Recommended Munchies from the Summer Fancy Food Show


The Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food show is the largest specialty food industry event in North America and the top place to experience the taste of future food. I not only had the exclusive privilege to try various foods at the show but to also sample foods in the comfort of my home.

The Sharing the Details team parsed through various snacks and treats and have finalized a list of our recommended munchies from the 2018 Summer Fancy Food Show. Now, without further adieu…

Summer Fancy Food Show 1

Recommended Snacks 

Tortuga Rumcake. This is a classic rumcake that can be served with icecream, with chocolate syrup or on its own. What I really like most about this rumcake is that you can get a taste of the carribean wherever you are with just one bite.

Amanda’s Tradicional Yerba Mate: The tea comes grounded and you can use a coffee maker to brew yerba mate for breakfast. What I love about this Argentinian brand is that this tea is traditional and made straight to the source.

Little Bird Kitchen’s a Hand full of hot & sweet nuts: This is a New York brand and these candied peanuts with a touch of jalepeno pepper heat serves a swift but delicate kick to the mouth. This is a great snack that can be paired with an IPA.

Dole Snack Bites Cashew Nut Clusters: Dole is a trusted brand and their cashew nut clusters does not disappoint. It’s made with cashews, sesame seeds and sea salt.

Pinky Up Tiramisu Dessert Black Tea: This black tea may not exactly be the same as snacking on a tiramisu but it’s pretty close. Pinky Up tea is a guilt free tea that has a great flavor and no calories. After I drank this tea at home, I felt like a princess for a second because of the taste and the fact you legit feel like sticking out your pink once you savor this chocolate concoction layered with coffee and cinnamon.

MilkBoy Switzerland Chocolate:  I have sampled over 30 brands of chocolate at this show and I can clearly see why MilkBoy took the prize for best chocolate at this year’s SOFI awards. Wow! I am not much of a dark chocolate fan but the 85% extra dark cocoa bar was smooth, velvety, with a seductively rich taste. I also sampled the Alpine Milk with Crunchy Caramel and Sea salt and this sweet, gooey, salty medley interplayed a creamy, refined, taste.

Chameleon Cold Brew Vanilla Coffee: After attending this show, I can see why cold brew coffee is a popular trend. I do really like Chameleon’s style of cold brew due to the smooth after taste.

Christine’s Organic Dulce De Leche Milk Caramel Sauce:  Authentic dulce de leche sauce is hard to find, especially organic. Christine’s sauce not only has an authentic, milky, taste but it’s easy to spread on breads, fruits, and ice cream.

Nature’s Guru Masala Chai: As I declared in a previous blog post about the food show, this was by far the best chai I had at the entire show. The taste was smooth, the spices didn’t overpower, and the beverage was milky–much like a true South Asian masala chai. Often other stores and cafes sell chai drinks that are too spicy, not as milky, and are more watery in texture. This chai tastes close to home for me.

Vegan Rob’s Jackfruit Puffs: As a self-professed carnivore, I normally dont venture into the vegan or vegetarian world. However, these Jackfruit puffs made that venture not as as painful. This organic, plant-based, treat is crunchy and I didn’t have much guilt afterwards eating the entire bag.

Ozery Bakery’s Lavash Crackers: I’ve never had true lavash bread before but I know this style of bread can be sold at your local Trader Joes. The lavash crackers from Ozery Bakery was fun to try and  I enjoyed sampling them with cheese and olives.

Twining’s Winter Spice Herbal Tea: This is a brand new tea from Twining’s and I must say I felt relaxed imbibing in this caffeine free concoction with a subtle blend of apple, cinnamon, cardamom and clove spices.

Road Kill Grill Meat Rub: And.. no, I did not kill any critters when I used this spice. Instead I bought chicken from a store, coated this blend all over, and baked for 30 minutes on 350 degrees. This was a delicious blend and if you do accidentally run over a creature, consider using this spice.

Snow Flakes Candy Mints: This sugar free, all natural, fat free mint has a pretty, magical, snowflake exterior and a tart but sweet taste. The black cherry mint was good. This mint is GMO free, has no wheat, soy, dairy, corn, gluten or sugar. So for that one friend you have is either allergic to a lot, this is a great recommendation for him or her.

Meiji Chocorooms: This is what I like to call a classic snack you can get at your local H-mart or Lotte. These Japanese cookies go great with milk.

Paromi Turmeric Ginger Green Tea: This is a really nice tea that comes in a biodegradable pyramid sachet. This tea has a strong, aromatic ginger and turmeric taste with a crisp, clean green tea flavor. If you want to drink something earthy with healing properties, this is the tea for you.

Cabernayzn dried cabernet wine grapes: This snack has more antioxidants than wine, has no alcohol, no preservatives, no artificial flavors and tastes like a super, fancy, raisin. If you want to taste Napa valley but to err on the side of not getting tipsy, this is the treat for you.

Belgian Boys Mini Cookie Stash: These cookies are sweet and fun to play with. Mini cookie stash are made with cookie butter and are made in Belgium.

Loacker Tortina White Cookies: Whenever I think of gourmet wafer cookies, the only cookie that comes to mind would be Loacker. I am a big fan of their new wafer cookie, the tortina white which has a sweet, caramel sauce inside.

Luke’s Organic White Truffle & Sea Salt Potato Chips: I am all about anything flavored with white truffle, especially potato chips.  These chips are made with Urbani Italian White Truffles with French Grey Guereande salt. Not only are these chips tasty, but what I like to call a snack for one who adults so hard.










Refined Goodies Found at the Summer Fancy Food Show


Distinctive, decadent, delightful are just three words that sum up my experience at this year’s  Summer Fancy Food Show held in New York City at the Jacob Javitz Center.

From June 30th through July 2nd, I nibbled, sipped and chewed on delectable  haute gourmand goodies. Not only that but I had an insider’s peek on upcoming trends coming out in the food industry.

For this trip, I packed lightly. I wanted ample space in all of my carriers so I can bring back snacks, drinks, and goodies to taste test. I did make sure to pack my White House Black Market blouses, Vince Camuto chemises, and Betsy Johnson dress though. Packing lightly doesn’t mean I need to skimp on dressing fab.

So I stayed at Row NYC for the duration of my trip, which was approximately 1 mile from Jacob Javitz Center. I made sure to wear comfortable shoes for this convention because walking up and down Jacob Javitz is no picnic.  Previous years I amassed callouses, achy- feet moments, and lost food noshing time by sitting in bleak corners.

Food show fashion
I wore Vince Camuto, White House Black Market, and Elie Tahari. Pictured are current Sofi awards, a selfie with an adorable lady from the China food section, and a picture with the founder of Fran’s Chocolates.

Each day brought in some crave-worthy moments, and awe-inspiring foods.

Day 1

One my first day of the show, the first vendor I visited was Crepini. I am forever in love with their blinis, crepes, and their brand new  egg white thins that would go great with scrambled eggs, spinach, and feta during breakfast time.  I  then walked over to Makoma’s booth, a West African juice company, and sampled fresh green tea moringa, hibiscus mint, baobob guava, and ginger pineapple juices. My personal favorite was the hibiscus juice because of the refreshing tart, crisp, after taste.

Cold Brew was a big trend popping up in different vendor stations. I’ve never had a cold brew and decided to try my first cold brew tea at the Matcha Love booth.  I wasn’t left disappointment, the ice-steeped cucumber mint matcha tea quenched my thirst.

fancy food show day 1

I hopped on the turmeric trend and am left impressed. Different exhibits were separated by Sofi award winners, new products,  States, and different countries–when I stopped by England, I had a glorious time taste testing wine and sparkly wine-infused gummies.  In China, I sampled different ginseng treats and ate lamb milk candies. The epicurean butter spreads I tried would go so good with baked chicken and fish.  I later traveled into Thailand where I sampled dried mangoes and drank chai in India.


Day 2

On the second day of the show, I made sure to grab a protein-enriched breakfast ahead of time. On the first day, there was so much to see that I needed more energy before hand.

fancy food show day 2

So I had an invite from Marky’s caviar to try to their new sturgeon caviars from China.  The caviar was buttery, with less of a fresh water fish taste.  From there I wanted to meet the famous Sara Beth, known for her jams, and restaurant located by Central Park. I then sampled different foi gois and pates from Les Trois Petits Cochons, an award winning company. I stumbled unto the JellyBelly exhibit and found their brand new ice cream jellybeans to be fun to try.

I tied Stash Tea’s brand new Sweet Honeydew tea and this may be my new favorite green tea I tried at the show. The tea was supple, sweet, and hit the right notes.  Mushrooms have always made an impact at the fancy food show, especially black and white truffles. I definitely sampled my fair share of black truffle spreads. I also had a great time trying dried mushrooms such as Woodear, Black Trumpet, Porcini, and Oyster.

I wandered over to Japan, hoping that this section would have wagyu beef from previous years. Although I couldnt find Wagyu or Kobe beef, I did try the popular black garlic known for its healing properties.

fancy food show 2 wine

I ended my day at this almost private “Eat in Italy” Pavillion where I sampled vintage Italian wines, ate freshly cooked pasta, and had all you can eat gelato.

Day 3

This third day was my last day. I knew I had to make this day count. As soon as I came in, I sampled the popular Ovina Wine infused Water. I then went over to Jeni’s ice cream and sampled most of their popular flavors. I knew I had to take advantage of this precious opportunity because the Jeni’s in Washington D.C is always crowded and the waiting period is between 25-35 minutes to get a scoop of ice cream. There was no lines and I, literally, seized the moment. I heartily sampled the frose sorbet, churro ice cream, cream puff ice cream, and the brambleberry crisp ice cream. From that tasting, I can say that my favorite was the cream puff ice cream because this tastes close to my favorite ice cream flavor of all time: sweet cream.

fancy food show 3

Right next to Jeni’s, was the 2018 Sofi Gold winning chocolate brand, Switzerland’s own MilkBoy.  I LOVE their chocolate! I tried their Extra Dark Swiss Chocolate and their Alpine Milk Chocolate with Crunch Caramel and Sea Salt.

I later had more ice cream at Noona’s where I sampled crave-worthy sesame seed flavored ice cream. I definitely needed a drink after all the chocolate and ice cream I ate, and found the best masala chai at the show. Nature’s Guru has the best Masala chai, and I sampled more than 10 different kinds at the show.  I think I downed 2-3 cups of the chai too that day.  I was on an international kick, so I also sampled Austrian waffles, French Truffled infused pasta, Italian charcuteries, and Dulce De Leche from Argentina.

Food Trends for 2018-2019

Turmeric is making waves at the show. Turmeric milk was quite popular at the show and, surprisingly, didn’t have a biting spicy taste. Yerba mate tea from the rainforests of Argentina were widely imbibed by attendees. Snacks made out of cricket flour, were introduced in the Canada section as a new source of protein in town in case you want to cut back on red meat and poultry. Honey from Peruvian rainforests was popular as a pure and natural source of sugar.

The Stroopwafel cookie trend is burgeoning. This  brand as well as other noteworthy foods made its way into the what’s hot and trending section of the show. Food trends you need to look out for are:  Gray salted chocolates, unicorn themed deserts, paprika flavored chips, almendras flowered almonds, wine infused water,  overnight steeped oatmeal, moroccan lemon preserves, Beer Buddy snacks, Roibous tea infused chocolates, butter scotch and bourbon cooking sauces, Siberian sturgeon and white sturgeon caviar,  waffle cups, TCHO Chocolate flavors such as: banana nut, snickerdoodle, pretzel crunch, coffee + almond, peppermint mocha, eggnog and rum raisin; goat milk yogurt, organic vegan caramels, organic fruit bars, Loackers blueberry yogurt wafers, lavendar flavored sodas, La Fermiere French style yogurt; fruit, whole grain, and hazelut muesli cereals.







Student Newsroom Food Interviews at LABS@LightCity


On April 21, 2018, contributing writer, Emma Hagedoorn, shares her experience in working as an anchor and journalist for Food Lab of Labs@LightCity at the IMET Columbus Center. The Student Newsroom is sponsored by local news WJZ-13 CBS Baltimore and part of Light City, a FREE festival of LED light displays, music, and innovation by Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts in Baltimore City, Maryland

My name is Emma Hagedoorn, and I am a sophomore at Loyola University Maryland. I am the news editor of Loyola’s student news source, The Greyhound, which is where I heard of this opportunity to work with the Labs@LightCity. The main editor of our University Paper, Nick Cirone, had attended some of the labs, and encouraged me to attend. And I am very happy he did! It was such a cool experience to be a part of this festival. As someone who is not a native to Maryland, and this only being my second year to even see the Light City Festival, it was amazing to see a whole new aspect. I had no idea they did different labs, and being able to interview and listen to different speakers was a great opportunity.

Emma interviewing Christian De Paco and Chef Melanie Molinaro in the Green screen of the Student Newsroom.

I worked on the last day, which was the Food Lab, and as a lover of food myself, this was a perfect day for me. I liked how it was not only chef’s speaking or showing how to cook meals, but other speakers who shared their experiences in Baltimore and with different themes of food in relation to the city and life in general. I felt like a real professional when I walked in and got a photo pass by Pixilated and how I was able to take speakers up to chat with me on camera in front of a green screen.

Emma’s Photo Pass by Pixilated.

I had the chance to interview some cool people, who all did different things. My first interview was with two women who spoke about The End of the Boys Club. Both Allison Robicelli and Therese Nelson were such beautiful individuals inside and out and I really enjoyed their panel discussion, along with Alison Price Becker and Rachel Waynberg. They had some great things to say within our student interview about being the change in Baltimore and elsewhere, as well as great advice for college students.

Emma between speakers Allison Robicelli and Therese Nelson.

I was also able to interview Devin Johns who is the Social Engagement Manager at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia. She also had a great personality and it was great to be a part of her first time in Baltimore.

Devin Jones and Emma.

I was finally able to interview the owners of Stall 11 in Baltimore, which serves vegan and vegetarian options. Chef Melanie Molinaro along with Christian De Paco spoke at the Food Labs. Molinaro showed everyone how to make vegan mac n cheese. They were both so open about their restaurant and the city of Baltimore.

Overall, I learned a lot from this experience. I was able to get real time interviewing individuals as well as being on camera. I felt the rush of an event and coming up with questions on the spot and trying to find the speaker before they left. I also get experience on camera and learned some skills about where to stand and how to interview on camera. I would suggest doing this to anyone who is interested in any aspect of communications. I hope to be back next year for more labs!

Emma with speaker Chyno.

Food Lab of Labs@LightCity was presented by Visit Baltimore with Wegmans as supporting sponsor. Other members of the Student Newsroom are Nick Cirone, Cache Jackson, Jessi Kim, Naomi Peppers, and Saran Tarawaley. 

Blue Star Neighbors Celebration Honors Extraordinary Americans!


March 13, 2018, Sharing the Details had the privilege of covering the Blue Star Neighbors Celebration held at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C.

The venue was wide-spread, with red, blue, and white lights beaming from the walls. Stars, stripes, and all sorts of American flag themed decor sparkled the venue. Attendees wore military suits, formal dresses, and business suits.

Programming opened up with words from emcee Brianna Keiler, CNN, Senior Washington Correspondent; and continued with awards with Camille Hymes, Starbucks Corp., Mid-Atlantic Regional Vice President; Dr. Lynda Davis, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Harriet Dominique, President of the USAA Foundation.

Blue Star Families Neighbor nominators (The Clark Family) and winners (The Nelson Family) with Gen. Paul Selva and wife Ricki
 – Pictures courtesy of Kang Hu 

As the show continued, the winner for the Blue Star Neighbor award was announced. Erik J. Nelson was the big winner of the night. He was nominated by Shane Clark, a U.S Army Major, commissioned in 2002 as a second lieutenant in the U.S Air Force.  When he was activated back to active duty over three years ago, Erik Nelson stepped up to the plate to help teach  on behalf of Shane and run the martial arts school in northern Colorado. Nelson, was still a student himself and managed the martial arts studio in addition to his position as Vice President at Engineering Analytics, Inc and his own family.

Notable VIPs that attended the event were General HR McMaster (National Security Advisor) General Joe Dunford (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff),  Jessica Moore (The Walt Disney Company), Marianne Downs (Lockheed Martin), Lieutenant General Daniel Hokanson (National Guard Bureau), Steve Schwab (Elizabeth Dole Foundation) and Scott Rice (Air National Guard).

SSgt Hiram Carrion (Marine Corps) and Chef Todd Grey (Equinox). 
Picture Courtesy of Kang Hu 

All- star chefs from the Washington D.C area crafted scrumptious treats for all patrons.  Food station tables were divided by chefs who work under different military branches:

  • The Air Force Table, run by Chef Robert Wiedmaier (Marcel’s) and MSgt Jennifer Medeiros (Air Force), displayed delicious Napoleon of Scottish Smoked Salmon.
  • The Army Table, run by Chef Chris Clime (PassionFish) and SSG Michelle Brown (Army), pastrami made from smoked mesquite, piquillo pepper,  and N’duja tapenade.
  • The Coast Guard Table, run by Kyle Bailey (The Salt Line) and CSCS Derek Johnson (Coast Guard) wow’d the crowds with Hiramasa Crudos made from blood orange ponzu gelee, popped amaranth, and nasturtium leaf.
  • The National Guard table, run by Chef David Guas ( Bayou Bakery) and TSgt Tyer Gaswint (Air National Guard), crafted Gulf Shrimp Burgers.
  • The Marine Corps table, run by Chef Todd Grey (Equinox) and SSgt Hiram Carrion (Marine Corps) delivered on the Tahini Grits and Lamb Meatballs.
  • The Navy table, run by Chef Ris Lacoste (Ris) and CS1 Frida Karani (Navy) fed a warm heaping of New England Clam Chowder.
Todd Thrasher (Potomac Distilling Co.) Pictures Courtesy of Kang Hu 

Along with memorable dishes, renown mixologist Todd Thrasher concocted memorable beverages such as The Pea-triot made from White Rum, Lemon, and Pea Flowers and The Wake up Call made from Bourbon, Decaf Coffee, Sugar, and Orange.

As a whole, this celebration celebrates the kindness of military supporters across the country  and their impact on the military family community. Blue Star Families (BSF) is the non-profit behind this great celebration. Blue Star Families mission is to use community as the solution for military family problems. Military life is hard and BSF leverages data-driven insights to curate resources for military families, including career development tools, local community events for families, and care giving support. Because of Blue Star Families, 1.5 million families have been helped.

Blue Star Families is a remarkable non profit that has impacted the lives of several military families across the U.S. Click here to make a donation.

About Blue Star Families

Blue Star Families is a non profit that strengthen military families every day. Through career development, caregiving, and our leading research on military family life, this organization is striving to better understand and provide solutions to the challenges facing today’s military families. This organization started in  April of 2009,  when a group of military spouses got together in the hopes of making a difference in the lives of military families. They knew the issues surrounding military families and saw a need for a platform where military family members could join forces with the general public and their communities to address the challenges of military life.

Since then, BSF has grown from a few military spouses around a kitchen table to more than 150,000 members and over 35 communities and chapters around the globe. Blue Star Family programs and services reach more than 1.5 million military family members every year.

Tune into Sharing the Details for an exclusive interview with the Founder and CEO of Blue Star Families, Kathy Roth- Douquet. 

Boordy Vineyards: 72 Years of Rich Wine and Fun Times to Come


For most of my life, I have never been a big fan of mixed drinks. I don’t know why, but I could never imbibe a Cosmo and honestly say I enjoyed it. The only mixed drink that I could ever really drink is a Bloody Mary, but then again, I would need a Grade-A Brunch experience before I can down one.

I’m picky with drinks, in general, because my only liquor of choice is wine. Preferably red wine, but wine nonetheless. And I wouldn’t just drink any glass, box, or bottle of wine either–I only want quality.  Boordy Wine is a natural choice for me. One, because I am a proud Marylander and two because Boordy makes rich, award winning, red wines that touch the soul.

Last February I had a VIP  tour around Boordy vineyards, witness the wine making process, sample a thorough selection of red and white wines, and get background history on the vineyard.


If you live in the Baltimore area, the commute is a breeze. Parking is ample, free, and found around the premise. If I came around Summer time, the vineyards would’ve been fleshed out with grapes, just waiting to burst underneath the hot, scorching sun. Since I came around Winter time, I missed out on a potential scenic moment.

I was able to tour where the wines are processed (large, silvery, cylinder machines) and stored (legit French cork flown in from France).


High-end wineries (like Boordy) often store their wine in large, french oak barrels as a way to enhance the fermentation process and to assure the wine connoisseur that they are only drinking the finest. Boordy is famous in the Mid Atlantic region for their red wines, especially its’ Landmark series which is made in limited quantities and sourced from 100 percent Maryland  grown grapes. This award winning wine series is flavorful, plush, well blended, and dark. Consider joining Boordy’s Landmark Wine club to partake on these rare delights here.  

After I was given a tour of the farm area, visitor center, wine cellar, barn, I was escorted to the wine bar area where I sampled a rainbow of reds only the Gods could imagine. Here’s my review on a handful of tastes:

Dry Rose 2016: With a blush color, and lip puckering after taste. This dry rose resembles ones from France. This sample was both delicate, clean tasting, and airy like the skies.

Merlot 2014: A deeply, aged wine that marries black currants, earthy textures, and aromas of fresh berries from a Fall Harvest. The medium body is perfect. This drink would pair well with a medium rare steak or a finely, roasted, lamb dish.

Landmark Reserve 2013: Here is a personal favorite of mine.  This red wine is full bodied, with a full-taste that invades the senses. There are cocoa notes and smoky tobacco aromas enhanced in this tasting. I highly recommend this bottle for special events and parties. It’s one of those kinda wines.

Spiced Wassail: I call this a fun red wine that you can party with during Summer cookouts, bon fires, and days on the beach. The spices mingled with natural sweet nodes evinces warm and inviting memories from my youth.

Syrah: Deep, majestic, and mythical. That’s precisely what I thought about Boordy’s syrah and find this to a mature drink for wine lovers.


Boordy was also so kind that they gifted me with a wide range of wines! They make the best birthday, engagement and Galentines day gifts! Definitely check out their website here for more details on where you can get your own set of red wines.


Along with fine tasting wine, Boordy is a great venue for birthdays, and  for special events. Their 19th century barn has two levels, a rustic panoramic area to view music, and a floor to dance the night away. This barn also houses great live band shows, an open area for eating, and a chance to take the best #FarmLife selfie amidst the strewn lights hanging confidently along the barn interior.


Winter Events at Boordy Vineyards:

January Weekends
1pm – 5pm
Admission is free
Winetastings are optional – $8 or $15

Party at Boordy’s 19th century barn, enjoy wonderful food-truck fare from Brick Brick’n’ Fire  Pizza on Sundays and Pasta La Vista on Saturdays.

Live Music from 1:00p.m.-4:30pm:

Jan 7 – Art Wachter & Blues Grass
Jan 13 – Take 2
Jan 14 – Jay Swanson
Jan 20 – Tom Beers & Friends
Jan 21 – Dan Haas
Jan 27 – Dear Creek
Jan 28 – Smooth Groove

February Weekends

1pm – 5pm
Admission is free
Winetastings are optional – $8 or $15

Live Music from 1:00p.m.-4:30pm:
Feb 3 – Spider Hole Band
Feb 4 – Art Wachter & the Blues Grass Band (Only Boordy food available for purchase)
Feb 10 – Take 2
Feb 11 – Jon Zorn
Feb 17 – Tom Beers
Feb 18 – Smooth Groove
Feb 24 – Jay Swanson
Feb 25 – Dear Creek

March Weekends

1pm – 5pm
Admission is free
Winetastings are optional – $8 or $15

Live Music from 1:00p.m.-4:30pm:
Mar 3 – Jay Swanson
Mar 4 – Jon Zorn
Mar 10 – Dear Creek
Mar 11 – Art Wachter & Blues Grass
Mar 17 – Take 2
Mar 18 – Tom Beers
Mar 24 – Dan Haas
Mar 25 – Smooth Groove
Mar 31 – John Zorn

About Boordy Vineyards

Boordy Vineyards has played a seminal role in the renaissance of regional wines in America. Founders Philip and Jocelyn Wagner established Maryland’s first commercial winery in Baltimore City in 1945, and their success at producing classically-styled wines inspired many pioneers around the country to follow their example.

In 1980 Boordy was purchased by the R. B. Deford family – who had been grape growers for the winery since 1965 – and was relocated to their historic 240-acre farm in the Long Green Valley of northeastern Baltimore County. The winery is housed in a 19th century stone barn whose massive walls provide an ideal environment for the production and aging of wine. Rob Deford, who received training in enology at the University of California, Davis manages Boordy with his wife Julie Colhoun Deford.  Boordy currently produces 97,000 gallons of wine annually and cultivates forty acres of grapes in the Long Green Valley (Central Piedmont region) and in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Maryland





Zoofari: Dine for WildLife

zoofari by Sherryn
Made new friends at the national zoo–selfie style!

For animal and food lovers, the best way to combine both passions is to attend Zoofari, THE  premier culinary event that features more than 100 of the top Washington D.C restaurants and vintners–all in a vibrantly wild setting at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo–and all to support the zoo’s mission to save the species.

I attended both the event and the Pre-Party on May 18, 2017, in an Ann Taylor leopard print dress ( I have NO SHAME), and was somewhat prepared but not really for the muggy hot weather.

zoofari by sherryn 4
A sneak peek at the Pre-Party. As you can see, no one else pulled a Mindy Kaling moment except me (I wore cheetah print, fyi). 

Naturally, I had to pair my fierce outfit with a glass of chilled white wine. So I moseyed on through the pre-party, and was quickly impressed with this bar trick the people behind Doi Moi/Estadio/and Proof concocted:

zoofari by sherryn 3
He was as equally impressed as I was.

Apparently the bar tender mixed a few liquors and juices together and instigated the crowd to quench ones thirst by aiming the oblong glass straight into your own mouth. My biggest regret of that day was not participating. Darn!

Although I regret missing out on this cool bar parlor trick, I made sure I ate everything at the pre-party so I wouldn’t have anymore regrets for the rest of the day. I dined well at: Baked by Yael, Captain Gregory’s, Casolare, Doi Moi / Estadio / Proof, Equinox Restaurant, Purple Patch, TenPenh, and, my personal favorite, Sweet Home Cafe.

zoofari by sherryn 5
A dish from the famous Sweet Home Cafe.

I really enjoyed my unique pastry puff with lima beans, fruits, and a watermelon cube to curb out the motley of colors and flavors this dish had. Jerome Grant, the executive chef of Sweet Home Cafe located inside the popular  National Museum  of African American History and Culture, was a complete doll! He told me a brief history of the dish and added an extra warmth to the overall tasting experience! Now, all I need to do is visit this renown museum to better compliment this tasting adventure.

General Admission later opened up so I walked on down to embark on a delicious journey of food, fine wines,  a night of unforgettable entertainment with live music, exotic animal encounters, a silent auction and much more.

zoofari 1 by mike
Taken by Mike Braaten

I noshed on some yum-worthy delectables from 1789 restaurant, Masa 14, Ted’ Bulletin, Bistro Bis, Circa, Osteria Marzano, Dirty Habit, Rasa, Ris, The Prospect, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Range by Bryan Voltaggio, Redwood Restaurant & Bar, Sugo Osteria, Tico, Dino’s Grotto, Cuba Libre Restaurant, Zentan & possibly Hill Country BBQ.  All the tastings were complimentary, mesmerizing, and have contributed to me possibly having a protruding belly by the end of the night.

zoofari by mike 4
Taken by Mike Braaten

Since I was driving back home in a couple of hours that day, I wasn’t able to partake in any cocktail tastings  with many celebrity bartenders or popular mixologists in the area.

I did, however, encounter some interesting animals along my foodie journey and learned a lot about the Zoo’s most popular residents. Guests had after-hours access to the Small Mammal House, the Great Ape House and the Reptile Discovery Center.

zoofari by mike 3
Taken by Mike Braaten

I was lucky enough to get into the MGM VIP cat house.  The ambiance was 1920’s Hollywood style and clearly, the star that evening were the tigers.

So my favorite animal of all time is the tiger. I don’t know why but I’ve had a grand affinity for these regal beasts since I was 5 years old. Anytime I hear that there’s a tiger at the zoo, I revert back to  my kindergarten self and stand so eagerly by the arena, hoping that my dream cat notices me, growls, and finds me equally fascinating too.

Around this time, the clouds were graying, and droplets of rain were diminishing my kid-like dreams. Regardless of the bipolar weather, I had an exhilarating and delicious time at Zoofari.

6th Annual Taste of Pikesville

taste of pikesville 8
Taken by Mark Soriano 

The Pikesville Chamber of Commerce had its annual  Taste of Pikesville event at the Hyatt in Baltimore April 26, 2017.  Foodies, bloggers, and B-more media elite convened to dine on delectable treats, party with a moving mannequin (only in Baltimore), and try to out-scheme a legit magician (again, only in Baltimore).

A portion of the proceeds went to Baltimore Hunger Project,  a 501(c)3 non-profit charity that feeds hungry children on weekends during the school year.

taste of pikesville 4
Taken by Mark Soriano 

Sherryn Daniel’s Blog (moi) was a very proud sponsor of this event. Baltimore’s children are the future, and without proper nutrition, that future could fall on the wayside.

taste of pikesville 5
Taken by Mark Soriano 

Notable vendors such as: Wegmans, Akbar Restaurant, Bagby Pizza, Baltimore Whiskey Company, Bonefish Grill, Citron, Eggspectation, Great Shoals, Inka Grill, Linganore Wine, Mari Luna, Miski, Mezcal, Mr. Chan Asian Bistro, Raven Beer, Silk Road, Whole Foods, and Wyndridge Farm had an array of food, drink, and memories that I don’t even think the written word could do much justice to.

So when I first arrived, I was treated to complimentary valet service (a perk for all guests) and was quickly sent to the VIF room (VIP but with more Oomph).  Here, exclusive media guests and the exclusive B-more guests schmoozed, dined, and conversed in style. Here I was able to taste the greatest latka that ever graced my mouth and also swigged a delightful tropical juice to amplify that moment in my memory.

taste of pikesville 3
Taken by Mark Soriano 

When general admission opened up, I was able to partake in the following sans regret:

  • Lamb burgers: These burgers were cooked medium rare and were paired with a tart sauce, arugula, and extra attention. I regret not eating three more.
  • Gazpacho: This silky, red, drink of the Gods made a beeline to my belly and had a blissful ride down.  I liked how the soup was smooth without too much of an acidic overbite.
  • Macaroons: VIF had an impressive Macaroons display paired with chocolate lava cakes. I have an insatiable sweet tooth so this display was up my ally.
  • Great Ales: Although I am not a Baltimore native nor much of a beer drinker (except Mexican and English beers), I will say that Baltimore craft beers are really good. Support local and buy Baltimore.
  • Uzbeki Food:  My memory is shaky on what I ate but I know what I ate was worth it.  I don’t know very many Uzbeki food places but if I do a quick Google search, I am sure I can find that one restaurant in Baltimore that has THE BEST!
Taste of Pikesville 2
Taken by Mark Soriano 

I’m a hardcore foodie so I was shocked, in a good way, with Baltimore’s up-and-coming food scene. Baltimore is an underrated food city but accurately rated sports city (Love the Ravens and O’s so I am very biased).  Taste of Pikesville was the best way for anyone curious to get a quick sample of some of the best the city has to offer.

About Pikesville Chamber of Commerce

The Pikesville Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting and improving the business community in Pikesville.  The Chamber works in partnership with the residential communities and local government to create an environment that is a great place to live, work and shop.

I exclusively attended Old-New Years Masquerade Vasilica at the Embassy of Macedonia


 *Special thank you to the Embassy of Macedonia and UMD President Metodija A. Koloski for the hospitality & background information*

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the United Macedonian Diaspora’s 12th Annual  Old-New Year’s Masquerade Vasilica celebration at the Embassy of Macedonia. The embassy was packed to the brim with 200 stylish D.C denizens who were donned in glam ensembles and baroque masks.
Vasilica is a centuries-old Macedonian holiday that commemorates both, the feast day of St. Basil the Great and the New Year’s Day according to the Julian calendar.  People from all over Macedonia and the region come to Vevcani wearing festive costumes and masks and dance throughout the two-day event. The Embassy of Macedonia was skillfully able to mold old tradition with new trends.  I remember when I walked into the embassy, I was impressed with the party layout.  The middle of the room had a bustling dance floor with a talented DJ who not only spun newer hits but meshed in 90’s jams.  Often times, Washington D.C carries a stigma for having a deadened dance floor but this particular party deactivated the stigma. There was an active dance floor, delicious all you can eat goodies, and copious amounts of authentic Macedonian wine thanks to Stobi Winery. 
 I had the great fortune to sample delicious Macedonian delicacies such as  Macedonian kebabs, tavche gravche (a special baked bean dish), shopska salad (cucumbers, peppers, onions with some salt, vinegar, and oliver oil), as well as the popular Macedonian walnut baklava. Each dish was scrumptious, fresh, and really filling.
Stobi Winery is well known in the D.C area for carrying special wines that use Vranec red (a special grape found in the Balkans), and for their whites and roses.  I really enjoyed sampling the rose due to the beverage’s light taste, rosy hue, and smooth yet fruit finish. I recommend this special wine for any festivity. If you want to cultivate your palates and also be more cultured with your wine selections, visit MacArthur Beverages in Georgetown to find this delicious wine or even contact Aleksandar Krsmanovic at from the Balkan Wine Project.
 At the beginning of the evening, guests received a piece of bread–a welcoming token to any Macedonian household– which was baked by UMD D.C. representative Gordana Mirkoska. According to Macedonian Orthodox tradition, whomever finds the coin is blessed with luck, health, and prosperity throughout the year. One lucky guest found this coin and the crowd was overjoyed!
Later on in the evening, Ambassador of Macedonia Vasko Naumovski and UMD President Metodija A. Koloski warmly welcomed guests to the residence and invited all to eat, drink, and be merry. I definitely took their advice to heart, especially when I donned my sparkly, sapphire mask and pranced around the dance floor to every single 90’s song like I was a kid in the 90’s. I was also lucky enough to get on this super long conga line that seemed to have grabbed folks from different areas of the embassy. I will surely relish the singing faces, practical jokes (this random guy kept smacking men in the behind in a mysterious, Lothario-fashion) and overall ambiance of that moment.
Speaking of the  Embassy of Macedonia, did you know the embassy was also known as the Moses House? It  was constructed in 1893 and is a mixture of Queen Anne and Neoclassical architecture. This house was renovated over the years and  officially opened as the Embassy of Macedonia on October 26, 2005. The architecture is both beautiful and mystifying. The curves of the roof along with the cream coffee-milk color, and the overall body of the residence is easy on the eyes. Based on this salacious yet provocative description of the house, I hope this entices you all to check this embassy out. 
  Lastly, all proceeds from Masquerade are given to the United Macedonian Diaspora’s scholarship program which gives  grants to college students, and strengthens the internship program.
I had such a memorable time that I do hope to go back again next year!

9 Steps in Becoming a Food Writer

Try the world
Totally in love with my early birthday gift. “Try the World” has delicious treats from different countries and it’s mailed to me bi-monthly.

So what does a food writer do? Type this statement into Google and you will see a plethora of results that examine the definition, tasks, and requirements behind being a highly sought after food writer.Now, my favorite food writing advice comes from acclaimed Washington D.C food writer, Monica Bhide.

In a 2011 Forbes article she advised new food writers to:

1.) Ask a ton of questions.

2.) Go out into the world and immerse your senses in food. Listen to foodies, smell clementines, and hone into your senses.

3.) Read voraciously.

4.) Get used to rejection.

If you love her advice (which you should) definitely tweet her here.

food and wine
You can only  get so much from Buzzfeed. I figure a subscription to Food and Wine can only help.

Aside from studying the concept of food writing, the best way to learn about food writing is to learn for yourself; That’s what I did several years ago when I first started in the gourmet food industry. I was a fledgling when it came to truly understanding how a Hershey chocolate bar could never supersede deluxe bars of milky brown gold from Belgium (craving Belgian chocolate right now). Now I am armed with  the ingenuity, foresight, and verbal dexterity to write either mouth-watering restaurant or product review.

Along with writing, so what does a food writer do? Well, here’s a candid picture behind this food writer that I hope will help  you along your own food journey.

1.)Network and learn from trade shows. It’s a given but attending the NASFT Fancy Food show, and other regional food shows across the U.S not only cultivate your senses with unique delights (mushroom flavored mochi) but this is the best place to create everlasting relationships with notable key figures. A few years back, I attend the Summer Fancy Food Show and struck a fun conversation with the CEO of Tortuga. After we chatted, I was able to sample his new line of rum cakes and had a memorable time reviewing them for my blog. Primarily at food shows will  you stay abreast with food trends and also learn about new products before the public does.

2.) Try new foods and don’t wimp out. It’s basically a given but how can anyone write about food if they don’t know what it tastes like. Also, when I say try new foods I don’t mean just new American or just fancy foods at pricey restaurants (that’s just being a poser). I mean foods from all over the world that both tickle and intrigue your senses. Why not eat some couscous with your shakshuka? Or try something else aside from chicken tikka masala. For my past birthday I received this delicious subscription boxset. Try the World lets foodies sample exotic spices, teas, jams and beyond from countries like France and Thailand. My baked chicken was a success this week thanks to the French persillade from Mont Saint Michel and also a dosage of butter to moisten up the bird.

Had Valentines day Dinner at The Modern in New York City.  They have a great four-course menu.


3.) Write.. Duh! Learning how to write about food is both a culinary and artistic experience. When I first started, I would do online and offline research on foods. I would later create an outline, fill that in with information I gathered from diverse sources, and write out my thoughts as simply as possible. It’s always best to remember KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) but it never hurts to throw in fancy food words here and there if you thoroughly know what it means. Use your imagination, freely. Do not feel constrained by what your peers are writing too since writing, in itself, is an art form.  Read from notable food writers online and learn to write like them. Once you gained the confidence to write like them, freelance and write for notable food blogs like We, The Eaters. Once you finely tune your craft, feel free to start your own food blog and brand yourself.

4.) Meet and eat with  foodies. When you are in the food industry, it’s hard not to meet up with other foodies. If you are new to being a food writer, just do a simple Google search, and you will find other food bloggers in the area. Definitely connect with them on social media and start a relationship there. You can find fellow foodies on Instagram and on twitter if you type in #foodie in the search bar. Social media is all about connecting. In fact, I met my food marketing expert friend, Jimmy Matorin through Linkedin. (check out his blog here) You can also find fellow foodies at food shows and through events sponsored by your favorite newspaper. As an avid reader of The Washington Post weekend guide, I often look up food shows, festivals, and restaurant openings in the area. Buredo (burrito sized-sushi) recently opened up and I know that the first people going there are tweeting and blogging about this delicious occasion. Don’t be shy! Exchange e-mails, meet up for coffee, and learn by listening.

5.) Learn and be social on social media. A great segue from connecting with foodies on social media is to also pick up on trends. Download a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Snapchat apps. Perform a Google search on local and on national food bloggers, youtubers, and celebrities like Rachel Ray and Giada De Laurentis, and follow them through these apps. Often times these foodies are posting content on current food trends. Also follow esteemed food journalists, publications, and photographers too if you want to get article ideas or even partner up on a new venture. When you click on food-related hashtags and follow up on conversation you will instantly get fresh information you can use for your articles.If you want to engage further, subscribe to food threads on quora, reddit and on Linkedin. Provide value by giving information or articles to readers that are of interest. Lastly, If you want to pay it forward (great movie, by the way) offer to write up a review for a new restaurant or help a new food company out with a product review. Newer establishments often post on social media and this is also a great way for you to get your foot in the door.

6.) Subscription magazines are not dead. As you see above, I have a subscription to Food and Wine. I am really excited about this since this is the premier magazine for recipes, food trends, and information on getting the best of the best. I also recommend getting a subscription to Saveur, Bon Apetit, and Fine Cooking. If money is tight, than you can also fatten up your RSS feed by subscribing to notable food bloggers. Try using these keywords “food bloggers AND foodies AND List” into Google. Peruse some of these lists and select food bloggers that you trust. Not all food bloggers are credible so pay close to attention to what they write, how factual it is, and if they fit your own niche.

7.) Cook until your finger nails are encrusted with flour. My fingers are still caked with flour but I do know that they have no regrets. When you are hands-on in the cooking process you learn more about what it takes to craft a fine dish. If you are a novice in the kitchen start out with simpler recipes. Type  “Easy buzzfeed recipes” into Google and peruse those links. I can attest that these recipes are easy to use. I made a five ingredient spaghetti carbonera from Buzzfeed and I was able to impress a full house.

8.) Eat at unique or new restaurants. I happily live in a food mecca. Washington D.C, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York have diverse cuisines from all over the globe. Just recently a new Phillapeno restaurant called Bad Saint opened up on 11th street in D.C and I am just hankering to go. I get that it can be pricey to eat out often so I highly advice that you eat with good friends, and share appetizers. Groupon is good to an extent, however, several restaurants are demanding customers pay extra since they proclaim they don’t make enough through the Groupons, alone. In order for me to keep track of food trends for future articles, I take a picture of the menu, images, and people. I jot down notes on the taste, visual, and experience too. I also take it a step further and look up certain dishes, their cultural ties, and even on how an amateur chef could possibly concoct this at home. Great writers ask questions and dig further for more information.

9.) Be Padma Lakshmi. So I am not telling you to go into modeling or to be a host of a tv show. When I say be Padma Lakshmi I mean take the food industry by storm. Be fearless and take a risk. Say you want to write for “Food and Wine” but you are scared of rejection. Just do it. Say you really want to learn how to make a souffle but you are scared of failing at it. Just do it. Lakshmi braved the modeling field and smartly grasped the food industry by being the premier host for Top Chef, writing books (Love, Loss and What We Ate: A Memoir), and by immersing herself into different culinary cuisines. She has also branded herself as a fierce food writer as well through social media, networking opportunities and through self-growth.

I’ve taken my own advice from going to trade shows into being Padma Lakshmi, and have grown a lot over the years as a food writer. What I learned about food writing is that food writers are not only writers but social media mavens, networkers, chefs, artists, risk-takers, and also food scientists. Food writers are the Jack’s (or Jackie’s) of all trade and that’s what we do. We do everything.

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