Thalia Review: The Aroma Was Delicious!



A Fresh Review by Kate E. O’Hara

There’s no better way to ring in the New Year than skating at Rockefeller Center, followed by burger and fries at Thalia? Well, you might be thinking of a few better ways to ring in 2017 but if you happen to be in the area for skating, shopping, or taking in the sights, Thalia’s a great place to warm up and grab a bite.

Earlier this month with family in town, I braved the crowds before the iconic Christmas tree was dismantled, and did some skating at The Rink When our session was complete, we were hungry (to be honest, I was very tired, very achy, and hungry). The crowds kept us from dining at Rock Center Café, and the $80.00 (yes, eighty dollar) prix fixe lunch during the period that the Christmas tree is lit and displayed, kept us from The Sea Grill. So instead, down the block we walked.

At 828 8th Avenue and 50th is Thalia. Thalia’s claim is “New American Cuisine – Locally Sourced – Globally Inspired.” We decided on a table in the lounge that adjoined the dining room. The atmosphere was welcoming and festive, filled with the buzz of patron chatter, under high ceilings, and colorful décor. The lounge was cozy, with small brightly colored upholstered chairs. Although festive and bright, the chairs were definitely small. I couldn’t imagine anyone over the height of 5’ 8 or 5’ 9 sitting in them comfortably. I barely reach 5’ 3 and my knees were closer to my chin than I normally like while sitting.

Arriving at 2:00 pm we were just in time to enjoy the two course prix fixe lunch for $19.50 (can you say NYC bargain?). The first course choices were lobster bisque and caesar salad. The bisque was creamy with a slight tang which was offset by whole kernel sweet corn. It was the perfect starter on a cold winter afternoon. The caesar salad, billed as “classic,” included a sprinkling of chili flakes. The chili flakes were different and added an appetizing uniqueness, as did the grana-padano cheese, which cheese experts say is more subtle and less nutty and salty than Parmigiano. Topped with crunchy croutons, the salad was flavorful and enjoyable despite it being over-dressed. Unfortunately any lag in eating time left you with soggy romaine leaves.

Lots of choices…at Thalia. Picture by Kate E. O’Hara

The second course choices consisted of the Thalia Burger, Blackened Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio Salad, or Spaghetti with San Marzano Tomato Sauce.

We opted for the burgers, which hit the spot. They were made of juicy sirloin topped with bacon, gruyere cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onions, flanked with pickles and fries. It was classic comfort food.

Despite the tasty meal, the service was awful. In fact, it was almost as if we were bothering our waitress with our simple requests for more ice water, another glass of wine, or ketchup for our fries. She was non-attentive and when at our table, barely uttered a word. However, the two hostesses were very friendly and helpful.

All in all, for the value, the food was good and complimented the pleasant atmosphere.

And, it wasn’t until we left the restaurant and rounded the corner that we discovered an added surprise: Thalia’s Kitchen. It is a small store-front, takeout-kitchen connected to the main restaurant. It serves soups and chili, salads, sandwiches, sushi rolls, and baked goods. The aroma was delicious! The aroma alone is enough to have you add stopping by Thalia to your New Year’s resolution list—oh, and don’t forget to add ice skating too.

Glass of Wine a Day? The Benefits of Drinking Wine

There’s always been a discussion about the risks and possible benefits that wine has on our health. So what is actually true and what is not?

The truth is, drinking moderate (meaning one or two glasses a day) does, indeed offer some benefits, such as preventing heart diseases, reducing the risk of diabetes, increased longevity and so on. However, those healthy benefits are primarily for men aged over 40 and post-menopausal women. There’s not much evidence that drinking wine could improve the health of younger people as well, since they are already less at risk of heart diseases so begin with.

However, before you go and pour your wine down the sink, relax. It’s no lie that wine, especially red wine, does indeed contain several antioxidants, such as quercetin and resveratrol, which play a part in helping prevent heart disease and cancer. There’s also a component in wine which increases your bone mineral density, aka BMD. The higher your BMD, the stronger your bones become.

Vera over at Kitchen Gadgets Wars has put together this infographic giving us EIGHT healthy benefits of drinking wine, like we needed it right?
But, if you’re feeling guilty sometimes, about drinking that glass of wine then carry on reading…



Wine Guide: Great Valentine’s Day Wines from $15 – $35 bottle


A sparkling Post by Wes Narron

You can learn a lot about your friends by what they order at McDonald’s. Do they always get Chicken McNuggets or do they try the new items, say the Holiday Mint McFlurry? The people I turn to for wine advice? They never order the Chicken McNuggets. They always order some new wild-ass flavor combination. In short, they will taste and eat anything, because they want to experience first-hand as many flavors as possible…to learn what they like and what they hate. What does this have to do with a list of the best Valentine’s Day wines from $15-$35? You won’t find many Chicken McNugget wines here. 

Wine shops, even the little cute stores with hand-written tasting notes, are filled with hard-to-decipher jargon about tannins and finish and palate. There’s a ton of wine out there, a lot of it seemingly esoteric and obscure. You’ll be well-served by learning to trust your own taste buds. Find a shop that does wine tastings, at least once a week. And try EVERYTHING, even stuff you don’t think you’ll like. There’s no substitute for your own personal experience. 

I tasted a lot of junk in order to decide what I loved. I didn’t look at critics’ ratings (though they’re often right!). I did use my many years of experience running wine shops, wine tastings and wine tours, and watching what people enjoyed, listening to what they requested. This is a list of wines you should be able to find just about everywhere; or at least order from a source like No obscure, esoteric collector’s items here. Just, yummy, well-respected mainstream brands. Sorry, Kerri’s Biodynamic Estate-Grown Hand-Picked Sulfate-Free Less-than-100-cases-produced Wine Hut. Here’s a list of “Royale with Cheese” wines, wines I love, backed up by lots of happy wine drinkers.

Photo by City Wine Tours


$15: Gruet Brut $14.99, from Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sounds French, oui?. Nope, Gilbert Gruet was a European expatriate who had his mind blown at the wonderful grapes he tasted in the American SouthWest. So, he brought his champagne making skills to New Mexico. Try this with sushi. My girlfriend says sushi is the world’s sexiest food. She claims eating sushi is adventurous, delicious, and makes her feel healthy, alive, and passionate. Champagne is the ideal wine for sushi. Crisp, sharp bubbles that clean your palette and make any meal feel like a festive occasion. Vibrant and fresh, with creamy citrus, vanilla and spiced almond flavors.

$20: La Marca Prosecco 1.5 L: $21.99, from Veneto, Italy

Prosecco comes from the Veneto region of Northern Italy. Made from the Glera, or Prosecco grape. You’ll find your local wine shops are overflowing with different brands of cheap Prosecco. Which one to get? The La Marca Extra Dry. The 1.5 liter bottle is a big bottle of love!  A fresh sparkling wine with a vibrant bouquet of apple, white peach, and honeysuckle.

$25: Roederer Estate Brut $21.99, from  Mendocino, California

Lots of the fine French Champagne houses bought vineyards in Napa/Sonoma California and make “California Champagne” using the same method and grapes as back in the motherland. Only they can’t call it Champagne and they can’t sell it for as much, because it comes from California. The Roederer Estate makes the famed Cristal Champagne (“Cristal, Maybachs, diamonds on your timepiece…”) in France. This is their California version, a tremendous bargain for the rich and aromatic sparkler. You can buy 9 or 10 bottles of this, or one bottle of Cristal!  Floral apple, cinnamon and anise aromas; crisp yet supple lemon tart, cherry and spicy hazelnut flavors.


$15: Alsace Willm Reserve Pinot Gris $14.99, from Alsace, France

For everyday drinking: grab white wines from Alsace. They sell for $10-20. The restaurant chain Legal Sea Foods has been trying to get folks to drink Alsatian wines for years, because they pair so well with seafood! Pleasant flavors of honey-tinged fruit, primarily peach, apricot, and a little pear. Perfect medium-bodied fruity wine to match with shellfish or lighter cuts of fish.

$20: Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina $17.99 from Campania, Italy

Falanghina is an ancient grape variety, around when Emperor Nero was letting his kingdom burn…and toasting with a glass of Falanghina. You don’t have to be a wine geek or experienced sommelier to enjoy this. It’s a pure darling of aromatic pleasure, with aromas of flowers and tropical fruits.

$30: Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc $27.99, from Marlborough, New Zealand

Folks don’t seem the like big, buttery Chardonnay as much anymore, They want Sauvignon Blanc, from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, which tends toward grassy, grapefruit flavors. The Cloudy Bay is one of the world’s most appreciated wines, the quintessential balance of acidity and fresh fruit.


$15: Masi Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese $16.99, from  Veneto, Italy

Valpolicella Ripasso from Italy is the “poor man’s Amarone.” You get the same flavors as the big boy wine, just not as smooth or intense. They sell for $15-20. This is the best wine value in the world. If you don’t remember anything else in this blog, remember this one word: ripasso. Generous, ripe aromas of plum and cherry jam, with hints of spice. Bold and rich flavors of bitter cherries and berry fruits stand out on the palate, with good acidity, balance and velvety tannins.

$20: Chateau Miraval Rose $20.99, from Provence, France

Anytime you find yourself uncertain what wine to pair with a particular food, pick a dry rose’, especially one from Provence, France. The Chateau Miraval comes from the Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt winery, and was the only rose’ to land on the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list a couple years ago. We want to hate it, right? Dang, this stuff is delicious! Peach and mango aromas that give way to a stony, racy edged core of white cherry and strawberry flavors.Yes, the Pitt/Jolie marriage is kaput. Brad, showing incredible savvy, only wants the Chateau Miraval in the divorce settlement.

$35: Faustino I Gran Reserva $34.99, from Rioja, Spain

Red wines from Rioja, Spain all feature the Tempranillo grape, native to Spain; lighter bodied, with a  red cherry flavor and a touch of fennel. The palate is soft; with sweet tannins. Tempranillo has a remarkable similarity to the Chianti wines from Tuscany, without the barnyard character of some Chianti. The trick with the Rioja reds is to understand the aging designations and to appreciate how they affect the price:

Tinto or Rioja: aged 6 months to 1 year: low or no oak aging: $9-$12

Crianza: aged 2 years: 1 year  in oak, 1 year in bottle: $12-$19

Reserva: aged 3 years: 2 years in oak, 1 year in bottle: $20-$30

Gran Reserva: aged 5 years: 2 years  in oak, 3 years  in bottle: $30 +

Faustino is a Gran Reserva from Rioja: aged 5 years: 2 years  in oak, 3 years  in bottle: $30 +. Red berries, cinnamon, clove and oak.

Need a slightly “better” present for Valentine’s Day this year? Think about a City Wine Tours Gift Card or Booking a Tour for your loved one! We can send you a physical gift card to join one of our wine tours. Or, if you’re very tardy in your gift buying, you can get an immediate digital gift certificate. 

These can be redeemed for any of our Soho or West Village tours. $75 per.

Hope to see you soon!



Wes Narron. Photo by City Wine Tours

About the Author: Wes Narron is the Chief Wine Ambassador of City Wine Tours and thinks learning about wine should be as much fun as drinking it. City Wine Tours hosts weekend wine tasting tours in several NYC and Boston neighborhoods, plans corporate and private events, and encourages learned debauchery.  855-455-8747.

Anthony Bourdain Is Sticking Up for Street Vendors

Anthony Bourdain, the renowned chef, author, TV host and street food enthusiast has recorded a short video statement supporting the campaign to create more permits for New York City street vendors. In the video, Bourdain calls for more permits because “there is nothing more vital to a city and a city’s health then good street food and more of it.”

For many generations New Yorkers have used street vending as a flexible means for self-employment. From the classic hot dog and pretzel carts to the now popular Falafel carts, street food vendors have become a symbol of NYC. Unfortunately, a 30-year-old cap on city vendor permits has created an exploitative and expensive black market in vending permits and has forced many to work illegally, risking arrest and confiscation of their pushcarts and even the possibility of deportation.

The Street Vendor Project has been working to lift the permit cap and has sponsored the #LiftTheCaps campaign to get vendors out from the shadows and bring thousands of good jobs to the city. Below is a link to a video, and a statement from The Street Vendor Project. Let me know if this is something you would be interested in highlighting, we can put you in contact with advocates and vendors at SVP.

“It’s time that New York stops ignoring its vibrant and growing street food industry. For too long, food vendors have been exploited and stifled by an arbitrary and outdated permit cap. We applaud the internationally renowned chef and street food enthusiast, Anthony Bourdain for joining us in our call to lift the permit cap and allow for more permits that would legitimize thousands of vendors and create great new jobs,” Sean Basinski, Director of the Street Vendor Project at The Urban Justice Center.

Uma Temakeria: The Sushirrito Innovator at Gotham Market West

Gotham Market West

A Fresh Review by Chelsea Davis

Uma Temakeria is one of the newer eateries to set up shop at Gotham Market WestFood mashups have been — and continue to be — popping up all over the New York City culinary scene, with one of the most popular being the “sushirrito”.

At Uma Temakeria, guests can choose from a variety of temaki hand rolls, sushi burritos, or chirashi bowls. Temaki options include the samui shrimp with snow peas and a green miso curry; the tsumi tuna with green apple and wasabi ginger; and the isara salmon with a ginger miso and seaweed salad.

If you reach Gotham Market West more on the hungry side, go for Uma Temakeria’s sushi burrito. Enjoy two handfuls of sushi goodness with choices such as the uma-ritto which features salmon, tuna, tobanjan mayo, vegetables, and tempura crunch; or the tofu-ritto with marinated tofu, seaweed salad, seasonal pickle, and ginger miso.

Moreover, chef’s bowls feature all the refreshing flavors of the rolls, minus the nori wrap. Try the poke-rashi which is a mix of ponzu marinated tuna, apple, carrot, cucumber, scallion, and sesame seeds over rice. Another house specialty is the sakana chirashi with a medley of vegetables, avocado lime, tobanjan mayo, and sesame seeds over rice.

Seasonal offerings still available feature the buttery meat of Luke Lobster’s. Luke’s lobster meets the sushi burrito in this collaboration which comes wrapped with rice, kale, red pepper, lemon-wasabi aioli, sesame seeds, and potato crunch. Zesty spice from the aioli pairs perfectly with the crunch and sweetness from the red pepper. Fresh and flavorful, this is a must try.

If you’re not feeling any of the menu items, get creative and make your own sushi combinations — from beginning to end. You choose the sauces like the zesty citrus or avocado lime; the fish/ seafood such as crab, Atlantic salmon, or yellowfin tuna; the vegetables ranging from carrot and daikon pickle to snap peas; and add-ins to make your ideal meal.

Next time you find yourself nearby the Gotham Market West, stop by Uma Temakeria, take a seat at the sushi bar, and treat yourself to a refreshing combo of fish, vegetables, and rice.

Find a Restaurant Near You

restaurant near you

Finding a great restaurant near you is always a good thing to do, specially when you have the right tool to search with. The reality is, that today – finding the top restaurants nearby has never been easier. You will have variety of options to consider but the key is doing your research and seeing what other people are saying about the restaurant. In this article, we will be going over some of the top tools that you can do in order to find the top restaurant near you.

Google technique

The best way to find a restaurant near you is by taking a look at Google. By looking at Google Reviews, you can probably tell whether or not a restaurant is of value or not. The good thing about checking out Google is if you have an android phone, it’s as simple as Googling for a restaurant near you. The virtuous thing about google is that you will be able to get a real swift gaze of the top restaurants near you directly in the search result and the matching ratings given by previous customers.

Trip Advisor

When you are traveling in a foreign country or a city that you might be unfamiliar with, you are going to head on over to Trip Advisor to get some brilliant ratings and reviews from fellow travelers and locals. Trip Advisor is an exceptional website that is pretty much used world-wide to recognize the top restaurants and places to go when traveling. In addition, trip advisor has a medium with associates that permits you to get personalized information, tips, and advice from other fellow travelers. Trip advisor has an excellent mobile application that you can use to find a restaurant near you. A lot of people might shoulder this is an appraisal website only used by travelers while it is meant to help travelers find their way around a brand new city.

Yelp routine

Yelp is one of the primary tools that will likely show up on your search result and is easy to check. Yelp is a review website that allows people to find exceptional restaurants near you. Yelp has many reviews so there is an extraordinary probability that if a restaurant is good, it must have been reviewed by someone. This helps you save a good amount of time and narrow down your list to the best restaurants as rated by people. Yelp is a great resource for anyone because it is extremely easy to use and appropriate. The superlative part about yelp is that they have an excellent mobile application which means that you have no problem checking out reviews on the go.

Search for restaurant and try it

One of the first things that you should do when finding a top restaurant near you is complete a simple search. That way, you are able to exactly gauge which restaurant you should be looking at. Once you have properly identified the top rated restaurant in your instant area, you can research each separate restaurant and look at their social media. By undertaking this, you should be able to came up with a list of top restaurants near you. Of course, the best way to find out if a restaurant is a good place to eat is just go and try it yourself. Since people have different tastes, reviews may not be that helpful. One person might love the restaurant while someone else hates it. Just do that little tasting visit, as it might help you find the best restaurant near you…

10 Healthy Christmas Dinner Ideas

Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner isn’t the time when most people think about eating healthy. After all, it’s almost impossible to resist when you have Christmas candy everywhere, are baking delicious sugar cookies in the shape of reindeer and may even have a plump, juicy turkey waiting in the freezer.

But Christmas doesn’t have to be the season for overindulgence and unhealthy food if you don’t want it to be. In fact, it can be the season for eating better. The trick is to replace the unhealthy foods with better ones. Let’s start with dessert.

Pumpkin Pie: Everyone loves pie at Christmas dinner and you don’t have to get rid of it to be healthier this year. Just swap out your pumpkin pie for cherry. A typical slice of cherry pie is ¼ of the calories of a pumpkin pie and it has less sugar. In fact, if you want you can go with a sugar-free cherry pie that will be even better. If you absolutely love pumpkin pie, and can’t resist it, just limit it to one slice.

Stuffing: Stuffing can get really heavy with calories and unhealthy levels of salt and carbohydrates. Instead of going with stuffing, try something different like wild rice. With the right herbs and spices, you can make it just as delicious as stuffing, and you’ll be eating much healthier food.

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy: This is one of the most delicious Christmas foods that everyone looks forward to, but a scoop of potatoes with gravy can run you into more than 500 calories, not to mention sodium. First, limit your use of butter and mix the mashed potatoes with a veggie like squash for a healthier meal.

Cornbread: Lots of people enjoy cornbread during the holidays, and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. The problem comes when you slather 200 calories of butter onto an already 200 calories piece of cornbread. Try replacing the butter with yogurt and don’t use unhealthy ingredients like bacon fat or whole milk when making them.

Cranberry Sauce: The truth is, this Christmas dinner treat doesn’t really have that many calories. The problem is the sugar. There is a lot of sugar in canned cranberry sauce and it really makes sense to make your own. Even if you add fruit, it will probably still be healthier than store bought.

Homemade Mac & Cheese: This is a Christmas staple for some families but unfortunately, it is one of the most calorie heavy foods out there. In fact, depending upon the ingredients and the amount, this food can reach more than 1000 calories with a serving that you would be surprised how small it is.

Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are one of the great treats enjoyed at Christmas but the problem is, most people do one of two things with them – cover with them lots and lots of butter, or bake them into an unhealthy casserole with butter and cream. That’s about 500 calories per serving. Instead, consider green bean casserole; lower calories, lower sodium and lower fat.

Christmas Turkey: Some people don’t eat meat but for those who do, ham is a much better choice than turkey. Not only is ham cheaper than turkey to buy (especially when you buy a whole one) but it contains less fat, less sodium and almost 1/3 fewer calories.

Salads: For many families, Christmas dinner is a time for salads. But don’t think that means healthy green salads with dressing – it actually means super calorie packed food like potato salad and macaroni salad, both of which are jam-packed with calories. Instead, try some green salad and Italian dressing. You might be surprised how good it tastes and how many calories it is going to save you.

Christmas Cookies: Finally, the last item on our list is Christmas cookies. Yes, they are high in calories but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy them or feel the need to swap them out for something else! It’s Christmas dinner! If you have followed all of the recommendations here then you safely enjoy some Christmas cookies without going over your recommended calories, sodium or carbs. Even if that’s not the case, you can still enjoy a few Christmas cookies – after all, it is Christmas!

America’s First Burger Museum Opens in Miami

burger museum

There’s a new exciting Museum opening up in Miami! The Burger Museum by Burger Beast is America’s only Museum devoted to Burgers and Comfort Food. Isn’t that cool?

The 1500 square foot Burger Museum ( will be opening its doors to the public on Friday December 2nd at Noon. It is conveniently located in the heart of Miami, Florida at Magic City Casino (450 NW 37th Avenue) and is just a few minutes drive from the Miami International Airport and South Beach.

What can you expect to find here? Well, there are over 2000 pieces of historical artifacts, collectibles and ephemera from Burger and Comfort Food restaurants around the United States.

Playing in the mini Burger Museum Theater sponsored by Pincho Factory is the film Hamburger America with a new introduction by its director, award-winning filmmaker George Motz.

Also, a selection of old school candies and glass bottled sodas will be also available for sale in the lobby for those of you looking to relive simpler times.

burger museumThe Museum by Burger Beast will be open Thursday – Sunday from 12PM-8PM. Admission is $10 for Adults and $5 for Children. Parking is free.

The Burger Museum is a passion project for Burger Beast (Food Blogger, Event Producer and now Museum Curator) who has been amassing this collection for the last 7 years. He is still actively collecting and receiving donations of artifacts for the Burger Museum.

These Pancake Recipes Will be Trending in 2017

Pancake Recipes

Boy, do I have great news for you: 2017 is the year when eating chocolate for breakfast will be a must!

Meaning, if you don’t do that, you’ll be considered outdated. Everybody is going to post photos of their chocolatey breakfast on Instagram. You’d better prepare yours too. I know what my breakfast is going to include – pancakes.

Why pancakes? First, I am not much of a cook and yet I love eating good stuff, especially sweet treats. Pancake recipes are easy and simple to prepare. They also allow experimenting with different ingredients, helping you turn them into a healthy or completely decadent delight without spoiling their deliciousness. I learned this from my cooking app MyGreatRecipes and their amazing American pancake recipes.

That is why I chose pancakes to experiment with some of the food predictions for 2017. I simply must know if there is any good new feature I can include into my favorite breakfast. And it seems like breakfast is going to become very interesting this year.

Eating Pancakes for Breakfast is Hot

Pancake RecipesSweets and desserts are expected to be an increasing trend in the year to come. Especially those involving dark chocolate. Chocolate is gaining popularity due to its beneficial properties. “Recent studies linking dark chocolate consumption to positive health benefits may encourage more consumers to indulge in the a.m.” Dark chocolate is proven to be a powerful antioxidant, regulates blood pressure, cholesterol, heart function, cognitive functions and memory, etc. Which means, chocolate is good for you!

People in 2017 will start re-thinking their meals. The Sterling-Rice Group considers that these factors will lead to eating more sweet things for breakfast. Would you like some chocolate pancakes?

If you are following food trends for real, then you must know how important it is to eat smart. And how important it is not to become overweight and get sick. Indulging yourself in chocolate can still be ok, but pancakes can be improved by making some simple changes into the batter, such as:

  • Replace regular flour with whole wheat, oatmeal, coconut flour, almond flour or soy flour;
  • Replace regular refined sugar with honey, pure maple syrup, molasses, agave syrup or stevia.

You can add a cup of dark chocolate chips into your pancake batter and then cover with a chocolate glaze made by melting some more chocolate chips mixed with coconut oil.

Protein and Omega-3 Pancakes

Pancake Recipes
Protein and Omega-3 Pancakes

In 2017 there will be a continued interest in alternative forms of protein. Pancake recipes already contain a good source of protein-eggs.

Choose natural protein-infused ingredients like:

  • yogurt (it will add extra fluffiness to your pancakes);
  • nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts…);
  • soy (soy flour and soy milk are great healthy alternatives for banana loaf);
  • beans and pulses (peanuts or chickpea flour);
  • meats (use turkey and chicken as healthier alternatives in savory pancake recipes)

or add protein powder to the batter. I like the flavored variations for sweet delights, especially banana and vanilla.

When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, adding a tablespoon or two of flaxseed meal to the batter will do the trick.

Pancakes Promoting Health

Pancake Recipes
Pancakes Promoting Health

“Sterling-Rice also predicts a move to eating for health, using food as medicine. Turmeric became popular in 2016 because of its health benefits and savory flavor, and the group anticipates even more ingredients like it coming into the spotlight.”

Turmeric, the main spice in curry, is the most powerful plant on the planet at fighting and preventing diseases, from depression to cancer. Turmeric is very close to ginger (they belong to the same plant family), but you need to go easy on it because of its specific taste.

Following logic, turmeric should pair well with autumn-y pancake recipes like those involving pumpkin, carrot or apple, as well as with other spices (cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg) and vanilla. Try adding ½ teaspoon to the batter for starters and see how it works for you.

Happy eating!

Not Your Regular Banana Bread Recipe

Banana Bread
Reese’s Banana Bread

Since I have been a part of the cooking world for quite a while now, and part of the foodies’ world even longer, I decided it was high time I gave my breakfast a little twist.

My favorite breakfast dish? BANANA BREAD! (see the caps lock letters? That’s how much I love banana bread).

But I just needed something a bit out of the ordinary to take my breakfast from the most important meal of my day to the most delicious one!

The solution? A frantic search through the web and through thousands of delicious recipes, until I’ve found the perfect banana bread recipes that are slightly different than the regular one.

Savory Banana Bread

Banana Bread
Banana Bread Loaf

My immediate reaction after hearing the words savory and banana bread in one title was WHAT?

That can’t work well together, but the Savory Banana Bread recipe I found definitely changed my mind.

I found this recipe here.

This bread has the moist texture a banana one should have, only with two tablespoons of salt, and melted butter it tastes a bit like your French toast would. Add some cheese on top and you will get the perfect savory breakfast. (I like to eat it like I would a pancake, with some fried bacon on the side, and some maple syrup as well)

Sweet Zucchini Banana Bread

Banana bread itself is sweet, but since I was looking for a recipe with a twist, I went for the Chocolate Chip Banana Zucchini Bread.

Preparing a zucchini dessert for breakfast wasn’t really something I was thrilled about, but I figured: there’s nothing chocolate chips can’t make better. And boy was I right!

As I said, I am not that big of a zucchini fan, but strangely enough, it works great in this recipe. Combined with the banana and the chocolate chips I could eat this zucchini loaf every day all day long.

Bring it on J

Reese’s Banana Bread

Banana Bread
Reese’s Banana Bread

The peanut butter treats we all love are here to improve the banana bread as we know it. The Reese’s Explosion Banana Bread is just that, an explosion or peanut butter and chocolate flavor.

Well, I guess you can make up for the immense use of candy by replacing the regular flour with whole wheat one, and use brown sugar, or better still, ditch the sugar entirely!

I did exactly this, and the result was nothing short of AWESOME!

Give this recipe a try and brace yourselves for a fight for the last bite scene in your house, especially if you have kids. Kids adore this recipe. I mean wat’s there not to like? A breakfast that includes Reese’s is sure to become a family’s favorite!

Now, if you are tired of your regular breakfast, or one of these recipes caught your eye, don’t hesitate and get your aprons ready.

Because let’s face it, cereal and toast are yummy, but nothing can beat a warm, moist delicious sweet or savory banana loaf.

Customized Cakes – An English Story Winning in an Indian Setting

Customized Cakes

The recipe for the first ever cakes may have come from the Vikings, but it sure is a thing that has found its way through the taste buds into the hearts of all nations and peoples. So, today whether it’s Paris or Athens, London or Mumbai, or Delhi or Pune, cakes are a staple at every every birthday, every wedding, every anniversary; a mandatory dessert. But what is great about cakes, like any other recipe is that it gets assimilated into the culture of any hosting nations and gets transformed into a shape and flavour that makes it even more special. This is exactly what has happened to it in India as well; the land of smells and colours has totally adopted this sweet surprise and here is what cakes are all about in India.

The Metallic Bling

The nation that loves gold also likes its cakes very well in metallic colours, gold and bronze in particular. The point is that these go very well at weddings because gold is the most prominent colour by far when it comes to Indian wedding ceremonies. However, it is not restricted to weddings, people find it different and better than cakes in regular whites, pinks and chocolates. 

The Colour Theme

Yes, this time it is colours galore. All the brightest shades, even neons are in , and so are water colour pastries. A matching shade to go with the flavour of the cake or with the décor of the party, is a thing that is much in vogue right now. In cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Pune cakes of these sorts are actually selling like hot cakes. No pun intended.

Customised Cakes
The Colour Theme

The “Shaadi” Cake

“Shaadi”, the Hindi word for wedding, is  indeed a big fat affair, and nowadays, weddings are incomplete without a cake. So just like al the henna on the bride’s hands and all the silks and silk sequins that are quite a motif at any Indian wedding, cakes are special too. So, these “shaadi” cakes look like silk and brocade with all the intricate henna-like designs on them.

The Lacy Delicacy

Lace is something that looks as good on cakes as on women. The pristine white lace on snowy white cakes is just what makes them even more desirable. But well, this is the work of only and experience craftsman, so do not consider them any less than masterpieces. These are an absolute fit for Christian  weddings, but well, you can never be sure if these end up looking even better than the bride’s wedding dress.

Customized Cakes
Lacey Delicacy and the “Shaadi” Cake

The Illustration Series

Fancy an illustrated story on the cake for you little one? Like your couple photograph to be illustrated on the cake top? Very much possible and very much in trend. Yes, you can get anything illustrated on the cake that you want, in the colours that you like, in the size that you like. In short, illustrated cakes are just the thing you can exercise your imagination to its fullest.

Customized Cakes The most interesting thing is that cakes have gained a new definition with the passage of time, and a nation to which the concept of cakes only came with colonisation, loves the very delicacy so much. Moreover, in the past one decade, in cities like Delhi, Chennai, Chandigarh and Pune have become a total craze. Even small towns love it, and it is a sure staple for any birthday party. The bakeries are now considered places where the art of baking meet visual aesthetics. For sure, cakes are making a new story in this entirely alein setting.

Author Bio:

Neha Sharma is a renowned foodie and a master in the area of baking, and runs Pune Cakes. He has contributed to many food blogs and loves exploring new cuisines and food joints.

Celebrating “Riesling Month” at the Brooklyn Wine Exchange

Brooklyn Wine Exchange
A Tasty Wine Review by Kate E. O’Hara

What better way to kick off this autumn season then to celebrate Riesling wines from the Finger Lakes Region? Finger Lakes Region you ask? Yep, the Finger Lakes give Riesling from Germany and the French region of Alsace a run for their money, er um, wine.

I was able to learn about, and taste, these incredible Finger Lake wines at a recent event held at the Brooklyn Wine Exchange. The Brooklyn Wine Exchange is a terrific find for any wine enthusiast. Their shelves are stocked with small production wines from family-owned wineries. They also “boasts one of the largest local wine sections in the city, and an entire wall devoted to the ever-increasing selection of natural, organic and biodynamic wines.” Getting a feel for it? Well, it gets better. They also have a “Learning Center” which is a 50-seat space that houses free wine classes, chef demonstrations, and winemakers many times per month. The Learning Center was where my friend Joanne and I were introduced to New York’s Finger Lakes region; an area that is considered the United State’s premier cool climate wine region. So cool in fact, that they produce a Riesling Ice Wine from Seneca Lake. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

Brooklyn Wine Exchange
A Glass of Wine anyone? Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

Joanne and I arrived a tad late to the tasting. And, as luck would have it, our two seats were in the waaaaay back of the room. In true latecomer style, we squeezed our way between the rows of tasters, and amidst our apologies, inevitably bumped a few along the way, before arriving at our stools, which we attempted to pull from the table without scraping the metal of the legs on the slick concrete floor. Mission accomplished—sort of. I fell short of a silent chair pull; I graced everyone with a quick sharp screech as they tasted their first wine of the first flight. But, any break in the ambiance was over in a flash, as we took a sip of our 2005 Methode Champenoise from Seneca Lake, Glenora Wine Cellars. It was a wonderful way to begin the evening; a Brut sparkling wine that was light with a delicate apple flavor. Next, we tried a dry Riesling and a Rkasiteli from the Dr. Konstantin Frank line of wines, Keuka Lake. For the dry Riesling, in was interesting to learn that it, “speaks of the dirt it’s in” noting the soil’s mineral shale that enhances the lemon, apple and floral notes. I don’t recall ever drinking a Rkatsiteli, or knowing of its origins, but I learned it is the “oldest wine grape known to man with origins in the Republic of Georgia.” It was complex with hints of fresh basil, lime, peach and of course, a smooth mineral undertone. The suggestion was a pairing with sushi or Thai food, and I’m looking forward to doing just that.

Brooklyn Wine Exchange
Tasting wine at the Brooklyn Wine Exchange. Photo by Kate E. O’Hara

Our second flight consisted of a Boundary Breaks Vineyard, Seneca Lake dry Riesling, and both a dry Riesling, and Riesling from Sheldrake Winery, Cayuga Lake.

The Boundary Breaks dry Riesling, with 92 points from Wine Enthusiast, was produced in 2014 which was an exceptional year. It was explained that year’s autumn was very warm and dry, which allowed the fruit to be kept out longer than typical. By doing so, it allowed the fruit to achieve a clean, ripe stage that is rarely seen. That all translated for me to a crisp wine with luscious flavors—perfect alone, or with a food pairing. The Sheldrake wines were equally pleasant. The dry Riesling had classic aromatics of lemon, orange, with the signature Riesling acidity. The Riesling, of medium sweetness, had aromatics of peach and tropical fruit with hints of lime and lemon. Both were smooth on the palate, paring well with either your appetizer or your dessert.

For our third and final flight, we left the world of Riesling for a Cabernet Franc from Villa Bellangelo, Seneca Lake. I love reds, so the subtleness of cherry, raspberry, blackberry, with soft tannins was just perfect—and although the suggestion was to pair with steak, chicken, or even white fish, I am more than happy to drink a bottle all on its own.

Our night ended by returning to the attributes of the Finger Lakes, the source of world-class cool climate wines, and the tasting of a Seneca Lake, Riesling Ice Wine from Boundary Breaks Vineyard. Ice wine is made by harvesting the fruit directly from the vine when the temperature is below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. At the low temperature, the moisture in the berry is frozen, and when the fruit is pressed only the concentrated heart of the Riesling fruit is extracted. For me the Riesling Ice Wine was of rich texture, and a clean finish –an ideal ending to an insightful, enjoyable evening.

The wines I tried throughout the evening may just inspire a road-trip to the Finger Lakes Region with their vineyards and glaciated lakes. But in the meantime, think Riesling at Brooklyn Wine Exchange. Go pick up a bottle or two. Or, better yet take a class or attend a tasting. You never know, you just might meet me and Joanne there—and we’ll be happy to join you.

For more details about the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance  – click here, and for more about the Brooklyn Wine Exchange, click here. 

Pasta On Demand by Chef Michael White via UberEATS Available Now in New York


Normally I wouldn’t get excited over any food-delivery related news. But after having the privilege of tasting the very dishes that Ristorante Morini’s Chef Michael White now offers via UberEATS, I felt compelled to spread the news. Earlier this month, Altamarea Group and UberEATS announced their partnership to launch a new delivery-only menu available exclusively on the meal delivery service.

The “Pasta on Demand” menu features the restaurant’s world-renowned pasta at affordable prices. The menu showcases a selection of six handmade pastas, as well as salad and dessert options. Highlights include Creste, a squid ink pasta, shrimp and calamari ragù, breadcrumbs; Gnocchetti, with roasted butternut squash, kale pesto, and pine nuts; the incredible Agnolotti, a dish with piemontese veal ravioli and brown butter and sage; classic rigatoni; Gramigna, a dish with macaroni, ragù bolognese, and parmigiano-reggiano; and the tortelli, a ricotta ravioli with Pomodoro and basil.

Desserts include an indulgent Tiramisu, with espresso soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone mousse, and amaretti; and freshly made Bomboloni — cinnamon sugar doughnuts, apple butter, and a vanilla anglaise.

“We aimed to create a menu that captures some of Altamarea’s signature pastas,” said Chef Michael White according to a recently press release. “We curated dishes that can be delivered to users’ doorsteps in a timely manner, while still providing the same high-quality and consistency we offer in our restaurants.”

Feel like Pasta? Photo by Altamarea Group

Pasta on Demand by Chef Michael White will be available Sunday through Friday from 12-9:30pm and Saturday from 4-9:30pm and delivered solely through the UberEATS delivery platform. The pastas are handmade and perfectly al dente, while the sauces and flavors are rich and satisfying. I highly recommend taking a break from the world of Seamless and checking it out!

For more information on the new offerings, click here.

Discover Street Food in London Worth Travelling For

street food in london

Love NYC’s street food scene? Then you’ll love London’s!

With more and more street food markets popping up every day, London’s reputation for fine dining is diminishing, with Londoners and tourists alike hitting the…er, kerb, in search of the next best foodie trends.

Blurring the lines between comforting fast food and more luxury cuisine, street food markets are the place to be for budding foodies eager to test their palates. Travel firm Expedia’s new street food resource gives you the lowdown on the best places to grab street food in London, such as the bustling night market Dinerama in east London’s trendy Shoreditch. Known for its dynamic and ever-evolving foodie scene, which has birthed the likes of Mother Clucker & Yum Bun, here you can travel across the world in one bite – from the deep south, Louisiana, to Seoul in Korea!

Fancy a wander by the canal? Then head to Broadway Market! Possibly London’s quaintest street food spot, it’s host to a spectrum of stalls, including the meringue girls – known for their rainbow-themed desserts!

street food in london
Image by Jeff Easter

Providing not only the tastiest of treats in the south’s foodie scene, Model Market in Lewisham transforms into a destination not only for soul food but music too, with DJs spinning records late into the night.

Why not check out Anna Mae’s mac and cheese, famed for it’s authentic New York taste, or B.O.B’s lobster? And whilst there, pop along to Brockley’s award-winning market, serving up a mixture of hand baked bread, jams and Koookie bake cakes, or alternatively Brixton’s Pop for an eclectic take on the Caribbean.

Look no further than the Camden Market for street food on an epic scale. Camden is home to destination street food with its incredible mix of Asian, African, and Indian food stalls, boasting aromatic smells which will win over the most fussiest of eaters. Or want less hustle and bustle? Head to Exmouth Market with its boutique stalls and lunchtime treats. We recommend award-winning Spinach and Agushi for wholesome feel-good food!

street food in london
Image by George Rex

Known for its luxurious history, quaint boutiques, and rock and roll royalty, the west of London isn’t often seen as a street market destination; however, this just isn’t true. For a taste of the west, head down Portobello Road for its world-famous falafel and Turkish pastries. Or why not pop along on a Saturday and find some secret treasure in London’s longest-standing vintage fairs?

If vintage isn’t your bag, you could instead take a walk on the wild side at Partridges street food market in Sloane Square, where you can try out the local delicacies (Chelsea buns), or tuck into a slice of Crumbs and Doilies’ chocolate cake!

Among the busy hubbub of the city meanwhile is Leather Lane, nestled between the City district and Shoreditch, and just a moment’s walk from St Paul’s cathedral. Popular with lunchtime diners, this market provides a much-needed stop for grumbling tummies. Soho’s Berwick Market moreover is just a whistlestop away from London’s theatrical quarter, serving up fresh seasonal produce and Mexican morsels!

street food in london
Image by Berwick Street Market

However, the city’s most famed street food market has to be London’s Southbank, with its heady mix of ethical food. Transport yourself to India, Thailand, or Jamaica at the flick of a fork, and then walk off all that food with a brisk stroll down the Thames path.

Have we got your stomach rumbling yet? Why not head along and experience London’s ever-changing street food market scene, showcasing the foodies’ favorites!

Oso Restaurant Review: Are These The Tacos of Joy?

A delicious Review by Christina Maldonado

Nestled in the heart of Harlem, on Amsterdam Ave. is a little slice of Mexico City, wrapped in the effortlessly cool exterior that screams NYC (Watch the Video clip above!). Oso restaurant is the brain baby of Matthew Trebek and Nodar Mosiashvili, who wanted to bring not simply Mexican food, but authentic Mexican street food to the city. Breaking the stereotype of “traditional Mexican Food” ala Chipotle burritos, Oso has a traditional menu with a modern presentation.

Oso Restaurant
Authentic Mexican Street food..Photo by Christina Maldonado

The atmosphere is effortlessly cool, from the beautiful mural that dominated the dining room, to the original score by Coup de Khan that delivers a jazz funk and hip hop combination that graces the restaurants speakers. While effortless isn’t fitting for the way these decisions were made, Oso restaurant is definitely the place all hipster spots around the city would kill to be, a neighborhood hang out that sticks to its roots, a hotspot deserving of the title, with the food to back it up.

Oso owners ensured they were serving the best on their tables not only by having a kick ass Mexican chef, but by actually spending time in Mexico City, picking up cooking tricks, and getting exposed to the culture and architecture that influences the restaurant and make it such an original experience.

“The tamales are a staple”

The food is not only authentic, but so delicious I could guarantee it would make some abuelas that spent their lives in the kitchen eager to get their hands on the recipes. The tamales are a staple, and a must have. Filled with peppers and queso oaxaca, these tamales are made perfectly and serve as the perfect starter, to get your engines going for what’s yet to come. I had the pleasure of having it served with a cilantro and green pepper aioli that I would swim in if I could. But since I couldn’t, I just simply doused everything I ate in it. The flavors that mingle in your mouth for this dish establish an expectation that is exceeded as your dining adventure at Oso restaurant continues.

Oso Restaurant
Oso Owners Nodar Mosiashvili and Matthew Trebek with their head chef. Photo by Christina Maldonado

Before I got to indulge in the tacos, which were an event in themselves, another main component of Oso came into play. Their bar. Since it’s one of the focal points in the aesthetically pleasing room, the bar offers the triple threat you’d want with a delicious meal. Beauty, substance and mezcal. Their drinks pack the punch that their food deserves, while still being refined. Don’t be surprised if your pinky perks up when you’re sipping on the Coup de Khan.

But on to the more important things. Tacos.

It might be weird to call tacos attractive, but the carnitas and fish tacos at Oso deserve it. Just looking at the dishes, you can tell that the ingredients are fresh, but it’s when you take your first bite that you really get it. Basically Oso tacos are the tacos you get to treat yourself. The carnitas are succulent, and the soda pop marinade was surprising, but tasty. The fish tacos have a perfect pickle. These tasty meats are lovingly wrapped in freshly made tortillas. It would seem excessive to suggest that these tacos should be named bundles of joy instead, but it’s well warranted.

Oso Restaurant
Authentic Mexican Street food..Photo by Christina Maldonado

The Papas Rajas stole the show…

After tacos, and just when I was thinking things couldn’t get any better, the Pulpo was brought to the table and I was proven completely wrong. First of all, any place that can cook octopus well deserves praise, it was perfectly cooked and not at all the chewy mess that can be dangerously common with the eight legged entrée. But what stole the show for me was the papas rajas. How does one make a potato so well that it overshadows the main meat on a dish, I have no idea, but the combination of the two, and the surprising mandarin that made a striking appearance not only made a stunning plate, but a delicious meal. To call the Pulpo simply tasty would be an understatement, but the simple word captures the resonance of the dish completely.

While my self control and waist line was begging me to reconsider, I was lucky enough to have Oso dessert. The lightly undercooked churros literally have no words that do them justice. There have been about three drafts attempting to do so already. Just go get 12, and enjoy.

The review of Oso restaurant would not be complete without the praise of the chips and guac. While it might be painfully simple, to have a common starter that leaves quite the impression is not a simple feat Job well done Oso, because I was getting tired of avocados as a whole. And if a new level of chips and dip don’t do it for you, Oso is more than accommodating for the more wild at heart, with their beef tongue, and the fried crickets that could possibly make an appearance on their menu.

Oso gives traditional street food a stunning home in Harlem, from the establishment itself to the beautiful dishes it creates, and it was not only a pleasure to dine there, but I am nothing but excited to see what is to come of this place, because one dinner was enough to know that Oso is destined for nothing but greatness…. and five star yelp reviews.

The 5 Best Money Saving Food Hacks that Everyone Should Know

food hacks

In many households, food is a big expense that takes up a good chunk of the household budget. Unfortunately, a lot of the food that’s bought each week ends up being wasted. It’s like throwing money directly into the trash. When you think of it that way, it makes sense to find ways to save money on food and stop wasting. Keep reading to learn more about the 5 best money saving food hacks. These hacks can help you save a lot of money over time, and that money can be used for other things.

1) Use coupons

Use coupons each and every time you shop. You can Swap coupons with friends and relatives in order to get the ones you use most. Whether you grocery shop at Walmart, Whole Foods, Wegmans, or somewhere else, using coupons is a must if you want to save money. Look over store sale papers, if you can combine coupons with sale prices, you save even more money.

2) Learn to love your slow cooker

Not only does using a slow cooker make dinner preparation easier, but it can also save you some money at the grocery store. Buy less expensive cuts of meat when you’re going to use the slow cooker. Even cuts that are normally tough turn out tender when they are cooked in the slow cooker.

3) Fill your ice trays

If you’re not going to use all of the broth that you made, freeze the rest in the ice tray. Once they’re frozen pop the cubes out and store them in freezer bags. The next time you need broth, you’ll already have some in the freezer. You can do the same with leftover wine that you’ve used in a recipe. Don’t leave it in the bottle to spoil, freeze it so it’s always on hand for recipes.

4) Learn the proper way to store food

If you don’t know how to store produce that you buy it will go bad faster. For example, are you storing onions in the refrigerator? That’s a big no-no, onions need to breathe, they need air and should be kept out of the refrigerator. Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place to help them last longer. Do a quick search on how to store the produce you buy and you’ll see that it lasts much longer.

5) Freeze leftovers

If you’ve cooked more than you can possibly eat, don’t leave the leftovers in the refrigerator until it’s time to toss them out. Freeze the leftovers and you have dinner for another night. Pull out these frozen meal portions when you’re short on time, and you’ll have a quick, delicious home cooked meal in minutes. It will taste better than any frozen dinner you can buy in the store, and it will be better and less expensive than take out from the local fast food chain.

These 5 best money saving food hacks will keep your budget happy. You’ll be eating better, while spending less money, and that’s always great news for your bank account.

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Feast Without Ditching Your Diet

Thanksgiving is the time to eat and be merry. Never mind about your diet. No? Actually, you can still eat and be merry on Thanksgiving without ditching your diet.

First, let’s look at the main components of a Thanksgiving feast. There’s the turkey. Can we skip the turkey? Some people do. They have something else called a tofurky. That’s a turkey lookalike made from tofu. Is the tofurky really better for your diet than the traditional turkey? According to some nutritionists, the difference is not significant.

Get the right turkey

In the first place, as a meat, turkey is good for you. It is lean meat with little fat. Turkey is the meat of choice for some bodybuilders because it gives them lots of protein without too much fat. There are actually two kinds of turkey meat – the white meat and the dark meat. The white meat is basically the meat from the breast. The dark meat is the meat from the thighs. Of the two, per serving, the white meat has fewer calories than the dark meat. You get something like ten percent fewer calories in the white meat. So, if you are counting calories, go for the white meat. Who’s going to eat all the dark meat then? Don’t worry, there will be lots of other people who don’t have to count calories. Like the kids. They would love to get the turkey drumsticks.

While we are on the subject of turkeys, take a look at where your turkey comes from. First, go for the whole bird. Processed turkey meat is very often full of salt. That’s bad for your health. Then check to see how the turkey is bred. Go for the pasture bred turkey. This is free range farming. The turkeys get to run in open fields and eat natural grass other than their staple food pellets. This type of turkey is also called heritage turkeys. The other type is turkeys bred in processing plant conditions. Such turkeys are force-fed to grow fast. So they are full of antibiotics and other chemicals which you don’t want to eat. When in doubt, always double-check.

That’s settled then. Buy a whole turkey from a free range farm. Eat your turkey. Just stick to the white meat.

Stuff with veggies

Thanksgiving feast
Stuff with veggies?

Now, what else is part of the Thanksgiving feast? The stuffing. Yes, that’s a great source of calories. Bread and pork make up a good part of the traditional stuffing. The bread is a carbohydrate. The pork is meat and lots of fat. Not exactly the best combination.

So what’s the healthier alternative? Try using fruits and herbs for the stuffing instead. There’s a tasty recipe combining apples with various herbs. There’s some bread in the recipe, too. You can improve that by using whole wheat bread. Whole wheat bread has got lots more fiber and vitamins than white bread which is actually a food stripped of a lot of nutrients for the sake of looks and taste.

Besides the turkey, there are side dishes. Some people load the table with side dishes made up of more meat dishes. Not a good idea for healthy eating. Cook side dishes made up of vegetables. There are many types of vegetables with different colors, tastes, and textures to add a lot of variety to the table fare. Think of ways to combine, say, green kale with white cauliflower and red carrots.

The Thanksgiving feast is essentially a dinner affair. So a good way to keep the calories down is to skip breakfast and lunch to save room for dinner. Right? No, that’s the worst thing you could do. By being too hungry at dinner, you will just end up binge eating, which means sayonara to your diet. Eat your normal breakfast and lunch. Before dinner, have a big glass of water or fruit juice. So when you sit down for the Thanksgiving dinner, you can eat slowly without gorging.

Some people advocate balancing your servings. One idea is to fill half your plate with vegetables. That’s the stuff which makes you feel full with a low calorie count. Then share the remaining space equally between the stuffing and the turkey. This will give you a satisfying meal without blowing your calorie budget for the day.

There’s actually another better idea. Just get a smaller plate. You cannot eat too much when you have less space to put your food. Of course, skip the second helping. Take a drink instead. Plain water would be harmless to your diet. Give the sweet drinks a miss or just a sip if you must.

Eat and be merry

After dinner, socialize. Don’t just sit there. Get up and enjoy the company of your family and friends. Dance, play games, whatever. Anything works better than just plain sitting down. It helps with your digestion and you get a head start with burning your calories.

There you are. You can have your turkey and all the yummy parts of Thanksgiving without saying bye-bye to your diet. Have fun.

Author Bio:

Veronica is an enthusiastic blogger that writes for Reviews Academy. At RA, she reviews entire categories of products and not individual models in order to offer you a complete picture of all options available on the market. Her mission is to provide the readers with comprehensive and trustworthy opinions to help them make the perfect buying decision.

Revisiting The New York Coffee Festival. How Tasty Was It?

In a caffeine induced haze, the New York Coffee Festival came and went, yet there are some special mentions that still have us buzzing, and longing for much more than the free samples that we were given. So here I present the top picks from the coffee festival that have the kick we crave, despite not being exclusively caffeinated.

New York Coffee
Caffeine induced haze. Photo by The New York Coffee Festival / Lassara Photography

Rebel Kitchen – If all the cool stickers and pins declaring “Rebel” wasn’t enough to attract you, the Mylks they served, Coconut milk drinks with coffee, chocolate and chai flavors, and the barista’s good vibes were enough to keep you hanging around their booth. The drinks were what one would hope to get from the store bought coffee drinks, only with less guilt of having a third coffee of the day. Since it’s coconut milk, only the coffee flavor

New york Coffee
Rebel Kitchen: Their story is passionate. Photo by Christina Maldanado

actually has any coffee, but they’re like adult chocolate milks. A tasty treat that you can pick up on the way out to the city, Rebel Kitchen is definitely on the up and coming with their flavors and creations, especially with the additional recipes they offer on their website. Their story is passionate, and that is obviously displayed from their personas at the festival. Huge bonus is all the loot you’d want to buy, they definitely had some of the coolest. Who doesn’t want any memorabilia proclaiming their rebellion? Check out their website here !

New York Coffee
Coffee Anyone? Photo by The New York Coffee Festival / Lassara Photography

Magnum CP2 – Magnum Creme Liquor not only scored major bonus points by having their staff decked out in kilts, but their wall of impressive canisters sealed the deal. Aesthetically they were onto with their simplistic look, letting the product speak volumes for them. The main speaker was energetic and well educated on the brand and honestly after that experience I have no idea why I didn’t know about them sooner. Learning about the Nitrogen process that was used to make the liquor was not only educational, but intriguing. The shots offered were delicious, but the coffee beverage offered what was so impressive. Move over Bailey’s you got some serious competition. Check out their website here !

New York Coffee
Magnum CP2. Photo by Christina Madlonado
New York Coffee
Blind coffee tasting. Photo by The New York Coffee Festival / Lassara Photography
New York Coffee
The Good Batch Bakery. Photo by Christina Maldonado

The Good Batch Bakery – Now I’m a woman who takes my baked goods very seriously, and nothing more so than cookies. It has to be done very well to get a second glance let alone an honorable mention. So obviously The Good Batch Bakery knows what they’re doing in order to get such a rave review. The chocolate chip cookie I indulged in was not only a moist piece of chocolatey heaven embraced in brown sugary goodness, but it was giant. The thick cookie was cruncher around the edges, and so soft in the middle, it was almost sinful and was most definitely an experience. It almost feels wrong to describe a snack in such a way, but if truly appreciating a well made cookie is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Check out their website here !

New York Coffee
Had a good time? Photo by The New York Coffee Festival / Lassara Photography

The Brew Hop: Cheers to a good run, good beers, and a good time!

brew hop
The run. Photo by Key Frame Photography

A new piece by Kate E. O’Hara

If you missed the Brew Hop 5K + Craft Beer Festival held at Randall’s Island Park on Sunday on September 18th, get your running shoes and beer palate ready, and mark your calendar for next year.

The bright sunshine and the scenic park set the stage for the 5K run (or walk) along the East River. Once runners finished the race they entered the festival area which included unlimited beer samples from participating breweries, food trucks, and live music. A nice touch was that the runners received the perfect combination of souvenirs: a finisher’s medal and a pint glass with a Brew Hop koozie.

But, I confess, I did not participate in the run. I merely ran from beer tent to beer tent in the festival area. And, the festival area was just that: festive. Runners, of all ages donning their medals, chatted, laughed, and sipped to the sounds of the High and Mighty Brass Band and Argonaut & Wasp. The only thing missing was signage. I love a good ol’ fashion display of banners and PR material—especially since this event benefited City Harvest, the world’s first food rescue organization, and one of my favorite charities. The Brew Hop organizers were donating 10% of the proceeds directly to City Harvest and it would have been great if the City Harvest logo, along with the striking Brew Hop logo, were amongst the beer tents.

brew hop
I ran from beer tent to beer tent…Photo by Key Frame Photography

My first major decision upon entering the festival was what beer tent to visit first. In honor of my Bronxite family (shout out to the McMahons and O’Haras!) I headed straight for Gun Hill Brewery and had myself a Haka, recommended by Hector. It was a blond ale, dry hopped with New Zealand hops, which translated to me as a real tasty beer with mild bitterness and fresh aroma. I then moved over to Bronx Brewery for their No Resolutions IPA, poured by Andrew. My immediate reaction, “Wow, this is so light and smooth.” Andrew’s fitting response, “Yeah, an all day kinda beer…or after a 5K run…” I agreed.

From the Bronx I traveled to Queens, home of SingleCut Beersmiths, to try out Billy 18-Watt IPA, which had a bitterness to it yet was nicely balanced with a citrus finish. So with my plastic tasting cups stacking up, I lined up for a beer at the Brooklyn Brewery tent for a Sorachi Ace. It was golden ale with a clean malty taste but also bright with a touch of spice. As she poured, Alexandra described it as “so unique.” I think she’s right about that.

brew hop
Unlimited beer samples…Photo by Key Frame Photography

At Alphabet City Brewing Company I had their flagship beer, Easy Blonde Ale–and that it was; smooth and light bodied. Next door (er, tent), I tried some Blood Orange Pale Ale from Great South Bay Brewery, which I thought was aptly named with a taste that complimented the fading summer weather. From there I wanted to try an ale from Captain Lawrence Brewing, but they were all out. I was disappointed but I suppose I now have a good reason to take a trip to Elmsford, New York.

So onward I went…

At the KelSo Beer Company I tried a Nut Brown Lager. I love all dark beers, so I really enjoyed the light chocolaty flavor and medium body. Over at the Six Point Brewery tent I tried Tesla Lager. It was crispy with a distinct citrus hop. At Blue Point Brewing, I tasted their Mosaic Session IPA, which I found to be light bodied, with a dry finish and a hint of tropical fruit. Over at the Rockaway Brewing I gave their ESB a try. It was smooth with a bitterness that was balanced with sweetness. And, I wrapped up my beer tasting escapades at Third Rail with a Farmhouse Ale, which was perfect for an outdoor event; hints of herbs, spices and earthiness.

brew hop
It was a bright sunny day at the scenic park. Photo by Key Frame Photography

But, in fairness, I had to try all beverages at the festival. I made a quick stop at Original Sin for a taste of their dry, crisp, refreshing hard cider. Then, off to Spiked Seltzer for Cape Cod Cranberry. I expected sweetness but there was truly a light Champagne taste instead. I then ended at Crabbie’s Ginger Beer. I really like their original with a slice of lime, but never had the Scottish Raspberry. After my first sip, I was equally impressed. The brightness of the berry was a great combination with the ginger.

In addition to the delicious beer and beverage tastings, the festival had a section of “good eats.” Runners lined up for the delicacies of Bareburger, Blossom Ice Cream, and Ponti Rossi Italian Food Truck. I saw lots of grins and empty dishes. With my focus on the breweries, I know I have organic burgers, hand-rolled ice cream, and Spaghetti Pomodoro in my near future.

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The finish line…Photo by Key Frame Photography

So, as the day came to close the end, I realized in addition to learning about great beers, I learned about some great people. From the representatives at the breweries, to the runners, to the walkers, to the beer fest only attendees (which seemed to be just me!), and two lovely ladies in particular, Lani and Moni, who shared both stories of their beer festival adventures and their lives as sisters, the day was filled with smiles, warmth, and friendliness.

There’s nothing quite like beer to bring people together.

I’m looking forward to the second annual.

Vendy Awards: Eating Your Way Through NYC – Part 1

vendy awards

Any seasoned New Yorker knows exactly who and where their favorite food truck is and is naturally upset when they have found that their precious fairy foodmother (or father!) has packed up and gone elsewhere.

While I naturally have quite a few food truck favorites, last Saturday I received the opportunity to expand my horizons and get my fill of new and unique at the 2016 Vendy Awards.

The Vendy Awards were a foodies’ dream, boasting everything from vegan barbecue food to New Orleans style snoballs for dessert. The Vendy Awards represent the first street food event and competition series in America. It hosts some of the best sidewalk chefs that New York has to offer and trust me – they don’t disappoint!

When I wasn’t stuffing my face or oohing over vendors like Harlem Seafood Soul or Big Mozz, I was dancing along with the enthusiastic and energetic crowd to the DJ spinning tunes. But let’s get down to the nitty gritty and discuss who were the big winners at this drool-worthy festival.

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Eating Your Way Through New York. Photo by Tiara Budd

The categories are as following: Best of Dessert, Best of Rookie, Best of Market, Best of Vegan, and the grand winner: The Vendy Cup. This celebration New York’s daring food culture is a melting pot (literally!) of the great things the city stands for.

During the festival, the judges made it clear that deciding who was walking home a winner in each category, was no easy feat. But without futher ado….

Stay tuned for part two!




It seems like there's always a line at the 100% Halal & Healthy cart on the NW corner of 55th St & Park Ave.  Today it was about a dozen people, but what really surprised me was how quickly the line replenished behind me.  Between the time I walked up to the cart and the time I got lunch,...