Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fullybooked's new column

I don't want to brag about myself but I am very happy today. My column Just Try it for the Southern Hospitality Traveler magazine is now online and in print! For this column, I have to search and interview a chef, food or drink expert from any Southern Eastern states of the country.

Read the first one here:

The first recipe is from chef Robert Phalen and is all about Higdos de pollo fritos i.e. Fried Chicken Livers with Radish Caper Salad and Mustard Vinaigrette.


Tria Gallery Opening Reception

It is my favorite gallery and has an opening reception for "Dream Awake" - Works by Holly Sears & Wendy Rolfe tonight at 6pm.

Where: 531 West 25th Street, ground floor #5

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wedding Bootcamp at NY Wedding Dance‏

Fully Booked readers, be a guest at the Wedding Bootcamp this Wednesday, 1.27 from 6pm. Use code FBNYC at the site when you register for this event to get a complimentary ticket. Cupcakes, cocktails and dance lessons for all, wedding trends and insider tips. Don't forget to tell all your engaged friends!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fancy Food Show San Francisco --The Trends (2)

As promised, I continue with my personal trend picks from the Winter Fancy Food Show that was held last week in San Francisco. So, I also noted the following:

Unique water bottles
I particularly liked the Icebox, presented as water in box. The innovation is that you buy your water in a cardboard which is renewable, recyclable and environmentally friendly. The other, more for children than adults is called Aqua straw, meaning that the water bottle comes with a straw. No more comments...

"Functional chocolate bars"
The soon to come in the US market dark chocolate super fruit bar with cranberries, goji berries, pomegranate, grape and papaya by New Tree is a good indication of the "Super chocolate bar". The same counts for the organic, dark chocolate quinoa bar from Alter Eco. It seems that chocolate is not only indulgence, is also a healthy addition to your diet.

Fermented Foods
The black garlic was impressive (and I am the one who hates garlic indeed!). Their producers claim that "it’s loaded with nearly twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic". In addition, the Mother-in-law's Kimchi, known to New Yorkers from the New Amsterdam Market, introduces Kimchi to those who do not know it - the trendy pickled delicacy from Korea. There were exhibitors with pickles, cocktail stirrers and the like, all pointing at an upcoming food trend?

Nut butters
So far, the choice was only between smooth and crunchy peanut butter. A few years ago, peanut butter obtained different flavors mixed with milk, dark and white chocolate, honey, cinnamon and even spices. Now, we can find peanut butter with maple syrup but also almond butter, cashew butter and the No Nut butter that originates from peas. There were even representatives of the National Peanut Board - I didn't know that this existed but it seems that peanuts is big business.

Bacon flavored foods
I saw this trend since the Chocolate Show last November in New York and also the NY Food and Wine Festival. Bacon is a big trend in food: From Sir Francis Bacon Chocolate Peanut Brittle to Maple Bacon Pretzels and even to Bacon Salt (Baconaisse), not so good news for vegetarians (I am still waiting for the bacon flavored coffee...soon will be out?).

Toffee and Caramels
Maybe this has to do with nostalgia, no doubt, caramel and toffee had a strong presence during the show. I found the super chile toffee squares from Poco Dolce, not yet in the market, the Happy Goat Caramels, a local San Francisco creation, Artisan Caramels and the world's first cocoa butter caramels from Amella. So, whatever caramel your palate requires, you can find it.

Edible Queens

The First Annual Edible Queens Winter Warm Up took place today at the new apartment building of the Lhaus, from 12pm to 3pm, LIC. Plenty of local visitors and guests from all over the city had the chance to take a tour at the Lhaus condos, taste mouthwatering local food and get their caffeine fix offered by Sweetleaf cafe and their Stumptown beans...Some of the local restaurants and cafés that were present giving out canapés and hors d' oeuvres were: The LIC Market with baked carrots topped with tapenade and fig mostarda with cheese on crostini; Red Jacket Orchards with fresh cider and apples; Testaccio with pulled oxtail and crostini; This chick bakes with green tea lemon cookies and amazing cupcakes; Bareburger with unique chocolate and vanilla peanut butter milkshakes and a few more I forget!

Attendees picked a goodie bag containing the Edible Queens magazine, complimentary Cherre bottles and both fig and tapenade jars. It was a nice Sunday afternoon with awesome views and live music, what else someone can ask in January?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fancy Food Show San Francisco --The Trends

The Winter Fancy Food Show ended last Tuesday at 4pm. It was a particularly interesting show especially for those who usually attend the show in New York, the West Coast sibling was far more focused on the North American market foods. There was of course representation of a number of countries as Italy, Australia, Canada, Germany and a few others with smaller stands. In this topic, I will stay on the food trends as presented by NASFT and as identified by me walking the endless rows of the show for three days!

NASFT says that the top five trends are:

1. Good-for-you foods
2. Coconut
3. Gluten-free
4. Exotic citrus
5. Nostalgic foods

I strongly agree with the Gluten-free foods as a current, well-established trend in the food industry. Rosemary and sea salt crisp bread from Australia, American gluten free cookies, crackers, mixes and granola, everybody seems to agree that gluten is not in fashion. Discussions on the floor indicated that quite a few are more aware of the celiac disease, therefore, another reason to be gluten free. But if this is one healthy-focused trend to establish, food producers and food makers should also work on the following: improve the taste of the non-gluten products because they do not taste that great. There is a room for improvement taste-wise and I am sure and hope to taste better products in the summer Fancy Food Show in June.

I also saw the citrus trend, not only for jams and marmalades (with the newly introduced, $25 a jar, Yuzu marmalade in Dean and Deluca) but also the citrus flavor in BBQ sauces, dressings and even juices. Undoubtedly, I see a Japanese influence in this one, and I will be a fan.

I didn't see or taste too much coconut with the exception of some coconut-flavored drinks and coconut macaroons, so this is not a trend to me. The feel-good factor items could also be a trend as consumers can now find the 100-calorie packs, smaller or mini portions (Get movin' snack series and Grab and Go shortbreads from Walkers are two of those) and very often are organic and natural. When it comes to nostalgia, I wouldn’t pick it up myself but as a non-native American, I am not entirely familiar with what nostalgic foods could be.

My picks:

Flavored snacks - popcorn and nuts

Popcorn: all know the caramel, cheese or chocolate flavored popcorn. Now we can find popcorn with paprika, truffle and even cinnamon flavors. Dylan Candy store had introduced the peppermint crunchy popcorn a while ago and the gingerbread only for the holiday season. The 479 popcorn company introduced the black truffle and white cheddar flavor but also the coconut curry and cashew as part of its International popcorn collection during the Fancy Food Show. The unique black truffled popcorn, courtesy of the Susan Rice products, tastes yummi. And the grilled peach popcorn, created only for research purposes by the Center for Culinary Development was interesting!

Nuts is my favorite comfort food and I am really glad to discover not only spicy flavors but also very unique ones as the Beach Nuts, a product range of various nuts seasoned with their signature Chesapeake Bay Seasoning and Barnacles. I was stunned by the Merlot, Margarita Mix, Chardonnay and Fire Dancer Jalapeño flavored nuts by the Buy Bone Suckin company. Unfortunately those products are not yet sold in large stores, rather in small, gourmet shops and online only.

New type of anti-energy drinks
What can I say about the Slow Cow, the new anti-energy drink that promises relaxation and comes with an "acupuncture session"? Soon to be available in the US market, this new drink originates in Canada and contains L-Theanine which increases the levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), that produces a feeling of relaxation and creates a state of well-being. The Ex Drinks company introduced also the Ex Chill as America's 1st natural relaxer drink. The drink has relaxing extracts like Chamomile, Valerian, Lemon Balm and a shot of Vitamins (B3, B5, B6 & B12), so it's perfect to sit back and chill out!

Indian cuisine sauces and drinks
Having lived in England for nearly nine years, I am a great lover of Indian food. Despite my efforts and the exception of Jackson Heights area, I can't find good Indian food elsewhere in NYC. The new sauces, not yet in the US market, may well change the perception of Indian flavors in the North American market. Indian cuisine is not really much of a trend in this country but maybe things are changing. Roland Foods introduced the Bombay Authentics during the show, a line of curry sauces, pastes and chutneys that have all the robust flavors of Indian cuisine. Stonehouse27 also came up with unique Indian cooking sauces inspired by Portuguese and British Indian cuisine. I also discoved the mango lassi drink, an amazing addition to the Indian soon to come in the US trend...

Those are my first top trends from the Fancy Food Show. I will continue tomorrow with more trends, new products soon to launch in the US market and more!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Interesting foods at the Winter Fancy Food Show

Today was my second day at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco and here a few interesting items I discovered:

1. Black garlic

2. Boxed water

3. Truffled popcorn

4. Chocolate cheese

Although the above do not generate a food trend, those four items are unique in both their taste and packaging. I don't think you can get the black garlic yet and the truffled popcorn has limited distribution; the other two are available in the country.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fancy Food Show in San Francisco

Greetings from San Francisco!

This is my first Fancy Food Show in the West Coast and I have to say it is overwhelming. I spent the entire day from 10am when the doors opened, to ten minutes to five before the press office doors closed. Less focused on countries compared to the East Coast show, the new products launched are numerous, there is a strong Australia presence, a natural and organic pavilion and a large American Cheese Society section.
I saw everything today but I didn't have the time to absorb so much information, concepts, ideas and tastes. My palate is confused, my mind full of descriptions, nutrients and colored packaging. A few notes from the floor:

1. Distributors, buyers and retailers are more focused on new packaging than nutrients or originality in taste

2. A strong presence of the food service professionals in the What's New, What's Hot section

3. Plenty of Tea exhibitors

4. Minimal presence of bread

So, only from the first day, my vote of the most innovative product that is not yet available in the USA comes from France and its name is Rebootizer. Otherwise known as the Anti-Hangover Shaker. This alcohol-free digestive drink is made of 100% natural plants and fruit extracts (liquorice, dandelion, melissa, artichoke, lemon and blueberry) that helps quickly remove all food excesses (meals, drinks, etc). It can be consumed at the end of the party night and therefore, prevents hangovers and improves parties days-after. Just mix the water and the powder by squeezing the top of the pouch, shake for 15 seconds, tear and drink.

More authentic, hot, fun items tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Iberia's Business Class Launch Cocktail Reception

It was buzzy and classy. Held at the awesome Gabarron Foundation, guests had a "business class" experience. I will note the amazing Marco Real Coleccion Privada (2005) and Condado del Haza Crianza (2006) - both reds are served or will be served in Business class. The hors d' oeuvres were remarkable: I started with the mozzarella and tomato stick, had the crab salad on potato chip canapé, I couldn't resist the tortilla and sausage stick and I skipped the paella which was a cute-y in the little plate. I also passed on the tiny fried egg on bread, amazingly presented (where do you get those little tiny eggs?) but the seared tuna arrived just a little later to satisfy my palate once again. The spoonful with the anchovies was also top notch. Needless to say that there was plenty of chorizo.
Our compliments will go to the chef Jose Ignacio Sanchez Martin, chef at the Embassy of Spain. I don't remember being to a reception in New York where the chef came from any Embassy, but this one was indeed, unique!

Book signing at Williams-Sonoma

Join your local Williams-Sonoma store for a special book signing and cooking demonstration with Ellie Krieger, New York Times best-selling author and Food Network host. Ellie will be signing copies of her new cookbook, So Easy.

When: Thursday, January 21, 2010, 5:00pm
Where: Williams-Sonoma Columbus Circle, 10 Columbus Circle

Nancy Corzine & Glamour at Home: Champagne and Chocolate

Glamour at Home is an inspirational design primer from Nancy Corzine, a celebrated and respected name in furnishings, textiles and interior design. Join her to sip champagne, eat chocolate and celebrate her new book!

When: Wednesday, Jan. 20 (5-7pm)
Where: Nancy Corzine Showroom, D&D Building, 979 Third Ave.

R.S.V.P at:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Food and wine from North Carolina

Except for its mild weather, the golf courses and the nice people, North Carolina can also be proud of its wines. It was my first time to taste white and red wines from the state and I can say, I liked them. With my preference rather leaning towards the whites, reds are also very decent. The Shelton Vineyards Riesling (2008) has a rather peachy and sweet taste but also very refreshing even for a cold, January, New York day. The Cypress Bend Riverton Reserve (2008) was impressively fruity in both smell and palate and I kept filling my glass with the cooling sparkling taste of the Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs-Brut, 2006.
Food was winter-y so as to keep us all warm: cheese crackers with cayenne pepper (amazing!), polenta with root vegetables and quinoa on top (balanced taste and winter friendly), barbecue chicken with almonds and apricot sauce, popovers with gruyere cheese and country ham, baked potatoes with caviar and sweet potatoes chips in various bowls - all well presented and if even better, nicely eaten. The goat cheese from the State was beautifully creamy and well matched with the raisin crackers. When it comes to the desert, mini cakes with chocolate and cream on top, very simple and elegantly displayed.

My blackberry photos do not represent the ambiance but the North Carolina event for members of the press was elegant and simple. As is the state.

Redemption night

Well, if you were going to "re-establish" any resolutions then it should be at a place called "Redemption," right?

All guests must RSVP at for free drinks and the infamous platter ($15 extra) of all-you-can-eat pot stickers, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers and fried pickles.

When: Saturday, 1.16, 6 to 8pm.
Where: Redemption, 1003 2nd Ave, at 53rd Street, Midtown East

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Microsoft's sponsored opening reception party for NRF

The National Retail Federation Expo won't start until Monday morning but the opening reception party was held on Sunday at 5pm, at Marriott Marquis. Sponsored by Microsoft, the reception was affluent and abundant offering its guests generous portions of booze with open bar for nearly two hours and worth waiting long lines for the late comers for the amazing buffets. I will give a 10/10 to the pork, beef and sausage buffet paired with coleslaw and pepper salad. I didn't try the pasta and blinis bars but I tried the desert bar. Amazing macaroons, delightful champagne zabaglione mousse, tasty lemon meringue spoons, appealing chocolate caramel slices, mouthwatering chocolate spoons and chocolate-like lolly pops. And all those in an impressive display together with the Windows 7 napkins....Clever match!

Some companies have money to spend to lure more clients. Microsoft is one of those. We are not against it. We support Microsoft in its effort and we appreciate the good intentions. But most of all, we do appreciate the chocolate macaroons....

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Gallery openings tonight and tomorrow

It's the first Thursday of the month and of the new year so ...there will be many opening receptions in Chelsea's gallery hood tonight and in Dumbo. Have a look below:

In Dumbo, see the Artists Faozan Rizal (Indonesia) and Katia Engel (Germany) present their collaborative work of installations in nature, in their first solo exhibition in the United States. In this body of work, the artists focus specifically on objects, depicting holes and cracks as a symbol of transformation and transience. The reception starts at 5.30pm tonight.
111 Front Street, Suite 210, DUMBO, Brooklyn:

For more DUMBO openings, visit:

See Fusako Kuyama in a solo show, Art of Integration at Onishi Gallery, 521 West 26th Street. The opening reception starts tonight at 6pm to 8pm.

Sperone Westwater, 415 W 13th street, announces an exhibition of recent sculpture by the Italian team Bertozzi & Casoni. The reception will be on Friday 1.8 from 6 to 8pm.

For an extensive list of gallery openings in NYC, visit:

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Wednesdays and Thursdays at Whole Foods

The newly opened Whole Foods at UWS, welcomes its clients with free tastings and amuse bouche every Wednesday from 5pm to 8pm.

Tasting Night: 5:00-7:00p
Journey through Whole Foods store for a tasting adventure. The demo delegates will highlight WF favorite items in each department leading you sample by sample through a foodie tour de force.

Amuse Bouche: 5:00-8:00pm

Enjoy complimentary amuse bouche with a perfectly paired wine in WF Wine Store next door to the main market. A tasting that is sure to inspire your palate!

Every Thursday, clients have the opportunity to go on a "small budget tour" followed by yummie tasting. Here is the list for January:
Small Budget, Big Flavor Thursday Tours and Tastings

Tours at 1:00pm and 3:00pm, Tasting from 5:00-7:00pm

Join WF Value Guru for a series that is sure to help you stretch into the New Year. You will learn the secrets behind shopping on a budget from our bulk department to our private label, aisle by aisle find out how to get the best deal in the market. Learn and taste budget friendly recipes that will have you cooking and saving all winter long. To join the tour meet at customer service. Cooking Demonstration and Tasting takes place in the seating area.

January 7th - Eating Gluten Free on a Budget
Gluten Free Value Store Tour
Gluten Free Vegan Spicy Bean Tacos

January 14th - Low Sodium Foods Friendly on the Budget
Low Sodium Value Store Tour
Israeli Quinoa Salad Cooking Demonstration and Tasting

January 21st - Healthy Home: Cleaning Naturally Economically
Green Cleaning Value Store Tour
Basic Aromatherapy and Simple Old-Fashion Cleaning Demo

January 28th - Feeding my Family on a Budget
Healthy Meal Planning Value Store Tour
Sunshine Burgers Cooking Demonstration and Tasting
Whole Foods Upper West Side: 808 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY, 10025
Store hours: everyday from 8am to 11pm
Wine Store: Monday - Saturday: 9am to 10pm, Sunday: 12pm to 9pm

Monday, January 04, 2010

The New Year's eve buffet

2010 started with great deals of prosperity and abundance. The food table (aka buffet) had everything someone could imagine: slices of three different types of cheese and crackers of four flavors; brie; homemade guacamole salad; sweet potato salad (tried for the first time and it was delicious); shrimp and lobster salads; an enormous piece of ham, sliced beautifully and served with pineapple; fried shrimp; chips and salsa; hummus; green beans, asparagus and Brussels sprouts; mixed greens salad and fried bananas. And I didn't say anything about the dessert table, a sweet mix of panettone, berry pie and cheesecake. Needless to say that there was a very generous offer of booze....

Welcome 2010, with lots of food, sweet flavors and alcohol!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Welcome 2010 - This year be "unusual"

And if I can get a man like him - definitely "unusual"!

One of the top consumer trends for 2010 is "Business Unusual" (together with Mass Mingling, Instant Reviewing and Fluxury). So, I decided to be "unusual" this year.

Unusual is not just different, my thesaurus says; it means strange, odd, curious, bizarre, extraordinary and remarkable. Therefore, here I am 2010, I will do my best to be all of the above.

I will be strange: I will try a new strange food once a month. And if I succeed, I will do it once a week (fyi: succeed means to not get food poisoning). So, some China town candies are on my way...

I will be odd: I will welcome odd people in my environment like the lady who threw away my Panettone during the New Year's Eve party just to show off her own berry pie. It was an odd action by an odd individual but eh...will give them a go. Who needs sanity in 2010?

I will be curious to explore new lands, cities, villages or just areas of the familiar. I will be curious to read book with odd titles, watch movies with uncommon themes and be out of my comfort zone. Curiosity is boosted by stimulating surroundings so here I am. I already created them.

I will be bizarre. I will buy bizarre items from my travels, maybe more bizarre shoes also? And I will just say the word bizarre more often!

I will be extraordinary but making the best job I can, say good words to people and smile more. I will also be invited to extraordinary parties. I am sure I will get those extraordinary invitations!

Finally, I will be remarkable. This is a challenge. Although I don't know how exactly to do it, I will make some sort of remarkable gestures. Today is the first one by investing for a good cause in a business in Africa (see And I will be remarkably positive, only seeing opportunity in every situation rather than problems.

2010 be unusual. For everybody!