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Eating up Paris, 2015

Eating up Paris, 2015

Living in sunny Florida for the past 25 years one sometimes forgets that the rest of the world does not share in our vast array of sunshine, especially during the winter months.
Arriving in the darkness to Charles De Gaulle International Airport at 8:15 in the morning was an immediate reminder of why we originally chose to visit Paris in the winter; guaranteed chilly weather,  less crowds, maybe a dusting of snow and now another……..morning darkness!! Who knew how greatly appreciated the absence of early morning sunshine would be following late nights of delicious dining!

Our “winter escape” plan was simple. Five days and nights of dining, site seeing and wine tasting. Obviously no where near the amount of time that should be allotted to this historically rich city, however, we knew that going in and had no intention of trying to “do it all” in just a few days.

An early morning arrival is the perfect Segway into what will be your first of many meals in France………lunch.  And the French take lunch seriously, dedicating time to relax and enjoy a comforting meal and most likely a glass of wine.  After checking into our hotel we decided on Bistro fare for lunch and headed to Alain-Ducasse’s  Benoit.  It was what I hoped it would be, an instant reminder of refined French cuisine, rich sauces, petite garnishes and pure flavors!  A perfect first stop after an overnight flight.
20, rue Saint-Martin,

IMG_0088The magnificent estuary known as the Seine River can be admired from so many different locales in Paris, but none better then on a beautifully restored river boat, particularly those of The Yachts De Paris company and there Don Juan II Gourmet  Dinner Cruise.   A spectacular evening of sites and flavors complemented with lovely wines and gracious service. This is a must do!!  The evening starts off with champagne and Hors D’ oeuvres in the salon followed by a five course menu of French Cuisine Today.  Before dessert is served you are invited to step upstairs on to the deck for a perfectly timed sighting of the Eiffel Tower as it puts on a five minute sparkling light show.   We enjoyed this experience so much that we would absolutely revisit The Don Juan on our next Paris Holiday.
Reservations at
Having not been to Paris in 20 years I knew it would be next to impossible to experience the “local” eating scene without a local.  Voile!!  Enter Wendy Lyn,  Founder & Editor of The Paris Kitchen and………….
³One of the Top Ten Culinary Guides in Europe² ­ The Wall Street Journal
³On a first name basis with every Œit¹ chef in Paris² ­ Travel + Leisure
“Wendy Lyn is Paris’ Ultimate Food Insider” – USA TODAY
“One of the 6 Best Food Tours in the World” – Sunday Times Magazine

Get the picture?, Wendy was our go to gal!!  We spent 7 delicious hours with Wendy bouncing from a cheese seminar and tasting at the famous “Fromager” Laurent Dubois,
47 ter, bd Saint-Germain, to the hidden Hors d oeuvre bar at L’Avant Comptoir, (you must order the duck confit hotdog), address:  9 Carrefour de l’Odeon, Left Bank.
Next it was off to world famous Chef Guy Savoys newly opened oyster bar
L’ Huitrade directly across the street from his 3 Star Flagship Restaurant Guy Savoy.  We had not been seated ten minutes when Chef Guy popped out of kitchen to chat with his friend Wendy, this of course led to introductions.  A high point for me due to the fact that I have admired his talent since first dining with him in 1996.
Bistro Paul Bert was on our list to dine, however, obtaining a reservation was challenging, but once again, not for Wendy, one phone call and we had an 8:30 dinner reservation on a Friday night!  Bistro menu selections redefined, simple, flavorful and bustling with locals.  Note:  order off of the smaller chalk board, you won’t regret it.  Address, 18 rue Paul Bert

Cheers to our new foodie friend Wendy Lyn………She is awesome and would love to show you her city!
Merci be coup Wendy!!! Auvoir

Les Bouquinistes at 53 quai des Gds Augustine,   definitely did not disappoint.  A most sumptuous seared cod with creamy risotto was the perfect “lite” lunch after sleeping off our food coma from the previous day.
Walking and site seeing set us on a course up to the 17 arrondissement and to the doorsteps of Lucien La Chance.
Fourteen petite tables bustling with Mediterranean flavors from the matchbox size kitchen.  The owner graciously waited on us and guided us thru the chalkboard menu.  A highlight for me was his wine recommendation, a Vin de Pays Des Cotes Catalanes, which showed amazing minerality and what the French refer to as vin naturals. Always a special treat when you are able to interact with the proprietor of a restaurant.   I would highly suggest a reservation!!  8 Rue des Dames

I cannot mention often enough the amount of most hospitable folks we encountered during our short stay.  Among the many was our most gracious tour guide to Champagne, Trong Nguyen.   The amount of insight and knowledge he shared with everything Champagne, and the town of Reims was and is priceless. Six of us enjoyed his company for a 9 hour Champagne region tour, and all the details were attended to. On time pickup at our hotel, continental breakfast, a delightful lunch at Au Petit Comptoir in Reims, ( a personalized tour and tasting at Jean Claude Mouzon, a chilly yet insightful vineyard tour, a personal tour at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Reims or also called The Reims Cathedral, followed up with Hot tea, and a cave tour at Champagne Pommery,   Trong continually offered his assistance with photos, and left us with gifts of postcards, wine glasses and a photo video emailed to each of us.  Many do not realize that you can be in Champagne in under two hours from Paris, and the folks at are definitely the ones you should allow to handle the details for this special day excursion.

When Chef Joel Roubuchon decided to “give up on the stars” many years back it made headlines world wide. He had decided to scale back and open a more casual dining establishment where all guests ate at the kitchen counter,  he called it
L’ Atelier Joel Roubuchon.  His interpretation of this style of dining was an instant success in Paris, and when he expanded this concept to NYC a few years back I was one of the first to dine at the newly opened restaurant inside The Four Seasons Hotel. It was a very memorable dining experience, and the inspiration of my BarjMe.  Recently L’ Atelier has closed in NYC indefinitely and is rumored to be relocating to the Financial District.  Paris however still has the original plus a second location, and we were fortunate to snag a 10:30 pm seat to observe the “Cuisiniers” dance in the kitchen and turn out amazing dishes. There are so many flavor options on the menu and I would suggest splurging on the Chefs Tasting Menu which will give you a great insight of the talent that is Joel Roubuchon. Reservations Required.
L’Atelier de Joel Roubuchon
5 rue de Montalembert

If you have never been to Paris, or it’s been some time since your last visit, I would highly recommend it.  The city is clean, the hospitality is sincere and the history is breathtaking.

Feel free to reach out to me should you need anymore suggestions in The City of Light, and or any other places I’ve visited.

Bon Voyage!!!

Slideshow of Champagne

Interior Appeal Fall/Winter 2014

Year after year Central Floridians anticipate the beginning of fall and the slightly cool evening temperatures that accompany. Windows begin to open in the late afternoons, and the thought of “heating up the kitchen again” seems like a delicious idea. Although locally we do not experience the changing color of foliage or the sights and sounds of combines harvesting grain crops. Cooler temperatures do motivate us to begin thinking about the holidays and entertaining our friends.

  • Harvesting an Autumn dinner at Home

So what is a harvest dinner?

Think of it as a precursor to Thanksgiving-familiar aromas, simple recipes, childhood favorites. A warm-up, so to speak, yet much simpler and stress free. Oh and did I mention a lot fewer dirty dishes? Here are some tips and recipes to get you started.

  • Keep it small. It’s you, your plus one, and up to six others to enjoy the evening.
  • Dress the table up, and invite your guests to dress casual in denim and plaids. Pumpkins are a favorite vehicle for fresh cut flowers as are glass cubes filled with acorns and sunflowers. Pick up a few sheets of brown butcher paper at your favorite craft store and utilize these as your table covering. Tie the plaid theme back in with simple linen napkins.
  • Dim the lights and light the candles. Beware of the seasonal scented candles- unscented is the simple, elegant way to go.
  • Now that the table and décor are done, set the tone with music. A great-and easy-source is Hotel Costes Radio (free at and live from the Hotel Costes in Paris) that provides the perfect mix of upbeat dinner party tunes.

Gewurztraminer is the perfect autumn wine for greeting your guests. This delicious white wine plays very nicely with all the fall flavors. It’s full texture, low acidity, and the apricot, ginger and cinnamon flavors are sure to please.

Put it all out there. Sure, serving and clearing three courses looks impressive, but it also pulls you away from your guests, and they have joined you this evening to spend time with you. Have a couple noshes on the dining table before guests even sit. Think charcuterie, delicious meats, cheeses, picked vegetables; and some raisin walnut bread with sweet butter. The remainder of the dinner can be placed out as soon as guests take their seats.

Sweet Potato and smoked Gruyere Vegetable Cakes

Serves 8 guests

6 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (1/4 inch)

4 tablespoons red onion, peeled and diced

4 tablespoons zucchini, diced

4 tablespoons honey

½ cup corn kernels

2 cups smoked Gruyere, shredded

4 tablespoons flour (2 tablespoons for potato Mix and 2 tablespoons for sautéing)

6 tablespoons heavy cream

6 tablespoons each of salt and pepper

Place potatoes in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 6-10 minutes (until soft but not mushy). Strain well. While the potatoes are cooking, sweat off the onion and zucchini in a hot sauté pan, approximately three minutes. Place all ingredients, including hot potatoes and vegetables, in a mixing bowl and incorporate with a spatula gently.

Potatoes should remain chunky. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool down. Form into 1 ½ inch thick cakes, dust with flour and sauté in olive oil until brown. Finish in a 300 degree oven for 5-8 minutes.

Creamy Polenta with Pears, Gorgonzola and Walnuts

Serves 8 guests


3 firm pears, peeled

3 tablespoons orange blossom honey

½ cup chicken stock

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

¾ cup yellow cornmeal


½ cup chopped walnuts

8 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Fresh basil for garnish

Pears: Halve, stem, core the pears and slice each half into three or four pieces in a sauté pan, heat the honey just below smoking. Add the pears, spreading them in an even layer and sauté quickly until brown. Add the chicken stock and swirl as it reduces into a glaze. Remove pears from heat and set aside.

Polenta: In a medium saucepot, bring the stock, milk, oil, salt and pepper to a simmer. Remove from heat and vigorously whisk while slowly adding the cornmeal in a steady stream. Return the mixture to a low heat and stir until thick and creamy. Add more stock if further cooking is required.

To Serve: Toss the sautéed pears together with the walnuts and cheese. Spread over the polenta and garnish with basil.

Chianti Applesauce

Serves 8 guests

10 red delicious apples

1 cup sugar

1 cup Chianti wine

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Peel, core and dice apples into medium-sized pieces. In a large saucepot, combine sugar and Chianti and simmer on medium low heat for 3 minutes.  Add apples and continue to cook 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Next, place mixture into a food processor and pulse until smooth but slightly chunky. Pour into a shallow dish to cool. Refrigerate up to one week.


Braised Short Ribs

Serves 8 guests

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

8 short ribs

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 yellow onion, diced

4 carrots, diced

4 celery stalks, diced

4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

4 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

2 cups red wine

2 cups canned pears

4 cups beef broth

4 cups apple juice

Pre-heat oven to 375°.   Season short ribs and place in oven for 10 minutes. When shanks are broned on both sides, remove from oven. In medium-sized pot place 4 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, onions, carrots and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes, add rosemary, thyme, wine, apple juice, pears and beef broth, and simmer 2 minutes. Place shanks into pot, cover tightly and place in a 325° oven for 3 hours. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Chef Jamie McFadden

Jamie-McFaddenCuisiniers Catered Cuisine and Events, is a fresh-approach cooking style. He is an award-winning chef who has worked at various high profile restaurants, including his own restaurant, Mimi’s Café & Wine Bar. In 1998, he founded Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine & Events and in November 2013, he launched Cuisiniers Celebrations at East End Market, with unique event spaces that can accommodate up to 250 people.

Other career highlights include preparing two Central Florida inspired meals at the James Beard House in New York City, and co-founding The PEAS Foundation, which provides food insecure households with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Interview with Chef Jamie McFadden

Click on the Picture to View Interview

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