April 13, 2010

Dining out in NYC, I would definitely go back

I have a hard time justifying going out in NYC.  Yes it's always fun once I get there (almost always), but I can walk to almost any kind of food I would want to eat & not have to fret if I'm going to make the last train of the day!
Sunday, we went in to the City for the auto show and Chris suggested having dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Bar.  After we assess our wardrobe situation consisting of  jeans and flip flops we give it a go hoping we pass for smart casual ;)  We had no idea what we were in for.
After a trip up to the 35th floor we find the bar to be closed (it was Sunday) so we ate in the Lobby Lounge with panoramic sunset views of the park and midtown.  Despite its namesake you aren't dining in the middle of the lobby like in some lobby bars.  I can't wait until we can go back, it's one of the few places I would go back to eat in the city in a heartbeat!  Every aspect was stunning, not overly done & not stuffy.  We even dined next to a track-suit wearing Lionel Richie who made us look over dressed.  
The Lounge offers a limited yet very satisfying menu like tempura veggies, sliders and even roasted chicken.  The food is moderately priced though the cocktails are totally overpriced ($19 mixed drinks!!!).  I had the roasted chicken and it was one of the best tasting chickens I've had, I think they must have fried it to get the skin SO crispy.  We also had the sirloin salad, cocktails and desserts all of it totally worth going for.  How could you not like this view?!  Our seats were right by the window - totally magical.

April 8, 2010

Chat N'chow featured on CT blog

Check out today's feature about Chat N'chow on the styish CT blog www.CTbites.com!

April 7, 2010

Dinners at the Farm CT

Ever since I first heard about this I've been dying to go.  At first I thought it was something that only happens in Napa in the middle of some magic winery / farm at sunset...  Many times I forget that CT was once and still has a ton of farm land & for the first time the number of new farms and organic farms is on the rise!  I scored tickets for this year's Dinner at the Farm taking place in August, I know it's a long way out but it happens to fall on my anniversary and what better way to celebrate!
The one I got tickets for is being held at Barberry Hill Farm in Madison.  There's something I love about farms on the coast, maybe it's the salty air with the farm air - I don't know.  There are a few dates for this farm and then more dates for another farm in Lyme.  All of the food is locally produced and cooked right there on the spot.  Cocktails and wine are also included in the price of the dinner.  You too can score tickets at a substantial discount if you buy before May 1... check it out!  One thing I should also mention is that the by coming to the dinner the food is locally purchased from farmers and donations are made to local food related charities so the benefits are wide.

April 6, 2010

What's in your garden?

This year I got a jump on my garden.  I live in a condo with no land to work so I garden between my window boxes (flowers and herbs) and the local community garden (veggies and more herbs).  This is the third year for Fodor Farm in Norwalk, CT I got in last year after being on the wait list for a year.  Since it's conception it's grown in popularity and has a wait list of over 100 people.  I love it because it's close to my home and totally organic and there are "laws" put in place to make sure people really do use their garden for agriculture and not just flowers or nothing at all.  The plots are 4x10.  If you make the most of you plot it will produce enough veggies for a family of 4 in one growing season!

Last year I started late - end of June, which is late in gardening speak.  There was also a tomato blight that destroyed most of the tomatoes in the region.  Despite the odds my garden produced in its first year.  This year it's the beginning of April and I've already started with my seeds.  I'm totally inspired after eating at Paul Neuman's place in Westport and having their chopped salad with tons of baby greens, carrots and herbs.

I would love to know what's in your garden.  I'm especially interested in making the most of a small garden, raised beds, square foot gardens and how to garden organically (and not have bad bugs!).  Please feel free to comment and post links to your garden sites!  More to come as the season moves on.  As for now I'm using the square foot garden method since I had great results last year.

April 5, 2010

Lemon and Ricotta Pudding (low fat!)

Still on my tasty dessert yet diet conscious mission, I made this up based on my success with the chocolate pudding.  It almost has the texture of a panna cotta...  This is going to be my go to summer dessert...

Ricotta base
2 cups skim or part skim ricotta
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
rind of 1 organic lemon

Combine all in a food processor until smooth you can skip this step and just wisk if your ricotta is fine enough

Divide evenly in serving cup of choice

Lemon pudding
1/4 cup corn starch
3 cups almond milk (unsweetend)
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
juice of 3 lemons
lemon rind for garnish

combine cornstarch, milk and sugar in pan on low heat stirring until it coats the back of a spoon.
temper egg yolks and wisk in and stir for 3-4 minutes over low heat
while wisking add juice of 3 lemons
pour through strainer into a bowl sitting in another bowl filled with ice.
stir pudding for 5-10 minutes to cool down (just before setting)
add to cup of ricotta mixture dividing evenly top with lemon
chill & serve!!!

Chat N'Chow featured food blog!

Thanks to the guys at FoodBuzz.com for featuring ChatN'Chow in today's top 9 food blogs!!!!

April 2, 2010

Disney for grownups!

York Wallcoverings just launched a new Disney line inspired by Fantasia.  All of the elements are mature yet full of whimsey, charm and elegance. You can find them here!

April 1, 2010

Garden Bon Bons

So sweet (no not really sweet)!  These Bon Bons are actually seed bon bons that you can plant in the garden. Perfect for your gardener's Easter Basket!  For $15 you can find them here.  Happy Easter!