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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!

xoxo, 

Lindsay

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Need more streamlined advice?  Shoot me an email with your specific requests:  Lindsay@TheLunchBelle.com.

Friday
Jun262015

Ice cream and same-sex marriage

This just in from People Magazine:  To celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision that ruled same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States, the Vermont-based ice cream company chose to rename their iconic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream I Dough, I Dough.  'Ben & Jerry’s is proud of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision against discrimination as it boldly stands up for equality for same sex couples everywhere,' said Jostein Solheim, CEO Ben & Jerry’s, said in a statement. 'And at Ben & Jerry’s, there’s only one way to celebrate: with a scoop of I Dough, I Dough, Marriage equality never tasted so good!' he added."

Congratulations to all and GOD BLESS AMERICA!!  #lovewins

...

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Thursday
Jun252015

Kitchen serenity found: A virtual 'culinary guardian angel'

OMG.  Have you ever been following a recipe, seemingly swimmingly, when all of a sudden there's a method that comes out of left field?  You know what I'm talking about.  Something along the lines of, "...next, you will French the lamb chops."  Um, hello!  How the fcuk do I 'French' a lamb chop?

Rather than look through a myriad of cookbook indexes or scour Google/YouTube (sorry, I just don't have time and you probably don't, either), I have an AMAZING app/website that I want to tell you all about called TalkToChef, a virtual cooking hotline/chef 911.  Here's how it works:

  • When you're having a recipe "freak out moment," take a deep breath. 
  • Walk away from the cutting board/stove/oven/mixer.
  • Get a tissue and stop crying.  Blow your nose.  Get a hold of yourself, for god's sake!

  • Now, grab your iPhone and get on the TalkToChef app, or log-in to the website via your PC.
  • Once you're on the app/website, press/click on the Hotline button located in the center of the page.

  • Select a cuisine, cooking method, and/or diet.

  • Et voila!  TalkToChef will send a push notification to all of the chefs in the database who are competent to answer your specific question.  And, within a matter of seconds, you will be connected with an expert via video chat!

  • After receiving the valuable culinary advice, you can rate, review, and voluntarily tip the chef, plus share your experience on social media!


Pretty cool, eh?  So go ahead and save yourselves the time, blood pressure meds, and tragic 'Kim Kardashian crying face.'  Download this invaluable app and/or make TalkToChef a "favorite" website on your PC.  You'll thank me later, either after a mere kitchen emergency or for simply being able to conquer more challenging recipes (after all, you've got a virtual guardian culinary angel on your side)!

...

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Thursday
Jun252015

Hey New Yorkers, The Lunch Belle is hiring!

Calling all passionate foodies in NYC:

I'm searching for a local NYC foodie with a passion for penmanship to represent The Lunch Belle at all of the events, restaurant/bar openings, tastings, and food shows that I cannot physically attend (due to the fact that I'm currently residing in LA).  In return, I will ask for a kick ass re-cap/review of your experience that will be posted on the website, giving you full street cred!

If you or someone you know is looking to gain exposure in the culinary blogosphere, please send me an email and we can discuss opportunities: Lindsay@TheLunchBelle.com

...

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Tuesday
Jun232015

Los Angeles: My favorite plates and bites

Do you realize that I have been living in LA now for *gasp* over a year?  My anniversary was on May 29th!  And, to say that I've eaten my way through the city would be quite the understatement.  "Gorge," on the other hand, would be much more fitting. 

Without further ado, my dear readers, this post is dedicated to the ten best items/plates that I've eaten in the last 365 days.  In the City of Angels.

Enjoy!

. . .

*Items listed in no particular order

 

1) Salt & Pepper Caramel Donut, ICDC

2) Cherry Pie, Sweet Lady Jane

3) Rigatoni with Truffle Meat Sauce, Capo

4) Everything. On. The. Menu. Sugarfish

5) House Special Maine Lobster, New Port Seafood

6) Avocado Toast, Terrine

7) Mexican combination plate (cheese enchiladas, crispy beef taco, rice and beans), Gilbert's El Indio

8) Chile Relleno Burrito, La Azteca Tortilleria

9) Chocolate Croissant, Love Catering

10) 'Everything bagel' with a schmear of scallion cream cheese (...because this is the closest I'll get to NYC in LA), Brooklyn Water Bagel

...

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Tuesday
Jun092015

Reviewed: The Sea View Inn, Carmel (CA)

Having only been to the South Beach (Miami) and NYC 'Festivals, Pebble Beach Food and Wine was Emily's and my first on the West Coast.  It only seemed fitting that we attend; after all, Emily now resides in San Francisco, and I'm in LA.

With hotel options being slim because of the popularity of the Festival, I felt incredibly fortunate that Emily was able to secure a room for us at the Sea View Inn, a bed and breakfast located in Carmel.  Have you ever stayed in a b+b (bed and breakfast)?  Technically, this would be my first time.  And, to be honest, I was a bit nervous; hell, you would be, too, if this is what you were envisioning: A rickety double bed appointed with an ugly floral comforter, powder blue carpeting throughout (dotted with questionable rust-colored stains), lace curtains with sun burns, cheesy knick-knacks laden with dust bunnies, and a dirty bathroom. 

..................Well, I'm proud to report that I could not have been more wrong about my b+b pre-conceptions.  Phew!

___

Situated on a quiet residential street, merely blocks from the ocean and the heart of town, stands Carmel's most charming b+b: The Sea View Inn.

The Sea View Inn: Carmel, CAHoused within a remodeled, turn-of-the-century home are eight beautifully-decorated guestrooms (six of which contain private modern bathrooms) appointed with all of the comforts of home...sans televisions.  Hello, ever heard of relaxing?  Don't worry, I hadn't either.  On the ground level, a spacious French-country inspired parlor/sitting room is centered around an active brick hearth that overlooks both a beautifully landscaped back garden and an expansive front porch beckoning New Orleans (or somewhere else very picturesque in the South).  

GuestroomCommon area (ground floor)Staying true to its b+b classification, breakfast is served every morning on the ground floor.  Specialties include organic yogurt and fruit, cereals, locally-sourced baked goods (from a French patisserie in town), soft-boiled eggs, orange juice, and some of the best coffee this side of Brooklyn.

Breakfast is served: Soft-boiled eggs, coffee cake, individual spinach quiche After a day spent boutique'ing or beaching, guests of-age are invited to enjoy a gratis glass of wine - ideally to be savored on the front porch or in the back garden - and unwind as the afternoon slowly turns to dusk.

If you have future plans to visit the area and want to experience gorgeous Carmel/Pebble Beach as a local (or as much of one as possible), then I highly recommend that you consider the Sea View Inn.  From the lovely accommodations, great location, and warm, hospitable staff - to the delicious breakfasts (that we legit looked forward to every morning) - our experience could not have been more positively unforgettable. 

...

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Tuesday
Apr072015

Recipe: Salted Caramel Matzo Brittle

"You should sell this stuff at the farmer's market!" 

"I don't even like sweets, and this shit is amazing!" 

"You're my hero!" 

"I cannot stop thinking about that Matzo Brittle!"

"It's a Passover miracle!"

"You're a mensch!"

I've heard it all, folks: From every compliment in the book - to more Matzo Brittle bribes than you can imagine.  I'm here to tell you that this recipe will make you a hero amongst anyone lucky enough to sample this magical, deliciously life-altering, Passover-friendly treat.

.

Recipe inspired by my dear friend, Meghan Coyne, and based on my amended version of Christine Gallary's.

Ingredients

Makes 8-10 servings

  • 4-5 sheets salted matzo
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) salted butter, cut in to large chunks
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • Fleur de sel

Method

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a rimmed, full-sized cookie sheet with enough foil that it overlaps and you have to fold it under the edges.  Arrange the matzo in a single layer on the baking sheet, breaking pieces as needed to fill any empty spaces.  Set aside.

Place butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil.   Continue to boil for 3 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Remove from heat and add vanilla (pour slowly, as it may bubble up).  Stir to combine.

This is my favorite salted butter

The toffee should look like this when it's boilingPour caramel over matzo and spread it evenly using a rubber spatula or culinary brush.  Make sure to coat each piece with caramel. 

Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 7-10 minutes, until small bubbles cover the entire surface of the matzo and the caramel is fragrant.

Remove from the oven.  In a small bowl, combine both dark and milk chocolate chips and toss together.  Sprinkle each piece of matzo with chocolate chips and set aside for 3-5 minutes to allow chocolate to soften. 

Using a rubber spatula or culinary brush, delicately spread the melting chocolate chips over the caramel.  Sprinkle each piece of matzo with fleur de sel and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes. 

Use care when removing the brittle from the foiled pan to ensure that no foil sticks to the bottom of the brittle.  Break in to pieces and serve and/or freeze for later use.

Enjoy!

...

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle