© Jennifer May
Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura
© Jennifer May
© Ken Goodman
Jimmy Fallon helps Mario Batali cook and raise money to fight hunger.
As you might have heard, David Letterman recently took shots at food-related television shows. (Letterman was looking at shows like Man vs Food. And honestly, it’s hard to fault an attack on a show that glorifies overeating with the huge problem of hunger in the world.) That’s why this is an excellent time to give a shout-out to all the food professionals and organizations raising so much money to feed hungry people. Here are two of them.
Mario Batali/Mario Batali Foundation – Since launching his charity in 2008, Mario Batali has worked tirelessly to ensure that kids are well fed, and also well cared for. At his latest MBF fundraiser at Del Posto, Batali brought in a few friends—Jimmy Fallon, Anthony Bourdain and Michael Stipe to name three—and raised $200,000 in one night.
Rachael Ray/New York Wine & Food Festival – When Letterman apologized for his rant, it was to Ray. Good thing, because Ray hosts one of NYWFF’s biggest events, the Burger Bash. And proceeds from the Burger Bash (and all of NYWFF) go to the outstanding Food Bank of New York. Yay, too, for Food & Wine, which sponsors the NYWFF. Estimates are that the festival raised over a million bucks. Sweet.
© kate krader
Ferran Adrià with F&W star contributor Anya von Bremzen.
The Film: As the name suggests, A Day at El Bulli includes morning coffee with Adrià, a surprisingly laid-back staff meal, the arrival of the first customers at 7:30 pm (remember, this is Spain), the departure of the last customer at who-knows-what time, and plenty of mind-blowing food all the way through.
The Screening Location: The just-opening Bar Basque in the Eventi hotel in midtown NYC, which will feature a rotating list of visiting chefs from the Basque region. Another smart feature of the restaurant: a giant projector with the capacity to show films on the wall of an adjacent building.
What Ferran Said At the Reception (in Spanish, via a translator): “This is the first time I’ve seen the film since I announced the closing of El Bulli. Now I know, the spirit must continue. But it’s necessary to have a transformation.” Ferran will announce his exact plans for the new El Bulli at the next Madrid Fusión conference on January 26, 2011. Meanwhile, he’s heavily involved with Albert in a new version of their terrific tapas Barcelona tapas bar, Inopia.
© Lou Manna
* My friend Cricket Azima taught a kids' cooking class on Saturday, part of the Kids Get Cooking! segment of the festival. She deftly led 50 kids (some even clad in chef jackets) in making panzanella. Nothing beats seeing a bunch of kids happily dicing veggies, all yelling "Mangia, mangia, mangia!" ("Eat, eat, eat!" in Italian) in unison.
* On Sunday, Rocco DiSpirito cracked jokes during his culinary demo, as he shared secrets for making over comfort foods from his latest book, Now Eat This! Rocco related how he wanted to find a way to have real fried chicken, while cutting out a lot of the fat: "Who needs another baked chicken recipe?" he said. He consulted Harold McGee, father of all things scientific in the kitchen, and discovered that less time in oil = less fat absorbed. So, he came up with the idea to poach chicken in broth until almost cooked through, dunk it in the requisite buttermilk bath and flour coating, then flash-fry it very quickly in hot oil. Chicken that's crispy and lower in fat: genius!
© Justin Ide
© Joshua David Stein
Andrew Zimmern and Michael White in action at Carts in the Parc
*Sommelier Showdown – On Saturday morning, the country's best (and it would seem most hungover) sommeliers, plus some adventurous wine fans, congregated at Del Posto for a superfun blind-tasting contest, complete with elimination rounds, performances by new wine-rapping star Justin Warner and a big win by Bar Boulud’s Michael Madrigale.
*The Cosmopolitan After Party – Yes, I was excited for a late-night party from the opening-soon Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (I’m partial to any party that has the prefix "after"). And this was pretty much the kind of party I dream about — superb sushi from Blue Ribbon, no line and great drinks at the bar, good DJ, sweet rooftop option and an old-school photo booth that let you choose black-and-white or color (always b&w).
*Carts in the Parc – Andrew Zimmern, F&W’s new favorite TV food star, played host to a genius afternoon party at the very cool, just opened FoodParc and invited 24 of his favorite food trucks to park there. In less than five minutes I managed to eat a killer tongue slider from chef Michael White, a Biryani Cart superspicy kati roll and a Treats Truck peanut-butter cupcake. Eater’s Joshua David Stein has more hilarious highlights.
© Ellen Silverman
Key Players from Harvest Dinner Dream Team
© Brian Hill
Gramercy Tavern's brand new burger
And.. here's more just out good—in fact great—news from Gramercy Tavern. Their recent Autumn Harvest Dinner, which brought in chefs like Grant Achatz from Chicago's Alinea and Sean Brock from Charleston's McCrady's raised an amazing $253,000 for Share Our Strength.
© Evan Miller
Brewer's Bash at Eleven Madison Park.
I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to end NYC Craft Beer Week than closing down Eleven Madison Park (which happens to have one of the best craft beer lists in the city) to throw a crazy beer-themed party. Tables were removed from the dining room; picnic tables were added outside and two bands were brought in to jam. Six awesome craft brewers were pouring their beers alongside awesome beer-friendly food from chef Daniel Humm.
Here, the highlights:
*Going back for seconds, thirds and fourths of Humm’s ridiculously delicious fried chicken and decadent foie gras.
*Fantastic brews from Ommegang, Goose Island, Victory, Captain Lawrence, Allagash and Brooklyn Brewery.
*Sampling beer cocktails made by Eleven Madison Park’s mixologists with A Voce chef Missy Robbins. My favorite was the Ceylon Sophie, a mix of Goose Island Sophie Farmhouse Ale, amontillado sherry, lemon juice and ceylon cinnamon.
A recent long weekend in and around Santa Barbara turned up some awesome food, quirky new tasting rooms and, of course, phenomenal wines. Here, my cheat sheet:
*Nothing makes me happier than a great breakfast (particularly after a morning surfing the 54-degree waters in Ventura). Locals hit Jeannine’s for the Stumptown coffee, eggs Benedict and a chance to potentially see star surfer Kelly Slater, who is known to drop by after a surf, and D’Angelo Bread for the most perfect triple berry scones.
* Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Company is back at the helm of Wine Cask (he ran the wine shop–restaurant–wine bar from 1981 to 2007) with a new partner, Mitchell Sjerven, owner of Bouchon and Seagrass restaurants. The wine bar serves seasonal, local dishes like mushroom risotto, roasted beets and goat cheese and duck confit flatbread. There is, of course, an awesome wine list. Doug gave us a taste of a special Margerum M5 Wine Cask blend he’s working on just for the restaurant. The Wine Cask tasting room will most likely become a tasting room for Margerum wines.
*Emma and Justin West, the talented young husband-and-wife team behind the tiny two-year-old Julienne restaurant are getting a ton of buzz for their daring (by Santa Barbara standards) farm-to-table food. The restaurant uses all local seafood from boats out of the Santa Barbara and Ventura harbors; ranch-raised meats (they frequently butcher whole animals in-house) and local produce. Menu highlights include the braised lamb tongue with shaved radishes and roasted garlic; grilled squid with pickled French beans and radicchio, and abalone with potatoes, celery and onion in a saffron-sea broth.
Check back tomorrow for wine country highlights.
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