Culinary Council Demo: Todd English on 11/9

I’ve been following Todd English for a long time; probably since before culinary school. He’s a very talented chef, seems to be an awesome dad and person, and was wonderful to me each time I’ve had the pleasure of encountering him; not to mention, he’s incredibly handsome. I’ve met him twice over the years, and I appreciate him more & more with each time. He’s always friendly, engaging, and playful. This past demo in Macy’s Herald Square he was playing peek-a-boo with the audience while he was being announced and cracking jokes like we were best friends (Ha, I wish). I love that. I almost didn’t make it to this demo too, but I’m so glad I did. Big shout out to fellow blogger and sweetheart Johanny Casillas and Jenna from Macy’s PR for making it happen, especially on such short notice. Check out Girls On Food for a bit of a recap of the event!

2016.11.09 Macy's MCC with Todd English
Chef & I. Photo appears courtnesy of Kent Miller Studios for Macy’s

*Sam

 

 

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NYC’s First Ever Dessert Fest is coming, October 23rd!

Get your stretchiest pair of yoga pants ready, because October 23rd is going to the sweetest day of 2016 for New Yorkers.

Dessert Goals is NYC’s first ever Festival dedicated to the sweet side of dining, taking place on October 23rd from 12:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Attendees will be be able to mingle with many of NYC’s popular dessert vendors, including Boba Guys, Macaron Parlor, Melt Bakery, Doughnut Plant, and more! The event will be staged at 64 Dobbin Street in Brooklyn, NY.

Tickets are available in two categories; General Admission & Workshop. Both versions of tickets include admission into the event where guests can purchase and sample desserts from all the vendors, a special staging photo area specially designed for deliciously instagramable photos, a photo booth, access to a rooftop lounge overlooking Manhattan, and unlimited coffee from Intelligenista, & Bodum. The Workshop category includes all of the fore mentioned benefits, as well as a session with some of Instgram’s top food influencers, discussing such topics as to begining one’s own food blog, how to make Instagram & social media your full-time job, and more.

On that note, tickets are very limited and extremely hard to come by. There was an early bird launch a week or two ago, and they sold out in 15 minutes. I wasn’t able to get them then, but I was able to (barely) score two tickets today when they re-launched at noon. I was at my computer well before, just patiently waiting & refreshing. The site was probably unprepared for all the traffic that it was bombarded with, because when the page refreshed between 11:59 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., tickets were listed as  unavailable. I was frustrated and baffled as to how tickets could be sold out before they even launched, and after several minutes of angrily refreshing the screen, some tickets appeared as if by magic and I added them to my cart faster than you can say “Willy Wonka (R.I.P. Gene Wilder)”.

The Museum of Ice Cream had a similar situation in which ticket demand exceeded supply, and they put out more tickets after the initial ones sold out. That said, I’d suggest signing up for the e-mails/notifications in hopes of an additional launch Here. Best of luck, and I hope to see you there!

*Sam

Bite Beauty: The Multistick

I love Bite Beauty. As a foodie, I appreciate that the ingredients they use are food grade quality, and it doesn’t hurt that the names of the products are food related (#nerd) as well. They’ve recently released a new product called The Multistick, which is supposed to be a 3-in-1 product that you can use on your eyes, cheeks, and lips. The Multistick comes in 18 colors and costs $24 each. You can buy them at Sephora or Sephora.com. The packaging is sturdy and metal with a soft, rubbery texture, and I adore the magnetic closure!

I have this product in 3 colors; Blondie, Cocoa, and Macaroon. The formula is rich, creamy, and pigmented, right on par with other Bite items. I have normal/combination skin, most of my face being normal and the nose area and T-Zone are oily, especially in the summer months.

I’ve worn 2 colors on my face as blush (Macaroon and Blondie) with NYX Angel Veil primer and L’oreal Pro Matte foundation, and I’m pleased with the wear time. I wore it to work (I work around food and drinks) and when I got home 10 hours later, the color wasn’t as pigmented, but definitely still there. While they don’t last all day on my lips (it’s a traditional cream formula), the formula is moisturizing and really easy to apply. Macaroon is a beautiful everyday color for that. I’ve also tried Blondie as a sort of one color eye look, and it worked nicely for that as well. I’m light complected, so it looked somewhat like my skin, but with a hint of natural color. I imagine Cocoa would make an awesome vampy lip color, contour color for the right skin tone, or even eye liner or shadow color, but I have yet to use it.

I personally only found “negative” to this product, and it’s not that big of a deal since I don’t make a habit of sharing cosmetics, but I could see how one might think this product could harbor bacteria. It might be wise to sanitize the surface before applying it directly to the various sections of your face, or you could use a brush, but other than that, I’d rate this a solid 4/5, definitely worth repurchasing when the time comes.

*Sam

 

*DISCLAIMER: I received these products from Influenster to try, but all opinions are my own. I’m disclosing this because I’m cool like that, and lying isn’t nice.

 

 

 

 

Double the blog, Double the Fun!

Clearly this blog doesn’t have a lot of content on it yet. I suppose that’s because it’s self funded and I hardly ever any extra cash to visit anything more than a Chipotle thanks to my best friend Sallie Mae. Should you be feeling some Sam withdrawl, know that I do write for another blog as well.

I’ve been writing for Girls On Food since about the time of my birthday, August of 2015. Julianne is an awesome boss. She’s pretty chill, and gives us GOF ladies lots of creative freedom & encouragement. I love the blog because it’s just…fun, for lack of better terminology. Most of the girls are not pro critics themselves, nor is Pete Wells on their speed-dial. However, a small number of us, myself including, are currently or have at one point been professional foodies in one respect or another. Julianne encourages an atmosphere that’s lighthearted and relaxing & simple; we write about things we love, and don’t bother with the things we don’t. Although I do love a well written, properly structured food piece myself, sometimes it’s therapeutic to write about your favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s, or like in my most recent piece, your favorite winter comfort food. Mine happens to be grilled cheese and tomato soup. Simple, sure. However, things are classics for a reason.

Check out Girls On Food for some more content from me, as well as some other food-fascinated ladies from around the country.

*Sam

Battman & Genevieve

I met Battman some time in late November, I think. He’s one of the most recognized food photographers in NYC. You may even know some of his non-foodie work on the ever popular New York City Fireman Calendar. He’s worked with many amazing chefs on various projects and features his work on The Chefs Connection, sort of like a Facebook for chefs. He was kind enough to bring me on some assignments with him, as well as introduce me to some great people. Keep reading to find out a bit more on Genevieve Meli, a New York City pastry chef.

Genevieve Meli never had that “aha!” moment that told her she wanted to be a pastry chef. It was simply something that was rooted in her core, written as if it were a part of her genetic code. “I was just born into it…I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.” I had the chance to sit down with Meli recently at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, where she is the Executive Pastry Chef. We laughed about life & times at The Culinary Institute of America and living in the Hudson Valley, and she let me into her personal life a little bit. She walked me through the journey of how she started, where she’s worked, some culinary struggles here and there, and a few other moments all-leading up to today’s time; a time where she has her own staff at a successful New York City restaurant, a time in which her first cook book, Sweet Nature, is about to launch, a time in which Meli’s career is only beginning to bloom, and she is unstoppable.

Meli knew from a young age that she wanted to be a pastry chef. “I want to be an artist!” is what she told her parents. When they challenged her with the whole “starving artist” bit, she told them she was going to be a pastry chef, and the rest is history, as they say. Although her history is sprinkled with some culinary giants, including Karen DeMasco, Gavin Kaysen, and Jacques Torres, just to name a few, Meli remains incredibly humble. “I just want to create and have a good time doing it!” she stated with so much happiness. Meli’s passion and energy was contagious, and I enjoyed scribbling down her thoughts. At one point during our chat I remember her leaning over and ask “What are you writing over there? I hope you got something good, I’m kind of boring, ”she said, as she tried to peak at my notes. However, I found her to be anything but boring. Meli is incredibly focused and driven, but very calm and easy to talk to. She’s partial to a “very zen kitchen,” no nonsense. Her kitchen is her sanctuary, a sacred place in which she and her staff create edible art. While she’s perfectly content with where she is now, Meli aspires to own her own little chocolate shop somewhere in the Hudson Valley in the future. Until then, stop by Il Buco and try on of her sweet creations!

 

 

Brunch Blunder at The Terrace

I was digging through some of my old files, and I came across this piece. I wrote it, but for whatever reason, it went unpublished. Perhaps “better late than never” would apply here. The timeline for this piece was the the first week of August, so keep that in mind when reading lines that describe warm weather and sunshine.

*Sam

All seemed to be going well when Brunch began, despite the fact that two of my four guests were fashionably late.  The weather was gorgeous; sunny and in the low 80’s, not humid in the least bit, which only enhanced the view of the clear New York City sky from The Terrace at the Yotel Hotel that afternoon. Avid NYC brunch goers may remember this restaurant being called Dojo, before being slightly updated and re-opened as The Terrace for the last few weeks.

We were sat immediately at a table that gave us the ability to “people watch” along the entire length of the terrace we sat on.

The hostess explained how the brunch menu worked, offering unlimited cocktails and three choices from the “small plates” category, for $45/person, and then left us to study and choose our boozy libations and plates of goodies…it was somewhat of a bumpy ride from here.

The first (and somewhat continuous) obstacle was getting the attention of our server, let alone any server, for that matter. I don’t know if they were just unable to hear us trying to get their attention over the music, or if they had serious tunnel vision while walking up and down the service path, or perhaps they were unable to keep a pulse on the amount of time between visits. A server finally approached us nearly 15 minutes after being seated, and we ordered drinks, as well as our choices for the small plates. The drinks arrived soon after, and we enjoyed them…followed by another round, and then another…having to flag down a server each time.

Three rounds and 45 minutes later, our first courses had not yet arrived. We were able to get the attention of the server, who may or may not have known the food was delayed as he interrupted with “I just checked with the kitchen, it’s almost ready” as a table mate was looking for a status report on our plates, as guests that came in after us were already getting served and enjoying. Ten minutes later, our food still didn’t arrive, but a manager did, apologizing for the delay, and said he would remove a portion of the bill for the inconvenience, which was a pleasant surprise.

The rest of the courses arrived in a timely manner, but I noticed what I thought to be temperature issues (keeping hot foods hot, and cold foods cold) in two out of my three plates. My first course was the Peach Bourbon French Toast. Although it was tasty, it was lukewarm. The same thing happened with my second course, the calamari in a Teriyaki glaze. After this, I decided that I might want to bring this to a server’s attention, as this didn’t seem “HACCP” or easy to eat, in my opinion. The flavor of the batter or the sauce didn’t suffer, but since the calamari was cool, it made it a bit more difficult to break down and chew. The server explained that this item wasn’t meant to be served hot out of the fryer, but room temperature, as I had received it. I have never seen room temperature fried calamari before, and I never hope to again. It wasn’t pleasant to chew at all, nor was it even remotely “food safe.” I didn’t even want to finish it. My third course, the Cubano sliders were nice and hot, the cheese was ooey and gooey, but I think this dish would have been more appropriately named Cordon Bleu slider because of the ingredients. The other three guests were satisfied with their meals, including portions, temperatures, and flavors, except for one, who claimed he was still hungry and that portions were small, but I can’t say I took this to heart, as this particular guest makes the same complaint about nearly every place that isn’t an “all you can eat” type establishment.

Overall, I wasn’t wowed. Although the views and the presentation of the food was beautiful, it wasn’t enough. Maybe this was just an isolated incident and I was just the “lucky” one? Perhaps they’re still working out the kinks since the re-open? I adored Dojo and enjoyed coming back every time. However, after this experience, I’ll let The Terrace have some time to develop and perfect their routine before I come back for the next time.

The Terrace at Yotel Hotel

570 10th Ave (Between 41st & 42nd Street) New York, NY 10036

(646) 449-7790

http://www.yotel.com/en/hotels/yotel-new-york/eat-drink

Introductions & First Impressions

Hi. For anyone who cares to read and/or know, I’m Sam, and this is the billionth time I’ve tried to get this blog going. However, I’m hoping this will be the last one; the “liaison finale,” the one that brings it all together. See my culinary humor there?! No? Perhaps next time.

I love food, and I’ve loved it for a long time. Eating it, making it, and sharing my experiences about it to anyone that’ll listen. My love of food exists on a deeper level than just sitting at a table, stuffing my face, and posting about it on Yelp. I love food with all of my senses. The smell of a freshly baked chocolate croissant coming out of the oven is just magical. The sizzling sound that a steak makes when it comes in contact with a hot surface and begins to sear…The rainbow of colors in a fresh salad bowl…the rich & smooth texture of a French style chocolate ice cream…That’s why I went to culinary school. I was going to be a pastry chef; a sweet making sorcerer, wielding my knife and my spatula as if it were some sort of magic wand. I also aspired to be a multi-talented individual…someone like Anthony Bourdain and Ruth Reichl that not only cooked, but also had the opportunity to share about the experience of it to an audience.

I can still remember the restaurant that jump-started it all; my love of food, and wanting to share about it to anyone that would listen. I couldn’t have been more than six. It’s called Edgar’s, and back abut 20+ years ago it was located on the UWS on 84th & Broadway, if I’m not mistaken. I remember seeing it for the first time, and being hypnotized immediately. It was small, but quaint. I believe there was a savory side to the menu, but I was drawn to the pastry case; it seemed to glow like the halo of angel, containing so many different sweets inside it, it was difficult to pick just one. I even remember writing about it in school for some essay assignment the teacher gave out. I guess that was my first ever food writing piece; I kind of wish I had a copy to look at right now. Edgar’s still exists today, but it has since migrated to 91st and Amsterdam. But, that’s a story for another time. I won’t bore you with a little girl’s thoughts that are well over twenty years old.

Let’s hit the fast-forward button to now. The movie Spaceballs comes to mind; particularly the scene where Lord Helmet and Colonel Sanders put in a copy of the movie to locate an answer to their dilemma and are “looking at now.” Hehe *cheesy grin*. I’m in my very late 20’s, and unfortunately, not as accomplished as I’d hoped and set out to be. I’ll spare you the “I didn’t come from much and life was a struggle to get to where I am” speech, but I hoped that I’d be in a bit of a different place than I am now. Life unfolded itself in a less than stellar way, and I’ve been continuously working to change that. I’m not in the restaurant world anymore, and I’m saddened by that thought. I’m stuck working a full time job that’s of no interest to me whatsoever because I can’t afford to work in a restaurant. I don’t have a well-known blog or column. Ruth Reichl and I aren’t BFFs, and we don’t go out in disguise reviewing restaurants together. I’ll always remember meeting and getting to talk to Anthony Bourdain, but he probably doesn’t remember ever meeting me. So, here we are. These are going to be my thoughts, the bits and pieces of my life. I hope you stick around and continue on this journey with me. If not, that’s cool too. See you around.

*Sam