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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

Voltaggio Brothers Incredible Barbecue Road Trip

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Michael and Bryan Voltaggio get schooled on Memphis's Rendezvous ribs.

I just spent a frenzied few hours in St. Louis eating as much barbecue as possible (more on that in an upcoming post). But I've got nothing on Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, who are in the midst of a five-day, multi-city barbecue free-for-all with Williams-Sonoma to educate themselves on the subject.

Here are two of their highlights. If you want to make yourselves hungry, you should follow both Michael and Bryan on Twitter.


Michael and Bryan Voltaggio with a Barbecue Hangover.

Oklahoma Joe's; Kansas City, KS

Michael says: "Kansas City is like the barbecue melting pot. In Texas, it's all about beef, and in North Carolina, there's a lot of pulled pork. But Kansas City is famous for everything. At Oklahoma Joe's, it's all about the Z-man sandwich: slow-smoked brisket piled high on a toasted kaiser bun, with a few onion rings, toasted provolone and a couple drops of sauce. This place is on Tony Bourdain's list of 13 things to eat before you die."

Smitty's Market; Lockhart, TX
Bryan says: "I'm more into traditional brisket than my brother; I go for the kind served with white bread. I had the most amazing brisket I’ve ever had at Smitty's. It’s smoked old pit-style; the walls are covered with smoke. I had it with Big Red, a soda from the area, and Blue Bell ice cream. And p.s., Lockhart Texas was named barbecue capital of Texas by the state's legislation.”

Restaurants

The People’s Best New Chef: Best Buttons

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The Vote for Tim Byres T-shirt.

The voting continues fast and furious for F&W's People’s Best New Chef. And the chefs' campaigning efforts have been outstanding. Take chef Tim Byres at Smoke in Dallas, who had T-shirts made for his giant "Vote for Tim Byres" party the other night.

I'm especially loving my new button collection: In Peoria, Illinois, chef Josh Adams of June gives out huge buttons with each check, while Stephanie Izard at Girl and the Goat in Chicago has a very succinct message on her buttons: "Goat the Vote."
 
So if you haven’t voted yet: Vote! You only have until March 1st. And then we’ll all learn the name of The People’s Best New Chef on March 2nd.

Chefs

Chefs Turned Shoe Designers

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mozo

© Donnie Miller
Chefs Chris Consentino, Marcus Samuelsson and Aarón Sánchez rock their new kicks.


I adore Mario Batali’s cooking, but still can’t bring myself to embrace Crocs. Finally, a more stylish line of shoes for the professional and home cook has launched. We gave a shout out to Mozo Chef Signature Shoes in Food & Wine’s March Trendspotting column. Last night, the chefs-turned-shoe-designers behind the new line were in NYC to give a sneak preview of their designs, which go on sale in May. The ever-so-stylish Marcus Samuelsson of NYC’s Red Rooster named his shoe the Uptown. The copper detailing around the eyelet is a nod to America's diner culture, while the image of the Brooklyn Bridge on the heel is a shout out to NYC. Aarón Sánchez of Centrico got a bit more edgy, recreating a Mexican sugar skull in red stitching on the top of his shoe. Chris Cosentino, who was slicing killer charcuterie that he flew in from his restaurant Boccalone in San Francisco, wins the award for most outrageous design. The top of his shoe (named the Fifth Quarter) resembles honeycomb tripe, and he designed a pig on the footbed that duplicates a tattoo on his arm of a 16th-century butchery diagram. Perhaps the biggest news of the night was that Mozo would donate $10,000 in the chefs’ honor to the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program.
 


Farms

TEDx Manhattan: Sustainable Food…and Forks

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© Jason Houston for TEDxManhattan
Chef Michel Nischan

This past Saturday marked the first-ever TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat, a conference devoted to sustainable-food issues. The daylong series of 18-minute talks covered topics ranging from how farmers in Illinois are dealing with the environmental impact of industrial dairies to how organizations like the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger are creating amazingly productive community gardens. Elizabeth Meltz, an exuberant former cook who oversees food safety and sustainability for Mario Batali's restaurant group, talked about the challenge of educating the staff about green practices: "We can barely get them not to throw out the silverware." Michel Nischan of the Dressing Room Restaurant in Westport, Connecticut, described the efforts of his nonprofit, Wholesome Wave, to make produce accessible and affordable in poor communities. Food & Wine proudly supports Wholesome Wave, and we're raising money now with these awesome Green Passes to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this June.

Restaurants

Truffled Scrambled Eggs at 40,000 Feet

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© Jordan Salcito
Daniel Boulud and Michel Troisgros Make Truffled Eggs at Altitude.

If you ever wonder how famous chefs deal with the limitations of airplane food, especially when they're recovering from an epic wine event, here's a firsthand account from my awesome wine-genius friend Jordan Salcito (whom you’ll read more about in F&W's April feature on Burgundy). Here’s Jordan:

Say you're a chef who has just cooked for the 10th anniversary of La Paulée de New York which honors the best domaines in Burgundy with both new and very old vintages (like 1940 La Tâche). And say you’re in a private plane on your way to La Paulée des Neiges in Aspen to (ski and) drink more wines. How do you re-energize? If you're Daniel Boulud, the featured chef for La Paulée de New York, and you're France's inimitable Michel Troisgros, you make 30-second scrambled eggs in the plane's microwave: custardy, truffled scrambled eggs with crème fraîche, plus toast with European butter and more black truffle. And then open another bottle of La Tâche.

Cocktails

F&W Exclusive: Inside Atlanta's H&F Bottle Shop

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Inside H&F Bottle Shop in Atlanta.

It's not hard to figure out what Atlanta's H&F Bottle Shop will be selling when it opens soon (as in, hopefully, February 21). The store will offer boutique wines and spirits that customers love at Holeman & Finch and Restaurant Eugene, but can’t find anywhere else—items like the house-blended Finch’s gin. Look for in-house wine concierge Ashley Hall, a Kermit Lynch alum, who can do anything from choosing a bottle for a dinner party to building a wine cellar. In the spirit of an apothecary, which the space evokes, the Bottle Shop will also have old-time card catalogues holding wine information and favorite cocktail recipes—maybe chef Linton Hopkin's DCV, a Sidecar like drink you'll also find in the upcoming F&W Cocktails 2011. (You’ll also be able to buy the house-made brandied cherries that garnish the drink, as well as other condiments and H&F's amazing Bloody Mary mix.) And if you come prepared with a cocktail-inspired playlist, the staff might let you play with the albums and turntable in the back of the store.

Chefs

Tim Love Tackles the Super Bowl

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tim love

© Tim Love
Tailgate extraordinaire, Tim Love.


Yesterday chef Tim Love gave me a call from an unusually frigid Arlington, Texas, where he was scrambling to prepare to feed the hordes of football fans descending on the city for Super Bowl XLV.  “I feel like I’m on American Race, racing against time to get my prep done,” he said. “I’m scraping and scrounging to find heaters.” On Wednesday, he cooked ESPN’s Mike & Mike an “all out meatfest” of elk saddle, rabbit-rattlesnake sausage and quail. Tonight, Love is teaming up with rockstar chef Mario Batali for a Spaghetti Western fundraiser dinner before hosting a pre-game tailgate for nearly 350 people on game-day. “I’ve wrangled two giant 30-foot smokers to do grilled potatoes with bad-ass toppings, grilled artichokes, and Tomahawk chops.” Love will be watching the big game from the stands and putting his money on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rumor has it that Love and Batali may even make an appearance on field to introduce the Black Eyed Peas at half time.

Restaurants

Dallas's Super Bowl Party Circuit

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My go-to-guy for all things happening in Dallas, Christopher Wynn, a staff writer for The Dallas Morning News and dining editor for its style monthly, FD Luxe, gave me an update on the city’s pre-Super Bowl festivities. Here’s the scoop:

The roads may be glazed and cooking is cautious after a day of rolling blackouts, but Dallas chefs are determined to feed the fans.
 
Last night I hit our Uptown neighborhood for a preview of chef Abraham Salum’s coming-soon contemporary Mexican cuisine spot, Komali. (Just wrap me in steaming handmade tortillas on the way out.) At the same time near downtown, former Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek chef John Tesar cooked at the new Cedars Social cocktail den and restaurant for his weeklong “Supper Bowl.” The chef-driven series of charity dinners culminated with former Top Chef contestant Tiffany Derry in the kitchen. 


Tonight, celeb-u-chefs Mario Batali and Tim Love are hosting their Italian-meets-Texan Spaghetti Western dinner. Emeril Lagasse and Guy Fieri are among the co-chairs. Tickets to this fundraising event at Love’s Fort Worth Love Shack So7 are $500 each, more details here.
 
Finally, Texas is expected to thaw out just in time for Saturday’s sold-out Taste of the NFL extravaganza in Fort Worth. Dallas’ Kent Rathbun of Abacus restaurant fame is the host chef. The event is celebrating its 20th anniversary and many of the inaugural chefs from the first Taste in Minneapolis will be on hand, including Tom Colicchio, Todd English, Susan Spicer and Dallas’s Stephan Pyles.
 
Here’s a Super Bowl idea for next year: Open a hot toddy stand. 

Restaurants

Food & Wine Exclusive: First Look at Michael Voltaggio's ink.

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© kate krader
The logo.

Here it is: For those of us who can't even wait for Michael Voltaggio's restaurant ink. to open on Melrose in Los Angeles, this is the official logo. You'll see it echoed in the splashes of dark 'ink' on the gray granite floor, on the signature on the back of his custom-made plates (designed to jibe with the look of the room; you can't tell it used to be the Hamasaku space) and, of course, in his modern L.A. menu.

I'm so excited.

Restaurants

F&W Exclusive: Menu Highlights at Animal's Son of a Gun

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© kate krader
Hugh Hefner with a Prize Marlin Decorates Son of a Gun's Bathroom.

Let's go over some frequently asked questions about the upcoming Son of a Gun restaurant from the epic chef team Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (with Animal chef Frank Anderson running day to day operations).

What's going to be on the menu?
For a start, the boys are thinking:

Sardines a la plancha with oyster plant, citron, sorrel
Santa Barbara prawns with plum mustard butter, radish
Baked clams "mafia style"
Geoduck, cilantro salsa verde, mandarin
Uni, carrot,  nettle curry vinaigrette, apple
Bottarga taramasalata
Fried chicken inspired by Chick-fil-A and Bakesale Betty
Pimento cheese fries

What's up with the name Son of a Gun?
Says Dotolo:  "On boats, the space between the guns was used as a semi-private place for trysts with prostitutes and wives, which sometimes led to the birth of children with disputed parentage. Another claim is that the origin the term resulted from firing a ship's guns to hasten a difficult birth."

What's the seating situation?
Both reservation and walk ins for the big communal table. Wait until you see the banquette tucked right into the window.

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