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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Cocktails

Highlights: Le Grand Fooding

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Aziz Ansari on line for fried chicken at Le Fooding.

For anyone who didn’t score a ticket to the two-day all-out foodie extravaganza at PS1 in Long Island City, NY, it’s hard to understand the allure of Le Grand Fooding. The lines are long, even by NYC Shake Shack standards. The NY vs SF theme was played out nine months ago. (A he said/he said blog between Momofuku’s David Chang and Daniel Patterson, chef at San Francisco’s remarkable Coi restaurant, devolved into nothing; Patterson said Chang was his best friend there.) So why is it such a super fun event? My main theory is that less, not more, top-flight chefs, pizza-makers and mixologists make them all the more memorable. Here are a few other reasons I loved Day 1. My Highlights of Day 2 coming tomorrow.

Most-Worth-It Line: For fried chicken, from Seersucker in Brooklyn, NY.  Some people said they clocked an hour waiting. Still, the chicken was outstanding, crispy and hot and well spiced.

Celebrity Sightings
: Jake Gyllenhaal (in full beard camouflage); Aziz Ansari, who smartly positioned friends in every line so he got to taste everything, then left to go to the secret Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs concert.

MVP: Jim Meehan, the brains behind F&W Cocktail books. He patiently shook about a million Belvedere Parkside Fizz cocktails to fortify the line-standers.

Menus

Preview: New York Craft Beer Week

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beer

© NY Craft Beer Weej
NY Craft Beer Week

The third annual New York Craft Beer Week officially kicks off today and runs through Sunday, October 3. I asked event director Josh Schaffner to help me navigate my tasting schedule. Here, his cheat sheet:

1) The first annual Brewer’s Bash at Eleven Madison Park is being billed as the beer version of the restaurant’s insanely fun Kentucky Derby party. “The goal is to recreate the Derby party for beer,” says Schaffner. “Eleven Madison Park came to us to collaborate, and they are really serious about the beer at their restaurant.” The draw: Six brewers and their craft beers, two live bands, a cask tasting with Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver and six beer cocktails paired with chef Daniel Humm’s beer pretzels and beer cheese, foie gras terrine, pickled vegetables and other beer-friendly foods.
2) As awesome as the Brewer’s Bash sounds, Schaffner’s pick for the must-hit event of the week is the beer-pairing dinner at Mas Farmhouse on September 29. Roving chef-brewer Sean Z. Paxton is teaming up with Mas chef Galen Zamarra for a six-course meal that will pair beers from six different breweries with dishes such as orange-glazed escargot.
3) Must-try beer: Pretty Things will be debuting a brew from Edwardian times at Swift Hibernian Lounge.
4) New brewery to seek out: Schaffner is excited about the beers being made by Barrier, a tiny new brewery in Oceanside, New York. Try them all week at Dive Bar.

Menus

A Locavore Tribute to Central Park

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carlyle

© Rosewood
The restaurant at The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel.

 

Hard-core foragers like “Wildman” Steve Brill have proven that great ingredients don't have to come from country farms. Now, chef James Sakatos of The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, is going extreme-locavore with his new Tastings of Central Park menu, which debuts tomorrow. The iconic New York City hotel is just blocks from the park, and the menu will highlight park ingredients such as oyster mushrooms, chickweed, sheep’s sorrel and sumac berries. Don't expect to find anything too crazy, like squirrel or pigeon, though. The park produce acts as an accent in dishes like sumac-spiced Amish chicken, sautéed dandelions and potato-crusted black bass with park-sourced braised burdock.

Restaurants

Fashion's Night Out Cheat Sheet

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jim denevan

© c/o Anthropologie
Jim Denevan creates art in Siberia.

While fashion editors are sprinting from tent to tent during Manhattan’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, food lovers can hit up these supercool fashion-food partnerships for Fashion’s Night Out on Friday, Sept. 10.

Anthropologie recently sent Jim Denevan, founder of Outstanding in the Field, to Siberia, Russia, to create the world’s largest piece of art. Between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., in front of Anthropologie's Chelsea Market location, Denevan will be making a giant street drawing inspired by the project. For a sneak preview, click here.

Scott Sternberg, the owner and designer of Band of Outsiders, is so obsessed with cookies that he’s even started a cookie blog. On Friday, the Ace Hotel lobby will be turned into a French flea market where Sternberg will have a cookie-themed booth with dessert genius Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar.

Vogue food critic Jeffrey Steingarten and Momofuku chef David Chang will be at the new Andaz 5th Avenue Hotel, hosting an artisanal-whiskey tasting paired with some of Momofuku's cult-favorite dishes.

Guest bartenders from the Taj Mumbai will be pouring Indian-inspired cocktails at a fabulous India event at designer Charles Nolan's boutique. Designer Radhika Gupta is curating acollection of folk are created by the "Gondh" tribal group who live in Indian jungle villages; Suki Cheema will be showcasing his fabulous new Indian-inspired home collection; and Vosges will be supplying curry- and spice-flavored chocolates.

Restaurants

Sneak Peek: LIncoln's Signature Lasagna Verde

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© Kate Cunningham

Here’s a question Jonathan Benno gets a lot: Why is he changing from the French-influenced kitchen at Per Se to cook a 100 percent Italian menu at Lincoln (opening September 26rd, give or take a few days). After all, he worked in France, not Italy, and cooked in French restaurants. “I always liked Italy the best,” he says. “I wanted to focus on one cuisine and represent it as well as I can.” At Lincoln, he’ll take traditional Italian dishes and tweak them—sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little bit. A case in point: his outstanding lasagna verde Bolognese, with layers of rich three-meat Bolognese sauce and plenty of gooey mozzarella, which he’ll pretty much bake to order in individual springform pans. He makes the delicate pasta with dehydrated spinach (he gets it in 50 pound bags from Ohio; he says it’s the same place Ronzoni sources its spinach from). He’ll probably make it for his old boss Thomas Keller when he comes to check out Lincoln. Is he nervous to cook for Keller? No. “It’s easier to cook for him than a lot of other people,” says Benno. “By now, I pretty much know what he likes.”

An adaptation of Benno’s elegant and delicious lasagna verde Bolognese, for home cooks, after the jump.

And for more pasta recipes, check out 's just-out October wine issue, featuring all things Italian-American. 

[More]

Cocktails

San Francisco Hotel Indulgence

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© JDV Hotels
Americano at the Hotel Vitale, San Francisco.



On a recent trip to San Francisco, I stayed at Hotel Vitale, which I’ve decided may be the most perfect hotel in the city. Its location is dangerously convenient to the artisanal awesomeness of the Ferry Building Marketplace—just across the street. Still, I saved room for chef Kory Stewart’s stellar food at the hotel restaurant, Americano. Stewart took over as chef about six months ago and is cooking super-satisfying Italian-inspired dishes, the type I crave nearly any time of day, like spicy parmesan shoestring fries with aioli and and pizza topped with crushed tomatoes, mozzarella and salumi. I was slighty obsessed with his breakfast menu, particularly the wild-mushroom scramble with Grana Padano cheese, truffle oil and fairy-size chanterelles fresh from the Oregon coast. A large outdoor patio was great for late-afternoon cocktails, like the signature Americano: crushed orange slices with Campari and Carpona sweet vermouth over ice.

I was able to balance out all of the indulgence by taking advantage of the hotel’s free morning yoga sessions and its great little running maps that revealed long-and-hilly or short-and-flat routes. Then there was the hotel spa, hidden away on the top floor, where three treatment rooms and deep soaking tubs surrounded by bamboo overlook the bay and feel a world away from the city.

Wine

Music, Food & Wine in Golden Gate Park

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© John Margaretten
Korean tacos from Namu at Outside Lands.


This weekend I had a chance to eat, drink and see some phenomenal bands rock out in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at the third annual Outside Lands music festival. Here, some highlights:

* Sampling insanely good food from the 34 stalls. Maverick went through 750 pounds of pig for its pulled-pork sandwiches! Other favorites included the barbecued oysters from Anchor & Hope and vermicelli noodles from Out the Door. Patrick Hallahan of the band My Morning Jacket was a fan of Namu’s Korean tacos.

* Cruising the Wine Lands tent with Outside Lands producer Rick Farman and Vintage Berkeley wine-shop owner Peter Eastlake, the wine director of Wine Lands. Eastlake lined up 25 top California wineries this year. There were 75 wines available by the taste or glass; my favorites included 2009 Wind Gap Trousseau Gris, 2008 A.P. Vin Kanzler Pinot Noir and 2008 Manifesto! Cabernet Sauvignon. (Kings of Leon were drinking Sinskey and Copain wines backstage.)

* Hanging with winemaker Jamey Whetstone (read more about him in the October issue of F&W). He was offering wines from his Whetstone and Manifesto! labels in Wine Lands, though he did manage to sneak away to see Social Distortion play.

* Watching Gogol Bordello while eating Hawaiian poke and Baja-shrimp ceviche from Pacific Catch restaurant.

* Checking out the on-site farmers’ market next to the stage where the Rebirth Brass Band performed.

* Going backstage after the Kings of Leon show for the late-night after-party, which included spiked hot chocolate and massive oatmeal-raisin cookies.

Restaurants

Special Food & Wine Tickets for Le Grand Fooding

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© Le Fooding
A Le Fooding Face Off

It’s back: The dates and the menu for the second annual Le Grand Fooding event are set. The two-night food-and-drink extravaganza will take place September 24 and 25 at PS 1 in Long Island City. Food & Wine has a special link to buy advance tickets: legrandfooding.com. (Don't wait; last year they sold out in less than 72 hours.)

Last year, the ingenious French Le Fooding team brought some of Paris’s grooviest chefs—like Inaki Aizpitarte from Le Chateaubriand—into town to cook alongside New Yorkers like Daniel Boulud and David Chang.

This year, the theme is New York vs. San Francisco, inspired by Chang’s now-infamous put-down of the Bay Area: “Every restaurant in San Francisco is just figs on a plate with nothing on it.” The five participating SF chefs have retorts for Chang. And the four NYC chefs joining Chang have retorts back. Among the smack-talking highlights:

James Syhabout (Commis, SF)
: “To keep it simple, best rhymes with West.”

Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone (Torrisi, NY): “When Sinatra said ‘If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,’ he wasn’t talking about San Fran!”

Daniel Patterson (Coi, SF): “David who?”

Dan Barber (Blue Hill, NY): “Looking forward to learning how to wrap a great burrito.”

Meanwhile, Eater has details on Le Fooding’s excellent action-style movie posters, and the Village Voice has all details on the menu.

Farms

Killer Tomato Festival Highlights

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© Michael Wall
No early tastings of Gerry Klaskala's winning grilled cheese-tomato sandwiches

Yes, there were thousands of pounds of tomatoes this weekend at Atlanta’s Second Annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival. Anyone who—like my 6-year-old-godson Max—thought that meant the world's best tomato-throwing contest was out of luck. (Maybe next year?) Still, there was every other conceivable kind of tomato treatment at this super fun event which had the added benefit of supporting Georgia Organics. Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill and Top Chef fame made tomato ice cream sandwiches. Steven Satterfield of Miller-Union served an elegant tomato aspic. Five Seasons Brewing created a super refreshing Tomato IPA. I got to judge the event! And taste all 26 dishes! Here are the food winners, with a few honorable mentions thrown in. (Tomorrow, we’ll feature the cocktail winners.)

BEST TASTING: Aria’s Grilled Cheese with Roof Top Dried Tomatoes. Gerry Klaskala made stellar grilled cheese sandwiches using great long slices of Pullman bread and cutely-named dried tomatoes.

MOST CREATIVE: JCT Kitchen & Bar’s Killer Tomato Jelly Doughnuts. No, this didn’t sound like a good idea to me, but the doughnuts by chef Ford Fry and his team were perfect and the bacon custard on the side was genius.

BEST BOOTH: Holeman & Finch. F&W Best New Chef 2009 Linton Hopkins’ booth was tomatopalooza, with tomato plants in cages and 100 origami tomatoes hanging on a garland over the table.

(BONUS) MY CREATIVE RUNNER UP #1: Abbatoir’s. Hawaiian Shaved Ice with Tomato Herb Waters. They had a shaved ice machine going, and three kinds of toppings, my favorite being the sweet tomato chile. The finishing splash of Georgia moonshine did not hurt.

Here, 12 more food festivals from around the world, including another tomato celebration (more along the lines of what Max had in mind).

Restaurants

Chartreuse, Housemade Vermouth and the Red Sox

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Last weekend goes down as one of the best in recent memory for me thanks to two great meals in Boston and a little baseball team called the Red Sox.

Friday night found some friends and me at Coppa, where I made it just in time for the late-night menu-an abbreviated version of the dinner menu, but no less impressive. Highlights included chef Jamie Bissonette's stunning crudo with radishes and carrots and borage flowers and the Pattypan di Popeye pizza topped with summer squash and spinach. A friend ordered the Strongman cocktail, which came in an enormous stein with a very muscular glass arm as the handle. The drink, a mixture of green chartreuse, yellow chartreuse and Coors Light (!) was remarkably refreshing and surprisingly strong.

The next day we were lucky to score some seats to the Red Sox game versus the Detroit Tigers. Now, as a girl who grew up in Michigan, I get a lot of flack for rooting for anyone other than the Tigers, but I can't help it. I love David Ortiz. I confess. I also love walk-off homeruns. And guess what: Bottom of the 9th, Sox down 3-2, David Ortiz gets up to the plate and WHAM! Three-run double, and the Sox win the game!

To celebrate this ridiculous victory, we sat down for dinner at Eastern Standard where the oysters were delicious and the 2009 Domaine Colotte rosé (find this wine) from Marsannay went expertly with the tomato, goat cheese and almond salad. Mixologist Jackson Cannon started us off with a to-be-named mini-cocktail (created by fellow bartender Bob McCoy) that was the perfect aperitif. Cannon's been making amber vermouth in-house, and it made this cocktail particularly herbaceous and balanced and refreshing. This is the best possible drink for a hot summer night after your favorite team comes through in the end:

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 1 ½ oz. gin, ¾ oz. amber vermouth, ½ oz. fresh lemon juice, ¼ oz. simple syrup and 1 dash orange bitters. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze a fresh lemon twist over the glass and discard. Serve.

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