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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Bars

Where to Eat, Drink and Sleep in Toronto

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The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is now in full swing: The dramas! The comedies! The thrillers! And that’s just half of what happens at the parties participating in the TIFF extended bar hours. (Instead of 1 a.m., many bars and restaurants associated with TIFF are allowed to stay open until 4 a.m. during the 10 days of the festival.)

Here are the best spots in Toronto to eat, drink and sleep:

Victor at Le Germain Hotel Try the Social 52 menu, which emphasizes the diversity of neighborhoods—and cuisines—in the city. Dishes could include Korean-inspired ribs and kimchi or Portuguese grilled sardines.

Scarpetta at the Thompson Hotel Star chef Scott Conant's Toronto outpost offers seemingly simple but utterly spectacular spaghetti with tomato sauce, and creamy polenta with truffled mushroom stew.

One at the Hazelton Hotel Where else can you find Clive Owen, Juliette Lewis, a trio of Raptors players and a renowned environmentalist, all under one roof? An absolutely divine starter: the butter-braised lobster spoons.

Avenue in the Four Seasons Toronto Ground central for TIFF for most of its 35 years, the hotel is closing up and moving around the corner in the near future. But for now, it’s still your best shot at hobnobbing with Hollywood—and for a terrific burger with Parmesan frites.

The Roof Lounge at the Park Hyatt Best bar in the city, bar none. It offers amazing panoramic views of the skyline—as well as an elegant Old World room with a fireplace. Have one of the veteran bartenders prepare a classic Canadian cocktail, like the Caesar.

Restaurants

How to Eat like a Film Star in Toronto

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The 35th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) just got underway and runs until September 19th. During these 10 days, film lovers descend upon Toronto from around the globe to see the best from international, Hollywood and Canadian cinema. And the stars come to eat and play, too. As a helpful outreach program, I've come up with suggestions for where and what to eat for some of the biggest names attending the festival:
Natalie Portman: The star of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan will love the delicious, raw, gluten-free and vegan dishes served at Live Organic Food Bar. Must try: garden lasagna, a raw main dish full of herbed "ricotta cheese,” fresh pesto and marinated tomatoes sandwiched between zucchini “noodles.”
Ryan Reynolds: After the premiere of Buried, I picture him tucking into a steaming-hot take-out carton of Canada’s unofficial national dish poutine—hand-cut Yukon Gold french fries topped with gravy and squeaky Quebec cheese curds. The version from Smoke’s Poutinerie is stellar.
Marion Cotillard: Here to support Les Petits Mouchoirs (Little White Lies), she should head for the elegant Italian dishes served at Buca. Must try: crisp Roman-style pizzas served on large wooden cheeseboards, some swathed with house-made charcuterie, all accompanied by a pair of scissors for pizza-snipping.
Will Ferrell: Everything Must Go is the name of his latest film, but Caplansky’s Delicatessen is where the comedic star should stop for lunch. Must try: hand-sliced pickled tongue, served hot on rye bread.
Freida Pinto: Julian Schnabel has eclectic tastes, as does the star of his film Miral. I’d send them both to Origin for international small plates. Must have: spiced chocolate pudding with fromage frais and frozen aerated milk chocolate. 
As for TIFF actor attendees Clive Owen, Ryan Gossling, Jon Hamm and James Franco? Well, they’re all invited to dine at my house!
Check back here later this week for great spots to eat and drink, in between film-going and star-gazing.

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.



Wine

Music, Food & Wine in Golden Gate Park

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osl

© John Margaretten
Korean tacos from Namu at Outside Lands.


This weekend I had a chance to eat, drink and see some phenomenal bands rock out in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at the third annual Outside Lands music festival. Here, some highlights:

* Sampling insanely good food from the 34 stalls. Maverick went through 750 pounds of pig for its pulled-pork sandwiches! Other favorites included the barbecued oysters from Anchor & Hope and vermicelli noodles from Out the Door. Patrick Hallahan of the band My Morning Jacket was a fan of Namu’s Korean tacos.

* Cruising the Wine Lands tent with Outside Lands producer Rick Farman and Vintage Berkeley wine-shop owner Peter Eastlake, the wine director of Wine Lands. Eastlake lined up 25 top California wineries this year. There were 75 wines available by the taste or glass; my favorites included 2009 Wind Gap Trousseau Gris, 2008 A.P. Vin Kanzler Pinot Noir and 2008 Manifesto! Cabernet Sauvignon. (Kings of Leon were drinking Sinskey and Copain wines backstage.)

* Hanging with winemaker Jamey Whetstone (read more about him in the October issue of F&W). He was offering wines from his Whetstone and Manifesto! labels in Wine Lands, though he did manage to sneak away to see Social Distortion play.

* Watching Gogol Bordello while eating Hawaiian poke and Baja-shrimp ceviche from Pacific Catch restaurant.

* Checking out the on-site farmers’ market next to the stage where the Rebirth Brass Band performed.

* Going backstage after the Kings of Leon show for the late-night after-party, which included spiked hot chocolate and massive oatmeal-raisin cookies.

Restaurants

Special Food & Wine Tickets for Le Grand Fooding

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© Le Fooding
A Le Fooding Face Off

It’s back: The dates and the menu for the second annual Le Grand Fooding event are set. The two-night food-and-drink extravaganza will take place September 24 and 25 at PS 1 in Long Island City. Food & Wine has a special link to buy advance tickets: legrandfooding.com. (Don't wait; last year they sold out in less than 72 hours.)

Last year, the ingenious French Le Fooding team brought some of Paris’s grooviest chefs—like Inaki Aizpitarte from Le Chateaubriand—into town to cook alongside New Yorkers like Daniel Boulud and David Chang.

This year, the theme is New York vs. San Francisco, inspired by Chang’s now-infamous put-down of the Bay Area: “Every restaurant in San Francisco is just figs on a plate with nothing on it.” The five participating SF chefs have retorts for Chang. And the four NYC chefs joining Chang have retorts back. Among the smack-talking highlights:

James Syhabout (Commis, SF)
: “To keep it simple, best rhymes with West.”

Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone (Torrisi, NY): “When Sinatra said ‘If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,’ he wasn’t talking about San Fran!”

Daniel Patterson (Coi, SF): “David who?”

Dan Barber (Blue Hill, NY): “Looking forward to learning how to wrap a great burrito.”

Meanwhile, Eater has details on Le Fooding’s excellent action-style movie posters, and the Village Voice has all details on the menu.

News

Julia Roberts, Asparagus and Eat Pray Love

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Eat Pray Love's food stylist Susan Spungen turned Rome upsidedown looking for asparagus.

By now, you’ve seen Julia Roberts having a relationship with her pizza in previews for Eat Pray Love. For the film’s stellar food stylist, and frequent F&W contributor, Susan Spungen, that pizza scene was relatively easy—she didn’t have to make it; the Naples pizzeria L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele did that job. Still, Spungen prepared most of the rest of the film’s onscreen food. Her biggest challenge: asparagus. In the movie, Roberts’s character goes shopping at Rome’s Campo de Fiore food market for asparagus for an indulgent lunch for one. In reality, since they were filming in August, Spungen couldn’t find any asparagus at the market. She went all over Rome before she was able to finally locate some. “I literally got the only four bunches of asparagus in all of Rome. They were scraggly and curvy, but they worked.” Well enough that, after shooting the scene, Roberts said to her, “good asparagus.”

For more on what it’s like to style food for movies, opentable.com has a great interview with Spungen.

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.

Farms

Killer Tomato Festival Highlights

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© Michael Wall
No early tastings of Gerry Klaskala's winning grilled cheese-tomato sandwiches

Yes, there were thousands of pounds of tomatoes this weekend at Atlanta’s Second Annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival. Anyone who—like my 6-year-old-godson Max—thought that meant the world's best tomato-throwing contest was out of luck. (Maybe next year?) Still, there was every other conceivable kind of tomato treatment at this super fun event which had the added benefit of supporting Georgia Organics. Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill and Top Chef fame made tomato ice cream sandwiches. Steven Satterfield of Miller-Union served an elegant tomato aspic. Five Seasons Brewing created a super refreshing Tomato IPA. I got to judge the event! And taste all 26 dishes! Here are the food winners, with a few honorable mentions thrown in. (Tomorrow, we’ll feature the cocktail winners.)

BEST TASTING: Aria’s Grilled Cheese with Roof Top Dried Tomatoes. Gerry Klaskala made stellar grilled cheese sandwiches using great long slices of Pullman bread and cutely-named dried tomatoes.

MOST CREATIVE: JCT Kitchen & Bar’s Killer Tomato Jelly Doughnuts. No, this didn’t sound like a good idea to me, but the doughnuts by chef Ford Fry and his team were perfect and the bacon custard on the side was genius.

BEST BOOTH: Holeman & Finch. F&W Best New Chef 2009 Linton Hopkins’ booth was tomatopalooza, with tomato plants in cages and 100 origami tomatoes hanging on a garland over the table.

(BONUS) MY CREATIVE RUNNER UP #1: Abbatoir’s. Hawaiian Shaved Ice with Tomato Herb Waters. They had a shaved ice machine going, and three kinds of toppings, my favorite being the sweet tomato chile. The finishing splash of Georgia moonshine did not hurt.

Here, 12 more food festivals from around the world, including another tomato celebration (more along the lines of what Max had in mind).

Wine

Kings of Leon on Music, Food & Wine

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kol

© Outside Lands
Kings of Leon


Last week I had a chance to talk to with Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill. The band is headlining the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco next weekend. In addition to a supertalented lineup of musicians, this year’s festival has an equally talented lineup of chefs and winemakers. I asked Followill if he was worried about the extra competition. If anything, he was more worried about how he’d be able to fit in all of the eating and drinking between sets. Here, his response:

“My wife and I are such foodies and winos. We were looking at the lineup of all of the bands, getting excited, thinking about who we were all going to see. At the same time she was also picking out different wineries and chefs and food people that are going to have setups that we wanted to check out.

I enjoy food and wine as much as I do music and I think they all share a lot of similarities. And, you know, hopefully this is the start of something great and long lasting and we can all get fat and drunk together while we’re listening to good tunes.

It’s going to be tough for us to balance the music and the food and the wine. But I promise you I will definitely have purple teeth by the time we take the stage on Sunday night.”
 

Wine

Food, Wine & Rock Stars

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outside lands

© Outside Lands
Wine Lands at San Francisco's Outside Lands Festival.



Chefs and winemakers are truly having their rock-star moments this summer as some of the country’s biggest music festivals have added stellar food, wine and beer lineups to complement the concerts’ real rock-star performers.

Earlier this year, winemaker Karl Wente of Wente Vineyards was cruising the shows at Austin’s South by Southwest festival in his Discover the Wine Discover the Music bus, pairing wines with emerging artists playing at the festival.

In June at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, not only was there a craft beer tent with 20 different microbreweries like Magic Hat, Asheville, Blue Grass and Ommegang, but beer sommelier Samuel Merritt of Civilization of Beer was running classes like beer history.

Chicago’s music-obsessed chef Graham Elliot has taken on the roll of culinary director for this weekend’s Lollapalooza concert. Here's a list of the killer local restaurants he’s gotten onboard to create food for the festival.

And the most ambitious of all might just be the upcoming Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, which will have an entire wine tent, dubbed Wine Lands. The festival’s wine director, Peter Eastlake of Vintage Berkeley, has lined up some of Napa and Sonoma’s best wineries, including Robert Sinskey, Bonny Doon and Long Meadow Ranch. The food lineup, which will include dishes from Bay Area favorites like Maverick (they will be serving their barbecue pulled pork sandwich), was announced even before the music lineup. Are the musicians worried the chefs and winemakers are going to steal the show? I posed the question to Nathan Followill, drummer of the festival’s headlining band, the Kings of Leon. Check back tomorrow to see his response.

For now, check out some of F&W's favorite playlists:

For a small dinner party
For a birthday party
For a cocktail party
For a summer grilling party
 

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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.

Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.