Skip to content
January 31, 2015 / joyful plate

joyful plate travels: Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

The very best part of this business is the people you meet. In 2011, I was invited on a trip of a lifetime to the Festival Gourmet International Puerto Vallarta & Riviera Nayarit, Mexico by my travel writer friend Lisa Loverro (@Lisitanyc).  On that trip    I met Richard Zarkin, the public relations director for Riviera Nayarit.  Now, everytime Richard comes to NYC, we all get together to celebrate our friendship. Last month, he brought Betty Vazquez as a guest Chef to NYC for Cinco de Mayo festivities. As I got to know Betty, I realized I was meeting a true talent and my inner journalist came out–I couldn’t help asking about her life story and passions.

To read the rest of the blog, click here:

joyful plate travels: Riviera Nayarit, Mexico


January 31, 2015 / joyful plate

joyful plate Manhattan Cocktail Classic May, 2014: Brand Insights

I wondered if the event would live up to the legend:  “If heaven were a cocktail party, the closest most of us will ever get is the Manhattan Cocktail Classic” (NBC News). “The classic is a visual, auditory and tactile spectacle” (BBC).

I admit, the quotes intrigued me.

And sure enough, as I tip toed around pre-show, I became completely enchanted by the evening hues of the NY Public Library, dimly lit for an evening of grandeur.

To read the rest of the blog post, click here:

Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala May, 2014


May 7, 2014 / joyful plate

Natural Products Expo West 2014: brand insights

joyful plate natural products expo west 2014: brand insights (click here for full blog)

Every year, Expo West gets more exciting and vibrant, with many new foods to learn about. A whole new language has emerged that at times can be somewhat daunting: From flax, chia, hemp, chlorella, spirulina, quinoa, mangosteen, svetol, ashwagandha;  I for one would love a functional foods handbook!

That is why I found this year’s key note from Dr. Andrew Weil so reassuring – the key message: the secret to health is in keeping things simple, balanced and in moderation. There’s been a lot of posturing about what is best- raw? paleo? vegan? etc. “There is an enormous amount of dietary fascism out there-there’s no perfect diet. Humans are omnivores-we can eat a lot of different things, so we need a healthy variety”. 
Dr. Andrew Weil
(credit: Hope Media)
Dr. Weil kept it big picture by sharing a few steps to eating well that are always  good reminders-here are the key take aways:

-Eat as many plant-based foods as much as possible: fruits, veggies, herbs and spices. Plant based foods are high in phytonutrients- plants produce compounds for their own defense systems, which can protects ours.

-Try to reduce sweeteners, limit your sugar intake daily. Understand the difference between whole fruit and fruit juice (certain juices can have high glycemic indexes)

-Eat whole grains (if you can crush bread into a ball, go grainier)

-In general, eat fewer processed foods, less sugar and flour, a good variety of plants and lower your intake of animal meat.

So in the spirit of keeping things simple, here are a few brands that caught my eye at the show, offering straight forward, easy to understand and inviting messaging.

joyful plate brand insights Expo West 2014

(for more information, please click on the brand title to websites)

Beyond Meat


February 6, 2014 / joyful plate

Fancy Food Show San Francisco January 2014

It was especially nice to be in San Francisco for Fancy Food this year. Not only was it a great break from the brutal Polar Vortex…but it was wonderful as usual to be with a community of chefs, craftsmen, designers and tasters that gather together to experience the joy of food. Here are a few brands that caught our eye.

click here for blog: joyful plate Fancy Food San Francisco 2014: Branding Insights


August 11, 2013 / joyful plate

joyful plate fancy food show nyc recap 2013

After a two-year hiatus, Fancy Food was back in NYC this year on a Big Apple scale. Given the enormity of the show, there is no possible way to cover it all – so my strategy was to have a few quality conversations with companies that captured my imagination.

John Wayne Charcoal

For the full story, please click here:

joyful plate fancy food show nyc recap 2013

April 3, 2013 / joyful plate

joyful plate Natural Products Expo West 2013: branding insights

click here for joyful plate Natural Products Expo West 2013: branding insights


February 17, 2013 / joyful plate

joyful plate risotto evening for West Side Campaign Against Hunger

In January, joyful plate shared an evening of risotto and wine with new friends in Brooklyn. The event had been featured as an auction item at the West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s Fall 2012 annual dinner ( Marianne Vernetson and Maggie Corry were the successful bidders and generous co-hosts. Also attending were Jamie Kiley,  Jen Bokoff and David Bone (who was the photographer for the evening). Wines were generously donated by Royal Wine Corp.  Michelle Lawton, founder of joyful plate cooked and shared stories of her travels through Italy and a bit of wine 101. Three kinds of risotti were made: asparagus and white wine, chorizo and cremini mushroom with cognac & cream. And a lot of great conversation was stirred up as well.

For more on the history of risotto, how to make risotto, Amarone as the perfect wine for risotto and joyful plate’s curiosity for risotto click here:

And for more of David Bone’s photography, click here:

January 1, 2013 / joyful plate

A visit to Nikolaihof Winery in the Wachau, Austria

Dankeschön, Christine Saahs for a beautiful visit to your family’s historic and charming winery in Wachau. The entire day was a naturally sensorial experience. Nikolaihof is leading the way in biodynamic food and wine in Austria and in the world. We can’t wait to come back to stay at the guesthouse someday! 
On the last day of our vacation in Vienna this fall, we travelled to Nikolaihof. A friend in the know told us that if we had one winery to visit in the Wachau, this would be it.  It was pouring rain that morning in Vienna, so admittedly we were on the fence about making the trip: picking up a rental for the day, driving without a GPS and deciphering Austrian maps. Thank goodness we went. We arrived in less than an hour, walked in, shook off our wet umbrellas and entered a serene, candlelit comfort zone of Austrian awesomeness.
In my experience, you can tell a lot about a winery or restaurant from the feeling you get in the first few minutes. Owner Christine Saahs has a generosity of spirit that made us feel not only welcome but delighted as soon as we entered. Everything about Nikolaihof is authentic, expressive and exceptional.


For the entire blog post, please click here: joyful plate blog: a visit to Nikolaihof Wachau

Copyright © 2013 -joyful plate (R) LLC. All rights reserved. Photographs taken by M. Lawton with permission at Nikolaihof of Wachau. Links are provided for the purpose of providing accuracy. For any edits or corrections to this information please email and we will update information as requested.

Thank you.

December 21, 2012 / joyful plate

Happy Holidays from joyful plate


joyful plate. We bring the conversation to the table.
Thank you, looking forward to a great 2013!

September 17, 2012 / joyful plate

joyful plate SPIN SERIES: Food Beverage Boutique Trends

This series celebrates the Food and Beverage Boutique. Some smart entrepreneurs have developed “big idea” retail/online concepts that make staying healthy a stylish way of life. What these stores have in common: unique products and services with a fresh and engaging tone of voice and a strong sense of community.

Organic Avenue (461 Amsterdam Ave location), New York, NY.

Organic Avenue: The “Food of LOVE”. The concept is brilliant and big, and the execution creative and courageous. Organic Avenue is a “lifestyle company and a gateway to a new life” offering all kinds of interesting juicing and cleansing programs, “LOVE easy” (for novices) to LOVE deep (truly cleaning house). The juices are offered in fresh glass bottles and made with organic, cold pressed ingredients with everything from turmeric, cashew hemp “mylk”, purified alkaline water, Irish moss and Himalayan sea salt.
Your Lululemon customer is here for sure, and anyone who wants to browse for the latest raw foods, connect with their community or sign up for special seminars (like Live Blood consultations per their website). E-commerce equipped, consumers can easily create an account to order the cleanse of the week (like a deep juice/beauty skin cleanse). The LOVE SUPPORT “rawk-star” team can guide you to make a choice that’s right for you. Importantly, they show the love to the world by committing to sustainable actions for the planet, for animals and for fellow humans.

It’s the new lifestyle formula for success: an amazing cross-section where health meets spa meets science meets fashion and foodie. It’s all happening on Organic Avenue-in numerous New York City hot spots (including a pop-up store near Bergdorf Goodman) and in South Hampton.
For more trends, including Momofuku Milk Bar, David’s Tea and Chobani click here:
joyful plate SPIN SERIES trends

Copyright © 2012 -joyful plate LLC. All rights reserved. Brand images are the copyright of the original owners. References to products and brands are not an endorsement, rather a point of view on branding trends. Links are provided for the purpose of providing accuracy. For any edits or corrections to this information please email and we will update information as requested. Thank you.