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So I went to the Metropolitan Cooking Show, a trade show open to the public where vendors have booths set up for all things culinary. I’m talking about cooking supplies, knives, cake bakers, whatever you can think of… The show also featured cooking demos by stars like Guy Fieri, Giada de Laurentiis, and yes, Miss Paula Deen. (see below)

A few highlights from the show:

The booth for Skinny Girl Margaritas. (No one was skinny.)

Jams, Nuts and Honeys from Northwoods Gourmet Girl. Based in Maine.

Sheep’s milk cheeses from Everona Dairy. They had beer-washed and smoke varieties, among other flavors.

Salts from The Spice Lab. They’re sold at Hill’s Kitchen. The guy was totally cool, and gave me a jar of this really cool Citrus Sea Salt under the table. Seriously, he snuck it to me while his wife wasn’t watching. It is so fragrant, and amazing!!

Parmesan Crisps from Kitchen Table Bakers. You can make them with the recipe here, or just buy them! They were delicious, with tons of different flavors.

Sonoma Syrup Company simple syrups and cheese drizzle. The cheese drizzle (I tasted the balsamic and fig one) are ready-to-go cheese accompaniments. Want to make your own? Check some of ours out here and here.

Salts and Sugars from Salt Sisters. Love the packaging! Super cute. Notice the vanilla bean salt. Really interesting, and way to incorporate this into sweet dishes. Think of a chocolate tart sprinkled with vanilla bean salt. Yum.

The lovely B. Smith was there, repping her restaurant in DC.

A few highlights from the cooking demo:

When I say Paula Deen aint nice, I mean that she is naughty. So funny. I had such a great time watching her.  And all the audience members yelling “I know that’s right, Paula” and “Tell ’em, girl…” did too. And to add to that, Mike Isabella was the warm up act. Not bad. Especially because I loved him on Top Chef and his new restaurant, Graffiato.

Mike Isabella:

  • Mike has a new cookbook coming out called Flavors of a Jersey Italian
  • Giada visited his restaurant, Graffiato the evening before, and supposedly loved it.
  • For Top Chef, he said they didn’t have the 3 minutes it seemed on the show to execute the quickfire challenges. They usually had 5 minutes to think and then 30 minutes to execute. I mean, I feel like I could cook something good in 30 minutes. Just sayin.
  • He said he got on Top Chef by basically smack talking to Tom Colicchio, who he cooked for at a DC Event. He said that previous seasons were embarrassing, and he could cook better than any of those people. He got a call for casting in Philly a few weeks later.
  • He said the fastest Top Chef Contestant hands down was Angelo, who he said was like “lightning” in the kitchen.

Now on to Paula:

  • She didn’t cook at all. Like didn’t touch any food at all. She said “Y’all can turn on the TV and see me cook 3 times a day. Let’s chat.” Loved that. Cause really, do I need to see you melt butter live?
  • She had gum in her mouth that she was going to spit out. She said “Most of those Food Network gals are spitters. But I’m a swallower. ” And she swallowed her gum. Just the image that invokes is gross.
  • Her drunk assistant Brandon was there, helping cook. The reason people call him the drunk assistant is because of when Kathy Griffin visited Paula for her show, My Life on the D-List. (Google it.)
  • She said she loved Kathy Griffin’s visit, except when she hit her in the face with a switch. “That hurt, y’all.” she said. See the clip here.
  • She has a cruise she takes in January with her fans. Maybe her clothing line will include bathing suits and wraps.
  • Her daughter in law used to hate her guts, she said. When she and her current husband got married. Not the case now. She has two new grandsons.
  • They were tieing up a pork roast. When Paula asked if he had learned anything, Brandon said “I learned to tie up meat.” She replied “Well that will come in handy when you get home.” Who knew this woman was so dirty?
  • She’s recently started shelling. You know, sticking shells all over frames and such. Someone clearly has too much time on her hands.
  • She recommends cooking her Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake instead of pie this Thanksgiving. Sounds divine.
  • No update on the clothing line, though. Bummed…


~ Dana


There was so much hype around Graffiato, Mike Isabella’s (Top Chef All Stars Finalist) restaurant in DC. I went to a foodie happy hour, and a ton of people were saying they were going to wait for the hype to die down to even visit, plugging their ears so they wouldn’t be tainted or swayed. I went into the restaurant, well aware of what was written, taking note of what people said was amazing and what wasn’t. I say live up to my preconcieved notions. Prove the hype right.

The place was what everyone said it was — a little strange with regards to atmosphere (Metallica and concrete floors), and kind of cafeteria style upstairs. And it was dark, hence the quality of the pictures. But as soon as we got in, we saw Mike Isabella prepping some orders by the bar. Good sign. Mike used to work at Zatinya, a Jose Andres restaurant, so he knows a thing or two about that.

We started with the roasted cauliflower with pecorino, mint and red onions. Delicious. And I mean delicious to the point that my friend Tiffani and I were fighting over the last little brown bits in the bowl.

She ordered a bacon, red potato and leek pizza. The crust was light and looked so good that I secretly scraped the bacon off and ate it anyways. And I don’t even eat bacon…

And then there was the spaghetti….Now anyone who knows me knows I am a spaghetti expert. THIS was fabulous. It was cherry tomatoes, which can typically be a bit too light/fresh for me. But this was a hearty sauce and if it couldn’t get any better, the pasta was FRESH. Made in house, and amaaaaazing.

Yes, I got two pasta dishes — I got the truffle gnocci. This gnocci was so light, I forgot it was made out of potatoes. Again, amazing. When you heard the judges on Top Chef rave, there was a reason. It was fabulous.

We ended with the zeppolis. They came with a pumpkin caramel sauce. Which was nice in theory, but was actually a little thick — kind of like a pudding. Great flavor, but I can eat my pudding at a different time than my donuts, thank you.

Overall, I had an amazing time, and will definintely be back. If you go, let me know!

~ Dana

Yes, ladies and gents, I am stalking Top Chefs. First Carla Hall, and now Mike Isabella. My review of Graffiato to follow soon.


~ Dana

Casa is participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

June 2018
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