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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

Michael Voltaggio Comes to Sundance

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© Ryan Tanaka

Restaurant openings are crazy – just ask Michael Voltaggio who is consumed with his upcoming Los Angeles restaurant Ink. But he’s still going to this year’s Sundance Film Festival to cook at the VIP café The Lift in the heat of the action on Main Street. That’s great news for all of Sundance’s hard-working celebrities (and anyone else with a credentialed VIP pass like filmmakers and studio execs) who historically haven’t had a lot of great food options at the festival.

© Isaac Brekken
Jesse Eisenberg was one of the regulars at The Lift at Sundance last year.

For those lucky VIP pass holders, Voltaggio will be serving both breakfast and lunch. For breakfast: bacon and eggs with Japanese flavors  (poached eggs and braised pork belly with burnt scallion oil and soy caramel). For lunch, his version of chicken shawarma, with pressed chicken thighs, yogurt spheres, fried chickpeas and black-garlic puree. My question: how do I get a Sundance VIP pass?

Restaurants

Eating at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas with Jay-Z and Chris Martin

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© Wire Image / Ethan Miller
Jay-Z and Chris Martin performed (and ate at) Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.

Maybe some people have moved on from New Years Eve. Not me. That's because I got to ring it in at the super-duper deluxe, just-opening Cosmopolitan Las Vegas. I wasn’t alone. A Coldplay/Jay-Z concert always draws a good crowd, including just about every celebrity you can think of. And they were all eating their last meals of 2010 at the Cosmopolitan's awesome new restaurants.

Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill The night before New Year’s Eve, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Chris Martin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Diaz all sat down together at the first Blue Ribbon to open outside of NYC. (I'm sure Kanye would have been at the table too, but he got to Vegas last minute for the NYE show.)

Holsteins Kirsten Dunst and Giada de Laurentiis both had lunch at the casual burger, shake and beer spot on NYE. The next day, Coldplay band members, Paltrow and her kids all snacked on burgers and shakes there.

STK At the sleek outpost of the NYC steakhouse, John Mayer and actors BJ Novak and Kellan Lutz had dinner prior to the concert. (Mayer was powered enough to go stage with Jay-Z for "99 Problems".)

Comme Ça
Also before the concert, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and their kids took over the private dining room of the French bistro from F&W Best New Chef David Myers.

More on the Cosmopolitan restaurants, with or without celebrities, coming soon.

Events

Shopping for a Cause

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© Photo Courtesy Fonté Coffee Roasters

Tonight, Seattle's Fonté Coffee Roasters will gather some of the city's best food artisans for a Shop Local Holiday Happy Hour at Fonté Cafe and Wine Bar, which opened last year. The event includes a tasting with master roaster Steve Smith (who came to Fonté 20 years ago to focus on small-lot roasting after his time at Starbucks); holiday-themed chocolates (like gingerbread chocolate bars) from Theo Chocolate; and wines from the Small Lot Co-Op and Heaven's Cave Cellars. A portion of the proceeds from the event go to the Pike Market Child Care and Preschool, which helps low-income families with care and healthy meals for children. Another bonus: All proceeds from purchases of Fonté's excellent, limited-edition Holiday Blend (left), a delicious low-acid coffee with citrus notes, go to the same cause.

Restaurants

Preview from Sam Talbot's Seafood Restaurant

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miami preview dinner

© Billy Farrell Agency
Preview dinner for Sam Talbot's new sustainable seafood restaurant.

Chef Sam Talbot (the Top Chef heartthrob and chef of Montauk, New York’s Surf Lodge) gave a select group of super-fashionable guests a peek at some of the sustainably minded seafood dishes he’ll be serving at Imperial No. 9, his forthcoming restaurant that will open at the Mondrian SoHo in NYC early next year. The dinner, hosted by photographer Poppy de Villeneuve, was held at Miami’s Mondrian Hotel during Art Basel, and the long communal table was appropriately decorated with de Villeneuve’s photos and Talbot’s own paintings (when he's not cooking, he paints). The menu included fried oysters with chowchow and crispy ham; lemon king crab a la plancha with sweet-and-sour butter and crispy garlic chips; four-hour octopus with chiles, soy and lime; and spicy cucumber kimchi with napa cabbage.
 

Travel

Jennifer Rubell Turns Oatmeal into Art

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bowls

© Stephen Scoble
White porcelain bowls at Jennifer Rubell's Art Basel installation.


While down in Miami for Art Basel, F&W's creative director Stephen Scoble had a chance to experience artist Jennifer Rubell's brilliant installation (pictured). To get to the project, visitors had to step through a hole that was punched through a wall of the building that houses the Rubell family's art collection. Once inside, they walked across a yard to a yellow house that was gutted. Each room in the house had a different installation: a stack of porcelain bowls; a pile of stainless steel spoons; crock pots of Rubell's secret oatmeal recipe; brown sugar packets; and an enormous pile of mini boxes of raisins. The final room that visitors entered—the home's former kitchen—had refrigerators stocked with milk. As visitors moved through the home, they created their own bowl of oatmeal.

Travel

Art Basel Redux

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art basel

© Stephen Scoble
Designer Alber Elbaz's wild Art Basel installation.

Food & Wine's creative director, Stephen Scoble, spent the weekend party-hopping in Miami at Art Basel. One of the highlights: The wild food-and-fashion installation Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz created at the Rubell Family Collection.

Wine

Punta Del Este's New Food & Wine Festival

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punta

© Ariel Fernández of Southern-Press
Ambassador of USA in Uruguay, David Nelson, Gabriel Bialystocki, chef Ben Ford, and chef Toshio Tomita.


I’ve always associated Punta Del Este, on the eastern coast of Uruguay, with glamorous beaches rather than excellent food. But Gabriel Bialystocki, founder and director of Punta del Este’s first ever Food & Wine Festival, is changing that. Bialystocki has collected an impressive lineup of chefs from the US, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to participate in the month-long event. Each Saturday, selected chefs will host special dinners for up to 180 people. The dinners will highlight Uruguay’s local ingredients, and each dish will be paired with Uruguayan wines. Bialystocki e-mailed me an update from this past Saturday’s six-course dinner, prepared by Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, CA; Gastón Yelicich of Isla de Flores in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay; and Toshio Tomita of Nobu in New York City. Highlights: Ford’s candied fennel, preserved lemon and mascarpone risotto; Tomita’s tuna sashimi in yuzu-soy sauce with jalapeños, with a garlic puree; and Yelicich’s dulce de leche mille-feuilles with chocolate mousse and sabayon cream.

The November 27 finale will be hosted by Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann, who will cook using his trademark seven fires, and Bialystocki promises to report on all of the delicious details.

Chefs

Alchemy of Taste and Smell—The Scented Dinner

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© John Sconzo
Alchemy of Taste and Smell Chefs Included David Chang and Wylie Dufresne.

I don’t know what you all did for dinner on Saturday night. Me, I sat in a small dining room in New York City’s Astor Center and got showered with vanilla-scented bubbles from a machine that looked like it was borrowed from a Bensonhurst disco while Roberta’s chef Carlo Mirarchi served luscious sea urchin with carrot granita and vanilla. It was just one of the courses in the Scented Dinner that closed the Alchemy of Taste and Smell conference, and I was just one of the guests (Ruth Reichl, Jeffrey Steingarten and Harold McGee were there too). And Mirachi was just one of the chefs creating extra-sensory dishes with help from perfumer Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes. Coi’s Daniel Patterson, the festival’s organizer, cooked beets in hay and then scented them with more hay, and flowers too. Wylie Dufresne, of WD-50, infused his outstanding aerated foie gras with just the right amount of pine and then served it on pine paper with a burning edge – long story short, it evoked a big burning fireplace, which was just about the only thing missing from that dinner.

Chefs

Behind the Barneys Foodie Holiday Windows with Simon Doonan

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© kate krader
Simon Doonan: In Charge of Food Splattering for Barneys Foodie Holiday Windows.

It’s official: The Foodie Holidays are here. Well, almost. The windows at Barneys New York are, as we write this, just a few hours from completion. Which means that right now, the Bad Boys window — an amazing tableau that includes likenesses of Tony Bourdain at one end of the table, Bobby Flay on top of it and Guy Fieri underneath it — isn’t quite finished. By the end of the day, says Barneys creative director, Simon Doonan, the food fight will be complete and “food” will be strewn on the inside of Barney’s Madison Avenue window. Plates of fake scrambled eggs queued up at the bottom of the window, waiting to be splattered.

And here’s what else the newly fledged food lover Doonan had to say about his holiday windows. “For our customers, celebrity chefs are the celebrities. They’re not interested in Lindsay Lohan’s latest tribulations. They’re foodies and the culture is now foodie. I’ve started going to chef events and they’re so much more hedonistic and wild than the average fashion event.” (I want to know what chef events he’s going to.) Doonan, who credits South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s founder Lee Brian Schrager with bringing on his love for food, and Illy Coffee for helping make the windows happen and keeping his staff caffeinated enough to keep working, continues. “I love the irreverence of my new foodie friends. Now come back later when the food is adhered to the glass; I promise it will be chaotic.”

Chefs

Music and Food for a Good Cause

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Chef Will Gilson of Garden at the Cellar playing harmonica at last year's event.

© Laura Widness
Chef Will Gilson of Garden at the Cellar playing harmonica at last year's event.

 

What’s the perfect dish to pay tribute to the band KISS? Beef tongue, perhaps. What about Ray LaMontagne’s “New York City’s Killing Me”? Pork belly agrodolce and foie pastrami with mayo and crispy onions. These are just a few of the music-inspired small plates that more than a dozen of Boston’s top chefs will be serving this Sunday, November 14, at the Eat Your Heart Out Boston fundraiser. The event, held at Paradise Rock Club features three local bands and chefs like Tiffani Faison of Rocca, Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa, Matthew Barros of Myers & Chang and F&W Best New Chef 2009 Barry Maiden of Hungry Mother. The chefs will each make a dish that pays homage to their favorite rock band or song (and in the past, some have even gotten on stage for impromptu jam sessions). Proceeds benefit Future Chefs, a career program the helps high school students find work and mentors in the culinary world, and Zumix, a non-profit organization dedicated to building community through arts and music. For tickets, click here.

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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.