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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Entertaining

Band of Outsiders Dinner Party

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marmalade

© Wired Images
Kevin West's Dewar's-spiked marmalade


The super-hip fashion label Band of Outsiders just opened a cool new design studio in Los Angeles. To christen the space, Band of Outsiders founder Scott Sternberg hosted a dinner party there last week, with cocktails from Dewar’s and food catered by F&W Best New Chefs 2009 Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of Animal.

Among the 100 guests who sat down to the brown-butcher-paper-covered table were actress Marisa Tomei, editor Lisa Love, model Jessica Joffe and author Bret Easton Ellis. A highlight of the night was Kevin West’s take-home gifts: The former W magazine editor turned jam obsessive, founder of West Sweet Preserves, used Dewar’s White Label to make an awesome marmalade with local Valencia oranges, Eureka lemons and Marsh grapefruits. For those not at the party, click here to order a jar.

Wine

Punta Del Este's New Food & Wine Festival

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punta

© Ariel Fernández of Southern-Press
Ambassador of USA in Uruguay, David Nelson, Gabriel Bialystocki, chef Ben Ford, and chef Toshio Tomita.


I’ve always associated Punta Del Este, on the eastern coast of Uruguay, with glamorous beaches rather than excellent food. But Gabriel Bialystocki, founder and director of Punta del Este’s first ever Food & Wine Festival, is changing that. Bialystocki has collected an impressive lineup of chefs from the US, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to participate in the month-long event. Each Saturday, selected chefs will host special dinners for up to 180 people. The dinners will highlight Uruguay’s local ingredients, and each dish will be paired with Uruguayan wines. Bialystocki e-mailed me an update from this past Saturday’s six-course dinner, prepared by Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, CA; Gastón Yelicich of Isla de Flores in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay; and Toshio Tomita of Nobu in New York City. Highlights: Ford’s candied fennel, preserved lemon and mascarpone risotto; Tomita’s tuna sashimi in yuzu-soy sauce with jalapeños, with a garlic puree; and Yelicich’s dulce de leche mille-feuilles with chocolate mousse and sabayon cream.

The November 27 finale will be hosted by Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann, who will cook using his trademark seven fires, and Bialystocki promises to report on all of the delicious details.

Restaurants

Arsenal’s Awesome New Stadium Food

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arsenal

© Arsenal Football Club
Arsenal's new WM Club restaurant.


I am a huge sports fanatic, particularly when it comes to soccer—or, as the rest of the world refers to it, football. Usually, I find myself watching a match in a pub in London or a bodega in Barcelona, screaming at a TV screen with the locals. But this year I managed to score tickets to see Arsenal take on Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium in London (and, against all odds, lose!). The Brits have taken a few notes from the new haute food offerings at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium and opened three new restaurants and Legends, a cool sports bar with 40 TV screens, at the Club Level. Raymond Blanc protégé Oleg Ibragimov is in charge of the excellent menu at the WM Club restaurant (named for Herbert Chapman’s revolutionary 3-2-2-3 WM formation that looked like a “W” and “M” on the field). I dined pre-game and had my own personal “table concierge,” who delivered foie gras–and–pear compote with crème brûlée spoons; ham hock terrine with crispy quail’s eggs and homemade piccalilli; and Suffolk pork cheek and belly with red cabbage and crispy pork crackling. Before leaving for the start of the match, I was asked to fill out my halftime menu order. Would I like a cheese plate, wine, perhaps a beer? I checked off my menu card, and my snacks were all waiting at my table at the half. Guests can also come back post-game for Angus beef burgers, drinks and a chance to see Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger and former players mingling with the fans.

Restaurants

F&W Exclusive: Why Three-Star Laurent Gras Is Leaving L20

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© Shimon and Tammar
Laurent Gras Is Coming to NYC.

First of all, let’s have a big round of applause for Laurent Gras, one of F&W’s beloved Best New Chefs, who is now also a Michelin three-star chef (remember, there are only nine such chefs in the entire United States). Here's what he has to say about his surprise move to leave his epic Chicago restaurant L20, right as the Michelin buzz is in full blast:

“I love L2O and am very proud of everything we achieved there. But [owner] Rich Melman and I have always had different points of view on L2O. In July, we talked about changes he wanted to make, and for me, these changes would alter the character of L2O and ultimately make it a different experience. I let him know then that I would be leaving. It seems sudden, but we worked together these past months to make the transition. For me, the most important thing was to make sure the restaurant stayed open and all my staff remained employed.”

And here’s more applause-worthy news for those of us in NYC: Gras is moving back to Manhattan, and he’s got a very interesting project (or two) up his sleeve. Look for news about it on his new blog, coming soon.

Cocktails

A Great New British-Countryside Retreat

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cocktail

© Jen Murphy
Cocktail time at the Barn at Coworth Park.

Every fall, I make an annual trip to London, and I have made a habit of indulging myself with a day or two in the British countryside before heading into the hectic city for work. In the past, I’ve stayed at Brit designer Ilse Crawford’s cozy coaching inns in Hurley and Amersham. This year, I decided to be a bit more posh and checked into Coworth Park.

Located on 240 acres in Ascot, just 45 minutes from London, this new hotel fulfills every fantasy I’ve ever had of a Posh-and-Becks-style country escape, complete with Georgian manor house, stables, deer running in the fields and a lake full of swans. My sporty side loved the tennis, croquet, horseback riding, running paths and polo (it’s the only hotel in the UK that has its own polo fields), and the fab eco-spa, which has an amethyst-lit lap pool that plays music underwater and offers exclusive organic treatments from Dr. Alaitis (some made from lavender grown on the spa’s green roof). And my gluttonous side took total advantage of the awesome food from Michelin-starred chef John Campbell. The Barn, appropriately housed in an old converted barn, has a casual gastropub feel and comfort foods like cottage pie with braised root vegetables and beer-battered fish-and-chips (both pair excellently with Coworth Park’s own beers). Warm homemade bread gets served in cute feed bags. The bar on the second level has horse tacks on the walls, cooking-pot chandeliers and one of the best gin selections I’ve ever seen, plus intuitive bartenders who know exactly how you like your drink. At night, I swapped my muddy Wellies for heels and ate at chef Campbell’s signature fine dining restaurant within the mansion house. A shire menu features ingredients sourced from no more than 70 miles away, while the tasting menu is more brainy and theatrical and might include a liquid nitrogen sorbet of sage and Bramley apple prepared tableside, or a frosted vase of flowers that releases an infusion of garlic smoke over the table. The vegetarian tasting menu was perhaps the most intriguing, mixing flavors like carrot, galangal, ginger and pine nuts in one dish and butternut squash, artichoke and quinoa in another. The restaurant offers the perfect bit of city cooking in the country.
 

Chefs

Alchemy of Taste and Smell—The Scented Dinner

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© John Sconzo
Alchemy of Taste and Smell Chefs Included David Chang and Wylie Dufresne.

I don’t know what you all did for dinner on Saturday night. Me, I sat in a small dining room in New York City’s Astor Center and got showered with vanilla-scented bubbles from a machine that looked like it was borrowed from a Bensonhurst disco while Roberta’s chef Carlo Mirarchi served luscious sea urchin with carrot granita and vanilla. It was just one of the courses in the Scented Dinner that closed the Alchemy of Taste and Smell conference, and I was just one of the guests (Ruth Reichl, Jeffrey Steingarten and Harold McGee were there too). And Mirachi was just one of the chefs creating extra-sensory dishes with help from perfumer Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes. Coi’s Daniel Patterson, the festival’s organizer, cooked beets in hay and then scented them with more hay, and flowers too. Wylie Dufresne, of WD-50, infused his outstanding aerated foie gras with just the right amount of pine and then served it on pine paper with a burning edge – long story short, it evoked a big burning fireplace, which was just about the only thing missing from that dinner.

Chefs

Behind the Barneys Foodie Holiday Windows with Simon Doonan

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© kate krader
Simon Doonan: In Charge of Food Splattering for Barneys Foodie Holiday Windows.

It’s official: The Foodie Holidays are here. Well, almost. The windows at Barneys New York are, as we write this, just a few hours from completion. Which means that right now, the Bad Boys window — an amazing tableau that includes likenesses of Tony Bourdain at one end of the table, Bobby Flay on top of it and Guy Fieri underneath it — isn’t quite finished. By the end of the day, says Barneys creative director, Simon Doonan, the food fight will be complete and “food” will be strewn on the inside of Barney’s Madison Avenue window. Plates of fake scrambled eggs queued up at the bottom of the window, waiting to be splattered.

And here’s what else the newly fledged food lover Doonan had to say about his holiday windows. “For our customers, celebrity chefs are the celebrities. They’re not interested in Lindsay Lohan’s latest tribulations. They’re foodies and the culture is now foodie. I’ve started going to chef events and they’re so much more hedonistic and wild than the average fashion event.” (I want to know what chef events he’s going to.) Doonan, who credits South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s founder Lee Brian Schrager with bringing on his love for food, and Illy Coffee for helping make the windows happen and keeping his staff caffeinated enough to keep working, continues. “I love the irreverence of my new foodie friends. Now come back later when the food is adhered to the glass; I promise it will be chaotic.”

Chefs

Music and Food for a Good Cause

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Chef Will Gilson of Garden at the Cellar playing harmonica at last year's event.

© Laura Widness
Chef Will Gilson of Garden at the Cellar playing harmonica at last year's event.

 

What’s the perfect dish to pay tribute to the band KISS? Beef tongue, perhaps. What about Ray LaMontagne’s “New York City’s Killing Me”? Pork belly agrodolce and foie pastrami with mayo and crispy onions. These are just a few of the music-inspired small plates that more than a dozen of Boston’s top chefs will be serving this Sunday, November 14, at the Eat Your Heart Out Boston fundraiser. The event, held at Paradise Rock Club features three local bands and chefs like Tiffani Faison of Rocca, Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa, Matthew Barros of Myers & Chang and F&W Best New Chef 2009 Barry Maiden of Hungry Mother. The chefs will each make a dish that pays homage to their favorite rock band or song (and in the past, some have even gotten on stage for impromptu jam sessions). Proceeds benefit Future Chefs, a career program the helps high school students find work and mentors in the culinary world, and Zumix, a non-profit organization dedicated to building community through arts and music. For tickets, click here.

Restaurants

Power Eating in NYC: Matt Lightner

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© Nigel Parry
Matt Lightner Celebrated His Eater Award by Eating. A lot.

I’m always proud of F&W’s Best New Chefs. And I’m especially proud of them when they come to New York City to pick up their Eater Awards and spend a day eating around like they’re gearing up for a Biggest Loser audition. Take Matt Lightner, F&W Best New Chef 2010 at Castagna, who won two Eater awards, for Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year for Portland, OR. Here’s what he did when he was in town in a 24-hour period:

*Nine-course dinner at WD-50 (highlights: egg ravioli and liquid-center foie gras).

*Late-night lamb burgers at the Breslin.

*Four-hour lunch at Eleven Madison Park (highlights: chicken velouté with truffle toasts; venison with pickled cabbage).

*Eater’s after-party spread at Burger & Barrel. “[B&B’s chef/owner] Josh Capon comes out, and he’s like ‘eat the burger.’ You don’t say no to him, no matter how many courses you had at Eleven Madison.”
 
Wow. And what was Lightner going to do when he got back to Portland? Open up his Eater Award (actually a can of tomatoes) and make Bolognese sauce.
 

 

Chefs

The Eater 2010 Awards - The Extras

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Torrisi's Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone: Two Can Winners at Eater Awards

The excitement! The drama! All those trophy cans! Yes, the Eater 2010 Awards were everything you could dream of. The big ceremony took place at the beloved downtown NYC restaurant Public and chefs and restaurateurs came from as far away as Brooklyn (Frankies Spuntino’s Frank Falcinelli, who won the Jean-Georges Vongerichten award for Quietly Killing It, New York City) and from Seattle (F&W Best New Chef Matt Lightner, who won both Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year for Portland, OR; more on Matt Lightner’s crazy NYC eating tour coming tomorrow).

I unfortunately didn’t win in my category (honestly, who was going to beat @RuthReichl for Twitter Personality of the Year?). But I was inspired enough by winners like my heroes at Torrisi (Restaurant of the Year, New York; and Best Restaurant, National) that I’m going to hand out a few awards myself.

Best Parental SupportChristina Tosi’s MOM helped the awesome Momofuku Milk Bar crew pack up their pork bun equipment after the party.


Michael White Balances his Winning Cans

Best Juggling of Multiple Award Cans
Michael White who won three of them: So Hot Right Now, New York; Chef of the Year, New York; and Danny Meyer’s Empire Builder of the Year, New York.

Best After-Party HostJosh Capon, who brought everyone over to his new brew pub Burger & Barrel and then morphed into a Jewish grandmother, making all the late nighters eat second and third helpings of his epic burgers, tacos, Cuban sandwiches and, for the lucky Eater big wigs, fried chicken.

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