Stuff'd Dumpling Shop

Being gluten-free and Chinese is difficult. All my comfort foods are now off-limits! It's been forever since I've had a dumpling, so when Stuff'd, an entirely celiac-friendly restaurant offered to treat us to a meal, I WAS SO EXCITED.

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The menu is made of - you guessed it - dumplings! All kinds of things that are stuffed. Their's are inspired by Eastern Europe, though I did see a couple on the menu with Asian influences.

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We got a whole bunch to sample, plus salads too. There are meat options, but our favorites were the vegetarian ones - particularly the Spicy Sweet Potato with spicy sage and garlic oil.

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Dessert comes in dumpling form too! Stuffed with fresh fruit and topped with ice cream and pecan crumbles.

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P.S. They have really cute shirts for sale.

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Pizzana

It’s becoming more and more difficult for me to attend media lunches with my food allergies. Usually I can only go to restaurants that specialize in dietary restrictions – but luckily for me the staff at Pizzana is super knowledgable and understanding.

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New York Minute

Hello from New York City! Here I am with the film family for "Mike, Mike Tan" - Kenny Leu, Fiona Fu, and Tzi Ma <---- this is the second time I'm playing his daughter.

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Dinner at Milk and Roses in Brooklyn (above), midday snack at Big Gay Ice Cream...

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...where they have gluten-free cones!

I've had a couple days off and explored my old neighborhood of Astoria, Queens. I stopped by the old apartment building to say hi to the super - he introduced me to a woman who was entering, and when I told her I had lived there a dozen years ago, we discovered she lived in the same exact apartment. What are the chances?!?

Stopped by my old pizza joint, Sac's. I can't eat their marinara pie anymore but they said to come back for gluten-free pasta!

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More Memory Lane - I caught a matinee of Miss Saigon (rush tickets are $50). I was obsessed with this musical as a teenager; I sat in a row by myself during the second act, sang along quietly, and sobbed my eyes out.

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Follow along on my Instagram Stories for behind-the-scenes and day-to-day stuff!

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Lunch at Pono Burger West Hollywood

This meal is hosted.

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The Place

Pono Burger.  I love taking dudes here.  Their food is stellar and their Santa Monica space (in an old World War II Bunker) is unique.  Plus, it's the only place where they do burgers/fries AND salads/vegetarian food equally well.  When my brother Morgan came to town, the first place we went is for a hosted lunch at their West Hollywood location.

The Space

There's wood everywhere, and a gorgeous outdoor patio that's perfect for warm weather.  It's not so nice out when we went, so we opted to sit inside, by the bar, near a window with good light.  Chef Makani is there and I love listening to her talk.  The woman is so passionate about local, organic ingredients and taking care of her customers.

Plus holy mackerel her food is bad-ass yummy.

The Food

Tempura Blue Lake Green Beans.  These are just as addictive as french fries.  I think I may actually like them more, because the vegetables have a freshness/crispness to them.

Baby Kale and Farro Salad.  Also in there - dried cherries, walnuts, chèvre, and an apple cider vinaigrette.  Super fresh.

Fried chicken sandwich.  A Shoyu buttermilk organic battered breast, with shiitake mushroom gravy.  The thing is massive, on a brioche bun, with a bunch of purple potato chips on the side.  We eat half of it there, half of it cold two days later (and it's just as good).

Ancient Grain and Collard Green Wrap.  I did not expect something arriving in a leaf to taste as good as it does.  The whole thing is messy (especially left over) but super flavorful.  It has red quinoa, channeling beans, sweet potato mash and nest, coleslaw, cucumber, and tzatziki sauce.  I want the recipe!

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 Pono Burger WeHo - 8830 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood 

Mary's Hash House - Las Vegas

While we are in Vegas, I don't want to eat an overpriced breakfast on The Strip.  So I look up places via my father-in-law's favorite site (Road Food), and come upon a place called Mary's Hash House, not to be confused with Hash House a Go Go.  Actually, I believe they may have added "Mary's" to the original restaurant name, as to avoid confusion.

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Inside it's very simple...

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...but the food is ultra special.

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I order the fluffiest waffle...

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...without butter/maple syrup - homemade Jams/Jellies instead!

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We choose apple butter, raspberry, pineapple, and mango.  Out-of-this-world good.

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Along with the preserves - homemade seasoning and a small army of condiments.

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Abe's eggs and hashed browns are tasty, but we are both especially blown away by the homemade Rye Toast...

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...not what you'd expect from a place that has creamers on the table.  It's some of the best toast I've ever eaten.  I imagine it would taste especially good to somebody with a hangover.

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P.S. Mary's is a lot less crowded than the nearby The Egg and I.  Plus, there is plenty of free parking in the lot outside.

P.P.S. You can see Mary on Food Network's Chopped!

Taiwan: Peking Duck in Taichung City

This meal and trip are hosted.

After a spiritual experience for our minds/souls, we are getting a spiritual experience for our bodies at 928 Goldmine in Taichung City. All before a Peking Duck Dinner at Wein Restaurant.

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This isn't my first time getting a Chinese Foot Massage, but it is for Tara and Gigi!  Heavenly.

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After some Milk Boba Tea (invented here in Taiwan!) and a quick visit to two malls, we sit down to our last dinner at the stunning Wein Restaurant.

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I am still stuffed from our vegetarian lunch so I only have a bite of a few things, knowing we will be sitting on a 12 hour flight right after.

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These string beans wrapped around minced pork are as divine as they look.

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Stir-fried Loofah with Crab Roe Sauce and Salty Eggs.  Crazy.  Crazy good.

I can't remember what kind of meat this is, but it is delicious, and sizzles away at the table!

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A whole entire fish for Gigi...

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...I didn't eat any, but it smells great.

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One dish I can't resist is the Peking Duck, the restaurant's specialty.  There is even a little elevator to transport the birds to different floors!

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As you can see, it isn't served traditionally.

For one thing, they give you the option of wrapping it in pita bread.  You can also add condiments from all over the world.  From cheese to kimchi to raspberries to olives to hot peppers to...chocolate?!?

Of course I eat mine with chocolate.  Duh.  It tastes  better than chocolate-covered bacon!

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I also try some with Parmesan Cheese, fresh sprouts, and their gorgeous rainbow of sauces (representing elements like clouds, grass, and water).

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Obviously, it is the best Peking Duck I've ever eaten, and so is this soup they make from its delicious roasted bones.

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Abe gets his own veggie version, with mushrooms...

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...in addition to several other stunning dishes.

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For more photos, follow along on social media using the hashtags #LynninTaiwan and #ItsonTaiwan.  This trip is being sponsored by the Taiwan Tourism Board.  All opinions are on my own.

***UPDATE - You can watch my videos from Taiwan on my YouTube Page***

Taiwan: Culinary Exhibition in Taipei and Formosa Pearl

This meal and trip are hosted.

We're here in Taiwan!!!  After a 13 hour flight on China Airlines we arrive in Taipei at 9pm and go straight to bed.  I'm kinda obsessed with the "magic wall" in The Novotel's bathroom.

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I was up earlier than the sun; we checked out the hotel's huge breakfast buffet, which had everything from Pancakes and Trix Cereal to Noodles and Xifan (congee).  Abe had the latter...

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...I stuck to a very simple breakfast of fresh fruit, since I knew we had a lot of eating ahead of us!

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First stop - The Taiwan Culinary Exhibition, inside the Taipei World Trade Center.

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Since 1989, this event showcases the food and culture of Taiwan.  We sampled a whole bunch of goodies...

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...and stopped to admire the rest.

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Exhausted after walking around for a few hours.  There was a lot to see, plus a touch of jet lag.

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Next, we headed over to the nearby Taipei 101, one of the world's tallest skyscrapers.

You can ride all the way up to the top (which we did) but inside is a ginormous luxury mall, reminiscent of Las Vegas.

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On the first floor, Din Tai Fung!

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We've been to the ones in Los Angeles many times, but it was exciting to eat their famous soup dumplings in the city where they were born.

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As you can see, there was an insane amount of food ordered...and a lot of leftover dumplings.

Just a few hours later, we hopped in our tour bus, east to Yilin - and it was time to eat again!

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Formosa Pearl is one of the country's finest restaurants, focusing on Kaiseki Cuisine.

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No, we're not doing homework - we're writing postcards!  The restaurant offers to send them to any address in the world.  And if you're wondering what the calligraphy on the scroll in the middle is, that's the evening's menu - chef's choice.

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Eight courses!  Starting with Scallops and Pickled Radishes...

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...Shrimp, Sea Urchin, Sashimi... Grilled Red Throat Fish with Popcorn on the Stem...

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...Giant Prawns and Local Fresh Figs...

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...Mutton with Fish Sauce...

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...Toasted Nori filled with fried fish roe, yogurt, and rice noodles...

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(hand-rolled by candlelight)

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...Taro Balls in broth filled with mushroom, topped with Mochi, Crab, and Edamame...

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...and finally - Lotus Ice Cream on top of Passion Fruit gelee, with a milk chocolate fan.

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I know you're wondering about what my husband ate - not to worry - Abe enjoyed 8 special vegetarian courses as well, including this Golden Apple.  As in real, edible Gold on top.

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As bad as I felt to only take a bite of everything, I knew I'd feel even worse if I overate.  I made a promise to myself before this trip that I would pace myself.   I don't want to get sick - we've still got another five days of this left!

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Follow along on social media with the hashtags #LynninTaiwan or #ItsonTaiwan where Gigi, Tara, and I are posting up a storm.


This trip is being sponsored by the Taiwan Tourism Board.  All opinions are on my own.

***UPDATE - You can watch my videos from Taiwan on my YouTube Page***

Rest in Peace

You could say we're a little exhausted here.

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After yesterday's overwhelming Sunday Service, we had one final, formal Memorial for my father, at the church my mother attends. As I mentioned before, the Deacon was my high school play director and his very personal speech really put me at peace with not only everything that's happened over the last few weeks, but questions I've had for the last few years about life.

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Once my Dad was safely home...

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…with the rest of the family...

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…we took everyone out for the Repast Meal.

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No fried noodles for me, but Lotus Cafe has always been one of my family's go-to Chinese restaurants in Bergen County.

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Started off with a piece of Moo Shoo dipped in sauce...

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…Sweet Filet of Sole with Pine Nuts...

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…Crispy Duck...

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…Kung Pao Chicken...

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…Beef with Sauteed Greens...

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…Shrimp with Peas...

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…and Tofu with Vegetables.

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The latter was the only vegetarian option, so we got Abe his own special dish as well.

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Along with my pancake pork appetizer, I ate all of this...

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…and left my (chocolate!!!) cookie alone. But I did like my fortune.

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And then, it was over.

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R.I.P. Baba.

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