Quick Bites with Chef Gregori Peña

FIVE MORE DAYS…until Greenwich Wine & Food! We continue our interview series with Chef Gregori Peña, named one of this year’s Innovative Chefs by Serendipity Magazine. Chef Gregori is the Executive Chef at The National by Geoffrey Zakarian, where he creates modern American dishes that are inventive, classic and focused on quality ingredients.

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Chef Gregori Peña

FP: What are some of your guilty pleasures? We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name of our blog!

GP: Some of my guilty pleasures are New York Style Cheesecake, and then the Fried Chicken & the Snickerdoodle cookies we make at The National in Greenwich – the cookies always satisfy my sweet tooth.

FP: Sounds like a good reason to stop by The National one day! If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be?  

GP: Tokyo, Japan. I was intrigued by the Japanese culture growing up and would love to immerse myself in the food and traditions there.

FP: Japan is definitely on our list of places to visit! Outside of being a chef, what are some of your interests and hobbies? 

GP: Being a chef can be intense, so I like activities that are calming, like reading and practicing martial arts.

FP: What is the one item in the kitchen that you can’t do without?

GP: Spoons – they are so versatile. From tasting to plating, a good set of spoons will help make any chef more efficient.

FP: What three words would your friends and family use to describe you? 

GP: Passionate, stubborn, ambitious.

FP: Good words to live by. Thank you for your time. Looking forward to seeing you at Greenwich Wine & Food! 

Small Bites with Albert DeAngelis

In 13 days, (yes we’re counting down) we’ll be at this year’s Greenwich Wine & Food at Roger Sherman Park. As with past years, we’re looking forward to enjoying food and drinks from some of best restaurants in Fairfield County. Having eaten at Mediterraneo in Norwalk, we know that attendees are in for a treat when they taste Chef DeAngelis’ cooking. We recently  caught up with him to get some insight on his cooking and background.

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Chef Albert DeAngelis

FP: What are some of your guilty pleasures? We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name of our blog!

AD: Haagen-Dazs Choc Choc Chip, my father in laws’ meatballs, and broccoli rabe on good Italian bread.

FP: Delicious list! If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be?

AD: Italy!

FP: Italy is definitely on our list of places to visit! Outside of being a chef, what are some of your interests and hobbies? 

AD: I have a big vegetable garden and also raise chickens. I’m a die hard Jet fan with season tickets since I was 10 years old. It’s all about the tailgate though!

FP: Here’s hoping they have  a good season! What is the one item in the kitchen that you can’t do without?

AD: Here are a few: Vita mix blender, microplane, and Japanese Mandoline.

FP: What three words would your friends and family use to describe you? 

AD: Loyal. Perfectionist. Dedicated

FP: Thank you for your time. We look forward to seeing you and tasting your food at Greenwich Wine & Food!

Quick Bites with Chef Constantine

Now that Labor Day has passed, we’re really counting down the days until Greenwich Wine & Food, one of our favorite food events of the year. Leading up the festival, we’ve caught up with some of the chefs that have been named this year’s Innovative Chefs by Serendipity Magazine. This week, get to know Constantine Kalandranis, chef-owner of 8 North Broadway273 Kitchen in Harrison and 251 Lex in Mount Kisco.

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Chef Constantine Kalandranis

FP: What are some of your guilty pleasures? We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name of our blog.

CK: For sure sardines out of the can on toast or on tomato (mayo works here). I also enjoy standing up and eating, not sitting….which is just not the same.

FP: Allen would agree with you on sardines! If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be?

CK: North Africa where our company Chef Hichem is from to try the amazing breads, couscous and crazy food combinations…exotic and pure!

FP: That would be an adventurous trip for sure! Outside of being a chef, what are some of your interests and hobbies? 

CK: I’m definitely a big fan of hanging with the kids and wifey. Not much time for anything else but that is just fine by me.

FP: What is the one item in the kitchen that you can’t do without?

CK: My team! Any tool is replaced by an awesome group of hardworking talent.

FP: Great answer! What three words would your friends and family use to describe you?

CK: Quiet, patient and nuts.

FP: We’ve heard from other chefs that sometimes being “nuts” in the kitchen is not a bad thing at all! Thank you so much for your time. We look forward to seeing you at Greenwich Wine & Food in a few weeks!

Small Bites with Mogan Anthony

A few years ago, we learned about and interviewed Mogan Anthony, Executive Chef at Village Social in Mt. Kisco, after his appearance on Chopped. Learning about him and his style of cooking prompted us to pay a visit to his restaurant, where we had a delicious meal! Chef Mogan was named one of this year’s “Innovative Chefs” by Serendipity Magazine, one of the many reasons why we’re excited to attend Greenwich Wine & Food in a few weeks!

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Chef Mogan Anthony

FP: What are some of your guilty pleasures? We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name of our blog.😉

MA: Simply chocolates & ice cream , thats why I try to stay away from these evils.

FP: We like the way you think! If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be?  

MA: I would travel to Italy or France for inspiration.

FP: Outside of being a chef, what are some of your interests and hobbies? 

MA: I love traveling and eating around. I love Cross Fit and their work-out style. My hobbies include watching a good movie but I’m not sure if it qualifies as a hobby.

FP: Can’t beat a good meal and watching a movie! What is the one item in the kitchen that you can’t do without?

MA: Konbu sheet, this is umami bomb that I use from making a stock to curing fish.

FP: Interesting! We’ll have to learn more about that. What three words would your friends and family use to describe you? 

MA: Reliable, funny enough and creative.

FP: “Funny enough” is pretty funny itself! Thank you for your time. We look forward to seeing you at Greenwich Wine & Food in a few weeks!

Eating through the Emerald City

If you read our last post, you know we had a delicious time in Portland. After leaving the city, we headed west towards the coast on our way to Seattle. We stopped in Astoria (ironic, since Kristina works in Astoria, Queens!), a cute town along the Oregon coast. Thanks to Yelp, we visited the Fort George Brewery. We treated ourselves to a drink as well as a delicious Oyster Po’ Boy and Fish & Chips! Everything was delicious and we really enjoyed the atmosphere as well.

After lunch, we made our way up the beautiful coast on our way to the Emerald City. Read on for a bit of what we ate, drank and did once we arrived.

A trip to Seattle is not complete without a visit to Pike Place Market. As advertised, it’s a popular location for tourists and residents alike. We walked by the original Starbucks, grabbed a snack at Piroshky Piroshky and explored the diverse options inside the market itself. Afterwards, we stopped by Storyville Coffee since our friends recommended we try the salted chocolate chip cookie. The location provided a quiet respite from the chaos of the market and the cookie didn’t disappoint!

Before attending a Mariners game that evening, we continued our seafood theme with shrimp cocktail and and another Oyster Po’ Boy sandwich at Taylor Shellfish.

Later in the week, we headed back to Pike Place for brunch with friends at Red Cedar and Sage. We also spent time in Chinatown to visit the Wing Luke Museum and indulge in breakfast pastries at Fuji Bakery. We also enjoyed an evening in Ballard with dinner at La Isla.

Believe it or not, we didn’t spend all of our time eating! We made time to visit Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Columbia Center and Mt. Rainier, where we had lunch at 6, 400 feet.

We loved the mix of city and nature that Seattle provided. From the energy of downtown to the hip vibes in Ballard and Phinney Ridge to the serenity of Mt. Ranier, the area really provides something for everyone. Lucky for us, Seattle wasn’t the final stop on our summer adventure. Stay tuned for details on our final stop!

Eating through PDX

For our summer vacation, we embarked on an adventurous trip to the Pacific Northwest with a first stop in Portland, OR. Along with Downtown Portland, we enjoyed walking around different neighborhoods including Hawthorne, Belmont, and Southeast Division Street. Here are some of the things that we ate, drank and saw.

We confirmed that Portland has an abundance of great coffee shops (not named Starbucks). Each day we made an effort to visit a different coffee shop with stops at Courier Coffee Roasters, Revolución Coffee House, Locale and the original Stumptown Coffee Roasters on SE Division Street.

We also did our best to visit as many food pods as possible. From simple grilled cheese to Thai food to a memorable Bibim Box from Kim Jong Grillin, food trucks are definitely the way to eat through PDX. Meeting and having lunch with Chef Han Ly Huang from KJG was definitely a highlight of our time in PDX.

For sweets, we indulged in donuts from both Voodoo Donut and Blue Star Donuts along with a trip to Salt & Straw Ice Cream.  Salt & Straw features unique flavors based on farmers market fare in addition to some more traditional flavors. It was a delicious stop!

Besides eating our way through PDX, we made time to visit Powell’s bookstore(s), the Portland Japanese Garden, the International Rose Test Garden and both Multnomah Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

Look for our next post to see how our adventure continued as we ventured north to Seattle…

 

 

Quick Bites with Robin Selden

It’s August which means unfortunately that the end of the summer is around the corner. On the positive side, with each passing day in August means we’re one day closer to this year’s Greenwich Wine & Food Festival taking place September 23-24.

Ten local chefs have been named to this year’s class of Most Innovative Chefs. These culinary stars will be honored at the Master Chef Dinner on Friday, September 23, where they will prepare their unique dishes and interact one-on-one with festival guests. As we lead up to the festival, we’ll feature some of these chefs.

One of this year’s Most Innovative Chefs is Robin Selden. She is the Managing Partner and Executive Chef of Marcia Selden Catering, a leading catering company located in Stamford, CT and New York, NY.

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Robin Selden, Managing Partner and Executive Chef, Marcia Selden Catering

FP: What are some of your guilty pleasures? We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name of our blog.

RS: Love Good old Crunchy Peanut Butter & Jelly, Truffle Fries, Wood Oven Pizza and our amazing Churros…my mouth is watering just answering this question! #yum

FP: Yum indeed! If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be?  

RS: Tuscany without hesitation!

FP: Sounds like a delicious destination! Outside of being a chef, what are some of your interests and hobbies? 

RS: I LOVE anything to do with my 13 year old twins, Photography, Travel & Tennis.

FP: What is the one item in the kitchen that you can’t do without? 

RS: Obsessed with my Shun knives!

FP: What three words would your friends and family use to describe you? 

RS: Passionate, Creative & Authentic

FP: Thank you for your time. Congrats again on being named one of the Most Innovative Chefs of the Year by Serendipity Magazine. We look forward to seeing you at Greenwich Wine & Food!