Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a food website/blog that views the New York City + Los Angeles dining scenes through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated, critical, adorably quirky, and culinary-obsessed thirty-something year old.

Just consider me your one-stop NYC - and, most recently, Los Angeles - shop!



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Recipe: Mexican Spaghetti

If there’s one person I’d give full credit for teaching me how to cook, it would be my dear Ofelia. From an early age, I have vivid memories of sitting on a kitchen stool and observing her gracefully preparing dishes that have become my favorite comfort foods. She never seemed overwhelmed, rushed or fatigued in the kitchen. I suppose cooking was her passion. Her hands were so flawlessly in-sync with her ingredients that watching her reminded me of a concert pianist.

I’d like to share one of my favorite recipes with you. “Fideo de mi abuelita” is a Mexican version of spaghetti with tomato sauce, which we typically eat as a side dish. “Fideo” is a type of noodle that is similar in width to angel hair. 

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 6-7 ounce bag “American Beauty” Fideo (dry spaghetti or angel hair noodles can be substituted) – If using dried pasta other than fideo, break long noodles in to fourths, and set aside in a separate dish.
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb, minced (you can use as much/little garlic as you’d like – a “bulb” carries multiple cloves)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth or tomato consommé can be substituted)
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add oil, and let warm for about 2 minutes. Slowly add chopped onions and garlic, and sauté until onions become translucent. Add broken dried noodles to the saucepan containing onion, garlic and oil. Stir and sauté ingredients until noodles become slightly browned. Add chopped tomatoes to saucepan and stir to mix ingredients. Add sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Finally, add chicken broth to saucepan and stir ingredients to mix. Cook on low-medium heat for 15 minutes without top, stirring minimally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.



The Weekly Eater: 12/15 - 12/28

Each Monday going forward, I'm going to give you, my dear readers, a recap of where I ate during the prior week, and a list of where I have plans to dine this week.

Monday, 12/15: Dinner at Luna Piena

  • I love unexpected surprises, especially when learning that an old friend is in town. Nicole, who resides in Houston, called me on Monday night and wanted to grab dinner. Luckily, I was free and able to meet her at a moment’s notice. Since we were in the vicinity and Nicole’s only request was that we eat Italian, I decided to take her to Luna Piena. Since the restaurant had temporarily closed for a while, I had not been back since reopening.
    Our meal began with a bottle of Chianti and the house bread basket served with a lentil-olive oil dip. The bread could not have been fresher and the beans were a welcome change from boring, old butter. For an entrée, I ordered my usual Italian standby, homemade pasta with Bolognese sauce. I was thrilled to find that Luna Piena was still serving the solid, moderately priced fare I had remembered and loved.

Tuesday, 12/16: Urban Daddy’s holiday soiree catered by The Little Owl

  • What could be more exciting than attending a holiday party at MTV’s “The Real World” townhouse from season 10? Not too much, especially for a series devotee such as myself. Arriving on the earlier side, Emily and I were able to breeze through the guest list and coat check lines. After climbing two flights of stairs, we arrived to the “first floor” of the party. As we made our way through the growing crowd of people, we decided to try a cocktail served by the sponsor, Johnnie Walker. Then we made a bee-line for the glorious cold food buffet displayed on a wooden communal table. Directly behind the spread was a gentleman hand slicing prosciutto. Emily and I filled our plates with robiola, blue and brie cheeses, freshly baked focaccia, marinated mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, assorted Italian meats including some of the best salami I’ve ever had, roasted winter squash and thin-crust tomato pizza sans cheese. The only thing missing was utensils! Though it was awkward using our hands to eat marinated mushrooms and spread cheese on crackers, the food was fantastic. After miraculously having found a 2-top table, Em and I parked ourselves there for the entire evening, taking turns grabbing drinks and more food. Once the 600-person guest list reached capacity and people began placing their used plates and drink cups on our table, I knew that it was my queue to leave. Although so crowded to the point that I had to plot my exit, it was a lovely evening, indeed. Both Urban Daddy and The Little Owl did an amazing job.

Until January 3rd, I have plans to dine in three of France’s greatest cities. Happy holidays to all and best wishes for a bright, healthy and successful new year!


The Weekly Eater: 12/08 - 12/21

Each Monday going forward, I'm going to give you, my dear readers, a recap of where I ate during the prior week, and a list of where I have plans to dine this week.

12/08 - 12/14: Didn't spend a dime at a restaurant!

This week, I have plans to dine:


Recipe: Fancified cheese 'n crackers


  • Is Brie your favorite fromage?
  • Do you prefer a snack/hors d'oeuvres that incorporates both sweet and salty elements?
  • Are you blanking on ideas of what dish to bring to a holiday party?

...Then I just may have the perfect recipe (if you can call it a recipe) for you!

I've experimented with different jams and preservers, chilled vs. room-temperature Brie cheese, and imitation versions of Carr's Whole Wheat crackers. After much trial and error, I finally have this quick-gourmet snack down to a science. This has become my favorite, no-hassle hors d'oeuvres to bring to parties (not to mention my favorite indulgent snack to nosh on at home).


Arrange crackers on a platter. Depending on your preference of presentation, you may either slice the cheese (with minimal rind) and place atop the cracker, or keep the Brie and crackers separated from each other (guests can add their desired amount of cheese). Serve the preserves in a small dish with a caviar spoon. Top each cracker with a dollop of preserves and a very light pinch of sea salt. Enjoy!


Warms thoughts in cold weather

Until I moved to New York, I hadn't a clue how often it rained. I assumed that the weather was either hot and humid or cold and snowy (two scenarios I'm completely OK with). The wet weather and dark sky get me down a bit, especially when the city goes days without sunshine. On the premise of cheering myself up, I've decided to make a list of things I'm thankful for...Things that make me happy.

  • Brand new soy-wax candles
  • Anything and everything lavender
  • Dishes' breakfast buffet (just to visually admire its beauty)
  • Welch's Grape Juice
  • Having an abundance of DVR'd TV shows to watch
  • The season's first snow
  • Fresh flowers
  • Spending at least one weekend night at home
  • Brunch
  • Learning that a friend's love conquest/story has actually worked out
  • Babies
  • Dogs
  • Anticipating a vacation
  • Wine club
  • Watching in awe, from the gas station across the street, as jets touch down on the runway at the San Diego Airport
  • My new job
  • Each and every time I get to use my NY State driver's license...Because it reminds me that I'm here
  • Central Park
  • Homemade lemonade
  • My Chanel purse
  • Gerritsen Beach Bagels
  • Listening to stories about my grandmother
  • November and December in Manhattan
  • Swimming in lakes
  • Pate de Fruit from Bouchon Bakery

The Weekly Eater: 12/01 – 12/14

Each Monday going forward, I'm going to give you, my dear readers, a recap of where I ate during the prior week, and a list of where I have plans to dine this week.

Saturday, 12/06: Brunch at Bobo

  • Bobo isn’t one of those restaurants that you just “happen upon” while strolling through the West Village. While the location is prime, the restaurant’s signage is below street level and rather small. This makes first time diners feel like they are privy to top secret dining information. Bobo’s bi-level space evokes the feeling of dining in a wealthy New Yorker’s townhouse. The atmosphere is nothing short of “shabby chic meets Renaissance.” Absolutely charming, indeed. I began my meal with a Pimm’s Cup cocktail that was so refreshing and subtle; I wondered whether or not it even contained alcohol. Andrew and I split the Bobu (which is Bobo’s beef burger) and the spaetzle with breakfast sausage and a poached egg. I found the burger to be quite good, though I wasn’t too keen on the lathering of pickled onion atop my beef patty. Fresh, sautéed or even fried onion would have been much more desirable. The spaetzle dish was heavy, greasy and bland. However, there were two unique elements: A perfectly poached egg and subtle notes of nutmeg. Overall, Andrew and I enjoyed our experience and found the restaurant’s brunch menu to be very affordable.

Saturday, 12/06: Dinner at Hecho en Dumbo

  • Hecho en Dumbo is a Mexican restaurant that’s been on my “must try” list since this past summer. Located in the Forager’s market in Brooklyn, Hecho is naked of signage (so if you don’t know the address or phone number beforehand, you may be screwed). Once you arrive successfully, you know that you’re in for a truly authentic culinary journey through Mexico. Cathryn and I were immediately seated upon entry, which was shear luck considering that Hecho does not take reservations. I began my meal with a Flor Morada cocktail (vodka, Cointreau, homemade agua de Jamaica and lime served in a frosted martini glass). We split the queso fundido de rajas (melted Oaxaca and Asadero cheese with roasted poblano pepper and sautéed onion), homemade chips and guacamole (the best I’ve had in New York), Berkshire pork burritas and the stewed beef tacos. With the exception of some gristly pork, a near-deafening live band, and a waitress that was completely uneducated about the menu, our meal was excellent.

This week, I have plans to dine:
Sunday, 12/14: Brunch...TBD