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Making Quality Count: Anita’s Creamline Coconut Yogurt

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Aug 27, 2014
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“Most dairy-free yogurts aren’t white. But, they should be. I didn’t want to put anything fake in the food I was making.”

Meet Anita Shepherd, the inventor and founder of Anita’s Creamline Coconut Yogurt, a small-batch, dairy free yogurt business based in Brooklyn, NY. Of all the makers I’ve worked with, no one has been more outspoken about the lengths they go to keep their secret recipe on lockdown than Anita. It may seem crazy, and a bit overboard, but if you watch her story, you’ll understand. It took her YEARS to develop the consistency, the texture, the perfect flavor of her yogurt. Even when everyone told her to give up, she persisted. She kept testing and testing (and testing and testing and testing…) until, she became an expert herself. Now, she’s getting many anonymous inquiries from industry people, who she believes are out to steal her recipe. This might make her overprotective, but it also makes her feel good.

In my experience of dairy-free yogurts, I have seen and tasted nothing like it. It is of the highest quality. Pure ingredients, nothing fake. With a creamline, so thick, so beautifully white, it makes you doubt it’s not dairy. Talking with Anita, I start to think that we should all go a little crazy sometimes. Why fighting for what we want, can lead to impossible things. That’s the greatness of invention. And I admire Anita. A lot.

Currently, a select number of stores NYC and Long Island listed HERE carry her coconut yogurt. Or follow this link to Good Eggs NYC to have it delivered to your door! I love it for breakfast with granola and berries. Anita suggests it makes a great substitute for cream in pasta sauces too. Plus, it’s vegan and vegetarian-friendly. I hope you give it a try.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy eating!

Not Just For Decoration: Good Water Farms Microgreens

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Aug 12, 2014
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“The flavor is incredible. It’s like a 5-year old kid running around like crazy because they are so full of energy. Microgreens are no different. They’re like little kids booming and pushing through.”

Before we get started, I took away a couple of important lessons while filming this story: 1) just because you used to grow “medicinal herbs” (wink, wink)  in California doesn’t mean you can’t apply that experience to agriculture, and 2) I never really knew how intense broccoli, celery or a carrot could REALLY taste until I tried them as microgreens. You think you’re ready for it, but you’re not. Pop these little suckers in your mouth and your taste buds explode. They are so concentrated. Just imagine the array of possibilities for new recipes, new dishes. You get it. It’s a pretty great feeling from something so small!

Meet Brendan Davison, the founder and grower at Good Water Farms, a certified organic microgreens farm located in East Hampton, Long Island. Just to be clear, Brendan is a “grower” not a farmer. There’s a difference, he tells me. Farmers tend to the land. He tends to soil. On trays. Plus, he needs to make the distinction since the local farmers don’t really take him seriously. To them, what he grows is a trend. A passing fad. And Brendan, well, he’s out to prove them wrong. He believes microgreens are the future of food. Come see why…

To taste Good Water Farms microgreens, you can visit a number of restaurants that serve his products, like The Musket Room in New York City or Tom Colicchio’s restaurant Topping Rose in The Hamptons. Or you can order them right to your door from GoodEggsNYC. I’m a huge fan of this local artisan/farm focused food delivery service. They make eating well very convenient. And I’m collaborating with GoodEggsNYC to bring you stories from a few of our favorite food makers. More to come.

Thanks so much for watching food. curated.! Peace, Love & Microgreens!

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The ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ of Bread & Butter: Razza Pizza Artiginale

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jul 8, 2014
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“I aspire to be a sushi master of the bread & butter world. The ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ of bread and butter.”

Meet Dan Richer, the James Beard Rising Star chef semi-finalist and owner of Razza Pizza Artiginale in Jersey City, NJ. I remember his laugh the most. There’s a quality, a character to it, as if he knows he’s laughing at his own joke, poking fun at his own self-awareness. I find it charming, that Dan admits to being crazy. Crazy about ingredients. Crazy about sourcing. Crazy about everything that passes in and out of Razza’s kitchen. He is picky and meticulous to say the least. When he starts a new food project, he has to master it. “It’s part of being a craftsman,” he tells me. Part of his fight against mediocrity. To him, mediocrity serves no one. And maybe that’s the mark of a true artisan, someone willing to go those extra lengths. To move towards perfection. Here at Razza’s this design is in everything, especially in the bread & butter.

Blink…and you’ll miss the dish on Razza’s menu. Miss it, and I’ll feel truly sorry for you. It’s special. Really special. Even now, I can remember spreading the soft, salted butter over the oven-warmed bread. An act of salivation! Every bite is pillowy, the butter uniquely grassy, tangy. The crust alive and darkly caramel. The slippery coat on your lips triggers a need for more bread, more butter. You marvel that something so simple, so overlooked, could be so satisfying.

To me, it’s the most memorable dish on Dan’s small menu, which says a lot coming from a restaurant with pizza in its name. And that’s ok with Dan. While learning to make a better pizza, he got sucked into the rabbit hole of fermentation. Now, as you’ll see, it’s become his specialty. The bread & butter is Dan’s greatest achievement, showcasing everything about food that’s important to him. From farm to table. Enjoy his story. And, please, get yourself to Jersey City to experience it! I’d love to hear what you think.

Thanks so much for supporting food. curated.! Happy eating!

A Dressing Designed to Make You Eat More Salad: MOMO Dressing

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jun 18, 2014
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“Processing and preservatives kill flavor. We restore the flavor with fresh vegetables.”

Meet Masaki & Yukimi Momose, the husband and wife team behind MOMO Dressing, a small-batch, Japanese dressing company based in New York City. MOMO Dressing isn’t big, but it should be. I’ve never had a dressing that altered the way I eat. Usually, a bottle of dressing takes me a month or two to finish. MOMO’s roasted sesame dressing takes me a few days. Or less. I find myself buying more salad ingredients just to eat more dressing. I now crave salads at every meal. I know it might sound crazy, but is that really a bad thing?

When I explain this to the Momoses, they laugh. Apparently, this is something they hear all the time from customers – especially moms who claim MOMO Dressing is their secret to getting their kids to eat more vegetables. So, it’s kid tested. Adult approved. And there’s a reason for it. It has something to do with the freshness. Their particular flair for Japanese ingredients. The creaminess. The perfect balance of salty & sweet. It’s fantastic. Just like them.

“American people are so open-minded to someone doing a challenge, that’s [why] I really love the American people, and why I’m so happy to be here.”

Right now, they produce 3 dressings: Roasted Sesame, Non-Oil Shiso and Ginger Carrot. In addition to finding them at Smorgasburg & local farmers markets, you can buy their products online at Good Eggs, a Brooklyn delivery start-up that delivers farm-fresh groceries and local artisan products to your door. This is first in a series of videos in which I’ll be collaborating with their artisans. I’ve used their service a ton. It’s certainly a friendly way to guarantee real food made from real farmers/fishermen/artisans make it to your kitchens every week.  I hope you enjoy their story.

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Thanks so much for watching food. curated.! Happy Eating!

Attention Please, This is NOT a Tea Party: The Mandarin’s Tea Room

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jun 4, 2014
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“To get people in here, there is a process, unfortunately. There’s a questionnaire to even get invited, and we will trick people, sometimes, just for fun.”

Meet Timothy Hsu, the founder and tea connoisseur behind The Mandarin’s Tea Room, an underground tea-speakeasy lost in the heart of SoHo. The first time I met Timothy, he got me tea drunk. Sip after sip, I could sense my serious mood slowly vanish. I left giddy. My steps, lighter. My mind, brighter. Timothy was pleased.

I never heard of being “tea drunk” before. Never knew it was even a possibility for tea to have that effect on you. And that’s the whole purpose of The Mandarin’s Tea Room: to share the true story of tea. Which, of course, isn’t chai tea or jasmine tea. He’s talking about the real tea leaves, predominately from tea trees in China: camellia sinensis.

According to Timothy, tea appreciation has been lost. Industrialization of the tea industry has made the culture of tea too immediate. Drinkers take less time. Timothy believes this cuts the true essence of tea, as a tool to engage your being, or well-being, so to say. Right now, Tim claims there are over 4,000 varietals of tea, each able to deliver different effects on your body (a number that, frankly, blew my mind – I had no idea!). At The Mandarin’s Tea Room, some of the world’s best teas are available to taste. So come. Get comfortable. Take a moment. Slow down. And let Tim enlighten you over a few cups of tea.

“The best tea comes from monks; because they develop tea for the purpose of enlightenment.”

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy slurping!