Around Town: Russ & Daughters Cafe – New York City

Russ I

Russ & Daughters is an appetizing shop in New York that has been run by four generations of the Russ family since 1914. For over 100 years, this shop has sold high quality smoked fish, caviar, and specialty foods. I’ve visited the shop a couple of times, but it’s their cafe, Russ & Daughters Cafe, that I was eager to try.

While the cafe gets busy on the weekend, I made it for a weekday lunch and immediately found a seat at the bar. Set in an airy and spacious environment, Russ & Daughters Cafe is a great place to enjoy a casual meal with friends.

Russ J


Russ K

Bagels, smoked fish, latkes…the menu is filled with so many delicious choices. Matzo Ball soup was an obvious choice to kick off the meal. The Potato Latkes with Applesauce and Sour Cream had my name written all over it, and the The Classic Board with Gaspe Nova Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Tomato, Onion, and Capers rounded out the meal. Such a satisfying lunch. High quality in every bite.

Russ E

Russ D

Russ G

Russ H

Russ A

Russ B

Russ & Daughters Cafe
127 Orchard Street, New York

Image by Lauren

I Heart…

i heart

1. Heart Pancake Rings | 2. Heart Waffle Maker | 3. Tea To My Heart Tea Infuser
4. Coral Herringbone Throw | 5. Heart Dinner Plate

Just in time for Valentine’s Day…everything I am currently ‘hearting.’ Wake up and make cute heart-shaped pancakes and waffles for a breakfast full of love or add a shot of love to your tea. Bundle up with a comfy throw while eating chocolates off of a heart-shaped plate. Go ahead and celebrate love tomorrow, and remind yourself of all the reasons why you love you. If you want to spread the love, send one of these sweet hearts to your mother, sister, or best girlfriend! xoxo

Holiday Film & Food Gift Guide

Happy December! Depending on whether you’re an early gifter, the shopping season might have already arrived. If you are already thinking about what to get loved ones, here are the top 9 film and food gifts I am loving. Nothing beats an experience gift – treat your best friend or sister to a late night flick! Or encourage your cousin to document his or her favorite films in this handy Moleskine journal.  All of these items make cute little gifts for friends and family without seriously breaking the bank.

1. AMC Theater Gift Card/Experience Gift – {$Prices may vary}
2. Apilco Cow Creamer – {$29.00}
Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season – {$12.49}
4. Chinese Takeout Box Frosted Glass Candle Holder – {$7.80}
5. Clear Coca-Cola Can Glass – {$4.49}
6. Moleskine Passions Film Journal {$13.57}
7. Pitch Black Dot for iPhone 5 – {$49.00}

8. Star Wars Cookbook with Cookie Cutters – {$23.95}
9. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook – {$19.75}


Around Town: Chinois Santa Monica

Santa Monica is incredible for a variety of reasons. Not only does Santa Monica have great beaches and shopping, but it also has great food. I have always been a fan of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, Spago in particular, so when my friend told me that one of her favorite restaurants was Chinois, a Wolfgang Puck American-Asian fusion restaurant, I made it my top food priority.

Chinois is a small restaurant that blends in with its surroundings, so if you’re distracted by what’s around you, you might miss it! My friends and I sat at the counter to watch the chefs work their magic – I highly recommend it because not only is it entertaining, but you can watch how your food is made. We saw lobsters cracked, salads chopped, fish dunked in boiling water, and ice cream scooped. At one point, one of the chefs started a big fire on the pan which was exciting to see from 7 feet away.

Because the restaurant is fusion, the taste of the main meals were different from anything I have ever tried before. First of all, the crispy spinach melts in your mouth, the lobster is covered in a smooth curry sauce, and rice is piled underneath it all for a seriously mouth-watering bite. The duck tasted like it was covered in a high quality rib sauce and the steamed bao was thick and soft. I can’t even talk about the chocolate lava cake without my mouth watering because it was the perfect combination of warm chocolate with a moist cake texture. Top off the meal with green tea, and call it a (very full, but satisfied) night! Next time I would love to try the grilled lamb chops with cilantro vinaigrette warm potato salad and the seared Maine scallops with Pad Thai noodles and lemon grass. As I looked around me when I was dining, every single plate that came from the kitchen looked absolutely delicious.

· · ·

Setting: Small, intimate restaurant with Asian fusion offbeat decorations

Good for: Dinner with family and friends, date night

What to order: Roasted Cantonese duck with fresh plum sauce and steamed bao, Shanghai lobster with curry sauce and crispy spinach, and chocolate lava cake

Downsides: Pricing can be high

Recommend: Sharing dishes – the 3 of us ordered 2 main meals and 1 appetizer and finished everything; Sitting at the counter and watching the chefs make your meal!

{middle photos by a dash of cinema}; Top and bottom image via Chinois Santa Monica

Holiday Table Settings

{Beige: Use a pine cone and jingle bell to tie this table setting together}

With holiday parties coming up, it can be a stressful time. There are many aspects that go into planning a nice dinner for your family and friends, and when it comes to Christmas, you want it to be special. When you are organizing the guest list, cooking the food, wrapping presents, and cleaning the house, the last thing on your mind are the table settings. Here are some quick and beautiful ideas (based on theme and colors) for you to fall back on if you are struggling in the 11th hour. These place settings are so pretty that no one will even know you put it together last-minute!

{Cinnamon: Tie cinnamon sticks with a ribbon to the napkin tied together with a holiday tag with the name of your guest}

{Silver: Spray paint a pine cone silver and attach a ribbon with the guests' names}

{Cranberry: Use a silver napkin ring for a clean and crisp look}

{Peppermint: Use peppermint sticks to hold up the guest tag and place a small ornament on the napkin}

{Pink: Tie a bit of the Christmas tree with a gift tag around a light pink napkin for a modern twist}


Where Every Day is Halloween

The Addams family started…in 1938 by a man named Charles Addams. Addams drew the Addams family for The New Yorker, but they were one-panel cartoons. The characters were unnamed and the story of the family didn’t fully develop until the television show began.

The television show ran from 1964 to 1966 and was shot in black and white. Due to the popularity of the television show, animated shows were made as well as feature-films, television movies, and video games. Several movies were produced in the early 90s, keeping the family legacy alive.

In 2010, the Addams family was adapted into a Broadway musical. This talented cast pulls off the grim family with a fun musical comedy that makes you wish it would never end. Currently on Broadway, Brooke Shields stars at Morticia and Roger Rees at Gomez, who took over for Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane.

1, 2, 3, 4