On May 23, 2019, I had the privilege to attend the American Cancer Society 14th Annual Taste of Hope event in New York City. I purchased my VIP ticket in person at $300 which included a gift bag and early access to food and drink. This year’s event had four honorees: Dana Cowin was this year’s Survivor Honoree. She served as Editor-in-Chief for Food and Wine Magazine from 1995-2016. She recently launched “Speaking Broadly”, a podcast that focuses on highlighting and linking amazing women in the food industry. There were two culinary honorees: The first honoree was Ralph Scamardella, Partner and Chef of the TAO Group. The TAO Group consists of restaurants such as TAO Uptown, TAO Downtown, LAVO, Dream Downtown, Dream Midtown, and Legasea in New York City alone. The Group also have restaurants in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The second honoree was Michael Lomonaco, Chef/Partner of Porter House Grill and Bar and Center Bar both located in the Time Warner Building in Columbus Circle. Recently, he opened the Hudson Yards Grill in Hudson Yards. Finally, we had a corporate honoree. This year’s honoree was Otto Cedeno founder of Otto’s Tacos. Otto’s Taco has been part of the American Cancer Society community for the past three years and is known for his awareness for Breast Cancer Month every October by selling “pink” tacos.
There were lots of food especially lobster which I am allergic to. Since I had a heavy steak meal the night before I went pescatarian for this event. Therefore, here are my favorite savory and sweet tastings from the event:
For an event that was held at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, it was a success. Personally I cannot wait for next year’s 15th Annual Taste of Hope event scheduled to take place on Thursday May 21, 2020. Stay tuned for more details for details.
A few days ago my fiance and I finally had dinner here at Red Salt Room in Garden City, NY. The restaurant was fairly quiet that evening which made it easier to talk. The food was more expensive than King’s Bar but you will be paying for a tasting on a budget. The chef/owner, GM Steve and our waitress/server Christine were very accommodating and took care of us. Service was fairly quick and although the presentation of the dishes appeared small they were deceivingly filling. We ordered a salad, and two sides.
Salad: We were curious with the heirloom tomato and ricotta salad because it was different from the heirloom tomato and burrata salad served from other restaurants. The presentation of the dish was deceivingly small but artistically whimsical. It is a healthy dish consisting a huge slice of tomato that could pass for a tomato steak on top of pesto with grilled peaches and ricotta on the side. The overall dish tasted good as individual components but combining all the components together makes the bite and taste complete.
Side dishes: We ordered truffle steak frites and tomato gratin. The flavor of the truffle steak frites were reminiscent of the truffle fries I had back in the day in David Burke Townhouse. I do miss the truffle fries, but I knew what I was getting myself into whem I ordered the steak frites and thank you Christine for the heads up about the thickness of the potatoes. The steak frites can serve as a main dish for one or a side dish to share with 2 or more people. My fiance was curious about the tomato gratin our waitress Christine was knowledgable and raved about the dish. The dish was definitely sharable for 2 or more people it is reminiscent of a chicken parmigiana without the chicken. We loved the tomato gratin and a great semi low carb vegetarian dish to order.
I definitely want to return one weekend for brunch and the next Long Island Restaurant Week.
Hello everyone, it’s been a long time since I last posted, I don’t even remember when I wrote something here (that is really bad). I hope this post makes up for not posting since my review of this year’s NYC Winter Restaurant Week.
Over six weeks ago, I have had the privilege to attend my first Healthy Food Expo/International Restaurant and Foodservice Expo and CoffeeFest at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. This was a three day event and it was the best three days I have had in a long long time. I was honored to meet and learn from empowering chefs and health care professionals. It was so much connecting and reconnecting with people who share the same passion in food and healthy eating. There were food tasting and presentations. I went to 6 presentations that day and they were all amazing and inspiring. For the Healthy Expo I attended the presentation(s) entitled:
The Power Of Spices and Their Health Benefits by Dr. Kanchan Koya, Health Coach and founder of Spice Spice Baby which addresses evidence based science behind the health benefits of spices such as curcumin an active ingredient from in tumeric. Her presentation of spices and its health benefits are informative and resourceful. Check out her blog and follow her Instagram page: Chefspicemama and Twitter page: Kkoya.
For the International Restaurant and Foodservice Expo I attended four cooking demos by Chef Marcus Samuelson who made a pasta dish and a very tasty scallop dish while sharing his empowering and inspiring journey to pursuing his passion in the culinary arts. Now I am interested in reading his memoir titled “Yes, Chef: A Memoir” and hopefully one day this summer I can make a pit stop Red Rooster and try his famous fried chicken. Check out his website on his impressive accomplishments and follow him on Instagram and Twitter: marcuscooks.
The next day, I was ecstatic to attend cooking demos by thriving women chefs Anita Lo and Amanda Cohen. In addition, I learned how to make pasta in a food processor by Fabio Viviani and watched a Meatless Monday cooking competition. I enjoyed hearing Anita Lo talk and cook her awesome cauliflower chaat with almonds. Her story was inspiring because she is also a first generation Asian American who is living her passion. Unfortunately I did not make it to one of her initial restaurants Annisa, I was lucky to even win her new cookbook “Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One” and replicate some of the recipes. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter: AnitaLoNYC.
Next I stayed to listened to Amanda Cohen’s story behind the ups and downs of starting a vegetarian restaurant and maintaining it. Her persistence, creativity and passion for cooking vegetables is remarkable and I have learned so many ways to utilize a simple vegetable such as a carrot. I have yet to eat at Dirt Candy but all my peers and friends that have eaten there raved about it and told me to eat there. Yes, Dirt Candy is on my bucket list as one of the restaurants to go to this year (God willing). I was impressed how Amanda created her famous and popular dish Carrot Risotto and Carrot Dumplings. She utilizes a lot of science and technique to make this dish high end while utilizing ingredients on a budget. I have tasted this dish and it was amazing. Unfortunately, I failed to get a good clear photo of this beautiful dish. Luckily I won her cookbook “Dirt Candy: A Cookbook” which contains this recipe and I sense a calling to replicate this dish. Check her restaurant’s website and follow the restaurant’s Instagram: dirtcandynyc and Twitter: dirtcandy.
Chef Cohen’s cooking demo was followed by Chef Fabio Viviani’s cooking demo on making fresh fettuccine with roasted pine nuts and basil pesto. He made fresh pasta using a food processor, his method was 4 tablespoons of flour per 1 large egg. His demo made it look so easy as it took about two minutes to create the dough on the food processor. After the dough is made, if the dough is too sticky and wet add more flour and if the dough is too grainy and starchy add a little water. I was so excited of how simple and quick to make fresh pasta that I tried it at home. Luckily I won his cookbook “Fabio’s 30 minute Italian” which contained the recipe of replicating the fresh pasta. I have attempted to make the fresh pasta, but more on that later. I felt that the demo was rushed and quick due to time constraints. In addition, he was also the judge for the next food demo – The Rapid Fire Challenge, among three chefs themed Meatless Monday. The winner wins $1000.
On to the Rapid Fire Challenge the three way battle of the best Meatless Monday dish. The challenge was judged by: Maria Loi, Cookbook Author, Greek Food Ambassador, and Healthy Lifestyle Expert; Peggy Neu, President of The Monday Campaigns ; Gennaro Pecchia, Co-Host of Rolands Food Court at Sirius XM and Chef Fabio Viviani who is also a restaurateur. The challenge started with Chef Patricia Washuta from Orlando, FL who presented the following dish: Impossible Meatless Kefta, which was creative, tasty, healthy, low carb and budget friendly. Check out her audition video of the dish on YouTube.
The second dish was presented by Chef Heidi Liv Tompkins from Heidi’s Health Kitchen in New York, NY who presented her dish: Mock Tuna Recipe. The dish is gluten free, plant based, organic, paleo and therefore, healthy.
The final dish was presented by Chef Lisa Sereda from Wine Time based in Chico, CA who presented her Walnut “Meat” Stuffed Anaheim Pepper, which was my personal favorite because of its presentation and taste.
After tough judging from Maria Loi and debates about the origin of food among the judges, the winning dish of the Rapid Fire Challenge was the Mock Tuna by Chef Heidi Liv Tompkins. Congratulations Chef Heidi!
In addition to the amazing talks and demos I have had the privilege to experience, I get to sample various food products from new businesses who are seeking to sell their products in US markets. There were so many amazing new products out there are creative and healthy. It was a honor to be a participant in tasting these products before they go out to the distributor(s).
My favorite savory tastings from the expo were the:
Aliments Mello Inc – Smoked Meat Brisket Sandwich – the meat melts like butter in your mouth
Synear Shrimp Supreme Dumpling promoted by Walong Marketing – Dumpling is really good; the filling was amazing; this brand does not skimp on the shrimp.
Mama’s in the Kitchen Breaded Shrimp was the perfect balance of shrimp with breading. The breading can be purchased online. They also have breading for chicken and fish.
Chef Fun Foods seasoned fries using the shake bags: these fries shakened with various flavors. My favorites were BBQ, garlic parmesan and sour cream and onion.
BeItalian Meatballs and pecorino in cooked wine – these meatballs were freshly cooked and very authentic. The dish was a collaborative effort organized by Lombardia Fiere.
VegeWorld Vegetarian meats from Malaysia and I was impressed by the taste of the products. My favorites were the Vegetarian Lamb, Vege Roasted Chicken and Vege Hawaiian Chicken.
Gianni’s Chicken Burgers were awesome chicken burgers made locally in Long Island. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture, but I can testify that I will be ordering these burgers online. In addition, their burgers are sold at local supermarkets in White Plains and Huntington. My personal favorites were Jalapeno Popper Chicken Burgers and Original Chicken Spinach Burger.
My top 5 sweet tastings from the expo were the:
Mochidoki Green Tea and Passion Fruit Mochi Ice Cream – great healthy dessert; a perfect end to my savory food tastings. Mochidoki has 12 flavors and some of their products are sold at Turnstyle Underground Market and you can place an order online that includes all 12 flavors.
Carubies Decadent Carob Truffles from Heidi’s Health Kitchen is a healthy and tasty truffle. Who knew that these truffle chocolates are plant-based and gluten free? This means that the products are soy free, dairy free, and caffeine free. These truffles can be purchased online on their website. Personally the best buy is their original flavor for $20 which has 20 pieces.
Everyday Gourmet Bakery Cookies were so good. Did you know that they are vegan, kosher, non-GMO, and made with whole grains? In addition, they are nutritious with a good amount of protein and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, iron and manganese. These cookies can be purchased online and the best buy is the 2 box pack only for $5.
Wateke Foods is new company based in Florida who produces various products especially guacamole, acai, frozen fruits and beverages. I only tried the acai which was fresh and good. I have yet to try the guacamole, but based on their high tech technology, the product still looks fresh and I can’t wait to eat with my chips.
Pure Crumb is another local product developed by a NYC Fitness Trainer containing less calories and a perfect snack to satisfy a sweet craving. Plus, it’s gluten free and only 150 calories. They come in two flavors: banana bread and chocolate brownie. My favorite was the chocolate brownie. The products are sold online and are currently on sale for $24 for 8 pack and $44 for 16 pack.
Earth Effect Frozen Greek Yogurt is a local sustainable product that is healthy. They are a new company in search for partners and manufacturers to support their mission. The frozen yogurt comes in five flavors: tart with dates and pistachios, chocolate with coconut brittle and sliced almonds, Taihitian vanillia with strawberry jam and chocolate, maple and maple pecans and coffee with hazelnut butter and chocolate. I have had tried all five flavors and my favorites were: Taihitian vanillia with strawberry jam and chocolate, coffee with hazelnut butter and chocolate and chocolate with coconut brittle and sliced almonds.
After eating and sampling all the foods at the event, I have had to stay hydrated with drink samples from various companies both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. Below were my favorites:
Figspresso is a plant-based, gluten-free beverage based in Long Island made from dried and roasted figs. This beverage is deceivingly healthy and it would serve as a great alternative for coffee and tea.
Dandy Lion Tea is an organic tea made from dandylions and fruit. They come in two flavors: cherry and peach. It is kosher and organic. Did you know that dandelion is good for digestion and detox? I’ve tasted both flavors and my personal favorite was cherry.
Cliffton Dry Wine Cider is a vegan, low calorie, low sugar, gluten free and low alcoholic beverage. It is a sparkling wine equivalent to prosecco but made with locally grown apples from the New York’s Finger Lakes Region. This beverage was really good and they’re accessible in some NYC restaurants and Whole Foods.
Senor Sangria is sangria mixed with natural ingredients with either merlot for the red sangria, sauvignon blanc for white sangria and syrah for their new flavor: apple raspberry. I tried all three flavors and they all tasted great, but apple raspberry was my favorite. What’s interesting about their new flavor is that there is no sugar in this sangria making it more healthy.
Brooklyn Crafted Herbal Teas and reTreat Juices are beverages manufactured by Brooklyn Food and Beverage, which is based in Bushwick community in Brooklyn. The herbal teas were pretty good; I have only tried the chrysanthemum and hibiscus herbal flavors. However, the reTreat juices were the standouts for me as the fruits came from places such Thailand. I was excited and enjoyed the mangosteen flavors of these juices. These teas and juices can be found in some local supermarkets.
Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer is manufactured by Brooklyn Food and Beverage, which is based in Bushwick community in Brooklyn. The ginger beers were legit meaning is that they are made with real natural ingredients and cane sugar and has the right amount of kick for each level of spice intensity. They can be found in some markets in Brooklyn and used in some restaurants in the city to make cocktails such as the mule.
Kelvin Slush Company is a local organic cocktail mix that is non-GMOs and has no high fructose corn syrup. It is also vegan, kosher and gluten free. So I had tasted some of the flavors, but my favorite was the aperol spritz and frose. The cocktail mix come in various flavors and they are all available on Amazon.
Asarasi is sparkling tree water that is plant-based. This naturally produced water comes in five flavors. My favorites were mango and cherry. All five flavors are available for purchase on their website.
Graft Cider is a company that makes gluten free ciders. These ciders are produced in New York by two siblings. I have had three flavors and my favorite was the Lost Tropic which is a hop mimosa cider. These ciders can be purchased at various restaurants and local markets.
There’s a lot more I have sampled, but unfortunately I did not have good pictures. Overall, it was a honor to connect with people who share the same passion of food, health and medicine. I hope that I will be able to see their products in the US markets and stores so people can enjoy them.
Happy Thursday and I’m happy to share with you my recent experience at Woodpecker by David Burke in New York City. Woodpecker by David Burke is a communal neighborhood spot different from the fine dining scene the chef is known for. The restaurant has a one page menu that features Chef David Burke’s classics such as the “Bacon clothesline”, Pastrami Salmon, Kale & Romaine Caesar, and his patented 40 day Saltage Prime Kansas City Strip. In addition to the classics, there were additional items made using wood burning ovens such as “Grillos” Pizza along with catchy dishes including Wings and Rings/Shishito, and Broccoli Mops.
I’ve had the privilege to be invited to the “soft” opening of Woodpecker about 3-4 weeks ago and I followed my server’s recommendation on the dishes I ordered.
Broccoli Mops – Broccoli florets placed on guacamole, citrus, fennel and toasted quinoa. The $15 dish was a bit high, but it was my favorite meal of the night. It was light and the mandarin oranges along with toasted quinoa made this dish complete. The citrus dressing was refreshing and the salad had a great balance of fresh ingredients. I would come back just for this healthy vegetarian dish.
Wings & Rings / Shishito
Wings & Rings / Shishito – Love the presentation of this $16 dish. It looks deceivingly small but it was meant for sharing. Since I was alone, it was filling. The base of this dish is made up of six Korean style wings, which tasted nothing special along with fried calamari topped with a shishito pepper for each skewer. The taste of this dish was nothing special. However, I would order it with a group of people just for the pretty presentation, but not of my favorite David Burke dishes.
40 day Saltage Prime Kansas City Strip 20 oz
40 Day Saltage Prime Kansas City Strip is 20oz steak made using Chef David Burke’s patented saltage brick. This $62 dish is a classic. The strip steak looked beautiful. The Himalayan salted crust with a glistening medium rare inside was a picture perfect portrait of a crispy outside surrounding or even protecting the tender meat inside. The taste of this steak just melts in my mouth. I highly recommend this type of steak but it is hard to get it at any place other than a David Burke restaurant.
To end my dinner, I decided to go for the Apple Tart with the smoked rosemary. I try not to order a dessert for health and weight loss reasons, but I can’t resist the beautiful presentation. The taste of this tart was interesting. I understand why this tart was unique, personally I would do without rosemary. Would I order it again? Maybe. But I would try the other desserts.
Anyways, I am excited to venture into Long Island to check his two new restaurants inside the Garden City Hotel. Stay tuned.