The Secrets to Dazzling Food Photos Revealed

Are you as obsessed with food photography as we are?  If so, have we got a book for you.

The Food Stylist’s Handbook by Denise Vivaldo with Cindie Flannigan is such a fun read we almost decided to become food stylists on the spot. Their book has all the guidance necessary to begin or advance a food styling career. This how to manual explains exactly what the job entails, equipment needed, the different niches and of course, how to get started. But don’t overlook the fact that it also contains a ton of valuable advice for us regular folk looking to put out stunningly beautiful culinary masterpieces we want to shoot and eat.

We adore the Tricks of the Trade chapter that delves into topics as diverse as getting more height out of pancakes, which brand of egg to use for a flawless presentation and achieving the most gorgeous spiral cut from your ham. Above Cindie assembles the perfect Sundae, but this one’s made of Crisco not ice cream, so admire but don’t eat.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to configure fake or edible food, the tips in The Food Stylist’s Handbook help everyone present a better plate. Need some guidance in making that burger you’re about to consume more instagram friendly?  It’s in the book, showing how one can adorn with condiments found on the table, perfect for a restaurant blog post. Want to impress friends who come over for lunch? The magic to beautiful bacon for your club or BLT is in the cooking method, using skewers or foil to get just the right curl to your strips.

Edible flowers add a charming touch to any plate, especially white china laden with salad and chicken breast in need of a pop of color.

And a dash of just the right herbs and spices brushed around grill marks make shrimp irresistible.

Regardless of why you want a stunning presentation, the answers you are searching for abound in words and pictures throughout this sensational guide book.

And the ladies haven’t forgotten the importance of serving containers and utensil recommendations to insure that delicious courses get the best send off possible.

So take it from the women who have honed and mastered the techniques and get your own copy of The Food Stylist’s Handbook.  Who knows, you may become the next Picasso of the instagram world or at the very least of your own kitchen table.

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The Quintessential Hostess Gift

While in Sacramento, we were introduced to Nothing Bundt Cake and we have to say it was love at first bite. The great news is that they are a nationwide franchise. That means you are most likely situated near a local shop.  But if not, you can always go online and have one dropped off right at your doorstep.  Or make life easy and have the distinctively shaped cake delivered to a very deserving friend as a house warming gift, Christmas present, birthday surprise, hostess thank you or any other event worth celebrating.  Wednesday sounds like a great reason for bundt cake to us.

The locations are charming and filled will all manner of inspiration. We sincerely hope you visit a bakery near you. Not only to sample the latest flavors (we love free samples), but also to get a gander at the exquisitely gorgeous cakes in a variety of sizes from bite-sized buntinis to personal sized bundtlets to 10″ full bundts serving up to 20 people.

We visited at Halloween when the Sacramento store was decked out with fun bundtinis all costumed and ready for little monsters to devour.

The shop addresses the confusing questions of how to honor someone at a major milestone. The answer is presented within a number of sumptuously designed displays that color coordinate their cakes with accessory options, making the gift even more special.

Of course the main reason to visit is to taste their supremely moist and flavorful bundt.  On our first introduction we were immediately taken with the birthday cake version, which is packed with a spray of multi-colored sprinkles nestled in classic vanilla cake. Another visit had us swooning for the Pumpkin spice with cream cheese frosting. But if those don’t float your boat not to worry, they have red velvet, chocolate chip, lemon, pecan praline, cinnamon swirl and a long list of other delectable flavors to choose from.

We are tickled pink by Nothing Bundt Cake’s aesthetic, simple yet powerful design elements and cake shape which make for an impressive hostess gift sure to wow not only on presentation but throughout the savoring sure to follow. #IFBC17

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Golden Vietnamese Deli

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One of our favorites is Golden Deli and we would be remiss if we excluded them from a list of great ethnic, off-the-beaten-path restaurants.  Although there is a very well worn path to this front door, thanks in part to Jonathan Gold, who wrote, ” Golden Deli has the best cha gio — fried Vietnamese spring rolls — in the observable universe”

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So we ordered them last night and have to admit the grease slicked, egg rolls stuffed with pork, vegetables and glass noodles are very tasty and this fact along with the Vietnamese style of eating them, sends these babies into the next stratosphere, as the good Mr. Gold points out.

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Served with a plate of greens, the protocol is to grab a lettuce leaf and line it with fresh herbs, cucumber and bean sprouts, followed by the fried bundle and then roll the entire ensemble into a little burrito.  We then dip the warm fried package, nestled in its greens coat, into the fish sauce which we spike with chili oil for an explosion of hot and cold, sweet and spicy, crunchy and soft, parcel of joy.

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We are also huge fans of banh mi, the beloved combining of Vietnamese grilled meats, crisp herbs and vegetables into freshly baked French baguettes. Golden Deli’s version requires two hands to hold, it’s so unwieldy in size and shape.  We opted for the grilled pork with its smokey essence, which is made even more compelling by a smear of mayonnaise, a profusion of cucumber, julienned carrots, cilantro and some smokin’ hot jalapeños.  Are banh mi one of the best sandwiches in the world?  We think so and at $5.00, it’s one of our best investments.

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Moving on we dove into the pho, a rice noodle soup that we had to try two different ways. We started with the pho chin nam, brisket rice noodle soup.

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The soup is accompanied by a plate of bean sprouts, herbs, jalapeños and lime wedges that are added to customers liking.  We always ask for extra lime because we adore the way it sets off the meaty broth. We also add both chili paste and chili oil to give the bowl a little extra oomph.

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We fell in love with the pho ga, chicken broth, tender chicken meat and rice noodle soup. The flavor was pure poultry heaven, which made us sure that someones grandmother must have had a hand in the concocting of this recipe.

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We used our lime, herbs and bean sprouts to enhance this already perfect bowl, I guess you could say we were gilding the Lilly and boy was she impressive.  Bowls of this liquid gold run from 8 to $9.50 depending on your choice of meat and they are large enough to share, but you may not want to.

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It’s a joy to find our favorite old timers continuing to bring the best from their kitchen and based on the wait most nights, we appear to have consensus.  Thank you to Golden Deli for sharing the joys of Vietnamese cuisine and for keeping it real over the long haul.

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Golden Deli, 815 West Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel, CA 91776                          Phone – 626-308-0803     web site – goldendelirestaurant.com

or

Golden Deli, 9664 Las Tunas Drive, Temple City, CA 91780
Phone – 626-285-2899

 

 

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