Restaurant Revisited: Take It or Leave It at El Bistro

by in Shows, September 3rd, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleWhat was supposed to be a welcome challenge quickly turned into a nightmare when Renae Bowens, the owner of El Bistro restaurant in Titusville, Pa., found herself facing significant financial losses. With nowhere left to turn, the single mother looked to Robert Irvine to reinvigorate her eatery, but it was ultimately up to him to reignite Renae’s hunger for the business as well. After two days of renovations on a $10,000 budget, Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team reopened El Bistro as Renae’s Corner to a packed house. Read on below to hear from Renae and find out how her restaurant is doing today.

“After the team left, our profit went up about 50 percent,” Renae explains. ” I have been at the restaurant much more, and I have implemented many of the changes suggested to me.”

Read more

Hump Day Snack: Homemade Toaster Pastries

by , September 3rd, 2014

Toaster PastriesWhile you’re stocking up on new pencils, notebooks and back-to-school shoes, don’t forget cool new things for your kid’s (or your own) lunchbox. In lieu of store-bought finds, try this recipe for homemade Pop-Tarts. Toaster pastries are ideal for racing-out-the-door breakfasts, but taking the time in advance to make your own pastry dough is worth the extra effort. As the autumn nears, use the season’s first batch of apples to make a delectable pie filling, then make a cinnamon glaze to top the squares. Serve them at room temperature or gently warm them in the toaster or microwave, and we can bet you won’t miss the packaged equivalent. Happy snacking!

Read more

How to Turn Frozen French Fries into a Soothing Soup

by in Recipes, Shows, September 3rd, 2014

French Fry Soup - Chopped Dinner ChallengeWatch any episode of Chopped and you’re bound to find one competitor who’s blender-happy — he or she will puree anything, oftentimes most of the basket ingredients, into a dish. Although that isn’t always the best method for impressing the judges, sometimes it works, as in the case of the recipe in this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge. The chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose frozen french fries as the basket ingredient, and they wanted to transform them without the typical frying, so this French Fry and Scallion Soup was born. It’s a comforting potato soup in half the time, because you’ve just skipped the peeling and cubing.

Read more

How to Host a Cardboard & Kraft Paper Birthday Party

by in Entertaining, September 3rd, 2014

How to Host a Cardboard and Kraft Paper Birthday Partyby Camille Styles, photography by Melanie Grizzel

Entertaining a group of kids can be tricky, to say the least. Between the menu, the decor and the activities, things can get out of hand (and expensive) in the blink of an eye. This party concept simplifies the process by limiting all decor to projects that can be made using inexpensive materials, and by basing the party around a cookie-decorating activity, so kids will be well-fed and entertained throughout.

Read more

Manhattan’s First Denny’s Features a $300 Grand Slam

by , September 3rd, 2014

The residents of New York City have been waiting with bated breath to get their very own Denny’s and now their long, solemn wait is over. The Financial District now houses a franchise of the mostly-edible diner chain, with a few fancy, NYC twists.

The decor of this Manhattan Denny’s takes a cue from its neighbors, eschewing the traditional color scheme for that workers-stopped-in-the-middle-of-building-it steampunk look that is de rigueur these days. There is also a fully-stocked bar and pricier menu options. Speaking of pricier menu options. you can also get yourself a $300 iteration of their famous Grand Slam breakfast, which comes with two entrees, a bottle of 2003 Dom Perignon and, of course, a high five from the bartender (really.)

So, if you ever find yourself in the Big Apple and want to avoid the city’s thousands of unique food options, hit up this Denny’s!

Back-to-School Meal Planning

by in Family, September 3rd, 2014

Back to School Meal PlanningLast week signaled back to school for families in some parts of the country, and it starts this week here in New York. Watching my friends post first-day-of-school photos reminds me of the 180-degree turn it’ll mean for our schedules. No more sleeping in and eating breakfast at noon. Instead of sitting down to dinner at 8pm, that’s when I’ll be tucking the kids into bed. One thing back to school doesn’t have to mean, though, is back to takeout. With some smart planning, we’ll be enjoying the same home cooking, just a little earlier than our lazy days of summer.

Prep School: Set yourself up for success on busy weeknights by having vegetables ready to use. You can chop or slice onions and leave them in sealed containers one to two days advance. When I have a recipe that calls for only half an onion, I immediately chop the other half and store it in the freezer in a zip-top bag. Then I can just toss it into the skillet when I’m ready to use it (no need to thaw it first). The same goes for garlic. Chop a whole head and spoon it into mini ice cube trays. Just pop out what you need when you’re ready to get cooking (no need to thaw it first).

Read more

Chatting with the Chopped Ultimate Champions: Amateurs, Part 2 Winner

by in Shows, September 2nd, 2014

Elda and Keith, Amateur Champs on Chopped Ultimate ChampionsFor the first time on Chopped, professionals and amateur cooks will go head-to-head at the end of the five-part Ultimate Champions tournament. But they’ve all competed on Chopped before: They’ve tasted what it feels like to win, and they’re hungry for more. On tonight’s second round, four amateur home cooks battled to determine which one would move on to the grand finale, where there’s a chance to win the largest prize in the show’s history: $50,000, with a brand-new car to top it all off. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner from Part 2.

Read the interview with the winner

Feast Your Eyes on These Sushi Socks

by in News, September 2nd, 2014

Sushi SocksRooting around in your sock drawer probably doesn’t make you hungry, but it might if you stocked it with socks that look like sushi.

Yup. Feast your eyes on Sushi Socks. Rolled up, they look remarkably like giant versions of the stuff your local sushi restaurant would present to you on a platter. (Deluxe, natch.) Unrolled, they’re a bit more like sashimi.

Tokyo Otaku Mode Premium Shop, which sells the Japan-manufactured polyester-cotton-blend socks for $5.39 a pair and $28.99 for a six-pair set and ships internationally, touts them as “comfortable and durable,” noting, for those as particular about their socks as they are about their raw fish, that the “sushi detail is knitted into the sock with colored thread instead of being printed.”

Read more