© kate krader
Ferran Adria with F&W's awesome contributor Anya von Bremzen.
© kate krader
© 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.
© kate krader
Le Fooding celebrities Jeffrey Steingarten and Daniel Patterson.
Most-Worth-It Line/Heros of the Night: Pizza Moto, the Brooklyn-based mobile pizza oven, made pretty much perfect margarita pies for a crowd that stretched across the length of PS 1. And they did so all night, making pizzas way past closing to feed all the event staff.
Dutch Kills, Jim Meehan and his crew from PDT previewed a new double shake-to-high-five that you might see if anyone ever does a remake of the movie Cocktail.
Added Benefit: All net proceeds from Le Grand Fooding went to benefit Action Against Hunger.
Aziz Ansari on line for fried chicken at Le Fooding.
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.
F&W's feature intern, Chelsea Morse, finds a new use for her garden herbs. Here, she shares:
When my husband and I planted our vegetable garden this year, we intended to grow foods like tomatoes, cucumbers and Swiss chard. But after each visit to the nursery section of the farmers' market, we found ourself purchasing flowers and herbs. The garden has been thriving in the summer heat wave, and after making great pesto and chimichurri, we were at a loss for what to do with the rest of our leafy herbs. But I found inspiration while recently visiting PX Lounge in Washington, D.C. Mixologist Todd Thrasher offers a cocktail called "The Grog" - a mixture of Mount Gay rum, housemade lemon bitters, lemon juice, and lemon verbena tea. He steeps verbena leaves in hot water with sugar to create a light, refreshing base for the drink. The result is aromatic and gently tart, and would make a great summertime alternative to lemonade. Our lemon verbena is getting a trim this weekend, and we're going to try some new cocktail experiments. For more summer cocktail ideas, click here.
© 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.
© McCall Mastroianni
Sound Table's Paul Calvert mixes his award-winning drink.
But now, let's talk about the eight brilliant mixologists who got their hands on tomatoes and went crazy. They faced off in a Cocktail Shakedown, with two minutes each to make a tomato-inflected drink. Each one deserves praise, but here were the winners that we (the judges) picked:
Best-Tasting Drink: Sound Table’s La Mancha. Paul Calvert pureed roasted heirloom tomatoes and agave syrup, then shook the puree with tequila, mezcal and basil to make a wonderfully smoky drink.
Best Presentation: Leon’s Full Service’s Golden Ticket. For his excellent rum drink sweetened with homemade tomato jam, Miles Macquerie made beautiful, big ice cubes, poured the drinks into great-looking snifters and garnished them with brandied cherries speared on glass cocktail picks decorated with a cute little rooster.
Most Creative: Abbatoir’s Mason Dixon Sangrita. I know Brian Stanger didn’t invent the sangrita. But certainly it was creative and ingenious that he watched Attack of the Killer Tomatoes to get inspired for his tasty cocktail made with tomato juice, chile sauce and pomegranate juice, chased with a shot of tequila.
Fan Favorite: Miller Union’s Electric Boogaloo. Cara Ludino muddled tomato into her elegant daiquiri-like drink and garnished it with freshly ground pepper.
© Chelsea Morse
Gazpacho at Claire's Restaurant & Bar
Food & Wine’s food-obsessed features intern, Chelsea Morse, admits that she is is occasionally guilty of thinking that Manhattan is the only place where interesting food trends take off. “It's a dangerous trap,” she says. A recent trip to Vermont has her reconsidering.
Here's her big discovery:
Claire's Restaurant & Bar in Hardwick is a CSR (community-supported restaurant). More than 100 individual donors provided all of its start-up funds and eighty cents of every dollar that is spent on food stays within 15 miles of the restaurant—year-round. (Translation: incredible tomato gazpacho all summer, but no green salads in January). The restaurant is even moving its bar program toward local ingredients as much as possible. Vermont chefs and bartenders manage to sneak maple products into everything, and Claire's Dark & Stormy (their version of my go-to summer cocktail) features a dash of a local maple liqueur. Heaven. I can't wait for my next trip north.
© Wendell T. Webber
- Before leaving for her road trip to Miami with JWOWW, Snooki feeds meatballs using her mouth to her boyfriend of two months, Emilio. "Well, I'm done Snookin' for love," she says. "I found an amazing gorilla juice head.”
- En route, JWOWW and Snooki stop at a bar in Savannah, Georgia, where they encounter an awkward fist-pumping local and Snooki discovers fried pickles. “It puts pickles on a whole other level,” she says.
- Once the gang arrives at the house, Ronnie makes a batch of his aptly named "Ron Ron Juice," a fuchsia-colored beverage with watermelon, cherries, cranberry juice and vodka. It turns into a filthy night, especially for Ronnie’s ex-girlfriend Sammi “Sweetheart”: her closet collapses and Ron Ron Juice spills all over her clothes. "Of course it gets on all my white shorts," she says.
We offer more food- and drink-related highlights—or should they be called low-lights?—from season one of the hit show here.
© Paul Costello
Bryan Batt is mad for cocktails.
I try to boycott TV in the summer, but I totally confess that I’ve been counting down for Sunday night, when season four of Mad Men premieres. It’s the perfect excuse to throw a 1960s-style cocktail party. I asked Bryan Batt, who plays Sal Romano on the show, what he’ll be mixing this weekend. “I’m a purist, so a classic Manhattan or dry Martini,” he said. For more ideas, check out our story with Bryan from the May issue, featuring awesome cocktails and food like paprika-smoked baby back ribs from one of his favorite New Orleans bars, Cure.