End-of-Summer Salads

Labor day weekend; a sure sign that summer is coming to a close and fall is right around the corner. Now don’t get me wrong, fall is packed with some wonderful things. Fall is a season of college football, falling leaves, crisp air and hearty root vegetables. But it’s hard to believe that the beautiful produce of summer is going away until next spring. So enjoy these end-of-summer salads of beautiful summer veggies and greens while you can before it’s too late.

Caprese Salad with Burrata and Mint
A classic caprese salad with a twist; burrata and mint! But if you’re a fan of the classic caprese, you can easily swap out the mint for basil and the burrata for mozzarella to have that one-of-a-kind flavor combination. Check out the recipe here!

Quinoa, Cauliflower and Arugula Salad
If I’ve learned one thing this summer, it is that I love salads with quinoa! The nutritious grain is mild in flavor, but really enhances a salad with an acidic and bright vinaigrette. This salad is packed with veggies, greens, and a generous portion of protein. Enjoy making this summer salad now or any time of the year. Check out the recipe here!

Sugar Snap Pea and Radish Salad
A crisp and crunchy salad with an acidic and peppery kick, this pea and radish salad is packed with complexity. The creamy yogurt vinaigrette rounds out the dish and really makes the salad unique. The egg is optional, but a great addition if you’re craving some extra protein or serving this salad for your next brunch get-together. Check out the recipe here!

Charred Corn Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing
The sweet, crunchy corn and creamy, lime dressing is the perfect combination for a summer salad. Plus, it’s great on its own or as a side dish for a summer barbecue. Check out the recipe here.


Tips for a Tidy Kitchen

A tidy kitchen means an organized kitchen, but achieving organization can seem daunting. Knowing some easy tips and tricks to organize and de-clutter will help your kitchen go from messy to orderly.

Store Items by Use
– Kitchen items that are used most frequently should be stored in a place you can easily reach. Some of the items that you only use for special occasions should be stored higher and further away.

Label Your Dried Spices
– Organizing your dried spices in similar containers with similar labels will make finding different spices quicker and easier. Try arranging them alphabetically for additional organization.

Group Similar Objects Together
– Grouping similar kitchen items together will make your kitchen more organized. For example, pots and pans should go on one shelf, and baking dishes and sheet pans on another. This will make finding items much easier as well.

Exchange Plastic for Glass
– With the growing concern for chemicals in plastic products, consider switching out plastic for glass! Storing food in glass containers will ensure safety from harmful chemicals, plus it’s still great for the environment because you can continually recycle these items.

Clear the Clutter
– Keeping your kitchen organized means clearing the extra clutter. A kitchen with unused equipment and tools is never good for overall organization. This tip applies for drawers and cabinets, as well as the counter.


* If you haven’t already, follow Coffee, Cabs and Bar Tabs on Instagram at @coffeecabsandbartabs, thank you for reading!

Welcome to Coffee, Cabs and Bar Tabs

Click here for personal stories, tasty recipes, and  juicy secrets behind the doors of the International Culinary Center.
Ready to learn about interesting ingredients that are breaking boundaries in the culinary industry? Then click here!
From filleting fish to pickling veggies, click here for skills and techniques any cook should know.
A tasty collage of dishes and drinks from around New York City!
Click here for flavorful recipes that will impress a crowd or your family on any given night.

Cookbooks and Food Memoirs

Cookbooks and Food Memoirs
Now more than ever, cookbooks and food memoirs are becoming incredibly popular. Chefs, home cooks, and foodies alike are all diving into pages of reading material that touch every taste bud. If you’re looking for a tasty recipe to wow your family, or if you’re looking for a memoir to make your mouth water, check out any of these delicious reads.


1) The Flavor Bible By Andrew Dornenburg and Karen A. Page 
One of my favorite cookbooks of all time is The Flavor Bible by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen A. Page. The substantial yet stunning book lists all of the best flavor combinations ever discovered, plus some that you’ve probably never encountered before. It’s a great book to expand your culinary knowledge and give you some ideas for your next cooking experiment.

2) Prune By Gabrielle Hamilton
For comfort food done right, check out Gabrielle Hamilton’s cookbook Prune. This cookbook contains recipes from her restaurant in NYC, as well as some of her favorites she’s accumulated over the years. There’s even hand written notes from Gabrielle herself so you’ll never mess up a recipe again. It’s a great cookbook for foodies.

3) Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics By Ina Garten
The title explains itself; back to basics! Ina Garten compiled some of her favorite recipes that use basic yet classical cooking techniques, so the average Joe can become an experienced cook. For solid recipes that will teach you some skill along the way, definitely read Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics.

4) Smoke and Pickles By Edward Lee
There’s a special place in my heart for Chef Edward Lee because of his home in Kentucky, but I also respect him for his amazing food. Smoke and Pickle’s is a collection of southern, classic recipes with a Korean twist. Innovation and creativity is definitely not lacking in this cookbook.


1) Sous Chef By Michael Gibney
Ever wonder what it’s like to work in a professional kitchen? Better yet, are you curious how the leadership works in a kitchen, and who is the person running the show? Read Sous Chef by Michael Gibney to learn all about the sous chef, and to get an inside look into the life of their day-to-day tasks.

2) Under the Table By Katherine Darling
I first read Under the Table when I decide to attend The International Culinary Center (formerly known as The French Culinary Institute). Katherine Darling attended the school as well, and wrote this memoir as a diary of her experiences learning to cook. It’s a fun read if you’ve been or are planning to attend culinary school.

3) Blood, Bones and Butter By Gabrielle Hamilton
If you love the cookbook and restaurant Prune, then you’ll love Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir Blood, Bones and Butter. This memoir is all about her life growing up on a farm, then moving to New York, and finally how she opened Prune. It’s an emotional memoir that will make you appreciate Gabrielle even more.

4) The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry By Kathleen Flinn
I also read this memoir prior to entering culinary school because it’s about a young girl’s journey in Paris to study at Le Cordon Blue. While the book does a little bit more personal story telling than Under the Table, it’s still stuffed full of cooking stories and mouthwatering food.

My Kitchen Essentials

When it comes to cooking, there are a few essentials that I just cannot cook without. Below is a list of my kitchen essentials, guaranteed to make cooking easier and more fun!

1. Korin Special Inox Orange Handle 7 inch Chef’s Knife ($209) 2. Crocs Bistro Work Shoe ($44.99) 3. Sweaty Bands ($24 for 2 pack) 4. Vita-Mix 1002 Vita-Prep Food Blender, 64 oz ($388.20) 5. Hedley & Bennett Chef’s Apron ($85)

1) Knife

For a chef, your knife is one of the most important tools you’ll ever have. There are hundreds of styles, brands, shapes, and sizes; it can be challenging finding the perfect one. For me personally, I love a Japanese knife because of its lightness and blade quality. I especially fell in love with the Korin Special Inox Orange Handle 7 inch Chef’s Knife I received as a gift a few months back. This Japanese knife has a strong blade that’s great at holding its edge. It’s an all around reliable knife that can be used for a wide range of tasks. Whether you’re a professional chef or home cook, definitely invest in a knife, as it will quickly become one of your own kitchen essentials.

2) Shoes

Working in a kitchen means a lot of standing, and believe me, your dogs are gonna start barking! It’s important to purchase some supportive (and safe) shoes when cooking, for your safety and health. I wear Crocs Bistro Work Shoes in black. They are super light and amazingly comfortable. The best part is that they are entirely waterproof, so at the end of dinner service you can thrown them into the dishwasher and they’re good as new. Definitely get yourself some good kitchen shoes (your back will thank you).

3) Headband

Since going to a traditional French culinary school, it has become a habit of mine to always have my hair pulled back in a pony tail with a headband. Believe me, when you’re trying to pull a hot pot of braising liquid out of the oven, the last thing you want to worry about is your hair falling in your face (or into the food). I have a lot of headbands, but one of my favorites are Sweaty Bands. It’s durable, slip resistant, and super cute to sport when you’re in your kitchen whites. For all my long-haired CC and BT followers, start your headband collection now!

4) Blender

Once I got my first taste of a Vita-Mix food blender, there was no going back. They are extremely fast and powerful, and helpful in making a variety of sauces and purees. If you don’t already have a blender, go get one now! I would recommend the Vita-Mix 1002 Vita-Prep Food Blender (64 oz). This blender leans on the pricey side, but will last a lifetime and never fail in any task you present it with. Once you start using a blender, it will quickly become one of your essential kitchen tools.

5) Apron

If you want to stay mess free, purchase an apron! There are so many styles and designs, you can really go wild. I love the professional aprons by Hedley & Bennett, especially their  cute patterns and colors. This brand is also worn by some well known chefs like Richard Blaise and David Chang. An apron is always a kitchen essential, for the professional or home cook.

Easter Eateries

From Good Friday to Easter Sunday, this weekend is meant to be spent with the ones you love. Growing up, Easter always meant having the entire family over, eating good food and having great conversations. It also was a reminder that my birthday was right around the corner! But since I moved to New York, I’ve learned that a lot of families spend their holidays at a restaurant, and Easter brunch is no exception.

If you and your family are looking for a restaurant in NYC to enjoy this Easter Sunday, check out one of the following, as these are my favorite Easter Eateries!

1) Colicchio and Sons (85 Tenth Ave, New York NY)

For a truly special Easter brunch (or dinner), check out Colicchio and Sons. The food is innovative and classic all mixed into one. There also is an extensive wine list and beautiful bar if you want to have a cocktail or two. Definitely one of my favorite restaurants in the city for a holiday celebration.

2) Restaurant Marc Forgione (134 Reade Street, New York NY)

This contemporary restaurant in the heart of Tribeca is a quintessential spot for an Easter brunch or dinner. The food never fails to be out-of-this-park, and the service is equally impressive. While some may not want to spend this much money, it’s really worth every penny. And why not spend a little extra this Easter Sunday? Go check out Forg!

3) Prune (54 E 1st Street, New York NY)

Known for its brunch, Prune is a great option for Easter Sunday. Try the Dutch Style Pancake or the Steak and Eggs; two delicious classics done meticulously well. They don’t take reservations, so make sure to arrive a little early if you want a shorter wait. Head over to Prune this Sunday, or any weekend for that matter!

For more information, to read reviews, and/or to make reservations for these or any other restaurants in New York City, check out OpenTable’s New York City Restaurants page.

Top Shops for the NYC Chef

Like any trade, a chef will need a particular set of tools to succeed at their job. As well, there are so many brands, styles and varieties that every cook has their favorites. Below is a list of my favorite NYC stores that have anything and everything a chef may need. Happy shopping!

Korin  – For the Knife Connoisseur
57 Warren St, New York, NY 10007

If you’re looking for a new knife, and in the market for a quality, Japanese blade, look no further than Korin. This quaint store in Tribeca is home to a wide range of brands and styles, including their own personal knife selection. I was recently gifted the Korin Special Inox 7 inch Chef’s Knife, and it’s an amazing knife. Korin also has a selection of tableware and kitchen equipment (astounding quality but more expensive than other stores on this list). Korin is the perfect store for the knife connoisseur, and one of my favorite stores for the NYC chef.

JB Prince – For the Cook Who Does it All
36 E 31st St, New York, NY 10016

JB Prince is a hidden gem, located on the 11th floor of an midtown building on East 31st Street. The store itself is not very large, but the space is filled with racks of chef’s tools, cookware, and appliances for the chef who does it all. I love to go to JB Prince for the essentials, like peelers and cake testers because their prices are reasonable and their selection is extensive. Definitely make a stop here if you want to shop “all things NYC chef”.

Bowery Kitchen Supplies – For a Wide Selection and No-Frills
Chelsea Market, 88 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Bowery Kitchen Supplies has been around for years, supplying New York chef’s with a wide range of equipment and tools. This store has lasted because of its “no-frills” atmosphere, and you can count on them to have what you need. Their knife selection is limited, but their extensive kitchen equipment surely makes up for it. Also, stop by when you’re hungry because inside is a tasty sandwich shop for the foodie and chef.

Chinatown – For a Great Deal
Broadway to Essex, and Worth to Houston

This may seem rather broad, but if you’re a chef looking for a great deal, just head to Chinatown! There are countless stores from Canal Street to Essex Street, stuffed to the brim with everything a cook could ever need. From slotted spoons and stock pots, to deep fryers and rice cookers, Chinatown has it all (and for a cheap price). I love to shop in this area of Manhattan for tools like mandolins and spoons for saucing. But it’s also thrilling just to get lost in the overly-stocked aisles. If you haven’t visited Chinatown yet, head over for your next cookware shopping excursion.

All About the Trail

All About the Trail-2
What is a trail?

In the food industry, there is a hiring process that all line cooks and chef’s will encounter, called a trail. A trail is basically an audition, where the cook is trying out in the hopes of working in that specific restaurant. While the tasks vary from job to job, all restaurants take this opportunity to meet potential employees and see if they have what it takes to work as a chef in their kitchen.

From my personal experience, I have learned a lot about trailing at restaurants. Trails can be both nerve racking and exciting, so here’s a list of tips to help you land your next kitchen job!

Trail Tips:
1) Come Prepared
Do some research on the restaurant you are trailing at. Do not go into any kitchen without knowing what type of food they prepare, who the executive chef is, and so on. Knowledge is always a plus!
2) Bring a Knife
Not only come prepared with knowledge, but also come with basic cooking equipment. Most restaurants will not have knives for you to use on your trail, so coming with one chef’s knife is a good way to be prepared for any tasks you may be asked to complete.
3) Act Professional
Show up on time, don’t leave early, respect the chef and other line cooks, and thank the chef for the opportunity. For any job, always be professional.
4) Don’t Limit Yourself
One of the most important things I’ve learned is to keep your options open! Trail at a lot of different restaurants, and don’t just accept a job at the first place you trail. See what restaurant and kitchen you fit into and enjoy because believe me, you will be spending a lot of time there!
5) Be Yourself
During your trail, remember to be yourself! You want the chef to notice your cooking knowledge and talent, and you won’t be able to show this if your nervous and out of sorts. Take a deep breath and enjoy the trail!

A Fresh Start

Welcome all to my blog, Coffee, Cabs and Bar Tabs! It has been an amazing year, and one that I’m truly blessed to have experienced. From moving to New York City and attending culinary school at the French Culinary Institute, to starting a career in the food industry as a line cook at Pig and Khao, I’ve grown more than I ever thought I could. For some of my amazing Nom Nom New York followers, I first want to thank you all for your endless love and support. I’m sure you’re confused why I’m starting this whole blogging process over again, and the answer is simple; I’ve grown. Nom Nom New York was about my journey moving to NYC and experiencing culinary school. Coffee, Cabs and Bar Tabs is about my new life in New York and working in the culinary world. I hope to retain my amazing Nom Nom readers, as well as gain new bloggers who want a little taste of the big apple and New York life, no matter where you reside. And as for the blog name, it only made sense that I pay homage to the three necessities that my small, chef-pay check goes toward every month: coffee, cabs and bar tabs. Here’s to a fresh start and new beginnings, cheers!