Author Archive

Hump Day Snack: The Silence of the Lambs Wine

What pairs perfectly with a nice Chianti? Why liver and fava beans, of course. Inspired by the infamous Chianti slurper, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema recently unveiled the second installment in its signature wine series—The Silence of the Lambs varietals. (The first “Bottle of Wits,” inspired by The Princess Bride, debuted last year.)

The “Cannibal Chianti” is medium-bodied and well balanced with savory plum and tomato leaf notes, while the “Suit Yourself Pinot Grigio” is flavored with tropical peach, Mexican limes and just a hint of honey. Both are available by the bottle, or together in Lecter’s Package: The limited edition package comes with both bottles, a bottle of lotion (can you think of a better way to pay creepy homage to Buffalo Bill?), fava beans and a recipe from Alamo Drafthouse chef, Trish Eichelberger.

If you live near the Alamo Drafthouse location, don’t miss the Silence of the Lambs Feast featuring both varietals, fava beans served as a puree with fried chicken liver, plus Buffalo Bill’s skinless chicken wings in bacon fat and sriracha “lotion.” Check for details.

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Trends Across the Country: Pie

Key Lime Pie

To celebrate this year of the Olympics and a presidential election, Cooking Channel asked fans what dishes represent their states and then worked with our kitchens to create original recipes for each of the 50 states. (Read all about the project here.) Each state has its own unique food scene, but we couldn’t help but notice some trends across the map from coast to coast.

When I first heard Cooking Channel planned to tackle the best state food recipes, I immediately started campaigning for the dish I thought most represented my home state of Florida: key lime pie (pictured above). I distinctly remember thinking, “Florida’s dish better be key lime pie,” (I even threatened as much on my Facebook page.) and not just because I think it’s pretty darn tasty, but because as a Key West native, to me, there was no other option.

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Dinner Party Duo Heads to Texas in “Married With Dishes”

Tamara Reynolds and husband Karl

Married With Dishes - Tamara Reynolds and her husband, Karl.

Tamara Reynolds (whom you may recognize from Unique Eats) and her husband, Karl, have been hosting an underground Sunday Night Dinner at their Queens apartment for nearly eight years. Needless to say, the couple are used to cooking for a crowd under pressure. But what happens when Cooking Channel sends them down to Fredericksburg, Texas to put on a homegrown feast for the Lone Star State in the new special Married With Dishes?

“Guerilla warfare,” Tamara says.  “It’s a stressful cooking situation, as you’ll see. Top Chef’s got nothing on me.”

The pair was given 12 hours to find a location, source ingredients and invite total strangers to a dinner that embodied Texas while still staying true to the area’s (and Tamara’s) German roots.

“There’s a whole German community in the middle of Hill Country in Texas,” she says. “I had no idea.”

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Choice Eats: The Best Restaurant Bites in New York City

David's Brisket

This Little Piggy's Pastrami Sandwich

When you put more than 80 of New York City’s top restaurants in one room, they’re going to show off a little. This year’s Village Voice Choice Eats Annual Tasting was no exception. The 69th Regiment Armory was packed to the brim with bites from eateries showcasing the diverse and creative landscape of the city’s cuisine.

All-American brisket sandwiches, ice cream and pulled pork shoulder all made appearances, but so did more ethnic flavors and dishes like Vietnamese style tofu, an arctic char crudo and even powdered olive oil (say what!?).

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Nadia G’s Depression Desserts

Nadia G. Depression Desserts

Feeling blue? Nadia cures her woes with dessert (and lots of it)!

Stuffing your face with sweets is always a good cure-all when you’re down in the dumps. You could curl up with a pint of ice cream and call it a night — but we’ve got an even better idea. Whip up one of Nadia G’s decadent desserts and kiss the blues goodbye.

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Nadia G. Wins 2012 NewNowNext Award

Nadia G.'s Bitchin' Kitchen

***Update:  Nadia G. snagged the big win this week at the NewNowNext Awards in the category of Most Addictive Reality Star. We couldn’t be more excited for her, and not at all surprised — we’re addicted to her episodes of Nadia G.’s Bitchin’ Kitchen on Cooking Channel, after all.

The stiletto-wearing, pan-wielding star now joins the ranks of movie stars and soon-to-be pop icons previously recognized for greatness, including previous award winners like Lady Gaga, True Blood and Britney Spears.

See the full list of nominees here.

New to the world of Bitchin’ Kitchen? We think this video is the perfect way to familiarize yourself with this bitchin’ lady and her cast of characters:

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Comfort Food, Revamped

Oxtail Risotto

Comfort food: It warms you up from the inside out. It wraps you up and satisfies deep down — even if just for a little while. It’s like getting the warm fuzzies after hugging an old friend. My first bite into Tavern N Town‘s Pan Roasted Florida Lobster Tail and Slow Braised Oxtail Risotto was a mixture of all of that — plus surprise.

Surprise because normally, I crave marinara-topped pasta for my comfort food of couice. But after having this dish at the Key West Food and Wine Festival Master Chef Classic, my tune is changing. The buttery, light lobster pairs well with the oxtail risotto, while the cumin lime crema keeps the meat extra moist. Plantain chips add extra texture and crunch. All of these components worked together to be at once comforting and original.

Get the Recipe: Pan Roasted Florida Lobster Tail and Slow Braised Oxtail Risotto

So I took a look around and found some more new ways to serve up a comforting meal:

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Sprinkles Debuts 24-Hour Cupcake ATM

Sprinkles Cupcakes new 24-hour cupcake ATM

Sprinkles Cupcakes new 24-hour cupcake ATM

Update: L.A. isn’t the only city feeling the 24-hour cupcake love — Sprinkles is bringing automated cupcake machines to NY, too!  Exact locations aren’t confirmed, but ATMs are planned for the company’s midtown, downtown and upper west locations, according to Gothamist.

It’s midnight. You have a serious cupcake craving, but all of your favorite bakeries are closed. What do you do?

A. Raid your cabinets for anything remotely sweet.
B. Suck it up and go to the nearest convenience store for a muffin. (It’s kind of like a cupcake without icing, right?)
C. Go to Sprinkles Cupcakes new 24-hour cupcake ATM.

If you live in L.A., the “world’s first cupcake automat,” as Sprinkles Cupcakes (yes, that Sprinkles—the company who basically started the cupcake craze.) calls it, will dispense fresh cupcakes, mixes, apparel and even doggy cupcakes 24 hours a day, according to a recent LAist article.

Chuck's Red Velvet Cupcakes

We hope the cupcakes from the machine look as good as Chuck's do!

And in case you want some ice cream, too, Sprinkles Ice Cream is in the works. This is what the company told LAist:

“Our ice cream will be hand-crafted American ice cream using only the finest ingredients, staying in line with the Sprinkles philosophy. Scooped into crisp waffle cones, pressed between fluffy cupcake tops or piled high into sundaes topped with housemade sauces and toppings, Sprinkles Ice Cream shop is a back to basics creamery with a Sprinkles twist! Sprinkles Ice Cream will also serve up freshly baked cookies and brownies!”

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NYC’s Grilled Cheese Champion Crowned at The Big Cheesy

Tartinery's grilled cheese

Tartinery Restaurant's delicious Croque Madame

The smell of warm, intoxicating cheese permeates the air the second you walk into The Big Cheesy, a grilled cheese showdown among seven of New York City’s grilled cheese connoisseurs, hosted at pop-up event space Openhouse Gallery. I had my work cut out for me — tasting one amazing grilled cheese sandwich after the next. But only one shop would win and become the ultimate Grilled Cheese Champ.

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The Donatella Project

Donatella Arpaia

What’s it take to run a successful restaurant? Good food, obviously. Great customer service. An attractive space that customers want to spend time in. It’s not as easy as it sounds…

Owner of ten successful restaurants throughout New York City and Miami (including namesake restaurant, Donatella in NYC) and Iron Chef America judge Donatella Arpaia gets a new gig as restaurant consultant in Cooking Channel special The Donatella Project this Sunday at 8pm ET.

Restaurant owners using frozen ingredients instead of fresh, or eyesore decor that completely overpowers the restaurant experience — these are just a few of the dining disasters Donatella will coach her clients away from. Whether she’s putting a new chef to the test or updating the décor from drab to fab, Donatella’s coming to the rescue of restaurants in need of her skillful guidance on all issues, big and small.

Continue Reading The Donatella Project

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