The official blog of BlendAbout, a Social Dining Network that helps people make new friends over group meals at great restaurants.

Read up on amazing new restaurants, check out our favorite Food Porn and find out about our latest Group Meals at the fabulous restaurants we all love.


Caitlin Heikkila
Cary Blair
Kate Spivak (Editor)

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Caramelized Onion Bacon Grilled Cheese

Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest things.

Making new friends isn’t that complicated:

Some Wine Fun Facts for Wine Wednesday:

  • Wine is fat free and contains no cholesterol. A 4oz glass of table wine has around 80-100 calories.
  • It takes about 600 to 800 wine grapes (2.4 lbs), to make a single bottle of wine.
  • One barrel of wine contains enough to fill approx. 300 bottles of wine. 
  • The global wine industry is expected to generate almost $292 billion in 2014, according to MarketLine.
  • The US is the largest wine consuming nation in the world with more than 100 million people now drinking wine, out of a total population of 316 million.
  • 55% of American wine consumers are women and 45% are men
  • 80% of people talk about wine on Facebook and 40% chat about wine on Twitter.

Now, do your part and celebrate Wine Wednesday with 5 new friends »

Deep-fried bacon-wrapped lard balls with a caramel center. Nasty thought, right? Hit pause and read on.

What’s the deal with these gluttonous junk food trends lately? I know very few people who don’t love them some culinary creativity, but at some point someone really should draw a line. Grilled mac & cheese, doughnut burgers … And now: Fried chicken is getting a reboot and taking center stage as 2014’s junk food super star. 

(*** Warning: The following contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised. ***)

Dominos’ Fried Chicken-crusted Pizza


Step aside, Chicken Parm – you’ve been out-matched! This boneless chicken product features a “delicious” combo of various toppings, fatty sauces and cheeses layered over 12 nugget-sized bites of fried chicken. They say “lightly breaded, white chicken meat”, but does that matter after the meat is enveloped in cheese and blubbery sauces? The four unique flavors offered include Crispy Bacon & Tomato, Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple, Classic Hot Buffalo and Sweet BBQ Bacon. Let’s just call this grub what it is: Hangover food “super charged”.



Apparently Ramen hasn’t just situated itself into burgers of the modern age. Once a notoriously respected Japanese dish, that required at least 3 days and a lot of love to cultivate, Ramen has not just taken to infusing itself into mainstream junk food; Ramen has taken a hold of it and evolved gluttony into an entirely new art form. Introducing “Ramen-Fried Chicken”.  ‘Nuff said.

Meet the KFC Fried Chicken Corsage


Because, on the most important night of her youth, what every teen girl dreams of is an oily piece of food tied to her wrist, that gently brushes against her high-priced gown throughout the evening, and leaves greased-stained memories to last her a fortnight. Yeah… A fortnight. Because that’s how long it’s going to take her to realize that the joke is over and that dress that she was so proud to wear is now sporting that fast food stank no dry cleaner can get out. 

Last, but most definitely not least, introducing the…

Fried Chicken Slider


From Kobe burger to pork belly to, well, fried chicken. It seems as though slider trends are taking a turn of the carotid variety. It wasn’t enough to replace the sumptuously magical meat of Kobe with the ultra-saturated palatable pig product we call “pork belly”. No, instead some gluttonous kamikaze, out to make their mark, decided to come up with a deep-fried chicken sammy, slathered in cheese and sauce. After a long, wild night of partying, this cardiac-attack-on-a-plate-that-could-kill-a-marathon-man-in-a-single-bite may seem like a rationally wise choice of chow. However, we recommend chewing down 2 aspirin before sinking your teeth into a meal of Fried Chicken Sliders.

How would you categorize these fried-chicken-junk-food wonders? What’s next?

Deep-fried bacon-wrapped lard balls with a caramel center. That doesn’t sound so ridiculous now, does it?

[written by Kate Spivak]

Wondering how to spend your Meatless Monday? We’re recommending you do it by cooking up and chowing down on this Spinach and Split Pea Patties recipe:


  • 1 cup yellow split peas soaked overnight
  • 1 Tsp chopped garlic
  • Minced hot pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp ground cumin or garam masala
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 packed cups finely chopped spinach (fresh)
  • 2 Tsp chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for shallow frying

Get the full recipe »

Nothing against Peeps, they’re sugary, soft, and fun to put in the microwave, but they aren’t the only sweet Easter treat worth indulging in this Easter. Check out my four picks for sweet Easter treats to try today.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

Skip the chocolate peanut butter eggs at the drugstore and make your own. has a fun recipe that has a hard-to-resist creamy peanut butter center. Plus, they’re festive with a colorful sprinkle topping.

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

So carrot cake usually takes a back seat to chocolate and vanilla, but the maple cream cheese frosting definitely kicks this recipe up a few levels. Carrot Cake is also a spring staple, another excuse to make these cupcakes.

Egg-Shaped Meringue Nests

Lemon meringue pie is fun and all, but when it’s in the shape of a nest for Easter like in this recipe, it’s even better. I love the sweet meringue paired with the tart lemon—and the poppy seeds are a nice touch.

Bourbon-Vanilla Marshmallows

If you miss the soft marshmallow-y flavor of Peeps, try these Bourbon-Vanilla Marshmallows. They give you a little bit of booziness without being too overpowering, as well as a clean vanilla bean flavor that beats the sickly sweet sugary taste any day. 

[Written by Caitlin Heikkila]

Tomorrow is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! We know your hesitation in celebrating such a gluttonous holiday. But here are a few “healthy” reasons we think you should:

  1. Cheese is a good source of calcium. Hello??
  2. Wheat contains fiber and fiber smooths the rough edges.
  3. You can add veggies to your grilled cheese and we all know how healthy veggies are!
  4. Add a protein like bacon or lobster or roast beef - can’t get enough iron now, can’t you?
  5. National Grilled Cheese Day happens only once a year and comfort food is good for the soul.

How are you planning to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day?

Oh, how we do love our wine! And since it’s Wine Wednesday, we’re going to show our love by throwing some winederful Wine Fun Facts your way:

  • The scent of young wine is known as an “aroma”, while the scent of a more matured wine is referred to as a “bouquet”. Laymen’s terms: Wine coolers set off an “aroma” (i.e. stank) and a fine Cabernet ’97 airs a fine “bouquet” (comparable to one laying in a valley of cherry trees, chocolate and rosemary).
  • Someone who constantly talks about the wine he or she will open but never does is considered a “cork-tease”.
  • Scientifically, women are better wine tasters than men. Half of the experience of wine tasting is in the scent. And it has been scientifically proven that women have a more acute sense of smell.
  • To taste wine properly, hold the wine in your mouth for at least 2 seconds and then spit it out, preferably into a spittoon. A really good wine will have a long aftertaste, while an inferior wine will have a short aftertaste.
  • The worst place to store wine is in the kitchen because the fluctuating temperatures can cause wine to spoil. With that said, refrigerators aren’t fit for storing wine either. Even at their warmest setting, refrigerators are too cold. The best place to store wine (if you don’t have a cellar or wine fridge) is in a floor-level cabinet – that is not under a sink – or on the floor of your closet.
  • Wine glasses should always be held by the stem and not the bowl because the heat of the hand will raise the temperature of the wine.
  • It is believed that consuming wine with another enhances the wine tasting experience.

Okay, that last one we made up ourselves. But still: What better way to enjoy a Wine Wednesday than ‘clinking’ glasses with new friends »


The first records of pizza-slash-focaccia hark all the way back to 500 BC, to Persian soldiers used their shields as a pseudo pizza-paddle. They baked flatbread on their shields and then dressed them with cheese and dates. Ancient Roman soldiers used flatbreads as crude, edible plates.


Pizza ovens are abound all over the ancient world; the preserved remains of Pompeii prove that the ancient Roman version of pizza ovens existed. The source of heat for these ovens? Hot lava stones, provided by the conveniently-located Mount Vesuvius.


For centuries, pizza was a sweet affair; it wasn’t until the introduction of tomatoes to Europe in the sixteenth century that pizza took on its more familiar form of tomato pie. Naples is the home of modern, pre-“American” pizza, since the Neapolitans were the first to take advantage of the bread as a canvas of a myriad of toppings in 1500 AD. It took another 200 years before anyone thought to bake the toppings along with the bread, creating the dish that most resembles modern day pizza today.


Pizza has always been a humble food, sold in open air markets since the beginning of the nineteenth century. However, it got the royal treatment in 1889, when the Italian Queen Margherita visited the city of Naples. Chef Raffaele Esposito presented her with three popular varieties: one with cheese and basil, one with garlic, olive oil and tomato, and one with mozzarella, basil and tomato. She was delighted with the last one, because of its resemblance to the Italian flag, and Esposito named the pie in her honor.


Fittingly, Italian immigrants opened up the first US pizzeria in New York City in 1905 at 53 ½ Spring Street. However, it wasn’t until after the second World War that pizza entered the mainstream; returning soldiers popularized the dish that had captured their taste buds while fighting overseas. As of 2013, there are 70,000 pizza parlors in the U.S.; 9000 of them are located in the state of New York.

[written by Jasmine Lee]

Going meatless doesn’t have to hurt. Celebrate Meatless  Monday with us!

What is Meatless Monday? Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet.


Happy National Caramel Day! Of all the food holidays, this is definitely one that needs celebrating. Caramel is one of the most versatile dessert condiments… copy copy copy… 

Here are a few fun facts about caramel:

  • The process of caramelization consists of heating sugar slowly to around 170 °C (340 °F). As the sugar heats, the molecules break down and re-form into compounds with a characteristic color and flavor.
  • Americans created the caramel in the mid-1880s, slow-boiling sugar and milk to create a soft candy.
  • Honey was formerly used in place of corn syrup in making caramels but it was very expensive to use, and allowed the batch to grain unless extreme care was taken.
  • Cotton candy is a form of Caramel: “The Dictionary of American Food and Drink” reports that the item [cotton candy] originated in 1900 at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus, when snack vendor Thomas Patton began experimenting with the long common process of boiling sugar to a caramelized state, then forming long threads of it with a fork. 
  • The combination of salt and caramel had long been a favorite among the chefs elite, but didn’t hit mass-market popularity until 2008.
  • Even our President, Barack Obama, has taken to salted caramels, too. He likes to treat himself to a Seattle candy maker’s version, robed in dark chocolate and sprinkled with smoked sea salt.
  • In the case of salted caramels, the influence came directly from France. Heavily salted butter caramels are a traditional treat in Brittany. More recently, Pierre Hermé, the Parisian pastry chef known for his experimentation, invented a salted caramel macaron that inspired a small cult among American food professionals in the late 1990s.

Want to celebrate National Caramel Day, but not sure where to start? Try out this amazing Salted Caramel Sauce recipe that we discovered - and put it on EVERYTHING.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, in a salt grinder (I bet table salt would work too- just not dissolve quite as fast)

Get the full recipe »

Summer means sunshine, beach days, margaritas, and grilling, but it also means something even better… food festivals. From Maine to Los Angeles, foodies will begin gathering together to celebrate their favorite eats. We picked out some of our favorite food festivals that you should have on your radar.

The Taste of Chicago, aka “The Taste,” July 9-13

The apple of Chicago foodies’ eyes, this is one of the biggest food festivals in the world. Millions descend on the city for a weekend every July to sample the best food & beverage Chicago has to offer.

Last year the festival got a face-lift, with the addition of a Pop-Up section & Chef du Jour, where festival-goers got to enjoy a three-course meal prepared by Top Chef favorites Graham Elliot & Stephanie Izard. Admission is free, and $8 will get you 12 food and beverage tickets.

Maine Lobster Festival, July 30 – August 3

With more than 20,000 pounds of ‘lobstah’, steamed mussels & clams, and plenty of fresh fish, this festival provides a true taste of Maine summers.

There’s also a fun run, parade, arts & crafts, and live music. Sitting on the sidelines not your thing? They are now accepting applications for this year’s Maine Lobster Festival Sea Goddess! Tickets are $8 and are available for purchase at the gates.

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, July 20

You might initially think of Vermont more for its maple syrup, but the cheese industry in this state has made its mark on the artisanal cheese world.

More than 40 award winning cheese makers & local wineries and breweries offer up hundreds of delicacies for you to enjoy, plus cooking demos and workshops like the Sweet & Stinky, a wine and cider cheese pairing. Tickets are $50 & are available for purchase online.

Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, August 25-27

Food & Wine Magazine always puts on downright decadent food events, and we can’t wait for this year’s LA Food & Wine Fest.

Attendees will sample bites from top talent like like Giada De Laurentiis, Duff Goldman, and Fabio Viviani. The fest will have a variety of events, from Bacon + Bourbon to the Best of Belgium, to please every palate. Get your tickets here.

Smorgasburg, Brooklyn Flea Food Market, Weekends April - November

Naturally, America’s craftiest flea market brings us one of the tastiest food festivals. Featuring 100+ vendors, this festival has been hailed “The Woodstock of Eating”.

Sip a cup of fresh roasted coffee or craft brew, chow down on a lobster roll or grilled cheese – whatever strikes you! Admission is free, but you pay the vendor at purchase.

Other noteworthy food fests worth checking out:

Austin Food & Wine, April 25-27, 2014 »

Vegas Uncork’d, May 8-11, 2014 »

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, May 21-24, 2014 »

Atlanta Food & Wine, May 29 – June 1, 2014 »

Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 20-22, 2014 »

Bite of Seattle, July 18-20, 2014 »

Gilroy Garlic Fest, July 25-27, 2014 »

Hawai’i Food & Wine, August 29 – September 7, 2014 »

Music City Food & Wine in Nashville, September 20-21, 2014 »

Feast Portland, September 18-21, 2014 »


[Written by Cary Blair & Caitlin Heikkila]

What we love most about sliders: There’s a slider for every occasion.

Try a new slider at a restaurant near you with 5 new friends »

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” ― Federico Fellini

How we love the savory turn in cocktail trends! Plain old fruit juice and soda seems a thing of the past, while fresh ingredients and new spices take a front seat. Here are 4 savory cocktails that we think everyone should try on a Thirsty Thursday:

Trattoria Neapolis 


Taking the classic Bloody Mary to the next level, the Pizza Cocktail from Trattoria Neapolis in Pasadena has everything you would look for in a pizza - including the cheese.

The Pizza Cocktail ingredients:

  • Housemade basil-infused vodka
  • Tomato juice
  • Housemade ghost-pepper-infused vodka
  • Roasted garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Porcini powder
  • Garnished with a delicate mozzarella & Parmigiano foam

PDT’s Bacon-Infused Old Fashioned


But seriously though, everything is better with bacon - and that holds true for your favorite cocktails too! This drink takes mixology to a whole new level by incorporating bacon-infused bourbon. 


Get the full recipe »

DelectableDarlings: Bloody Mary with Bacon Pepper


This Bloody Mary could almost pass for a meal! Snack on some crispy bacon and pickled asparagus between sips to start your morning off right. Whip this one up at home this weekend. 


  • 3 ounces of Bacon and Pepper vodka (infusing directions above)
  • 6 ounces of bloody mary mix ( we use Mr. and Mrs. T )
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire
  • 6 dashes of tapatio
  • 1/4 tsp each of salt, pepper, and celery salt
  • juice of half a lime

Get the full recipe »

Bacon Cheery Creek Bourbon Cocktail


Certain cocktails surpass set occasions, and this is one of them. While this may be a bit too sweet for dinner, we imagine this cocktail being the perfect companion to a bowl of Haagen Daz Vanilla ice cream or a dish of corned beef hash.


  • 2 oz bacon infused bourbon
  • 3/4 oz cherry-cinnamon syrup
  • 1/2 oz ruby port
  • orange zest for garnish

Get the full recipe »

Wine flights, also known as tasting flights, are tastings of a series of selected wines organized in a specific order to compare the profiles of the wines. Don’t be intimidated - wine flights are the easiest way to find a new favorite!

Whether you’re enjoying a vertical fight (same wine, different vintages) or a horizontal flight (same vintages, different wineries), 3 or 8 glasses, try a flight with your next meal to taste the subtle differences between the wines.

Check out this list of the best restaurants for wine flights & then make your reservation!