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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Entries in News you can actually use (95)


'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


Exciting news + an iPhone/iPad app coming to 'The Lunch Belle'

Dear readers,

The time has *finally* come for a bigger, better, and much more user-friendly 'Lunch Belle.'  When I began this website in July 2007, I was a computer novice in every sense of the word.  Hell, I thought that HTML was an abbreviation for "hot male."  Luckily, those days are behind me; I've come a long way, and I'm proud to say that I've single-handedly managed every aspect of 'The Lunch Belle'...until now.

This past July, I celebrated my website's fourth birthday.  However, for the past three of those four years, I've stumbled around wondering, "How do I take 'The Lunch Belle' to the next level?  How do I keep up with the pace of technology?  How can I make this site as user-friendly and as helpful as possible for my audience?"  After plenty of unsuccessful Google searches and other failed attempts, I decided to take a back seat, hoping that it, whatever "it" may be, would come to me.

Well, sometimes, things just fall in to your lap.  And, in my particular case, something very recently fell in to mine.  As in one-month-ago, recently.  An old colleague, who just so happens to be a software developer, propositioned me about the idea of creating an iPhone/iPad application for my website.  "Of course!"  I exclaimed.  We met up in person and discovered that after scrolling through my website together, aside from just creating these applications, there was so much more that we could do to and with 'The Lunch Belle!'  Pretty exciting, right?  

Just so you know, there's a lot of work going on behind the scenes here at 'The Lunch Belle.'  I am so thrilled to say that I will finally be able to bring you, my dear readers, an iPhone and iPad application, in addition to a much more user-friendly website.  I've been waiting for a long time to see this day near.  Now, before I let you go, I have a couple of questions:

  • What features would you like to see on 'The Lunch Belle' mobile application?
  • Do you own an iPhone and/or an iPad?
  • In general: what, in your opinion, would make this website more user-friendly/easier to navigate?
    • Are you able to find what you're looking for in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Do you have any other questions/comments?

Please let me know your thoughts/answers.  I'd love, love, love to hear from you!  Thank you all for keeping me going for the past 4+ years.  Here's to many, many more!  Cheers!


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


The Amazing PIZZA Race: get your *discounted* tickets here!  

On Sunday, September 25, at 12:30 PM, Neighborhood Eats and POGO Events are teaming up to present The Amazing PIZZA Race - an exciting and delicious contest taking place in the busy streets of NYC.  Teams of hungry New Yorkers will race around Manhattan, following a set of clues leading to various pizzerias all over town.  At each location, the teams will get to sample a variety of mouth-watering pizza pies, all while having an Amazing Race and adventure!  As an added bonus, all participants will receive a one year membership to the Neighborhood Eats dining program!

Best of all?  Because you’re a loyal ‘Lunch Belle’ reader, use this code to get 50% off of the original ticket price upon checkout: lunch1.  So, what are you waiting for?  Buy your tickets (and get more infoHERE!

To find out more about Neighborhood Eats go to http://www.neighborhood-eats.com

To find out more about POGO Events go to


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


Weekend wishes & Atlantic City dreams

Dear readers,

TGIF!  I apologize for the lack of posting this week.  For some reason, 4-day work weeks always seem to progress at the speed of molasses, despite how many tasks you may have on your plate.  These first few days of September have already proven to me that Fall is, in fact, here.  From the subtle chill in the air to the fact that every bike is now occupied at my 6am spinning class, I'm slowly being forced to come to terms with the end of this three-month-long 'easy breezy paralysis.'  And, clearly, everyone else is, too.

But before I kick Fall in to high gear, I wanted to send you all off with a wrap-up of my Labor Day weekend adventure in Atlantic City, NJ.  That, plus a couple of my personal tips, should you find yourself out there any time in the future. 

Best wishes for a lovely weekend!  *And don't forget that Sunday marks the ten-year anniversary of September 11th.*


Atlantic City, NJ


  • We chose to take an Academy bus from Port Authority, which dropped us at the first stop: the Trump Plaza (resort).  Door to door, the trip time was approximately 2-hours and 15-minutes.
    • A roundtrip ticket will run you $36, plus you receive a $25 casino voucher!  Talk about a deal!
    • Make sure to arrive one-hour before your bus' departure time, so that you can purchase a ticket and be guaranteed a seat.  Tickets can also be purchased online.
    • Bring hand sanitizer: there is not a sink/soap in the bus' restroom and, more often than not, there is no hand sanitizer, either.  Ew! 
  • Getting around "town": cabs are readily available, but make sure to have cash on-hand.


  • We stayed at The Water Club at Borgata.  Shut up.  The rates here are pricey but, luckily, we were able to cram four girls in to one room. 
    • The only reason that I would stay here again, aside from the fact that our room was gorgeous and very well thought/laid-out: this "portion" of the hotel has an outdoor pool; the Borgata does NOT. 
    • Bottom line: stay at The Water Club in the summer - stay at the Borgata in the colder months, as they have an indoor pool complex.
    • Speaking of the outdoor pool at The Water Club: the policies and layout are simply RIDICULOUS.  Are you ready for this?  1) On the day that you check-in to the hotel, you are not allowed access to the pool until 3pm on weekdays/4pm on weekends.  2) There is only one entrance to the pool.  3) The actual "pools" are relatively tiny, especially for the size of the hotel.  This includes the amount of surface area surrounding the pool and the number of chaise lounges.  4) If you want to score a chaise lounge, wake up at 6:30/7am and head to the pool to mark your territory.  Drape a towel over your desired chair + leave another piece of collateral (magazine, water bottle), and then return to bed until you're ready for sun exposure.  5) Make sure to choose a chaise lounge by the pool CLOSEST TO THE BAR - NOT the pool closest to the entrance.  This area clouds over at 3pm, sharp.  Trust me.
    • Room-service menu highlights: cheeseburger + fries
    • Pool menu highlights: scrambled-egg breakfast sandwich + rosemary potatoes
    • Old Homestead Steakhouse: they make a mean steak + tasty bread basket.  The side dishes were atrocious, as were the desserts.  Stick with the beef.
    • DO NOT waste your time eating at the Sunroom.  The service sucked to the point that it overshadowed the 'mediocre at best' food.


  • Come to Atlantic City with cash (try to avoid using the ATM machines in the casinos, which charge incredibly inflated fees) - not enough to where you feel uncomfortable, but at least $100.
  • Bring non-perishable snacks from home so that you don't have to purchase them at the hotel (granola bars, nut mixes, etc.).  Great for when you get poolside munchies!
  • If an event sounds like it's too good to be true, it probably is (*cough, cough* DJ Pauly D).  My friends and I bought tickets to see DJ Pauly D perform at The Pool After Dark, only to be extremely disappointed when his diva ass didn't show up until 5-hours after he was slated to arrive.  Fail!
  • Stay away from guys who get their eyebrows waxed and wear more hair gel than, well, DJ Pauly D. 


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


"Hop to" this hot deal for 'Lunch Belle' readers!

Life in NYC is trying; it will test every last strand of your patience.  And, just when you think you have it all figured out, the mean streets of Gotham will hurl yet another curve ball your way. 

Have you ever found yourself in one of the following situations?

  • Your apartment (or "space," if you live in NYC) has turned in to a scene from Hoarders, and you're getting to the point where you'd rather be anywhere - even at work! - other than home.  You've considered hiring a maid but, after looking at prices, realized that it's out of your budget.
  • You live in an apartment building without all of the bells and whistles (read: no doorman or maintenance staff), and/or you and "Mr. Fix-it" are no longer dating.  Face it, you need help: installing that chandelier - hanging drapes - mounting your flat screen television to the exposed brick wall across from the sofa - rearranging furniture to make your space more "feng shui" - etc.
  • "Oh, wait.  I have to assemble this IKEA furniture myself?"
  • "I really want the iPhone 4 (or whatever number they're on now), but I don't have time to stand in that god awful line at the Apple store.  Now what??"
  • You're moving to a new apartment and don't want to hire an expensive company. 
  • You need to exchange your current cable box for a newer one at Time Warner, but their hours perfectly match the ones at your day job.  How is this going to work?
  • Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

Does any of the above sound familiar? 

Just when I thought that I was on the brink of yet another NYC-induced melt down, fate stepped in: I was introduced to Task Rabbit, a company created to make the lives of us on-edge New Yorkers (and folks in Boston, the San Fransisco Bay area, Los Angeles, and Orange County) that much easier.   

What is Task Rabbit?  A service that connects you/me with "rabbits," or employees (all of whom have successfully completed a multi-step application processs, including a criminal background check, video interview, and essay), who can help you get the job done.  Whatever that job may be.  Think Craigslist, minus the "Is this legit?" factor.

How does Task Rabbit work?  Post your desired task on the website, including how much money you will pay for the job.  Now, sit back while "rabbits" make you offers!  And don't worry, your credit card will not be charged until the task is closed.  

Watch the video, below, for a super quick interactive tour! 

So, what's in it for you?  Because you're a 'Lunch Belle' devotee, Task Rabbit is giving you $30 to use towards your first Task!  Considering that each Task typically goes for $20-$30, this is a HUGE deal and savings! 

So, are you ready to make your life a little bit easier?  Free up some time in that busy schedule of yours?  Then click here to get started - and please use the following $30 discount code upon checkout: TLBREADERS 

***FYI: this code is good for all locations that Task Rabbit covers: NYC, Boston, San Fransisco Bay area, Los Angeles, and Orange County, CA***

You're welcome, in advance!


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

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