Welcome

Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a NYC based food and travel website that views various dining scenes and destinations through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated thirty-something.

xoxo, 

Lindsay

Search this site
Login
My delicious calendar
  • 12/15: brunch at Friducha
  • 12/15: Kevin's holiday party
  • 12/17: Bill's Townhouse
  • 12/24: Christmas Eve in Long Island
  • 12/24-12/30: Miami
  • 1/10: dinner at Zavo
  • 2/11-2/18: Zurich & St. Anton am Arlberg
  • 2/23: NYJL Winter Ball
  • 4/12-4/14: Sarah's bachelorette party
  • 4/24-4/28: LA & Jackson's bar mitzvah in SF
  • 6/21-6/23: Sarah's wedding
  • 8/14-8/19: San Diego
Contributions & affiliations

Tabelog Reviewer TheLunchBelle

 

 

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

Entries in Culinary event invitations & coverage (69)

Wednesday
Nov212018

European Olive Oil: A Lesson in Tasting, Pairing, and Eating!

Last Friday night, I was invited to a European (Spain and Italy) olive oil tasting event at my culinary school alma mater, International Culinary Center. To further entice the media and invitees, two world-famous chefs - Antonio Ortuno representing Spain, and Mario Rizzotti representing Italy - were tasked with creating an EVOO-centric multi-course dinner. This delicious and educational evening was produced by Ceq Italia Consortium and QvExtra! International to disseminate correct knowledge of (European) olive oils in terms of their quality and health-promoting features...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan172017

A trip up, down, and back up the California coast

Prior to moving back to NYC to begin culinary school (February 2016), I wanted to leave California with a bang.  Mom and I decided to plan a girl's coastal road trip from Monterey to Pismo Beach, and back again.  Having completed my last day of work on January 15th, I had merely days to pack up my apartment and head south to San Diego, where I'd meet my folks.

On Tuesday, January 26th, Mom, Lucy (my pup) and I flew an Alaskan Airlines "puddle jumper" from San Diego to Monterey.  *Did you know? Alaskan/Horizon Airlines serves free regional beer and wine (from the Pacific Northwest) on some flights.  Once we arrived, we rented a car and drove to Carmel - a mere 10 minutes from the Monterey airport - and checked in to the Carmel Country Inn, a charming bed and breakfast where we would stay for the night.      

Mom and Lucy at the Carmel Country Inn

After unpacking a few essentials, we decided to walk to town and shop.  And, because Carmel is incredibly dog-friendly, Lucy was welcomed in to every store; not to mention restaurants with outdoor seating AND our hotel.

Among other baubles, Mom fell in love with this 5-carat sparkler.  Luckily, we were running late for our dinner reservation, so she couldn't pull the proverbial trigger...

Dinner at Il Tegamino (my favorite restaurant in Carmel):

Because of Carmel's proximity to the water, I ordered the fresh swordfish for my entree, while Mom went the "carb route" and chose the house-made lasagna.  

Dinner at Il Tegamino: Grilled swordfish  

Dinner at Il Tegamino: LasagnaAfter a fabulous meal, Mom and I walked back to our room and went to bed in anticipation of an early morning drive. 

We meandered our way from Carmel via the coast/Big Sur en route to Pismo Beach.  This incredibly scenic and breathtaking journey took approximately 3.5 hours (roughly 200 miles).  Upon arrival, we checked in to our hotel, the outstanding Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa, where our "room" featured a kitchen, dining area, living space, not one - but two - bedrooms, and a sizeable balcony overlooking the grounds and the marvelous Pacific.  Wow! 

Gorgeous Big Sur! 

Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa: The facade

Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa: What a view (from our balcony)!!!

Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa: Cheers!

The next morning, we woke up late and decided to get spa treatments.  After all, we weren't leaving Pismo Beach until the following day.  Post our rejuvenating hour plus-long massages, we spent the remainder of the afternoon strolling the beach walk, sipping cocktails and noshing on fresh seafood, and admiring the gorgeous views of the Pacific.  

Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa: Enjoying the briny jewels of the Pacific!

Heading northbound up the coast, we drove to Cambria in anticipation of visiting the Hearst Castle.  (<--- If you click on the link, you will find a picture of the famous Neptune Pool with the following caption, "Visitors have a rare opportunity to see the white marble floor of the empty Neptune Pool while it undergoes restoration. The pool was initially drained because of leaks, but the action was also part of a larger water conservation effort at Hearst Castle during the current severe drought."  Sucks, right?  Right.  And that was the exact same dismal view that Mom and I saw.  Now I don't know about you, but isn't the only reason that people visit the damn Castle to see the Neptune Pool??)

Hearst Castle: The depressing, empty Neptune Pool 

Hearst Castle

So, while the outdoor pool was an atrocious disappointment, the indoor pool pretty much made up for our buzz kill...

Hearst Castle: Indoor pool 

With all of the land in which the Castle is comprised, there is a ranch and a winery bearing its name.  So, when our tour ended, Mom and I couldn't help but stop at the tasting room to sample some of Hearst's namesake wines.  We both fell in love with the 2014 Petite Sirah, and left with a few bottles to enjoy for the remainder of our trip!

After a short drive to Cambria (just 15 minutes from the Castle), Mom and I checked in to our home for the night, the quaint Blue Dolphin Inn.  

For dinner, we went to the Black Cat Bistro, where we enjoyed local wine from Paso Robles, handmade bread with rosemary butter, cheese-stuffed fried olives, and locally-caught seafood.

Black Cat Bistro: Handmade bread & rosemary butterBlack Cat Bistro: Cheese-stuffed fried olivesBlack Cat Bistro: Local fish

The next morning, we woke up early, grabbed coffee, and strolled along the vast beach path.  It was absolutely breathtaking!

Cambria: Mom standing on the beach path near a tree that had been hollowed for pedestriansCambria beach pathWe took to the road mid morning and headed back towards Carmel; only this time, via the highway, which made for a quicker journey (2.5 hours).  We arrived at our next "home" just in time for lunch, the grand Carmel Valley Ranch!  It was immediately clear why Conde Naste Traveler chose this as their #1 resort in Northern California!  

Famished from our journey, Mom, Lucy, and I were seated at a prime two-top at the resort's Valley Kitchen Restaurant overlooking the heated outdoor pool and sprawling grounds.  With bubbles in her hand and a glass of red in mine, Mom and I toasted to our amazing California adventure and to the fact that there was even a food menu for dogs!

Valley Kitchen

Valley Kitchen: A menu for your best friend :-)

Lunch began with house-made Kennebec (potato) chips and caramelized onion dip...  

Valley Kitchen: House-made potato chips & onion dipFor my entree, I chose the Monterey Bay Salmon Salad.  It was delightful!  

Valley Kitchen: Monterey Bay Salmon SaladAfter two glorious nights at the Ranch, Mom and I really didn't think it could get any better.  For our final night in the area, we headed to nearby Holman Ranch, where we - and few other folks in media - were treated to an afternoon and evening of wine tastings and pairings, a tour of the ranch and property (including an olive grove, organic vineyard, plus horse stables and boarding facilities), and elaborate meals and snacks.  

Although the guest rooms are not available to the public, per se, you can rent them for your party if you host an event on the property.  I can only imagine how fabulous and special it would be to get married at the Ranch and have all of your friends and family be able to stay onsite.  

 

Holman Ranch

Holman Ranch: Sitting area outside of our guest room

Holman Ranch

Holman Ranch: Dusk ...

Have you been thinking about making a trip up/down the California coast?  If you've already been, did you go to any of the towns or sites that visited?  I'd love to hear from you!

 

Until we eat again

The Lunch Belle 

Tuesday
Oct272015

(NYC) Finding my perfect match with "Wines from Spain"

*This post was written by Vanessa Shoman-Duell and edited/formatted by The Lunch Belle.  Unless otherwise noted, all photographs were captured by Vanessa Shoman-Duell.**

.

Wines from Spain recently celebrated its 22nd annual "Spain's Great Match" event which was held at the Frank Gehry-designed IAC Building in NYC's tony Chelsea neighborhood. 



With a showcase of over 300 Spanish wines, there was no shortage of both tried-and-true and brand new sips to be had.  Not to mention an array of specialty food distributors and nibbles from some of NYC's top Spanish restaurants! 

As I strolled through the maze of vendor tables, it came as no surprise that the wineries I frequented the most were those who were pouring Rioja.  My favorite glass was the Marques de Riscal Reserva 2009 DOCA.  Produced from the Tempranillo grape (whose vines are at least 15 years old), the wine is matured in American oak casks for 24 months prior to bottling.  I would describe this particular Rioja as a full body red with a lingering, dry fruit finish.  I loved its intensity, melange of notes (vanilla, toasted oak and plum fruit), and hints of spice and licorice.
Photo found on wine-searcher.com: Rioja As I continued my tour of Spanish wines, I sampled some amazing goat cheese-stuffed olives and, one of my absolute favorite items on the planet, ribbons of salty Jamón Iberico (cured ham from the Iberico black pig, which happens to be one of the last grazing species in Europe). 

Cheese-stuffed olivesJamon!Of course, I saved the best for last!  My favorite tasting of the event was the Anna de Codorniu Brut Rose, NV.  Hailing from the Penedes (DO) region of Spain, this rose is composed of 70% Pinot noir and 30% Chardonnay grapes.  With its incredibly fragrant aromas of red fruit (strawberry and cherry) and green apple, I absolutely fell in love with this wine and its elegant, refreshing finish.  And how about that fabulous pink bottle?

Brut roseIf all of that wasn't enough, the event was attended by super famous Wine Bible author, Karen MacNeil!

...

Until we eat again,

Vanessa Shoman-Duell for The Lunch Belle

Wednesday
Oct142015

(NYC) A 'Journey to the Stars' with Michelin

*This event and article were attended/captured/photographed by Jean Hsu and edited/formatted by The Lunch Belle.  Unless otherwise noted, all photographs were captured by Ms. Hsu.**


The Michelin Guide Gala for 2016 - a culinary celebration in which the 2016 Michelin starred-restaurants are announced - was recently held at the Classic Car Club of Manhattan.  And I got to go!

Prior to the uber-famous Michelin Man making his grand appearance in a roaring yellow Corvette, guests were encouraged to mingle whilst enjoying light canapes and seasonally-inspired cocktails from several of the Guide's Starred restaurants. 

Of those that I sampled, the "Valborg" cocktail from Aquavit Restaurant (Famous Grouse Blended Scotch, grapefruit, and lemongrass-infused aquavit) was my favorite.  Snow Leopard Vodka, Cutty Sark Whisky, a plethora of wines from Napa Valley, plus G.H. Mumm Champagne flowed generously throughout the eve.  Additionally, we were treated to a tasting of Macallan's newest rare cask whiskey - served on the rocks (just how I like it).  And how about those ice cubes (below)?

I must admit - I was a little surprised by how small of a focus there was on food, considering all that I had read - and seen - about this event from prior years.  Mini crab and lobster sandwiches, watermelon bites filled with feta, polenta morsels, and crackers topped with smoked salmon/roe were periodically passed by waiters.  Additionally, there was a long table in the back of the space that featured a grandiose spread of artisanal breads and macaroons from Bridor de France.

After the squishy and adorable Michelin Man made his entrance, Michael Ellis - Managing Director of Michelin Guide - took to the stage and began to announce the Star recipients!  Below are  all of the *new* Stars that were awarded to New York City restaurants.  For the full recipient list, click here:

In regards to the cultural diversity and vegetarian-focus in this year's selection, I was really impressed!!  Congratulations to all of the brand new, additional Stars-gained, and annually-recurring recipients!

...

Until we eat again,

Jean Hsu for The Lunch Belle