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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Cocktails

Mumbai After-Hours Cheat Sheet

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© Photo Courtesy Blue Frog

Guest blogger Monica Bhide, author of Modern Spice, gave us some of her best picks for where to go late-night in Mumbai. 

As Barack Obama heads to one of my favorite cities in the world, I thought I would offer him some guidance on how to relax, Mumbai-style, after a long day of work. From roadside restaurants to salsa clubs, it all begins around midnight in Mumbai.
1.     Blue Frog Located in an old warehouse, the club has circular stadium-style rows with seating pods that glow in psychedelic colors during live performances.  On offer are cocktails like the Indian Summer, made with vodka, fresh mango, mint and ginger.
2.     Zenzi Mills Right across from Blue Frog is this new restaurant inside an old cotton mill. A two-story lounge with exposed-brick walls, it has salsa and a sleek bar that turns out cocktails at lightning speed. Pair their caipiroska (a caipirinha with vodka) with inventive dishes, like paneer satay.
3.     Shiro  This 10,000-square-foot lounge has Indian-inspired lotus ponds, three larger-than-life Balinese statues hovering over the patrons and red-glass baubles hanging from the ceiling. The best dish is a searing Mahtani chicken with onions and chiles, named for the owner.
4.     Lotus Café at the J.W. Marriott This elegant coffee shop with soaring ceilings is a late-night favorite of Bollywood stars. Try Madras steak served in a coconut gravy with onion and chile tempura, plus one of their famous iced teas in flavors like mint, watermelon and green apple.
5.     Haji Ali Juice Center Hard-core party-goers end their nights here. Since 1937, the Haji Ali Juice bar has served the city’s best juices. There are no seats, so you park your car by the sea and the waiters come running to take your order for their ruby-red pomegranate juice or their signature “Ganga Jamuna,” a blend of orange juices.  

Wine

Drink or Treat for a Good Cause

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© Photo Adventures with Ed.com
Joe Campanale at the 2009 NYC Marathon

This Sunday, NYC’s Anfora wine bar is throwing a Halloween party and encouraging customers to dress up (bonus points for anyone who comes dressed as their favorite biodynamic wine producer) for a good cause. Starting at 6 p.m. Anfora will be serving Halloween cocktails like the Szarlotka (bison grass vodka and apple juice) and snacks. Entries in the costume contest are $10 and all of the proceeds go to Team Hole in the Wall, a great charity that co-owner and sommelier Joe Campanale is racing for next week in the NYC marathon. The best costume wins their choice of brunch or lunch at Dell’anima or L’Artusi.

Cocktails

Early Look: Ferran Adrià’s New Barcelona Spots

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© kate krader
Ferran Adria with F&W's awesome contributor Anya von Bremzen.

It’s only 2010 and El Bulli is not my local hangout; still, I’m already a little nervous about the closing of the world’s most famous restaurant in 2012. Ferran Adrià did allay my fears when he confirmed that he has plans for a new El Bulli. Now, here’s more good news from F&W’s superstar contributor, and Ferran Adrià expert, Anya von Bremzen: Ferran and his brother Albert are launching two new projects in Barcelona. Tickets (what’s with that name?) will focus on contemporary tapas; a magnificent timeline they’re designing for the space will trace the cultural history of Spain’s iconic small plates. (Just imagine what that means.) Among the four different spaces: a bar that that focuses on seafood from ports around Spain to a tapas counter dedicated to sweets. Tickets is set to open in January. Meanwhile, the Adriàs’ second project, 41°, has a singular focus, too: cocktails, emphasis on contemporary. That’s slated to open at the end of November. So, I asked Anya, why is Ferran doing tapas now? Here’s what she said: “Spain’s very top chefs are responding to the country’s slumping economy by turning to tapas. Albert helped pioneer this trend with his fabulous tapas bar Inopia. To have Ferran involved now; that’s truly exciting.”

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.

Cocktails

Highlights: Day 2 Le Grand Fooding

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© kate krader
Le Fooding celebrities Jeffrey Steingarten and Daniel Patterson.

Saturday night of Le Grand Fooding, the irreverent food event featuring chefs from NYC and San Francisco at PS1, had a different cast of characters, and its very own highlights.

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.

Celebrity Sighting: Vogue’s Jeffrey Steingarten who camped out for most of the night near San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson, where he critiqued the hay Patterson used to smoke his vegetables.

After Party: At the terrific nearby bar 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.

 

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.

Cocktails

Garden-to-Glass Cocktails

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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.



Cocktails

San Francisco Hotel Indulgence

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vitale

© 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.

Cocktails

Killer Tomato Festival: The Cocktails

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© McCall Mastroianni
Sound Table's Paul Calvert mixes his award-winning drink.

Sure, there were an amazing, and absurd, amount of tomato (and bacon) dishes at the Second Annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival in Atlanta. The 26 chefs were mostly from the area, but a bunch road-tripped in: Birmingham’s Chris Hastings, Charleston’s Mike Lata and Oxford, Mississippi’s John Currence, among others. (The fan favorite for Best Tomato Dish, though, was from local chef Keira Moritz at Pacci Ristorante's, who served absolutely adorable mini cones filled with heirloom tomato–peach and tomato-basil ice creams.)

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.

Cocktails

A Community-Supported Restaurant in Vermont

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gazpacho

© 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.
 

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