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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Dave Chang's F&W Thanksgiving


© kate krader

I would totally trust NYC's Momofuku chef David Chang with any piece of pork on the planet. Leftover turkey...not so sure about that. But no surprise, I found out yesterday that he's genius with that too. For what might be my favorite F&W Thanksgiving story of all time—coming out in our November 2009 issue, just about the same time as the release of the Momofuku cookbook—we challenged Chang and his outstanding pastry chef, Christina Tosi, to make a meal with whatever T-day leftovers we threw at them. Among the foods we gave them: cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, kale and brussels sprouts. Chang and Tosi didn't ask for much except for some Rice Krispies, Sriracha sauce and Malden salt (and yeah, a few other things, too). Then we photographed the pair in action. All I can say is that the results are awesome and you'll be able to see for yourself when F&W's November issue comes out.


Pop-Up Wine and Design



The coolest new place to take in great design, food and wine is MADCrush . This new pop-up bar appears for the first time tonight at NYC's great new Museum of Arts and Design. Restaurant design genius Stephanie Goto created the space largely from recycled wine boxes and crates and it will appear on the museum’s seventh floor every Thursday from 5 to 10:30 p.m., until the end of August. The menu: wines by the taste, glass and bottle from Crush Wine & Spirits. Del Posto’s Mark Ladner is cooking for opening night. Future guest chefs will include George Mendes of Aldea and Scott Conant of Scarpetta.


Restaurants on Twitter


Twitter recently unveiled Twitter 101—a guide to using the social networking and micro-blogging service. It also has a series of fascinating case studies on how businesses large and small use Twitter, from Pepsi (@pepsi) to Teusner Wines (@teusnerwine) in Australia's Barossa Valley. Here, a sampling of food spots we (@fandw) adore on Twitter:

Myers + Chang, Boston (@myersandchang)
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone called out the restaurants-on-Twitter trend, posting a photo of Joanne Chang, the co-owner of Myers + Chang. Chang Tweets events, specials and short recipes.

Kogi, Los Angeles (@kogibbq)
This super-popular food truck started Tweeting its stops last November—now, hundreds of people line up for its Korean short rib tacos and kimchi hot dogs (pictured).

Sebo, San Francisco (@sebosf)
This sushi spot—a favorite of Alice Waters—Tweets its latest izakaya menus, and recently, pics of its fishermen.


Fonda del Sol: Smart Pairings, Terrific Food


I've been to Fonda del Sol a few times now—it's just down the street from our office, conveniently—and it seems to be on an ever-inclining curve towards extreme tastiness. That's not a surprise to me. When I first met the restaurant's chef, Josh DeChellis, at the culinary festival Madrid Fusión a few years back, he was wandering around gnawing on a black truffle the way one might an apple (the thing was about the size of an apple, too). To my mind, any chef who eats truffles as if they were apples is a man after my own heart. At FdS, DeChellis is channeling his inner Spaniard, perhaps aided by the fact that he was born in Colombia, with impressive success.

The other night I particularly liked a silky scallop tiradito—disks of sweet scallop with shards of hot chilies, dabs of briny sea urchin, and grace notes of cilantro—which wine director Nicholas Nahigian paired with a sympathetically citrus-minerally 2007 Do Ferreiro Albariño (one of the better Albariños around, in fact). Later on, I also enjoyed an incredibly tender Colorado lamb chop aromatized (as it were) over toasted hay and served with tangy sheep's milk yogurt and a lovage puree. In an earlier incarnation of this dish, the lamb was cooked in an earthenware vessel over the hay, the vessel sealed with a bread crust—in that case, the hay, lamb and yogurt were all from the same farm. With the newer version, a 2004 Fratelli Revello Vigna Conca Barolo, surprisingly generous given its intense concentration, and somehow elegant despite that, tasted great.

The pairing that may have worked the best, though, and that was certainly the most surprising, came when Nahigian brought out glasses of Victory Brewing Company's Prima Pils (which, oddly enough, I just used for my 4th of July segment on summer beers for the Early Show) to pair with DeChellis's Alaskan rock fish a la plancha with salsa moluscada de verano, a Catalan (I think) sauce involving surf clams, mussel jus, squid, octopus, tomato water, clam jus, basil and cherry tomatoes (whew). The fish was expertly cooked, the sauce something between a light seafood stew, a sauce, and a sublime essence of ocean, and the crisp, gently bitter Pilsner was perfect with it—and also extremely refreshing, sandwiched as it was, course-wise, between a fairly substantial white Rioja—a 2003 Marqués de Murrieta Capellania—and the even more substantial Revello Barolo.

And there was dessert. But by then, do you really expect I was taking notes?  


Chefs' Restaurant Black Book


© Robert Whitman

One more reason to love Google: Its just-launched Favorite Places feature, which fuses its online maps with recommendations by some 200 experts and celebrities on the spots they love most around the world. A sampling of the food-world luminaries and their picks:

Ferran Adrià
The avant-garde Spanish chef dishes on his favorite restaurants and food markets, from Blue Hill at Stone Barns, F&W Best New Chef 2002 Dan Barber's outpost in Pocantico Hills, New York, to Eataly in Turin, Italy.

Nobu Matsuhisa
An F&W Best New Chef 1989 and the chef-proprietor of the ever-expanding Nobu empire announces his favorite restaurant in the world (surprise: it's in Venice). He also reveals the private island he retreats to when he wants to get away.

Alice Waters The local-foods champion recommends an affordable Mexican joint in the Bay Area, plus her go-to pizza spots like Pizzeria Delfina in San Francisco.

F&W offers more chef-approved picks from around the world, including Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio on Los Angeles (pictured), F&W Best New Chef 2004 Bradford Thompson on Jamaica, and Philadelphia chef Jose Garces on Mexico.


Food + Tattoos=Year's Supply of Bacon


My cousin co-owns a tattoo studio in Brooklyn and is always telling me about how he has an unusually high number of customers who are chefs. His theory: “Chefs are extremely passionate about what they do—and anyone who loves something deeply will get tattooed to express that love or passion.” Just look at Food & Wine’s 2009 Best New Chefs for proof. At the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Riesling fanatics (including myself and colleague Kristin Donnelly) were rocking giant Riesling tattoos to show our love for the wine.

Other obsessive eaters who have been inked with their favorite foods can enter Sonoma County's first Food and Wine Tattoo Contest. Entrants submit a photo of their coolest food- or wine-themed tattoo here and the public votes online. The grand prize: a year’s worth of bacon from Zazu restaurant.

Food tatoo




Delicious Dishes To Help You Live Longer


© Stephanie Foley

The New York Times has just reported that a 20-year study of rhesus monkeys suggests a restricted-calorie diet may ward off the usual diseases of old age—primarily diabetes, cancer, heart disease and brain disease. Here's some great advice from the pros on how to limit calories without sacrificing any taste:

Tim Cushman: “Really spicy salsas give me a ‘chile buzz,’ almost an endorphin rush, so I tend to eat less,” says Cushman, an F&W Best New Chef 2008 at O Ya in Boston. His tangy tomatillo-cumin salsa can be either mild or fiery—leave the jalapeño seeds in if you prefer extra heat.

Marisa Churchill: The Top Chef Season Two contestant offers innovative tricks to cut fat and sugar out of her recipes—for instance, she uses thick and creamy fat-free Greek-style yogurt in her honey-topped panna cottas (pictured).

Pam Anderson: “Diets are like Band-Aids—just a quick fix,” says the cookbook author. Instead, Anderson relies on smart techniques like using low-fat evaporated milk to gives sauces and desserts creaminess, as in her brown-sugar custard with orange zest.



New Twist on Spit-Roasted Pig


Like so many chefs now obsessed with nose-to-tail cooking, Michael Psilakis offers whole pig, lamb or goat for private parties at his new Eos at the recently opened Viceroy Miami. The fun twist: Instead of turning the animals on a spit by the Viceroy's infinity pool, his chefs cook them indoors in their mammoth double-stack Rational Combi Ovens. "I love to use a spit, but it's kind of barbaric," Psilakis says; the open coals don't allow for nearly as much control over moisture and temperature as the Rational ovens. But don't expect Psilakis to offer indoor-cooked whole animals at his new Manhattan gastropub Gus & Gabriel or at his New York City flagship, Anthos. His New York kitchens, he says, just don't have the room.

Click here for Psilakis' Grilled Pork Tenderloin; For more recipes from Psilakis, look for his forthcoming cookbook, How to Roast a Lamb (on shelves in October), in which he shares his vivid memories of slaughtering goats for spit-roasting as a kid in suburban Long Island.


NYC’s Aldea


Chef George Mendes, a Bouley alum, has been getting much deserved praise for his new NYC restaurant, the Portuguese-Spanish Aldea. A few highlights from a recent visit:

1. The best seats in the Stephanie Goto–designed space are at the chef’s bar in front of the open kitchen. My friend and I snagged two and immediately recognized the female chef on Mendes's team who has been compared to a Vermeer portrait. Every 15 minutes a new group of Portuguese diners lined up to thank Mendes for making avant-garde food that still somehow reminded them of their grandparents’ cooking.
2. Mendes serves Pennsylvania baby goat three ways—braised, grilled and confit—alongside toasted buckwheat, chanterelles and pickled cherries. The meat was so tender and delicious it made me wonder if goat may soon trump pig on menus.     
3. Critic Alan Richman says the sonhos at Aldea are in the running for Manhattan’s best mini doughnut; I second that. The tiny fried balls of dough—filled with spiced chocolate, smoked-paprika apricot jam or hazelnut praline—are made according to Mendes’s mom’s recipe. She’s been known to make an appearance in the kitchen to make sure he’s not taking too many liberties.
4. The staff pointed out a hysterical error on a bottle of Viñendo de los Vientos’ Alcyone Tannat dessert wine from Uruguay.  Alcyone, the label reads, is “the goddess of ‘clam’ and tranquility.”

Chef George Mendes


NYC's Best New Outdoor Dining


© Diane Bondareff

There aren't any of Southwest Airlines' famous rapping flight attendants at The Southwest Porch, the airline-sponsored pop-up dining patio in New York City's Bryant Park. Instead, there are some great new sandwiches from 'wichcraft, the popular Bryant Park kiosk that's part of the Craft family of restaurants.

“We thought it'd be fun to do interpretations of iconic foods from each city on Southwest Airlines' new flight routes from New York,” says Sisha Ortúza, 'wichcraft's chef and co-owner (with star chef Tom Colicchio). Ortúzar came up with a menu that includes an NYC meatball parm sub, a Chicago bratwurst with sweet sautéed onions and (my favorite) a Baltimore soft-shell-crab sandwich with watercress and a tartar sauce made with lemon aioli and house-made pickles.

Now if only Southwest would offer the sandwiches on their flights, I might be inspired to bust a rhyme—although a couple of the ginger margaritas at The Southwest Porch might do the trick.

The Dish
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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.