National Sour Candy Day with Sour Punch Candy’s Embrace Your Punch Tour

If you haven’t heard, today is National Sour Candy Day. A day to celebrate the candy that moves your tastebuds (and facial expressions) through a rollercoaster of flavors and reactions. A few weeks ago we (and several other sour candy fans) had the pleasure of enjoying some delicious Sour Punch Candy during their inaugural “Embrace Your Punch” Tour. This innovative tour allowed anyone who wanted the opportunity to enjoy free samples of their one-of-a-kind Sour Punch Twists designed specifically for the tour, themed activities and photos with the brand’s Pun-Chi character.

What better way to kick off the Summer season that with the experience of a unique pop up candy counter and try out new candy flavors. These special flavors will include Berry Lemonade, Grape-Pineapple, and Watermelon-Honeydew, along with five other fruit flavors.

We caught up with The Embrace Your Punch Tour Manager, Kylie Martin, at their Coney Island tour stop to get the deets on what sour candy fans can expect. Check out our interview with her below on our IGTV:

The event featured an elaborate Sour Punch themed-exhibit, with a uniquely built container as the centerpiece from which Sour Punch ambassadors distributed complimentary samples of the treats, along with other promotional items. Coney Island was the seventh stop on the stop on the tour for Sour Candy Punch, having previously been at the Gulf Shores in Alabama, Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Washington, DC. It continued on to Boston and ended today in Chicago just in time for National Sour Candy Day.

The Embrace Your Punch Tour is all about self-love and embracing what makes YOU. The brand gave all in attendance the opportunity to share what makes them unique. The goal is appreciating and celebrating those characteristics that make us wonderfully different. Sour Punch Candy wants everyone to focus on choosing kindness and the profound things that make us unique.

We hope this wonderful tour continues on for years to come and of course beyond National Sour Candy Day. Hope you celebrated this sweet and sour day with a few twisted flavor treats. Visit www.sourpunch.com to shop for your favorite sour candy and see what future events Sour Punch might have coming up.

 

Bokksu, the Japanese Art of Omiyage: A Foodie’s Guide to Japanese Snacks

Usually, when you want to indulge in the wonderful snack offerings from another country, you’d have to either travel to that country or know someone traveling from that country. We remember enjoying a plethora of delicious snacks when we were in Tokyo and we thought we’d have to do travel back to enjoy them again. That is until we were introduced to Bokksu Japanese snack box, the ultimate foodie’s guide to Japanese snacks. Bokksu celebrates the ancient and enduring Japanese custom of Omiyage, souvenirs brought back to family and friends…….. in delicious snack form.

Bokksu is a premium subscription-based snack box and à la carte menu of gourmet Japanese snacks. It is the only gourmet snack box sourced and curated directly from local snack makers in Japan, has grown rapidly since its founding in May 2016. The company, Founded by Danny Taing, has quadrupled subscribers in the first 4 months of 2018, finding enthusiasm for their curated mixes of artisanal and hard to find Japanese snacks with subscribers from the United States and the UK to Singapore, Brasil, Kyrgyzstan and even Japan.

Their July gourmet snack box (pictured), themed as Citrus Refresh, is packed with some of Japan’s most refreshing citrus snacks. What’s inside this box? It not only features in the usual orange and lemon flavors, it also boasts Yuzu, Hyuganatsu, and Shiquasa flavors as well. Here’s what the July Japanese snack box has to offer: Orange Stick Cake, Rich Orange Biscuits, Handmade Yuzu Candy, Lemon Rusk, Low Carb Lemon Cake, Hyuganatsu Jelly, Kabukiage Rice Cracker Shiquasa Salt, Ofu Smoked Crackers & Peanuts – Lemon Salt Flavor, Olive Oil Senbei Yuzu Pepper, and Satsumarche Yuzu Ryoku Tea.


Previous boxes have featured the following rare and sought-after Japanese snacks: limited edition Kit Kats such as Mandarin Orange,  exclusive collaborations like the heavenly Caramelized Apple Cobbler from world-renowned Japanese pastry shop ChikaLicious, white chocolate and raspberry cookies selected by Michelin-starred chef Chikara Sono, and matcha azuki beans that have been popular in Japan since the late 1800’s.

The upcoming August “Summer Festival” snack box, which sips on July 15th, will feature favorite festival-themed Japanese snacks like Goldfish Apple Yokan, Handmade Apple Candy, Chocolate Banana Langue de Chat, Tai Strawberry, Honey Castella cake and so much more. Bokksu Japanese snack box comes in two subscriptions boxes. The Tasting Bokksu ($19.00/month) consists of 8-10 Japanese snacks & a tea pairing; and the Classic Bokksu ($39.00/month) which boasts 20-25 Japanese snacks & a tea pairing. Both subscription boxes of these Japanese snacks can be purchased on www.bokksu.com.

Are you ready to try Bokksu, the ultimate foodie’s guide to Japanese snacks?

French Restaurants

Eat, Drink, Be French: French Restaurant Week Kick Off at Cafe Centro

We were invited back to French Brasserie-styled, Cafe Centro, to celebrate the kick-off of the 9th edition of French Restaurant Week New York as part of the Bastille Week festivities. From July 2nd to 15th in New York (and July 9th to 22nd in Chicago), participants will experience masterful cuisine and gastronomy while honoring French culture and history. For two weeks, selected French restaurants will offer prix-fixe menus at $17.89, $25, $38, and $178.90 to commemorate the French Revolution in 1789.

Participating New York restaurants: AOC East, AOC L’aile ou la Cuisse, Bistro Vendome, Bistrot Leo at the Sixty Soho Hotel, Boucherie , Boucherie Park, Brasserie 8 1/2 Patina Group, Cafe Centro Patina Group, Cafe du Soleil, Deux Amis, Dominique Bistro, Excuse My French, Fig & Olive, Jubilee, La Sirène, Le Bateau Ivre, Le Rivage, Maison Harlem, Match 65, Pardon My French, Perrine at The Pierre Hotel, Troquet.

French Restaurant Week continues to partner with OpenTable where diners can easily book their reservations online throughout the event. At Cafe Centro, known for French favorites with a Mediterranean twist, Executive Chef Christine Towers offered up a great selection of hors-d’oeuvres paired with two appropriately selected rosé wines (‘Tis the season for Pink Drink!):  Jalliance Cremant de Bordeaux (Brut and Rosé) and Chateau Pourcieux Rosé 2017.

Chef Towers utilizes her French-focused menu to masterfully play with Mediterranean, Italian, Japanese, Peruvian and Mexican techniques on your plate together. We sampled a beautifully refreshing Leek Terrine in champagne vinaigrette, a vibrant red Tuna Crudo (with watermelon beet and citrus), and an AMAZING Beef Tartare Crostini, which we very graciously went back to for seconds and thirds because it was THAT delicious.

Chef Towers was also very interesting to briefly chat with! Not only because of her amazing Michelin-studded resume, but her proven leadership abilities as an executive chef in a notoriously male-dominated industry. I am certain she has a lifetime of stories and pearls of wisdom to share with aspiring top chefs from all walks of life.

Cafe Centro, you have made a new friend in me.  And as the French saying goes,  “Que les invités qui entrent dans cette maison, repartent en amis.”  We will be back to embrace you at your Wine Bar series this Summer!

A New Pop Up Wine Bar Series at Café Centro sees Chef Christina Towers transforming Café Centro’s outdoor patio on 45th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue. On Monday evenings this summer, the French brasserie turns into a wine bar devoted to French pairings. Dubbed Monday Mariage, a nod to the French definition of “Mariage,” meaning “a blend of 2 things”, the wine bar runs from June 18th through September 10th, 2018 every Monday night. Each night will feature a different pairing, starting with Champagne, Provencal rosé, and Armagnac.  For $25.00 – $30.00, guests can enjoy expert pairings featuring French food and beverage menus that highlight a classic French beverage (i.e., Champagne) matched with 1-3 of its perfect counterparts (i.e. caviar). The rotating schedule kicked off on Monday, June 18th with Lanson Champagne paired with Crab Salad, CroqueMadamee with Quail Eggs and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. The full calendar is available on www.cafecentrowinebar.com.

ALL of the French Restaurant Week participating menus were so promising to the senses. I’ve already made my reservations for Le Bateau Ivre for lunch, Excuse My French for their Bar Menu offerings, and Cafe du Soleil for Dinner….stay tuned for reviews…

 

Will you be partaking in French Restaurant Week?

 

 

Edited by Glasgow Skinner
All untagged photos provided by Cafe Centro
avocado mayo recipes

Celebrate Avocado Month with Better Body Avocado Oil Mayo

When it comes to describing mayonnaise, the words exciting, innovative, or even flavorful have never been used…..until now. Say hello to a new, exciting and flavorful new mayonnaise, Better Body Avocado Oil Mayo. It’s everything you love about the taste of avocado for a creamier, more flavorful mayo spread. June is Avocado Month, and what better time than now to celebrate enjoying better sandwiches, potato salads, and the freshest, tastiest sauces and dressings thanks to this superfood.

Better Body Avocado Oil Mayo is available in three flavor varieties, the original Avocado Oil Mayo, Avocado Oil Mayo With Chipotle and Lime, and Avocado Oil Mayo With Lime. All three varieties are Non-GMO, Keto friendly, gluten-free, and Soy and Canola free. We are happy to share some great recipes to show how these Better Body Avocado Oil Mayo varieties can make your favorite meals even more flavorful.

Avocado Mayo Dill Dip

½ cup Sour Cream
½ cup BBF Avocado Mayo
1 Tablespoon dried dill weed
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon celery salt
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. Refrigerate dip for at least one hour. Serve and enjoy with your favorite vegetables.

Elote – Mexican Street Corn


4 ears of corn
8 Tablespoons BBF Avocado Mayo Lime
⅓ cup cotija cheese (feta or fine grate parmesan work as well)
2 limes
Chili powder
Grill or boil your ears of corn. Once corn is cooked, spread a bit of mayo all over each ear of corn, about 2 tablespoons each. Scoop the cotija cheese generously on the corn, making sure it covers all sides. Sprinkle with a little bit of the chili powder and lime juice. Serve.

Sweet Potato Salad

Salad
4 medium-sized sweet potatoes – Peeled and chopped
1 large red onion- chopped
3-4 Tablespoons of BBF Avocado oil
Salt and pepper
1 can Black beans- Drained and rinsed
1 yellow bell pepper- chopped
1 orange bell pepper- chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro- chopped

Dressing
1-2 fresh Jalapenos
Juice of 2 limes
1 clove of garlic
2 Tablespoons BBF Avocado Mayo Chipotle lime flavor
⅓ cup BBF Avocado oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chopped sweet potatoes and onion on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix around til evenly coated. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender. Place all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Pulse until combined. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix around. Serve and enjoy.

Avocado Mayo with Chipotle & Lime BLT

2 slices of bread
4 slices of bacon
2 lettuce leaves, romaine or red leaf
2 slices of tomato
1 Tbsp BBF Avocado Oil Mayo with Chipotle & Lime
Cook the bacon to your desired doneness. (I love mine crispy) place on a paper towel when done cooking to absorb the excess oil. Spread the Chipotle Lime mayo on both slices of bread. Top with tomato slices, lettuce, and bacon.

If you’re ready for more delicious meals, get a 28oz jar of any of the Better Body Avocado Oil Mayo flavors for $17.48 each on www.betterbodyfoods.com.

NYC Mexican Restaurants

Is Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde the Best Brunch in NYC?

We had the great pleasure of finding out for ourselves. Join us as we regale the tale of the very indulgent culinary journey we took to find out if the new Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde is the best Sunday brunch you will ever experience. If you are not yet familiar, Vida Verde is a Mexican-inspired cocktail bar tucked away in the sometimes stiff neighborhood of midtown west. To say it is a colorful and most welcomed oasis in the middle of a concrete desert is an understatement. Honestly, you can get lost in the eye-catching colors and striking artwork that makes up the decor. Let’s put it this way, imagine walking into a secret room of a grey house filled with every bold color imaginable……that is what we thought when we arrived at Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde Cocktail Bar.

The Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde promised a fantastic line up of specialty cocktails by Vida Verde’s star bartenders, a Mezcal tasting, an amazing taste of their brunch specialties menu including tacos, tortas, small dishes, and desserts. It did not disappoint! First up was delicious cocktails that celebrated the colors of the rainbow. We indulged in the Mango & Habanero Margarita, Paloma de Tamarindo, Classic Frozen Margarita, Red Sangria, and the amazing Juna Punch Wonder Punch Bowl which is as delicious as it is vibrant. We enjoyed these wonderful libations with a round of light bites including Chips, Salsa and Guacamole….to start.

After we were properly soused with our starter cocktails, it was time for the Mexcal tasting. We learned all about the cultivation, harvesting, cooking, fermenting, and distilling processes of some of Mexico’s leading Mezcal brands. Some of which we got to sample. Vida Verde actually offers classes on spirits daily, so if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about your favorite alcohol or get to know a new one, Vida Verde is the place to be.

After the Mezcal Tasting, we went into full-on brunch mode. The Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde menu is decadent. You will enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless brunch and a pinata at two price levels. For $40.00, you can enjoy a brunch entree and bottomless Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Beer or Cava. For $50.00, you also get a brunch entree and bottomless Margaritas or Micheladas, and Palomas. Speaking of entrees, the choices are vast for Boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde. Feast your eyes on some of what’s available to enjoy:

The extensive brunch menu features so many choices. Some of Vida Verde’s Boozy Brunchacha brunch menu items we enjoyed included Chilaquiles, Mexican Poutine, Grilled Steak Fajitas, Huevos Rancheros, Breakfast Torta, Avocado smash on Tortilla, and Garden Frittata, many of which are pictured above and below. Our most gluttonous moment came when we first laid eyes on the Aztec Pancakes. The word divine doesn’t begin to do justice to how delicious this banana, brown sugar, cocoa, and whipped cream delight, so we’ll just let you droll over the below photo and tell you to visit Vide Verde to experience it for yourself.

As we previously stated, your boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde experience comes with a pinata, making your time there even more wonderful.

While you are no doubt enjoying your boozy Brunchacha at Vida Verde surrounded by the amazing artwork, let the spirit of Frida Kahlo inspire you to explore Vida Verde’s newly opened Rooftop Margarita Market. This hidden oasis boasts a stunning handpainted mural by renowned artist, Victor “Marka27” Quinonez, wonderfully colorful decor and a menu that promises 10 flavor varieties of margaritas. This is no surprise since Vida Verde is known to have the largest Mezcal and Tequila selections in NYC.

So to answer our question, there is no doubt this is the best brunch we’ve experienced. But don’t take our word for it, try it for yourself.

Food Photography: Entrees at Bagatelle

Restaurant Review: Bagatelle New York’s French Mediterranean Cuisine

New York has changed so much, and while the foodie in us does appreciate every new restaurant or eatery opening, the love for staple neighborhood eateries will never change. One such staple is French Mediterranean bistro,  Bagatelle New York. The French word Bagatelle means “a trifle or a little nothing”, but there was nothing little about our culinary journey there. We had the delicious opportunity to feast at their flagship location in the Meatpacking District in New York.

The esteemed restaurant’s menu has brought a European flair to the now, very modern MeatPacking District for years, with their outstanding seasonal cuisine. Their over-the-top-brunches, recurring musical tribute events Whitney Houston, Madonna, or Michael Jackson dance party, anyone?), perfect balance of flavors of their popular signature dishes make Bagatelle New York a New York institution. So, of course, we jumped at the opportunity to partake in this culinary journey.

STARTERS

Salade Bagatelle

We started off our Bagatelle New York foodie adventure with this simple and leafy delight which features butterhead lettuce, fresh garden herbs, Parmesan cheese, and Dijon mustard vinaigrette. We usually go for salads that are layered in lots of different flavors and textures (there’s usually about 8-9 ingredients in our salads); but we were pleasantly surprised when we found ourselves going back for more of this 4 ingredient treat.

Pizza à la Truffe Noire

Next up was a delicious thin crust pizza that boasts crème fraîche, black truffle oil, and smoked mozzarella cheese. The smoking of the delicious, milky mozzarella gave the pizza a crisp aroma and an abundance of flavor, and the crust with perfect crunchy without being too hard.

Tartare de Thon Bagatelle

Possibly the best tuna tartar we’ve ever devoured. The multi-textured, layered, multiflavored starter dish features yellowfin tuna tartar, topped with perfectly seasoned and creamy avocado with a slight kick, a lime soy vinaigrette, and taro chips.

MAIN COURSES

Saumon d’Ecosse

While every dish was superbly delicious, our favorite Bagatelle New York dish was the Saumon d’Ecosse……you can say it was our hero dish. We loved the rustic look and feel of this dish which boasted Scottish salmon, cauliflower, baby spinach, brown butter, pine nuts, and grapes. Each mouthful was a dance of savory, sweet, and earthy flavors that kept us reaching for more.

Poulet Rôti Entier à la Truffe

Continuing the rustic French Mediterranean journey, we dug right into the next dish, a tasty half chicken dish that was tender and homey. This assemblage of country style potatoes, caramelized cipollini, and thyme chicken jus (since we’re allergic to mushrooms, we enjoyed it without the button mushrooms and truffles), was an elegant take on roast chicken and quite delicious.

Le Steak Au Poivre

A succulent 12oz black Angus NY strip steak, topped with a cognac peppercorn sauce, and served with crispy Belgian french fries. The layers of condensed flavors in this mouthwatering steakhouse classic danced in our mouths. Boasting a light char and flavorful browning on the outside, the seared steak was perfectly highlighted by the creamy peppercorn sauce.

Another dish presented to us was the Gnocchi Truffés à la Parisienne de Nicolas, but because of the truffle sauce, we were unable to enjoy. This dish consisting of homemade choux pastry gnocchi truffle sauce and Parmesan is a restaurant favorite that many diners order daily.

DESSERT

Bagatelle Mega Sundae

The final indulgence and we do mean indulgence of our Bagatelle New York culinary journey, was this massive ice cream sundae. We highly recommend not trying to eat this by yourself, it is made to share between 3-4 people minimum, especially when you factor in all the glorious courses you will enjoy before this. This sinful decadence consists of granola, ice cream, brownies, cookies, popcorn, gummy bears, and strawberries with drizzles of chocolate and caramel sauces. This behemoth will definitely bring out your inner child but like they say at Bagatelle New York, Joie de Vivre!!

 

 

 

 

 

Bagatelle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream: No Bowls or Spoons Needed

On a hot and humid day like today, nothing beats snacking on some delicious cold ice cream. The problem is, hot days means ice cream melts quickly. This leaves you with melted ice cream either running down your hands and arms leaving a sticky mess, or a bowl of ice cream soup, as you try to eat it quickly. Thankfully there’s a way to enjoy delicious premium ice cream without the melting scoops, or the need for bowls and spoons – Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream.

Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is rich and creamy slow-churned, bite-sized ice cream wrapped in mochi, a sweetened rice dough. This bite-sized frozen delight is the perfect, soft, chewy, creamy treat to indulge in on a hot day. The regular Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is currently available in 19 multipack flavors (including the new Triple Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream flavor – pictured below); 28 single serve flavors, including new flavors – Blood Orange and Red Velvet, and seasonal flavors – Pumpkin and Peppermint Candy. Bubbies Hawaii also recently introduced 4 new vegan ice cream flavors – Vegan Cherry, Vegan Mint, Vegan Vanilla, and Vegan Mango.

The Triple Chocolate Mochi recently won a Sofi Awards 2018 New Product Award in the ice cream, gelato, and frozen treat category. When you try the smooth, sweet, chocolate ice cream with premium chocolate chips encased in chocolate mochi dough, you’ll see why. Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO, and rBST-free (cows have not been treated with the synthetic rBST hormone). Most of the Mochi Ice Cream flavors are 100 calories or less, and all are made from the highest quality ingredients. Trust us when we say, one bite of this creamiest, most decadent sweet treats and you will be hooked. Are you ready to eat ice cream with your fingers?

Bubbies Hawaii Mochi Ice Cream is available nationwide Whole Foods Market, Albertsons, Balducci’s, Morton Williams, Brooklyn Fare, Fairway Market, or you can buy it online at www.buy.bubbiesicecream.com.

Explore the Tastes of the World with Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends

We always say the best way to experience a country’s culture is to dive right into their local cuisines. Sadly not all of us can afford to travel around the world indulging in international foodie fantasies. However, there is a way you can enjoy these culinary delights, especially if you’re not blessed enough to have access to international chefs and restaurants. What do we mean? Cooking with international spices and seasonings of course. Pereg Natural Foods & Spices, the people who brought you fiery Harissa from Tunisia, exotic Moroccan Ras Al Hanout, and the bold flavors of Cajun country, has launched two new international spices, Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning, and Latin Adobo Blend. Let’s get to know Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends.

Pereg’s ever-growing selection of international ingredients now includes 5-Spice Seasoning, an aromatic anchor of Chinese cuisine, and Adobo Blend, a zippy mainstay in kitchens from Spain and Peru to Mexico and the Philippines. These two spices join the wide range of Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends.  Pereg’s Chinese 5-Spice mix, a happy marriage of sweet, salty, pungent, sour, and bitter has the power to elevate dishes of all kinds.  With its balanced blend of cinnamon, anise, fennel, black pepper, and cloves, it delivers an intriguing, pan-Asian complexity to braises, soups, stir-fries, and sauces. It pairs beautifully with lamb, chicken, and duck. You can even use it in cocktails!

Adobo, which originated in Spain and Portugal, wears many hats. Latin adobo usually refers to a sauce or marinade typically made from paprika and stewed chipotle chilies. However, some Latin and Caribbean countries think of adobo as a seasoning mix, either wet or dry, to rub on meat before cooking. And in the Philippines, where adobo is the national dish, it’s a style of cooking in which meat, fish, or vegetables are marinated in vinegar, salt, and spices, browned in oil and then simmered in the marinade. Adobo seasoning is endlessly versatile. It adds a rich dimension to chicken, turkey, burgers, and your favorite chili. Use it as a dry rub for steaks and whole fish. Mix it with quinoa, add it to fish tacos, spice up your guacamole, or sprinkle it on popcorn.

Are your ready to bring international cuisine to your life and kitchen? What are your thoughts on Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends? Will you start cooking more international dishes?