Best ever avocado toast

If you haven’t jumped on the avocado toast bandwagon yet, then you’re missing out!  Some foods are so simple, so easy that, they just don’t get the attention they deserve.  Avocado toast deserves a billboard in Times Square.  It’s really just smashed avocado with a few simple ingredients on top of a piece of toast.  Simple, right?  But when you take one bite into it you realize it is so much more than that.  Plus, I’ve jazzed mine up with a few extras to make it even more special.  It’s silky, rich and delicious – perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a quick snack.  Here’s how I made mine.

Ingredients //
Juice from half a lemon
Rustic bread
Red pepper flakes
Cherry tomatoes, sliced
Goat cheese, crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions //
Slice an avocado in half and remove the pit.  Scoop the avocado into a bowl and add the juice from half a lemon. Using a fork, smash the avocado until just slightly chunky.  Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Spread the avocado mixture on top of a piece of toasted, rustic bread and garnish with thinly sliced cherry tomatoes, goat cheese crumbles, a sprinkle of cilantro and a drizzle of really good extra virgin olive oil.

Oh, and did I mention, you can top it with an egg for an even more sinful snack?!



Great networking advice


I just read really good, practical networking advice that I have to share.  Here are some genius tips for all my fellow #GIRLBOSSES out there from a recent Cupcakes and Cashmere post.

How do you get over your fear of approaching someone?
I see the ability to network as a muscle not an inherent trait. While there are people who have a natural proclivity for geniality, I can say with confidence that the more you practice the easier it will become. If you remind yourself that you too have value to add to the relationship, it doesn’t seem so intimidating.  Don’t put the onus of the conversation on the person you are approaching. Meaning, don’t go in with “hello” and simply have nothing to say after that. It’s your responsibility to bring structure to the conversation and a bit of charm. What’s the worst that could happen? They blow you off? If so, they are probably not worth your energy anyway.
Where should someone who has never networked before start?
Please, please, please don’t do the machine gun tactic. You know… the firing off of superficial emails with an overuse of exclamation marks. I can tell immediately if the person reaching out to me has sent a dozen emails before they got to my name. Building a network takes time and patience. It simply is impossible to fast track a well-configured network. Also, it’s important to point out that you can “network” anywhere. I was at a restaurant recently (before I worked for Bon Appetit) and the GM came over to our table to ask how things were going. Instead of the usual “fine, thank you” I told him the food was delightful (which it was) and gushed about my favorite dish (beef tartare) and told him the ambiance of the place really made the meal (which it did). I asked him to share his favorite cocktail from the menu and after a few minutes of small talk he handed me his business card. Instead of tossing it into the oblivion of my purse, I put it in my wallet where I was sure to see it the next time I paid for something. I followed up the next day, kindly reiterating how great the meal was and that I was definitely going to come back on several occasions. I have since been back a dozen times, email him directly for reservations and he always pays my table a visit with complimentary appetizers making me look like a hero to my dinner mates.  
How do you maintain follow-up?
Whether it be holidays, birthdays, beginning of seasons, births of babies, promotions etc… I find timing my correspondence around occasions as the best method. For example, I still send a holiday gift to most every boss I have ever had. Every year, without fail, I come up with a thoughtful (doesn’t need to be expensive) gift and card to mail to each of them. The gifts are usually all distinct, like the personalities of my former bosses, and try to give them something that is representative of me knowing them well. Also, a hand written card out of nowhere goes a long way. I will head to a stationery store and stock up on stylish paper goods that I can send throughout the year when something reminds me of them. A good rule of thumb is don’t let 4-5 months pass without reaching out to them in some capacity. A quarterly check-in will ensure that whenever you do need to tap them for help, you likely haven’t let but a few short months pass by. This goes back to my Golden Rule. If the connection is real, it won’t require a calendar reminder.
Is it ever too late to reach out? What if it’s been years?
It’s never too late, but with a long time lapse, a slightly awkward first intro should be expected. To my chagrin, the “hey-it’s-been-forever-but-I-was-curious-if-you-can-help-me-get-a-job-k-thanks!” emails flood my inbox. I always feel that I am doing more leg work than the person reaching out. If you do see that a girl you went to high school with 15 years ago works at a company that interests you and you want to hear if there are any opportunities, I think the correspondence should sound more like this:
Dear _____,
As we all have, I’ve relied on social media to keep up with you and it seems like everything is going great. I noticed that you just landed a new job at _______________. That is very impressive, huge congrats. In fact, that company has interested me for a very long time. I think what they are doing with ________ is fascinating and I am eager to see where the company’s future is headed. I know you are new in the gig but once you settle in, I would be extremely grateful if we could hop on the phone for a few minutes and I could ask a few questions about your experience there. Considering it’s at the top of my list to work at, your perspective could really help me focus on what I need to do to be considered for employment. I recognize it’s been many years since we have been in touch but I have always admired you from afar. If it is OK with you, I will reach out in a few weeks to see if we can come up with a time to speak. If not, I completely understand and good luck in this new endeavor.
Note: Never go radio silent. If the person can’t help you right off the bat, by touching base every few months you will stay top of mind if a lead comes up. Tenacity is always greatly admired in my book.
Join me as I put some of these tactics to work in my own professional life.  What good networking advice would you share?

Friday five



1.  Photos of Meg Ryan’s dreamy San Francisco home, on the market for a cool $8.9M // Popsugar

2.  Cheers!  Happy hour cocktail: Melon Mule – vodka, ginger beer, cantaloupe, lime juice // Style Me Pretty Living

3.  What is gremolata? // Yahoo

4.  Nice alternative to the Birkenstock trend // Sam Edelman

5.  The awesomeness of shopping in a French grocery store // Condé Nast Traveler

Have a great weekend!


Friday five


1.  The results are in, the best way to reheat leftover pizza // Huffington Post

2.  Ina always advises adding espresso to chocolate when baking to enrich the flavor.  With this neat-o product, now its’ super easy // King Arthur Flour

3.  The Citra Sipper, launched at the 1933 Worlds Fair by the current owner’s grandfather.  Love this.  // KIOSK

4.  Where was this ultra-genius, super helpful service when I got married?  Dubbed, “snail mail made easy”, they help you gather mailing addresses with a free and private URL, allowing friends and family to fill out/update their address  – and will even help you address and send out your invitations, cards, etc.  Awesome. // Postable

5.  Make better homemade lemonade with this simple trick // The Kitchn

Have a great weekend!


Friday five


1.  Two awesome new Ben & Jerry’s flavors inspired by SNL skits // Delish

2.  Repel unwanted dinner guests with these non-toxic, delightfully citrus sticks // Terrain

3.  Major travel envy: Machu Picchu named “world’s top landmark” // CNN Travel

4.  Super cute, majorly affordable jewels // SoCal Gems

5.  Alton’s scientific mango-peeling technique unveiled // Eater
Have a great weekend!

When life gives you lemons (lots of them), make limoncello


At the end of a hearty meal, do you find yourself yearning for that certain something to cleanse your palate, satisfy your sweet tooth and aid in the digestion of everything you just consumed all at the same time?  Look no further than the sweet, penetrating citrine pop of a smooth shot of limoncello.

There really is nothing simpler: spirit, lemons, sugar.  Peel some lemons, steep them in alcohol, add some sugar-water, strain, bottle, pop in the freezer, and viola, you have limoncello.  It can be good or not so good.  Too bitter or too sweet, not lemony enough or too strong, but in the end, after indulging in copious amounts of rich Italian food, you find yourself immensely pleased to be sipping this lemony delight.

I’ve never had much luck with the store-bought versions of the stuff, many are too sweet or don’t have enough kick.  We have a friend who makes some for us every year for Christmas, and it’s fabulous.  With our supply depleted, I wanted to see for myself just how easy it is to make homemade limoncello.  Side note: I love food favors – what’s a more perfect favor for a dinner party or bridal shower than a perfectly portioned bottle of limoncello (check your local craft store for cute bottles – the one pictured above with the cork is from A.C. Moore)?

Making limoncello isn’t an exact science, depending on who you talk to, everyone has a different take on how it should be done.  Here’s how I made mine.


Homemade Limoncello //

10 lemons (washed well, preferably organic)
30 oz. vodka (just a bit more than what’s in a 750 ml bottle)
3-1/4 cups sugar
3-1/4 cups water

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lemons and place the peels in a large pitcher.  Pay careful attention to not peel the white pith (it’s bitter tasting).  Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap.  Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for at least 4 days at room temperature.

To make the simple syrup (sugar-water), stir the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool completely. Pour the simple syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels.  To help with the flavor and clarity, you should strain the mixture again through a coffee filter (tedious process).  Transfer the limoncello to bottles.  Seal the bottles and chill for up to 1 month.

Bonus Points:  For a refreshing, slightly alcoholic, summertime party beverage, convert your limoncello into a limoncello spritzer.  Combine equal parts limoncello with seltzer water, add ice and garnish with lemon slices!


You’ve been ordering (and eating) sushi all wrong

Photo by Greg Williams via flickr

My sister brought this topic to my attention.  She recently mentioned to me that she wanted to learn how to order sushi “like I just returned from a business trip to Tokyo.”  I thought that was interesting and given that I eat sushi on a very regular basis, I wondered if she was on to something.  I did some research and discovered that everything I thought I knew about sushi was wrong.

Here are 8 tips I pulled directly from a recent Thrillist article by Dan Gentile:

1. Sit at the bar
90% of a sushi chef’s work happens before the restaurant even opens. For a chef, the prep is the practice, and the service is the performance. It’s best to get a front-row seat rather than slumming it in the nosebleeds. You’ll get a stronger appreciation of the care that goes into your food, and no one has more knowledge of the menu and freshness of the fish than the chef. Also, a few friendly questions and a genuine interest will likely earn you free food.

2. Trust your server
It is their job to make sure you have a good experience, so don’t make it hard for them. If you’re feeling brave, then order “omakase” style (“I’ll leave it to you”) and let the chef make the decisions. But whether you’re ordering a la carte or letting the chef pick, offer your server suggestions of what you like in terms of texture and intensity. If you’re not into creamy, rich fish, you probably won’t want to end up with a mouthful of urchin genitals.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Odds are your server didn’t know anything about sushi when they started working in the industry, so don’t feel embarrassed if you don’t have a nuanced understanding of the difference between blue and yellowfin tuna, or don’t have three semesters worth of Japanese language classes under your kimono.

4. Don’t order everything at once
Rattling off a super-complex order of sashimi and nigiri might make you think you look like a pro, but it isn’t how pros actually do it. Order a few things at once, and your honest reactions will help guide your server to make sure you’re getting flavors that match your palate.

5. Don’t ask for soy sauce and wasabi if they’re not served
Most sushi chefs aren’t too into the idea of you giving their carefully made creations a bath in a pool of soy sauce. It overwhelms the flavors, and chances are the chef already gave it a delicate brush of soy. Wasabi and ginger are used as palate cleansers, not entrees.

6. Avoid flashy rolls
Rolls with lots of different kinds of fish or rainbow sauces are generally frowned upon by experts because it’s hard for the individual flavors to shine. The chef we talked to recommends basic tekka maki (tuna roll), umeshiso maki (a roll with plum paste and shiso leaves), or a California roll with real crab.

7. Seek out the specialties
Ask what the restaurant is known for, or if there are dishes that are particularly indicative of the restaurant’s style. It will be viewed as a sign of respect and also allow the chef to put his best foot forward.

8. When in a traditional sushi bar, sashimi should be ordered before sushi
This comes from Morimoto camp, so you know it’s ironclad. Work your way up to rolls: they’re considered the main course. And while it seems like you might want to start with a bowl of miso, traditional chefs would serve this last.

Now that you’ve figured out to how order sushi, you need to learn how to eat it.  Yup, you’ve been doing that wrong too.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  Here’s an incredibly brilliant infographic from the Huffington Post to help you understand the dos and don’ts of eating sushi.

Image pulled from the Huffington Post.  Original infographic via Visual News via Daily Infographic.

Now grab some friends, head to your favorite sushi restaurant and show off your new sushi knowledge and skills!