Travel

I knew one of the things on my “absolutely do” list in NYC was Levain Bakery.  When I was in NY a couple years ago, I never made it there and I told myself this time I am going for sure!

Levain Bakery was on Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay and  the second I saw those beautiful gigantic cookies, I just knew I had to go!

Amanda and I had our big cameras ready to go and ordered one of every beautiful cookie they had.  Not even kidding, these were the best cookies I have ever had, by a mile.

Sitting out front of the bakery and a shot of the display case, mmmm!

Ok, starting up at the top left we have the Dark Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Walnut, Oatmeal Raisin and my absolute favorite…Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip :)

Does it get any better than a tower of Levain Cookies?  Seriously!

No joke, Amanda and I were taking photos of these cookies for a good 45 minutes.  People probably thought we were nuts!  Lol.

The ooey gooey inside of the Chocolate Chip Walnut

Hands down this Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie was the best cookie on the face of the planet.  I might just have to order some through the mail :)

This Dark Chocolate Chip was a very close 2nd place.  Heaven!

Loved this Oatmeal Raisin too!

Thank You Levain Bakery for making my NYC trip so sweet.  I am beyond thrilled I was able to FINALLY get to taste your cookies.  Will definitely be back….in the meantime I’ll be placing my order for cookie in the mail today :)  xoxo


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All I can say is….”Wow” about this trip that Unilever took me on.  First the awesome hotel room, then we got our feet massaged, hair done, fed and so many other fun things?  I feel so lucky to have been invited to such an amazing event.  THANK YOU.

On 3 separate occasions Amanda and I had the opportunity to go up to the Penthouse Suite where Unilever turned it into a Culinary and Pampering getaway.  It really was beautiful.  Bloggers from the BlogHer Conference were invited to pop in to enjoy the treatment as well. Pictured above was the “foot massage” room.  None of us wanted to get up after our 5 minutes!  It was awesome especially after walking all over NY :)

This was some of the goodies over in the Culinary part of the Penthouse.  For breakfast we had muffins and scones then for dinner we had PF Changs new home menu along with Ragu pictured below and so many other tasty dishes.  Photo by Ragu team.

Another room of the Penthouse was set up with baskets of  flip flops, craft decorations and glue guns.  I got right to work on my own design.

Cute huh?  Love my yellow flippies :)

Here was another room where there were 2 little salon stations set up to get our hair done.  Amanda and I were so excited for this :)

Tada….here we are right after our “hair” appointment.  Loved the girl who did my hair, she was so great.

Saturday morning Amanda and I went to the BlogHer Expo and had so much fun.  Can you believe I met Padma from Top Chef?  I was so nervous to talk to her so Amanda ran over to her and asked if we could take a picture with her.  I would have never had the nerve to do it.  So glad she did, I am a huge Top Chef fan.

Adam Gertler from Next Food Network Star was also at the expo, he was really nice.  Had a great morning chatting with all the sponsors at the expo.  Even got a photo with a Milk Mustache at the Got Milk? booth :)

Also got to meet Marmaduke the dog!  He was the cutest ever :)

This was a kitchen set where they were filming for the Rachael Ray Show….never saw Rachael, but kept hearing about it :)

Ahhh, my long lost buddy the Dough Boy!  It was so great to see my Pillsbury friends I have worked with on Picky Palate.  Love them all :)

At the Pillsbury booth, they asked us to do some video for them for Pillsbury.com about baking tips, etc.

Later Saturday night Amanda and I went back to the Hilton to pick up a book and lo and behold Ree….The Pioneer Woman walked through the doors.  I immediately saw her and had to chat for a second.  I just love her, she is as beautiful and sweet as you picture her to be.  So glad I finally got to meet her even for a second :)


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Photo via Amanda

Thursday evening rolled around and it was time to get ready for our Martha Stewart Blogging Party.  Amanda and I got dolled up and first stopped by a Smucker’s Dinner party.  As we were looking for a taxi we saw this very tempting bike taxi (below) and we decided to jump in.  We are lucky we are alive, it was a little crazy!  These guys zip in and out of traffic like they are nuts!

Our driver took a second to snap this photo of us with my iPhone, Lol!  We look so calm here.  Most the time we couldn’t stop laughing because we thought we were going to die!

Photo via Amanda

After our Smucker’s Dinner we had to hurry over to the Martha Party.  I had NO idea what to expect.  The second we walked through the doors, I knew we were in for a treat.  We checked in by our blog names, received our official badge then were escorted upstairs for the party.  Unfortunately we arrived a little late and Martha had already left….but we still enjoyed ourselves, trust me.  There were oodles of beautiful cupcakes, cookies and these adorable mini burgers below.

Photo via Amanda

These little burgers were awesome.  I think we had plenty of these :)  I LOVE that Amanda found the recipe in Everyday Food below.

Photo via Amanda via Everyday Food

Photo via Amanda

Not only was there great food, but there were Nars Make-up Artists applying individual lashes for everyone.  How fun is that?!  I love that the guy told Amanda…..”No photos of me please.”  Lol!

Photo via Amanda

This was the view from the room where the party was.  How gorgeous is this?!

Photo via Amanda

Little break for our “Martha Party” Photo :)

Friday morning, we experienced the NYC subway station.  Needless to say, Amanda and I both agreed it seemed like we were walking into Hell as we ventured down the dark, hot and completely filthy stairs.  I must say Amanda is awesome, girlfriend was able to get us to our destinations with no problem, like she was an old pro.  I was so impressed and would have been completely lost without her.  Glad that I can say I have “done” the subways.  Definitely not my favorite form of transportation, but talk about saving cash.  It was much cheaper than the ol’ crazy taxi driver.  Actually kind of fun too :)

Right Photo via Amanda

Here’s our subway.  Amanda was brave enough to snap photos inside our train.  Love it.  Most of the time they were very full.

Doughnut Plant may have been the highlight of my weekend.  You probably think I am nuts, but these doughnuts were the best I have ever tasted.  Take a look at their flavors…

The Creme Brulee Doughnut was out of this world.  It’s the little one on top in the next picture.

So, we each purchased 2 doughnuts (at $3.00 a piece) and shared.  Before we dug into them we had to stack them up and take some photos.  Top was creme brulee, dulce de leche, carrot cake and peanut butter and jelly.  Drool!

This was the tiniest little doughnut shop ever, but was packed with people lined up almost out the door.  This was the little doughnut area right by the check out.

I believe this was the blueberry one, we didn’t try it, but it looked fabulous.

Here’s the peanut butter and jelly ones.  Square with peanut butter glaze on top and jelly throughout.  YUM, loved this one too.

Photos of inside of doughnuts via Amanda

My favorite part was that they all had filling inside.  The carrot cake doughnut had cream cheese frosting throughout.  Wish I could grab one right now :)  Make sure to visit Amanda’s blog for her post about the Martha Party :)

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Hope you enjoyed more of our trip.  Still to come…BlogHer Expo, Unilever Pampering, milkshakes, rice pudding and Skyline Views :)


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This image of hotel from Google

Last week was such a whirlwind of excitement.  My buddy Amanda and I literally ate and shopped our way through NYC for 4 days straight.  I’m not even sure where to start.  Together we took almost 1,ooo photos over our 4 day visit!

Unilever put us up in this ultra Swanky and totally fabulous Royalton Hotel during BlogHer10 for some Culinary Fare and Pampering before and after the conferences. Can you get over how cool this place is?!  Take a look at our awesome room!

Loved our room, very chic :)

It was so nice to find a note under our door that said….”open door for fresh muffins.”  Sweet!

Ahhhhh, we loved this :)

this photo via Amanda

We also came home the first evening to find these adorable make-up bags full of lotions and LOTS of deodorant.  It was so hot in NY last week, so we appreciated the goods!

The streets of NY are incredible, such energy everywhere you go.  This was directly to the left of us towards 5th Ave.

This was to our right, just one block from Time Square.  People EVERYWHERE always on the go……and always on cell phones :)

Love these streets.  Amanda and I walked all over them.

After Amanda and I got settled last Thursday we headed to SoHo area and ate at this famous mini food truck, Waffles & Dinges.  Talk about the best waffles ever!  Definitely worth hunting down if you are in the area :)

I’ll leave you with Amanda’s waffle :)

Up next is our Martha Stewart Blogger’s Party and more of the fabulous places we ate!


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photo from google images

Last Wednesday through Friday I was fortunate enough to spend time with 19 other bloggers at the first annual, Now your “Steam” Cooking Thermador Blog Event.  They graciously put us up in the beautiful Gainey Ranch Resort in Scottsdale, AZ and boy did they feed us….well!

Thermador wanted us all to see an upclose and personal demonstration of their latest product…..The Thermador Steam and Convection Oven.  Watching the staff at Thermador show us all the bells and whistles of the oven really showed how passionate they are about this product.  It was amazing to see everything that could be done in a small but completely effective space.  I have been a fan of the Thermador brand since my competitive cooking days when I won a recipe contest to be in a cookbook of theirs.  Being in their gorgeous showroom and around the wonderful people who run their company just assured that they are a great company and brand.

I’ve posted probably one too many pictures of our trip, but thought I’d give you a run through of our time with Thermador :)  Also, see bottom of post for a list of all of the attendees :)

First stop was dinner at Mastros.  Delicious food. Really enjoyed chatting with everyone.

This shrimp appetizer was the star of the show.  Talk about gorgeous presentation!!

Thursday morning we all gathered in the lobby awaiting our 5 SUV’s to take us to the Thermador Showroom.

I have a weird thing for light fixtures!!

We got a full tour of their showroom and caught a glimpse of the chef preparing breakfast!!

Chef Kyle telling us all about the delicious breakfast.

You should have seen all 20 bloggers snapping pictures left and right through the entire event.  Was quite entertaining!  We’re such foodies!

A little oven demo.

Chef Kyle baking our tenderloin in the convection oven.

Time for lunch.

More foodie Paparazzi!  I have to say that I just LOVE the White on Rice CoupleTodd and Diane could not have been sweeter sharing their incredible talent with all of us.  It was such a pleasure to spend time with them on this trip.

Lindsey firing up the torch for our creme brulee!

My roomie and food bloggin’ buddy Brooke from Cheeky Kitchen working those mashed potatoes.  They were so yummy!

My fellow OC buddy Shanna from My Favorite Everything.

Lunch was awesome hence the thousand pics I took of the beautiful food!

The creme brulee was adorable in these star ramekins!

This tomato jam was irresistible.  Shanna posted the recipe HERE.

Thank you Thermador for the incredible day in your showroom.  The food was out of this world, your staff could not have been nicer and your products are gorgeous!  Loved every bit of this trip :)

Thursday evening we had dinner at 5th and Wine Restaurant.  Pretty much had to roll myself to the vehicles after this.  Massive Food Coma, but oh so worth it :)

Had a fun gondole ride after dinner back at the hotel with Kristen, Brooke, Chris, Russell, Jennifer and Me :)  It was….the most interesting gondole ride I’ve ever taken, don’t think our gondolier enjoyed our silliness much!!

Here are the fellow bloggers I had so much fun spending time with in “Steamy” AZ!

Kristen Doyle – Dine & Dish http://dineanddish.net/

Tina Haupert – Carrots N’Cake http://carrotsncake.com

Katie Goodman – goodLife {eats} http://www.goodlifeeats.com/

Lindsey Johnson – DesignMom Blog www.designmom.com

Maria Lichty – Two Peas & Their Pod http://twopeasandtheirpod.com/

Ciaran Blumenfeld – Momfluential Media http://www.momfluential.net/

Diane Cu & Todd Porter – White on Rice Couple http://www.whiteonricecouple.com/

Shanna Coady – My Favorite Everything http://www.myfavoriteeverything.com/

Brooke McLay – Cheeky Kitchen http://www.cheekykitchen.com

Shaina Olmanson – Food for My Family http://www.foodformyfamily.com

Jane Maynard – This Week for Dinner http://www.thisweekfordinner.com

Jenny Flake – Picky Palate http://www.pickypalate.com

Jennifer Leal – Savor the Thyme http://savorthethyme.blogspot.com/

Russell Warnick – Endless Simmer http://www.endlesssimmer.com/

Sarah Freymoyer – Classy Mommy http://www.classymommy.com/

Jenna Weber – Eat Live Run http://www.eatliverun.com/

Tanya Patrice – I Ate a Pie http://www.iateapie.net/

Becky Bracken – She Knows http://www.sheknows.com/

Disclaimer: Thermador paid my travel, room / board, meal expenses for my time in Scottsdale, AZ however the opinions expressed in this post about their products are my own.  Thanks!!


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We had such a fun day sight seeing in San Diego on Memorial Day!  The weather could not have been more beautiful.  We started off walking towards Seaport Village for lunch.  How adorable is Seaport Village?!  I hadn’t been there in years, there is nothing like walking around right by the water and feeling the sea breeze :)  Take a look at our trip through Seaport Village and the USS Midway Museum :)

The boys and I stopped for a quick pic before heading to lunch.

This picture is sooooo my boys!  They are like this about 90% of the day :)

The back part of Seaport Village around the restaurants.  I LOVE it here.

Waiting for lunch….

Some of us got Pizza from this cute pizza shop…..

and some of us got lunch at this yummy sandwich shop!

You know I had to take a picture of my sandwich before I ate it!!  How good does it look?

Hubby’s sandwich….yum!

Grilled cheese for the little guy!

Pizza was devoured, now onto the drink :)

Yikes!  I should have brought his toothbrush :)

I love this picture!

This is the cutest Fudge Shop, love their choice of colors!

I totally picked up some of these cute teaspoons, you’ll be seeing them in my photos soon :)

This balloon maker was incredible!  He made the best balloons I have ever seen.  Guess he’s been at Seaport for over 20 years!  You must visit him if you go!

The crazy fire eater!  Lol!

The boys loved this robot guy!  He was actually really good.

It was time for the aircraft carrier museum!

I think they enjoyed themselves :)

On the upper deck, LOVED snapping pics up here!

My guys are so cute!

I think they could have looked at these airplanes all day!

I’m sure they’ll hate that I dress them in the same shirts sooner than later, so I’m taking advantage for as long as I can!  I think it’s so cute :)

This statue was so awesome, it was ENORMOUS….hard to tell in the photo, but it was really incredible to see :)

Oh my, I was so excited when I saw the Fish Market Restaurant right next to the museum….this would be our dinner location!  We had a gorgeous view of the water from our table.  I had every intention of photographing my dinner, but my lighting was not very good and we were all STARVING :)

Love this picture….and his freckles :)

We had to steal the bread away from this little guy, he kept yelling “I love bread….and BUTTER!”  He pretty much filled up on this :)  This was the lighting I had to work with at dinner.  I kinda like it in this photo, but not so much for the food photos :)

Ice cream time!

Couldn’t help snapping all these pics of my cutie, love when they aren’t paying attention to the camera….which is most of the time :)

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Thanks for sharing our little day trip!


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Photo via Pat.

Our last activity with Bertolli was a quaint meet and greet with none other than Rocco DiSpirito.  Our limo drove us to the beautiful Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel where we would meet Rocco for a “small bites” dinner at the gorgeous Culina Restaurant.  What a beautiful place it was.  Everything was just perfect there.  Take a peek at our time with Rocco :)  Thanks Bertolli!

Lovely restaurant!  Photo by Pat

One last group shot before meeting Rocco :)  Photo via Shelisa

Our fun place settings.  Photo via Briana.

Love this one of Rocco.  He was so much fun to chat with!  Photo via Pat.

Our lesson on fine wine :)  I don’t drink, but you better believe I ate!!  Photo via Pat.

We were all ooing and ahhing over these gorgeous flower bowls. They were all real flowers and were just beautiful!  My photo :)

Mandy and I were literally right in front of Rocco during dinner.  Yes, we were totally staring!  Lol!

Oh my gosh, I love this picture of Brittney!   Photo via Amanda

We watched the 4th video of “Into the Heart of Italy” before it was even posted online :) Photo via Pat.

Our fabulous “small bites”  dinner menu :)  Photo via Shelisa

I had to snap a picture of the fancy water we were poured :)

Before I took a bite, you better believe I had to get a good shot of this work of art!! Involitini De Manzo=Pure heaven!!  Thank you Chef Victor!

Oh man this was good too!  I snapped this photo of Caponata Di Carciofi….baby artichokes, this was really good too :)

This was probably my favorite!  Suppli Al Telefono….. Risotto and mozzarella?  Incredible!

Here is Chef Victor Casanova, he is incredible!  Rocco asked if he’d bring out the slab of Kobe beef to show us.  That square of beef is worth a small fortune!  Photo via Amanda.

Pretty!

Kobe beef in all it’s glory :)

After we ate dinner, we all got in line to have Rocco sign our cookbooks. Photo via Pat

I jumped in first :)

Hmmmm, I don’t even remember what we talked about!

I think I just laughed alot :)

Amanda…..you go girl!!

Cute Mandy and Rocco :)

Brittney with Rocco.

Sarah and Rocco :)  Photo via Pat

How adorable is this?!!  Yes, I snapped this one of Shelisa and Rocco :)  Love it!

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Photo via Pat

Congrats to entry #26 Allie who was chosen as the winner from Random.org to win a signed copy of Rocco’s new book.  I’ve sent you an email Allie :)


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Photo via Brittney

Right after we ate all we could stand at the Gourmet Food Trucks, we jumped back into our limo and headed to Scoops.  I really can’t begin to tell you how amazing this place was.  You just must try it for yourself.  The owner Tai Kim is the sweetest man ever.  He gave our whole party free Gelato.  Thank you Mr Kim!!  He creates very unusual different flavor combinations of gelato.  My favorite that I could eat all day was the lavendar honey.  YUM!!  The salted caramel and salted chocolate was amazing too!

Photo via Pat

When we arrived at Scoops, we ran into Chef Tal Ronnen who had a stack of his latest cookbooks with him.  He signed them and gave them to the Bertolli girls who picked 5 of us to take his book home (drew from a hat to make it fair).  I didn’t win, but Thank you Amanda for giving me your book!!  I am anxious to flip through it :)

Here I am with Tal, who was busy chatting with someone else :)

Photo by Amanda

Ahhhh, here is Mr. Kim.  If you are ever in LA you have got to stop at Scoops.  Love him and his cute shop!

Photos via Pat via Amanda :)

Photo via Pat

Photo via Pat

How cool is his little spoon chandelier?!

Photo via Pat

Amanda and I snapped pics of her Gelato outside, look at that!!

original photo of me by Mandy

Shelisa in heaven with her “scoops” :)  original photo by Mandy

original photo by Shelisa

Off to the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills!!  Photo by Mandy

What a gorgeous cheese shop this was, loved it and all it’s stinkiness!  Photo via Pat

Look at all this cheese!  Yum!  Photo via Pat

The nice cheese man let us all try a fabulous gorgonzola!  Photo by Pat

Mmmm, Prosciutto!  Photo via Pat

Love this photo I snapped :)

Wishing I would have got some of these chocolates!

Photo via Pat

Thanks for coming along with me as I share my gazillion photos of the Bertolli Trip :)

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Up next, last but not least…..our Hour with Rocco DiSpirito!!


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Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!





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