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posts tagged ‘desserts’

Highlights & Best Bites from Choice Eats 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 12:03 PM - Posted by Megan - (1) comment

On Tuesday, the Village Voice’s sixth annual Choice Eats tasting event took over the 69th Armory on Lexington Avenue. The highly anticipated affair featured Voice food critic Robert Sietsema’s culinary favorites from more than 50 handpicked restaurants spanning the five boroughs, along with beverage pairings from craft beer, wine and spirits producers.

  1. Vibrant red wine marinated egg with trout roe, mustard seeds & mache from Thirty Acres
  2. Cakes, cookies, cannolis, confections & cutie pies from Carlo\'s Bakery
  3. The Village Voice\'s sixth annual Choice Eats tasting event took over the 69th Armory
  4. Chefs Joel Javier and Bill Telepan served up housemade liverwurst with pickle mustard on cheddar gougères
  5. Luke\'s Lobster drew some of the night\'s longest lines for their fresh seasoned shrimp rolls
  6. A perfect bite: Anella\'s creamy handmade burrata with robust tomato jam and basil salt garnish
  7. Prairie handcrafted organic vodka sweetened things up with their smooth, spiked lemonade cocktail
  8. Brooklyn bakery fave, The Good Batch, elevated the flavors of s\'mores in their darling bonfire minis
  9. Chinese cuisine meets Indian flavors: Pan-seared spiced Tibetan momo dumplings from Chinese Mirch
  10. Brooklyn\'s Pete Zaaz crew had a blast while churning out their cheesy, zesty pepperoni rolls
  11. Cheers to craft beers! A sampling of Little Sumpin\' and IPA ales from Lagunitas
  12. The Lower East Side\'s Kuma Inn went whole hog and put their entire roasted pig on display
  13. Always tasty mac \'n\' cheese-covered Ditch Dogs and taffy-topped table from Ditch Plains
  14. Butter and Scotch\'s boozy butterscotch cupcakes with whiskey caramel, vanilla frosting & toffee crunch
During the sold out soirée, three solid hours of all-you-can eat and drink gluttony ensued as hungry guests bounced from table to table, sampling a smorgasbord of plates from esteemed area establishments and lesser-known local gems alike. The diversity of vendors at Choice Eats is exceptional—from downtown vegan and uptown farm-to-table, to pizza joints in Brooklyn and Astoria’s best Greek. And what seemed like everything in between.

As if all this wasn’t enough, VIP guests were invited inside a full hour before general admission for a live culinary demo from City Grit’s Sarah McSimmons and offerings from a dozen local restos including Pig and Khao, Qi Thai Grill and Exchange Alley. VIPs also indulged in the exclusive “Choice Sweets” dessert lounge featuring confections from Butter Lane, Grandaisy Bakery, Ovenly, and more.

A few of the night’s many standouts included Anella’s velvety handmade burrata with tomato jam and basil salt, fresh seasoned shrimp rolls from both Luke’s Lobster and Red Hook Lobster Pound, tangy buffalo chicken balls from The Meatball Shop, Porchetta’s savory crackling-topped pork crostini, John Brown Smokehouse’s succulent pastrami sliders with sweet ‘n’ tangy slaw, moist red velvet squares from Carlo’s Bakery, and perfectly indulgent fudge brownies from Robicelli’s. A selection of suds from Blue Point Brewing Company, Lagunitas and Stella Artois, along with creative cocktails mixed with Sidney Frank spirits and Prairie Organic Vodka, helped wash it all down.

Whether you prefer savory, sweet, spicy, ethnic, Americana, inventive, classic, vegetarian or carnivorous, Choice Eats aims to please any palate. And with a surprisingly reasonable ticket price point, the bang-for-your-buck appeal is just another reason to attend the eating extravaganza next year.

Fan of Village Voice events? Don’t miss out on the 2nd annual Choice Streets on May 7th to taste the best fare on four wheels from NYC’s most beloved food trucks. Get your tickets here!

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10 Classic American Desserts on The Daily Meal

Friday, February 1, 2013 at 09:02 AM - Posted by Megan - (0) comments

They say “as American as apple pie” for a reason. Our sweets-loving nation has become renowned for many iconic, notable desserts—from regional specialties to tried-and-true classics. Many of which are at the heart of our country’s food culture. After all, what would birthdays be without cake? Holidays without pie? Summers without ice cream?
the daily meal - 10 classic american desserts
To help celebrate our love affair with classic indulgences, The Daily Meal asked me to round up a collection of timeless and oh-so beloved American desserts. Did your favorite nostalgic treat make the list? Get sweet on the full article (complete with a mouthwatering picture slideshow and recipe links) here.

Image courtesy of The Daily Meal

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More Good Eatin’ in New Orleans

Monday, June 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM - Posted by Megan - (0) comments

So much to eat, so little time. New Orleans is one of those over-the-top eating cities that brings out the glutton in everyone, in the most delicious way possible. And no matter how many multi-course meals I’ve savored, po-boys I’ve put down, or pounds I’ve packed on, I always leave the Big Easy craving more.

A few short days in that sinfully tempting town never seems to be enough. I mean, how can I possibly hit up all my favorite NOLA standbys (starting the day with beignets and café au lait at Café Du Monde, bellying up to the Acme Oyster House bar for raw oysters and the charbroiled variety at Royal House, sucking down Bloody Marys and barbecued shrimp at Mr. B’s Bistro, indulging in the ultimate pork supremacy at Cochon…) and expand my eating horizons at the same time!?

Since I’m always on the hunt for new flavors, places and experiences, it was essential to find the time and stomach space (in between several New Orleans Wine & Food Experience events and tastings, I may add) for a little culinary exploration while in the area. Here are a few of the incredible new discoveries and mouthwatering highlights from my recent trip:


Ste. Marie NOLA

  1. Crispy fries piled on plump mussels in an addicting chorizo, white wine & garlic broth
  2. Ste. Marie\'s sleek interior features modern fixtures & walls hand painted by a local artist
  3. Creamy gruyère, fontina and parmesan mac tossed with snow peas and crawfish tails
  4. Hearty alligator soup topped with hard boiled quail egg. You\'ll want to lick the bowl clean!
  5. Like soft-shells? Dive into Ste. Marie\'s tempura battered crab BLT sandwich
  6. Perfect sweet finish of fresh berry crepes with chocolate drizzle & whipped cream

Hungry for a standout meal outside the French Quarter? Head a few blocks due south to this elegant, modern bistro located in the up-and-coming Central Business District. Everything about Ste. Marie feels fresh and current — from the chic industrial decor, to the extensive list of Champagnes and sparkling wines, to the menu of refined French fare made with locally sourced ingredients. Since opening in early 2011, this NOLA gem has been firing up flavorful dishes such as escargot with bone marrow, tempura battered soft-shell crab BTL, velvety three cheese crawfish mac, and the best Moules Frites this side of the bayou — plump mussels nestled in a thick white wine garlic broth spiced with fiery chorizo, topped with a heap of thin cut fried potatoes to soak up the sauce remnants at the end. Très magnifique!

Contemporary and inviting, Ste. Marie impressed in all the right ways — definitely one to add to your New Orleans must-try list. And when you do stop by, ask for Miles and tell him I sent you ;-)

Ste. Marie  •  930 Poydras Street  •  504.304.6988  •


Criollo Restaurant & Lounge

  1. Chilled Gulf shrimp, blue crab and avocado over spicy tomato coulis & herbed oil
  2. Tender BBQ pork osso bucco with white cheddar mac & cheese and braised field greens
  3. Criollo\'s stately main dining room boasts rich, refined decor and modern details
  4. Flavorsome herb marinated chicken paillard with sunchoke slaw & grilled Celeste figs
  5. Ponchatoula strawberry shortcake with candied pecan sauce and creme fraiche. Mmm...

‘Local Ingredients, Global Inspiration’ is the philosophy behind this highly anticipated Hotel Monteleone newcomer. Criollo (the Spanish word for Creole) pays homage to the unique blend of cultures and influences that comprise Louisiana cuisine, with an ingredient-driven, seasonal menu boasting the region’s bounty of fresh seafood and produce. Chef de Cuisine Joseph Maynard delivers inspired dishes — like refreshing Gulf shrimp, blue crab and avocado layered over spicy tomato coulis, and savory herb marinated chicken paillard with sunchoke slaw and grilled Celeste figs — that pack the bold flavor punch New Orleans is famous for, executed with elegance and finesse to suit today’s contemporary tastes.

Standout service and spot-on wine pairings added to the overall enjoyment of my lunch at Criollo, and I’m already anticipating feasting here again once dinner service starts (slated for July).

Criollo at Hotel Monteleone  •  214 Royal Street  •  504.681.4444  •


Sucré: A Sweet Boutique

  1. Sucré\'s signature French macarons in salted caramel, pistachio, chocolate & almond flavors
  2. Crunchy almond butter toffee enrobed in dark chocolate & adorned with slivered almonds
  3. NoLa\'s Garden District got a lot sweeter when Sucré opened on Magazine Street in 2007
  4. Exquisite chocolate masterpieces crafted from the finest ingredients found across the world

There aren’t enough sweet sentiments to say about this darling dessert boutique from celebrated pastry chef-owner Tariq Hanna. Go here. Try everything. Smile and repeat. I can go on for days about Sucré… or you can just check out my previous post for more pictures and all the delicious details. How sweet it is!

Sucré  •  3025 Magazine Street  •  504.520.8311  •


Restaurant August

  1. Foie gras prepared three ways is one of the savory signatures at August (Image: Sportsnola)
  2. The entrance of Chef John Besh\'s Restaurant August on Tchoupitoulas Street
  3. House made potato gnocchi with blue crab, Perigord truffles & shaved parmesan To. Die. For.
  4. Elegant main dining room, rich with original 19th-century architectural details (Image: Starchefs)
  5. Luscious dessert of toasted marshmallow, banana pudding, peanut butter powder, caramelized bananas, vanilla wafer ice cream & meringue. Still dreaming about this one... (Image: Starchefs)

I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Restaurant August before (last year at a Pride Mountain Vintners dinner as part of the 2011 NOWFE), but this visit was my first à la carte experience. And it far exceeded the already high bar set during that first fine meal.

John Besh’s award-winning restaurant is a New Orleans signature, located in a historic 19th century French-Creole building. The interior is rich, elegant and polished, with three breathtaking dining rooms, and the cuisine is contemporary French with a farm-to-table focus on local ingredients. A late Saturday dinner here turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve had in recent memory. Talented executive chef Michael Gulotta presented an impeccably prepared succession of robust dishes, each more mouthwatering than the last, leaving me eager with anticipation of what was coming next. His precision, finesse and balanced approach to flavor was remarkable. And pastry chef Kelly Field’s desserts were simply stunning — she is a true artist in every sense of the word.

After this epic spread, paired with a stellar selection of wines and top-notch service, I can say with confidence that August is my favorite restaurant in all of New Orleans, hands down. Forks down, too — I was officially (and so satisfyingly) stuffed!

Restaurant August •  301 Tchoupitoulas Street  •  504.299.9777  • 



  1. Burrata with ripe peaches, picked onion & slivers of crispy pigs ear. You had me at burrata.
  2. Exposed brick, local art & crystal chandeliers add charm to the intimate second floor dining room
  3. Savory salt-crusted sea scallops over fennel, English peas & sherry vinegar
  4. Appetizer of ricotta gnocchi tossed with chunk blue crab and delicate zucchini blossoms
  5. Heavenly blackberry vacherin with tart lemon sherbet and light-as-air meringues
  6. Ooh la la! Swirled ambrosia pops were a delightful post-meal mignardise

After meeting pastry chef Zak Miller during NOWFE (and hearing from multiple sources about his dessert mastery), I just had to check out his restaurant, Coquette. Occupying the corner of Magazine and Washington in the scenic Garden District — and just down the street from Sucré — this acclaimed two-floor French bistro and wine bar charms with exposed brick walls, crystal chandeliers and paintings by local Louisiana artists. With a daily changing menu of haute cuisine at fairly reasonable prices, Coquette showcases fresh, seasonal ingredients in dishes such as succulent cochon de lait over pureed sweet potato and crisp corn relish, and plump salt-crusted sea scallops with snappy English peas, fennel and sherry vinegar. There’s also house infused spirits, signature cocktails and an eclectic wine list to round out the menu. But no matter what you eat or drink, be sure to leave room for dessert. Zak’s visionary confections cannot be missed!

Coquette  •  2800 Magazine Street  •  504.265.0421  •


Johnny’s Po-Boys

  1. Fried shrimp and crawfish po-boy “Dressed, Baby!” with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo
  2. Johnny’s Po-Boys has been a fixture in the French Quarter since the 1950′s
  3. Pillowy soft sesame seeded bun stuffed with thinly sliced ham, salami, mozzarella & vinegary minced olive salad. Best muffaletta ever.
  4.  Johnny\'s also serves ice cream, splits, sundaes, snowballs, shakes, floats, malts & more

No trip to New Orleans is complete without a po-boy or muffaletta. So, if you’re in the French Quarter and that comfort food craving sets in, try Johnny’s — a tiny St. Louis Street landmark that’s been serving its signature sandwiches since the 1950’s. This casual, order-at-the-counter spot rolls out all the standards, as well as special varieties like a seafood muffaletta (catfish, shrimp and oysters) and surf and turf (hot roast beef topped with fried shrimp) po-boy. The sandwiches here are massive and filled to the brim, so be prepared to chow down and get a little messy. And for the true experience, order ‘em “Dressed, baby!” with lettuce, tomato, pickles & mayo, along with a bag of crunchy Zapp’s chips and a Barq’s root beer to wash it all down. For a quick, satisfying bite, no place hits the spot like Johnny’s — especially on the day after a late night on Bourbon Street. You’ll thank me later.

Johnny’s Po-Boys  •  511 Saint Louis Street  •  504.525.8037  •


Until we eat again, New Orleans…

Where are some of your favorite spots to eat in the Big Easy? I’d love to hear from you!

Related posts: The Sweeter Side of a Savory City,  Classic NoLa Cocktails to Kick Off Mardi Gras

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