The Mansion Restaurant in NYC

The temperature here in New York City has finally begun to cool down, and this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some seasonal favorites. Soups are a sure bet to help keep your body warm, and your soul happy. Chicken Noodle Soup is a favorite everywhere, but given NYC’s large appreciation for Jewish delis & cuisine, Matzo Ball Soup is a widely popular item across the city. Mansion Restaurant, in NYC’s Upper East Side neighborhood, is famous for their rendition of this iconic item.

The Mansion 
1634 York Ave, New York, NY 10028
http://mansiondiner.com/

Unfortunately, when I went to Mansion, it was still quite warm outside, so I didn’t opt for soup. The atmosphere of Mansion is warm & inviting, exactly what you’d expect from your favorite neighborhood Diner. The staff is friendly, and the food is great. Diner food doesn’t necessarily Instagram the best, but it always hits the spot, and that’s why you love it.

Continue reading “The Mansion Restaurant in NYC”

Come With Us to Watch Martha Stewart Bake at Macy’s in Garden City, NY!

Image via Muzul.com

Ready to learn some new baking tips? Well, it doesn’t get any better than this! Myself (and the rest of Girls on Food) are so excited to join our idol and Culinary Council member Martha Stewart, for a special baking demonstration at Macy’s at Roosevelt Field, in Garden City, NY, where she will share tips from her latest book, A New Way to Bake!

When: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 at 6 pm

Where: Macy’s at Roosevelt Field, 630 Old Country Road, Home Department, Lower Level, Garden City, NY 11530

Price: FREE! RSVP here to ensure a spot and receive a $10 Macy’s gift card when you check in!

Image via Amazon.com

Culinary Council is a collection of spectacularly talented chefs, pastry chefs, and food professionals that travel throughout the country and hold various tastings and demonstrations in Macy’s all over the U.S. Check with your local Macy’s to see if any are happening near you! I can’t wait, I’m such a huge fan of her cookware and bakeware. The quality is great, and I love all the colors she uses; especially that teal one! We all know I have a big sweet tooth, so I’m hoping she demos one of her scrumptious looking cakes! Especially the Citrus Mousse Cake with Buttercream Frosting. Hint, hint Martha!

There’s still room for you to attend! Check out their Eventbrite page here for info on how to secure tickets. Also, starting Wednesday, April 19th, if you make a Martha Stewart Collection purchase of $50+, you’ll receive receive a copy of her new book, and a chance to meet Martha and have her autograph it for you!

We’ll be live on our Instagram feed and providing stories, so be sure you’re following us!

  • This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Gina Homolka at Macy’s in NYC

I’d have never guessed that this was Gina Homolka’s first live demo, as a team member from the Macy’s Events team said. As a new member of Macy’s Culinary Council, she seemed calm and natural on stage after being introduced, giving a 45-minute presentation on demonstration of her favorite “skinny” recipes. Homolka is a well-recognized blogger of her venture called Skinnytaste, where she showcases healthier versions of favorite food items. Additionally, her intense focus on recipe testing and developing have helped her to create two successful cookbooks; her latest one, Skinnytaste Fast & Slow, was recently nominated for a prestigious James Beard Foundation award!

Skinnytaste Fast And Slow

Continue reading “Gina Homolka at Macy’s in NYC”

Poppin’ Cakies Celebration in NYC

Festivities were held on Friday, March 17, 2017, honoring the “Cakie”, the creation of Queens-based Pastry Chef Janice de Castro (owner of Jae NYC Eats) at The VNYL Bar & Restaurant. A Cakie is the classic Twinkie revived and revamped! Having assumed a different identity, the new and improved Cakie was a hit among the crowd. The flavor profiles are vibrant and welcoming like Janice herself, and are hand injected into a familiar shaped moist cake. 

Owner Janice also used the party as an opportunity to premiere some new flavors! A crowd favorite was the limited edition Bad & Boujee pair; the Bad Cakie combined the flavors of Hennessy, Valrhona Chocolate, and Cherry Cordials, while the Boujee Cakie contained Dom Perignon and White Truffle.

Continue reading “Poppin’ Cakies Celebration in NYC”

Gina Homolka at Macy’s Herald Square on April 1st

Official Gina Homolka Image

This is not a joke or an April fool; Macy’s Culinary Council is hosting world renowned blogger, James Beard nominated author, and recipe developer Gina Homolka of Skinnytaste on Saturday, 4/1 at 1:00 pm. Culinary Council is a collection of spectacularly talented chefs, pastry chefs, and food professionals that travel throughout the country and hold various tastings and demonstrations in Macy’s all over the U.S. Check with your local Macy’s to see if any are happening near you!

Demo attendees will listen to Homolka dish about some of her favorite “skinny” recipes as well as get to sample them.

Continue reading “Gina Homolka at Macy’s Herald Square on April 1st”

Todd English Demo at Macy’s in NYC

On November 9th, the Housewares department at Macy’s was buzzing with holiday excitement as Culinary Council Chef Todd English hosted a demonstration and sampling of some of his most famous dishes. Chef English is known for restaurants such as Olives, Todd English Food Hall, Figs, Todd English’s Tuscany, just to name a few. Culinary Council is a collection of spectacularly talented chefs and pastry chefs that travel throughout the country and hold various tastings and demonstrations in Macy’s all over the U.S. Check with your local Macy’s to see if any are happening near you!

The mood was a bit somber as America was taking in the results of the election. Angry protestors were demonstrating down Broadway, but English kept the mood in the demo light and cheerful with a few jokes as he talked about his passion for food and cooking. “I don’t know where I’d be without it…” he explained. One of my favorite comedic references of the evening was when he re-enacted the “Hamburger” scene from Steve Martin’s portrayal of Jacques Clouseau in The Pink Panther. I met Chef once before at the Mohegan Sun Wine & Food Fest a few years back, and he was just as playful and energetic then too.

Chef & I at Sunfest 2009
Chef & I at Sunfest 2009

He also shared that he’s often compared cooking to music. “The notes that make the music are the ingredients that make the food. Both disciplines take passion and talent, and with the right grouping, the maestro or chef can come up with plentiful variations of things. English composed 3 of some of his famous dishes. He began with a Chop Salad, polling the audience simultaneously about what they might place inside their salad, as well as answering any questions.

Chop Salad
Chop Salad

He then transitioned into Poké, a traditional Hawaiian preparation of raw fish that’s recently been trending on the West Coast. Expect more Poké spots opening in NYC soon.

Poké on a tortilla chip
Poké on a tortilla chip

Last, but certainly not least, Chef English talked about hamburgers, and how important each of the components were. We even spoke very briefly about how amazing Pretzel Buns were.

Cheeseburger
Cheeseburger

After the demo over, attendees were invited to sample each of the dishes created in the demo. Guests that made a $35 purchase in the home department even got to participate in a Meet & Greet with Chef, as well as take home an autographed memento.

Chef & I on November 9th, 2016. Photo appears courtesy of Kent Miller Studios for Macy's
Chef & I on November 9th, 2016. Photo appears courtesy of Kent Miller Studios for Macy’s

Thanks so much to Macy’s & Culinary Council for having me at the demo, I’m so excited to see what future events are in store for 2017!

Samantha Checks Out Glaze Teriyaki in NYC

Cucumber Salad
Cucumber Salad

I have always had a soft spot (or an entirely soft stomach) for all kinds of Asian cuisines, so when I was introduced to the concept of Glaze, I was excited to try it for myself. Glaze isn’t your average teriyaki hole in the wall you’d find in the mall food court; its signature style came about in the 1970’s during which a large Korean population immigrated and settled in Seattle. Glaze is more like a “share-iyaki” that brings Japanese and Korean style cooking together, creating an end result that is fresh, filling, affordable, and nutritious. The food is cooked to order, and you’re right in the middle in the open kitchen set-up. There’s no Hibachi chef doing fancy tricks, but each shop (Glaze operates in 4 states) uses local ingredients to ensure freshness and quality.

Edamame
Edamame

Glaze offers either a rice or salad plate with choice of protein, rice, and dressing, or you can do a combo for an extra couple of dollars. Additionally, you can also opt for one (or two) of the sides as an appetizer. I opted for a combo of steak and sautéed veggies over brown rice with Carrot Ginger dressing. I also ordered a side of edamame, which comes to you with such a lovely smoky Paprika flavor! The Spicy-Yaki Chicken Wings are awesome for sharing as well. I would suggest the Cucumber Salad for someone in need of something light and refreshing.

Steak and Vegetable Combo
Steak and Vegetable Combo

I found Glaze to be a wonderful value both in quality of the food you get, as well as the generosity of the portion size. I quickly learned that many others shared my opinion, as the restaurant was filled within 30 minutes after I arrived, and the line was out the door as loyal customers waited to order. Try it by yourself or with your favorite foodie friends, either way, just get there and #getglazed.

Spicy-Yaki Chicken Wings
Spicy-Yaki Chicken Wings

 

Glaze Teriyaki has locations in San Francisco, NYC, Chicago and Madison. Check out their site for locations.

Hummus Where The Heart Is: Semsom Eatery in NYC

What’s the best way to detox your body from a week of sun & fun in Las Vegas? Clean, yet flavorful eats! If only it were that easy…

Semsom Eatery
2 Astor Place, New York, NY 10003
http://semsomeatery.com 

However, on a serious note, Semsom Eatery is a chill Lebanese eatery serving up classic Lebanese and Mediterranean favorites with a modern spin. Semsom (it means Sesame Seed in Lebanese) was created in the Middle East by two sisters, Christine and Carine and it eventually made its way stateside.

Semsom focuses on fresh quality ingredients; this is probably most apparent in their hummus, which is made fresh daily. The flavors are simple, yet powerful and the texture is smooth and creamy. Unlike many other Mediterranean restaurants that may use canned chickpeas, Semsom cooks begin each batch with fresh chickpeas that are soaked overnight. Tumeric, Zaatar, and Sumac are prevalent flavors throughout the establishment, as well as, one particular ingredient that isn’t easily found; family. Many of the recipes hail from the sisters’ mother, grandmother, or the dynamic duo. When I was briefly chatting with Carine, she explained that she was an “emotional eater,” and that it made her really happy to see others enjoying recipes that reminded her of her happy childhood.

Spices
Spices

Meals are served with a choice of base (bowl or wrap, brown rice, romaine, or half/half), choice of a main protein, as well as two flavors. I chose a bowl, half rice, half lettuce, Taouk chicken, Tahini carrots, and of course, the hummus. I also opted for a little side of the sweet & sour eggplant. The colors and flavors were vibrant, rich, and they tasted as beautifully as they Instagrammed.

Taouk Chicken
Taouk Chicken

Semsom also offers freshly made lemonades. The Rose Lemonade was, by far, my favorite! In addition, I was pleasantly surprised to discover they brew La Colombe coffee!

If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat afterward, Semsom also offers mini muffins in three flavors; cranberry cardamom, chocolate halva, and turmeric. Should frozen treats be more up your alley, the Astor Place location offers Vegan soft serve ice cream, while the Columbus Circle offers popsicles.

When the meal is over, guests can check out the retail area and purchase some artisan soap, rose water, orange blossom water, or many of the other Mediterranean themed items the restaurant has to offer. For diners who are short on time, Semsom also offers freshly pre-packs Watermelon and Feta salads, hummus packs, and other tasty treats. Whether you’re looking to try some authentic Lebanese flavors or just needing a quick snack after that intense workout at David Barton, make sure to stop in at Semsom and “seed” what it’s all about.

Muffins!
Muffins!

Momosan Ramen and Sake in NYC

It was finally my one day off and Mother Nature decided that NYC should be chilly and gloomy. However, I was determined to make the best of it. I have been wanting to visit this restaurant that opened recently, and this was the perfect day to do it.

Momosan Ramen and Sake
342 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

Momosan Ramen and Sake is Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s latest restaurant concept; a ramen shop “where noodles are front and center,” according to the official Momosan website. However, the menu also offers other tasty appetizers, 20 sake options, three draught and three bottled beers, and choice of either two reds or two whites for wine drinkers.

The anticipation had been building for a while, but it was on some serious overdrive when I crossed the threshold and laid eyes on a familiar figure. “Is that…oh em gee, that’s Morimoto!” I Irish whispered as I grabbed my accompaniment by his arm and nearly knocked him over. The hostess giggled at my ecstatic expression and sat us at the bar.

Edamame
Edamame

Chef Morimoto was literally the length of a high five away almost the entire time, watching over his line, cooking, bussing tables, as well as touching tables and rubbing elbows with guests, myself included. At one point I got a bit ditzy and dropped the menu out of my hand. I just went and got it and held on to it, but Chef felt that I needed a fresh one, so he went over to the hostess stand and fished me out a new menu!
A few minutes had passed, and I was able to collect myself and look around the restaurant. The colors are neutral, yet elegant. Pasta decorates the walls of the restaurant as a sort of edible crown molding.

I was flipping through my fresh menu, and my companion and I decided that we should try some of the sake. We each had a glass of the Rihaku, which has notes of coconut and pumpkin. It’s presented in a most unusual manner; the glass is placed inside of a square bowl and then purposely overfilled, letting the extra pour into the square bowl. This is done as a welcoming gesture, letting you know that your presence is appreciated and enjoyed. You’re to drink the contents of the glass first, and then pour the additional liquid into your glass as an “extra” way to say “welcome, thanks for coming by.”

Napa Cabbage
Napa Cabbage

Then the fun began. We ended up trying the Edamame, Pork Gyoza, Sticky Ribs, and the Napa Cabbage, and the Crispy Mimiga (pig ear) appetizers.

IMG_5703
Sticky Ribs

The presentation was beautiful, following suit with clean lines and classy yet simple (but by no means basic) plating. It was all so delicious, and so many different flavors and textures were lingering on my palate.

Pork Gyoza
Pork Gyoza

My friend had his fill with the appetizers, but I knew it was just a warm-up for me; I wasn’t leaving without a bowl of ramen. I had a bowl of Tokyo Chicken ramen, which was almost too beautiful to eat. I loved the piece of nori with the restaurant logo (I love the simpler things in life). The rainbow of colors in my bowl was quite visually appealing, and the broth was so rich, it sent my umami sensing taste buds into a sort of tranquil hypnosis. Each sip took me deeper into a semi-dreamlike food coma state.

unnamed
Tokyo Chicken Ramen

IMG_5706After the meal was over, I fully gathered my composure and asked Chef if he wouldn’t mind taking a photo with me. He did so happily, thanked me for coming in, and warmly shook my hand. Chef Morimoto may be a man of few words, but his presence and atmosphere spoke volumes to me that afternoon, and I can’t wait to go back there soon for another taste of Japan through the eyes of an Iron Chef.
Momosan Ramen and Sake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Samantha is Bananas For Banana Water!

banana waterI love bananas in nearly every form that a banana can be utilized, including beauty products (Tony Moly Banana Hand Milk), as in ingredient (Bananas Foster is my favorite dessert of life), as well as enjoying a banana in its pure form. I’ll wait while you quickly recall the line in “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani. Regarding fresh bananas, I LOVE them when they’re on the turn, which is a fancy way of saying half ripe. They’re half green, half yellow, still firm, and not overly sweet yet. They are a perfect snack or quick breakfast if you’re really on the go. However, I never knew you could drink bananas…until now.

I came across Banana Water a few weeks ago, and I was intrigued. This particular beverage is produced by Steuben Foods Inc., which also produces a Horchata drink, as well as a drinkable milkshake-type product from Cold Stone Ice Cream. Each Banana Water has as much potassium as two bananas, no added colors or sugars, only about seventy calories per bottle, and comes in three flavors: original, mango, and passion fruit.

cold stone
My milkshake brings all the boys to yard…

I’m a firm believer in the “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” motto, so the original banana is my favorite flavor, but the mango is a pretty close second. The bottles are aseptic (no need for refrigeration), but they have an extra kick of refreshment when consumed cold. It tastes lightly sweet, and the original flavor has more of a “starchy” taste than the other ones, but not in a bad way; the way a half ripe banana would. Get out there and try it for yourselves, you may find this product quite ap-peel-ing!

 

An NYC Cozy Day Classic: Samantha’s Ode to Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

tomato soupWinter on the East Coast isn’t all “Winter Wonderland” and “Do you want to build a snowman?” type situations. You’re lucky if the temperature reaches a high of 30 degrees, and your digits don’t completely freeze off while walking from your house to the train/bus. I’m getting chills just thinking about it. However, a thought that warms my heart is my favorite comfort food during the frigid winter months. It’s fairly simple, both in method of preparation as well as any sort plate presentation pizzazz. However, it’s a classic meal that you don’t have to be a foodie to make or love. It’s easy and inexpensive to make.

grilled cheese

Grilled cheese and tomato soup is an affinity pairing. The pieces of toast are porous and somewhat crunchy, but so perfect to dunk and absorb the tomato soup, be it freshly made or even Campbell’s. The cheese is melted and smooth, like a layer of liquid gold, and is a beautiful contrast to the acidity of the soup. Is there even a more perfect way to spend a wintery day off than at home in your favorite sweats, Netflix, and this? When it’s too cold to go outside, just plug in your Panini Press (or a George Foreman grill, if you lack an entire kitchen of culinary gadgets) and warm up with a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup. The chills will instantly melt away after one bite…unless of course, you’re into freezing, that is.

grilled chz soup

I Want Candy: Sugarfina at Columbus Circle in NYC

The phrase “kid in a candy store” is a bit outdated and restricting, in my opinion. I’m in my 20’s, but I still get excited when I go to a candy store. Why should the love for candy and candy stores end or be subdued once you’re an adult? It doesn’t!

Sugarfina – The Shops at Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
www.sugarfina.com

Display Wall
Display Wall

Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick, the co-founders of Sugarfina, don’t think so either. The two are not only business partners, but a couple as well, and the idea of a candy store for adults came about on their third date. Sugarfina was the sweet answer to a more adult-friendly experience, encompassing minimalistic, yet still elegant décor, while still playing with pops of color and fun with all of the candies; more than 140 different ones to choose from, just to give you an idea. The shops have a clean design, using white and a robin’s egg blue for the main color scheme.

Selections for my bento box
Selections for my bento box

Sugarfina originated in California, from where the couple lives, and has been popping up nationally over the last new years, as well as being sold in Nordstrom. They also have a display in Bloomingdales on 59th Street & Lex. Customers can order online directly from Sugarfina website. You can buy candies by the individual cube (small or large), or you can build a bento box full of goodies. The packing is beautiful, can be customizable, and makes an excellent gift. Sugarfina also offers pre-built, themed boxes and cute cards for all sorts of occasions. In addition to being a purveyor of gourmet sweets, the company is environmentally conscious, limiting excessive packaging, and donating portions of the profits toward re-planting trees back into the earth.

Cocktail themed gift box
Cocktail-themed gift box

When I heard that there was an actual store front opening in New York City (there’s also another store coming into the Oculus at World Trade Center building), I just knew I had to go. I got to chitchat with Carla and Travis, the manager and assistant manager of the store in Columbus Circle. Each one of them had a wonderfully sweet personality and were full of awesome pieces of information. Travis explained that although Sugarfina is designed to attract an audience with a more sophisticated palate by using ingredients such as kumquats or alcohol inspired candies, his nephew adores the champagne gummy bears. After chatting for a bit, I decided to build myself an eight-piece bento box (for research purposes, of course!).

Kyoto Blossoms
Kyoto Blossoms

Amongst my selection was the Finnska Red candies, a strawberry licorice from Finland, which Carla playfully referred to as “Twizzler’s rich cousin.” Of course, the Champagne Bears were a huge hit as well, and not forgetting to mention the Marzipan Lemon Cakes, which remind me of a lemon pound cake. It’s safe to say that I’ll be sampling and researching for a bit, but you can bet that I’ll be back at Sugarfina soon for a refill on my favorites sometime soon!