#SCBDEventRecap: .@GSFoodTours #LoveBites Event .@LITMJC

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A few months ago I had the opportunity to attend a Garden State Food Tours (aka GSFT) event at LITM (Love is The Message) in Jersey City. I’m really happy I went because it gave me a taste of what tours are like and the type of restaurants they work with. GSFT is a company that has tours that focus on Montclair and Jersey City (which is an up and coming foodie community).

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The event itself focused on dessert bites and cocktails. The cocktails were made by the bartenders at LITM, I had the Cherry Champagne cocktail and it was delish! The desserts were brought in and served by two local vendors, Cholita Dessert Bar (formerly All Kinds of Whoopie aka AKW) and Milk Sugar Love. Both were delicious, I loved the cupcake from Cholita’s and the white chocolate lavender macaron was delish from Milk Sugar Love. It was also an honor to meet Adriana (of Cholita’s) and Emma (of Milk Sugar Love) while I was there.

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I had come to the event after work so I was definitely was really hungry. LITM is known for their award winning macaroni & cheese so I figured that would be a great bite for dinner. I’m so happy I got it, because it was some of the best macaroni and cheese I’ve had. I even got it with mushrooms and spinach in it. It’s phenomenal and made with Vermont cheddar, dash of nutmeg and truffles. I was so impressed I want to go back soon and have it again. While I had my amazing macaroni and cheese I also got to try one of the cocktails they have that wasn’t part of the event. It was delish and did not disappoint.

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LITM is the perfect event space and restaurant. The cocktails are crafted to your liking and have some great top shelf ingredients for a great price. It’s also a gallery which is a great environment to be in for any creatives like myself out there. I was so happy I attended and even met with the ladies behind GSFT, Alessia and Janis.

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I can’t wait to attend my next tour, so stay tuned as we’ll keep you up to date on where they will be next! Cheers!

#SCBDExclusive: Gaby Brasserie Française to Delight Guests on April Fool’s Day

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Gaby Brasserie Française, the charming bistro at the Sofitel New York, will bring April Fool’s Day back to its roots with a fun-filled Poisson d’Avril (April Fish) theme that will delight even its most serious guests. The Midtown Manhattan hotel will celebrate the holiday’s French origins on April 1 with an evening filled with surprise-and-delight treats.

As part of the French tradition, the target of a prank will unknowingly walk around with a paper fish taped to their back. Gaby guests who discover a fish on their back will not become the butt of a joke, but the recipient of a pleasant surprise. One lucky diner at each table will receive a surprise of sorts such as free cocktails, an appetizer to share, or a complimentary bottle of wine. Guests are also encouraged to visit Sofitel New York on Facebook and Google+ to share their favorite April Fool’s pranks using the hashtag #GabyAprilFools.

For reservations or more information, visit http://www.gabynyrestaurant.com/ or call (212) 782-3040.

#SCBDExclusive: .@ManonRestaurant’s New Spring Special and Bar Menu!

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Despite these chilling weather patterns, spring has officially sprung! In honor of our release from the worst winter ever, Manon is celebrating April Showers and May Flowers with new after work specials and bar menu!

Stop in to Manon’s main bar during the week from 5 PM-8 PM for 30% off all beverages. For dinner, try one of the dishes from their recently launched spring menus: Smoked Duck on Buckwheat, Bar Crudite, Blue Cheese and

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White Chocolate Crab Cakes, Braised Pork Sliders or Beet Duo.

Whether you’re stopping in for an after work pick-me-up or looking to try some new and exciting dishes, kick of springtime with Manon, located at 407 W 14th Street.

 

#SCBDExclusive: Mixology Lessons with.@GameofStoves of .@nicolesten

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Sara and I had this awesome opportunity to have a private tasting at Nicole’s 10 Restaurant in Randolph, NJ. This tasting was from the bar, and was their signature drinks made personally by Kyle Trama, a mixologist who’s known as 10NMixer. This day was so much fun, and we both learned so much from Kyle. He was so knowledgeable and knows his liquor.

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We started the night with our first drink, The Easy Side Gimlet. This drink was made with blue coat gin, demerara simple syrup, fresh lime, cucumber, and mint. This was my favorite drink of the night. It was so refreshing and crisp, a great spa like drink. Good for the summer, but even on this snowy day, it was so refreshing.

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The second drink we had was called 9th Ward Sazerac. This was a bourbon drink made with Bulletin bourbon, rich syrup, peychaud’s bitters, and vieux carre absinthe rinse. Rich syrup uses sugar on the raw instead of white sugar. This drink smelled like lemon and licorice. It had a very smooth taste, especially considering it had a slight bitter taste to it. The licorice taste was slight in the drink, a good sipping drink to sit back and relax with.

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The third drink was a Jack Rose. This was made with New Jersey’s own Laird’s Applejack, homemade grenadine, and lemon. This was another fabulous drink, with a crisp refreshing taste to it. It was fruity, but not an overpowering sweet taste. It is another smooth drink, everything combined beautifully.

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It was so great the way he served them too, they were in a neat tasting glass on a slab of wood. It looked so neat to have them lined up like that!

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Next was a drink called Bees Knees. This included Barr Hill gin, goose rock honey syrup, and fresh lemon. This smelled so good, almost like a Lemon Drop, but tasted so much better. It was smooth and just the right amount of sweetness. The honey is locally made, and the combination of this in this drink made it delicious.

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He added two more drinks, the frist one was Negroni and Bitters. This drink was very bitter, it is an acquired taste. The finish was an oaky taste. Something to try if you prefer a more bitter drink! The second one was Pima Cup. This is made with homemade pimms, mixed fruit, demerarara simple, line, and soda. This one is also bitter, but had a smooth and fruity aftertaste. It is almost like when yu let fruit sit in water, the fruit admits the bitter from the skin but the water still includes the sweetness of the fruit. It was a great finish to an amazing night!

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Everything is made in house here, including all the simple syrups and flavors. The Demerarara Simple is made with fine sugar. If you wanted to make your own, you can cook one cup sugar in 1 cup water. You can add other flavors, such as cinnamon or nutmeg and add more or less sugar to taste.

 

Visit the 10NMixer as Nicole’s Ten Restaurant off of Route 10 in Randolph, NJ.

To find more recipes and drink ideas, visit gameofstoves.weebly.com and visit Kyle Trama’s blog.

Also follow them on Facebook and Twitter:

Twitter @Nicolesten

https://www.facebook.com/nicolestenrestaurant

#SCBDEventRecap : #DinewithDerek @ManonNYC

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On Thursday, January 30, Style Director of Bella NYC Magazine Derek Warburton hosted an event at Manon Restaurant in New York City to kick off fashion week and promote the new “Slammin Six” blogger spread in the magazine. Bloggers from all over NYC flocked to Manon for the posh event.

The event featured models with fashion week inspired outfits for an affordable price, delicious food, “Bellatinis,” and free manicures from “The V Spot Nail Salon.” All the models’ outfits were styled by Derek himself, with looks from Old Navy, Hipknoties, Lysse, Jane Basch Jewelry, and many more designers.

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The drink of the night was the “Bellatini” a mix drink of Absolute Elyx Vodka, Pineapple juice, and Chambord, definitely a refreshing beverage to try! The food came around in bite size portions making it easy to munch on! The food ranged from mini Filet Mignons to Pâté, everything was simply delicious. For desert there were delicious Rice Krispie type treats in delicious flavors provided by TreatHouseNY.

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Bella inspired manicures were offered in the back by The V Spot Nail Salon in Hoboken, NJ, each guest could receive an Essie manicure with a signature Bella NYC heart on one nail. At the end of the night each guest received a gift bag filled with great products such as Lysse leggings, cream eye shadow, a new product called “Still Standing” a spray to use right before you wear heels to avoid pain, and much more! Overall, the night was a success and an excellent way to start off New York Fashion Week 2014! Bella NYC events never fail to disappoint.

#SCBDRecipe: St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail Recipes

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Everyone knows that St. Patrick’s Day is one of the booziest holidays of the year. While most celebrate by guzzling down green beer, others like to toast to the Irish patron saint with something a bit more fancy. We did a round-up of some of the classiest cocktails that will help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the right way!

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Basil Hayden’s® Irish Julep

INGREDIENTS:

-2 parts Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon -½ part DeKuyper® Green Crème de Menthe -1 part Half and Half

METHOD:

1. Shake all ingredients well with ice.

2. Strain over crushed ice into a highball glass.

3. Garnish with a mint sprig.

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Basil Hayden’s® Shamrock Sour

Recipe by Julie Reiner – New York, NY

INGREDIENTS:

-2 Parts Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon -½ Part Green Chartreuse -½ Part Lemon Juice -½ Part Grapefruit Juice -½ Part Agave Syrup* (To make, combine equal parts of water with Agave Syrup) -¼ Part Egg White

METHOD:

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin and shake without ice to blend.

2. Add ice and shake.

3. Strain over fresh ice in a double rocks glass and garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon wheel.

Dead Rabbit Irish Coffee

 

THE BEST IRISH COFFEE YOU EVER HAD

It has been said that “Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.” Here is a version you can make at home that traces back to the 1940s Foynes Airport original.

-1 ½ oz Clontarf 1014 Irish Whiskey -¾ oz Demerara syrup (made with 1 part water to 1 part Demerara sugar) -4 oz Fresh brewed coffee -Cream: whisk 2 oz of Brady’s

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-Irish Cream with 6 oz of heavy cream -Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg

Fill an Irish coffee glass or mug with hot water and let stand for a few minutes to warm. Pour out water. Add the whiskey, syrup and coffee, then stir. Add whipped Brady’s the width of your thumb. Freshly grate nutmeg over top.

Created by Jack McGarry, on behalf of Irish to the Core.

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THE DUBLIN SIDE

With both honey liqueur and agave nectar, one would think this drink would only satisfy those with a serious sweet tooth! However the aromatics of gin, lemon and mint awaken and refresh the palate in this lemony twist on the South Side cocktail.

-1 ½ oz Celtic Honey Liqueur -1 oz Gin -½ oz Fresh lemon juice -1 tsp Agave nectar -Handful of mint leaves -Garnish: mint sprig

Shake ingredients very well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass or over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.

 

GET_MatchaMakerAquaFresca

If you want to partake in festive St. Patrick Day’s drinks but aren’t a big fan of alcohol (or if you’re underaged,) check out this mocktail from celebrity chef Elizabeth Falkner. The Matcha Maker Melon Agua Fresca makes a refreshing and fun beverage for any time of the day with bright bursts of honeydew melon and lime.

Matcha Maker Melon Agua Fresca

Ingredients

-4 tea bags Good Earth Matcha Maker, tag removed from the tea bag -4 cups boiling water -1 honeydew melon, skinned, seeded and cut up into chunks -4 cups ice -4 slices lime

Directions

-Steep the Good Earth® Matcha Maker™ in boiling water for 5 minutes. -Strain the tea bags and remove from the water. -Add the water into a blender filled with the melon chunks -Puree the water and melon chunks in the blender and then strain the smooth mixture through a fine, mesh strainer. -Pour the mixture over cubed or crushed ice. -Garnish the tall glass with a slice of lime.

 

#SCBDEvent: .@TheDoeFund Hosts 3rd Annual sweet: New York Tasting Event

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On Thursday, March 13th, The Doe Fund will be hosting it’s 3rd annual sweet: New York to support homeless people in NYC. Students from the Doe Fund’s culinary employment program will work alongside chefs from the top NYC restaurants to treat guests to sweet and savory dishes. All proceeds will go to the Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing, and Able Program, which helps formerly homeless men and women get back on their feet through career development and educational tools.

Guests will be given the VIP treatment and served dishes from some of New York’s most famous restaurants, including Dinosaur BBQ, Magnolia Bakery, Tao, and Capital Grille. Patrons can also enjoy specialty cocktails crafted by expert mixologists, along with wine from award-winning vineyards and craft beers and spirits. Along with dinner and drinks, there will be a not-so-silent auction and the musical stylings of celebrity DJ Chelsea Leyland.

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VIP Tickets cost $150, and tickets to the main event cost $100. You can purchase tickets online and find out more information about the event. Join the Doe Fund on March 13th at 6 PM at the Bowery Hotel for dinner, drinks, and dancing for a good cause!

#SCBDReview: Soho’s KittiChai and NYC Restaurant Week

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Every year I try to get a group of friends together to try out a new restaurant for NYC restaurant week. The past few times our plans had fallen through, but this year I was determined to get into the city. There are a lot of opinions on this twice yearly tradition of restaurant week. There are those who hate their favorite spots being flushed with newcomers and most likely one time diners. Others think the entire ”promotion” is a rip off because smaller portions are often served and items that aren’t on the regular menu are presented (Those who have worked in the industry will understand this most likely means items will cut costs, are about to go bad, in excess, or they want the diner to be a guinea pig for a new idea). But there are also the people (like me) who see it as an opportunity (and excuse!) to try out restaurants they might not otherwise be able to afford on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, my first 2 choices for restaurants to try out for this occasion were booked up for the day we chose to go out on within a day of the menus being posted online (The Marrow and Perilla-Harold Dieterle’s restaurants). I scanned through the participating list for other places that were on my to-do list (When you don’t live in the city it’s harder to make a dent in this list…it seems to just grows). I settled on Kittichai in Soho. It is an upscale Thai restaurant with some eclectic and contemporary flare.

The décor was eye catching with brilliantly lit vases with flowers in them, a large pond with floating candles in the center of the dining room, and wooden accents to tone down the bright lights of the other decor. It was a perfect symmetry of light and dark.

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We noticed that the menu not only had the $38 restaurant week Pre-Fixe menu but, it also featured 2 other pre-selected menu’s (for slightly higher prices) to choose from as well. Each menu had a $15 wine pairing option for your 3 courses. We stuck with the restaurant week menu but did add on the 3 course wine pairing (you can’t beat $15…but I will admit they were half glasses). We also threw in some side dishes to split with our table.

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I started with a cocktail before our wine flight began. It was a salted plum brandy with vanilla essence and orange peel. It reminded me of a whiskey sour. It had a great balance of sweet and tart.

I chose the Wild Mushroom Dumplings for my appetizer course. The dumplings were just slightly crispy and they came with a soy coconut foam sauce that I could have licked the platter trying not to waste any. Needless to say, I enjoyed it. I also tried the Hot and Sour Seafood Soup, the Duck Confit Salad, and the Crispy Rock Shrimp. ALL of them were delicious…but I thought my dumplings took the cake on that course. The wine selected for the appetizers was a Riesling. It is not usually my favorite varietal however; I thought it paired nicely to offset the heavy spices that were in each of the dishes.

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For my main course I chose the Braised Pork Cheek that paired with spiced palm sugar braise, truffle powder, and steamed buns. Whoa. These pork buns were awesome! I didn’t even want to share (Luckily 3 of the 5 of us ordered this dish so I didn’t have to share too much!). I nibbled on the Crispy Branzino and Chili-Smoked Hanger Steak from my dining companions as well. This place really understands how to pack in flavors. Our side dishes included the Roti with a Peanut Curry dipping sauce, Charred Cauliflower (SO good!), Stir-fried Jasmine Rice with Sausage and Cashews, and Stir-Fried Vegetables with Garlic and Ginger Soy Sauce. The wine presented for the main dishes was a Pinot Noir. It was light and fruity but a bit forgettable.

The portions were smaller so I was able to try everything on the table and still have room for dessert. I went for the Black Cardamom Lava Cake with Thai Basil Ice Cream. I love chocolate and the lava cake was a hit. However; I want to highlight how refreshingly good the Thai Basil Ice Cream was. I always wonder if the trend to put savory flavors into ice cream will work. This one did. It ended my dinner on a high note. Our pairing for the dessert was a sparkling wine. It was perfect for a cheers with good friends over the great meal we had just indulged in.

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This meal truly blew me away. I do have to admit that you are a bit fooled by the low price tag of $38. You can’t help but be suckered into drinks and side dishes so our bill was a lot heftier than that original price tag. But I do not intend to become a one and done customer at Kittichai. I can’t wait to go back and try more of what they have to offer.

#SCBDEvent: Mardi Gras Celebration @WHotelsNYC

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W New York - Downtown

Tonight The W New York – Downtown will be hosting a Mardi Gras celebration featuring complementary cupcakes, signature cocktails straight from the French Quarter, and the chance to win a trip to New Orleans! 

Join them this evening at 5 PM for a taste of the Big Easy without having to leave the Big Apple. Kick off the celebration with the Taylor Bird Sazerac, a $9 cocktail that hails from the W French Quarter’s SoBou restaurant. If you’re curious to see what you’re getting yourself into, check out the recipe before you take the dive:

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Taylor Bird Sazerac Cocktail $9

1 oz. Cognac

1 oz. Rye whiskey

1 barspoon Steen’s cane syrup (or extra-rich 3:1 demerara syrup)

2 dashes orange bitters

4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Absinthe rinse

Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer

Glass: rocks

Garnish: lemon twist

Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe to coat. Stir the remaining ingredients in a mixing glass with cracked ice and strain into the rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist after expressing its oils over the drink.

Billy's Bakery Mardi Gras Cupcake_hi res

 

With the purchase of the Taylor Bird Sazerac, you’ll receive a complementary King Cake cupcake from Billy’s Bakery. One of these delicious cupcakes contains a surprise ingredient: a baby! Whoever finds the baby hiding underneath their creamy purple and green frosting will win a two-night stay for two in New Orleans.

For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to find the baby and win the trip, the W New Orleans is offering several specialty packages in honor of Mardi Gras. Check out their website to snag a five night stay at the W New Orleans and get a chance to march in the Krewe of Orpheus parade or grab some daily “to-go” cocktails from SoBou.

If you’re looking for an authentic Mardi Gras celebration with some New York flair, then the W – Downtown is the spot for you! The celebration starts at 5 PM tonight on 123 Washington Street. As they say in the Big Easy, laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

#SCBDEvent: .@KENandCOOK Oscar Screening Party

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The Academy Awards are the hottest event in Hollywood. It’s a night of glitz, glam, and all the fabulous celebrities you could ever imagine. Unfortunately, most of us commoners will never get to hit the red carpet and join in these festivities. Luck for you, there are other options for you to feel just a fabulous as the Oscar nominees themselves!

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This Sunday, Ken & Cook Restaurant and Bar will be holding an Oscars viewing party for all of you movie-buffs and Hollywood wanna-be’s. Guests are asked to dress in their best black tie attire to walk the red carpet and view the show from a giant projector behind the bar. While you’re viewing, treat yourself to some Oscar-inspired cocktails along with Ken & Cook’s delicious dinner menu and get the VIP treatment! The party starts at 6 PM sharp, just in time for the Red Carpet Pre-Show. Space is limited, so if you want to RSVP, call the restaurant at 212-966-3058 or e-mail them at reservations@kenandcook.com

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