Russ & Daughters NY


“100 years, 4 generations and 1,800,000 pounds of pickled herring” refers to one of my favorite documentaries, The Sturgeon Queens. The film is about the family behind Russ & Daughters, the beloved New York institution. In the early 1900s, Joel Russ got his start selling schmaltz herring out of a barrel to Eastern European Jews on the Lower East Side.

I don’t want to share too much of the story here, because The Sturgeon Queens really is worth watching. This heartwarming film is directed by Julie Cohen and you can rent or purchase The Sturgeon Queen’s on iTunes here. Watch the trailer below.

Joel Russ’ great grandchildren, Josh Russ Tupper and Niki Russ Lederman (cousins), took over the business in 2009, and in 2014 (the 100th anniversary) they opened Russ & Daughters Cafe.

Russ and Daughter’s Cafe is such an adored spot for locals and visitors alike. Unless you get there before they open, you’ll (most likely) be waiting quite awhile for a table. I went this past June and again this month (photos below) and it’s so very worth it!

If you’re planning on visiting Russ & Daughters (or the shop nearby), and haven’t seen The Sturgeon Queens, do watch the movie before you go. It will absolutely make you appreciate every bite.

Anthony Bourdain said: “Russ & Daughters occupies that rare and tiny place on the mountaintop reserved for those who are not just the oldest and the last—but also the best.”


Getting in line (June 2016). This trip was a “girls trip” with my good friend Jenn. All our NY photos tagged on instagram with #JoJennNY.


On our most recent trip, we got to the cafe an hour before they opened (Sep 2016). Still, we were SECOND in line. This September trip was an early 60th birthday fest for my husband Peter. Jenn joined us for the food-filled celebration. Photos tagged on instagram with #PPP60.


The cafe opened in 2014 but the decor is beautifully retro. The shelves are similar to the originals in the shop (Russ & Daughter’s Appetizers).


On holiday? Taking the day off? Definitely order the cocktails for some epic day drinking. On both my visits I ordered the super, refreshing “Lower East Side” (top right). It’s made with Tanqueray gin, lime, dill and cucumber. Top left is a ginger soda with gin that Jenn ordered (off menu). Hubby Peter ordered the “Breakfast Martini” made with Beefeater gin, jam, lemon juice, egg white, Pernod Absinthe and Angostura Bitters.


Sturgeon eggs & onion w salad, Lox & bagel, Super Heebster (our favorite) with whitefish, salmon, wasabi-infused roe, horseradish dill cream cheese.


Closeup: Super Heebster Bagel with whitefish, salmon, wasabi-infused roe, horseradish dill cream cheese.


Going in.


Walking past the cafe kitchen.


Hubby Peter so happy (Sep 2016)!


Jenn with owner Nikki (from our June 2016 visit).


Don’t forget to grab your Hopjes when you get your bill. Bonus: If Becca is your server… it’s your lucky day!

Russ & Daughters Cafe Website

Russ & Daughters Appetizers (Shop)

Russ & Daughters on Twitter

Sturgeon Queen’s Documentary Trailer

The Sturgeon Queen’s Documentary Website

The Sturgeon Queen’s on iTunes

All my Russ & Daughters Photos

———————————–

Follow me on twitter @MyLastBite and also:

Snapchat (MyLastBite)

Instagram

FaceBook

Pinterest

 

 

Chef Ilan Hall

Peter and I had such a great time in New York last week, and I’ll be posting lots of photos on the blog soon. Our social media hashtag for the trip was #PPP60 and you can check out some photos on my instagram here.

“PPP” is sort of a nickname I have for Peter. Basically, it’s short for “Peter Peter Peter”, so triple P plus 60 for his yearlong (60th) birthday celebration (#PPP60)!

Before we left for New York, I posted a photo of us on our last visit (together) in 2005. I wasn’t sure, but thought the chef in the background was Top Chef (season two winnerIlan Hall. It turns out, it WAS Ilan Hall and he commented on the instagram here.

We ran into Ilan at an event in Brooklyn, and our friend Jenn had the good sense to recreate our original photo — sort of. Eight years later, we’re all a bit wider NOW, but it was so great seeing Ilan again! Follow Ilan on twitter here, and check back soon for more New York fun!

———————————–

Follow me on twitter @MyLastBite and also:

Snapchat (MyLastBite)

Instagram

FaceBook

Pinterest

NY Birthday Weekend


Hubby Peter and I haven’t been to NYC together since 2005. We’ve gone there separately, on business or with friends many times, but it’s been ELEVEN years since we’ve enjoyed the Big Apple together.

This weekend we’re headed back to New York for an early 60th birthday celebration for Peter. I have some really fun meals (and a gorgeous Airbnb flat) arranged for him. We rarely travel together because of our beloved mutts, so we’re just super grateful his sister Susan will be house-sitting (aka CUDDLING the DOGS) while we’re away.

I love this photo of us at Casa Mono/Bar Jamon (from October 2005), and I swear that’s a young, chef Ilan Hall (Top Chef) in the background!

I’ll be posting on my snapchat (MyLastBite), instagram and twitter a few times each day. Join us for the fun!
https://www.instagram.com/mylastbite/
https://twitter.com/mylastbite

More NY 2005 photos

———————————–

 

FaceBook

Pinterest

Taste of the NFL

TasteNFLLogobyPeter
Do you LOVE food?
ME TOO.

Are you excited The Rams are back in L.A.? Ditto!

There’s an amazing event in October that combines great food, the Rams, AND raises much-needed funds for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Totally MY kind of evening for sure.

What: Taste Of The NFL Dinner with the L.A. Rams! Rams General Manager Les Snead and his wife Kara Henderson will be co-chairing the host committee, and Rams players will be in attendance to sign autographs and mingle with attendees. The evening will include a live and silent auction, signature appetizers from local chefs, specialty cocktails and live entertainment.

When: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 (6-9pm)

Where: Globe Theater, Universal Studios Hollywood

Why: To support the L.A.Food Bank. Did you know that one in seven people in L.A. County experiences food insecurity? The L.A. Food Bank mobilizes resources to fight hunger and provides food to 320,000 people every month. Since 1973, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 1 billion pounds of food and in 2015 they distributed 52 million meals. Learn more about L.A. Food Bank here.

Check out the amazing lineup of L.A. Chefs cooking for the event: 
Josiah Citrin, Melisse
Tony Esnault, Spring, Church & State
Ray Garcia, Broken Spanish, B.S. Taqueria
Neal Fraser, Redbird
Duff Goldman, Charm City Cakes
Bruce Kalman, Union
Jessica Largey, Simone
Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger, Border Grill
Steve Samson, Sotto
Travis Strickland, Baltaire
Benjamin Udave, Sysco

L.A. Food Bank “Taste Of The NFL” Event Page.

PURCHASE TICKETS (or become a sponsor).

My photos of the L.A. Food Bank.

I’ve already bought my ticket (I’m a HUGE fan of both the L.A. Food Bank and The Rams), so hopefully I’ll see you there! #FeedLA #GoRams!


———————————–

Follow me on twitter @MyLastBite and also:

Snapchat (MyLastBite)

Instagram

FaceBook

Pinterest

 

Bacon Bowls


Over the years I’ve purchased lots of “As Seen On TV Items”. From “Shake Weights” to “toning shoes” to  ridiculous ab workout machines, I’ve wasted plenty of pennies on, what turned out to be (at least for me), a bunch of CRAP.

When I purchased the “Perfect Bacon Bowl” a couple of years ago, I was skeptical of course, but really hopeful it would work. I had been making bacon bowls (I eat low carb at home) for years, constructing the baking contrapment out of multiple ramekins and foil (photos below), so the advertised bacon bowl just seemed perfectly fantastic!

How did it work? Well, see the photo above? That’s my perfect bacon bowl. You can buy the bowls on Amazon (I got the set of two), but I’ve also seen them at my local market. These bowls are small, which are perfect to hold scrambled eggs or a side salad.


My first bacon bowls, back in 2008. These were extra large for dinner salads.


Smaller bacon bowls with the Perfect Bacon Bowl kit. I first baked in the oven, but the microwave is SO much faster.

TIPS:
Make sure you use cooking spray to make clean up easier.
I found that THICK bacon worked best.
I also use a large microwave plate cover so the grease doesn’t go everywhere.

And sure, you could use a muffin tin upside down in the oven (placed on a larger baking sheet to catch grease) to make small bacon bowls, but you can’t place THAT in the microwave.

Video: Step-by-Step Guide to Making The Perfect Bacon Bowl

The Perfect Bacon Bowl on Amazon

PerfectBaconBowl.com

#LowCarbJo Recipes here

———————————–

Follow me on twitter @MyLastBite and also:

Snapchat (MyLastBite)

Instagram

FaceBook

Pinterest

L.A. Kitchen Shared Plates Event


I’m a huge supporter of  L.A. Kitchen, the nonprofit facility that recovers fresh fruit and vegetables used in a culinary arts job-training program for former inmates and young adults leaving the foster care system. #SharedPlates is an upcoming dinner party event that benefits the L.A. Kitchen.

When: Saturday, October 22, 2016 (7-10pm)

What: 100 people will host dinner parties in homes across Los Angeles. By sharing plates, stories, and a few surprises, these dinners will bring Angelenos from every walk of life together to reveal the power of food. Tickets are $75 per person. 100% of ticket sales will go to support L.A. Kitchen’s vital work to ensure that neither food nor people will ever go to waste.

Get involved: (host a dinner, buy tickets and invite friends) at the #SharedPlates website.

More about L.A. Kitchen below:


Read my L.A. Times piece here.

Watch a short video here.

More of my L.A. Kitchen photos here.

#SharedPlates Website

The L.A. Kitchen is located at
230 W Ave 26
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Website (donate, volunteer, engage).

@TheLAKitchen on twitter, instagram and facebook

———————————–

Follow me on twitter @MyLastBite and also:

Snapchat (MyLastBite)

Instagram

FaceBook

Pinterest

 

 

Roxy Hotel (NY 2016 Part 1)


We didn’t plan on loving the Roxy Hotel when we stayed there in June. My good friend, L.A. Times Deputy Food Editor, Jenn Harris and I were headed to New York for a weekend of feasting with Kate Krader (then restaurant editor of Food and Wine). Kate is now the food editor at Bloomberg News.

After booking flights from Los Angeles and making restaurant reservations (priorities ONE and TWO when I travel), I figured I’d just quickly find us a hotel room online. The problem was that most rooms were sold out, due to the weekend’s NYC Pride celebrations. Thankfully, Kate reached out to a few hotels and helped find a room at the Roxy Hotel in Tribeca.

The point of this girls’ weekend, was to meet up with Kate and EAT. Not to shop, go sightseeing or see a hit Broadway show. As food-obsessed writers, Jenn and I made no time in our schedule to be tourists, except maybe touring classic New York eateries like Russ & Daughters and Katz Deli. With only three full days and nights—it had to be all about the food. Except for sleeping and changing clothes, there was certainly no time for lounging around a hotel.

That’s the thing I love about travel — the unanticipated moments that elevate a trip. The Roxy Hotel turned out to be so quirky and charming that we WANTED to hang out there. The former Tribeca Grand (revamped earlier this year and renamed The Roxy) almost felt like a visit to a retro, back lot movie set.

There’s a beautiful lounge, a funky jazz club (photos below) and a 10,000-square-foot central atrium that showcases live music each evening. Almost every hotel room door (there are 8 stories, 201 rooms) opens to a view of the atrium.

During our stay, Jenn and I would stumble in from late night dinner/drinks, bobbing our heads to the live music as we made our way to our floor, then pause for a few minutes to enjoy the show.

I’ve stayed in many New York hotels that were just fine, but none that made me feel such a part of the neighborhood. And isn’t that what we want when we travel — to feel like a local?

If I’m planning an extended trip or traveling with more than one person, I rent from Airbnb, as it’s usually cheaper then getting two hotel rooms. But for a quick weekend in the city, my first choice will definitely be The Roxy.

The Roxy Hotel is located at 2 Avenue of the Americas in Tribeca between Walker and White Streets, steps from SoHo, Chinatown, the Lower East Side, and Little Italy. Subway stops are nearby and Uber pickups (and drops) were convenient for us. The staff (from doormen to house keeping) were so very friendly and helpful.

And all that sightseeing we didn’t plan on doing? Well, our room (#315 for the record) just happened to have a gorgeous view of the Freedom Tower.

I cannot wait until our 2017 girls’ weekend! Cheers!


The Roxy Hotel Lounge (Photo courtesy of The Roxy).


Looking down into the atrium from our hotel room (Photo by Jo Stougaard).


The Django Club (Photo courtesy of The Roxy).


Our hotel room was similar to this one (Photo courtesy of The Roxy). Check current room rates here. My friend Jenn hit the gym every morning (I did not)! I did, however, grab a coffee every morning near the lobby. Note: there’s also a 99-seat cinema (open to guests and the public).


I loved the neighborhood vibe  (Photo courtesy of The Roxy).


View from our hotel room at the Roxy (Photo by Jo Stougaard).

Roxy Hotel Tribeca
Website
2 Ave of the Americas
New York, NY 10013
(212) 519-6600
Map

@TheRoxyHotelNYC twitter

Roxy on Facebook

Check back soon for more NYC 2016, including Le Bernardin,DizengoffMission Chinese, Russ & Daughters Cafe, Emmy Squared, Cosme and MORE.

Photo at top courtesy of the Roxy Hotel.

———————————–

Follow me on twitter @MyLastBite and also:

Snapchat (MyLastBite)

Instagram

FaceBook

Pinterest

L.A. Kitchen


I’m a huge supporter of  L.A. Kitchen (LAK), the nonprofit facility that recovers fresh fruit and vegetables to be used in a culinary arts job-training program for former inmates and young adults leaving the foster care system.

If you’re in Los Angeles and want to get involved with a great organization, I highly recommend L.A. Kitchen. Check on volunteer opportunities and donation info here.

Photos:


Read my L.A. Times piece here.


Chef Theresa Farthing (former culinary student) on the job at L.A. Kitchen.


Volunteers at L.A. Kitchen.


Rescued farm-fresh ingredients.


A sample of beautiful meals prepared for low-income seniors at L.A. Kitchen.


Chef Ryan Stewart, Executive Chef.


Graduation for L.A. Kitchen Culinary Training Program (Class 5). 4/14/16


With L.A. Kitchen Founder Robert Egger.

The L.A. Kitchen
230 W Ave 26
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Website (donate, volunteer, engage).

@TheLAKitchen on twitter, instagram and facebook

———————————–

Follow me on twitter @MyLastBite and also:

Snapchat (MyLastBite)

Instagram

FaceBook

Pinterest

My Brilliant Better Half


I am SO proud of my husband Peter Stougaard. Check out this interview (Maveriq Profile) titled, “The Creative Executive Turned App Innovator”.

In case you didn’t know, my “day job” is managing social media for PopBoardz, which was founded by my brilliant better half. It’s a fantastic software program for organizing projects and presentations. I use it mostly for travel (and restaurant) planning. Check out our PopBoardz video here.

PopBoardz website

PopBoardz for iphone/ipad in the App Store

PopBoardz for your Mac in the Mac App Store

@PeterStougaard on twitter

@PopBoardz on twitter and facebook

———————————–

Follow me on twitter @MyLastBite and also:

Snapchat (MyLastBite)

Instagram

FaceBook

Pinterest

 

 

Spicy Pork Rind-Crusted Bacon


I first saw pork rind-crusted bacon on a terrific low carb blog called, “Step Away From The Carbs”. Being a bacon fanatic, of course I immediately made them, which was a cinch since I always have bacon in the fridge, plus bags of chicharrones (fried pork rinds) in the freezer. I use ground up pork rinds instead of traditional bread crumbs when I cook low carb at home.

In the past, I’ve made candied bacon with brown sugar which gave the bacon a terrific crunch, but it was always a bit too sweet for me. This pork rind-crusted bacon is absolutely my new favorite, low carb snack. I add cayenne pepper and crushed red peppers for an extra kick.

Ingredients:
1 cup of ground, fried pork rinds (store-bought chicharrones)
6 pieces of thick bacon
1 egg mixed with one tablespoon of water in a pie plate (or something similar)
Cayenne pepper (I used 1/2 teaspoon but judge for yourself)
Crushed red peppers (I used a teaspoon to sprinkle on after cooking)
Black pepper (optional)
Parsley or thyme to garnish after plating (optional)

You’ll also need:
Non-stick baking rack (or baking rack with non-stick spray)
Baking sheet
Foil (wrap baking sheet with foil to catch bacon grease)


Preheat oven to 400°. Bring bacon to room temperature.


Blitz pork rinds in food processor or use a sealed bag to crush by hand (or mallet). Add cayenne and black pepper (optional).


Set up a dredging station with the egg/water and ground pork rinds. Take each piece of bacon and dip in egg then pork rinds, shake loose rinds and place directly onto baking rack.


Prep baking tray by lining with foil to catch drippings. If you don’t have a nonstick baking rack, spray with non-stick spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until done to your liking.


I kept the bacon full length in the first batches, then cut them in half to STOP ME FROM eating too many in one sitting (it didn’t work). These are so good on their own, and really bring joy to a salad too.

Top Photo: Pork-rind crusted bacon on avocado and slaw.

More low carb recipe ideas here.

Step Away From The Carbs blog.

———————————–

Follow me on twitter @MyLastBite and also:

Snapchat (MyLastBite)

Instagram

FaceBook

Pinterest