Stayin’ Classy in San Diego

San Diego 2014

Hellooooo from our new favorite place: San Diego!

We’ve only been here for a few days, but already we’re absolutely loving our trip to the West Coast so far. It’s true when they say San Diego has some of the best weather in the country- not too hot, never rainy, and always sunny! [Read more…]

Taste for Life Benefit Dinner for the Brain Tumor Foundation

Taste for Life Benefit Dinner for the Brain Tumor Foundation @ Guastavinos - 4/24/13

There’s not a whole lot more fulfilling than helping out a truly honorable and important cause. And there’s not a whole lot more filling than a five-course meal prepared by celebrity chefs in a gorgeous venue tucked underneath the 59th Street Bridge in Midtown Manhattan. Combined, you’re pretty much describing my dream evening.

I was honored to be asked by the Brain Tumor Foundation last week if I would like to invite members of my Meetup Group, Food Bloggers in NYC, to a black-tie-optional benefit dinner for their foundation held this past Wednesday on April 24, 2013. Never one to turn down a meal, they sweetened the pot by mentioning that a host of celebrity chefs and restaurateurs would be present, including Floyd Cardoz, Jacques Torres, Dale Talde, Kerry Heffernan, Yuhi Fujinaga and Chris Jaeckle. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity, and members of the Meetup group did too!

And what an evening it was.

Taste for Life Benefit Dinner for the Brain Tumor Foundation @ Guastavinos - 4/24/13

From the start, the venue was a total knockout. Guastavino’s is an absolutely stunning locale for any event. Gorgeous high, sloped ceilings, a lovely swooping curved staircase, and beautiful decor greeted us as we walked in and assembled during cocktail hour. Some delicious passed hors d’oeuvres (chicken liver mousse, tuna tartare, salmon crostini and pea soup) later, we were prepped and excited for what was to come.

Taste for Life Benefit Dinner for the Brain Tumor Foundation @ Guastavinos - 4/24/13

Next up, I was so excited to have members of my Meetup group join me for this awesome event. Sitting at our private table were:

As for the main event, let’s get to the food! (Apologies for the bad lighting- we were literally holding up our phones’ camera flashes for each other to help alleviate the purple/red lights in the dining room!)

First up, duck confit with spicy eggplant relish and toasted mandarin roll with white sauce, from Chef Dale Talde:

Taste for Life Benefit Dinner for the Brain Tumor Foundation @ Guastavinos - 4/24/13

Believe it or not, this was my first time trying duck. Like, ever. And I’m so glad I did, because this was SO DAMN GOOD. Cilantro is one of my favorites of course, and the pickled cabbage combined with the eggplant relish made for an amazing mix of flavors.

For the second course, English pea flan with morels, ramps, and tarragon, from Chef Kerry Heffernan:

Taste for Life Benefit Dinner for the Brain Tumor Foundation @ Guastavinos - 4/24/13

Yes, English pea flan. The word “flan” might make you think of a syrupy, oversweet egg custard, but this instead had a beautifully delicate soft texture balanced with the crunchy morel, ramps and tarragon mixture and salty ham on top. Yum!

Next, olive oil poached king salmon in a spring herb veloute with clams and breakfast radish, from Chef Yuhi Fujinaga:

Taste for Life Benefit Dinner for the Brain Tumor Foundation @ Guastavinos - 4/24/13

Salmon is one of my favorite things to eat, period, so I was delighted by this dish. I have heard of veloute, but never actually tried it before, so that was a nice surprise. The breakfast radishes were crisp, the salmon was velvety and delicious, and overall I loved this course!

For the main course, pan roasted strip loin with crispy potatoes, parmesan fonduta, and what I think were collard greens, from Chef Chris Jaeckle (a brain tumor survivor):

Taste for Life Benefit Dinner for the Brain Tumor Foundation @ Guastavinos - 4/24/13

Listen, I’m Argentinian, so yeah, I’m gonna love the steak course. The steak was perfectly seasoned (you can see those giant flakes of salt in the picture!) and the potatoes were a standout accoutrement.

Lastly, for dessert, the most ridiculously insanely delicious ice cream sandwich from none other than Chef Jacques Torres:

Taste for Life Benefit Dinner for the Brain Tumor Foundation @ Guastavinos - 4/24/13

What can I say. This was phenomenal. The cookie had so many delicious chunks of chocolate in them, and they more than held their own against the yummy ice cream. The perfect ending to an amazing meal!

While the food was stunningly scrumptious from beginning to end, I have to bring up the great work coming from the cause behind the event: The Brain Tumor Foundation.

Taste for Life Benefit Dinner for the Brain Tumor Foundation @ Guastavinos - 4/24/13

The tribute dinner commemorated the success of the pilot program, Road to Early Detection, which brought a mobile MRI Unit to provide free brain scans to under-served communities throughout the five boroughs of New York. They now would like to expand this program across the country to allow people to detect brain tumors before they become something fatal or inoperable.

Overall this was an absolutely incredible opportunity, and I am extremely grateful for the invitation to come and enjoy the evening. Consider checking out the Brian Tumor Foundation and donating to this amazing cause, who’s tagline is, appropriately: “Bringing Tomorrows of Hope.”

Check out more photos from the evening here in my Flickr set, and if you’re in NYC, check out the Food Bloggers in NYC meetup! We’d love to have you!

Happy Eating 🙂

Review: Murray’s Cheese Bar + Food Bloggers in NYC Meetup!

Murray's Cheese Bar + Food Bloggers in NYC Meetup

I have a lot on my plate.

This is not commentary on my actual plate, although at any given time there is a lot on it. Girl’s gotta eat.

No, this is more a comment about my life. I’ve always been a do-er, someone who can’t sit still for too long without trying something new or starting and running some project or another. Between my full-time day job as a project manager, my part-time passion blogging here, and co-running an online bakery, I barely have time to catch up with friends, go to the gym (ha) or just unwind every so often.

And while I do very much value my free time, I am pretty much always dreaming about what I can do next. I wouldn’t trade my lifestyle for anything, and I’ve always maintained having a busy life leads to higher productivity than hanging around all day waiting for opportunities to come to you (That said, I do love me a lazy Sunday every so often…).

Murray's Cheese Bar + Food Bloggers in NYC Meetup

Anyways, like I said, I got a lot going on. But lately, I’ve been wanting to meet and network with other food bloggers and learn from them, share our experiences, etc. I am always trying to grow Total Noms, and make it as useful and fun to read as possible for you all- and with so much great inspiration everywhere, I want to learn and improve as much as I possibly can!

I had an absolutely lovely casual catch-up with Kayle from The Cooking Actress and Susan from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen a few weeks back, where we chatted a bit about our blogs (but mostly concentrated on devouring waffles from the Wafels & Dinges truck!), but it got me thinking- there’s gotta be more NYC-based food bloggers who have the same interests!

So, last week, I started a group on I’ve been to a few meetups before, mostly for technology or UX design folks, but this is my very first time starting and organizing one on my own. We are the Food Bloggers in NYC group, and we’re over 80 bloggers strong already!

Murray's Cheese Bar + Food Bloggers in NYC Meetup

Our very first meetup took place this Tuesday at Murray’s Cheese Bar on Bleecker St. in NYC. I had never been to the Cheese Bar before, although I have stopped in the shop that is also on Bleecker a few times. And oh my goodness…. was it awesome.

Murray's Cheese Bar + Food Bloggers in NYC Meetup

Do you like cheese? Do you live anywhere within 50 miles of New York? Then get your butt down here. Seriously, check out this menu!

I ordered the mac ‘n cheese (picture up top), which was an absolutely decadent and perfectly portioned piping hot plate of PERFECTION. Made with a combination of cheddar, gruyere, and bufala mozzarella, and garnished with tasso ham and crispy onions, this was unbeatable.

Murray's Cheese Bar + Food Bloggers in NYC Meetup

Many people went with some combination of the cheese plate, which was pretty awesome. You can select specific cheeses you’d like to try, or allow the cheese mongers to prepare you a selection based on your general preferences!

Murray's Cheese Bar + Food Bloggers in NYC Meetup

Many thanks to the folks at Murray’s Cheese for hosting us- it was an absolutely amazing venue and such a fun time. What a great way to kick off our new group!

If you live in NYC and are interested in joining the meetup, check us out! I’ll be scheduling our next event soon- and I’m definitely open to suggestions. Events will run the gamut from tastings, to market outings, to cooking, photography and blogging workshops. I’m so excited about the group and can’t wait to meet more bloggers and food enthusiasts!

Happy Eating 🙂

Total Noms turns 100, some changes, and a GIVEAWAY!

Yes, you heard right, 100 years ago, I started this here blog to document my love of fo- OK, fine, more like a year and a half ago. But it’s been 100 posts and if you’ve been with me through them all, I salute you! And thank you very, very much from the bottom of my tummy.

I’ve been thinking what I could do that would be fun to celebrate my 100 post-aversary here on my little corner of the Internet. A parade admittedly seemed a bit grandiose, but just a mere acknowledgement of this momentous milestone didn’t seem like enough. So I’m doing what any self-respecting blogger would do- avoid real work and make a LIST!

Hold onto your lobster bibs, people, because it’s time for… [Read more…]

Introducing: Mile End Bakery

I swear, there’s a reason I’ve been so bad about posting these last few months- and it actually has to do with me being very busy in the kitchen. You see, in January, I started an online bakery with my friend and now business partner, Anya, of Another GF Blog! We have been working really hard to get everything ramped up the last few months, and I’m very excited to announce that Mile End Bakery is now a real, live store on Etsy, featuring six different kinds of delicious cookies, both available in gluten-free and regular flour varieties.

[Read more…]