co., and Pumpkin Spice Decaf. Tea from Stash Tea Company.

Out of this whole box there was only two brands that I was already familiar with – which is great, because Love with Food is essentially a food discovery subscription box service. Now I am already a massive fan of Stash Tea, and always have some in my cupboards nowadays. But I had yet to try their new seasonal Pumpkin spice tea – which I absolutely fell in love with! It tastes like thanksgiving in a cup. I also knew about Skeeter Snacks. I had discovered them in the swag exchange room at BlogHer and cannot get enough of these totally nut-free cookies- so even though I had tried them before, I was super thrilled to see them featured in this month’s box!

The Inka Corn is really really yummy – it gives you plenty of tactile stimulation, and tastes like movie theatre popcorn! Harvested from non-GMO crops, Inka Corn has only three ingredients (corn, palm olein, and sea salt) and makes a great snack. My mom also has a Love with Food subscription, so I was able to pilfer her Truffle Pig and try both the dark chocolate and milk chocolate versions – the packaging and truffle shape is adorable, and the chocolate was pretty good too (the dark one has a stronger, more chocolate taste).

I have yet to try the turkey jerky and mulled spice blend – I’m saving the spices for Thanksgiving apple cider! The Mrs.May’s mini crunch had great packaging, and the product was cut into perfect little squares – but I can’t say that I was overly impressed with its taste or flavor. And the Fruit.o was great, I’m such a big fan of squeezable fruit since I tried the GoGo Squeeze in last month’s LwF box so I was thrilled to try a new brand this month. Fruit.o is almost like the grown-up version of GoGo Squeeze, they’re both super yummy and super convenient.

Altogether the box was amazing – so kudos to Amy Roloff and LwF! Want to try out Love with Food for yourself??? Now until 11/30 you can use the code ‘HOLIDAY12’ and get $5 off any Love with Food subscription plan! That means you would get your first box for only $7!!! It would be super if you could use my referral link here if you decide to give LwF a try!

I can’t wait to see what LwF has in store for December – to see my review for their December box, make sure you subscribe via email, twitter, and/or facebook and never miss an update! Comments are always welcome!