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

Entries in Contests: In it to win it! (15)


So, the Food Network called...

No, really.  They did! 

I was just contacted by a casting director for the Food Network who wanted me to let y'all know that she and her team are scouring the nation looking for the best home cooks!  Why?  Because they're casting for "All-Star Academy!"  

Ten home cooks from across the country are paired up with some of Food Network's biggest names — Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Curtis Stone and Michael Symon — in the new culinary competition All-Star Academy, hosted by Ted Allen. Each home cook, with the guidance and support from his or her Food Network mentor, competes in intense culinary challenges; each mentor's reputation is on the line during the eight episodes, as each mentor hopes his or her pupil will make it to the finish line. One by one, the home cooks are eliminated by special guest judges who determine which dishes are not up to par. One home cook will be left standing, winning bragging rights and a $50,000 grand prize.

OK, so if you consider yourself to be a Food Network fanatic and truly skilled home cook who prepares elevated dishes completely from scratch, then read the flier, below, and apply!  What are you waiting for?


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


The Big Cheesy: I've got two FREE tickets with your name on them!

Are you:

  • A self-professed grilled cheese-o-holic?
  • In NYC this coming weekend?
  • Feeling lucky?

If so, I've got two FREE tickets for you and your lucky "plus one" to attend Saturday and Sunday's *already sold out* grilled cheese competition, The Big Cheesy.  Can you fathom a better scenario than wandering from station to station, sampling grilled cheese sandwiches?  And, after you've stuffed yourself like a sausage, your vote counts towards deciding who will reign as "People's Champs Award" for the best grilled cheese sandwich in NYC.  Cool, eh?  (Participants include:  Melt Shop, Murray's Cheese Bar, 'wichcraft, Lucy's Whey, Keith Klein's Milk Truck, Say Cheese UWS, Sons of Essex, and Sixpoint Brewery.)

Winner winner, grilled cheese dinner!  Send me an email (Lindsay@TheLunchBelle.com) detailing your favorite grilled cheese sandwich in NYC - including where I can get it - and, tomorrow at 3pm EST, I will choose a winner based on how much your description makes my mouth water!  Good luck!

Photo: Openhouse Gallery~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


Tweet tweet! A modern cookie bake-off - enter NOW!


Hosted by: Hearst Magazines and Social Media Week

Location: Art & Culture Content Hub at Hearst Magazines, NYC

Thursday, February 16 at 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Can you write a cookie recipe in 140 characters or less? Give it a shot: Everyone attending this panel discussion will have a chance to enter a Twitter-length recipe. Audience members will get to taste and vote on the best cookies of the bunch. The winner will go home with $250 and a gift bag from Food Network Magazine! The event kicks off with a live debate about the role of social media in the home kitchen: Can we trust recipes and tips from Twitter and Facebook or are traditional outlets still the most reliable sources?

To enter: Register for the event and use #SMWbake and tweet your cookie recipe for our judges! Deadline to submit recipes is February 10th, 2012.



Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


Konstantino Jewelry Giveaway!  

Whether you're a dude who's looking for the perfect Valentine's bauble for your lady friend - or a girl, like yours truly, who wants to treat herself - I just got wind of the most PERFECT bling-y giveaway!  Are you ready?

WhatKonstantino Jewelry Giveaway from Voskos Greek Yogurt

When:  begins today, 2/1, through Tuesday, 2/7 (winner announced on 2/8)

WhereVoskos Facebook Page

Voskos Greek Yogurt, deliciously creamy and America’s first nationally-distributed Greek Yogurt brand, is partnering up with Generales & Generales Fine Jewellers, to give away a beautiful pair of Konstantino earrings via a Facebook sweepstakes. Entrants can register for the piece, valued at $775, on the Voskos Facebook Page.  

The sweepstakes will run from February 1st, 2012 until February 7th, 2012. It is open to United States residents 18 and older, and void where prohibited. The winner will be picked at random and will be announced the morning of February 8th, 2012. The earrings will be shipped express, just in time to be a unique, beautiful Valentine’s Day gift!

Perfect for you or for a special someone, the earrings are handcrafted in sterling silver with 18 karat gold accents in an intricate Byzantine design. They feature a round cabochon pink tourmaline center and a pearl drop.

How GORGEOUS are these?

Good luck!  And, as Kevin Lee, my newest obsession from the RHOBH, would say, "Bling Bling Bling Bling Bling Shi Shi Shi, Dahling!"


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


'Falling' for Fall: celeb-signed cookbook contest + Marc Forgione's cobbler recipe

From pumpkin lattes on the menu at your local Starbuck's, to the visibly crisp chill in the air, Fall has officially made her debut.  The 3-week countdown to Halloween begins on Monday and, just beyond that, Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the entire year, follows just a short 3.5 weeks later. 

So, in anticipation of 'the annual day of gluttony,' I wanted to spotlight the brand new cookbook from Macy’s Culinary Council, aptly titled, "The Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving and Holiday Cookbook."  Comprised of more than 80 holiday recipes written by the Council's thirteen highly esteemed, all-star chefs (think Marcus Samuelsson, Emeril Lagasse, Cat Cora, to name a few), the cookbook also includes the history of Macy's legendary Thanksgiving Day Parade, which will celebrate its 85th anniversary this year!

**CONTEST**  Being that the cookbook will not be released to the public until mid-October, I wanted to host a contest for you, my dear readers: the winner will receive a SIGNED copy of The Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving and Holiday Cookbook!  To enter, please send me an email (Lindsay@TheLunchBelle.com) with the subject, "Macy's Thanksgiving."  The winner will be lucky email #6.


Just to whet your appetite and give you a little tease, I wanted to include this mouth-watering recipe from Council member, Marc Forgione.  By the way, if you think this dessert sounds amazing, check out some of the cocktail recipes (courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson, Emeril, and Marc Forgione) leaked from the cookbook over at Betty Confidential!  Score.

Honeycrisp Apple and Dried Fruit Cobbler

“This is a lighter take on the traditional cobbler. Instead of baking the fruit for a half hour to crisp the topping, I bake the topping separately, and then gently sauté the fruit for just a few minutes to make a warm compote.”  Marc Forgione

Serves 6 to 8


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon


  • 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 Honeycrisp apples, peeled, halved, cored, and sliced or chopped
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1⁄2 cup dried cherries
  • 1⁄2 cup dried figs, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh mint leaves, cut into thin strips

Vanilla ice cream for serving

Freshly cracked black pepper for serving (optional)


For the topping: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a food processor, combine the flour, both sugars, and the oats and pulse a few times to mix. Scatter the butter cubes over the flour mixture and pulse just until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Sprinkle the mixture in a thin, even layer onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in the cinnamon, and then return to the oven. Bake until the mixture holds together in clumps and is beginning to brown, about 4 minutes longer. Remove from the oven. (The topping may be prepared up to 24 hours in advance; let cool completely, and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Just before serving, return the topping to the baking sheet and place in a preheated 350°F oven until warm, 6 to 8 minutes.)

For the fruit: While the topping is baking, in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and cook just until it begins to brown and smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Add the apples and brown sugar and toss to combine. Add the water and all of the dried fruits and stir well. Bring to a gentle boil, adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook until the apples begin to soften and the liquid in the pan is reduced to a syrup, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in the mint.

Transfer the fruit mixture to a large gratin dish and sprinkle the topping evenly over the surface. Alternatively, divide the fruit mixture evenly among 6 to 8 compote dishes and sprinkle an equal amount of the topping over each serving.

Serve immediately with the ice cream. If you like, offer black pepper at the table to sprinkle on top.


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


I hate Irene, plus a CONTEST update

Dear readers,

Well, I'm speechless.  As you know, NYC was struck by an earthquake (or, rather, the aftershock from an earthquake) on Tuesday, and we're about to be pounded by a hurricane this weekend.  I can't tell you how many "email alerts" I've received from work, my apartment building's management company, and everyone in between about 'how to prepare for Irene' and 'what to expect.'  Where the hell does one buy a battery-powered cell phone charger, anyways?  At your local Verizon or AT&T store?  Your guess is as good as mine.   

For those of you on the East Coast, how are you preparing for the weekend's dismal forecast? 

Here is what I plan to stock up on before the clock strikes 'Irene':

  • Flashlight
  • A couple of jugs of water
  • Non-perishable food items: great excuse to eat chips, candy bars, gummy bears, canned bean dip, spray cheese, and all of the other crap that I *try* to avoid on a regular basis
  • Smut magazines: US Weekly, People, Glamour, and maybe even Cosmo (if I'm feeling extra smut-y)...no time like the present to catch myself up on all-things " Wedding Kardashian" (I know, shoot me)
  • Cash: hopefully $50 will do the trick - the end of the month always kicks my arse.

While I'm the subject of this weekend, I wanted to bring up the contest that I posted on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, due to the impending forecast and the fact that the MTA will be partially and/or fully shutting down mass transit services, Saturday and Sunday's Cool Cravings and Cupcake Cakewalk will be postponed until a later date.  Once I receive the new details, however, I will start the contest from scratch (as only four of you responded - what's up with that?).

Be safe this weekend, dear readers! 


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Photo: someecards