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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Moonwalk in Queens


© Sarah Kaufmann

NASA celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon this week by handing out slices of a giant moon pie, and a San Diego woman known as "The Cheese Lady" sculpted a five-and-a-half-foot-tall astronaut from a 1,920-pound block of Wisconsin mild cheddar. I commemorated the historic event on a smaller scale at supercool Queens, NY, bar Dutch Kills with a Moonwalk, a fruity sparkling cocktail that was the first the astronauts drank upon their return to earth. Here's the original recipe for the drink, created in 1969 by Joe Gilmore, the head barman at the Savoy Hotel in London:

The Moonwalk
Makes 1 drink

1 ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
2 dashes rosewater
Chilled Champagne

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the Grand Marnier, grapefruit juice and rosewater and shake lightly. Strain into a chilled coupe and top with Champagne.


Food + Tattoos=Year's Supply of Bacon


My cousin co-owns a tattoo studio in Brooklyn and is always telling me about how he has an unusually high number of customers who are chefs. His theory: “Chefs are extremely passionate about what they do—and anyone who loves something deeply will get tattooed to express that love or passion.” Just look at Food & Wine’s 2009 Best New Chefs for proof. At the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Riesling fanatics (including myself and colleague Kristin Donnelly) were rocking giant Riesling tattoos to show our love for the wine.

Other obsessive eaters who have been inked with their favorite foods can enter Sonoma County's first Food and Wine Tattoo Contest. Entrants submit a photo of their coolest food- or wine-themed tattoo here and the public votes online. The grand prize: a year’s worth of bacon from Zazu restaurant.

Food tatoo




Recipes for Baseball All-Stars


© April Williams
Knuckle Sandwich

The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game is Tuesday, July 14th in St. Louis. I’m happy to report (in hushed tones, of course, since I live in NYC) that my hometown team, the Boston Red Sox, has six players on this year’s American League squad. Here, recipes inspired by each of them:

* Sweet bay scallops for Jason Bay
* Little Shrimp Casseroles for the vertically-challenged Dustin Pedroia
* A lobster knuckle sandwich for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield
* A L’il Jig cocktail for aspiring River Dancer Jonathan Papelbon
* Fried chicken from Redhead tavern for the fiery-maned (or at least bearded) Kevin Youkilis (whose brother is the chef/owner of fantastic San Francisco restaurant, Maverick)
* Buckshot Gumbo for avid hunter Josh Beckett

If you prefer a traditional ballpark frank, Danny Meyer did the work for you in a recent New York magazine taste test to determine the best. And by the way, he thinks hot dogs pair well with Riesling.


Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest


© Wendell T. Webber

In the most grotesque live competition I've ever seen, Joey Chestnut set a world record and earned his third-consecutive Mustard Belt by eating 68 franks and buns in 10 minutes at this year's Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY.

Chestnut steadily kept his lead over his archrival, Takeru Kobayashi, the 2001-2006 world champion, who finished with a 64 dog-count. The two men tied at 59 wieners last year until Chestnut won a dramatic five hot-dog eat-off.

If you're not eating dozens at a time, try these modern takes on the classic summer dog, from the F&W archive:

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Avocado (pictured)
Crosshatch Hot Dogs on Grilled Croissants
Sausages with Grilled Onion Chowchow

OR these 7 amazing sausage recipes.


Learn from a Tea Master


I got to know Mike Harney when I co-authored his book, The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea. He's fun company, as well as refreshingly unpretentious when it comes to talking about tea, so I'm looking forward to the tea-tasting class he'll be teaching on July 25 at the International Culinary Center of the French Culinary Institute in NYC. During the first part of the class, Deconstructing Earl Grey, he'll serve samples of the different Chinese and Indian black teas that go into the classic blend, along with its signature bergamot citrus. If all goes according to plan, he'll end the evening with tea cocktails from FCI's own mad scientist, Dave Arnold.


Top Three Aspen Highlights


© Riccardo Savi/Food & Wine Magazine
Hosea, Tom and Jacques

Yes, F&W is back in New York (recovering) after our Classic in Aspen. This year's festival was awesome and action-packed, and there were hundreds of highlights; here are three of mine.

* Best New Chef Party: On Saturday night, our outstanding 2009 BNCs cooked for some 500 guests, who got to vote for their favorite dish via text message. F&W editors loved it all, including Christopher Kostow's roasted corn custard and Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook's pork belly sliders. (The winner: Nate Appleman, the group's most tech-savvy chef, who launched a successful Facebook campaign for his pork meatballs.)

* Top Chef Quickfire Challenge: On Sunday morning, Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard faced off against Season 5 winner Hosea Rosenberg. They each had help—Izard's sous-chef was star chef Ming Tsai; Rosenberg's was the great Jacques Pépin. At the judging table: Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Dana Cowin and Todd from Florida, who donated $15,000 to charity for that judging seat. Highlights included Tsai handing off his American Express black card (who knew??) as a bribe to Todd, and Rosenberg, who knew about Colicchio's secret passion for gummy bears and added the candies to his melon cocktail. In the end, Rosenberg and Pépin and their lobster with coral butter and Wheaties green tomatoes beat out Izard and Tsai's hangover pizza topped with lobster and a poached egg.

* The After-Parties: You absolutely don't need one more party in Aspen. Still, anyone who can get in eventually finds themselves at the members-only, late-night party at 212 House. Some people hate it, but a lot of good stories start with the phrase, "Oh man, last night, at 212 House...." There's a what-happens-at-212-stays-there mentality; I won't be the one to break the code of silence. But I will say that Colicchio and Joe Bastianich's band, who performed everything from the Steve Miller Band's “The Joker” to Oasis's “Wonderwall,” get better as the night goes on; that there are several notable chefs who hopefully won't see themselves dancing on YouTube; and that our Best New Chefs are as good at doing shots as they are at cooking.


Mondavi's Garden Campaign


© Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Faden
Giving Through Growing

A confession: I often peek through the fences of New York City's community gardens and fantasize about walking among the vines. Last week, I finally got to live out my fantasy at the kickoff event for Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi’s "Giving Through Growing" campaign, which launched yesterday. Held at La Plaza Cultural’s garden on Manhattan's Lower East Side and catered by Outstanding in the Field, the event announced a partnership between the winery and the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA). Woodbridge is helping ACGA by donating a dollar for every e-seed sent from their website this summer (the campaign ends on September 20). The funds will be used to help community gardens around the country expand, and the website will follow their progress and share garden-to-table meals. Now to fulfill my replacement fantasy: another chance to eat Outstanding in the Field's scallop salad with potatoes, green beans and baby fennel. 


Meat Heaven


You can tell I’m a city mouse here in Aspen—my camera is filled with pictures of Alpine-like wildflowers and animals roasting on spits. Both are rare sites in NYC. Last night, chef José Andrés hosted a party with the Wines of Spain where whole lambs rotated over a slowly-burning fire on the bank of a rushing stream. I must say, it was a beautiful sight. And the sandwiches chef Andrés made with the pulled meat were perfect for soaking up all of that Spanish wine.

Today, Fort Worth, Texas, chef Tim Love served up lamb, goat and venison, all roasted whole over mesquite wood. The key to cooking lean animals like venison over an open fire for so long? Bacon, apparently. Love used the smoky fatty pork to keep the venison juicy. Instead of wine, we ate the smoky meats with Belgian beers. With its sweet richness, Leffe Blond is always one of my favorites, but today, in the heat of the sun (which we’re thousands of feet closer to here in Aspen), the citrusy-spiced Hoegaarden was especially good. Now it’s time to hike off all that meat—and continue to play nature photographer.


Wine, Beer & Tiki Cocktails in Aspen


I attempted a trifecta my first-ever day at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Here, the highlights:

WINE: I kicked off my day tasting Italy’s most extravagant wines at a tasting led by David Lynch, who recently announced he’s leaving NYC’s the John Dory to become wine director at Quince in San Francisco. Lynch made a passionate case on why Italy’s Ca’ del Bosco Brut “Cuvee Prestige” can hold its own against French Champagne and blew my mind with a 15% alcohol 2003 Le Ragose Amarone della Valpolicella Classico. Star sighting in the seminar: A certain chef in orange clogs who Lynch worked with at Babbo for seven years.

BEER: Texas chef Tim Love pulled an all-nighter in the Hotel Jerome courtyard slow-cooking a deer, goat and lamb for a killer Belgian beer-paired lunch. Master beer sommelier Marc Stroobandt led the crowd through the tasting of Hoegaarden, Stella Artois and Leffe Blonde. Inside gossip: In need of an early-morning, Texas-style pick-me-up, Love requested a shot of ice cold, Crown Royal. Apparently the hotel staff mistook his Texas twang and brought him an ice cold shot of canola oil.

COCKTAILS: Oahu native and cocktail genius Julie Reiner led a rowdy, standing room only seminar on tiki culture and mixed classic tiki drinks including a Zombie, Bermuda Zwizzle, Mai Tai and the Lychee-Lemongrass Fizz featured on her menu at the Flatiron Lounge in NYC. Rumor from the audience: Reiner was shocked and saddened when someone in the audience informed her that Ft. Lauderdale, Florida’s classic tiki bar Mai-Kai is closing.


Whole Animals Aspen-Style



© Emily Kaiser

It may have begun with burgers, but the theme of this year’s Classic is definitely the whole animal. No party is complete without one—or four—roasting on a spit. José Andrés set the bar high yesterday at his party sponsored by the Wines of Spain: Two lambs were turning over coals by the Roaring Fork River (above), while José and his sous chefs used the sliced meat to make some of the best sandwiches I’ve ever tasted. Even the affable Ming Tsai was rendered speechless (below) watching the champion of all things Spanish assemble Dagwood-level works of art: whole baguettes sliced lengthwise, quickly charred on a grill, then slathered with a fresh, rich romesco sauce, juicy chunks of lamb and a healthy sprinkling of fleur de sel, followed by thin slivers of spicy piquillo peppers and crunchy whole Boston lettuce leaves. Forget Aspen—F&W’s offices need to move to Barcelona ahorita. Or as Jean-Claude Szurdak sagely suggested, as he and his compadre Jacques Pépin sampled a few, “José, you really need to open a restaurant."

Ming Tsai

© Emily Kaiser



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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.