Saturday, December 14, 2013

NYC Part 1: Kingside

OK, so, as I begin this post I'm already missing NYC and I haven't officially left yet.  I'm sitting in the LaGuardia airport trying to kill 3.5 hours while waiting on our flight back to Savannah (Friday night.) But, by the time you read this post I will be back home. Sigh, sigh. Oh well.  It was good while it lasted and I have these great memories!  We were in the city this time for 4 days and I have some cool food experiences to share with you.  This post is the first of my NYC Food Trilogy!

I'll start off with our first meal in the Big Apple--lunch at Kingside Restaurant, near Central Park in the Viceroy Hotel on iconic West 57th Street.  Kingside is Chef Marc Murphy's latest restaurant.  If you don't know Marc, he is not only an outstanding chef, he is also a regular judge on the popular Food Network show Chopped (one of my faves!) and owner of 4 other restaurants around NYC (I'll post links to the others below.)  I got the pleasure of meeting Marc in person the day we visited.  I know!  A big shout-out to my good friend, Kevin, who knows Marc well and helped make my dream of meeting him a reality.  THANKS, KEV!!!  Marc was kind enough to take time from the kitchen and come out to meet us the day we visited.  He was so down-to-earth and even let me have my picture taken with him!  THANKS, MARC!!!

Such a cool guy! :)
Now, on to the food.  Those who know me well, know that I take my food very seriously.  So when I tell you that this meal was one of the best I have ever eaten in my life--you know that is quite a statement.  No kidding, the entire experience at Kingside was exceptional and everything I tasted was genuinely delicious--from beginning to end!

How do you know you are in NYC and not at the local meat and three?
Marc had me at hello when I opened the menu and saw cold pressed juices listed as a beverage option.
What?  YES!
Y'all know how much I love my fresh juice!  Round one...check!

On to the entree.  We left for the airport at 4:30 a.m. Friday morning and I had only eaten a small snack on the plane prior to lunch, so I was ready for something hearty.  I had read rave reviews about the Kingside Burger, so I decided to try it myself.  Now I understand why all of the critics swoon over it. The burger was topped with giradiniera relish (Italian pickled vegetables), a slice of soppressata (dry Italian salami), and aged white cheddar. Absolutely divine! The burger was tender and juicy and the relish gave the perfect acidic balance to cut the richness of the beef. So delicious!

...Not to mention that it was cooked perfectly... to a pink medium. :)

We also ordered two sides.  The first dish was actually part of the vegetarian small plates menu, but something we were dying to try.  It was a grilled kale salad.  The salad consisted of kale, grilled to perfection; fresh, creamy feta cheese and green olives.  It was garnished with toasted almonds and finished with a lemon vinaigrette.  My kind of salad!

The other side was good old fashioned salt and pepper french fries.  You gotta have fries with a burger, right?  I love fries, but I only like them if they are super crispy and salty.  These fries passed the test with flying colors! Miniature Foodie approved. :D

Marc came out after we finished our entrees for our meet and greet, then we ordered dessert.  I love to have coffee with dessert, so I ordered a cappuccino and I was not disappointed--look what was delivered to the table!  What a cute little teddy bear design! Gah!  It tasted as good as it looks!

The cappuccino also came with a petite chocolate square complete with a custom Kingside wrapper. Nice touch, Marc!

What did we get for dessert, you ask?  Well, we ordered the warm chocolate cake, which had a molten center and was served with toasted coconut ice cream.  The cake was super moist and lucious.  And the surprise for me was the toasted coconut ice cream.  It was so, so, so good!  Just ask my mom, I am not typically an ice cream fan, but this frozen treat was tops!  Mmmm!

Weeee! Lava! :D

My mom and my aunt ordered the caramel pudding. It looked beautiful in the traditional sundae glass and had crumbled pretzel layers between layers of the pudding.  Finally, it was topped with bourbon whipped cream. Oh yeah!  Sweet, creamy and salty mixed.  Comfort on a spoon. What's not to love?

And a surprise from Marc--two extra desserts on the house.
Well, we couldn't hurt his feelings, so of course we had to try them too!

The first was a classic ice cream sundae.  It had brandied cherries, hot fudge and miniature meringue bites on top of the ice cream for a little crunch.  The perfect combination of flavors!

The final dessert was a pistachio tiramisu in a cute little old fashioned hinged lid jar.  This was not your everyday tiramisu--trust me!  It was light and airy, but full of flavor.  The fresh pistachio nuts on top were the perfect garnish. How will I ever eat another "regular" tiramisu again?

If you are in NYC anytime soon and you are looking for a cool new restaurant with amazing food, you should definitely dine at Kingside.  Critics call it "no frills New American cuisine."  It's that and so much more!  It's not just a's an experience.  Check it out if you get a chance!

*Be sure to click on the link below and check out the entire menu.

Finally, be on the lookout for my next post featuring Mario Batali's Michelin Star restaurant Del Posto!

About Marc:

Follow Marc on Facebook here:

Marc Murphy's website:

Link to all 5 of Marc's restaurants:

Kingside Facebook page:

Kingside website with menu:

Thanks to Marc also for supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the Grand Chef's Gala in NY recently where our friend, Kevin Dwyer, was the guest of honor:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chive Sea Bar and Lounge

I can't even remember the last time I did a restaurant post. But this one is definitely one to talk about. Chive Sea Bar and Lounge is located in Downtown Savannah on Broughton Street. It just opened in June so it's pretty new. As a family, we have been trying to eat healthy and mostly organic since January, so we don't really eat out much anymore.  In fact, this was our first meal downtown in probably a year. No joke. But it was one of the best meals I've eaten in a loooong time!

A little sneak peek! :D

Chive has a 1920's era theme with a modern twist. Think Gatsby 2013. They have a TV that plays classic black and white movies and in the background you'll hear the musical likes of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Frank Sinatra. Swanky. Since I've always been convinced I was born in the wrong decade, the atmosphere here was right up my alley! And speaking of atmosphere, you have your privacy because each booth has a curtain separating it from the next, which is something I really appreciate. Adds a nice touch too!

The bar. Very classy.

Both the cocktail and regular menus had these precious drawings of flapper girls!
Love the attention to detail.

Whenever I go to a restaurant for the first time, I like to order a surprise mocktail.
Tonight I got a virgin Red Clover, which is a strawberry and basil based drink. Superb!

As you can tell by the name of the restaurant, their specialty is seafood. My mom and I love seafood and I'm pretty sure my dad could live off of it for the rest of his life, so we all had a tough time deciding what to order, but eventually we came to a conclusion.

For an appetizer, we ordered The Cutting Board, which consists of gourmet cheeses, olives (my fave), seasonal fruit, and local honey from the Savannah Bee Company. I'm always a sucker for a good cheese plate. :)

It had blue cheese with the perfect amount of tart--without being bitter, goat cheese that was sinfully creamy and tangy, sharp cheddar cheese, and Thomasville mild white cheddar. And surprisingly, the honey was the perfect compliment to all of the cheeses. Divine!

For an entree, I ordered the Lobster and Edamame Risotto.  I was expecting chunks of lobster mixed within the risotto. When this came to the table, I was pleasantly shocked!

Yes, a whole, perfectly cooked lobster tail was halved and delicately placed next to a bed of edamame, roasted tomato, cremini mushroom and asparagus risotto.  Let me tell you, this was without a shadow of a doubt, the BEST lobster I have ever had. The risotto was also phenomenal, but c'mon, lobster always steals the show. ;)

In keeping with my own tradition, I always order dessert the first time I visit a restaurant.  So, I picked one to split with my parents because we were all pretty full by this point, but I really wanted something sweet.

Let me introduce to you the Chocolate Tuxedo Bomb. What an epic name!

A layer of devil's food cake, chocolate mousse and white chocolate mousse, covered in a layer of chocolate ganache. 

I do believe this plate speaks for itself.

To complete the night, we ventured over to Starbucks across the street and enjoyed and after-dinner coffee. Rather cinematic --and the weather was a perfect 70 degrees!

If you are ever in Savannah, I recommend Chive--100%!  When you get all the extras, it can be a bit pricey, but it's worth every cent.  This place totally captures the essence of Savannah and it is an experience in and of itself.  I dare say, it is my new favorite restaurant in town!

Leave a comment telling me what you thought looked best from our meal and if you would eat here. Talk to you soon!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Viva Las Vegas!

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that over the weekend my family and I took a weekend trip to Las Vegas. We went because waaayyy back in September (28th to be exact:)) my mom agreed to buy me tickets to see One Direction (yes, I am a total directioner) and the only shows they had left were in Columbus, OH and Las Vegas. Well, my mom had been wanting to go to Vegas for a while so that's why she agreed to buy the tickets there. Since I didn't want to go to the concert by myself, we invited my cousin Sydney, and my Aunt Beverly. So almost 11 months later and adding my cousin Evan to the trip, the time finally came! We flew out to Vegas on Friday the 2nd and met Aunt Bev, Sydney and Evan at the Vegas airport and let the fun begin! I'm currently writing a separate blog post on all of our other escapades so keep an eye out for that. I want to keep it about the food over here. Now this trip wasn't about food so I don't have too much to share but what I do have is pretty cool! :)

After we left the airport we went straight to our hotel, The Bellagio. We were all hungry from traveling all morning so we decided to go to the poolside cafe at Bellagio. First of all, the pools (yes, plural) are magnificent! Everything at Bellagio is really. So we sat down at our table and ordered our drinks then perused the menu. They had so many yummy choices but we all opted for something light.

We ordered and appetizer which was The Block Party sushi roll. I'm going to be honest, I don't really remember everything that was in it but I'll try my best to explain what I do remember.

Part of the cafe. Too bad I didn't think to take pictures of the pools! Airplanes mess with my head. :/

It had crab in the middle with avocado and cucumber. On top it had a salmon sashimi, and a thin slice of jalapeño with a spicy sauce underneath. Then on the side we had sliced cucumbers and shredded carrots with a rice wine vinegar and chili dressing. And the cute wasabi leaf just makes the plate for me!
It was absolutely divine and some of the best sushi I've had. And I love sushi. 

I decided to order the Summer Crab Salad. It was jumbo lump crab meat, sliced mangoes, sliced baby heirloom tomatoes, chives, micro basil on top of a mango and basil coulis. And the cute parmesan toast on top. It was so delicious! Just what I needed after a grueling day of airports. ;)

Evan is a big fan of fish tacos and if they're on a menu he will generally order them. Sooo these fish tacos had grilled grouper, and cucumber slaw. The sauces on the side are a chipotle mayo and pico de gallo with lime wedges too.

Sydney ordered the popcorn chicken with fries. On the side were BBQ, honey mustard and ranch dipping sauces. And how cute is the presentation?? It's the little things in life. :)

My mom and Aunt Bev both ordered the Asian Chicken Salad. It consisted of Napa cabbage, spicy cashews, straw mushrooms and grilled chicken with a sesame peanut dressing.

The next day we met our friend and Las Vegas native, Cayla, for lunch. Since she has lived there her whole life, we naturally asked her for recommendations on where to eat. She suggested a little French restaurant called Mon Ami Gabi. It was in The Paris Hotel right across the street from us. You know where the fake Eiffel Tower is? Yeah, right there. We don't have any good French restaurants in Savannah that I'm aware of so I was really excited to try it. When I looked up their menu and saw that they were famous for steak frites I knew what I was ordering before we even left for Vegas. We ate outside so I didn't really look at the inside of the restaurant but the patio was nice! The food did not disappoint either. 

When we sat down they brought out a baguette in a paper bag with the Mon Ami Gabi logo printed on it. 

 Mmmm. Bread. 

Cayla said they had the best French Onion Soup. Obviously, I had to order it after she told us that. 

 She was right. It was out of this world!!

Thanks Cayla, for being cool about my odd hobby of photographing food. :) 
Here is a picture of the Quiche Lorraine that she ordered. 

So here is the picture of my steak frites. Yes, it was 11 am. No, I do not care. It was amazing, the fries were perfectly crispy and salty, the steak was a perfect medium rare. Go get you some.

After we finished lunch, we went walking around Caesar's Palace. In case you didn't know it's super hot in Vegas. Ergo, we just could not live without trying a frozen pink lemonade! See picture above.

Our final meal that I took pictures of was from another restaurant that Cayla recommended called StripSteak. It is inside Mandalay Bay so it was the perfect place to eat before the concert which was in Mandalay Bay. I didn't get too many pictures of this either because I was more focused on getting to the concert on time even though it was like a 3 minute walk. I know, I know that's where my inner teenager shines through. But I did at least get a few of the most important stuff! :)

I enjoy specialty mocktails so I ordered a virgin margarita. It was fab.

As a chef's tasting, they brought out a french fries sampler. I love french fries in case you couldn't tell from my previous meal. From left to right: Old Bay seasoned fries with a creole dipping sauce, Garlic and Herb fries with good old fashioned ketchup, and Duck Fat fries with a garlic aioli dipping sauce.
They were the best fries ever. I liked the garlic and herb with ketchup the best.

We ordered a wedge salad as an appetizer. Also fab!

My Aunt Bev ordered a Caesar Salad and said it was delish! And what a presentation!!

For my entree I ordered a Waygu Beef TarTare. Yes, I did know when I ordered it that it was raw meat. And yes, I throughly enjoyed it!!

Evan, however, didn't enjoy the tartare as much as I did. Kids these days. ;) 

My mom ordered the Waygu filet for an entree. Let me tell you, it is every bit worth the money! You can literally cut it with a fork. Divine!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my food ventures in Las Vegas. Like I said since One Direction was my main focus of the trip I didn't get too much food wise but I hope you enjoyed what I did capture. Be sure to stay tuned for more of the fun stuff and other details to come (including vlogs!) later on! 

Here is a sneak peak of what's to come! 

Love you all!! <3


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Foodie FAQ!

The title's pretty self explanatory but I decided to put together a post of just some frequently asked questions that I get. If you have anything that you would like to add leave a comment below! For the story of how I started cooking click here!

1. Favorite chef and why?
  • Giada DeLaurentiis because i love Italian food and am fascinated with the Italian culture and I feel that she really embodies Italian food and lifestyle.
  • Alton Brown because there is absolutely nobody else like him on the Food Network. He takes a scientific approach and finds out why thing are the way they are and figures out how to make the best of whatever he's cooking.
  • Jamie Oliver because he has a passion for kids eating more healthy and he takes a holistic approach to food and cooking.
  • Wylie Dufresne because he is renowned for his use of molecular gastronomy. I had the opportunity to meet Chef Dufresne in 2011. Read about that here.
  • Frank Lee chef at SNOB for is use of fresh local ingredients. I also had the opportunity to meet Chef Lee last year. Read about that experience here.

2. Why did you start Twitter/Facebook and how do you use it differently from others your age?

  • I differ from people my age because I get excited over new foods and interesting restaurants and Twitter was something I saw as a platform for reaching other people with the same interest. I knew it was a great way to directly connect with well known chefs and you can reach such a broad audience of people that you otherwise may have never connected with. 
3. Who have you contacted on Twitter?

  • My first interaction on Twitter was Melissa D'Arabian, winner of Next Food Network Star season 5, I made her recipe for cinnamon rolls over Christmas and tweeted a picture to her and she RTed it.
  • After that, I made Tyler Florence's recipe for biscotti, and like Melissa D'Arabian, he RTed the picture I tweeted him.
  • Then, most recently, I followed John Besh, runner up season 1 of Next Iron Chef, and he followed back. So I got my first verified follower! 

4. What do you want to achieve from your blog?

  • With a blog you aren't limited and there are no rules, so you can literally make it anything you want it to be. It started out as me wanting to share my love of food and my culinary experiences and it's turned into sort of a way to inspire and instruct others. And I always thought that if younger people, be it kids or teenagers, had somebody their own age doing something like this it wouldn't seem like something that was boring or that they didn't know how to do. I also have a passion, with the growing obesity epidemic in America, to teach people in my generation how to make some of their favorite foods and making easier, healthier versions that taste just as good or maybe even better. So I think the main thing I want to achieve from my blog is to let people in my generation know that cooking should be and experience and something that is fun. Not something that is a chore or that you never have time to do. Also, I want people to know that healthy eating doesn't alway mean salad and fish, it can also be flavorful and easy.

5. Favorite food to eat while watching a movie?

  • I'm sort of a traditionalist. My go to for movie night is popcorn. I don't buy the microwave bags though, I learned a technique called brown paper bag popcorn. You put 1/4c. of kernels in a brown paper bag, microwave for 2 minutes or until popped, and I like to top mine with parmesan cheese and a little garlic salt. And to help the seasoning stick just lightly spray with a cooking spray before you season. 

6. Favorite Food?

  • There really is not one particular food that is my favorite. I think my favorite types of food are Italian food and seafood. But in general i consider myself a foodie in that I will try practically anything once and I truly enjoy trying all types of food. However, people also have things they dislike and for me that would be cilantro, red bell peppers, and really spicy food. 

7. Most exciting dish you've cooked?

  • That for me would be fish en papillote which means fish in paper. I saw Anne Burrell, from Secrets of a Restaurant Chef make it and I had to try it. It's surprisingly easy and it's really fun and impressive to serve for dinner guests. 
  • The most challenging thing i've ever made was gluten free bread. It's really hard to get the mixture just right so it will rise but also have the texture of bread. Also, French macarons were incredibly difficult. I will never complain about paying $2 a piece. I have major respect for people that make them.

8. If you could visit any restaurant in the country, where would you go?

  • Personally, I would go to a restaurant called The French Laundry. It was ranked #1 on The Daily Meal's list of 101 best restaurants in America. It's located in a city call Yountville, Ca north of San Francisco in the Napa Valley, which is one of my favorite areas to visit. Described as a uniquely American restaurant whose inspiration lies in the countryside of France, the chef, Thomas Keller, creates two different nine course tasting menus everyday, chef's tasting and tasting of vegetables, and no ingredient is ever repeated throughout the meal. One of my favorite ways to eat is in a series of small plates. Partly because I'm indecisive and would want to try everything anyway and also because I think it's a great way to excite your palate and keep you interested throughout the course of the meal. So as of right now, The French Laundry is at the top of my list.

9. What chef would you most like to meet and why?

  • I am a big Gordon Ramsay fan. I would love to see the real chef Ramsay as opposed to the Hell's Kitchen Chef Ramsay. And I would love to do a blindfolded taste test. That was alway the part of the season I looked most forward to on Hell's Kitchen and I used to make my mom do that with me. She always says I have a good palate so I would love to really put it to the test. 

10. Favorite Local Restaurant

  • My favorite local restaurant is one called Noble Fare. My first post on my blog was actually a review of Noble Fare so it's been a long running favorite. It was the first place I'd ever had an amuse bouche, so that's what made it really stand out in my mind and they also use fresh local ingredients. My favorite thing that I've eaten there is the pan seared diver scallops with cauliflower puree, israeli couscous with a truffle and corn succotash. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Joe's Homemade Cafe & Bakery

A couple of weeks ago my parents and I ate at this cute local restaurant called Joe's Homemade Café and Bakery. It quickly became probably my favorite local restaurant. As the name says everything is homemade and gourmet at very reasonable prices. They do catering and delivery also. Be sure to check out the website for more details The customer service there is impeccable and the food is superb! Chef Ted aka "Joe" and frontman, Don, were both so nice and took the time to explain the menu in detail and talk with us. If you are in or around the Savannah area I highly suggest you check them out! 

They primarily do catering so the restaurant itself is pretty small with only 3 tables, but it is really cute! They have all of their desserts out in display cases so you can decide which one you want to order while you are eating, because you will order one. 

Before the meal we tried some of their gluten free chips seasoned with so many wonderful spices. They were delicious and spicy but not hot. There is a difference.

The first example of how the desserts will lure you in. This is a chocolate cake with layers of whipped cream in the middle. This in particular caught my dad's attention because his mother made him this exact cake every year for his birthday. Since she passed away in 2001 this is the only place he has seen a cake like this and he said it tasted just like hers. Let me tell you, IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!! 
Just get some, okay? :)

Since we ate there before Easter they had these cute cupcakes with an Easter egg sugar cookie on top. I love cupcakes and these are some of the best I've had in a while.

I ordered a Greek salad. I am almost always in the mood for a good Greek salad and this was absolutely one of the best I've had. They make their own salad dressings and it really makes such a difference. And having all fresh topping makes a huge difference too. Fantastic!

Both of my parents ordered the Cobb salad. They both raved over it!

Finally these were the desserts we brought home. Along with a slice of the chocolate cake and a cupcake we also got a slice of carrot cake. They were all to die for!

I even got my picture made with the chef! :)

We also got some tomato basil soup and focaccia bread to go and I can't say enough good things about them! Tomato basil soup is one of my favorites and this once again was one of the best I've had. And how can you beat fresh homemade bread? I feel like I was very repetitive but everything really was amazing! They also offer cooking classes. My mom and I are attending one on the 18th so I'll let you know how that goes. And they offer a plan where they deliver you 350 calorie lunches 5 days a week for only $22.50. How great is that? I don't know of any other restaurants where you can eat a quality meal or have one delivered for under $30. I hope you check them out because it really is fabulous! Let me know in a comment some of your favorite healthy lunches.