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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Boston’s Best Ice Cream

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On a recent trip to Boston, I stayed at the adorable Beacon Hill Hotel, tucked away down Charles Street. Its 12 rooms are right above its street-level restaurant, the Bistro, which is run by Barbara Lynch alum Jason Bond. In addition to the excellent complimentary breakfast, which included vanilla pancakes and a thick French toast topped with spiced crème fraîche, chef Bond makes some of the best ice cream in town. My friend Katherine and I tasted our way through flavors like Ligurian Olive Oil and Banana Rum, but the flavor that had us coming back at midnight for a second scoop was the Chocolate Almond–Smoked Sea Salt, with a pudding-like texture and crunchy bits of cocoa nibs and toasted slivered almonds. Bond shared his secret: Valrhona Guanaha chocolate and Norwegian smoked sea salt. Thank goodness ice cream wasn't on the breakfast menu.

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Two Stellar Brunches in Los Angeles

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I just returned from a quick trip to L.A. where I had two fantastic brunches.

Gjelina in Venice makes killer scones (moist and covered in a layer of crisp sugar), pizzas (try the one with grilled radicchio, fontina, bacon and tomato confit), BLTs (on thick slices of grilled bread with a fried egg on top) and butterscotch pot de crème (with salted caramel and crème fraîche).

Tavern in Brentwood is not just a fantastic brunch spot but it's also good for lunch, dinner, cocktails and takeout, too. Try the sticky bun Suzanne-style (topped with two slices of crisp Neiman Ranch bacon!), chorizo and eggs, wild mushroom frittata, lemon-ricotta pancakes and the turkey burger. Be sure to pick up some pastries to go from the larder on your way out.

Some inspiring F&W brunch recipes:

White Bean Huevos Rancheros

French Toast Stuffed with Ricotta and Strawberry Jam

Scrambled Eggs with Herbed Croutons

Smoked Trout Spread with Capers

BLT Fried Egg-and-Cheese Sandwich

Spicy Honey-Glazed Bacon

Sherried Mushrooms with Fried Eggs on Toast

Lemony Cornmeal-Cherry Scones

 

 

Recipes

The Standard Hotel’s Beer Garden

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Kurt Gutenbrunner ringing the bell at the Standard Beer Garden.

© Jennifer Salerno
Kurt Gutenbrunner ringing the bell at the Standard Beer Garden.

It's not every day that a famous Austrian chef hand-feeds you a weisswurst, but that's what happened to me last night at New York City's Standard Hotel's Beer Garden.

Wearing lederhosen in honor of Oktoberfest and a jean jacket personally given to him by the fashion designer Helmut Lang, Kurt Gutenbrunner (The Upholstery Store, Café Sabarsky, Blaue Gans and Michelin-starred Wallsé) handed out huge rock-salt-encrusted pretzels baked by Amy's Bread to trendy New Yorkers and taught me the proper way to eat a weisswurst (peel off the skin, dip in sweet mustard and devour with or without utensils).

Gutenbrunner rang a bell behind the beer garden's sausage bar throughout the night ("In Germany we ring the bell to call people to eat," he said). But he was upstaged by a German street-cart favorite called curry wurst: a juicy grilled bratwurst topped with ketchup and curry powder and served in a bun on a bed of sauerkraut.

Hotelier André Balazs gave Gutenbrunner carte blanche to select the garden's Schaller & Weber sausages and German beers (the chef's favorite is the Bitburger Pils, which he describes as "a golden beer that tastes like Champagne, a slight bit of lemon and a touch of banana"). Balazs even named a sausage on the menu after the chef: the Cheddar "Kurt"wurst–a bratwurst oozing with the creamy cheese.

"I've never met anyone with a bigger vision than André, or anyone who cares so much about making the beer garden experience here as authentic as possible," said Gutenbrunner before leading patrons in a chant of a Bavarian drinking song that loosely translates to "One More Beer."

Here are 7 more amazing sausage recipes from the F&W archives, perfect for any Oktoberfest celebration.

Restaurants

Le Fooding Kickoff Dinner

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© Andrew Sessa

How do you keep some of the world’s most innovative and crazy foodies entertained? As the kickoff dinner last night for Le Fooding D’Amour Paris-New York revealed, you serve them incredible food cooked by the talented crew at Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill House, like whole roasted German trout with green beans and guanciale-and-crème-fraîche pizza. You pair the food with lots of Veuve Clicquot Champagne (seven cases were consumed!). And you set up a pétanque court, enlist a singing accordion player and hire a seriously good balloon-animal-hat maker.

© Andrew Sessa

My table unanimously voted my hat, a unicorn-like crown, as the most outrageous creation of the night (though David Chang’s gold-and-black tower was a close runner-up). Unfortunately, when Daniel Boulud asked to try on my balloon hat, he popped it!

Click here for more party photos.

 

 

Restaurants

Le Fooding Sneak Preview

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© Adam Schneider/ Courtesy of Veuve Clicquot
David Chang rocks a balloon hat at Vinegar Hill House.

The much-hyped two-night event Le Fooding D’Amour Paris-New York officially starts tonight. But last night, members of Le Fooding—the irreverent French foodie group —gathered at Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill House for a kickoff dinner sponsored by Veuve Clicquot. Also in attendance: some of NYC’s best chefs and a mix of socialites, celebrities and food lovers like cookbook author Katie Lee , jewelry designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia, Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine and Vena Cava designer Sophie Buhai. If last night’s event is any indication, a carnival-like 48 hours are ahead of us. Just check out the photo below (more explanation to come later today).

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Genius Pierre Gagnaire Lunch

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Gagnaire's amazing "Zezette" broth.

© Alessandra Bulow
Gagnaire's amazing "Zezette" mushroom broth.

Sure, my colleagues ate breakfast with chef-god Pierre Gagnaire the other day. I did them one better—I ate a meal that he himself cooked. As a preview of the menu he'll be serving at Twist at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, opening in December, he hosted a lunch in the 36th floor ballroom of the hotel’s New York City location, overlooking Central Park.

The meal started with an amazing dish that I'd never seen anything like before—lightly fried strips of Dover sole with spinach, accompanied by bowls of white vegetable velouté and bocconcini ice cream. Gagnaire topped the fish with a large, very thin disk of "Kientzheim" butter—a funny name for a butter he flavors with reduced fish stock, shallots and Champagne—that melts into the fish when warm sauce is poured on top.

Another dish, named "Zezette" after a good friend of his, was an earthy-sweet and rich mushroom broth (pictured) served with roasted duck, braised turnips (which turn deep pink after soaking in beet juice and Campari) and "Yoyo," basmati rice–Parmesan gratin named after his friend Yolanda, who also makes this dish.

Now I'm back in my cubicle, dreaming about my incredible experience and thinking that I know exactly what I'd call a dish named after Pierre Gagnaire: “Genius!”

Chefs

Le Fooding’s Best New Toy: La Toquera

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Inaki Aizpitarte makes his toquera for Le Fooding

Before the Le Fooding crew came to town, I had no idea what a toquera was. Now I have a new obsession. Alexandre Cammas, who’s here to launch Le Fooding d’Amour Paris-New York—the two-night extravaganza courtesy of the irreverent French foodie group that features crazy-good New York chefs cooking alongside crazy-good Paris chefs, with plenty of Michel Chapoutier wine and LCD Sound System and Paul Sevigny DJing—introduced me to it. (The Le Fooding event, which takes place September 25 and 26 at P.S. 1 in Long Island City is mostly sold out of their $30 tickets—a few are still available if you get there early.)

Anyway, la toquera is a French invention of a chef making a cooking video while holding a camera (toque + camera). By necessity, the recipes are short and easy to follow and invariably hilarious. Le Fooding’s French website has several, from pastry icon Pierre Hermé’s wasabi-and-grapefruit “emotion” to Zoe’s cake from Pierre Jancou of the amazing wine bar Racines. My favorite so far is Toquera #19, Oriental mussels from Inaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand, who’s in NYC for Le Fooding and who manages to combine his very obvious cooking skill with his equally obvious distaste for being on camera.

Recipes

Dishes by Iconic Eighties Chefs

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© Maura McEvoy

Celebrate the remake of 1980’s iconic arts-school film Fame, opening tomorrow, with dishes by iconic Eighties chefs like Wolfgang Puck’s grilled steaks with sweet-spicy hoisin-ginger sauce (pictured); Johanne Killeen and George Germon’s tangy pasta with shredded zucchini, yogurt and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; and Jeremiah Tower’s vegetable ragout with fresh herbs. Stay tuned for more dishes that celebrate the Eighties later today and tomorrow.

More Dishes by Legendary Chefs
- 10 dishes by F&W’s Hall of Fame Best New Chefs like Suzanne Goin’s mustard-crusted lamb, Shea Gallante’s meat loaf with red wine glaze, and Nancy Silverton’s dulce de leche ice cream pie

 

 

Chefs

Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch

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© Courtesy Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch

A few weeks ago, friends of mine got married at the stunning Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch. The many Brooklynites in attendance (including me) stocked up on food and beer in Boise, but we needn’t have bothered: The bride is a foodie, not to mention the editor of Grant Achatz’s upcoming memoir, Life, on the Line. The ranch’s chef, Andrew Machanic (a New England Culinary Institute grad), knocked me out time and again with his cooking. From hand-dipped caramel apples at check-in to a perfectly seared Lava Lake lamb loin at the reception, I was in heaven and hiked only to pass time between meals. Fingers crossed my friends will be renewing their vows there annually.

Cookbooks

Boxing Lessons with Barbara Lynch

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Last week, I was up in Boston to help host a party with rock-star chef Barbara Lynch and the founders of Fresh beauty, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg. The occasion: To celebrate an article in F& W’s September issue, in which Lynch helped her friends add more flavor to their favorite healthy recipes.

After the party, we headed over to Sportello, one of Barbara's newest restaurants, and the dinner conversation veered to keeping fit. Barbara is on a serious health kick. To keep up her energy (she just finished a new cookbook, Stir, out next month), she’s been obsessively juicing every fruit, vegetable and herb she can get her hands and storing batches in her fridge. Lynch also told me about her new favorite energy bar, Green Vibrance. (Cameron Diaz has been in Boston, filming Wichita with Tom Cruise, and her personal assistant introduced Barbara to the dark-chocolate-covered, vitamin-loaded veggie bar.)

In addition to trail-running with the Sportello staff, Barbara has also taken up boxing. And I don’t mean the cardio-punch classes they offer at fancy fitness centers. Lynch works out at Golden Gloves champion Peter Welch’s super-old-school gym in Southie. After a few drinks, Lev (he actually does the cardio-punch gym classes) and I had agreed to join her in the ring the next day. Lev was a no-show (I think he got scared), but Barbara’s publicist, Sarah Hearn, joined me for an intense hour-long session with a group that looked straight out of Rocky. After throwing uppercuts, jabs and hooks and doing what seemed like endless push-ups, I have a new respect for Barbara Lynch, way beyond her extraordinary skills in the kitchen.

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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.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.