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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Cocktails

Fatty Crab Fest & 'Cue Sneak Preview

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fatty

© Joe DiStefano
Fatty 'Cue's smoked lamb sandwich.

No one throws a party like the team behind NYC’s awesome Fatty Crab restaurants. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Fatty Crab’s Upper West Side location, the Fatty crew threw a bash Wednesday night with a DJ spinning in the dining room and some killer cocktails and snacks from all of the Fatty restaurants (Fatty Crab UWS, Fatty Crab West Village, Cabrito), including a sneak preview of a few dishes from the soon-to-open Fatty ’Cue. Some ’Cue highlights:

The secret to the smoked brisket on Pullman bread from Chinatown's Dragon bakery was a sweet-and-spicy chile jam made with dried prawns, chiles, tamarind, palm sugar and smoked tomato.

The guanciale, served on a lemongrass salad, was house-cured with a curry powder that chef de cuisine Andrew Pressler brought back from his recent trip to Qatar.

A sandwich of smoked lamb breast was topped with a lemon-and-garlic emulsion. The lamb got its amazing flavor from a marinade that included cincalok (a Malaysian paste of fermented shrimp, salt and rice flour).

The ’Cue cocktail was a gorgeously complex mix of Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum, smoked pine, Tabasco, yuzu and Pernod. I found myself going back to the Hunter S., a mellow drink of Buffalo Trace bourbon, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, Campari and orange.
 

Restaurants

Food Stars Come Out for C-CAP

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© Rory Tischler
F&W Publisher Christina Grdovic Baltz & Chef Marcus Samuelsson at C-CAP 20th Anniversary Benefit

Before they headed to Miami for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival last week, Food & Wine's fantastic publisher Christina Grdovic Baltz presented chef Marcus Samuelsson with an award at the 20th Anniversary Benefit of The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a nonprofit organization that works with public schools across the country to prepare underserved high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

"I began my involvement with C-CAP 15 years ago because I felt a responsibility to kids who wouldn't otherwise know about the culinary field,” said Samuelsson. "They're the next generation of chefs, and it's so important for them to have exposure to the restaurant world."

C-CAP students helped prepare food for the event alongside more than 30 New York City chefs, including Alfred Portale (one of Samuelsson's mentors and tennis partners) and Jason Hall from Gotham Bar & Grill, who served an amazing cauliflower custard topped with sea urchin, trout roe and aged soy sauce, and F&W Best New Chef 2006 Christopher Lee from Aureole, who made the restaurant's signature sea scallop sandwich with seared foie gras, passion fruit and sugar snap peas.

Chefs

Olympic Update: Seafood Winners

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blue water

© Amy Rosen
An Unsung Heroes dish at Blue Water Café.


The Unsung Heroes menu at Blue Water Café is chef Frank Pabst’s month-long initiative highlighting lesser-known coastal ingredients from responsibly managed fisheries. The special menu is usually offered in February, when some of the more popular species (wild salmon, halibut) aren't in season, though many of the Unsung dishes are available year round. I tried a beautiful jellyfish salad mounded on thinly sliced cucumber and grated daikon. A marinated herring dish includes the crunch of green apple and a fresh coriander crème fraîche. But I especially loved the flying squid and fennel “pasta” with a creamy red sea urchin sauce.

Bonus points: The restaurant is offering a free bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne to medal winners. So far Maelle Ricker, Women's Snowboard Cross (Gold), and Mike Robertson, Men's Snowboard Cross (Silver), have enjoyed the celebratory bubbles.

1095 Hamilton St.; 604-688-8078 or bluewatercafe.net.

Restaurants

David Bouley's New Japanese Obsession

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bouley

© Danielle Falcone
Bouley's Japanese bites on imari porcelain.

 

Last night, star chef David Bouley  turned his fabulous Tribeca test kitchen into a showroom for the latest interpretations of Imari porcelain, a style of porcelain made in the tiny town of Arita in Japan’s Saga prefecture. Young artists and designers like Tsuji Satoshi are making cool new designs inspired by traditional style. Bouley plans to use many of the pieces at his forthcoming Japanese restaurant. And of course, the dishes weren't left empty. Bouley, along with chefs Isao Yamada and Tadao Miakmi (Bouley Upstairs), Noriyuki Sugie and chefs from the Tsuji Culinary Institute of Japan prepared some ridiculously good dishes using wild Japanese ingredients like barafu, a leafy green that looks like it's covered in dew, with a salty taste and great crunch.

Restaurants

Olympic Update: Tojo's Olympic Roll

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© Amy Rosen

The New York Times's new dining critic, Sam Sifton, recently likened Vancouver master sushi chef Hidekazu Tojo's cooking to that of Nobu Matsuhisa and the kung-fu style known as “drunken master” (by this he meant that Tojo's casualness disguises great skill). Perched on my bar seat at Tojo's recently, I saw what he meant. For the Olympic roll—his interpretation of the Olympic rings, which he's named the Celebration 2010 roll—Tojo wrapped layers of egg, wild salmon, snapper and spinach around Dungeness crab, pineapple and asparagus. For the blue ring, he prepared a blueberry sauce. Admittedly, it sounds like a kitchen-sink calamity, but it was delicious. Other dishes I loved: West Coast albacore sashimi topped with grated daikon, fresh ginger, purple radish sprouts and green onion, and delicate smoked Canadian sablefish with pine mushrooms and burdock in a warm, umami-packed broth. 1133 West Broadway; 604-872-8050 or tojos.com.

Entertaining

Italian-American Coffee & Cake

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Ed Levine’s review on Serious Eats of NYC's new Torrisi Italian Specialties left me chuckling. To accompany a slideshow of chef-owners Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone’s Italian-American sandwiches, antipasti and desserts, Levine wrote this: “What’s a delicious, moist sour cream coffee cake doing on an Italian sandwich shop menu?” Clearly, Levine doesn’t know everything about Italian-American customs. Until very recently, my own Italian-American family observed the Sunday-afternoon tradition of coffee and cake; we called it simply “Coffee and." My grandmother and her sisters and their husbands gathered at 2:30 p.m., put the coffee on (always in an aluminum percolator) and talked. Same thing every week. Most weekends, my aunt Anna made her famous chocolate sheet cake, which she dusted with powdered sugar and served with whipped cream.

Here, four F&W recipes perfect for "Coffee and."

Olive Oil Bundt Cake

Honey Tea Cake

Jacques Pépin’s Favorite Pound Cake

Cardamom Spiced Crumb Cake

Chefs

New York's French Invasion

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The pioneering artisanal-foods company D’Artagnan was founded 25 years ago this month, when founder Ariane Daguin brought the first fresh foie gras made in the U.S. to chef David Waltuck at NYC's now-defunct Chanterelle. Today, Daguin's company sources every manner of French and American artisanal products, from terrines to truffles to breakfast sausages. Next week, they’ll celebrate their triumphs with events throughout NYC. The 32-Michelin-star food crawl is sold out, but anyone can come watch next Thursday at noon as they try to set the world record for most berets tossed in the air. 

And the reservation lines are still open as some of D’Artagnan’s most loyal customers host some phenomenal Gascon chefs, including Hélène Darroze at Per Se Friday the 19th and molecular gastronomist Thierry Marx at Le Bernardin Saturday the 20th. For more details, click here.

Recipes

Yoga & Food

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As Julia Moskin reports in this week’s New York Times Dining section, many yoga traditionalists are not pleased with all the eating and drinking now happening at yoga studios around the country. While austerity is at the core of many traditional yoga practices, personally I’m hungry after a 90-minute Bikram yoga session in a 110 degree room (even if it smells like stinky, sweaty feet).

Here, some fantastic recipes from my favorite chef-yogi (and an F&W Best New Chef 2009), Jeremy Fox from Napa Valley’s Ubuntu restaurant and yoga studio:

Carrot Macaroni and Cheese (pictured)
Lemony Quinoa Salad with Shaved Vegetables
Broccoli à la Catalan

Farms

Sneak Peek: Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen

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In February, New York City will get Jean-Georges Vongerichten's take on farm-to-table cuisine at ABC Kitchen, a roughly 150-seat café inside ABC Carpet & Home that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and fresh juices at a juice bar. Vongerichten is working with ABC CEO Paulette Cole on the design, sourcing as locally as possible; that includes plates from Bella Porcelain, made by Cole's childhood friend Jan Burtz. (There are a few exceptions: The bar is made out of a church altar from Mexico.) The menu is still in progress, but Vongerichten would like to source all ingredients from within 100 miles of the store. Dishes will be dead simple, Vongerichten promises—mostly ones he makes for his own family. "We want to do what Alice Waters did in the 1970s," he says. "Handwritten menus, changing daily, seasonal food." Chef de cuisine Dan Kluger won't churn his own butter, but he will make his own yogurt: They had a test batch in the oven when I stopped by yesterday. Pictures after the jump.

 

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Cocktails

Big Star in Chicago

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When I vacationed in Chicago last weekend, my first stop was star chef Paul Kahan’s latest bar and taqueria, Big Star. The large rectangular bar that dominates the space holds two of Big Star’s three specialties: some 50-odd bourbons and a couple dozen tequilas. The other specialty comes from the kitchen: tacos—hundreds of tacos.

Tapping along to a Loretta Lynn record, I elbowed my way to the bar to order a drink, from a list conceived by the team from the adjacent cocktail haven The Violet Hour. I started with a San Antonio Sling, a bracing combination of tequila, St-Germain and grapefruit. I followed that with the Hud, an Old Fashioned–like lowball heavy on the bourbon and light on the citrus—tangerine, in this case. Then I turned to food. First up was a fondue-like casserole of rajas chiles, house-made chorizo and cheese. A quartet of tacos followed: lamb, al pastor (marinated pork) and my two favorites, poblano with queso (cheese) and pork belly. The food was delicious, and with nothing exceeding five dollars, also a bargain.

When the weather gets warmer, Big Star will offer a huge alfresco dining area. As long as the music remains louder than the nearby El train, Big Star will be a party few will want to leave.

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