SMALL BITES is the food blog of The Journal News and LoHud.com. You can find Westchester restaurant reviews, Rockland restaurant reviews, dining recommendations and recipes from Liz Johnson, food editor at The Journal News and LoHud.com. Plus wine, cocktails, chefs, gourmet shops and bloggers on vegan, Latin, Indian and seasonal cooking.
Liz Johnson is the food editor of The Journal News and LoHud.com. She graduated from Clarkstown South High School and earned her English degree at SUNY Oswego, where she mostly subsisted on pizza and beer. Since she began writing about food for The Journal News in 2000, she’s covered restaurants, cooking trends and cocktails—winning three best feature-writing awards for the Association of Food Journalists and two Associated Press awards along the way. She has been a television food correspondent for “The Hudson Valley’s NewsCenter Now,” on RNN, the Regional News Network, the editor of the annual Wine & Food magazine, a James Beard Foundation restaurant awards judge and a contributor to the food pages of national and regional magazines.
She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm—with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes. Follow her on Twitter, like her Small Bites Facebook page, and follow the food boards on LoHud’s Pinterest page.
Megan McCaffrey is a food writer for The Journal News, at LoHud.com, and contributor to the Small Bites Blog. She has a degree in Digital Media from Fordham University and naturally, a love of food. She lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut with her husband and three young children.
Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, is a daytime financial professional, who spends the rest of her time immersed in food. Rinku is the author of the blog, Cooking in Westchester, where she shares her life experiences, original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years, and her newly released cookbook the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, highlights and offers many simple recipes from Eastern India. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Boozy Burbs is a food and drink website that covers Bergen County and bordering towns. Follow it to get the inside scoop on restaurateurs, food artisans, brewers, distillers and anything food-related, from a hot dog spot or a chain at the mall to food festivals and special-occasion dining. Visit boozyburbs.com or follow on Facebook and Twitter.
Patrice Costa, who writes Behind the Kitchen Door, is a passionate foodie who is on a culinary mission to learn it all from local chefs. She looks forward to sharing her experiences as she goes behind the kitchen door in some of her favorite restaurant kitchens. When not on blogging assignments, she can be found happily working in the kitchen of Harvest on Hudson. She also contributes to our Chef-tography board on Pinterest.
Hello all, my name is David Dallow. I am an avid eater, enthusiastic cook and devout lover of all things food-related. One day I had the brilliant pretty good idea of combining food with another passion of mine, writing. On that historic day, WestchesterFoodie.com was born! Now in its third year, my humble website has become an invaluable resource, providing recipes and restaurant recommendations to at least 12 or 13 local residents. Rumor has it that 7 even liked them! I am grateful to Liz for allowing me the Small Bites stage from which to speak to you all about restaurants, food and food-related topics of interest. It will be my goal to be interesting, informative and entertaining. Hopefully I will be more successful in this goal than in the one to become a competitive eating champion. That was disappointing. And disgusting. When I’m not cooking or eating I teach martial arts and get bullied by my FoodieKids. The irony is not lost on me.
I Eat Plants columnist Jodie Deignan went vegetarian in 2004 and fully committed to veganism in 2007. By day she’s a psychiatric nurse practitioner, working with children and adolescents, and by night she spends a lot of time cooking delicious vegan food for herself and her friends. She’s a bit of a picky eater, with a special distaste for mushrooms, seaweed, raw tomatoes, and eggplant, among other things, though she’s discovered along the way she’s a little more open-minded than she once thought. She blogs at The Picky Vegan. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Christine Gritmon is a freelance journalist for The Journal News, among other local publications, and occasional Small Bites blogger. A Rockland native, she graduated from Tappan Zee High School and Vassar College, and now resides in Pearl River with her husband and toddler son (who eats pretty much everything). Her favorite substance in the whole wide world is cheese.
Latin Twist blogger Arlen Gargagliano blogs about her food travels and explorations at In the Kitchen with Arlen and on Facebook. She’s a featured chef-author on Cookstr.com, and regularly teaches classes at Don Coqui in New Rochelle. Her website is arleng.com. Arlen, who has coauthored books with many, four with local chef and restaurateur Rafael Palomino, has also written her own cocktail and appetizer books: Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers.
Christina Halpin is attempting to do it all, taste it all and sip it all. With a full-time E-Commerce gig in NYC and a growing family at home in Yonkers , her plate is pretty full. However she’s attempting to prove there’s always – ALWAYS – room for seconds . . . maybe even thirds. She got her first Small Bite while covering spots for HVRW for the blog and developed a taste for all the foodie goodness that Westchester has to offer. She’ll share her “Mama’s Night Out” adventures to local eateries and events and also shares her own hosting and cooking exploits. She Instagrams a great deal and you can also follow along her kitchen food-ventures under the hashtag #teenstestkitchen.
Todd Matthews is the founder of WestchesterEats.com, and a published food writer who has created and tested recipes for Saveur Magazine, Readers Digest and others. A graduate of The Institute of Culinary Education, Todd studied under Chef Nick Malgieri, and where he worked alongside Julia Child and prepared dinners alongside celebrity chefs at James Beard Foundation events. From menu development and wine selecting through his restaurant consulting work, to his years at NBC News in New York, Todd has always shared his knowledge and observations in an honest, straightforward style. You can follow Todd at WestchesterEats.com and via Twitter @WestchesterEats.
Donna Monaco Olsen
As a contributing blogger and the author of “Chef’s Tip”, Donna Monaco Olsen recaps great cooking demonstrations from local restaurants. As the the coordinator for Westchester Community College’s Continuing Education program, named “A Taste of Westchester,” she writes the program, which offers more than 35 cooking classes each semester, and recruits chefs to do cooking demonstrations in their restaurants. She holds a full time position in the education field, and in her off time develops and contributes recipes for cookbooks. She is an avid baker and a former cake decorator who created many custom designed specialty cakes. Along with her husband, she reviews restaurants on Small Bites during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.
Sharon Pickett has been eating since the day she was born – born into the wrong family. Don’t get her wrong, they are lovely people (most of them anyway) but for many of my relatives, seafood came breaded in a box, succotash was considered a vegetable, garlic came granulated in a small glass jar with salt added and bagels came in a plastic sleeve in the frozen food section. She could go on, but you get the picture. She knew for sure that something was wrong when she asked her Mom if she had any olive oil and she said “Sure do. It’s that liquid in the jar with the olives.” Sharon had to get out. Arriving in New York for college, she began to realize what I had known all along. Fish have heads and tails! Coffee can be freshly ground (not instant)! Garlic is a bulb – a member of the onion family and comes in several different varieties and strengths! And Lender’s bagels are not bagels; merely round bread. Don’t get her started with kim chee, ceviche and charcuterie. Revelation accomplished. Today she lives in Scarborough N.Y.and South Kingstown, R.I. with her husband Paul Mazzilli and too many cats. They have two grown children who began their lives eating only “beige food” but have since evolved. They are proud of them.
Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to food world as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria, she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester and Fairfield Counties. She’s an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmers markets, chatting with farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Contributing blogger Margaret Rizzuto is a portrait and food photographer with an interest in vegetarian and raw foods (though she does admit to occasional indulgences in seafood). Margaret lives and works in Lower Hudson Valley where she loves being surrounded by the beauty of nature, the farms, and of course, great food. She admits to being obsessed with the Food Channel to the point where she’ll even watch shows where meat is being cooked—meat that being a vegetarian she knows she’ll never cook. She loves all the techniques, ingredients and creativity that go into cooking. When not shooting, Margaret can be found in her garden battling slugs or in her kitchen trying out a new recipe. To see some of Margaret’s food work visit www.mrpculinaryart.com or see her portrait work at at www.margaretrizzutophotography.com
House of Bedlamcolumnist Elaine Studdert started cooking later in life, after having her three children. At first it was a matter of necessity. Taking three kids under the age of three to a restaurant, was just not fun in any way shape or form. So she started cooking more and more at home. As time passed and her boys starting getting older, it became more important to expose them to real food. She didn’t want to raise her kids on processed food and knew that starting them on healthy food early was the way to go. She blogs at House of Bedlam where she creates and tests recipes each week with her kids. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Liz Tigani, the founder of DishingWell, LLC, is a food writer, health coach and natural food chef. Her background is in social work and she is currently earning her masters degree in nutrition. She is a Westchester native and recent NYC transplant and lives in southern westchester with her husband and two cats, Oscar and Lulu (and a human baby on the way!) Liz is passionate about the local food movement, helping people connect with what’s on their plates, animal rights and food as medicine. Most weekends she can be found at farmers markets buying produce for dinner that night and chatting up the farmers about what’s in season. She loves trying new food, traveling and learning about different cultures.
Westchester Breakfast Club
The founding members of the Westchester Breakfast Club (Sylvia Louie, Jeffrey Louie, Andrew Louie, Reid Aronson, Shelley Gazes, and Patrick Gallagher) all grew up in Westchester, and we know how easy it is to fall into a bit of a restaurant rut, particularly when it comes to the first meal of the day. But Westchester has so much more to offer for morning meals and we won’t rest until we’ve sampled it all. We try both breakfast and brunch at all types of places, from a pancake breakfast at a local farm to a very formal brunch in an elegant restaurant, a cafe to a local diner, even a Moroccan brunch. And yes, we’ve gone to IHOP. We each write reviews in our own unique voices, and just try to give our honest, no-frills assessment of our meals. With a dash of humor thrown in. Read our full reviews at www.westchesterbreakfastclub.com and follow us on Facebook!