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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Food as Art in L.A.

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Scott Hove's cakes bite back.

© Scott Hove
Scott Hove's cakes bite back.

As a kid, I always loved to play with my food. But none of my creations ever came close to the wild food art that’s part of “Palate,” a new exhibition opening May 22 at L.A.’s Scion Gallery. The title is a play on the artist’s palette and the tasting palate. It includes Jeff Vespa’s huge Polaroids of fast-food burgers and a series of photographs from James Reynolds documenting death-row inmates’ last-meal requests. Wacky food artist Clare Crespo has crocheted a seafood smorgasbord of oysters and shrimp po’boys, and Tamara Kostianovsky uses clothing to create sculptures that resemble slabs of meat. I love the sweet and scary Cakeland collection from Oakland-based artist Scott Hove. His cakes, sculptures and installations are meant to juxtapose the sense of desire and fear with elements like teeth and horns adorning pretty pink cakes.

Restaurants

Montauk's Surf Lodge Kicks Off Summer

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surf lodge

© Joe Termini
The Surf Lodge, Montauk.

This weekend, the Surf Lodge in Montauk, New York, opens for its third summer season. The laid-back, Endless Summer-vibe and beachy-chic decor make it one of my favorite hotels. As always, the hotel has a stellar lineup of music talent scheduled (G. Love, Mishka and the Beautiful Girls, to name a few). Top Chef Season 2 star Sam Talbot is still in the kitchen, but this year he’s introducing a Hawaiian lunch menu. Also new is the debut of the Food Stand, which will serve fish tacos, lobster rolls and Hawaiian plate lunches late-night, from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. Another addition for 2010 is the Store at the Surf Lodge, a supercool boutique curated by boutique owner Bethany Mayer, featuring clothes by the awesome eco-conscious designer Rogan Gregory; his label, Loomstate, collaborated with the Surf Lodge and Bloomingdale's to create a capsule collection of surf-inspired clothing; the Surf Lodge staff will also be rocking Loomstate Organic uniforms this season. The store opens Memorial Day weekend and will sell a mix of pieces from designers like Jill Platner, Surf Bazaar (a new line designed for and sold exclusively at the Surf Lodge), Loomstate for the Surf Lodge and Tracy.

Travel

Great New Boston Design Shop

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shop

© Jen Murphy
Butcher-chic design at J.E.M. in Boston's South End.


I was in Boston for the weekend and while bakery hopping through the South End I stumbled upon a fantastic new design shop called J.E.M. The store has a very John Derian-esque feel to it with cool pieces like organic ceramic pots from Susan Raber Bray, and apothecary bottles and bar carts made from reclaimed steel. It felt like a quirkily curated curiosity shop-cum-museum.

J.E.M. has also started hosting in-store salons with artists and designers. South End artist Isabelle Abramson, who sells her gorgeous, delicate, doily-patterned porcelain bowls there, will be in-shop this Thursday.

The store also doubles as a showroom for owner/designer Jane Miller who is responsible for the awesome furnishings made from repurposed wood and metal. In addition to enormous chunky dining and coffee tables, there are clever pieces like a terrarium that Miller crafted from a broken table. My favorite piece was an enormous sign (pictured) salvaged from Faneuil Hall Marketplace that embraces Boston’s current butcher and beast obsession. Apparently it’s been confusing some South End shoppers. “We had an elderly couple come in and try to order lamb chops the other day,” the girl behind the counter told me. I can’t help but think a design-butcher shop would probably be a great new trend.


Menus

Painkiller Tiki Drink Preview

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Cradle of Life flaming cocktail at Painkiller

© Alessandra Bulow
Cradle of Life flaming cocktail at Painkiller.

I can’t stop talking about tiki. Not because of the Tiki Barber sex scandal, but because I recently got an exclusive preview of the tiki drinks that Richard Boccato and Giuseppe Gonzalez (Dutch Kills) are going to be making at their supercool new bar Painkiller, which is opening in early May in New York City.

In addition to smooth daiquiris, flights of mini zombie drinks and all-you-can-eat hot dogs (“They’re not going to be fancy, Grade-A or kosher, but they’ll be free,” said Boccato), they’ll be serving fantastic rum-based flaming cocktails like the Cradle of Life (made with spiced rum, white rum, lime and orange juices and almond syrup; the green chartreuse on top is set on fire, pictured). The menu will also include communal drinks served in custom-made ceramic vessels called Scorpion Bowls. Each Scorpion Bowl will be named after a 1970s NYC street gang, like the Electric Coffin, a large coffin-shaped bowl that will billow steam from a hidden chamber for dry ice in its underbelly.

Boccato got the idea for the Scorpion Bowl names while narrating a friend’s documentary about the gangs and he's continuing the urbanized-oasis theme by asking some of NYC’s classic old-school graffiti artists to tag the walls of the bar.

“Half of tiki is about presentation,” said Boccato. “Tiki bars usually look like a dive, a Disney ride or Grandpa’s basement. We’re going for something different.”

Restaurants

David Bouley's New Japanese Obsession

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bouley

© Danielle Falcone
Bouley's Japanese bites on imari porcelain.

 

Last night, star chef David Bouley  turned his fabulous Tribeca test kitchen into a showroom for the latest interpretations of Imari porcelain, a style of porcelain made in the tiny town of Arita in Japan’s Saga prefecture. Young artists and designers like Tsuji Satoshi are making cool new designs inspired by traditional style. Bouley plans to use many of the pieces at his forthcoming Japanese restaurant. And of course, the dishes weren't left empty. Bouley, along with chefs Isao Yamada and Tadao Miakmi (Bouley Upstairs), Noriyuki Sugie and chefs from the Tsuji Culinary Institute of Japan prepared some ridiculously good dishes using wild Japanese ingredients like barafu, a leafy green that looks like it's covered in dew, with a salty taste and great crunch.

Restaurants

Zurich's Dolder Grand Hotel

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dolder
 

After a week of snowboarding in the Alps, I splurged with a side trip to the Dolder Grand Hotel. This storied property set on a hill just outside the center of Zurich closed in 2004 to undergo a massive renovation and reinvention by star British architect Norman Foster. Now a sleek, futuristic new modern wing wraps around the spired, chateau-like 19th-century building. The result should be the blueprint for all projects melding old and new.

My favorite new addition is the 40,000-plus-square-foot spa within the modern wing. Here, the most outrageous highlights:

* The two enormous spa suites with mother-of-pearl walls, fireplaces and even mud baths.
* Sunaburos, Japanese-inspired “pebble loungers”: basically deep, egg-shaped tubs filled with smooth, warm pebbles that release muscle tension.
* The ”snow paradise” chamber, a superchilly room with a snow-covered floor and ice formations.
* An indoor, infinity-edge swimming pool with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the mountains. The outdoor hot tubs (for those brave enough to run out into the cold, or in my case, a mini-blizzard) have the same killer views.
* The spa café, tucked into a white room with oversize flowers painted on the walls, is probably fabulous, but I held out for dinner at the Dolder’s excellent, Michelin-star restaurant. The meal probably canceled out my day of detoxing, but it was well worth it.

Menus

NYC Food & Culture Pairings

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© Philip Greenberg
The Guggenheim's futuristic new restaurant, the Wright.

 

As F&W's travel editor and someone with a serious case of wanderlust, it’s rare that I’m home for more than a few days at a time. But I promised myself I’d start off the new year in NYC and kicked off 2010 with a megadose of culture paired with some great meals. Here, a mini winter arts cheat sheet for Manhattan:

*MoMa has put together a brilliant, mind-bending retrospective of Tim Burton’s work that includes slightly disturbing teenage doodles, 3-D monsters and a showing of Burton's films. After, go to the bar room at the Modern and eat chef Gabriel Kreuther’s Alsatian thin-crust tarte flambé with crème fraiche, onion and applewood-smoked bacon and his decadent slow-poached farm egg served in a mason jar with Maine lobster, sunchokes and sear urchin froth.

*I dare anyone not to get dizzy as they wind their way around the Guggenheim viewing Wassily Kandinsky’s wild, geometric paintings. The museum’s new restaurant, the Wright, offers more sensory overload with a sleek space designed by British artist Liam Gillick that makes you feel like you’re riding Disney’s Space Mountain roller coaster. The food, from David Bouley-alum Rodolfo Contreras, is appropriately gorgeous with delicate dishes like roasted red and golden beets topped with sheep’s-milk cheese, citrus and pistachio and a fantastic spiced pumpkin and chocolate cake with pumpkin-seed-oil ice cream.

*I may never look at paper the same way again after viewing Slash: Paper Under the Knife at the Museum of Arts and Design. Drop by late and then have dinner at the just-opened restaurant Robert. The comforting Italian dishes like chicken cooked under a brick and papparadelle with wild boar ragu are delicious. Also amazing: the Central Park views and the room’s funky art and Jetson-esque design pieces (there’s a video-art piece by Jennifer Steinkamp and Barbie-pink acrylic lighting designed by Johanna Grawunder).

Travel

Food Art at Art Basel

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art

© Jen Murphy
Mark Ryden's "incarnation" painting at Art Basel Miami Beach.

 

I just returned from Art Basel Miami Beach. Here, a food lover’s highlights:

* Jennifer Rubell, daughter of the legendary Miami art collectors Mera and Don Rubell, created an edible installation titled “Old-Fashioned” for the “Beg Borrow and Steal” show. It featured 1,521 Dunkin’ Donuts nailed to a white wall.

*Timothy Thompson’s aluminum cupcakes were on display inside of a 1960s camper van at the Camper Contemporary exhibition’s mobile art gallery.

* Artist Marky Ryden showed his new painting, "Incarnation," (above) at the Paul Kasmin Gallery booth. Ryder has the ability to make raw meat look mesmerizing and, in this case, turns it into a carnivore’s haute couture. The painting sold for nearly $900,000.

Design

New Dining Table From Silo

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© Kristin Donnelly
Dining Table made by SILO tables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner from start to finish on Thursday. What I’m thankful for this year: my guests won’t have to eat in front of the TV. After months of searching, I finally found the perfect dining table that fits my budget. I wanted it to be modern but made of rustic wood. Ideally, the legs would come off for easy transport. Like the answers to many New Yorkers’ prayers, I found the table on Craigslist. Or more appropriately, I found the carpenter there. Jed from Silo Tables built the table from reclaimed pine wood that’s loaded with character, with all kinds of quirky knots and even a few visible nails. The simple legs are made from reclaimed carbon steel and they screw in easily to the mounting plates under the table. Bonus: Jed delivers for no extra fee.

Included on my Thanksgiving menu: 

 

Travel

London's Most Fashionable Tea

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pret

© The Berkeley
Haute-cookies at the Berkeley hotel in London.


I’ll be blogging this week about discoveries from my recent eight-day trip to London. The city was buzzing with pop-up restaurant/design projects, ambitious new hotels and hip new British comfort food joints. One of my favorite finds was at the Berkeley hotel, which just introduced the fall/winter collection of its super-popular Prêt-à-Portea (the menu changes every six months to reflect the new fashion season). This haute-couture-inspired tea service features edible designs inspired by Christian Lacroix, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. Adorable confections include a Roger Vivier chocolate boot cookie, a Mulberry "Bayswater" white-chocolate-and-coconut-truffle "it" bag and a cinnamon Burberry Prorsum trench-coat cookie with a caramel belt and buttons. All are served on Paul Smith china alongside a proper cup of English tea.

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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.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.