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  • 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 Schmoozing with famous people (52)


Tom Colicchio is hosting a party...and you're invited!

Dear readers,

Please join me for one of my favorite events:  Children of Bellevue's 16th Annual "Toast to the Children."  Hosted by celebrity chef, Tom Colicchio, you can expect a star-studded evening filled with fabulous food and wine.

WhereRiverpark, 450 E. 29th Street (at 1st Avenue)

When:  Tuesday, April 24th

  • 6:30pm start time for VIP / 7:30pm for general admission.  Event closes at 10pm.

Why:  This annual gala, which raises vital funding for the pediatric programs at Bellevue Hospital, is one of New York City’s premier food and wine tasting events.  Tickets are $500 for VIP/Patron (includes admission to a VIP reception and access to an exclusive area showcasing passed hors d’oeuvres + champagne), and $275 for general admission.  A generous portion of the ticket price is tax-deductible; all proceeds go directly to the pediatric programs that serve the children and families at Bellevue Hospital Center.

Ticketsclick here to purchase online!

  • $500 for VIP / $275 for general admission

Details:  More than 450 guests will get to taste signature dishes from some of New York’s finest restaurants - sample wines from around the world - and mingle with celebrity chefs and fellow foodies...including fan favorites from Top Chef and Top Chef:  Just Desserts! 

This year’s list of participating restaurants includes:  Barbuto, Blue Smoke, Colicchio & Sons, Craft, Craftbar, Frankies 457 Spuntino, Hearth, Jacques Torres Chocolate, Lincoln Ristorante, Monkey Bar, Pearl Oyster Bar, Perilla, Rappahannock River Oysters, Riverpark, Saxon + Parole, South Gate, and The Hurricane Club.  Wines will be chosen by sommelier and James Beard Award nominee, Paul Grieco (co-owner and sommelier of Hearth and Terroir).   ZYR vodka will be serving special cocktails, and coffee will be provided by Stumptown. 

2012's “Toast to the Children” honorees

  • TODAY Show's co-anchor, Al Roker, and senior producer, Jaclyn Levin, for “Al’s Book Club for Kids”
  • Marcus Samuelsson, for his contributions to the culinary world and his philanthropic endeavors.


Thanks, in advance, for your support!  I hope to see you on Tuesday, April 24th!


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle



A recap: Day 3 of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Sunday.  "God's Day."  And, for Emily and I, the perfect day to sleep-in after an adventurous, rambunctious, and very late night.  It's not often that yours truly stays in bed until 10:30am but, last Sunday, it just felt appropriate.  A bit rebellious, if you will.  And oh-so comfortable. 

When we finally came to, Em and I decided that this would be the perfect afternoon to wander over to uber-famous Joe's Stone Crab for lunch.  After all, the sky was cloudy and the wind was angry.  There wasn't a chance in hell that either of us would get a lick of color on our winter-white skin.

As luck would have it, the moment that we arrived at Joe's, the sky miraculously returned to its familiar shade of blue... Sigh.

Em and I didn't realize how large Joe's was.  Within moments of stepping out of the taxi, we were approached by an employee who informed us that "the restaurant is not open for lunch on Sunday's, but you can get take-away and sit in the market."  

Alrighty thenIf you can snag a seat at the bar, you will be served, as opposed to having to fetch items yourself! Trust me on this one, it's worth it! Plus, not too many folks know this precious tidbit of info...Joe's Stone Crabs! Fried green tomatoes!Key Lime PieIf you've never had the pleasure of tasting stone crab for yourself - and plan to be in Miami - Joe's is an absolute MUST!  You have not had crab until you've had stone crab.  Trust me!

Joe's Stone Crab:  11 Washington Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139


From lunch, we hopped in to a cab en route to the Miami Convention Center for our first event of the afternoon:  "Bank of America Lifestyle Seminar - Foods and Fine Wines of the Rich and Famous," with Ariane Daguin & Andrea Robinson.  Unfortunately, the event held in the room prior to ours was running over, and Em and I had to be in Coral Gables before 4pm.  It was already 3:15pm!  Alas, we had to make the painful, executive decision to skip the Seminar and, instead, head straight to the 'Gables.


First (but, technically 2nd) event of the afternoon:  "Swine & Wine," presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats and hosted by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos.

Our ding-dong of a cab driver mistakenly assumed (emphasis on ass) that, by us telling him that we needed to go to Coral Gables, we meant the mall in Coral Gables!  Not "The Biltmore" in Coral Gables.  So, nearly an hour and 20 extra dollars later, we arrived at the sprawling and fabulous Biltmore Hotel.

The Biltmore Hotel: yep, you've seen it in the movies.Held in one of The Biltmore's outdoor patios was, without a doubt, my favorite event of the entire weekend!  More than a dozen chefs from across the country were chosen to prepare their own special version of a whole-roasted Duroc & Hampshire-breed pig.  To accompany, the hotel provided various Cuban savory dishes and bite-sized desserts.  Padron and La Flor Dominicana were also on-hand to gift smokers with gratis cigars.  A gent's favorite way to commence or end a pig-out! 

Spotted:  the gorgeous Debi Mazar, Marc Murphy, Jonathan Waxman, Michael White, Seamus Mullen, Marcela Valladolid and, my personal favorites, The Real Housewives of Miami, who were filming on-location!  #starstruck

Participating Chefs & Featured Menu Items:

Nick Anderer:  Maialino al Forno
Yuhi Fujinaga:  Suckling Pig with Heirloom Bean Casoullet, Morcilla Dip with Chicharones
Mayor Carlos Gimenez:  Pan con Lechon
Ingrid Hoffmann:  Mini Pulled Pork Taco Bowl with Guava Salsa Negra & pickled Mustard Seeds
Linton Hopkins:  Chopped Smoked Pig, Buttermilk Johnny Cakes, Craklin'and Pickel Salad
Mark Ladner:  Bolito Misto Terrina alla Paesana              
Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos:  Tuscan Porchetta Sandwich
Marc Murphy:  Southern Stryle "Porchetta" with Corn Bread & Andouille Stuffing
Seamus Mullen:  Smoked Berkshire Pork Jowl & Whole Suckling Pig
Jorge Padrón:  Tradicional Lechon Asado
Isiah Thomas:  Brined Baby Swine with Passion Fruit Habanero Mojo
Marcela Valladolid:  Cochinita Pibil
Jonathan Waxman:  Blood Orange Pig Tacos
Michael White & Bill Dorrler:  Porchetta Tigelle con Pesto di Lardo e Salsa Verde
Event menuEvent
Maialino's "Maialino al Forno"Mango mojitos! (Don't mind the trash can in the background...)

Jonathan Waxman's "Blood Orange Pic Taco"Mini tacoThe Biltmore's dessertsCafe el Bustelo: nothing goes better with dessert than a "cortadito," or sweet Cuban coffee!Yours truly, Debi Mazar, Emily, Gabriele CorcosDebi & Gabriele address the crowdAnd, here's when I nearly lost my marbles...

The Real Housewives of Miami!!!!...and another one! Marisol, where was Mama Elsa? And, for your musical pleasure, Spanish tunes performed by "The Chirino Sisters"Don't forget a cigar on your way out!On our way out of the event, I made Em come with me to check out The Biltmore's famous pool and common areas.


Second (but, technically 3rd) event of the afternoon, now evening:  "Trucks on the Beach," presented by Cultivate Wines: The Official Festival Closing Party hosted by Andrew Zimmern

Lines and more lines......While the concept of having food trucks on the beach was brilliant in theory, there was simply not enough space, food, drink, or breathing room.  The lines at each food truck were at least 20-deep.  Same goes for the beverage huts!  Em and I got out of there just about as quickly as we arrived.  Le bummer.

While we made our way out of the event, Em grabbed my arm.  "Hey, look over there," she pointed towards a bright stall selling 'Festival tees.  "You really should get something," she said.  As we made our way over, the company's name caught my eye.  "Flavour Gallery," I mumbled, as I read the logo.  "Love it."

Seriously, how cute are those?  I grabbed two tees for myself and was reassured that, by god, a little retail therapy always seems to cure the blues.


Since we had left the event prematurely and did not want to return to our hotel to order room service and stare at eachother, Em and I walked over to The Shore Club for a drink on their fabulous outdoor/pool deck.  What a gorgeous space!


And that marks my final day at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, but stay tuned for my "The Lunch Belle does Miami" guide!


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


A recap: Day 2 of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

There's nothing quite as ideal as waking up in a random hotel room - walking over to the window to draw the blackout shades - and peering out on to a picture-perfect, cloud-free sky.  Especially when you're in a beach town.  "Em!  Wake up!  Come on!  We need to take a beach walk, eat breakfast, and grab some chaise lounges at the pool!  Hurry up!"  As Emily lifted her eye mask, she let out a big sigh.  "OK, OK," she mumbled between yawns, "give me 10 minutes."  Our first SBWFF event was not until the evening, after all, so the two of us had nearly all day to take advantage of Miami's gorgeous water and weather...

We began the morning with a leisurely beach walk......and passed quite a few lovely hotels!Upon returning to the Eden Roc, our "home away from home," Em and I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious and bountiful items making up the breakfast buffet at 1500 Degrees, the restaurant within our hotel.

Pineapple chunks, quartered kiwi, and halved passion fruit!Among the hodge-podge of starch on my plate was the "Ropa Vieja Eggs Benedict." Absolutely fantastic and very "Miami."After a leisurely afternoon by the pool and beach, Em and I met our friend, Bryan, for early evening cocktails at South Beach's most famous hotel, the Delano.  Below are some of my favorite shots from this uber sexy and swank venue:

Horrible photo quality, but it's proof that we were there (w/ Bryan)!~

First event of the evening:  "Thrillist's BBQ & The Blues," hosted by Michael Symon

Em and I were particularly pleased that this event was held at our hotel, as the soiree following this one would take us next door, to the Fountainebleu!  Sometimes, things just work out in your geographical favor!

Sponsored by Thrillist, an online media source who publishes one of my favorite daily emails (think local recommendations for food, drink, travel, events, etc.), and hosted by celebu-chef, Michael Symon, this outdoor BBQ 'n booze fest was the perfect way to begin our night!  Restaurants from across Miami featured some of their signature smoky bites. 

As if all of that weren't enough, the audience was serenaded by peppy ragtime band, Diablo Dimes & The Bloodhounds.  And my personal 'cherry on top?'  I spied Jeff Mauro, a.k.a "Sandwich King," from The Next Food Network Star!  Love him.

Crowds gather around one of Eden Roc's poolsPanorama of eventMy man, Jeff Mauro!

Music provided by: Diablo Dimes & The Bloodhounds~

Second event of the evening:  "Food & Wine and La Cote Mediterranean Grill Celebrate the Release of Gail Simmons' New Book, Talking With My Mouth Full."

Em and I were graciously "and guest-ed" to this exclusive party, which was held at Fountainebleu's sexy outdoor restaurant/bar, La Cote

Upon entering the bash, we couldn't help but gawk at the scantily-clad ladies 'striking a pose' at the step-and-repeat...we soon joined them!

How hot are they? Remind me, again, why I'm posing like a cheerleader? Sigh.Glasses of champagne and Kir Royale-on-ice were passed, as were savory hors d'oeuvres and bite-sized desserts.  However, the most delicious treat of the evening was mingling with the likes of Bobby Flay, Dana Cowin, and her culinary majesty, Miss Gail Simmons

Photo: Gail Simmons, Casa DragonesSome time after midnight - though I couldn't give you an exact number - Em and I slowly made the short trek back to our hotel.  We found the Fountainebleau's twinkling pool bottoms particularly fascinating...good thing one/both of us didn't fall in!

Even the pools at the Fountainebleau sparkle at night!Saturday was, truly, just another incredibly amazing and delicious day in paradise!  'Til tomorrow...


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


A recap: Day 1 of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

On Friday morning, February 24th, I arrived in beautiful, sunny Miami for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.  After checking in to my hotel, the first item on the agenda was to fetch my event passes from the Media Suite at the Loews Miami Beach...and snoop around the Hospitality Suite (chock-full of goodies)!

Next item of business?  Return to my hotel - quickly change in to my swim suit - and hit the pool/beach.  Hey, a girl's gotta' have some down time!

For lunch, I grabbed the healthiest item I could find on Eden Roc's Cabana Beach Club menu:  "Blackened Salmon Salad" (sub salmon for grilled shrimp).  Why "healthiest," you ask?  Because I knew that the remainder of my meals in Miami would be overly abundant, indulgent, and gluttonous.  Though I'm sure the two frozen margaritas I sipped poolside didn't aid much in my lo-cal endeavors...


First event of the evening:  "Ultimate Beginnings Wine & Cheese Party," hosted by Josh Wesson & Laura Werlin

Held on the sprawling rooftop terrace - overlooking the turquoise sea and palm tree "tops" - at The Betsy Hotel, the Ultimate Beginnings Wine & Cheese Party featured a multi-table spread consisting of a selection of pours from Winebow, and a variety of fromage (chosen specifically to compliment the wines) from the Cheese Course.  Hosts, Josh Wesson and Laura Werlin, were on-hand to answer attendees' questions, pose for photos, and mingle.

We heart you, Michael!!Photo: Billy Farrell Agency (left to right: Emily, Josh Wesson, The Lunch Belle)The Betsy Hotel: a view from the topFabulous pairing sauce from the Cheese Course~

Second event of the evening:  "Wine Spectator's Best of the Best," at the Fountainebleau

This event ended up being one of my favorites of the entire weekend!  Held at the fabulous Fountainebleau Miami Beach (hotel), this grand soiree featured dishes from the best new chefs in the country, which were paired with wines rated 90 points or higher on Wine Spectator's scale! 

Wineries of note included:

  • Champagne Laurent-Perrier
  • Champagne Nicoloas Feuillatte
  • Inniskillin (yummy ice wine)
  • Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
  • Sterling Vineyards

Chefs/restaurants of note included:

  • Hugh Acheson (Five & Ten, Athens, GA)
  • Nick Anderer (Maialino, New York, NY)
  • David Burke (David Burke Townhouse, New York, NY)
  • Marco Canora (Hearth Restaurant, New York, NY)
  • Scott Conant (Scarpetta at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, FL) - met him!  What a babe...!
  • Ariane Daguin (D'Artagnan, New York, NY)
  • Gabrielle Hamilton (Prune, New York, NY)
  • Gerard Hayden (North Fork Table & Inn, Southold, NY)
  • Dan Kluger (ABC Kitchen, New York, NY)
  • Jian Heng Loo  (Hakkasan at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, FL)
  • Emily Luchetti (Waterbar, San Francisco, CA) - met her!  Super nice!
  • George Mendes (ALDEA, New York, NY)
  • Carlo Mirarchi (Roberta's, Brooklyn, NY)
  • Seamus Mullen (Tertulia, New York, NY)
  • Charles Phan (The Slanted Door, San Francisco, CA)
  • Angela Pinkerton (Eleven Madison Park, New York, NY)
  • Bill Telepan (Telepan, New York, NY)
  • Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar, New York, NY) - met her!

Wine glasses were given to each guest to use for tastingsSea Urchin w/ Straiciatella: Roberta's, Brooklyn

Dessert spread from the chefs at the FountainebleauMomofuku Milk Bar's Christina Tosi brought her "Pretzel Cake Truffles!" Yum!!Gag all you want, but ice-wine is the bomb! Especially Inniskillin's version...Chef Emily Luchetti's "Brownie Brown Sugar Parfait," Farallon Restaurant, San FranciscoMy favorite savory dish: "Short Rib Robata with Truffle Miso," Makato at the Bal Harbour Shops, Miami~

Oh, what an eventful day/night it was!  By about 10:45pm, I had no other choice but to surrender to my hotel room.  After all, I had been up since 3:30am and had a full Saturday planned.  Until then...!


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

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