Brunch & Trunk

May 24, 2012

A couple weeks back, my friend Leslie hosted a little “Brunch and Trunk” gathering for Mother’s Day. It was a great setup of gifts that are not only perfect for Mother’s Day, but any time of year– from soaps to jewelry and bags. My fantastic flower friend, Jess also had some of her lovely potted plants for sale. And the food was just as great as the gifts. Leslie’s delicious menu consisted of a peach, tomato and mozzarella salad, a broccoli pasta dish and chicken pesto sandwiches. As for dessert, she put out chocolate covered saltines and strawberries.  A perfect springtime meal and quick and easy enough to make when you’re expecting a large crowd!

Peaches

Jess’s Potted Plants 

Peach, Mozzarella and Tomato salad

Jewelry

Chicken Pesto sandwiches

Chicken sandwiches and tomatoes

Not too long ago my parents and I spent an afternoon in Skaneateles, a favorite small town of mine, situated in the Finger Lakes region. There are plenty of great spots for dining on the lake, or stopping through the nearby vineyards, but a few miles into farmland and you land yourself at the quiet Elderberry Pond for a relaxing afternoon lunch in the country. A certified organic farm, the fresh seasonable fruits, vegetables and pasture raised meats are right aside the restaurant with a delicious menu showcasing their homegrown fare.

Happy Friday! x

Grilled organic chicken sandwich served on a fresh bun with swiss cheese, sauteed mushrooms and rosemary mayonnaise

Freshly cut certified organic spinach, free range eggs and fresh garden herbs prepared in a savory quiche style and served in a freshly baked tart shell

Vegetable Soup

Crab cakes served on a bed of greens prepared with tropical blue crab and served with chipotle mayonnaise

Salad

Skaneateles Lake

Say Cheese

May 9, 2012

New food surprises are constantly popping up around the Upper West Side, and my latest favorite is Say Cheese, another one of those farm-to-table concept places I love so much. Stopping by this take-out stand to do a little taste test one afternoon, we tried three of their gourmet grilled cheeses including the candied bacon/gruyere, the parmesan/swiss/truffle and the swiss/gruyere/apple compote. All perfect combos for a killer sandwich. For dessert, they were kind enough to bring out a toasted marshmallow and nutella, and lastly, we couldn’t leave without trying the snow cone flavor of the day: organic strawberry with balsamic glaze. Run by the catering company, Scoozi Events, I was a huge fan of their decor, feeling like I was just transported to a family-owned country stand on a farm, far from the middle of Manhattan.

Candied Bacon Grilled Cheese

Rosemary Lemonade

Marshmallow & Nutella

Truffle Oil Grilled Cheese

Strawberry Snow Cone

Best of Portland, ME

May 5, 2012

If only given one night out in Portland, my top suggestion would be to spend it at Fore Street Restaurant in the city’s Old Port District by the waterfront.  Although I went sans camera that Friday night, I still had to give it a shout out. Situated along a cobblestone street by the water, it’s a warehouse chic loft space that follows the farm-to-table concept with an open kitchen. Certainly worth stopping by. Saturday morning we popped into Local Sprouts Cafe for breakfast. Known for their local and organic food that comes fresh from farmers and fisherman around the state, it’s more than just a cafe, but rather a center for Portland’s creative community. Paired up with Bomb Diggity Bakery, I was able to enjoy an amazing egg and goat cheese sandwich with some english muffins for the road. Lastly, we couldn’t leave Portland without grabbing some handcrafted micro roasted coffee from Coffee by Design. In the mood for a smoothie instead? Check out Maine Squeeze!

Harbor Fish Market

Harbor Fish Market

Triple mango, coconut with yogurt, honey, orange juice and soy smoothie

Local Sprouts Cafe English Muffins

Local cage-free egg sandwich with housemade pesto, goat cheese and tomato

Local sprouts cafe

Vanilla Latte from Coffee by Design

While I ventured Upstate for the weekend, Donna D stayed local, and spent her Saturday taste-testing Williamsburg. Check out her great shots!

Every Saturday on the Williamsburg waterfront between North 6th and North 7th St., from 11am to 6pm, Smorgasburg brings together food entrepreneurs and established purveyors from New York City and across the region selling both packaged and prepared foods, fresh produce, and other food-related stands. The market is open rain or shine, and man-oh-man, did I get my eat on this past weekend. As you can see from all the photos, I sampled a lot of food. I think I managed to hit up 50 vendors. Some of my favorites were the Lime-in-the-Coconut candy bars from Liddabit Sweets, the S’morgasm from S’more Bakery, braised Pork Belly with sliced cucumber, pickled jalapeno, scallions and hoisin from Bite Size Kitchen, and a shot of Vichyssoise soup from Sea Bean Goods [they are a micro-soupery which I’m dying to try their soup subscription]. If you don’t already know, I have an obsession with carbonated water – so obviously Brooklyn Soda Works‘ Apple Ginger Soda was a major hit to my taste buds. I also picked up some of Grady’s Cold Brew which is a New Orleans–style coffee concentrate and the best staple for a girl that doesn’t have a coffee maker.

Barnacle Billy’s

April 29, 2012

Sipping a Barnacle Billy’s lemonade was a flashback to my childhood summer holidays to Maine. A casual port-side hotspot to get your fresh lobster rolls and sit out admiring the fishermen charm of Perkin’s Cove, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Not into seafood? The burgers are a simple but tasty alternate. To burn off the calories, Marginal Way– a scenic trail along the rocky coast– is a great post lunch activity.

Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll & Marginal Way

Lobster

Burger

Fresh lemonade

Perfect for a Picnic

April 19, 2012

When I was back in Syracuse browsing through Wegmans, I discovered a combo for the perfect snack. Their fresh apple cider bread, with actual pieces of baked apple throughout, is amazing enough eating it alone. But topped off with brie and a nut/raisin spread made it complete. Easy enough to pack in your picnic basket the next time you’re looking for an outdoor snack.

I’m off to Maine for a few days to shoot those beautiful New England coastal towns and delicious local seafood fare. Be back next week! x

Apple Cider Bread

Brie and nuts spread

Apple Cider bread with brie and nut spread

Time for a BBQ

April 16, 2012

After a gorgeous summer-like weekend, how can you not be in the mood for rooftop and backyard barbecues. One of my top picks for quick and easy recipes on the grill are these chicken spiedies marinated in Lupo’s Original Endicott Style Spiedie Marinade. A local Upstate favorite that has an amazingly tasty flavor, if you aren’t in the neighborhood you can check their flavors out online.

Happy Grilling! x

Chicken Spiedies

Twice baked potatoes

A Day in D.C.

March 20, 2012

This past weekend I had a wonderful time visiting friends in Washington D.C. Saturday was spent partially at Clyde’s, a pub in Georgetown to cheer on my alma mater, Syracuse, in the NCAA basketball tournament and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and the other half was spent enjoying the beautiful sunshine around the neighborhood’s quaint streets. We started off the morning with delicious chive and goat cheese biscuits from Baked and Wired, followed by their best-selling cupcakes, a vanilla cake with fresh strawberries folded in the batter and finished with a swirl of pink buttercream. It’s never too early in the day for one of these! We filled our appetites in the afternoon at Clyde’s with their top recommendations– wings, Bloody Mary’s and a crab tower. Lucky for me, with the early spring temperatures, I was even able to catch a glimpse of the beautiful cherry blossoms around the city’s sites.

Chive and Goat Cheese Biscuit

Georgetown

Chive and Goat Cheese Biscuit

Baked & Wired

Best-selling strawberry cupcake

Baked & Wired

Cupcakes & the Capitol

Cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial

Strawberries

An afternoon snack

Wings from Clyde's

 

Is it Summer Yet?

March 14, 2012

Last night I was strolling around the neighborhood in short sleeves after I thoroughly enjoyed a dinner at the New York Historical Society. The streets were buzzing, the restaurants overflowed onto the sidewalks and the smell in the air was that of a summer evening. Whether it’s here to stay or not, I’m daydreaming of the months to come, especially for those weekend trips out to the Hamptons. Here’s a little taste from Donna D…

Last April the bf, babies, and I headed to the Hamptons for a weekend of rest and relaxation. It was one of our first times experiencing the far East-end of Long Island and it was the perfect escape from the craziness of NYC. I am quite happy that we chose April because it saved us some major money and it wasn’t crowded with all the cool kids that come during the summer. The weather was also perfect despite forecasts of rain. We stayed at the charming Hampton Beach House and spent the weekend playing on the beach, eating good food, and touring the many dog-friendly wineries. Some of the highlights of our trip included breakfast at the Mexican inspired Estia’s Little Kitchen, sampling wine at Paumanok, Duckwalk, and Pindar vineyards, shopping for our picnic lunch at the The Village Cheese Shop, and watching the beautiful spring sunsets on the beach.

Paumanok Vineyards & Pindar Vineyards

Owner, Rosemary, putting together the cheese for our picnic at the The Village Cheese Shop

The Village Cheese Shop

Owner, Rosemary, preparing a sample of cheese at the The Village Cheese Shop

The Village Cheese Shop

Lunch

Duckwalk Vineyards

Paumanok Vineyards' wine & Bread, goat cheese, fig jam, and olive

Blueberry Port at Duckwalk Vineyards

Bread, goat cheese, and fig jam

Pindar Vineyards

Picnic Lunch

The Cook at Estia's Little Kitchen preparing our breakfast

Sophie’s Crab ‘n’ Eggs with avocado on an english muffin at Estia's Little Kitchen

Guacamole, chips and salsa at Estia's Little Kitchen

Morning coffee at Estia's Little Kitchen

Spring sunset on the beach

Sunset