Taste of Westchester 2014

Join Cerebral Palsy of Westchester (CPW) on Monday, Nov. 3 at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel in White Plains for A Taste of Westchesteran event featuring over twenty of the area’s finest restaurants & chefs noted for their culinary talents. In addition, there will be a great selection of wine, beer and beverages from local establishments. All proceeds from the event benefit CPW’s mission; this year, the proceeds will go towards CPW’s new playground.

Here is a sample of participating vendors: Angelina’s Ristorante, Antonees Gourmet CateringCaptain Lawrence Brewing Co., Chocolations, Coffee Labs, Emma’s Ale House, Ladle of Love, The Iron Tomato, The Olde Stone Mill and Wobble Café. There will also be a special cake decorating demonstration by Rockland Bakery at 7pm. Click here to see a full list of participants.

It’s not too late to purchase tickets for this worthy cause. For more information about Cerebral Palsy of Westchester, visit their website. We hope to see you there!

Taste of Westchester
Monday, November 3rd, 6:15pm
Renaissance Westchester Hotel – West Harrison, NY
80 West Red Oak Lane
West Harrison, NY 10604

Dinner in Dobbs

With so many places to eat and so little time, we always enjoy learning about new places to try delicious food. We were recently introduced to Cedar Street in Dobbs Ferry by fellow blogger and friend Katie Schlientz, aka IntoxiKate, for a tasting of the new fall menu.

On a chilly night, we were happy to start with a bowl of warm sausage and grits along with brussels sprouts. We don’t eat brussels sprouts often but just may start after tasting these! They were fantastic!

Next, we were treated to a variety of other plates, including crab cakes, meatballs and pork chops. Yum!

While sitting at the bar, we watched the bartender whipped up an assortment of drinks and we couldn’t leave without trying the Timeout, pictured below. Of course, we also made room for dessert, an incredible Nutella bread pudding with ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Along with eating great food and catching up with Katie, it was great to meet Cedar Street Grill’s Co-Founder and Executive Chef Matt Kay and hear his story about opening a restaurant is his hometown of Dobbs Ferry. If you’re looking for some homestyle fare and great hospitality, put Cedar Street Grill at the top of your list!

Cedar Street Grill
23 Cedar Street
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522

 

 

Bikes and Bites

A few weeks ago, we focused our energy on fitness and food. We started the day with the Tour de Yonkers, a 28 mile bike ride throughout the city. Even though we’re residents of Yonkers, the ride gave us a chance to experience areas that we haven’t previously seen. In addition to camaraderie between riders, the tour offered quite the spread both before and after the race. From bagels and bananas to fuel up before getting started to sandwiches and salads to fill up on after the race, we both rode and ate well!

We definitely worked up an appetite after all the hills so we decided to treat ourselves and headed to Port Chester to check out Salsa Picante, a relatively new Mexican restaurant located right downtown. Ever since our favorite Mexican spot closed earlier this year, we’ve been looking for a new go-to place and this just might be it! Salsa Picante was the perfect spot to fill up after the long ride. We started with guac (of course!), which was prepared at the table in front of us. Kristina had her usual, enchiladas verdes with cheese, and Allen had the pollo picante. For dessert, we tried the coconut flan which was the perfect sweet bite to end the meal.

Port Chester is definitely one of our favorite towns to grab a meal. Have you eaten there yet? If so, please share your go-to spots with us via email (foodiepleasure@gmail.com), Twitter (@foodiepleasure) or in the comments below!

Salsa Picante
110 Adee Street
Port Chester, NY 10573

Lone Star BBQ

We loved tuning into The Great Food Truck Race over the summer. From week to week, we enjoyed seeing the truck concepts evolve and figuring out what types of truck stop challenges Tyler Florence had up his sleeve. Lance Kramer and his Lone Star Chuck Wagon made quite a statement on the show, so we had to learn more about how Texas roots led to success on the show.

Lone Star Chuck Wagon crew

Lone Star Chuck Wagon crew

FP: We love the concept of the Lone Star Chuck Wagon. How did the concept evolve?

LK: Texas is obviously the Lone Star State, and the Chuck Wagon was the original food truck, so it fits us perfectly. We threw around a few different names, including Republic of Texas, and Kramer’s Lone Star Food Truck. But at the end of the day, Lone Star Chuck Wagon fit just right.

FP: We like the sound of it!

Tell us about your experience on the show. What will you remember most?

LK: The part which stands out the most, was the difficulty of the entire show. I’ve seen every season of The Great Food Truck Race, usually sitting on the couch in the comfort of my own home! It was easy to think, “hey, that doesn’t look so hard!” I was wrong. While extremely rewarding, it was the most challenging 7 weeks of my life. But we have no regrets. We worked our butts off, and are very proud of how far we went.

FP: Your team definitely gave fans a good show!

Besides Lone Star Chuck Wagon, we read that you have your own line of award-winning BBQ sauce. What are some of your non-food related interests?

LK: We always seem to have our hands full with numerous projects, all at the same time! We keep busy with Catering, BBQ Contests, Product Development, Commercial & Retail Product Sales, to name a few.

Now we are gearing up to film a Texas Travel Show Pilot! We are super excited about the show, and will be posting more information later this month.

FP: Please keep us posted on the show!

What are some of your favorite meals to prepare when you are home?

LK: I really like cooking new things, and trying new cooking techniques. Usually the job has us cooking BBQ and Tex-Mex, so when we aren’t working, I cook everything from Asian to Italian. In fact last night, I made sushi, which is far from BBQ!

FP: Did you say sushi?!

What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name. :)

LK: All food is a pleasure! Food is communal & it brings us together as a common theme. It puts smiles on our faces everyday. We are lucky to share food with people, and get paid for it! But as for my “guilty” pleasure, a giant rack of slow smoked ribs is hard to beat!

FP: Will fans of the show see a Lone Star Chuck Wagon cruising the streets in the near future?

LK: Whether it be a food truck, our retail products, or another TV show, you haven’t seen the last of us! Keep tuned to our website (www.rubresponsibly.com) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/kramerslonestar) page for information!

FP: Thank you for your time. We wish you the best in your many endeavors! 

From Cop to Chopped

Appearing on the show Chopped is a dream in itself for both professional and at-home chefs. Can you imagine competing and winning Chopped multiple times (3 times to be exact!)? Recent Grand Champion Diana Sabater did just that, so of course, we had to learn more about her!
Chef Diana Sabater

Chef Diana Sabater

FP: How did you get your start with cooking? 
DS: I began cooking at the age of 10. My favorite show to watch as a kid was Julia Child‘s cooking show. After the show I would go in the kitchen and try to make whatever she made on her show. I soon discovered my love of cooking.
My biggest influence was my grandmother. I remember my grandmother playing her bolero music while cooking. She would take her time flavoring the food. Her homemade sofrito was the base of her seasoning. Today it is the foundation of my cooking as well. It has taken me nearly 10 years to perfect this seasoning sauce but is finally have it.
FP: Tell us about your experiences on Chopped.
DS: My experience on Chopped was life changing. It was one of the hardest challenge I faced but I feel like I have prepared for this all my life. Being on a fixed income, I had to be creative with food. If canned corn beef was the only ingredient I could afford that week, I would find a way to make it seven different ways. Because I could not afford to do much of anything else, the kitchen was my canvas and the masterpiece was the finished product on the plate.
FP: What was the hardest ingredient work with on the show? 
DS: The hardest ingredient I had to work with was the pig’s head. I am used to getting my meat already butchered and  I have never worked with a pig’s head before. But from watching Food Network, I remembered that the cheeks held a lot of flavor.
FP: Oh yes, we definitely remember the pig’s head for sure! 
What were the biggest differences from one appearance to the other?
DS: The biggest difference for me was that there seemed to be more camaraderie in this tournament. In the Heroes episode, it felt like we were all just there doing what we love to do. It didn’t matter who won. Before we went out to find out who was getting chopped after the dessert round, I told Robbie, my competitor, it didn’t matter who won as long as one of us brought it home for the heroes in the finale.
The finale was a bit intimidating. Going up against a professional who owns two restaurants in one of the hottest locations in the nation is very intimidating. I was nervous the whole time. After each round looking over at Giorgio’s plate made me realize how talented and creative and passionate this person is. He just doesn’t cook for a living or for fun, he lives and breathes his art.  Because of his skill level he pushed me to go where I did not think I could. Because of that I am so grateful to have crossed paths with him in this manner. Now I can show someone like Giorgio that I have the ability and skills to move from Private Chef to Executive Chef.
FP: We certainly enjoyed watching you take it to the next level!
When you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in your area or other cities you’ve visited.
DS: My favorite places to eat are the little hole-in-the-wall places. The food taste more home cooked. In my hometown, Philadelphia, my favorite places are on N3rd St in Northern Liberties and Picahna Grill (Brazilian food).
FP: We’ve been meaning to get back to Philly and will have to check out N3rd Street next time!
What are some of your favorite meals to cook at home for your family?
DS: Fortunately for me, my kids are not picky eaters so they will eat anything as long as its spicy. They usually ask me to make Puerto Rican food.
FP: We agree with your kids– the spicier the better!
What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name :)
DS: I love salted caramel chocolate.
FP: Can’t go wrong with that! Thank you, Diana, for your time. We can’t wait to see where your career takes you!
Learn more about Chef Diana on her blog!

Gourmet Grads

While watching the Great Food Truck Race, we enjoy learning about the different culinary concepts of each food truck and and of course Tyler Florence’s curveballs throughout the season. However, what we enjoy most is watching the contestants work together as a team towards achieving their goal. One team that showed tremendous passion on the show were Roberto Franco, Keese Chess and Julius Searight of Gourmet Graduates. We recently caught up with all three to learn about their experience on the show.

Team Gourmet Graduates: Roberto Franco, Keese Chess and Julius Searight (L-R). Photo courtesy of the Food Network

Team Gourmet Graduates: Roberto Franco, Keese Chess and Julius Searight (L-R). Photo courtesy of Food Network

FP: We love the concept of the Gourmet Graduates. How did the concept evolve?

RF: The concept came together by the three of us being fresh out of college and wanting to showcase our culinary skills by putting out gourmet yet budget friendly food. Thus leading us to The Gourmet Graduates!

FP: Tell us about your experience on the Great Food Truck Race. What was it like to compete with the other food trucks?

RF: What an experience to say the least. Being on the Food Network was crazy enough, but to go against other food trucks with a variety of skills was mind blowing. You don’t realize how much you need to work as a team until you’re pushed to the limit. Between traveling and getting to know everyone, it was a blast and we’re truly grateful to be apart of it all.

FP: Looking back would have you done anything different?

RF: Everything happens for a reason and for us to lose in the second round just means it was our time. Yes, we could have managed some things better here and there but it made us more knowledgable and ready for our next adventure.

FP: What will you remember most about the experience?

RF: One thing is Tyler Florence’s line “the long..lonely…ride home.” Ha, I can hear it now how he said it. Other than that, the cast, production team and producers! They were all so easy and fun to work with that it felt like a vacation.

FP: Which city was your favorite?

RF: We had a lot of love in Tucson, AZ so that was very fun, but who could resist cooking and selling food right on Venice Beach in California!

FP: Besides the Gourmet Graduates, what is currently keeping each of you busy? Any projects in the works?

KC: I’m currently continuing to get my “Kooking with Keese” concept out there all while being the face of  the NYC Marriott Residence Inn & Courtyard Central Park, “Americas Tallest Hotel.”

JS: I’m funding right now for my food truck “Food 4 Good” in Rhode Island, which will be selling food by day and giving food to the homeless by night!

RF: I am the Head Chef at The Thirsty Beaver in Cranston RI and continuously working on my fashion line “UnRated.” The line will take 12% of all sales for a scholarship fund for students across the country. As a team we are working on getting a new show together and hopefully getting back on the big screen!

FP: It’s great to hear that you’re all following your culinary passions!

What are some of your non-Gourmet Grads related interests?

KC: I’ve always been interested in film & television. I DJ’d for 3 years and toured to a few destination cities in the US.

JS:  I’m interested in starting a food truck and having the concept implemented across America by others.

RF: I like to stay active and do whatever I can do to be successful. Whether it’s the clothing line or private catering, I want to be the best entrepreneur I can be.

FP: What are some of your favorite meals to prepare when you are home?

KC: I love to cook seafood and work with mystery basket ingredients. I’ve never left the college state of mind of having to work with what I have.

JS: I like making pull pork, different kind of soups and sauces.

RF: I love a classic spaghetti and meatball dish, it will never get old.

FP: If you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in Providence, RI or other cities you’ve visited.

KC: One of my favorite hole in the wall joints in Providence is Harry’s. They serve one mean slider.

JS: In Providence, some of my favorites are Broadway Bistro, Blaze Restaurant and Nick’s on Broadway.

RF: When I eat out I like to go to hole in the wall places. You don’t know what to expect and I like that adventure side of the food!

FP: What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name :)

KC: My guilty pleasures continue to get me in trouble with my dentist today. I have a soft spot for desserts and tend to have more than just a couple of pieces of bacon.

JS: My guilty pleasure is anything fried.

RF: I’m a sucker for anything with peanut butter and my number one problem will be Reese’s peanut butter cups.

FP: Desserts, bacon, anything fried and Reese’e peanut butter cup are true foodie pleasures for sure!

Will fans of Great Food Truck Race see a Gourmet Graduates Food Truck cruising the streets in the near future?

RF: It’s a huge possibility! We are all working on getting things together and really hope we can cruise the streets sooner than later. As much as we want to hit the streets right away, we are taking the proper steps before so we can be the best we can be.

FP: Thank you all for your time! We wish you call continued success with your all your endeavors!

Greenwich Wine & Food Recap

The month of September was a busy (and delicious) month for us as we visited Rhinebeck for the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest, stopped by both White Plains and Mamaroneck for SoWe Food and Wine and most recently attended the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival at Roger Sherman Park last Saturday.

The star-studded event included demos from Jean Georges, Aaron Sanchez and Geoffrey Zakarian. Thanks to the CT Bites Blogger Bar, we listened to Anne Burrell, Chef Rafael Palomino, the team behind Fortina Pizza and others answer questions about their daily lives, pet peeves and kitchen nightmares.

We also had a chance to meet Emma Frisch and Nicole Gaffney, two of our favorite contestants from the last season of Food Network Star.

Let’s not forget all the great food and drink we enjoyed throughout the day! We stopped by our friend Chef Kennardo Holder’s (Ritz Carlton Westchester) booth to have some delicious short ribs. For a taste of great Indian food, we enjoyed multiple plates from Mumbai Times. For treats we enjoyed pastries from Bistro Versailles and espresso from Raus Coffee. Overall, it was a delicious day filled with great conversation, fantastic local food and of course, plenty of tasty beverages! Many thanks to Shelly from Splash PR and the team from Serendipity for putting on such a fabulous event. Hope to see you all at Greenwich Wine and Food 2015!

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