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Archive for Food & Wine

7 NEW Ways with S’mores via [sunset and nydailynews]


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Indulge in extras like peanut butter, banana, Nutella, and strawberries!I: Bring in the peanut butter

Chocolate and Peanut Butter S'mores
Anyone who’s outgrown classic s’mores will love this version: gooey-sweet melted marshmallow tempered by bittersweet chocolate cookies and salty roasted peanuts. 

Spread 1 tablespoon peanut butter (at room temperature, for easy spreading) onto a thin, crisp chocolate water (such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Waters).

Slide 1 skewer-toasted marshmallow onto peanut butter. Top with a second wafer and squish down gently. Eat, licking fingers.

II: Go nutty

Go nutty
Make these s’mores with graham crackers, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (or Nutella), sliced banana, and marshmallow

III: Strawberry and chocolate

Slice strawberries
Take the classic campfire dessert up a notch by adding strawberry slices to Graham crackers, dark chocolate, and roasted marshmallow.

IV: Spice it up

Add some spice
Give s’mores a kick with gingersnaps, a caramel-filled chocolate square, and marshmallow.

V: Drizzle some caramel

Drizzle some caramel
Fill peanut-butter cookies with bittersweet chocolate, caramel sauce, and marshmallow.

VI: Nutella and banana

Gourmet s'mores: Nutella and banana
For all-out indulgence, try peanut-butter cookies with Nutella, sliced banana, and marshmallow.

VII: Caramel Apple S’mores

Apple s’mores are a new take on an old favorite

Serves 1

From Lisa Adams’ “S’MORES: Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion.” Reprinted with permission of Gibbs, Smith.

1 marshmallow
2 chewy caramels
2 green apple slices, about 1/2 inch thick

Skewer the marshmallow followed by the two caramels on the same roasting stick. Roast the marshmallow and caramels. When the caramels have melted over the top of the marshmallow, and the marshmallow is cooked to your liking, slide the concoction onto one of the apple slices. Top with the remaining apple slice.

Variation: For a cute presentation, use apple tops with stems to complete these s’mores.

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15 Secret Ingredient Tricks to Transform Your Meals via [rd.com]


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Try these surprising ways to transform your favorite recipes using everyday pantry items.

1. Transform guacamole with yogurt
Yogurt and sour cream can add so much zing to guacamole! Line the bottom of a strainer with cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or paper towels and set over a medium bowl. Spoon in 1/2 cup plain yogurt, cover, and chill 8 hours or overnight until yogurt “cheese” is thick and creamy. Mix up all your favorite guacamole ingredients in a large bowl. Then fold in the yogurt cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream to make an amazing dip.

2. Add zing to pasta with lemons
Skip the salt when you boil the pasta, instead squeeze in half a lemon. You’ll give your pasta some zip, and cut down on your sodium intake.

3. Make perfect steaks with coffee
Mix fine coffee grounds into a spice rub for a rich, aromatic flavor. For an especially good combination, mix together ground espresso or other coffee, paprika, chili powder (or pure ancho chile powder,) cumin, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Add a touch of sugar.

4. Whip up sensational scrambled eggs with cream cheese
Once you try this dish, you may never want your eggs any other way. Cream cheese gives the eggs a smooth texture that is irresistible. Melt 2 tbsp. butter and 1/4 cup cream cheese in a skillet before adding the beaten egg mixture. Cook over medium-low heat until the eggs are just firm yet moist.

5. The secret to great gazpacho soup? Bread.
Most soups are enriched with cream or a mixture of butter and flour. Give your gazpacho body with a different thickener: bread. Just puree 1 slice of bread, torn into pieces, right along with the vegetables (as per your usual gazpacho recipe) for a delightful texture and refreshing taste.

6. Take potato salad from blah to amazing with horseradish
Potato salads tend to be mild and creamy from mayonnaise or sharp and puckery from vinegar. But for a truly amazing potato salad, prepare your usual potato salad recipe, and simply stir in a teaspoon or two of prepared horseradish.

7. Give pasta sauce an instant makeover with sour cream
To give your sauce a rich flavor, stir in 1/4 cup sour cream per 2 cups sauce. Cook over low heat until sour cream blends into the sauce. Keep the sauce warm over low heat, but don’t allow it to boil or the sour cream may curdle.

8. Cook juicier meatballs with applesauce
Grandmas have used this trick for decades. Combine 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef, 2 slightly beaten eggs, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1 cup applesauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Shape into balls and roll in flour. Brown them in a skillet and then add your favorite pasta sauce and simmer until cooked through.

9. Take breaded chicken to the next level with Cheez-Its
Use cheese crackers such as Cheez-Its in the breading. First soak the chicken in evaporated milk and fresh lemon juice for 2 to 4 hours, then dip in seasoned flour, beaten egg, and finally the crushed cheese crackers. Pan-fry or bake as usual.

10. To give robust flavor to a creamy soup, mix in salad dressing
Stir in some bottled blue cheese salad dressing toward the end of cooking your soup and enjoy the mouthwatering results!

11. Make zesty barbecue spare ribs with V8 juice
Combine 1 and 1/2 cups spicy V8 juice, 2/3 cup peach or apricot nectar or pineapple juice. 1/2 cup spicy barbecue sauce, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Mix with 3 pounds boneless country spare ribs in a baking pan, cover with foil, and bake at 350°F until tender, about 2 hours.

12. Jazz up an ordinary orange glaze with Earl Gray tea
To make an orange-scented sauce for pan-seared chicken or pork, remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm. Saute 1/3 cup chopped shallots in 1 teaspoon olive oil in the same pan. Add 1 cup chicken broth, 3/4 cup fresh orange juice and 2 Earl Gray tea bags. Boil until the liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup. Remove the tea bags and whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons honey and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter.

13. The secret to getting a moist, light texture in Focaccia bread is to add instant mashed potatoes
Prepare the mashed potatoes according to package directions and cool for 10 minutes. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, and make a well in the center. Stir the mashed potatoes and the yeast in as per your favorite Focaccia recipe.

14. Make quick and tasty Pad Thai with ketchup
Pad Thai is one of those dishes you never feel like you can make at home. Well, we found something in your pantry that packs all the right flavors — ketchup! This condiment works perfectly as the base for a Pad Thai sauce. In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup ketchup, 3 tbsp. fish sauce, 3 tbsp. sugar, and 2 tbsp. lime juice. Voila! Stir-fry with meat/veggies and cooked noodles as per the directions of your favorite Pad Thai recipe.

15. Add delicious flavor to vegetarian chili with chocolate chips
For deep, rich tasting chili, stir in semi-sweet chocolate chips at the end of cooking. After you’ve cooked the chili, remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips, salt and pepper.

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TIRAMISU Pancakes via [steamykitchen]

Tiramisu Pancakes

A few days ago, I put a call out on Twitter for help.

Marscapone help, to be specific.

Tiramisu Many people came to the rescue, however
it was @Ivoryhut her
responded with a recipe idea that went beyond delectable.

Tiramisu Pancakes.

oh. hell yeah.

Why not have dessert for breakfast? Oh wait, this is getting
confusing. Tiramisu Is breakfast for dessert, because there’s coffee in
it right?

huh?! Never mind! Just….just…go make these pancakes!

And while you’re at it, come visit Ivory Hut food blog –  This woman can
make bread, the most beautiful striped bread
even! (and no, Ivory Hut is not her name, it’s her blogname!)

These photos and recipes are from Ivory Hut – enjoy!


These amazing Tiramisu Pancakes started out as a casual idea spurred
by a tweequest for things to do with half a cup of mascarpone, and the
fact that I had just posted a pancake recipe on my blog. Five batches
of pancakes later and more mascarpone cream ingested than I care to
reveal (more than half of which was simply the result of gluttony), I
now have what is proving to be the favorite breakfast item in my house.
The fact that it also easily works as a dessert gives it extra
versatility points.

The maple-butter glaze is optional, but it gives the pancakes a
nice boost of sweetness and extra maple flavor to remind you that these
are, in fact, pancakes. The mascarpone cream is what really pulls it
all together. If you’re serving this to kiddies, you can substitute
sweetened espresso or very strong coffee for the liqueur. That is, if
they’re allowed to have coffee.

I also maintain that, as decadent
as it sounds, it might be a tad healthier than regular pancakes
because you’re not drowning it in syrup. Really, there isn’t much sugar
in this recipe. For the entire batch, even if you make the glaze, you
only use about 4 tablespoons of maple syrup. That’s less than a
tablespoon per person. I think that more than makes up for the extra
mounds of cream.

~Ivory Hut


Tiramisu Pancakes

recipe from Ivory Hut

(Serves about 5 reasonably hungry people)

For the pancakes:
cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
powder, slightly rounded, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
a generous pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups milk
cups sour cream
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons instant coffee

For the glaze
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons softened butter
tablespoons coffee liqueur

For the cream:
4 oz. mascarpone
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
tablespoons maple syrup


Start by preparing the cream and the glaze. For the
cream, beat all ingredients together and whip until you have soft
peaks. Set aside in the refrigerator. (Tip: this cream tastes amazing,
and is what really makes these pancakes. If you like generous amounts
of cream on your pancakes, you might want to make a double portion.)
The glaze is optional, but very, very (and I mean very) good. Simply
combine the ingredients well. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa
powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make sure the cocoa
powder is well sifted, so that it will dissolve evenly.

In a separate bowl, combine the milk and sour cream
until smooth (it helps to slowly dilute the sour cream with the milk
while whisking, which reduces the chances of clumps). Add the instant
coffee powder and mix well until dissolved. Whisk in the eggs, melted
butter, and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing
gently until you have a slightly lumpy batter but without any large
clumps of flour. If batter is a little runny, add a tablespoon or two
of flour.I like to transfer my batter to a measuring cup or something
else with a spout, for easier cooking.

Let the batter sit while
you preheat your griddle. When griddle is hot, drop batter in portions
desired (1/4 cup for regular-sized pancakes) onto the greased griddle.
When bubbles come up and edges look cooked, gently flip to cook the
other side. Once pancakes are cooked, transfer to a plate.

Spread a small amount of the maple glaze over the top
of the pancake so it soaks in while still hot. Continue with the
remaining batter until done.

To serve, dollop a generous amount of the cream in
between layers of pancakes. Top with more cream, and then top with
shaved chocolate, or a light dusting of sifted cocoa powder.

with extra cream and/or glaze on the side for dipping. A bonus: these
pancakes taste amazing even when cold.

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Very Sexy Summer Salads

OPULUXE Lounge GroovesPlayList

Sexy seafood salad for your pretty soul. via TeaNoir.com

Posted by ilyana




    200gm surimi meat (aka the pricier version of crabmeat)
    1/2 an avocado, diced
    2 tablespoons mayo
    some coriander
    a pinch of pepper
    a drop of extra virgin olive oil

Mix well and chill before serving. This salad is very versatile, spread it over a thick slice of herby focaccia bread like I did or mix it with some fusilli for a nice pasta salad ;D

I originally posted this up on my livejournal but thought it would be nice to share the recipe with you guys here. Enjoy!

Killer Salads via Amateur Gourmet.com


I’ve been making some killer dinner salads lately and I’d like to share with you my technique.

I subscribe to the “stuff” philosophy of salad-making which is, essentially, that the best part of a salad is the “stuff,” not the lettuce. So my salads have no lettuce: just lots of stuff mixed together in a bowl with a homemade vinaigrette. The salad above, for example, has chopped up carrots, peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, bacon, avocado and blue cheese. The salad below, on the other hand, has peppers, carrots, onions, green beans, and chickpeas:


Paella Salad via Recipeczar.com

Shrimp Paella Salad



  1. 1

    Prepare rice according to package directions, omitting any oil and salt.

  2. 2

    Set aside.

  3. 3

    In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, lemon juice, oil, basil, black pepper and cayenne pepper, set dressing aside.

  4. 4

    In a large bowl combine the cooked rice with the shrimp, artichoke hearts, green pepper, peas, tomato, pimentos, red onion and prosciutto, mixing well.

  5. 5

    Pour the dressing over the rice mixture, tossing to coat.

  6. 6

    Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

A VERY Sexy Salad
by Piablog.com

We shot this picture for Maria last year and it is still one of my personal favorites. Pia, our hostess with the mostess, was in charge of the styling of course and Jeroen van de Spek took the picture (click here to see all the pics from the shoot).

Sexy Summer Salad

1 melon: Cavaillon melon, Galia etc.

for the syrup:
0.5 liters of white wine
100 grams sugar
4 star anise
the seeds from 1 vanilla pod (keep the pod too)
the peel of 1 lemon

Rosemary Oil:
The leaves of 3 twigs of rosemary
150 ml light olive oil
juice of half a lemon
pepper and salt

for the salad:
1 head of raddichio
4 sprigs of red or green basil
8 thin slices of Parma ham
2 buffalo mozzarella cheeses
50 grams of beautiful young salad leaves: mizuna, rocket, mustard leaf

Use a melon scoop to create nice little melon-balls. Spread them out on a deep plate.
Heat the white wine in a saucepan and add the sugar, spices and the lemon-peel. Simmer for 20 minutes on very low heat. Pour over the melon. Let completely cool down.
Make the rosemary oil: Whizz the rosemary with the lemon juice in a food processor. Pour in all the olive oil, while whizzing, taste the dressing for salt and pepper.
Arrange the radicchio leaves on four plates. Tear the mozzarella into small pieces and divide them together with with the Parma-ham, melon balls and the young leaves over the plates. Drop some syrup over it. Sprinkle with torn Basilicum and finish off with the rosemary oil, serve immediately with crisp bread.

You can also conserve the melon in this syrup. Pour this 2 x this quantity of syrup over the balls of at least 2 melons in a clean pot (2 liters) and cook it in boiling water for about 10 min.
It will keep for about a month!


Grilled Watermelon Salad

Ben Franken

Grilled Watermelon Salad

Serves 8

1 small (about 5 lb.) seedless watermelon, cut into 8 slices
2 tbsp olive oil Salt and pepper
2 bunches watercress, trimmed
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup crumbled goat cheese

Heat grill. Brush watermelon slices with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill watermelon 1–2 minutes on each side.

In medium bowl toss watercress with vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

To assemble, sprinkle each grilled watermelon slice with goat cheese. Top with watercress mixture.

Arugula Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Ben Franken

Arugula Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Serves 8

½ cup pomegranate juice
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 shallot, sliced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup each canola oil and olive oil
12 cups arugula, cleaned and trimmed
2 white or yellow peaches, pitted and sliced

In small heavy saucepan reduce pomegranate juice by half. Pour juice into bowl; let cool.

Add vinegar, shallot and mustard. Whisk in canola and olive oils. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange arugula leaves and peach slices on serving plate. Drizzle with dressing

French Potato Salad
(recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa)
serves 6
3 pounds mixed fingerling potatoes
4 tablespoons good dry white wine
4 tablespoons chicken stock
4 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced scallions
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chiffonade of fresh basil leaves
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
10 tablespoons good olive oil
Boil the potatoes in salted water for 20-30 minutes until they are cooked through.  Drain and let cool, then cut in half.  Place in a medium bowl and toss gently with wine and chicken stock and let sit to soak up the liquid.  Combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk with olive oil.  Add the vinaigrette and vegetables/ herbs and toss.  Serve at room temperature.
Lobster-Avocado Salad

Douglas Friedman

Lobster-Avocado Salad

Serves 12

1 large shallot, minced
1/3 cup champagne vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 cooked 1½ lb. lobsters with meat removed (or 4 to 5 lb. cooked meat)
2 ripe avocados, cut into slices
3 heads Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

Combine shallot, vinegar, mustard; whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cut lobster into bite-size pieces; toss with avocado and desired amount of dressing. Line serving plates with lettuce. Top with lobster.

Chicken-and-Caper Caesar Salad spears

Lisa Hubbard

Chicken-and-Caper Caesar Salad spears

Serves 20

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 lb. cooked, boneless, skinless chicken, cut into thin slices
60 small romaine lettuce leaves
Capers and shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish

In small bowl combine first seven ingredients. Place a few chicken slices on each lettuce leaf. Top with dressing, and garnish with capers and Parmesan shavings.

Citrus Shrimp Cocktail

My kids will eat shrimp cocktail like there’s no tomorrow. In fact, if we go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, they’ll wipe you clean and more than likely, we’d get those nasty glares from the staff for eating more than our family’s share. However, that’s the kids, not me. I’m not a fan of rubbery, tasteless shrimp dipped in a cocktail sauce that you’d find in most restaurants – with the exception of this shrimp cocktail recipe from Grove Park Inn, Asheville NC!

So despite the name of this “Citrus Shrimp Cocktail” recipe, it’s so very different. The shrimp are split and grilled, not boiled to death and then tossed in a mixture of fresh mint, grapefruit and orange segments.

So where’s the “cocktail” part?

Ah-ha. Glad you asked!

Add in a little mixture of your choice of sparkling wine, champagne or prosecco plus the juice from the citrus adds a tickly zing. The recipe comes from Victoria Allyson, an Executive Chef and Pastry Chef who tweets at @StrawberryToast. She came to my rescue when I asked for shrimp recipe ideas on Twitter.

By the way, this is a perfect appetizer for Valentines Day!

For a non-alcoholic version, you can use sparkling cider or sparkling water. Just something with bubbles.

In goes the fresh squeezed grapefruit and orange juice (squeezed from the membranes after segmenting the citrus):

Pour it over the grilled shrimp and the citrus segments.

Add in a touch of chiffonade fresh mint.

Spoon it in a pretty dessert or even a wide mouthed wine glass:

Garnish with a mint sprig and it’s beautifully elegant.

Citrus Shrimp Cocktail
recipe adapted from Victoria Allyson

I love butterflying and grilling my shrimp with the shell-on. The shell has so much flavor and protects the delicate shrimp from the hot pan or grill. You can butterfly them with the shell off – I’ll leave that decision to you. See how to butterfly shrimp video.

It’s important to add toss everything together at the last minute, right before serving. If you let the shrimp sit in the citrus juice for too long, the acidity of the juice can make the shrimp a bit rubbery.

Oh, one last thing. Make sure you do not overcook the shrimp!

serves 4 as appetizer

1 pound jumbo shell-on shrimp
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 grapefruit
1 orange
10 fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1 cup sparkling wine, champagne, prosecco or sparkling cider

1. Section the grapefruit and the orange, reserving the membrane. Squeeze the membranes to extract the juice and discard the spent membranes.

2. Use small kitchen shears to snip off the shrimp legs, if still attached. Devein and butterfly the shrimp while keeping the shell on. Toss the shrimp with the olive oil. For healthier version, just spray both sides of shrimp with cooking oil.

3. Heat a frying pan or grill. When hot, lay all the shrimp opened and flat on the grill. Cook each side for 1-2 minutes, or until just barely cooked through. When the shrimp begin to change color, you can remove from the hot pan.

4. In a small bowl, combine the sparkling wine and citrus juice. In a large bowl, toss together the grilled shrimp with the orange/grapefruit sections and the mint. Divide and spoon into 4 small dessert bowls. Pour in the sparkling wine/juice mixture into each bowl.

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The World’s Top 10 Most Peculiar Restaurants via [delish]

The Weirdest Restaurants in the World

Ever eat in Alcatraz? Dine on Mars? Then it’s about time you get a taste of some of the wackiest, weirdest, out-of-this-world restaurants.
For more strange places to eat, check out this video of the the world’s top 10 most peculiar restaurants.

By Kiri Tannenbaum
Hardwired Host

Restaurant: Hajime Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand

Culinary Concept: Robot run. Owner Lapassarad Thanaphant (pictured) has high hopes for her robot-run restaurant. Thanaphant invested nearly $1 million to purchase four dancing (yes, they also dance!) robots who serve diners Japanese delicacies.

photo credit: REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang
Eating with Sharks

Restaurant: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Rangali Island, Maldives

Culinary Concept: Fish-eye view. Ever dine on octopus and oysters surrounded by octopus and oysters? Well, you can do just that at the luxurious Ithaa restaurant beneath the Indian Ocean. Ithaa, meaning “pearl,” sits between three and six feet below sea level (depending on the tides) and weighs over 200 tons, so the chef won’t drift out to sea. On the menu: crustaceans and wild game.

photo credit: © 2009 Hilton Worldwide Proprietary
New Meaning for Noodle Bowl

Restaurant: Modern Toilet, Taipei, Taiwan

Culinary Concept: Bathroom themed. If you’re into poop jokes (and can get over the gross-out factor), then you will find this toilet-themed restaurant plenty entertaining. Guests slurp up Asian noodles from commode-shaped bowls while sitting on their very own can. Keep the seat down.

On the Rocks

Restaurant: Laino Snow Village Ice Restaurant, Ylläsjärvi, Finland

Culinary Concept: Ikea meets igloo. Just north of the Arctic Circle the winters are cold enough to sustain Snow Village’s Ice Restaurant for the season. Inside the 200-square-meter all-natural ice structure, diners sit on solid-ice chairs at solid-ice tables while savoring local fare like cream of Lappish potato soup with cold smoked salmon, tender reindeer, and game meatballs served with — what else? — vodka-lingonberry jelly.

photo credit: Courtesy of Snow Village
Floating in Air

Restaurant: Dinner in the Sky, worldwide

Culinary Concept: Suspended supper. Dinner in the Sky brings new meaning to alfresco dining. If you have $40,000 to spare, you and 21 of your closest friends can lavishly dangle 150 feet above any city (or golf course) while conspicuously consuming beef and foie gras mille-feuille (savory layered puff pastry) and sipping Dom Pérignon.

photo credit: © JJ De Neyer / Triptyque
Foodie Forest

Restaurant: Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand

Culinary Concept: Treehouse treats. Using resources from inside the Yellow Pages, Pacific Environments architects constructed this pod-shaped eatery accessed by an 180-foot “treetop” walkway. There, 18 diners savored a multicourse menu that included pan-fried lamb loins with baby beetroot and mandarin salad with caramelized garlic. (Unfortunately, the restaurant was just a temporary project and has since closed.)

photo credit: Lucy Gauntlett
Wine for Whiners

Restaurant: Le Refuge des Fondus, Paris, France

Culinary Concept: Bottle service. As rumor has it, this favorite tourist attraction in the Montmartre neighborhood first began offering patrons wine in baby bottles as a way to avoid the French tax on wine served in proper glasses. While sucking down the grape juice, winos can fill their bellies with toothsome cheese or beef fondues.

photo credit: redking/flickr
Life on Mars

Restaurant: Mars 2112, Times Square, New York City

Culinary Concept: Earthling eats. NASA predicted by 2112 we’d be making commercial flights to Mars. Why wait for the airfare wars when you can pay a visit right in New York’s Times Square? Upon arrival, friendly Martians guide hungry earthlings into the hot, dry, red planet, where they can dine on the Martian Seafood Platter — exotic ocean shellfish, squid, shrimp, mussels with a spicy seafood sauce.

photo credit: Courtesy of Mars 2112
Beverages Behind Bars

Restaurant: Alcatraz E.R., Tokyo, Japan

Culinary Concept: In(ti)mate atmosphere. If you were ever curious (and who isn’t?) about life in a medical prison, Tokyo’s Alcatraz E.R. will serve that sentence. Diners are handcuffed upon arrival and taken to their “cells,” where they can choose from a list of bizarre elixirs served in blood-transfusion apparatus by hospital orderlies.

photo credit: Annette Pedrosian
Dining in the Dark

Restaurant: Opaque, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, CA

Culinary Concept: Blind taste-test. At Opaque, patrons are led into the restaurant by visually impaired or blind employees to experience dining in the dark. The absence of light allows the senses to spring into action, enhancing the smell, taste, and texture of favorites like luscious mango panna cotta with coconut crème anglaise.

photo credit: Courtesy of Opaque
The Long and Winding Road
Restaurant: ‘s Baggers, Nuremberg, Germany
Culinary Concept: Roller-coaster service. At this futuristic eatery, the waitstaff is a thing of the past. Guests place their orders via a touch-screen computer at each table. When the food — which, according to the restaurant, is based primarily on local, organic ingredients and cooked with minimal fat — is ready, it zips to the table along a twisting track from the kitchen above.
photo credit: Courtesy of ‘s Baggers
Ancient Japanese Underworld

Restaurant: Ninja New York, New York, NY

Culinary Concept: Japanese warrior fare. Forget Ninja Turtles. This Japanese venue with a labyrinth-like interior was modeled after an ancient Ninja castle. After your waiter impresses you with his gravity-defying acrobatics, dine on the Katana, a $50 prime steak marinated in teriyaki sauce, and finish the ninja-filled night with the smoking piña colada-assorted diced fruits with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream sinking in a mysterious pineapple coconut pond. Don’t forget your sword.

photo credit: Courtesy of Ninja New York
Food Flight

Restaurant: The Airplane Restaurant, Colorado Springs, CO

Culinary Concept: Mile-high meals. Onboard this grounded 1953 Boeing KC-97 tanker, diners feast on atypical airline food like the Reuben von Crashed — tender corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing served on fresh marble rye bread.

photo credit: Courtesy of The Airplane Restaurant

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99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die via [laweekly]

Fugu to foie gras, pizza to panuchos

By Jonathan Gold

View more photos in Anne Fishbein’s “99
Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die” slideshow.

The theme of this issue is somewhat morbid. We’ll admit to that.
We were going to call it “99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Move to
San Diego,” but it didn’t have the same ring of finality. You could
probably drive up from San Diego if you were really, really in the mood
for a maple-bacon biscuit but from beyond the grave? I’m afraid our
metaphysics isn’t quite up to that one. 


Border Grill’s green corn tamales

And as long as we’re on the subject of
metaphysics, we will also confess to being a bit judgmental, because
judgmental is what we do around here. If we’re suggesting that some
things — 99 things — are on this particular list, we’re also suggesting
that others are not. A Tito’s taco:
Eat before you die. A Pink’s
hot dog? You’re on your own.

See — you’ve barely started reading and we’ve already absolved
you of the responsibility of standing in line behind Leonardo
DiCaprio. You’ve already recouped the entire cost of the issue,
and then some.

To eat, perchance to dream, in no particular order.

Urasawa’s Fugu

Eat before you die? If you get it from the wrong guy, blowfish can be
what you taste rather immediately before you expire — tetrodotoxin,
the nerve agent concentrated in the innards, is enough to paralyze a
charging bull elephant, and is rumored to be the agent used to turn men
into zombies. Usually, we satisfy our fugu cravings at Dae Bok, the
Koreatown specialist that cooks the blowfish into a spicy, garlicky
stew, but everybody should experience, at least once, the translucent
petals of fugu sashimi prepared by Hiro Urasawa
in its early spring season. But be warned: If the toxins won’t get you,
the size of the check just may. Urasawa, 218 N. Rodeo
Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 247-8939.

Bulgarini’s Goat’s Milk Gelato

Angeles is a world capital of so many things, including, it turns
out, goat’s milk ice cream. Delicieuse, in Redondo Beach,
is the most obvious source, sporting reams of literature about the
health benefits of goat’s milk and eight flavors of ice cream made with
the stuff, all of them delicious but none of them particularly goaty.
And then there’s Leo Bulgarini, the Zen gelato master of Altadena,
who amps up the strong, animal taste of his goat’s milk gelato by
tossing goat cheese into the mix along with a handful of toasted,
unsweetened cacao nibs for maximum pungency — it’s petting-zoo gelato,
gelato you can almost imagine nibbling on your sleeves. Leo recommends
that you pair it with a glass of rose prosecco from Valdobbiadene. Bulgarini
Gelato, 749 E. Altadena Drive, Altadena. (626) 791-6174.


If you’ve been to a local farmers market midwinter, you’ve probably
seen these things — lumpy, glowing, pale-green vegetables, the size of
footballs bisected on their horizontal axes, plunked down near the
counter at any Weiser Family Farms stand. If you’re at the Pasadena
farmers market, there may be a Caltech student or two nearby, admiring
the peculiar geometry of the vegetable; fractal pyramids flowing in
tight logarithmic spirals, cruciferous Fibonacci series, galaxies
expressed in the medium of cauliflower. Nudge the postdocs out of the
way and take one home. Made into a salad with pureed anchovies, roasted
whole with a dribble of olive oil or sliced and sautéed with garlic and
capers, the nutty, deep-flavored Romanesco is the queen of winter
vegetables. weiserfamilyfarms.com.

San Nak Ji

I have read more about cephalopod nervous systems in the last couple
of years than most of the people of my acquaintance, and I’m still not
sure about the morality of eating this dish — which is to say, the
tentacles of a humanely dispatched octopus, served chopped and still
wiggling on a platter. The predominant school of thought states that the
tentacles move purely by reflex, like beheaded chickens or the
twitching frog legs many of us encountered in high school biology.
Another theory, which begins to make sense when your next bite starts to
crawl up your chopsticks, claims that the octopus brain is rather
decentralized, and that the suckers adhering to the roof of your mouth
are still very much alive. Imagine a dish so delicious that it
occasionally outweighs pretty serious ethical concerns. That’s san
nak ji. Masan, 2851 W.
Olympic Blvd., Koreatown. (213) 388-3314.

Sherry Yard’s Kaiserschmarrn

Everybody who hasn’t been to Spago since the 1980s knows exactly what
to get there — pizza, chopped Chino Ranch vegetables, and pasta with
goat cheese and broccoli. They’re the dishes that made California
cuisine famous, that fed Hollywood and made Wolfgang Puck
America’s first celebrity chef. Except that Spago hasn’t really served
those dishes in a while: Puck’s and Lee Hefter’s
palates lean more toward the Austrian palette than toward the pizza
party, and the one dish that has remained on the menu for the last dozen
years has been the beet layer cake with goat cheese and pumpkinseed
oil. Which leaves longtime Spago pastry chef Sherry Yard’s
Kaiserschmarrn, an ethereal, fluffy pancake served with strawberries.
What does Tony Curtis
have in common with Emperor Franz
Josef I? Do you even have to ask? Spago, 176 N. Cañon Drive,
Beverly Hills. (310) 385-0880.

Tito’s Old-School Tacos

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Urban Wineries in New
York Combine Best of Trends

André Hueston Mack
New York, NY
having a successful career with Citicorp Investment Services, Mack
decided to leave his “desk job” to pursue his passion for wine. While
working as a sommelier in San Antonio, Mack discovered the joys of
introducing guests to the little known vineyards that first attracted
him to the business and “the instant gratification of a guest’s

In 2003, while still in Texas, Mack was awarded the prestigious title
of Best Young Sommelier in America by the highly regarded Chaine des
Rotisseurs. This recognition propelled him into the opportunity to work
as sommelier at Thomas Keller’s world-renowned French Laundry in
Yountville, California. Mack went on to accept the position of Head
Sommelier at Keller’s equally famed Per Se in New York City, where he
managed a 1500 selection award-winning wine list and consulted with Chef
Keller on menu and pairing development regularly. In 2006, Mack was
appointed President and CEO of Noble House Wines, a boutique wine
wholesaler and distributor in New York City, making him the youngest in
the country to hold such an influential position. However, he ultimately
realized that his passion still lay in the restaurant industry and
earlier this year, a serendipitous meeting brought Mack and The Fireman
Hospitality Group together. Winemaking has always been a dream of his
and came to fruition when he founded Mouton Noir Wines. Through his
career Mack has forged special relationships with star growers and
winemakers from around the world to share in this project.

Mack has been featured in major publication such as Food and Wine,
Wine and Spirits Magazine, New York Times and Black Enterprise. At 34
years old, Mack is an ardent wine educator who has been invited to host
seminars as well as lead panel discussions at several of the country’s
most prestigious food and wine gatherings. He enjoys creating and
hosting wine dinners that share his love of wine with others.

Real quick. How many winemakers have street teams in New York
City? Suffice it to say, not very many and maybe only one. But, as far
as we can tell, there aren’t many wine hustlers like MoutonNoirWines – also known as Andre Mack. He
gets the word out about his “distinctive garage wines” in ways
that are unique to young urban entrepreneurs.
First some background:
Mack first became interested in wine while working in the restaurant
trade. Just a few short years later, he had worked his way up to head
sommelier at a four-star restaurant in New York and he eventually became
the first African-American to be named “Best Young Sommelier” by Chaine des Rotisseurs. He
founded Mouton Noir Wines in 2004 and began selling his bottles to
popular restaurants.

Today, he’s often featured in publications such as Black Enterprise
and Food & Wine Magazine. He drums up street level support through
wine-tastings, Mouton Noir paraphernalia, a street promotions and the
internet. In a relatively short amount of time, he has been building up
an army of wine-lovers on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Mack not only
does a bang up job of promoting his own wines, he’s also willing to
talk about other people’s beverages – including beer!- and even a little
history about wine-making. Looking for the perfect bottle to accompany
the perfect meal? It’s worth sending him a tweet to see if he can spare
some time for a recommendation. Just tell him the BlackTwitterati sent

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MoutonNoirWines



041008grapes.jpgWine bars are popping
all over town these days,
and diners are also gravitating toward food made with local
ingredients, so it makes sense that the next wave in the vino trend will
be local wineries. Though a Staten
Island vineyard is in the works
, and the centuries-old Queens County Farm
plans to sell wine from its vineyard this fall, the new urban wineries
have to make do with grapes from Long Island or the Finger Lakes.

Village Voice surveys
the nascent scene and spends time with
Michael Dorf, the Knitting Factory founder who says making wine is
better than hanging with Mick Jagger. This fall Dorf will open City
Winery, where he hopes customers will pay $5,000 to make their own
barrel of wine, with the help of an expert. (A barrel yields about 250

In Greenpoint, Allie Shaper started Brooklyn Oenology; she also
founded the Urban Winery Alliance
to foster cooperation between wine makers. Brooklyn Oenology now has a
2005 Merlot and a Chardonnay, both made on Long Island. Asked why it’s
not called Long Island Oenology, Shaper says, “Technically, Brooklyn is
part of Long Island.” In a couple years she expects to make some of the
wine in Kings County.

The Brooklyn Oenology wines are available at Soho’s Vintage New York, where owner
Robert Ransom also makes a small amount of wine and hosts tastings. And
Red Hook will soon be jumping into the wine making game; wine blogger Dr.
Vino reports
that Abe Schoener, a Californian wine maker, will be
opening an operation in a huge complex on Beard Street at the end of the
summer. Again, the grapes will all be shipped in from out of town, but
maybe Brooklyn feet will be stomping them.

Photo: laTresca.