Hip and Happening in the Foodie World

*This was supposed to have gone live last week. I am so sorry for the delay! I thought that I posted, but there it was in drafts. I am also sorry that I don’t have the hotel review for you yet. I’m still trying to figure out how to best share the information in the blog’s new format. See y’all next week for SURE!*

Hi all!

Here are the latest pieces I have written during my first week at the new gig – seaweed that tastes like bacon!? Whaaaa?

http://mashable.com/2015/07/16/twin-peaks-restaurant-london/ – a “Twin Peaks” themed pop-up  in merry olde London Town?! Yes, please!

http://mashable.com/2015/07/18/famous-tv-food/ – because you know that the first scene of every “The Big Bang Theory” episode has you reaching for your takeout menu drawer.

http://mashable.com/2015/07/15/seaweed-bacon/ – there is now a seaweed that tastes like BACON?! What’s next, mushrooms that taste like foie?!

Fritos and Foie Gras: The Evolution

Hi there, hungry internet friends.

Before I scare you (yeah, I flatter myself), let me assuage your fears – I am not going anywhere! Fritos and Foie Gras is here to STAY!

However, it, like so many living, breathing entities, must evolve in order to survive.

I’m ecstatic to announce that I have accepted a position at Mashable. I’m going to be working on all things food and really couldn’t be more thrilled. This is basically a dream job for me.

That means, of course, that lots of my food-oriented work will have to be focused there instead of here.

Here you are going to find a lot more hotel and travel reviews, NYC-centric events, and – of course – all of the links to my work on Mashable.

After a one week hiatus, you can count on 2-3 days of posting from me – definitely Monday and Friday.

This is an exciting step for my career and I have to thank all of you for helping me get here. When I started this blog 5 years and 5 days ago (exactly!), I only had a vague idea of what I wanted it to embody. I just knew that I loved everything about food and that I wanted to share that with like-minded people. I didn’t know how to get the word out. I didn’t know how I would ever find you or how you would find me. But the love of cheese, foreign potato chips, and heirloom tomatoes is strong, man. People found this blog and became more than mere page views or commenters – they became a meaningful component of my life. Some became dear personal friends. Some became professional colleagues. Some traveled with coast to coast with me and some have corresponded with me for ages to debate the merits of East Coast vs. West Coast egg rolls. Many  accompanied me to epic dining experiences and a few even danced at my wedding and allowed me to dance at theirs. You have been my inspiration, my cheerleaders, and oftentimes my proofreaders. You have read my opinions and brought my family’s favorite recipes into your homes. You have a huge part of my  heart – you ARE a huge part of my heart.  You have, quite simply, defined my purpose: I want to connect people through that fundamental need that we all have to share, to connect, and to break bread.

See you on Monday, 7/20 with a new hotel review.

And thank you so much for this chapter of Fritos and Foie Gras…here’s to the next one!

The Best Chocolate Croissant of My Life and Other Eats

This was a damned good eating weekend.

Excessive? I don’t know if I would go THAT far…after all, celebrating America’s independence is about eating and doing what you want when you want.
20150702_130108 Maman

This casual French bakery/cafe was recommended by the delightful Katie Quinn and it lives up to expectations. Small but with a comfortable dining section in the back, this is perfect for a light lunch and a fluffy, moist chocolate chip macadamia cookie. The salads are filling but light – the zucchini noodles with pesto, the summer squash salad with feta, and the farro salad are all winners. And – I repeat – don’t miss that cookie. ‘ 20150703_204218 Magnolia cupcakes

Not that they are so great, but if you don’t lifehack cupcakes, you are sooooo missing out. Finally you can enjoy the perfect amount of frosting with every bite of cake. It’s a little messier, but isn’t everything in life that’s great a little messier? 20150705_094313 Maison Kayser

Simply put, the best chocolate croissant of my life. Sorry, Paris. This plie au chocolat (flat croissant with custard and chocolate) is dynamite. The genius is several layers deep. Firstly, the croissant dough is wonderfully crisp and airy, with no heavy doughiness – this offsets the rich filling. Secondly, the filling is complex – rich but not goopy custard baked until it’s pretty firm is interspersed with deeply chocolaty chips. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the filling goes all of the way through. None of that “tiny stick of chocolate in the middle of a huge croissant pillow” that most pain au chocolat offers. This is dispersed evenly from bow to stern and it’s a sugary, fantastic treat. Great for breakfast, for dessert, or for a snack any day of the week.

Hitting the Road for July 4!

The title says it all!

See ya Monday morning for some delicious eats!

The Best Room Service Foods

I love room service. One of my earliest foodie memories is my dad teaching me that if you stay in the Disneyland Hotel once a year, you can pick up the phone and 20 minutes later, fresh Mickey Mouse pancakes will come to your door. You can eat them in your bathrobe with warm maple syrup and watch cartoons on the tv while you think about the awesome vacation day ahead of you.

Obviously, I was hooked.

However, not all food does well in room service. Soups universally arrive cold and gloopy. Cold cut sandwiches are usually flaccid and unpleasant. And for PETE’S SAKE, room service pizza should be served only to prisoners on death row.

If you wanna order room service like a champ no matter if you are at the Holiday Inn or the Ritz, here’s what you order:

Club sandwich

The room service gold standard. These toasted, multilayered sandwiches are made for hotel room service. They are great when made with plain ole turkey and iceberg lettuce. They are sublime when served with house roasted turkey and homemade garlic aioli. They are great with french fries, potato chips, or any other number of side dishes. Great warm or cold Perfect for a hangover breakfast or a midnight snack. Club sandwiches are always divine, but hey are the best when order them in your hotel bathrobe.


Caesar salad

My favorite salad of all time, and it’s ideal to order for room service. It is ready relatively quickly, is light enough to eat before going to sleep, and has a similar flavor profile worldwide – you know what you’re getting. You can often supplement it with salmon or chicken for an extra hit of protein, and if you need a side dish that isn’t fried, this is always the way to go.


Burger and fries

Old faithful. Gotta love it. The burger is always better at a fancier hotel but I have had some damned good room service burgers at lower end establishments. There’s just nothing like meat, bread, and a pile of fried potatoes. Sure it’s better when the beef is locally sourced, the bread is brioche, and the fries are covered with Parmesan and truffle oil, but I’m not picky when it’s late and I’m jet lagged – are you? I always order extra condiments because I love tiny jars of mayonnaise and ketchup. If you don’t, I’m not sure that we should be friends.

Ice cream

Cake can be dry. Cookies can be as hard as hockey pucks. Ya know what always delivers? Ice cream. As long as it arrives in a semi-frozen state, I’m good. Whipped cream? Sure! Nuts? Love ’em! But I’m happy with a dish of plain chocolate ice cream if I need something sweet and you will be too. If your work is footing the bill, take a Snickers from the minibar and break it up over the ice cream for a mini sundae. You’re welcome.

Pasta (if it’s a great hotel)

Yes, this one has a caveat. I have had some truly wretched room service spaghetti – cold, gummy, weirdly sauced with bits of red peppers and worse.


The best bowl of pasta I have ever had in my life was in my room in the Park Hyatt Tokyo. It arrived al dente, piping hot, and tossed in the most beautifully bright, complex, garlicky, savory tomato sauce. Served with aged Parmigiano Reggiano and warm foccacia. And I have had a few incredible bowls of spaghetti Bolognese since then at similarly high-end hotels. If you’re splashing out in a great hotel, hit up the pasta section of the menu and you are unlikely to be disappointed.

Summer Lovin – These Treats Will Do Nothing For Your Bikini Body

But they sure do taste great!


Barcibo Enoteca

This is such a gem, hidden in plain sight. It’s right on Broadway with a tiny but comfortable summer patio and serves delicious Italian small plates with a great selection of wines by the glass. It’s a little more expensive than it should be, but happy hour includes all glasses of wine and beer and the food isn’t good, it’s great (not the stodgy veal meatball, but everything else). The burrata crostini is especially memorable. The cheese isn’t so wet that it soaks the bread, but retains enough creaminess to put your heart into shock. It’s layered with garlicky pesto and a single juicy, perfectly roasted tomato. A fantastic accompaniment for a glass of semi-dry prosecco.


Dough Loco

After my girl Sarah told me how amazing this place was, I had to check it out. Hot damn, she was right – this place is on point! Though the prize for best yeast doughnut still belongs to Doughnut Plant, these donuts are legit, especially the incredibly tender crumbed, light cake doughnuts. The best ones are the ones where light and bright countered heavy and fried. The Creamsicle and blood orange doughnuts are especially memorable with thick, sugary, citrus-shocked glaze.


The City Bakery

A damned good chocolate chip cookie. Thin but still chewy and gooey on the inside – warm when I ate it. The cookie’s genius lays in its size – it’s large enough to be a small breakfast but small enough to be a large dessert. Love it.

Sanctuary at Camelback: Beauty in the Desert

Okay, headed back out of NYC for one quick post.


I spent some time at Sanctuary on Camelback, which is lauded as one of Scottsdale’s finest resorts. Click on the below link to take a little look:



It was a great trip to be sure. My only small issue does not have to do not with the facilities, the room appointments, or the truly fabulous spa (the reflexology treatment is a dream). The location is ideal, the rooms are spacious, and the bar at nighttime is gorgeous. My only issue with the hotel is an intangible and small issue with the service. Everyone was extremely kind and accommodating, but we had to ask for so many things that I felt should come naturally (same day steaming, stamps and enevelopes acquired if necessary, quicker action to quiet a rowdy room, etc) at a resort that charges this much per room. Look, this was a very good hotel – great, even. But for the prices they charge, I feel that there should be a few more intangible services that are offered at the highest level of hotels. That said, if you get a great deal on a hotel room here, you should stay here. The staff is wonderful, the surroundings are beautiful, and the room service is impeccable. Just brush up on those few services and it will be a hotel for the ages.

*I stayed at this hotel on a media rate. All of the opinions expressed are my own and unbiased.*

Jane, The Fourth, and Beyoglu: Hit ‘Em Up!

Where you should eat and why:

20150621_102727 Where: Jane

Why: Avocado goat cheese sandwich

Avocado toast is so passe, don’t you think? This avocado toast is layered with ripe tomato, sprouts dressed in a tangy, mustardy vinaigrette, and a slab of somewhat funky, ripe goat cheese. The goat cheese sounds like it would be overkill, but it’s really sensational. It livens up the avocado, adds a meaty taste, and – well – it’s goat cheese. What’s not to love?! If you come here with the family, ask to be seated in the large, quiet downstairs room. It’s a hidden gem.
20150619_093133 Where: The Fourth

Why: Gluten free banana pecan muffin

I’m more of a gluten-full girl than a gluten-free girl. I get giddy at the mere mention of sourdough. But this muffin is really da bomb (do cool kids still say that?). It’s incredibly moist and studded with toasty, crunchy pecans. The banana taste is sweet, and vaguely floral without being over the top banana-y (which, trust me, I HATE). It’s not too sweet, so it can handle a swipe of butter and sticky-sweet blackberry jam. The surroundings are lovely and that muffin is really damned good. A great space for a breakfast meeting.

20150616_123500 Where: Beyoglu

What: Mezze sampler

This Turkish spot is a favorite among foodies and city dwellers of all sorts and I can see why. It’s a lovely, airy restaurant with a huge menu. The lunch specials are well priced, the service is quick, and the portions are good. The food is downright delicious. Fluffy, fresh bread and some flaky sigar borkei are warm, flaky, and cheesy. That mezze platter is just fabulous – loaded with garlicky hummus, creamy yogurt cacik, smoky babaganoush, and a host of other dips. It’s big enough for a light lunch between friends that will leave you satisfied but not stuffed or uncomfortable. Total win.

These Woulda Been Great Father’s Day Gifts

I’m always a day late and a dollar short, right?

Father’s Day was never a big deal growing up, because my mom always said that if every day wasn’t Father’s Day, one day a year wasn’t going to help. However, my husband and his family are huge on it – so, now I do the whole Father’s Day shebang. Brunch. Cards. Gifts.

About those gifts…mine are usually 2 weeks early or 3 days late. If you are like me and still need a present for the foodie dads in your life, here is what I would choose:


Chiriboga Blue Cheese

This is the best blue cheese I have ever had in America. It’s beauty lies in its subtlety – this doesn’t punch you in the nose with its taste or texture, it gently seduces you into loving blue cheese. It’s incredibly creamy and buttery. Though there are obvious blue flecks in it, it isn’t overly funky or mushroomy. It just has pops of tart, tangy, savory flavor amidst the wonderfully creamy texture and mild flavor. It’s pricey, but hey – it’s for dad, right? Serve it with some fig jam and a cranberry-nut bread and you will be in for a massive treat.


Johnnie Walker Platinum

My husband’s favorite whisky – he loves it even more than the far pricier Johnnie Walker Blue. I find it to be smooth as far as whiskey goes, which is still too strong for me. However, he swears that it’s all vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch, especially when you serve it with one gigantic ice cube. Maybe the dad in your life would love it, too!


Fuego Box

I was sent this as a press gift and OMG I LOVE IT!!!! You get 3 different types of hot sauce in each monthly shipment, complete with tasting notes. These are hot sauces that I have never tried before and some of them I like to eat plain, some I like to use as ingredients when I cook, and some I drink with a straw. It’s incredibly cool to get deliveries of hot sauces from small batch producers all over the country – I’m now addicted to one I would never have tried (Frankie V’s Spooky White is ACTUALLY insane). Thos is an amazing gift for the chile head in your life.

Any other great food gift ideas, for Father’s Day or any other time?

Upland: Justin Smille’s Restaurant Now Delivers Big Time

20150606_175140 So, we went back to Upland. It’s still pricey but the growing pains are over. Wow, is it sensational.  20150606_175457 Every cocktail we tried was extraordinary. This one, made with chartreuse and summer sugar snap peas, is verdant, fresh, and a little savory. Appetizing, not too strong, and beautiful to boot.  20150606_182712 Meyer lemon with stracciatella, anchovy, and spring garlic

Sensational. Crispy, yeasty, airy crust topped with milky, stretchy stracciatella. It’s layered with slices of burnished, tangy lemon and notes of savory spring garlic. The anchovy is undetectable, but the pie is so addictive that you know that the anchovy’s umami powers must be at work. Don’t miss this sensational pizza.  20150606_184432 Cacio e pepe and chicken liver pastas

Both unforgettable. I am still dreaming of that cacio e pepe. I had never had this traditional Roman dish and I was shocked at how satisfying it was. Creamy, al dente, spicy, toothsome…incredible. The chicken liver pasta is meaty and fragrant with hints of woodsy rosemary and sharp Parmesan cheese. The pasta here looks like it came out of a play-doh machine and is undeniably fun and cute. Big win.  20150606_190335 Short rib with black olives, celery, and horseradish

Chef Smillie’s signature dish and one of some controversy. I can see why – this is damned good. Not overseasoned or aggressibely prepared – it has a heavy, pleasant char and lets the meat’s flavor and tender texture shine. The horseradish is applied sparinly and provides a zip and zing to the crispy celery salad and soft, meaty short rib.

Upland offered a great night. The service is excellent, the bread is still fabulous, and all of the food is now up to par for the prices. A lovely special occasion or date restaurant – I can’t wait to return.