As the founder, Editor and CEO of BlackboardEats, a website that pairs expert reviews with exclusive dining deals at restaurants for free, Maggie Nemser is no novice when it comes to eating well. This food editor may have a passion for cooking (and recipes as evidenced by her massive cookbook collection) but these days, she’s just as likely to be whipping up a grilled cheese on her Breville sandwich press or serving a yummy cheese platter in between building a budding online food empire. So, we asked this pro to dish on her favorite last minute dinner, the ingredients she can’t live without and where she dreams of eating—that is, when her schedule allows!
What Did you eat yesterday: Breakfast is breakfast sandwich with Gruyere, bacon, fried egg, kale and extra homemade hot sauce from Gjelina. Lunch is Miso Mushroom Omosubi, miso soup, Daikon and cucumber salad from Sunny Blue. An absolute gem that should exist on every block. And dinner is Gusto (with 30% off with my BBE VIP allowing me extended time to use) I doubled up on apps with the braised baby octopus and the Tonnarelli with tomato and basil. Really stellar Italian gem—be prepared for a loud-ish vibe.
Entertaining go-to: Flatbread with one light layer of goat cheese, one light layer of fig jam a slice of prosciutto and topped with a few leaves of arugula and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Dinner on a busy night: Delivery of Chicken Tikka Masala and Bindi Masala (Bindi is not on the menu, but can always be ordered) with rice and Naan from Akbar in Marina Del Ray. It’s likely one of the best Chicken Tikka Masalas in the country.
Quick breakfast: Greek yogurt with fruit and granola with flax seed. A bit bleak, but extra large breakfasts during the week = a tired start to the day.
Changes in diet if you’re gearing up for a big event or vacation: I never miss a meal, but If I feel I’m lugging around extra baggage, I start the day with yogurt, aim for something like quinoa with chicken or soup and a salad for lunch, opt for smaller portions at dinner and avoid alcohol. I’ve never done a cleanse and likely never will. I love food too much.
Usual workout: Yoga 2-3 times/week, a 2 mile beach walk every morning at 6:30am. No cardio to speak of currently though I hope to turn that around.
Necessary indulgence: Cool Haus Double Chocolate Chip Cookie + Dirty Mint Chip Ice Cream and my husband’s cheeseburgers where he adds a genius hint of balsamic when forming the patties.
Favorite recipe: For entertaining, I love Chicken Thighs with Saffron, Green Olives and Mint from Mario Batali’s Simple Italian Food. It’s by no means an everyday dish, but it is a perfect make-ahead party dish that actually tastes better each time you reheat. It goes great over rice or couscous.
For an easy dinner at home: I make a somewhat lazy hybrid of a chicken parmesan and stuffed chicken breasts with panko and prosciutto stuffed under the skin. The lazy part is when I add Rao’s arrbbiata sauce on top before a layer of fresh mozzarella & some more sprinkled parmesan and salt.
Favorite cookbook: For everyday, I like all of the Barefoot Contessa’s books! She makes a mean roast chicken and roasted potatoes. Clean, rustic and always straightforward. For fun I recommend The Big Sur Bakery and for some kitchen inspiration, I love Eric Gower’s The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen. My favorite food magazine is Cooks Illustrated!
Kitchen gadget: The Breville sandwich press
Pantry essential: Raincoast crips (assuming there is a hunk of good cheese in the fridge)
Your dream meal: Noma with my husband.