Thursday, September 29, 2011

Expo East Top New Products

Partying is not associated with healthy eating. Hors-d’oeuvres, canapés and plenty of booze have nothing to do with a healthy diet. But as a dedicated food writer, I attended the Expo East, Natural Products Show in Baltimore last week and explored the floors with plenty of curiosity, appetite for new discoveries and willingness to chew some gluten free granolas. Here are the 10 different, unique and with an edge products but I am not saying that they all taste fine.

1.       1. Zen Indulgence – the first hemp gelato looks nice. It is vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free but it does not feel or taste like ice cream. Think frozen yogurt with more texture and weird taste. But for those who want to try something new, it’s an option. Just a dessert, not an ice cream.

2.       2. Tula’s CocoKefir was another unusual product. A probiotic drink based on coconut – dairy and gluten free, fat free and low in calories, it is an ideal alternative if you like coconut. 

        3. The much expected Monk Fruit Sweetener. For those who didn’t know, the Monk Fruit has traditionally been grown in China with little exposure in the West but has been prized for its intense sweetness, medicinal and antioxidant properties in all Asian countries. Nature Wise created the Monk Fruit Sweetener, a 100% natural, 5-calorie sweetener that combines the Monk Fruit with the Pure Cane Sugar. I tasted it and it tastes like a sweetener. I personally didn’t see any difference with any other sweetness “enhancer”. But I am not an expert in sugar either.

          4. Michael Season’s Popped Black Bean Crisps. Think Popped Chips and Beanitos in a complete new version. I liked those, are healthier  and tastier compared to other chips. Plus, I don’t eat beans so those chips may well be a healthy substitute? They are gluten and wheat free, low in sodium and low in fat. They are in! 

        5. The Qrunch Burgers powered, as they will tell you, by Quinoa Superfood. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, wheat-free, egg-free, nut-free and I wonder what exactly is inside them. Just Quinoa! Also millet, onions, carrots, broccoli, spinach and other ingredients….(no, there is no chocolate!).  As good as you can get.

6.       6. The ChiaCharger, an all-natural bite-sized snack that is portion-controlled into 3, 1-ounce sized bites per package. Made with chia seeds, is also loaded with other “superfoods”  like cranberries, sunflower seeds and oats, is a healthy choice. The Chiacharger is certified vegan. It tastes OK.

7.       7. Eat your vegetables snack from Snikiddy. Probably one of the tastier snack foods I have ever tried, those snacks are perfect for those who hate veggies as they are made with potatoes, beans, carrots, green bell pepper powder, rice flour and a few others as paprika, spice and vinegar. Are good for children? They have no fat, are gluten free and cholesterol free so why not? Ideally children should eat real greens but this is the easy solution. The jalapenos flavor is for grown ups.

8.       8. Way Better Snacks is a new snack line with sprouted whole grains introduced in the chips. I am sure kids will appreciate this (just joking!). Those chips are delicious and seem to be a healthy option. According to the producer, sprouting delivers many benefits including: increased vitamins and minerals, increased antioxidants, nutrient absorption and digestibility. This certified gluten free product, is also vegan, all natural, non-GMO, certified kosher and low in sodium. They taste yummie, and I am addicted. Try the Sprouted Blues Tortilla Chips or the Simply So Sweet Chili.

9.       9.  Another new snack, the World Peas made with real peas and flavored with different spices. The Sichuan chili peas are hot and spicy but they taste good if you are up to the challenge. They are all-natural, have no trans fat, no cholesterol and no colors or sweeteners. But when I look at the ingredients I see modified corn starch. Is this good?

1      10. Finally, I will mention the new Millet-Chia Bread from Udi's, the Coconut Spread from Earth Balance and the Cheribundi, a new Cherry Cocoa drink that is an interesting blend and a nice change from anything that contains coconut, chia, millet and quinoa. 

        After spending an entire day at the Expo East with its natural products, I was much more educated on the new trends in this field, talked to food developers and met with healthy food veterans. But I don't want to see another raw nut, seed and agave infused energy bar. I am done.



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Chile Pepper Fiesta


Saturday, October 1 | 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Click here for information and tickets


Fire breathing. Scorching hot sauce. Chocolate debauchery.

New York’s hottest fall tradition, featuring eight bands from chile-loving regions around the world. Sample goodies from today’s hottest chocolatiers and cast your vote at the Chile-Chocolate Takedown. Pick a pepper at our local farm stand and delight in sizzling salsas, pickles, kimchee, and other red-hot specialties. Don’t miss your chance to savor the fiery flavor...Brooklyn style.

Lost Bayou Ramblers with Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano ★ The Defibulators ★ Chico Mann ★ Dominic James & The Rhythm Machine ★ Mariachi Tapatio ★ Terry Dame & Electric Junkyard Gamelan ★ Dogcat ★ Tom Swafford


The African Experience Food Festival

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Travel and Leisure's Global Bazaar

Travel + Leisure Magazine celebrated its 40th anniversary with a Global Bazaar at the Park Avenue Armory last weekend. Tourist Boards, world-class chocolates, airlines and famous chefs - all participated in this global feast.

Me, as a food writer, journalist and blogger, I focused as always on food: I tasted street food from Singapore, the coconut cream and peanut butter grilled sandwich, the hand-sucked oysters from the Prince Edward island, fish fry from Barbados, the confit duck hors d'oeuvre from Canada and the cheese bread from Brazil. But I stayed active on the "booze" front: I couldn't resist the rum shuck, ice wine from Canada, and also a very unique cocktail from the island of Fiji. Because tasting amazing food while sipping on refreshing cocktails is a hard task, I made a stop at the relaxation center of the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, then experienced Boeing’s Dreamliner and had a final taste of my favorite speculoos cookies at Delta's Global Sky Lounge. Finally, and as a former Belgium resident, I greeted the Belgian Tourism Office with a glass of Belgian beer which has always been my favorite.

I often call myself a citizen of the world due to my travel adventures and years of living in numerous countries. Spending nearly three hours at T+L's Global Bazaar, I felt like being home.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Singapore Take Out

The Singapore Take Out is parked in the Meatpacking District. As a guest at the VIP cocktail event, I had the chance to sample tasty food inspired from Singapore flavors made with the hand of chefs Malcolm Lee (Candlenut Kitchen) and Anthony Ricco (Spice Market). Here is the gastronomic "summary" in pictures:

Laska, the soup from Singapore

Tea and Orange Juice Cocktail

Friday, September 16, 2011

Taka Taka opens, food writers are impressed

Taka Taka opened last night to the media for a "sneak" preview of what will be serving. The Mexican Sushi meets Japanese Tacos restaurant is small but was buzzy with excited for new flavors food writers and bloggers. I started the evening by sitting in front of the kitchen's counter and closer to the hi-fi conveyor belt with full view of what was cooking. The cocktails offered were authentic, inspiring and easy to drink: Jalapeno Margaritas, Peach Mezcal and a beer cocktail that seemed too large. Sushi rolls were passing in green, orange and blue plates indicating different prices and combinations. I believe I tasted the rolls number 05, 13 and 19 from the menu that including the Sushi Caliente (spicy sushi) along with the Tempura Shrimp Tacos.

The idea is simple: make a sushi roll with a Mexican spicy sauce and a taco with some Japanese elements. Food was fresh, simple and tasty. Occasionally those rolls were too spicy and together with the Jalapeno margarita could put you on fire but that who says that Uniqueness comes without some pain?

Food writers and bloggers seemed happy with the plates of sushi and even happier with the "impressive" as mentioned cocktails so expect some coverage today and the following weeks!

Taka Taka is located at 330, West Broadway at Grand. Visit the website here:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dishes from Thailand

By Guest Blogger Marios G. 

In a recent trip to Thailand, I stayed out from spicy food but this didn't stop me from taking some pictures to showcase the colorful Thai dishes to the entire world! The pictures talk on their own so there is no space for comments....

Spicy Noodles?

Time for some Thai Dessert...

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Paseo's Cuban Sandwich

Although I am not a great sandwich fan, I would never say "no" to a tasting of a Cuban sandwich. When this Cuban sandwich is offered at Paseo's in Seattle, the tasting task becomes more of a pleasing experience (I still don't like white bread). Paseo is a tiny snack place in trendy Fremont area, selling mainly Caribbean food. You will recognize it by the long lines as there is nowhere a name sign. During my last trip in Seattle, I gave in and I asked my partner in culinary adventures to drive me there. We decided to split the Cuban Roast, stated as the most popular on the menu.

Inside of a lightly toasted baguette, there were generous portions of pork shoulder coated in Paseo marinade, aioli (seasoned mayo), fresh cilantro, pickled jalapeños, crisp romaine lettuce and caramelized onions. The $8 price tag is well justified for what you get. With my limited Cuban sandwich experience, I openly admit that Paseo's was one of the best, scoring even higher than those famous Cuban sandwiches in Miami. 

If you visit Seattle, make a stop at Paseo. There is also a Ballard location. The long line is worth it!