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!

Michigan Memories

While Allen was in Florida recently, Kristina visited family and friends in Michigan. Summertime in Northern Michigan means many things, but wine tasting and fresh fruit rise to the top of the list.

Kristina’s family has operated a fruit farm for four generations. July is cherry season, always a treat! There’s nothing quite like picking cherries fresh from the tree.

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Having visited many local wineries over the years, a few have become must-visits. Mawby in Suttons Bay is one such location. The delicious sparkling wine and peaceful location make for the perfect pair. 2 Lads and Chateau Chantal also offer something special on Old Mission. In addition to these spots, Kristina visited Brengman Brothers, Good Harbor, Aurora Cellars and the new Rove Estate, which offered live music on Friday evening.

Being in Michigan often means meals at home, but there was time to check out Georgina’s, a Traverse City spot that offers a variety of fresh dishes. I had the Around the World Tacos with plantains. Additionally, my mom and I took a walk to Little Bee’s Italian Ice, which was delicious. It was my mom’s first time trying gelato, but she took my sister there a few days later so she clearly became a fan!

What are some of your favorite summer spots? Let us know in the comments below!

West Palm Beach Story

In Allen’s words…

As an event planner, I have the opportunity to visit cities and explore what they have to offer. Recently, on a site visit to West Palm Beach FL, I learned about the food scene in town through a food tour conducted by Kristl Story, owner of West Palm Beach Food Tours. On the tour, I tasted fresh ahi tuna from Blind Monk, a delicious Cuban sandwich from Hullabaloo, refreshing coconut water and dessert at Ganache Bakery and tasty small bites at Jardin Restaurant.

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In addition to all the delicious food, Kristl provided in-depth history on West Palm Beach, shared stories behind each establishment and introduced the group to some of the chefs and owners.

Kristl was personable, knowledgeable and a great host. I enjoyed interacting with her on the tour so it was only fitting to reach out for an interview after I returned to NY.

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FP: What was your inspiration for starting West Palm Beach Food Tours? Share your background with us.

KS: As a child, I dreamed of being a baker and a travel agent, and at the age of 50, I turned my passions into a food tour business.

Two years ago, I took my first food tour in Austin, Texas and that’s where the idea for West Palm Beach Food Tours was born. Culinary tourism is the hottest trend in travel, so it was time for West Palm Beach to join in!

I believe the best way to experience a city is through food because food tells the story of a neighborhood’s people, history and culture.  Whenever we travel, food tours top our list of things do do because it’s a great way to combine sightseeing and try lots of new restaurants. As of today, we’ve taken 15 food tours and there are more on the horizon!

Our love of food and travel began 30 years ago when I asked my boss (a former New Yorker) where we should eat in New York City. He scribbled down the address of a pizza place that he insisted was the best. Within an hour of landing at LaGuardia, we were in pizza heaven. Since then, whenever we’re in New York, John’s Pizza is always on the menu.

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FP: Let me know the next time you’re in NY so we can grab a slice of pizza or two!

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

KS:  Just one guilty pleasure…dessert (baking & eating)!  In my world, vacations are for eating, and that means sweets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Of course I can’t resist those homemade cookies that many inns put out in the afternoon.  How’s that for a guilty pleasure?

FP: Who can resist dessert?!

If you could get on a plane tomorrow and travel to any destination just for its food, where would it be? 

KS: That’s an easy one…Paris!  A picnic along the river Seine in Paris is my perfect meal…a fresh baguette and cheeses along with a few French pastries.

FP: Besides operating West Palm Beach Food Tours, what are some of your interests and hobbies? 

KS: When I’m not busy with West Palm Beach Food Tours, there are 4 things I love to do…

1)Biking on our waterfront path

2) Kayaking…we look at the water everyday on our tour, so it’s nice to be able to get out on it

3) Baking

4) Shopping some of our fabulous consignment shops

FP: Outside of West Palm Beach, where are some of your favorite places to eat? 

KS: Cane Rosso in Dallas, Texas – great Neapolitan pizza (ranked best in Dallas for 5 years in a row), great outdoor dining, great neighborhood (Deep Elum).  Did I mention they have a Nutella dessert pizza?

Elizabeth’s on 37th in Savannah, Georgia – fine dining in an elegant historic Southern mansion. When that basket of biscuits arrives, you’ll know you’re in southern food heaven.

Irma’s in Houston, Texas –  It’s tough to find great Tex-Mex food outside of Texas, and I proclaim Irma’s to be the best!  The Wall Street Journal, Food Network, James Beard and countless celebrities agree.  No menu, no fancy decor…just delicious Tex-Mex food using fresh ingredients. Don’t miss their homemade lemonade!

Norma’s in New York City – Over the top brunch menu and ginormous portions!  My favorite…Donut Even Go There French Toast – a cheesecake-stuffed, coconut-rolled French toast with orange drizzle and vanilla ice cream.  Yes, I was on vacation, and this is what I consider dessert for breakfast.

FP: Sounds like a delicious list!

What are three words that your friends and family would use to describe you 

KS: Creative, adventurous, ambitious!

FP: Do you cook at home? If so, what is your favorite meal to prepare for friends and/or family? 

KS: You might not eat all of these together in one meal, but my “most requested” recipes from friends and family are:

Appetizer:  Queso

Beverage:  White Sangria

Salad:  Spinach with Strawberries, Peaches, Toasted Pecans  and Homemade Poppyseed Dressing

Sandwich:  Chicken Caesar

Main Dish:  Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa (summer) and Deep Dish Pizza (winter)

Side Dish:  Macaroni & Cheese (the ultimate comfort food!)

Dessert:  Chocolate Kahlua Cake or Carrot Cake (it’s a tie!)

FP: Wow, sounds like your kitchen is the place to be! I wish you continued success with West Palm Beach Food Tours! 

 

Beef Boss

It’s the middle of summer, which means two things: the air conditioner is on full blast at our place and a new series of Chopped Grill Masters is airing on Food Network. In a recent episode, Chef Ashley Pado displayed her talents on the grill and showed why, as the Head Chef at Certified Angus Beef, she can hold her own when comes to handling beef.

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Chef Ashley Pado. Picture credit to Food Network

FP: Being on both shows is a true testament to your culinary skills! Tell us about your experience on Chopped Grill Masters. How would you compare/contrast being on Chopped vs. Cutthroat Kitchen?

AP: Chopped is definitely set as a ‘higher skill level’ competition show, I’d say. Because it is the most watched food competition show, I think the public hold the chefs competing on the show to a higher standard. Chopped has been on my bucket list for years…I just needed to find the guts to actually show up!

Cutthroat Kitchen was an amazing show to be a part of. It has way more elements of ‘fun’ to it and Chopped is taken seriously from the moment you start until it’s over. I was more than flattered to be called about Chopped and I think that it’s a huge honor to be considered for a national television show let alone be chosen.

FP: Share with us a day in the life as the Head Chef at the Certified Angus Beef Brands Education and Culinary Center.

AP: Certified Angus Beefs Education & Culinary Center is a DREAM role for most chefs, and it’s something I don’t take for granted in the slightest! We are a center located in Wooster, OH right next to our main campus offices and we host partners of the brand here. I am one chef of four in the company that all hold different roles. As Head Chef at the center, I lead the creativity of our food, the ideas we put out there to the public and to our brand partners focusing on BEEF 101. We help with ideas on how to better understand and use under-utilized cuts of beef, how to better promote our brand and how to EDUCATE the people on just how amazing our beef truly is! It’s something different every single day!

FP: Sounds like an ideal job for you! Where are some of your favorite places to eat in Wooster or other cities you’ve lived or traveled?

AP: I really enjoy our local food scene here in Wooster. I am born and raised here and after living in Florida and Los Angeles, coming home was such a shock! It is such an amazing thing to be raised in such a small town where once you’ve been gone for a few years, everything becomes so much more meaningful and special once you’re back🙂

I love our local steakhouse here in town called The City Square Steakhouse. They do a great job with the certified angus beef brand and it’s always nice to see familiar faces when eating there. Then for a great cup of coffee I visit Oak Grove Eatery! I love the people there and the atmosphere is just what little Wooster needed.

As far as other places I’ve traveled, I truly can’t pick! ANIMAL in Los Angeles will always stick out to me though. I love their concept and the chefs do a phenomenal job highlighting the proteins they put out.

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

AP: If I had all the time in the world, I would drive to NYC and eat PHO all day long. I’m not kidding. My fiancé and I took a trip in November JUST TO EAT PHO! Being from Wooster, all you really see here is meat and potatoes, so anytime we can, we take weekend trips away just to eat! I can whip some pho up sure, but it’s nothing like the authentic stuff🙂 A gooey, soft boiled egg with al dente noodles and perfect broth. WOW! I am always in the mood.

Also, I have the biggest sweet tooth on the planet! I could eat doughnuts and coffee for lunch and dinner if I could.

FP: Let us know the next time you visit NYC! If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be?

AP: PARIS. I am a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, so I am trained in classic French cuisine and its been a dream of mine to visit and eat every chocolate croissant I lay my eyes on.

FP: Croissants?! Bon appetite! If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? What are some of your non-cooking interests and hobbies?

AP: I have a few ideas – First, I would sell everything I own and become a drifter for a few years of my life. Camp. Boat. Hike. Fly to different countries and eat everything in sight. Learn about different cultures and just take everything in.

I have a serious passion for food styling as well. I worked as one in LA while living out west and fell in love with the art. I would be trying to squeeze my way in with Bon Appetite I believe.

Lastly, I would still be fighting for my own show on the Food Network. That’s too much a part of me to ever NOT consider🙂

FP: We bet we’ll see you again on TV at some point in the future! What is the one item in the kitchen you can’t live without?

AP: It seems simple, but I wouldn’t function properly without a hand towel. Unless you are a chef or have worked as a line cook, your hand towel is an extension of your hand while cooking and I would be so lost without it.

FP: What are the three words that friends and family would use to describe you.

AP: Unique. Driven. Over-the-top🙂

FP: Thank you, Ashley! We wish you continued success!