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Going Pro

In 2010, I packed up my franglophone life to move to New York City and pursue my dream of becoming a food writer. This blog chronicled my early days of that struggle, living on the cheap and figuring out how to make it in the big city.

I’m happy to report that things have changed quite a bit since then! These days, I’m living in Brooklyn and work with some of most inspiring artisans and food brands in the business. To read my latest writing, please visit


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June 13 – Superhuman Happiness, Poor Remy, Morgan O’Kane, Milla Brune

Sofar Sounds NY

By Carly DeFilippo
Photos by Jose Camargo and Yana Gilbuena

Oh, early summer. That time of year when we dance ’til we drop at outdoor music festivals, stay up way too late on weeknights and question if we ever could leave NY. Newly infected with sunshine-induced optimism, we Sofar NY’ers scaled the steps to a fifth floor Soho walk-up, squeezing in with 60 other newly tanned music fans, for a chance to hear the very best up-and-coming bands.


First up was the aptly named Superhuman Happiness, featuring futuristic bleeps and bloops that faded into tinny guitar, muted horn and upbeat vocal lines. This curious mish-mash of musical talent was a literal juggling act of instruments and techniques, on one hand featuring a certain island sway, on the other sounding like the perfect band for an 80s houseparty. But within the group’s remarkable range, there was one consistent element: seriously…

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Sofar Sounds NY – May 21st, 2013

Sofar Sounds NY

By Carly DeFilippo
Photos by Jose Camargo

Beyond featuring amazing live music, Sofar Sounds is a veritable tour of NYC’s real estate, from high-end lofts to low-fi warehouses. Among the most exciting places we’ve been hosted of late was the Cole Haan design studios in the Flatiron district. Inside an unassuming corporate building, we discovered a spacious, high-ceilinged living space, with snacks, giant pillows, couches…and a man painting the wall?


That wall was a canvas—a very large one at that—and the man was none other than Chicago artist Joe Miller, who had volunteered to live-paint a background for the evening’s artists. As we moved from indie pop to soulful, singer/songwriter and bluegrass sounds, his canvas evolved in drizzles and waves of warm color.


First up was Beaty Heart, sent to us from Sofar’s home base in London. Looping melodies and lyrics, they layered organic sounds including their own…

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Check out my latest project with Zokos, a “kickstarter for dinner parties.” I’ll be lending all my home-cooked experience – from supper clubs to sting rays – to help answer all your culinary questions.

Zokos Blog

For our newest Entertaining Exchange, we’re delighted to introduce you to Carly DeFilippo.  Carly, proprietor of this fine blog and a supper club of her own, has offered to answer questions from the Zokos community on how to throw a stellar dinner party.  So if you’re wondering how much wine to buy, or how many hours to roast your turkey, just ASK CARLY by posting your questions on our Facebook Page.

Zokos: Think back to the most recent dinner party that you hosted or attended. What was the best part of it?

Carly: I recently launched a monthly supper club, which I host in my new Park Slope apartment. It’s been amazing to open my home to old (and new!) friends, and – most importantly – to have the opportunity to introduce such a varied group of interesting, curious and generous individuals.

Regarding the food itself, preparing a…

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eater’s digest: new york city wine and food festival, part 1

The gorgeous main hall of the Harvard Club.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of covering the New York City Wine and Food Festival for Honest Cooking. From wine tasting in the chic boutiques of the Meatpacking District to a hands-on oyster shucking lesson at the Standard Biergarten, it was a dynamic, whirlwind tour of the New York City food scene.

If there was one highlight out of the many events I attended, it was – without a doubt – Morimoto’s “Rock & Roll“, a sushi and karaoke soiree at the Harvard Club. Upon arriving in the ivy league digs, I was immediately struck by the incomparable decor. Taxidermy of all shapes and sizes (including an imposing elephant head), dim-lit chandeliers and dark wood paneling bedecked the cavernous hall where the city’s best sushi chefs were already busy at work.

Having been to a number of tasting events, I know the food can range from utterly disappointing to extraordinary. Raw fish is one of my favorite ingredients, so I was a bit anxious to sample the chefs’ small bites.

Happily, I can report that every bite stood up to the challenge. At $150 a ticket, the event – whose proceeds benefit the hunger-relief programs of Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength® – seemed a bargain, and I would readily recommend that any fish lover jump on the tickets the next time this sushi party rolls around.

Here are some of my favorite bites:

Sepia Tagliatelle, Marea

I’ve had sepia tagliatelle before, at Txikito in Chelsea (one of my favorite restaurants). Marea‘s take was distinctively fishier, but enjoyably so, and the “pasta” was cut a bit thicker. But unlike good Italian pasta, the texture wasn’t al dente – in fact, it was surprisingly tender for cuttlefish. Overall, a bite that redoubled my interest in dining at this highly praised restaurant.

Sardine and Roasted Red Pepper, Esca

If nothing else, Esca deserves an honorable mention for this simple, fish-forward dish. Sardines are a hard sell, and it was an excellent opportunity to present them – in their highest quality – to a crowd of eager pescatarians. It wasn’t the most impressive dish of the night, but its subtlety would not have been lost on a true fish lover.

New Style Hamachi Sashimi, Blue Ginger

I’ll admit, I had actually not heard of Blue Ginger before tasting this dish. But out of everything I ate that night, this hamachi sashimi was one of the most interesting dishes. The spicy seasoning was an unexpected twist, while the crispy rice was a pleasant textural contrast with the sashimi.

Striped Bass Jamon with Chicken and Dashi Consomme, Corton

Corton’s dish had so many layers of unexpected flavor, it was mind boggling. Yet, somehow, they all went together really nicely. The thinly sliced, slightly smokey fish was an exciting match for the bold broth – a surprise that definitely merited a second bite.

Peruvian Fluke Ceviche, La Mar Cebicheria

I love ceviche, and I have been hearing raves about La Mar‘s distinct Peruvian style. The texture of the fluke was absolutely stunning, as was the shockingly bright, pop-in your mouth citrus. Coupled with a few al dente vegetables for textural contrast, this dish was an absolute stunner.

Snapper Crudo over Smoked Grapefruit, Crave Fish Bar

This fruit and fish combo quite literally blew my mind. A just-sweet enough peach sauce, clean snapper slice and smokey spike of citrus. It was a combination that should have overwhelmed the fish, and it didn’t. Which officially makes Crave Fishbar the restaurant I want to check out the most after this outstanding city sushi tour.


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recipe: all-green smoothie

We’ve all heard about the celebrity following and myriad health benefits of “green juices“. But even for those of us who like the flavor of “musty grass” (as one friend put it), paying upwards of $9-a-pop for the health fix seems absurd. Moreover, the DIY types will tell you that juicers are labor of love (emphasis on labor – they’re obnoxious to clean), and thus often end up on the shelf.  If you’ve gone through all those steps and still want the green stuff, you’ve maybe considered the green smoothie option – typically linked with buying the infamous Vitamix (yup, that’s where I’m at). But the frugal foodie  – and MacGyver – inside me wouldn’t stand for it, so I set off down the green smoothie road with only a mediocre blender at my side. (This isn’t the first time I’ve mis-used my blender for bizarre projects.)

Well, the first batch ended up all over my kitchen – but! – it did work. After a few go-rounds, I worked out the kinks and quickly became addicted to the little suckers. I tested the satiation question last week (this isn’t a cleanse, and I’m anti-starving oneself for any purpose), and after a busy workweek with only green smoothies for breakfast, I can honestly attest they are energy in a cup. Caffeine without the crash. (Basically, I’m a convert…I’m sipping one now.)

Energy in a Cup: All-Green Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 3 romaine leaves
  • 5 kale leaves (de-stemmed)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • Lemon juice/lime juice/unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  1. Pour water into your blender.
  2. Finely chop and add to blender (one vegetable at a time) celery, cucumber, romaine, kale, avocado.
  3. Scoop out ripe avocado, blend into mixture.
  4. Add minced/chopped ginger and herbs to mixture.
  5. When you are ready to serve, add acidity to taste: either a healthy squeeze of lemon/lime juice, or – for a probiotic boost – a splash of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
1. Blend the cucumbers and celery into the water first. This will create a good liquid base that will make it easier to blend in all the other, rougher veggies. (You can use a wooden spoon to pre-mix the rougher vegetables into pre-existing liquid in order to ease the process.)
2. Be easy on your blender, especially if you don’t have a Vitamix. Use the ice-chop/pulse button to break things up before testing the higher settings.
3. Don’t overfill your blender. If you get it more than 2/3 full (unless you are making a very water-y smoothie), you will definitely end up with green juice flying around.
4. Make your smoothies on the thick side for easy conservation. Add lemon/lime/apple cider vinegar and extra water just before eating, to make the texture more drinkable.

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catch of the day: the way we ate

Noah Fecks and Paul Wagtouicz are committed. In an age (and of a generation) marked by instability, the couple has embarked on a 15-and-a-half year project to cook their way through every published issue of the late, great Gourmet magazine – and to document it with stunning food photography.

The Way We Ate is an homage to the evolution of americana eats. With retro linens to match the dated dishes, Noah & Paul’s photography evokes a progressive nostalgia that appeals to the high-brow and hipster alike. But the highlight of the duo’s recent Vimeo video (featured on Grubstreet) is undoubtedly the revealing of Noah’s WWJD tattoo – a timely tribute to the would-be centenarian Julia Child.


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recipe: saté stir-fry

The first time I visited the Parisian épicerie Goumanyat, I was absolutely enthralled by their “sniffing bar” and, in particular, by one spice : saté.  This Indonesian spice blend consists of chilis, peanuts, dried shrimp, garlic and sesame – a nutty, savory and versatile treat.

My favorite way to use saté is on products that are mild in flavor, as it is far from the most powerful spice in my cupboard.  Tofu and bok choy make for a healthy and fast vegetarian stir fry, and the saté works wonderfully with garlic and the mild flavor of sunflower seed oil in this recipe.  A splash of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt round out and enhance the other flavors.

To read more about Goumanyat, check out my review in Vingt Paris Magazine.

Saté Stir-Fry

  • 1 tbsp saté seasoning
  • sunflower seed oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • two heads baby bok choy
  • 1/3 – 1/2 block of extra firm tofu
  1. Squeeze out extra liquid from tofu by draining and pressing down with a spatula or other flat utensil.
  2. Slice desired quantity of tofu and lay on paper towel to soak up excess water.
  3. Heat 1-2 tsp sunflower seed oil in a pan.
  4. When oil is hot, add sliced tofu and sprinkle saté seasoning over slices.
  5. Press down on the frying tofu with a spatula to squeeze/cook out excess liquid (the saté will start to melt into the tofu and mix in with the oil during this process).
  6. Flip tofu and cut into smaller pieces with spatula, creating a tofu “scramble”.
  7. When tofu is lightly fried/toasted on all sides, remove from the pan.
  8. Add another tsp of sunflower seed oil to pan.
  9. Chop garlic and add to pan (be careful not to burn!).
  10. Wash bok choy, chop into bite-sized pieces, and add to pan.
  11. Cook bok choy until wilted/tender.
  12. Add tofu back into pan to heat.
  13. Remove all ingredients from pan. Add a tbsp of apple cider vinegar and toss. Salt to taste.
  • You can also add gomasio and sumac to this recipe if you have either in your pantry
  • Storing tofu: change the water in the container every day to prolong freshness.

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