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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

UNICEF Tap Project

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This week isn’t just another thrilling week in NCAA March Madness: It’s also World Water Week and marks the return of the fourth annual UNICEF Tap Project, an initiative that invites customers at thousands of U.S. restaurants to donate $1 or more for the tap water they get for free.

“Participation in the UNICEF Tap Project is an easy way for restaurants to help save the lives of children around the world,” says Tom Colicchio, chef-owner of Craft restaurants—all of which are participating in the Tap Project. (As my colleague Kate Krader reported, he’s also a superhero activist in the effort to end childhood hunger.)

According to UNICEF, 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water, and waterborne illnesses are the second-highest cause of preventable childhood deaths. For every $1 donation, UNICEF can provide one child access to safe, clean water for 40 days.

For a list of restaurants in your city that are participating in the UNICEF Tap Project, visit http://www.tapproject.org/restaurants/.



Recipes

Springtime for Chefs

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© Con Poulos
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb

Tomorrow is the first official day of spring and Tom Colicchio is all a-Twitter about ramps. “It’s spring in NY bring on the ramps,” he Tweeted yesterday. He’s not the only chef excited about spring ingredients: At a recent benefit event for C-CAP, Shaun Hergatt from SHO Shaun Hergatt told me that he can't wait to cook with spring peas and is planning to serve them with sous-vide lamb; Craig Koketsu of the seasonally-driven restaurant Park Avenue Spring is impatiently anticipating rhubarb.

Here are a few recipes for ramps, spring peas and rhubarb to help kick off the season. Plus, check out these 100+ recipes in F&W’s Guide to Fresh Spring Produce:

White Cheese Pizza with Ramps
Spring Peas with Mint
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb (Pictured)

Cocktails

New Projects from Berlin’s Star Mixologist

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Bar Amano

© Hotel Amano
Mario Grünfelder created the cocktail list for the bar at Hotel Amano.

 

For the last few days (and very late nights), I found myself restaurant-and-bar-hopping around Berlin with Mario Grünfelder, the star mixologist of the city’s coolest bar, Tausend. F&W’s European correspondent, Gisela Williams, had been telling me about a number of ambitious projects the Swiss-born spirits genius been working on. He already co-owns Tausend, along with W Imbiss and the superhip Café 103 (which he says will be transforming into something even cooler very soon). Mario is good buddies with the brilliant, semi-maniacal chef Christian Lohse, so we met for lunch at Lohse’s Michelin-starred seafood-centric Fischers Fritz to talk about potential collaborations, which included talk of a 24-hour bar-hopping bus.

Later, Mario invited us to Cantina, the new restaurant in a room behind the bar at Tausend. The former chef of Berlin’s popular Shiro I Shiro is turning out casual Latin-Asian dishes like Peruvian tiradito, tuna tataki wrapped in foie and Momofuku-rivaling pork buns. Over a second round of the stellar pork buns, Mario shared his newest passion, making his own spirits, including an unbelievably smooth wheat-based vodka he’s named Greenfield and Harter 73 (Greenfield being an Americanized version of his last name; 73 referring to his date of birth; and Harter the last name of Tausend co-owner Til Harter). I’m hoping we’ll see bottles stateside soon.

When Tausend gets too crowded late at night, Mario heads to his newest bar project at the chic, affordable new Hotel Amano in the Mitte neighborhood. The low-lit lounge serves late-night snacks and Mario’s cocktails, like the Grischenko (Xoriguer gin, cordial lime juice and Limettensaft bitters) until 4 a.m. The prolific spirits obsessive is now off to Barcelona. Maybe he’ll be opening his first project outside of Germany soon.

Restaurants

Berlin's Hot New Restaurants

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Food & Wine’s super-plugged-in European correspondent, Gisela Williams, is based in Berlin and has been taking me to all the hottest new spots in town. Here, a quick rundown:

Wahllokal is in a somewhat awkward location between the business and tourist sections of Berlin’s Mitte neighborhood. Everything about the space is playful, from the tasting menu (divided into Beforehand, Right in the Middle and Thereafter) to the bleacher-esque, stadium-style seating and the wacky basement bathrooms (with showers instead of sinks for washing hands). The food, however, is more straightforward and very well-priced. Highlights were an ever-so-lightly breaded codfish with ox-muzzle salad and Thai asparagus and the watercress risotto with coconut and pomelo honey.

Raffaele Sorrentino, the miracle-working concierge at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski, recently opened two Italian spots side-by-side. The more casual Antica Lasagneria specializes in huge slices of lasagna from a classic meat-and-cheese to a spicy-sausage-and-broccoli. The dining room feels like a wine store with great Italian bottles literally from floor to ceiling. Il Punto is a Berlin favorite that Raffaele reopened in a new location in June serving stellar Italian classics and top Italian wines.

Daniel Achilles is the incredibly young chef everyone is talking about since he was recently awarded a Michelin star for his cooking at the new Reinstoff. Achilles has designed two tasting menus: "Quite Near" is more classic (calf's tail ravioli) while "Far Away" is much more experimental (scallop tartare with brussels sprouts and oyster emulsion). The wine list highlights Spanish and German producers.

Recipes

Would You Eat Breast Milk Cheese?

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At this point we’ve all read about NYC chef Daniel Angerer, who's been making cheese with his wife’s breast milk.

For some people it might make any kind of cheese seem unappealing, but it’s made me excited to try Daniel Patterson’s recipe for creamy ricotta—using cow’s milk!

Check out F&W’s awesome cheese guide for tips on creating the perfect cheese plate, strategies for cooking with cheese and our favorite cheese-focused recipes.

And tell us, would you eat breast-milk cheese?

Recipes

Deer Valley's Best Après-Ski

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St. Regis Deer Crest Resort
Our February story on Park City, Utah, was fun to research—but the best part was heading out there last month and experiencing it for myself. One moment I've been reliving in my head is stopping by the St. Regis Deer Crest Resort after a long day skiing. The property, which you can enter via gondola or on skis, overlooks the slopes of pristine Deer Valley. The views were breathtaking as I sat outside, a steaming peppermint tea in my hand, watching as kids in the heated pool below had a serious snowball fight and skiers completed their last runs of the day. The Terrace Café menu (done by Jean-Georges Vongerichten) also had tempting choices like Snake River beef chili and Valrhona chocolate pudding, but next time I go I'll step inside for his Asian burgers at the resort's J&G Grill—or I'll try making them at home with the recipe from our February issue. 

Restaurants

Talisker's New Public Restaurant

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John Murcko

© Photo Courtesy of Talisker
Chef John Murcko

Until very recently, most visitors to Park City, Utah (me included) could only get a passing glimpse at the luxurious world of Talisker. Created by a high-end real-estate developer, Talisker is made up of three private communities whose members enjoy exclusive access to clubhouses at many of the area's ski resorts. But that all changed earlier this year with the opening of Talisker on Main, a new restaurant that's open to everyone. I visited the place recently and found it a sophisticated alternative to downtown's many rustic spots, with pressed-tin ceilings, crystal chandeliers and sheepskin chairs. Chef John Murcko, a 15-year Park City veteran, has some outstanding meats on his menu, like seared Utah elk served over glazed yams, but even though I'm a carnivore, my hands-down favorite dish was the salad of thinly sliced, roasted brussels sprouts with toasted hazelnuts and a touch of Jerez sherry vinegar. I only wish I had been there a few weeks earlier, during the Sundance festival, when I could have spotted Adrian Grenier, Paris Hilton and Joan Rivers.

Wine

Berlin's Big Food Trend

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Michael Hoffman

© Photo Courtesy of Restaurant Margaux
Chef Michael Hoffman

I’m in Berlin this week, and in between business meetings I’ve had some extraordinary meals. One surprise: In a city I normally associate with Wiener schnitzel and currywurst, tons of restaurants are offering really interesting vegetarian options. Chef Michael Hoffman of the Michelin-starred restaurant Restaurant Margaux is perhaps the city’s biggest vegetable champion; he even has a cookbook dedicated entirely to cooking with herbs (an English version is in the works) and a second vegetable-centric cookbook in the pipeline. He and his lovely wife, Kathrin, who runs the front of the house at Margaux, recently planted gardens in nearby greenhouses so they can source vegetables and herbs year round. Hoffman promotes his seven-course vegetarian tasting menu with equal, if not greater, enthusiasm than his regular tasting menu. I was truly impressed with dishes like a seaweed salad with candied lemon and ginger, jus of pumpkin and lime and a savory baked “sushi” of pumpkin and couscous (pumpkin and couscous wrapped sushi-style in a superthin layer of phyllo dough). And his sommelier was up to the tricky challenge of finding perfect vegetable-friendly wines (the remarkable 600-plus-bottle wine list is nearly 70-percent German) with choices like the 2006 Weingut Bernhard Eifel Barriques Weisser Burgunder from the Mosel.

Restaurants

Top Chef's Kevin Gillespie's New 'Cue Project

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Kevin Gillespie


Top Chef's Kevin Gillespie

While attending one of Serenbe's Southern Chefs Series workshops, writer Danny Bonvissuto spoke to guest chef Kevin Gillespie about his next restaurant project. Here's the scoop:

Thanks to Top Chef, Gillespie’s farm-to-table restaurant, Woodfire Grill, is often booked six weeks out. Gillespie’s next project: a barbecue joint just a few blocks away in an old auto repair shop. Due to open in November, the spot – which he says will be named with Atlanta in mind – will have no menu; he’ll roast two Berkshire hogs a day, rotate side dishes, and when the food’s gone, it’s gone.

Chefs

Top Chef’s Kevin Gillespie at Serenbe

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Kevin Gillespie


Top Chef's Kevin Gillespie

Food writer and Atlanta native Danny Bonvissuto recently attended one of the ongoing Southern Chefs Series workshops at Serenbe, a modern eco-community 30 miles outside of Atlanta. The weekend's guest chef was Top Chef fan favorite Kevin Gillespie. She shares her takeaway:
 
As if his Mr. Nice Guy celebrity personality hadn’t already endeared him to the masses, Gillespie showed up with his knives, a big bag of pork cracklings and a sorghum-and-mustard-glazed pork shoulder that had already spent 16 hours cooking sous vide.

Gillespie was there to show me and 11 others some of his best recipes and kitchen tricks. He passed out recipes but made it clear that they were only to be used as guides. Instead, he had us listen to the sound of the Vita-Prep as it chopped its way through protein pockets while making tarragon mayonnaise for the poached chicken salad; he had us look at the way the custard for the warm banana pudding stood up on his finger.

Gillepsie firmly believes there’s no such thing as too much pork. Bacon grease and pork cracklings were in the cornbread. Country ham and smoked bacon were in the tomato-braised collards. Heck, there was even bacon in the mixed lettuce salad with pecan-raisin croutons and creamy cider dressing, which Gillespie called “a light lunch.”

Future guest teachers at Serenbe’s Southern Chefs Series include chef and cookbook author Nathalie Dupree (April 25–26); Atlanta’s JCT Kitchen chef Ford Fry (July date TBD); chef and cookbook author Virginia Willis (October 24–25); Hugh Acheson, chef of 5&10 in Athens, Georgia, in 2011; and return engagements TBD for chefs Linton Hopkins and Gillespie. $425 includes the Sunday/Monday workshop, meals with wine and overnight accommodations at Serenbe (770-463-2610 or serenbe.com).

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