Friday, July 29, 2011

Like Water for Chocolate is a beautiful story about the forbidden passion between a youngest daughter, Tita, and the neighboring boy, Pedro. As the youngest daughter Tita is responsible for taking care of her mother, and is not allowed to marry or fall in love. Since their relationship is doomed Pedro agrees to marry Tita's older sister Rosaura in an effort to remain close to Tita.

Since Tita's primary duties are to take care of her mother, the ranch, cook and clean, Tita soon finds that she has the power to infuse her emotions into her cooking. The intense passion she feels for Pedro is an inadvertent ingredient to many of her dishes, and Tita often sets the ranch ablaze with inexplicable antics.

Tita spends most of her life abused by her mother, but when her mother passes and her sister follows, Tita and Pedro finally consummate their passion for one another. In the end Pedro's insides catch fire from the heat of their love making and Tita consumer matches and candles in order to join her love in death. The entire ranch is burned to the ground after this episode and the only item that survives is Tita's cookbook, complete with the love story of her and Pedro.

While the film is excellent, the book is phenomenal. Like Water for Chocolate begins each of its 12 monthly chapters with a recipe from Tita's cookbook; recipes that will undoubtedly stir emotions in everyone who enjoys them.

Here's a taste of Like Water for Chocolate:

Friday, July 22, 2011

As the title of the film suggests, eating is one of our natural passionate instincts. It defines who we are. It gives us nourishment, purpose and fosters creativity within us. Knowing this, it's obvious why this true story by author Liz Gilbert has inspired so many women in crisis to expand their horizons by abandoning their inhibitions and embracing their most exhilarating fantasies, especially when it comes to food.

New York author, Liz Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts, decides to reinvent herself after a messy divorce and even messier rebound romance with a younger man. She decides to spend a year abroad expanding her horizons in three very important areas, the first of which is food. Liz travels to Italy, the best place on earth to realize the beauty in cooking, eating and enjoying life's pleasures. In Italy Liz forges many friendships over glasses of vino and never-ending meals of pasta, pizza, prosciutto and more. She remembers what it's like to enjoy life in larger jeans and allows herself to indulge in the beautiful flavors of Roma.

Of course Liz's journey takes a significant twist when she travels from the extravagance of Rome to the poverty stricken ashrams of India seeking enlightenment. Liz then ends her journey finding herself and learning how to love again in Bali when she meets Felipe, played by Javier Bardem.

While this entire film is indeed inspiring, it's the Italian journey that stirs our Yumologists the most. So sit back with a bottle of wine, a fresh bowl of pasta, and enjoy the beauty of Eat Pray Love.

Here's a taste of Eat Pray Love:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Every once in a while someone comes along who isnpires you to up your game, go for the gold, abandon all doubt and reach for the stars. For our Yumologists that person is Chef Grant Achatz.

Chef Achatz is the owner and culinary genius behaind popular Chicago eateries Aviary, Alinea and Next. His truly groundbreaking techniques are changing the way up and coming chefs look at food. Combining art, science, technology and taste all on one plate, Chef Achatz makes any meal an experience.

Chef Achatz recently taped a series for the Today show on his kitchen inspirations. That series can be viewed by clicking here:

Friday, July 15, 2011

We know what you're thinking "What on earth does Harry Potter have to do with food?" But a closer look at the world of wizarding will show you that food has played a major part in every one of the Harry Potter films.

The dining hall is host to an array of pivotal scenes within the movie, many breakthrough conversations are often conducted over breakfast, and we're nearly always introduced to the latest "Professor of the Dark Arts" teacher over the welcome dinner.

Aside from the dining hall setting, the potions, candies and treats featured in the films are ones that make our taste buds imagine a wild ride through Burty Botts Every Flavored Jelly Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Licorice Wands, Butter Beer, Pumpkin Pasties, Polyjuice Potions, and a bounty of mind boggling elixirs.

Since this weekend marks the release of the final Harry Potter film, we'd like to take this time to honor the culinary culprits who imagined flavors far beyond our wildest dreams and made the wizarding world of Harry Potter even more delicious.

Monday, July 11, 2011

When deciding which nutty companion to pair with your toast and jam, you might be surprised to know that the health benefits of both peanut butter and almond butter are fairly comparable.

A side-by-side comparison based on a 2,000 calorie diet shows that peanut butter and almond butter are identical in terms of calories and fat, although peanut butter does contain slightly more saturated fat and carbs than almond butter. However peanut butter also offers more protein, while almond butter has more fiber.

In this rare scenario our Yumologists suggest you trust your taste buds and go with whichever nutty flavor you prefer! They're both delicious and offer the same sticky sweet eating experience.

Friday, July 8, 2011

After a fabulous dinner at Beauty & Essex what else can you do but head to the best low-key, beatnik bar on the Lower East Side and wash it all down with a delicious glass of British Pims. Bua is an amazing place to relax with friends and listen to artists, musicians, students, philosophers and entrepreneurs exchange ideas over sophisticated glass of libations.

People watch from a bench on the front porch, or tuck yourself into a booth towards the back. No matter where you sit and what you drink you're guaranteed to leave feeling inspired to cast your fears aside and pursue your most outlandish dreams.

Of course in order to pursue your wildest dreams you're going to need a late night energy boost. That's where Crif Dogs comes in. Strategically located across the street from Bua, Crif Dogs is a late night mecca for hungry Lower East Siders in the wee small hours of the morning.

With dozens of Crif Dogs to choose from you may find yourself opting for more than one., which is why this is the perfect place for a hungry New Yorker on a budget. Modestly priced but heavily flavored Crif Dogs is one of the New York City's hidden gems.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Uva Wine Bar:
After a long day of strolling around the shops of the Upper East Side our Yumologists decided it was time for a much-deserved break at a neighborhood favorite, Uva Wine Bar.

Uva offers a relaxed, Tuscan ambience with a rear patio that's perfect for an afternoon of wine and antipasti. The prosciutto and mozzarella is a traditional Italian first course, but when paired with their sheep's ricotta  and black truffle honey bruschetta, it's a meal you'll never forget.

Beauty & Essex:
Fancying a night on the town, our Yumologists put on their very best and headed to the Lower East Side to imbibe at the amazing culinary experience that is Beauty & Essex.

At first glance you'd never suspect that one of the hottest restaurants in the city is hidden behind a vintage pawn shop. A closer look tells you the girl at the register is actually keeping guard over a hidden guest list and a private door that opens into one of the sexiest eateries around.

The food at Beauty & Essex is served tapas style, but there's plenty for everyone. Our Yumologists were fortunate enough to sample eight different dishes while we were there. Our top performer was the Roasted Bone Marrow Bruschetta. Served in bone and sliced down the middle the presentation is impecable, and the Rioja braised shallot marmalade offers a freshness to this rich decadent dish.


As if the food and drinks served tableside were not enough, a trip to the ladies room offers our female Yumologists an even more extraordinary experience. The ladies room at Beauty & Essex serves rose champagne to patrons while they powder their noses. Enjoy it in the ladies lounge or take it back to your table.


We highly recommend you take the time to feel like a star and visit Beauty & Essex the next time you're on the Lower East Side. 

Next up: NYC Restaurant Recap Part Three
Bua - for thirsty beatniks
Criff Dogs - for hungry beatniks

Gray's Papaya:
You know you have fabulous, foodie friends when they hand deliver Gray's Papaya hot dogs to you at the La Guardia baggage claim at midnight. After a long flight the greasy, onion, mustard, sauerkraut goodness is exactly what your system needs to gain its second wind.

And that's where our whirlwind NYC restaurant weekend began; a midnight snack of Grays Papaya hot dogs and fresh squeezed papaya juice in the backseat of a cab somewhere between Queens and Manhattan.

Brunch the following morning was decidedly different. As we ascend in the elevator at the Museum of Art & Design, we arrive at Robert, a chic, sophisticated restaurant on the 9th floor, overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park.

Robert's brunch is excellent. A fabulous cocktail menu and colorful ambiance offer an energetic start to the day. The winning dish amongst our Yumologists was the Two Potato & Duck Hash: succulent duck and a rich duck egg on a bed of crispy potatoes with a tart mustard sauce - delicious!

Reluctant to leave, our Yumologists decided to order dessert and prolong their experience at Robert. The Bomboloni ricotta fritters served with a salted caramel sauce were the perfect finish to a fabulous brunch that we highly recommend you try.

Next up: NYC Restaurant Recap Part Two
Uva - Afternoon wine and antipasti on the Upper East Side
Beauty & Essex - a well-kept secret and tapas style dinner that will blow your mind!

Stay Tuned!