Thursday, October 6, 2011

Group Dining Made Easy!!!

Dearest Friends, Family, Acquaintances, people I have never met :) , people in Chicago, people in New York or elsewhere:

Ever heard of Yes? No?
Well if you have or you haven't, you should definitely give it a look and try it out! launched in Chicago in March and there are more and more great restaurants joining! is a website that gives members access to exclusive dining experiences pre-negotiated group rates. There are all different restaurants on the website like; Ditka’s, Catch 35, MK, Sunda, Quartino, Aja, and 312, just to name a few...It can be great for a parties of 2 to 200 and if there isn't time available at the place you want to go for the amount of people you want to dine with- DON'T WORRY- their concierge will help and find room for you!

With the holidays coming up, what a great way to get your office together or set up a party with friends where you are all saving a little money, the menu is already set up for you(something you can view ahead of time on the site) and taking the hassle out of dealing with the bill when it comes- no need for that- you pre-paid online INCLUDING tax and gratuity! Like wine? Some restaurants are even offering wine parings with dinner! There are no coupons; no voucher you have to bring in, it is all taken care of online before you even walk in the door.

Don't delay- SIGN UP TODAY!

For those of you in NYC, hold tight! They will be launching in your area soon.

Questions? Just ask!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Shout out to all you blondes out there:


(hair after it was done)

For those of you who are picky about a hair stylist or picky about who does your hair- SO AM I! I have been getting my hair done since I was 16 and throughout the span from then till now, I have only gotten my hair done by two people. Being that I have been living in New York for the past 7 years, the time had to come that I find one here. For the first two or three years being here, I would literally fly home to get my hair done. I know that sounds insane but when you find someone you like- you stick with them. Especially being a BLONDE!! I did research for a while to decide where I should go and most of that depended on the products they used and the prices because during this time, let's be honest- most people cannot afford at my age to go to a top of the line "celeb-style" salon where they often charge upwards of $400 or more JUST for the highlight on the top of your head- not even counting if you want some on the back of your head! No chance I was about to spend that... I stumbled on a salon near where I live and after previously calling and likely making the desk receptionist consider me a "crazy one," they set me up with Rosanne Caruso. No doubt in my mind that she also thought I was crazy too. Once I sat down with her and told her what I liked and she took a look at the way my old stylist did it, I felt comfortable enough to let her do it.


She did an amazing job, color came out just how I liked it and it also didn't even damage my hair! I have been going to her now for about 4 years and we have also become great friends. :) I let her try new things (when I feel up to it), she doesn't finish till its perfect and my color has never looked better. :)

Rosanne Caruso is located at the midtown location of Platinum Salon and is now a Salon & Artist Director and also Redken Artist, Redken Certified Haircolorist and Redken Certified Hairdesigner.


At Platinum Salon,  not only is the staff one hell of a great group but the service is impecable, they sell the most top of the line hair products including my new fav - Moroccan Oil (also a huge celeb fav), and who doesn't like to be asked- "Would you like a glass of wine!?!" I WAS SOLD! Please and THANK YOU! Feel like getting a mani or pedi after your hair appt or feel the urge to get spritzed with an Olive organic spray tan? They have it ALL! Follow them on facebook because they often throw events too!

Along with being an amazing colorist, she also cuts and does extensions!

Trust me when I say- if you are looking for a new stylist, colorist or even new salon in general-

Rosanne Caruso at the Platinum Salon is my #1 choice.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 is Group Dining Made Easy!!

Ever had problems splitting the bill with your friends? I know I have!

Wish there was "Restaurant Week" all year long? I do!

Feel like saving a little cash without coupons, codes, or vouchers? Who likes to bring those along!?(imagine how embarrassing on a date?? I would hope you wouldn't have a second date after that!)

This new and noteworthy site will soon be launching in NYC as well as other cities and is up and running currently in Sweeeeet Homeeee Chicago!! Its quick, easy and there are so many great restaurants to choose from. All you have to do is go on the website, pick a day, time and amount of people and up pops all sorts of different restaurants. Splitting the bill with a group? No problem! Get all the girls or guys to sign on and all they have to do is pay their share. Another great thing about this site is there are MORE than the basic three choices under each course compared to Restaurant Week or a price fixed deal. If you need to cancel a reservation- that's OK too and as long as you cancel at least 4 hours prior, you will get fully refunded. Get off Facebook and make a reservation today!

Bon Appetite!

XO Tina

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What's for dinner.....Greek anyone??

If you need to know anything about Astoria, Queens- know that it has the largest Greek population in New York City. Being that there are so many Greeks there- it comes with the territory that there are also very many Greek restaurants and I have grown to love and appreciate Greek cuisine!! I don't know if it's the Greek wine, olive oil, bread, saganaki (fried Greek cheese served atop bread), lemon potatoes or fresh fish- everything is just DELISH!!!There were not that many Greek restaurants that I was able to enjoy growing up in Chicago- but in New York- there are many DELISH spots you have to check out in and out of Queens.

I need to start with the best and most popular spot on this list- Taverna Kyclades. Or the "blue awning restaurant" as I use to call it until I learned how to actually say the authentic Greek pronunciation. :)


This small Greek establishment located in Astoria has caught the liking of not only Astoria dwellers but people from all over. It is authentic, fresh, simple and perfectly made. Provided you make a reservation or not- be prepared to wait quite a while and I mean wait- the last time I went on a Wednesday night and there was a 2 hour waiting list. This place is always busy no matter what day it is, but its worth the wait.  You don't just have to stand there- grab a drink at one of the bars nearby and they will call you when your table is ready! This place is a definite MUST TRY.

Second on my list:
Kellari Taverna

This adorably designed and decorated Greek restaurant is on the top of my list for their gorgeous display of imported fish, delish saganaki and great menu. They also have a Greek wine cellar with a selection of 250+ bottles to choose from and yummy desserts. It's a great spot to go on a date or with a group of people.

They have two locations in New York and one in Washington, DC. They offer great hospitality and don't let you leave until you are fully satisfied. :) I have been satisfied every time I have been here- so go and check it out for yourself!

My third choice on this list is Barbonia.

Not sure if it's the rustic setting, romantic candlelight, or the overall feel of this place but it's got my vote. This restaurant serves more of a Mediterranean-style menu but very much like Greek food. They offer special happy hour deals during the week, are a part of Restaurant-week, and offer a very unique menu. One of my favorites was the Colorado Lamb Kebab that is cooked to order and baked inside of a terracotta covered flat bread. I had no idea what they were bringing over to me but it was a very cool served entree and you have to break open the bubble that bakes over the lamb to get to the lamb. Very cool!

Lastly, one more place that has gotten me to want to go back is Estiatorio Milos.

This Zagat rated restaurant offers the finest of everything and pride themselves on it too. From the organic produce, to the freshest fish and ingredients they can offer.  It is more upscale than then the other three restaurants and the prices speak for themselves, but if you can make a trip to eat here- you won't be disappointed. They have a large array of fish to choose from, 100% pure goat cheese made Tzatziki spread and other great appetizers, and also a large wine selection. They have a bar, private rooms, open table seating as well as open views of the kitchen, salad bar and a large fish display.

New York Fresh fish

There are very many other Greek Restaurants to choose from but these 4 are topping my list. Greek food is unlike other types of cuisine and if you have never tried it- LIVE A LITTLE! I very much enjoying dining on Greek food and don't mind a good glass of Greek wine any day of the week either. :)



Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Perfect Football Sunday recipe!

Ultimate Nachos
(not my actual nachos here)

Ok people....Super bowl Sunday is right around the corner and we only have this awesome day once a year. Who will be in the super bowl? Well we won't know until tomorrow's game and the predictions are all over the place. Being from Chicago, I am of course, rooting for the Chicago Bears!!!!! The New York Jets vs. Steelers and Chicago Bears vs. their rivals- The Green Bay Packers!! It's gonna be an intense day. FINGERS CROSSED!

Looking for an awesome recipe for the game or for Superbowl? I have the Ultimate Nacho recipe you HAVE to try! Who doesn't love nachos, first of all, and secondly- you won't have leftovers because this dish will not last long!


Blue Corn Tortillas(these are less greasy and more crunchy than white corn but whatever you prefer)
Fat Free Refried Beans (did you know regular fat refried beans have LARD in them? STEER CLEAR!)
1 can pickled jalapeno chilies(can be found in a can)
One or two bags of Mexican Cheese
1 can black olives
fresh cilantro
1-2lbs of boneless skinless chicken(or beef if you prefer)
1 package of taco seasoning and get the fajita chicken one if you get chicken
Fresh Haas Avocados
Sour Cream



Preheat oven 400 degrees

If you choose chicken:
dice the chicken up into small pieces and transfer onto a non-stick pan and cook through. Use taco or fajita seasoning package to season the chicken and set aside.

For beef:
Cook beef same as chicken and use taco beef seasoning and set aside.

Fill baking dish with chips and evenly cover beans over chips in dish. Sprinkle chilies all over beans(u decide how spicy you want it). Transfer the cooked chicken or beef on top and then sprinkle cheese all over that and use one bag if desired or two if you want them extra cheesy. On top of the cheese you can then sprinkle some olives.

Transfer the dish to the oven once the oven is heated.

Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is all melted.

Remove from oven and garnish with a small amount of chopped cilantro.

Throw a few dollops of sour cream on top of the nachos, chopped tomatoes, as well as the chopped avocado or you can serve all on the side.

ENJOY!!!!! You won't let your guests down :)

GO BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Frost it up at Butter Lane!!!!!!

If you are a foodie, have a major sweet tooth or want to know how to make a cupcake like a pro, THIS is the thing for you! My roommate and I received a Groupon offer a few months ago to get 50% off at Butter Lane to learn how to make homemade cupcakes. We both have never done something like that before so we said- what the heck- who doesn't LOVE a good cupcake??

Butter Lane is located in the Lower East Side in Manhattan on 7th Street near ave A and they offer daily baking classes. The class provides you with all the tools, ingredients and aprons so all you need to do is bring yourself(and perhaps a bottle of wine, which my roomie and I did and it was HIGHLY welcomed by the staff~!!) They also do private parties if you were interested in that. It takes between 2-3 hours for this class and costs $50. They provide you step by step instructions and use only the purest ingredients. For chocolate lovers, they use pure cocoa- not the melted "Hersey's" kind. By the end of the class you will have had an opportunity to make chocolate, vanilla and banana flavored cupcakes! They also give you special tips for general baking ideas and things to do to make whatever you are baking- taste even better. You can be your own Betty Crocker!

This is a definite MUST TRY and believe me- totally worth it. Once the cupcakes are baked, you make homemade frosting which, I think, blows Magnolia Bakery out of the water! Think you may be able to bring a dozen home? Nope! Try like 2 dozens.... We had so many cupcakes we didn't know what to do with them all so you definitely get your money's worth.

Grab a few friends, sign up and ENJOY!!!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

STEAK MY DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let's be honest- who doesn't love a good cut of steak?? Not only is it delicious and hearty, it puts burgers to shame and is what i say- chicken's high end cousin! I'm just being honest....If you really want to upgrade, get the surf and turf and you will really be eating like a king!

There are so many great steakhouses all over the big cities but I have narrowed my favorites down after careful thought and consideration, flavor of the steak, overall experience in the restaurant including service(making sure they especially don't give you a white napkin when you are wearing black-BAD IDEA!).

Let's start with my main city- New York City. If you cannot find a good steakhouse here, well I can't help ya if you don't read this blog, but if you do- trust me on this- there are tons! I, personally, like filet mignon as my juicy steak of choice but there are many other cuts you may enjoy as well. I chose the restaurants not only by the food but make my selections by the trendiness of the restaurant- can't eat a steak surrounded just by old men(no offense)!!

1.     Del Frisco's
This restaurant not only is elegant and quaint but it serves a great steak. Located near Rockefeller Center in the heart of midtown and nearby Times Square, this two-floor restaurant knows how to keep its customers happy. For the men(or women- me!!) out there that love a good cigar, this restaurant also has a cigar room for you to enjoy a good smoke before or after dinner. Their menu is a-la-carte and more on the pricey end, but it is so worth the visit!

2.     The Capitale Grille
This restaurant is another top choice of mine for many reasons. For one, they pride themselves on their dry-aged steaks in which they cook to perfection. They also offer a wine selection of 5,000+ wines and serve the best lobster mac and cheese, for those of you who have never had this dish- IT'S DOUBLE DELISH! Don't be discouraged if you don;t see it on the menu- they have it even if it is not listed! Another favorite here for the cocktail socialites is the infamous- Stoli Doli, which is made purely from infused pineapples and straight vodka. Be careful with these- they will sneak up on you and most restaurants won't serve you more than 3! Bottoms up! They recently opened a third establishment in the city so now if you want to dine here, they have one near the Time Life building in midtown, 42nd and 2nd ave near the Chrysler Center and also near Wall Street. ENJOY!!

3.   Quality Meats
This restaurant is a little newer than the other two I have suggested but is getting a lot of buzz and a very trendy steakhouse. They have a great menu that offers not only high quality steaks but other seafood and meat dishes as well. The rustic decor sets the scene for an extra exceptional dining experience and overall wonderful time. This restaurant is part of the Fourth Wall Restaurants that is comprised of quite a few other high end restaurants including their flagship restaurant; Maloney & Porcelli.

4. Churrascaria Tribeca
I tip my hat to this restaurant that I recently had the pleasure of dining at that not only is it delicious, but such a fun place to go. Whether it's with a group of people, a work function, or a date, I give this restaurant TWO huge thumbs up!! It is not the typical "steakhouse" but I am the one writing this blog and I say that this qualifies 100%.  Ever been to a restaurant that.....wait for it......wait for it......doesn't stop serving you until you say stop? It is a Brazilian Steakhouse set in the heart of Tribeca near the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Upon arrival, they give each person a circular tab that when it is on your table and is green- it pretty much means GO and all different waiters start serving you all different kinds of pieces of steak, duck, chicken, ribs and pork. This restaurant is a price-fixed menu with continuous table side service until you tell them you can no longer eat anymore(this is done by flipping the tab over to the red side) and no matter if you come for lunch or dinner, save your appetite because you will need it to eat here! I still cannot pronounce this yummy restaurant but does it really matter?

5. Porter House New York
This is one of the most expensive steakhouses in NYC but if you want a real treat don't shop for a week or something and spend your money here! I would suggest going all out and getting the Surf and Turf here but if you are not a big fan of lobster then just settle for one of their "perfectly prepared and succulent" steaks. This Zagat-rated restaurant is located in the Time Warner Center with a gorgeous view of Central Park. It is definitely on the list for high quality and fine dining. Grab a drink by their bar while you wait for a table and make sure you make a reservation here because this places fills up!

There are quite a few other restaurants I did not list but deserve honorable mentions so if you are not satisfied with any of the restaurants above, check these ones out:

Prime House

Wait.....I am not done...

We didn't talk about CHICAGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This windy city may not have as many steakhouses as NYC but oh do they have some DELISH spots to check out! Plus, this is my home town and I couldn't dare to leave them out!

1. Chicago Cut
This restaurant is brand spanken new and one of the hottest steakhouses in the city. With managing partner, David Flom(a personal friend) in charge, take it from me- you will have the ultimate dining experience here! This restaurant was featured and given an honorable mention from Oprah during one of her shows and described the restaurant as "PHENOM" so if you don't trust me' trust her as it is a MUST-TRY!!!

2. Rosebud Steakhouse
Another delish spot that has attracted big name celebs and businessmen alike to this quaint steakhouse near The Water Tower on Michigan Avenue. They serve a wide selection of flavorful steaks as well as other delectable dishes. There are locations all over the city and suburbs and they have been serving customers for 30+ years and continuing.

3. Wildfire
This restaurant may not be a 5 star restaurant but it is one of my favorites by the service and menu here. They have a location in the city as well as in Oak brook and I have been very pleased every time. One of my favorite steak dishes they serve is the filet medallion trio in which they give you three small pieces of filet with three different flavorful toppings so you can get the ultimate trial of three different flavored steaks.

Other honorable mentions:

Joe's Seafood and Steak
Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse

If you cannot tell by now, I am a big fan of a great cut of steak any day. I highly suggest you try one of these spots and I promise- I won't let ya down. I may be blonde but I am no gal that purely enjoys the idea of eating a salad as the main course. I wouldn't dare do such a thing nor subject myself to eating at a restaurant and leaving still full.....Questions-just ask and ENJOY!!!!!!