36 Hours in San Francisco

There is nothing more exciting than cramming in as much fun as possible when visiting a city for 36 hours. Armed with the package we bid on at the Chicago Meals on Wheels Celebrity Chefs Gala silent auction last October, we were booked for non-stop action. Here are the best bites of the trip.


Clockwise from top left:

Our favorite stop had to be the Ferry Building Marketplace. Loaded with great eateries and shopping, we were there for HOURS. Boccalone was where we stopped for lunch. The staff had us tasting salumis and before we knew it #billyisthebest ordered a Muffuletta Sandwich. Of course I had to order a half pound of Iberico de Bellota and grabbed some Acme bread, so we could snack it throughout the rest of the trip.

The line at Swan Oyster Depot was as promised, INSANE! After a stroll up and down through Nob Hill, we waited over an hour, making friends and snapping pics with those braving the wait. What an institution. Their highly recommended crab cocktail.

A deliciously rich spin on lasagna and meatballs at SPQR.

The freshest oysters ever at Swan Oyster Depot. Paired perfectly with an icy Anchor Steam.

Our first official stop was at Salt House.  Their happy hour was BUMPIN’ with beautiful people right at 4 pm. The steamed mussels al ajillo were beyond flavorfully addicting with spanish sherry, paprika, garlic and chili flakes.  We had to ask for more ACME bread to lavish in the sauce.

Tartine Bakery morning buns – right out of the oven.


The Scout Guide Chicago Blog: Life on The Farm

One of my favorite blogs and publications is The Scout Guide Chicago. I crave the creative content and love spending time with my friend and publisher, the ever-stylish Meredith Wood-Prince.

She asked me to guest blog about my recent trip to Blackberry Farm, which was the trip of a lifetime, in every way imaginable.  My boyfriend and I road-tripped to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and may have had the best travel experience ever.  We loved everything about Blackberry Farm – from the service to the wine selections to the Saison made on premise.  And I couldn’t eat enough Benton’s Country Ham or Bacon.

TheFoodarazzi guest post from The Scout Guide Chicago:

#FOODLOVE at Blackberry Farm

Guest blogger Amanda Puck of TheFoodarazzi.com gives Scout Guide the inside scoop on Blackberry Farm.

This past summer I was the luckiest girl in the world and had the best vacation in the heart of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee at Blackberry Farm. The farm is situated on an abundant 9,200 acres of spectacular scenery and offers some of the world’s finest wines and cuisine. Blackberry Farm was named “The Best Food Lover’s Hotel in America” by Bon Appetit and rated “#1 Resort” by Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. After reading about it in Bon Appetit, my boyfriend and I were determined to make it there.  The article had us hooked with the mention of their fried chicken to-go that could eat on the way back home when your vacation was sadly over!


The breathtaking views had me whipping out my phone to snap the scenery nearly every step we took. The sustainable farm produces their own vegetables, wild flower honey, farm-fresh eggs and artisan cheeses from East Friesian sheep.  You can even fly-fish on the grounds.  As a truffle fanatic, I immediately fell in love with the “Truffle Dogs” who were being trained to hunt for truffles they are planning to grow at a nearby orchard.

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Blackberry Farm’s renowned “Foothills Cuisine” features both haute cuisine and foods indigenous to its Smoky Mountain heritage. Executive Chef of The Barn Joseph Lenn and his team were so inviting, which made for amazing and relaxing meals. The Barn was an exquisite space, truly magical, well designed, open and elegant.  A few of my favorite dishes included a creamy chicken liver pate with farm fresh blueberries, their famous fried chicken and of course, every morning was no complete without Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Ham with poached egg and heirloom tomato. As much as I love food, I certainly love wine. Blackberry Farm’s impressive wine list and gorgeous wine cellar did not disappoint. So whether you’re a food lover or a wine connoisseur, Blackberry Farm is the perfect haven.

Thanks to Ashley Boll and Nicole Donnelly for the graphics and help with the piece!

Ladurée Love

There are still so many amazing things to post about a most recent trip to Paris. My friend and I decided it would be a great idea to get in line at Ladurée on rue Royale, not try anything, and just check out what the fuss is all about. Luckily the line was not out the door and it moved swiftly. And we were like kids in a candy store. Of course we reconsidered our “just looking” policy. Some croissants and a few Marie Antoinette macarons later – we were off to the Eiffel Tower and had a little pastry picnic – it was almost Spring in Paris after all. And for the record the palmier was the best I have ever had. Millions of crunchy flaky layers of perfection. It was my last breakfast before we all had to board the plane and return back to America. The eclairs were precision – tender pâté a choux filled with the appropriate amount of chocolate cream. There is a Ladurée in NYC – I wonder if the magic will still be the same?


On L’Avenue

When in Paris, one of the must-stops for lunch is L’Avenue.  Although they often get a bad rap in the food department, they never disappoint – whether is it with the menu, or the SCENE! And it always is quite the scene.  Brimming with Birkins, Paris’ it-crowd dines to the nines on Avenue Montaigne, one of the chic-est streets around.  Just make sure you are dressed to impress.  And make a reservation requesting to sit downstairs, as the second level will make you feel like you missed out on the soiree.


Clockwise from top left:

Spicy Lobster Pasta, Macaroni Pasta with Morels and Fresh Cream, Omelette with Goat Cheese and Spinach.

Mafia Mondays – Fusions in Peru

Going to Peru? Just like Food Mafia

Susan Gilman is a Food Mafia Godfather who recently visited Lima, Peru. Below is an overview of her trip and links to all of her Peruvian reviews. Check out more from Susan’s blog, Food Euphoria.

My kids and I just got back from Peru where we were part a small group arranged and hosted by Liz Caskey of Liz Caskey Culinary & Wine Experiences. We loved Peru. The people are very friendly, the cuisine is world class and this country should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Peru has a rich culture and history that includes the influences of several nationalities and regions. The food in Peru is considered to be some of the best cuisine in the world and arguably the best in South America with a mix of immigrant and indigenous influence including Japanese, Italian, French, African, Basque, British, Chinese and Andean.  The Japanese influence created fusion cuisine known as Nikkei, a combination of sushi and ceviches. The celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa who opened his first restaurant in Peru is well known for his unique improvisation incorporating South American and Japanese ingredients. Dining in Peru is a major highlight when visiting this beautiful country.

Depending on the region you are in, one can find traditional dishes as well dishes that incorporate the influences of the country’s immigrants. There is the traditional ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon juice, pachamanca (meat and vegetables cooked in the ground with hot stones), soups, stews, meats, corn dishes, guinea pig, poultry, seafood and the use of aji chili peppers as well as a wide variety of fruits, tubulars and vegetables. Wines of Peru are becoming more popular as more wines are exported, but Pisco is abundant and everyone makes Pisco Sours differently depending on where you are or who your bartender or mixologist is. The culinary possibilities are endless and Peru is fast becoming a major culinary destination. It is no longer a well-kept secret!

We stayed at the Miraflores Park Hotel in Lima. Beautiful hotel located in the upscale Miraflores district on the Pacific Ocean, near great restaurants and a large outdoor mall and park. It never rains in Lima. The morning mist provides moisture for foliage and lifts so there is some afternoon sun. I have added Lima to my list of cities I could happily live in.


El Pez Amigo

Recommended Dishes: Popurri de Mariscos, calamari, conch, baby shrimp with lime, red onion, red peppers, cilantro and large corn, pisco sour



Recommended Dishes: Grilled Grouper Ceviche, Sole Ceviche, Goat with Rice



Canta Rana

Recommended Dishes: Oysters with onions, Ceviche



Recommended Dishes: Tuna and sweet potato, Lentils with olive sauce, Ceviches


Mesa 18 by Toshiro

Recommended Dishes: Special rolls, delicious shrimp fried rice, sashimi, eggplant with pork, tempuras


Recommended Dishes: Thai chicken wings, Guinea Pig, Mussels tempura, Tamarind yellow fin tuna ceviche, Veal cheeks with penne



Recommended Dishes: Duck balls, Fish with crispy rice, White fish tiradito, Pasta stuffed with cabbage an pork, Eggplant with pork, Maki




Every Monday TheFoodarazzi features some of their favorite food shots and reviews from FoodMafia.