Archive | July, 2011

Meet the (Top Chef) Masters

11 Jul

Bravo TV's Top Chef Masters LogoBravo’s Top Chef Masters, a spin-off of the hit show Top Chef, is a reality show where 24 world-renowned chefs compete against each other in weekly challenges. Now that Top Chef Masters has wrapped its third season let’s take a look at who has won so far and where you can stick your fork in some of their delicious food!

Season one winner- Rick Bayless.

Rick Bayless

  • Claim to Fame: Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and XOCO, franchise Mexican restaurants located in the Chicago area.
  •  Latest Venture: Bayless published his sixth cookbook on Mexican cuisine, Fiesta at Rick’s in 2010.
  • Also Noteworthy: Bayless created the Frontera Farmer Foundation; a nonprofit organization that promotes and funds small, sustainable farms serving the Chicago area. The Foundation’s goal is year-round interchange between  farmers and consumers,  in which seasonal local agriculture provides the foundation for sustainable regional cuisine.

Season two winner- Marcus Samuelsson.

Marcus Samuelsson

  • Claim to Fame: Aquavit in NYC, chef and co-owner of the hit Scandinavian inspired restaurant.
  • Latest Venture: Red Rooster which opened in Harlem in 2010 was the venue for a fundraising dinner for the Democratic National Committee attended by President Barack Obama.
  • Also Noteworthy: You can taste his food at C-House located in the Affina Hotel in Chicago, or the more casual burger joint Marc Burger in Chicago, IL and Costa Mesa, CA.

Season three winner- Floyd Cardoz

Floyd Cardoz

  • Claim to Fame: Tabla (closed December 2010 after 12 years)
  • Latest Venture: North End Grill is set to open at the end of 2011. This new collaborative effort with longtime parner, Danny Meyer will have a seafood focus, quite different from the Indian inspired Tabla
  • Also Noteworthy: If you happen to be a Mets fan, Cardoz is the consulting chef at El Verano Taqueria at Citifield. 

(Restaurant) Location Is Everything

8 Jul

Get your restaurant listed on Restaurant Row! Restaurants that are centrally located to attractions and conveniently placed along heavily trafficked areas have less work to do in terms of positioning themselves in the marketplace in order to attract diners. The business practically creates itself because people are travelling to that area anyway and everyone has to eat. But if you aren’t located on prime real estate in terms of foot traffic, major tourist attractions, or otherwise convenient to consumers you will lose out on a lot of business because people don’t know you’re there. “If you build it, they will come,” is a great idea in theory, but the reality is that many restaurants don’t make it because marketing is not something that most restaurant owners have time for or know how to manipulate to their best advantage. So now that you’ve built it, how do you get people in the door?

 Create an online presence for yourself . . . FREE! Restaurant Row allowRest Row Icons restaurants to display complete listings about their restaurants and control the content, even upload menus and photos and update information as seasons change. Even if you already have a website, why not increase your web presence by twice as much if you can do it at no extra cost to you?! Adding your restaurant to our listings is quick and easy and you can always go back to update information as needed. Already listed with us? Take control of the content displayed about your restaurant, just contact us to find out how.

No matter what your address is, make sure your restaurant is on Restaurant Row!

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Restaurant Week, Where Art Thou?

7 Jul
Restaurant Week

Keep chefs busy, book a table for Restaurant Week. Coming to a city near you!

Restaurant Week is a glorious time for foodies. For one week (and often much longer) participating restaurants offer special pre-fixe menu deals for lunch and dinner. Restaurant Weeks are going on virtually all year round, all over the United States, but catching them is sometimes easier said than done. For example New York City’s observance of this foodie phenomenon starts next week, on Monday July 11th.

It is amazing that the sponsors of these events haven’t gotten together to put up a site that lists the dates in all the participating cities around the country (hint, hint!) Especially since Restaurant Week doesn’t only happen in major US cities like New York, Miami, Chicago, or L.A. Smaller cities like Hartford, CT, Norfolk, VA, and Providence, RI get in on the action as well. And sometimes there is even a Restaurant Week celebration that is organized by region or state, hello Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. Where restaurants located in different cities and small towns all over a specific county or other geographically outlined area offer special “Restaurant Week” pre-fixe menus.

For those of you who don’t know, the pre-fixe menu is a beautiful thing to behold. It is usually made up of three courses: appetizer, entrée, and dessert all for one set price not including drinks. Most restaurants offer a few selections for each course and if they have wine pairing options even better! It’s a great way to sample a lot of food for less money and definitely take advantage of the sommelier’s wine pairing suggestions to enhance your meal.

Here is a list of some upcoming Restaurant weeks:

 This is a great idea for a date night just get your reservations in early because these great deals do sell out! And review the restaurant afterwards, it’s only polite!

Celebrate National Fried Chicken Day and Give ‘Em the Bird!

6 Jul
southern fried chicken

July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day!

Heat up your deep fryers folks, today is National Fried Chicken Day! The choices are endless, from fast food giants like KFC and Popeye’s to famous southern cooking specialty restaurants like Justin Timberlake’s Southern Hospitality or P. Diddy’s Justin’s. You can even find fried chicken for breakfast like at one of our favorite restaurant chains, Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles.

Traditional southern fried chicken is definitely a diet splurge, with most servings containing anywhere from 550 to 1,000 calories in just the chicken alone! So if you want to celebrate and still be a bit more health conscious practice some portion control and cut it up for a fried chicken salad. Or be creative and get the southern fried chicken sliders from The Cheesecake Factory

Want to make it yourself? There are countless recipes and tips online on great sites like and we found this great heart healhy “fried” chicken recipe alternative on the Kitchen Mirror and no there’s no tofu!

So however you like your fried chicken, wing, leg, breast, take out or homemade one thing is for certain: fried chicken is “finger lickin’ good” fun! Don’t believe us? Just ask Roscoe!

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut Does It Again!

5 Jul
Joey "Jaws" Chestnut

Chestnut wins 6th Nathan's Title

Yesterday at the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY Joey “Jaws” Chestnut ate 62 hot dogs and buns to claim his fifth championship title at the annual eating contest. The #1 ranked Chestnut by Major League Eating fell just 6 hot dogs short of matching his world record of 68 hot dogs and buns.

This year was also Nathan’s first ever Women’s Division in the famous eating competition. The Women’s Champion, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas (at 5’5″ and 105 lbs) took the top spot with 40 hot dogs and buns consumed. She bested runner up, Juliet Lee by 10 hot dogs and buns. Both the men’s and women’s winners took home $40,000 in prize money, not bad for 10 minutes worth of work!

Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas

First ever Women's Champion Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas.

Think you have the stomach to win?! Check the IFOC and Major League Eating’s website for information on upcoming eating competitions near you.

Hot Dog! It’s time for Nathan’s Famous Eating Contest 2011

1 Jul

Nathan's Famous, Inc logoNathan’s Famous holds its 96th annual July 4th International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Monday with 20 of the world’s greatest competitive eaters vying for the 2011 title. The contest is held at Nathan’s Famous, Inc’s Coney Island flagship store on the corners of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Brooklyn, NY. Defending champ Joey “Jaws” Chestnut from San Jose, CA has won the Mustard Yellow Belt 4 years running and holds the world record for eating 68 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes! Last year’s 1st and 2ndrunners up, Tim “Eater X” Janus and Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti respectively, are returning this year to challenge “Jaws.”

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut

Defending Champ and 4-time Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest winner, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut.

At the 2010 contest over 40,000 spectators attended the event, and an additional 1.677 million viewers watched it live on ESPN. A scorekeeper, or “Bunnette,” is paired with each contestant to keep count of the hot dogs consumed during the ten minute contest. Whoever consumes and keeps down the most hot dogs and buns (“HDBs”) will be declared the winner.

The International Federation of Competitive Eating, Inc. (IFOCE) and Major League Eating, govern all gastronomic sports and sanction the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit, ensuring the contests are judged professionally and that safety standards are in place at each event. Last year, six-time former champion, Takeru Kobayashi, was taken away in handcuffs after he entered the police-barricaded spectator pen and got on stage once the eating had ended. Kobayashi had a contract dispute with Major League Eating and was barred from participating in the competition.

Of the contest Wayne Norbitz, President and COO of Nathan’s Famous, Inc. said, “I’m thrilled that Nathan’s Famous has become such an integral part of America’s July Fourth celebration. Through our qualifying circuit we are able to bring a bit of Coney Island to Nathan’s lovers around the country.”

Catch this year’s contest on ESPN and, coverage begins at 10:00 am EST. Best of luck to all the contestants!

National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day

1 Jul

Celebrate National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day today, July 1st! Summer is here and what better way to enjoy and cool down than with a creative ice cream flavor? Ice cream has always been a summertime favorite, but with ice creameries like Ben & Jerry’s, Cold Stone Creamery, and Maggie Moo’s, the flavor selection has come a long way from vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day invites us to indulge in a sweet treat and try something new. Here is a list of our top 10 most creative food and drink inspired ice cream flavors.

avocado flavored ice cream

My Creative Flavors Blog's recipe for avocado ice cream

1. Avocado Ice Cream with Lemon Juice: the basis for guacamole or for this new ice cream flavor? This may turn into your new favorite summer snack!

2. Mojito Ice Cream: A summer drink favorite and cool treat all wrapped in one.

3. Foie Gras & Caviar Ice Cream: some things just should not be food let alone ice cream.

foie gras and caviar ice cream

Foie gras and caviar ice cream by French creative ice cream maker, Philippe Faur.

4. Guinness Ice Cream: Just one of many beer flavored ice creams being enjoyed today.

5. Mashed Potato Ice Cream: For meat and potatoes lovers, mash it up with this dinner-time staple.

6. Jack Daniels Ice Cream: Being the best selling whiskey in the world, it’s only natural for this liquor to be the basis of an ice cream flavor.

7. Goat Cheese Ice Cream: enjoy this flavor by pairing it with some crackers and red wine, preferably a Sancerre or a Vouvray.

8. Candied Bacon Ice Cream: It’s bacon, enough said!

candied bacon flavored ice cream

David Lebovitz's experimental candied bacon flavored ice cream

9. Buffalo Wing Ice Cream: The blue cheese and celery may not be on the side of this dish, but try it as a game time snack.

10. Sweet Chai Latte: And finally one you can find at your local supermarket! Haagen-Dazs comes up with this cool limited edition.

So pick a flavor, any flavor! National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day is the sweet way to get the ball rolling in celebration of the July 4th holiday weekend. What are some of your favorite wacky ice cream flavors?


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