Chef Tim Love Gets Ready for Austin City Limits
© Jennifer Salerno
While UN dignitaries assembled in Manhattan this weekend, another group of international notables gathered at Flushing Meadows Park: NYC’s favorite street food vendors, who cooked, served and competed at the fifth annual Vendy Awards. It was a daylong tasting of the most accessibly delicious food the city has to offer, like jerk chicken from the Jamaican Dutchy (51st St. and 7th Ave. in Manhattan), run by 29-year-old O’Neill Reid, and crispy, tender falafel from Palestinian Fares Zeidaies (30th St. and Broadway in Astoria). It was like my fantasy of the perfect traveling fair. Biryani Cart owner Meru Sikder won the Grey Poupon People’s Taste Award with his ethereally light kati rolls (pictured) (a reprisal of his ’08 triumph; 46th St. and 6th Ave. in Manhattan), but the judges gave the Vendy Cup to Pueblan husband-and-wife team Yolanda and Fernando Martinez, who serve killer tacos and huaraches from their Country Boys truck at the Red Hook Ball Fields (Clinton St. and Bay St. in Brooklyn). My personal favorite, and winner of the dessert award, was Thomas DeGeest’s roving Wafels & Dinges truck. I highly recommend the Brussels wafel with a simple dollop of whipped cream.
After the two frenetic nights of Le Fooding D’Amour—this weekend's event at P.S. 1 in Long Island City celebrating the “casual” cooking of some of the hippest chefs from Paris and NYC—several questions lingered.
*Who, WSJ.com wondered, could claim success for the event, the "free-spirited French" or “street-food savvy New Yorkers?” (Diplomatically, they didn’t make the call.)
*Who had the longest of the long lines? Unofficially, I’d say Friday night it was Yves Camdeborde of Paris’s Le Comptoir, who served Henry IV chicken stew; Saturday night, the Black Label burgers from NYC’s Minetta Tavern. Both restaurants are impossible to get into for different reasons, so it makes sense that both dishes would be impossible to get to as well.
*What was the best thing to eat? As they say, it was all good, but the most buzzed-about dish was probably the burnt eggplant that garnished beef tenderloin and roast peppers and onions from Inaki Aizpitarte of Paris’s Le Chateaubriand.
*What was the best thing to drink? With all respect to French wine god Michel Chapoutier and Champagne purveyor Veuve Cliquot, it was the Moscow Mule riff from Richard Boccato of the nearby Dutch Kills bar.
*Who brought the party? Sean Rembold of Brooklyn’s Diner (who made killer fried corn with scallop butter) said: "The French. Chefs like Inaki and Christophe Pelé get crazy!” Me, I’d give that prize to Daniel Boulud, who brought a belly dancer and iPod-charged soundtrack and got her to go dance with all the chefs. (Believe me, this is much more compelling if I ever get the photo of Daniel and the belly dancer to post here.)
© Andrew Sessa
© Andrew Sessa
Click here for more party photos.
© Adam Schneider/ Courtesy of Veuve Clicquot
David Chang rocks a balloon hat at Vinegar Hill House.
© Alessandra Bulow
Gagnaire's amazing "Zezette" mushroom broth.
The meal started with an amazing dish that I'd never seen anything like before—lightly fried strips of Dover sole with spinach, accompanied by bowls of white vegetable velouté and bocconcini ice cream. Gagnaire topped the fish with a large, very thin disk of "Kientzheim" butter—a funny name for a butter he flavors with reduced fish stock, shallots and Champagne—that melts into the fish when warm sauce is poured on top.
Another dish, named "Zezette" after a good friend of his, was an earthy-sweet and rich mushroom broth (pictured) served with roasted duck, braised turnips (which turn deep pink after soaking in beet juice and Campari) and "Yoyo," basmati rice–Parmesan gratin named after his friend Yolanda, who also makes this dish.
Now I'm back in my cubicle, dreaming about my incredible experience and thinking that I know exactly what I'd call a dish named after Pierre Gagnaire: “Genius!”
Last week, I was up in Boston to help host a party with rock-star chef Barbara Lynch and the founders of Fresh beauty, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg. The occasion: To celebrate an article in F& W’s September issue, in which Lynch helped her friends add more flavor to their favorite healthy recipes.
After the party, we headed over to Sportello, one of Barbara's newest restaurants, and the dinner conversation veered to keeping fit. Barbara is on a serious health kick. To keep up her energy (she just finished a new cookbook, Stir, out next month), she’s been obsessively juicing every fruit, vegetable and herb she can get her hands and storing batches in her fridge. Lynch also told me about her new favorite energy bar, Green Vibrance. (Cameron Diaz has been in Boston, filming Wichita with Tom Cruise, and her personal assistant introduced Barbara to the dark-chocolate-covered, vitamin-loaded veggie bar.)
In addition to trail-running with the Sportello staff, Barbara has also taken up boxing. And I don’t mean the cardio-punch classes they offer at fancy fitness centers. Lynch works out at Golden Gloves champion Peter Welch’s super-old-school gym in Southie. After a few drinks, Lev (he actually does the cardio-punch gym classes) and I had agreed to join her in the ring the next day. Lev was a no-show (I think he got scared), but Barbara’s publicist, Sarah Hearn, joined me for an intense hour-long session with a group that looked straight out of Rocky. After throwing uppercuts, jabs and hooks and doing what seemed like endless push-ups, I have a new respect for Barbara Lynch, way beyond her extraordinary skills in the kitchen.