I recently went on a cool roadtrip with some friends over to Teterboro, NJ to go on a private Factory Tour and Tasting event at Sun Noodle’s Ramen Lab, led by Kenshiro Uki and George Kao, owners and managers of the 6,000 square foot ramen noodle factory. I met Kenshiro and team at the NY International Foodservice and Restaurant Show a few weeks ago in the Japan Pavillion and was impressed by their authentic ramen noodles and how they pair them with specific broths and toppings to create Ramen dishes from varying areas of Japan. I found out about their tasting tours from a friend who urged me to go and sample some of these amazing noodles, which have been the leading Ramen maker in Hawaii since 1981 and more recently in LA. Owner Mr. Uki and Chef Nakamura decided to open the Ramen Lab not only to produce their unique and amazing noodles, but also to educate the public and Ramen-obsessed Chefs and foodies on the process of how it’s really done in Japan.
Upon arrival, we were given crazy hair caps and Mr. Kao took us behind the scenes for a private tour of the factory to see the machinery and ingredients that they use to make all the different varieties of their ramen noodles.
We then headed up front to a 6-person tasting bar where Executive Chef Nakamura dazzled us with his authentic Japanese cooking techniques as he prepared the five different Ramen dishes for us.
Our first bowl was a ramen soup that is popular in Tokyo, with thin, yellow noodles in a chicken broth base made with soy sauce topped with seaweed, green onions, bamboo shoots and colorful fish cakes.
The second bowl was Kyushu-style in a creamy white broth, made from slow-cooked pork served over thin, straight white noodles. The Chef added the noodles dramatically to our bowls and then garnished them with roasted garlic oil, sliced pork, mushrooms and scallions.
Our third bowl of Ramen was a Sapporo-style dish made with wavy yellow noodles topped with wok-cooked ingredients, including miso, vegetables and ground pork. The fresh hot corn was topped with a pat of creamy sweet butter and the ingredients were all nestled in a gorgeous spicy miso-based broth – this was definitely my favorite of all of them!
Our fourth bowl was Mazemen, which consisted of fat, round noodles served in chicken fat topped with a dark savory sauce, topped with a soft-boiled egg, sautéed mushrooms and fried crispy bits to give it a nice crunch.
Last but not least was a bowl of Tsukemen, which had chewy, wavy noodles that we dipped in a savory, brown broth with fish flavors, spices and green onion slivers.
The coolest part of all was just sampling all the different textures and flavor combinations which are meticulously planned and prepared and served with style. They encouraged us all to eat the Ramen quickly and not be afraid to slurp or be a bit messy, as that is the way the locals eat them on the streets of Japan.
Check out Ramen Lab online and book your own tasting tour for only $40-60. Sun Noodle doesn’t sell their Ramen to the public (primarily only to Chefs and top Japanese restaurants such as Momofuko and Chuko in NYC), but if you want to buy some of their packaged fresh or dried Ramen you can find them at a Japanese mega market in NJ called Mitsuwa Marketplace (among other fun and authentic Japanese items and produce!)
Sun Noodle Ramen Lab
375 N St
Teeterboro, NJ 07608 | (201) 530-1100
The Crosby Hotel Bar is a fun, trendy place in SoHo I have passed by several times but finally took some friends to on a Sunday afternoon recently. With it’s sun-drenched lounge, modern decor and lighting and a buzzy atmosphere this is a perfect spot for a weekend cocktail and brunch. The menu has a great variety of small plates such as Pulled Pork and Beef Sliders, a Smoked Mozzarella, Bacon and Ricotta Flatbread with Caramelized Onions (see photo above!), Leek Potstickers, and Lamb Kofta Kabobs plus a whole slew of other tasty treats to pair with a nice glass of wine. They also offer entrees of fish, short ribs, burgers, steaks, sandwiches, risotto and plenty of gorgeous veggies sides to accompany. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun – you can sit at the bar or at one of the cozy lounge couches in the atrium and also enjoy breakfast, brunch and one of their signature cocktails with friends. The hotel also serves an English Afternoon Tea in The Crosby Bar all day. It includes a variety of teas served in the traditional style with delicious cakes, scones, tarts and sandwiches. Champagne is a glamorous addition and residents can also take their tea in the drawing room. Don’t miss it.
I don’t know about you but I absolutely LOVE homemade fresh pasta over store-bought fresh or dried pasta any day of the week. But, if you have ever made it before you know that it’s a total labor of love mixing and kneading the dough, and flattening it through a hand crank machine or cutting into those gorgeous shapes by hand. There’s a great new machine called the Viante Pasta Maker that makes all of this so easy to do it’s almost crazy to not get it. With a powerful mixing motor and 10 interchangeable cutting discs you can make restaurant-quality vermicelli, ziti, tagliatelle, fettuccini, spaghetti, rigatoni, pappardelle, linguini, and biscotti in minutes. Just pull the slider to extrude dough into your desired shape. No more hand cranks or crazy kneading and cutting by hand – for only a buck and a half (about $150) – this makes anyone’s pasta obsession so much more fun, and gives you more time to be creative with all the toppings and sauces. Love it.
I stumbled upon this place one night while I was walking home and was immediately drawn in by its stunning artwork, interior design and sparkling chandeliers when you walk in the door. Originating in Brooklyn, Forcella is know for its Neapolitan-style pizza made in their wood burning ovens that reaches over 1000 degrees, cooking the pizza in 90 seconds flat. They claim to have a secret recipe for the dough, that makes it perfectly chewy and crispy with all those gorgeous browned puffy bits on top.
I sampled the four-cheese Arancini rice balls and the Truffle Parmesan Fries with Aioli for a starters while sipping a lovely Aperol Spritz at the bar. They have a great happy hour too – 2 for 1 drinks and reasonable small plates such as Prosciutto and Cheese, Fried Calamari and Grilled Octopus. For lighter fare, you can try one of their salads or a sampling of fresh handmade mozzarella and burrata.
Their Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas, created by their certified pizza master, Guilio Adriani, come in about 20 different varieties (or you can create your own). They also have a nice selection of entrees such as Risotto, Ravioli and Pasta, Grilled Lamb Chops or Pan-Seared Jumbo Shrimp wrapped in Bacon in a Brandy Cream Sauce (which I have yet to try but it sounds divine!)
Visit their two additional locations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn or the Bowery – all are open 7 days a week – until 11 pm Sunday through Thursday, and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Definitely worth a visit (if just to watch them make their fabulous pizzas in one minute!)
377 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
I found these awesome, colorful illustrated Bon Appetit foodie totes online at A-Thread and fell in love with them at first sight. I might just have to get one of each! Designed by the team from TheyDrawandCook.com, the Bon Appetit Tote comes in four designs – each a gorgeous, one of a kind TDAC illustrated recipe. Choose from Butter Beans, Chocolate Apricots, Hot Toddy, and Pretty Parsnip.
The tote is made from 12 oz natural cotton canvas and features a slip pocket in the side gusset – the perfect place for sunglasses, wallet, or a bottle of wine. The bag measures 10″w x 14″h x 5″d, and the handles are 24″ long and 1″ wide. The best part is that with each purchase of this tote, a donation will be made to the World Food Program USA and will feed 5 children!
There’s something about homemade Strawberry Jam that takes me back to my childhood when my Mom would pick fresh berries from her summer garden and make big batches of this sweet lovely jam for us. I haven’t experimented with canning yet but have been dying to make my own homemade concoctions – but in a tiny NY apartment i just haven’t found the space to store all the canning equipment and jars to do so. Ball now has a cool automatic jam and jelly maker that makes the process of making jellies and jams easy with a machine that does all the work for you.
The FreshTECH™ Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker with SmartStir™ Technology brings ease and convenience to homemade jams and jellies. The jam maker stirs the ingredients while it cooks so you don’t have to! Use your favorite fruits, fruit juices and even peppers to create delicious, natural jams and jellies in under 30 minutes. It is the perfect tool for both new and experienced canners, and a great way to incorporate fresh ingredients for healthier eating. The pot has a nonstick interior, making for easy clean up between batches. The pot, glass lid and stirring paddle are dishwasher safe. Can’t wait to get my hands on this fun tool so I can recreate Mom’s Strawberry Homemade jam in a flash!
Check out the video showing how cool and fun this machine is!
Get it online at Amazon.com. Photo credit: Ball USA.
7. Elephant Ceramics by Michele Michael
I can’t remember exactly where i first discovered Elephant Ceramics, but I fell in love with this gorgeous work the second I saw it – thinking these pieces of art would be perfect for my food styling and photography props. I have always loved ceramics and actually took a class once to make some of my own – I love their rustic and artistic nature, and imperfect organic shapes and textures. Michele Michael is the creator of this beautiful line of ceramics, from her studio on the coast of Maine. – The calm and cool white, blue and green palettes and rustic textures of her pieces emulate rugged, coastal scenery which seems to be an obvious source of inspiration for her gorgeous handmade creations. Can’t wait to get my hands on some of these beauties and I’m sure you will too once you see them.
This is a new fun Mexican joint that just opened in Murray Hill – created by The Spotted Pig and The Breslin team. Located inside the cool POD39 Hotel, it has a snazzy bar in front that opens into a huge recreational room in back, complete with lounge couches and tables, a second bar, fireplace, and two ping pong tables. The atmosphere is buzzing with after work crowds and is perfect for happy hour if you just want to grab a few margaritas and some authentic Mexican bar snacks. They offer amazing small tacos (2 per plate) ranging from $3 to $6 (steak, pork, chicken, cauliflower curry and Korean BBQ) and have great homemade guacamole and tortilla chips, crispy pig ears, quesadillas, beef chili, beer-braised short ribs, Morrocan Lamb on Naan and more. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner – you can get your Mexican fix any time you like in this delicious fun and trendy casual spot.
EAT Boutique is the brain-child of Maggie Battista, a dynamic food blogger and business woman I have met a few times through IACP and the Cookbook Conference in NYC. Her site is full of gorgeous photos, fun stories, and best of all – create-your-own gift boxes full of awesome foodie items and small batch foods by boutique food makers. EAT Boutique’s team curates seasonal and regional homespun gift and tasting boxes as gifts for food fans, and also sell their cool discoveries individually for the home cook. They have also recently started hosting intimate tasting events and convivial local pop up markets for their favorite food makers, cookbook authors and small batch food fans in different cities. You’ll find goodies such as a delightful box of macarons, exotic sea salts, handmade ceramics and kitchenwares, gourmet syrups and ice creams, vinegars, sauces, coffee and teas or local made wine, and I guarantee you’ll find something you love on this site!
So who DOESN’T like an awesome rockin’ outta this world Mac and Cheese? I usually make my own but when I’ve got the craving for that ooey gooey cheesey bowl of sin and don’t feel like cooking I always order online or make a visit to S’Mac in Murray Hill or the East Village in NYC. First off, they have about 11 different flavors and varieties. Secondly, you can order four different sizes depending on how hungry you are (Nosh, Major Munch, Mongo or Partay!). Last but not least, they are all made to order with awesome ingredients and baked to a crunchy, gooey existence served in a cast iron pan giving it that brown crispy crust with a melted world of yum on the inside. Choose from Classic Four Cheese, Cheeseburger, Alpine (Gruyere and Bacon!), Napoleanata (Mozzarella with roasted tomatoes, garlic and basil – yum!), Parissiene (Brie, roasted figs and Shitake mushrooms and fresh rosemary), Indian Masala, Buffalo Chicken, or you can create your own fantastic flavor combination with whatever meats, cheeses and veggies you want. Choose from traditional elbows or whole-wheat pasta and add a topping of buttery, crunchy breadcrumbs to make it even more sinful. Once you taste this You can also get your lip smacking goodness, you’ll never open a box of that yellow-powdered cheese stuff again.
There were two new star exhibits at the International Restaurant and Food Service Show of NY at Jacob Javits Center in NYC this year, with a focus on new food trends and local NY State food producers. The new Food Trends Experience was a grand display and tasting adventure providing access to over 75 new products, flavors and ingredients driving the most recent trends in the market – healthy, organic, sustainable, ethnic, artisanal, fusion, hot flavors and more from 115 new companies. Presented within the show, the Food Trends Experience was a great way for attendees to see, taste, discover and learn about the new culinary innovations that inspire creative and fresh menu ideas, delight customers and drive profits for 2013 and beyond.
Within the Food Trends experience was a specialty Pride of New York Marketplace displaying food, produce, agricultural products and beverages from local farmers, food producers and manufacturers from New York State. This area of the show gave attendees an opportunity to meet New York’s farmers and producers face to face and sample all the goods it has to offer, while at the same time promoting local businesses and with a goal of stimulating the agriculture industry in New York state.
The Pride of New York State Pavilion was highlighted this year in an effort to make consumers more aware of their local food producers and help increase the consumption of nutritious, locally grown and produced foods, which all leads to strengthening local agriculture and improving health and promoting regional food system awareness in New York State. The benefits of buying and consuming local foods is no secret; exceptional taste and freshness, a healthier and more well-balanced diet, environmental protection by reducing fuel consumption, preserving farmland by keeping local farms in business and preserving valuable open space, and strengthening the local economy by supporting local farms and food processors in New York state, thereby creating more jobs and stimulating economic growth in local residents and communities.
The local vendors were proud to present their rich and diverse array of quality products such as locally grown produce, syrups and sauces, cheese, honey, meats, pasta, wine and baked goods. Some of the notable NY State local goods exhibited at the event were:
The show also presented a half-day Farm-to-City Expo – “Growing the Local Food Economy: Trends, Infrastructure and Purchasing” which provided food businesses, organizations and local food system advocates the opportunity to learn more about public and private government initiatives designed to meet the large and growing demand for locally produced foods and beverages. The forum was an example of the Governor Cuomo’s continuing efforts and support for growth in the New York State agriculture industry, with a goal of connecting local food producers, processors and buyers in order to strengthen and create new markets.
Opening remarks for the forum were provided by Empire State Development (ESD) President, CEO and CommissionerKenneth Adams, and the panels included prominent leaders in the NY food industry and city and state officials from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York City Council with speakers from Christine Quinn’s team. The three panels focused on important topics around Infrastructure, Institutions and Restaurants; where the panelists discussed their challenges, best practices and dedication to purchasing food and beverages mainly from local farms, producers and manufacturers in and around New York City, and how buying local has improved the quality of their businesses as well as raise the bar for their customers while supporting the local economy.
The show was great success and had many other highlights worth mentioning including the The US Pastry Chef Competition, where 20 rising stars of the pastry world that were selected to compete for the coveted title, US Pastry Chef of the Year. The theme for this year’s competition was “Women”.
Pastry Chef Ben Shelton from PreGel America took home top honors for his gorgeous showpiece (see above) with an apple symbolizing ‘temptation’.
Daniel’sSandro Micheli took second,
and Maura Metheny from Norman Love Confections took third.
Salvatore Settepani from Pasticceria Bruno Bakery was an honorable mention. Florian Bellanger also received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
All Content & Photographs are property of Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet, Copyright 2013. Please do not use, share or distribute without my permission, and if you do want to share please add a link back to my website and the original post.
On a recent visit to BeyondSushi, a Japanese Vegan Sushi restaurant in the East Village in NYC, I had the opportunity to meet the Founder and Chef (and Hell’s Kitchen Finalist!) Guy Vaknin, to discuss his innovative and artful approach to traditional Sushi. Chef Guy came up with the idea for his vegan Sushi concept while he was the Executive Chef of Esprit Events, a Catering company in New York. Focusing on Kosher, healthy vegan and vegetarian food, they opened a Vegan Sushi station, and the idea grew from there when Chef Guy saw the potential and demand for healthy vegan food in the New York market. Two years later, BeyondSushi (The Green Roll) was born.
The Sushi is not only artfully crafted and colorful, but super healthy,fresh and totally vegan, while keeping the Asian flavors true to traditional Sushi by using natural ingredients such as sliced nori, red, black and six-grain rice, toasted sesame, chili flakes, and gourmet imported sea salts to punch up and balance the flavors and textures of their Sushi.
Rice Bed Salad
They have a variety of delicious and creative sushi rolls, sushi pieces, as well as Vegan wraps and salads, and they make all of their own custom sauces such as Carrot Ginger, Sweet Soy Mirin, Shiitake Teriyaki, White Miso, and more, using grapeseed oil and all natural, dairy free ingredients.
Chefs at Work
They take a variety of colorful, seasonal ingredients and combine them into gorgeous works of art – and the best part is, they really do taste like traditional sushi, but are pure Vegan. Crunch ‘n Munch, Pickle Me, La Fiesta, Green Machine and Mighty Mushroom are just a few of their catchy roll names – all made with tasty, healthy vegetables, rice and seasonings. They also do a custom roll of the month, which Chef Guy creates based on whatever he feels like dreaming up that day, using local produce from vendors at the Union Square Farmers Market.
Vegan Baked Goods
Their Pastry Chef, Tiffany Louie, has created a new line of Vegan pastries and baked goods available in the store – Parsnip Cakes with Orange Almond Creme, Seed and Dried Fruit Almond Bars, and Carrot Bars are a few of their sweet healthy treats. Their juices are squeezed fresh each day and made in house.
Nutty Buddy Vegan Wrap
I sampled the Nutty Buddy wrap, made with Buckwheat noodles, crushed peanuts, cilantro, jalapeno, peanut butter, avocado, sesame oil, carrots, baked tofu and romaine – a delicious combination and explosion of Asian flavors!
Vegan Sushi Rolls
For a sushi sampling, I devoured the Spicy Mang Roll, made with Black Rice, Avocado, Mango, Cucumber and spicy veggies with a delicious Toasted Cayenne sauce. I also had the Pickle Me, made with Six Grain rice, Gobo, Carrot, Pickled Daikon and Avocado with a Carrot Ginger Sauce. YUM!
Their space is casual, cozy and inviting, and in a great location on 14th Street near Union Square. Their prices are reasonable too, ranging from $5.00 to $8.50 for Rice Paper Wraps and Salads to $6.50 for an 8-piece roll, or $7.50 to $13 for a combination plate of rolls. They also do custom catering for private events, weddings and parties with a variety of sushi rolls, salads and wrap platters.
Beyond Sushi Sign
They’ve been written up by Oprah and the NY Times and have plans to open up a second location in the near future, so stay tuned for more. There definitely isn’t any other restaurant around like it, so kudos to Chef Guy for pioneering this healthy, delicious concept. With Vegan Sushi this good – who needs the fish?!
The initiative has created hundreds of new jobs and has become a national model for expanding access to healthy foods.
NYC Green Cart Initiative’s Fresh Food Pack
The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has partnered with the James Beard Foundation to publish the Fresh Food Pack series, including bilingual recipe cards, produce storage tips, and a fun facts and informationabout food for kids. The goal of the recipe cards, which feature produce available from NYC Green Carts, is to provide people living in underserved communities with the tools they need to buy, cook and eat healthier meals.
We had the opportunity to create our own Baci chocolate confections, including
and Chocolate Dessert Pasta
while sampling bubbly Italian Prosecco.
Baci, which means “kisses” in Italian, are still made from a coveted original recipe and consist of a dark, silky chocolate exterior that envelopes gianduia, a sensuous whipped chocolate filling blended with finely chopped hazelnuts, then topped with a whole hazelnut.
Baci was created by Luisa Spagnoli, co-founder of Perugina in 1922. Inspired by pure passion, she set out to create a unique confection as grand as her deep feelings of love for a special someone. Legend says that Luisa would lovingly wrap secret love messages around the Baci she created for her lover. Once introduced to the public, Baci became extremely popular, appealing to young lovers browsing sweet shops of Perugia, Italy. Nearly 100 years later, the original recipe remains unchanged, and each Baci remains ensconced in a love note that reflects the sentiments of love, affection and friendship – and is the Italian way to say “I Love You” worldwide.
Check out the great photos and recipes from the class below and keep scrolling to enter to win the Baci chocolate giveaway (2 lucky winners will receive a 15-piece box of Baci Dark Chocolates!)
In a food processor, blend the Gianduia chocolate and ground hazelnuts together at low speed until they are well blended and a paste is created.
Roll the paste into a rope about the width of a wine cork. Cut into 12 cylindrical pieces.
Melt dark chocolate and heat to 104 degrees F. Drop 3/4 of the dark chocolate on to a marble or steel table. Temper the chocolate by melting it continuously with 2 spatulas until the temperature has reached 80.6 degrees F.
Add the cooler tempered chocolate to the 1/4 tempered chocolate and mix well. The combined chocolate should have a temperature of 87.8 degrees F.
Place a whole hazelnut on top of each cylinder of gianduia.
With a fork, dip each confection into the dark chocolate twice before placing it on a piece of wax paper. Let it rest for about 5 minutes until the shininess has disappeared and the chocolate looks darker and crisp.
Baci are tossed with hot pasta, creating a rich, silky sauce, which pops with roasted hazelnut flavor. It's wonderful plain, but you can dress it up with a splash of hazelnut liqueur and a dollop of whipped cream.
1/2 pound spaghetti
12 Perugina Baci candies
Whipped cream or mascarpone cheese; hazelnut liqueur such as Frangelico (optional)
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Put 1 whole Baci in each of 4 coffee cups, wine glasses or dessert bowls.
Divide the hot pasta among them and top each with 2 more coarsely crushed Baci.
Serve immediately, topped with a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone cheese and splash with some hazelnut liqueur.
*THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED – CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2 WINNERS, TROY AND SIMON!
I’m proud to host a giveaway for 2 lucky winners to receive a 15-piece box of Baci Perugina Dark Chocolates courtesy of Baci Perugina and Bender Hammerling Group! All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me why you love chocolate and your favorite chocolate recipe idea.
*For additional entries,follow Artful Gourmet on Facebook and Twitter and let me know you’ve done so.
**Follow Baci Perugina on Facebook and Pinterest for even more giveaway entries, leaving separate comments below that you have done so.
Make sure to enter your email address (not public) with your comments so I can contact the winners to receive their Baci chocolates.
***Giveaway begins on Saturday, October 20th and 2 winners will randomly be chosen from the comment entries below on Thursday, November 1st at 12 pm EST.
Good luck and enjoy the recipes!
Look for Perugina and Baci Chocolate at Eataly and other fine shops, or online at Colavitastore.com
Kristen Hess is a NYC-based food stylist and photographer, writer.
Her professional background is in advertising, design and creative direction, marketing and social media for many well-known food and beverage brands.
She is passionate about food and travel, art and design, photography, theatre and film and all things creative.
Food Styling & Photography Portfolio: http://www.kristenhess.com