Sunday, January 30, 2011

Xanda McCagg @ Art 101

If you haven't been there yet, you still have a few more days until February 6th. Xanda McCagg's paintings are shown in Art 101, a hidden in Williamsburg, attractive gallery space. What I particularly like at Xanda's paintings are her colors and how they are distributed. Her colors are bright but not too flashy, in perfect balance with the environments. And so inspiring during those long and dark New York winter days! The message is not always obvious - you need to concentrate to explore it. Or if you are confused, you can always ask her. She will be happy to explain you her "Sofa" series!

"Present" - Oil, graphite on canvas

The Art 101 is open during the weekends, Friday to Sunday from 1pm to 6pm or by appointment on 718-301-2242. For more info, visit and

"Luster" - Oil, graphite on canvas

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival

It seems that the snow will stay with us for a while in the Big Apple. Instead of worrying or complaining about it, have some beer, bourbon and BBQ! The Second Annual Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival is returning to Manhattan for a second year in a row to LA.VENUE (608 West 28th Street (between 11th & 12th Ave.)  on January 29, 2011. The all-you-care-to-taste extravaganza is being held in two sessions: The Bacon Session Noon – 4pm and The Whole Hog Session 5:30pm – 9:30pm.

All ticket holders will receive a souvenir glass to sample over 60 beers and 40 bourbons while enjoying bluegrass music and plenty of barbeque from pulled pork, beef, brisket, chicken, ribs, country sides and more. Master Distillers from the big Kentucky Bourbon Houses, Master Brewers from Internationally renowned breweries and Pitmasters from North Carolina, Maryland and Texas will be on hand with hands-on demonstrations and tasting classes. 

Isn't it a nice consolation for the cold January days?

Ticket Options for ages 21 +

Grand Poobah All Access Specialty Tasting Ticket (only 100 available)
Valid from noon-9:30 p.m.  $150.00
Souvenir glass, lanyard, hat, unlimited sampling of beer, bourbon, food, and admission to special tasting seminar/class in Tasting Theater.

The Bacon Session 1 – Tickets:  $85.00
Valid from Noon-4:00 p.m.
Unlimited samplings of beer, bourbon, food, and bacon sampling.

The Whole Hog – Session 2 – Tickets are $85.00
Valid from:  5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Unlimited samplings of beer, bourbon, food, and a pulled pork BBQ dinner plate with fixin’s.

For more information on purchasing tickets for the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival, please visit or call 800-830-3976.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weird, Funny and the Trends from the Fancy Food Show

The Fancy Food Show was over a few days ago and my mouth is still full with tasty, funky or some terribly strange foods. This show was awesome: innovative products, funny items, colors and creativity was what I noticed. From chocolate mushroom cookies to the Mona Lisa made with jelly beans to the mouthwatering potato chips from La Mar restaurant, they were all worth trying and mentioning on this blog. Exhibitors were helpful and serious and not so much into "partying" mood; on the contrary, they seemed to be far more professional than the previous years.

The trends:

On the go packaging//100 calories snacks: 

It used to be more of a novelty but now it has become an established trend. Now more than ever, individuals are sensitive about calories and fond of small portions in a pack  – two cookies, 3 crackers, a half energy bar, a piece of chocolate instead an entire bar. I particularly liked the Tabasco chocolate (made by the chocolate traveler), the GoPicnic ready-to-eat meals the new Slims snacks from Trumps Food.

It seems that the single item products for the on-the-go customer are doing pretty well. Admit it, it is easier to control your calories without avoiding your favorites flavors. One slice of Tabasco chocolate will do the work. And you get to keep the tin box!

Grain based chips but also cereals for breakfast

We know Beanitos (bean chips), Plocky’s Hummus Chips, Falafel Chips and Baked Lentil Chips. I also discovered the Green Pea and Mung Bean Chips from Japan, something entirely new. But you can also taste  Crunchfuls made from Pulseeds (nutrient-rich seeds of pulse crops, more commonly known as lentils, dry beans, dry peas, dal, and chickpeas) in your cereal bowl. But would you like to have this for breakfast? Rather a weird trend I would say...

Celebrities and their own products

Cat Cora's partnership with Gaea products and she now has her own olive oil, spreads and vinegars. Gia Russa launches his Guy Fieri's BBQ Sauces and Salsas. And Duff Goldman has a cake decorating line. Are celebrities really hungry for more publicity or they just want to present their own products on air?

                                                    Cat Cora speaking

The funny and creative stuff

Look at those happy St Patrick's hats/cookies!

A piece of art made with jelly beans...

The product that makes you smile and say "you are great in marketing": jelly beans shaped as peas and carrots....Terrible for kids.


Footnotes - observations: 

1. Less chocolate or in smaller stands
2. The powerful presence of California with excellent products
3. Lots of cheese - primary from North America

And what is this?

Not what comes in mind first!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fancy Food Show in San Francisco

Here I am again. My second time at the FFS in San Francisco. I will hit the floor at 10am today and plan to stay the entire day.

More to come on trends, flavors and what's new and funny!

Click here to learn more....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to be a bad artist

Read my recent interview on this alternative, innovative and fun website.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Going GF at 50,00 feet

I haven't been a great fun of pasta, white bread, cakes and pastries. I don't even remember to have finished an entire muffin all by myself and I hate cupcakes. So the gluten free diet (otherwise GF) is pretty much self-evident. So I am happy to announce first to myself and then to the readers that I am GF in my kitchen. Eating out is far more challenging because everything contains wheat (even yogurt). So, I am 95% GF when I am out and about. How can I make it when I attend food festivals, tasting sessions and so many evening parties? It's simple, I don't eat the "white" flour based items and when I need to taste something I just have a bite.

The two meals together: on the left GF and on the right the "mainstream"

How it comes!

 But my GF diet is not compromised only on the earth. I go GF when I fly as airlines allow me to select my meal. That is a whole different story. First, special diet diners/passengers get their meal first and together with their meal get the angry looks of co-passengers who patiently wait for theirs. Don't rush into conclusions though. The GF tray is far from being exciting. It usually contains the warm meal with protein and veggies, a salad, a fruit salad, rice crackers, a piece of cheese, butter and a plastic cup of water! Looking at the tray of the lady sitting next to me (who is no GF), I could see that instead of the fruit salad was offered a mini chocolate cake and even fresh bread (whatever that means on 50,000 feet).  That was the dinner on the overnight, overseas flight. A few hours later, it was already time for breakfast and here came my tray again: rice crackers, butter, marmalade, orange juice, water (!) and yogurt. Not a huge difference from the lady next to me who instead of the rice crackers was given a croissant (in a plastic bag). But the view of a croissant broke my heart a bit. Especially when the flying attendant was walking around offering freshly heated croissants with a smell that broke even my nose...

I forgot to tell you... The 5% of the time that I am not GF, this is what I eat: croissants, panettone and the occasional cheese pie.

As for the cup of water included in the GF tray, I can't figure that out. I just drink it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Chestnut Cappuccino

It was the most interestingly named, recently eaten food. The first dish of a five course dinner, the Chestnut Cappuccino puzzled the diners who didn't know what to expect. Finally, the Chestnut Cappuccino arrived: it was served in cappuccino cups with foam on top, looking exactly as your morning fix. But when you tasted it, it was purely a chestnut soup, tasty, with a sweet palate. The mystery wasn't resolved for most of the diners who decided even to throw a few sugars in it, thinking that is rather a cup of coffee than a bowl of soup.

When it comes to food, imagination is a key element. Don't spoil it. Just use your imagination, then taste and enjoy.

Then get a cup of coffee in the morning!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Cooking with the top food blogger in Thessaloniki @ Partisan

What is Koparanis holding in his hand?
He was named one of the two TOP food blogger of the country (if you understand Greek, read him here). Koparanis invited me to cook with him at Partisan on 12.26. The menu, what else, party food from New York! We decided on savory popcorn, spicy mixed nuts, corn bread with dips (artichoke-cheese and red pepper-cheese), filets on chip, marinated tuna on rice crackers and chocolate balls. The staff was excited with our preparations, asked a lot of questions, avoided the raw fish (too fishy for some people) and my guest/nephew couldn't stay away from the filets on chip!

I was thrilled with the parmesan popcorn and the spicy mixed nuts -which I reproduced at my kitchen a few days later. The tuna and the filets were superb and don't get me started with the chocolate balls: pure pleasure!

Witness our kitchen adventure below. Recipes upon request.

Making the mix for the spicy nuts
Corn bread fresh from the oven
Spicy nuts - ready to eat!
Parmesan popcorn

Corn bread and dips!
Filets on chips

Chocolate balls!

The result, tasty and pretty
Fullybooked with an apron