Category Archives: Food

America’s Most Popular Thanksgiving Side Dish

Men Like Brussel Sprouts :  Women Like Yams 

thanksgiving-thumbnailEvery Thanksgiving, it is estimated that Americans consume over 51 million turkeys (USDA). But what side dish do people think best compliments that juicy tender bird?

In advance of Turkey Day, Ranker, the leading online destination for crowdsourced rankings of everything, released the results of its public poll asking people to rank the best Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

According to more than 9,700 votes, mashed potatoes are the #1 favorite Thanksgiving side dish.   Mash_Potatoes

And it seems that tradition continues to outflank nuevo cuisine as Stuffing, Gravy, Bread and Green Bean Casserole round out the Top 5.

The Top 10 Thanksgiving Side Dishes which included 34 side dishes to choose from as determined by more than 9,700 votes are as follows (voting closed on November 18):

1. Mashed Potatoes
2. Stuffing
3. Gravy
4. Bread
5. Green Bean Casserole
6. Corn on the Cob
7. Macaroni and Cheese
8. Baked Sweet Potatoes
9. Sweet Potato Pie
10. Crescent RollsRanker’s poll also reveals:
Men voted stuffing as their favorite side and included brussel sprouts and garlic bread in their top 10.

Women included yams and green beans in their top 10
Millennials chose stuffing as their #1 Thanksgiving side
Baby Boomer voters included cranberry jelly in their top 10

About Ranker:
Ranker is the #1 online destination for broad, opinion-based, crowdsourced rankings of everything. The company’s technology is centered on user engagement, turning its lists into the “best possible rankings” based on the wisdom of crowds.

Six Plant-Based Foods You Should Try Today


Can you believe it?  With all the information out there, STILL!, more than 90 percent of adults and children do not eat the amount of fruits and veggies recommended by the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

So in order to tempt you into expanding your  food horizons, we’ve decided to share an article written by Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach Vanessa Chamberlain, who offers some tasty and easy to find items that can potentially become your new “staples”.

Six Plant-Based Foods You Should Try Today

The glorious thing about plant-based eating is that your grocery store or farmer’s market is full of an incredible array of foods, flavors, and textures that are just waiting to be discovered. Even a typical grocery store has a produce section that carries seasonal and ethnic foods that often get passed-over, but are convenient, inexpensive, and yummy.

If you’re stuck in a rut of getting the same lettuce-tomato-onion-type foods that you always get, take a walk! Look at some of the other plant-based foods and see how you can work them into your diet.

Not sure where to start? In the spirit of a number that signifies longevity, here are six plant-based foods I totally love that are healthy and tasty, but not part of the average diet. What are some delicious food discoveries you’ve made and put on your grocery list each week?


Jicama, also known as a Mexican potato, is a big, heavy, brown fruit that really does look like a weird potato. The excellent thing about jicama is that it is very crisp and crunchy, but has a mild flavor like a cucumber. Jicama can be sliced and used with dips as an alternative to chips, eaten in sticks like any other crunchy veggie, or added to salads for a snappy texture without confusing the flavor profile. It’s a great summer side dish served with a spritz of lime juice and a dusting of chili powder if you’d like a little kick!

 Bok Choy
Bok Choy

In Asian cuisine, bok choy is a staple! For most of us, though, we’d never think to work bok choy into a dish, which is unfortunate because of how versatile and healthy this veggie is. Bok choy can be added to a salad, but it can also be eaten like you’d eat celery with a little hummus or nut butter. It can also be added to soups or stir-frys, or braised or grilled on its own, and given a little seasoning to become a brilliant side dish.


Pluots are an incredible, juicy little snack that comes from mixing a plum with an apricot. They’re so good! Plums aren’t terribly uncommon, but not a lot of people are familiar with pluots. It’s a shame because they’re easy to carry in a lunch for you or for your children, they’re a little sweet with the benefits of both plums and apricots, and they’re another inexpensive fruit. They might be seasonal depending on where you live, but look for a fruit that’s a little smaller than a plum, and more yellow, in the plum area of your grocery store.


Rutabaga is popular in some countries around the world, but it frequently gets forgotten in the US. With a little bit of a punch like a radish, rutabaga is an awesome root vegetable. If you like the spicy snap of it, it’s great to be eaten as a raw veggie. Others would enjoy rutabagas along with things like potatoes, parsnips, and squash in a cold-weather harvest stew!


Nopal Cactus
Nopal Cactus

A lot of people feel strange about eating cactus, but prickly pear cactus (also known as nopal) tastes great and is SO good for you! It can have positive effects on blood sugar and managing diabetes, and it can help lower cholesterol. I suggest buying it cleaned already because the spines can be difficult to deal with if you’re new to the food, but many average grocery stores (and I imagine every Mexican or Hispanic market) carry cleaned nopal ready to cook. Similar in texture to something like a green pepper, nopal is great in dishes like scrambled tofu, or really anything sautéed. It tastes like other green veggies (think green peppers or green beans) with just a little lemony tartness. It goes really well with spicy dishes.

Dandelion Greens
Dandelion Greens

The wonderful world of leafy greens leaves us with plenty of options at pretty much every grocery store, but dandelion greens aren’t something most people eat every day. The green leaves are great in salads and slaws, but they can also be boiled like spinach or sautéed and seasoned. They’re just a little bitter, but fun to try, and you can even forage for them if you’re really up for an adventure!

When people tell me that they don’t do plant-based eating because they don’t want to limit themselves, I have to laugh. People limit themselves all the time! Even with great options and an endless menu of flavors and colors, most people fall into a routine of eating the same things all the time. This is your wake-up call to use plant-based eating as a way to EXPAND your diet, and bring in fantastic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans that you otherwise never would have enjoyed.

For more information, please visit: and connect with her on Twitter: @vkchamberlin

Burbank Beer Festival Premieres October 17th!

Get thirsty!

The inaugural Burbank Beer Festival will be taking over the streets of Downtown Burbank for one day, on Saturday, October 17, 2015.

Burbank Beer Festival


A first of its kind, the Burbank Beer Festival will celebrate the arrival of the autumn season, and will feature a monumental fall street fair as well as tastings of over 85 craft beers on tap from scores of different breweries including Absolution Brewing Co.,Angel City Brewery, Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Saint Archer Brewery, Portland Cider Company, Eagle Rock Brewery, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, MacLeod Ale Brewing Co., Island Brewing Company, The Bloody Cure, Ballast Point, Stone Brewing Co. and Firestone Walker Brewing Co..

Burbank Beer Festival will feature two sessions of craft beer sampling: 12:00 – 3:00 pm or 4:00 – 7:00 pm.

The street fair portion of the Burbank Beer Festival will take over several blocks of Downtown Burbank, transforming San Fernando Boulevard into a colorful outdoor street fair.

Entry to the Fall Street Fair is free and open to the public. Tickets to the beer tasting areas can be purchased for $40 online or at the door while supplies last. Tickets include a tasting glass and 3-ounce samples of over 85 craft beers. Individuals must be 21 years of age or older with a valid ID to enter the festival’s sampling blocks and to consume alcohol.

Burbank Beer Festival


For more information visit

Entertainment will include live musical performances on the main stage throughout the day. Confirmed bands include SayReal, an exciting combination of meaningful lyrics and a vibration of reggae and rock, and The Bomb, a Santa Barbara based band with R&B beginnings that now features a variety of musical talents to get the audience dancing and moving.

And as with any good street fair, there will be food!

More than 100 restaurants in Downtown Burbank, will be participating plus there will be plenty of snacks to fast casual and fine dining to choose from. Also making a presence will be dozens of local merchants, displaying and offering artisanal craft goods such as handmade jewelry, accessories and clothing, supplementing the many existing retailers on San Fernando Boulevard. For more information on Downtown Burbank and to make restaurant reservations, please visit

Burbank Beer Festival has also partnered with 7 local hotels to offer special packages for the weekend. So if you have friends coming inot town there’s space. Best Part:  All packages include a pair of tickets to the Burbank Beer Festival on Saturday, October 17. In addition, there will be a shuttle service connecting the event site with the hotels during the festival.

Hotel partners include Safari Inn, Coast Anabelle Hotel, Holiday Inn Burbank Media Center,Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport, Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles/Burbank Airport, Hotel Amarano and SpringHill Suites Los Angeles Burbank/Downtown.

Burbank Beer Festival

The Hollywood Italian Feast of San Gennaro Returns Sept 25th

From September 25–27, 2015 Hollywood celebrates Italian culture with three days of music, food, wine, rides and games

Italian festivals, St. Gennaro Festival, Hollywood

One of our favorite festivals is back this September!

 The 14th Annual Galbani® Cheese Italian Feast of San Gennaro, Los Angeles ( takes over Hollywood from September 25-27 with their annual street festival, celebrating everything that it means to be Italian.

The savory smells of Italian sausage and peppers, meatballs simmering in homemade sauce, baked clams on the half shell, warm cheese on perfectly crusted pizza and sugar-powdered zeppole fill the streets of Hollywood while patrons enjoy cold glasses of sangria and listen to the sweet sounds of opera, jazz and big band late into the night!

Inspired by the 80+ year old New York City tradition, the Feast celebrates Italian culture, entertainment and cuisine by featuring great food, music, genealogy research, free kid’s corner & petting zoo, pony rides, bocce, bingo, ferris wheel, games and more. Over thirty hours of live music and performances are scheduled throughout the weekend on the Galbani Cheese Main Stage and special guest, Galbani Cheese’s very own Chef Marco will demonstrate Italian recipes on Saturday, September 26th at 5pm and host a “Galbani Cheese Building Contest for Charity” at 6pm. A “Gravy-Sauce Cooking Competition”, open to all levels of chefs, is a two-day contest full of favorite family recipes and stories for all to enjoy.

“Celebrating tradition, family and great food with our community is what the Feast is all about,” said Frankie Competelli, Festival President.  “For 13 years the Feast has welcomed thousands of Angelenos and everyone leaves the Feast a little happier and a littler fuller.”

The fun-filled weekend commences on Thursday, September 24th with the opening night fundraising gala, “Prima Notte”, a night of food and entertainment benefiting The Midnight Mission, a 501c3 charity that offers a path to self-sufficiency for men, women and children who have lost everything.

TicketsTickets for the opening night gala are available online at and are $20 each for general admission with food and drink available for purchase.  VIP reserved seats include a five-course dinner and cost $125 for an individual or $1,000 for a table of ten guests.

St. Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples Italy, worked tirelessly to help people in need and is the inspiration for the Feast created in his name. The Mass & Procession of St. Gennaro on Hollywood Blvd. begins at 11am on Saturday, September 26th, presided by Monsignors Montoya and Cacciapuoti.

clown, St. Gennaro Festival, Italian festivals, Hollywood

Continuing to support the local community, the Feast will host other special events over the weekend, including a “Will You Marrow Me?” donor campaign for Be the Match registry, which recruits marrow donors to save lives of blood cancer patients. A Blood Drive for Cedars Sinai Hospital will be hosted on-site from 11am-5pm on Sunday September 27th. The Feast will also be the last stop on the Youth Cancer Baseball Tour, which takes families of children fighting cancer to Major League Baseball games.  The Uncle Frank Helping Hand Foundation, established in honor of Jimmy Kimmel’s real uncle and regular cast member on Jimmy Kimmel Live! began hosting the baseball tour upon the year of his passing in 2011. “My father (Uncle Frank) always lent a helping hand to people in need.  For these families to be able to have a day of fun together, letting the kids be kids again, means the world to them,” said Ann Potenza, Festival Director. “We really appreciate the support of everyone who helps make this happen!”

galbani cheeseGalbani Cheese (formerly Precious Cheese), same great taste, different name, is proud to be back for the 14th annual Feast! “We’re so happy to continue our support as the title sponsor of the Galbani Cheese Italian Feast of San Gennaro and are looking forward to this wonderful event that brings friends and families together to celebrate Italian food and culture,” said Jessica Ruth, spokesperson for Galbani Cheese.  All weekend long, festival patrons are invited to enjoy complimentary Galbani Cheese samples and photo souvenirs from the Galbani photo booth. Festival photos can be shared at #GalbaniItalianFest.

The festival venue is conveniently located across the street from the Hollywood and Highland complex and Metro Red Line, at 1651 N. Highland Ave, one block south of Hollywood Blvd. The Feast will be held September 25-27, 2015 (Fri 5pm-Midnight, Sat 11am-Midnight, Sun 11am-10pm). General admission is $5 and kids under 12 are Free.

This year, the Feast is affiliated with Christ the King Church, Midnight Mission, PAL (Police Activities League), Uncle Frank Helping Hand Foundation, Be the Match registry and Cedars Sinai blood drive. The Feast also extends support to various Italian American organizations.  For more information about the Galbani® Italian Feast of San Gennaro, Los Angeles, please visit

About The Feast of San Gennaro LA

The Feast of San Gennaro LA was originally created in 2002 under the auspices of The San Gennaro Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit created by celebrity Jimmy Kimmel, producer Douglas DeLuca and restaurateur Frankie Competelli, along with some of Los Angeles’ most prominent Italian-American citizens.   Although the Foundation closed its doors in 2014, its mission, to emulate St. Gennaro, patron saint of Naples who worked tirelessly to help people in need, continues to this day by partnering with various local charities that help underprivileged children and homeless in LA, as well as to provide entertainment and cultural enrichment to the community through its cultural outreach program.



Miami’s Plant-Based Food Festival Promises All-Star Lineup

Seed Food Plant-Based Festival Miami, plant based, food, wine


SEED Food & Wine Festival, presented by Whole Foods Market, is the nation’s only plant-based food and wine experience!

“We’re beyond thrilled with the lineup that’s shaping up for 2015. Some of the biggest names in the plant-based world will be joining us and helping to make history on the sexy sands of South Beach”  ~Alison Burgos, co-founder of SEED Food & Wine Festival.

This November, the conscious culinary fete will welcome ultra-athlete and author Rich Roll, chef and restaurateur Matthew Kenney, former NBA star and vegan wine owner John Salley, and many, many, other notable names to be announced soon. The celeb-studded five-day festival will kick off on November 18 through November 22, featuring chef dinners, a grand tasting, film screenings and many other activities, all dedicated to a message of conscious consumption—and delicious cuisine.

tickets-greenVisit for tickets and more information.


At this year’s event, the weekend kicks off on Wednesday night with a compelling film screening, soon to be announced. Thursday night, the 1st annual Burger Battle (complete with a green carpet) will showcase the best veggie burgers America has to offer.

Eat Clean

Friday night brings the return of the Farm to Table Dinner, hosted by five celebrity chefs and local farms. Saturday morning starts with the new 5k SEED RUN, followed by the Outdoor Yoga Experience.

In the afternoon, the flagship Festival Day and Tasting Village will showcase an unparalleled display of food, wine and spirits served with a side of celebrity at the culinary demo stage.

Saturday night closes with a Modern Dinner Experience, Sunday morning will begin with a new Mantra Yoga Brunch presented by Mantra Yoga & Healthy magazine, and the festivities will conclude with a celebration for mini foodies at Sprouts Kids Day.

This year’s event will continue to add to the nation’s growing—and sometimes controversial—conversations about food and health.

Quinoa pasta and basil pesto w avocado. #eatclean #whatveganseat #plantpowered #green

Quinoa pasta and basil pesto w avocado. #eatclean #whatveganseat #plantpowered #green

The 2015 lineup thus far includes chefs Chad and Derek Sarno of Wicked Healthy Food; Julie Piatt, co-author of The Plantpower Way; Charles Chen of; Jay Astafa of 3 Brothers Vegan Cafe, and Jeremy Ford of Matador Room; Bad Ass Vegan John Lewis; entrepreneur Maranda Pleasant; yoga instructors Dawn B and Corbin Stacy; life coach sand author Jennifer Grace; ultra-marathoner Brendan Brazier; Sexy Fit Vegan Ella Magers; YouTube sensation Megan Elizabeth; and even more plant-based celebrities to be announced. Miami’s amazing local culinary scene will also be strongly represented. Participating chefs include Jonathan Seningen of DIRT, Brad Kilgore of Alter, Jamie DeRosa of Tongue & Cheek, Chef Taco of Jugofresh, Todd Erickson of Haven, Amber Antonelli of The Naked Bite, Mark Reinfeld of Vegan Fusion, and South Florida blogger Burger Beast who will be guest-judging the country’s first-ever Veggie Burger Battle.

Proudly sponsored by Whole Foods, SEED is designed to showcase the delicious side of plant-based living, helping to fuel mainstream acceptance of sustainability and prompting a major change going forward.


Pesto Pizza for Backyard Barbeques

A Page From the Kontos Cookbook…


Summer is in full swing and home gardens ar at their peak. If you haven’t yet harvested your basil, now’s the time! Here’s an easy Pesto Pizza recipe sent over to us by Kontos whose ready-made pizza crusts can be used on the backyard grill.

If you want to add a touch of ethnic flair to your next backyard gathering, try serving a delicious, easy-to-make pesto pizza by Demetrios Haralambatos, executive chef at Kontos Foods,  who has developed this personal-sized pizza recipe just for backyard cooks. Toast them up outside on the grill, cut and serve.

“Hot summer days and balmy nights are the perfect time for backyard gatherings. This special pesto pizza recipe goes great with a crispy white wine, such as a Soave, or, pair it with a Pinot Noir, light Chianti or Rose,” said Steve Kontos, vice president and owner of Kontos Foods. “The best thing is, you can make or buy pesto sauce ahead of time, and create these pizzas for guests in just a few minutes – no hot oven required!”

4 Kontos Pizza Parlor Crusts
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded, or crumbled, cheese for topping – try Mozzarella, Feta, Asiago, or other favorite.

  1. Pre-heat your outdoor grill, to high heat, with cover down.
  2. In a food processor, blend together basil leaves, nuts, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Pour in olive oil slowly while still mixing. Stir in salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon pesto mixture onto each Pizza Parlor Crust, spreading evenly.
  4. Top with shredded or crumbled cheese.
  5. Place all four pizzas on the grill. Cover, heat for 2 minutes. or until crust reaches desired crispiness.
  6. Remove from grill, place on cutting board. Using a pizza cutter, cut into wedges and serve.

Note: Don’t have a green thumb? No worries!  Just pick up a jar of ready-made pesto sauce, located in your grocer’s aisle near the other pasta sauces.

Kontos 7-inch Pizza Parlor Crusts come five to a pack. Kontos sells its products to retailers and foodservice establishments across North America and around the world. Find Kontos Foods on Twitter @KontosFoods, on Facebook at and on Pinterest at

About Kontos Foods
Founded in 1987, Kontos Foods, Inc. is a Paterson, New Jersey-based provider of traditional Mediterranean foods for restaurants, hotels, food service, retail specialty stores and supermarkets worldwide. The family-owned company specializes in hand-stretched flatbreads, including the Kontos Pocket-Less Pita®, Fillo dough, pastries, olives, gyro meats, and Greek yogurts, as well as over 50 varieties of multi-ethnic flatbreads. Kontos, which has over 225 employees and was founded by Evripides (Evris) Kontos with his son Steven, together bring over 100 years’ experience in the premium food industry. The company’s bread and Fillo products are made in the USA. Visit or call (973) 278-2800.

Gia #HFF15 #Reviews: Snack

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Snack-HFF15A tiny female voice is screaming in the kitchen and won’t finish her lunch!  No one’s getting dressed to go out.  There’s only 40 minutes of TV time allowed in the house per day and it’s imperative that every minute count.  You’re stressed. You’re starving.  You’re lonely for adult company. You need a SNACK!

Megan Dolan soothes our need for story while soothing her need for a food break in a fast-moving  compactly edited epic about growing up in a divorced home.

A 70’s, Brady Bunch influenced kid, Megan takes us through her developing food for love habit as her parents split, mom takes off to find herself, and she and her brother who now live solely with their not-so-there father, are left to figure out the separation practically on their own.

It’s not that Dad doesn’t care in between dating and marrying a new woman who curiously looks like her mother, or mom’s too selfish to notice as she drags them to self-empowerment cult meetings, and that she must suddenly contend with new teenaged step sisters, but like most kids she and her brother just don’t or are not given an opportunity to speak up.  Consequently, they are both pushed along their lives like feathers in a wind storm, wondering when they’ll safely land.

There are perks to coming home to an empty house after school.  Dad buys whole milk and is more than willing to provide her with her favorite desserts.  The discovery and fantasy of favorite foods and flavors are the bulwark that seems to provide the sustenance she craves.  Ultimately, though, nothing can make up for what she really needs, her mom.

It can’t get any more real than this. Megan Dolan is a powerhouse storyteller, a veritable “Desperate Housewife” coming to terms with own fears and anxieties in the most practical and careful ways, through vivid, lively writing that strikes a beautiful, emotional balance between past and present.

Highly Recommended.

Theatre Asylum (Asylum Lab – 1078 Lillian Way LA. CA. 90038) Hollywood’s Theatre Row map

Sunday June 14 2015, 4:00 PM | 65 mins
Thursday June 18 2015, 7:00 PM | 65 mins
Saturday June 20 2015, 11:30 AM | 65 mins
Wednesday June 24 2015, 8:30 PM | 65 mins
Saturday June 27 2015, 4:00 PM | 65 mins