Post image for The Search for Brunch in Notting Hill: Bluebelles of Portobello

Bluebelles of Portobello had all the makings of a perfect brunch spot: cozy ambience, a menu full of comfort classics like eggs benedict and french toast, and a convenient location in Notting Hill. Sadly, Bluebelles turned out to be a disappointing experience despite its great potential.

My husband and I went to the cafe for brunch around noon last Sunday. It was full and lively as to be expected of a popular London brunch spot on the weekend. The decor was homey and cute, with pretty mismatched plates and teacups, and giant menu chalkboards filling the decorated walls. Read More…

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Cake & Bake Show 2013

September 16, 2013

Post image for Cake & Bake Show 2013

This weekend I checked out London’s annual Cake & Bake Show at Earls Court, a baking exhibition featuring live competitions, celebrity demonstrations, sugarcraft showcases, and a marketplace featuring up and coming stars in the world of sweets. When I first heard about the show, I went on the website to get tickets immediately because not only am I a baking fanatic, but I thought it would be a great way to get to a pulse on what’s going on in the London food scene.

Upon my arrival, my first impression was that it looked like any typical trade show – dozens of booths lined up in rows, with bakery owners standing proudly in front of their wares, along with a few live demonstrations and new product presentations sprinkled in as well. It seemed to me it attracted mostly tourists, amateur bakers and even (gasp) a hen party or two, rather than “industry” people and the media.

To my surprise, cupcakes DOMINATED the show. I know everyone, including myself, loves cupcakes but after seeing booth after booth of the same thing it got old really fast. There are really only so many things you can do with cupcakes (red velvet? butterscotch? butterscotch-red velvet?). Just saying. Read More…

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Post image for Frittata with Bacon & Fresh Ricotta

Frittatas are famous for being quick and easy to make and for that reason I find myself baking them quite often whenever I am in need of a simple, weeknight dinner. In the past I have experimented with many different combinations of ingredients, one of my favorites being asparagus and gruyere. Your creativity as a cook is really allowed to shine because there are essentially no rules in frittata-making and the possibilities are pretty much endless. Another great thing is that it’s just as good at room temperature as it is straight out of the oven, so it can be made in advance if necessary. Read More…

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The Quest for Cronuts in London

September 11, 2013

Post image for The Quest for Cronuts in London

Much to my disappointment, I happened to have moved out of New York just a week after the Cronut craze took the city by storm. Perhaps for this reason I have resisted jumping on the Cronut bandwagon, despite the fact that I would have gladly joined the crazies queuing at 5:00 a.m. in front of Dominque Ansel’s Soho, NYC, bakery, just for a chance to get my hands on the pastry du jour. In case you haven’t heard, Cronuts are a cross between a flaky croissant and a doughnut, filled with rich cream, deep fried and frosted with a flavored sugary glaze.  Read More…

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Post image for Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Last night I made the classic Provençal recipe, “Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic.” This recipe has been around for decades and I’m determined to make it trendy again. I love garlic, so I knew I’d enjoy any sort of recipe that features it in a large quantity, but you really don’t have to be a die-hard garlic lover to fancy this dish. The garlic is slow-roasted and softened during the cooking process, so the usually strong flavor is mellowed and smooth as butter. Read More…

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Panarea, Sicily

September 6, 2013

Post image for Panarea, Sicily

I just got back from a summer holiday on the tiny Sicilian island of Panarea. Panarea is part of Italy’s Aeolian Island chain, and thanks to the abundance of gourmet restaurants, buzzy euro nightlife, haute shopping, and stunning vistas, it has become a sort of “off the beaten path” celebrity hotspot. W recently published an article that describes the island as the place “the jet set goes to escape the jet set” and I couldn’t find a better way to describe it. The island is so exclusive and chic it makes Capri look like yesterday’s old news. Read More…

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Authentic French Cassoulet

September 4, 2013

Post image for Authentic French Cassoulet

It’s quite possible that making a cassoulet has been my greatest culinary achievement to date. A cassoulet is a rustic, slow-cooked stew hailing from the southwest region of France, full of hearty beans, herbs, and rich, juicy meats. Whenever my husband and I are in Paris, we stop at our favorite bistro smack dab in the middle of the 7ème, Fontaine de Mars, to enjoy this special meal. Fontaine de Mars is a quintessential French bistro complete with brusque waiters, tables too close together, checked linens, flowing Sancerre, and some of the best French cuisine we’ve ever tasted. It’s location is second to none, and many nights we have found ourselves leaving the restaurant late at night and stumbling upon the illuminated Eiffel Tower Read More…

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Burger & Lobster

September 2, 2013

Post image for Burger & Lobster

This weekend I checked out the Mayfair location of London hotspot Burger & Lobster. This no-reservations eatery constantly has a queue running out the door and, as we found out, for good reason. In lieu of printed menus, the waitstaff verbally offers 3 simple menu options: a burger, lobster or lobster roll. Considering all 3 of these dishes are some of my favorite foods ever, this was totally fine with me. It’s a unique concept to offer such a limited menu, but if you know what you are in for, it makes for a highly satisfying meal. Read More…

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Post image for Frosted Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

It’s a tradition every year for me to cook a special dinner for my husband on his birthday, August 28th. This year he mentioned he’d like some homemade chocolate donuts, reminiscent of the irresistible ‘donut shop style’ doughnuts he enjoyed as a kid. This was my first attempt at making *real* doughnuts and I wanted them to be as authentic as possible, so I decided to deep fry them to get that deliciously rich, crispy crust. Read More…

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Post image for Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley: A Review

Being a fashion and food blogger, I was excited to check out The Berkeley Hotel’s Fashionista Afternoon Tea, the seemingly perfect fusion of my two greatest passions. “Prêt-à-Portea” as they call it is a hot ticket in London and I had to book a weekend reservation 2 1/2 months in advance. I had high hopes for the afternoon tea and sadly the best part of the experience was the glass (or 2) of Laurent-Perrier. The menu features creative interpretations of ready-to-wear collections from designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Alexander McQueen, Tory Burch and Prada. Although some of the cakes were beautiful to look at and intricately designed, the taste just didn’t cut it and being some who loves and appreciates good quality sweets, this was a deal-breaker for me.

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My biggest complaint with the tea was that that the cakes, chocolates, canapés and savory bites looked and tasted like they had been (gasp) frozen and defrosted. Is it too much to ask that the food be prepared fresh? I realize that this is a themed tea, but The Berkeley is a five-star hotel and the food should meet certain standards regardless.

Everything seemed mass produced Read More…

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