30 Jan

WE LOVE TO INDULGE. So today, we are going to share with you two of our favorite spots where we can do just that!

Our first stop: Shake Shack. You may already be familiar with this modern day “roadside” burger stand. Part of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, Shake Shack is a restaurant chain serving the most delicious burgers, hot dogs, home made frozen custard (flavors change daily), and more!

Since is opening in Madison Square Park in 2004, Shake Shack uses the finest local ingredients to create these American classics. What do we love? The juicy Shackburger, gooey cheese fries, and their rich and thick chocolate shake! The concretes and frozen custard are also incredible – the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day or to feed the sweet tooth that LeeJee has year round.

Shake Shack has opened several locations in New York City and made its debut in Saratoga Springs, NY as well as Miami. Make sure to visit one of their stands! Their quick, friendly service and consistently decadent food makes Shake Shack a must-try, especially for those of you who love to indulge.

Our second stop: Dallas BBQ. When we discovered this NYC chain serving mouth-watering BBQ and huge frozen drinks, it felt like we found hidden treasure. Dallas BBQ not only has a fun atmosphere, but provides the best bang for every buck in terms of taste and price.

Everything on the menu is served Texas size, including the drinks! Portions are huge, prices are affordable, and the food tastes great! We usually stick with splitting two entrees, but we’re warning you, even that is difficult to finish! Our favorite dishes are the spicy buffalo wings, house made chili and cornbread, decadent pulled pork sandwich, and juicy honey glazed rotisserie chicken – mmm mmm good.

After stuffing ourselves with barbecue and frozen drinks, we walk it off to the Cold Stone next door where we finish the evening with a large Chocolate Devotion. Gluttony? Some may think it is, but to us, it’s just everyday life!


Bar La Grassa

17 Jan

During my time at home in Minnesota, my sister Taylor (check out her blog here) took me out to Bar La Grassa, one of Minneapolis’ newest restaurants. Featuring a unique menu offering modern Italian cuisine, Bar La Grassa has been recognized as one of the ten best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit in addition to several other accolades.

We started off with the lima bean appetizer served with fresh baked bread. Then we enjoyed several tapas style dishes from the menu. While the portions weren’t extremely large, each dish burst with flavors of fresh, local ingredients and were presented in a very artistic manner. Here are some pictures from our dinner!

Lima Bean Appetizer

Fresh Baked Bread


Gorrgonzola Picante with Peperonata


Bucatini with Bolognese

'Nduja Egg Raviolo

Twist on Brownie and Ice Cream

If you can make it to Minneapolis, definitely check out Bar La Grassa. You will not be disappointed. LeeJee has already scheduled her next visit…not to see me, but to check out this restaurant!

Bar La Grassa

800 North Washington Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 333-3837

A Euphoric New Year!

5 Jan


We hope you had an amazing holiday season and look forward to a new year filled with joy, good health, and tastes of euphoria!

New York City is absolutely beautiful during the holidays. The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is larger than life and every shop is festively decorated! This was our first holiday together in the city and it was incredible!



Last winter, my friend Katherine and I threw a holiday dessert party for our friends! Not only is Katherine one of my good friends, but she and I share a special bond – an insatiable appetite for all things sweet.

So, in the midst of the Hotel School’s endless final exams, papers, and presentations, we made sure to spread holiday cheer and enjoy a festive night with our friends! Here are some pictures from our party, Frost Yourself:

Frost Yourself

Peppermint Cheesecake Lollipops, White Chocolate

Green Velvet Cupcakes, Cream Cheese Frosting

Green Velvet Cupcakes, Cream Cheese Frosting

Decorative Sugar Cookies


Hotelie Loves (Katherine on the far left!)

Korean Pat Doughnuts

15 Nov

My mom’s Korean pat (sweet red bean paste) doughnuts are not like any ordinary doughnuts. Once you take a bite into the crispy, golden brown, sugar coated outer layer, you will not be able to resist the soft, buttery dough and sweet red bean paste that melt in your mouth! You won’t have to drive to a Korean bakery to enjoy one of these. Because today, I’m going to share with you my mom’s incredibly simple recipe for these irresistible bites of doughnut heaven!


1 can Pillsbury biscuit dough
1 can sweet red bean paste
Oil for frying
Sugar for coating

Yield: 10 doughnuts

First, separate the biscuits (1 can should yield 10 pre-divided biscuits). Stretch each biscuit and fill the centers with a tablespoon of sweet red bean paste. This can be found in the international aisle in either the Korean or Japanese section.

Gather the sides and tightly cinch the dough, forming a round doughnut. If the doughnuts break while frying and the filling comes out, you will have a mess!

Deep fry each doughnut over medium heat for about 1 minute 30 seconds on the first side and 1 minute on the second side or until golden brown. Rest each doughnut on a paper towel so excess oil can be absorbed. Then, while it is still hot, generously coat each doughnut in sugar and enjoy immediately!

Tasting Culture and Cuisine

9 Nov

One of the best things about being a Hotelie is being able to take courses like Seminar in Culture and Cuisine. This seminar, which is offered only in the Spring for 20 students, explores various cuisines in terms of history, lifestyle, and foods unique and special to a culture.

My classmates and I explored several international cuisines and learned how to make comparisons and draw relationships among foodways of different cultures through readings, research, and cooking in the culinary labs at Statler Hall. On Tuesdays, we discussed readings about a specific culture, and on Thursdays, we cooked and enjoyed the cuisine of that culture. Every Thursday was an absolute feast! We prepared at least ten dishes every week and spent the remaining time eating, experiencing new cultures, and talking about our love for food. What other college course let’s you cook and feast every week?! Amazing!

Throughout the semester, we each chose a country and did an extensive research project on its culture and cuisine. We wrote research reports, made oral presentations to the class, and designed and orchestrated the preparation of menus for our Thursday cooking lab. I chose South Korea for my research project and was amazed to learn so much about its history and the impact it has had on Korean food. Here are some pictures from my lab!

Making pa jon (scallion pancakes)

Making ho bak jun (fried squash)

Team South Korea!

Amazing Korean food - SUCCESS

Time to eat!

Within five months, our class had traveled nearly half the globe. We experienced the cultures and tasted the cuisines of more than 20 countries, ranging from Hawaii to Egypt to Greece to India. Here are some pictures from the semester!

On our last class, we had an Iron Chef competition: boys versus girls. Each team picked ingredients out of a hat and had one hour to plan, execute, and present eight award winning dishes! Professor Spies and the chefs at Statler judged each team’s dishes based on presentation, taste, and cooking methods used…and the guys won!

Girls' dishes

Our entire spread!

Time to feast

We also learned how to de-bone a chicken, which is a lot harder than you would expect. Professor Spies used one of the chickens to cook us a turducken (a chicken stuffed inside of a duck stuffed inside of a turkey and roasted). It was my first turducken…and it was amazing! Meaty, juicy, yummy delight!


Seminar in Culture and Cuisine was one of the most interesting, informational, challenging, interactive, and fun classes I have taken here at the Hotel School. I took this course because of my love of food and culture, and I hope that this has inspired you to try a new dish, learn about a new culture, and taste euphoria.

Swirly Goodness

5 Nov

If we could have one food in the world, it would be froyo. But not just any froyo…none of that 10 calorie wow cow or froyo that is really just soft serve in disguise. We mean the tart, tangy, and refreshing froyo that is true swirly goodness. PINKBERRY.

As ice cream, soft serve, and froyo fanatics, we have tried over a hundred different brands and flavors. Nothing compares to Pinkberry. The taste is almost too incredible to explain. It is light, refreshing, and melts in your mouth yet fills the palate with natural tart and tangy yogurt flavor.

Not only does Pinkberry taste like perfection, but it is also made with the highest quality nonfat milk and yogurt from cows that have not been treated with rBST hormones. Pinkberry is certified by the National Yogurt Association to carry the Live & Active cultures seal; in fact, each Pinkberry has over 10 million live and active cultures per gram that can help your digestion and immunity. Even the toppings are of the highest quality, as fruit is always cut fresh daily at each store and is never frozen, canned, or sitting in water.

Why do we love Pinkberry? It is the best tasting froyo out there. Competitors…sorry. You don’t have a chance with this one. Also, every Pinkberry location is consistent in terms of product, ambiance, and service. During rapid growth and development, consistency is a huge challenge for businesses. However, co-founders Shelly Hwang and Young Lee have truly created an amazing operation where the quality of the product and the guest experience are never compromised.

Pinkberry is our go-to spot for a meal, snack, or dessert (after all, it is healthy right?!). Pinkberry makes every day better and always puts a smile on our face – a true taste of euphoria. Now the only question is…how do we buy a Pinkberry machine?! Or become a Pinkberry spokesperson??

If you are a Pinkberry fanatic like we are, check out the groupie page here! Also, new pumpkin Pinkberry is now in stores! Go ahead and go swirl wild.

Dos Caminos’ Guacamole

28 Oct

Today we are going to show you how to make Dos Casminos’ irresistable guacamole! Dos Caminos, part of BR Guest Restaurants, captures the true spirit of genuine Mexican cuisine. From after-work margaritas to a fiesta-friendly lunch, dinner or brunch with live music, Dos Caminos has earned a place among the city’s top Mexican hot spots. Here are step by step instructions by Chef Ivy Stark on how to make her mouthwatering guacamole!

Source: Serious Eats NY


2 Tablespoons finely chopped Cilantro leaves
2 Teaspoon finely chopped white onion
2 Teaspoons minced Jalapeno or Serrano (or a mix)
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher salt
2 Large avocados, peeled and seeded (Stark recommends California Haas)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped plum tomato (cored and seeded)
2 Teaspoons fresh lime juice

Step one: Add 1 tablespoon of cilantro, 1 teaspoon each of onion and minced chili, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the bowl (Dos Caminos uses a lava stone Molcajete but any medium-sized bowl will suffice).

Step two: Mash the ingredients together: If you don’t have a pestle you can use the back of a spoon. The resulting paste is redolent with the flavors of cilantro, onion, and chilies.

Step three: Halve two avocados and remove the seeds. Score a grid pattern into each half.

Step four: Add the avocado cubes and gently fold them into the paste.

Step five: Add the remaining cilantro and onions. For heat, add an additional teaspoon or two of the chilies.

Step six: Squeeze fresh lime juice over the mixture.

Step seven: Add chopped plum tomatoes to the mixture and gently fold the ingredients once more.

Viva guacamole! Serve with warm chips and salsa and enjoy!!

Chef Ivy recommends using the freshest possible ingredients and advises that California Haas avocados make the best guacamole, because they have a buttery texture and denser form. Give this easy but excellent recipe a try! You will love it!

¡Buen apetito!