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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Chefs

A New Sustainable Butcher in L.A.

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© Jennifer May
Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura

In the November issue, our new Trendspotting column touched on the zeitgeist of the macho vegetarian, and writer Julie Powell told us about her experience interning with Josh Applestone, the formerly vegetarian, vegetable-pushing butcher at Fleisher's Grass-Fed & Organic Meats in Kingston, New York. Now, Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura, two Fleisher's alums (both also former vegetarians) are headed to L.A. to open Lindy  & Grundy. Posada (a former floral designer) and Nakamura (a former chef at Blue Hill at Stone Barns ) will sell locally grown, humanely raised meat and make their own sausages, bacon and charcuterie. There will even offer curbside delivery to customers in a rush. Their shop won't open until late fall, but for now, you can follow their cross-country adventure and the lead-up to the opening on Twitter. Follow Nakamura at @TheButcherette and Posada at @thefemmebutcher.

Restaurants

Why Mario Batali and Jimmy Fallon are Proving David Letterman Wrong

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© 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.

Chefs

A Night with Ferran for A Day at El Bulli Screening

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© kate krader
Ferran Adrià with F&W star contributor Anya von Bremzen.

Ferran Adrià was only in New York briefly—I estimate 48 hours—but he still screened the amazing documentary A Day at El Bulli. The profile of the world’s most famous restaurant is directed by Ferran’s brother, Albert Adrià (more on Albert in a second). Here, a few more cool details.

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.

Cookbooks

More Notes from the NYC Wine & Food Festival

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© Lou Manna
Rocco DiSpirito

My colleague Kate Krader recently blogged about her three highlights from last weekend's New York City Wine & Food Festival.  I'm going to add two more to the list.

* 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!

Restaurants

Barbara Lynch Gets Fancy in Boston

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© Justin Ide

For the past few years, prolific chef Barbara Lynch had been telling me about her idea for a fine dining restaurant to add to her mini Boston empire. It would make you want to put on your Manolos and new Lanvin dress. It would be elegant without being stuffy. And it would be French. Last week I finally got to experience what took five years to realize. Menton, named for a tiny French village, is next to two other great Lynch spots, Drink and Sportello, in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood. The fabulous space is glamorous without being at all girly. Designed by Jeffrey and Cheryl Kates (they’ve designed everything from Lynch’s home kitchen to her restaurants No.9 Park and Stir) it has beautiful touches like Ted Muehling candlesticks and a Murano glass chandelier that hangs above the silver leather reception. The monochromatic paintings were created by Matt McClure, an American artist and former No. 9 Park bartender who now lives in Burgundy. The food from young Lynch prodigy Colin Lynch (no relation) is outstanding: refined, flavorful, unexpected. Highlights of the chef’s tasting menu included a butter soup studded with chunks of lobster and topped with caviar and a touch of honey (excellent with a glass of Champagne) and kataifi-wrapped langoustines with pickled rhubarb and pumpkin seed oil. Lynch has taken Boston’s fine dining scene to a new level. As dramatic as the dining room is, I hope I can land a seat at the chef’s table on my next visit. The glass-fronted room looks out on the stainless steel Molteni kitchen and is done up in malachite wallpaper with a huge silver banquette and is definitely the best seat in the house.

Wine

Highlights: New York City Wine & Food Festival

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© Joshua David Stein
Andrew Zimmern and Michael White in action at Carts in the Parc

On the CBS Early Show the morning after the close of the spectacular/crazy/non-stop New York City Wine & Food Festival, Bobby Flay said he couldn’t pick a highlight. I sympathize – there was a lot to choose from. But I did manage to pick my 3 favorite brand new (and parties) events from NYCWFF.

*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 ParcAndrew 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.

Restaurants

Big Numbers for SOS Fund-Raising Dinner

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© Ellen Silverman
Key Players from Harvest Dinner Dream Team

Earlier, we chronicled the debut of Gramercy Tavern's  fantastic, but only-available-as-a-special-at-lunch burger (with homemade burger, bun, everything). Now here's more good—in fact great—news from Gramercy. Their recent Autumn Harvest Dinner, which featured chefs like Grant Achatz from Chicago's Alinea and Sean Brock from Charleston's McCrady's cooking alongside GT's Michael Anthony and pastry chef Nancy Olson, raised an amazing $253,000 for Share Our Strength. Among the highlights: Achatz's Pheasant with Apple Cider and Autumn Fragrance, which came with this advice from the waiter: Don't eat the hay ride (the leaves and grass in the dish's outer bowl). And chef Daniel Humm raising several thousand dollars by spontaneously offering a dinner at the chef' table of his outstanding Eleven Madison Park restaurant.

Restaurants

Another Danny Meyer Burger Comes to NYC

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© Brian Hill
Gramercy Tavern's brand new burger

When it comes time to build the Burger Hall of Fame in New York City, restaurateur Danny Meyer will undoubtedly have his own wing. Back in the day, his Union Square Cafe put tuna burgers on the map; then there's his little chain of Shake Shacks. (In fact, I propose that the BHOF be erected in Madison Park, next to the original Shake Shack.) Now, another Meyer spot is stepping up with a super deluxe burger—Gramercy Tavern. Here’s what chef Michael Anthony does to make GT burgers so stupendous: he butchers, then grinds the beef in-house; sets it on a house-baked bun with cloth-bound cheddar and, among other things, three kinds of onions (wood-grilled charred onions, pickled onions and fresh onions), house-made ketchup and smoked bacon mayo. What with all the in-house work, the burger is a lunchtime-only special, and it might last only until the heirloom tomatoes (another burger garnish) go out of season. So I’d get there soon. And hope that the next order of business is GT’s version of a Shake Shack frozen custard concrete.

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.

Cocktails

Highlights from NYC’s Brewer’s Bash

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beer

© 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.

*Hitting up the cask ale tasting led by Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver with L’Artusi’s Joe Campanale and Kevin Garry.

Menus

Santa Barbara Cheat Sheet Part I

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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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