A Delicious Night with Gilt City and La Palapa Mexican Cocina

dinner

Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting a blogger dinner with Gilt City and La Palapa.   I was the only person who knew everyone at the table so it was fun to see so many friendly faces and introduce everyone to each other while enjoying delicious food and a warm, festive environment.

la palapa nyc blogger dinner

Heather, me, Diana, Theodora, Christine, Nicole, KatieAlanna, Evann, Meaghan (not pictured), Arielle (not pictured), and the owner of La Palapa, Barbara

The goal of the evening was to bring together health and wellness bloggers in New York City and introduce them to the healthier side of Mexican food as well as the wonderful partners that Gilt City has on their platform. Barbara, the owner of La Palapa, put together a seven-course dinner for us along with three different refreshing drink pairings. As you can see from the menu below, the dishes were all very unique and unlike anything you’d find at an Americanized Mexican restaurant. Born and raised in Mexico City, Barbara taught us that many of the dishes we grew up enjoying in Mexican restaurants are special dishes often only enjoyed during large celebrations or weddings – not on a daily basis.  Since 2000, her goal has been to serve delicious, fresh, flavorful Mexican cuisine to New Yorkers!  The drinks and dishes focused on fresh, seasonal flavors and Barbara prided herself on ensuring that nothing had added sweetener or unnecessary ingredients. She used herbs and seasonings to enhance the flavor in a healthy way. la palapa

La Palapa menu

She definitely succeeded in amazing us!  Her passion for food came through in the way she described each of the below dishes before serving us each course. As she answered our questions and interacted with us, she would be inspired to add items to the evening, including pan-friend crickets! Only two of us were brave enough to try them. I don’t think I’ll do it again but suffice it to say – they are crunchy.

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Four three hours, food and drinks flowed to the table while we laughed and caught up. Most of us focused on the food instead of the cocktails since it was a Monday night, but I tried a sip of each one and especially enjoyed the pineapple and nopal margarita.  By the end of the evening, my favorite dishes were the chalupas de mesa verde with platanos con mole negro, fish tacos, squash tacos, and the guavas with saffron.

appetizers
tacos

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Want to tasta La Palapa’s delicious food and cocktails for yourself? Save up to 55% by taking advantage of the La Palapa deals on Gilt City which include a weekend brunch, dinner for 10 or a four-course dinner for two!

la palapa gilt city

Your turn: What is your favorite Mexican dish? 

Thank you to Gilt City NYC and La Palapa for hosting us for a delicious and fun evening. Thank you also to Heather who provided some of these pictures. 

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Café Des Federations–Lyonnaise Cuisine

On a small little street in Lyon sits a culinary treasure – Café des Federations. Suggested to us by one of my dear friends in Geneva, Lauren Collins, who is a talented free lance writer for the New Yorker magazine, this restaurant was nothing short of amazing.  IMG_4597The small space is ornately decorated with posters, pictures and memorabilia from the region while the noise carries from table to table as people coo over the delicious Lyonnaise cuisine.

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Lyonnaise cuisine refers to the cooking traditions and practices of Lyon, brought the the region in the 16th century by Catherine de Medici. She brought her cooks to the court and requested that they prepare dishes using the local produce while still leveraging their Florence training. Since then the cuisine has become known across the world and it had since helped put Lyon on the map as the ‘’world gastronomy capital”.

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The common dishes include coq au vin, Lyonnaise potatoes, poached eggs in red wine, pistachio sausage, charcuterie, and Beaujolais red wine.  Sharing a bottle of wine at lunch felt like such an abnormal treat as it isn’t often that mom and I have wine with lunch, much less sip our way through an entire bottle!

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Their lunch menu is quite simple, which after a few overwhelming menus this weekend was a welcome change. The classic menu, which is 19.50 euro per person, included the following delicious dishes:

  • Delicatessen Lyon
  • Caviar de la Croix Rousse
  • Salad of the day (lentils)
  • Rillette herring
  • A hot dish of our choice – Stewed pork cheek, crayfish dumpling and chicken liver

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There really is no way to describe the lunch other than to say that every dish was absolutely incredible in a rustic, French way that left us craving more but too stuffed to think of having another bite. The staff, including the owner, was so sweet and hospitable that we found ourselves laughing and making conversation with them. It didn’t hurt to see that for once we had planned accordingly, thanks to Lauren’s guidance, and made reservations. In the two hours that we sat enjoying our meal more than 40 people walked in, trying to snag a table to no avail.

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When in Lyon, go to Café des Federations. We just discovered that they also serve dinner which will be a no miss destination on our next trip. Until then,  when in Lyon, do not ask questions, do not question the menu, do not think about a diet, but instead indulge and enjoy everything they serve or offer you. It will be incredible and you’ll remember the meal for ages.

Bon appetite!

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Sips and Bites in Marylebone

Greetings from our balcony!

IMG_0449Bo and I have had the most delightful day enjoying the beautiful London weather. It is sunny and about 70 degrees right now, perfect for relaxing on the balcony with a glass of wine, some light appetizers and our iPad which we’ve used all evening to talk with our parents and loved ones.

IMG_0448We are trying to do a good job of ensuring each of our weekends together is balanced. It’s easy to get caught up in the novelty of a new city and living in Europe. But, we’ve promised each other that we will leave time unplanned each weekend for some much needed rest and relaxation. For example, we were busy today from 8-3pm but have been able to relax this evening, ambling around the wharf area, watching the sunset from our balcony, talking to our parents, and cooking dinner in together.

Last night however, we had other plans for our evening which most certainly did not include relaxing at home. Instead, we thought it would be fun to take the tube to Marylebone and spend the evening sipping and tasting our way around our new neighborhood.

We took the Jubilee line from Canary Wharf to Baker Street, which is about a 20 minute ride. This will be Bo’s new commute each day once he moves from temporary housing into the new flat. Bo and I were both spoiled in New York City with very easy, short commutes on reliable lines. Therefore, one of our goals for the new location was that the commute would be pretty easy as we all know that dealing with a long commute after an even longer day is just no fun.

IMG_0356 This is the face of a guy who is very happy with his new commute!

Within 20 minutes we were standing at our new doorstep, ready to embark on an evening of fun! Just a few blocks away we found ourselves ordering a bottle of prosecco at our first location for the evening, Coco Momo. The prosecco was 23 pounds, equivalent to $35.

IMG_0495We spent an hour sipping our bubbly, people watching and dreaming about what our weekends spent in Marylebone will be like. IMG_0357It was a great place to start the celebration. As I mentioned on my Yelp review earlier, we will definitely return for drinks but will not order food in the future. The appetizer dish that we ordered was sub par and over priced.

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Once we finished our bottle of prosecco we spent some time meandering through the boutiques on Marylebone High Street that were still open and wandering down a few of the side streets. Our next stop was The Fat of the Land, a Mediterranean tapas bar that caught our attention by the crowd outside and the unique name.  IMG_0364IMG_0497

We were able to snag a seat outside and quickly ordered the grilled octopus and their drink special, a Pimm’s Cup.  IMG_0365 Pimm’s Cup, a classic British cocktail, is typically made by mixing Pimm’s, a gin based liquor, with lemonade or gingerale. Historically, Pimm’s No 1 liquor is a mix of dry gin, liqueor, fruit juices, and spices. Unfortunately, this girl did not care for it and instead swapped with Bo for his pint of beer.    IMG_0498 I’m surprised the Yelp reviews for this spot are so negative as we had a great experience overall. Our grilled octopus was perfectly seasoned and prepared, the service was very prompt even on a Summer Friday evening, the prices were in line with the rest of the area, and our waiter was very friendly. We will definitely be back for a pint of beer and their outdoor seating!

Finally, around 9pm we decided it was time for a proper dinner and ended our evening at Fish Works Seafood Cafe. Bo and I are huge seafood fans so the first time we saw this restaurant during our flat search and heard that their fish monger inside is even better, we knew we’d be trying it soon. IMG_0500

The restaurant focuses on a pairing seasonal, fresh seafood with equally as fresh produce. Everything on the menu sounded wonderful so we spent a few minutes reviewing the menu while we sipped on a glass of pinot grigio. IMG_0499Since we had already had two appetizers, we decided to share a few dishes versus ordering our own meals.  Overall I would say that we were amazed, if not blown away, by the sea bass main course we shared, the sea bass. But, we were underwhelmed by the appetizer (hand picked crab on toast) and pasta course (linguini with clams). They do fish very well and we should have just stuck with seafood all night, in its purest form.

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You’ll also notice in the above picture, that there is a green side dish. That my friends is mushy peas. Mushy peas is a traditional English side dish that is most frequently served with fish & chips. It is dried marrowfat peas which are simmered with sugar and salt after being soaked in water overnight. In the past two weeks we’ve both fallen in love with this side dish!

So there you have it, our first evening in Marylebone together, sipping and tasting our way through the small streets.

Question: What is your favorite way to discover a new neighborhood?

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