Italia


One of my favorite photos I took on a recent visit to Italy. I got up early one morning to photograph the fisherman of Trani (in Apulia) and spent a few minutes obsessing over this pot of flowers near the port.

I’m be busy editing photos and writing for a while, and will also be launching a new website. Please stay tuned!

For more photos of Italy, go to #JoBitesItaly on instagram, or #MyLastBiteTravels (for all my travel snapshots & videos).

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Everything I ate (and drank) on a Princess Cruise

I don’t know about you, but for years I resisted taking a cruise. One of the reasons is because, as a chronic dieter, I feared I’d gain too much weight. I had visions of me sunning on the pool deck while simultaneously stuffing my face with all-you-can-eat EVERYTHING. Frankly, the thought of multiple, unlimited buffet stations and countless cocktails (while confined on a ship) just freaked me out.

Writing about food and travel is my chosen profession, so I’ll always have to watch my waistline. Before I started eating low carb (at home) and got serious about my fitness tracker, I was gaining about five pounds a year. That all stopped when I started walking 10,000 steps, at minimum, per day and cut carbs from home meals. When I eat OUT, I try to eat low carb (when I can) and it’s a balancing act that, thankfully, stopped the annual weight gain.

In my home kitchen I stock no sugar, sweets, white bread, rice, pasta or potatoes. That old “out of sight and out of mind” mantra definitely works when I cook and eat at home. But out on the open sea, on a large cruise ship, with thousands of strangers and endless food options tempting me? SHEER PANIC.

But here’s the thing. When I went on my first cruise (with Princess Cruises) last year, I ate A LOT and surprise, surprise… I didn’t gain ONE pound. It probably helped that I was traveling with my sister Janet, who is a super fit health nut. Even though I didn’t work out at the gym with her everyday, I still got extra steps in by walking as much as I could while on board. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t suddenly go mad and run with my sister as she took the stairs UP to Aloha deck 12, but I did skip the elevators going DOWN and surpassed my 10,000 steps goal each day.

PHOTOS: Everything I ate and drank on a four night Princess Cruise (and didn’t gain weight)!


Welcome champagne awaited us in our cabin. Plus we brought a bottle of Prosecco. Cheers!


Lunch (buffet) on the deck. LowCARBish. Slaw, prosciutto, meatballs, fried scallops, brisket, beef, sweet & sour pork.


Fried scallops. I thought they were tater tots. These were way better.


Back to the buffet line.


Roasts for miles. Also, low carb happiness.


Wine on the top deck as we left the harbor.


It’s always happy hour on a cruise right?


Tempura Prawn in spicy sweet chili sauce. Happy hour (media meet & greet) at The Crooners Bar.


Chicken Lollipops with sesame. Happy hour (media meet & greet) at The Crooners Bar.


Wild Mushroom Sauté w portobello & shitaki mushrooms, crispy poached egg, oregano smoked scamorza, truffle garlic puree and lemon zest. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura.


Charred Asparagus and Toasted Haloumi cheese, greens, vinaigrette. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura.


Pale Ale Pork Cheeks, cauliflower polenta, roasted leeks and thyme apple puree. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura.


Lobster Mac & Cheese, aged cheddar, gruyere and parmesan, truffled cream, crispy crumble. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura.


Lemon Posset with pistachio crunch. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura. The Salty Dog Menu. Just one bite. I don’t have a sweet tooth.


Sipping a vodka soda at the Salty Dog. Just times this by two each evening. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura.


Unlimited Bacon. My heart was racing… I had to pace myself. On board breakfast buffet.


Breakfast carbs. I went for a slice of whole grain. And more bacon. On board breakfast buffet.


More options. I chose smoked salmon over French toast… and more bacon. On board breakfast buffet.


Late breakfast by the pool. My sister Janet’s breakfast to the left. Juice, muesli, egg white, fruit. Obviously mine is to the right! On board breakfast buffet.


Round one included bacon, sausage, eggs, corned beef hash, smoked salmon and whole wheat toast. On board breakfast buffet.


My adorable sister Janet.


Serve yourself poached pears at the buffet. Fancy (and a nice afternoon snack). On board buffet.


Charcuterie: Jamon Iberico, Salami Finocchiona at SHARE Restaurant by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Chicken Liver Parfait at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Little Gems, Pickled Pearl Onion, Oro Blanco, Nasturtium Pesto at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Shrimp Salad, Lemon Gel, Turnip, Citrus Salt, Brioche at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Butter Poached Lobster, Caramelized Endive, Endive Foam at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Cavatelli, Beets, Castelmagno, Sun Choke, Brussel Sprout at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Potato Gratin, Truffles, Cream at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess). Side dish shared at the table.


Roasted Alaskan King Crab Tagilatelle, Chili, Parsley at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Beef Cheek Pie, Porcini Mushrooms, Buttery Pastry at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Roast Turbot White Fish Gratine, Gruyere Crumb, White Vermouth, Mushroom Duxelles at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Shaft Blue Cheese, Crab Apple Mustard, Chestnut Cracker at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Tarte Au Citron Vert, Raspberry, Granola, Meringue at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess). Just one bite.


Dark Chocolate Cremeux, Toasted Hazelnut Feuilletine, Burnt Vanilla Ice Cream at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess). Again, just one bite. More photos of SHARE Restaurant here.


There’s a Pizza and Ice Cream bar on board!! Lines were long, but I waited (for pizza). Hand-tossed and cooked on deck. It was far from my cabin so extra steps. HA!


Buffet brunch on board. My sister’s salad to the left. My egg and meat fest to the right.

Crown Grill, Ruby Princess (Sep 2016)
Dinner on board at The Crown Grill Restaurant (premium seafood and chop house). Photos were difficult (so dark). Black Tiger Prawn & Papaya Salpicon, with Mustard Seed Aioli. Grill Salad with Mesclun Greens, Roasted Bell Peppers, Hass Avocado and Grape Balsamic Dressing.


Pan-Seared Pacific Scallops with Fennel, Celery and Spring Onion Slaw Golden Delicious Dressing & Moroccan Glaze. Spiny Lobster Cake (ball), Tarragon Foam, Cured Olives, Grilled Asparagus on board at the Crown Grill.


STEAKS! I tried both the filet mignon and New York strip steak. The Crown Grill (on board The Ruby Princess).


Desserts on board at the Crown Grill. This was shared with several people. Lemon Meringue Pudding, Tart with Macadamia Nut Shortbread White Chocolate Tuile, S’mores Stack.


Early morning room service (before excursion) on board.


Room service breakfast sandwich on board. Excursion tender (boat) in background. I skipped the muffins.


First stop on our Cruise Excursion to Santa Barbara was Buttonwood Winery in nearby Solvang.


We started with Buttonwood Sauv Blanc at Buttonwood Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Solvang.


Goat Cheese at Buttonwood Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Solvang.


Cucumber, Avocado, Jalapeños, Scallions, Cilantro, Yogurt Chilled Soup at Buttonwood Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Solvang.


Santa Maria Trip Tip Sandwiches at Buttonwood Winery. Ate the meat, left the bread. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Solvang.  More photos of Buttonwood winery here.


At Sunstone Winery we started with Chardonnay. Cruise Excursion to Santa Barbara.


Foie Gras Mousse Tarts w Tomato, Strawberry Jam & Pistachio at Sunstone Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez.


Pork Belly Sliders with cumin & cinnamon with apple, fennel relish and baby arugula at Sunstone Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez. Pork fest.


Blackened Seared Ahi tuna, Sticky Rice Cake at Sunstone Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez.


Seafood Spring Rolls at Sunstone Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez. So much fun! More photos of Sunstone Winery here.


Shrimp Tacos at Tacos Marco Antonio. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour. Indulge time. I ATE all the tortillas and tacos today.


“Ramses Especial” Breaded fish fillet with shrimp and chipotle cream at Tacos Marco Antonio. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Crab tacos at Tacos Marco Antonio. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Agua Fresca (I had the horchata) at Tacos Marco Antonio. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour. More photos of Tacos Marco Antonio here.


Sea Snail Ceviche with slices of sea snail (Ceviche De Caracol Con Lajas De Caracol) at La Guerrerense & Sabina. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Sea Urchin Ceviche with Clam on top (Ceviche De Erizo Con Alma) at La Guerrerense & Sabina. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Cerveza at La Guerrerense & Sabina. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour. More La Guerrerense photos here.


Santo Tomas Wine Tasting. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


San Aura Vino Reserva Experimental Rosado, Grenache, Santo Tomas Wine Tasting. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Alisio Reserva Vino Blanco, Chardonnay, Santo Tomas Wine Tasting. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Fiery salsa and chips at Restaurante 645. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Chile Relleno and Tacos at Restaurante 645. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour. Quite a day in Ensenada!


Still hungry? Me too. Let’s go!

This media trip was paid for by Princess Cruises.
Culinary Cruise, September 26-30, 2016. The ship departed from Los Angeles and made stops in Santa Barbara and Ensenada. Info: Dining on Princess Cruise’s Ruby Princess

Thinking about taking a Princess Cruises cruise? Read about my first day on board.

Guest Blog Post –  Diary of a Princess (Cruise).

Princess Cruises on twitterinstagramfacebook.

Video – The Ruby Princess.

More information on Princess Cruises:

Princess Cruise News (including the debut of Ocean Medallion).

Princess Cruise Teen & Youth Centers

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The Ruby Princess – Welcome Aboard!


Cruising never really interested me in the past. I’ve always loved traveling, even as a child when I lived in Okinawa (where I was born in 1964). Airplanes, especially jumbo jets, still give me great comfort when I step inside and take my seat.

My sister Janet is a few years older than me, and we often joined our parents for long-haul (1960s era) flights from Okinawa (via Tokyo to Honolulu) to California where our grandparents lived.

Our dad was in the Navy when he met our mother in Okinawa during the Vietnam War. She ran successful nightclubs for most of her life, until she passed away in 2013. After they divorced in the early 70s, Dad moved to Scotland and remarried.

When one of your parents lives (lived) in Okinawa and the other resides in Scotland, traveling is simply a way of life. It’s not about “taking a holiday” or saving up for a vacation.

In my 20s, I was married to an airline pilot, which really fueled my travel bug. Back then (in the mid 80s), major airlines used hand-written tickets for employees. This meant that when the ex was a pilot at United Airlines, I (as his wife) could enter any worldwide destination and just GO there.

During that time, I started working for a wildlife photographer, which was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. Those free airline tickets took me around the world, including safaris in Africa and polar bear expeditions in the Arctic.

It was flying, not cruising that moved my world. Taking a cruise just wasn’t a part of the conversation back then. It didn’t help that my ex-husband referred to large cruise ships as, “floating kitty litter boxes”. That stuck for years. Besides his disdain for cruises, he also didn’t eat seafood or cheese. Those were what we called “irreconcilable differences”.

In September, when Princess Cruises invited me on a media cruise, they said I could invite a guest as long as we shared a room. I first asked my husband Peter to join me (we met in ’94), but he was too busy with work, so I invited my sister Janet. We hadn’t really traveled together except to visit our father in Scotland, and more recently, to bury our mother in Okinawa.

We are so different,  my sister and me. For starters, she doesn’t eat meat (just fish), and she LOVES to exercise. Janet will work out for hours a day if she could. Me? I’m the bacon-obsessed overeater and am happy if I get 10,000 steps on my fitbit (step counter) each day. How did we handle a cruise TOGETHER? This being, BOTH our first cruises? Did we make it through without disagreeing? Check back soon for more blog posts, including a guest post by Janet as well.

For now, let’s get on board the gorgeous Ruby Princess. Hopefully, these photos will be helpful to those who are considering their first cruise. Enjoy!


Partial view of the Ruby Princess from the World Cruise parking lot ($17 max per day) in San Pedro, CA. You print and tag your checked bag at home then leave them with a Princess Cruises porter at the curb before parking. They (thankfully) deliver the bags to each room.


Checking in is similar to an airport terminal.


Look for your deck check-in on the screens. You’ll have received the info via email itinerary.


Ruby Princess Cruise Card. It’s your everything on the ship, from cocktails, buffet and the gift shops. The card (size of a standard credit card) is also swiped when you disembark and embark the ship. Security will also take your photo to match up with the card information.


After you’ve checked in you’ll go through metal detectors and security. Note: You can only bring one bottle of wine or champagne per adult. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of booze on the ship (trust me)!


Boarding the Ruby Princess. The ship (launched in 2008) can accommodate 3080 passengers and was refurbished in December 2015. Click on “Ship Facts” for more details here.


My sister and I shared a balcony state room on the Aloha deck. We were surprised at how large it felt for 231 square feet! More about the rooms here.


One of the beds were covered for with a heavy vinyl blanket for unpacking.


The small card on the desk lists the direct paging number for your stateroom steward. Joey was awesome!


Life Jackets easily accessible from the closet. Comfy robes awaiting and room safe nearby.


Those are two full-size suitcases on the shelf. Plenty of room for both of us.


The small bathroom was next to the closet. It had a full shower, sink and toilet.


Looking out to our deck. Our room was Balcony Stateroom A631.


Plenty of room for coffee in the morning and more importantly, wine (and champagne) in the evening.


View into the room (with my sister Janet).


Just breathe.


The Princess Patter guide will be placed near your door every day (note the date below the top image). Do take time to read it thoroughly so you do NOT miss a thing!


The Ruby Princess 
Details on upcoming California & Pacific Coast Cruises on Princes Cruises

This culinary media trip was paid for by Princess Cruises.
This 4 night Culinary Cruise September 26-30, 2016
The ship departed from Los Angeles and made stops in Santa Barbara and Ensenada.
Thank  you Princess Cruises!

Princess Cruises on twitter, instagramfacebook

Video – The Ruby Princess

Everything I Ate On A Princess Cruise

And because I do adore her… an older blog post…. A love letter to my big sister.

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I Survived A Cruise!


Actually, it should read, “I Survived A Cruise With My Sister”! Or perhaps, “My Sister Survived A Cruise With Me”. My big sister Janet (left in pink) and I could NOT be more different, yet we BOTH had a wonderful time aboard the Ruby Princess (Princess Cruises). Photo above taken as we disembarked for a day in Ensenada. You can view some trip photos on instagram and twitter by searching the hashtag #JoJanetCruising (or #MyLastBiteTravels). I’ll be posting a full blog post in the near future. Check back soon!

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

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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!

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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.

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Ox & Finch (Glasgow, Scotland)

What a fool. It turns out that I’m a great, big FOOL. Or at least fool for a day (today, April 1st) thanks to the Ox and Finch restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland.

Ox & Finch, Glasgow SCOTLANDLate last night (Los Angeles time), the award-winning restaurant totally APRIL-FOOLED me via their twitter feed. I could blame it on the fact that I read the tweet in bed, while drifting off to sleep, or note that my guard was down because it was STILL March 31st here in L.A. (April 1st Scotland time). But the fact is, I fell for the gag and even reposted the details on twitter and Facebook!

The April Fools Day tweet read, “Ox and Finch – Sub Zero. An Antarctic Pop-Up Appearance in July 2016! Click for more info…”

So, I clicked and continued reading on their Facebook page, which stated: “With Danish restaurant, NOMA and acclaimed chef, Heston Blumenthal having already staged pop-ups in Australia, we are delighted to announce challenging plans to raise the bar by hosting a month-long, pop-up restaurant during July 2016 in the British Antarctic Territory, titled: Ox and Finch – Sub Zero.” The post even included an artist rendering of the popup in Antarctica! Check it out here.

What a sucker! And just when I was about to post photos of a lovely meal I had there last September with my father and stepmum. They both loved Ox and Finch as well, and I was so disappointed I didn’t get back for another meal when I visited last month.

Kudos to you Ox and Finch — you fooled me enough to dream about saving up for a trip to Antarctica. Luckily I won’t have to go THAT far, and hopefully I’ll see you on my next visit home to Scotland.


Ox and Finch is located in the fashionable Glasgow neighborhood of Finnieston. Chef/Owner, Jonathan MacDonald opened to rave reviews back in 2014, earning a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand (award for good food at affordable prices). Read more about Chef MacDonald here.


I had been following the restaurant on twitter for a year before trying it out. Last September, on a visit home to Scotland, I secured a reservation (they book up quickly) and treated my parents to a night out. As you’ll see by the photos below, we may have ordered the entire menu! Photo above: Panko Pork with Tamarind and Palm Sugar.


Smoked Mackerel Pâté, Radicchio, Fennel and Pink Grapefruit.


Wild Mushrooms, Duck Egg with LARDO, Croutons, Parsley (Note the glorious LARDO on the right side of the egg).


Rabbit, Ham Hock, Foie Gras and Pistachio Terrine with Gingerbread and Pear.


Buffalo Mozzarella, Fig, Mint, Prosciutto and 8year-aged Balsamic.


Scrabster Hake, Brown Shrimps, Samphire, Lardo, Brown Butter.


Spiced Scallops, Chana Dal, Pickled Cucumber and Yoghurt.


Squid, Prawns, Chorizo, Morcilla with Smoked Paprika on Sourdough.


Beetroot, Green Beans, Toasted Seeds and Barrel-Aged Feta.


Italian Sausage, Potato Gnocchi, Squash, Rosemary and Chili.


Braised Pork Cheeks, Smoked Polenta, Capers and Pine Nuts.


Confit Lamb Shoulder, Rose Harissa, Shredded Salad, Baba Ganoush. No room for dessert!


Interior dining and bar (top photo).

Dining date: 9/15/15

Ox & Finch
Address: 920 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow, SCOTLAND
Tel 0141 339 8627
Website

Follow @OxAndFinch on twitter

Ox & Finch Facebook

More photos from September 2015 visit to Scotland

I still suck at selfies, but love this photo with my dad

About GlasgowScotland

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My 50th Birthday Lunch, Edinburgh

My nephew Camron and I are heading to Scotland this week. It’s his first visit to see his grandpa (my dad) and stepmum, who live near Glasgow in Bridge of Weir. Peter will hold down the fort with our two beloved pups, Woody and Ziggy Stardust.

There’s so much I’m excited to share with Camron, who turns 30 in May. The village where our family home sits is absolutely gorgeous, the surroundings almost out of a fairy tale. Of course, besides family time, I’m mostly excited to share my love for Scottish cuisine. It’s not all deep-fried Mars Bars, black pudding and haggis (which I LOVE) — it’s so much more.

During this trip Camron and I will be lunching at The Kitchin in Edinburgh, the Michelin -starred restaurant by Tom Kitchin. I’ve been several times and am always blown away with the chef’s “from nature to plate” concept — the best of Scottish ingredients cooked with French techniques. The restaurant has recently gone through a major remodel, so that will be a fun treat as well.

Two years ago, I spent my 50th birthday at The Kitchin and was so grateful to share it with my parents and hubby Peter. Photos below!

The Kitchin


The Kitchin


Cheers!


I love the bread warmers.


Stepmum Mandy and my husband Peter.


Party time!


My dad.


Cod & Watercress: Seared North Sea Cod Cheeses served with pancetta and a watercress sauce.


Monkfish: Cannelloni of Scrabster monkfish liver served with roasted celery, squid and lobster beurre blanc.


Ballotine of Rabbit from Burnside Farm served with a tarragon dressing, black olive and toasted sourdough.


Fillet of wolffish from Peterhead served with gnocchi, wild garlic and mussels.


Rump of Highland hogget garnished with macaroni and roasted carrot served with lamb tongue and sweetbreads.


Blanquette of Clash Farm pork cheeses served with spring vegetables.


Cheese course or dessert? BOTH! Top: British Cheese Course.
Bottom: Pistachio Souffle w Pistachio Ice Cream.


The best of British cheeses.


More please.


Chef Tom Kitchin and my father, Glenn.


A wonderful 50th birthday in Edinburgh!

Read more about The Kitchin here.

More photos of visits to The Kitchin.

Follow Tom Kitchin on twitter.

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