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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

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Making Healthy Meals for Kids

Posted: November 25, 2011
by: T.Alexander

It is my pleasure to introduce our guest writer, Carolyn. Carolyn is from Austin and enjoys writing about food. She has chosen a topic we've all wrestled with from time to time....how to making food for kids healthy and fun. Here's what Carolyn has to say:

If eating healthy wasn’t hard enough, add in a picky kid, and it can seem like a nightmare. You make a plan, get the ingredients, and spend precious time making sure everything is cooked just right only to hear, “I don’t like it.” Making healthy meals for kids doesn’t have to be an ordeal.

With a little planning, you can make delicious and nutritious meals that everyone will love. It might seem impossible now, but your kids will be eating healthy in no time if you make a few simple changes. Here are three easy steps to make healthy meals that even the pickiest eaters will love.

Step 1: Stick to the familiar

If your kids had it their way, they would be eating their favorite dishes for every meal. Many kid’s choices aren’t the healthiest, but you can use their preferences to your advantage. Unhealthy meals are just a few simple changes away from becoming good-for-you favorites. If your kids love chicken fingers (and what kid doesn’t), you can use this healthy recipe to cut out half the fat without losing any flavor. Substituting a few ingredients and changing to a healthier cooking method are simple methods to make their favorites healthier.

Step 2: Make it fun

Kids love to play with their food, so why not let them? It’s important to draw the line between play time and mealtime, but introducing new healthy foods can be easier when you make it fun. Choose a day and make it New Food Day. You can try zucchini on your first day. It’s tasty and packed with antioxidants for good health. You’ll also need halved cherry tomatoes, cream cheese, or peanut butter, small pretzel rods, large pretzel sticks, and string cheese. Work with the kids and make mini scooters out of the ingredients. When you’re done playing, the scooters make the perfect healthy snack. Pick a new food and activity every week, and your kids will be clamoring for healthy ingredients in no time.

 Step 3: Be a good example

Kids learn by imitating you, so set a good healthy eating example. If your kids see you shoveling down a donut every morning, they will learn that’s the right food to eat for breakfast. Instead, plan your meals in advance and make sure you have time to make them healthy. Start out cooking some healthy kid-tested recipes and move on to more complex and “adult” meals from there. It’s important to choose nutritious recipes and ingredients, but you also need to watch your portion size. The healthiest meal doesn’t matter if you eat four servings in one sitting. Most recipes will tell you how many servings they make, so use this information as a guide to know when going back for seconds is too much.

Picky kids won’t stop you from eating healthy if you follow these simple steps. Altering favorites, making eating fun, and setting a good example will help make sure you never hear “I’m not eating this!” again.

Thanksgiving Dinner Gift Delivered Nationally

Posted: November 12, 2011
by: T.Alexander

When I was young I bucked tradition thinking it was boring, repetitive, etc. But as I get older and live in an inconsistent world, I see that the consistency of tradition is a good thing. So I’m with the program now!

We recently received a frantic call from one of our customers in the Southwest. We were about 2 hours from launching our Thanksgiving Dinner Gift home page and menu page. This customer thought perhaps we would not offer a Thanksgiving Dinner For Two this year. Her Mom had a debilitating disease that would not allow her freedom in the kitchen anymore. And Dad, well he just flat out does not cook. Mom and Dad live on the other end of the country from this customer, so there was no opportunity to pop in and whip up a delicious dinner for Mom & Dad. So our Thanksgiving Dinner Delivered to the Northeast saved the day. And it felt good to be able to help this family connect at this special time of year – with…our food!

So here’s how it works. The Thanksgiving dinner for two is complete with butternut squash soup, baguettes, smoked turkey breast (about 1.5 lbs.) dressing, gravy, oven roasted veggies & pumpkin pie. Heating tips are on the web and also included with the package, but they are very simple – Heat the soup on the stove top and the rest of the dinner heats in a 350 degree F oven over the period of about 70 minutes. That’s it! If you want to get fancy, we also recommend wine for turkey.

The only thing not included in our meal box is a football game – there are plenty of those on tv. Oh, we forgot to mention – go to the site and enter the promo code for Free Shipping.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Dinner Gift from GourmetStation

Holiday Season Alternatives

Posted: November 9, 2011
by: Robert Jackson

Don't you just love this time of the year? Once autumn is upon us we can all be forgiven for getting just a tad excited - the Holiday Season has arrived! Suddenly Halloween is upon us, Thanksgiving just around the corner, Christmas hot on its heels and New Year right behind just to cap it all off - quite exhausting, but great fun for all of the family, whatever their age!
Yet some years, as much as I love the tradition of these celebrations, I like to experiment a little with something different. So this year I want to share with you a few ideas for some alternative holiday season recipes.

Informal Supper Party

For a hassle-free evening choose something that can be prepared ahead of time such as my Confit of Duck with Port & Sour Cherry sauce. Served simply with baked jacket potatoes and a nice big dish of potato & vegetable gratin, you will have plenty of time to enjoy yourself with your guests. This dish would be especially suitable for Halloween, Boxing Day or perhaps a casual New Year's party.

Thanksgiving & Christmas

A traditional roast turkey with all of the trimmings is what we have learned to expect on one or even both of the biggest celebrations of the holiday season. But let's ring the change and try something different this year. If you are one of the many who absolutely must have a roast bird, then how about trying a roast goose instead. This bird is more gamey than turkey and a good deal richer so serve a modest portion balanced with a wide selection of seasonal vegetables and traditional accompaniments.
Or if like me you like to have a complete break from poultry occasionally, then a Beef Wellington makes a very impressive alternative. Although this recipe is quite time consuming, almost all of the preparation can be done in advance leaving just the baking to be done before serving.

New Year

It's much easier to be adventurous on your choice of menu for New Year as thankfully, tradition doesn't clearly determine this one for us! And as most folk have been over dosed on poultry by this time, it's the perfect opportunity to choose something different. Last year I cooked a slow braised venison casserole. Not only was it utterly delicious, but best of all it can be cooked twenty four hours in advance! And as a token gesture to tradition, try serving it with a good old Scottish side dish of bashed neeps'n tatties.

And finally I want to share with you a recipe that without fail, I cook every Christmas, sometimes for the big day itself, other times for Boxing Day - Slow Roasted Shoulder of Pork. This is so very easy, and absolutely delicious. Although the recommended cooking time is 10 to 12 hours, I sometimes put it in the night before and let it cook for anything up to 24 hours.

Slow Roasted Shoulder of Pork

Serves 8-10
1 small whole, boned shoulder of pork, about 6-7lb (2.75-3.25kg) in weight
salt & freshly ground black pepper
juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons of olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C/Gas mark 8.
  • Rub one tablespoon of oil really well all over the surface of the pork. Season with the black pepper and then generously with the salt (this helps the skin to become really crisp) and rub it into the surface firmly.
  • Place the pork onto a wire rack in a roasting tin and roast for 30 minutes until the skin just starts to crackle up. Take the pork from the oven, pour over the lemon juice and two tablespoons of oil. Now turn the oven down to 250°F/120°C/Gas mark 1/2. Leave the meat to roast for 10 to 12 hours. During this time, baste several times with a little of the juices in the roasting tin.

Now you can virtually forget about the pork for the rest of the day (or night!).

  • Approximately 45 minutes before the cooking time is up, turn the heat back up to 450°F/230°C/Gas mark 8. Then just leave the joint alone until the crackling is really crisp and brown. Take the pork out of the oven and leave it standing on the wire rack.
  • If the crackling is not really, really crisp by now, simply remove the string and then cut it away from the joint and place back on the roasting rack, fat side down. Pop back into the oven for a further 15 minutes or so until it has crisped completely.

I hope that perhaps some of my recipe suggestions will prove suitable for the festive period, but whatever your choice, traditional or alternative, I wish you all Happy Holidays!

For a romantic dining spot in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood…try Salinas….

Posted: November 8, 2011
by: Mark Stine

Business took me to Secaucus, New Jersey for the better part of a week…so I managed an escape from New Jersey one evening....caught a local bus into the Port Authority and  navigated my way down to the London Terrace apartment and coop complex to meet my dinner date Kim. London Terrace, located between Ninth and Tenth Avenues and 23rd and 24th Streets was completed in 1931 and at the time was the largest building complex in the world…that of course did not last long.

 London Terrace

London Terrace. ..formerly the world’s largest building complex

A plus for many of the apartments is views of the High Line elevated park. This project capitalized on elevated railroad tracks…left derelict for decades and now through a motivated citizenry …renovated into an elevated walkway-park through the lower end of Manhattan. It really is a wonderful perspective when walking through this part of town. Make sure to go as every season on the High Line is revealing.


A walk on the high Line

The High Line: The High Line is located on Manhattan's West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. Section 1 of the High Line, which opened to the public on June 9, 2009, runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. Section 2, between West 20th and West 30th Streets, opened June 8, 2011.


Innovative hotel built over the high Line

For park information, please call the High Line Information Line: 212-500-6035


Kim and I headed out from the London Terrace on that chilly October night and walked down to our destination - . Salinas, located at 136 Ninth Avenue, between 18/19th, through some light misty showers.


Sophisticated and warming...the bar area up front gave way to a long hallway to the main dining area in the back of the restaurant.

 Hallway Salinas

The best is yet to come…

Seated near the fireplace…the rain pattered gently on the glass retractable roof….which in summer provides alfresco dining. I was glad for the fireplace that evening as the flickering flames… added extra warmth.

 Outdoor open air

Outdoor dining in fair weather

Because the influence of the restaurant is Spanish…I tried the Sangria…to pair with my Pollo Otonal…grilled local chicken  with de la ganja beans, green onions, Serrano ham, red Swiss chard and baby carrots, garlic and a preserved lemon emulsion. It was a savory delight.

Kim tried the Pimentos del Padron for an appetizer-fried shishito peppers & sea salt – but be forewarned, some of the peppers are very mellow and others carry quite the hot punch!

But the highlight of the evening for both Kim and I was the Crema de vino caramalizada made with Rioja red wine crème brulee, toasted nuts and vanilla cookies. We shared…I suggest getting one each!! It was that good. The red wine base made for a less sweet and more sophisticated taste profile.


Kim …

Kim and I caught up career and travel plans after dinner...the fireplace an added reason to avoid venturing back out into the misty night, but as we prepared to leave we were met at the front door by Chef Luis Bollo. He was genuinely interested in our dining experience and wanted feedback on our experience that evening.



A little background on “your Chef”

Luis is a native of San Sebastián (Basque Country), Spain and is an acclaimed chef by numerous national culinary magazines and newspapers. After honing his culinary skills at  prestigious restaurants with Michelin 1, 2 and 3 stars in Europe, he moved to New York City to open a contemporary Spanish restaurant, where he received many accolades by food critics for his innovative cuisine. Highly acclaimed for brining new Spanish cooking to the US he was recognized by Gourmet magazine, the New York Times USA Today, New York Post, New York Observer, Food and Wine and New York Magazine.


If you find yourself in NYC and want a romantic dinner under glass with a warming fireplace than I suggest  Salinas. ..restaurante de tapas.