© Alessandra Bulow
Tom Colicchio, Drew Nieporent, Daniel Boulud & Rick Smilow rocking out at D'Artagnan's 25th Anniversary Party.
, the owner of D'Artagnan
, is the head of the French chefs' mafia," said Anthony Bourdain
at the artisanal-foods company’s 25th anniversary party in New York City last week.
Daguin was the master of ceremonies at the fête, enthusiastically organizing a Bobbing for Prunes in Armagnac contest and leading a synchronized Paquito el Chocolatero dance
with about 100 of the mostly French-speaking guests
, many wearing red and white clothing—the colors of D'Artagnan.
Looking a little bit like a made man in a well-cut black suit, a red silk tie and a matching pocket square, Bourdain was just one of the superstar chefs at the event, where tables were piled high with the company's fantastic terrines, pâtés and French kisses (foie-gras-stuffed prunes) and the passed hors d'oeuvres included seared foie gras and delicate quail legs.Tom Colicchio
broke out his guitar and was joined onstage by Daniel Boulud
(wearing tight red pants—hot!), restaurateur Drew Nieporent and Rick Smilow, president of the Institute for Culinary Education. The group performed Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business" and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Green River.”
Over the past 25 years, Daguin has built a family of chefs and foodies who genuinely appreciate and love her and her company—a feeling that was palpable at the party.
"She's a mother to us all," said Bourdain.
Ed Levine’s review on Serious Eats of NYC's new Torrisi Italian Specialties left me chuckling. To accompany a slideshow of chef-owners Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone’s Italian-American sandwiches, antipasti and desserts, Levine wrote this: “What’s a delicious, moist sour cream coffee cake doing on an Italian sandwich shop menu?” Clearly, Levine doesn’t know everything about Italian-American customs. Until very recently, my own Italian-American family observed the Sunday-afternoon tradition of coffee and cake; we called it simply “Coffee and." My grandmother and her sisters and their husbands gathered at 2:30 p.m., put the coffee on (always in an aluminum percolator) and talked. Same thing every week. Most weekends, my aunt Anna made her famous chocolate sheet cake, which she dusted with powdered sugar and served with whipped cream.
Here, four F&W recipes perfect for "Coffee and."
Olive Oil Bundt Cake
Honey Tea Cake
Jacques Pépin’s Favorite Pound Cake
Cardamom Spiced Crumb Cake
For all the Lost fanatics trying to decipher the “Last Supper”-like cast photo, we offer 15 fantastic tropical island-inspired dishes like a kale and sweet-potato soup inspired by Caribbean callaloo,, a spicy lobster-noodle salad (pictured) and a curry crab rundown.
© Tina Rupp
I threw a holiday open house a few weeks ago and learned a few lessons for next year. Hot hors d'oeuvres were a big hit: I'll definitely serve fried wontons and Chorizo-Filled Dates Wrapped in Bacon
(above) again—both can be cooked ahead of time and warmed in the oven during the party. I'll only set out food that can be picked up with one hand: When we passed a platter of Smoked Bluefish Pâté
already spread on crackers, it disappeared; anything left in a bowl for people to serve themselves tended to linger.
As for non-food lessons, I finally found a solution to the snowy-boots-on-wood-floors problem: a four-foot-square "Waterhog" floor mat
from L.L. Bean. The look is utilitarian, but it's a big improvement over the piece of painter's paper my husband has taped down in the past, which made the entryway look like a construction site.
Over the holidays, I went to a festive holiday dinner party in Los Angeles that was catered by Heirloom LA, a modern, trendy (and cute) catering couple who made a fantastic family-style dinner. Matthew Poley is in charge of the savory and Tara Maxey the sweet. Other than the bite-size, twice-baked potato hors d'oeuvres, I'd say the biggest treat of the night was digging into their signature lasagna cupcakes-crisp on top, soft and melty inside. Another favorite dish was a side of garlicky sautéed kale laced with lots of red wine vinegar, which paired perfectly with a platter of crusty grilled steak slices. I was super-impressed by the food, which was simple and perfectly cooked. And I loved that the meal was served family-style; it lent a homey, casual vibe to the night and set the perfect tone for a bustling holiday party. I can't wait to see the caterers again when I'm back in L.A. in May.
When he isn't fist pumping, tanning or scavenging for women, Mike "The Situation"
from MTV's Jersey Shore
(2.5 million viewers' guilty pleasure—and mine, too) is cooking.
In the controversial reality show's latest episode, The Situation and his male roommates decide to make an "unbelievable dinner" and stay at home with Nicole "Snooki," who is recovering from being punched (by a man!). "There's going to be a feast on the dinner table, but 'The Situation' has got it under control," he says.
When The Situation refuses to help clean up after the "feast" of lobster, steak, asparagus, grilled corn and salad, his short-lived flame Sammi "Sweetheart" picks a fight with him. (In a previous episode, the two flirted while preparing sausage and peppers together.)
His retaliation: "From now on you are excluded from dinner then. You are excluded from surf and turf night. You are excluded from ravioli night. You are excluded from chicken cutlet night."
Oh no! Anything but chicken cutlet night!
Here are some recipes for Sammi and anyone else who might get banished from one of The Situation's "crazy meals" in a future episode:
Surf and Turf NightEric Ripert's Surf and Turf
Ravioli NightShrimp-and-Lobster RavioliPecorino Ravioli with Walnuts and Marjoram
(pictured)Sweet-Potato Ravioli with Brown Butter
Chicken Cutlet NightChicken Stuffed with SpinachChicken with Cherry Tomato Pesto SauceAnne Byrn's Chicken Piccata with Artichokes and Olives
A few months ago, wine editor Ray Isle and I enjoyed some amazing caviar at Atelier Robuchon
, made all the more intriguing because Joël Robuchon called it his official caviar and said it came from China. We were hoping someday we'd be able to buy tins of it to serve at parties, and now we've just about gotten our wish. Epicure Pantry, supplier to many of New York's finest chefs, just released a version called Kaviari "Kristal
," made from the eggs of Schrencki sturgeon farmed in China, and selected and packaged by the Paris-based Kaviari company. Kaviari is guarded about its sources, but assures that these are among the best fish farms in the world. What we do know: The eggs are plump, briny and buttery, with a lovely pop and a clean finish. They'd be great on their own or on a blini
; to offset the splurge-level cost ($138 for 50 g/1.75 oz), pair them with a terrific value Champagne