How to Make Traditional Irish Brown Bread

We all have flavors that remind us of home, and for my Irish husband, that taste is brown bread. For readers that want to bake this crumbly loaf at home, I recommend King Arthur Flour’s Irish-Style Flour, available online. This coarsely ground flour provides the perfect texture for a traditional loaf of Irish brown bread….

Tuscany Away From the Crowds

Two hours outside of Florence there is a less-explored corner of Tuscany, in the mountainous Serchio Valley. It’s the kind of place you visit to get lost in small medieval hilltop villages and spend the day kicking back at a single biodynamic winery (winery-hopping is too ambitious; what’s the rush?). It’s also the kind of…

When to Order the Chicken

Chicken gets a bad rap. In restaurants, it is often the neglected dish. People who order it can be seen as being unadventurous or boring.¬†When served boneless and skinless, it’s often associated with diet food. But me, I love chicken. There are few dinners more comforting than a roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy….

Cucina Tipica Romana

The first place I set foot in Italy, was Rome. I remember smelling freshly pulled espresso when my plane touched down in Ciampino Airport after dark. At lunch, wine was often cheaper than bottled water. A whole pizza could be devoured for 5 euros. I walked and took photographs, connected dots on maps to visit…

Writer in the Kitchen: Daniel Boulud

“Do you speak French?” Daniel Boulud, the award-winning chef and cookbook author asked me. We were seated at a quiet table in the corner of Cafe Boulud in the Four Seasons Toronto for a talk about New York, travel, and cooking. “I wish I did, but fortunately my partner does, which comes in handy during…

Gnocchi Faceoff

It all began one night over a glass of prosecco, a few travel and food writers talking gnocchi. I don’t know who’s idea it was first — how about we all get together one night for an gnocchi cooking competition? Everyone can make their own secret recipe at home, and then we gather for a…

Biggest Oyster Mistakes

While reporting for a story published this week on Bon Appetit — How to Take Your Oyster Slurping to the Next Level — I interviewed several oyster experts. I asked them all the same question: what’s the biggest mistake people make when it comes to oysters? The answers were varied and strongly opinionated. In addition…

A Flick of the Wrist

My grandmother’s family came from Naples, and though I never had the chance to travel to Italy with her, there was always her cooking. She was a patient cook, a true believer in the “low and slow” philosophy that results in deep, developed flavors. She loved the ritual of spending an entire Sunday in the…

Writer in the Kitchen: Camaje Part II

The shopping was complete — it was time to get in the kitchen. After spending a sunny Saturday morning learning about how to buy fish in Chinatown — as part of Chef Abigail Hitchcock’s Chinatown Shop & Cook cooking class — we hopped in a cab and sped towards Greenwich Village. With bags full of…

Writer in the Kitchen: Camaje

Before the writer gets to the kitchen, it was time to shop. I had signed up for Chef Abigail Hitchcock‘s always sold-out Saturday Chinatown Shop and Cook. The plan: meet in Chinatown at 10am to buy fish and produce, then head back to Camaje in Greenwich Village for an afternoon cooking course and fish feast….

Writer in the Kitchen: Glenmere Mansion

“Don’t muddle the flavors,” executive chef Ron Stella said. “Allow the ingredients to shine”. In the library of Glenmere Mansion on a sunny, Sunday morning, I sat down with the chef to talk travel, food, farms, and New York City. On assignment for Luxury Travel Magazine, I was looking forward not only to the fireplaces…

Writer in the Kitchen: Locanda Vini e Olii

‘Eat More Tripe’ chef Michele Baldacci said enthusiastically as I was getting ready to leave his Tuscan-inspired restaurant. ‘How’s that for a title?’ We had just finished an interview and tour of Locanda Vini e Olii, his Italian restaurant (along with co-owners Rocco Spagnardi and Michael Schall) in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. From…

Restaurant Report: Tastes of the Mediterranean

New York City can meet any food craving at any time. For me, growing up in a household with an Italian background, that craving is often Italian. I want to walk into a restaurant and be smacked in the face with slow-cooked aromas that remind me of home. I want to read a menu that…

Writer in the Kitchen

Chef Paul McCabe looked down at my feet, making sure I was wearing correct shoes for the kitchen. ‘Those will do’ he said, motioning for me to follow him through the open kitchen and back into the prep kitchen of Kitchen 1540, the award-winning restaurant at L’Auberge Del Mar, a boutique getaway just north of…

Pleasures Along the Pacific

Traveling is full of unexpected surprises. Sometimes, a meal we are anticipating is a complete disappointment. Sometimes, a simple breakfast can be elevated to something truly memorable. During my trip to San Diego last week I was reminded that no matter how much you plan and research, travel will find a way to venture off…

The Common Ground Between New Years Resolutions and Travel

There’s no time like January to make some travel resolutions for the New Year. If you’ve been wanting to expand the ways you travel, to travel smarter, or to become more immersed in local culture – keep reading. We all get into bad habits when it comes to traveling, but sometimes breaking out of our…

Country Pleasures: A Weekend Retreat at Blantyre

Sometimes the best part of living in the city is breaking outside of it. I didn’t even turn on the radio during my 2 1/2 hour drive north from New York City, through parts of the Hudson Valley, towards the lovely Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Here, outside the quaint town of Lee, is a country…