Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lucky Magazine Event

Lucky Magazine is bringing back its Lucky Shops Event this Thursday on Bleecker Street from 6-9pm. Many of the shops have free food, bubbly, cheese and freebies, so click the map to check out what's going on!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Meet Albert Adrià (that of el Bulli and Inopia)

Albert Adrià was using a Spanish interpreter while presenting at the International Chefs Congress. He was passionate about food and cooking and he came with videos , his new book Natura and a lot of energy. I was fascinated to meet him and I was planning to interview him but ten minutes in his talk, I had nothing to ask. His approach to cooking is both philosophical and technical. “There is bad food versus good food” he said. He talked about good products and bad techniques (with a bad result/food), he mentioned that sashimi is not easy to make and explained us how he turned chocolate mousse into a cookie. At the very end “it’s not about the technique, it’s how you make your clients happy”, this is what and should matter the most. In one of the videos, he explained how he takes meringue, takes out the air, compresses it and then the cookie is made. Everything seemed easy but complicated, simple but also difficult, intellectual but somehow mathematical. The seminar ended and I was confused but intellectually satisfied. One thing was certain: Adrià deserves what he gets because he is a creative genius in the kitchen without being really an artist.

Below take a look at some pictures he showed us...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cooking: Art or Craft?

The first day of the International Chefs Congress was intriguing for someone who is not a chef. Surrounded by chefs of all levels, reputation and bank accounts, they all seem to have something in common. Their love of food. The debate between , Thomas Keller (Per Se), Dan Barber (Blue Hill Farm) and David Kinch (Manresa) about cooking as a form of art vs. craft was interesting. Thomas Keller turns down the word “artist” for a chef although Barber thinks that chefs can be artists as well. David Kinch, on the other hand, believes that chefs have to tell a story through their dishes. Keller goes even further: cooking is a craft and repetition makes a chef a better chef. "The more you do something, the better you become", he said. Food has to be esthetically pleasing in order to sell. Barber brought up the notion of  the “longer vision”. In other words, if you let go your ego, you become better. On the topic of trends, Keller was rather bold by saying that there is no new food, just new technological tools. Kinch spoke of the dynamic aspect of cooking and the constant evolution and they all agreed that their job is to nurture people, one way or the other.
The topic is fascinating and seems endless. What I particularly like in all chefs is their grounding character, their constant desire to be inspired and to become better. Even if I disagree with Keller’s extreme approach to repetition (after a while becomes comfort zone), I congratulate them all for their genuine, tasty efforts to create better food.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back to Basis Good Food Festival

I was at the Back to Basis Good Food Festival this afternoon for the last hour. Hopefully, most of the participants were still offering samples with a few exceptions that were "sold out". I was impressed by Craft's corn panecotta, the perfect balance of sweet and salty and creamy enough for everybody's taste.

The twenty minutes wait for the peanut butter, banana and bacon ice cream courtesy of Ample Hills Creamery was worth it. The banana mixed with my favorite peanut butter was excellent, the bacon was an added surprise but I wouldn't mind its absence either.

For the rest, notable was the duck terrine from Great Performances, the house smoked trout from Flatbush Farm and Gramercy Tavern's hash potato.

I was disappointed with the shepherd's pie I tried maybe because I lived too many years in England to appreciate shepherd's pie of New York.

Finally, the Nuts+Nuts spicy cashews and spicy cashew dip were both unique, innovative and amazing!

A big thank you to Basis that organized this September event - all the exhibitors were nice and generous with their samples. Click here for more information: The hot day was pleasant for a gourmet day out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tastes of Greece - Interview with owner of .ES Panos Stamoulis

FB: Why you started .ES?

PS: I lived in Spain and I got acquainted with high gastronomy and modern Spanish cuisine, not only Ferran Adrià's but also Arzak's and other chefs. That was the stimulus. .ES follows the Spanish cooking that has expanded to Mediterranean cuisine today. .ES has reasonable prices and is open to everybody.

FB: How did you find the location?

PS: I was walking in the area and I was passing by. There was nothing here, only drug addicts and hookers but the space was free and wonderful. Thessaloniki is smaller, not so large and big as Athens and there is a borderline in the downtown area.

FB: What about your menu?

PS: I am responsible for the menu. It changes four times a year and has seasonal dishes. We have four chefs. As I said the success of .ES is based on high gastronomy but is simply made. Our basic success elements are good ingredients, simplicity and the ambitions of the chefs. We use materials that are not commercial like barnacles.

FB: What are your plans for the future?

PS: From the new season, the menu will be offered in small dishes, like tapas. We tried them out on Mondays and it went very well so we are now ready. I would also like to open a restaurant on a Greek island in Cyclades until next summer.

FB: Where else do you eat except .ES in Thessaloniki?

PS: I go to English in Ano Poli, sto Profili sti Diagonio for its spicy meatballs and in the restaurant of Naftikos Omilos on Sofouli street. All excellent. When I travel abroad, I go to Arzak because is authentic. I like Italian and Japanese cuisines. But first of all simplicity. It’s like eating on an Aegean island. What would you like to eat? Tomatoes with vinegar and olive oil, salad, fish. Just a few things and simple. And if there is a full moon, that helps too.

FB: So in brief..

PS: .ES is like a tavern but also a kind of bistrot. The ambience is something that brought success, not only the food.

Monday, September 13, 2010

THEORY - Fashion meets Finance

LearnVest and Theory have teamed up to bring you a fabulous fashion and finance event on Tuesday, September 21 called Theory Career Insider: Women In Finance.

Expect to learn how to become more financial savvy and a wiser spender while getting useful, styling tips and sipping cocktails!

Where: Theory, 40 Gansevoort Street

When: Tuesday, September 21, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
RSPV by 9.17 at:

Friday, September 10, 2010

What I learned at the Asian Food Festival

The Asian Food Festival was a celebration of flavors, tastes and traditions from Asia. And that included mainly Indian, Thai, Korean, Malaysian, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, Nepalese, Pakistani, Filipino, Burmese, Japanese and Chinese cuisines.

Korean Japchae

I may not be an expert in Asian cuisines but I am not an Asian food virgin either. I have tasted plenty in the past and I managed to develop a palate for most of them (my nine years in England helped me explore Indian and Pakistani cuisines, that's the reason I am not so impress with Indian in New York). But my attendance in this multi-cultural festival had an amazing influence on my way of thinking about Asian food. For the very first time I realized that Asian people are unique in their approach to food and cooking both as well as the use of ingredients.

So, this is what I would like to share with you:

1. Chinese eat mostly Chinese food and can't stay without rice more than four days!
2. The five important ingredients in Indian food are: black or yellow mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric, coriander seeds and Cajun pepper.
3. The word curry is an anglicized version of the word kari  which usually  means "gravy" or "sauce" rather than "spices". So, curry is used throughout European culture to describe a variety of side dishes, best known in Indian cuisine or other South Asian (chicken curry etc)
4. Cheese is by large not used in Asian cuisines (I would dare to say that dairy is not popular at all).

I found entertaining the suggestion of Thai Chef Andy Yang: instead of a blue cheese dip why not a thai dip?

Admittedly,  it was a thought provoking festival for me at least. Food was fresh, unique and offered generously. Maybe is time for me to master one of the Asian cuisines - the future will tell!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Lucas Maassen Solo Exhibit at CITE Showroom‏



When: Friday September 10, 2010, 6-8pm
Where: CITE Showroom, 131 Greene Street, New York, NY 10012

Fashion's Night Out

It's here again for the second year. This Friday, 9.10 Vogue hosts the Fashion's Night Out in major cities all over the world. This globe-spanning extravaganza expands from Manhattan to Rio de Janeiro to Tokyo and Athens. I know that New York will be buzzing with energy, champagne, celebrities and styling adventures. All major stores participate that makes it difficult to choose - where should I go first? For a list of all participants click here: If you want to see what is happening in other parts of the world click on FNO elsewhere.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Brazilian street foods

I don't know much about the history of the Brazilian Day Festival.  I was told that it's the celebration of Brazil's Independence Day. I chose to focus on  Brazilian street foods (and some good looking Brazilian young men wearing Brazil's soccer team tees saying KAKA) which I found somehow unique if compared to other street food cuisines. I started with the famous Acarajé, a fritter made from black-eyed peas and deep-fried to a crisp golden brown in palm oil. The most common way of eating acarajé is splitting it in half, pouring vatapá and/or caruru, a salad made out of green and red tomatoes, fried shrimps and home made hot sauce. The strangest thing is that Acarajé is also found in Nigerian cuisine.


Another street delicacy is the well-known pão de queijo, the cheese bread. It is a small, baked, cheese-flavored roll, usually served for breakfast in Brazil, in Bolivia and Argentina. This small bite of pleasure is perfect for a snack but also with a nice, refreshing Caipirinha. This cheese bread is distinctive not only because it is made of cassava or corn flour, but also because the inside is chewy and moist.

pão de queijo


Pastel is another traditional Brazilian dish, consisting of crisp pastry filled with ground beef meat, cheese, chicken or shrimp and then deep fried. Rather on the "heavier" side, it can be also too big to be eaten by one person so please, share it!

I missed the Churros, a Spanish rather traditional sweet that is also made in South American countries and is popular in Australia. It is a fried-dough pastry-based snack, sometimes made from potato dough, sprinkled with sugar and eaten dipped in thick chocolate. Brazilians were offering  Churros with doce de leite.

Brazilian street food is fried with an oily finish but has this surprising uniqueness: you can't turn it down. I need to return to Little Brazil for a more detailed and extensive tasting with some historic research. I am sure I won't be disappointed.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fashion's Night Out Cocktail Party and Screening

If you missed The September Issue movie, here is your chance to see it. The event will kick off at 6:30pm with a cocktail reception followed by the screening. RSVP at:

Where: NYIT Auditorium Broadway
1871 Broadway (between 61st/62st street)
New York, 10023
When: Friday, 9.10 at 6:30pm.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Eataly Opens

After months of speculation, Eataly, the venture or dream of Batali-Bastianich has finally opened at 4pm on August 31st. The line was long but it was moving fast when I decided to join at 4.05pm. Ten minutes later, I was in with my camera looking at the Lavazza's espresso bar, dine-in eateries matched by corresponding food stores, pasta aisles, the LaFrieda butcher counter and the notable bakery.

I haven't been an advocate of Italian food. I am not a fan of white-flour based foods as pasta, pizza or bread; I am not a great fan of risotto, Chiante or garlicky tomato sauce either. I welcome both gelato or prosciutto and espresso with moderation (because coffee does not come from Italy really but from Colombia!). But Eataly's design is impressive, with postage, little areas and interestingly decorated.

I will return for a gelato, espresso or even a glass of prosecco. I will keep you posted.

Eataly @ 200 Fifth Ave between 23rd and 24th Sts