Food!! · Travel

Sabbia on the Roof at Eataly NYC

If there’s one place you can call foodie heaven, it’s Eataly New York Flatiron.  It was my first time visiting, and I did not want to leave.  This place is huge, and has everything you want under one roof.  Speaking of roof, we enjoyed a delicious dinner on the rooftop Sabbia

I don’t even know where to start with this delicious restaurant.  Sabbia is a laid back dining experience that provides you with a summer feel. 
Sabbia is La Birreria’s summer pop-up concept, and transports one from the bustling streets of Flatiron, New York City to the Italian seaside. The rooftop is enclosed with clear glass that opens up on those beautiful summer days. 
As we arrived we were greeted with a very accommodating hostess.  The menu had so many amazing choices and the wine/cocktail/beer list was on point.  The hubby and I decided to order some red wine.  My kids don’t drink soda but that night we figured that they could have a treat and enjoy some Italian soda.  Our waiter Kevin was super friendly and gave us some recommendations on what to order. 
We started off with some SALUMI-FORMAGGI platter (cheese and salami), INSALATA D’ORZO E TONNATO (Orzo with Roasted Tomatoes, Capers, Grilled Onions, Artichoke & Preserved Tuna Based Sauce) and FRITTO MISTO ALLA LIGURE Assorted Fried Seafood Ligurian Style.  This was the perfect starter and I couldn’t stop eating it.  Even my kids were in on all the delicious cheeses and seafood. 
Main course was the perfect amount after enjoying all of the appetizers. I went with the POLPO ALLA PLANCHA S(eared Octopus with Chickpea, Almonds, Marinated Peppers & Taggiasca Olives), the hubby enjoyed some PESCE SPADA CON CIAMBOTTA (Grilled Sword fish with Braised Vegetables in a Tomato Broth) which he couldn’t stop raving about, and finally the kids both wanted steak so they had TAGLIATA DI MANZO (Grilled Wagyu Bohemian Steak with Arugula & Parmigiano Reggiano) and loved every bite. 
At this point we were feeling pretty satisfied, but of course you can’t finish a fantastic dinner and not have some dessert.  The kids both shared gelato and sorbetti flavors of Cioccolato and Limone, and the hubby and I shared a chocolate bunet, which was out of this world delicious. 
Overall my experience at Sabbia was amazing.  I’ll definitely be returning there the next time I’m in NYC.
Here are some of their upcoming events:

ROSEì ON THE ROOF | Thursday, May 25, 8-11 p.m.

Uncork summer with this all-access roseì event. The $95 General Admission tickets include an unlimited tasting of more than 30 featured roseì wines, dance floor with live DJ pumping the best summer beats, and unlimited access to beach-inspired Southern Italian bites. For $40 more, enjoy the VIP Package (limited availability) that includes everything in General Admission plus access to the event an hour early, a pink-themed swag bag for hitting the beach, and special one-time Wine Club access with three bottles of roseì curated by Eataly’s wine specialists. Tickets available at

COCKTAIL TAKEOVERS | Monthly, After-hours

Monthly cocktail takeovers featuring partnerships with local cocktail bars showing off their mixed drinks. These speakeasy-type takeovers will be held after-hours monthly, with delicious food to match. Starting May 26.

PERONI CINEMA NIGHTS | Monthly at Midnight

Rooftop movie nights featuring housemade popcorn (think: Cacio e Pepe popcorn) and drinks. Starting in June.

 SABBIA will be open through October. The current hours are 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. From May 15 onward, the hours will be MondaySunday 11:30 a.m.-midnight, and Sunday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Reservations aren’t necessary but are available on Open Table.

About Eataly

Eataly is a bustling Italian marketplace featuring quality products from Italy’s many regions, alongside artisan creations from local producers. Guests are invited to “Eat, Shop, and Learn” about Italian culture and cuisine through the market, restaurants, cafeìs, guided tours, live demos, and classes.


Founded by Oscar Farinetti, Eataly opened its first location in Torino, Italy in 2007. Three years later, his son, Eataly U.S.A. CEO Nicola Farinetti brought the concept to the U.S. opening a flagship store in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood. With the help of their partners, Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, Adam Saper, and Alex Saper, Eataly’s U.S. presence has grown to include a Chicago location, a second New York location in Lower Manhattan, and a Boston location.

 At Eataly, the saying goes, “We cook what we sell, and we sell what we cook.” The unique format of the store invites guests to taste authentic dishes in the restaurants, find the same ingredients in the marketplace, and then discover how to recreate the recipes at home. Dining options at Eataly range from breakfast to lunch, dinner and dessert, including casual take-away choices as well as more refined sit-down experiences. Skilled artisans are at Eataly 24 hours a day making fresh bread, mozzarella, pasta, gelato, and more, for Eataly’s restaurants and retail


Saffron Risotto with Shrimp


Some people hear the word risotto and they think that’s it’s just too complicated to cook. Well it really isn’t that complicated, but time consuming maybe. In the end you will not be disappointed. Risotto pairs beautifully with shrimp, fresh herbs and seasonal veggies. This dish will be perfect for your next gathering.

1 small shallot, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups arborio
1 cup white wine, (Preferably Sauvignon Blanc)
6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons evoo
1 cup frozen peas
1 lb large to extra shrimp, peeled and deveined
Pinch of saffron
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped


In a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shrimp seasoned with, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook until the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from pan and set aside.

Add the butter to the pan. Add shallots. Cook until translucent about 3 minutes. Next add the garlic cook for 30 seconds. Add the rice. Stir until well coated and translucent (about 2 minutes). Add the wine. Cook and stir often, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for about 15 minutes until creamy.

Finally add the peas cook for 1 minute next add the shrimp back to the pan. Stir and add fresh parsley. Serve.



Crystal Springs Resort Grand Cascades Lodge

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I had the pleasure of taking my family to Crystal Springs resort’s the Grand Cascades lodge. Upon arrival to the resort you traverse a beautiful road up to the top of a mountain, but this is after passing fields of Sunflowers and arriving in the town of Hamburg, New Jersey. This place is huge with views all around that are breath taking. I can only imagine the scenery in the fall with all the beautiful trees around.  Check in was pretty quick.  The bellmen and valet service were super friendly and ready to take your belongings to your room.

We arrived at our 1 bedroom suite. This looked more like an apartment with everything that you need from a full functional kitchen to a washer and dryer all in your room. My favorite part of this room would have to be the tempurpedic mattress. It was like sleeping on clouds. We also had a private balcony with a table and chairs. The bathroom was huge with a jet bath tub and a walk in shower. There were 2 sinks which makes it very convenient; especially while getting ready.

After check in we headed out to explore the beautiful pools: Biosphere Pool Complex With 2 exotic free-form heated pools, spacious hot tub, water slide & sunken tropical aquarium; and the Vortex pool with sauna & heated outdoor pool. After all the fun in the pools we went back to freshen up. We made reservations to dinner at Springs bistro. The hostess greeted us and sat us outside with a beautiful view of ten sunset. Our waitress (Breanne) was super helpful and very attentive. Dinner was absolutely amazing hats off to the chef. Springs bistro has an amazing wine list. Which we found out that grand cascades has a wine cellar and offers tours. Which I can’t wait to come back and tour. After dinner we headed over to do some night putt putt glow in the dark golf. The kids loved it. They also offer s’mores on the patio at night. Then we went for another walk around the resort before retiring for the evening. This place is filled with activities and things to do and see.
The following day we headed over to Crystal Tavern and enjoyed a delicious breakfast including truffle scrambled eggs, fresh squeezed juice and baked eggs with chorizo and avocado. After breakfast we checked out and headed over to our “mountain top experience” package. The shuttle picked us up and took us over to Minerals Resort. Another shuttle arrived and took us up the mountain from there. We arrived at this little paradise on the lake. We did some archery, paddle boat, canoeing, fishing, and just enjoyed the little lake beach area. All and all this was an amazing experience one that I want to return to. There is so much more I want to see and do there. For all the golf players and lovers out there this is the 3rd largest golf resort in the world. This is a must visit with or without kids. A fun family getaway or a romantic experience. For more information

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Spinach and Kale Pesto

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Entertaining guests in the summer months is one of my favorite past times.  I love making fresh pesto especially with fresh ingredients from my garden or farmers market. I have always loved a traditional pesto and so does my family. For a little more nutrition, I added spinach and kale to the mix. This pesto can be used for a variety of things and is super flavorful. I used my pesto on top of crostinis topped with aged provolone. It’s a simple appetizer for any party and a crowd pleaser. 

1/3 cup fresh parsley 
1/2 cup baby kale
1/2 cup baby spinach 
Salt & pepper, to taste 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, more if desired
 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest 
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 
2 tablespoons pine nuts 
2 Garlic cloves, peeled 
Provolone cheese, optional for garnish
Ingredients baguette:
 Whole wheat baguette, sliced 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

 In a food process add all of the above ingredients. Blend until desired texture. Set aside. 
 Brush olive oil on sliced baguettes. Place in the oven to toast about 5 minutes. Spread pesto on top of baguette with a shaved piece of provolone cheese. Enjoy with some vino. Cheers! 

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

The Lemon Bowl: Lemony Pistachio Basil Pesto
Dishin & Dishes: Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Porterhouse Chops
Creative Culinary: Pesto Potato Salad with Parmesan Walnuts
Weelicious: Kale Pesto
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Garden Salad With Basil-Pesto Vinaigrette
Red or Green: Corn On The Cob With Basil-Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Homemade Delish: Spinach and Kale Pesto
Domesticate Me: Ratatouille Quinoa Bake with Pesto and Buffalo Mozzarella
The Mom 100: Crusted Loin Lamb Chops with Mint Basil Pesto
Taste with the Eyes: Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal – Carrot Top Pesto
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Chicken Breasts with Coconut and Cilantro Pesto
Healthy Eats: Green Is the New Black: 5 Must-Try Pestos
FN Dish: 6 Non-Pasta Ways to Go Big with Pesto


Zucchini Fries

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Zucchini has become one of my favorite vegetables to play with in the kitchen.  My kids love it too, which makes it easy to add to any dish.  Making these zucchini fries was super easy.  Don’t get me wrong I’m all about having some delicious fries or sweet potato fries, but I like to switch it up.


2 large zucchinis, cut into wedges
Black pepper, to taste
2 cups Panko crumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive, for coating pan


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Oil baking dish and set aside.

In a large bowl add Panko, cheese and pepper.  Dip wedges into Panko mixture and set on to baking dish.  Repeat.  Set in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.  Enjoy with your favorite dip.

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Red Lentil Pasta Salad

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Memorial Day is just a couple of weeks away, which means BBQ season is in full swing.  One of the most popular sides at a BBQ are those delicious pasta salads.  The ideas of what to create for a pasta salad are endless.  I personally love adding fresh herbs to mine.  It makes for added freshness and taste.  To this salad I wanted to have a healthier choice on the pasta, so I found a red lentil gluten free penne pasta.  The combination of this salad is one that will make your guests keep coming back for more.  Make it in the spur of the moment or ahead of time.

Ingredients salad;

12 oz red lentil penne
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup pearl mozzarella balls
Salt & pepper, to taste
12 slices salami, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
14 oz can hearts of palm, chopped


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Make sure to season the water with plenty of salt.  Follow the cooking instructions on the packaging.  Cook until AL DENTE about 10 minutes with this pasta.  Drain and cool off.

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Ingredients dressing:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Salt & pepper, to taste
8 pieces basil
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


In a food processor add all of the ingredients.  Process until well combined.  Pour over salad.  Toss everything together and serve.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SensationalSides below

Feed Me Phoebe: Spicy Shrimp Pasta Salad with Asparagus and Sundried Tomatoes
The Lemon Bowl: Roasted Garlic Vegetable Pasta
TasteBook: Quick & Easy BLT Pasta Salad
Dishin & Dishes: Asian Noodle Salad
Weelicious: Summer Succotash Pasta Salad
Homemade Delish: Red Lentil Pasta Salad
The Mom 100: Pasta Salad and Salmon with Ramp Dressing
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spring Pasta Salad With Sundried Tomatoes, Broccoli & Spinach
Taste with the Eyes: Lemon Ricotta Pasta Salad with Figs and Mint
FN Dish: Picnic Pasta Salad Season Is Here


Cheesy Zucchini and Summer Squash

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Let’s get cheesy with zucchini and summer squash. Tis the season for vegetables that keep on giving.  We plant zucchini, and it’s one of those vegetables that we end up with so much.  This recipe is a great side dish to any meat or poultry platter.  It gets even better when you add some Gruyere cheese, which in my opinion is the perfect cheese to add to anything baked.


2 summer squash, cubed
1 large zucchini, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup seasoned Panko crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh oregano


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl add zucchini, summer squash, 1 cup of cheese, onions, oregano and salt and pepper. Toss everything. Place on to a baking dish. Top with remaining cup of cheese. In a small bowl mix melted butter with Panko crumbs. Crumble on top. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown crust has formed.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SensationalSides below

The Lemon Bowl: Spelt Salad with Apples, Cheddar and Scallions
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Loaded Mashed Cauliflower Casserole with Bacon and Caramelized Onions {Low Carb}
Creative Culinary: Cilantro Serrano Rice
Virtually Homemade: Stove Top Mac and Cheese with Apples and Bacon
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Mary Lane’s Pasta With Pesto Tomato Sauce
Red or Green: Cheesy Polenta with Spicy Leeks
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Cheesy Beer Bread with Quinoa, Millet and Jalapeño Peppers
Homemade Delish: Cheesy Zucchini and Summer Squash
Daisy at Home: Bell Pepper Pizza
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Indian Cottage Cheese & Bell Pepper Quick Stir-Fry
Weelicious: Cheesy Turkey Meatballs
Swing Eats: Frico: Parmesan Cheese Crackers (gluten-free)
The Mom 100: Leek, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quiche
FN Dish: 6 Ways to One-Up Side Dish Favorites with Cheese


Chile Rellenos

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Everyone in my house is a big fan of Mexican food. In fact my daughter could eat tacos every night if we would let her. But Mexican food isn’t just about tacos and quesadillas.  There are so many different dishes that people should try. Chile rellenos is one of them. The poblano is a mild chile pepper with delicious flavor when charred.  It’s traditionally stuffed with cheese but you can get creative and stuff it with whatever you may like.  It’s a super easy dish for any night of the week.  Give this a try and I promise you will fall in love.


4 poblano chile peppers
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 jar Goya sofrito sauce
1 cup shredded aged cheddar cheese
1/2 shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 large egg whites, plus 2 egg yolks, room temperate
1 tablespoon water
Vegetable oil, for frying
All purpose flour, for dredging


Char poblano chiles on top of the stove top or in broiler until blackened all around. Remove and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrapper for 10 minutes (this will help with softening the peppers and easy to peel).

Do not rinse the peppers after removing skin. Using a knife make a slit on the side of the pepper length wise. Remove seeds and inner membrane. Repeat step with each pepper. Next add both cheeses to all of the peppers about 1/4 cup to each. Season with salt and pepper.  Take a tooth pick and close the pepper making an X. This is to secure the filling so it doesn’t leak out while frying. Dredge the poblanos in flour and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the egg whites and water with a pinch of salt until soft peaks. Next add the egg yolks and gently stir them into the egg whites. Batter is ready.

Heat about 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep large skillet over medium to high heat.

Holding each chile by the stem gently dip them into the batter and place them in the skillet. Fry each side for about 2 minutes until golden brown. Place on to paper towel to drain.

Mean while add the sofrito to a pot and heat. Once heated add to a shallow bowl. Top with poblano chile and source cream. Serve immediate and enjoy.

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A Platter of Thoughts

Food Mashups with Tony Luke, Jr featuring Homemade Delish


To all my foodies, chefs and cooks out there this is such a fun website and show of which to be part.  I had the honor of being Food Mashups 1st guest.  My mashup is a twist on the traditional eggs benedict.  I present to you the Brazilian Benedict, it’s a great way to amp up the benedict.  Make sure to checkout the website and my appearance on Food Mashups.  Go ahead and get creative with your food.

Here is the link to my episode



A Platter of Thoughts

“Right Here” By Tony Luke Jr.


I’m not sure about you but I love to cook with some good music. If you haven’t heard this name you might want to look into it: Tony Luke, Jr. Yes the king of cheesesteaks has released a new single.  You would think he is all about food, but he’s so much more. Tony Luke, Jr is an actor, restaurateur, musician, TV host, and the list goes on.  His passion for music has always been there since he was a child.   His new single was just released in September and is now available on iTunes and on vimeo  The song and his voice is on point. I would say this is a must add to your song collection.  I had the pleasure of asking him 5 questions on what food and music mean to him. 

Q: What made you start to sing?

TLjr: As far back as I can remember I was always singing to my family as young as 5 

Q: How do food and music influence your life?

TLjr: Both food and music have always been expressions of creativity.  It’s such a great feeling to create a new dish, discover new flavors, and such an amazing feeling to write a new melody, new lyrics to create something from nothing that brings joy or meaning to someone’s life is the greatest feeling in the world.

Q: Favorite singer/band and favorite chef?

TLjr: My favorite and greatest influence in music has to be Billy Joel, and a lot of the groups from Philly international records.  I always loved R&B music And I think the combination of both really molded my style of writing and singing as far.  As my greatest influence as a cook a lot of it comes from my father, and I can’t pick one specific chef that has influenced me the most because I’ve gotten so much from all of them but I always give props to Bobby flay.  He was the first person to introduce me to TV by doing a throw down with me on his show and because of that appearance things kind of snowballed.  I did all these other food shows and really enjoyed doing them really enjoyed being part of the food television scene and all these things let up to where I am right now so proud to be Cohosting my own show on Spike TV called Frankenfood.

Q: What kind of music do you mostly like to sing/write?

TLjr:  I really enjoy doing ballads.. love writing them.. love performing them.  I also love doing midtempo songs.  I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic at heart lol.  I’m not much on dance music but I can dance lol 

Q: What else is in store for Tony Luke, Jr. ?

TLjr: Getting ready to find out when we start shooting season two of Frankenfood. I’m really enjoying promoting my new single right here, and looking forward to doing some new films.  I have a new film I’m starting to raise money for called “Ride into Terror”, which is kind of an action horror film and expanding the Tony Luke’s brand.  So, I’m keeping myself busy.  I have a great team that I work with.  They’re amazingly talented and I’m just trying to enjoy life and do as much as I can.  I’m also hoping to do more speaking events; especially love speaking at schools.  I love to tell children that whatever goals you have, they are attainable but they don’t come easy.  You have to work hard at it.

Thank you Tony Luke Jr for taking the time to answer some questions, and Best wishes with all your future endeavors.

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