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Grazin’s Grassfed Burgers: A Small Diner Aims to Make The Cleanest Burger You’ll Ever Eat

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jul 30, 2013
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“It’s an artificial cheapness that’s associated with meat in America. I rather you spend your money on a good burger and just do it less frequently.”

Meet Andrew Chiappinelli, the owner of Grazin’, the world’s FIRST farm-to-table direct, 100% Animal Welfare Approved grassfed & finished burger joint based in Hudson, NY. When it comes to burgers, Andrew is a proud man. He’s so thick with pride you can see it, especially while rolling out and portioning his specialty, pasture-raised burger blend. It took him 6 long years to get his vision for Grazin’ up and running, and now he finally feels like people are catching on.

Here, what looks like a diner and smells like a diner is far from the norm. As Andrew will tell you, he has to be ok with disrupting certain expectations. The 1947 stainless steel facade might lure people in, but, it’s not unheard of for new customers to walk out once they find the colas are all made to order and the homemade mayo costs an extra buck. For me, it’s well worth it. And I wasn’t going anywhere. This is a place to come for clean eating. A place where burgers don’t sit like bricks in your stomach. A place where a healthy respect for animals, sustainability and local agriculture can be found in every single bite. Watch Andrew’s story and see for yourself!

I hope I convince you to take a trip upstate to support good food makers. Though burgers are the mainstays on the menu, you can also find great egg options, soups, salads and sandwiches daily. I highly recommend starting with the plain Grazin’ burger, just to taste the nuances of the grassfed meat. For something more adventurous, ask about the burger special of the day or splurge on the “Uncle Dude” – the layers of jalapeno relish w/house-made chipotle mayo over bacon and local cheddar is a flavor bomb worth coming back for. Truth be told, I ate an Uncle Dude with a side of fries and felt great. You’ll see it in the piece, it’s no small burger. It was a wonder I didn’t slip into my usual burger coma, a satisfying feeling that’ll keep me coming back to Grazin’s thoughtful, clean food.

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

Drawn to Fire: Chef Jeremy Stanton of The Meat Market

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jul 23, 2013
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“We honor meat every day, it’s why we’re here.”

Meet Jeremy Stanton, the chef and proprietor of The Meat Market, a sustainable butcher shop and one-of-a-kind, fire-roasted catering business in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. If there’s one thing Jeremy loves, it’s a show. A fire show. Ask him about grilling outdoors and his charisma will overwhelm you. For him, there’s no other place he’d rather be then strapped into his flame retardant leather chaps, BBQ tools in hand, surrounded by the crackling sounds of burning wood and the scent of locally grilled meats. This type of cooking is his calling.  He just has a way with fire.

Jeremy opened The Meat Market a little under two years ago. It was his way of giving back to The Berkshires community, a community proud of its farmers and farmland. Before The Meat Market, there weren’t any options for locals to buy fresh cuts of animals raised in the area. Jeremy saw this disconnect and, for years, worked on a plan to solve it. He asked The Universe for help and this is his story.

Right now, Jeremy is happy to say he works with over 20 farms to showcase their meats and produce to hungry locals, offering a variety of grass fed meats, in addition to, homemade pates, hams, flavorful charcuterie and delicious sausages. If you’re not in the mood to cook, he’ll be more than happy to grill the meats for you outback. Every Thursday-Sunday, the shop builds a few fires on their specialty grills and invites the community to partake in the best of what The Berkshires has to offer. It’s a great concept, a lovely staff and certainly a nice addition to the neighborhood. I hope you stop by one day, it’s a fun reason to get out of town.

Thanks so much for watching food. curated. and supporting local farms! Happy Summer Grilling!

Escape the City: Bell & Anchor, A Little Bit of Brooklyn in the Berkshires

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jun 27, 2013
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“I just want to eat well and keep it unpretentious.” 

Meet Mark Firth, the owner and chief farmhand of the Bell & Anchor, a farm to table restaurant located up in Great Barrington, MA. I came to the Berkshires looking to get away from the city – to get out into nature and get a little closer to my food source. Mark, a long time Brooklyn resident, had the same idea a few years back. Except, once he discovered the Berkshires, he knew he’d found his home.

I met Mark at a James Beard House Cure-All dinner in NYC last winter, and was impressed with a lot of the food being showcased by chefs in his area.  The dinner pretty much inspired my week-long road trip. I wanted to see for myself what restaurants were up to upstate, to see the caliber of food coming out of small towns known for the farm-to-table movement; towns that also supply NYC and Boston with a lot of farmed meat and produce. To say the least, I was impressed. The creativity, the inspiration, the passion were all there; added to that, a sense of camaraderie between all the farms and restaurants – a real sense of community around food.  I filmed at a couple of restaurants that you’ll get to know over these next few weeks – some thick with history, some riding on new ideas. I hope it inspires you to escape the city. There’s a level of excitement building amongst all the chefs I met, you could sense it, you could see that summer was everyone’s favorite food season.

So, enjoy this little piece on the Bell & Anchor. Mark co-founded two of my favorite restaurants in my Brooklyn ‘hood: Diner and Marlow & Sons. He has a knack for creating very special spaces. And the food by Chef Stephen Browning is as comforting as food can get. I think the shot of the burger in the video, visually, says it all.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy Eating!

Sky Ice: Daring New Flavors in Ice Cream

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jun 18, 2013
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“I make ice cream for two reasons: I want to introduce these wonderful things we have in Asia and in Thailand to people, and I also miss these flavors. So, I make them because I miss them too.”

Meet Sutheera Denprapa, the ice cream designer and co-owner of Sky Ice, a small, artisan, all-natural ice cream shop based in Park Slope, Brooklyn. When Sutheera was a young girl, she hoped her parents would one day own an ice cream shop. That was her day dream, her little kid wish. It also tells you just how much she loves the stuff. As her husband, Jonathan explained, “few people are as passionate as Sutheera on ice cream”. I believe it. Get her talking about new flavors she’s inventing, and she could go on and on.

I came across Sky Ice on a food message board one day last fall, someone was flipping out over an ice cream flavor they’d just tried, and it immediately piqued my interest: Sky Ice Black Sesame Seaweed. As soon as the words rolled off my tongue, I was half way out the door ready to taste it. It seemed so daring – such a curious, savory idea for a flavor. And I had to know it. I had to understand it. So off to Park Slope I went, to this little, corner ice cream shop that smelled, oddly, like Thai food.

Sky Ice, you see, doubles as a Thai restaurant, explaining the scent confusion and the unique flavor selection: lychee rose, mangosteen, Thai iced tea, Thai coffee, toasted coconut, cherry blossoms and green curry, to name a few. They even carried a hard to find durian flavor – the fruit my Filipino mom says, “smells like hell and tastes like heaven”. Right away, you understood that someone making the ice cream had roots, a more tropical taste vision. A new take on flavors based on a childhood somewhere far away. This wasn’t going to be a normal ice cream experience. This was something different. And it was Sutheera’s plan all along.

So enjoy her story! Some new flavors that’ll blow you away: wasabi peanut butter, dark chocolate campfire and their white miso with sliced almonds, you won’t want to miss. Definitely my new favorite ice cream shop. I hope you make it out there!

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy eating!


A Decorated Cookie You Won’t Want to Spit Out: One Tough Cookie

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jun 3, 2013
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“My cookies are better than ordinary. It’s a decorated cookie an adult wants to eat.”

Meet Gail Dosik, the founder and cookie aficionado behind One Tough Cookie, a specialty, decorated cookie baking business based in New York City. Gail is a walking talking cookie library of sorts. Ask her anything about cookies, and she could talk to you for hours. She’s one of those people who has to know anything and everything about cookies. No cookies go unturned with her, if you ask me, and I think that’s why her cookies are so great. She does the research.

So, over 8 years ago, when she decided to launch her own decorated cookie company, after spending over 25 years in the fashion industry, you can bet she started with really high standards…for herself most of all. Gail explained to me that there really are only a handful of people in the city who do decorated cookies right, 5-6 well-known cookie makers of her pedigree. When I asked, then, what makes hers extra unique, she was quick to say that of all the decorated cookies out there, she knows her recipe “is the best” in flavor and texture. It’s a pretty cookie, you won’t spit out. In fact, you’ll eat the cookie and kinda nudge Gail for another, like me.

I had a hoot of a time filming with Gail, mostly because, I liked that she called me: Toots. You’ll love her not only because she’s got a healthy serving of New York sass, but also because she’s got a ton of heart. So enjoy the video! Have fun getting lost in cookie world.

To work with Gail to design your own personal cookie or “cookies on cake” for a loved one, for your kids, for an event or holiday, please visit her website One Tough Cookie.

Thanks so much for watching and supporting food. curated.! Happy cookie eating!