Over the past decade or so, I have been on the receiving end of a fair amount of job envy. After all, my position requires me to go out to all the new restaurants, taste wines from around the world and explore every flavor under the sun. Sprightly tuna-and-yuca soup from an Ecuadoran vendor at the ball fields in Red Hook, Brooklyn; an opulent meal at Per Se in Manhattan—it all falls within my purview. As if that weren’t enough, I also get advance notice about pretty much everything that goes on in the epicurean world. In this issue, we’re sharing all that insider information. Kicking this off is our special 25-page section, "100 Tastes to Try in ’07," reporting on the most anticipated wines, cocktails, restaurant dishes, cookbook recipes and much more.
Only someone who avoided the restaurant scene could fail to notice the steak house boom and the corresponding interest in all kinds of beef. You almost need a dictionary to decipher the lingo. Chianina? Piedmontese? Wagyu (wag who)? In our story on beef, we define the terms you need to know and lead you toward incredible recipes from chefs. I fell in love with the prime rib with Armagnac sauce and the strip steaks with sweet potato hash browns.
All the buzz in Paris right now is about Yves Camdeborde, a chef who trained at some of the city’s most exalted restaurants but now cooks in a more democratic way, with amazing success. Contributing editor Jane Sigal, our favorite Francophile, visits the remarkable man at his restaurant, Le Comptoir, and has what must be the greatest value meal in France, if not the world (five courses for around $60). If you’re not heading to Paris, we’ve included five recipes so you can have a taste of his genius. If you do make it to Paris this year, drop me a note and tell me where else you ate. I’ll add your recommendations to my ever-growing checklist of new tastes to try in ’07.
Where I’m Coming From
Notes from my recent expeditions.
NEW YORK CITY
The rack of lamb with lamb shoulder ragout is possibly the best lamb dish I’ve ever had. DETAILS 455 Madison Ave.; 212-891-8100.
Porter House New York
NEW YORK CITY
I’d go back there anytime for the veal porterhouse and the polenta with porcini. DETAILS 10 Columbus Circle; 212-823-9500.
I wish it were in my hometown. Perfect pizzas and pastas with great Southern Italian wines. DETAILS 2355 Chestnut St.; 415-771-2216.
Is there a taste adventure—a recipe, an ingredient, a cooking technique, a wine, a restaurant—you’re looking forward to trying in ’07?