INSIDE F+B: A Fresh + Bright Look at the Hospitality Industry

Francine Cohen is a busy woman. I was beginning to think there were clones of her, as she makes it her business to be at the center of all the important culinary events. This strategy has put her in the perfect position to have the one-on-one conversations with industry insiders and be privy to business trends, experiments, hits and misses. This information she keeps at her fingertips. Luckily those same fingertips are tapping away fervently at her NEW news source, INSIDE F+B, just launched in February. A must-read if you want to stay on top of international business trends, meet the innovators in the spirits and food worlds, see what new products are on the market, or take a peek at operations behind the scenes at the hottest destinations. If that’s not enough, Francine has also officially stated that she will act as your personal F+B matchmaker. If you are looking for a hard-to-find resource, or need a recommendation for talent, simply contact her through the site. I took advantage of the decor at Print restaurant to take her photo, seen above.


the greening of NYC

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I ordered a ‘green’ wine—organic, that is—with my lunch at Print, located in the Ink 48 Hotel. I found out that all the offerings on their wine list are either organic or biodynamic. Impressive. They even have a selection of organic beers, like Samuel Smith’s Organic Lager, from Tadcaster, England and Pinkus Pils Pilsner, from M√ľnster, Germany, to name a few. The bar featured cocktails, whose names tie into the fact that this hotel used to be a printing house. How could you not be curious about something called White Out (Tanqueray Ten Gin, Cointreau, Lemon Juice, Tarragon) or Scotch Tape (Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch, Ginger Juice, Fresh Lemon and Lime)? I suggest a stop here next time you are at the Javits. The menu features locally-sourced ingredients from upstate New York. A rooftop bar called Press opens in approximately two weeks. See more photos of my lunch with Francine, and enjoy my other St. Patrick’s Day day sightings taken at midday, before the chaos ensued.


splendor on Wall

It’s hard to believe you are in a Hyatt Hotel when you see what Andaz on Wall Street has to offer. The design by David Rockwell, has soaring ceilings and an over-the-top, futuristic staircase that I wanted to keep going up and down. The staff, who do not wear uniforms, were super friendly, accommodating and attentive. After doing a mini tour of Wall & Water, the farm-to-table restaurant upstairs, I decided to sample the salmon dish from their menu, downstairs at Bar Seven Five. The salmon was accompanied by a creamy horseradish sauce, and deliciously extra-sweet roasted fennel and beets. Kind of an odd combo, but very enjoyable. See more photos of the space here.

Michael Collins Irish Whisky: an IRISH toast

I celebrated St Patrick’s Day a little early with a tasting of Michael Collins Irish Whisky this past Monday at LEI in the South Street Seaport. What I learned was that out of 2000 original distilleries, Michael Collins is only one of 3 left producing whisky in Ireland. Thankfully, the rule of survival of the fittest applies here! Run and get yourself a bottle and make a toast with one of the creative cocktails from the website. Also, see my post labeled “Whiskey Persuasion” for another sensational cocktail. See more photos of the tasting here.

just beachy

It’s not warm enough for beach weather, yet I almost felt like I was out at the end of Long Island this afternoon. Sagaponack is serving a lunch buffet, with light green salads, creative sandwiches, soup, chicken (with 2 sides) and a taco bar. My friend JD and I had the salads—and remarkably, both our lunches together came in under $10.


Scotch + Ladies: cocktails from Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails

Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) made quite a splash at Astor Center this week in honor of International Women’s Day. These crafty females started with a selection from Compass Box Whisky, and mixed it with the gamut: flamed orange zest, earl grey tea, apple butter, and grapefruit were just some of the ingredients on hand. I noticed a great trick that I am going to steal for my next shindig—the use of sprays. Partly used as a time-saver, and partly for adding just a hint. See more pics and cocktail recipes from the event here. Pictured, is Lady of the Lamp, by Rachel Kim of Momofuku, a combination of Asyla Whisky, Benedictine, Allspice, Honey, Lemon, and Ginger. If you haven’t tried Compass Box yet, put it on your agenda. They specialize in small batches of Scotch whiskies that fall into two categories: Signature Range, which includes Spice Tree, The Peat Monster, Oak Cross, Asyla, and Limited Release Range, having Hedonism, Lady Luck, Hedonism Maximus, The Peat Monster Reserve, and Canto Cask Series.

Hibiscus Superflower Teas: cocktails with benefits

My cousin’s boyfriend had a birthday, and I was recruited to come up with a signature cocktail for the event. I thought it would be a great opportunity to incorporate some new hibiscus teas that I had come across. The Republic of Tea makes 5 flavors, and with Hibiscus and Blueberry being my favorite, it was chosen to go into the mix. Paulina, my cousin, bought some beautiful pitchers, with centers where fruit could be added. The sweetened tea went into a mix of Pom Juice, Vodka, Muddled Blueberries, Cointreau, and lots of freshly squeezed lime juice. It made for a lightly sweet drink, heavy on the antioxidants, with a punch to it (the vodka), so it was named The JAB (which happen to be the initials of the birthday boy). More pics of the party here.


a perfect Village duet: Bobo and Minetta Tavern

I used to live in the village, and do miss the quaint old-style atmospheres of a lot of the restaurants and bars. That was remedied by a quick cab ride over to Bobo for dinner, followed by a nightcap at Minetta Tavern. Both places were packed and lots of fun. You couldn’t help but make new friends in such close quarters. Photo shows the back dining room at Minetta Tavern, which still had plenty of diners past 11pm. See more photos from the night here.

honoring WOMEN: LUPEC: Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails

I just became aware of the fact that March 8 is International Women's Day. In honor of that I will be attending the Winter Warmer Cocktail Tweetup at Astor Center, which will be featuring cocktails created by the team of LUPEC: Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. Meet the ladies who shake and pour from Rye House, Pegu, Momofuku, Raines Law Room, Hearth, Bar Celona, Freeman's, and Hush Cocktails. Men and women are welcome. Robin Robinson of Compass Box Whiskies will be pouring samples of Asyla, Hedonism, Oak Cross, Peat Monster, Spice Tree and their infused whisky, Orangerie. $5 of the $30 price tag will go to the charity, Dress for Success. Stay tuned for cocktail details and photos from the event. I also thought I would mention that Hip Hostess NYC has been featured in Femme on Feast. Check out Natalie Shirinian's blog celebrating women in the fashion, art, culture, and culinary fields.


Dijon, not just for mustard

This week, the French city of Dijon led a week-long celebration of its culinary delights. Nine chefs and sommeliers arrived with tasty recipes and excellent wine, creme de cassis, and even a saffron-infused gin. I had to give up my meat-free plan for the day to enjoy the pate, duck, chicken, and beef on hand. I have no regrets. See more pictures of the event here, and be sure to check out the exhibit at the Met, The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures From The Court Of Burgundy. In addition to eating and drinking well, here are some compelling reasons to visit Dijon:
—In 2009, for the second year in a row, L’Entreprise magazine named Dijon the most attractive city in France.
—Dijon encompasses more than 1,700 acres of parks and gardens. Focused on low-impact transportation, Dijon offers citizens free bicycles to get around, as well as natural gas-powered buses, an electric mini-bus, and a soon-to-be-built tram.
—Dijon is located in the heart of Burgundy whose wine heritage dates back to medieval times. The tiny vineyards of Burgundy produce some of the worlds most highly refined, appreciated and elite wines.
—Dijon’s architecture includes houses that were constructed by the city’s most powerful families from the 15th Century until the time of the French Revolution.

snowstorm benefit: last minute reservation at Maialino

I had been dying to dine at Maialino since it opened, but have only managed to squeeze in some wine and cocktails. As the snow accumulated, my Friday night event got cancelled, I surmised there might be spots available, and snagged a reservation. The food, and of course, service was spectacular. The salad that accompanied my sea bass had the most tasty lemon vinaigrette, that made me thank the fact I live in such a great culinary city! See more from our dinner here, including the fantastic mild olive oil we enjoyed with the focaccia. In the photo: Bavette Pasta, side dish of cauliflower, and sea bass.

nice TOUCH

I thought this post might come in “handy” after the recent snowfall. If you have a touch screen device, such as an IPhone, and have always had to remove gloves to answer the phone, here is your savior. Telefingers was developed by Chicagoan mom and daughter, who were sick of answering the phone with their noses! See a video from Mac Life here, which show how the gloves work.