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
Contributions & affiliations

Tabelog Reviewer TheLunchBelle

 

 

Login
My delicious calendar
  • 6/20-6/23: Milwaukee
  • 6/28-7/7: Turkey & Greece
  • 8/10-8/19: LA & San Diego

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

Entries in Product reviews (35)

Thursday
Oct222015

(NYC) Stick With Me: This ain't your mama's chocolate shop!

Chocolatier/dessert shop: Stick With Me Sweets

  • Cuisine: Handmade chocolate, high-end sweets
  • Location: 202-A Mott Street - NYC 10012  
  • Pricing: $-$$
  • What's delicious: Bonbons, caramels
  • Perfect for: Dessert takeaway (single-serve or for groups/events), foodies, art buffs, gifts for the girl/guy who "has everything"
  • Menu: Click here

...

En route to meet my cousins for brunch a few Sunday's ago, I happened upon a very curious shop on Mott Street.  I say "curious," because its signage was in the shape of a candy wrapper!  And we all know what a sugar whore I am, no matter if the time of day is early afternoon or, in this case, 10:30AM. 

The wording on the 'candy wrapper sign' read "Stick With Me," so I just assumed it was a shop that sold Venus flytraps or the like.  Just kidding...

You had me at "chocolate."Needless to say, I was shocked to see that a specialty candy shop was already open at 10AM - on a Sunday - until I remembered that "I wasn't in Kansas Los Angeles anymore."  Just another reason why I love NYC so goddamn much.  Upon peering in the window, I was hesitant to enter as there was a live photo-shoot.  However, after having locked eyes with one of the employees, she smiled and mouthed, "Come in!"

Inside the small shop, white-washed exposed brick walls anchored metal shelves that were lined with handmade, decoratively-wrapped delectables in the form of: Flavored marshmallows, chocolate bark, nougat, truffles, and nut butters. 

Row after row of heaven!Just beyond the treat-lined wall was an L-shaped glass case filled with gorgeous bonbons, flavored caramels, and petit-fours.  "We were founded by Susanna Yoon, the former chocolatier at Per Se," employee, Nina, mentioned.  "We've only been open since December 2014, but business has been really great!"  From the moment I stepped foot within the shop, I knew I was going to be in for something special; but it wasn't until Nina mentioned "Per Se" that I was confident this experience would be transcendent.  "Since we're almost done with the photo shoot," she advised, "many of the bonbons are already cut in to halves.  Feel free to sample them and take as many photos as you'd like!"  Wow, was she serious?  Talk about amazing timing on my part!

Of the plethora that I sampled, the "P.B. & Jelly" bonbon was my favorite.  It was so exquisite, in fact, that I purchased a box of 6 as a hostess gift for my upcoming stay with my sister at her new home in Miami.

FYI: Stick With Me carries 24 (bonbon) flavor varieties!

And then there were those gooey, uniquely-flavored caramels!  'Yuzu & Salt,' anybody?  Yes, please!  Actually, make that a 'hell yes!'

Being the world's biggest fan of southern-style petit-fours (in essence, bite-sized cake drowned in a tooth achingly-sweet icing), I simply could not keep my eyes off of the mini "birthday cakes" displayed in the cake/dessert case adjacent to the bonbons.  "Oh my gosh, Nina," I exclaimed, "I simply must have one of the pink cakes to-go!  That is the cutest thing I've ever seen!!"

Although I wouldn't sample the cake until later that evening, I will say that, while the interior "cake" portion was scrumptious, the icing was gummy and a bit flavorless. 

Despite being a bit full when I arrived at brunch, I could not have been happier!  Not only had I crossed a task off of my "to do" list (buy sister a hostess gift), but I found a unique - even by NYC standards - dessert shop that is, truly, one of a kind!  To be honest, I hesitated posting this recap because, selfishly, I don't want to worry about any of you *also* bringing bonbons to the next party we're at together!

For a full list of menu items, click here.

...

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle 

Friday
Aug282015

Chocolate, peanut butter, and Niman Ranch beef: Recuperating with MUNCHERY

One of the pluses of living in LA is that my folks, who reside in Texas, are just a non-stop flight away.  So when I learned that I had to have surgery, I asked my mom to come in town and take care of me.  #MamasGirl #8GoingOn35

In planning our meals for that week, Mom mentioned that it would be a good idea for us to make a large supermarket run so that we could nosh and nest without having to leave my apartment.   "That's cute and all, Mom," I said, "but you don't even cook!  What are we going to eat for dinner, popcorn?"  She laughed.  "It's true, though!" I exclaimed.  "And it's not like I'll be able to cook."  She agreed.  Granted, there was always Blue Apron (too labor intensive) or Seamless Web (the options in LA suck) and Postmates/Caviar (great selections, but too expensive), but I had a better idea...

Munchery, a meal delivery service that I had already been utilizing for a few weeks leading up to my surgery, could not have been a better option for those first few post-operative days.  And nights.  With meals and snacks created by local chefs (think along the lines of LA's very own Roy Choi) who have worked at some seriously brag-worthy restaurants (ahem, Spago and Providence to name a few), each chilled order is hand-delivered to your door, literally "ready to heat when you want to eat."  Here's the nitty-gritty of how it all works!

With the ability to peruse Munchery's menu for the upcoming week, I ordered the following selections - to be delivered between 6-7PM - for the eve post my procedure:

With the exception of the mediocre tortilla soup, every other dish was, quite literally, life-altering.  I mean, who the hell would have thought that you could savor one of the best burgers YOU'VE EVER HAD IN YOUR LIFE (yes, I really just said that) courtesy of a meal delivery service?  In the comfort of your own home, no less!  Well, when you start with a patty is constructed of sous-vide cooked Niman Ranch ground beef, you already know that you're in for something incredibly special.  Add to that an assortment of crucial "make-your-own-burger" accoutrement: Brioche bun, California cheddar, apple wood-smoked bacon, sliced red onion, caramelized onions, sliced tomato, butter lettuce, mayo, ketchup, and a secret sauce.  And some really, really delicious and salty kettle-cooked potato chips.

Photo courtesy of Munchery

I may have still been high from the anesthesia, but here's one sensation that I will not soon forget: When I took my first bite of the Peanut Butter Chocolate Tart, I had a full-body orgasm.  With a buttery, crumbly, chocolate-cookie crust that gave way to a generous amount of creamy homemade peanut butter suffocated by a layer of chocolate ganache, how could I not??  Oh my fcuking god.  WOW!    

Photo found on Pinsta.Me

For those of you who don't live in LA, I pity you.  Why?  Because you will never taste these fcuking glorious items.  However, with Munchery available in other US cities - SF, Seattle, and NYC - I'm confident that there are plenty of stellar meals/snacks that I will never get to experience, either.  I suppose it's a fair trade-off!

Want to check out Munchery for $10 off your first two orders?  CLICK HERE!  Oh, and you're welcome in advance ;-)

...

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


 

Wednesday
Jul292015

(NYC) App review: NightOwl

The thing about LA is that it's the proverbial red headed step-child of NYC.  And rightfully so!  Sorry, LA, but it's true: Everything happens New York.  And everything happens in New York first.  From the hottest new workout sensation and organic "make your own salad" joint (I'm talking about you, sweetgreen!) - to fashion and trends in every single market, the Big Apple will always reign supreme. 

And speaking of yet another thing that hasn't quite made its way to the City of Angels: NightOwl - a smart, mood-based bar/nightlife recommendation app.  Think of it as the Seamless Web (or another website where you can filter what you're craving by almost any genre under the sun) of bar-hopping.  

Here's how it works:

  • NightOwl pulls data that's scattered around the web - along with its user-submitted tags - to get you to a bar that you'll love for any situation.
  • These tailored bar recommendations will be based on the time and day of the week of your search...because we all know that a hungover Sunday afternoon is completely different than a raring-to-go Friday night at "quittin' time."

I mean, imagine the possibilities!  I can think of like 10 situations/week where I'd use NightOwl: Happy hour, girl's night, celebratory post-work cocktails (Let's pretend someone got promoted! Bahahhah, as if!), blind date, brunch 'drink and drown' options...shall I continue?  Sorry, I like love to drink!

Open the app - filter by location, then "categories" and "features"...and review your custom results!OK, NYC: If you didn't already download this app after reading the second paragraph in this post, what the hell are you waiting for?  Seriously, do it!  It's free!  And amazing!  And so necessary!  And...so not yet in LA.  Sigh...

...

Until we drink again,

The Lunch Belle

Thursday
Sep112014

Your grocer's freezer: Frozen meals that don't suck. And where to find them.

"Frozen meals that don't suck."  Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?  Well, for the most part, it is.  Frozen meals do suck!  I mean, is there anything more repulsive than the gnarly dusting of chopped tomatoes that top that frozen organic pizza?  Or the fake grill marks that are, quite literally, *drawn* on vegetables?  And how about those dinosaur-shaped nuggets that are made from "mechanically-separated" chicken?  Ewwww!  Gross!   

Just call me the "frozen food martyr."  In an effort to save a few bucks for weekday lunch (...OK, fine, and dinner), I've been bringing frozen meals to work and microwaving them in our communal pantry.  As depressing as that - and eating at my desk - sounds, the worst of it all is making awkward small talk with other coworkers who are doing the same GD thing.  Anyhoo, the point here is that I've tasted my fair share of this shet. 

The meals listed, below, are the best of the best of what's out there.  *Note that I stay away from anything that contains meat/poultry, as I don't trust that what's actually used is of any higher quality than the mystery meat in my dog's kibble

...

TaDah Falafel Wraps (Ralph's)

My tip: Because falafel can get dry, make sure to have a side of salsa or tzatziki dipping sauce (make yourself with Greek yogurt, dill, salt, pepper, and garlic) on the side.  Photo credit: TaDah Foods

Evol's Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese (Ralph's, Vons/Pavillion's, Target)

My tip: This makes a great side dish suitable for two people.  Or one person, if you have an appetite like mine...Photo credit: Evol Foods

Amy's Kitchen: Mexican Casserole Bowl (sold at practically every supermarket, bodega, Target, etc. out there)

My tip: Follow the "conventional oven" directions, if you can.  Otherwise, the microwaved version is perfectly fine, too.Photo credit: Amy's

Trader Joe's Cheese & Green Chile Tamales (Trader Joe's)

My tip: These beauties are totally satisfying, authentic, and unbelievably delicious.  Pair with salsa and enjoy!

Trader Joe's Korean Scallion Pancakes/Pa jeon (Trader Joe's)

My tip: Griddle on stove top and serve with soy sauce to dip.  This is one of the most mouth-watering products available in the frozen aisle, in my humble opinion.

 

What are some of your favorite frozen meals?  Have you ever tried any of the selections that I listed, above?