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PINK LIPSTICKS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY

 Happy Valentine's Day everyone! What are your plans for today? We usually go out for either lunch or dinner and I get an excuse to get dressed in my reds or pinks. This year, we are without a plan.

 Although we have no sign of Spring yet and are awaiting another round of snow storms, I reached out for my pinks and blush tones, in general. They help me cheat my mind into thinking that maybe it is Spring, which is around the corner. And if you know me well, you are aware that I have a relationship with my lipsticks. So for the love of Pinks and for the love of Lipsticks, I rounded up some of my favorite Pink Lipsticks, for you to wear on Valentine's Day.
COLOR REFERENCE - LEFT TO RIGHT 
                                                    Stila Liquid Lipstick in Patina:
This is my current favorite pink lipstick and I must have ODed on it. The color has been described as Dusty Rose. Its matte, but not drying at all. Its long-wearing and does not flake off. I love blue toned lipsticks and this is another example of that. (color - first from left)
                                                         MAC Star Magnolia :
My love for blue-toned lipsticks carries on with Star Magnolia. It's a shiny bubble gum pink, which compliments almost everyone. It has Pearl finish and has medium coverage. (color - 2nd from left)

                                                            MAC Flamingo:
Its described as being Light Milky Coral but in reality its a pinkish coral, and very apt for V-Day. Its Lustre finish, so needs some touching up if you have a meal. Soft and hydrating and just glides on, with sheer to medium buildable coverage. (color - 3rd from left)
MAC Girl About Town : 
Bluish toned, fuschia with dark notes, is how the color can be described. Its an Amplified finish from MAC, which means that the color payoff is the max, of all of the finishes offered by MAC. I definitely use this shade of lipstick, in the evenings, as its a bold color, in the pink family.  
(color- 6th from left)

MAC Mehr: 
One of the most iconic shades of MAC lipsticks, which was created by MAC global artist Mickey Contractor. For the uninitiated, he is the guru of Bollywood makeup. MAC used to be a limited edition color but has now been on the permanent line for some years. Its one of those colors, which is a favorite of beauty bloggers across the world, and more often than not sold out, when you reach the MAC counter. MAC Mehr is described as dirty Blue Pink. You do see a trend here, don't you?  Its Matte finish, but is not as dry as Ruby Woo and does not flake off by any means. (Color - 5th from left) 

NARS Velvet Lip Glide in Bound:
I was introduced to this color, through my then Sephora Play box subscription. Its a darker version of MAC Mehr, to say simply. Rose pink is how Nars describes it, and they are on point. The formula is good and non-drying. It has a semi-matte finish, which makes it a great choice for longer hours. (Color- 4th from left) 

Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Very Vintage :
This is a new shade in this line fo liquid lipsticks from Sephora's own brand. I am in love with this line, especially their matte offerings. The color payoff is great, and they do not flake off. If you have had a meal, then it fades as a stain, rather than being botchy. It is a pinkish purple, if you describe the color, and can easily transition from day to night. (Color -last from left)

Hopefully, you have found a shade of pink which you would love to wear on Valentine's Day and throughout Spring. 

MICHAEL SMITH'S FARINA

James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Smith's new restaurant - Farina, is all set to open on February 5th. The perfect location for all your Valentine's Day plans. One phrase which perfectly describes the soon-to-be-opened restaurant is Date-Night Perfection.  And every corner is Instagram-worthy.

I attended a media preview of the restaurant recently, I knew that this had to feature on the blog. Chef Smith's Extra Virgin has been a favorite of ours over the years, and I even have a few blog posts on it. Chef's namesake restaurant -Michael Smith was the perfect choice for many of anniversary dinners. 
Farina is a modern Italian restaurant, which is also housed in the Crossroads Art District, in Kansas City. A 5 sec walk almost from Extra Virgin, the new restaurant is located in the KEmper's Museum's Crossroads location. The restaurant space is super gorgeous, to say the least. And if you were awe-struck with the main room of the restaurant, then hold our breath, as you enter the Wine Room or the private dining space. Did I mention, that there's an Oyster bar as well! Aesthetics are on an all-time high, no matter which corner of Farina, your eye falls on.


Once you get over the initial admiration of how beautiful space is, then we can focus on the food and beverage. I have been a major fan of the cocktails at Extra Virgin, so it was a welcome sight to see Berto Santoro in Farina. My Campari Spritzer was just perfect. 


Let's start off with some of the most creative appetizers.





Some exclusive entrees.



And finally, it was time for the prettiest of desserts. Apple Rose Tart with persimmon sauce anyone!
Farina, which translates to Flour in Italian, will be featuring 10 different signature pasta every day, along with its full-service oyster bar. Chef Michael Smith has come to personify such a high standard when it comes to the culinary arts, and Farina only takes that forward. I know where I shall be going for my next date night. Have you made your Valentine's Dinner plans yet? If not, reservations can be done through Open Table.

Thank you so much for the invite Chef Michael Smith, Nancy Smith KSquared, and KC Foodie Club. Cheers and Bon Appetit!

FREESTYLE POKÉ

Freestyle Poke is a favorite of ours. So when I heard that they were making their debut in catering, I knew I had to be there. Poke for a weekday lunch it was.
In case you haven't dined at Freestyle Poke, yet, let me tell all about them. I discovered Freestyle Poke, in the Summer of last year. I am a huge Sushi fan, so when I heard of this new place in town, serving Poke, I headed there without further ado. Poke consists of raw diced and skinned fish, served in a bowl, with rice, and your choice of toppings and sauces. the fish is Sushi grade, to be more simplistic, and has to be served within a set number of hours of being harvested. Originating in Hawaii, Poke has become quite the rage around the world. So if you thought of Kansas City as being meat and potatoes heavy, you have to try out Freestyle Poke.

Freestyle Poke started their operations with their first location at River market, in Kansas City. They debuted their catering venture with a pop-up at We Work, in downtown Kansas City. They served two of their signature bowls at the venue, which was a great hit. I opted for Nirvana, which consists of Ahi Tuna, Sriracha Ponzu, Cucumber, Mango, Edamame with white rice. For my toppings, I opted for pickled ginger, seaweed salad, toasted coconut, and Togarashi Yuzu Mayo as my sauce. It was a limited version of their original menu.

If you head to their River Market locations, then you have a taste of their full-service Poke menu. First, choose your bowl size - Good(smaller) and best(Larger) bowl size. I always opt for Good, while my husband opts for Best. On their catering menu for We Work, they were serving just one bowl size.

They do have around 6 different Signature Poke bowls on their menu to choose from, or you could go the creative route and make your bowl from scratch, with their Freestyle Bowls. I have tried their signature bowls, as well opted to indulge in my creative side and designed my own bowl. I usually opt for half and a half for my proteins - Ahi Tuna and Spicy Tuna, over white Sushi rice, and take the spicy route where my marinade, toppings, and sauces are concerned.
What I love about the staff at Freestyle Poke, is that how helpful they are in helping the indecisive me, in creating my bowl. Their suggestions are spot on when you mention what you are looking for.  I was over Sriracha, and their suggestions helped me create a poke bowl, which was spicy and flavorful. I am a Togarashi Yuzu Mayo fan for life now.

Freestyle Poke is an organization who believes in sustainable fishing and quality products. Their fish comes in from sustainable fish farms, in Chile and a few other places, which are flown in and served fresh. Never frozen. When you have quality ingredients and a great product, you will have loyal followers. Freestyle Poke is expanding operations into Overland Park, later this year and there will even be a Food Truck.

Freestyle Poke speaks of Poke with a Purpose and they really live by their ethos. You cannot miss the strong culture and warmth which binds the Freestyle Poke team. If I was ever joining the food industry, I would surely try my luck at Freestyle Poke. It did sound like a cool place to work in. It is not every day that I hear of a workplace which cares so much for the overall well-being of its workers/team.

Thank you TKG Agency for the invite. Always a pleasure working together.







RAISING A VOICE AGAINST PUPPY MURDERS IN KOLKATA,INDIA

There was supposed to be a food post, a branded content, which was supposed to go Live last night. But there is this post, which had to be addressed. My family has been working in animal rescue in India, as far as I can remember. My brother- Riddhiman Chatterjee(Riddy), continues the work to the best of his abilities. He even runs a self-funded animal shelter(AALO), which currently houses 15 abandoned dogs. Right now he has been assaulted and attacked, and hospitalized with a head injury and bodily harm, for raising a voice against the merciless murder of 16 puppies, in Kolkata.

I am writing this post to appeal to Animal Rights Activists and Animal Lovers across the world, to raise a voice together, for justice against those murdered puppies. People who torture and kill animals will not flinch an eyelid to torture and kill human beings, without flinching an eyelid. The problem is the archaic laws in India against murdering animals. There is a mere fine of Rs. 50(less than $1) for murdering/killing an animal. With such laws, perpetrators get away with violence.
In case you missed the news, 16 puppies were bludgeoned to death, by two nursing students from a premier medical college - NRS Medical College and Hospital. Soma Burman and Moutusi Mondal lured the puppies and their mother from different parts of the hospital with treats(cookies/biscuits) to an enclosed area, where they bludgeoned them to a merciless death on January 13th, 2018. The nursing students wore surgical gloves and beat the puppies to death with a rod. The dead bodies of the animals were found in plastic bags in the hospital dumpster. They were recorded by some other students as they continued their inhumane act. A security guard at the hospital identified the perpetrators from the video, after which they were arrested by the police on January 15t,h 2018.

My Brother - Riddhiman and many many more animal lovers and animal activists in Kolkata have been protesting for justice for this massacre, at the hospital gates, to taking out peace marches, to name a few.
 

Ms. Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, is a prominent voice in animals rights, in India. She is the Chairperson of the nonprofit known as People for Animals(PFA). She had demanded immediate action after the accused nursing students had been let off by the police.
The culprits were let off by the police on bail, and have been re-joined, classes. The hospital administration had assured that the nursing students(murderers) would not be allowed to re-join classes, till the police investigation was going on. When they rejoined classes, my brother and other activists, in Kolkata, including local film personalities, sat in a silent protest in front of the Health Department Office, in Kolkata on January 22nd, 2018. They were attacked by Cops, yes Police from Bidnannagr Electronic Complex Police Station and assaulted and attacked, and beaten black and blue. The police even tried their best to erase video and photo evidence from the phones of the activists.

My brother and his fellow campaigners, including local film celebrities, have been hospitalized following the attack. This is the price they paid for raising their voice against such a case of animal abuse. 

We, animal lovers across the world, need to raise our voices so that these puppies get justice.

Disclaimer: I have used images from popular News Sources and some from Facebook. Requesting co-operation for a greater cause rather than getting slapped with a copyright notice. 


CHEF BATTLE KANSAS CITY

If you know me and my husband, then you know that we are self-confessed foodies. Besides, cooking and eating out at our favorite places, watching cooking competitions on TV is something we love as a couple. So when I was invited to cover Chef Battle Kansas City, I knew this would be the perfect family outing for us, before the bad weather moved in. Yes, we are headed for another snowstorm, when the snow from the previous storm has not even melted.
Kansas City Restaurant Week is on, but what turned on the heat on a cold Thursday evening, was a culinary competition in town. Some of the best Chefs of Kansas City battled it out, in the inaugural edition of Chef Battle Kansas City, presented by Social Power Hour.
The winner would proceed to the Regional Championships to be held in Chicago in April. Social Power Hour started in 2012 with the goal to provide unique experiences. Founder Matt Hensler of Social Power Hour has been working in restaurants since he was 14. Chef Battle began to see how creative chefs could be and allow the local community to watch and talk to chefs since they are normally stuck in kitchens. Now Chef Battle is on tour to find the best chefs in the country and will be in at least 50 cities in 2019.

You could not miss the enthusiasm and high spirits at the Martin Event Space, as the chefs went head to head creating their signature entree in an hour.  The crowd cheered on, as the salt, fat, and acid took center stage with heat.
Martin City Brewing Company were the official beverage sponsors, who kept the beer flowing and kept the spirits high, as the competition ticked on to the final minutes. Renewal by Anderson was the official sponsor for the evening. We all need that natural light, especially in the kitchen for those food photos. I wish I knew of them before I started my kitchen reno.

Guests had an opportunity to vote for their favorite bite, in a ballot, once they had tasted all the food. There were two rounds of winners- Popular Choice and Judge's Choice. Speaking of judges, there was fellow blogger Sarah Ruhlman of Sarah Scoop who was judging the event along with Chef Eric Harland and Adam Schaumburg, Community Director of Yelp KC.

Samantha Thomas, the host of Small Talk with Samantha, was the host for the evening. Speaking of blogger friends, it was so wonderful catching up with Lori Barnes, of Macros and Manolos. So proud of the beautiful creative community of Kansas City. Once the Chef's had presented their culinary creations to the judges, it was time for the guests to sample their fare and vote for their favorites.
My favorite for the evening and the winner of the Public Choice Award of Chef Battle Kansas City was Chef Wesley Browning of Beauty of the Bistro. I always say, the simplest of food, is the most difficult o execute. And if it is a Burger, then the stakes are even higher. Chef Browning created a Wagyu Beef Burger, with beef sourced from KC Cattle company, with sheep's milk cheese from Green Dirt Farm(my favorite), rolls sponsored by Farm to Market, with mayo made from scratch and onion. One of the best burgers I have had, and trust me, burgers are something I eat a lot. I could literally devote an entire article as to how good that burger was. Cooked medium rare, succulent, flavorful and uber juicy. I said, Hallelujah at every bite. Chef Browning was also the 3rd place winner of the Judge's Choice.
The second place of the Judge's choice awards went to Chef Jeremy Nettles of Joy N Us Catering. And his wife was his sous chef! How romantic is that! In my books, a couple who cook together, stay together. It's so similar to me and my husband, as we love cooking together. He created a Salmon BLT, with cajun spiced salmon with baby spinach salsa and sherry vinaigrette. It was an interesting play of textures and flavors.

Let me talk about the other noteworthy culinary creations of the evening before we announce the final winner.
Chef Niko Tsamolias, Executive Chef of Pete's Steakhouse added a Middle Eastern flair with his offering. Kubadi Kebab with a saffron-infused smashed potato, succotash, and pork belly was an explosion of flavors. Kebabs are a big favorite of mine, as I love making them myself. It is very easy to overcook a Kebab if you are not careful, rendering them dry. Chef Niko's Kebab's very the stuff of Kebab dreams, which had me dreaming of tandoori nights.
From Kebabs to Surf and Turf, presented by Chef Jeffrey Thomas of Sullivan's Steak House. Lobster and tenderloin served with a tomato reduction, charred corn, and micro green salad.
Chef Brandon Bross of Lake Quivira Country Club created seared country pork rib marinated in allspice, with pineapple salsa, carrot puree, and corn salad. Loved the cooling effect of the carrot puree, with the heat of the pineapple salsa, paired with the rib.
I could not taste the creation from Chef Daniel Nutty, of Lidia's Kansas City, but it looked great, both from the prep table and in its final presentation. They had run out of samples when I finally reached their table.
Last but not least, the Judge's Choice Winner of Chef Battle Kansas City, who walked away with a 10,000 dollar prize was Chef Chris Jones of Pearl Tavern. Meatballs which were steamed and then pan seared, to not only lock in the moisture but also add that caramelization and crunch, served with pineapple glaze. I have never seen meatballs being steamed in bamboo baskets which are used for steaming dumplings, but I can tell you that they tasted amazing.
It was a great evening, to say the least. A wonderful time with the whole family and some of the coolest Chefs in town. What was most interesting was the sheer display of culinary styles and the variety of culinary influences of the chefs! Proud of all the Chefs for doing our city proud at such well-known cooking competitions.