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My delicious calendar
  • 6/20-6/23: Milwaukee
  • 6/28-7/7: Turkey & Greece
  • 7/17: Lionel Richie concert
  • 7/20: Rockaway Soiree
  • 8/10-8/19: LA & San Diego
  • 8/31-9/2: Nantucket

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Entries in Parties you weren't invited to (21)


Calling all oyster fanatics in Boston, NYC, and San Francsico...!

*This event and article were attended/captured/photographed by Jean Hsu and edited/formatted by The Lunch Belle*

Picture it: Last Thursday eve, the ultra-exclusive 20th floor of the Hotel on Rivington was abuzz with free-flowing rose wine and freshly-shucked oysters.  What could possibly be more fitting for the launch celebration of Pearl, an oyster app?   

Photo credit: Jean Hsu

What's so cool about the Pearl app is that it can help shape your repertoire and oyster-ordering experience with an alphabetical catalogue of (oyster) names, plus where they're from, and "laymen" keywords to describe the way they taste.  At least for me, oysters are like wine in the fact that they acquire their distinct flavor directly from the environment(s) in which they hail: While I love my West Coast wines (shout out to Napa!), I prefer oysters from the East, due to their brininess and higher salinity content.

Oyster index!With the Pearl app's user-friendly navigation, there are so many fantastic features!  A few, for example: You can like/unlike oysters (a great record-keeper for future reference), and find out which varieties your favorite restaurant is shucking that day!  How f'ing rad is that??

Which oysters is your favorite restaurant serving today?Pearl wasn't the only company launching a new product at last Thursday's soiree: Kevin Joseph, of NY Oyster Week and the founder of Empire Oyster, and Chef Rob McCue introduced Spirited Pearl, which are beautiful liquor-filled (tequila, vodka, whiskey, etc) spheres used as oyster-topping accoutrements.  As you slurp, each "pearl" bursts with the intense flavor of its respective spirit, thus enhancing the mollusk's natural merroir.  My favorite?  The gin Spirited Pearl (as seen in the photo, below)!

(Photo credit: Jean Hsu) A gin Spirited PearlWhat does the future look like for Pearl?  Founder, Sam Asher, sees his company eventually expanding to include a broader range of seafood.  And meat!  He wants to be able to connect people to the specific foods they are seeking - and help lead the consumer/end-user to restaurants that are proud to feature these unique products in their kitchens!  Truly, a symbiotic relationship.

(Photo credit: Jean Hsu) Sam Ash, founder of PearlIn a world with so many processed and unnatural products in our foods, it is nice to know that there is a focus and a future for oysters - nature's true "farm to table" food.  Each mollusk is a precious vessel carrying the flavors of its waters within.  I find it incredible that one can experience the flavors of the New Zealand's Kaipara Harbour at a restaurant located merely blocks from their West Village apartment! 


Until we eat again,

Jean Hsu for The Lunch Belle


One week. Two fetes. Celebrating Sirio Maccioni

How lucky am I to have been invited to not one, but two events for Sirio Maccioni, famous restaurateur and author, in one week? 

Despite having never dined at the famed restaurant, Le Cirque is an establishment/mecca that I have been familiar with my entire life.  From a very young age, I was always fascinated and intrigued by the illustrious NYC dining scene.  And, even though I was reading my monthly issues of Bon Appetit from my bedroom in El Paso, Texas, I was well-aware that there was not a brighter star than Le Cirque (...in fact, it's so famous, that it has its own Wikipedia link!!).  So, you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to attend the book launch for Sirio Maccioni's 'A Table At Le Cirque' at...Le Cirque!


Personalized cocktail napkins for the scrumptious passed hors d'oeuvres, flowing glasses of wine, prosecco, and the open bar~

AranciniSigned copies of 'A Table At Le Cirque' available for purchase~

The who's who of the culinary and food media worlds were in attendance:  Pamela Fiori, who co-authored the book, Susan Magrino, Marc Murphy, Geoffrey Zakarian, Terrance Brennan, and, his majesty, Danny Meyer...

Danny Meyer - Pamela Fiori - Sirio Maccioni...and this lovely woman, seated with Mr. Maccioni.  While I'm not sure who she is, I have a feeling that she definitely is "someone."  I aspire to be this gorgeous at her age!

**Update**  Siva, one of my readers, informed me that this is Carmen Dell'Orefice, the oldest working model in the world.  And it's very clear to me *why.*


As if it were even possible for an event to be more fabulous than the book launch at Le Cirque, last night's preview party for Mr. Maccioni's new Tuscan-inspired restaurant, Sirio Ristorante, was, by far, the most outstanding "food event" that I've attended, to date.

Nestled street-level at The Pierre (a super-fancy, 5-star property), Sirio Ristorante has an incredibly prime location that hugs the corner of 61st Street and 5th Avenue. 

Assuming that event entry would be through the restaurant, itself, guests were instead ushered through the hotel's lobby. 

This sign let guests know that they were headed in the right direction.

The lobby's stunning mezzanine was the first point of event entry.  Guests were gifted with passed hors d'oeuvres and glasses of wine/prosecco.

Mr. Maccioni posed for photo after photo on the step-and-repeat...

There was a plethora of press/media in attendance...

Guests had the option of gracing the restaurant, itself, or the ballroom.  I chose to first check out the ballroom...

Note the incredible fall-centric floral arrangement!

The lighting was among the best I've ever seen...

General merriment...

Bubbly cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres made the rounds and, at each end of the room, there was a full-bar.

A live jazz trio played sexy French tunes.  The singer was fantastic!

I walked across the mezzanine to the handsome restaurant, which was abuzz and filled with guests.  The who's who of New York's high society was in attendance, including Jonathan Tisch and Mayor Bloomberg.  I gawked - and admired - dressy hats, fabulous attire, bags that, easily, cost more than my yearly salary, and gems in every color of the rainbow.

Waiters, passing slightly heavier hors d'oeuvres - plus wine and prosecco, carefully made their way through the maze of impeccably-dressed attendees. 

This is often referred to as "Italian Champagne," because of its never-ending string of bubbles and crisp, dry body.

I particularly fancied the risotto...

...and the meatballs.

After one too many glasses of wine and bubbly - plus a stomach filled with risotto and meatballs - I decided to call it a night.  An outstanding one, at that! 

Party favors were individually-wrapped disks of caramel, dipped in dark chocolate.

FYISirio Ristorante opens today, 10/25/12.  And, as if anyone could ever have their fill of fabulous, my friend - and birthday girl - Tammi and I are headed to there tonight for cocktails and snacks at the bar.  Why not? 


To conclude:  15-20 years ago, this dreamy, head-in-the-clouds teenager would have been in utter disbelief if you told her that her future "grown up" life would involve attending - and writing about - events, book launches, and restaurant openings.  In New York City.  Involving many of the characters she grew up worshiping.  Why?  Because these opportunities and experiences are, truly, unbelieveable.  I still pinch myself every single day.


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


Cranberry bogging in the heart of Rock Center

I love the fall.  From the chill in the air to the warm colors of the season, October through mid-December (which I consider to be fall) is, easily, my favorite time of the year.  And, it also happens to be when my calendar is dotted with some of my most cherished foodie events; namely, Ocean Spray's "Bogs Across America."  The company (Ocean Spray) makes its annual pilgrimage to NYC and sets up a live cranberry bog - filled with 2,000 fresh, floating cranberries - in the heart of Rockefeller Center.

This year, I invited my friend, Robin, to join me at the private cocktail reception held *inside of the bog* - outdoors - at Rockefeller Center (just beyond the ice skating rink)!  While many of the guests exchanged their 'business casual' heels and loafers for waterproof waders and suspenders, the two of us stayed dry - outside of the bog - and enjoyed a plethora of delicious, cranberry-based cocktails and nibbles, catered by Great Performances

Please enjoy my photo collage from, yet another, fantastic Ocean Spray event...

...But first:  Did you know that the famous ice skating rink (at Rockefeller Center) has opened for the season?  Neither did I!

Giant Ocean Spray banner posted outside of 30 Rock! Yummy reception menu, catered by Great Performances"Cherry Bog" Cocktail"Crushed Pineapple Collins" Cocktails

Guests wading inside of the bog!Makeshift bar (on land)Indeed, it is! Thanks for coming with, Robin! :)~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


Swine, wine, and 32 candles...

Good god.  The countdown to my 32nd birthday has begun!  Actually, it's less than a week away.  On freaking Monday, of course.  The worst possible/buzz kill/work-day of the week.  So, because of that tragic detail, I decided to start the birthday festivities early.  As in a week early.  It just wouldn't be "me" if a 7-day-long celebration did not ensue...

After having fallen in love with my initial experience, I decided to throw myself a birthday party aboard last night's Swine & Sparkling Wine-themed cruise.  What better way to kick off the week-long celebration, right?  With coordination assistance from Emily K., Benchmarc Events' Director of Communications, I arranged for about 40-50 friends to join me for all-things-pig and bubbly (...I know, I'm such a good Jew!). 

Since the ship wasn't scheduled to set sail until 8pm, some friends and I met up beforehand at PJ Clarke's on the Hudson (located very close to the cruise dock) for a couple of rounds. 

Once aboard the ship, we clinked our glasses of sparkling wine and noshed on a bountiful pork buffet.  All the while taking in breathtaking views of lower Manhattan, a handful of Brooklyn bridges, and Lady Liberty.  Just about an hour before we docked, I was led to the top deck where my friends gathered  to present me with sparklers and an assortment of cupcakes.  The group serenaded me with a jovial "happy birthday to you," before I blew out a candle and made a couple of wishes for my upcoming year. 

From the weather, the food and drink, and all of the surprises - to being surrounded by so many of my dear friends, last night was one of the greatest birthday celebrations of my entire life.  A big 'thank you' to Emily M., who orchestrated dessert, and to the fabulous team at Benchmarc Events, for being so generous, enthusiastic, and helpful.  I am, truly, the luckiest girl in the world.    


So, what's on deck for the rest of my 'celebratory week,' you ask?  Take a peak...

8/1  Dinner with Devon, my friend in town from San Diego, at La Promenade des Anglais

8/2  Dinner/drinks with Tammi, one of my readers, who I've become good friends with!

8/3  Chillaxing at home with my puppy, Lucy (Yes, I've decided to keep her!) - giving myself a pedicure - and packing for the Hamptons

8/4  Hamptons

8/5  Hamptons

8/6  *Birthday*  Massage at Exhale, followed by dinner at Mexico Lindo (though the venue may change, as it's not my favorite)

Sounds like a pretty damn good week, doesn't it?  Cheers!


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle