Top 5 Restaurants for NYC durning the Holidays

>> Monday, December 22, 2008

Here are some pictures I took this weekend of New York during the Holidays. After the pictures are my top 5 restaurants of choice for the Holidays (this is for you Emily!)

Here are my Top 5 Restaurants in NYC:

  1. Craft - Tom Collichio's flagship restaurant; American cuisine done right

  2. Novita - Italian food with a touch of flare in Gramercy Park

  3. Caracas Arepas - Venezulean Arepas at a unique East Village restaurant

  4. A Salt and Battery - Traditional fish and chips in the heart of the West Village

  5. Alta - I think Alta will forever hold a special place in my heart because it was one of the first places I ate in New York, but to this day I still think it has some of the best tapas in the city, not to mention its in the wonderful, West Village


Top Chef Talk

>> Thursday, December 18, 2008

So this week was another Holiday themed episode, and hey, I'm seasonal so I like it. The Quick Fire Challenge feature the goddess of all things domestic, Martha Stewart, and she tasked the chefs with creating a one pot wonder…

Here were the results:


  • Jeff – potato risotto (too starchy)
  • Eugene – Korean stew (didn't like corn syrup)
  • Fabio – polenta (couldn't tell mushrooms from polenta)


  • Hosea – paella
  • Jamie – scallop and kale
  • Ariana – beef on top of cauliflower puree

Winner: Ariana (SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY, I mean, she had Padma spit out her food)

So after Ariana wins immunity and the challenge is presented: Create dishes based on the theme of the 12 days of Christmas for an AIDS foundation for Guest judge Natasha Richarson


  • Jamie – 7 swans a swimming – crudo of scallop in vichyssoise with lemon agrumato, leeks and micro greens
    • problem: serve too raw, no one like temperature
  • Eugene – 5 golden rings - Poisson cru with pineapple ring and gold Yukon potato chip
    • too sweet
  • Melissa – 8 maids a milking – sourdough crustini and gorgonzola cheese with NY strip and cranberry vinaigrette
    • problem: all you got was cheese


  • Hosea – 11 pipers piping – smoked Pork tenderloin with chipotle mashed potatoes and apple brandy jus
  • Jeff – 10 lords a leaping – seared halloumi and kasseri cheese with roasted beets, pears, mint and spices
  • Stefan – 12 drummers drumming – chicken pot pies with English peas, white asparagus thyme and parsley
  • Radika – partridge in a pear tree – braised duck leg on toasted brioche with pear chutney and toasted pistachios

Winner: Hosea wins!!

Loser: NO ONE. Ok how lame is that? Holidays or not I still want someone kicked off, because, oh yeah, that's the point of the show. They always say "remember this is a competition" but yet they do things like this!!!!

I can only hope that in the next episode Melissa goes home. I don't know why, but she bothers me.


Walnut Basil Pesto

>> Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So as of last week I had never made pesto before. Straight up, I was scared. I was scared of the food processor. I mean how can anything that moves that fast be okay? I feel like once you turn it on you're done, there's no turning back, once it's in the processor it shall be fused together and become one forever -- whether you like it or not...

Acknowledging this fear, and being pushed by my desire for some delicious pesto, I decided to make some walnut pesto, using the food processor.

Ingredients (approximates of course, makes about 1 1/2 - 2 cups)

  • 2 cups basil

  • 1/2 cup walnuts (more if you like a nutter pesto)

  • 2-3 garlic cloves

  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesean cheese

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (approximately 1/3 cup)

  • Salt (to taste)


Ok not kidding this couldn't be easier. Basically you coarsely chop the walnuts and the garlic.

Then, you throw the basil, walnuts, garlic, parmesean and salt in the food processor. This may be the ONLY hard part, once the food processor is turned on, through the top SLOWLY start to add in the olive oil.

Overall, this process should take a minute, maybe a minute in a half.

Once its over you are left with delicious and nutritious walnut basil pesto. Slather this on a tortilla with some mozzarella cheese and there you go - pesto pizza (more on that later...)

Plus the green is just so jolly for the Holidays :)


Top Chef Talk

>> Friday, December 12, 2008

If you are just tuning in read my summary about last week's Top Chef.

So this week was a pretty good episode, I mean you could completely tell which dishes succeeded and which ones fell short, but that's ok because 3 out of my 4 team members did pretty well.

This week's quick fire was to test out the chefs palatte and have them face off against each other by challenging each other to name a certain number of ingredients...The first round was a shrimp and lobster boulibassie which actually contained 30 ingredients, but I believe the maximum "bet" was 7 ingredients. The next round was a thai basil curry sauce, and again this had a lot of ingredients, but I think 7 was the top again...

Then there were 3: Carla, Stephan, and Hosea. The last sauce was a Spanish Mole sauce. Carla got knocked out the first round and Stephan shortly after that, leaving Hosea (eh hem, on my team) to win immunity.

For the elimination challenge the chefs were tasked with catering Gail Simmon's (top chef judge and editor for Food and Wine magazine) wedding. The twist: the food must revolve around the 4 wedding themes of something old, something new, something borrow and something blue.

Here's a breakdown of the 4 teams:

  • Something old: Jeff, Stephan, and Hosea
  • Something new: Eugene, Danny and Carla
  • Something borrowed: Jamie, Radhika, and Ariana
  • Something blue: Fabio, Melissa, and Leah

The two standouts were something old and something borrowed.

Something old, used an heirloom tomato which sits old on the vine and created a trio of dishes around the tomato. Something borrowed, "borrowed" their flavors from Radhika, who is Indian, and a spice from Jamie's secret stash. They created a lamb dish with a spicy carrot puree.

I'm going to be honest, I didn't think the tomato dish looked that great, but everyone that actually tasted it really seemed to like it. However, the lamb dish, looked incredible.

In the end the "borrowed" team won and Ariana took home another elimination win (seriously... seriously...I can't believe she is still around). Jamie was NOT happy about that! She basically had such an attitude and thought that she should have won...

The something new group took the fall and Danny was sent home. I don't even want to talk about their dish, because I didn't understand it at all.

I am really hoping the weak continue to be picked off and this competition starts to get really heated...

What are your thoughts on this season??


Top Chef Talk

>> Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ok so I love Top Chef. I've loved it since season 2 when Sam Talbot stole my reality TV heart and showed me more reasons to love food. In fact, I would credit Top Chef to igniting the flame in my foodie heart.

This season is no different. With each season the Chefs are getting better and the bar set higher. Some people that appeared to be super weak in the first two episodes have gone on to redeem themselves (eh hem Ariana).

Each season Jef and I do a pseudo-fantasy Top Chef team. This year I chose:

  • Fabio - the little Italian that has proved himself as tough competition
  • Hosea - the Colorado Chef that has studied under Wolfgang Puck and has stumbled some, but looks promising
  • Jeff - the pretty boy from Florida who is Chef de Cuisine of The DiLido Beach Club
  • Radhika - the Fench and Indian trained chef with a nack for spice and bold flavors

Even though I had to pick second I am really pleased with my team this season...

Anyways we are into the 4th episode of the fifth season and already had some interesting challenges. This week for the quick fire challenge the chef were asked to create a breakfast dish using Rocco DiSpirto's favorite ingredients (bacon, bread, eggs, overall nothing that unusual) but to make it an amuse-bouche (a single bite appetizer). The standouts were:

  • Leah
  • Jamie
  • Stephan

Leah ended up wining and scored immunity. For the eliminated challenge the chefs were tasked with creating a 2 minute demo of their dish with the prize of winning a spot on the Today Show demonstrating their dish to millions of Americans. The winner would be chosen by the Today Show crew (Meredith, Kathy Lee etc.)

The stand outs were:

  • Jeff - his middle eastern flavored roll
  • Fabio – seared tuna with roasted carrots and balsamic glaze
  • Ariana – New Jersey beef steak tomato, watermelon, and feta

The bottom three:

  • Jamie – frisee salad with duck egg, bacon
  • Melissa – habenaro shrimp
  • Alex – crème brule

Jamie suffered from an undercooked egg and a bad attitude when she realize it, Melissa shrimp burnt everyone's palette and Alex decided to do an impossible task - create a creme brule in an hour. In the end it was time for Alex to pack his knives and go. Ariana ended up winning (which I think was only because she created the most generic dish that everyone could like).

This season is starting to get interesting and the weakest players continue to be knocked out. Should be interesting as the season progresses!!



Share |

  © Blog Design by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

Back to TOP