© Chris Quinlan
A student gets pointers
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my grandmothers more than I can say. Nanny Quinlan taught me to mix a perfect cocktail and Nanny McGrath could make a mean Irish soda bread. But sometimes I wished I had an Italian nonna
to show me how to make flawless pasta from scratch or a rich meat ragù. My wish came true this past weekend, when Dora Marzovilla of Manhattan’s I Trulli
did just that at a demo in which she showed how to prepare classic Pugliese dishes, like a moist focaccia with tomatoes and oregano and handmade cavatelli with broccoli rabe and almonds. But what I really can’t wait to make is the panzerrotti (fried dough filled with tomatoes and mozzarella). I think it would pair perfectly with one of Nanny’s cocktails!
If you also crave nonna
-worthy recipes, try these Italian dishes from Food & Wine's
recipe archives:Cavatelli with Spicy Winter SquashOrecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies and PistachiosPappardelle with Veal Ragù
As you may have already heard, last weekend’s New York City Wine & Food Festival
featured two very high-profile Manhattan-based food stars sharing unflattering observations about San Francisco chefs. At a Times Talk, Anthony Bourdain
called Alice Waters “Pol Pot in a muumuu.”
And Momofuku’s David Chang
—in another conversation with Bourdain entitled “I call BS”—said that “…every restaurant in San Francisco is serving figs on a plate with nothing on it.” Apparently some SF chefs aren’t happy with that characterization: The Asia Society cancelled a book signing event to promote Chang’s soon-to-be-out Momofuku cookbook
because that comment irritated some participating cooks. For his part, Chang calls it a misunderstanding that he wants to clear up. On the other hand: "I'm never gonna open a place in San Francisco, " he says. Of course, at F&W
, we love Chang unconditionally: He and his outstanding recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers
are featured in our brand-new November issue.
Hell's Kitchen finalists Ariel, Kevin and Dave
I hate to miss a good party. Luckily, our superlative Vancouver stringer Rhonda May
, editor of City Food Magazine
, has all the details on the celebration at Araxi in nearby Whistler, British Columbia, for Dave Levey, winner of the sixth season of Hell’s Kitchen. Why was the party at Araxi? Because Dave will now spend the next year cooking there, just in time for Vancouver to host the Olympic Games in February 2010
Here's Rhonda's report:
Last Tuesday night, Araxi hosted a little viewing party for the reality show’s sixth-season finale. Which meant that more than 300 partygoers withstood lightly falling snow in the long line outside the restaurant’s entrance to meet the show’s four final contestants: Tennille Middleton, Ariel Contreras, Kevin Cottle and Dave—all of whom affably shook hands, hugged grandmothers and posed for pictures.
© National Pork Board
German Cuban Reuben Pork Burger
On a drizzly morning last week, I sat next to the Food Network’s Guy Fieri
in a park near New York City's High Line to help the National Pork Board crown the Next Pork Personality. Judging the tastiest dish was easy: It was the German Cuban Reuben Pork Burger from chef Robert Burmeister of CHOW Gourmet
on Staten Island.
First, he marinated pork shoulder with sweet pickle relish and mustard before grinding the meat and forming patties, which he then topped with a bacon-sauerkraut mixture, sliced Bratwurst and snappy rounds of dill pickle. But unfortunately, taste was not a factor in this competition, and each recipe's creativity only counted for so much; instead, the contestants' spiel about their dish was everything. Robert had that natural New York swagger and a thick accent to match—it was clear he loved pork, and not just from his pig tattoo. But it was tough to compete with actress and comedian (and former recipe contest winner) Kristina Vänni’s engaging routine. Although Kristina's "Spicy" Asian Pork Tenderloin, marinated and glazed with hoisin sauce spiked with five-spice powder—was not as impressive as Robert’s burger, she ultimately won the title and the $5,000 prize. But Robert might have received a better reward: Guy gushing about his burger during the awards ceremony.
© National Pork Board
Kristina Vänni wins the Next Pork Personality.
Of late, I’ve missed my Chicago hot dog. So last week, I made a pilgrimage to Hot Doug’s, Chicago’s most beloved encased-meat emporium. Well, sort of. I, along with dozens of other New York City devotees, attended “The Hot Doug’s Experience,” a tasting at Astor Center’s newest downtown venue, The Lounge. In a nod to the infamously long lines at Hot Doug’s, the evening’s attendees formed a queue (albeit while sipping lager and eating andouille pigs in a blanket). Owner Doug Sohn’s perfectly executed Chicago-style hot dog (mustard, neon-green relish, onion, tomato, pickle spear, hot peppers, celery salt and absolutely no ketchup) justified the wait. So did his departure from Second City tradition: a duck-and-Sauternes sausage topped with foie gras mousse and flaky gray salt. Served in a tender ciabatta-like roll with truffle aioli, it was one of the most pleasingly unctuous things I have ever tasted. Sadly, Sohn confirmed that he is not planning to open a Hot Doug's in NYC and, in fact, one Hot Doug’s is all the world can expect to see. Oh well, some things taste better when you have to wait for them.
© Alex Oliveira/startraksphoto.com
I wish I could have recorded every word out of Anthony Bourdain’
s mouth at the Times Talk
at the New York City Wine & Food Festival
this past weekend. Especially because he had Frank Bruni
asking him super-smart questions. But I only got a few of the highlights. Here they are.
On Kitchen Confidential’
s big break: "A lot of chefs didn’t want to see the industry spotlighted that way. Then Jacques Pépin
got behind it. He said when he was a young chef, if he’d thrown out the bread from a table, his chef would have killed him.”
On the fetishizing of food these days: “It’s a great racket, don’t f*** it up.”
On chefs who might be coasting these days: “It’s hard to be Guy Fieri
, you have to wake up every day and put on all that bling. And Rachael Ray
sent me a fruit basket. I’m not going to talk s**t about her.”
On what’s made him sick during filming of his hit No Reservations
show: “The little taco place with half a pig’s head sitting out under a light — that’s fine. It’s always the breakfast buffet at the Hilton where the trouble starts.”
© Marlo Hunter
Eating Their Words reinvents dinner theater.
The dinner-theater concept sounds like a throwback, but director Marlo Hunter is trying to make it hip again with Eating Their Words. Hunter enlists noteworthy writers and actors for an evening of short plays to be performed at a top NYC restaurant. As part of the action, the actors sit at a table and eat a dish; immediately after the performance, the audience is served everything they've just seen the actors enjoy. The next Eating Their Words event, on Monday, October 19, will be at Tocqueville restaurant, with works by Pulitzer Prize finalist Theresa Rebeck and playwrights Jonathan Marc Sherman and Sam Forman. Tocqueville chef-owner Marco Moreira has created a menu to complement the plays, including schmaltz roasted country chicken and a bittersweet chocolate tort. Tickets must be purchased before Sunday, October 18.
© Philip Gross for the James Beard Foundation
Zac, Giada and Marcus cook together.
Of all the deluxe events at this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival
, this was surely the most deluxe: Giada De Laurentiis
cooking with fashion designer Zac Posen
cooking with chef Marcus Samuelsson
dinner at the James Beard House
. If that sounds like the most unlikely team, it’s not really. Marcus’s wife, Gate Haile
is an Elite model who has known Zac for years, and Marcus has cooked with Zac at Zac’s house. And Zac apparently loves to cook (a kitchen, he said, is like a “super-speed atelier”). Indeed, he and Giada were in a groove on dessert: While she poached pears in a ginger-honey-and-cinnamon syrup, he made ginger ice cream. If you want more details (Marcus’s slow-cooked chicken, Zac’s crayfish bisque), people.com has them for you
© Philip Gross for the James Beard Foundation
Friday, 7:30 p.m. Bruni Unveiled The former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni told Eater cofounder Ben Leventhal why he gave Momofuku Ssäm Bar three stars (Momofuku founder David Chang’s name would come up roughly 500 times in each seminar over the weekend) and where he’d eat in a desert-island scenario with a choice between restaurants he gave his worst reviews to: Ago, Ninja or Harry Cipriani. (Bruni replied that he'd rather channel his inner Tom Hanks in Cast Away and fish with his hands.)
9 p.m. Burger Bash – Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn, who had a tremendous get-out-the-vote campaign with cheerleaders and pins, won the judges' favorite award with the Obama Burger (a bacon–blue cheese number).
Midnight Daily Candy’s Midnight Music and Munchies – Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro gave free dancing lessons while PDT’s Jim Meehan served a drink that was so good I forgot the name of it (!), but it was dramatically garnished with slapped mint.
Saturday, 11 a.m. Fun and Fit in the City – In the green room at the Harlem Children’s Zone, Rachael Ray told the former Knicks guard Allan Houston about the days when she had to cook with no money. Then President Bill Clinton told a gym packed with families that he knew personally how hard it was to find healthy food choices in Harlem. “There are a lot of other options, and they all taste good,” he said. Later, panelists Ray, Houston and Dr. Mehmet Oz talked about the challenges of eating healthfully in the South. “I grew up in Kentucky, and we’d eat pork chops for breakfast,” said Houston. “Gravy is a beverage there,” replied Oz.
© michael locasano
Mario, Jimmy Buffett and Michael Kenneth Williams
The other night, Mario Batali
had a little party to raise a little money for the Mario Batali Foundation
, his charity that’s all about helping kids. While guests like Jimmy Buffett
went crazy for the roast pork with cardoon crema (there was also the option of veal, which was so good, Billy Crudup
asked for seconds, and The Wire's
super-cool Michael Kenneth Williams
took notes on Batali's cooking demo), others focused on the auction. The mack-daddy item? Four tickets to Tiger Jam
2010. (Passes to a Tiger Woods
golf clinic and an 18-hole outing! Tickets to the Tiger Jam concert! Massages at Mandalay Bay
!) That package went for $22,000, part of the $60,000 Batali raised that evening. More good news: Even though it’s too late to bid on Tiger Jam, there’s always time to donate to MBF