Monday, September 30, 2013

New England=SEAFOOD!

Ryan and I LOVE to drive up to the New England area every fall. Nothing makes us happier than seeing the foliage, apple picking, staying in our favorite B&B and seeing the local sights. Our favorite town to visit is the lovely & quaint Marblehead, MA. It's a quick drive to bustling Salem and picturesque Rockport (famous for it's paintings of Motif #1). If you need a trip into the "big" city, you're only about an hour or so away from "Bean Town" (Boston).  Marblehead is an old fishing town with a convenient location, beautiful views and fantastic restaurants. I highly recommend planning a trip. If you're already from the area...lucky you! You'll likely already know of the following spots Ryan and I consider a must visit if you find yourself in or around the Marblehead area.

For Drinks! MADDIE'S SAIL LOFT. They do not have a website but can be easily found via google. I hear the food is pretty good as well but have never tried it. Their drinks are out of this world strong, large and...CHEAP! $9 gets me an amazing Grey Goose dirty martini with extra olives (say whaaaa?!). You seriously only need one drink from this place and you're set. They also have a nice beer selection and serve them in huge "pint" shaped glasses although they're much larger than a pint. Maddie's has two floors; for dining and a more quiet drinking atmosphere, head upstairs to "Topside". If you just want to booze your face off and watch sports, their street-level floor is just for you!

For Lobster Rolls! THE BARNACLE- This place has an amazing view and outdoor seating. Their menu is very New England with tons of seafood, a killer fried fish sandwich, crispy clams and good ole' clam chowder. My fave menu item is their lobster roll! Big hunks of sweet lobster with a smear of mayo and a little crumbling of celery for crunch. The bun is nice and soft and you get this delectable roll with your choice of side (they have onion rings!). To.die.for.

For Chowder! MY PLACE BY THE SEA- Best New England clam chowder, hands down. Creamy, bacon-y and with a drizzle of flavored oil right on top. My Place By The Sea is actually located in neighboring Rockport, about a 30 minute drive. Totally worth it! This place also gets major points for insanely creative and beautiful plates. The view isn't too shabby either...they're right on the water with tons of outdoor/window seats.

In General! THE LANDING- love this place. Great food, waterfront view and amazing service. They also have live music on the weekends, so fun! Everything we've had on the menu is great but I would recommend the Prime Rib and the Lobster Basilico. Ask for Ron or Rory!

For Sleep! HARBOR LIGHT INN- Voted one of America's most romantic inns, this little gem is located right in the center of Historic Marblehead. The rooms aren't cheap, nor should they be. Every room is lovely. They also have an outdoor pool,  little baked treats and tea or lemonade through out the day and some of the best breakfast options I've ever had at a B&B. Everything from spinach and goat cheese quiche to creme brûlée French toast to fresh bagels and lox. YUM!!!

I've heard of a few other good spots that have opened recently...stay tuned next fall for more updates on our fave New England town! For now, please enjoy the following food porn...

Fresh picked apples from Brooksby Farm!

Martinis from Maddie's...Oy.

Lobster roll from The Barnacle...I should've gotten the onion rings:-)

The best chowder EVER at My Place By The Sea!

Until next fall...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Martini Time

It's the weekend and time to wind down from this past work week while gearing up for the next. There's nothing like a great cocktail to start your weekend off right. I love a good vodka martini and a while back my husband and I used to go to this little place on the upper east side called The Seahorse Tavern. Sadly, this place is now closed but when they were still thriving, they had really nice seafood, fun decor and a poppin' bar. My favorite drink-their Espresso Martini. I really enjoy espresso Martinis for several reasons-they're a great "to start" cocktail or a great "to end/dessert" cocktail. For me, it's not the type of drink I can throw back all night but a solid sipping drink. They also give you that great little pop of caffeine to keep the night going. I've had them in many places since and people seem to make them in a variety of ways. Sometimes they're quite thick and sweet, other times they're a little too watery or the espresso is too strong. The following is the best recipe I've found that's as close to the good ole Seahorse Tavern that I've been able to find...

The "Almost" Seahorse Tavern
Espresso Martini

1.5oz vanilla flavored vodka
1oz Kaluha
1 shot of freshly brewed espresso
Splash of whole milk (just a splash)
Ice to shake

Put all ingredients into a shaker and shake until frothy. Strain into a martini glass with a few espresso beans or a twist to garnish and enjoy!

R.I.P Seahorse Tav...your Espresso Martinis will live on!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Start Your Day Light & Go Green!

Well, with all this yummy eating, occasionally I need to take a break. One of my stay slim secrets, while eating my face off is...(drumroll please!)-GREEN JUICE! One thing you will not see much of on my blog is breakfast foods. I do LOVE eggs and you may see a few breakfast for dinner type recipes, but in general, I don't really eat breakfast. I drink it! My breakfast almost always consists of either a green juice or one of my fruit and spinach smoothies (recipes to come!). I start my day off light and for me it's a life saver. If you don't have a juicer, I suggest investing in one. A juicer makes it so easy and is way cheaper than buying a green juice everyday. I just pick a day to juice up a few servings, pour into cute little mason jars and store in the fridge. Adorable and so good for you! Green juice is a perfect start to your morning-refreshing, full of nutrients and it'll make your skin glow. It's literally starting your day of with a salad. Even if you make less than perfect (or just straight up poor) choices the rest of the day, you still did something good for your body first thing. The following is my favorite green juice recipe, I swear by it. No boring juice options here! You'll get addicted and be glad for it.

Drink Up's Green Juicy Juice

1-2 servings

2 medium sized green apples, cut into small pieces
1 lemon
hand full of kale
hand full of spinach
1 medium sized cucumber
2 celery stalks
1 inch piece of fresh ginger

*optional-add wheat grass, parsley or cilantro

Add all ingredients into a juicer and serve cold!

When I can't make juices myself I have several spots I like to hit up depending on where I am. At home in NYC, Juice Generation - makes a killer Supa Dupa Green Juice. That being said, the cup seems to be getting smaller and smaller while their prices continue to increase...:-( BUT their juice is still very tasty and they have a bunch of locations so I still think it's worth it.

When I'm visiting my hometown in Athens, I've really fallen for Journey Juice - They're the first "juice bar" to open in the area and I'm so happy they did! Their juices are really amazing and the owners are dolls. They even have their own cleanses! 

Now go and enjoy every sip! Drink up!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Best Fried Pickles in NYC...Yes Please!

Southern Hospitality BBQ- has the best fried pickles in NYC, period. I'm not just saying this because I work for them, they really do! I've tried fried pickles almost everywhere as they're one of my favorite little bites when done right. I've had them in the North, the South and some of the best BBQ restaurants in and around NYC including Southern, and they always come out on top. Even better than Brother Jimmy's (in my opinion). Bro Jim's is often credited as having The Best "Frickle" in NYC. Yes, for those of you that don't know, a frickle is a fried pickle...kinda cute right? One of the most important reasons is Southern Hospitality BBQ cuts their pickles into little crispy chips as opposed to spears or whole. This is super important, if the pickle pieces are too large then the end product tends to be limp & not ideal. Luckily, I have a bit of an in with the Chef and was able to obtain the recipe to this signature appetizer for those who aren't able to make the trip into the big city. For those living in and around Manhattan, you can find this savory, perfectly salty southern specialty at Southern Hospitality BBQ on 45th Street & 9th ave. My mouth is literally watering just writing about them!

BTW-they're served with a BBQ ranch dipping sauce. Yea, I said it BBQ RANCH! Say whaaaa?!?!!

Southern Hospitality BBQ's Fried pickles

Yield  2 to 4 

2 cups dill pickle chips
1 cup flour 
1 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cajun mix
1/4 teaspoon paprika 
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 eggs
2 cups of very fine bread crumbs (Panko are a good option)
Frying oil
Salt to taste

In a large plastic food-storage bag, mix together the flour, salt and spices  
Place the pickle chips in the bag and shake until they are well coated.

Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in a shallow plate

Place the bread crumbs in a plate.

In small batches, dip the flour-coated pickles into the eggs and then lightly dredge in the bread crumbs, Place the bread coated pickles on a large baking sheet, Repeat until all the pickles are coated.

In a large, heavy skillet heat 1/2 inch of oil on medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees.
 If you don't have a thermometer just make sure oil is hot but not smoking it should bubble a little when you place the pickles. 

Cook the pickles until golden brown, turning once. 
Don't overcrowd your skillet, or the pickles will be soggy you want some space in between the pickles, 
fry the pickles in batches and drain on paper towels.

Serve immediately with your favorite dressing. 

My choice for Best "Frickle" in NYC!

The delectable BBQ Ranch-So unfortunately not even I could get this secret recipe as both the ranch and BBQ sauce are house made. I recommend experimenting on your own! Go nuts! I'm def going to do the same and will keep you posted if I get close :-)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tuesday's Tasty Tip-Use Salt!

I always used to try and keep extra salt out of my diet as much as possible when I cook. If you like to eat out as much as me, you get more than enough sodium in one meal at your average restaurant. As I've gotten older, done my research and been cooking more often, I realized that 1.) Salt isn't necessarily bad for you if used in moderation & so important in bringing out the natural flavors of your dish 2.) Try and stay away from the iodized stuff as it's heavily processed and devoid of any real mineral content 3.) Stick with natural sea salts and you'll get more flavor with less sodium; a win-win! I also suggest only cooking with salt and not adding it once your meal is prepared. Sea salt has larger granules than iodized table salt so it takes longer to dissolve and infuse with your food than you may be used to. The right amount of salt can make a world of difference in your cooking...

*When cooking pasta, heavily salting your water is a MUST. I don't mean a pinch, I mean at least a two or three tablespoons depending on the amount of water you're boiling.

*Salt your meats! Especially steak, it should almost be like a thin coat or crust of salt and pepper. This will not only help dry out the surface so it'll brown beautifully but the "crust" will also cook into the meat & taste absolutely divine. You can even go nuts and add your favorite fresh herbs into the mix-Mmmmm.

*Be sure to add salt carefully, you can always add more but you can't take it back. While you're cooking be sure to taste, taste, taste!

These are two of my favorite salts right out of the pantry...Never forget the salt! :-)

Prime Rib & Lobster Tail...need I say more?

Over the river and through the woods, to Edgewater, New Jersey we go! Yes, to New Jersey. Jersey tends to get a pretty bad wrap around these parts but due to its proximity to Manhattan and super quick & easy transportation options, NJ is quite the foodie destination (well...certain parts of it anyways). My in-laws live in North Bergen (right by Edgewater), about 15 minutes outside the city, so I'll be posting about the area quite often.

One of our favorite spots in the hood is an insane steakhouse called The River Palm Terrace- This place is one of the best steakhouses I have ever been to and I've eaten at them all. Strip House, Porter House, Ben & Jacks, Peter Luger's & more. They're all great and will likely show up on this blog at some point. Like all top notch steakhouses, they have an amazing cocktail list, juicy steaks, fresh seafood and outrageous desserts. It's even complete with local and A-list celebrity photos with autographs lining the walls. Where this New Jersey gem really stands out is in 2 main areas...

1.) They have Prime Rib! Most places in NYC do not have Prime Rib on their menus due to the space & time constraints it can take to roast a huge prime rib properly. The River Palm Terrace offers a completely ridiculous, "Fred Flintstone" sized steak on Friday's & Saturday's only. I dare you to find a bigger, juicer prime rib. Seriously, there are no words (refer to the image below). P.S. if you do find one, PLEASE let me know!;-)

2.) Their seafood! I always get the Lobster Tail. It's the sweetest, most tender tail served with melted butter add these amazing, crispy little onions rings. The River Palm Terrace also has a wonderful sushi menu. Andy is the name of their sushi Chef and he's the sweetest man, walking around the dining room almost like a host chatting with tables and thanking them for ordering his beautiful creations. Try the Andy's Special Roll, sooooo good!

Come with deep pockets, the place isn't cheap but totally worth it and perfect for any and all special occasions.What's your fave steakhouse in the tri-state area?

My delish Lobster Tail-IT'S 10 OUNCES!!!

I mean worth the 15 min drive, bus ride or ferry over. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Pretzel Bun Craze

So we've all seen the commercials. Wendy's, Sonic, Chilis, they're all doing it. From burgers to hotdogs, this past summers hottest fast food craze was...The Pretzel Bun! My husband and I try to shy away from fast food for obvious reasons, but that being said we thought we'd "fancy up" some homemade burgers pairing this new fad with some organic, fresh ingredients.

So this soft, chewy, salty little number is clearly dense in calories and an insane amount of sodium. When I cook at home and can control my ingredients, I try and make mindful choices on what's going in my body. My husband actually found some regular Bavarian pretzels at one of our favorite bakeries, Silver Moon on the way upper west side- These are a little smaller, thinner and less dense. We just sliced them vertically and voila, the Kocher's version of a (slightly healthier) pretzel bun!

We added organic sirloin burgers (Cooked to medium in a grill pan, this is NYC, we don't have the luxury of outdoor space and a real grill) and stacked them high with Vermont cheddar, fresh lettuce, tomato, red onion and dill pickles. My husband also added his "secret sauce"which I've shared with you below and to be honest, goes great on just about anything! For our side we baked up some amazing store bought onion rings made by Alexia. They're all natural and trans fat free! Yum-o!

P.S. On a recent trip to Ohio I tried the Wendy's pretzel was pretty awesome.

Ryan Kocher's "Secret Sauce"

2 T mayo (store bought or homemade)
2 T organic ketchup
About a 1/4 T of Sriracha (if you don't like spicy you can use less, just a little squirt)
A few splashes of Worcester sauce to taste
A pinch of salt and pepper
*optional-add in your favorite fresh herbs like thyme or parsley for an extra kick 

Mix all of the ingredients above into a bowl and enjoy! Perfect on burgers, sandwiches, 
hotdogs and for fry dipping:) 

Homemade Cheesy Pretzel Bun Burger with Baked Onion Rings dusted with Parmesan...
Nom Nom Nom  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Power of Fruit Water!

As an ex-diet coke chugging, latte loving, sweet tea mixer, I love for whatever I'm drinking to have a lil' flava. In college, I learned very quickly about the repercussions of drinking empty calories and started drinking water like it was my job. After losing the "freshman fifteen" I gained with all the sweet tea (hey...I am from the South), I started coming up with new ways to liven up my H2O. I feel like if I'm going to live my life eating every delicious thing this world has to offer, I need to counter balance with a few healthy habits...;-)

First and foremost-you MUST add lemon! Not only is it delish but so good for you. Lemon juice cleanses your system, is great for your skin and super high in vitamin c. If you don't like lemon I encourage you to give it a try, your skin and body will thank you.

Second-go crazy! Add whatever fruit you like! I often add berries, oranges and sometimes ginger for a little zing. 

Third-just remember to clean out/switch your filter and change the fruit regularly. Bacteria and molds can form which of course isn't good for anyone.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Totally in love with Totto Ramen

Remember the 10 cent packs of ramen you used to buy in college when you could barely afford to feed yourself? I certainly do! Being half Korean, my family & I actually ate ramen all the time. The cheap kind, the super spicy kind you only find in Asian markets, the kind that comes in a cup. It wasn't until I came to New York that I tried the real thing-homemade noodles in a fresh, piping hot broth with a variety of flavorful ingredients that include fatty pork belly & organic veggies. There are about a billion places to get good, even great ramen in NYC. If you want the BEST then hop on the train or mosey on down (or up) to 52nd & 9th for the one and only Totto Ramen.

Upon arrival you will likely notice 3 things...

1.) The line, no matter what time of day, there is ALWAYS a line. Just take a deep breath and remember  this will all be worth it in about 20-45 minutes and that the line does move quite fast.

2.) This place is tiny. You'll either sit at the bar where you can watch all the cooking action at just an arms length away or in one of about 4 or 5 small tables. I'm not sure exactly how many as I've never had the pleasure of an actual table.

3.) You'll hardly be able to contain yourself as you inhale the delicious plethora of aromas floating out onto 52nd street.

My favorite is the Totto Spicy Ramen with Pork Belly (you can also get chicken but I highly recommend the pork). If you're lucky they may even have their Pork Belly Steamed Buns as a special. These little pillows of savory goodness are like a sneak peek into the gates of heaven. YUM! Visit for more details and keep in mind that they do not take reservations, do take out or deliver. The only way to experience Totto Ramen is to wait...

Pork Belly Steamed Buns=Heaven

The Totto Spicy Ramen

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Pasta Lovers Dream on Restaurant Row!

"Restaurant Row is the name used for West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in the Theater District of Manhattan in New York City.
The designation Restaurant Row was made official in 1973. "Where else in the world, except possibly Paris, could you get 16 of the best restaurants collected in such a short strip of land?" Mayor John Lindsay said at the dedication." -Wikipedia 
Since 1973 NYC has made some serious culinary advances. Although the restaurants on Restaurant Row are decent, reasonably priced & usually have great happy hours, I would not call it a foodies paradise. These restaurants predominantly cater to tourists as they're located right by Times Square and offer quick and satisfying pre-theater menus for those rushing to a nearby show. All this being said, there is one stand out restaurant that is not only insanely cheap (for NYC standards) but offers up some of the best pasta dishes you'll find...well, almost anywhere. This little Italian gem is none other than Lidia Bastianich's, Becco Restaurant. She opened this fantastic find in 1993 with her son Joe. The shining star of Becco's menu is their unlimited nightly pasta special (say whaaaaa???)! The special is only $22.95 and comes with a crisp Caesar or creative Antipasto salad, then a trio of pastas. The pasta dishes change nightly and the experience is literally a fresh pasta buffet that comes to you. As you enjoy sipping a glass of their $25 a bottle house wine (yes, $25 for a bottle!), friendly waiters come right to your table filling your plate with some of the most amazing pasta dishes you have ever tasted. Options have included Oxtail Ravioli, Tomato Basil Spaghetti, & Penne with Peas & Bacon in a creamy Alfredo sauce. Be sure to make reservations as space fills up fast, especially before and after shows. For more information and Becco's complete menu, visit...
Last night's menu included...

2 glasses of signature sauvignon blanc, marinated olives, fresh breads & a yummy olive oil/hummus spread

Last night's pasta trio! Linguine with clam sauce, fresh pappardelle noodles with tomato basil sauce and (my favorite) homemade ricotta gnocchi in a Parmesan cream...Just ridiculous.

THIS is what I drank this morning as an attempt to counteract my carb overload...Oy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ahhhhh Southern Cooking...

On a recent trip back to my hometown of Athens, GA (Go Dawgs!), my sister took me to one of her favorite new spots called Rachel's. To my surprise, this spot was not in the culinary mecca that is downtown Athens, not in an area locals call Normal town...the spot wasn't even in Athens at all. Rachel's is a little hole in the wall in a neighboring city called Watkinsville located in Oconee County, GA (about a 15-20 minute drive). For all my GA friends this place is a must try! Nothing on the menu is over $10 and the food is ridiculous. I'm talking crispy fried chicken, creamy mac and cheese and the most insane broccoli casserole I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. Bonus-All the desserts are homemade & delicious, not that you'll have much room (but try:)). Get there early for the best selection of menu items! When they run out, they're out. Visit Rachel's website for more info...

                                                  Mac and Cheese & Broccoli Casserole

Fried Chicken Breast plate with mashed taters & cabbage...YUM!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hello Fall! ❤

Fall is my absolute, favorite season. It may be that I'm a Halloween baby, the cool, crisp air or the magical changing of the leaves (or perhaps that I'm just not sweating my ass off schlepping across the city). Either way, fall is a time of a new season, new flavors and some of my favorite, in season produce! A list of my top 5 favorite fall fruits and veggies are...

1.) Apples! Get off the couch, find a local farm and go apple picking. I promise you'll enjoy nothing more and you'll want to go back every year.

2.) Garlic. I use garlic in EVERYTHING. It's amazing for your health (not your breath so have gum or mints handy) and is best in late summer/early fall.

3.) Winter Squash (my fave is Butternut!). The best in fall and perfect for roasting. Just cut length wise into 1 inch wide pieces, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and roast in the oven at 425 for about 30-45 mins. Perfection!

4.) Sweet Potatoes. So good and good for you (especially your skin!). Bake, roast or mash. Yum!

5.) Pumpkins! Nothing says fall like a bright orange pumpkin. Use pumpkin in everything from pastas to pies. Sprinkle the seeds with oil and salt to roast and use the shell for Halloween decor. No waste!

Happy Fall!!!

It's about time!

After a life time of being a self proclaimed "foodie" (ie. enjoying nothing more than stuffing my face), lover of food photography and working in one of the culinary capitals of the world...I have finally decided to start a blog! I came to NYC with a passion for fashion that was quickly replaced with my love of food and the hospitality industry. I enjoy cooking and dining around town with my husband, eating like a local on my travels abroad and sharing good food and drink with the ones I love. This blog will be about all of the above-lots of amazing pictures with recipes, restaurant suggestions, up and coming foodie destinations & more! I don't eat to live, I live to eat...and drink :)

Enjoying a local beer on my first trip to Munich, Germany in 2007. I'm not a huge beer drinker but every beer I tried in this beautiful city was AMAZING!