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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Wine

Wines for Junk Food

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Yes, we all ought to be eating our locally-sourced, free-range, antibiotic-free, Mangalitsa porkchops or whatever, but sometimes, you know, you just want a Frito. Particularly if you’re doing something like watching a ball game on TV, or taking a break from hurling a Frisbee around a park. However, just because your cravings currently extend to chips, chicharrones, or Chung King noodles from a can doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a tasty glass of wine alongside. Here are a few off-the-wall (or off-the-convenience-store-rack) pairing suggestions.
 
Potato Chips
Or French fries, or Tater Tots—basically any kind of fried potato object with lots of salt. Go crazy: drink Champagne. The stuff was made for salty fried foods, whether the Champenoise want to admit it or not. (If real Champagne is too pricey, head to Spain for Cava.)
 
Doughnuts
Look, I don’t drink wine with doughnuts, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some madman out there cruising the streets at midnight, wondering what the heck will go with his bagful of Krispy Kremes. If you’re that person, the answer is sparkling wine that’s sweet. (Note: The same holds true for wedding cake, too.) Sugary pastries and cakes make dry sparkling wine taste like lemon juice. Go for ademi-sec Champagne, or the American equivalent thereof.
 
Slim Jims
Don’t even ask what these things are made from, but if you’re eating them and craving a glass of wine—or really if you’re eating any kind of dry sausage, beef jerky or charcuterie—go red. In fact, go red and Mediterranean. Spicy Sicilian Nero d’Avolas, ripe red blends from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon, and Monstrells from Spain’s southeastern coast are all great possibilities.
 
Spaghetti-Os
Seems like red wine would be the answer, but when’s the last time you had Spaghetti-Os? Those things are sweet. So a crisp white wine is actually going to be the better pairing, for instance a Vermentino or Soavefrom Italy (because, um, Spaghetti-Os are Italian. Er, right?) It’s the same rule-of-pairing-thumb that applies to Asian dishes that have a bit of sweetness, akin to squeezing lime juice on pad thai; match them with a white that has good acidity.
 
Deep-Fried Mars Bar
It’s a Scottish thing. Not really ideal for wine. I’d say if you’re self-destructive enough to eat deep-fried candy bars, go ahead and break out the Johnnie Walker with them. What have you got to lose, really?
 
Related Links:
 
15 Rules for Great Wine and Food Pairing
 

Entertaining

World’s Wackiest Ice Creams

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© Courtesy of Dennis and Cheryl Reas
Ice cream cheeseburger

Hurray for summer cookouts! You can have an all-out grilling marathon, eat unlimited amounts of potato salad and even more ice cream. But wait – there are some frozen desserts you might think twice about before serving. We’re not saying they’re not tasty (though some of them sure sound disgusting). We’re just saying keep the mint chocolate chip handy, just in case.

Ice cream cheeseburger, Florida. Here’s why you go to the Florida state fair: because you find something amazing like the ice cream cheeseburger, from Carousel foods. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a cheeseburger, topped with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and, you guessed it, a giant scoop of fried ice cream.

Cicada ice cream, Missouri. Sadly, Sparky’s no longer sells this ice cream (the Columbia, MO, health department is weird about desserts with bugs, apparently). But just in case they bring it back, here’s what you get: cicadas that were caught in employees backyards, then boiled and coated with sugar and chocolate and folded into brown sugar ice cream. 

Lobster Ice Cream, Maine. At Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium, in Bar Harbor, the owners mix chunks of local Maine lobster into their butter ice cream. It’s one of their most popular items for shipping. Really.

Ice cream cone ramen, Tokyo. Kikuya ramen shop precisely cuts a soft serve vanilla ice cream cone in half then sets it on top of a bowl of varying flavors of ramen, including one with classic soy sauce broth (they thoughtfully serve the noodles chilled to keep the ice cream from melting too fast).

Government cheese ice cream, San Francisco. Humphry Slocombe routinely wins best ice cream polls in the Bay Area and around the country. So we have to believe that their flavors, which include prosciutto and foie gras, are good. But we’re just not sure about a government cheese version.

Beef Tongue Ice Cream, Tokyo. In our book, Ice Cream City wins the award for all-around most disturbing flavors. Among their best sellers: beef tongue (which was apparently created for meat lovers), whale and oyster. 

Related Links:

Best Ice Cream Spots in the U.S

America's Wacky Fair Foods

America's Weirdest Regional Foods

Desserts

Chocolate Ice Pops from DC's Fleurir

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chocolate ice pop, fleurir, dc

© Fleurir

The Washington, DC-based chocolate company Fleurir is known for its truffles and clever, regionally inspired bars (The Great Plains Bar is made with crispy, salty bread crumbs;  The Northeast Bar is studded with maple-pecan toffee). But because they opened their beautiful little Georgetown shop in June, chocolate's slow season, they created something new to combat DC’s melting heat: an artisanal version of Fudgesicles. They swear that giving hot and cranky people these cold, chocolatey pops makes things at least 63% better.

Recipes

Remembering Elizabeth Taylor

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© Petrina Tinslay

With recipes inspired by some of her most memorable films, Food & Wine celebrates the amazing life of legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor:

National Velvet (1944)
Twelve-year old jockey Velvet Brown’s namesake dessert: Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream (pictured). Bonus: her horse’s name was Pie.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Spicy recipes that could have been served by Maggie the Cat at Big Daddy’s revelatory birthday party in New Orleans, including Chicken and Smoked-Sausage Gumbo and Creole Shrimp with Garlic and Lemon.

Cleopatra (1963)
Food fit for a queen: Egyptian Spiced Carrot Puree and Okra in Tomato Sauce.

News

New Heirloom Cacao

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© Katherine Page

American fruit importers Dan Pearson and Brian Horsley were scouting in the Amazon when, on some farms in a tucked-away corner of Peru's Maranón Canyon, they discovered cacao trees with canary-yellow pods. Even the local farmers were mystified about the identity of these strange-looking trees. So Pearson and Horsley sent some leaves to the USDA for testing and learned they'd made an extraordinary find: the Pure Nacional breed of cacao tree (left), thought to be extinct since the early 1900s. Pearson and Horsley have been experimenting with the pod's unique white beans (most cacao is purple) to create a distinctly mellow, nutty-floral chocolate. Recently, they were at New York's Institute for Culinary Education to launch Maranón Chocolate and chat about the discovery of the beans; the bars are now available online.

Restaurants

The Ultimate Ski Destination for Foodies

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zum see

© Jen Murphy
The mille-feuille at Zum See.

There are two things I love about skiing in Europe: One, the sheer size of the mountains and endless possibilities for going off-piste. Two, the Europeans’ leisurely on-mountain afternoons which include a two-hour lunch and, if the sun’s out, sunbathing in lounge chairs on the deck. I recently got back from an outrageously delicious week in Zermatt, Switzerland, where I ate at some of the world’s top slope-side restaurants. Here, some of our best meals from the slopes:

Zum See Midway down the slope from Furi to Zermatt is a blue sign for this 70-seat restaurant that’s been run for more than 20 years by Max and Greti Mennig. Their son Markus and his girlfriend Marion are often there, bringing out food from the tiny kitchen. A cord has been strung above the tables so skiers can hang their helmets while they eat Swiss beef carpaccio, calf’s liver rösti or homemade pastas. Greti is responsible for the Italian- and French-focused wine list, and Markus makes the restaurant’s popular mille-feuille, a decadent puff pastry layered with cream (It's so good that many skiers stop in just for a slice).

Bergrestaurant Blatten Located just a bit farther down the slope from Zum See, this tiny restaurant in a charming wooden chalet is a favorite amongst the local mountain guides. The husband-and-wife owners met while summiting the Matterhorn, and their kids help run the place. The wild mushroom soup in a puff pastry shell is a must-order.

Chez Vrony This farmhouse-turned-restaurant is run by the parents of the quirky artist Heinz Julen, and is located on the Sunnegga side of the mountain. Not only does the family make its own sausages and cheeses, but they also raise, slaughter and butcher their own grass-fed cattle. All of the risotto dishes are ridiculously good, particularly one studded with cèpes and white truffle shavings.

Adler Hitta Also on the Sunnegga side of the mountain, this restaurant may have the most spectacular views of the Matterhorn from its deck. We ended up here twice for lunch. A large oven had a spit roasting chickens for a special one day, and my friends got a kick out of the “pasta for men” dish which was a simple spaghetti with pepperoni, salt and pepper and olive oil.

My favorite slope-side lunch required us to ski over to Italy, which we did twice because the food was so good. More on that tomorrow.

Restaurants

That’s Right, Vintage Egg Nog

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© Nigel Parry
Jonathon Sawyer, vintage egg nog expert.

I’m not saying anyone should try this home. But while the food world freaks out over old things—Rene Redzepi’s vintage carrots at Noma, Heston Blumenthal’s upcoming Dinner restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London that will feature dishes based on hundreds-of-years-old recipes—I’ve found something really truly crazy (in the best way). Jonathon Sawyer, an F&W Best New Chef 2010 at Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, recently showed off a "vintage Hartzler Family Dairy eggnog pot de crème" at a dinner at New York City's James Beard house. And when he says vintage, he means 2008, meaning that 2 1/2 years ago, Sawyer infused eggnog with Lagavulin Scotch and then put it away in the refrigerator.  I admit, I was scared to taste it—I have suspicions about what letter grade the Health Department would have given it. But of course it was delicious. “It seems wrong, but it’s so right,” his wife, Amelia Sawyer, accurately said.

If you’re too impatient to squirrel away some spiked egg nog for a couple years, my colleague Kristin Donnelly did a great job of rounding up other novel vintage things, from cookbooks to wines; they’re in F&W’s December issue.

Cookbooks

A Lesson in Wine-and-Chocolate Pairing

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Wine-and-chocolate pairing

© Chelsea Morse

I’m fairly certain I have the most fun job in the world. Yesterday I attended a chocolate-and-wine pairing event hosted by Green & Black’s, the UK brand of organic, fair-trade chocolate. Micah Carr-Hill, the company’s Global Head of Taste (how’s that for a title? His job might be even more fun than mine) guided a group of journalists and bloggers through a pairing of six different chocolates, with wines ranging from a lychee-scented Gewürztraminer for the Peanut & Sea Salt Chocolate (my favorite) to a spicy Amarone-style red with the 85% Dark Chocolate. This was experiential learning at its best: We discovered through tasting that floral whites often complement milk chocolate’s sweetness, and more astringent reds can bring out vanilla notes in bitter dark chocolate. I’ve always assumed that big, tannic reds are chocolate’s best match, but my new favorite chocolate-friendly wine was actually a raisiny sherry, which played on the chocolate’s earthy, nutty flavors. Green & Black’s has also published a new book of chocolate-dessert recipes, just released in the US last week, available here. I’ll be showing off my new pairing inspirations when I try out the recipes at our holiday party this year.

Travel

A Funky New Santa Barbara Boutique

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supply room

© Jen Murphy
The Supply Room at the Presidio Motel.

Santa Barbara, California’s Presidio Motel has gotten a super-hip makeover since Kenny Osehan and Chris Sewell took over the space about five years ago. They started the transformation by asking University of Santa Barbara art students to reimagine the motel’s 16 guest rooms. Some fun results: whimsical origami mobiles and purple cloud murals. Live bands come play on the upper deck, which is outfitted with bright orange chairs—and, sometimes, an inflatable kiddie pool filled with bottles of local craft beer. The newest addition is a funky little boutique that opened in July called the Supply Room. Reminiscent of Opening Ceremony’s space at the Ace Hotel in NYC, the Supply Room carries indie designers from the Santa Barbara area, as well as from Brooklyn and L.A. When I stopped in, the store was stocked with fun beaded jewelry from local designer Camilla Bourbon, handmade sheepskin slippers made in Bodega Bay and Osei-Duro clothing from Ghana. There are also fun travel items like vintage postcards and Japanese toothpaste. With the Supply Room now open, Osehan and Sewell have turned their attention to their next project: a 1956 Shasta Trailer RV that will most likely be turned into a happy hour lounge in the parking lot.
 

Recipes

Fashionista Recipes

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jason wu

© Michael Turek
Jason Wu learns the secret to perfect macarons.


Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicks off in New York City tomorrow and anyone who has been following the September fashion magazine previews should know that the hourglass figure is in this season. To celebrate the backlash of the über-thin model and the comeback of curves, here are some delicious recipes from food-obsessed fashion designers.

Asian party recipes from the boundary-pushing team at Opening Ceremony.

Michelle Obama’s design darling, Jason Wu, is addicted to François Payard’s French macarons.

An over-the-top dinner party menu of braised veal osso buco, saffron risotto and sautéed broccoli rabe from entertaining and design genius Naeem Khan.

Southern-inspired potluck dishes from Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin and her closest food and fashion friends.



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