A Taste of the Food Life | Mike’s Organic Curry Love & White Girl Salsa

We hate bland foods and are always on the lookout for great sauces, dips, seasonings, etc that will add bit more oomph to our snacks and meals. Thanks to our recent visit to Food Fete, we were able to get our hands (and taste buds) on samples of some wonderful treats, two of which we particularly fell head over heels in love with. Get your taste buds ready foodies, because we’re taking you on a bit of an international tour. Today’s tasting tour takes us to India and Mexico as we tantalize our tongues and appetites with the variety of curries from Mike’s Organic Curry Love and fresh, vibrant Tomatillo-based salsas from White Girl Salsa.

CURRY LOVE

Why not stay in tonight and delight your family with dishes made with one of the available six curries. Whether you want mild, medium or hot, the organic Curry Love has an ideal curry for any dish. Created by Chef Mike, who’s cooked for the likes of Sydney Poitier, Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, Sidney Sheldon, and Kirk Douglas, Curry Love is 100% organic, vegan, Gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free (the Green and Red Thai curries are not soy-free). You can’t go wrong with whichever curry you try, they are all amazingly delicious and a great way to liven up your cooking. Your best bet is to try them all.

KORMA (Mild) – creamy and mild with hints of cardamom and curry leaf. The almonds and cream lend a richness while the yogurt adds the perfect amount of tanginess. Your taste buds will be delighted.

CARIBBEAN CURRY (Mild) – a wonderful blend of ginger, sundried banana, coconut and lemongrass. Mild and sweet with hints of cinnamon, cardamom and allspice, it is a curry that is loved by kids and grown ups alike.

SAAG (Mild) – an Indian classic. It’s a blend of spinach, tomatoes, warm spices and cream. Pairs beautifully with chicken, paneer or just a bowl of basmati rice. Mild, tangy and delicious.

GREEN THAI CURRY (Medium) – rich and delicious and yet light enough to be eaten every day. An authentic blend of coconut milk, lemongrass, jalapeno pepper, cilantro and makrut lime. It is a curry that makes for a scrumptious meal every time.

TIKKA MASALA (Medium) – a vegetarian’s dream come true. Not too sweet and just the right amount of heat. It is a rich blend of tomato, cream, coconut and warming masala spices. Serve it with rice, naan, chicken, lamb and vegetables. It can even work magic on a bowl of boiled potatoes.

RED THAI CURRY (Hot) – a traditional curry with coconut milk, lemongrass, makrut lime, chili peppers and ginger. It’s HOT and delicious. Goes well with vegetables, beef or chicken, shrimp, tofu or just a bowl of rice.

WHITE GIRL SALSA

You may be thinking, what does a white girl know about Salsa and from what I tasted at Food Fete, this girl, Julie Nirvelli, knows A LOT!! Taught the culinary secrets of making homemade flour tortillas, rice and beans, and tamales from the women of a Mexican family she is close to, Julie Nirvelli tried her hand at making an authentic green salsa to delicious results and with a glowing stamp of approval from the women who taught her and a new name for her salsa – White Girl Salsa, thanks again to that family. Today, Julie’s range of salsas includes three tomatillo salsas, a smokey chipotle, and our personal favorite, cranberry-mango.

HOT TOMATILLO – Spicy and sassy, this mix of tomatillo, chiles, cilantro and onion is hot to trot! Hot is perfect for dipping and is known for giving any recipe a kick in the pants.

MEDIUM TOMATILLO – A perfect middle-of-the-road mix of tomatillo flavor and spice! Medium boasts the ideal zesty kick. For the spicy snacker, this is your go-to gal.

MILD TOMATILLO – Mild-mannered? Perhaps, but the blend of tomatillo, cilantro, and onion is the life of the party! Choose your dipping device…Mild is ready for anything.

CRANBERRY-MANGO – Sweet meets saucy in a salsa that brings cranberries and mango to the cilantro-onion-tomatillo mix! From cream cheese and crackers to good old-fashioned tortilla chips, Cranberry-Mango is the sweetie that turns mere snacking into an event.

SMOKEY CHIPOTLE – Savory, zesty, spicy… this unique combination of chipotle and tomatillos is a fantastic find for any foodie! Smokey Chipotle will add zip to any dip or grilled favorites.

whether you’re in the mood for a savory Indian dish or a delicious Mexican snack, get to know these two amazing brands. they are sure to be staples on your grocery list. Want some Curry Love? Click http://www.mycurrylove.com/locate/ to find out where you can purchase them. To find a list of grocers selling White Girl Salsa, click http://www.whitegirlsalsa.com/home/find-us/.

Jonty Jacobs Opens New York’s First South African-Style Biltong Shop

At the beginning of the year (during the craziness of the Polar Vortex), we highlighted some of the snacks we were pigging out on while stuck inside and away from the cold, you can refresh your memories here – 5 Foods We’ve Been Enjoying During the Polar Vortex. One of those five foods was Jonty Jacobs Fine Beef Products – Biltong (dried meat slices) and Droewors (dried sausage). Cut to the warm months of July, which not only brought us hot, sunny days, but the debut of Jonty Jacobs first Biltong Shop; actually New York’s First South African-Style Biltong Shop.

The quaint shop, located at 114 Christopher Street (between Bleecker and Hudson) in the heart of the West Village, will allow patrons to custom-order their gourmet cuts of beef by choosing the type of biltong (traditional, grass-fed or aged), lean or traditional, with or without spice and cut-style (chunks, shreaded or – for the aged biltong – prosciutto-style thin-cut).

Jonty Jacobs tapped South African chef and entrepreneur Hugo Uys to consult on menu development. The event’s menu features Boere Wors Rolls with a homemade ginger peach chutney, and Curry-flavored Sosaties, which were paired with Seven Sisters Wine.

The Jonty Jacobs shop will offer prepackaged droewors (dried beef sausage) available with or without spice, boerewors (south-african style sausage) available in regular beef, grass fed, lamb or pork, sosaties (marinated and skewered meat) available in all beef, beef, lamb and pork or lamb and beef. Additionally, they carry a select range of truffle products, caviar, cheese, smoked fish, dips and South African snacks such as cookies, chocolate, dried fruits and teas.

Want to experience what Jonty Jacobs has to offer? You should definitely pop in the store to get to know them.

Champion of Breakfast: Oats

When it comes to eating while updating the blog, we’ve been very bad lately. Sometimes we forget to eat or just continuously snack on one thing, usually a bag of chips or cookies, until the bag is empty and our guilt is full (not to mention our calorie intake). But thankfully, we’ve been introduced to some great new, healthy breakfast choices to help begin our day the right day. Today we start with Oats from three brands, a great meal for breakfast or as a midday snack. Truthfully although breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day, it is most often the most skipped meal of the day. Below are some of our most recent Oat-based favorites from Lifeway Kefir, Modern Oats, and Oatworks.LIFEWAY KEFIR W/ OATS

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Ready for a complete on-the-go breakfast or a satisfying snack break any time of day? You will love Lifeway’s latest fusion of classic oatmeal with the probiotic benefits of their low-fat kefir, spices, and fruits – Lifeway Kefir with Oats. Available in three refreshing and delicious breakfast flavors, you start your day with 1.5 grams of prebiotic (non-digestible fiber compounds), soluble oat fiber, which is shown to encourage growth of healthy stomach bacteria, help to manage normal levels of cholesterol, regulate your blood sugar, and satisfy your hunger. This delicious breakfast beverage is available in cinnamon apple, blueberry maple, and vanilla plum.

MODERN OATS

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For those who want artisanal crafted, small-farmed oatmeal packed with the wholesome goodness of whole rolled oats, organic evaporated cane juice, superfruits like goji berries, cherries, mangoes, Saskatoon berries, blackberries and blueberries, omega 3 rich seeds and nuts, all packaged in “on-the-go” cups that do not require microwaving, you will want Modern Oats for breakfast. Featuring all natural oatmeal made with organic ingredients, 48+ grams of whole grains, is Non-GMO and certified Gluten-free, vegan certified and a great source of protein and fiber, Modern Oats is great for those who care about what they eat and where it’s from. Modern Oats is available in six delicious flavors: Apple Walnut, 5 Berry, Goji-Blueberry, Mango Blackberry, Nuts & Seeds and Chocolate Cherry.

OATWORKS

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Here’s another candidate for those who has their breakfast on the go or to battle that mid-day slump. Oatworks is a natural oat-based smoothie with fresh fruit mixed in that provides a great dose of beta glucan that works to make you feel fuller longer and provides natural energy with ingredients that are full of vitamins and minerals. On a diet? No problem, Oatworks Smoothies are vegan-friendly, dairy free, soy free, kosher, sweetener-free, and gluten-free. The fruit blended drink is available in three natural flavors: Strawberry Banana, Peach Mango, and Pomegranate Blueberry and can be found at Whole Foods, FreshDirect.com, and Amazon.

Chili’s Grill & Bar Launches Frozen Foods Line

We’ve all seen their commercials on television, with real people celebrating their real life experiences. The closeups of the delicious, steaming dishes tantalizing our taste buds almost to the point of licking the screen (or is that just us?) Suddenly you’re thinking, I wish I was having some of that now. Well guess what, now you can. Thanks to a partnership with Bellisio Foods, a leading frozen foods manufacturer, Chili’s® Grill & Bar is introducing a new line of licensed Chili’s®-inspired frozen meals that are boldly flavored and delicious. And the best part, they are so incredibly yummy, you won’t believe you’re not dining at a Chili’s Restaurant. If you’re tired of under-seasoned and bland frozen meals, try out one or all of these perfectly seasoned frozen meals…..you won’t regret it.

The new licensed Chili’s® frozen food line officially launches in June with single-serve entrées and multi-serve meals that boasts bold colors, bold flavors and bold innovations. The Chili’s®-inspired frozen meals include menu favorites like Pepper Jack Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl and Cajun-Style Chicken Alfredo. The eight single-serve entrees (two shown above) include:

  • Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese (see above photo)
  • Cajun-Style Chicken Alfredo
  • Cheesy Chicken Pasta Florentine
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch
  • Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl
  • Island Chicken and Rice
  • Mango Chicken with Rice (see above photo)
  • Pepper Jack Mac ‘N’ Cheese

The five multi-serve meals (pictured below) include:

  • Nacho Potatoes with Beef & Bacon
  • Chicken Fajita Rice
  • Seasoned Chicken Bites with Honey Chipotle Sauce
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch
  • Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Naturally we have our favorites, such as the Cheesy Chicken Pasta Florentine, Cajun-Style Chicken Alfredo, Island Chicken and Rice, and the Mango Chicken with Rice but we invite you to discover your own.

The eight single-serve Chili’s®-inspired frozen meals will be available at suggested retail price range of $2.79 to $3.49, with the five multi-serve meals available at suggested retail price range of $6.99 to $7.99 each. The Chili’s®-inspired frozen meals will be available at major retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, Food Lion, H-E-B, Meijer, Giant Eagle, Schnucks and many more.

The Village Voice’s Third Annual “Choice Streets” Food Truck Tasting Event

We had the great opportunity to indulge in another culinary delight, one that we feel everyone should attend at least a few times in their lifetime…..trust us, it’s worth it. No longer are food trucks only regulated to post late night partying satisfaction (although you can’t deny the brilliance of cornering that market) and since variety is the spice of life, we were excited to sample the delicious eats from the 22 food trucks participating in this year’s tasting event. We had the pleasure to sample (and I use that one loosely because some well beyond filling) a wide variety delicious, international foods. Upon entry (we were given early access…yay!!), we were given a passport card, which was punched by every food truck we visited…sadly we only made it to about half the vendors. This year’s event saw the addition of five new food trucks including Carl’s Steaks, Valducci’s Pizza, Kelvin Natural Slush Co., Uncle Gussy’s and Shanghai Sogo. Our system for sampling was to go in the order the trucks were lined up in, but we were just so full, we couldn’t sample anymore.

The 22 Food Trucks newly were parked on Pier 86 of the NYC Landmark, The Intrepid; the five new food trucks (named above) joined the seventeen previously announced participating trucks: Big D’s Grub Truck, Comme Ci Comme Ca, Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches, DUB Pies, Hibachi Heaven, Korilla BBQ, Love Mamak & Lucky Yim, Luke’s Lobster, Luzzo’s La Pizza Napoletana, Mike N’ Willie’s, Moo Shu Grill, Nuchas, Solber Pupusas, Souvlaki GR, Sweet Chili, Taipan Fusion Express and Toum. below are some of our favorite, mouthwatering dishes (in no articular order):

VALDUCCI’S – The best pizza we’ve ever had hands down and we love that is comes in a Green (biodegradable) pizza box whose cover can be used as plates. If you see this truck, we highly suggest you try their amazing Thin Crust Sicilian Pizza or the regular slice, or everything.

CARL’S STEAKSeach bite of this Authentic Philly Cheesesteak (with Cheez Whiz and White American cheese – with/without grilled onions) was so deliciously juicy, it definitely made you want to go back for seconds (if only we could).

LUKE’S LOBSTER – we discovered this cult favorite at the Village Voice Choice Eats Restaurants Event, and have sort of been stalking them every since. While they are called Luke’s “Lobster”, we were delighted to try their Maine Shrimp Rolls.

MIKE N’ WILLIE’S – if you love pulled pork, you must try their Lil Piggie Slow Roasted Pulled Pork Sandwich. The juicy treat is marinated in their homemade Chipotle BBQ Sauce topped with Chipotle Lime Slaw set on a Brioche Bun. What more can you ask for….well….seconds of course.

We wish we could fit photos of all our favorites continuously but that would be a very long post, please find more culinary delights below:

What makes this event even more amazing is that it benefits a great cause. The Village Voice once again partnered with non-profit organization, Slow Food NYC, and will donate a portion of all ticket sales from Choice Streets to the foundation.

Although we were too full to visit all the wonderful sponsors for Choice Streets 2014, we hope to do so next time. participating sponsors included: Shock Top, Aperol, Fairway Market, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Verizon FIOS, New York Botanical Gardens, Southern Wines and Spirits, World View Travel, Four Roses Bourbon, Ste Michelle Wine Estates, Sidney Frank, Casamigos Tequila, Focus Camera, Pedal, City Tech, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Green Mountain Energy and Frames.

Fly International On These Wings: International Wings Factory Restaurant Review

Let me preface this review by saying that, in the past, I have indeed met a wing that I didn’t like. It takes more than stumbling upon a recipe online to create an edible delicacy that inspire the senses. It truly takes an acute understanding of pairing certain tastes and flavors. Even with something as simple as a wing, one may think “oh it’s as simple as cooking chicken”. Oh nay! The tender little culinary arena of the revered chicken wing is not just your normal run of the mill poultry fix. It’s completely about the flavor.  The basic “getting the chicken” right is a given. However, it’s the distinct and memorable flavor that makes all the difference between something just on a menu since people regularly ask for hot wings and something that is worthy of a stellar review…..like International Wings Factory!

International Wings Factory is worthy, very worthy. There is a wealth of wings to be had in New York City but this establishment takes a well-deserved prize. Why? It may be their size; they have one location which is handled by its founder and head Chef Deepak Ballaney, so the integrity of the attention to flavor is preserved. It could be their aesthetic. They take the infamous wing, cook it to perfection then give it ‘around the globe’ treatment with a clever and honed arrangement of international ingredients. The result is a menu of wings that live up to the establishment’s name and an adventurous wing-lover’s palette.

International Wings Factory needs no more bells and whistles than their delicious sounding menu. At first glance the only delightfully overwhelming factor was whether to take my palette to the Far East or the Caribbean. I greedily opted to visit several places as the premise is to choose your wing, bone-in or boneless then choose one of the international coatings for your wings to be covered in along with a freshly made dipping sauce. For adventurists, food-lovers and vegans alike there are also meatballs and soy nuggets to enjoy along with regular and sweet potato fries that you can add some pep to with a flavor dusting.

I eventually chose to try five different flavor pairings. The first was the meatballs covered in Mexy Q, a spicy and zesty sauce with a Chipotle Mayo dipping sauce.  It had great heat and spiciness with the mayo adding another layer of balanced flavored heat and coolness. Then I tried the wings covered in a Black Pepper Teriyaki coating and a Creamy Cilantro sauce. The balance of hot and sweet was perfection while the sauce added a layer of “herby” freshness that didn’t at all disappoint. Next I tried wings coated in Coastal Pepper, a mix of Hawaiian and Caribbean jerk spices, served with a Jalapeño Ranch dipping sauce.  With this one, you’re first hit with the sweet then the mounting heat swoops in to deliver that familiar jerk flavor only to be cooled off by the balance of the spicy heat and cool of the dipping sauce. Finally, packed with Chinese flavor and a veil of heat that is not overpowering but enough to tang up the presence of the garlic is the Sichuan Chili Garlic wings. The classic blue cheese it was paired with brought down the welcomed heat with its classic salty sharp flavor.

Accompanying my dishes was a phenomenal side of Sweet Potato Fries lightly coated in a Spicy Garlic dusting. Applying the dusting to these freshly fried potatoes was a perfect way to lock in the flavor as the savory and the sweet paired together quite deliciously. It’s comforting to know that Chef Deepak Ballaney makes everything – coating, sauce and dusting fresh each day himself and that you’re not getting pre-packed, pre-frozen or dehydrated flavors masked to appear fresh. Whether indulging in the scrumptious wing groupings or even other menu items like a Blackened Spice Rubbed Chicken or Crispy Tilapia sandwich, Angus or Chunky Vegetable Burger or even Turkey Wingettes, the flavors offered here are undeniably great, wings down.

International Wings Factory
1762 First Avenue
New York, NY 10128
212.348.2627

Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off Crowns a Winner

We had the pleasure of attending the Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off where five previous Manischewitz Cook-Off competitors were invited back to submit their recipes for a second chance at a $25,000 Grand Prize. Five finalists were chosen from various states (including one from New York), to go head-to-head against each other using Manischewitz’s All-Natural Broth. Their dishes were judged by a prestigious judging panel including Helen Rosner from Saveur Magazine, Sharon Franke from Good Housekeeping, Claire Suddath from Bloomberg Business Week, Rosie Saferstein from New Jersey Monthly, and Jen Goran from JCC (Jewish Community Center).

The event started with a recipe tasting event, two recipes from Jen Goren, the JCC’s Test Kitchen Director, and Kristin Magnani editor of Saveur magazine, the dishes included Gundi (Persian Chicken Meatball Soup) and Pappardelle with Duck Sago, also made with Manischewitz’s All-Natural Broth.

The competition continued with the Live Cook-Off Contest between finalists, Jamie Brown-Miller, Napa, CA – Chicken and Waffled Latkes (2010), Naylet LaRochelle, Miami, FL – Halibut Couscous (2011), Ronna Sue Farley, Rockville, MD – Beef Tenderloin Puffs (2012), Dina Burcat, New York, NY – Latke-Crusted Chicken with Apple Cider, Mushroom and Rosemary Sauce (2011), and Joe Carver, Philadelphia, PA – Bubby’s Noodle Strudel (2008) – whose dishes, we had the wonderful opportunity to sample.

Each candidate presented their dishes to the judges, shared a bit about themselves and their recipe entry. After a brief intermission, the five entrants were called upon stage where four were presented with Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off Finalists awards and a surprised and tearfully happy, Jamie Brown-Miller from Napa, CA was crowned  the Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off Champion for her delicious and inventive Chicken and Waffled Latkes.

As the winner, Jaime was awarded the Grand Prize worth $25,000, including cash, a beautiful trophy (see above), a Saveur Magazine subscription, and various Maytag kitchen appliances. We had a chance to speak with Jaime after the announcement, see our interview below:

Along with samples the delicious dishes, we also got a peak at some of the new and delicious snack offerings from Manischewitz® including Coconut Crisp Cookies, Almond Pecan Granola, Pistachio Orange Macaroons, and more!

Culinary Concierge | Hatchery Monthly Subscription Tasting Box

Great news for you culinary aficionados, foodies, and cooking fans. If you’re looking for an easy way to get your hands on artisan ingredients and condiments delivered to your door every month, look no further than the wonderful, monthly tasting box from Hatchery. Every month you receive 5-6 of the best sample-size ingredients carefully chosen from green markets and family farms from across the country. We were super excited to indulge in the incredible variety of curated flavors Hatchery had to offer.

This month’s Hatchery box included the following amazing culinary delights from Delta Blue Blueberries, Tonewood Maple, Elbow Foods, O Olive Oil, Two Snooty Chefs, and Murphys Mustard:

Delta Blue Blueberries Organic Blueberry Fruit Spread (Stockton, CA) – a low-sugar, flavorful, and certified organic spread that is high in antioxidants.

Tonewood Maple Flakes (Waitsfield, VT) – the amazing taste of rich, smoky, 100% pure maple syrup in an unconventional texture – Flakes. Add these crunchy flakes, which packs a delicious punch and livens up everything, to sweet to savory dishes.

Elbow Foods Glicco’s Arrabbiata Pasta Gravy (Meridian, MS) – love a pasta gravy (not sauce) with a bit of heat? You will love the chili kick that accompanies the fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions, bell peppers, honey, and herbs that are in this old family recipe.

O Olive Oil Fig Balsamic Vinegar (Petaluma, CA) – juicy, ripe mission figs slow-aged in Sonoma oak amplifies this rich, dark and almost syrupy California balsamic vinegar. Hatchery suggests drizzling it over vanilla ice cream.

Two Snooty Chefs Ol’ Hickory BBQ Gourmet Seasoning (Seattle, WA) – these self-proclaimed “uppity” seasonings do the hard work for you if you’re looking to add flavor to seafood, meat, soups or veggies. These curated spice and herb blends, created by chefs Gary Fuller and Chris Plemmons, will add the right amount of amazing flavor boosts your dishes need.

Murphys Mustard Motherlode (Murphys, CA) – this is not your run-of-the-mill mustard. With the power of brown sugar and cinnamon, this grainy mustard is a great way to add some great gusto to your dish. Mix with mayo for a quick dipping sauce with a bit of a bang.

Does this sound as great to you as it does to us? Get your monthly Hatchery tasting box subscription for only $20 per month to enjoy the 5-6 hand selected artisan ingredients, free shipping, and exclusive member promotions and discounts.