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.



Search this site
My delicious calendar
  • 10/26: Macallan tasting event
  • 11/16: dinner at Hwa Yuan
  • 12/28-1/1: Charleston
  • 12/29: dinner at Husk
  • 6/16/18: Josh & Adela's wedding
Contributions & affiliations

Tabelog Reviewer TheLunchBelle




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

Entries in Not-boring culinary education (9)


My Masters program is cooler than yours

Yep.  It's true.  My Masters program IS cooler than your Masters program.  Reason #286:  For last night's "Comparative Cuisine" session, our professor took us out of the classroom and in to the kitchen.  We broke up in to five teams of approximately five/six, and prepared two-three dishes based on traditional Israeli and Palestinian recipes.   My team was assigned to make cheese bourekas and kanafeh.

Cheese bourekas topped with sesame seeds: We even made the dough from scratch!After everyone finished preparing their respective dishes, we sat down and "broke bread" together.  And toasted with Israeli and Lebanese wines. 

Tabbouleh: Chopped red onion, tomato, cucumber, and bulgur saladLabneh: Strained yogurt dip/accompaniment drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with za'atarHummus: Dip/accompaniment made from chickpeas, tahini, oilive oil, and spicesIsraeli chopped salad and fried eggplant slicesChicken schnitzel and Israeli couscousDeconstructed kibbeh: Bulgur, minced onion, and ground lamb Shakshuka: Eggs poached in a robust tomato sauce...and those are just a handful of the dishes from last night.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to snap photos of the gorgeous kanafeh dessert we made - or the other half of the appetizers and entrees!

Considering that we are still early in the semester and many of us are new to the program (we do not know each other yet), I thought that last night's "kitchen class" was a brilliant way for us to interact and bond.


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


A fromage fetish: Sexy Cheeses & Sumptuous Wines

Commitment.  The word, alone, kind of terrifies me.  But especially when it comes to  my precious week nights.  So, you can imagine my angst when I signed up for Tuesday evening's 2-hour "Sexy Cheeses and Sumptuous Wines" cheese course at Artisanal.  Nearly two months ago...

With 45-minutes to spare, I walked across town (towards Artisanal Premium Cheese Center's brutally far-west-side abode), and grabbed a margarita at Angelo Sosa's new Anejo Tequileria & Restaurante.  Although Village Voice claims that they pour NYC's #1 Margarita, I wasn't sold.  Pinche gringos nortenos!  Don't get me wrong, the 'rita was fine/decent, but it wasn't anywhere near the best version in town.  However, the coolest part about Anejo is the fact that their strong margaritas are on-tap!  Not only is this awesome in and of itself, but it cuts the time from customer order to service in half.  This is music to a margarita addict's ears!  Oh, and on weekends, they serve a "prixe-fix & bottomless brunch" for $38, which includes:  Coffee/tea, brunch, plus all of the Bloody Maria's, Mimosas, or Margaritas you can drink!  Seriously, I can't recall the last time I heard something sofa king exciting!


Shortly before the 6:30pm start time, I arrived at Artisanal Premium Cheese Center for my class.  When the elevator opened to the second floor, all I saw were offices.  This is the company's headquarters, after all.  A friendly woman directed me towards the classroom area, which was interrupted by a gathering space.  Bottles of champagne and flutes, plus a sizeable cheese board sat atop a long, rectangular table.  Chairs and ottomans lined the room's perimeter. 

"Please, help yourself to cheese.  Fondue will be coming out shortly.  We're just finishing it up.  Would you like a glass of champagne?"  I almost asked the employee if I was at the wrong class/location, until the instructor approached and introduced herself as "Erin, your teacher for tonight's 'Sexy Cheeses and Sumptuous Wines' class."  Whoa.  They sure didn't do all of this at Murray's Cheese (classes)!  This fromage and bubbles "reception," if you will, lasted from 6:30-7pm, giving each student an ample amount of time to arrive, snack, imbibe, and meet fellow classmates.

Our class began promptly at 7pm.  For the first 30-45 minutes, we learned some interesting history and factoids about cheese.  I was also surprised to discover that this particular location was home to Artisanal's cheese caves!  Hey, you've got to love creative, space-deprived New Yorkers!  But, certainly, the most memorable part of the lecture came when our teacher listed her "top 10 reasons that cheese is sexy."  Shortly thereafter, we began to taste our cheeses and wines, both separately and together. 

Artisanal trademarked their own "cheese clock" that is both logical and user friendly.  We followed the "clock" in class: 

  • At 6 o'clock  Start your cheese plate with young mild goats, double or triple cremes or bloomy rind cheeses.
  • At 9 o'clock  The next type of cheese should be soft to semi-firm, like a mild cow, an aged goat or a sheep milk cheese.
  • At 12 o'clock  Your next cheese can become stronger, bolder and nuttier like hard mountain, long-aged cheddars and mild washed rind ("stinky") cheeses.
  • At 3 o'clock  To finish, choose cheeses with a bigger presence, such as more assertive washed rind cheeses or a classic blue cheese like Roquefort.


The cheeses we sampled are as follows (beginning at "6 o'clock" and moving clockwise).  Note that we tasted each cheese with four different wines.  The "wine pairing" listed by each cheese, below, is what I found ideal with the said sample:

*The cheese plate was accompanied by chunks of fresh baguette.

  1. Geit-in-Stad, Netherlands:  Goat milk / Sweet, mild, grainy, with a "cajeta" aftertaste.  Wine pairing:  Arneis Ceretto 2010, or Valpolicella Classico Superiore Riapsso Buglion 2007
  2. Robiola due Latti, Italy:  Mixed milk (cow and sheep) /  Savory, creamy, with an edible rind.  Wine pairing:  Viura Rioja Cortijo 2010
  3. Taleggio, Italy:  Cow Milk / Salty, soft, melts-in-your-mouth.  Wine pairing:  Arneis Ceretto 2010
  4. Idiazabal, Spain:  Sheep milk / Smoky, nutty, semi-hard.  Wine pairing:  Viura Rioja Cortijo 2010
  5. Appenzeller, Switzerland:  Cow Milk / Nutty, similar in taste to gruyere.  Wine pairing:  Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre Cotes du Rhone Ch. Beauchene 2009   
  6. Gouda, Netherlands:  Cow Milk / Sweet, nutty, flaky, hint of caramel/butterscotch.  Wine pairing:  Arneis Ceretto 2010
  7. Roquefort, France:  Sheep milk / Buttery, pungent, creamy.  Wine pairing:  Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre Cotes du Rhone Ch. Beauchene 2009  


With about 5-minutes left of class, we were informed that, if interested, we could order any one - or all - of the cheeses that we had just enjoyed.  I cannot wait to receive my gouda! 

Cheese classes makes me feel so grown-up and sophisticated.  Having only ever attended similarly-priced Murray's courses, I will never look back:  Without a doubt, Artisanal has the classiest, most bang-for-your-buck, top-notch cheese education program in NYC.  If not the country/world. 

I cannot wait to take another class; in fact, I'm considering hosting a personal event here - after all, my birthday is only months away!  And that's quite a big statement coming from a commitment-phobe!   

Artisanal Premium Cheese

483 10th Avenue

NY, NY 10018

P: 1-877-797-1200


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


Chocolate + love stories with Jacques & Hasty Torres

De Gustibus Cooking School: "Icing On The Cake" class, taught by Jacques & Hasty Torres


Allie Beck, my dear friend and recent FCI grad, invited me as her +1 for Jacques Torres' "Icing On The Cake" class held at the De Gustibus Cooking School.  "Meet me on the 8th floor of Macy's at 5:20pm," she instructed.  "What's Macy's got to do with this?"  I wondered.  Well sure enough, De Gustibus does occupy an ample amount of space on the department store's 8th floor.

I wasn't sure what to expect from, not only this particular "school," but the class itself.  Would we be cooking?  Should I have worn close-toed shoes?  

Our class of approximately 40 students was warmly greeted by Her Culinary Majesty, Arlene Sailhac, who introduced instructors, Jacques "Mr. Chocolat" Torres, and his wife, Hasty "Madame Chocolat" Torres.  Luckily for us students, our only assignment was to observe the Mister and his Missus as they prepared a chocolate tasting, and spoke candidly about everything from cocoa nibs to falling in love.   

Please enjoy some of my favorite snapshots from 3 glorious, Tattinger champagne + chocoloate-filled hours with Mr. and Mrs. Jacques Torres...

Jacques & Hasty TorresFellow classmatesAmuse bouche of sweet chocolate and savory marscapone cheese100% chocolate! Note the purse that she's carrying, which is chocolate, too!I dream of Christian Louboutin pumps made out of solid chocolate...Marshmallow-on-a-stick, dipped in chocolate and rolled in crushed graham crackersTasting plate: clockwise - chocolate marshmallows, peanut brittle drizzled with dark chocolate, mendientsVanilla-bean custard-filled bomboloni: the stuff that death-row wish lists are made of


Food blogging with Steven Shaw: online journalism pioneer, author and James Beard Award-winning food critic

Blogging has taken the worldwide web by storm, leaving the publishing industry to question, "What is the future of print media?

I was honored to have been invited to sit in on the first of six "Food Blogging with Steven Shaw" classes at the International Culinary Center.  Virtual food writing has come a long way since Mr. Shaw began his website, www.egullet.org, in the late 1990's; and even further since I conceptualized The Lunch Belle in the summer of 2007.  Having taught myself how to create/design my blog, I wasn't really aware of the vast array of food-centric resources and how-to courses available.  How naive of me!   

Steven Shaw uses The Lunch Belle (website) as an example in "Food Blogging with Steven Shaw"

The six week course, which lasts for about two hours on Thursday evenings, is perfect for those who wish to start/expand a food blog, but haven't done so or proceeded due to lack of time, confidence, skill, etc.  Mr. Shaw teaches students from step "one" to step "done," using www.wordpress.com as his platform of choice.  In this first class, we learned:

  • Tidbits of the history of print media and how it's rapidly morphing in to web-based media
  • Just how easy it is to procure your own blog on a free platform, such as www.wordpress.com
  • The most successful blogs are updated daily in order to maintain/pique readers' interest

Prior to our first meeting, Mr. Shaw asked that the class bring their cameras.  L'Ecole's manager (who also happens to be a sommelier) prepared a sherry tasting for us, where we were encouraged to take pictures.  As you can see, photography goes hand-in-hand with food blogging.

Sherry tastingOver the course of the six week sessions, Mr. Shaw has lined up visits from some of food industry's "who's who," including: photographer Melissa Hom, Alan Richman, and Adam Roberts.  Additionally, students receive one-on-one email diaglogue and critique with Mr. Shaw between classes.  While the course is pricey (think $795), those who are very serious about getting in to food blogging should look at this fee as an investment towards their future.  Can a price-tag be put on receiving first-hand instruction and insight from some of the culinary industry's greatest leaders? 

In conclusion, I was very impressed with Mr. Shaw's enthusiasm, instruction, knowledge, and engagement.  I cannot wait to virtually follow his students on their journey towards food blogging fame and achievement!


A "Taste of Hell" with Rum and Blackbird

To see all of my pics from this amazing adventure, click *here*

People always ask me how often my parents, who reside in Texas, come to NYC to visit me.  “Um, they come here about once every 1.5-2 years.  Honestly, they think NYC sucks and would prefer that I meet them out West.” You can imagine the shocked looks and questions I receive after stating my answer.  But it’s true, my parents get sick and tired of seeing the same old sights, sitting next to hobos on the subway, and getting treated like shit (well, compared to Texas).  I, on the other hand, am not bothered by that stuff at all.  I love everything about NYC, even amidst all of its grit, claustrophobia and attitude.

So I bet you’re wondering: how does my parents’ dislike for NYC tie in to a culinary walking tour of Hell’s Kitchen?  You’re just going to have to read the rest of this post to find out!

Inspired by a recent trip to Italy, my friend, Moira Campbell, decided that it was time to ditch “Corporate America” and start her own business combining her two favorite pastimes: eating and traveling.  Having fallen in love with her own neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen, Moira wanted the rest of the city/tourists to understand why its gritty western avenues and crowded restaurant blocks kept her on the streets seeking out delicious food in the most unlikely places.  And with that, Rum and Blackbird Tasting Tours, Adventures in Eating” was born.  First line of business on Moira’s proverbial plate? “A Taste of Hell: Hell’s Kitchen Tour,” promising adventurous eaters an unforgettable guided walking tour filled with handmade food and some very infamous Hell’s Kitchen history. 
*Note* Prior to your scheduled tour date, Moira will ask you to disclose if you have any allergies or follow a specific diet (vegetarian, kosher, vegan, etc.), as tasting plates are pre-arranged. My fellow group of “kids that Jewish grandmothers would not be proud of” remained open to whatever tasty treat (be it pork) was in store for us.

On Sunday morning around 11:30am, I met Moira and my friends, Dana and Adam, on the corner of 50th Street and 8th Avenue.  After handing us each a bottle of ice-cold water and a map depicting the order in which we’d taste our way through the neighborhood, the four of us began pounding the pavement.  As I reviewed the list of the culinary destinations we were about to visit, I realized that out of the seven businesses mentioned, I had only been to one!  The reason that is so strange/embarrassing is because I lived in the ‘Kitchen for two solid years!  Looks like I had some serious catching-up to do.
So here’s an idea of how our 3-hour tour worked: at each of the seven spots visited, Moira had previously been in touch with the restaurant/shop.  Upon our arrival at each, a table was set up for the exact number in our party, and at most of the venues, our “tastes” were presented immediately.  We spent about ten minutes at each spot before heading to the next. 

Numbered by exact order visited:
1.    Empanada Mama’s corn-flour ground beef empanada: This was unlike any empanada I’ve tasted (if you’ve never seen an empanada, visualize something along the lines of a fried pie or calzone).  Its maize-colored, corn-based exterior was thicker, denser and slightly harder than the greasy, thin pie dough-like versions that I’m typically used to.  The spicy ground beef filling was perfectly seasoned and gristle-free.  While I couldn’t tell you exactly what they consisted of, both of the accompanying red and green dipping sauces acted as the final piece of the flavor trinity (the corn envelope and fragrant meat being the other two).      
2.    Island Burgers and Shakes’ black & white milkshake: OK, so of all of the spots listed, this was the only one that I’ve actually been to (via delivery).  While I’d never had one of their shakes until the tour, I can say that IB&S makes one of the city’s best burgers.  Only draw-back?  Since the restaurant is so tiny, they don’t have a fryer.  What does that mean?  No fries, no onion rings, etc.  Fortunately, the milkshakes *almost* make up for that character flaw.  Each of us received a glass (not much larger than a shot glass) that had been doused with a splash of chocolate syrup and filled with homemade (from a local source) vanilla ice cream.  This was truly the liquid version of NYC’s own black & white cookie.  
3.    Gazala Place's boureka: I did not believe in heaven, or much else for that matter, until I tasted the boureka from GP.  Imagine, if you will, a circular croissaint measuring 3" wide and 1" thick stuffed with handmade goat's milk yogurt (with the consistency of ricotta cheese) and sour, brined grape's leaves (Can someone confirm if what I ate were grape's leaves?  It's just my guess.).  Instead of making the croissant-like outer envelope of the boureka with butter, Gazala uses solidified olive oil.  If you've not yet tasted this flaky treat for yourself, I would run sprint, not walk, to this humble storefront.  I'm telling you, this pastry changed my negative outlook on life.  Yes, it is that excellent.
4.    Xie Xie’s sweet glazed pork bun: This restaurant has been on my short list of places to check out because of the one-too-many incredible things I've heard about their Asian twist on the traditional New England-style lobster roll.  On this visit, though, we came to sample Xie Xie's sweet glazed pork bun.  Before we were served, I was praying that the Chinese sandwich wasn't going to be stuffed with pork belly...because just like my ex-boyfriend, I'm completely over that crap.  To my oh-so-pleasant surprise, the bun was filled with succulent pieces of gristle-free pulled pork, sprigs of cilantro, and a molasses-colored sweet glaze bursting with notes of soy and hoisin.  Pure perfection. 
5.    La Rosita’s chorizo taco: Believe it or not, this unassuming Mexican deli/restaurant was my least favorite stop on the tasting tour.  While the taco was authentic and homemade (2 warm corn tortillas stacked on top of each other), the chorizo (Mexican sausage) was frightening to look at with its artifical red coloring and even more frightening to taste.  After nearly choking on one-too-many rubbery bits, I couldn't fathom taking another bite of the greasy, gristly mass of bi-products.  Just the memory of this makes me dry-heave.  Blech!
6.    Biscotti di Vecchio's assorted biscotti: Sadly, this was another let-down.  We received baggies filled with four cookies, two chocolate-pistachio and two vanilla-cranberry.  Perhaps I'm biased because I've eaten L'Ecole's fresh-out-of-the-oven-biscotti, but I found these to be dry and stale-tasting.
7.    Poseidon Bakery’s alfali: I love any dessert soaked in honey, so this Greek delight was a major shoe-in.  Imagine a piece of baklava shaped like a wheel of brie cheese, with the phyllo dough completely enveloping the sweet's nutty interior.  There was a burst of liquefied honey in each and every toothsome bite.  To. Die. For.


For $49, I learned more about my old neighborhood's unique history, tasted delicious foods from around the world, got 2-mile's worth of walking/exercise, and had a great time with my friends.  Upon speaking with my mother shortly after the tour, she made a brilliant, and quite shocking (for her, the NYC hater, that is), point: this is the kind of activity that locals, first-time NYC visitors and experts alike will enjoy"We must do this the next time I'm in town," she gushed.  And I could not agree more.  There is no better way to get a more delicious and authentic taste of the Big Apple.


P.S. For menus and addresses: http://www.menupages.com/
P.S.S. Mass transit directions: http://www.hopstop.com/?city=newyork


Updated: New York Culinary Experience, day 2: "Seasonal Greenmarket Plates" with Alexandra Guarnaschelli; lunch Q&A series with Dan Barber; "Classic American Desserts" with Melissa Murphy

Click *here* for all pictures from this event   

Day 2: Sunday, 10/4
10am-12:15pm: “Seasonal Greenmarket Plates” with Alexandra Guarnaschelli

I was thrilled to begin my Sunday morning with Food Network star and executive chef of NYC’s Butter restaurant, Alex Guarnaschelli.  “I fell in love with you on ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate.’  You are so funny,” I gushed, realizing that my creepy compliment just came out like word vomit.  You know that gross feeling you get after one too many cocktails?  You’re lying in bed and the room is spinning out of control.  And before you know it, you’re dramatically hugging the porcelain god, as if you were bidding adieu to your long-distance boyfriend.  Word vomit is “alcohol vomit’s” first cousin: it happens when you’re so excited about someone or something, that an uncontrollable gush of awkward compliments/opinions, etc. come shooting out of your mouth.  “Hahaha, thank you,” Chef Alex chuckled, “That is definitely one show where the Food Network can call me up at any given time and I’m thrilled to participate.”  I couldn’t believe it; maybe I hadn’t geeked her out, after all.  Aside from Chef’s sense of humor, I knew there was a reason that I adored this woman so much.

Both the kitchen and the amount of participants appeared to be bigger than yesterday’s (class with Marcus Samuelsson). Since I was covering this class for my website, I played more of an observant role, taking lots of notes and pictures rather than cooking

Why are you so obsessed with Chef Alex?
Alex Guarnaschelli was someone that I was drawn to from the moment she opened her mouth.  "Sunday is my day off, but here I am!  Clearly, I must enjoy working on my day off, since my new television show on the Food Network is called "Alex's Day Off!"  She’s funny as hell, down to earth and doesn’t put herself on the “I’m a famous chef and you’re not” pedestal.  I swear, I felt like I’ve known her for years!  During Sunday’s class, Alex used descriptions such as “ginormous” and “ghetto fabulous,” before proceeding to tell the class that “leeks aren’t sexy,” and “in order to pick the best vegetables at the market, you’ve got to fondle them!  Who gives a good god damn if people look at you funny?  Enough said.

What did you learn?
How cool is this?  Lee Anne Wong, a contestant from season 1 of “Top Chef,” formally introduced Chef Alex to the class.  Of the 2+ hours scheduled for our course, Chef spent half of the time speaking, which didn’t bother me one bit!  Ms. Guarnaschelli is certainly a person that I could bare listening to for hours on end.  Here are some points that I took particular interest in/learned from:
  • For the best-tasting vegetables, make sure to purchase them whole (we’re talkin’ stems-on and roots in tact)…not pre-cut, chopped, etc.
  • Store artichokes and herbs (not together) in a vase of water, just as you would do for fresh flowers.
  • For Alex, buying “organic” isn’t as important as knowing both the farm and farmer that raised the fruit/vegetable.  A personal favorite worth mentioning?  Chef swears by Stokes Farm in Old Tappan, New Jersey.
  • Alex’s favorite days to shop farmer’s markets in NYC are Wednesday’s and Saturday’s.  To keep abreast of schedules/happenings at markets across the city, follow this link: www.cenyc.org.
  • Never toast nuts in a saucepan, rather, utilize the oven’s 360-degrees’ worth of heat.
  • Unlike pasta, vegetables should not be cooked al-dente.
  • Always taste the seasoned water you plan to use before boiling your vegetables.  Add salt!
  • Chef Alex swears by “Le Blanc” nut oils.  Click *here* for more info about the brand.
 How many recipes was the class assigned to cook?
There were four recipes.  Forgive me, but I don’t have their given names.  
  • Grilled shrimp with walnut pesto and pan-roasted fennel bulbs
  • Chicken liver crostini (no picture)
  • Leeks vinaigrette
  • Swiss chard & leek gratin (no picture)
 How was the class divided?
Twenty-four students were divided in to six groups of four.  Here’s the part that shocked me: every group was assigned to make one of each recipe…in one hour!!  Needless to say, the class ran over time a bit, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that most groups accomplished the tedious 4-recipe task!

So, how was the food?

While I didn’t lay a finger on the chicken liver (not a fan) and wasn’t able to taste the gratin (it wasn’t ready when I had to scoot out for lunch), I was lucky enough to sample the shrimp and the leeks vinaigrette.  As you can see in the pictures below, this was truly a feast for all of the senses.  My biggest, and most delightful, surprise came from the roasted fennel bulbs!  I was expecting to be overwhelmed by a perfumey, licorice aftertaste; but to my delight, the bulbs were mild, buttery and soft with a similar consistency to a sautéed onion.

To my not-so-pleasant surprise, today’s lunch spread, courtesy of Southern Hospitality, was identical to yesterdays.  It reminded me of dinners at grandma’s house: the lady was a good cook when she wanted to be, but 9 times out of 10, she would serve us reheated food from her overstocked freezer.  “Ew,” I would whisper to my mom, “this is the same junk we ate for dinner here last time!”  And by “last time,” I was referring to the prior month.  The freezer burn aftertaste was almost too much to bear, prompting my parents to make religious trips to the Taco Bell drive-thru post-dinner.

Lunch Q&A series: Gillian Duffy interviews Dan Barber

Gillian Duffy’s interview with Dan Barber (a.k.a. the East Coast’s male version of Alice Waters) was brilliant.  As a child, Barber fell in love with the land and the lifestyle at his grandmother’s cattle farm in the Berkshires (Massachusetts), which was quite a world apart from his home in Manhattan's Upper Eastside.  

“You can’t co-op local (food)…the best way to educate people is to have them taste delicious food…a (food) revolution can come through good flavor…my definition of sustainability is buying or participating in a food chain that betters ecology,” explained Barber.  

Despite my undying love for Q'doba cheese dip, I greatly respect and appreciate the farm-to-table/local food systems’ movement.  Others, including Barack and Michelle Obama, who dined at Barber's Blue Hill restaurant on a recent visit to Manhattan, would agree.  This year alone, Dan Barber was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 of the world’s most influential people,” and James Beard’s “Outstanding Chef.”    

"Classic American Desserts" with Melissa Murphy 

What's a more "Classic American Dessert" than apple pie?

The recipe was divided in to three parts: pie dough, peanut butter crumb topping, and apple filling made with homemade caramel.

Boiling sugar and water to make homemade caramel.  The finished product was later be folded in to the sliced apples, serving as the pie's filling.

My work-station neighbor, Dara, carefully boiling caramel.

All-butter pie crust eagerly waiting to be drowned with caramel-laden apple slices.

The gorgeous finished product, baked by Chef Melissa Murphy.  *Note the crumbly topping, which was a mix of: chopped peanuts, peanut butter, brown sugar and butter.

While each of the class participants created individual pies, we were told that they (the pies) needed 1.5 hours to bake.  "You all can pick up your pies at 6:30pm," Chef said.  "In the meantime, please feel free to take any leftover ingredients home with you."

Dara and I looked at each other with wide eyes.  "No way in hell am I waiting around for my pie until 6:30pm!  Shoot, it's just 4:45pm right now," I chuckled before filling up containers with my leftover ingredients.

Isn't Chef adorable?  Watch out though, she's no joke in the kitchen!  Our group of three got reprimanded one too many times.

Since I was too impatient to wait 1.5 hours for the pie I made in class to bake, I decide to make an apple tart at home using my remaining pie dough and apple filling.